ACMBlakeShelton and Luke Bryan return for a second turn as co-hosts of the ACM Awards this Sunday night. Now that they've got the first year of sharing emcee duties under their belts, the country superstars know what to expect going into this year's show.
Blake says, "I think the biggest thing I learned last year is I can't depend on Luke as much as I would like to be able to say that I can. I intended for him to lean on me a little bit being that it was his first year. But that favor's really not one that's returned often when I need his help."
Luke adds, "It's fun being at the reins, and this year will be fun for me, because I know what he'll mess up. I do know that he can read. He showed me that last year."
In all seriousness, Blake and Luke are looking forward to this year's ACM Awards and all the events surrounding the big night in Las Vegas. Luke will co-host the Cabela's Great Outdoor Archery Event with Justin Moore Saturday at The Linq. Look for that competition to be streamed live at 12:45 p.m. ET at Cabelas.com/ACMArchery.
The 49th Annual ACM Awards broadcast live Sunday night at 8 ET on CBS.
Sony Music NashvilleMirandaLambert loves watching her husband, Blake Shelton, co-host the ACM Awards with Luke Bryan, but his gig leaves her in a bind the night of the show.
"I gotta find a date!" Miranda says with a laugh. "I don't ever see my husband that night."
Miranda is tied with Tim McGraw as a lead nominee going into Sunday night's ACM Awards with seven nods each. She is up for the night's top prize, Entertainer of the Year, and that mention is a huge pat on the back for Miranda.
She says, "It means so much to me because it's one that I haven't been nominated for hardly at all. It's about what we're doing out there, the grind every year for all these years. It's playing to the people, and all the stuff that it's built around is touring. That's our life."
Fan-voting for the Entertainer of the Year award continues through Sunday at VoteACM.com. Miranda is also nominated twice in the Vocal Event category thanks to her Keith Urban duet, "We Were Us," and her collaboration with her band, Pistol Annies, and Blake, on "Boys 'Round Here."
Miranda will join George Strait in paying tribute to Merle Haggard on the ACM Awards, too. The show airs Sunday night at 8 ET on CBS.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockVince Gill, Ricky Skaggs and Lee Ann Womack will perform at the grand opening of the new expansion to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville on April 15.
Tim McGraw will share personal life lessons on a new episode of Oprah's Master Class airing June 8 on OWN.
Darius Rucker will perform the national anthem prior to the NCAA Men's Final Four championship game Monday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. The game airs live on CBS.
GAB Archive/RedfernsThe man who wrote the #1 Billboard instrumental hit "Dueling Banjos" has died. Arthur Smith passed away at his Charlotte, North Carolina home Thursday at age 93, according to the Charlotte Observer.
Smith was already known as a gifted and successful musician and composer before "Dueling Banjos" became a hit. He wrote and recorded the instrumental standard "Guitar Boogie" in 1945, a combination of rockabilly and swing rhythms that's credited by many as one of the first true rock and roll records, if not the first. It went on to sell over three million copies, and earned Smith the moniker Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith.
Smith wrote and recorded "Dueling Banjos," then known as "Feudin' Banjos," in 1955, and even performed it on a 1963 episode of TV's The Andy Griffith Show. When producers of the 1972 hit film Deliverance used it, the song -- arranged and performed by Eric Weissberg -- became an immediate hit, holding the #1 spot on the Billboard AC chart for two weeks in February of 1973, and cracking the top five on the Hot 100 and country singles charts. However, Smith was neither consulted about nor credited for the song's use in Deliverance -- an oversight he remedied by successfully suing Warner Brothers, receiving both credit and royalties.
Smith was also a longtime North Carolina television presence, with his own local and syndicated variety shows. He's survived by his wife, three children, and 17 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Warner Music NashvilleHunterHayes is best known for writing and recording hit songs these days, but he has quite an impressive track record in films, too. He made his big-screen debut at age six back in 1997 after a chance meeting with Oscar winner Robert Duvall. The actor was in Louisiana shooting The Apostle and just happened to come into a restaurant where Hunter was playing accordion with his family band.
Hunter tells The Napa Valley Register, "Robert Duvall talked to my folks, asking them if they’d like to be part of a musical segment in the film. I heard music and movie and told him, ‘I’m in.' That was my first movie credit.”
Hunter went on to appear in the films My Dog Skip and Charlie's War before launching his country music career with the hits "I Want Crazy" and "Wanted." He'll perform his new single, "Invisible," on the ACM Awards Sunday night on CBS. Look for a new album from Hunter to come out later this year.
Big Machine RecordsTimMcGraw's new album, Sundown Heaven Town, is due out September 16 featuring his latest hit, "Lookin' for That Girl." He'll launch his Sundown Heaven Town tour on May 8, which means Tim will be performing quite a few songs from the new album on the road this summer.
Tim will perform a song from the new album on Sunday's ACM Awards. Fans who Shazam that performance can join Tim's Countdown to Sundown program, which allows members to hear songs from the album before it comes out. One lucky winner will get a season pass for two tickets to all of Tim's concert dates this summer.
Speaking of his Countdown to Sundown program, Tim says, " I want to be able to play a song live somewhere and then have it available for download right then. You just never know where new music might pop up over the next few months… It's going to be a fun summer!"
Tim is taking Kip Moore and Cassadee Pope on the road with him this summer.
Photo Credit: Nino MunozDierks Bentley's daughters, Evie and Jordan, debuted their new duo, Sandy Bottom Sisters, at Nashville's Station Inn Tuesday night. The girls, ages five and three, respectively, formed the group over spring break and took the stage during their dad's set.
Dierks's wife Cassidy tells CMT.com, "The bluegrass band at the Station Inn accompanied them, and Evie sang 'Let It Go' -- from Frozen, which has completely taken over our life -- and then Jordan did 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.'"
Kacey Musgraves also joined Dierks for a performance of Buck Owens' "Act Naturally." Kip Moore was spotted in the audience, too.
Capitol NashvilleLittleBig Town won their first ACM Top Vocal Group trophy last year after five previous nominations, and the wait was definitely worth it according to group member Kimberly Schlapman. She compares their years of waiting to win that trophy to soap star Susan Lucci's; Lucci was nominated 18 times before winning her first Emmy for playing Erica Kane on All My Children.
Kimberly tells ABC News Radio, "We are kinda like the Susan Lucci. We were nominated forever and ever and ever and ever and finally won."
Since they spend so much time perfecting their vocal performances on stage and in the studio, the members of LBT were especially honored to win Top Vocal Group.
"We have always worked really hard at our sound and harmony. That's so important to us. And then to be recognized by the industry as the winners of the Vocal Group is pretty amazing."
Little Big Town is up for Vocal Group again this year, but Kimberly doesn't want to seem too greedy about dominating that category.
She says with a laugh, "I would love to be double-winners. That would be nice if we took it home again, but once is fine!"
The 49th Annual ACM Awards broadcast live from Las Vegas Sunday night at 8 ET on CBS.
Arista NashvilleBrad Paisley guest stars as an exaggerated version of himself on CBS's The Crazy Ones Wednesday Night. Josh Groban also guest stars as Danny Chase, an egotistical commercial jingle writer with a big grudge against Brad.
After Brad is hired to sing a jingle for a barbecue sauce called "Satan's Tongue," Danny becomes upset that Brad doesn't remember that once, in the past, as a judge on a singing competition, he rejected Danny as a contestant because he couldn't sing. Brad and Danny's confrontation even comes to blows at one point.
The Crazy Ones airs Thursday night at 9:30 ET on CBS.