Nashville News and Notes for MONDAY

Willie Nelson Receiving Martial Arts Black Belt Monday


Willie Nelson can really throw down -- and not just musically.  The country legend, who's turning 81 this week, could throw most people down with his martial arts skills.   He'll receive his fifth degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul in a ceremony in Austin, Texas on Monday.  Nelson, who also has a black belt in Kung Fu, took up the modern Korean martial art when he was in his 60s.  He's trained with a teacher over the past two decades.  Willie discussed his practice of martial arts with "Men's Health" magazine last year, saying it's "a good form of exercise, especially as you get older."


Taylor Swift Among Winners At Radio Disney Music Awards


Taylor Swift is getting recognition at the Radio Disney Music Awards.  The country-pop superstar took two categories at the event.  Her single with Ed Sheeran, "Everything Has Changed," was named Musical Mashup - Best Musical Collaboration while her "Swifties" got the nod for So FANtastic - Fiercest Fans.  Selena Gomez was the big winner at the event, earning three awards, while Demi Lovato and Fifth Harmony are also two-time honorees.  One Direction and Justin Timberlake are among the winners as well.  The 2014 Radio Disney Music Awards took place in Los Angeles on Saturday.


Glen Campbell Documentary Earns Nashville Film Festival Award


The new Glen Campbell documentary is getting recognition at the Nashville Film Festival.  "Glen Campbell...I'll Be Me" earned the Gibson Music City/Music Films Grand Jury Award at the event.  The movie is being praised for its "intimate and honest portrayal of a music legend's battle with Alzheimer's," and the way it "captures a family's commitment to love and laugh through the adversity of a debilitating disease."  "I'll Be Me" had its world premiere at the Nashville Film Festival earlier this month.


The documentary features the music legend and his family as he went public with his Alzheimer's diagnosis and wrapped up his career with a final, farewell tour.  Filmmakers also include footage of other stars reflecting on Campbell and his condition, as well as how Alzheimer's has affected their own families.


"Nashville'" Charles "Chip" Esten Proud To Support St. Jude


"Nashville" star Chip Esten says he didn't have to think twice about signing on to play the post-race concert for this year's St. Jude Country Music Marathon.  The actor and singer explains that he has a very personal reason for supporting the medical facility.


But Esten says he's been familiar with the efforts of St. Jude all his life, explaining that the hospital was his grandmother's "big charity."  Chip, who portrays Deacon on "Nashville," adds that being able to contribute by performing at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena was just "ridiculously cool," and something he'll do "every time."  The concert, which also featured Esten's "Nashville" co-star Clare Bowen and country newcomer Chase Rice, took place Saturday night.


"Nashville's" Clare Bowen Explains Being Barefoot On Stage


High heels are not part of "Nashville" star Clare Bowen's stage attire.  The actress and singer says when she's performing music she opts to not have anything at all on her feet.


Bowen, who plays Scarlett on the ABC drama, adds that for some songs she needs to be barefoot.  She explains that she keeps count on her toes, which she can't do when they're bound up in shoes.  Clare launched the "Nashville" Concert Tour in Chicago over the weekend with several other cast members.  Their next performance is coming up in Washington, DC on May 4th.  "Nashville" airs on ABC on Wednesday nights.


Willie Nelson Inducted Into "Austin City Limits" Hall Of Fame


Willie Nelson is being honored by a TV series that he helped launch.  The country legend is among the inductees into the newly established "Austin City Limits" Hall of Fame. says Willie, who 40 years ago played the pilot episode of the PBS series, was the first performer for Saturday's event.  Nelson played for an hour, welcoming Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris to join him on various songs.  Actor Matthew McConaughey handled Willie's induction.  The other honorees included the late Stevie Ray Vaughan and his backing band Double Trouble, who also performed, as well as "ACL" creator Bill Arhos, and the late University of Texas football legend Darrell Royal.  Highlights from the induction ceremony will be included in a PBS special commemorating the 40th anniversary of "Austin City Limits," which will air in October.


George Jones' Widow Hosts Anniversary Memorial At Grave Monument


The late George Jones' widow wants to make sure the country legend isn't forgotten.  Nashville's "Tennessean" says roughly 300 people turned out for Nancy Jones' memorial event Saturday, on the first anniversary of the Country Music Hall of Famer's passing.  At the event she joked about the country icon's troubled past, saying some prayers over the past 12 months likely haven't been answered because God has been "VERY busy" with George.  She also planted two dogwoods -- Jones' favorite tree -- at the grave site.  Nancy added that she's "never going to let George's legacy die," and intended hold an event every year.  The Gatlin Brothers' Larry Gatlin was among the stars who took part in the ceremony, which took place at Jones' monument at Nashville's Woodlawn Cemetery.


Eric Church Actively Fighting Ticket Scalpers


Eric Church admits he "can't stop ticket scalpers completely."  But the country star says his goal is to "make it harder for them" to take advantage of his fans.  Last Friday Church's team cancelled orders for more than 900 tickets to his upcoming show in Minneapolis, Minnesota after identifying the buyers as scalpers.  Those tickets then went back on sale later in the day.  Eric explains that many performers "just want to sell as many tickets as they can," and don't care what the buyer does after making their purchase.  But he does.  Church says he wants the scalpers to "back off," so his fans don't have to pay more than a ticket's face value in order to see his show.


