Jason Aldean Expected To Top Chart With "Night Train"
Jason Aldean appears poised to land his first album at the top of next week's Billboard 200 with his latest effort, "Night Train." Billboard.com says the album is expected to see first-week sales in the 400-thousand range to capture the number one spot on the all-genre chart. If the predicted sales figure holds true it will also be Jason's biggest first-week sales yet. It will more than double his previous best, which he earned with "My Kinda Party." That album launched with 193-thousand in sales, and debuted on the chart at number two.
Taylor Swift Has Busy "Red" Release Week Planned
Taylor Swift has a lot planned in conjunction with the arrival of her new album, "Red," which hits stores on Monday, October 22nd. The country-pop superstar will kick off her promotion with a release day appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America." She'll return to "GMA" on October 23rd for a special Times Square performance, and that night serve as the first guest and musical performer on CBS' "The Late Show with David Letterman." On October 24th, Swift will both chat and perform on ABC's "The View." She'll be on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on October 25th. Taylor will wrap up the week as a guest on ABC's "Katie" on October 26th.
That night she'll also be one of several country stars featured on ABC's "All Access Nashville with Katie Couric - A Special Edition of 20/20." Taylor will crop up on "Entertainment Tonight," "Access Hollywood," "Extra," and "E! News" as well next week.
Taylor's non-televised events include October 24th Swift will stop by the Scholastic headquarters in New York to support the company's "Read Every Day" literacy campaign. The singer made a similar appearance at Scholastic two years ago as part of her release week promotion for her last album, "Speak Now." Swift will return to Nashville on October 26th for the "Taylor Swift Worldwide Radio Remote," a live five-continent broadcast that will air on both country and pop stations across the U.S.
Country Stars Giving "All Access" For TV Special
Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert are set to be featured on the upcoming TV special "All Access Nashville with Katie Couric - A Special Edition of 20/20." The show will take viewers into the stars' homes and give fans a glimpse into the singers' personal lives. Jason Aldean, Martina McBride, and Luke Bryan are also slated to appear. "All Access Nashville" will air on ABC on October 26th at 9:01 p.m. Eastern. This is the fourth consecutive year the network has run a primetime country music interview special in conjunction with the Country Music Association Awards. The 46th annual CMA Awards will air live on ABC on November 1st.
Trailer Choir's "Big" Vinny Hickerson Weds
Trailer Choir's "Big" Vinny Hickerson is now a married man. The country singer announced via Facebook that he and girlfriend Lori Diaz tied the know with a ceremony last weekend, saying he "used to wonder what love looked like," and now that he's married Lori he knows. In addition to his music, Big Vinny is also known for competing on NBC's "The Biggest Loser" last fall. Over the course of the show he shed 184 pounds, and dropped from 426 to 242 pounds. And even though he wasn't the winner it sparked a lifestyle change that continued after the show. Following his run on the show Big Vinny told TheBoot.com that Lori was among his biggest supporters. He said she was working out with him and doing his food shopping, and encouraging him to be "as healthy as possible."
With Vinny's wedding, now both members of the duo are married men. Trailer Choir's Marc "Butter" Fortney and Carter's Chord singer Emily Robertson hosted a surprise wedding in 2010. They're now expecting their first child together.
Keith Urban Up For Australian "GQ" Man Of The Year
Keith Urban is getting some recognition from "GQ" magazine. The country star is in the running for the 2012 Man of the Year award in the Australian edition of the publication. The magazine's website acknowledges that Keith's "notoriety is greatest in the U.S.A.," but praises the singer as a "country music mega star" and "everybody's favorite coach" on Australia's "The Voice" -- although he's left that show in favor of serving as a judge on the upcoming season of "American Idol." A post on Urban's website notes that while it's an Australian magazine, anyone can vote in the online poll -- including Keith's fans on this side of the world. Other nominees include actors Hugh Jackman, Liam Hemsworth, and Chris Hemsworth, along with singer Guy Sebastian and athletes Matthew Cowdrey and Michael Clarke. Fans can find a link to the Australian "GQ" website at KeithUrban.net. Voting closes on November 5th.
Ricky Skaggs Among Inspirational Country Music Award Nominees
Ricky Skaggs is among the multiple nominees heading into the 2012 Inspirational Country Music Awards. He's in the running in four categories including the Living Legend Award. Several other stars are up for awards as well. Vince Gill is a three-time nominee with bids for Musician and Mainstream Country Artist, while his single "Threaten Me With Heaven" is up for Mainstream Inspirational Country Song. Big & Rich's "That's Why I Pray," Keith Urban's "For You," Martina McBride's "I'm Gonna Love You Through It," and Blake Shelton's "God Gave Me You" are also some of the tracks in the category, while the clips for those songs are all vying for the Video award. Other hopefuls heading into the event include Tim McGraw, Scotty McCreery, Josh Turner, Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton, and Craig Morgan. The 18th Annual ICM Faith, Family & Country Awards will be presented in a ceremony at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center Thursday night.
