Nashville News and Notes for FRIDAY

Country Stars Taking Part In Kentucky Derby Events


Country stars will be descending on Louisville this weekend for Saturday's Kentucky Derby.  Scotty McCreery is slated to headline Friday's Kentucky Derby Festival, while Cassadee Pope and Steve Holy will also perform.  Meanwhile, the Brothers Osborne and Laura Bell Bundy will take the stage Friday at Louisville's KFC Yum! Center Friday for The Julep Ball, a charity show supporting cancer research.  Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, and Lee Ann Womack are just some of the country stars expected to attend another fundraiser.  The singers are among the many celebrities on the guest list for Friday's Barnstable Brown Gala, which supports diabetes research.


Jo Dee Messina will be featured at the main event.  She's been tapped to sing the national anthem at the 140th Kentucky Derby, taking place at Churchill Downs in Louisville on Saturday.  Her performance will be included in NBC's coverage of the race, which starts at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.


Brad Paisley Receives, Extends Special Invitations


Brad Paisley will be among the celebrities at this weekend's White House Correspondents' Association Dinner.  The country star and his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, received their invitations from CBS News. says the guest list also include a couple of "Nashville" stars.  Hayden Panettiere and Chip Esten will attend Saturday night's event with ABC News reporters.


Meanwhile, Brad is extending a special invitation of his own.  CBS5 News in Phoenix, Arizona says a local radio station helped get a message to the singer from a P-E teacher, who made a video appeal to Brad for concert tickets for one of her special ed students.  Brad is obliging with the tickets -- and a whole lot more.  He responded with a video that was played during an assembly a school assembly Wednesday.  In the clip Brad asks sophomore Bailey Kleinhans to "hang out" with him, and adds that he's eager to hear the teen sing his songs "in person."   Paisley's Phoenix show is set for July 13th.


Blake Shelton Wins, Performs At iHeartRadio Music Awards


Blake Shelton is among the winners at the inaugural iHeartRadio Music Awards.  The singer took Country Song of the Year honors for his hit "Boys 'Round Here" during the NBC broadcast.  In his acceptance Blake mentioned his competition along with his gratitude.


Shelton's "Mine Would Be You" was also up for the award, along with Luke Bryan's "That's My Kind of Night."  Luke was at the ceremony as well, and performed his nominated hit.  In his introduction for Luke, Blake also acknowledged those affected by the deadly tornado outbreak earlier in the week.  Shelton later performed his most recent chart-topper, "Doin' What She Likes."  Meanwhile, Billy Ray Cyrus made an unexpected appearance.  He paid tribute to the late George Jones in accepting the Best Lyrics award on behalf of his daughter, Miley.  She got the nod for her hit "Wrecking Ball."  Lionel Richie presented the award.


Keith Urban Performs On "American Idol"


Keith Urban is using "American Idol" to showcase his own music.  The country star stepped away from the judges table on Thursday's installment of the Fox reality show to perform "Good Thing."


"Good Thing" is from Urban's most recent studio album, "Fuse."  He'll continue to support the disc with his "Raise 'Em Up Tour" this summer.  Keith will kick off the trek at the Calgary Stampede in Canada on July 12th.  His first U.S. show is set for Atlantic City, New Jersey on July 17th.


Rhonda Vincent Helps Police Catch Tour Bus Burglar


Rhonda Vincent -- bluegrass star, crime fighter.  Nashville's WSMV TV says the singer took matters into her own hands after noticing last year that money was disappearing from her tour bus safe whenever she wasn't on the road.  Vincent explains that she put a video camera in a clock to see what happened on the vehicle when it wasn't in use, and baited her trap with six-thousand dollars covered in dusting powder.  She says when the live feed went dark she put on a disguise and went to investigate.  When Rhonda arrived the money was gone and the clock was overturned -- but it still captured the theft.  Police were able to use Vincent's video to arrest Adam Parker, who has pled guilty to the crime.


But Parker denies stealing from anyone else.  Other video footage shows him going into a Montgomery Gentry tour bus, while Tim McGraw has reportedly lost money from his bus as well.  Parker says his job was to clean the vehicles, which is why he's seen entering other buses.  When asked why he stole from Vincent, Parker said "people make mistakes."  Rhonda admits it's still unsettling to know that Parker had been "pilfering through" her and her band members' belongings.


Thomas Rhett Thrilled With Career Progression


Thomas Rhett says it's hard to believe everything that's happened for him over the past two years.  The country star says things have just been "amazing."


Thomas adds that it's been "a blessing" to tour with Brantley Gilbert this spring.  He says he appreciates getting the chance to play his music for a new audience.  Thomas will be opening the show for Gilbert in Evansville, Indiana on Friday.


Tyler Farr Pleased To See Florida Georgia Line's Success


Tyler Farr is friends with another Tyler in country music.  The singer says he's buddies with Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, and he's thrilled to see their career really take off.

