Nashville News and Notes for THURSDAY

Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, Strait Win Big At CMAs


The man known as "The King of Country" now has the new title -- 2013 Entertainer of the Year.  George Strait captured top honors at the 47th annual Country Music Association Awards, which aired on ABC Wednesday night.  Strait gave a nod to his father, who just passed away five months ago, in expressing his amazement over the win.


It's the first time in more than 20 years that Strait has taken the prize.  He's previously earned the Entertainer of the Year award twice, with back-to-back wins in 1989 and 1990.  It was also a big night for Blake Shelton and country newcomers Florida Georgia Line, who both took two categories at the event.  Other winners include Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves, and Lee Brice.


The star-packed ceremony also featured plenty of music.  Eric Church, Luke Bryan, and Zac Brown Band were among the stars who played new songs during the ceremony, while Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, and The Band Perry are just a few of the many other artists who performed at the event.  In addition, all-star tributes celebrated special award recipients Taylor Swift and Kenny Rogers, while Strait and Alan Jackson remembered the late country legend George Jones.  Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood served as hosts of the 47th annual CMA Awards, which were presented at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena Wednesday night.


Winners from the 47th annual CMA Awards:


Entertainer of the Year

George Strait


Female Vocalist of the Year

Miranda Lambert


Male Vocalist of the Year

Blake Shelton


New Artist of the Year

Kacey Musgraves


Vocal Duo of the Year

Florida Georgia Line


Vocal Group of the Year

Little Big Town


Album of the Year

Blake Shelton, "Based on a True Story..."


Single of the Year

Florida Georgia Line, "Cruise"


Song of the Year (songwriter's award)

Lee Brice, "I Drive Your Truck" (Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, and Jimmy Yeary)


Musical Event of the Year

Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, "Highway Don't Care"


Music Video of the Year

Tim McGraw with Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, "Highway Don't Care"


Musician of the Year

Mac McAnally (guitar)


Pinnacle Award

Taylor Swift


Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award

Kenny Rogers


Taylor Swift Becomes Second CMA Pinnacle Award Recipient


Taylor Swift is receiving special recognition for her extraordinary career.  The country-pop superstar is the latest recipient of the Country Music Association's Pinnacle Award.  She was presented with the honor during the 47th annual CMA Awards, which aired on ABC Wednesday night.  But in her acceptance, Swift said she wasn't the only one being honored with the prize.


Swift added that she was moved by the presentation, which she said was much more elaborate that she expected.  The segment began with "Nashville's" Lennon and Maisy Stella in the crowd singing Swift's hit "You Belong With Me" to Taylor.  Tim McGraw then led an all-star group, all of whom have played a role in her career, in giving her the award.  The tribute also included video testimonials and messages of congratulations from a host of celebrities, ranging from Keith Urban and Vince Gill to Mick Jagger, Justin Timberlake, and Ethel Kennedy.  Swift is just the second person to receive the CMA's Pinnacle Award.  Garth Brooks was the inaugural recipient when the honor was established in 2005.


George Strait Thrilled To Take CMA Entertainer Title


George Strait says he really did consider it an honor simply to be nominated for Entertainer of the Year at the 47th annual Country Music Association Awards.  But while the "King of Country" admits didn't expect to win, he says he still held on to a glimmer of hope.


But heading into the ceremony Strait knew he had at least one vote.  Earlier this week he told Nashville's "Tennessean" he put himself down for the prize when he cast his CMA ballot.  The singer said he believes it's a natural and honest thing to do, and something "everybody does."  The 47th annual CMA Awards were presented in a ceremony in Nashville Wednesday night.


With the win Strait now has his third career CMA Entertainer of the Year title -- which comes more than 20 years after he last captured the honor.  George earned his first two CMA Entertainer awards with back-to-back wins in 1989 and 1990. 


Florida Georgia Line Celebrating First CMA Wins


Florida Georgia Line now has a couple of Country Music Association awards to their credit.  The duo's Brian Kelley admits it was strange to be called as a winner.  The singer says when he heard the duo's name announced his thoughts started racing -- and then just stopped.


Florida Georgia Line captured two categories at the event.  They were named Vocal Duo of the Year, while their massive debut hit, "Cruise" got the nod for Single of the Year.  The 47th annual CMA Awards were presented in a ceremony in Nashville, and aired on ABC Wednesday night.


Kenny Rogers Thrilled With His CMA Tribute


Kenny Rogers says he couldn't have been more pleased with the tribute he received at the 47th annual Country Music Association Awards.  The country star explains that Darius Rucker in particular has really gone out of his way to honor him in recent weeks, and has become a friend in the process.


Rucker sang "The Gambler" at the CMA's Lifetime Achievement Award salute to Rogers, which also featured Jennifer Nettles and Rascal Flatts.  Rascal Flatts performed Roger's 1968 rock hit, "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)," which Kenny suspects served as the country trio's introduction to psychedelia.  Rogers adds that he'd never performed with Nettles before they sang "Islands in the Stream" together at Wednesday's event, and she made a big impression on him with her talent.


"Duck Dynasty" Christmas Album Tops Country Chart


The "Duck Dynasty" clan doesn't just have a hit TV series -- they now have a chart-topping album to their credit as well. says "Duck the Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas" is the new number one on the Country Albums chart, with first-week sales of 69-thousand.  The disc is also debuting in the top five on the all-genre Billboard 200, taking the number four spot behind Kelly Charkson's holiday effort, "Wrapped in Red."  Arcade Fire's "Reflektor" is the list leader, followed by last week's number one, Katy Perry's "Prism."  Drake's "Nothing Was the Same" rounds out the top five.


