Nashville News and Notes for THURSDAY

Paisley Shares Learning Of The Controversy, Hopes For "Accidental Racist"


Brad Paisley admits he was surprised by the reaction to his LL Cool J collaboration, "Accidental Racist."  The country star tells NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" he learned about the controversy from the rapper.


"Accidental Racist" is one of the tracks on Paisley's new CD, "Wheelhouse," which arrived in stores Tuesday.  Brad says the song makes more sense within the context of the album.  He adds that he suspects the images in a YouTube video for the song -- which he wasn't involved in making and hasn't seen -- has fueled the controversy.  But Paisley admits he's accomplished his goal for the song, which was to get people talking about race relations in America.  The singer also says he's trusting that his fans and others will "have this discussion," and "maybe come up with the answers."  Paisley acknowledges that the song is "not perfect," but "it is honest and it comes from a good place."


Paisley also performed on the show.  He played his current single, "Beat This Summer," which is also on "Wheelhouse."  LL Cool J will be appearing on "The Tonight Show" on Thursday.


LL Cool J, Brad Paisley Follow "Accidental Racist" With New Single


In the midst of backlash over their controversial duet, "Accidental Racist," LL Cool J and Brad Paisley have released another new single that's causing far less fuss than the first.  Titled "Live For You," the duo's second collaboration finds country crooner Paisley sounding a little more R&B over LL's rap rhymes.  The song is about love and steers clear of the racial themes of "Accidental Racist" that drew scathing criticism from many following its release Tuesday.  Both Paisley and LL have defended "Accidental Racist" despite the strong reactions.  Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday, the artists said they were "proud" of the track and respect the fact that some people may not care for the song's lyrics. 


While "Accidental Racist" appears on Paisley's new album "Wheelhouse," "Live For You' will show up on LL's upcoming album "Authentic."  That album, which also includes a guest spot from Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen, is due out on April 30th.


Kenny Rogers Heading To Country Hall Of Fame


It's been a long time coming but Kenny Rogers is finally Hall of Fame-bound.  The veteran country crooner has been tapped for induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum along with Bobby Bare and "Cowboy Jack Clement."  The three were selected for induction by voting members of the Country Music Association.  They'll join 118 other Hall of Fame members during the official induction ceremony at the museum in October.  Rogers, known for hits like "The Gambler," "Lucille," and "Islands In The Stream" with Dolly Parton, will be inducted in the Hall's "Modern Era" category.  Upon learning of his induction, the 74-year-old singer-songwriter said everything paled in comparison to the honor, given that it's happening during his lifetime.  He said his sons already thought he had been inducted then added, "Maybe now I can really impress them." 


Crossing over on the country and pop charts, Rogers has charted hits in almost every decade of his 55-year career and shows no signs of slowing down.  He's scheduled to play at the Glastonbury Music Festival in England in June.


Craig Morgan Calls Participating In Polar Dogsled Race "Just Living"


Craig Morgan says he loves doing things like the Fjällräven Polar dogsled race.  The country star describes himself as "a survivalist."  Prior to his trip north of the Arctic Circle he told that the race is giving him the chance to "experience extreme cold," which is something he's never done before.  Morgan calls it "just living," but he admits it wouldn't be everybody's idea of a good time.  But the singer also knows he's not alone, and that there are "others out there with this same particular gene" who are "willing to try anything."  Morgan is one of 20 people battling the snow and sub-zero temperatures on the 205-mile dogsled race across Northern Scandinavia.  Participants are expected to arrive at the finish line in Swedish Lapland on Saturday.


LeAnn Rimes, Eddie Cibrian Working On Sitcom About Their Life


LeAnn Rimes is looking to bring her life to the small screen.  The country star and her husband Eddie Cibrian are reportedly pitching a new sitcom based on their life.  An unnamed insider tells "Us Weekly" that LeAnn "have been shopping around a scripted comedy," in which they would "play versions of themselves, kind of like on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.'"  The source says the show is inspired by the couple's real-life drama with Cibrain's ex, Brandi Glanville, and the show "will have a crazy ex-wife."  However, Cibrian and Glanville's sons won't be part of the cast.  The insider says actors would be cast to portray the boys in any episodes including them.  The source adds that Rimes and Cibrian have "met with a few networks," but "nothing is finalized yet."


Randy Rogers Band Frontman, Bassist Wed In Separate Hawaiian Ceremonies


The Randy Rogers Band frontman Randy Rogers is a married man.  The singer tells "Country Weekly" he and his bride Chelsea Cai Dowlearn tied the knot in a very private ceremony on a beach in Maui last month.  He explains that there was only one other person at their Hawaiian wedding -- the officiant.  Randy says he and Chelsea eloped to get married in a way that was fun for them and easy on their families.  He adds that his March 27th ceremony capped off a big month for him.  Randy recalls that in the days leading up to the wedding his band played two special shows.  He says the Randy Rogers Band got to open for Merle Haggard -- and meet the country legend -- and then they warmed up the crowd for George Strait at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  Strait's March 17th appearance at the event, which was part of his "Cowboy Rides Away" final tour, drew a record crowd of 80-thousand-28 people.


But Rogers wasn't the only member of his group to come up with the idea of a secret Hawaiian wedding. The Randy Rogers Band bassist Jon Richardson and his girlfriend also eloped -- and got married on March 27th -- but they held their ceremony on a different Hawaiian island.


