Nashville News and Notes for MONDAY

Mindy McCready Dead At 37


The troubled life of country singer Mindy McCready has come to a tragic end.  Sheriff's deputies in Cleburne County, Arkansas are confirming the singer's death, saying McCready was found inside her home in Heber Springs Sunday, and that it appeared she died from a single gun shot wound to the head.  Her body has been sent to the State Crime unit.  No other details have been released.  The 37-year-old singer has had a long history of personal struggle.  She had been in and out of rehab while battling addiction and mental health issues.  McCready was being treated at a facility earlier this month before she was released to an outpatient program.  Her death comes one month after the January 13th death of her boyfriend, David Wilson, at his Arkansas home.  Mindy leaves behind two young sons.


Mindy McCready moved from her hometown of Fort Myers, Florida at the age of 18 to launch her country music career.  She scored a top ten hit with her first single, "Ten Thousand Angels," which was the title track to her 1996 debut album.  The CD also featured Mindy's first chart-topper, "Guys Do It All The Time" as well as the 1997 hit "A Girl's Gotta Do (What A Girl's Gotta Do)."  McCready's next two albums, 1997's "If I Don't Stay the Night" and 1999's "I'm Not So Tough" both cracked the top ten, but the country star never matched the success of her first studio effort.


As the years progressed, Mindy began making more headlines for her turbulent personal life than for her music.  In 2004 McCready was arrested on drug charges and put on probation after pleading guilty.  But she ended up in jail more than once on probation violations.  In May 2005, McCready's ex-boyfriend, Billy McKnight, was arrested for attempted murder after a brutal attack on the singer.  In the months that followed, McCready was twice hospitalized following suicide attempts, the second of which occurred after she learned she was pregnant with McKnight's child.  She gave birth to son Zander in March 2006.  In 2008, McCready came forward with allegations that she'd had an affair with baseball great Roger Clemens when she was just 15 years old.  Clemens denied McCready's claims.


McCready's legal and substance abuse problems led to her losing custody of Zander, who was placed with her mom in Florida.  Mindy spent years battling her parents for custody, which she eventually won in late 2011 -- after taking the boy from her father's home and hiding out with him at boyfriend David Wilson's Arkansas home.  Last April she and Wilson celebrated the birth of their son, Zayne.  McCready attempted to relaunch her music career in 2010 with "I'm Still Here," her first studio effort in eight years.  The album peaked at number 71 on the chart, and neither single from the disc charted.


Country Stars Tweet Their Sadness, Prayers Over Mindy McCready's Death


Country stars are expressing their sorrow over the death of singer Mindy McCready via Twitter.  John Rich says he and Mindy were once labelmates, and calls her death "a tragic end to a talented life."  Jason Aldean and Chely Wright both tweet that they're praying for Mindy's family -- and in particular her two young sons.  Wright adds that she hopes people are "gentle with her memory."  Martina McBride simply tweets, "So sad."  Wynonna Judd calls Mindy a "dear sweet girl," and says the news that she has taken her own life is "just so Unbelievable & so sad."  Wy adds that her heart breaks over "what addiction continues to take from this life."  Earlier this month McCready had sought treatment to address substance abuse and mental health issues.


Sheriff's deputies in Cleburne County, Arkansas confirmed McCready's death on Sunday.  Authorities say the singer was found inside her home in Heber Springs, and that it appeared she died from a single gun shot wound to the head.  Mindy was 37.


Mindy McCready Talks Boyfriend Death In Final Interview With "Dateline"


In what has now become a tragic turn of events, late country singer Mindy MCready described to NBC's "Dateline" just weeks ago, the night she found her boyfriend, David Wilson, barely clinging to life.  


McCready's own life ended tragically Sunday at the age of 37.  Authorities in Arkansas found the troubled singer dead at her home in Heber Springs, the victim of an apparent suicide. Reports say it appears she died from a single gun shot wound to the head.  McCready's death comes just one month after Wilson's death and just weeks after she was ordered to get treatment for ongoing personal issues.  In her interview with "Dateline's" Andrea Canning last month, she denied any suggestions that she may have played a role in the shooting that claimed Wilson's life.  Wilson's death was originally reported as a suicide but authorities say the case is still under investigation.  McCready and Wilson had a son, Zayne, who was born last April.  McCready also leaves behind a six-year-old son, Zander, from a previous relationship. 


