Nashville News and Notes for MONDAY

Tim McGraw, Faith Hill Deny Divorce Rumors


Tim McGraw and Faith Hill say their marriage is as solid as ever.  The country couple is once again refuting rumors that they're splitting up.  Hill tells "People" the rumors "seem to be running like crazy right now," which she finds "perplexing."  McGraw adds that rumors that he and Faith are divorcing have plagued them "since the first week" of their marriage.  He says he and Hill "don't even think about it" anymore, unless they're concerned that the stories are affecting their children.  But Tim adds that their three daughters have "been around it, too, so they laugh it off" as well.


McGraw and Hill have been married for 17 years.  The singers gave their final "Soul2Soul" shows of this year at The Venetian in Las Vegas over the weekend.  They'll return to the venue with more performances starting January 17th.


First Stars Announced For American Country Awards


Florida Georgia Line is on board for the American Country Awards.  The duo, who is one of the top nominees heading into the event, is among the first participants confirmed for the upcoming ceremony.  They're part of the performance lineup along with Darius Rucker and Sheryl Crow, who'll be teaming up for the event.  In addition, Scotty McCreery, Chris Young, Lauren Alaina, and Joe Nichols are also slated to appear.  Trace Adkins and NASCAR star Danica Patrick are on board to host the fan-voted show.  The 4th annual American Country Awards will take place in Las Vegas and air on Fox on December 10th.


Chris Young To Perform On Holiday Adoption Special


Chris Young is showing his support for adoption.  The country star is among the celebrities on board for CBS' annual special "A Home For The Holidays."  Chris is slated to perform on the show along with R&B star Ne-Yo and this year's host Celine Dion.  More stars are expected to be added to the lineup.  In addition to the music, "A Home for the Holidays" includes inspirational stories from around the country about the ways adoption has enhanced the lives of both children in need of a home and the families who have welcomed them.  "A Home For The Holidays With Celine Dion" will air on CBS December 18th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.


Ricky Skaggs Launching Country Music Hall's Artist-In-Residence Shows


Ricky Skaggs is taking his place of honor as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's 2013 Artist-in-Residence.  And with his two concerts he'll showcase the two different sides of his career -- with a little help from his friends.  Brad Paisley, Emmylou Harris, and Peter Frampton are among those slated to join Ricky for Monday's show, dubbed "Country Boy At Heart."  Meanwhile, Skaggs will welcome Alison Krauss, Del McCoury, Bruce Hornsby, and others for Tuesday's "Bluegrass Rules" concert.  Both shows will take place at the CMA Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.


The Country Music Hall of Fame's Artist-in-Residence program recognizes performers who have made significant contributions to American popular music.  Skaggs has been tapped for his lengthy career, during which the Hall says he's developed a "unique hybrid of traditional American music."


Taylor Swift Wins, George Strait Honored At Billboard Touring Awards


Taylor Swift is doing something no other artist has done before.  The country-pop superstar got the nod for Top Package at the 10th annual Billboard Touring Awards, marking the second time she's earned the honor.  But it's the first time she -- or any artist -- has captured the category when up against Kenny Chesney.  Swift previously earned the prize in 2010, when Chesney wasn't nominated.  Top Package recognizes the highest-grossing tour with three or more acts on the bill.  Swift won with her "Red" tour, which also featured Ed Sheeran while Florida Georgia Line, Brett Eldredge, Casey James, or Joel Crouse appeared at select stops.  Chesney was in the running with his "No Shoes Nation Tour," which also included the Eli Young Band and Kacey Musgraves along with Eric Church or Zac Brown Band at stadium dates.  The category's third nominee was Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake "Legends Of Summer" trek with DJ Cassidy.


Meanwhile, George Strait was honored with the 3013 Legends of Live award.  The "King of Country" joked about his lengthy career in accepting the award, saying he "started touring about 1890."  He then recalled how in 1981 he began to realize his "dream of going out on tour and playing for the fans out there" after performing in "the bars and honky tonks and stuff in the '70s."  Strait also admitted there have been times over the years that aspects of touring "got a little hard" for him, and "the burnout thing was happening."  But he said that overall he's had "a wonderful career."  George will finish his last formal tour next year.  He'll launch the final leg of his "Cowboy Rides Away" tour in Bossier City, Louisiana on January 9th.  The 10th annual Billboard Touring Awards took place in New York City Thursday night.


Josh Thompson Enjoying Justin Moore Tour


Josh Thompson says he's thrilled to be a part of Justin Moore's "Off The Beaten Path" tour.  The singer tells "Country Weekly" the trek -- which also features Randy Houser -- marks the first time he's hit the road with artists who are also good friends of his, and he's loving it.  He says the behind-the-scenes aspect of the tour "has already been phenomenal, and the show is over the top."  But Josh jokes that such an extensive run could end up testing those friendships.  He suggests someone should ask him in May -- once the tour is over -- if he, Justin, and Randy are still buddies.  With the tour Thompson is supporting his new single, "Cold Beer With Your Name On It," his first release in two years.


