Nashville News and Notes for FRIDAY

Carrie Underwood Makes Sizeable Red Cross Donation


Carrie Underwood is giving the American Red Cross "a little extra help" -- to the tune of one-million-dollars.  The Oklahoma-born country star announced the sizeable donation on Thursday.  She explains in a statement that she's "watched the devastation" in her home state over the past several days "with great sadness."  She credits her fans for making her "Blown Away" tour a success, which is enabling her to "offer the Red Cross a little extra help in comforting those affected by the recent tornados."  And the Red Cross appreciates Underwood's generosity.  The organization's Neal Litvack says the "road to recovery will be long for many families," not just in Oklahoma but in other tornado-ravaged communities in the Midwest.  He adds that Carrie's donation will enable the Red Cross to "quickly respond with shelter, food and comfort now, and with lasting help" throughout the storm recovery process.


Miranda Lambert's MuttNation Helping With Pet Rescue In Moore, Oklahoma


Miranda Lambert is lending a hand to some of the four-legged victims of Monday's devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.  The country star's MuttNation Foundation is teaming up with the North Shore Animal League America and the Bella Foundation to assist animals that have been displaced by the storm.  The organizations have set up a mobile unit at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, just a few miles away from Moore, to provide care and shelter for the pets of residents who've had to evacuate the area.  They're also looking into sending some of the animals that were in shelters before the storm to the North Shore Animal League America's New York adoption headquarters, so the local facilities will have room for missing pets.  Animal League reps say the relocation effort will make it easier to reunite animals with their families, and reduce the risk of a lost pet being euthanized.


Lambert has a link to the Animal League's website on her Facebook page.  She adds that she's "so proud that MuttNation Foundation can help even a little."  The singer has also posted a phone number and website link for the American Red Cross.


Trace Adkins A National Memorial Day Parade Honorary Grand Marshal


Trace Adkins has his Memorial Day plans set.  The country star will be in the nation's capital to take part in the 2013 National Memorial Day Parade.  He's been tapped to serve as an Honorary Grand Marshal of the event, along with actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna.  Army veteran-turned-actor J. R. Martinez is the parade's Grand Marshal.  Football star Robert Griffin the Third will also be featured, along with the reigning Miss America Mallory Hagan and former "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks.  The 2013 National Memorial Day Parade will work its way through Washington, DC, starting at Constitution Avenue and 7th Street at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.


Dierks Bentley Recognizes, Appreciates Troops' Sacrifices


Dierks Bentley admits it's hard for him to even imagine what it's like for the troops, who are separated from their loved ones for extended lengths of time.  The country star says leaving his wife and children for even a short tour is tough for him.


Bentley adds that the time away is just one of the many sacrifices the troops make for our country.  He says the U.S. "would not exist" if it weren't for "those courageous men and women" who not only give their time but also risk their health, safety, and lives to protect the freedoms we enjoy on the homefront.


Eric Church, Eli Young Band Credit Veterans For Their Careers


Eric Church says he greatly admires the men and women who wear our nation's uniform, and knows he owes them a debt of gratitude.  The country star explains that -- ultimately -- it's because of our nation's veterans that he has a music career.


The Eli Young Band also appreciates the sacrifices of military members both past and present.  The group's Mike Eli says it's "an incredible thing" to "have your freedom to go and follow your dreams," and he knows it's something he and his bandmates wouldn't have if it weren't for the troops.


Little Big Town Express Gratitude To The Troops -- And Their Families


The members of country group Little Big Town appreciate the sacrifices made by the men and women in uniform.  Singer Karen Fairchild says it's one reason why they enjoy performing for the troops.


Fairchild adds that while they're grateful for everything those in the armed services do, the troops aren't the only ones making big sacrifices for our country.  She says it's not easy for military spouses and children either, and they also deserve some recognition and thanks.


Florida Georgia Line Set Chart Record With "Cruise"


Florida Georgia Line is setting a new chart record with their debut single. says "Cruise" is logging its 12th week at number one, which is the most weeks at number one for a song by a duo since the country charts were established back in 1944.  The previous record holder was Carl Butler & Pearl's 1962 hit "Don't Let Me Cross Over," which spent eleven weeks at number one.  No other duo has had a single on the country chart for more than ten weeks.  In 1953 the Davis Sisters had an eight-week number one hit with "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know."  In 1957 the Everly Brothers had extended runs with two songs.  They spent eight weeks at the top of the chart with "Wake Up Little Susie," while "Bye Bye Love" led the country chart for seven weeks.


Florida Georgia Line's 12-week chart-topper is also the longest any artist has held the number one spot on the country chart in nearly 50 years.  It's the best chart performance since Buck Owens' "Love's Gonna Live Here," which spent a total of 16 weeks at number one in 1963 and '64,


Little Big Town Hosting ABC's CMA Music Fest Special


Little Big Town will be giving fans a guided tour of this year's CMA Music Festival through the ABC special "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock."  The group's Karen Fairchild calls it "an incredible honor" to host the three-hour show, which features footage shot at the annual gathering of country music stars and fans.  She adds that she and her bandmates "could not be more excited about the party that's going to break out at LP Field every night."  The special will include highlights from the main stage performers, as well as other CMA Fest activities.  The four-day event features a variety of concerts on several stages as well as autograph signing sessions, fan club parties, charity events, and other attractions.


Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, and The Band Perry are just some of the many stars slated to appear.  Little Big Town will be one of the main stage performers on the second night of the event.  The 2013 CMA Music Fest will take place throughout Nashville from June 6th through the 9th.  "CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" will air on ABC on August 12th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.


