Nashville News and Notes for FRIDAY

Craig Morgan To Compete In Scandinavian Dogsled Race


Craig Morgan is taking his outdoor experience to another level.  The country star will be heading to Norway next month to take part in the 6th annual Fjällräven Polar , a five-day, 200-mile dogsled race taking place in the Arctic Circle.  Morgan will be one of just 20 people taking part in the event, which will feature participants from ten different countries.  Morgan says he's excited about his upcoming adventure.  The singer admits he's "been a daredevil" his entire life.  He explains that he loves to "travel to new places" and will "try just about anything."  Craig adds that when he was offered the chance to race in the Polar, he "said 'yes' without giving it a second thought."  And fans will likely notice one thing Morgan is doing to prepare for the race.  The typically clean-shaven star is growing a beard to help protect his face from the cold.


For the 6th annual Fjällräven Polar, Morgan and the other mushers will leave Signaldalen, Norway on April 9th, with the goal of arriving in Jukkasjärvi , Swedish Lapland on April 13th.  His Polar experience will be featured on the upcoming fourth season of his Outdoor Channel series "Craig Morgan All Access Outdoors."


Swift, Aldean, Bryan On Board For Tim McGraw's Concert Special


Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, and Luke Bryan are among the first confirmed stars for Tim McGraw's post-ACM Awards special.  R&B singer Ne-Yo is also on board for "ACM Presents: Tim McGraw's Superstar Summer Night," taking place in Las Vegas next month.  McGraw says the show will highlight the concert experience and give the audience a preview of some of the artists who'll be out performing in the coming months.  He explains that "there's no better time for live music than in the heat of the summer," and with his show he plans to "get summer started off right."  The show is also a benefit for the Academy's charity, ACM Lifting Lives, which McGraw is proud to support.  He says it'll be a fun way to raise both awareness and money for the organization.


"ACM Presents: Tim McGraw's Superstar Summer Night" will be taped at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 8th -- the night after the 48th annual Academy of Country Music Awards.  An air date for the special, which will air on CBS, hasn't been announced yet.


Trace Adkins Among Returning Stars On "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice"


Trace Adkins' second stint on "The Celebrity Apprentice" begins this weekend.  The country star, who finished second to Piers Morgan in the series' inaugural run, is competing once again in an "all-star" edition of Donald Trump's reality show.  Trace has said that he had no desire to take on the challenge again, but eventually signed on for a very specific reason.  He's using the show to raise money and awareness for the American Red Cross, in an effort to repay the organization for everything they did for his family after their home burned down.  Adkins has also said that things were much different this time, and that it was "a great experience,"


Trace apparently has a pretty big impact on the competition as well.  At the Television Critics Association press tour several weeks ago, castmate Omaros called Adkins "a game changer."  While she wasn't going to "give it away," she said Trace "changes 'The Apprentice' as we know it."  Fans will have to tune in to find out what he does.  The all-star season of "The Celebrity Apprentice" begins on NBC Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.


Ronnie Dunn, Roger Miller Receive Texas Songwriters' Honor


Ronnie Dunn is joining the late Roger Miller in a special honor.  They're this year's inductees into the Texas Heritage Songwriters' Association's Hall of Fame, along with The Crickets' Sonny Curtis.  Dunn says he's proud that the organization is bringing him "back home to accept this award," because his "music journey started in Texas."  He adds that it's "a privilege to join the Hall of Fame with other talented artists" he considers" friends and mentors."  Dunn and Curtis will also perform at the event, along with Jack Ingram, Larry Gatlin, and Toby Keith, who'll play a tribute to Miller.  Toby will be recognized as well.  During the ceremony the Oklahoma-born singer will receive an official certificate making him an Honorary Texan.  The 8th annual Texas Heritage Songwriters' Association's Hall of Fame Awards show will take place at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas on Sunday.


Cline, Hawkins, Copas Remembered With Special Festival Event This Weekend


The late Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, and Cowboy Copas are being remembered with a special event this weekend.  Camden, Tennessee -- the nearest town to where the three country stars lost their lives -- is hosting the "Gone But Not Forgotten" festival to honor their memory and legacy.  Bill Anderson and Hawkshaw's widow Jean Shepard are among the stars slated to perform at the memorial event, along with The Grascals, Mandy Barnett, and others.  Organizer Terry Hudson tells that while Cline is the best known of the three, his team made sure that Hawkins and Copas are also well represented.  He says Hawkins logged a number of top ten hits throughout the 1940s and '50s, and was "a big crowd pleaser."  Hudson adds that it's impossible not to wonder what else he would have accomplished if his life hadn't been cut short.  He says Copas had a host of hits to his credit as well, and all three artists were very popular Opry stars.


