Nashville News and Notes for FRIDAY

Tim McGraw Denying Allegations Of "Secret Son"


Tim McGraw is denying that he has a "secret son."  The allegations surfaced this week from Tyler Zarbo, the 23-year-old son of McGraw's ex-fiancee Kristine Donahue.  Zarbo tells "The National Enquirer" that McGraw was "like a father" to him, and Tim saw him as "the son he never had."  He adds that he and McGraw "stayed in touch" even after the singer's relationship with Kristine ended and that Tim's wife Faith Hill never knew.  But the country star's camp is refuting the claims.  McGraw's rep Mary Hilliard tells "People" that the "Enquirer" story is "full of inaccuracies and misrepresentations about Tim and Faith."  She adds that she isn't "going to comment on false statements that appear to have been sensationalized for the purpose of selling tabloid magazines."


McGraw and Donahue were a couple in the early 1990s.  "People" says Tim and Kristine had just split up when Tim went on his 1996 "Spontaneous Combustion" tour, during which he and Hill became an item.  Tim and Faith have three daughters of their own. 


Luke Bryan On Track For First Billboard 200 Number One


Luke Bryan's latest "Spring Break" release just might bring him his first Billboard 200 number one.  This year's project is a little different than his previous "Spring Break" sets.  The 14-song "Spring Break...Here To Party" features cuts from Bryan's earlier "Spring Break" EPs along with a couple of other tracks.  Luke says he thinks the new tunes work well on the compilation.


Luke is now seeing just how much the fans like it. says "Spring Break...Here To Party" could sell just over 100-thousand copies in its first week out to debut at number one on the all-genre chart -- which would be his first time topping the list.  Bryan scored his first number one album on the country chart with his last release, 2011's "Tailgates & Tanlines," which peaked at number two on the Billboard 200.  His first two albums, 2007's I'll Stay Me" and "Doin' My Thing," both stalled out at number two on the country chart.  "Doin' My Thing" went to number six on the Billboard 200, but "I'll Stay Me" didn't crack the top ten.


Darius Rucker Taps "Duck Dynasty" Stars For New Video


Darius Rucker admits he's both surprised and thrilled that some of the stars from A&E's "Duck Dynasty" joined him in the video for his latest single, "Wagon Wheel."  The singer adds that he had absolutely nothing to do with it, and deserves none of the credit.


Rucker shot the clip this week with "Duck Dynasty's" Jase, Si, Korie, and Willie Robertson.  Korie and Willie's daughter Sadie also appears in the video, along with Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley.  All three members of Lady A sing background vocals on the song.  "Wagon Wheel" is from Rucker's upcoming album, "True Believers," which is due out in June.


Keith Urban Gets Emotional On "American Idol"


There's one singer Keith Urban is particularly glad to see make it to "American Idol's" top ten.  On last night's episode of the Fox singing competition, the country star was deeply moved by Angie Miller's performance of Beyonce's "I Was Here."


"American Idol" revealed this year's top ten finalists Thursday night.  Miller is among season 12's five women, along with Janelle Arthur, Amber Holcomb, Kree Harrison, and Candice Glover.  The five men who made the cut include Burnell Taylor, Paul Jolley, Lazaro Arbos, Curtis Finch, Jr., and Devin Velez.  They'll all perform in their first co-ed competition on next Wednesday's episode.


Taylor Swift Proud To Support Country Music Hall Of Fame


Taylor Swift says she's thrilled to support Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.  She says the Hall is an important part of the country community, and something she would have loved to visit when she was a kid.


Last year Swift gave the Hall a four-million-dollar donation, which is being used to create a new learning space.  The Taylor Swift Education Center will occupy portions of two floors, with three classrooms and a state-of-the-art children's exhibit gallery.  Taylor says she wants the area "to be beautiful" and "really cool" for kids visiting the facility.  The Swift Center is slated to open next year.


Alan Jackson Among New Additions To George Jones' Final Concert


Alan Jackson is among the latest stars to sign on for George Jones' last Nashville concert.  Alan says he's pleased to get the chance to honor the country legend and perform with him.


Jackson is one of nine new additions to the special concert, which is set for Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on November 22nd.  Travis Tritt, Pam Tillis, Tracy Lawrence and Joe Diffie are also on board, along with Mark Chesnutt, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, and T. Graham Brown.  And after previously being proclaimed a sell-out, a "limited number" of additional seats have been released for the show.  Those tickets go on sale Friday morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern via Ticketmaster and the Bridgestone Arena Box Office.  The Nashville show is part of Jones' "Grand Tour."  The next stop on his farewell trek is coming up in Joliet, Illinois on March 15th.


There are now 38 stars confirmed for the Nashville show, and the lineup is expected to continue growing.  Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Montgomery Gentry, Josh Turner, and the Oak Ridge Boys are just some of the previously announced participants.


