Nashville News and Notes for FRIDAY

Country Stars Taking Part In Indy 500 Events


Brantley Gilbert has a vested interest in this year's Indianapolis 500.  The country star is sponsoring rookie driver Sage Karam, whose car features the cover art from Gilbert's new album, "Just As I Am."  Brantley says Sage has already given him a demonstration of what he can do behind the wheel.


But Gilbert isn't the only country star who'll be on hand for the big race.  LeAnn Rimes has been tapped to sing the national anthem at Sunday's event.  Meanwhile, Jason Aldean is slated to headline the Legends Day concert, taking place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday.  Tyler Farr is also on board for the special show, honoring Indy legend Mario Andretti.


Country Stars To Perform At National Memorial Day Concert


Jennifer Nettles and Danielle Bradbery will help the nation honor those who've died for our country.  The singers are slated to take part in this weekend's "National Memorial Day Concert."  The event includes musical performances and dramatic readings to highlight the service and sacrifice military members and others have made to support and defend America.  Actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna will co-host the event, which will also feature actresses Megan Hilty and Dianne Wiest and singers Jackie Evancho and Anthony Kearns.  The National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Chorus, and other military bands will also perform.  The "National Memorial Day Concert" will air on PBS, live from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.


Brantley Gilbert Proud To Support, Honor Veterans On Memorial Day


Brantley Gilbert will spend his Memorial Day holiday paying tribute to those who've given their lives in service to our nation.  On Monday the country star will take part in a special ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, and he admits it'll be a somber event.  But Brantley says he welcomes the opportunity to honor our fallen soldiers with the loved ones they've left behind.


The Arlington event will cap off the six-day motorcycle trip Gilbert launched in his Georgia hometown this week to promote his new album, "Just As I Am," and the military charity Folds of Honor.  On Friday Brantley will make an in-store appearance at a Best Buy store in Charlotte, North Carolina.  On Sunday he'll help salute the troops at the Coca Cola 600 pre-race concert at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.  He'll also travel to the Harley-Davidson of Greensboro for a performance and album signing with fans.


Gilbert will take a break from his motorcycle trek on Saturday to play the Tree Town Country Music Festival in Forest City, Iowa.  And Sunday -- on his way back to North Carolina -- he'll make an appearance at the Indy 500.  Brantley is sponsoring one of the drivers in the race.


Lee Ann Womack Debuts New Song Online


Lee Ann Womack has a new album on the way.  The country star debuted the title track to "The Way I'm Livin'" on the "Wall Street Journal's" website Thursday.


Lee Ann says with this album she "wanted songs that talked about how life really is -- the raw spots, the tough places, the meltdowns and messy parts."  She adds that it's "all the stuff people pretend doesn't exist," but "once you embrace that, you can figure out what to do -- or not do!"  "The Way I'm Livin'" will be Womack's long-awaited follow up to 2008's "Call Me Crazy."  The album will be in stores on September 23rd.


Lady A, McGraw, Evans Playing Morning Show Concerts Friday


Lady Antebellum, Sara Evans, and Tim McGraw are all in New York City today for a morning TV show's summer concert series.  But they aren't sharing a stage.  Lady A is giving the kick-off performance for ABC's "Good Morning America" at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park, while Evans will be outside the Fox News Headquarters to launch the "Fox & Friends" All-American Summer Concert Series.  McGraw, meanwhile will be in Rockefeller Plaza on NBC's "Today" show.  And this is just the first of several country star-morning show face-offs.  Next Friday Rascal Flatts will be on "Today" while the Charlie Daniels Band is on "Fox & Friends."  Keith Urban will be on "GMA" on July 11th -- the same day  Scotty McCreery performs for "Fox."  And on August 29th, "GMA" will showcase Brad Paisley and "Fox" will feature Lee Brice.


Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line are also on the "GMA" lineup for consecutive weeks in August -- Luke on the 8th and Florida Georgia Line on the 15th.  Meanwhile, "Fox & Friends" has tapped Cassadee Pope for June 13th, and Trace Adkins will perform on August 1st.


More Stars Sign On For CMT Music Awards


David Nail, Brett Eldredge, and Thomas Rhett are some of the latest additions to the CMT Music Awards.  The singers are on board for the event's Nationwide Insurance stage, along with Tyler Farr, Cole Swindell, and Dan + Shay.  They're also among the nominees for the fan-voted event.  Votes can be cast at through June 1st.  The CMT Music Awards will take place at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, and air live on CMT on June 4th.


Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, and Florida Georgia Line some of the other stars also on the lineup for the show, while Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood will team up to perform their duet, "Somethin' Bad."  They debuted the song at the recent Billboard Music Awards.  Kristen Bell has been tapped to host the ceremony.


Sara Evans Launching "Slow Me Down Tour"


Sara Evans says a lot of physical and mental preparation go into her concerts.  The country star explains that while she doesn't incorporate all the dancing and theatrics some stars put into their shows, they're still "exhausting" for her.  She adds that she enjoys every minute she's on the stage.


Evans is hitting the road this weekend in support of her latest album, "Slow Me Down."  The singer will launch her 32-date trek in Caruthersville, Missouri on Saturday.  But she'll be in New York City on Friday for another show.  She's set to appear on Fox News' "Fox & Friends" to kick off the show's "All-American Summer Concert Series."  Sara will be featured in the final hour of the three-hour morning show, which begins at 6:00 a.m. Eastern.


Sara Evans "Slow Me Down Tour" Dates


May 24 - Caruthersville, MO - Lady Luck Casino

June 7 - Nashville, TN - LP Field

June 12 - Lemoore, CA - Tachi Palace Casino

June 13 - Oroville, CA - Gold Country Casino

June 14 - Santa Rosa, CA - Sonoma Country Fairgrounds

June 21 - Cullman, AL - Rock The South

July 5 - Bossier City, LA - Margaritaville Resort

July 10 - Duluth, MN - Bayfront Park

July 11 - Clinton, IA - Wild Rose Casino & Resorts

July 12 - Emmetsburg, IA - Wild Rose Casino & Resorts

July 13 - Rhinelander, WI - Hodag Country Festival

July 18 - Bremen, GA - Mill Town Music Hall

July 19 - Panama City, FL - Bay Pointe Marina

July 25 - Deadwood, SD - Deadwood Mountain Grand

July 26 - Colorado Springs, CO - World Arena

July 27 - Denver, CO - Coors Field

Aug. 1 - Waverly, IN - Bremer County Fair

Aug. 2 - Michigan City, IN - Blue Chip Casino

Aug. 9 - Sedalia, MO - Missouri State Fair

Aug. 15 - West Wendover, NV - Peppermill Concert Hall

Aug. 16 - Lewiston, ID - Clearwater River Casino

Aug. 17 - Brownsville, OR - The Willamette Country Music Fair

Aug. 29 - Cohasset, MA - South Shore Music Circus

Aug. 30 - Hagersville, Canada -Hagersville Summer End Festival

Aug. 31 - Jackson, NJ - Six Flags

Sept. 1 - Woodstock, CT - Woodstock Fair

Sept. 5 - Thief River Falls, MN - Seven Clans Casino

Sept. 6 - Fort Yates, ND - Prairie Knights Casino

Sept. 27 - Fort Worth, TX - Bass Performance Hall

Oct. 19 - Thousand Oaks, CA - Kavli Theater

Oct. 23 - Santa Ynez, CA - Chumash Casino

Oct. 24 - Reno, NV - Grand Sierra Resort


Toby Keith Launching "Shut Up & Hold On" Tour This Weekend


Toby Keith is back on to the road.  The country star will kick off his "Shut Up & Hold On" trek with an appearance at the Tree Town Music Festival in Forest City, Iowa on Sunday.  He'll close the three-day event, capping off a lineup that includes Chris Young, David Nail, Tyler Farr, and others.  Toby is slated to play 23 shows throughout the spring and summer, and wrap up his run with a concert in Laughlin, Nevada on October 18th.  Toby is also making the trek a family affair.  He's tapped his daughter, Krystal Keith, as well as Colt Ford to serve as his openers. 


