Nashville News and Notes for MONDAY

Rascal Flatts Announce "Live & Loud" Tour


Rascal Flatts is making plans to return to the road.  The group will head out later this spring on their "Live & Loud" tour.  The trio will kick off the 34-date trek in Jones Beach, New York on May 31st.  Rascal Flatts will make stops throughout North America on the tour, which will wrap up more than four months later in Lubbock, Texas on October 4th.  The Band Perry, who was also part of Rascal Flatts' "Changed" tour, is once again on board as an opener along with "The Voice" winner Cassadee Pope.  Cassadee worked with Blake Shelton on the NBC reality show, and took the title last December at the end of season three.


Rascal Flatts just wrapped up the "Changed" tour earlier this month with their first-ever shows in Australia.  The group also has one appearance scheduled in advance of the "Live & Loud" tour.  They'll be performing on the Grand Ole Opry on March 30th.


Rascal Flatts' "Live & Loud" Tour Dates


5-31 - Jones Beach, NY, Nikon at Jones Beach Theatre

6-2 - Holmdel, NJ, PNC Bank Arts Center

6-6 - Atlanta, GA, Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood

6-7 - Tampa, FL, Live Nation Amphitheatre Tampa

6-8 - West Palm Beach, FL, Cruzan Amphitheatre

6-14 - Boston, MA, Comcast Center

6-15 - Hartford, CT, Comcast Theatre

6-16 - Saratoga Springs, NY, Saratoga Performing Arts Center

6-23 - Grand Junction, CO, Country Jam USA

6-27 - Detroit, MI, DTE Energy Music Theatre

6-28 - Cleveland, OH, Blossom Music Center

6-29 - Indianapolis, IN, Klipsch Music Center

7-18 - Eau Claire, WI, Country Jam USA

7-19 - Stateline, NV, Harvey's Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena

7-23 - Paso Robles, CA, California Mid State Fair

7-25 - Cheyenne, WY, Cheyenne Frontier Days

8-2 - Gilford, NH, Meadowbrook

8-3 - Bomanville, ON, Mosport Park Raceway/Boots & Hearts Festival

8-9 - Wichita, KS, INTRUST Bank Arena

8-10 - Tulsa, OK, BOK Center

8-16 - St. Louis, MO, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater

8-17 - Chicago, IL, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

8-18 - Sioux City, IA, Tyson Events Center

9-5 - Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend Music Center

9-6 - Pittsburgh, PA, First Niagara Pavilion

9-7 - Darien Center, NY, Darien Lakes Performing Arts Center

9-12 - Phoenix, AZ, Desert Sky Pavilion

9-13 - San Diego, CA, Sleep Train Amphitheatre

9-14 - Irvine, CA, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

9-26 - Virginia Beach, VA, Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach

9-27 - Raleigh, NC, Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion

9-28 - Washington, DC, Jiffy Lube Live

10-3 - Las Cruces, NM, Pam American Center/New Mexico State University

10-4 - Lubbock, TX, United Spirit Arena


Blake Shelton's Week: "The Voice" Premiere Monday; New Album Tuesday


Blake Shelton has a couple of big things coming up this week.  He's once again serving as a coach on NBC's "The Voice," which is launching its fourth season Monday night.  The country star has been involved with the reality series since the start, and has done very well on the show.  In season one Team Blake's Dia Frampton was the inaugural runner-up behind Javier Colon.  Shelton did even better the second time around, mentoring Jermaine Paul to victory on season two.  On season three, which wrapped up last December, two Team Blake singers went to the finale and finished on top.  Cassadee Pope was named the winner, while Terry McDermott finished in second place.  Blake's buddy Adam Levine is also returning to the show.  They're joining Shakira and Usher, who are making their debuts on "The Voice" filling in for original coaches Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green.


Blake's new album will follow on Tuesday.  "Based on a True Story..." features the hit "Sure Be Cool If You Did," which recently became the fastest-rising chart-topper of his career.  The song went to number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in just eight weeks.


Alan Jackson's Cancer Charity Benefit A Success


Alan Jackson is being commended for his support of the Colon Cancer Alliance.  The country star played a benefit concert for the organization last week in Nashville.  The sold-out show also featured a set from opening act Craig Campbell.  The CCA's Charlie Kelley is crediting Jackson and Campbell with giving the charity a major fiscal boost.  He says the CCA's Blue Note Fund is "fully funded" for this year, and the organization will be able to "help over 400 families with 120-thousand-dollars in financial assistance."  Both Jackson and Campbell have been touched personally by the disease.  Alan became active with the CCA after his wife, Denise, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010.  Craig was just eleven years old when he lost his father to the disease.  Jackson headlined the CCA's 5th annual Stars Go Blue benefit at the Ryman Auditorium last Wednesday night.


