Nashville News and Notes for MONDAY

Carrie Underwood Marks Fifth Opry Anniversary With Special Show


Carrie Underwood is celebrating five years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.  The country star honored the occasion with a special Opry performance Friday night.  The first show included a special presentation including a video highlights clip covering her Opry performances over the years.  Afterwards Carrie admitted she was "getting a little teary-eyed" as she thought about how she felt "when all of that was happening."  She added that she still feels "blessed and honored" to take the Opry stage.


Underwood also received a special print from Opry General Manager Pete Fisher commemorating the milestone.  In his presentation he told Carrie she has "have far surpassed the high expectations" the Opry had in making her a member, and that she's "not only so good for country music," but also "so good for the Grand Ole Opry" and "so good for America."  Underwood became an Opry member in May 2008, receiving her welcome from Garth Brooks.


Tate Stevens Thrilled To Make Grand Ole Opry Debut


Country newcomer Tate Stevens says it meant a great deal to him to play the Grand Ole Opry.  The season two "X Factor" winner admits he was deeply moved just to be asked to performed on the famed country music radio show.


Stevens made his Opry debut during Saturday night's show.  Tate says it was an emotional experience for him because it was part of his dream.  He explains that he's always said when he gets the chance to play the Opry, he'll know he's "made it."


Team Opry Wins City Of Hope Charity Softball Game


Craig Campbell is trying something new.  The country singer told Nashville's "Tennessean" the City of Hope Celebrity Softball challenge marked the first time he'd ever played the game, and he was "just trying not to get hit by the ball."  But Craig was on the winning team.  He was playing for the Grand Ole Opry, which beat the syndicated radio show "After MidNite with Blair Garner" despite a rough start.  "After MidNite" was up nine-to-three after two innings, and the Opry gave up 13 runs in the fourth.  But the final score was Team Opry 29, Team After MidNite 27.  Scotty McCreery, Florida Georgia Line's Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, David Nail, Chuck Wicks, and Phil Vassar were among the players, along with Greg Bates, Brett Eldredge, "Nashville" star Jonathan Jackson, and former Olympian Scott Hamilton.  The game took place at Nashville's Greer Stadium on Saturday to raise money for the City of Hope.


Taylor Swift Expecting To Start Writing For New Album Soon


Taylor Swift says it won't be long before she begins working on her next album.  The country-pop superstar explains that she's getting those internal indications that she'll soon be penning new material.


Swift says she's found that writing songs for an album is a two-year process for her, with the first year's worth of work typically getting "thrown away."  She explains that those initial songs are often good but they're too similar to her previous record, and the material she pens in the second year "usually sounds like the next project."


Swift's next album will be her follow up to 2012's "Red."  That disc has generated several hits including "22," "I Knew You Were Trouble," "Begin Again," and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."  Her latest single from "Red" is the Ed Sheeran collaboration "Everything Has Changed."


Shooter Jennings Weds


Shooter Jennings is now a married man. says the son of the late Waylon Jennings tied the knot with his girlfriend Misty last week.  The couple announced their wedding in a rather cryptic form.  Both Shooter and Misty posted pictures on Instagram of a customized whiskey bottle label similar to Jack Daniels, which has the words "Jennings Misty & Shooter" in place of the brand name, and the date June 4th, 2013 in place of the "Old No. 7" insignia.  In addition, the location name has been switched from "Tennessee" to "California."  Misty has a number of other wedding-related photos posted on her page as well.


Jennings hasn't divulged much publicly about his current relationship.  He was previously involved with actress Drea de Matteo, and has two children with her -- a five-year-old daughter and two-year-old son.


George Jones Honored With Monument, CMA Fest Event


The country music community took time to remember the late George Jones during this year's CMA Music Festival.  Randy Travis, John Rich, Jamey Johnson and others joined the Country Music Hall of Famer's widow, Nancy, at a special event during the four-day fan gathering, which just wrapped up in Nashville on Sunday.  Nancy and the country stars shared their memories of country music's legendary Possum at "Remembering George Jones."  Travis also debuted the new song "Tonight I'm Playin' Possum," which will be available via iTunes on Tuesday.


Meanwhile, fans who ventured out to visit Jones' final resting place got to see the design of the monument that's in the works for George.  A plaque was posted at Nashville's Woodlawn Cemetery featuring a drawing of the monument, along with the message that the structure is expected to be installed in the coming weeks.  The 81-year-old Jones died at a Nashville hospital on April 26th, two months into his year-long final tour.


