Nashville News and Notes for THURSDAY

Country Stars, Dignitaries To Participate In George Jones Memorial


Former First Lady Laura Bush and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee are among those expected to participate in the public memorial for late country legend George Jones at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville Thursday.  Bush and Huckabee are slated to share some words about the singer who died last week at the age of 81.  Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson Vince Gill, and Barbara Mandrell are also set to take part in the ceremony, along with CBS News' Bob Schieffer and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam.  The star-studded send off will also include musical performances from artists like Charlie Daniels, Brad Paisley, Wynonna, Tanya Tucker and Kid Rock. 


The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 11:00 am Eastern, 10:00 am Central.  It's open to the public and will be aired on local Nashville stations as well as CMT, GAC and FamilyNet.  The Grand Ole Opry website will also carry the ceremony online at

Westboro Baptist Church Might Demonstrate At George Jones Memorial


Drama continues to surround country legend George Jones, even in death.  The Westboro Baptist Church is reportedly planning to stage a demonstration at Thursday's memorial service for the Country Music Hall of Famer.  Westboro member Margie Phelps tells Nashville's "Tennessean" she's "not sure it's fully decided at this moment," but put the odds at "about 80-20 likely."  In announcing their plans, the organization describes Jones as a "drunkard" who "used his talent to glorify himself and engage in much adultery."  But musician Lee Marcus is looking to rally the country music community to stand up to the protesters.  In a Facebook post he's urging those going to the ceremony to, quote, "form a barricade between those nuts and the funeral," and to not allow the group, which he calls a "cult," "to make this sad day even harder."


George Jones died last Friday.  He was 81.  Dignitaries including former First Lady Laura Bush, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam are among those on the guest list, along with a host of country stars including Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, and others.  The public is also welcome to attend.  The service is set for Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House, starting at 11:00 am Eastern, 10:00 am Central.


Brenda Lee, Charlie Daniels Among George Jones Mourners


Brenda Lee is mourning the loss of country great George Jones as both a singer and a friend.  Brenda was among those who attended the private visitation for the legendary performer Wednesday in Nashville.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer tells "The Tennessean" that Jones' death has created a huge void, because he "was integral to country music."  Lee explains that she's "traveled all over and in Japan and they knew George but didn't know country."  She adds that Jones' 1985 single "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes," about how significant and irreplaceable certain stars are to country music, has never been "more poignant than now."


Jones died last Friday at the age of 81.  A public memorial for the Country Music Hall of Famer will take place at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville Thursday morning.  Charlie Daniels and Elvis Presley's former backing group The Imperials are on the lengthy list of speakers and performers.  The service will begin at 11:00 a.m. Eastern, and be carried live on CMT and GAC, as well as online at the Grand Ole Opry's website,


Little Big Town, Trisha Yearwood Among Daytime Emmy Nominees


Little Big Town and Trisha Yearwood could be adding to their trophy cases.  The country stars are among the nominees for the 40th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards.  Little Big Town is in the running for Outstanding Original Song with "Good Afternoon," the theme to ABC's "Good Afternoon America."  Little Big Town wrote the song with The Warren Brothers, and are also the performer.  There's only one other nominee in the category.  The group's song is up against "This Day," Sheryl Crow's theme for Katie Couric's ABC talk show, "Katie."


Yearwood is getting recognition for her Food Network series "Trisha's Southern Kitchen."  Her show is one of five nominees vying for Outstanding Culinary Program.  Yearwood's competition includes three other Food Network shows -- "Best Thing I Ever Made," "Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction," and "Giada at Home" -- and the syndicated series "Recipe Rehab."  The 40th Annual Daytime Emmys will be presented in a ceremony in Los Angeles on June 14th, and air on HLN on June 16th.


Tim McGraw Launching 2013 Tour


Tim McGraw is back on the road.  The country star is launching his "2013 Two Lanes Of Freedom Tour" with a show in Birmingham, Alabama tonight.  The 43-date trek spans the summer, wrapping up in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 2nd.  McGraw is on the road in support of his latest album, "Two Lanes of Freedom," which includes the hits "Truck Yeah," "One of Those Nights," and his current single, "Highway Don't Care."  Shows will also feature opening sets from Brantley Gilbert and Love And Theft.


And during this tour Tim will once again be supporting America's military.  The singer is continuing his partnership with Operation Homefront and Chase, which through the HomeFront program is giving military families mortgage-free homes.  McGraw will take part in presenting veterans with a new home at more than 30 cities he'll visit over the course of the trek.