Lady A Gets Nostalgic With New Song


Lady Antebellum is giving a nod to the past with one of the new tracks on "Golden Deluxe."  Band member Dave Haywood explains that the country trio is honoring some of their earliest influences with "And the Radio Played On."


Haywood adds that there's a nostalgic aspect to "And the Radio Played On," and he loves how it's done.  He says the rundown of titles takes listeners back to when they first heard those songs, which he thinks is more powerful than actually detailing childhood memories in the lyrics.  "And the Radio Played On" is one of three new original tunes on the deluxe edition of Lady A's album "Golden," which is in stores now.


Florida Georgia Line Experiencing A "Dream Come True"


Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard admits 2013 has been truly memorable for him and Brian Kelley.  The country star says they're having a hard time comprehending in everything that's happened since January. 


In 2013 Florida Georgia Line topped the charts with "Get Your Shine On" and "Round Here," while their debut hit "Cruise" returned to number one more than once -- including an 18-week run in the top spot following the April release of the Nelly remix of the song.  Their current single, "Stay," is also a top ten hit.  In addition, the duo was a winner at this year's ACM, CMT, and CMA Awards.  Florida Georgia Line also launched their first headlining trek this fall, and will be on the road into December.  Their next stop on the "Here's To The Good Times Tour 2013" is coming up in Huntington, West Virginia on Thursday.


Kip Moore Shares His Passion For Surfing


Kip Moore says music isn't his only passion.  The country star admits he also loves to surf.  He explains that riding the waves provides a necessary refuge for him.


Moore adds that surfing helps him "recharge."  And the singer plans to end his year out on the water.  Kip says he'll be treating himself to a surfing trip to Maui right after Christmas.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1970, Jerry Lee Lewis and his second wife, Myra -- who was also his cousin -- were divorced.  Their 1958 wedding, which took place when she was just 13 years old, caused such a scandal that it effectively ruined his career.  However, the only thing illegal about the marriage was the fact that Jerry hadn't divorced his first wife when he wed Myra.


Today in 1994, Patty Loveless' album "When Fallen Angels Fly" went Gold.


Today in 1996, Jeff Foxworthy's "Crank It Up - The Music Album" went Gold.


Today in 1996, Brooks & Dunn released the single "A Man This Lonely."


Today in 1998, Garth Brooks' TV special "Garth Brooks: Double Live" aired on NBC.  The show was actually performed live three times, for three different time zones.


Today in 1998, Reba McEntire was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.


Today in 1999, Faith Hill's album "Breathe" debuted at number one on the "Billboard" pop albums chart with sales of 242-thousand copies its first week out.


Today in 2002, Jamie O'Neal left the country for a USO Tour of the Balkans and the Mediterranean Sea.  She was overseas through the end of the month.


Today in 2003, new releases included Reba McEntire's album "Room to Breathe," which was her first studio album in four years, and Shania Twain's DVD "Shania: UP! Live in Chicago."


Today in 2004, Tim McGraw and the Warren Brothers played a benefit concert for Florida State University in Tallahassee to help the school build a new career center and establish a baseball scholarship in the name of Tim's late father, Tug McGraw.


Today in 2004, Montgomery Gentry and Trent Willmon took part in the second annual Country Cruise to the Caribbean.  In addition to performances and meet-and-greets with the artists, the trip included sightseeing in Key West and Cozumel.


Today in 2005, Shania Twain received the Order of Canada, the highest honor that can be awarded to a Canadian citizen.  The singer was honored in a ceremony in Ottawa, Ontario.


Today in 2006, Alison Krauss rode the Santa Train from Kingsport, Tennessee to Pikeville, Kentucky, traveling 110-miles through 14 towns across Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky to help distribute 15-tons of toys and gifts for the holidays to thousands of people in the Appalachian area.


Today in 2006, Stonewall Jackson celebrated his 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 2007, Carrie Underwood took three trophies at the 35th annual American Music Awards.  In the Country categories she was named Favorite Female Artist and her CD "Some Hearts" got the nod for Favorite Album.  She also received the multi-genre T-Mobile Text-In Favorite Artist honor.  Rascal Flatts and Tim McGraw were also winners at the event.


Today in 2008, Julianne Hough sang on "Dancing With the Stars."  At the time she was also competing as one of the show's professional partners, working with Disney Cody Linley.


Today in 2008, Sugarland taped a four-song mini concert in New York City which aired as part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade TV coverage.


Today in 2008, new CD releases included Blake Shelton's "Startin' Fires," Randy Houser's "Anything Goes," and the compilation disc "Boots & Spurs," which included material from Brooks & Dunn, Clint Black, and Tracy Byrd.


Today in 2010, Eddie Montgomery announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.


Today in 2010, Trace Adkins and Craig Morgan were the co-headliners for the "Greater Together 2010" concert to launch the three-day Grand Reopening event at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.


Today in 2011, Scotty McCreery took part in the unveiling of his high school's sports mural, which was updated to include him in the picture.  In addition to achieving fame through "American Idol," Scotty was also a pitcher on Garner High School's baseball team.


Today in 2012, Luke Bryan received his first American Music Award, getting the nod for Favorite Male Artist-Country.  Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum, and Carrie Underwood were also among the winners.


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