Nashville News and Notes for THURSDAY

Mindy McCready Mourned, Remembered At Nashville Memorial Service


Lorrie Morgan is remembering the late Mindy McCready as a "funny, sexy, and talented" woman who "had soul in her eyes."  E! Online says Morgan was among those who spoke at Wednesday's memorial service for the country star at Nashville's Cathedral of the Incarnation.  Lorrie said she and Mindy had "a lot in common -- music and heartache," and she could "closely relate" to the sense of duty and responsibility Mindy felt toward others.  She added that she "could always see sadness" in Mindy's eyes and "wanted to take care of her -- but that would have been like the blind leading the blind."  The service opened with remarks and a prayer from the church pastor before other friends and colleagues shared their thoughts and memories of Mindy.  The singer's family was in attendance as well, but didn't address the crowd.  In addition to speaking, Morgan sang "Ave Maria."  Bryan White and Bekka Bramlett also performed, and recordings of Mindy's "The Dance" and her final song, "I'll See You Yesterday" were incorporated into the service.


Mindy McCready died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at her home in Heber Springs, Arkansas on February 17th.  She was 37.  Mindy's family is asking those wanting to honor Mindy to make donations to the Official Fund for the Benefit and Care of Zander and Zayne, which has been established for her two young sons.


The Time Jumpers Singer Diagnosed With Cancer


The Time Jumpers are supporting one of their own as she faces cancer.  The band has announced that singer Dawn Sears is battling Stage 3B lung cancer, and is receiving treatment in Nashville.  While she plans to continue performing with the band when possible, "Country Weekly" notes that she missed this week's show at Nashville's 3rd and Lindsley.  The group has a standing engagement at the club on Monday nights.  The band acknowledged her absence from the show, with Vince Gill telling the crowd that Dawn was at home "fighting hard."  The Time Jumpers were nominated for a couple of Grammy Awards this year for their self-titled album and the song "On The Outskirts Of Town."  In addition to performing with the group, Dawn is also a member of Gill's touring band.


Hosts Shelton, Bryan Among First Confirmed ACM Performers


Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan will do more than just host this year's Academy of Country Music Awards.  The country stars are also among the first confirmed performers for the show.  They're part of an initial lineup that also includes George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Hunter Hayes, The Band Perry, and Kelly Clarkson.  Hayes and Lambert are among the top nominees heading into the ceremony.  Hunter is up for six awards, while Miranda could take home five trophies -- including Entertainer of the Year.  Shelton, Bryan, Clarkson, and The Band Perry are also nominees.  The 48th annual ACM Awards will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and air live on CBS on April 7th.


Jana Kramer Takes On Movie Role


Country newcomer Jana Kramer hasn't given up her acting career.  The singer and former "One Tree Hill" star has the lead role in the upcoming independent film "Heart of the Country."  Kramer tells "Country Weekly" she'll play the part of Faith, a Southern woman in New York who moves back to her North Carolina hometown after her husband -- a Wall Street executive -- ends up in jail.  Jana describes the movie as "kind of a father-daughter story," explaining that the relationship her character has with her dad is "kind of strained."  "Heart of the Country" is expected to be released this year.


Miranda Lambert Shares Desire To Own Elephant, Kangaroo


While Miranda Lambert is known for her many dogs, she says she'd enjoy having some more exotic pets.  The country star tells "Country Aircheck" that if she "hit the Powerball," she'd love to buy "a baby kangaroo or an elephant."  She adds that elephants are "really loving" and "can do tricks," and "like to be loved on."  Miranda explains that if she had the money, she'd get a trailer and bring "the elephant and every animal" she owned with her on tour.  Lambert recently revealed that her first rescue dog, Delilah, has "kind of retired from the road," and isn't accompanying her on her tours anymore.  The singer is currently on her "Locked and Reloaded" co-headlining trek with Dierks Bentley.  They'll be performing in Wichita Falls, Texas, Thursday night.


Band Perry Making A Statement With New Single


The Band Perry's new single, "DONE.," is directed toward a person they no longer want in their lives.  The trio's Reid, Kimberly, and Neil Perry say the track sends a definitive message, which is further emphasized with the way they write the song's title.

