Nashville News and Notes for MONDAY

Eric Church's Album Poised To Open Big


Eric Church's new album is expected to dominate the charts this week. says sales of "The Outsiders" could see first-week sales as high as 300-thousand, making it the best-selling country album since Luke Bryan's "Crash My Party" last August.  The disc is anticipated to open at number one on the Country Albums chart and the all-genre Billboard 200, marking his second consecutive set to top both charts.  "The Outsiders" is Eric's follow up to 2011's "Chief."  His new album includes his current single, "Give Me Back My Hometown."


Pam Tillis Headlining "Hee Haw" Tribute Benefit Concert


Pam Tillis is paying tribute to a classic country comedy series, and helping others in the process.  The singer is the headliner for "Hay Y'All: An All-Star Salute To Hee Haw."  Lorrie Morgan, Craig Morgan, and Joe Diffie are on board for the show as well, along with Lauren Alaina, The Grascals, Danielle Peck, Elizabeth Cook, and others.  The event, featuring a mix of music and comedy bits in honor of "Hee Haw," is set for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville on March 4th.  Money raised will go to the Rochelle Center, which provides assistance to people with disabilities and their families.


Branch & Dean Proud Of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Affiliation


Branch & Dean's Steve Branch says he initiated the country duo's involvement with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Branch, who lost his son to the disease last March, explains that it was important to him to support the organization.


Branch says Dean was immediately on board with the idea.  He adds that when they contacted the Cysitc Fibrosis Foundation and told them about their single "The Dash," CFF reps made them official Celebrity Ambassadors for the organization.  "The Dash" is a tribute to Steve's son, and is on Branch & Dean's self-titled debut album.  The duo is giving a portion of the money from sales of both the single and the album to the CFF.


Chris Young OK With Being Single For Now


Chris Young admits he'd like to have a girlfriend.  But the singer tells "Country Weekly" he really is too busy these days for a relationship, saying he feels like he's "married to the road."  Chris explains that once he wraps up his run with Brad Paisley, which includes shows both in the U.S. and Europe, he'll be opening show for George Strait and touring with Dierks Bentley.  The country star also has his own headlining dates scheduled.  But Chris adds that he's thrilled to have so many opportunities to play live, and to provide the soundtrack to his fans' lives.  Young's next show will be at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena with Paisley on February 22nd.


Scotty McCreery Growing Up Quickly Through His Career


Scotty McCreery says he's making a fast transition into adulthood.  The country star explains that he's matured since launching his music career just a few years ago.


Scotty was a 17-year-old high school student when he came to fame in the spring of 2011 through "American Idol."  He's now 20 and attending college while playing concerts and working on music for his third album.  McCreery adds that his latest songs reflect his new-found maturity and the personal changes he's experienced over the past few years.  Scotty's upcoming studio effort will be the follow up to his 2013 release, "See You Tonight."


Justin Moore Pleased With Successful Hunting Trip


Justin Moore says he really enjoyed his recent hunting trip.  The country star adds that the outing was a success.


But Moore says deer hunting isn't something he simply does for sport.  The singer explains that he now has a well-stocked freezer, and the deer he got will feed his family throughout the year.


Moore took his hunting trip while on a break from his "Off The Beaten Path" headlining tour.  His next top on the trek, which also features Randy Houser and Josh Thompson, is coming up in Winnie, Texas on February 28th.


CMT To Showcase Artists Who Influenced The Stars


Country music fans have another way to learn about the artists who influenced their favorite performers, through a new segment being added to CMT's "Hot 20 Countdown."  The network is polling a variety of country stars to discover who has been a big inspiration to them.  The top 40 influences will then be revealed, one each week, on the show.  The segment, "CMT All-Time Top 40: Artist's Choice" will debut on the March 15th episode with the artist taking the number 40 spot.  The countdown will continue throughout the year, with the number one influence being unveiled in December.  New episodes of "CMT Hot 20 Countdown" debut each Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.


The list of stars taking part in the CMT survey ranges from legends such as Merle Haggard and Charley Pride to relative newcomers like Florida Georgia Line, Kacey Musgraves, and Hunter Hayes.  Taylor Swift, Kenny Rogers, Lady Antebellum, and Blake Shelton are also weighing in, along with Luke Bryan, Rosanne Cash, Alabama, Dolly Parton, Keith Urban, Eric Church, and others.


