Thomas Rhett Covers Bruno Mars Ballad, Reflects on Opening Weekend of Florida Georgia Line Tour

Image Courtesy Valory Music Co.Thomas Rhett is showing off his souful side with a cover of Bruno Mars‘ ballad, “When I Was Your Man.” A video of the performance has been posted at just as Thomas comes off his first weekend of shows opening Florida Georgia Line‘s Anything Goes tour. Thomas also covers Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson‘s “Uptown Funk” for his finale.

He says, “I’m obsessed with Bruno Mars’ records. I’d give my right leg to be able to sing like that dude.”

As for the first shows with FGL, Thomas adds, “It was definitely a weekend for the record books. From the crowds’ energy, to playing with my buddies in FGL… it was an awesome way to kick off the New Year.”

Thomas is currently climbing the country chart with his latest hit, “Make Me Wanna.”

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Florida Georgia Line Takes Time Out to Visit Patients at Ohio Ronald McDonald House

Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleFlorida Georgia Line visited children at the Ronald McDonald House in Dayton, Ohio, last week while in town for their Anything Goes tour. The duo posted a picture on Twitter of themselves with two of the child patients calling the visit, “The best part of our job.”

The caption continues, “Amazing families. Glad we got to do this.”

Look for FGL to perform their latest single, “Sun Daze,” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tuesday.

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Keith Urban Explains How He Recruited Eric Church for His Cinematic New Single, “Raise ‘Em Up”

Image Courtesy CMAKeith Urban first heard “Raise ‘Em Up” when a Nashville publisher sent it to him in an email with the subject line, “Song of the Year.” Keith thought that was a “tall order” for any song to live up to, but he realized “Raise ‘Em Up” was something special when he saw the hit writers who collaborated on it. Between them, they’ve penned #1 hits for Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Keith and many more.

Keith says of the song, “The lyric is just absolutely extraordinary of all the things that ‘’Raise ‘Em Up” can apply to. I felt this song was such a journey and a deeply American aspect to the song too, particularly in the second verse.”

The song played out like a movie in Keith’s head, which is why he wanted to bring in his pal Eric Church to turn “Raise ‘Em Up” into a duet.

“It’s such a cinematic song as well, and I’ve always considered Eric to be a very cinematic artist,” Keith explains, “and I sent him the song and he was in the studio immediately. I’m so glad he wanted to be a part of it because it took the song to a new place.”

“Raise ‘Em Up” is the latest single from Keith’s album, Fuse, available now.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLook for Sam Hunt to perform “Take Your Time” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday.

Condolences to Country Music Hall of Fame member Tom T. Hall, whose wife, Dixie, passed away at age 80 on Friday. They were married for 46 years and co-wrote the song, “All That’s Left,” on Miranda Lambert‘s latest album, Platinum, among many other songs.

Dierks Bentley and his band are taking their love for ’80s and ’90s country to the next level with their new band of alter-egos, Hot Country Knights. Dierks is taking on the persona of Douglas “Big Rhythm Doug” Douglason and sporting a blonde mullet wig in photos posted to their Facebook page. They’re playing a private show in Nashville as Hot Country Knights next month during the annual Country Radio Seminar.

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Kip Moore Rooting for the Seattle Seahawks Media-Shy Running Back Marshawn Lynch in NFL Playoffs

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleAll eyes are on the NFL Playoffs this weekend as the Seattle Seahawks take on the Green Bay Packers for a shot the Super Bowl. Country singer Kip Moore has been paying close attention to the playoffs, and he’s very excited to watch the Seahawks’ media-shy running back Marshawn Lynch on the field Sunday.

The NFL fined Lynch $100,000 for not submitting to media interviews. Now that Lynch is granting interviews, he often answers every question with the same response.  Kip doesn’t think Lynch’s interviews matter at game time, though.

“I’m a huge fan of Marshawn Lynch,” Kip says. “I know that he gets so much flak for how he’s so bad with the media, but there’s no one in the NFL that plays harder than Marshawn Lynch. I respect watching that so, so much. I have a feeling that Marshawn Lynch might run his way to another Super Bowl.”

The Indianapolis Colts are up against the New England Patriots this Sunday for the other spot in the Super Bowl. As for Kip Moore, his new single, “I’m to Blame,” will debut on country radio next month.

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Chase Bryant Doesn’t Know Whether to Laugh or Cry When He Hears Himself on the Radio

Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsChase Bryant hears his debut hit, “Take It on Back,” on the radio quite a bit now that the song is closing in on the top 10 at country radio. The thrill of hearing his voice coming over the airwaves hasn’t gotten old for the newcomer, though.

“When you hear it, you ask yourself, ‘Is the radio station playing this or am I listening to one of my mixes I’ve been working on?’” Chase tells Billboard. “To hear it on the airwaves is one of those feelings that you don’t know whether to cry or what to do. It’s just a great feeling.”

Chase has shows lined up with Lee Brice this spring before hitting the road with Tim McGraw‘s Shotgun Rider tour over the summer.

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Garth Brooks Sells More than 140,000 Tickets for Nine Shows in Denver

Image Courtesy Pearl RecordsGarth Brooks is now playing a total of nine shows in Denver starting March 18. More than 140,000 tickets have already been sold for Garth’s engagement at the Pepsi Center. Fans can still purchase tickets to all nine shows at or by calling 1-844-63GARTH.

Trisha Yearwood will join her Garth for the shows in Denver, which will wrap up on March 24.

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Dolly Parton Producing Series of TV Movies Based on Her Songs and Life Story

Image Courtesy Webster PRDolly Parton‘s biggest hits, such as “I Will Always Love You” and “Coat of Many Colors,” have a cinematic quality to them, so it’s only natural Dolly would strike a deal to turn her songs and life story into TV movies. Dolly plans to produce the projects for NBC.   

Dolly says, “We want to create projects for NBC that are both fun and inspirational with a family audience in mind.”

These projects reunite Dolly with Robert Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment. He was a producer of Dolly’s recent Broadway musical, 9 to 5.

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Maddie & Tae to Debut New Single, “Fly,” on “The Tonight Show” January 23

Image Courtesy Dot RecordsMaddie & Tae will debut their new single, “Fly,” on NBC’s Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Friday, January 23. The duo burst onto the country scene with their sassy debut hit, “Girl in a Country Song,” and now they’re telling a different side of their story with the new single.

“‘Fly’ is so important to us, because it really is the story of our journey, of doing something that might be crazy,” Taylor “Tae” Dye says. “Being scared and being emancipated to come to Nashville at 17… saying ‘No, we want to write our own songs…,’ not knowing if that’s gonna break the deal. But you have to believe in yourself.”

“Fly” is included on Maddie & Tae’s self-titled debut EP, available now.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhich one of The Swon Brothers is the oldest —  Colton or Zach? ANSWER: Zach.

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