Nashville News and Notes for MONDAY

Neal McCoy Shares Concerns About Randy Travis' Recovery


Neal McCoy says Randy Travis "looks great."  But the country star tells "People"  magazine that Randy is "still struggling to use both of his hands," and he's not sure if Travis will "ever fully recover" from last summer's stroke.  However, McCoy adds that Randy is "a tough guy with a work ethic," so he's confident Randy is doing everything he can to rebuild his skills and abilities.


Travis has been battling back since suffering a stroke nine months ago.  He made his first public appearance in late January, attending a benefit concert in Dallas featuring McCoy.  Randy's family has said the singer is eager to resume his career and perform for his fans again.  There have been no official updates on Travis' condition since he left a physical therapy center last fall.


Sara Evans Reflects On Male Domination On Country Radio


Sara Evans says she knows she's releasing a new album at a time when there aren't many women getting country radio airplay.  The singer admits she's grateful to be among those few, but adds that it's a phase she hopes will end soon.


Sara adds that she believes there is "definitely room" within country music for "all kinds" of singers and song subjects -- including more female performers.  Evans' new album, "Slow Me Down," will be in stores Tuesday.


George Strait Making Post-Tour Plans


George Strait says after he finishes his "Cowboy Rides Away" tour he'll be hitting the road.  But the country star explains that his upcoming travels will be fun -- not work.


Strait once lived in Hawaii.  He was stationed in the Aloha State when he was in the Army.  The singer says he'd like to find his former home out there, along with "all the old spots" where he "used to hang out."


Strait's "Cowboy Rides Away" tour will come to a close in Arlington, Texas on June 7th.  His next show is coming up in Nashville on March 21st with Sheryl Crow.


Keith Urban Making Plans For Summer Tour


Keith Urban will be returning to the road this summer. says the country star, who just recently completed his "Light The Fuse" tour, is prepping for his next trek.  The new road trip hasn't been officially announced yet.  But it will reportedly be called the "Raise 'Em Up" tour, and it's expected to feature Brett Eldredge and Jerrod Niemann as openers.  The tour page on Urban's website is filling up, and includes a nine-date Australian trek in June followed by shows and festival appearances across the U.S. and Canada in July, August, and September.


Urban will be busy throughout the spring with "American Idol."  He's marking his second year as a judge on the Fox reality series.  He also has a few concerts coming up over the next several weeks.  Keith will be performing at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in Houston, Texas this Friday.


Luke Bryan Would Like To Write With Openers On Current Tour


Luke Bryan says he's really enjoying touring with Lee Brice and Cole Swindell.  The singer tells "Country Weekly" his opening acts aren't just great performers but also his friends, and "it's been fun" being on the road with is buddies.  But Luke admits he'd like for the trek to be a little productive as well.  He says he's hoping the three of them will "get together and write a song one of these days."  Bryan, Brice, and Swindell just wrapped up the first leg of Luke's "That's My Kind Of Night Tour" with a show in Louisiana over the weekend.  They'll team up to launch the second leg of the trek in Vancouver, British Columbia in May.


Luke and Cole share a songwriting history.  They've collaborated on material and Bryan has recorded songs Swindell has written.  Like Bryan and Swindell, Brice began his career as a songwriter.  In addition to his own songs, Lee's many credits include Garth Brooks' "More Than a Memory"and the Eli Young Band's "Crazy Girl."


Justin Moore Enjoying Second Headlining Tour


Justin Moore says he's enjoying his current tour.  The "Off The Beaten Path" trek is the country star's second outing as a headliner, and he explains that he's putting on more of a show this time around.


Justin adds that he's more at ease as a performer on this tour.  But the singer admits that presenting a bigger show is a bigger risk, so while his comfort level on stage has grown he still gets nervous before his concerts.


Moore's next date is in West Lafayette, Indiana this Thursday.  Randy Houser and Josh Thompson will open the show.  Justin is on the road supporting his third album, "Off The Beaten Path," which features the hits "Point At You" and "Letin' The Night Roll." 


Country Stars Set For Monday's T.J. Martell Gala


Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, and Darius Rucker are some of the country stars on board for the T.J. Martell Foundation Honors Gala.  Chesney has been tapped to be a presenter at the event, which will take place at Nashville's Omni Hotel on Monday.  McGraw and Rucker are slated to perform along with Jake Owen, Sheryl Crow, and Blue Sky Riders.  "Nashville" star Charles Esten will serve as the Master of Ceremonies at the gala, which recognizes leaders in a variety of fields including music, sports, and business.  Money raised is going to the T.J. Martell Foundation, which supports research into treatments and cures for leukemia, cancer, and AIDS.


