Keith Urban Super-Fan Auditions for “American Idol”

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleOne of Keith Urban‘s biggest fans auditioned for American Idol this season. 18-year-old Riley Brea of Tennessee aced a Keith trivia quiz rom the show’s host Ryan Seacrest before going in to sing for Keith and fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr.

Riley even sang one of Keith’s songs, but you’ll have to wait to see which song he chose until the new season of Idol premieres January 7 on Fox.

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Grand Ole Opry Legend Little Jimmy Dickens, Dead at 94

Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryGrand Ole Opry legend Little Jimmy Dickens has died at age 94 due to cardiac arrest following a stroke he suffered on Christmas Day.

Dickens was born in Bolt, West Virginia on December 19, 1920. He was discovered by late Grand Ole Opry star Roy Acuff and went on to join the Opry cast in 1948. Dickens was the longest-running member of the Grand Ole Opry at the time of his death and gained a big following for his novelty hits “Out Behind the Barn” and “Take an Old Cold Tater (And Wait).” His flashy, rhinestone suits, slight stature — he was 4’11″ tall — and quick wit made him a favorite on the Opry and around the world. Dickens became the first country artist to circle the globe on a world tour and has played Europe 13 times.

Dickens scored his biggest hit in 1964 with the humorous song, “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose.” The song stayed at #1 on the country chart for 10 weeks and landed Dickens a coveted performance slot on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson after it crossed over to the pop chart.

Jimmy Dickens was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983. He’s best known to newer generations of fans through his multiple appearances in Brad Paisley videos and as a member of the Kung-Pao Buckaroos, along with Bill Anderson and the late George Jones, on bonus comedy tracks on Brad’s albums.  Jimmy also made several appearances with Brad on the CMA Awards.

Jimmy is survived by his wife, Mona, whom he married in 1971.

Little Jimmy Dickens will be remembered with a Celebration of Life Service this Thursday at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. The service starts at 11 a.m. local time and is open to the public. A public visitation will be held Wednesday evening at Woodlawn Roesch Patton funeral home in Nashville.

Brad Paisley released a statement via Twitter Friday night paying tribute to his friend and hero, Little Jimmy Dickens. He spoke of Jimmy’s longevity, sense of humor and charm. Brad also said Jimmy was the best friend anyone could ask for.

Brad continued, “Do not mourn Little Jim. Celebrate him. Relive and share the memories. Aspire to be like him. And above all, laugh at the punchlines, the craziness, and the way he so gracefully made this planet a funnier, better, richer place while he was alive. And in doing so, will continue to for years to come.”

Here is a roundup of other statements on the passing of Little Jimmy Dickens:

Dolly Parton — “I often perform one of Little Jimmy’s best known songs ‘I’m Little But I’m Loud.’ I’ve always related to him and loved him as a person, as a friend, and as an entertainer.  He will always be loved and remembered.”

Randy Houser — “What a life of 94 years. Rest in peace and thank u for being good to us young bucks.”

Reba — “Rest in peace Little Jimmy. Thanks for all the smiles, great music and your big loving heart.”

Parmalee — “RIP Little Jimmy Dickens. Country Music will definitely miss you!!”

Chase Bryant — “RIP Little Jimmy Dickens… I’ll never forget all the great times hanging out with you at the !!! You’ll be greatly missed.”

Chris Young — “RIP Little Jimmy Dickens… Loved fishing with you, loved your music, and loved you as a person most of all.”


RIP Little Jimmy Dickens… Loved fishing with you, loved your music, and loved you as a person most of all.

A photo posted by Chris Young (@chrisyoungmusic) on Jan 1, 2015 at 4:55pm PST


Dustin Lynch — “Celebrating Little Jimmy Dickens tonight….what an honor spending time and sharing the stage with him.”


Celebrating Little Jimmy Divkens tonight….what an honor spending time and sharing the stage with him!

A photo posted by Dustin Lynch (@dustinlynchmusic) on Jan 1, 2015 at 4:53pm PST

Rascal FlattsJay DeMarcus — “My heart is broken. Little Jimmy, we will miss you forever… Thank you for being a friend, and for inducting us into the greatest circle ever. Rest peacefully… What a sweet, sweet man.




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Sam Hunt Flying Solo These Days Due to Career Demands

Image Courtesy David McClister/UMGSam Hunt wrote his debut album, Montevallo, while in a long-term relationship, but he’s flying solo these days. The demands of the road leave very little time for Sam’s social life these days.