Toby Keith Becoming Honorary Texan, Sets San Antonio Rodeo Record


Toby Keith now has two states he can claim as his home.  Next month the Oklahoma-born country star will formally be named an Honorary Texan.  The Texas governor's office intends to present Keith with an official certificate detailing the designation at next month's Texas Heritage Songwriters' Hall of Fame ceremony.  Toby was already expected to take part in the event.  He's slated to perform a tribute to the late Roger Miller, who's earning a posthumous induction.  Other inductees include Ronnie Dunn and The Crickets' Sonny Curtis.  The 8th annual Texas Heritage Songwriters' Association's Hall of Fame Awards show will take place at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas on March 3rd.


Texans are also showing their love for Toby by coming out to his shows.  Keith set a new attendance record at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo with his appearance earlier this month.  His sold-out concert on February 9th drew the largest crowd ever in the event's 64-year history.


Blake Shelton Makes Guest Appearances At Miranda Lambert's Weekend Shows


Blake Shelton's been tapping wife Miranda Lambert to help him promote his latest single.  He made a special guest appearance during Miranda's show in Dayton, Ohio Friday night, and they were captured on YouTube singing his new hit "Sure Be Cool If You Did" together.


At the end of the song Miranda told the crowd that her "amazing husband" had come out with her for the weekend, and the two reprised the performance at Lambert's show in Huntington, West Virginia on Saturday.  Miranda is currently on the co-headlining "Locked and Reloaded" tour with Dierks Bentley.  Their next stop will be in Ames, Iowa on Thursday.  "Sure Be Cool If You Did" is the lead-off single from Shelton's upcoming album "Based On A True Story...," which will hit stores March 26th.


Miranda Lambert Expecting New Pistol Annies Album This Year


Miranda Lambert says she's not sure just when she'll be coming out with her next album.  The country singer tells Pennsylvania's "Entertainment Lancaster" that she's "started writing a little" for the project, but "there aren't a lot of firm plans for it yet."  But Miranda says fans can "definitely" look for a new Pistol Annies record this year.  She adds that she "can't wait to share" more of the trio's "tell-it-like-it-is stories."  Lambert says she really enjoys being a part of Pistol Annies.  She explains that when she, Angaleena Presley, and Ashley Monroe get together they "always have a good time and create pretty original art."  Miranda says the Annies have "kind of a different vibe" from her solo work, and it's "great being able to be adventurous and to get Ashley and Angaleena's voices heard."  She adds that along with Angaleena and Ashley being "amazing singer-songwriters," being part of a group "takes some of the pressure off" that she feels as a solo artist.


Details on Pistol Annies' upcoming sophomore album haven't been revealed yet.  The disc will be the group's follow up to their 2011 debut, "Hell On Heels."  Lambert's next solo release will be her fifth studio album, and the follow up to 2011's "Four The Record."


Jake Owen Happy With New Single


Jake Owen has released his fourth single from his 2011 album, "Barefoot Blue Jean Night."  The country singer says he's happy with the sound of "Anywhere With You."


"Anywhere With You" follows three consecutive chart-toppers from Owen.  Jake's other singles from "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" -- "The One That Got Away," "Alone With You," and the album's title track -- all reached number one on the country charts.  Owen will soon start supporting his latest single on the road.  He'll be opening shows on Jason Aldean's "Night Train" tour, which begins in Bossier City, Louisiana this Thursday.


Carrie Underwood Makes Changes To "Blown Away" Show


Carrie Underwood says her current stage show is different from what her fans saw last fall.  The country singer explains that she had a number of reasons for freshening up her performance.


Carrie also says she knows some fans who saw her in concert last fall will be attending her upcoming shows, and she wants to make sure they'll "be seeing something different."  Underwood adds that her show runs almost two hours, so she wanted to make sure it was engaging for the fans from start to finish.  Carrie just launched the 2013 edition of her "Blown Away" tour last week, with Hunter Hayes as her opener.  Her next stop will be in Billings, Montana on Tuesday.


Eric Chuch Praises Kacey Musgraves


Kacey Musgraves has a fan in Eric Church.  Eric says he's really impressed with the new singer-songwriter, who marked her breakthrough last fall with the hit "Merry Go Round."


Church and Musgraves will be spending some time on the road together this year as part of Kenny Chesney's "No Shoes Nation" tour.  Musgraves is on board as an opener on most of the stops on the trek, while Church will perform at most of the tour's stadium dates.  Both Church and Musgraves will be featured on the tour kick-off, which is set for Tampa, Florida on March 16th.