Tim McGraw Tour Dates


May 2 -  Birmingham, Alabama, at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre

May 3 - Charlotte, North Carolina, at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

May 4 - Raleigh, North Carolina, at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion

May 10 - West Palm Beach, Florida, at the Cruzan Amphitheatre

May 11 - Tampa, Florida, at the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre

May 12 - Atlanta, Georgia, at Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood

May 17 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the Susquehanna Bank Center

May 18 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at the First Niagara Pavilion

May 19 - Detroit, Michigan, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre

May 23 - St. Louis, Missouri, at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

May 24 - Chicago, Illinois, at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

May 25 - Cincinnati, Ohio, at the Riverbend Music Center

May 26 - Darien Lakes, New York, at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center

May 30 - Indianapolis, Indiana, at the Klipsch Music Center

May 31 - Cleveland, Ohio, at the Blossom Music Center

June 1 - Washington, DC, at Jiffy Lube Live

June 7 - San Diego, California, at the Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre

June 8 - San Bernardino, California, at the San Manuel Amphitheatre

June 9 - Mountain View, California, at the Shoreline Amphitheatre

June 13 - Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the Hard Rock Casino Albuquerque Presents the Pavilion

June 14 - Salt Lake City, Utah. at the USANA Amphitheatre

June 15 - Denver, Colorado, at Fiddler's Green

June 20 - Beaumont, Texas, at the Ford Park Pavilion

June 22 - Dallas, Texas, at the Gexa Energy Pavilion

June 23 - Lampe, Missouri, at the Black Oak Mountain Amphitheater

June 28 - Hartford, Connecticut, at the Comcast Theatre

June 29 - Boston, Massachusetts, at the Comcast Center

June 30 - Holmdel, New Jersey, at the PNC Bank Arts Center

July 5 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at Summerfest

July 6 - Peru, Illinois, at Concerts For A Cause: Illinois Valley Regional Airport

July 11 - Calgary, Alberta, Canada, at the Calgary Stampede

July 12 - Craven, Saskatchewan, Canada, at the Craven County Jamboree

July 15 - Eugene, Oregon, at the Matthew Knight Arena

July 16 - Stateline, Nevada, at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys

July 17 - Paso Robles, California, at the California, Mid State Fair

July 19 - Minot, North Dakota, at the North Dakota State Fair

July 20 - Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at the W.H. Lyons Fairgrounds

July 25 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre

July 26 - Bethel, New York, at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

July 27 - Virginia Beach, Virginia, at the Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach

August 4 - Camrose, Alberta, Canada, at the Big Valley Jamboree

August 16 - Endicott, New York, at Dick's Sporting Goods Open

September 2 - St. Paul, Minnesota, at the Minnesota State Fair


Little Big Town Excited About New Orleans Jazz Fest


Little Big Town is among the many performers who'll be taking the stage at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival this weekend.  Singer Karen Fairchild says her group is thrilled to be making their debut at the event this year.


Little Big Town will be performing on Jazz Fest's Acura Stage Saturday afternoon, just before Fleetwood Mac.  The event's second weekend begins today with Patti Smith and Widespread Panic among the headliners.  Willie Nelson and Family are one of the acts leading Friday's lineup.  The Mavericks, Holly Williams, and Laura Bell Bundy are some of the other country stars on board for the festival, which is taking place at the New Orleans Fair Grounds through Sunday.


Brad Paisley Glad To Have Established Artists As Show Openers


Brad Paisley says he's pleased with his "Beat This Summer" tour lineup.  The country star explains that he's reassured his fans won't get bored with Chris Young and Lee Brice on board, because they're stars in their own right.


Brad's shows will also feature the new country trio The Henningsens, who's scored their first hit with "American Beautiful."  Paisly and company will kick off the "Beat This Summer" tour in Maryland Heights, Missouri on May 9th.


Eric Paslay Sings CMA Fest Riverfront Stage Lineup


Eric Paslay is helping the Country Music Association announce the lineup for the CMA Music Festival's Riverfront Stage.  He performs the roster of artists in alphabetical order, to the tune of his current single, "Friday Night."