Farr will be playing shows with Florida Georgia Line again over the next six months.  They're both serving as openers on Jason Aldean's "Burn It Down" tour, which extends into October.  They'll be in University Park, Pennsylvania on Friday.


Leah Turner Shares Fun, Challenges Of Debut Video


Country newcomer Leah Turner says it was a lot of fun making the video to her debut single "Take the Keys."  The singer says she loved getting the chance to drive a vintage 1966 Ford Mustang, but admits the vehicle wasn't easy to handle.  Leah explains that there was a lot of power under the hood -- and no power steering or brakes.


"Take the Keys" is from Leah's upcoming self-titled album.  The disc, which also features her current single, "Pull Me Back," will be in stores on May 6th.


James House Shares Inspiration, Motivation For New Album


James House says something that happened on the other side of the Atlantic inspired him to release his latest album.  The singer-songwriter tells "Country Weekly" he figured the time was right after learning his 1995 song "This Is Me Missing You" -- the original version, not a remix -- was a hit on the dance chart in Britain.  Some of the tracks on "Broken Glass, Twisted Steel" are likely familiar to country fans.  For the project he's sharing his renditions of hits he's written for others, like Martina McBride's "A Broken Wing" and Dwight Yoakam's "Ain't That Lonely Yet."  The set also include a new version of his 1989 song "Here's To You."  James explains that he "never was crazy" about his vocal performance on the original, and he saw his new record as his "chance to get it right."  House's "Broken Glass, Twisted Steel" is in stores now.


Keith Urban Adds To Guitar Line


Keith Urban is expanding his guitar line.  The country star is once again teaming up with the Home Shopping Network to offer his new "Light The Fuse" guitar collection, featuring electric and acoustic models in five different colors.  The guitars come with two hour-long instructional DVDs, and are also available in 21-piece packages including extra strings, picks, a guitar strap, an amplifier, and more.  Keith says his latest line of guitars grew out of his "Light The Fuse" tour.  The singer explains that he "felt so much energy coming back from the crowd night after night," and it was "the perfect inspiration" for the new instruments.  Urban will formally introduce his "Light The Fuse" guitars exclusively through HSN on May 18th.


Country TV Tonight


TOP 20 COUNTRY COUNTDOWN (GAC) Videos from Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, and Blake Shelton are included in the rundown of the week's most popular country music videos.



Country Birthdays Include


Larry Gatlin is 66.

Ty Herndon is 52.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1985, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson released the "Highwayman" album.


Today in 1988, the album "Remembering Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline" was released.


Today in 1989, new album releases included Clint Black's "Killin' Time" and Kenny Rogers' "Something Inside So Strong."


Today in 1998, backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, Loretta Lynn made the announcement that she intended to return to college and get a degree.


Today in 1998, Shania Twain's "You're Still the One" hit number one on the chart.


Today in 2000, LeAnn Rimes filed suit in Dallas County District Court, against her father, Wilbur Rimes and his business partner, Lyle Walker, charging that they funnelled money away from her personally and from the company set up in 1995 to manage her finances.


Today in 2000, Faith Hill and hubby Tim McGraw confirmed plans to perform their hit single "Let's Make Love" at the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony.


Today in 2000, new CD releases included Collin Raye's "Tracks" and Chad Brock's "Yes!."


Today in 2002, Clint Black and Lonestar were among those who took part in the taping of the CBS special taped "Rockin' In The USA" in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, aboard the U.S.S. Harry Truman.  The show aired a few weeks later over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.


Today in 2003, Jo Dee Messina sang the national anthem at Fenway Park before a Boston Red Sox game.


Today in 2005,  Eddie Montgomery had titanium rods and plates inserted in his left wrist during surgery in Lexington, Kentucky, to mend an injury he suffered during an on-stage fall at a concert in Asheville, North Carolina four days earlier.


Today in 2006, Chris Young was named the new "Nashville Star," taking the title on the fourth season finale of the USA Network reality series.


Today in 2006, Kenny Rogers and Time Life teamed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the network television debut of his series of movies loosely based on his hit single "The Gambler" with the release of a three-CD boxed set.  The collection marked the first time the films had been available on CD.  Titles included "Kenny Rogers as The Gambler," "The Adventure Continues," and "The Legend Continues."  Other new releases included Rockie Lynne's self-titled CD and Phil Vassar's "Greatest Hits Vol. 1."


Today in 2006, Carrie Underwood went to her very first number one party, attending the Nashville celebration for her hit "Jesus, Take the Wheel."


Today in 2009, LeAnn Rimes sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the start of the Kentucky Derby  at Churchill Downs in Louisville, becoming the first person to perform the national anthem live at the start of the famed horse race.


Today in 2013, a public memorial was held in Nashville for country legend George Jones who died several days earlier at the age of 81.  Numerous stars and dignitaries, including Kenny Chesney, Vince Gill, and former First Lady Laura Bush, took part in the ceremony, which was televised nationally on CMT.


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