Shelton, Aldean, Lady A Among ACM Special Award Recipients


Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, and Lady Antebellum are receiving new recognition from the Academy of Country Music.  They're among this year's special ACM award recipients.  Shelton has been tapped for the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, which acknowledges "unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement" for his success on "The Voice."  Aldean has earned the Crystal Milestone Award in recognition of the way his career has advanced over the past year.  Lady A is getting the Jim Reeves International Award for their efforts in taking country music beyond the U.S. borders.  Other honorees include The Judds and the late Keith Whitley, who are receiving the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award as innovators in country music.  Guy Clark and the late Hank Williams are being honored for their songwriting with the Poet's Award.


The ACM Special Awards are among the honors that won't be included in next month's televised ACM Awards event.  The winners will be celebrated in a special event in Nashville on September 10th.  The 48th annual ACM Awards will take place in Las Vegas, and air on CBS on April 7th.


Select Academy of Country Music Special Award Winners


Crystal Milestone Award (recognizing a specific achievement) - Jason Aldean

Gene Weed Special Achievement Award (recognizing unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement) - Blake Shelton

Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award (recognizing innovators in country music) - Keith Whitley and The Judds

Jim Reeves International Award (promoting country music outside the U.S.) - Lady Antebellum

Poet's Award (for songwriting) - Guy Clark and Hank Williams


Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton Shut Out At Kids' Choice Awards


Neither Taylor Swift nor Blake Shelton are getting slimed this year.  Both country stars were shut out at the Kids' Choice Awards, which took place in Los Angeles over the weekend.  Taylor entered the event a three-time nominee.  She was up for Favorite Female Singer, which went to Katy Perry, while her hit "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" fell to One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful."  Taylor was also in the running for Favorite Voice From An Animated Movie for her work in the film "The Lorax," but Adam Sandler got the nod for "Hotel Transylvania."


Shelton, meanwhile, was a contender for the Favorite Male Singer honor, which went to Justin Bieber.  In addition, neither "The Voice," which features Shelton as a coach, nor "American Idol," which now has Keith Urban as a judge, got the nod for Favorite Reality show.  That prize went to "Wipeout."  The 26th annual Kids' Choice Awards aired live on Nickelodeon Saturday night.


Thompson Square Don't Mind Penning Fewer Songs For Second Album


Thompson Square's Keifer Thompson says he and Shawna didn't contribute quite as much to their new album as they did to their first studio effort.  But he tells that they have no objections to recording songs written by other people.  He says they've "been very fortunate" to have developed friendships and collaborate with some great songwriters whom they call on for songs.  Either Keifer, Shawna, or both of them had a hand in writing nine of the 12 songs on their 2011 self-titled debut disc, but only co-wrote six of the 13 tracks on "Just Feels Good."  Keifer admits it was really a matter of time, explaining that as Thompson Square took off they were only left with a few days each month to write.  But he says they're still very happy with the material they have for "Just Feels Good."  The new album features the duo's current single, "If I Didn't Have You," which Keifer and Shawna did help write.  "Just Feels Good" will be in stores on Tuesday.


Kenny Chesney Encouraging Rebellion With "Pirate Flag"


Kenny Chesney says "Pirate Flag" is about exercising your rebellious streak.  The country superstar explains that it can be done even in a small way, like playing music too loud or taking a three-day weekend for yourself.  Chesney adds that his concerts also reflect the song's attitude.


Chesney is currently on his "No Shoes Nation" tour.  He just played a two-night stand in Uncasville, Connecticut over the weekend.  Kenny's next performance is coming up in Lafayette, Louisiana on April 4th.  "Pirate Flag" is the lead-off single from Chesney's upcoming album "Life on a Rock," which will be in stores on April 30th.


Jake Owen Constantly Looking To Improve His Show


Jake Owen says he's always thinking about his show.  The country star admits that even when he's on stage performing, his mind is mulling over what he's doing and how he can make improvements.


Owen believes it's important to continually reconsider his show, because "if you're ever complacent or content with where you are you don't have visions to go further."  Owen says he often caught himself making mental show plans during last fall's "Summer Never Ends" tour, which was his first headlining trek.  This year Jake is opening shows on Jason Aldean's "Night Train" tour.  Their next stop will be at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia on April 13th.  Owen will also be performing at the Toad Lick Music Festival in Dothan, Alabama on April 12th.