Country Stars Try To Let Fans Know How Much They're Appreciated


Fan club gatherings are a big part of the annual CMA Music Festival.  Gary Allan says he had a great time with his supporters at the event he hosted, which included a screening of his latest video, "Pieces."

Easton Corbin says he not only sees his fans at the CMA Fest, but meets many of his followers throughout the year at shows and other events.  He adds that he's always glad to spot a familiar face, and he always does what he can to let them know how much he appreciates their support.


Tim McGraw Says Success In Music Business Takes Many Forms


Tim McGraw says the term "success" in the music business really has multiple meanings.  The country superstar admits he's done very well, but that doesn't mean he's met all his career goals.


McGraw adds that every aspiring artist is on a dual path.  He explains that while singers are striving to become big stars, they also know they can consider themselves successful and fortunate in their career if they're simply able to make their living doing what they love.


Country TV Today And Tonight


GOOD MORNING AMERICA (ABC) LeAnn Rimes is a guest.

JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) Lady Antebellum performs on this repeat episode.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1964, Buck Owens recorded two number one singles -- "Love's Gonna Live Here" and "Together Again."


Today in 1978, Willie Nelson's "Stardust" album went to number one.


Today in 1985, the album "Have I Got A Deal For You" by Reba McEntire was released.


Today in 1986, the NItty Gritty Dirt Band celebrated 20 years in the business with a performance at Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado.


Today in 1988, Ricky Van Shelton joined the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 1989, Clint Black topped the country charts with his single "Better Man."  The song was his debut hit and the first of four consecutive number one songs for him.

Today in 1994, Vince Gill hit number one with the single "Whenever You Come Around."


Today in 1998, Patty Loveless' album "Long Stretch Of Lonesome" was certified Gold.


Today in 1998, former Oak Ridge Boys member Steve Sanders was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gun shot wound.  He was 45.


Today in 1999, John Berry was a part of President and Mrs. George Bush's "Milestones and Miracles" birthday celebration in Houston.  He, Larry Gatlin, and Michael W. Smith performed "O Sole Mio" together, accompanied by a 52-piece orchestra.


Today in 2001, the fourth and final George Strait Country Music Festival, which featured Asleep at the Wheel, Sara Evans, Alan Jackson, Lonestar, Brad Paisley, and Lee Ann Womack, wrapped up in Dallas.


Today in 2002, Bellamy Brother Howard Bellamy and his girlfriend, songwriter-producer Sharon Vaughn, were married at Bellamy's ranch in Florida.


Today in 2003, George Strait's album "Honkytonkville" and Billy Ray Cyrus' CD "Time Flies" arrived in stores.


Today in 2003, Lonestar's best-of collection, "Greatest Hits: From Here To There," debuted at number one on the sales chart, while the group's single "From My Front Porch Looking In" hit number one on the "Radio & Records" Country Top 50 chart.


Today in 2003, Faith Hill was featured in "Glamour" magazine promoting the remake of the movie "Stepford Wives."


Today in 2005, Carrie Underwood made her debut at the Grand Ole Opry during her first CMA Music Festival as a performer.  She sang Roy Orbison's "Crying."  Trisha Yearwood and Rascal Flatts had flowers delivered to her dressing room for the occasion.


Today in 2005, at the CMA Music Festival, Travis Tritt and Trisha Yearwood took part in the CMA Celebrity Close Up question and answer session, and Steve Azar and Chalee Tennison gave separate cooking demonstrations.  Steve and Chalee, as well as Mark Wills and Brad Cotter, were among those who took part in the T.G.I. Fridays Sports Challenge.  Alan Jackson, Rascal Flatts, Travis Tritt, Sara Evans, Craig Morgan, SHeDAISY, Blake Shelton, and Josh Gracin were the performers at the Nightly Concert at the Coliseum.


Today in 2006, almost six weeks after their wedding, Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook announced their marriage. The small ceremony took place in Nashville and included fellow group members Kimberly Roads and Phillip Sweet.


Today in 2006, at the CMA Music Festival, Craig Morgan hosted a fishing tournament and Martina McBride raised nearly 145-thousand-dollars at her 23rd Annual YWCA Celebrity Auction.  She also took the stage for the Nightly Concert at the Coliseum, joining Brad Paisley, Craig Morgan, Billy Ray Cyrus, Craig Morgan, Carrie Underwood, Josh Turner, and Miranda Lambert for the show. 


Today in 2006, on the heels of his "Nashville Star" win, Chris Young made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 2006, Kenny Chesney climbed to the top of Billboard's country chart with "Summertime."


