Dierks Bentley Honors Country’s Past While Looking Forward to the Format’s Future

Photo Credit: Nino MunozDierks Bentley is open to all styles of music, but he will always have a special place in his heart for traditional country music. That's why he feels a real kinship with other country stars who still celebrate those classic sounds from the '60s, '70s and '80s.

"I call 'em the honky tonkers," Dierks tells ABC News Radio. "Blake Shelton, John Rich, myself. There's other guys out there, but guys that really eat up, just old-school country music. I have a connection with Blake, even though we're not the closest of friends, I know how much he loves that kind of music. He just is such a fan of it. That's a real bond."

Dierks considers himself very lucky to have been a friend to the late George Jones and he still keeps in touch with bluegrass icons like Del McCoury and Ricky Skaggs.

Says Dierks, "At the same time, I'm sending texts with Tyler [Hubbard] from Florida Georgia Line and kind of in the middle of all these different worlds of bluegrass and the rock and the country stuff."

Dierks' melting pot approach to making music continues to pay off for him. His latest album, Riser, just debuted at #1 on Billboard's Country Albums chart.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tim McGraw, Lady A and Jake Owen Headlining Watershed Festival in Quincy, Washington

Big Machine RecordsThe Watershed Music Festival returns to the Gorge Amphitheatre in Quincy, WA August 1 through 3 with Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum and Jake Owen in the headlining spots. Billy Currington, Eli Young Band, Justin Moore, Kip Moore, Randy Houser and Cassadee Pope round out the bill.

Kip Moore was eager to return for the Watershed Festival's second year. He says, "It's such an iconic and beautiful place to play and adds to what is already a great vibe.  And there are tons of hardcore fans, which just amps it up to an insane level."

For ticket information, go to WatershedFest.com.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

New Los Angeles Exhibit Offers a Photographic Look at Country Music Past and Present

Photo Credit: David McClisterA new exhibit, titled Country: Portraits of an American Sound, opens at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles May 31.  Classic photographs of country legends like Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton highlight the exhibit, along with portraits of modern stars Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and more.

Merle Haggard, LeAnn Rimes and Lee Ann Womack also take part in a half-hour documentary airing along with the exhibit, which runs through September 28. Go to AnnenbergSpaceforPhotography.org for more details.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift’s Song “Ronan” Generates $100,000 for Cancer Research

CMASales of Taylor Swift's song, "Ronan," have generated more than $100,000 for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

Taylor was inspired to write the song after reading the Rockstar Ronan blog, written by Maya Thompson about her late son, Ronan. The boy died just days shy of his fourth birthday in May 2011 after a battle with neuroblastoma cancer.

Taylor gave a songwriting credit on "Ronan" to Maya Thompson, since her writings inspired the song. All of Taylor's proceeds are going to combat childhood cancer. For more information on The V Foundation for Cancer Research, check out JimmyV.org.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Randy Travis on the Road to Recovery at Home in Texas

Warner Music NashvilleRandy Travis is getting out and about more and more lately in his hometown of Tioga, TX. The singer is recovering at home from a stroke he had while in the hospital for congestive heart failure last year.

James Hilliard, the owner of Clark's Outpost BBQ in Tioga, tells People that Randy still visits the restaurant quite a bit. James says, "He has a little problem with his vocabulary, and sometimes it's hard to understand him, but he gets better every time he comes in."

Randy made it out to see Neal McCoy at a charity concert in Dallas on January 30 as well, but it's not clear if he'll ever perform again. Randy is now confined to a wheelchair most of the time, but his father, Harold Traywick, tells People, "I'm sure he would just like to get back to work."

For more on Randy Travis's condition, pick up the new issue of People, on stands Friday.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockLuke Bryan performs his annual Spring Break shows at which club in Panama City Beach, FL? ANSWER: Spinnaker.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Eli Young Band Playing Houston Rodeo for a Third Time Tonight

Republic NashvilleEli Young Band celebrates the release of their new album, 10,000 Towns, this week with a massive performance at the Houston Rodeo Wednesday night. They've played this event twice before, and it's always something of a homecoming for EYB front man Mike Eli, who grew up near Houston.

"All my first big concert experiences were there at the Houston Rodeo," Mike tells ABC News Radio. "I make this joke all the time, but when I was younger, concerts to me, that's what they were. So, going to a concert venue where the stage didn't rotate and wasn't in the Astrodome, it was like, 'What's this? I don't understand.'"

That famous, rotating stage at the Houston Rodeo has never given Eli Young Band any problems, but they've learned not all rotating rodeo stages are created equal.

Mike explains, "Some of the rodeos have smaller, rotating stages that actually shake as they go. So, those are the ones where you really get vertigo 'cause you're shaking up and down as well as rotating a little too quickly."

Eli Young Band will play for more than 60,000 fans at the Houston Rodeo.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockA special 45th anniversary edition of Merle Haggard's 1969 live album Okie from Muskogee, is coming out March 25. The re-release includes a rare, live version of "The Fightin' Side of Me."

According to TruliaBlog.com, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert purchased an 11,000-square foot mansion in Brentwood, TN near Nashville last July for just over $2.2 million. The home reportedly boasts five bedrooms, eight bathrooms and a pool.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brett Eldredge Limited Shirtless Shots in “Beat of the Music” Video to Keep It Classy

Warner Music Nashville Brett Eldredge wrote his latest hit, "Beat of the Music," while in the Bahamas, so it only made sense for him to return there to shoot the tropical video.

Brett tells ABC News Radio, "I think this has got to be one of my favorite songs ever, 'cause it's taken me on a such a journey."

Even though the video takes place on the beach, Brett only appears shirtless when submerged in the ocean water. So, why didn't Brett treat his female fans to a little more skin?

"I didn't want to, like, go over the top," Brett says. "I'm not afraid to be shirtless. I didn't want to come on too strong, you know. I was trying to be a little bit classy. Not that being shirtless isn't classy. I just kept my shirt on most of the time."

"Beat of the Music" is the follow-up to Brett's #1 hit, "Don't Ya." Both songs appear on his debut album, Bring You Back, available now.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

David Nail Promoting “I’m a Fire” on “Today” and “Letterman” Wednesday

MCA NashvilleDavid Nail's third album, I'm a Fire, just came out, and he's lined up two big TV appearances to promote it. Look for David to sing on NBC's Today and CBS' Late Show with David Letterman Wednesday.

David says the title I'm a Fire represents the burning desire he still feels to make music.  "There’s been a lot of moments throughout my career where I could’ve packed up and given up and people could have given up on me," David explains. "I’ve had a strong collection of people in my corner from the beginning. I’m a fire and I’m still burning, and I feel at this moment in time, better than ever.”

The lead single from I'm a Fire, "Whatever She's Got," has already gone to #1. David is following that up with a second single, "Kiss You Tonight."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio