Steven Tyler Signs with Nashville-Based Big Machine Label Group

Image Courtesy Zack WhitfordAerosmith front man Steven Tyler has officially signed a record deal with Nashville-based Big Machine Label Group, led by American Idol mentor Scott Borchetta. Tyler confirmed he was releasing a country album during a surprise appearance on the Grand Ole Opry last week. That project is due out later this year on Big Machine’s imprint, Dot Records.

Steven says, “My earliest influences put me somewhere between the Everly Brothers and The Carter Family and this project is all about me paying homage to my country roots. I’ve been working with some f**king epic Nashville songwriters, getting my feet wet with their style and groove.”

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Luke Bryan “Spring Break Checkin’ Out” Concert Special Premiering Sunday, April 12

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleIf you didn’t make it Luke Bryan‘s recent spring break concerts on the Gulf Coast of Florida, you’ll be able to get a taste of the shows on the new AXS TV special, Luke Bryan Spring Break Checkin’ Out. The concert special premieres Sunday, April 12 at 8 p.m. ET with exclusive performance and interview footage from this year’s concerts in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Clips from Luke’s previous spring break concerts will be included as well.

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Alan Jackson’s Mother-in-Law, Nell Brown Jackson, Dies at Age 94

Image Courtesy Schmidt PRAlan Jackson‘s mother-in-law, Nell Brown Jackson, passed away Friday, April 3 at age 94. Her obituary in the Newnan Times-Herald declares, “The glorious voices of the heavenly choir will be made all the more sweet by her lilting soprano voice.” 

Mrs. Jackson ‘s survived by three children, including Alan’s wife, Denise Jackson, as well as eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

A visitation with the family will be held Monday night in Newnan, GA, with a service to follow on Tuesday, April 7.

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Country Star Trivia

Image Courtesy Comstock/ThinkstockWhich member of Florida Georgia Line hails from Florida? ANSWER: Brian Kelley.

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Country Newcomer Kelsea Ballerini Gives a Tutorial on How to Pronounce Her Last Name

Image Courtesy Jeremy Ryan/Black RiverCountry newcomer Kelsea Ballerini is making a splash at country radio with her debut hit, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” so we thought it was time you learned how to pronounce her last name. She recently embarrassed herself in front of a songwriter in Nashville explaining how to say her last name and earned a new nickname in the process.

Kelsea tells ABC Radio, “I saw him in the hallway, and he goes, “What’s your name again?” And just without even thinking I go, ‘Kelsea Ballerini. Like Tortellini. Like a noodle.’ So, my nickname is [now] ‘Noodle.'”

Some people pronounce Kelsea’s last name as “ballerina” on first glance, which is appropriate since she studied ballet as a kid. Kelsea also had a spot on a competitive hip-hop dance team.

She says, “[It’s] is hilarious now. But I loved it, and I think that, honestly, helped me, like, appreciate grooves and beats and stuff like that and movement.”

While Kelsea still loves to dance, she doesn’t feel quite as confident busting a move during her concerts.

“On stage now, you can tell that I really try, but it’s not cute anymore,” Kelsea says with a laugh.

Kelsea releases her debut album, The First Time, on May 19.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLook for Darius Rucker to perform on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Monday.

Reba will perform on NBC’s Today April 14, the day her new album, Love Somebody, comes out.

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Justin Moore Building New House for His Growing Family in Arkansas Hometown

Image Courtesy Valory Music Co.Justin Moore plans to live in his hometown of Poyen, Arkansas, until the day he dies, so he and his family are making plans to build a brand-new house on his family’s property. Justin and his wife, Kate, welcomed their third daughter, Rebecca Klein, last summer, and their current home just isn’t big enough for the growing family.

Justin tells ABC Radio, “We live in, like, a 25-hundred square-foot house. So, we’re busting out at the seams for lack of a better way of explaining it. I tell you what, it’s crazy when you’ve got five of us in that tiny a space.”

The new house will sit on the land Justin recently bought from his grandfather, which was passed down from Justin’s great-great-grandfather.

“It’s been in our family since the late 1800s, so it ain’t no sellin’ it,” Justin says. “You don’t go build a nice house in a town of 300 people and expect to be able to get a return on your investment. That ain’t gonna happen.  So, we’re gonna be there forever.”

Justin is letting Kate make all the decisions about decorating the main residence, but he is heavily involved in designing their new pool house.

Says Justin, “We’re gonna do a bar in it. Like, a real bar that’ll have eight or 10 stools and taps and big screens all over the place. Like, a sports bar kinda thing.”

On the music front, Justin is currently working on his next studio album and expects to have a brand-new single on the radio in time for summer.

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Sam Hunt Explains How Playing College Football Helped Prepare Him for Country Stardom

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleSam Hunt played college football as a student at the University of Alabama Birmingham before graduating in 2007. While on the field, Sam learned a lot of lessons that have served him well in his country career.

He tells Birmingham magazine, “I don’t think I’m conscious of most of the things I’ve drawn from football, because they’re so ingrained in me now … understanding the discipline and the routine and the regimentation to be successful. I was able to really see that connection as a football player where success requires a lot of hard work and eff­ort, physically and mentally.”

Sam is applying all of those skills as the headliner on his Lipstick Graffiti tour. Check out for tour dates.

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Thompson Square Cranks Up the Guitars on New Single, “Trans Am”

Image Courtesy Dove Short/Stoney CreekThompson Square is cranking up the guitars on their new single, “Trans Am.” The uptemo song is part of the husband-and-wife duo’s effort to expand beyond singing love songs like their breakthrough hit “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” and “If I Didn’t Have You.”

The duo’s Keifer Thompson tells Billboard, “It’s real easy to push yourself into a corner if you’re worried all the time about doing love songs. We don’t want to do that all the time. That’s boring for us too. This is just a great song with a guy and a girl singing on it. That’s how we approached things this time around.”

Thompson Square is delivering even more “aggressive” and “rockin'” songs on their upcoming third album due out later this year.

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Florida Georgia Line Schedules Appearances on “The Talk,” “American Idol”

Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleFlorida Georgia Line has lined up two big TV appearances in the coming days. They’ll stop by CBS’s The Talk on Tuesday, April 7 before their appearance on Fox’s American Idol Wednesday, April 8. Look for the duo to mentor this season’s contestants before performing a song of their own.

Florida Georgia Line is also set to perform on the 50th Annual ACM Awards April 19 on CBS. They’re up for several trophies, including Entertainer of the Year.

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