Brad Paisley Jokes That He Won't Watch "Nashville"


Brad Paisley will make a guest appearance on "Nashville," but he says he won't watch the show.  The country singer jokes that he can relate a little too closely to one of the storylines on the ABC drama.


Paisey was a guest star on Wednesday night's emotionally charged season finale cliff-hanger.  In the closing moments of the show, Rayna and Deacon are involved in a car crash while Gunnar ups the ante in his efforts to win back Scarlett -- and pops the question.  Fans won't learn Scarlett's answer or Rayna and Deacon's condition until "Nasville" returns for season two this fall.


Taylor Swift's Acting Career Conditional On The Project


Taylor Swift says she's much too focused on her music right now to pursue an acting career.  The country-pop superstar admits she'd like to make a film, but explains that it would have to be a project that totally captivates her.


Taylor has taken on a few roles, on both the big and small screen.  She made her acting debut in 2009 as a guest star on CBS' "CSI," and last week was featured on the Fox comedy "New Girl."  Swift also starred in a vignette in the 2010 movie "Valentine's Day," and provided the voice of Audrey in the 2012 animated film "The Lorax."


Mark Chesnutt Finally Focusing On Songwriting


Mark Chesnutt admits he has one career regret.  The country star tells if he could do things over again he'd "get more serious about the songwriting."  He also acknowledges that he only has himself to blame.  Mark explains that "everyone" was telling him early on that he "needed to write songs," and his management even tried to team him up with other writers.  But the singer says he was "lazy with it."  While he can't change the past, Mark is finally heeding that advice.  He says "after all these years" he's finally doing it, and taking a more active role in writing the songs as he works on his new album.  The upcoming project features Mark's new single, "When the Lights Go Out (Tracie's Song)," a love song the singer co-wrote for his wife.


Quick Bites


Garth Brooks makes his return to Las Vegas this weekend.  He'll be performing two shows tonight and two shows tomorrow night at The Encore Theater, which will be taped for an upcoming DVD and TV special.  Brooks will make a similar Vegas return just after the Fourth of July holiday.


The Bayou Country Superfest is taking place this weekend in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The two-day event begins Saturday, with Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum leading the first-day lineup.  Zac Brown Band and Luke Bryan are on board for Sunday.  Details are available at


Country Birthdays Include


Rosanne Cash is 58.

Billy Gilman is 25.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1984, Willie Nelson performed the first of his six sold-out concerts at Radio City Music Hall in New York.


Today in 1986, Garth Brooks and Sandy Mahl were married.


Today in 1991, Diamond Rio's debut album was released.


Today in 1991, Mark Chesnutt's single "Blame It On Texas" hit the number one spot on the country charts.


Today in 1994, the "Super Hits" album by Charlie Daniels Band and John Denver's collection "The Very Best of John Denver" were released.


Today in 1996, LeAnn Rimes' "Blue" single was released.


Today in 1996, George Strait's single "Blue Clear Sky" was number one on "Radio & Records'" Country Top 50 country chart.


Today in 2000, the "Stones In The Road" album by Mary Chapin Carpenter was certified double Platinum.


Today in 2001, Billy Gilman spent his 13th birthday as the co-host of Nickelodeon's "Slime Time Live."


Today in 2003, Kenny Chesney joined Brooks & Dunn's Neon Circus and Wild West Show at its stop in San Bernardino, California.  Kenny's appearance was the return of a favor, as Brooks & Dunn had promised to perform at his homecoming concert in Knoxville, Tennessee, a couple weeks later.


Today in 2004, Toby Keith held his first Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic charity tournament in Norman, Oklahoma.  Money raised went to Ally's House, an organization that helps the families of children with cancer.


Today in 2005, Rascal Flatts appeared on the cover of "Country Weekly" magazine for the first time.


Today in 2006, Carrie Underwood performed "Don't Forget To Remember Me" at the "American Idol" finale, a year after she won the title.  This time around Taylor Hicks earned the prize.


Today in 2006, Toby Keith launched a USO tour that included stops in Germany, Iraq, and several African nations.


Today in 2006, Garth Brooks was saluted by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Los Angeles Chapter during its Finding a Cure: A Love Story gala.  The singer received the Angel Award, joining past honorees including singer-songwriter James Taylor and actors Michael J. Fox and Robin Williams.


Today in 2006, visitation for the late Billy Walker, his wife Bettie, and band member Charles Lilly was held at Hendersonville Memory Gardens Funeral Home.  The Walkers and Lilly were killed in a car accident in Alabama three days earlier.


Today in 2007, the recording studio that Ronnie Milsap once owned was dedicated to the singer, with a bronze plaque put on display in the newly opened Warm Front Studio.  Milsap bought the studio from Roy Orbison in 1978 and recorded many of his hit songs there.


Today in 2007, Gretchen Wilson participated in the "VH1 Rock Honors" special honoring Heart.


Today in 2009, Trace Adkins performed at "The National Memorial Day Concert" in Washington, DC.


Today in 2010, Wynonna Judd launched her own product line with Cracker Barrel.  The line features knit shirts, some with subtle sparkles and others adorned with rhinestones; as well as rhinestone-studded sunglasses; mugs; journals and notepads; clutch wallets; and a cosmetic bag.  The singer also released her CD "Love Heals" through the restaurant chain.


Today in 2012, the TV singing competition series "Duets," featuring Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles as one of the four mentors, began on ABC.  J Rome was the show's winner while singer John Glosson took second place.  Nettles brought both of them onto the show.


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