Darius Rucker Likes A&E's "Duck Dynasty"


Darius Rucker admits he's a "Duck Dynasty" fan.  The singer says there are a number of things that attract him to the A&E series.


Rucker says he stumbled upon the show on his tour bus one day.  He recalls that A&E was showing a "Duck Dynasty" marathon, which had him completely engrossed.  Darius says he started watching and suddenly he noticed that five hours had passed and he was still tuned in.  Rucker teams up with some of the stars from the show on his new video.  "Duck Dynasty's" Jase, Si, Korie, and Willie Robertson are among those who make a guest appearance in the clip to "Wagon Wheel."



Country Birthdays Include


Ronnie McDowell is 63.



Today In Country Music History


Today in 1939, "Billboard" magazine introduced the hillbilly chart, which has since become the country music chart.


Today in 1950, Hank Williams charted what would be come the number one single "Long Gone Lonesome Blues."


Today in 1960, Roy Orbison recorded "Only the Lonely."


Today in 1961, Elvis Presley made his last concert appearance for eight years with a show on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.  The show was a benefit concert, which raised 62-thousand-dollars for the USS Arizona memorial fund.


Today in 1966, Buck Owens played a sold-out concert at New York City's Carnegie Hall.


Today in 1969, Roy Orbison married his second wife, Barbara, in Nashville.


Today in 1972, Donna Fargo's "The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA" charted.


Today in 1985, Kenny Rogers performed for the first time in months following surgery to remove nodules from his vocal cords.


Today in 1989, Garth Brooks made his chart debut with "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)."


Today in 1991, Alan Jackson became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 1994, Alan Jackson scored another number one hit with "(Who Says) You Can't Have It All."


Today in 1997, new album releases included Tanya Tucker's "Complicated" and Alison Krauss' "So Long, So Wrong."


Today in 2002, the re-release version of LeAnn Rimes' "I Need You" album arrived in stores. While the original version of the project had ten tracks, the new edition had bonus cuts including "Light The Fire Within," the theme song of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.  There were also brand new radio mixes of four songs.


Today in 2003, Reba McEntire's WB sitcom, "Reba," was renewed for a third season on the network.


Today in 2004, the Georgia State House of Representatives voted unanimously to name a stretch of Interstate 85 in honor of Alan Jackson.  The measure had already passed in the State Senate.


Today in 2005, Blaine Larsen made his first career appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America" during his first-ever trip to New York City.


Today in 2006, Buck Owens died at his home in Bakersfield, California of heart failure at the age of 76.


Today in 2006, Chely Wright performed at a USO show during the "Welcome Home" celebration at Fort Stewart, Georgia for members of the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division.


Today in 2006, Mark Wills performed a benefit concert for the TASER Foundation for Fallen Officers & Untouchables Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club. Money raised benefits families of fallen officers.


Today in 2006, Kenny Chesney's "Living in Fast Forward" was spending its third week at number-one on Billboard's country chart.


Today in 2007, Billy Currington sang the National Anthem prior to the Food City 500 NASCAR race in Bristol, Tennessee.


Today in 2007, Willie Nelson, Ray Price and Merle Haggard embarked on their "Last of the Breed" tour.  They were backed by Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel.


Today in 2008, new releases included "Clover Country," a compilation CD supporting the 4-H featuring Vince Gill, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, and Faith Hill, as well as Sugarland, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Luke Bryan, and Alabama.


Today in 2009, Lee Ann Womack performed at the T.J. Martell Foundation's first ever Honors Gala, which took place in Nashville.  Country Music Hall of Famer Frances Preston and former Vice President Al Gore were among those recognized at the event.


Today in 2009, Phil Vassar, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Lee Greenwood were among the celebrities who appeared on "Americans Feeding Americans," a Hallmark Channel special supporting the charity Feed The Children.


Today in 2010, Jamey Johnson, Mac McAnally, and Mac Davis were inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.


Today in 2011, the Texas prosecutor handling Willie Nelson's marijuana possession case proposed a deal in which the country legend could resolve the matter by paying a 100-dollar fine and performing approximately two-and-a-half-minutes of community service -- in the form of singing his 1975 chart-topper "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" in court.


Today in 2011, it was George Strait and Reba McEntire Day in New Mexico.  The singers' performance at the Pan Am Center in Las Cruces set a new attendance record of 13-thousand-44.  The previous record had been set by Elton John, who in 2005 entertained a crowd of 12-thousand-560.


Today in 2012, the Eli Young Band and the Randy Rogers Band were the big winners at the second annual Texas Regional Music Awards, which took place in Arlington, Texas.


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