Nashville News and Notes for THURSDAY

Rodney Atkins Getting Married Next Month


Rodney Atkins will soon be a married man once again.  The country star tells that he and fiancée Rose Falcon are planning a November wedding.  He's also raving about his bride-to-be.  Rodney describes life with Rose as "unbelievable," saying with their relationship "it's just complete peace of mind of what love's supposed to be."  The singer says he met Rose during a time of introspection, "like when things go crazy and you go through struggles in your life, and you kind of leave that door open for God" and ask "God, what do you got in store for me?"  Rodney and Rose became engaged back in July.


Atkins' previous marriage came to a stormy end.  Rodney filed for divorce from his then-wife Tammy in November 2011, after he was arrested for allegedly attacking her during an alcohol-fueled altercation.  While Atkins' rep claimed the incident was nothing more than an "unfortunate verbal dispute," a judge still ordered the singer to complete 30 hours of community service and to not have contact with Tammy for a year.  Rodney and Tammy were married for 13 years, and have one child together.


Jana Kramer Reportedly Moving On With Actor Scott Eastwood


Jana Kramer reportedly has a new man in her life.  "Us" magazine says the country singer and actress is now dating actor Scott Eastwood -- the son of acting legend Clint Eastwood.  An unidentified source tells the publication that the two "are definitely into each other."  Kramer and Eastwood apparently met through mutual friends.  The two have been seen together holding hands backstage at Jana's recent shows in San Diego and Anaheim.  Jana had previously been engaged to country star Brantley Gilbert.  The country couple began dating last year, and Gilbert popped the question back in January.  They split up in August, reportedly because their careers got in the way of their relationship.


Willie Nelson To Publish A New Memoir


Willie Nelson will share more stories from his life in print.  "The New York Times" says the 80-year-old country legend has inked a deal with Little, Brown and Company to give an in-depth account in a new memoir.  The publisher is describing the book as Nelson's "unvarnished, complete and tremendous story."  The book is expected to include anecdotes about some of his famous friends, including Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, and Ray Charles.  The upcoming release will be the third autobiographical book from Nelson, following 1988's "Willie" and the more recent "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die: Musings From The Road."  Nelson's memoir, which is still untitled, isn't expected to arrive in stores until 2015.


Dolly Parton Opens Up About Recent Car Accident


Dolly Parton says her recent fender-bender marks the first time she's ever been in a car accident.  The music legend tells "Country Weekly" her "best friend" Judy was taking her to the studio when "this lady just pulled out in front" of them and they "hit her."  Parton explains that the impact "wasn't that hard" because they "weren't going that fast."  The well-endowed singer also displays her sense of humor adding that "nobody's airbags inflated or deflated" in the crash.  Dolly says she and Judy were "just a little sore and bruised where the seatbelt went across," and they're both OK now.


Parton is working on her new album, "Blue Smoke," and making plans for her 2014 Blue Smoke World Tour.  Ticket demand for her summer European tour has prompted Dolly to add second shows in London; Glasgow, Scotland; and Cardiff, Wales.  She's also including a stop in Auckland, New Zealand on February 7th as part of her Australian tour.  No North American dates have been announced yet.


George Strait Featured In New Wranglers Ad


George Strait is helping Wranglers promote their product.  The country star is featured in a new commercials for the jeans company.  The 30-second spot features Strait playing a guitar, riding a horse, and tossing a lasso.  The spot, titled "Long Live Cowboys," also includes images of Trevor Brazile, a ten-time World Champion All-Around Cowboy, and footage of George and Trevor riding and roping together.  Strait's music is also featured.  His chart-topping hit "Here For A Good Time" serves as the ad's soundtrack.


Jerrod Niemann Wasn't Looking To Record Another Drinking Song


Jerrod Niemann admits he wasn't all that excited about his current single when he saw the title.


Jerrod says he ended up listening to "Drink To That All Night" over and over again.  He explains that it "instantly" put him "in a mood to just have a good time" so he sent it to his producer, who fell in love with it immediately as well.  Niemann adds that he's now grateful that his friend saved the song for him.  "Drink To That All Night" is the lead-off single to Jerrod's next album.


Toby Keith Recalls Recording His Latest Album


Toby Keith admits he didn't finish his latest album, "Drinks After Work" on his expected timetable.  But the country star has a good excuse.  Toby was working on the project in a Nashville studio back on May 20th -- the day a devastating tornado tore through his Oklahoma hometown.  The singer says when he learned from his assistant about the storm, the recording session was over.


Toby adds that he'll always remember this album as the one he didn't turn in on time because of the storm.  "Drinks After Work" arrived in stores this week.  The disc's title track is Keith's current single.


