Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat was Rosanne Cash's first number one country hit? ANSWER:  "Seven Year Ache," in 1981.


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Keith Urban Plans Performance with Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. for American Idol Finale

FOXEven though Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. are hoping to perform together Wednesday on American Idol, deciding what to sing hasn’t been easy.

“The three of us have been trying to figure out a song we can do for the final,” Keith says. “It's proved to be a bit challenging to find one song that works for all three of us, 'cause we are very, very different musically and vocally even. So we may put together several songs in sequence that we can do.”

Keith says that’s when having a record producer around comes in handy.

“We got Randy Jackson on that trying to figure out a game plan… but I hope we get to do that 'cause I'd really like to sing with them, both of them.”

Find out what the judges come up with, Wednesday at 8 p.m. Eastern on the American Idol season finale on Fox.

 

Luke Bryan Named Top Country Artist at Billboard Music Awards

Image Credit: Joseph LlanesLuke Bryan won two awards, including top country artist, Sunday at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.  Luke also won top country album for Crash My Party.

Florida Georgia Line took home the Billboard trophy for top country song for their hit "Cruise.”

Luke and Florida Georgia Line teamed up for a rendition of “This Is How We Roll.” Luke later performed "Play It Again.”

Carrie Underwood received the fan-voted Milestone Award.  Backstage, Carrie told reporters, "It's always a wonderful surprise when my name is called, and I know my fans love to vote and they're so supportive."

Carrie and Miranda Lambert debuted their new collaboration "Somethin' Bad" on the show, and Carrie said backstage, "It was so much fun...I felt like we got to be strong women onstage and feed off each other, and it was just a great performance in my head! I hope I go back and watch it and think that still!"

Carrie also said work on her new album was looking "really good."

Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard said backstage the duo enjoyed the show's mix of different genres.  "For us, growing up listening to country radio, pop, rock, Christian, everything, all across the map, it's the coolest thing to see so many amazing people gather for one common goal and one common love and that's music." The duo also said they were expecting to release a new album in October.

Backstage, Luke was asked about the fact that he appeared to be drinking while sitting in the audience. He copped to it. "I've learned that the right amount of drinks chills you out for award shows so, there's a perfect little threshold.  Yeah, we keep it a little 'under the chair!'"

He also spoke about bringing his kids with him to Las Vegas and attempting to explain Sin City's appeal to them. "I was like, 'You know how y'all love Disney World?  Well, Vegas is mommy and daddy's Disney World. So they kinda understood after that!"

Michael Jackson was brought back to life -- sort of -- on Sunday night. A hologram of the King of Pop, surrounded by real-life backup dancers, performed "Slave to the Rhythm," off the recently-released posthumous album Xscape. Wearing red pants and a golden jacket, the hologram showed off many of MJ's patented moves -- the spins, the gyrations, the kicks into the air.

Justin Timberlake was the night's biggest winner, collecting seven awards, including top artist.


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Brantley Gilbert Bares His Soul About Breakup with Jana Kramer on “Just As I Am”

ValoryFor fans who want to know the intimate details of Brantley Gilbert's breakup with Jana Kramer, you'll find the answers on his new CD, Just As I Am.

"It was the real thing," he says of the romance.  "We went at it. We went at it hard and fast. It's definitely a love story that's a huge part of my life, always will be, and I was proud to represent it on the record. It's part of that chapter."

Since he's been writing and recording, Brantley says he's always been brutally honest about his life. So it really wasn't an option to leave out even an unpleasant part.

"The past four-and-a-half years there was a lot of the good, and the bad and the ugly in there," he says, looking back on his country career so far. "I didn't skip anything... I take a lot of pride in being able to say I don't sing anything I don't write on. I don't write about anything I hadn't been through. I tell people, these albums are chapters of my life. Well, if you're gonna say that you damn well ought to live by it."

Brantley met Jana in June of 2012, and by January of the next year, he and the actress-turned-singer were engaged. But by August of 2013, they'd called off the wedding.  He's quick to say rumors that circulated about the breakup were false, and what really happened is much less exciting.

"The stories that came up around that thing, I'll be the first one to tell you, they're not true. Obviously there's a situation in relationships that exist where things just don’t work," he says candidly. "That's what happened to us."

In fact, Brantley says the gossip about his ill-fated love affair actually reminds him of high school, and he's still somewhat mad about it.

"The stories that were surrounding that whole deal that were made up -- I had heard that Nashville was the biggest small town in America. I graduated with 66 people. Now, we could come up with a hella some stories. You know what I mean, and bend the truth like nobody's business without breaking it, but when that happened and that went down, that was really the one thing that would make me pretty angry, and there's some folks that's lucky they ain't got a dent in their head, and it ain't over," he laughs.

Even though the song "Dust" was written specifically about the breakup, Brantley's quick to point out there were some positives to come out of his time with Jana too.

"It's not just the negative things," he interjects.  "Man, there are a lot of good things. More good than bad."

In the end, Brantley says he has no hard feelings toward Jana and he wishes her well.

