Nashville News and Notes for MONDAY

Country Star Ray Price Not Dead


Ray Price hasn't died.  Reports that the Country Music Hall of Famer had passed away surfaced Sunday, but the singer's wife Janie Price tells "Rolling Stone" that Ray is "still with us."  She explains that Ray's son inadvertently issued a statement about his father's death prematurely.  Price is battling pancreatic cancer, and is in the final stages of the disease, which has spread to other organs.  He had been hospitalized earlier this month, but left last week to spend his final days with his family at his Texas ranch.


Martina McBride, REO Speedwagon Cancel SeaWorld Appearances


Martina McBride is among the latest stars to drop out of the lineup for SeaWorld Orlando's "Bands Brew & BBQ" concert series.  The country star says in a Facebook post that she's decided "the time isn't right" for her to perform at the park, "given all the issues that have been aired recently."  She was slated to perform at the park in March.  The rock band REO Speedwagon also announced over the weekend via Twitter that they wouldn't be appearing at SeaWorld Orlando as originally scheduled in February.


McBride and REO Speedwagon are the latest in a growing list of performers who have dropped out of the event.  Others who have cancelled appearances at SeaWorld in recent weeks includes Willie Nelson and Trisha Yearwood, as well as the groups Barenaked Ladies, Heart, and Cheap Trick.


Taylor Swift Makes Sizable Donation To Nashville Symphony


Taylor Swift continues to support Nashville's music community. says the country-pop superstar marked her birthday last Friday with a 100-thousand-dollar donation to the Nashville Symphony.  Reps for the singer met with local musicians union leader Dave Pomeroy to deliver the money.  Upon receiving the funds, Pomeroy praised Swift as "an amazing talent" as well as "an incredibly generous artist."  He added that they "applaud her fantastic contribution to Music City?s renowned orchestra."  Swift turned 24 on Friday.  She just wrapped up the Australian portion of her "Red" tour with a show in Melbourne on Saturday.


Martina McBride To Release New Album In March


Martina McBride is doing something a little different with her next album.  The country star's upcoming release, "Everlasting," is a collection of R&B and soul covers.  Martina admits the project is stylistically "a bit of a departure" for her.  But she says she felt it was time for her to "stretch" and "explore a little bit."  McBride adds that she believes her fans will like the album, because it features her singing "some of the best songs of all time done in a very classic style."  She's also sharing a preview of the disc.  She has a clip of her rendition of "If You Don't Know Me By Now" posted on her website.  Martina's "Everlasting" will be in stores on March 4th.


Kip Moore Shares Expectations Of Lady A Tour


Kip Moore says he's really looking forward to hitting the road with Lady Antebellum.  The country singer is one of the openers on the upcoming trek.  And he says he intends to put on a show that's hard to follow.


But Moore says he doesn't expect the trek to have an adversarial atmosphere.  The singer explains that while there'll likely be "a lot of trash talking," he believes there'll also be "a lot of camaraderie."  He adds that he thinks they'll also spend some time writing songs together.  Lady Antebellum will launch their "Take Me Downtown" tour in Peoria, Illinois on January 10th.  Kacey Musgraves is also on board as an opener.


Kellie Pickler Striving For First Number One Single


Kellie Pickler says she's determined to one day have a song that tops the charts.  The country singer tells Nashville's "Tennessean" that she wants her music to be played on the radio, and she's "never going to stop working toward that."  Her current single, "Little Bit Gypsy," is in the rotation at approximately 50 stations across the country, and Kellie would like to see that number increase to at least 140.  She adds that as she continues her career, she's "going to keep knocking on the door and keep giving them songs and keep hoping they play it."


"Little Bit Gypsy" is the second single from Pickler's latest album, "The Woman I Am."  To date, Kellie's best chart run was with "Best Days Of Your Life," which peaked at number nine on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in August 2009.


Rosanne Cash Recalls Her Southern History Tour


Rosanne Cash is recalling a special road trip she took with her husband, John Leventhal.  She says that after visiting the Oxford, Mississippi home of William Faulkner -- one of John's favorite authors -- they continued on to Greenwood, Mississippi.


Rosanne adds that not far from Money, Mississippi is the Tallahatchie Bridge, a landmark made famous in Bobbie Gentry's 1967 hit "Ode To Billie Joe."  Cash has chronicled her trip to Southern musical, cultural, and historical sites for the latest edition of "Oxford American" magazine.