Oak Ridge Boys Mourning Death Of Video Director Sherman Halsey


The Oak Ridge Boys' Duane Allen says he's lost his "little brother" with the death of producer-director Sherman Halsey.  Sherman was the son of the Oak Ridge Boys' manager Jim Halsey, who made his mark making music videos and producing live TV events.  Allen says Sherman was at the helm for virtually all of the Oaks' specials, and he also directed the group's first video -- for the 1977 song "Easy."  Duane explains that Sherman was "so far ahead of the market at that time," and "there were no video shows on American television" so they had to debut the clip in Australia.  The singer adds that Sherman's death leaves "a huge hole" in his heart, and he's praying for Sherman's family and many friends.


Halsey was found dead at Nashville home Tuesday night.  Police say the discovery came when his family in Tulsa asked a friend to check on him, because they hadn't heard from him in several days.  A cause of death hasn't been determined but authorities don't suspect foul play.  Halsey was behind over 30 of Tim McGraw's videos, including "One Of Those Nights" and "Live Like You Were Dying."  He directed Dwight Yoakam's clip to "Honky Tonk Man," which was the first-ever country music video to air on MTV, and worked with a host of other stars including Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, and Lorrie Morgan.  Halsey was 56.


Country Stars Share Memories, Thoughts On Halloween


Eric Church says when he was in college he once dressed up as a Muppet for Halloween.  The country star explains that he and some friends were on their way to a Halloween party when they learned that they had to be in costume to get in, which left them few options.


Billy Currington says it's only natural to like Halloween, especially as a kid, because "who doesn't love going door to door and getting all these buckets of candy?"  The singer adds that Dracula was his "favorite guy," and his costume of choice.  Luke Bryan, meanwhile, says he's looking forward to taking his kids trick or treating.  He explains that it can be very informative, and you can "find out a lot about your neighbors" based on the candy they hand out.


Country Birthdays Include


Darryl Worley is 49.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1970, "The Johnny Cash Show" album was released.


Today in 1970, Loretta Lynn's signature song, "Coal Miner's Daughter," first hit the charts.


Today in 1979, Willie Nelson's album "Pretty Paper" and Larry Gatlin's LP "Straight Ahead" were released.


Today in 1982, Alabama made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 1995, Dwight Yoakam's "Gone" album was released.


Today in 2000, the album "Tomorrow's Sounds Today" by Dwight Yoakam was released.


Today in 2005, Little Big Town performed the national anthem before the Pittsburgh Steelers faced the Baltimore Ravens on ABC's "Monday Night Football" game.


Today in 2006, Tim McGraw scored his first top ten single as a songwriter with his song "My Little Girl," which he penned and recorded for the soundtrack of the film "Flicka."


Today in 2006, Gretchen Wilson's book "Redneck Woman: Stories From My Life" and Willie Nelson's album "Songbird" arrived in stores.


Today in 2006, Vince Gill took second place on a "Golf Digest" ranking of the top 100 musician golfers, behind sax player Kenny G.  Diamond Rio's Marty Roe; Steve Azar; and Rudy, Steve, and Larry Gatlin all made top ten, while Alison Krauss and Union Station's Dan Tyminski, Mac Davis, Glen Campbell, and George Strait landed in the top 25.  Anne Murray was the highest ranking woman on the list at number 39.  Pat Green, Sawyer Brown's Mark Miller, Clay Walker, Kix Brooks, and Rascal Flatts' Joe Don Rooney also made the list, along with Joe Diffie, Toby Keith, Trace Adkins, Willie Nelson, and Natalie Maines.


Today in 2007, visitation for Porter Wagoner was held at Woodlawn Funeral Home in Nashville.  The 80-year-old Wagoner died a few days earlier, just weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer.  In addition, the Americana Music Association held a celebration of Wagoner's life at the Tennessee State Museum.  Rodney Crowell and singer-songwriters Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller served as hosts for the event, which had been planned before word surfaced about Wagoner's illness.


Today in 2007, Carrie Underwood's album "Carnival Ride" debuted at number one on the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart, while Alison Krauss was at number two with "Raising Sand," her collaboration with Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant, and Gary Allan's "Living Hard" had the number three position.  This was the first time in the chart's history that country artists held the top three spots on the Billboard 200.


Today in 2007, the Johnny Cash movie "Walk the Line" topped the list of the greatest music biopics.


Today in 2008, the Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines hosted a Halloween party at her California home, and Michael Jackson made a surprise appearance.  Maines said many guests didn't believe it was really the King of Pop, adding that "a couple of people went up to him and told him he had the greatest Michael Jackson costume ever."


Today in 2011, Lynn Anderson lost her mother.  Noted songwriter and performer Liz Anderson passed away in Nashville at the age of 81 following a brief hospital stay.  She had been battling heart and lung disease.


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