"She is an absolute wonderful person," he reflects. "I think the world of her. She's going to make someone a wonderful, wonderful wife -- a wonderful, wonderful mother. Just between us, things didn't work."

Just As I Am is new in stores and online today.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ ThinkstockRosanne Cash competes against ex-husband Rodney Crowell for Artist of the Year at the 2014 Americana Honors & Awards. She's also up for Album and Song of the Year at the ceremony to be held September 17 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

Steel Magnolia's Meghan Linsey is launching a PledgeMusic campaign to fund her first solo EP.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Artists Infiltrate All-Genre Categories at 2014 “Billboard” Music Awards

ABC/Dick Clark ProductionsEven though there are only three exclusively country categories at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, country artists are extraordinarily well-represented in the all-genre nominations.

Luke Bryan takes on Beyonce, among others, in two categories:  Top Billboard 200 Artist and Top Billboard 200 Album.  He also squares off with the likes of Justin Timberlake for Top Male Artist. Luke does get some country competition for the fan-voted Milestone Award, as he and Carrie Underwood go up against Ellie Goulding, Imagine Dragons, John Legend and OneRepublic.

Taylor Swift grabs a nod for Top Social Artist, while Alan Jackson even vies for Top Christian Album, thanks to the second volume of his Precious Memories recordings. Top Duo/Group nominee Florida Georgia Line will take the stage, in addition to performances from Luke Bryan and a duet from Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert .

The 2014 Billboard Music Awards air live from Las Vegas Sunday night at 8 EST on ABC.

Here are the nominees in the country categories:

Top Country Artist

Luke Bryan
Florida Georgia Line
Darius Rucker
Blake Shelton
Taylor Swift

Top Country Album

Garth Brooks, Blame It All On My Roots
Luke Bryan, Crash My Party
Florida Georgia Line, Here's To The Good Times
The Robertsons, Duck The Halls:  A Robertson Family Christmas
Blake Shelton, Based On A True Story

Top Country Song

Luke Bryan, "Crash My Party"
Luke Bryan, "That's My Kind Of Night"
Florida Georgia Line Featuring Nelly, "Cruise"
Darius Rucker, "Wagon Wheel"
Blake Shelton Featuring Pistol Annies & Friends, "Boys 'Round Here"


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Miranda Lambert Reveals Her Favorite Part of Her New, Slimmer Self

C2 Media RelationsNext month, Miranda Lambert becomes the Women’s Health cover girl, in a feature titled “Slim & Happy: How a Girl Who Loves Beer and Burgers Dropped 20 Pounds.”  

“It’s really easy to gain weight and it’s really hard to lose weight,” she tells the magazine.  She says her trick is not to worry about being perfect, but instead is, "Just staying focused. If I eat bad in the morning, I try to do better at night or vice versa-- just not blowing it all day long everyday.” Previously, Miranda revealed she also starting working out with a trainer.

While the 30-year-old says she doesn’t get focused on the scale, she admits she is enjoying the benefits of her new, slimmer self.

“I guess if I had to say the favorite part of my new body it would probably be my arms. I always struggle with having big arms, so having smaller arms, more toned is definitely a plus.”

But, in typical Miranda fashion, she keeps it real, admitting she does occasionally splurge with Cheetos. The June issue of Women’s Health comes out next week.

 
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Dierks Bentley “Riser” Documentary Streaming Free Online

Greenroom PRIf you’ve yet to see Dierks Bentley’s documentary Riser, you can now watch it free on Hulu. It’s the first time the video-streaming giant has ever featured a modern country artist.

The 42-minute film chronicles the time that inspired Dierks’ latest CD, also titled Riser, a period that ran from the death of his father to the birth of his first son. The movie gives fans a glimpse into Dierks' life on tour, in the studio and at home with his family.

This week, Dierks’ video for “Drunk on a Plane” also premiered on the website Funny or Die.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

 

Brad Paisley Joins Kesha and Ludacris on Rising Star

ABC Digital MarketingThis summer, Brad Paisley will be wearing a new hat -- “celebrity expert” -- on ABC’s new singing competition, Rising Star. Crooner Josh Groban hosts, with pop sensation Kesha and rapper Ludacris also on the panel. You can’t call them judges though, since the show bills itself as the first ever interactive music contest. Viewers will decide which contestants advance, by voting via an app during live performances, while the performers watch the results as they do their thing.

Rising Star premieres June 22.  The experts will make their first appearance together on the Billboard Music Awards, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas this Sunday night beginning at 9:00 p.m. on ABC.

 
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Report: Randy Houser and Wife Split

Stoney Creek RecordsRandy Houser and his wife are calling it quits, according to People. The 38-year-old married singer-songwriter Jessa Lee Yantz during an intimate ceremony in the Dominican Republic in 2011. The two have a 2-year-old song together, named West.

The “Runnin’ Outta Moonlight” singer kicks off  the Country Nation Tour with Brad Paisley, Charlie Worsham, Leah Turner and Dee Jay Silver this weekend in Pennsylvania.


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