Nashville News and Notes for MONDAY

Taylor Swift Among Inaugural YouTube Award Winners


Taylor Swift continues to rack up the honors.  The country-pop superstar is among the winners at the first-ever YouTube Music Awards.  Her hit "I Knew You Were Trouble" captured the nod for YouTube Phenomenon, which recognizes the song that sparked the most fan-created videos.  And Swift's win inspired Arcade Fire's Win Butler to recreate the infamous Taylor Swift-Kanye West moment from the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, and interrupt the acceptance.  Taylor wasn't at the event, but a group of girls who made a Swift-inspired video accepted on her behalf.  And Butler's Kanye-like claims that the prize should have gone to Baauer's "Harlem Shake" drew laughs from the girls as well as the crowd.  Taylor was also up for Artist of the Year, which went to Eminem.  The YouTube Music Awards took place at New York City's Pier 36 on Sunday.


George Strait Receiving ASCAP Founders Award


George Strait is getting recognized for his lengthy and influential career.  The King Of Country will be honored with the ASCAP Founders Award at the performance rights organization's 51st annual Country Music Awards, taking place Monday night in Nashville.  The prize awards songwriters who have made "pioneering contributions to music" and have influenced both their peers and those who have followed.  ASCAP President Paul Williams says Strait certainly fits the bill.  He calls Strait a "living legend" and "a genuine musical pioneer whose influence on country music is immeasurable."  The event will also salute the most performed ASCAP country songs between April 1st of last year and March 31st of this year.


Miranda Lambert Believes Shelton Deserves CMA Entertainer Title


Miranda Lambert says husband Blake Shelton has certainly lived up to his CMA Entertainer of the Year title.  At the 47th annual Country Music Association Awards, which are coming up this week, Shelton could take the CMA's top prize for a second consecutive year.  And Lambert tells "CMT Hot 20 Countdown" it'd be easy to justify giving it to him.  She says Blake "really deserves to be in the spotlight right now," explaining that he's "making country music look great now on national television every week" through NBC's "The Voice."


Shelton and Lambert are each nominated in several categories heading into the event, including Male and Female Vocalist of the Year -- which the country couple has made his-and-hers awards for the last three years.  Miranda says "all this great stuff's been happening" for her and Blake, but she hasn't really "been able to enjoy it" because there's "so much other stuff going on."  Miranda adds that she's considering Googling herself to see just what she's accomplished recently.  The 47th annual CMA Awards will air live on ABC on Wednesday.


Shania Twain Among Stars Featured On New Canadian Stamp


Shania Twain is being honored in her homeland.  The singer is among the stars slated for recognition on the Canada Post's upcoming "Country Legends" stamp series.  Hank Snow and k.d. lang are also included in the five-stamp set, along with Thomas James "Tommy" Hunter and Renée Martel.  The "Country Legends" series is one of several pieces of commemorative postage that will be introduced next year.  Other series will pay tribute to athletes and sports events, historic moments and anniversaries, arts and literature, and other defining Canadian images.  The "Country Legends" series is scheduled to be issued in July.


Sara Evans Excited About Upcoming Album


Sara Evans is pleased with her next album.  The country star just finished recording the material for the disc late last month.  She tells she feels "great" about the project, and calls the last four tracks she cut "amazing songs."  Sara also admits the upcoming CD is vocally "one of the most challenging" records she's ever made, which means her live shows are "going to get hard over the next few years."  But the singer says she's "most definitely comfortable" with her new music.  Evans' upcoming album includes a guest appearance from Vince Gill.  He's featured on a song called "Better Off," which Sara says reminds her of "Patty Loveless from the 1990s."  Her new single "Slow Me Down" is the lead-off release from the still untitled disc, which is expected to be in stores early next year.


Thomas Rhett Says Album Contains His Distinctive Sound


Thomas Rhett admits a lot has changed for him over the two years he recorded his debut disc -- including his songwriting style.  But the country singer says "It Goes Like This" still holds together as an album.


Rhett adds that he's included "something for everyone" on his album.  He says some tracks are more traditional sounding, while others incorporate the pop and rock elements found in modern country music.  Thomas explains it was important to him that his album feature a diverse mix, just like his concerts.  The singer says his shows feature a lot of variety, and he'll play "random" rock, pop, and hip-hop covers and "still make 'em country."  Rhett's "It Goes Like This" is in stores now.


Alabama Wrapping Up Two-Night Stand In Nashville


Alabama is completing a career first.  On Monday the veteran country band is playing the second of two shows at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, which mark their first full concerts ever at the legendary venue.  Alabama frontman Randy Owen says the shows are special to him in part because they're "like a culmination of the dreams and ambitions" of his late father, who taught Randy how to play guitar.  Owen says the only thing that would make the Ryman shows "sweeter" would be to share the stage with his dad.  However, the group is planning to share some of their performance with all their fans.  Alabama is filming select songs, which will be included in an upcoming TV special.  The Ryman shows are part of Alabama's 40th anniversary "Back to the Bowery Tour," which the band will bring to a close later this month.


Justin Moore Confident In His Show


Justin Moore says he knows what he's doing when he takes the stage.  But the country star recalls that on his first major tour some people needed convincing.