"Wolverton Mountain" Singer Claude King Passes Away At Age 90


Country singer Claude King, best known for his 1962 classic "Wolverton Mountain," has died.  According to, King's son Duane King said the singer was found unresponsive in his bed at his home in Shreveport, Louisiana Thursday morning.  He was 90.  King also had a top ten hit in 1961 with "The Comancheros," which was reportedly inspired by the John Wayne film of the same name.  He was also one of the original members of the popular Shreveport TV and radio show "Louisiana Hayride" whose guests also included Elvis, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, George Jones, among others.  King also dabbled in acting, appearing in several films and the 1982 TV miniseries "The Blue and the Gray."  He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Barbara, and their children.


Canadian Country Singer, Patriot Stompin' Tom Connors Dies


Canadian country star Stompin' Tom Connors has passed away.  Connors' record company A-C-T Records said the singer died at his home in Ontario Wednesday of natural causes.  He was 77 years old.  Connors is best known for his songs, "The Hockey Song" and "Sudbury Saturday Night."  His unwavering patriotism to his native Canada was also a hallmark of his celebrity.  Upon his retirement in 1979, Connors returned his six Juno Awards - Canada's equivalent of the Grammys  --  protesting the Americanization of the national music industry.  He eventually returned to music in 1988. 


Connors rose to fame in the late 1960s, releasing more than 20 albums over his five decade career.  He thanked fans in a statement released by his family after his death Wednesday.  Connors said Canada and its people and places is what drove him to keep "marching on."  He added, "I must now pass the torch to all of you to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future."  Connor is survived by his wife and four children.


Opry Country Classics Returns This Month


Marty Stuart, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Terri Clark are among the stars who'll be featured this spring on Opry Country Classics.  The Thursday night show is returning to Nashville's Ryman Auditorium later this month.  Larry Gatlin is back on board, and will be hosting most of the upcoming weekly shows.  Stuart will be the Spotlight Artist for the April 4th show.  Clark is slated for May 2nd, and the Oaks will help close out the spring season on May 23rd.  Other Spotlight Artists this time around include Pam Tillis, Mel Tillis, and Lorrie Morgan.  The Time Jumpers will be the Spotlight Artist for the first show of the season, which is set for March 28th.


Quick Bites


Little Big Town's Kimberly Schapman is ready to launch a new season of her GAC series "Kimberly's Simply Southern."  On the season two premiere Kimberly will visit Florida and bring a variety of citrus fruits back to her Nashville kitchen.  Craig Morgan will be on hand to help her prepare her dishes.  "Kimberly's Simply Southern" airs on GAC Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.


Jewel is back on the road.  The singer-songwriter launched her "Greatest Hits" tour wiht a show in Englewood, New Jersey Thursday night.  She's performing tonight in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and she'll take the stage in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Saturday.  Jewel is also using these shows to help others.  She's working with Hometown Heroes to stage a silent auction at each of the New Jersey concerts to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief.



Today In Country Music History


Today in 1972, the "Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'" single by Charley Pride was certified Gold.


Today in 1980, Willie Nelson's single "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys" topped the charts.


Today in 1982, the single "Elvira" by Oak Ridge Boys was certified Platinum.


Today in 1984, Ricky Skaggs and his wife, Sharon, welcomed their daughter Molly Kate into the world.


Today in 1991, Dolly Partons' "Eagle When She Flies" album was released.


Today in 1991, the "Love Can Build A Bridge" album by the Judds was certified Gold.


Today in 1993, the "Best Of Vince Gill" album was certified Gold.


Today in 1994, Suzy Bogguss' "Greatest Hits" album was released.


Today in 1996, Garth Brooks' self-titled debut album was certified for sales of seven-million copies.  In addition, his single "The Beaches of Cheyenne" topped the charts.


Today in 2001, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw's "Soul 2 Soul" tour was named the Concert of the Year by "Playboy" magazine readers in the publication's annual Music Poll.  The country couple also took Female and Male Country Vocalist honors, while Faith's album "Breathe" scored Country CD of the Year.  The Dixie Chicks were dubbed Country Group of the Year.


Today in 2003, Emerson Drive's Pat Allingham married his longtime girlfriend, Krista Williamson.


Today in 2004, Kenny Chesney's DVD "Roadcase: The Movie" was screened at selected Regal Cinemas across the country on the night before it was released.


Today in 2005, Montgomery Gentry made a guest appearance on USA's "Nashville Star."


Today in 2005, Craig Morgan's album "My Kind of Livin'" and Deana Carter's CD "The Story of My Life" arrived in stores.


Today in 2005, The Kenny Chesney album "Be As You Are (Songs From An Old Blue Chair)" was certified Gold and Platinum simultaneously.


Today in 2006, Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts announced the nominees for the Academy of Country Music Awards at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.  Brad Paisley was the top contender with six bids.


Today in 2007, Carrie Underwood performed "Wasted" on the "American Idol" results show, marking her second appearance on the program since winning the title two years earlier.


Today in 2009, the funeral for Barbara Mandrell's father Irby Mandrell, who had also served as her longtime manager, was held at Forest Lawn Funeral Home in Goodlettsville, Tennessee.


Today in 2010, Billy Currington's "Country Boys" hit number one on the charts.

Today in 2010, Jason Aldean had a party in Nashville to celebrate the chart-topping success of his hit "The Truth."


Today in 2011, new album releases included Sara Evans' "Stronger" and Charley Pride's "Choices."


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