Nashville News and Notes for THURSDAY

Loretta Lynn Receives Presidential Medal Of Freedom


Country legend Loretta Lynn was among a group of distinguished honorees at the White House Wednesday.  President Obama presented Lynn with the Presidential Medal Of Freedom for her contributions to the soundtrack of America.


Lynn was one of 16 individuals who received the award.  Other honorees included Oprah Winfrey, baseball great Ernie Banks, former President Bill Clinton, and late astronaut Sally Ride.  The Presidential Medal Of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian honor, and is presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to world peace, or to the security, cultural, or national interest of the nation.


Toby Keith To Speak At OK Kids Korral Opening


Toby Keith is finally seeing the rewards from ten years of fundraising.  The country star will be on hand for Thursday's Grand Opening of the OK Kids Korral at the Oklahoma Health Center Campus.  He's slated to speak at the event, along with Oklahoma City's mayor and other OK Kids Korral supporters.  The 25-thousand-square foot facility provides a way for children battling cancer to be with their families outside a hospital setting.  It's described as having a "home-like environment," with a game room, a theater, a reflective room, and indoor and outdoor play areas.  It also features such amenities as a kitchen and laundry room, along with daytime and overnight suites.  There's also a special wing for children with weakened immune systems.


The country star began funding the development and construction of the OK Kids Korral in 2004 with his annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic events.  In 2006 he created the Toby Keith Foundation to facilitate his charitable efforts.  And the singer will continue to raise money to provide ongoing support for the OK Kids Korral through the Toby Keith Foundation, which will be based at the facility.


Brad Paisley To Receive Special Award At ACAs


Brad Paisley will be among the honorees at next month's American Country Awards.  The singer has been tapped to receive the Video Visionary Award in recognition of his abilities to creatively match his music with imagery to make entertaining videos.  Paisley is just the second recipient of the honor, which was previously presented in its inaugural year to Toby Keith in 2010.  Brad will also perform his latest single, "The Mona Lisa," at the show.


Other stars have also signed on for the event as well.  Chris Young, Thompson Square, and Clay Walker have joined the lineup, along with Cowboy Troy, Olivia Newton-John, rodeo star Trevor Brazile, and others.  Trace Adkins and NASCAR's Danica Patrick will host the American Country Awards, which will air live from Las Vegas on Fox on December 10th.


Jewel Among Stars Set For "Christmas In Rockefeller Center"


Jewel will help brighten the night with both music and light in New York City next month.  The singer-songwriter is slated to take part in the annual holiday event "Christmas in Rockefeller Center."  The festive NBC special features a slate of stars performing songs of the season along with the lighting of the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.  Kelly Clarkson is also on board for the show, along with Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, and the Goo Goo Dolls.  Mary J. Blige, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, and Ariana Grande will perform as well.  "Today's" Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales will host "Christmas in Rockefeller Center," which will air on NBC on December 4th.


Jewel recently released the Christmas album "Let It Snow: A Holiday Collection."  The 12-track set features such seasonal favorites as "Sleigh Ride," "Silver Bells," and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," while Vince Gill's guitar work is featured on "White Christmas."


Country Stars On Guest List For Kelly Clarkson's Holiday Special


Reba McEntire will be helping her new daughter-in-law share the Christmas spirit next month.  She's among the stars slated to appear in "Kelly Clarkson's Cautionary Christmas Music Tale."  Blake Shelton and Trisha Yearwood are also on board for the upcoming seasonal show, along with actors William Shatner, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams; NASCAR star Danica Patrick; model Heidi Klum; and others.  Clarkson's special is described as "a comedic musical take on a traditional Christmas morality tale," and will feature performances of seasonal favorites -- including songs from Kelly's recently released holiday album, "Wrapped in Red."  "Kelly Clarkson's Cautionary Christmas Music Tale" will air on NBC on December 11th at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.


