Nashville News and Notes for FRIDAY

Country Music Legend George Jones Dies At 81


(Nashville, TN)  --  Country music legend George Jones is dead at the age of 81.  He's considered one of the greatest country singers of all time, and was known by nicknames like "The Rolls Royce of Country Singers, " "The Possum" and "No Show Jones."  He delivered such country classics as "He Stopped Loving Her Today," "Walk Through This World With Me" and "The Race Is On" to his countless loyal fans. 


Jones married country queen Tammy Wynette in 1968 and began a stormy five-year marriage and one of country music's most honored duet teams. Wynette and Jones together stormed to the top of the country charts several times with such classics as "We're Gonna Hold On" and "Golden Ring." After the duo split and divorced in 1975 they did not speak again till 1995 when they recorded a reunion album called "One."


Jones married his fourth wife, Nancy Jones, in 1983. Nancy published a book called "Nashville Wives," in which she told of Jones' problems with drug and alcohol addiction and how he overcame it.


Born in Saratoga, Texas, Jones worked for several years as a radio disc jockey before making his first recording in 1953. Although Jones is best known for his duet work with Tammy Wynette, he also recorded as a duo with Gene Pitney dubbed "George and Gene."


George Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. He is survived by his wife Nancy and his four children Susan, Jeffrey, Bryan and Tamala George. Tamala is also the daughter of Tammy Wynette, who died in 1998 of a blood clot.


Report:  Jason Aldean, Wife Separated


Jason Aldean and his wife, Jessica Ussery, have reportedly split up.  An unnamed source tells "Us Weekly" that the couple have been separated since January.  Instability in Aldean and Ussery's marriage became a tabloid subject last fall, after flirtatious photographs of Jason and former "American Idol" finalist Birttany Kerr surfaced online.  But the insider says there were "obvious problems" in Jason and Jessica's relationship before the incident, and Jason "finally left earlier this year."  Aldean's rep won't confirm that the couple has separated.  But the spokesperson admits that "Jason and his wife are having problems."  The rep adds that it's "a private matter," and Jason and Jessica "would like to keep it that way."  Aldean and Ussery were high school sweethearts, and have been married for more than a decade.  They have two daughters together.


Billy Currington Turns Himeslf In Following Georgia Indictment


Billy Currington has surrendered to police in connection with his indictment in Georgia.  Savannah's WSAV says the country star went to the Chatham County Jail to turn himself in on Thursday.  The Chatham County Grand Jury indicted Currington Wednesday for allegedly making terroristic threats against Charles Harvey Ferrelle.  The country star was also indicted on a charge of abuse of an elder person, due to Ferrelle's age.  The case stems from an incident near Tybee Island last week.  Ferrelle claims Currington started screaming at him and threatened his life while he was carrying his customers on a boat tour.  While police responded to the incident, Currington was not arrested at the time.


Willie Nelson Playing West, Texas Benefit This Weekend In Austin


Willie Nelson is taking the stage this weekend at The Backyard to help the community he calls his "backyard."  The country star will play his 80th birthday concert at the Austin, Texas venue on Sunday.  But instead of receiving gifts Nelson will be the one doing the giving.  He's donating the money he makes from the show to the fire departments in West, Texas, where last week a massive fertilizer plant explosion claimed several lives, and in his hometown of Abbott, Texas.  Nelson grew up in Abbott, which is less than ten miles away from West.  A Facebook post indicates Willie's contribution will replace equipment the fire departments lost in the explosion.  The "Willie Nelson and Family" show will also feature sets from Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, the Paula Nelson Band, and Folk Uke.


And fans who can't make it to Austin, Texas to see the show in person can still listen -- and help out.  The concert will be carried live on SiriusXM's "WIllie's Roadhouse" channel starting at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.  A rebroadcast of the show is scheduled for Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.  Meanwhile Nelson's website features a post listing ways people can support the recovery efforts in West, Texas.


