Nashville News and Notes THURSDAY

Country Stars Up For Touring Awards


Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, and Taylor Swift are some of the country artists getting recognized for their road work.  They're all nominees for the Billboard Touring Awards, which are taking place in New York City Thursday night.  The event honors the artists, venues, and behind the scenes people involved in staging the top tours between October 1st, 2012 and September 30th of this year.  Bryan has a bid in the Breakthrough category, along with Bruno Mars and One Direction.  Swift's "Red Tour" and Chesney's "No Shoes Nation Tour" are both in the running for Top Package -- a category Chesney has dominated ever since it was introduced.  He's only not won the award once -- in 2010, when he didn't tour.  That year Taylor won.  Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake's "Legends Of Summer" with DJ Cassidy is that category's third nominee.


Chesney, Swift, and Bryan are also among the 25 acts vying for the Eventful 2013 Fans' Choice Award, along with Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Tim McGraw.  Other nominees for the fan-voted prize include Rascal Flatts, Jason Aldean, and George Strait -- who's already set to be honored at the event.  He's this year's recipient of the Legends Of Live Award, which recognizes stars for their lengthy touring careers.  Meanwhile, Chesney, McGraw, and Rascal Flatts are joining Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, and five others as the inaugural inductees into the Haul Of Fame, which honors the biggest touring acts of the past ten years.  One of the inductees will be named Live Music Hauler Of The Decade during the ceremony.


Select nominees for the 10th annual Billboard Touring Awards follow



Bon Jovi, "Because We Can"

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, "Wrecking Ball"

"Michael Jackson Immortal"



Bon Jovi

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band




Jay-Z & Justin Timberlake "Legends Of Summer," with DJ Cassidy

Kenny Chesney "No Shoes Nation Tour," with Eric Church, Eli Young Band, Kacey Musgraves 

Taylor Swift "Red Tour," with Ed Sheeran, and Joel Crouse, Brett Eldredge, Florida Georgia Line, Casey James



Bruno Mars

Luke Bryan

One Direction



Jeff Dunham

Michael McIntyre

Russell Peters



P!nk - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, July 7-Aug. 26

The Rolling Stones - O2 Arena, London, Nov. 25, 29 2012

The Rolling Stones - United Center, Chicago, May 28, 31, June 1





Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival



George Strait


Shell Rotella HAUL OF FAME

Bon Jovi

Brad Paisley

Dave Matthews Band

Kenny Chesney

Rascal Flatts

The Rolling Stones

Tim McGraw

Toby Keith


Vans Warped Tour


Hank Williams Jr. To Receive Patriot Award


Hank Williams Jr. is getting acknowledged for his support of the U.S. military.  The country star has been tapped to receive Operation Troop Aid's Patriot Award.  OTA founder Mark Woods says Hank Jr.'s "art, legacy of family, and spirit of patriotism is exactly why this award exists."  He adds that the singer has "never forgotten his roots and why we have the freedom we do in America."  Williams will be presented with his award during his New Year's Eve concert in Nashville on December 31st.


Williams is the latest country star to receive the honor, which, in previous years has gone to Toby Keith, Charlie Daniels, and Darryl Worley.  Other past honorees include actor Gary Sinise and the rock band KISS.  Operation Troop Aid provides care packages and other morale boosters for troops stationed in the U.S. and abroad.


Vince Gill To Be Honored By Country Radio Broadcasters


Vince Gill is getting recognized for his contributions to country music.  The singer has been tapped to receive the Country Radio Broadcasters' 2014 Career Achievement Award.  Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell are slated to perform during the presentation, which will be part of February's Country Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  Country Radio Seminar Executive Director BIll Mayne says Gill's honor is "richly deserved."  He praises Vince as "unquestionably one of the greatest artists in the country genre," whose music continues to evolve and inspire others.  Mayne adds that Gill's many attributes -- including talent, class, leadership, and a "wicked sense of humor" -- make him "a remarkable ambassador for country music."


