Nashville News and Notes for FRIDAY

Ronnie Dunn Debuts New Songs With Flash Mob Event


Ronnie Dunn is taking the expression "shout it from the rooftops" literally.  The country star debuted a couple of new songs for fans -- and much of downtown Nashville -- with a surprise rooftop performance Wednesday night.  His set included his latest single, "Kiss You There."


"USA Today" says Dunn played from atop a restaurant near Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, where the CMT Music Awards took place, and began his set as people were leaving the event.  Streamers fell to the street as he started his show with another new song, "This Country."  And when he launched into "Kiss You There" a flash mob popped up in the middle of Fifth Avenue, with more than 200 people line dancing in the street.  Dunn played a total of four songs in his short show, which was also projected onto the walls of three other venues in the area, then finished by shooting t-shirts down to the crowd.  The singer says he really enjoyed his outdoor event.  Ronnie admits it was a lot of fun sneaking in to "ambush the unsuspecting crowd coming out of the CMT Awards."


CMA Fest Continues With More Concerts, Fan Club Parties, Activities


Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum, and Randy Travis are just a few of the performers on board for the second Nightly Concert at LP Field as the CMA Music Festival heads into the weekend.  The gathering of country music fans and stars continues with more shows, signings, meet-and-greets, charity events, and other activites.  Hunter Hayes, Little Big Town, KipMoore, and Gloriana are also among tonight's main stage performers, while Jo Dee Messina, Keith Anderson, Casey James and Tate Stevens will also perform.  Darryl Worley will kick off day two of the four day festival with his appearance on the Riverfront Stage this morning.  Lady A, John Rich, Phil Vassar, Josh Turner, and Randy Travis are a few of the stars who'll be on hand at the Fan Fair X booths, while Turner, Martina McBride, Mark Wills, Ty Herndon, and Chuck Wicks are among those who'll be hosting fan club parties today.


Dierks Bentley is on board for Saturday's Nightly Concert at LP Field, along with Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line, the Oak Ridge Boys, and others.  Carrie Undewood will close out the event on Sunday, following sets from Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, The Band Perry and more.  Bentley will also host his fan club party this weekend, along with Jo Dee Messina and Tate Stevens.  The full rundown of this weekend's events and performances is available at


Country Stars Facing Off Saturday In Annual Charity Softball Game


Scotty McCreery, Florida Georgia Line's Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, and David Nail will be battling it out on the baseball diamond this weekend -- for a good cause.  They're among the country stars slated to play in this weekend's City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge.  Lauren Alaina, Greg Bates, Phil Vassar, and Chuck Wicks will also suit up for the charity game, along with Craig Campbell, Brett Eldredge and others.  The stars will be divided up into teams that will face off at Nashville's Greer Stadium on Saturday.  Money raised through the event will go to the City of Hope.


David Nail Busy With More Than CMA Festival This Week


David Nail admits he and his wife Catherine didn't pick the best date to get married.  The country star explains that he was just caught up in the moment, and didn't realize what other things would be happening at the same time as their ceremony.


Nail says as things turned out the CMA Music Festival ended up being postponed a week.  But it meant that he and Catherine had to cut their honeymoon short so he could be at the four-day event.  It's also meant that their anniversary always falls during CMA Fest week as well.  This year it was Thursday -- the opening day of the 2013 CMA Music Fest.


Marty Stuart Reflects On His Annual Late Nigh Jam


Marty Stuart says his annual Late Night Jam ties in well with the CMA Music Festival.  The country star explains that his benefit concert -- just like the CMA Fest itself -- celebrates the bond between the artists and their followers.


Stuart's show has become a COMA Fest-eve tradition, and he hosted his 12th annual event in Nashville Wednesday night.  The lineup featured veteran stars including the Oak Ridge Boys, The Mavericks, and Country Music Hall of Famer Bobby Bare along with newcomers Paul Worsham and Brandy Carter.  Marty says he appreciates the show's diverse lineup, and he's glad rising stars want to perform at the event.  He adds that he's proud of what he's able to accomplish with the show. says this year's Late Night Jam brought in more than 16-thousand-dollars for MusiCares, bringing Stuart's total donation over the years to more than 200-thousand-dollars.