Dierks Bentley Expecting Third Child This Fall


A new addition to Dierks Bentley's family is on the way.  The country star cryptically announced late Wednesday night that he and his wife Cassidy are expecting their third child, tweeting, quote, "so my wife and i will be changing our family defensive strategy come the fall. switching from MAN-to-MAN to ZONE. #3!," adding what appeared to be a request for advice from Tim McGraw.  While Dierks doesn't say if he knows that he and Cassidy are having another girl, Tim McGraw is among the country dads who has three daughters and no sons.  And Tim is already offering a suggestion.  He tweeted back to Dierks, quote, "Hey @DierksBentley, with all girls so far you might do best to just join the offense!!?congrats on #3."  Bentley could also seek input from Alan Jackson or Garth Brooks -- two other country stars with three girls, no boys in the family.


Dierks and Cassidy's first child, Evie, is also a fall baby.  She'll turn five in October.  Their second little girl, Jordan, was born on Christmas Day in 2010.


Lady Antebellum Exploring Names For Hillary's Baby


Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott admits she and husband Chris Tyrell still haven't picked out a name for their baby.  It's the couple's first child, and they know they're having a girl.  Scott tells "The Country Vibe" she and Chris have a number of names that they like, but are having a very difficult time settling on one.  She admits that they "might just have to wait until she's here" and they "get to hold her," and maybe she'll tell them "what her name is."  Hillary is also open to input from others, saying "any suggestions are greatly appreciated."  And bandmates Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood are among those tossing out ideas.  They say they wouldn't object to Hillary naming her child after them.  Charles likes the name Charlotte, while Dave is going with the name Daisy.  Scott's baby is due in July.


Band Perry, Musgraves Join Billboard Awards Lineup; Swift Up For Milestone Award


The Band Perry and Kacey Musgraves have signed on for next month's Billboard Music Awards.  The country stars are among the newly added performers for the event, along with Christina Aguilera, Selena Gomez, Pitbull, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  They've joined a lineup that already features Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, Prince, and Taylor Swift -- who is also one of the top nominees heading into the event.  And in addition to her eleven bids in such categories as Top Artist, Top Country Artist, and Top Female Artist, Swift is also in the running for the new Milestone Award. says the fan-voted honor celebrates "the ingenuity of this year's hitmakers."


Taylor is up against Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars for the award.  Voting is under way now at  The 2013 Billboard Music Awards will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and air on ABC on May 19th.


Toby Keith, Lady A, Zac Brown Band Headlining Televised Stagecoach


Toby Keith is among the stars kicking off this weekend's Stagecoach Festival.  The country star is serving as the opening night headliner for the three-day event.  He's capping off a 17-act first day lineup that also feaures Trace Adkins, Hank Williams, Jr., Joe Nichols, and Connie Smith.  Lady Antebellum will provide the finale for day two, while Zac Brown Band is the festival closer on Sunday.  Dierks Bentley, Dwight Yoakam, Marty Stuart, and Darius Rucker are some of the other artists scheduled to perform.  The festival will also feature sets from Thompson Square, Lonestar, Phil Vassar, Jana Kramer, Charley Pride, and many others.


The 2013 Stagecoach Festival is taking place at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, but fans will be able to check out some of the performances from the comfort of their own living rooms.  AXS TV has teamed up with StubHub to provide exclusive live coverage of the event.  The six-hour daily broadcasts will include stage performances as well as backstage interviews and other behind-the-scenes action.


Tim McGraw Shows Will Feature New Material, "Cool" Between-Song Moments"


Tim McGraw says he'll be rolling out some fresh tunes on his upcoming tour.  But the country star admits that's nothing new for him.


Tim adds that he'll be peppering his performance with other treats for fans.  He explains that he and his band have been working on "little moments that happen between songs."  McGraw says they've "gotten more and more into doing that throughout the years of touring," and now they have "some really cool moments" that "people are gonna remember."  McGraw is hitting the road behind his latest album, "Two Lanes of Freedom."  The trek, which also features opening acts Brantley Gilbert and Love And Theft, will get under way with a show in Birmingham, Alabama on May 2nd.