The Country Radio Hall of Fame event will take place in Nashville on February 18th.  The annual gala serves as the unofficial kickoff of the Country Radio Seminar, which is set for February 19th through the 21st.


"Duck Dynasty" Holiday Album Climbing Chart


The "Duck Dynasty" holiday album is defying sales trends. says while most CDs see a drop in sales following their release week, "Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas" enjoyed a five-percent increase in its second week in stores, and is climbing the Billboard 200 chart.  The sales boost is also unusual because "Duck The Halls" is a Christmas album, and holiday CDs don't typically see big sales numbers until after Thanksgiving.  But after moving 69-thousand copies in its first week to debut at number four on the Billboard 200, "Duck The Halls" has added another 73-thousand in sales to move up to the number three spot.  The album debuted at number one on the Country Albums chart.


Jennifer Nettles Open To All Ideas For Album


Jennifer Nettles says she didn't want to limit herself as she worked on her first solo album.  The country star explains that she "put no conscious guides or governors" on the project, but simply set out to record songs she wants to sing.  Nettles had a hand in writing ten of the eleven tracks on "That Girl" including the title cut, which is also the disc's lead-off single.  The album also features a cover of Bob Seger's "Like A Rock."  Jennifer says the material reflects her roots, which she describes as "country, '70s radio, gospel, and singer-songwriter."


"That Girl" will arrive in stores on January 14th, and Nettles plans to tour behind the album.  But so far just two dates are set.  She'll perform at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on February 20th, and take the stage at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, Florida on February 27th.  More dates are expected to be announced soon.


Carrie Underwood Finds Validation In Hits, Awards


Carrie Underwood says she appreciates both the commercial and critical acclaim she's received for her latest album, "Blown Away."  The country star admits she worked hard on the project, and the success and praise are her rewards for her efforts.


"Blown Away" topped both the Billboard 200 and the Country Albums chart following its release in May 2012, and also went to number one in Canada, Australia, and the UK.  It got the nod for Favorite Country Album at last year's American Music Awards and won Top Selling International Album of the Year at this year's Country Music Awards of Australia.  Underwood's CD has also generated CMA, ACM, and American Country Award nominations, as well as bids for People's Choice and Billboard Music Awards.  In addition, "Blown Away" has been certified Platinum in the U.S. and Canada, and yielded four top ten singles.  Two hits from the album -- "Good Girl" and the title track -- topped the Billboard country charts.


Keith Urban Getting Better At Living In The Moment


Keith Urban says he's grown more aware of the importance of enjoying every moment as it occurs.  The country star tells "People Country" in recent years he's "really grasped the concept of the brevity of time," and has realized it's "very, very fleeting."  He explains that it doesn't matter how much time he has left, "it will all be gone very quickly," and he doesn't want to "miss any of it."  But Keith also admits living in the moment is not easy to do -- especially with a hectic career and a family.  But he says it's all about balance, which is "never achieved, it's just maintained."  The singer says he's much more comfortable with achieving something and calling it "done," but families aren't like that.  He equates his family to a garden, explaining that it's something that's "maintained on a daily basis."  Urban is on the cover of the new "People Country," which will be on newsstands Friday.


Thomas Rhett Not Very Energetic Off Stage


Thomas Rhett would describe himself as a pretty laid back person.  But the country singer says fans wouldn't know that based on his concerts.


But Thomas says things are very different before shows.  He admits he's often asleep, and wakes up just five minutes before his meet-and-greets.  The singer adds that it's a trait he shares with his dad, country star Rhett Akins.  He explains that they're both very mellow off stage, but really come to life as soon as they're in front of an audience.


Ricky Skaggs Recalls First Encounter With Hippies


Ricky Skaggs says his first tour was a real eye-opener.  The bluegrass legend who, at the time, was a member of Ralph Stanley's band, recalls it was during the trek that he first saw hippies in person.  Ricky adds that their response to the music surprised him.


Ricky explains that prior to the tour he'd seen hippies on TV, but never on the streets of his rural Kentucky hometown.  Skaggs' first hippie encounter is also among the many stories he tells in his autobiography, "Kentucky Traveler: My Life In Music," which is in stores now.