In addition to the dozen stars from A to G, Lonestar, Craig Morgan, Joe Nichols, and Phil Vassar are also on board.  The list of 34 artists confirmed to appear also includes Gretchen Wilson, Tate Stevens. David Nail, and others.  Sara Evans has been tapped to play the CMA Fest kick off concert to officially launch the four-day event.  The 42nd annual CMA Music Festival will take place in Nashville from June 6th through the 9th.  Additional details are available at


CMA Music Festival Riverfront Stage Lineup


Keith Anderson

Greg Bates

Blackberry Smoke

Craig Campbell

Mark Chesnutt

Brett Eldredge

Sara Evans

Rachel Farley

Tyler Farr

Colt Ford


The Grascals

Steve Holy

Casey James

Kristen Kelly

Aaron Lewis


Love And Theft

Dustin Lynch

Jo Dee Messina

Ronnie Milsap

Craig Morgan

David Nail

Joe Nichols

Jerrod Niemann

Etic Paslay

Maggie Rose

Corey Smith

Tate Stevens

Sunny Sweeney

Phil Vassar

Chuck Wicks

Gretchen Wilson

Darryl Worley


Civil Wars Announce New Album Despite "Internal Discord"


The Civil Wars have apparently stopped fighting long enough to put out a new album.  The folk duo abruptly canceled their tour last year over "internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition."  But on Wednesday, they announced that their self-titled follow-up to 2011's Grammy-winning "Barton Hollow" will be released at an unspecified date later this year. says the album was recorded prior to Joy Williams and John Paul White's split, and the duo has stayed tight-lipped about a possible reunion.  The only statement from Williams and White comes in the form of two hand-written notes posted on their website.  White says fans' patience "has been appreciated" and he hopes they "consider it rewarded" with the new album.  Likewise, Williams says she's grateful for everyone's "patient support."  She adds that "a lot of soul, sweat, and tears went into" the record's creation and she's "fiercely proud" of the results.


Justin Moore Had An Easy Decision With "Point At You"


Justin Moore says his current single "just kinda came out of nowhere."  The country singer explains that when he heard "Point At You" he knew it was the right song for him -- and the right song to release as the weather gets warmer.


Moore admits that there are a couple of tracks on his current album, "Outlaws Like Me," that he would have liked to issue as singles.  But the singer believes "Point At You" has the potential to be a hit.  "Point At You" is the lead-off release from Justin's upcoming third album, which is slated to arrive in stores later this year.



Country TV Today And Tonight


GEORGE JONES FUNERAL (CMT) Coverage of George Jones' funeral live from Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House.

REMEMBERING GEORGE JONES: GEORGE JONES MEMORIAL SERIVCE (GAC) The country music community comes together at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House to remember the late George Jones, who passed away last week at the age of 81.

HJEADLINE COUNTRY (GAC) George Jones' death, Kenny Chesney's new album, and Tim McGraw's tour are covered, along with features on Keith Urban, Randy Houser, and other country stars.


Country Birthdays Include


Larry Gatlin is 65.

Ty Herndon is 51.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1985, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson released the "Highwayman" album.


Today in 1988, the album "Remembering Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline" was released.


Today in 1989, new album releases included Clint Black's "Killin' Time" and Kenny Rogers' "Something Inside So Strong."


Today in 1998, backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, Loretta Lynn made the announcement that she intended to return to college and get a degree.


Today in 1998, Shania Twain's "You're Still the One" hit number one on the chart.


Today in 2000, LeAnn Rimes filed suit in Dallas County District Court, against her father, Wilbur Rimes and his business partner, Lyle Walker, charging that they funnelled money away from her personally and from the company set up in 1995 to manage her finances.

Today in 2000, Faith Hill and hubby Tim McGraw confirmed plans to perform their hit single "Let's Make Love" at the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony.


Today in 2000, new CD releases included Collin Raye's "Tracks" and Chad Brock's "Yes!."


Today in 2002, Clint Black and Lonestar were among those who took part in the taping of the CBS special taped "Rockin' In The USA" in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, aboard the U.S.S. Harry Truman.  The show aired a few weeks later over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.


Today in 2003, Jo Dee Messina sang the national anthem at Fenway Park before a Boston Red Sox game.


Today in 2005,  Eddie Montgomery had titanium rods and plates inserted in his left wrist during surgery in Lexington, Kentucky, to mend an injury he suffered during an on-stage fall at a concert in Asheville, North Carolina four days earlier.


Today in 2006, Chris Young was named the new "Nashville Star," taking the title on the fourth season finale of the USA Network reality series.


Today in 2006, Kenny Rogers and Time Life teamed to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the network television debut of his series of movies loosely based on his hit single "The Gambler" with the release of a three-CD boxed set.  The collection marked the first time the films had been available on CD.  Titles included "Kenny Rogers as The Gambler," "The Adventure Continues," and "The Legend Continues."  Other new releases included Rockie Lynne's self-titled CD and Phil Vassar's "Greatest Hits Vol. 1."


Today in 2006, Carrie Underwood went to her very first number one party, attending the Nashville celebration for her hit "Jesus, Take the Wheel."


Today in 2009, LeAnn Rimes sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the start of the Kentucky Derby  at Churchill Downs in Louisville, becoming the first person to perform the national anthem live at the start of the famed horse race.


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