Mark Chesnutt Praises Taylor Swift, Remains True To Traditional Country


Mark Chesnutt says country music fans shouldn't feel like they have to choose between the genre's traditional and modern styles.  The country star, who's own style skews more traditional, admits he's a big Taylor Swift fan.


Chesnutt adds that he's also a big Tammy Wynette fan.  He explains that people "don't have to draw a line and say 'This is where I stand,'" but "you can love it all."  Mark is currently working on his next album, which will feature his new single "When the Lights Go Out (Tracie's Song)."  The song will be available in mid May.


Casey James Pleased With Response To Debut Album


Casey James says he believes he met his goal with his self-titled debut effort.  The country singer explains that all the material he performs from the disc goes over well in concert.


Casey explains that he set out to make a record that fans could "listen to from top to bottom."  He says his goal was to for people to be able to put the disc in their CD players and "let it run -- and enjoy it."  The former "American Idol" finalist recently returned to the Fox reality show to premiere "The Good Life," his third single from the album.  Casey will be performing in Mexico this weekend.  He has a show set for the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun on Saturday.


Record Store Day Pushes Vinyl Sales To New Heights


Record Store Day continued to help independent record stores stoke the return of music on vinyl.  According to and Nielsen SoundScan, mom and pop shops around the country sold 200-thousand vinyl LPs during the last tracking week, which ended Sunday and included this year's Record Store Day on Saturday.  That's a 36-percent increase compared to last year.  And when the independents' sales are combined with all other vinyl sales last week, the total reaches 244-thousand, which sets a new record for the biggest one-week sum for vinyl albums since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991.


In addition to independent music sellers, a number of artists also benefited from this year's Record Store Day boost.  However, Brit rockers Mumford and Sons arguably did the best.  Their Record Store Day exclusive EP "Live at Bull Moose" sold three-thousand copies last week and reached number six on Billboard's Tastemakers Albums chart.  Eric Church was among the many artists who offered up special material for Record Store Day.  He released a vinyl edition of his latest album, "Caught in the Act: Live."


Quick Bite


Kenny Chesney will be taking part in the "Good Morning America" Summer Concert Series.  He'll take the stage at Rumsey Playfield in New York's Central Park on August 9th.  The ABC morning show will kick off this year's event with Mariah Carey on May 24th.

Country Birthdays Include


Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus is 42.

Former Little Texas keyboard, fiddle, and mandolin player Jeff Huskins is 47.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1988, Randy Travis was the big winner at the TNN Viewer's Choice Awards, taking five trophies.


Today in 1991, Ricky Shelton & Dolly Parton's duet, "Rockin' Years," hit number one.


Today in 1992, Tracy Lawrence was number one on the charts with "Today's Lonely Fool."


Today in 1994, Pam Tillis released her album "Sweetheart's Dance," Reba McEntire issued the album "Read My Mind," and Randy Travis unveiled the album "This Is Me."


Today in 1995, the "Thinkin' About You" album by Trisha Yearwood was certified Gold.


Today in 1996, Clay Walker revealed he had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.


Today in 1996, Shania Twain hit number one with the single "You Win My Love."


Today in 1998, Trace Adkins, Wade Hayes, and David Ball were among the performers at a tornado relief benefit concert at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville.  Naomi Judd hosted the event, which raised more than ten-thousand-dollars.  More than 15-hundred people turned out for the show, which also included Eddy Raven, Burnin' Daylight, and Deryl Dodd.


Today in 1999, Jo Dee Messina won three awards at the Boston Music Awards.  One of her trophies was in the Act of the Year category, which no country singer had ever even been nominated for before.  She was also named Outstanding Country Artist and Outstanding Female Vocalist.  In addition, Jo Dee's single "Lesson In Leavin'" was released.


Today in 2004, Tracy Lawrence hosted his annual homecoming concert and golf tournament in Texarkana, Texas.  The event raised money for the Tracy Lawrence Foundation and CASA, an organization that provides volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children in the legal systems of Northeast Texas and Southwest Arkansas.