Next Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of Cline, Hawkins, and Copas' death.  They were killed on March 5th, 1963 when their small plane went down in a wooded area just north of Camden.  The "Gone But Not Forgotten" memorial festival launched Thursday, and continues through Saturday.  Along with the live performances, the event features tours of the crash site and memorabilia displays.  In addition, Shepard and Anderson will take part in a panel discussion today that will explore the impact and influence Cline, Hawkins, and Copas had on country music.


Darius Rucker Announces "True Believers Tour"


Darius Rucker will be hitting the road this spring.  He's mapped out a 21-date headlining trek in support of his upcoming album, "True Believers," starting in Estero, Florida on May 9th.  Darius says he "can't wait" for fans to hear his new album, and he's really looking forward to getting out there to play the songs in concert.  He adds that between his "True Believers Tour" and the CD's release it's "going to be an exciting summer."  Rucker is also proud of the lineup he's assembled for the tour.  Shows will feature opening sets from either Rodney Atkins or Justin Moore, while Jana Kramer is on board for the entire trek.  Meanwhile, Rucker's show in Buffalo, New York will feature Sheryl Crow and Gloriana as well as Atkins and Kramer. 


Darius Rucker's "True Believers Tour" Dates


May 9 - Estero, Florida, at the Germain Arena - with Justin Moore and Jana Kramer

May 10 - Pensacola, Florida, at the Pensacola Civic Center - with Justin Moore and Jana Kramer

May 17 - Savannah, Georgia, at the Savannah Civic Center - with Justin Moore and Jana Kramer

May 18 - Alpharetta, Georgia, at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre at Encore Park - with Justin Moore and Jana Kramer

May 19 - Knoxville, Tennessee, at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum - with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer

May 24 - Little Rock, Arkansas, at the Riverfront Park - with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer

May 30 - Greensboro, North Carolina, at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex - with Justin Moore and Jana Kramer

May 31 - Simpsonville, South Carolina, at the Charter Amphitheatre at Heritage Park - with Justin Moore and Jana Kramer

June 1 - Virginia Beach, Virginia, at the Patriotic Festival - with Justin Moore and Jana Kramer

June 6 - Morrison, Colorado, at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre - with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer

June 9 - Grand Prairie, Texas, at the Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie - with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer

June 13 - N. Lawrence, Ohio, at the Clay's Park Amphitheater - with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer

June 14 - Buffalo, New York, at Coca Cola Field - with Sheryl Crow, Rodney Atkins, Gloriana and Jana Kramer

June 15 - Baltimore, Maryland, at Pier Six Pavilion - with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer

June 20 - West Long Branch, New Jersey, at The MAC at Monmouth University - with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer

June 21 - Bangor, Maine, at Waterfront Park - with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer

June 22 - Gilford, New Hampshire, at the Meadowbrook-US Cellular Pavilion - with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer

June 27 - Toledo, Ohio, at the Toledo Zoo Amphitheatre - with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer

June 28 - Highland Park, Illinois, at the Ravinia Festival - with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer

June 29 - Normal, Illinois, at The Corn Crib - with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer

June 30 - Clarkston, Michigan, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre - with Rodney Atkins and Jana Kramer


Rascal Flatts Enjoys Fans' Reaction To Songs In Concert


Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox says the audience makes their shows truly special.  The country singer explains that he and his bandmates enjoy performing for an animated, vocal crowd, and they're always moved when the fans sing along with them.


Gary adds that it's been Rascal Flatts' goal from the start to draw a strong reaction out of their listeners.  He says "as kids growing up," he, Jay DeMarcus, and Joe Don Rooney always "dreamed of sitting out there, standing there watching people sing our songs back to us."  Rascal Flatts is currently on the road on their "Changed" tour.  The group will be performing in Jonesboro, Arkansas Friday night.  The Band Perry and Kristen Kelly will be opening the show.


Kristen Kelly Talks New Single "He Loves To Make Me Cry"


For country singer Kristen Kelly, writing about heartache is a much easier task than writing about love.


That's why she says her upcoming single "He Loves To Make Me Cry" is closer to what she likes to write about.  Kelly made a big splash with her debut single "Ex-Old Man," which was a radio hit, but as she moves on to new projects, she's looking to offer more than just a playful look at love gone wrong.  The new single is featured on her self-titled four-song EP that dropped last month.  Kelly is currently on the road with the Rascal Flatts.  The tour stops in Jonesboro, Arkansas on Friday and Tupelo, Mississippi on Saturday.


Justin Moore Is Excited For Fans To Hear Latest Single


Justin Moore is gearing up for the release of the first single from his upcoming third album.  Justin says he's eager for fans to hear the new material he's been working on. 