Shania Named "Country Music's Most Beautiful Woman"


Shaina Twain is getting praise for her looks.  The singer is taking the title of "Country Music's Most Beautiful Woman" in the latest "Country Weekly" poll.  The publication says Shania "epitomizes natural beauty" with her "tousled hair" and "brilliant smile."  The magazine adds that Twain still has the same stunning figure she had nearly 20 years ago when she became a star.  It's the second consecutive year Shania has landed in the top spot in the poll.  Carrie Underwood is taking second place, followed by Terri Clark.  The full list of lovely ladies is featured in the latest edition of "Country Weekly," on newsstands now.


Pilot Listed Taylor Swift As Next Of Kin


Taylor Swift says she has no idea how she ended up listed as the next of kin of the Canadian pilot who crashed his plane at Nashville International Airport.  "The Tennessean" says the country-pop superstar learned about it when her management was contacted by authorities looking into the matter.  Swift's rep Paula Erickson explains that the singer has never heard of Michael Callan, and "does not know this person."  The National Transportation Safety Board is also trying to figure out how Callan flew undectected over an international border, why he turned his transponder off and what caused him to circle the Nashville airport for several hours before attempting to land.


Danielle Bradbery's Been Shopping "A Lot" Since "The Voice"


Danielle Bradbery says she didn't splurge on one big item when she received her prize money from "The Voice."  But the country singer also admits she hasn't exactly stashed it away in a "rainy day" fund, either.  She tells "Taste Of Country" she loves to shop, and since taking the title on the NBC reality show back in June she's "had a lot of shopping days."  But Danielle adds that she's not one of those girls who just wants to spend all her free time at the mall.  The 17-year-old says she also enjoys "a lot of things that guys like," such as four-wheeling, trucks, horseback riding, and other "outdoorsy" activities.  Danielle's self-titled debut album will be in stores Monday.  The disc features her hit single "The Heart Of Dixie."


Charlie Worsham Taps Experiences For Songs


Charlie Worsham says since his college days he's based his songs on his life.  But the country newcomer explains that doesn't mean listeners should think everything he pens is 100-percent autobiographical. 


Charlie adds that he's a big fan of story songs, which is the style of his debut single, "Could It Be."  He says the song tells the story of two friends who "cross a line," and it leads them to reconsider their feelings for one another.  Worsham's follow up, "Want Me Too," is due out next month.  Both songs are from Charlie's first album, "Rubberband," which is in stores now.


"Nashville's" Charles Esten Shares Favorite Scenes


"Nashville" star Charles Esten says he really enjoys when the music is incorporated into the action.  The actor, who portrays Deacon, says his favorite scenes from the show include the duets he's sung with Connie Britton's character Rayna and Hayden Panettiere's Juliette, along with a less-musical moment he shared with one of the show's non-human characters.


Esten adds that another favorite moment was when he and Britton teamed up on "The End of the Day."  That song is included on "Music from Nashville, Season One: The Complete Collection."  "No One Will Ever Love You" and "Undermine" are both on "Music of Nashville (Season 1, Volume 1)," and all three tracks have been released as singles.  The next soundtrack album from the series, "Music Of Nashville (Season 2, Volume 1)," will be in stores on December 10th.  "Nashville" airs on ABC on Wednesday nights.


Noted Nashville Songwriter Humbled By Icon Award


Singer-songwriter Dean Dillon says being honored with the BMI Icon Award is incredibly meaningful to him.  He admits he got emotional when he learned from BMI President Del Bryant that he'd been tapped for the recognition.


Dillon adds that Bryant deserves a lot of the credit, and calls him "the machine" behind him getting the Icon Award.  But Dillon's talents also played a role.  His numerous hits include George Jones' "Tennessee Whiskey," Brooks & Dunn's "I'll Never Forgive My Heart," and Keith Whitley's "Miami, My Amy."  He's a frequent collaborator with Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith.  And he's written more than 50 songs for George Strait, including Strait's first single, 1981's "Unwound," and "I Believe," from George's latest album, "Love Is Everything."  Vince Gill, Lee Ann Womack, Rodney Atkins, Pam Tillis, and Alabama are just some of the other stars who've also recorded Dean's songs.