Thomas Rhett and Toby Keith are also making top ten chart debuts.  Rhett's debut disc, "It Goes Like This," is falling in at number six on the Billboard 200 with 36-thousand in sales -- good enough to capture the number two spot on the Country Albums list.  Toby Keith's "Drinks After Work" is starting its Billboard 200 run at number seven, and opens at number three on the country chart, on sales of 35-thousand.


Jennifer Nettles, Eric Church Set Album Release Dates


Jennifer Nettles and Eric Church are planning to put new albums in stores early next year.  Nettles' "That Girl" is slated to arrive on January 14th.  The project marks the debut solo effort from the Sugarland singer.  She released the title track from the disc back in August.  Church, meanwhile, will deliver "The Outsiders" on February 11th.  He's also picked his album's title track to serve as the lead-off single, which he just unveiled last month.  "The Outsiders" is Eric's follow up to 2011's "Chief," which is his biggest album to date.  It's the singer's first chart-topping CD and his first to be certified Platinum.  "Chief" also yielded five top ten singles.  And Church is already seeing success with "The Outsiders," which has quickly become a top ten hit.


Miranda Lambert Excited, Nervous About Next Album


Miranda Lambert says it's too early for her to really say much about her next album.  The country star tells "Rolling Stone" right now it's "kind of all over the map."  Miranda explains that she "never" has a plan when she heads into the studio, but just goes into the studio and lets "the songs lead themselves."  She adds that she's both "excited" and "nervous" about the project, but says it's just because it's important to her, and she cares about it.  Lambert's next studio set will be her follow up to 2011's "Four The Record."


Kacey Musgraves Sees Lyrical Shift In Songs


Kacey Musgraves says she's seeing a change in the content of country music.  The singer-songwriter tells CMT she thinks the genre is "getting back to a time period where substance is important."  She explains that "for a while" it seemed to be "more popular for you to have just a pretty face or a good voice," but now it appears that artists are "coming back to a time of lyrical substance."  Kacey says she knows she's hearing a good song if it makes her "feel something immediately."  She adds that she believes "truthful songs will be hits," and if an artist is "not just doing something because radio might like it" but because it feels "natural," then that song is "undeniably a hit."


Today in Country Music History


Today in 1981, the Oak Ridge Boys' "Fancy Free" single was number one on the charts.


Today in 1986, Willie Nelson made a guest appearance as a corrupt ex-cop trying to unload a bunch of stolen cocaine on the television series, "Miami Vice."


Today in 1998, Little Jimmy Dickens celebrated a historic milestone when he appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in a performance that marked 50 years as a member of the show's cast.


Today in 2000, new releases included Alan Jackson's "When Somebody Loves You" and Sawyer Brown's "The Hits LIVE."


Today in 2001, Alan Jackson offered the debut performance of "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" at the 35th annual CMA Awards, which brought many to tears and the crowd to its feet.  Winners at the event included Tim McGraw, who captured Entertainer of the Year honors, Toby Keith, Lee Ann Womack, Lonestar, and Brooks & Dunn, while Keith Urban captured the Horizon Award.  Waylon Jennings, Bill Anderson, the Everly Brothers, Don Gibson, Homer & Jethro, the Jordanaires, Louvin Brothers, Sam Phillips and Webb Pierce were among the Country Music Hall of Fame inductees.


Today in 2001, Chely Wright hosted the UK presentation of the CMA Awards, which aired on the BBC.


Today in 2002, Kix Brooks was elected executive vice president of the Country Music Association's Board of Directors.


Today in 2003, Tracy Byrd's cookbook "Eat Like a Byrd" arrived in stores.


Today in 2005, Kenny Chesney stopped traffic -- literally -- when he performed on ABC's "Good Morning America" the day before his album "The Road and The Radio" arrived in stores.  His stage was set up on a midtown Manhattan street in Times Square.


Today in 2007, Kenny Chesney captured his third Entertainer of the Year nod at the 41st annual CMA Awards.  Male and Female Vocalist of the Year honors went to Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, while Taylor Swift earned the Horizon Award.  Other winners included Sugarland, Rascal Flatts, George Strait, and Tracy Lawrence.  Performers included Big & Rich, Kellie Pickler, Dwight Yoakam, Rascal Flatts with Jamie Foxx, Reba McEntire with LeAnn Rimes, and The Eagles, who made their awards show performance debut.


Today in 2007, former Statler Brother Jimmy Fortune performed at a special ceremony at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC, singing "More Than a Name on a Wall" and reading some of the names on the wall aloud.


Today in 2009, Taylor Swift was both the host and musical guest on NBC's "Saturday Night Live."  Only three other country stars had previously served as the sketch comedy show's host and musical performer.


Today in 2011, Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott took the top prize of Songwriter of the Year at the SESAC 2011 Nashville Music Awards.  She got the nod as the co-writer of the trio's hits "Need You Now," "Our Kind of Love," and "Just A Kiss," as well as for penning Sara Evans' "A Little Bit Stronger."  In addition, Chris Young's hit "Tomorrow" was named Song of the Year.


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