Carrie Underwood, Julie Andrews Might Meet Via New "Sound Of Music'


Carrie Underwood's turn as Maria von Trapp in an upcoming NBC remake of "The Sound of Music" just might enable her to meet the woman who originated the role.  Julie Andrews tells "The Wall Street Journal" she doesn't know the country singer, but "maybe" they'll get the chance to meet.  Andrews adds that she "would love to know her."  Carrie's also getting a blanket stamp of approval from Andrews, who says she's endorsing the project.  Julie admits that it's "probably time that a remake is allowed," since it's been nearly 50 years since the original film first hit the big screen.  She explains that over the years there have been new versions of "Cinderella" and "'Mary Poppins," and it's "all part of the process of those wonderful properties going out and reaching another audience."


Few details have been revealed about the planned "Sound of Music" remake.  So far Underwood is the only announced cast member for the upcoming production, which is expected to air on NBC as a live TV special in December.


Country Birthdays Include


Juice Newton is 62.

Nickel Creek's Sean Watkins is 36.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1989, Dan Seals' single "Big Wheels In The Moonlight" topped the charts.


Today in 1994, Mark Chesnutt topped the country charts with "I Just Wanted You to Know."


Today in 1998, Travis Tritt and his wife, Teresa, welcomed their first child, daughter Tyler Reese.


Today in 2000, Faith Hill's chart-topping country single "Breathe" became her first top five pop single.  Her previous crossover smash, "This Kiss," had peaked at number seven.


Today in 2000, "InStyle" magazine selected LeAnn Rimes as the "Best-Tressed" celebrity for their March issue.


Today in 2002, Alan Jackson's album "Drive" was certified double Platinum -- just one month after it was released.


Today in 2002, Tim McGraw became the first artist in the history of Broadcast Data Systems -- the company that electronically monitors airplay for "Billboard" magazine -- to have two singles in the top five of "Billboard's" Hot Country Singles chart.  His two charting cuts were "Cowboy In Me" and his duet with Jo Dee Messina, "Bring on the Rain."


Today in 2003, Johnny Paycheck died in his sleep at age 64, following a lengthy battle with emphysema.


Today in 2003, Chely Wright was named the official spokesperson for the Nashville SuperSpeedway for the 2003 racing season.


Today in 2004, Merle Kilgore told Nashville's "Tennessean" newspaper he didn't mean to upset the Cash family when he said he thought it would be funny to see the song "Ring of Fire" used in a Preparation H commercial.


Today in 2004, Montgomery Gentry's video "If You Ever Stop Loving Me" made its debut on CMT.


Today in 2005, Stetson Fragrances announced Shania Twain had agreed to develop her own line of scents for the company.


Today in 2005, Wynonna portrayed a rich, snobby, Manhattan housewife on ABC-TV's "Hope And Faith."


Today in 2005, Blaine Larsen sang the national anthem before the "Rookie Challenge" event in conjunction with the NBA All-Star Game in Denver.


Today in 2006, Charlie Daniels spoke out during his performance at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo in response to Willie Nelson's support of gay cowboys.  Between songs Charlie told the crowd, quote, "I have not seen 'Brokeback Mountain,' and I don't intend to," adding that he has, quote, "too much respect for John Wayne."


Today in 2007, Kenny Chesney appeared on "60 Minutes," in which he explained his annulment from Renee Zellweger and tried to put to rest rumors that he's gay.


Today in 2007, Wynonna Judd and her husband, D.R. Roach, separated.  The two were married in an elaborate ceremony in Nashville in November 2003, but they had been a couple since 1999.


Today in 2007, the series finale of Reba McEntire's sitcom, "Reba" aired on the CW, bringing the show's six-season run to a close.


Today in 2007, Big & Rich sang the national anthem prior to the Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Florida.


Today in 2007, Trace Adkins made an appearance on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." He performed a concert in Austin, Texas to help raise money to renovate a couple's home for their children.


Today in 2009, Toby Keith launched his TK Steelman clothing line with an event at his I Love This Bar & Grill in Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.


Today in 2011, Miranda Lambert played the first of two sold out shows at Billy Bob's Texas in Fort Worth.  With the concert Lambert became the first female artist to perform a sold out show at the famed venue.  It was also the first time Billy Bob's hosted back-to-back sold out shows.


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