Today in 2007, on the last day of the CMA Music Festival, Tanya Tucker, Billy Dean, and Ty Herndon participated in the Michael Peterson/New Holland Tractor Race, which promoted energy independent in the U.S.  Brad Paisley was the headliner for the final Nightly Concert at LP Field.  Big & Rich also performed, and during their set received a plaque marking the triple-Platinum status of their debut CD "Horse Of A Different Color."  The 2007 edition of the event set a new attendance record, drawing more than 191-thousand fans over the course of the four days.


Today in 2008, Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole introduced a resolution to honor Toby Keith for his commitment to the United States Armed Forces.


Today in 2008, new releases included Montgomery Gentry's "Back When I Knew It All."


Today in 2009, Alan Jackson made a rare club appearance, performing a free show at the Cadillac Ranch in Nashville to mark his 20th anniversary as a recording and performing artist.  The show also served as a warm-up of sorts for his summer tour.


Today in 2009, Rodney Atkins served as the Grand Marshal of The Fifth Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade.  Numerous other country stars, including Lonestar, Ty Herndon, Steve Holy, the Oak Ridge Boys, Justin Moore, the Lost Trailers, and Jeff Cook, as well as Collin Raye, Chris Young, Brad Cotter, Sammy Kershaw, Lynn Anderson, and Brenda Lee took part in the event which rolled through downtown Nashville.


Today in 2009, Marty Stuart hosted his 8th annual Late Night Jam at the Ryman Auditorium.  The Oak Ridge Boys, Cherryholmes, Tanya Tucker, and Connie Smith also performed at the charity show, supporting MusiCares.


Today in 2009, Carrie Underwood, Montgomery Gentry, Joe Nichols, and Jimmy Wayne were among the country stars who took part in the 19th Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge.  Other participants included Josh Turner, Luke Bryan, Justin Moore, Chuck Wicks, and Julianne Hough, as well as Jake Owen, Jason Michael Carroll, Keith Anderson, Randy Houser, Darius Rucker, and Mark Wills.


Today in 2009, Chuck Wicks and Jessica Harp hosted the 3rd annual Country Weekly Fashion Show & Concert.  Keith Anderson, Chris Young, John Michael Montgomery, Justin Moore, and Mark Wills were among the participants, along with Aaron Tippin, Trent Willmon, The Oak Ridge Boys' Richard Sterban, Crystal Shawanda, Carter's Chord, and Joey + Rory.  The event supported the charity Musicians On Call.


Today in 2010, The Judds officially opened the CMA Music Festival with a morning performance at the Riverfront Park Stage.  After their set Naomi and Wynonna Judd announced plans for their fall "Last Encore" trek, The Judds' first tour in ten years.  In addition, the duo took part in their first meet and greet at the event since the 1990s.  Tim McGraw also ended his lengthy absence from the fan festival, making his first appearance at Fan Fair Hall in ten years.  Meanwhile, Brooks & Dunn made a surprise appearance at Fan Fair Hall, and stayed for a three-hour autograph session.


Today in 2010, Danny Gokey made his CMA Music Fest performance debut, turning in a set during the first of the event's four Nightly Concerts at LP Field.  Other performers included Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, Carrie Underwood, and Lady Antebellum, while The Oak Ridge Boys sang the national anthem to launch the show.


Today in 2010, Blake Shelton hosted the inaugural NRA Country sporting clay shoot.  The National Rifle Association's sporting event, held in conjunction with the CMA Music Festival, raised money for The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's flood relief programs.


Today in 2010, Chris Young was the guest of honor at an event celebrating the multi-week chart-topping success of his hit "The Man I Want To Be" as well as his birthday -- Chris turned 25 two days later.


Today in 2011, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina made their debuts on the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 2011, Shania Twain made her first appearance at the CMA Music Festival in 15 years.  She hosted a brunch at the event, and held a book signing for her autobiography "From This Moment On."


Today in 2011, Carrie Underwood arrived in Australia on her first visit "down under."  She was on a promotional tour behind the Australian and New Zealand release of "Play On: Deluxe Edition."


Today in 2012, Little Big Town hosted their sixth annual "Ride For A Cure" charity motor cycle ride and post-ride All-Star Jam Session, which featured  Lauren Alaina, Love And Theft, and others.


Today in 2012, Big & Rich's Big Kenny Alphin hosted the 29th annual YWCA Celebrity Auction, in support of the Y's domestic violence awareness and prevention programs in Middle Tennessee.


Today in 2012, the annual CMA Music Festival wrapped up in Nashville, drawing a record crowd of more than 71-thousand fans for the concerts, fan club parties, meet-and-greets, autograph signings, and other activities over the course of the four-day event.


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