Toby Keith "Shut Up & Hold On" Tour Dates


May 25 - Forest City, Iowa, at the Tree Town Music Festival

May 30 - San Bernardino, California, at the San Manuel Amphitheater

May 31 - Mountain View, California, at the Shoreline Amphitheater

June 1 - Sacramento, California, at the Sleep Train Amphitheater

June 13 - Burlington, Iowa, at the Burlington Steamboat Days

June 14 - Winsted, Minnesota, at the Winsted Music Festival

June 28 - Washington, DC, at Jiffy Lube Live

June 29 - Cleveland, Ohio, at the Blossom Music Center

July 12 - St. Louis, Missouri, at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

July 13 - Chicago, Illinois, at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheater

July 19 - Tooele, Utah, at the Tooele County Fairgrounds - Desert Peak Complex

July 25 - Holmdel, New Jersey, at the PNC Bank Center

July 26 - Hartford, Connecticut, at the XFINITY Theater

July 27 - Bethel, New York, at the Bethel Woods Center

August 1 - Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, at the Boots and Hearts Festival

August 8 - Cincinnati, Ohio, at the Riverbend Music Center

August 9 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the First Niagara Pavilion

August 23 - Lima, Ohio, at the Allen County Fair

September 13 - Indianapolis, Indiana, at the Klipsch Music Center

September 20 - Puyallup, Washington, at the Washington State Fair

September 22 - Spokane, Washington, at the Northern Quest Resort and Casino

September 27 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the Susquehanna Bank Center

October 18 - Laughlin, Nevada, at the Laughlin Event Center


Zac Brown Band Announces Fall Festival, Launching Tour This Weekend


The Zac Brown Band is making plans for their Southern Ground Music & Food Festival.  The country group has tapped a variety of stars including Ashley Monroe, Gov't Mule, and The Wailers to take part in this fall's event.  The lineup also features Blues Traveler, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, the Perservation Hall Jazz Band, and others.  The Zac Brown Band will cap off the music on both days of the event.  The Southern Ground Music & Food Festival will take place in Charleston, South Carolina on October 11th and 12th.


But the Zac Brown Band will play plenty of other shows prior to their festival.  The group is launching their "Great American Road Trip" with a show in Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday.  They'll play more than 40 concerts and festivals throughout the U.S. and Canada over the course of the trek, including a two-night stand at Boston's Fenway Park and a show Chicago's Wrigley Field.


Dates for Zac Brown Band's "Great American Road Trip"


May 24 - Lincoln, Nebraska, at the Pinnacle Bank Arena

May 25 - Chillicothe, Illinois, at the Summer Camp Music Festival at Three Sisters Park

May 29 - Tampa, Florida, at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheater

May 30 - Tampa, Florida, at the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheater

May 31 - West Palm Beach, Florida, at the Cruzan Amphitheatre

June 1 - West Palm Beach, Florida, at the Cruzan Amphitheatre

June 5 - Orange Beach, Alabama, at The Amphitheater at the Wharf

June 6 - Pelham, Alabama, at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre

June 7 - Atlanta, Georgia, at Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood

June 8 - Nashville, Tennessee, at LP Field - CMA Music Festival

June 12 - Charlotte, North Carolina, at the PNC Music Pavilion

June 13 - Cincinnati, Ohio, at the Riverbend Music Center

June 14 - Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, at the Blossom Music Center

