Eric Church Headlining First-Ever American Roots Festival October 17 and 18 in Raleigh

John Peets/Capitol NashvilleEric Church will headline the first-ever American Roots Festival coming up October 17 and 18 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow also are on the bill along with The Roots, Grace Potter and Chris Stapleton.

The two-day event takes place at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, and more stars will be added to the lineup soon. Tickets go on sale Monday, August 10 through LiveNation.com.

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Thompson Square’s Keifer and Shawna Thompson Expecting First Baby in January 2016

Stoney CreekCongratulations to Thompson Square‘s Keifer and Shawna Thompson on the impending arrival of their first baby. The couple made the announcement via Instagram drinking out of Diet Coke cans with “Share a Diet Coke with Mom” and “Dad” printed on the side.

The caption reads, “WELL….WE HAVE DECIDED NOT TO BE A DUO ANYMORE!!!!” #Jan2016 #WeDidIt #BabyOnBoard.”

The couple adds in a statement, “We are overjoyed to announce that after 16 years of marriage, we are finally starting a family and are excited beyond words to begin this new journey into parenthood!”

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WELL……WE HAVE DECIDED NOT TO BE A DUO ANYMORE!!!!!!! #Jan2016 #T3 #WeDidIt #BabyOnBoard

A photo posted by thompson square (@thompsonsquare) on Aug 4, 2015 at 9:58am PDT

 

Tim McGraw’s New Single, “Top of the World,” Got a Truly Out of This World Premiere

McGraw MusicTim McGraw debuted his brand-new single, “Top of the World,” in a truly astronomical way. An exclusive 15-second clip of the song was sent to NASA and the International Space Station via Twitter on Monday. The crew of the International Space Station wrote back, “Thanks, ! You’re on …we orbit around it.”

Tim replied, “Maybe you’ll fly over my next concert. We love what you’re doing up there, pushing humanity forward. Keep up the great work!”

The track is now available at all digital retailers. “Top of the World” is the lead single from Tim’s upcoming 14th studio album, due out this fall.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the name of Reba‘s most recent album, released earlier this year? ANSWER: Love Somebody.

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Chris Janson Celebrates Success of “Buy Me a Boat” by Purchasing Some Kayaks

Warner Music NashvilleChris Janson celebrated the top 10 success of his single “Buy Me a Boat” by purchasing a few kayaks for his family. Chris and his wife and kids took the kayaks out on the Harpeth River near their home in Middle Tennessee last week.

He says, “We had the afternoon off and wanted to get on the river and this was the fastest way to do it. The river is close to the house and it’s a great way to spend the afternoon with the family. We’re not home much this summer but we will get back out there every chance we get.”

Chris is currently on the road with Toby Keith‘s Good Times & Pick Up Lines tour.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockKathy Mattea and Sheryl Crow are performing at the Lean on Him tribute concert for Bill Withers coming up Thursday, October 1 at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The concert celebrates Bill Withers’ induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The Band Perry will release their new single, “Live Forever,” on August 14.

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Little Big Town, Dierks, Jason and Kenny on Why You Should Watch the CMA Music Festival Special Tonight

CMALittle Big Town returns for a third turn as hosts of ABC’s CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock, airing Tuesday night at 8 ET. The group taped the special in early June during CMA Music Festival in Nashville, and LBT’s Jimi Westbrook says they’ve come a long way since they first hosted the show.

“We were a little shaky and nervous the first year, but now we feel really comfortable, and it’s been a blast,” Jimi says. “It’s such a cool thing ’cause we’re here for the entire thing. We get to see everybody that’s here and hang out with them and listen to them play. It’s just a great experience.”

For Jason Aldean, taking part in CMA Music Festival gives him a chance to interact with his fans in an intimate setting. You can see a bit of what he’s talking about on the ABC special.

Jason says, “[We] get a chance to let them experience something they don’t get a chance to experience on a tour stop or something, where they get a chance to sit in a room with you that’s this big and sit down and sort of have one-on-one conversation time with you.”

Jason also realizes attending CMA Music Festival doubles as a summer vacation for some fans. Knowing they spent that money to come to Nashville is definitely on Jason’s mind when he plays the stadium shows at CMA Music Festival.

He adds, “We want to go out and give ’em the best show we can — make it worth their trip.”

Dierks Bentley echoes Jason’s thoughts and says you can feel the excitement from the CMA Music Fest crowd. That makes Dierks and his fellow country stars want to give the audience something to talk about when they go back home.

Dierks says, “You walk out onstage already on a 12, just pumped up. You know everyone’s just having a great time. They’re hearing their favorite acts sing their top-five biggest songs.”

Kenny Chesney thinks viewers of the CMA Music Festival special will get a taste of why the country format is different than any other genre of music.

He says, “There are a lot of festivals out there. There’s a lot of things people can go to, but this is very much about just a love letter to the fans, in my opinion, and saying thank you.”

Little Big Town, Jason, Dierks and Kenny are all appearing on the CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock special Tuesday night at 8 ET on ABC. Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line, Eric Church, Thomas Rhett, Lady Antebellum and Keith Urban are among the other stars performing on the three-hour broadcast.

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Jennifer Nettles Parts Ways with Universal Music Group

CMAJennifer Nettles has parted ways with her record label, Universal Music Group, just days after releasing “Sugar,” which was to have been the lead single from her upcoming sophomore solo album.

The Sugarland singer tells Billboard, “I want to thank Universal Nashville for 11 wonderful years. This change is the first step on a path I’ve been wanting to take. I am so excited about the next part of my journey and I invite my fans to stay tuned.”

Jennifer released her solo debut album, That Girl, in January 2014. Universal Music Group still holds the rights to any future Sugarland projects.

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Jason Aldean Is Living It Up on His New Single, “Gonna Know We Were Here”

CMAJason Aldean is going for a fourth #1 hit from his latest album, Old Boots, New Dirt, with his brand-new single, “Gonna Know We Were Here.” That title seems appropriate as Jason continues to break attendance records at his stadium shows this summer with pal Kenny Chesney.

Jason says of the new track, “In the grand scheme of things, we’re here for a short period of time. By the time I leave, I’m gonna make some noise and I know my fans can relate. I see them out there every night living it up right there with me!”

Jason and Kenny head to Denver this Saturday for a show at Sports Authority Field.

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Reba & Husband Announce Separation After 26 Years of Marriage

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for dcpIt’s the second major split for a country star in a month.  Reba McEntire is ending her marriage to Narvel Blackstock, her manager and husband of 26 years.

In a joint statement, the couple announce that they have been separated for the past few months, after 26 years of marriage, adding, “Despite this being the end of their marriage, they continue to support each other. They have worked together for 35 years and will continue to do so. They have asked that you respect their privacy during this time.”

Blackstock, Reba’s former steel guitar player, is the star’s second husband; her first marriage, to Charlie Battles, ended in divorce in 1987.  Battles passed away in 2013. 

Blackstock and Reba had one child together, son Shelby, who was born in 1990.  She also has three stepchildren from Blackstock’s previous marriage, including Brandon Blackstock, who is married to Kelly Clarkson.

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