Sheryl Crow Featured On TNT's "Christmas In Washington"


Sheryl Crow is adding to the holiday festivities.  The singer is among the artists featured on the upcoming TNT special "Christmas In Washington," which was taped at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC on Sunday.  "USA Today" says Sheryl contributes a rendition of "Please Come Home For Christmas" to the show.  Other stars taking part in the event include Train frontman Pat Monahan, the Backstreet Boys, Janelle Monael and Anna Kendricks.  Hugh Jackman hosted the show.  President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and other dignitaries in the audience for the concert, which raised money for the Children's National Medical Center.  "Christmas In Washington" will air on TNT on Friday.


"Duck Dynasty" Family Sharing Holiday Memories


"Duck Dynasty's" Jase Robertson says it was at Christmas that he learned just how dedicated his father, Phil, was to duck hunting.  The reality TV star adds that the moment is one of his favorite holiday memories.


Jase adds that the fire was already out -- Phil just walked away from the clean up and repair work that needed to be done.  Miss Kay says her favorite Christmas memory dates back to her first celebration with Phil once they were back together after a separation.  She admits Phil is "not a gift buyer," but he had a big box for her under the tree that year, which was full of pots and pans.  Kay says it "was wonderful."


Willie and Korie's memories revolve around their children.  Korie says she'll never forget taking part in a live nativity scene at the mall.  She recalls that she played the part of Mary, and John Luke, who was just a baby at the time, had been picked to portray Jesus.  She says he "did great" and was "so cute," adding that John Luke "was probably the only baby Jesus that was sucking a pacifier."  Willie says his son Will was born in December, right before Christmas, and that first celebration with their newborn child is his favorite holiday memory.


Country TV Today And Tonight


CHRISTMAS WITH SCOTTY MCCREERY AND FRIENDS (GAC) Brett Eldredge, Jana Kramer, and Gloriana are among the "friends" joining Scotty for the holiday show.

ALABAMA & FRIENDS (GAC) Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Florida Georgia Line are among the stars who join Alabama for a special tribute concert.

BACKSTORY (GAC) Blake Shelton is featured.


Country Birthdays Include


Jeff Carson is 50.


Today in Country Music History


Today in 1994, Duane Propes, of Little Texas, married his wife, Cindy.


Today in 1997, Carl Perkins suffered what his family described as a, quote, "severe" stroke.  In reality, he suffered a series of strokes, from which he never recovered.  He died on January 19th, 1998.


Today in 1999, LeAnn Rimes' self-titled album was certified Gold.


Today in 1999, Republican supporters of then-presidential candidate George W. Bush were treated to performances from Tracy Byrd, Lee Greenwood, Loretta Lynn, Lorrie Morgan, Travis Tritt and Hank Williams Jr. at Nashville's Wildhorse Saloon.


Today in 2000, after making his 36th guest appearance on the show, country star Brad Paisley was formally invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 2002, George Strait's single "She'll Leave You With A Smile" went to number one on the country charts, becoming his 50th chart-topping hit and giving him the distinction of being the first person to have 50 number one country singles.  In setting the new record he surpassed the late Conway Twitty in number one country hits.


Today in 2003, "Billboard" announced that the Dixie Chicks hatched the year's most successful country tour, through November 18th.  The ladies' "Top of the World" outing, which raked in 62-point-two-million dollars, was also number five overall -- only bested by the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Cher and Fleetwood Mac.


Today in 2003, Shania Twain's "UP!" CD was certified for multi-platinum sales of ten-million by the RIAA.  This accomplishment made Shania the only artist in history to have three consecutive albums certified ten-times platinum.


Today in 2006, Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook went on their honeymoon.  The two band mates were married back in May, but because of the group's busy schedule they hadn't yet had the chance to get away for a private celebration of their union.


Today in 2009, Kenny Chesney ranked eighth on "Billboard" magazine's Highest-Grossing Touring Acts Of The Decade list.  He was the only country star to make the top ten.


Today in 2009, Luke Bryan had his first chart-topping hit with "Do I."


Today in 2010, Garth Brooks launched his series of flood relief concerts in Nashville.  He performed nine concerts in six days, raising three-point-five-million-dollars for Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's flood relief efforts.  Brooks' wife Trisha Yearwood was also featured at the shows, along with Steve Wariner and singer-songwriter Karyn Rochelle.


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