Band Perry, Florida Georgia Line See ACM Chart Boost


The Band Perry's "Pioneer" is off to a strong start. says the sibling trio's sophomore CD is opening at number one on the Country Albums chart and landing at number two on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 129-thousand.  The figure marks The Band Perry's best sales week yet, and surpasses the initial sales estimates for "Pioneer" by nearly 20-thousand units.  The group's appearance on last Sunday's Academy of Country Music Awards is being credited for the sales boost.  The Band Perry performed their current single, "Done," on the show.  "Pioneer's" sales are also more than double the first-week sales of the group's 2010 self-titled debut, which peaked at number two on the Country Albums chart and at number four on the Billboard 200.  Justin Timberlake kept The Band Perry from topping the all-genre list.  His latest effort, "The 20/20 Experience," is marking its third week at number one with sales of 139-thousand.


The Band Perry is also experiencing an ACM bump on the Digital Songs chart.  "Done" is returning to the list at number 28 with 67-thousand downloads, which is a 178-percent increase over the previous week.  Florida Georgia Line is also benefiting from the ACM Awards, as well as their new collaboration with Nelly.  At the event the ACM's New Artist of the Year performed their 2012 breakthrough hit "Cruise," which is surging back into the top ten.  The track leapt from number 42 to number three with 248-thousand downloads -- a 372-percent increase from the previous week.  But "Billboard" notes that 75-percent of those sales are of the new remix.  Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift's "Highway Don't Care," Jason Aldean's "1994," Eric Church's "Like Jesus Does," and George Strait's "Give It All We Got Tonight" also saw significant sales increases following the ACM Awards.


Band Perry Excited About Special Deluxe Edition Of "Pioneer"


The Band Perry is pleased to finally have their sophomore CD in stores.  But band member admit they're particularly excited about the special deluxe edition of the disc, which features four additional tracks.


The "Pioneer" deluxe edition's extra tracks were originally recorded for The Band Perry's 2010 self-titled debut, but didn't make it onto the album.  The special version of "Pioneer" with the bonus material is available exclusively from Target Stores.


Eric Church Captures Authentic Concert Experience On New Live Release


Eric Church says he and his band did their best to ignore the recording process for his new live disc.  The country star explains that their goal was to have a CD that lives up to its name -- "Caught in the Act" -- and provides listeners with an authentic Eric Church concert experience.


Church adds that he wasn't sure he'd actually have anything to release, because his show was "so by the seat of our pants and off the cuff that it may or may not have worked."  But the singer says he wouldn't have wanted to do it any other way.  "Caught in the Act" was taped at Eric's two-night stand at the Tivoli Theater in Chattanooga, Tennessee last fall.  The album is in stores now.


Country Thunder Begins In Arizona


Brantley Gilbert is the opening day headliner as the Southwestern edition of the 2013 Country Thunder gets under way.  The music starts in Florence Arizona this afternoon with a set from Chris Janson.  Sweetwater Rain and Kip Moore will also take the stage before Gilbert brings day one to a close.  Brantley's fiancee Jana Kramer will perform on Friday, along with Greg Bates, Love And Theft, Tracy Lawrence, and headliner Eric Church.  Toby Keith caps off Saturday's show, which also features Lee Brice, Diamond Rio, and others.  Lady Antebellum will bring the four-day festival to a close on Sunday, leading a lineup that also includes Justin Moore, Jerrod Niemann, High Valley, and others.


Lee Brice and Justin Moore are also among the stars who'll perform at the summer edition of Country Thunder.  Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, and Jake Owen are the headliners for that festival, which will take place in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin from July 18th through the 21st.


Country Birthdays Include


Jim Lauderdale is 56.

Steve Azar is 49.


Today in Country Music History


Today in 1978, the "Waylon & Willie" album by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson was certified Platinum.


Today in 1980, Alabama signed their first record contract.


Today in 1987, Alabama's "(You've Got) The Touch" hit number one on the "Billboard" country singles chart.


Today in 1988, Ricky Van Shelton earned a Gold record for his debut album, "Wild-Eyed Dream."


Today in 1992, Lee Greenwood married 1989's Miss Tennessee, Kimberly Payne.


Today in 1994, Tim McGraw's first big hit, "Indian Outlaw," was certified Gold, despite controversy over the song's lyrics.  One Cherokee chief called it, quote, "insulting to Indians."


Today in 1996, Patty Loveless' album "When Fallen Angels Fly" was certified Platinum.


Today in 1997, Tracy Lawrence's appearance at the Wal-Mart in North Richland Hills, Texas was billed by some as the "largest outdoor in-store appearance in the history of mankind."  The event drew an estimated six-thousand screaming fans, who showed up to hear him perform and see him autograph his album "The Coast Is Clear."  The audience got so rowdy that they actually stormed the stage, bowling over security officers to get Tracy's autograph.


Today in 2000, Clay Davidson's debut album, "Unconditional," was released.


Today in 2000, "Manilow Country" premiered on TNN.  The two-hour celebration of pop star Barry Manilow's 25-year career included artists Deanna Carter, Lila McCann, Neal McCoy, Jo Dee Messina, Lorrie Morgan, Kevin Sharp and Trisha Yearwood covering some of Barry's biggest hits, from "It's a Miracle" to "Copacabana."  Barry called his duet of "Could It Be Magic" with Deana Carter his most romantic moment on stage.


Today in 2000, Collin Raye was the keynote speaker at the 9th annual "Make a Difference Day Awards."


Today in 2000, Faith Hill was among the performers at the "VH1 Divas 2000: A Tribute to Diana Ross" concert in New York.


Today in 2003, Brad Paisley was a celebrity guest judge on the TV series "Star Search."


Today in 2005, Gretchen Wilson, Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss, Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, and Rascal Flatts were among the winners at the 2005 CMT Music Awards.


Today in 2006, Wynonna performed on "Nashville Star."


Today in 2006, new releases included Toby Keith's "White Trash With Money" and Jeff Bates' "Leave the Light On."


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