Country TV Today And Tonight


LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) Sheryl Crow is a guest.

HEADLINE COUNTRY (GAC) Kellie Pickler, George Strait, Brandy Clark, and the "CMA Country Christmas" taping are featured.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1960, the term "Nashville Sound" first appeared in "Time" magazine.


Today in 1961, Johnny Cash was arrested in Nashville for an alcohol-related offense.


Today in 1989, the "When I Call Your Name" album by Vince Gill was released.


Today in 1992, Whitney's Houston's version of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" debuted on the pop charts.  Her chart-topping rendition of the song marked its third trip to the top of the charts.  Dolly had twice previously hit number one with the song, in 1974 and 1982.


Today in 1995, Raul Malo of the Mavericks welcomed his first child, Raul Joaquin Martinez Malo the Third, who's known as "Dino," after Dean Martin.


Today in 1996, Raul Malo of the Mavericks welcomed his second son, Victor -- on his first son Dino's first birthday.


Today in 1997, Shania Twain's single "Love Gets Me Every Time" was number one on the "Radio & Records" Country Top 50 chart.


Today in 2000, Cledus T. Judd's album "Another Day In Parodies" and "The Mercy Project" album, which features Martina McBride and Amy Grant, arrived in stores.


Today in 2001, George Strait's album "The Road Less Traveled" debuted at number one on "Billboard's" Top Country Albums chart.


Today in 2001, Garth Brooks performed at The Forum in Los Angeles, marking his first live appearance with a full band in more than four years.  The concert was in conjunction with the release of the album "Scarecrow," which arrived in stores a day earlier.  The performance also served as the first of three live concert specials that aired on CBS over the coming month.


Today in 2004 Toby Keith was named "Favorite Male Artist" for the third consecutive year at The American Music Awards show in Los Angeles, while Brooks & Dunn earned the title of Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group.  In addition, Kenny Chesney won the T-Mobile Text-In Award at the 32nd annual American Music Awards.  He beat out Usher, OutKast, Norah Jones, and Evanescence for the fan-voted honor.


Today in 2005, Brooks & Dunn gave a lunchtime performance on the marquis of Madison Square Garden, where they would serve as hosts of the Country Music Association Awards the next day. They could be seen by pedestrians and cars from either direction on Seventh Avenue.


Today in 2005, the Grand Ole Opry staged a performance at New York's Carnegie Hall on the eve of the Country Music Association Awards.  Alan Jackson, Martina McBride and Brad Paisley were among those onstage for the event, which was captured on camera and released as a DVD a few months later.


Today in 2005, Trisha Yearwood rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange.


Today in 2005, Narvel Leroy Blackstock, Reba McEntire's father-in-law, passed away.


Today in 2006, during Vince Gill's performance at the Fox Theater in Bakersfield, California he was presented with a Buck Owens guitar.  Buck had picked out the guitar for Vince, but passed away before he could give it to him personally.


Today in 2006, Dierks Bentley celebrated his number one single "Every Mile's a Memory" with writers Brett Beavers and Steve Bogard at a local Nashville pool hall.  The three were honored by performing rights organizations BMI and ASCAP, as well as "Country Weekly," the Country Music Association and Country Radio Broadcasters.


Today in 2006, season four of Reba McEntire's sitcom, "Reba," became available on DVD.


Today in 2007, Trace Adkins rang the NASDAQ Stock Market Opening Bell in New York.  He was in the city promoting his book "A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions from a rethinking Roughneck."


Today in 2007, Garth Brooks' final performance of his nine-night stand in Kansas City, Missouri, was simulcast to 300 movie theaters across the country.


Today in 2011, Taylor Swift topped the country singles chart with her hit "Sparks Fly."


Today in 2011, Love And Theft released "Angel Eyes," their debut single as a duo.


Today in 2012, Taylor Swift's "Red" topped the Billboard 200 chart for a third consecutive week, marking the first time one of the country-pop superstar's albums had logged three straight weeks at the top of the all-genre list.


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