Dierks Bentley, OneRepublic "CMT Crossroads" Preview Posted Online


Dierks Bentley and OneRepublic fans are getting their first glimpse at the artists' upcoming "CMT Crossroads" concert.  A clip of their performance of "Counting Stars" is posted at


In addition to singing together, Bentley and OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder even took on similar looks for the show.  They're both wearing a dark t-shirt and silver necklace under a leather jacket.  Bentley completes his outfit with blue jeans, while Tedder's pants are black.  Dierks and OneRepublic recently taped their episode before an invited audience in Nashville.  Their set also included the OneRepublic's "Good Life" as well as Bentley's "Up on the Ridge" and his current single, "I Hold On."  Their "CMT Crossroads" is slated to debut on CMT on March 21st.


Trisha Yearwood Explains SeaWorld Cancellation


Trisha Yearwood says she's neither a SeaWorld supporter or hater.  The country star tells Connecticut Country's "Electric Barnyard" she was erring on the side of caution when she cancelled last month's appearance at the Florida park, because she "didn't know all the facts" and "didn't want to be involved in a controversy" she "was not educated about."  The singer admits she's "not even a fan of zoos," because she doesn't like the idea of keeping animals in captivity.  But Yearwood adds that she understands the benefits of such facilities and how they're saving some species from extinction.  She also points out that she's performed at SeaWorld before.


Country Birthdays Include


TV and radio personality Ralph Emery is 81.

Daryle Singletary is 43.

Carrie Underwood is 31.

Gloriana's Rachel Reinert is 25.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1979, legendary R&B star James Brown played the Grand Ole Opry.  Some Opry members complained, but Barbara Mandrell said he should've been invited to perform years earlier.


Today in 1981, "I Love A Rainy Night" single by Eddie Rabbitt was certified Gold.


Today in 1992, the "I Never Knew Lonely" album by Vince Gill was released.


Today in 1992, Willie Nelson scored a Platinum album with "Willie Nelson Sings Kristofferson" and a multi-Platinum album with "Greatest Hits (And Some That Will Be)."


Today in 1993, k.d. lang's album "Ingénue" was certified Platinum.


Today in 1993, The "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" album by Travis Tritt was certified Platinum.


Today in 1995, Aaron Tippin's debut album "You've Got To Stand For Something" went Gold.


Today in 1995, Clint Black topped the country charts with "Wherever You Go."


Today in 2000, Vince Gill and Amy Grant were married in a sentimental Nashville ceremony complete with bagpipe players.


Today in 2003, Dixie Chick Natalie Maines sparked a furor Stateside when she told a London concert crowd, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas."


Today in 2004, Martina McBride lent her voice to a new initiative against domestic violence, joining senators and other lawmakers in Washington, DC to unveil a new effort to keep the National Domestic Violence Hotline up-and-running.


Today in 2006, Little Big Town's album "The Road to Here" was certified triple Platinum.


Today in 2006, Carrie Underwood celebrated her birthday by performing onstage with Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart as part of a VH1 tribute to the sisters in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Gretchen Wilson was also part of the event.


Today in 2006, Kenny Chesney climbed into the number-one spot on Billboard's country chart with "Living in Fast Forward."


Today in 2007, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were co-headliners at the University of Nebraska Medical Center's "Share the Beat" benefit in Omaha to raise awareness about organ donation.  Phil Vassar was also on the bill.


Today in 2007, Mark Wills performed at the TASER Foundation's Benefit Concert for Families of Fallen Officers in Fountain Hills, Arizona.  Wills was serving as Honorary Chairman of the TASER Foundation, which provides support to families of police officers fallen in the line of duty.


Today in 2008, Gary Allan topped the list in "Country Weekly" magazine's poll of country music's hottest bachelor.  Chris Young took second place, followed by Keith Anderson, Kenny Chesney, and Chuck Wicks.  Chris Cagle, Blake Shelton, Billy Currington, Big & Rich's John Rich, and Bucky Covington completed the top ten.


Today in 2009, Luke Bryan performed a special Spring Break concert in Panama City, Florida to help keep the revelers entertained and celebrate the release of his EP "Spring Break With All My Friends."  Also arriving in stores was Ronnie Milsap's CD "Then Sings My Soul: 24 Favorite Hymns & Gospel Songs."


Today in 2009, Sugarland resumed their first European trek with a show in Paris.  The duo had cancelled their previous two dates in Italy because singer Jennifer Nettles came down with laryngitis.


Today in 2010, Lady Antebellum played their first headlining show at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.  This was actually the trio's second concert to be scheduled at the Ryman.  Lady A was originally slated to make their headlining debut on March 11th, but the demand for tickets prompted the addition of the second show a day earlier.


Today in 2011, Jerrod Niemann made his national TV debut with an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."


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