Darius Rucker Thrilled By Celebrity Support For His Charity Event


Darius Rucker says he's thrilled with the stars who turned out for his charity event this week.  Radney Foster and New Grass Revival's John Cowan and Sam Bush were among those who performed at Rucker's 4th annual Darius and Friends show.  Darius says these are some of his heroes who inspired him to become a country singer.


Luke Bryan Justin Moore, Randy Houser, and Dustin Lynch also performed at the concert, which took place Monday in Nashville.  Rucker's two-day event also included a golf tournament Tuesday morning.  Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley, Rascal Flatts' Joe Don Rooney and Jay DeMarcus, and J.T. Hodges were some of the stars who joined Darius for that portion of the fundraiser, which supported St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.


Carrie Underwood Celebrating Five Years As An Opry Member Tonight


Carrie Underwood is celebrating five years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.  The country star hit the milestone last month, and she'll be celebrating the occasion tonight.  She's closing out both shows, which are each dedicating the last half hour to her.  Other stars will also be on hand to add to the festivities.  Josh Turner, Lauren Alaina, and Casey James are set to perform during both shows, along with Bill Anderson, Charley Pride, and Mel Tillis.  Jim Ed Brown and Jennie Seely are also part of the early show's lineup, while Jan Howard and Bobby Osborne and The Rocky Top X-Press will take the stage for the late show.


Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran Release Video For "Everything Has Changed"


Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran are dodging romance rumors by casting two children to play themselves in their video for "Everything Has Changed."  The video stars a little blonde girl and a little redheaded boy who befriend each other after meeting on a school bus.  Their innocent friendship consists of hanging out in the jungle gym, playing with face paints, and slow-dancing in an empty gymnasium.  The video ends with the real grown-up versions of Taylor and Ed arriving at the school to pick them up, and exchanging glances as they walk away.


"Everything Has Changed" is the song Ed wrote for the country star's chart-topping "22" album.  The British singer-songwriter has been joining her to perform it on the U.S. leg of her "Red" tour, which heads to Canada next week.


Toby Keith Launching "Hammer Down" Tour


Toby Keith is back on the road.  The country star will be entertaining fans throughout the summer and fall on his Hammer Down Tour, in support of his most recent album, "Hope on the Rocks."  Kip Moore will warm up the crowd for Toby many stops on the trek, which officially gets under way Saturday with an appearance at Thunder On The Mountain in Ozark, Arkansas -- one of several festival dates on his schedule.  He'll also be making stops at a number of state fairs over the course of the trek, which he'll wrap up in Laughlin, Nevada on October 19th.


