Nashville News and Notes for THURSDAY

Carrie Underwood Loves "Sound Of Music" Music


Don't ask Carrie Underwood to pick a favorite song from "The Sound of Music."  The country singer, who's starring in NBC's live production of the musical, says it's impossible for her to choose.


Underwood is featured on the new cast soundtrack album, "The Sound of Music -- Music From the NBC Television Event."  She performs three songs on the 22-track collection, including the title cut.  Carrie is appearing in the role of Maria von Trapp in "The Sound of Music Live!," a live televised presentation of the famed musical airing on NBC Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.


Jewel, Clarkson Among "Christmas In Rockefeller Center" Performers


Jewel is helping to set a holiday mood.  The singer-songwriter was among the many stars who took part in the annual NBC special "Christmas in Rockefeller Center."  She delivered a rendition of "The Christmas Song" during Wednesday's national broadcast.


Kelly Clarkson performed for the event as well, contributing a rocking rendition of "Run, Run Rudolph" to the show.  Mariah Carey led the lineup for the holiday special, which also featured seasonal songs from the Goo Goo Dolls, Mary J. Blige, Ariana Grande, and others.  Jewel and Kelly were also among the stars included in the extended local broadcast, which also featured Lauren Alaina.  The former "American Idol" finalist opened that portion of the show with "Grown Up Christmas List," and later sang "Jingle Bells."  Jewel performed "Let It Snow" on the local show, while Kelly covered "Blue Christmas."


Garth Brooks' Box Set Topping Country Chart


Garth Brooks is back at the top of the chart. says his new box set, "Blame It All On My Roots," is opening at number one on the Country Albums chart, with 164-thousand copies sold in just four days.  It's debuting on the all-genre BIllboard 200 at number three.  The eight-disc set was released on Thanksgiving Day exclusively through Walmart, to coincide with Black Friday and his CBS TV special.  Brooks is also bumping the "Duck Dynasty" album, "Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas," out of the number one spot, capping its chart-topping run at four weeks.  However, "Duck The Halls" did see a significant increase in sales.  The album had its biggest sales week yet at 137-thousand -- up 127-percent over the previous week.  It's following Brooks on the Billboard 200 at number four.


Kelly Clarkson's holiday album and Luke Bryan's latest release also benefited from special sales.  Clarkson's "Wrapped in Red" sold 131-thousand copies, up 195-percent, to climb back to the number six spot on the Billboard 200.  And Bryan's "Crash My Party" is crashing back into the top ten.  Last week's sales of 109-thousand marks a 318-percent increase, and puts it at number eight.  The new Billboard 200 leader is One Direction's "Midnight Memories."


Monroe, Musgraves, Church Make "RS" Best Songs List


Ashley Monroe, Kacey Musgraves, and Eric Church all have tracks on "Rolling Stone's" rundown of the best songs of the year.  Monroe ranks highest among the country singers, with "Two Weeks Late" landing at number 28.  The magazine compares Ashley's track, about an unplanned pregnancy, to Loretta Lynn's 1972 classic, "The Pill."  Musgraves' "Follow Your Arrow," which takes the number 53 spot on the list, is praised for incorporating some unconventional lyrics into a "great" mainstream country song.  "Rolling Stone" puts Eric's latest single, "The Outsiders," at number 89.  The publication calls it the "heaviest 'country' song in years," saying it "plays like some demon spawn of Def Leppard, Black Sabbath, and 'Born to Be Wild.'"  Darius Rucker's "Wagon Wheel," which "Rolling Stone" calls a "left-field country number one," eeks in at number 97.


Brenda Lee Playing First Full Nashville Concert This Weekend


Brenda Lee will mark a career first this weekend.  The singer will give her first full headlining performance in Nashville.  Lee says it's actually something she's worked to avoid in the 57 years she's lived in Music City.  She tells "The Tennessean" that Nashville is "home," and she wants to keep it that way.  Brenda explains that when she's there she wants to simply be "one of the girls...just a regular mother and grandmother and friend and wife."  But she's making an exception for family.  Lee has agreed to play a special benefit show supporting the St. Cecilia Academy Fine Arts Campaign.  Brenda has a connection to St. Cecilia Academy through her granddaughters, one of whom is still a student at the school. 


The holiday-themed concert "Rockin' Around the Tree with Brenda Lee" is set for the St. Cecilia Academy Theater in Nashville on Sunday.


"Nashville's" Clare Bowen Likes Playing Opry Shows


"Nashville" star Clare Bowen says she really likes performing on the Grand Ole Opry -- and at the Grand Ole Opry House.  The actress and singer recalls how great it felt when she played an Opry show at the venue earlier this year, in character for an episode of the ABC series.


But Clare says she also enjoys performing at Nashville's other legendary venues, the Bluebird Cafe and the Ryman Auditorium -- where she made her Opry debut.  And Bowen will be back at the Ryman for an Opry show later this month.  She'll be featured on December 14th along with Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, and others.