A list of select nominees for the The 18th Annual ICM Faith, Family & Country Awards follows
Entertainer of the Year
Cross Country The Band
Johnny Lee Cook
Mainstream Country Artist
Mainstream Inspirational Country Song
"Better Than I Use To Be" - Tim McGraw
"Between Sundays" - DJ Miller
"For You" - Keith Urban
"God Gave Me You" - Blake Shelton
"Home" - Dierks Bentley
"I'm Gonna Love You Through It" - Martina McBride
"In Your Arms" - Rachel Holder
"That's Why I Pray" - Big & Rich
"Threaten Me With Heaven" - Vince Gill
"Time Is Love" - Josh Turner
A Miracle - Geoffrey Andrews
Between Sundays - DJ Miller
For You - Keith Urban
God Gave Me You - Blake Shelton
I'm Gonna Love You Through It - Martina McBride
In Your Arms - Rachel Holder
Just Fishin' - Trace Adkins
Like My Mother Does - Lauren Alaina
Loves Gotta Go Somewhere - Steve Richard
That's Why I Pray - Big & Rich
Living Legend Award
Chuck Day (The Days)
CrossCountry The Band
Dr. Johnny Lee Cook
Susie McEntire Luchsinger
Inspirational Bluegrass Artist
Dailey & Vincent
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Kathy Joy Daugherty
Darius Rucker Has More Country Music In Him
Darius Rucker says there are more things he wants to accomplish as a country artist. The singer explains that being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry doesn't mean he'll now just rest on his laurels.
Rucker officially became the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry earlier this week. He's currently working on his fourth solo country album. The upcoming project will include his current single, "True Believers." Darius adds that while he's "not dying to headline," he'd be open to launching his own tour. Rucker has taken his music on the road. He was an opener on Brad Paisley's 2010 and 2011 tours, and this year was part of Lady Antebellum's "Own The Night" tour.
Little Big Town Appreciate Process Of Making "Tornado"
Little Big Town isn't just pleased with their new album, "Tornado," but also with the way they made the disc. Singer Jimi Westbrook says the track selection process felt very natural.
"Tornado" marks Little Big Town's first studio effort with producer Jay Joyce, and band members say he was very involved in the project. Singer Kimberly Schlapman recalls that before each rehearsal they would sit around Jay's kitchen table and discuss what they wanted to accomplish, and then "experimented here and there." She says it really helped the group "figure out what this record was gonna be." Little Big Town's "Tornado" is marking its fifth week at the top of the Country Albums chart, and is the group's first multi-week number one disc. The album features the hit "Pontoon," while Little Big Town's current single is "Tornado's" title track.
Jake Owen Adapting To Evolving Career
Jake Owen says he's in a different position now that people are paying attention to him. The country star tells Billboard.com he used to be "the guy trying to get their attention," but now his job is to "hang on to it." But he's confident he can meet the challenge. Jake says he's already started working on the follow up to his 2011 album "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," and believes he has "two or three songs that could be game-changers." Owen adds that he's not going to rush the project, and wants to make "an album full of game-changing songs" and "lifestyle hits" like he had on his previous studio effort. He explains that he now has a proven track record, so he feels he can give his fans "something a little different" and "they'll be cool with that." Jake says his interests range from Chet Baker to Snoop Dogg, and he wants to take his influences and put them "in one little stew" and see what happens.
Tyler Farr Credits Blake Shelton For His "Interesting" Cruise Lineup
Country newcomer Tyler Farr says Blake Shelton's cruise can't be a calm and tranquil trip. He explains that with artists like Lee Brice, Jerrod Niemann, and Randy Houser on board, it's inevitable for things to get pretty rowdy.
Farr says he can escape the madness if he wants to, but that would mean steering clear of Lee, Jerrod, and Randy. He explains that if he wants to have "a small shindig," he "better not invite the whole pirate ship." In addition to Farr, Brice, Niemann, and Houser, the celebrity guests on Shelton's Caribbean cruise include Trace Adkins, Neal McCoy, Easton Corbin, and Frankie Ballard. Chuck Wicks, Brett Eldredge, and Jana Kramer are also among the many stars on board, along with Rae Lynn, Joanna Smith, Maggie Rose, and others. They set sail last weekend, and will return to Miami on Sunday.
Taylor Swift is once again topping the "Billboard" Digital Songs chart. "I Knew You Were Trouble," Swift's latest single from the upcoming album "Red," is debuting at number one with first-week sales of 416-thousand downloads. It's also giving Taylor one of her biggest sales weeks ever. It's second to "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," which just recently topped the chart with first week-sales of 623-thousand downloads.