Toby Keith Hammer Down Tour Dates


June 8   -  Ozark AR - Thunder On The Mountain

June 14 -  Cincinnati, OH -  Riverbend Music Center

June 15  - Pittsburgh, PA -  First Niagara Pavilion

June 16  - Detroit, MI -  DTE Energy Music Theater

June 21  - Holmdel, NJ -  PNC Bank Center

June 22  - Philadelphia, PA -  Susquehanna Bank Center

June 28  - Oshkosh, WI -  Country USA

June 29  - Cadott, WI -  Country Fest

June 30  - Chicago, IL - First Midwest Bank Amphitheater

July  19  -  Cleveland, OH - Blossom Music Center

July  21  -  Buffalo, NY -  Darien Lake Performing Arts Center

July  26  -  Minot, ND -  North Dakota State Fair

July  27  -  Cheyenne, WY - Cheyenne Frontier Days

July  30  -  Davenport, IA - Mississippi Valley Fair

Aug 2     -  Sweet Home, OR - Oregon Jamboree

Aug 3     -  George, WA -  The Watershed Music Festival

Aug 6     -  Sturgis, SD - Buffalo Chip

Aug 14   -  Springfield, IL - Illinois State Fair

Aug 15   -  Des Moines, IA -  Iowa State Fair

Aug 16   -  Sedalia, MO -  Missouri State Fair

Aug 17   -  Louisville, KY -  Kentucky State Fair

Aug 23   -  Syracuse, NY -  New York State Fair

Aug 24   -  Washington, DC - Jiffy Lube Live

Aug 25   -  Hartford, CT - Comcast Theatre

Aug 29   -  Milwaukee, WI -  Marcus Amphitheater

Aug 31   -  Allentown, PA - The Great Allentown Fair

Sept 1    -  Essex Junction, VT - Champlain Valley Fair

Sept 2    -  Bangor, ME -  Darling's Waterfront Pavilion

Sept 7    -  Indianapolis, IN - Klipsch Music Center

Sept 14  -  Kansas City, KS -  Flatlands Country Music Festival

Sept 15  -  Hutchinson, KS -  Kansas State Fair

Sept 21  -  Boston, MA -  Comcast Center

Sept 28  -  Panama City Beach, FL -  Golf Coast Jam

Oct 19    -  Laughlin, NV -  Laughlin Amphitheater


Quick Bites


Emmylou Harris is staging her 2013 Woofstock this weekend.  The singer-songwriter is leading the lineup for her second annual dog-centric festival, taking place Saturday at Nashville's Fontanel Mansion.  John Hiatt, Buddy Miller, Joan Osborne and Ella Mae Bowen are also on board for the event, which features music as well as dog product vendors, activities for concertgoers and their dogs, and reps from local animal shelters who'll be on hand to help people adopt a dog -- or a cat.


Country TV Today And Tonight


TOP 20 COUNTRY COUNTDOWN (GAC) Darius Rucker is featured along with the week's top country music videos.

BEHIND THE MUSIC (CMT) Miranda Lambert is featured.


Today in Country Music History


Today in 1966, Roy Orbison's wife, Claudette, was killed in a motorcycle crash near Nashville.


Today in 1969, Johnny Cash got his own ABC variety show.  Appearing with the Man in Black were wife June, her mother Maybelle and the rest of the Carter Family as well as the Statler Brothers, Carl Perkins and the Tennessee Three.


Today in 1975, "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" by John Denver hit number one on the pop singles chart.


Today in 1982, Barbara Mandrell was a big winner at the 16th Music City News Country Awards.


Today in 1991, Alan Jackson was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 1991, Dwight Yoakam's "Just Lookin' For A Hit" album was certified Gold.


Today in 1993, the video "It's All About To Change" by Travis Tritt was certified Gold.


Today in 1994, Vince Gill's "When Love Finds You" album was released.


Today in 1996, Travis Tritt's albums "Country Club" and "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" were certified double Platinum, and "It's All About to Change" was certified triple Platinum.


Today in 1998, country music's first stadium tour, the Nokia Presents the George Strait Chevy Truck Music Festival Brought to You by Wrangler, wrapped at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas.  Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, John Michael Montgomery, Lee Ann Womack, and Asleep at the Wheel were also a part of the tour.


Today in 2002, Kenny Rogers made his debut performance at the Grand Ole Opry.  He sang a number of his hits, including "Buy Me A Rose" and "The Gambler," to a packed house and received a standing ovation.


Today in 2004, Merle Haggard offered his reflections on the late Ronald Reagan, noting he was still grateful to then-Governor Reagan for pardoning him of his burglary conviction in 1972.  He added that he thought the former president, quote, "spent the whole of his life working for the betterment of man."  Reagan had died two days earlier.


Today in 2004, Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss wrapped up a two-day video shoot for their collaborative hit, "Whiskey Lullaby."  They shot the award-winning clip with director Rick Schroder in Nashville.


Today in 2005, Sugarland's Kristian Bush and his wife, Jill, celebrated the birth of their daughter Camille Grace.  In addition, Bush and the rest of the band celebrated another "Baby Girl" -- their hit single, for which they received a Gold digital download plaque signifying download sales hitting the 100-thousand mark.


Today in 2005, Johnny Cash's single "Hurt" was certified Gold.


Today in 2006, on the day before the official start of the CMA Music Festival, Cowboy Troy, Danielle Peck, Erika Jo, and Keni Thomas took part in the 2nd Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade through Nashville.  Afterwards, Cowboy Troy hosted the CMA Block Party, which included performances from Emerson Drive, The Grascals, Little Big Town, and Pinmonkey


Today in 2006, Jason Aldean invited fans to his number one party for "Why," taking place a day before the CMA Music Festival began in Nashville.


Today in 2006, Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley and Julie Roberts were celebrity servers for the fifth annual Waiting for Wishes dinner at Nashville's Palm Restaurant.  Other country artists who participated included Blue County, Steve Azar and James Otto.