June 19 - Camden, New Jersey, at the Susquehanna Bank Center

June 20 - Camden, New Jersey, at the Susquehanna Bank Center

June 21 - Forest Hills, New York, at Forest Hills Stadium

June 22 - Bristow, Virginia, at Jiffy Lube Live

June 27 - Boston, Massachusetts, at Fenway Park

June 28 - Boston, Massachusetts, at Fenway Park

June 29 - Hartford, Connecticut, at The Xfinity Theater

July 3 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at Summerfest - Marcus Amphitheater

July 10 - Holmdel, New Jersey, at the PNC Bank Arts Center

July 11 - Holmdel, New Jersey, at the PNC Bank Arts Center

July 12 - Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, at the First Niagara Pavilion

July 13 - Noblesville, Indiana, at the Klipsch Music Center

July 16 - Paso Robles, California, at the Midstate Fair

July 20 - Lake Tahoe, Nevada, at Harvey's Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena

August 2 - Camrose, Alberta, Canada, at the Big Valley Jamboree

August 4 - Sturgis, South Dakota, at the Buffalo Chip

August 9 - Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, at the WE Fest

August 10 - Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, at the Prairie Jam Music Festival

August 15 - Endicott, New York, at the Dick's Sporting Goods Open

August 16 - Gilford, New Hampshire, at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook

August 17 - Gilford, New Hampshire, at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Meadowbrook

August 21 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre

August 22 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre

August 23 - Darien Center, New York, at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center

August 24 - Saratoga Springs, New York, at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center

August 29 - Bethel, New York, at the Bethel Woods Performing Arts Center

August 30 - Wantagh, New York, at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

August 31 - Hershey, Pennsylvania, at Hersheypark Stadium

September 13 - Chicago, Illinois, at Wrigley Field

September 26 - Eugene, Oregon, at the Matthew Knight Arena

September 27 - Quincy, Washington, at the Gorge Amphitheater

September 28 - Ridgefield, Washington, at the Sleep Country Amphitheater

October 11 - Charleston, South Carolina, at Blackbaud Stadium

October 12 - Charleston, South Carolina, at Blackbaud Stadium


Chris Young Finds Current Single Very Relatable


Chris Young admits he really likes the concept behind his current single.  The country star explains that "Who I Am With You" is about being with a person you love who also brings out the best in you.  Chris says he believes most people can relate to the song.


"Who I Am WIth You" is from Young's most recent album, "A.M."  The singer is supporting the disc on the road, opening shows on Dierks Bentley's "Riser" tour.  But Chris is taking a break from the trek this weekend to play a couple of festivals.  He'll launch the Bayou Country Superfest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Friday with Reba McEntire and George Strait, and then head to Forest City, Iowa to close the Tree Town Music Festival on Sunday with headliner Toby Keith.  Young's next concert with Bentley is set Detroit, Michigan on May 30th.


Cassadee Pope Offers Advice To "The Voice" Finalist Jake Worthington


Cassadee Pope admits she was hoping Jake Worthington would bring Blake Shelton his fourth win on "The Voice."  The singer won with Team Blake on season three of the NBC reality show, but tells CMT a second-place finish shouldn't stop Jake from pursuing a career.  She admits it'll take a lot of time, determination, and effort, and will be "twice as difficult" as it was on the show.  But Cassadee also believes Jake's next step should be a radio tour.  She says they can be "awkward" but they're rewarding, explaining that "they really appreciate when you actually go to their radio station and perform in their conference room." 


Cassadee adds that she wanted Jake to win for Shelton, and is "always bummed if Blake doesn't take it home."  But she believes Shelton will only be more determined to win next season.  Blake has already committed to returning to "The Voice" for season seven, which will begin on NBC in the fall.


Country TV Tonight



TOP 20 COUNTRY COUNTDOWN (GAC) A rundown of the week's most popular country music videos.


Country Birthdays Include


Judy Rodman is 63.

Shelly West is 56.  Her mom was the late country star Dottie West.

Brian McComas is 42.