Monday Is First Anniversary Of Mindy McCready's Death


One year ago today, Mindy McCready died.  The troubled country star took her own life at her Arkansas home on February 17th, 2013, just a month after her boyfriend David Wilson, who was also her youngest son's father, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Mindy was 37.  McCready came to fame in the mid-1990s with the launch of a promising music career.  She had a hit with her debut album, "Ten Thousand Angels," and the chart-topper "Guys Do It All The Time."  But subsequent releases never matched the success of her first studio effort.  And as the years progressed Mindy began making more headlines for her turbulent personal life than for her music.  She was jailed multiple times for probation violations stemming from a 2004 drug arrest, and in 2005 was brutally attacked by her ex-boyfriend -- the father of her oldest son, Zander.  McCready attempted suicide twice in the months that followed.


More drama came in 2008, when Mindy alleged that she'd had an affair with baseball great Roger Clemens when she was just 15 years old.  Clemens denied McCready's claims.  Meanwhile, her substance abuse issues led to her losing custody of Zander -- followed by years of legal battles in an effort to get him back.  During her custody battle Mindy returned to music.  Her 2010 album, "I'm Still Here," was her first studio effort in eight years.  McCready's musical comeback failed, but she had success on the personal front.  She won custody of Zander in late 2011, after taking the boy from her father's home and hiding out with him at Wilson's Arkansas home.  At the time, Mindy was also pregnant with Wilson's son, Zayne.


Mindy lost her sons again after David died.  Following Wilson's death, Arkansas authorities took Mindy's sons and ordered her into a treatment program for mental health and substance abuse issues.  The boys were still in foster care when their mother died, but were eventually placed in permanent homes.  Zander, who'll turn eight next month, was sent to live with his father.  Zayne, who at just ten-months-old had become an orphan, was given to Wilson's relatives.


Quick Bites


Kip Moore has a special show coming up tonight.  He is on board for the 5th annual CountryMusicIsLove Concert, taking place in Nashville.  Dustin Lynch and the Brothers Osborne will also perform.  The event raises money for the City of Hope.


Luke Bryan is making his way back to Greensboro, North Carolina.  His show Monday night is a make-good for his scheduled performance last Thursday, which was postponed due to the weather.  But Luke isn' the only country star who's had to make adjustments to his tour because of the latest winter storm.  The weather also kept Darius Rucker from taking the stage in Hershey, Pennsylvania last Thurday as planned.  His make-good date has been set for March 3rd.


Country TV Today And Tonight


GREAT AMERICAN PLAYLIST (GAC) The fans pick the music for the video request show.


Country Birthdays Include


Larry the Cable Guy is 51.

Bryan White is 40.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1969, rock legend Bob Dylan went to Nashville to record with Johnny Cash, but only two songs cut at those sessions ever saw the light of day.  Later that year, Dylan was one of the first guests on Johnny's TV show.


Today in 1995, Garth Brooks' album "The Hits" topped the country charts.


Today in 1995, five of Tanya Tucker's albums were certified Gold, including "Strong Enough to Bend."


Today in 1995, Wade Hayes scored his first number one hit, "Old Enough to Know Better."


Today in 2001, Brad Paisley was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 2004, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers' album "Live at Billy Bob's Texas" arrived in stores.


Today in 2004, Toby Keith's "American Soldier" topped "Radio & Records" Country Top 50 chart.


Today in 2008,  Brooks & Dunn were among the artists who helped mark the 50th Daytona 500.  The country duo joined Michael McDonald, Kool and the Gang, and Chubby Checker for the pre-race festivities.


Today in 2009, Taylor Swift's "Love Story" hit number one on the CHR/Top 40 chart, marking the first time in Billboard's Nielsen BDS history that a country crossover hit has reached the top spot on the pop list.


Today in 2009, Bucky Covington arrived at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo to kick off his first USO Tour.  During the seven-day trek the singer also visited troops and their families in the Netherlands and three bases in Germany.


Today in 2009, Vince Gill played his second of three special shows as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's 2009 Artist-in-Residence.  The performances took place at the Museum's intimate, 213-seat Ford Theater.


Today in 2009, new releases included Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel's "Willie and the Wheel - Deluxe Version" and Alison Krauss' "Indiana Fiddlers Gathering."


Today in 2013, Mindy McCready died in an apparent suicide at her home in Arkansas.  She was 37.


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