Today in 2007, Dolly Parton received the Johnny Mercer Award, which recognizes the quality and impact of composers in popular genres, at the 2007 Songwriters Hall of Fame induction and awards ceremony and dinner in New York.  The country star also performed her hit "9 to 5" during the event.


Today in 2007, Reba McEntire made her first appearance at the CMA Music Festival in ten years, performing at the event's first Nightly Concert at LP Field.  She shared the stage with Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, and Trace Adkins, as well as Dierks Bentley and The Wreckers, who were participating in the CMA Music Fest for the first time.  Other activities included the special Celebrity Close Up interviews featuring Trace Adkins, Montgomery Gentry, Terri Clark, Josh Turner, Neal McCoy, and Charley Pride.


Today in 2007, Vince Gill's team, featuring Carrie Underwood, Craig Morgan, Luke Bryan, Chely Wright, and members of Trick Pony, beat Keith Anderson's team, which included Jake Owen, Jason Michael Carroll, Rodney Atkins, and members of Blue County and Emerson Drive, by a score of nine to eight in the 17th annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge.  Money raised through the game supported the City of Hope biomedical and treatment center.


Today in 2007, at LeAnn Rimes' fan club breakfast during the CMA Music Festival, the singer presented Navy SeaBee Peter Reid with keys to a new wheelchair-accessible Chevy Uplander van.  Reid had been critically injured in a mortar attack while serving in Iraq in 2004.


Today in 2008, Taylor Swift held an eight-hour signing session at the CMA Music Festival.  She gave 900 autographs in the longest session since Garth Brooks' 23-hour marathon meet and greet in 1996.  Swift's efforts also resulted in some money for charity.  The singer donated ten-thousand-500-dollars to the Local Disaster Relief Fund in Middle Tennessee and the National American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund from sales of her merchandise during her appearance.


Today in 2008, the members of Alabama were honored with the dedication of bronze statues in Ft. Payne, Alabama.


Today in 2008, Danielle Peck performed at the Nashville Superspeedway during the Federated Auto Parts 300 race.


Today in 2009, Dolly Parton's "9 To 5: The Musical" was shut out at the Tony Awards.  The Broadway show was in the running in four categories, but came up short each time.


Today in 2010, Carrie Underwood, Craig Morgan, Jason Aldean, Justin Moore, Julianne Hough, and Gloriana's Cheyenne Kimball and Tom Gossin were some of the stars who played for the Grand Ole Opry, while Gloriana's Mike Gossin and Rachel Reinart joined Vince Gill, Joe Nichols, Luke Bryan, Keith Anderson, Chuck Wicks, David Nail, Josh Thompson, and The Oak Ridge Boys on the "After MidNite with Blair Garner" team at the City of Hope's 20th annual Celebrity Softball Challenge at Nashville's Greer Stadium.


Today in 2010, Darius Rucker hosted his "Darius and Friends" fundraising concert for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  Jake Owen, Jamey Johnson, and Randy Houser were among those who took part in the event, which was staged at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville.


Today in 2011, Rodney Atkins was the headliner for Nashville's "Music City Gives Back" concert, which raised money for the American Red Cross' tornado relief efforts throughout Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.  Josh Thompson and Thompson Square also performed at the event.


Today in 2011, Joe Nichols was featured at The 5th annual "Country Weekly Fashion Show and Concert" at Nashville's Wildhorse Saloon.  Steel Magnolia, Joey + Rory, Ty Herndon, Danielle Peck, and Bucky Covington were some of the other stars participating in the charity event, which raised money for Musicians on Call.


Today in 2011, Ronnie Dunn's self-titled post-Brooks & Dunn debut album arrived in stores, along with Randy Travis' duets disc "Anniversary Celebration" and Gene Watson and Rhonda Vincent's "Your Money and My Good Looks."


Today in 2012, Scotty McCreery became a high school graduate.  He donned a cap and gown and took part in Garner Magnet High School's commencement ceremony, which took place in Raleigh, North Carolina.


Today in 2012, Casey James hosted the Grand Ole Opry's 4th annual Guitars of the Stars Benefit Auction in Nashville.


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