Church will launch "The Outsiders Word Tour 2014" in Bossier City, Louisiana on September 11th.  Minneapolis is the third stop on the trek.  Church will perform at the Target Center on September 16th.


Eli Young Band Appreciate Their College Fans


The guys in the Eli Young Band say they'll always have a fondness for the college crowd.  Frontman Mike Eli explains that they feel indebted in particular to their alma mater, North Texas State University, because its where they formed the band.  Guitarist James Young adds that many of their first fans were students.


Mike says the "Greek Life" promotion the Eli Young Band did earlier this year was one way the group has tried to honor their original fan base, as well as their fraternity roots.  The singer explains that he, James, bassist Jon Jones, and drummer Chris Thompson met "because of Sigma Nu."  Now, more than a decade later, the Eli Young Band is out promoting their fifth studio album, "10,000 Towns."  They'll be performing in Spokane, Washington on Thursday.


Country TV Tonight


THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON (NBC) Keith Urban is the musical guest.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1978, the "Here You Come Again" album by Dolly Parton was certified Platinum.


Today in 1984, the Judds' first number one hit, "Mama He's Crazy," debuted on the charts.


Today in 1989, George Strait's "Beyond The Blue Neon" album was certified Gold.


Today in 1993, John Michael Montgomery earned his first Gold album with his debut, "Life's a Dance."


Today in 1994, John Berry's son, Sean Thomas Berry, was born.


Today in 1995, Lorrie Morgan's "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" hit the charts.


Today in 1998, Clint Black and Trisha Yearwood made their TV acting debuts on separate CBS programs.  Clint co-starred with his wife, Lisa Hartman Black, in the TV movie "Still Holding On: The Legend of Cadillac Jack," while Trisha took on the role of Lieutenant Commander Theresa Coulter on "JAG."


Today in 2000, Rascal Flatts made their Grand Ole Opry debut.


Today in 2002, "Alan Jackson Day" was declared in Chula Vista, California.


Today in 2003, the Dixie Chicks appeared nude on the cover of "Entertainment Weekly" magazine.


Today in 2003, Jessica Andrews' album "Now" debuted at number four on "Billboard's" Top Country Album chart.


Today in 2004, Randy Travis took two Doves at the 35th annual Gospel Music Awards.  He earned trophies for Country Album for the disc "Worship and Faith" and Country Recorded Song for "Three Wooden Crosses."


Today in 2005, Brooks & Dunn's Kix Brooks was acknowledged by his home state at the Louisiana Legends Awards Gala and Auction in Baton Rouge.


Today in 2005, Eddie Montgomery lost his footing on a speaker cabinet during the third song in a Montgomery Gentry show in Asheville, North Carolina.  After the 90-minute set, he had X-rays and confirmed he'd broken his left wrist.


Today in 2005, Kenny Chesney performed three songs on NBC's "Today" show.  On the country music edition of the show the pregnant Martina McBride also revealed that she was expecting another daughter.


Today in 2006, Neal McCoy gave a free show for military personnel and their families at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri as part of the Spirit Of America Tour.


Today in 2007, Diamond Rio's Marty Roe, Jimmy Olander, and Gene Johnson took part in the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon in Nashville to raise money for Big Brothers and Sisters of Middle Tennessee.


Today in 2007, Sara Evans performed a post-race concert following the Country Music Marathon in Nashville.


Today in 2008, reports began to circulate about Mindy McCready's alleged affair with baseball star Roger Clemens.


Today in 2008, Alan Jackson celebrated the success of his chart-topping hit "Small Town Southern Man" with an event at ASCAP's Nashville office.


Today in 2009, country great Vern Gosdin, known as "The Voice," died at a Nashville hospital, not long after suffering a stroke.  He was 74.


Today in 2009, Chuck Wicks and Julianne Hough were eliminated on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," ending the competition in sixth place.


Today in 2009, new releases included Jason Michael Carroll's "Growing Up Is Getting Old," Collin Raye's "Never Going Back," and Dean Brody's self-titled debut album.


Today in 2010, Toby Keith was in South Korea for a two-day tour of U.S. military bases.


Today in 2010, Rascal Flatts made a guest appearance on "American Idol."  In addition to performing their hit "Unstoppable," the group also teamed up with Shakira on her song "Gypsy."  It was Rascal Flatts' third "Idol" appearance.  The performed on the finale in 2005 with "Idol" winner Carrie Underwood, and returned two years later for the charity event "Idol Gives Back."


Today in 2010, George Strait set the new record for ticket sales for a single show at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, with 51-thousand tickets sold for his concert a few days later at the venue.  Strait had set the previous record, selling 47-thousand tickets for his Alamodome concert in 1997.


Today in 2010, Emerson Drive frontman Brad Mates and his wife Jana celebrated the birth of their first child, son Tyler Robert Mates, in Nashville.


Today in 2012, The Mavericks made their concert return with a headlining performance at the Stagecoach festival in Indio, California.  It was the group's first show since the end of their 2004 tour.


Today in 2013, Willie Nelson played an 80th birthday concert in Austin, Texas, which he made a fundraiser for the fire department in West, Texas, which a week earlier had lost equipment in a deadly fetilizer plant explosion.  Nelson also donated some of the funs to the fire department in his hometown of Abbott, Texas, which is less then ten miles away from West.



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