He tells the Toronto Sun, “I’m still adjusting to this lifestyle so I’ve pretty much invested all of my time into this music so there’s not much left to invest in relationships right now.”

Of course, Sam’s concert crowds are full of adoring women ready to throw themselves at him, which Sam finds “flattering.” He hopes to keep the focus on his music, though.

He says, “There’s that fine line where I always want the enthusiasm to be about the music as opposed to me.”

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Dierks Bentley Postpones Annual New Year’s Day Polar Plunge, Breaks New Year’s Resolution

Image Courtesy Nino Munoz/Capitol NashvilleDierks Bentley usually takes a “Polar Plunge” in freezing water on New Year’s Day, but he’s postponed the plunge this year. Dierks tweeted Thursday, “Don’t worry it will be the biggest one yet!”

Dierks has already broken one of his New Year’s resolutions while sitting by the beach. He posted a picture of the ocean on Twitter Thursday with the caption, “Already broken my first new year’s resolution for a sober January. Hard with this view. Oh well, there’s always 2016!”

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Little Jimmy Dickens’ Health Reportedly Improving

Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryGood news about Grand Ole Opry legend Little Jimmy Dickens. According to The Tennessean, Opry general manager Pete Fisher posted a message on his private Facebook page earlier this week saying Dickens’ health is improving.

The message reads, “Each day brings noticeable improvements, and his doctors seem very pleased with the progress he is making. I, along with his family, are grateful to all for your thoughts and prayers.”

Little Jimmy Dickens, who turned 94 two weeks ago, was admitted to a Nashville-area hospital Christmas Day with an undisclosed illness. He was listed in critical condition earlier this week. He last performed on the Opry December 20, in celebration of his birthday.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is Miranda Lambert‘s middle name? ANSWER: Leigh.

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Darius Rucker Hoping to Be Happy and Healthy in 2015

Image Courtesy Grand Ole Opry/Chris HolloDarius Rucker will release a brand-new album this year featuring his latest single, “Homegrown Honey.” Beyond giving his fans new music, Darius is keeping his plans for 2015 pretty simple.

“I always do the, ‘I’m gonna get in better shape,’ that happens so rarely, but I always say it,” Darius admits. Mostly he just wants to see himself and his family stay in a good place this year.

Says Darius, “The big thing goes back to my kids being happy and my family being happy and helping other people. But I just want to be a happy guy, I want to have a happy family, and I want to have another great year.”

Darius certainly helped make several people happy with his “Homegrown Holiday” campaign. He gave gift cards, televisions and several other items to families in need just before Christmas.

Copyright 2015 ABC News Radio

Jake Owen Makes Surprise Appearance at Hometown Restaurant in Florida

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleJake Owen caused quite a stir when he made an unannounced appearance onstage at the Riverside Café in his hometown of Vero Beach, FL on Monday. According to the Treasure Coast Newspapers, Jake sat in with the band to perform Hank Williams, Jr.‘s “Family Tradition,” “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash and Jake’s own hit, “Beachin’.”

Jake has been in Vero Beach for a while visiting family for the holidays. He went bass fishing on Monday at Blue Cypress Lake before ending up at Riverside Café, where he tipped $140 on a $260 tab.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThe 25th anniversary of the release of Garth Brooks‘ album, No Fences, will happen in August 2015. The project produced Garth’s monster hit, “Friends in Low Places.”

Loretta Lynn‘s upcoming studio album with producer John Carter Cash is among The Hollywood Reporter‘s 30 most-anticipated music releases of 2015.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Carrie Underwood Planning New Album and Possible Tour for 2015

Image Courtesy Arista Nashville/Jeremy CowartCarrie Underwood just released her first Greatest Hits album featuring the brand-new single, “Something in the Water” and another new song, “Little Toy Guns.” Still, Carrie hasn’t released a full album of new music since Blown Away came out in May 2012. Her fans won’t have to wait too much longer, though.

Says Carrie, “I’m currently working, even still, on new music, as I’ll continue to do in 2015, and go from there. I mean, there should definitely be a proper album full of new music out soon.”

While she has a few festival dates on the books for 2015, Carrie expects to launch a full-fledged tour once the album is released.

“I’ve already signed on for some things for next year as far as shows go,” Carrie explains. “But as far as a proper ‘tour tour,’ that’ll happen after I have lots of new music.”

Of course, Carrie will take a few months off once she welcomes her first child this year. While hosting the CMA Awards last November she revealed she’s expecting a baby boy.

Copyright 2015 ABC News Radio