Country Birthdays Include


Steven Curtis Chapman is 51.

SHeDAISY'S Kelsi Osborn is 39.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1981, the single "All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)" by Hank Williams Jr. hit number one spot on the charts.


Today in 1987, Randy Travis scored a number one song with "I Won't Need You Anymore."


Today in 1992, Alabama's single "I'm In A Hurry (And Don't Know Why)" graced the top of the country charts.


Today in 1998, Garth Brooks wrapped up a three-year world tour with the last of three sold-out shows at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.


Today in 2000, Garth Brooks re-released his first six albums.  The re-issues each featured an additional song found only in Garth's box set.


Today in 2000, Phil Vassar scored his first number one hit as a performer with "Just Another Day In Paradise."  He'd previously been at the top of the charts as a songwriter, having penned hits for such artists as Alan Jackson, Jo Dee Messina, Tim McGraw and Collin Raye.


Today in 2001, Sara Evans, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Craig Morgan, SHeDAISY, and Phil Vassar performed at a special concert at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.  President George W. Bush was among the guests visiting with the troops.


Today in 2001, Garth Brooks staged a live concert special from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, which was docked in Norfolk, Virginia.  Guests at the big show included Steve Wariner and Trisha Yearwood.  On the same day, Garth's "Scarecrow" album debuted at number one on both the country and pop album charts.


Today in 2002, Kenny Chesney joined the ranks of "People" magazine's annual Sexiest Men Alive list.  He was named the sexiest country singer.


Today in 2003, Emerson Drive joined Shania Twain's "UP!" tour in Houston, Texas.


Today in 2003, the Dixie Chicks' double CD and DVD "Top of the World Live" arrived in stores.  The group appeared on the "Today" show to support the release.


Today in 2004, Charlie Daniels, Lonestar, Tracy Byrd, Tracy Lawrence, and Buddy Jewell were among the performers at the "Christmas For Kids" concert at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.


Today in 2004, Randy Travis appeared on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."  The singer helped raise 60-thousand-dollars by performing at a benefit for the family.


Today in 2005, Trick Pony left the U.S. to perform for American troops and their families in Europe and the Middle East.


Today in 2005, Charlie Daniels headlined the 9th annual Christmas For Kids Benefit Concert.  Lonestar, Phil Vassar, Trace Adkins, and Rodney Atkins were also on board for the big show.  The concert was a fundraising event supporting the charity Christmas For Kids.


Today in 2006, Rascal Flatts earned their first American Music Award trophies.  The trio was the big country winner at the event.  Toby Keith, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw were also honored, while Carrie Underwood took the title of Breakthrough Artist.


Today in 2006, Heartland celebrated the group's number one single "I Loved Her First" with songwriters Walt Aldridge and Elliott Park at a reception in Nashville.


Today in 2006, new CD releases included Darryl Worley's "Here and Now" and Bryan White's "My Christmas Project."


Today in 2008, Martina McBride helped launch Christmas at the late Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion, by flicking the switch to illuminate the traditional blue lights and other season decorations adorning the Memphis, Tennessee property.


Today in 2008, Emerson Drive's David Pichette celebrated the birth of his daughter, Emma Victoria,  in Nashville.


Today in 2008, Mary Chapin Carpenter's first column for Washington DC's "The Washington Times" ran in the paper in the Show section.


Today in 2008, Clay Walker visited The National Pediatric MS Center at Stony Brook Hospital in New York to give the director, Dr. Lauren Krupp, a 100-thousand-dollar donation to help fund the center's work.  The singer made the donation through his Band Against MS charity.


Today in 2010, Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, and Carrie Underwood were among the winners at the 38th annual American Music Awards.  Swift and Lady A also performed at the event, while The Band Perry participated as a presenter.


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