Moore says back then he just trusted his instincts, which is what his fans like.  He adds that with his "Off The Beaten Path" tour, his crowds "want to see more of the same," but "in a bigger place with more toys on the stage."  Justin launched his trek over the weekend.  His next show is coming up in Huntsville, Alabama on Thursday.


George Strait Reflects On Playing Concerts


George Strait says it's really special to perform before an audience.


Strait adds that he can't imagine not ever experiencing that feeling again.  While the country great will soon launch his final tour, he's said he's not retiring from performing.  The singer's "Cowboy Rides Away" trek is just marking the end of Strait's formal, extended road work.  The tour will begin in Bossier City, Louisiana on January 9th.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1941, the town of Berwyn, Oklahoma officially changed its name to Gene Autry, Oklahoma.


Today in 1955, the first country music show on New York City's famed Broadway began a one-week run at the Palace Theatre featuring performances from Roy Acuff, Kitty Wells, and Johnnie & Jack.


Today in 1968, the "Wichita Lineman" album by Glen Campbell was released.


Today in 1978, Barbara Mandrell had her first number one hit on the country charts with "Sleeping Single In A Double Bed."


Today in 1981, Hank Williams Jr. made his debut at New York's Carnegie Hall.


Today in 1989, George Strait topped the charts with his single "Ace In The Hole."


Today in 1991, it was announced that Johnny Cash was among the inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 1992.


Today in 1992, Trisha Yearwood's album "Hearts In Armor" and Vince Gill's album "I Still Believe In You" were certified Gold.


Today in 1997, new album releases included Shania Twain's "Come On Over," Mindy McCready's "If I Don't Stay The Night," and Sammy Kershaw's "Labor Of Love."


Today in 1998, the "Come On Over" album by Shania Twain was certified for multi-Platinum sales of six-million.


Today in 2003, Dolly Parton was honored as a BMI Icon at the performing right organization's 54th annual Country Awards in Nashville, while Jeffrey Steele took the title of Songwriter of the Year.  In addition, the Dixie Chicks earned the Robert J. Burton Award for their remake of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide."


Today in 2004, Chris LeDoux announced that he was undergoing radiation treatment for cancer, which was forcing him to cancel three shows.


Today in 2004, Toby Keith broke ground on the Oklahoma City location for his I Love This Bar and Grill.


Today in 2004, Martina McBride played a benefit concert in Tennessee for the Children's Advocacy Center of Hamilton County.  The show also featured pop singer Kim Carnes and "Independence Day" songwriter Gretchen Peters.


Today in 2004, Josh Turner and The Oak Ridge Boys were among the winners at the 10th annual Christian Country Music Awards.  Turner, who also co-hosted the event, earned Song and Video of the Year honors for "Long Black Train," and was named Songwriter of the Year.  The Oaks captured Mainstream Artist of the Year.


Today in 2004, new releases included Toby Keith's album "Shock'N Y'All," Mary Chapin Carpenter's CD "Essential," and Darryl Worley's DVD "Have You Forgotten?"


Today in 2006, Merle Haggard was honored as a BMI Icon at the performing right organization's 54th annual Country Awards in Nashville.  In addition, Toby Keith took the title of Songwriter of the Year and his hit "As Good As I Once Was" was named the BMI Country Song of the Year.


Today in 2006, Tim McGraw was the headliner for the 4th annual "Coming Home Concert" in Rogersville, Tennessee.  The event was a fundraiser for the Hawkins County chapter of the American Cancer Society.


Today in 2006, it was Ray Price Day in Austin, Texas.  The Country Music Hall of Famer also performed at The Paramount Theater that evening.


Today in 2006, Eric Church and Luke Bryan performed at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville as part of the CMA's "Nashville Celebrates Country" activities.


Today in 2006, one-time "Nashville Star" winner Erika Jo appeared in a Tennessee court on a misdemeanor charge of underage alcohol consumption relating to a citation she received three months earlier.


Today in 2007, Alan Jackson's "Precious Memories" got the nod as the Inspirational Country Album of the Year at the Inspirational Country Music Awards in Nashville.  Josh Turner was selected as the Mainstream Country Artist of the Year at the event, while the clip for Emerson Drive's single "Moments" was named Video of the Year.  Emerson Drive also performed at the ceremony, along with Richie McDonald, the Bellamy Brothers, Lee Greenwood, Blue County, Brad Cotter and Tammy Cochran.  Andy Griggs participated as a presenter.


Today in 2008, Toby Keith received the Will Rogers Spirit Award from Tulsa, Oklahoma's Rotary Club of Will Rogers.  The award make note of people whose lives meet the standards of the late American folk hero.  Keith was honored in recognition of his ongoing support of Ally's House,  a charity that helps the families of children in Oklahoma who are battling cancer.


Today in 2008, new releases included Brad Paisley's album "Play," Randy Owen's debut solo album "One On One" and his memoir "Born Country," Randy Travis' DVD "Christmas on the Pecos," and Trailer Choir's self-titled EP.


Today in 2009, Country Week continued on "The Late Show with David Letterman" with Ryan Bingham as the musical guest.


Today in 2010, Rascal Flatts hosted their fourth annual "Behind the Music" private fundraiser in Nashville in support of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt University.


Today in 2010, Taylor Swift's "Fearless 2010 Tour" earned the title of Top Package at the 2010 Billboard Touring Awards.


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