Today in 2005, Jo Dee Messina released "Delicious Surprise."


Today in 2006, Brad Paisley was named an honorary chairman of the Rally 'Round the Flag Civil War battle flags exhibit fundraising project.  The West Virginia Independence Hall Foundation Flag Restoration Committee and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History were behind the effort.  Paisley is a native West Virginian.


Today in 2006, Jo Dee Messina raised 75-hundred-dollars with a fundraising concert to help Knoxville, Tennessee's Farragut High School pay for a new science lab.


Today in 2007, Sara Evans was the headliner for the Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon's post-race concert.  Keith Anderson also performed.


Today in 2007, Brad Paisley launched his Bonfires & Amplifiers tour in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Jack Ingram and Kellie Pickler were the openers for the first leg of the trek while Taylor Swift was on board for the entire road trip, which ran seven months with nearly 80 shows.


Today in 2007, Trisha Yearwood received the Honors 2007 award from the Atlanta Chapter of the Recording Academy at an event in Atlanta.


Today in 2007, Wynonna Judd's estranged husband entered a plea of not guilty to charges of child molestation.  Dan Robert Roach was arraigned in a Tennessee courtroom on three counts of aggravated sexual battery.  While he had been arrested in Texas, he was brought back to Nashville to face the charges.


Today in 2008, Kenny Chesney crushed his foot at the start of his stadium show on his "Poets & Pirates" tour in Columbia, South Carolina.  The singer was on a lift which was carrying him up for his big entrance, but his right ankle got caught between the elevator platform and the stage.  Chesney still performed a two-hour show, but afterwards his foot was so swollen his boot had to be cut off him.  An orthopedic surgeon examined Chesney's foot on the singer's tour bus, which prompted him to seek further treatment at a local hospital.  No bones were broken, and Kenny was able to continue his tour without postponing any dates.


Today in 2008, Lady Antebellum was among the performers at the post-race concert for the ninth annual Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon in Nashville, while Diamond Rio's Marty Roe and Jimmy Olander took part in the race.  With their participation Diamond Rio's Team Rio raised 116-thousand-dollars for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee.


Today in 2008, Randy Travis performed at the 18th William Shatner's Wells Fargo Hollywood Charity Show in Los Angeles, which raised money for special needs children in the community.


Today in 2008, John Michael Montgomery hosted the 2nd annual Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Golf Scramble at the Gibson Bay Golf Course in Richmond, Kentucky.  The event supported the Hall of Fame's continued education outreach programs.


Today in 2008, the 21st Annual Randy Owen Golf Tournament took place in Florence, Alabama.  The event raised money for children in the Alabama Sheriffs' Youth Ranches.


Today in 2009, Clint Black was his team's project manager on "The Celebrity Apprentice."  His team won the challenge, in which the groups had to create an ad campaign for Right Guard deodorant.  Their winning ad was featured in "Sports Illustrated" and on the magazine's website,, and Black earned 20-thousand-dollars for his charity, the International Rett Syndrome Foundation.


Today in 2010, Martina McBride, Dierks Bentley, Phil Vassar, Blake Shelton, and Gary Allan were among the participants at the T.J. Martell Foundation's Eco-Energy Best Cellars Dinner charity event.  Big & Rich's Big Kenny, Jewel, and Kellie Pickler, also attended the dinner, along with Julianne Hough, Danny Gokey, and Sarah Buxton.


Today in 2010, Joe Nichols' "Gimmie That Girl" hit number one on the chart.


Today in 2010, Gary Allan was named "Country's Hottest Bachelor" in the annual "Country Weekly" poll.


Today in 2011, the reality series "The Voice," featuring Blake Shelton as a mentor and coach, debuted on NBC.


Today in 2011, Ronnie Dunn's digital video "Bleed Red," the digital version of Foster & Lloyd's reunion album "It's Already Tomorrow," and the standard and deluxe editions of Emmylou Harris' CD "Hard Bargain."


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