          {BandPerryOnDONE3}  It's over.          :11.1

Reid and Neil wrote the song, which Reid says is about a relationship they had with someone in which they were "constantly giving and giving, and this person was just taking and taking and not really giving anything in return."  "DONE." is the second single from The Band Perry's upcoming sophomore album, "Pioneer," which is due in stores on April 2nd.  The album will also feature the trio's most recent chart-topper, "Better Dig Two."


Kacey Musgraves Sings About Her Life On Debut Album


Country newcomer Kacey Musgraves is prepping for the release of her debut album.  The singer-songwriter had a hand in writing every track on "Same Trailer, Different Park," which she says are based on her experiences.


The album will include Kacey's breakthrough single, "Merry Go Round."  "Same Trailer, Different Park" will be in stores on March 19th.


Keith Urban "Clicked" Instantly With Nicki Minaj On "Idol"


Keith Urban says he felt an instant connection with fellow "American Idol" judge Nicki Minaj.  He explains that he appreciates how the hip-hop star doesn't hold back and is very direct with her comments and opinions.

Urban says he didn't know Minaj at all prior to "Idol," but was introduced to her and Mariah Carey at their first meeting as "Idol's" new judges.  This week Keith, Nicki, and Mariah are going through their first live episodes of "Idol."  On Tuesday the top ten women performed and on Wednesday viewers saw the top ten men.  This season's finalists will be revealed on Thursday's elimination episode, airing on Fox at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.


Today in Country Music History


Today in 1980, Kenny Rogers' single "Coward Of The County" and Crystal Gayle's album "Classic Crystal" were certified Gold.


Today in 1983, "The Nashville Network" Cable TV Network was launched.  The network featured a variety of country music and entertainment.


Today in 1983, the "Waitin' For The Sun To Shine" album by Ricky Skaggs was certified Gold.


Today in 1986, Randy Travis made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 1998, Sara Evans made her Grand Ole Opry debut.


Today in 2000, George Jones' "Cold Hard Truth" album was certified Gold.


Today in 2000, the "Latest Greatest Straitest Hits" album by George Strait was released.


Today in 2000, Frank "Pee Wee" King died in Louisville, Kentucky, at the age of 86.


Today in 2001, Toby Keith's single "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This" topped the "Radio & Records" country chart for the third time in six, non-consecutive weeks.  The accomplishment remains unprecedented in the 28-year history of the publication's country chart.


Today in 2001, Montgomery Gentry was named "Top Country Duo" for the second year in a row in the annual "Radio & Records'" Readers' Poll.


Today in 2002, George Strait's concert at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo set a record with a paid attendance of 68-thousand-266.  The record stood for two years, until Kenny Chesney broke it with ticket sales of 70-thousand-668 for his 2004 performance.


Today in 2003, Tim McGraw kicked off his highly anticipated "Tim McGraw & The Dancehall Doctors' One Band Show" tour in Birmingham, Alabama.


Today in 2005, Merle Haggard began a short tour as an opening act for Bob Dylan.


Today in 2006, The Joe Ely Band's Jesse "Guitar" Taylor died of liver disease at his home in Austin, Texas.  He was 56.


Today in 2006, new releases included Trent Tomlinson's "Country Is My Rock," Jace Everett's self-titled album, Lee Roy Parnell's "Back To The Well," Pinmoney's "Big Shiny Cars," and Kris Kristofferson's "This Old Road." 


Today in 2007, Montgomery Gentry's Troy Gentry presented a check for more than 368-thousand-dollars to the Metro Nashville School District on behalf of the Country Music Association as part of its "Keep the Music Playing" initiative to improve music education. The money came from a portion of net proceeds from the 2006 CMA Music Festival.


Today in 2007, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill announced the initial dates for their "Soul2Soul Tour 2007" tour at a luncheon and press conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame.


Today in 2009, Steve Azar and Keith Burns performed at Gino Torretta's annual celebrity golf and poker fundraising event in Hollywood, Florida.


Today in 2010, T. Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham won the Oscar for Best Original Song for "The Weary Kind" from the movie "Crazy Heart."


Today in 2011, new releases included Kenny Rogers' "The Love of God."


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