Moore says fans can expect "a lot of the same stuff" that he's been doing on his first two albums.  However, Moore assures fans that there will also be a lot of new material on the new album.  He says that he's looking forward to hitting road on his upcoming "Outlaws Like Me" tour, which kicks off March 14th.  He says that he's really excited to his for his fans.  So far, Justin Moore's third album does not have a release date, but its first single "Point At You" hits airwaves this week. 


Quick Bites


Blake Shelton's guest appearance on Reba McEntire's sitcom, "Malibu Country," is debuting tonight.  Blake is playing the part of Reba's brother on the show, which will air on ABC at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.


Easton Corbin and Florida Georgia Line are among the performers who'll take the stage for tonight's New Faces of Country Music Show.  The special show will also feature sets from Brantley GIlbert, Jana Kramer, and Kip Moore.  The concert is considered the highlight of theCountry Radio Seminar, which is currently under way in Nashville, and will close out the annual event. 



Country Birthdays Include


Sweethearts of the Rodeo's Janis Oliver is 59.  She's also Vince Gill's ex-sister-in-law.



Today In Country Music History


Today in 1968, Johnny Cash and June Carter were married.


Today in 1975, Ronnie Milsap was among the winners at the 17th annual Grammy Awards.


Today in 1983, Alabama's album "The Closer You Get" was released.


Today in 1986, Dwight Yoakam debuted on the country charts with the single "Honky Tonk Man."


Today in 1990, Mark Chesnutt signed a record deal with MCA records.


Today in 1991, the video "The Real Patsy Cline" was certified Gold.


Today in 1992, Garth Brooks was number one on the charts with the single "What She's Doing Now."


Today in 1993, Doug Stone's 1990 self-titled debut album was certified Platinum.


Today in 1994, the "Come On, Come On" album by Mary Chapin Carpenter was certified double-Platinum.


Today in 1994, Brooks & Dunn were among the winners at the 36th annual Grammy Awards.


Today in 1996, Alison Krauss' album "Baby Now That I've Found You" was certified double-Platinum.


Today in 2001, Collin Raye thought he had gotten up early for a series of interviews at the Country Radio Seminar.  But shortly after arriving at the Nashville Convention Center, he learned that instead he'd been named Artist Humanitarian of the Year by the Country Radio Broadcasters.


Today in 2004, Keith Urban played his first major headlining concert, at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.  Jennifer Hanson was the opening act.  Dierks Bentley, Jimmy Wayne, and members of Emerson Drive were among those in the audience.


Today in 2005, Dolly Parton was honored with a career achievement award at the annual Country Music DJ Hall of Fame dinner in Nashville.


Today in 2005, the USA Network introduced the third season of "Nashville Star," with LeAnn Rimes hosting, Phil Vassar and Poison's Bret Michaels were judges, with Cledus T. Judd providing commentary.


Today in 2005, "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," Alan Jackson's collaboration with Jimmy Buffett, was certified Gold.


Today in 2007, John Anderson's clip for "A Woman Knows," his first music video in six years, had its debut on CMT's "Top 20 Countdown."


Today in 2007, Kellie Pickler, who a year earlier was a finalist on "American Idol," returned to the show to perform her single "I Wonder."


Today in 2007, Angela Hacker was named the winner in the fifth season of "Nashville Star."


Today in 2008, Charlie Daniels performed during the christening ceremony for the USS New York at Northrop Grumman shipyard in Avondale, Louisiana.  Approximately seven-and-a-half tons of steel recovered from the World Trade Center are cast in the bow stem of the ship.


Today in 2008, Josh Gracin sang the national anthem and performed at the Official After-Race Concert at the Nationwide Series race in Las Vegas.


Today in 2009, Clint Black began his run on the NBC reality series "The Celebrity Apprentice."


Today in 2009, Toby Keith took part in the Comedy Central roast skewering Larry the Cable Guy.


Today in 2010, Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley both made special TV appearances.  Carrie made her TV acting debut with a role on the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," while Brad was the first musical guest when Jay Leno made his return to "The Tonight Show."


Today in 2010, the late Johnny Cash's posthumous single "Ain't No Grave" debuted in the top ten on the British chart, entering the list at number nine.


Today in 2011, Reba McEntire, Jean Shepard, and Bobby Braddock were announced as the 2012 inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.


Today in 2011, The Judds received the ountry Radio Broadcasters' Career Achievement Award at the Country Music DJ and Radio Hall of Fame Dinner and Awards Ceremony in Nashville.


Today in 2011, new releases included Luke Bryan's EP "Spring Break 3...It's A Shore Thing" and The Mavericks' "Icon."


Today in 2012, Gloriana's Tom Gossin became engaged.  He proposed to girlfriend Jamie Moffett at a party in Atlanta.


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