Nashville News and Notes for MONDAY

Ronnie Dunn Planning To Participate In Toby Keith's Oklahoma Storm Benefit


Ronnie Dunn says he's on board for Toby Keith's upcoming benefit to help storm victims in Oklahoma.  The former Brooks & Dunn singer tells "Tulsa World" he's let Toby know he's on board for the upcoming charity event.  He says he's also spoken with Garth Brooks about the show, and Brooks has agreed to perform as well.  Dunn explains that "there are a lot of moving parts to work out."  He adds that with Blake Shelton's event last week, he and Brooks decided to keep their "heads down until Blake's thing was done and until Toby took the lead."  Dunn is calling Keith's proposed event the "second wave" of help for the state, following the "first wave" of Shelton's "Healing in the Heartland."  He explains that "there is a need for a second wave" and "there will be a need for months and months to come."  Ronnie says Toby is shooting for hosting his show close to the Fourth of July.  However, Keith's reps say no details on the event have been confirmed yet.


Dunn, who's a former Tulsa resident, has lent his talents to Oklahoma storm relief efforts before.  He's also performed at benefits with Keith following major storms that hit the state in 1999 and 2003.  Keith began planning his benefit after a massive tornado struck his hometown of Moore, Oklahoma on May 20th.  The state faced a second round of deadly tornadoes last Friday.


Darius Rucker Launching Two-Day St. Jude Fundraiser Tonight


Darius Rucker is hosting his 4th annual "Darius and Friends" event this week.  The two-day fundraiser begins tonight with a benefit concert at Nashville's Wildhorse Saloon.  Luke Bryan, Justin Moore, and Radney Foster are among Rucker's friends taking part in the show, along with Dustin Lynch, Randy Houser, Sam Bush, and John Cowan.  Rucker will follow Monday's concert with the "St. Jude Darius and Friends Golf Classic" at the Vanderbilt Legends Club in Franklin, Tennessee Tuesday morning.  Breakfast and lunch are included in the charity game, in which participants get the chance to play 18 holes of golf with the singer and his celebrity pals.  Rucker's "Darius and Friends" concert and golf outing supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.


Lauren Alaina Graduates From High School


Lauren Alaina is now a high school graduate.  Chattanooga, Tennessee's "Times Free Press" says former "American Idol" finalist donned a cap and gown and took part in the commencement ceremony at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia.  She drew some of the loudest applause when her name -- Lauren Alaina Suddeth -- was called and she took the stage to accept her diploma Friday night.  The 18-year-old country singer came to fame in 2011 with her appearance on "Idol."  She took second place on the tenth season of the Fox reality show, finishing the runner up to Scotty McCreery.  Lauren is now working on her second studio album.  She debuted the project's first single, "Barefoot and Buckwild," on "Idol" last month.


George Strait Wraps Up 2013 Portion Of Final Tour


George Strait has wrapped up the first leg of his "Cowboy Rides Away" farewell tour.  But the country superstar reminds his followers that this trek won't be their last opportunity to see him in concert.


Strait played his 2013 finale in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday, performing before a packed house at the Alamodome.  A total of 73-thousand-86 enthusiastic fans were on hand for Strait's hometown show, which set a new attendance record for the venue.  In addition to performing for his fans, Strait also honored the troops during his show.  He presented house keys to a Marine and an Army sergeant, whose families are receiving new homes from the Military Warriors Support Foundation.  The crowd was also treated to opening sets from Miranda Lambert and Martina McBride.


Strait will wrap up his "Cowboy Rides Away" trek next year.  The singer's 2014 dates are expected to be announced in late summer.


Trace Adkins Not Sure About His Musical Future


Trace Adkins sees his current album as a pivotal disc in his career.  The country star tells CMT he thinks he might be "getting to the end" of his "competitive run at radio," and the reception "Love Will..." receives will help him determine his musical future.  He says he "went to the mat" with his "big guns" on this record, and "didn't hold anything back."  Trace adds that there was no better way to set up the release, putting it in stores just days after his high-profile win on NBC's "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice," so if it doesn't get much play he believes he's "probably done."  Adkins explains that he's not "trying to threaten anybody" with his remarks.  He says he's just acknowledging that "we all have our day," and once it's over "you have to have the grace and the dignity to recognize" that "it's time to move on, maybe go do something else."


But even if Adkins is making plans to bring his recording career to an end, he  still has one more album on the way.  The singer says he'll be releasing his first Christmas album this fall.


Brantly Gilbert Won't Include Eric Church Collaboration On Next Album


Brantley Gilbert says he's written a song with Eric Church.  The country singer admits he really likes what they came up with, but he's not planning to record it.  However, Brantley would still like for the track to eventually surface.


Brantley says he considered including it on his upcoming album, but ultimately thought it "didn't really fit" the narrative of the project.  Gilbert doesn't have a timetable for his next studio effort, which will be the follow up to 2010's "Halfway To Heaven."  Brantley is spending this summer opening shows on Tim McGraw's tour.  The next stop on the "Two Lanes of Freedom Tour" is coming up in San Diego, California on Friday.


Blake Shelton Shares Benefits Of Being On "The Voice"


Blake Shelton says "The Voice" is a unique career diversion.  The country star tells OWN's "Oprah's Next Chapter" that the NBC reality show gives him a departure from the monotony of the recording and touring cycle.