Tim McGraw A Big High School Football Fan


Tim McGraw's love of football extends beyond the NFL.  The country star says he's a big fan of high school football.  He explains that there's something special about seeing the kids facing off on the field.

McGraw adds that he believes it's good for kids to take part in organized sports, because they provide excellent learning opportunities beyond the game itself.  He describes sports as "a microcosm for how to go about life," explaining that the experience not only teaches kids about winning and losing but also how to deal with adversity.  And these days McGraw has another reason to attend some high school football games.  One of his daughters is a cheerleader.


Ellie Goulding: Taylor Swift Is "An Inspiration To Me"


Taylor Swift is getting some props from Ellie Goulding.  The British singer-songwriter tells "Cosmopolitan" that she and Taylor are "similar," because they "write about relationships."  Ellie admits there was a time she thought she should "stop being so explicit" about her personal life in her songwriting, and credits Taylor with helping to snap her out of it.  Ellie calls Taylor "an inspiration," adding that she's "always going to write about people."  Taylor Swift has developed a reputation for writing about her romances -- particularly when they've gone sour -- and she hasn't always earned praise for the practice.  However, the country-pop superstar has an undeniable talent for turning her heartache into hits.


"CMT Artists Of The Year" Draws Bigger Audience Live


CMT has had success in airing its annual "Artists of the Year" special live.  The network carried this year's event as it happened Tuesday night, instead of taping the show for a weekend broadcast. says initial Nielsen figures indicate significantly more people tuned in this year.  The show had an 81-percent increase over last year among viewers adults ages 18 to 49, while streams on rose by 277-percent from 2012.  However, it's not clear if fans were watching because the show was live, or because it was a Tuesday night.  Last year's ceremony was taped on a Monday, and aired the following Saturday.


This year's "CMT Artists of the Year" saluted Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan, Hunter Hayes, and Florida Georgia Line.  Aldean and Bryan were also among the 2012 honorees -- who weren't announced in advance of the broadcast.  Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, Toby Keith, and Eric Church were also celebrated during the 2012 show.


Country TV Tonight


THE SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE! (NBC) Carrie Underwood stars in a live TV broadcast of the classic musical.

JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE (ABC) Jake Owen is a guest.

LATE NIGHT WITH JIMMY FALLON (NBC) Thomas Rhett is a guest on this repeat episode.

HEADLINE COUNTRY (GAC) Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley, the American Music Awards, and the George Jones tribute concert are featured.

GREAT AMERICAN PLAYLIST (GAC) Danielle Bradbery is featured.

BACKSTORY (GAC) Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, and Gary Allan are featured in separate episodes.


Country Birthdays Include


Tyler England is 50.

Gary Allan is 46.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1961, June Carter and Johnny Cash appeared in concert together for the first time in Dallas.


Today in 1987, Ricky Van Shelton scored his first number one hit on the country charts with "Somebody Lied."


Today in 1993, the Eagles shot a video with Travis Tritt for his version of their classic, "Take it Easy."  The video shoot has since been credited with inspiring the band to reunite.


Today in 2000, the movie soundtrack "O' Brother, Where Art Thou?" arrived in stores.


Today in 2003, Kenny Chesney gave a special holiday performance in support of his then-new release CD "All I Want For Christmas Is A Real Good Tan" at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.


Today in 2003, Craig Morgan, LeAnn Rimes with Phil Vassar, and Ricochet were among the performers taking part in concerts in conjunction with the National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Today in 2006, the Oklahoma City Council approved the renaming of a street in the city's entertainment district after Vince Gill.


Today in 2007, Dolly Parton was in Rotherham in South Yorkshire, Great Britain to launch her Imagination Library at the Magna Science and Education Centre.


Today in 2007, Carrie Underwood was included on "Forbes" magazine's "20 Under 25" list of the current top-earning young superstars, landing at number eleven on the list.


Today in 2010, Merle Haggard was among those receiving a musical salute at the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors gala in Washington, DC.


Today in 2010, the jumpsuit Johnny Cash wore during his rehearsal for his 1969 concert at San Quentin State Prison sold at an auction in Beverly Hills for 50-thousand-dollars -- well surpassing its estimated value of three-to-five-thousand-dollars -- while a Johnny Cash San Quentin poster fetched 20-thousand-dollars.


Today in 2011, Jason Aldean was the big winner at the 2nd annual American Country Awards, taking six of the eight categories in which he was nominated including Artist of the Year.  Chris Young, Carrie Underwood, and Blake Shelton also took home multiple awards, while, Scotty McCreery and Thompson Square earned the first awards of their career at the event.  Toby Keith was named Artist of the Decade.


Today in 2012, Taylor Swift co-hosted the "Grammy Nominations Concert Live" TV special, which for the first time aired live from Nashville.  Luke Bryan and Hunter Hayes were among the performers for the show, while Dierks Bentley and The Band Perry took part in a tribute to Johnny Cash.  Swift and Hayes also emerged as the top country nominees for 2013.


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