Jewel is 40.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1953, Jim Reeves made his debut appearance at the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 1975, B.J. Thomas received a Gold record for "(Hey, Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song."  The number one hit marked Thomas' first appearance on the country singles chart.


Today in 1989, the "Absolute Torch & Twang" album by k.d. Lang & The Reclines was released.


Today in 1992, "Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus entered the Top 40 chart.


Today in 1993, Alan Jackson's single "Chattahoochee" topped the charts.


Today in 1995, Dwight Yoakam's "Dwight Live" album was released.


Today in 1996, "The Woman In Me" album by Shania Twain was certified for sales of seven million. It was the first album by a woman to achieve that success.


Today in 1997, Tim McGraw released the album "Everywhere."


Today in 2000, the official keith urban Fan Club was established.


Today in 2000, Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance" was released.


Today in 2001, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney were acquitted on all charges in the "horse incident" trial.  Tim was accused of assaulting a sheriff's deputy backstage at a concert in a suburb of Buffalo, New York when the officer and his partner were trying to remove Kenny from a police horse he was riding.  Tim said he wasn't attacking the officer but just trying to keep Kenny from falling from the horse.


Today in 2001, Mark McGuinn's self-titled album entered "Billboard's" country album sales chart at number 18.  This marked the first time in the history of Soundscan that a new artist on an independent label debuted in the top 20.


Today in 2002, Sugarland's Kristian Bush and his wife Jill had a son, Tucker.


Today in 2004, Alabama received the Merit Award from the USO in Washington, D.C.


Today in 2004, Michelle Branch of The Wreckers married the group's bass player, Teddy Landau, in Mexico.


Today in 2005, Kenny Chesney and wife Renee Zellweger were featured on the cover of "People" magazine.  The publication also included numerous photos of the couple sharing romantic moments on the beach.


Today in 2005, Big & Rich and Willie Nelson took part in the TV special "Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty," featuring "Newlyweds" stars Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson.  The show was taped in Germany for an audience of military personnel.


Today in 2006, Kenny Chesney earned his second consecutive Entertainer of the Year nod at 41st annual Academy of Country Music Awards.  Other big winners included Brad Paisley, Brooks & Dunn, and Carrie Underwood, while Vince Gill received the ACM/Home Depot Humanitarian Award.


Today in 2006, new album releases included the Dixie Chicks' "Taking The Long Way" and The Wreckers' "Stand Still, Look Pretty."


Today in 2007, Carrie Underwood performed on the sixth season finale of "American Idol."  She was also honored in a special segment with the presentation of a multi-Platinum disc for her debut album "Some Hearts."


Today in 2007, Gretchen Wilson's "One Of The Boys" debuted at the top of the Billboard country albums chart.


Today in 2010, Dierks Bentley hosted his first "Miles & Music For Kids" charity motorcycle ride and concert in Atlanta.  Josh Thompson was among the stars who took part in the event.


Today in 2010, Ferlin Husky and producer Billy Sherrill were officially welcomed into the Country Music Hall of Fame with the Medallion Ceremony in Nashville.  Craig Morgan, Lee Ann Womack, and Charley Pride took part in the ceremony, along with Ricky Skaggs, Shelby Lynne, and Ronnie Milsap.


Today in 2011, new releases included Brad Paisley's "This Is Country Music."


Today in 2012, Reba McEntire and Scotty McCreery were among the guest stars taking part in the season finale of "American Idol."  Reba performed with finalist Skylar Laine, while Scotty -- the 2011 winner -- presented the trophy to new winner Phillip Phillips.


Today in 2012, Trace Adkins played a free "Fleet Week" show for sailors in New York City.


Today in 2013, Carrie Underwood made a one-million-dollar donation to the American Red Cross, just days after a deadly tornado outbreak raveged her home state of Oklahoma


Today in 2013, Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise" marked its record-setting 12th week at the top of the Billboard country chart.  No other song by a duo had ever logged 12 weeks at number one since the country charts were established in 1944.


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