Shelton adds that "The Voice" has definitely lifted his profile.  The singer explains that the show has introduced him to a much broader and diverse audience, and now significantly more people outside the world of country music know his name.  And Blake is remaining committed to the show.  He confirmed that he will be back for season five of "The Voice."


Tate Stevens Perspective On Home Life Changes With Music Career


Tate Stevens admits a lot of things have changed for him since winning on "The X Factor" and launching a music career.  But the country singer says his new career hasn't made much of a difference in his home life.


Tate explains that what's really changed is his perspective on his day to day responsibilities at home.  The father of two from Belton, Missouri says he now loves doing some of the more mundane tasks like buying mulch, mowing the lawn, and trimming the hedges.


Taylor Swift's Neighbors Upset Over Guards Blocking Beach Access


Some of the locals in Narragansett, Rhode Island - where Taylor Swift recently purchased a home - aren't happy about having a celebrity in the neighborhood.  According to, many of those who live in the area are taking to Twitter to complain about her security guards reportedly blocking access to the public beach.  One user tweeted her, saying that the "30 plus guards" patrolling the area surrounding her "fortress" even make it uncomfortable to walk on the beach path.  The user added "How humble!"  A source tells that the beach that lies in front of her property is a popular hangout spot for teens and guards are "always asking them to leave." 


Last month, a 22-year-old man from Chicago was arrested after admitting to swimming up to the same beach and reportedly telling police that he wanted to meet the star.


Country TV Today And Tonight


THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO (NBC) Scotty McCreery is a guest.


Country Birthdays Include


Jamie O'Neal is 47.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1949, Hank Williams made his final appearance on the "Louisiana Hayride."


Today in 1949, Elvis Presley got his 8th grade report card, on which he scored an "A" in language, but a "C" in music.


Today in 1972, Donna Fargo topped the country music charts with her single "The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA."


Today in 1982, the album "Strait From The Heart" by George Strait was released.


Today in 1989, Reba McEntire married her road manager, Narvel Blackstock, in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.  He had previously been her steel guitar player.  Reba joked that after she'd promoted him to road manager, she demoted him to husband.


Today in 1989, Steve Wariner's single "Where Did I Go Wrong" was number one on the country charts.


Today in 1990, Mark Chesnutt filmed his first video, "Too Cold At Home."


Today in 1991, Willie Nelson released the album "Who'll Buy My Memories: The IRS Tapes."  Sales of the album helped pay off the 16-million-dollars he owed the federal government in back taxes.


Today in 1997, New album releases included Tim McGraw's "Everywhere," Pam Tillis' "Greatest Hits" collection, and Sons of the Desert's debut, "Whatever Comes First."


Today in 2000, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney were arrested in Buffalo, New York, after Chesney rode off on a mounted police officer's horse and McGraw allegedly attacked sheriff's deputies who attempted to stop him.  The pair were acquitted on all charges related to the skirmish the following May.


Today in 2001, Reba McEntire was among the presenters at the annual Tony Awards ceremony.  She had recently completed her run on Broadway in the show "Annie Get Your Gun."


Today in 2003, Chely Wright hosted her annual Reading, Writing & Rhythm Benefit and Silent Auction in Nashville.  The event featured performances from Terri Clark, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Aaron Lines, Clay Walker and Darryl Worley.


Today in 2003, Toby Keith and Willie Nelson's "Beer For My Horses" hit number one on both the "Billboard" and "Radio & Records" top country singles chart.


Today in 2004, Alabama was among the inductees into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.


Today in 2005, Garth Brooks revealed that he was ending his business relationship with Capitol Records Nashville.  Garth had sold more than 100-million records with the company.  The split was said to be mutual.


Today in 2006, Martina McBride, Vince Gill, and Ronnie Milsap were among the stars who took part in "A Ray Charles Tribute" at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.


Today in 2008, Brad Paisley's "I'm Still A Guy" marked its third consecutive week at number one on the "Country Aircheck" singles chart.


Today in 2008, Steve Wariner received the Hope Award from Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital Hall Family Center for Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes in recognition of his work on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  It was the first time that the award had been given to someone from outside the medical field.


Today in 2008, Charlie Daniels received the 2008 Marine Corps Coordinating Council Tennessee Leadership Award Tuesday at his fan club party in Nashville.  He was honored for his civic activity and his generous contributions to the local veterans community.


Today in 2008, Emerson Drive's Dale Wallace and fishing pro Ramey Colson won the Porter Wagoner Memorial Artists & Anglers Memorial Fishing Tournament, while the group's lead singer Brad Mates and fishing pro Gary Clouse took home third place.  Bryan White and fishing pro Ron Colby took second place.


Today in 2008, Jewel's "Perfectly Clear," Richie McDonald's "I Turn To You," and Neal McCoy's "The Very Best of Neal McCoy" were among the new releases.  In addition, Jennifer Hanson's "Thankful" became available digitally, and former basketball star Wayman Tisdale's album "Rebound," featuring Toby Keith singing a cover of Barry White's "Never Gonna Give You Up," arrived in stores.


Today in 2011, singer-songwriter Andrew Gold died of a heart attack in Los Angeles at the age of 59.  While he's best remembered for the theme to TV's "The Golden Girls," over the course of his career Gold worked with a number of country stars including Wynonna Judd and Vince Gill.  He also released the country album "The Spence Manor Suite" in 2000.


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