Nashville News and Notes for THURSDAY

Lady Antebellum To Play The Belk Bowl Tonight


Lady Antebellum will be spending time with the college crowd tonight.  The trio is on board to perform at the 2012 Belk Bowl, which takes place tonight at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Lady A's Charles Kelley says the group is looking forward to the show.  He tweeted Wednesday that they were "getting excited" about the event, adding that they "haven't performed in a long time" and are "ready to bring it."  The college football game will feature the Big East Conference winner Cincinnati taking on the Atlantic Coast Conference champs Duke.  The Belk Bowl will air on ESPN starting at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.


Blake Shelton Appearing On NBC New Year's Eve Special


Blake Shelton will be featured on NBC's upcoming year-end special.  The network will ring in 2013 with "New Year's Eve With Carson Daly," which will include live performances from "The Voice" winner Cassadee Pope and Train, reports from New York's Times Square, a review of the musical highlights from 2012, and other segments.  Shelton will be featured along with his fellow "Voice" coaches Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine, and Cee Lo Green discussing their New Year's Eve parties.  Such stars as Jay Leno, Jimmy Fallon, Donald Trump, and Amy Poehler will be featured in segments that focus on New Year's resolutions, advice for 2013, the traditional New Year's song "Auld Lang Syne," and other topics.  The two-hour, two-part "New Year's Eve With Carson Daly" will air on NBC from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Eastern, and resume at 11:30 p.m. Eastern.


Lee Brice Shares His New Year's Resolutions


Lee Brice says he met many of the goals he set for himself this year without consciously trying.  The country singer explains that he realized the accomplishment as he was going through the "notes" section of his iPhone.


Brice says his latest New Year's resolutions are similar to the ones he made at the start of 2012.  He explains that -- like last year -- he wants to "be home more" and "work hard but not too hard."  Lee adds that he'll meet his personal goals by succeeding with his professional aspirations.  He says he's hoping to reach the point in his career that he can play fewer shows, which will free up his schedule and allow him more time with his family.


ZBB's Brown, Cook Set For John Mayer's Montana Firefighter Benefit


The Zac Brown Band's Zac Brown and Clay Cook are supporting John Mayer in his upcoming charitable effort.  The country stars are among the artists on board for Mayer's benefit concert for firefighters who battled the Pine Creek Fire near Livingston, Montana last summer.  The devastating blaze destroyed more than 85-hundred acres of forest and farmland as well as five homes.  The cause is personal for Mayer who lives in the area.  He says that if it weren't for the "tireless effort and dedication" of the firefighters who responded to the blaze, many more homes -- possibly even his own -- would have been lost.  He says staging the concert and supporting the local fire departments is "the least" he can do for the community he now calls home.  "The Livingston Town Proper: A Concert to Benefit the Fighters of the Pine Creek Fire" will take place at the Emerson Theater in Bozeman, Montana on January 16th.


For Cook, the show is his way of helping out an old friend.  Clay and John became buddies and songwriting partners in the 1990s while students at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.


Bo Bice To Make Broadway Debut This Spring


Bo Bice is headed to the Great White Way.  The former "American Idol" finalist will take the lead role in an upcoming production of the musical "Pump Boys and Dinettes," which will open in the spring at New York's Circle in the Square Theater.  Bice, who was the season four runner up behind Carrie Underwood on "Idol," will make his Broadway debut in the show.  His castmates include Erik Hayden, who previously portrayed Carl Perkins in the musical "Million Dollar Quartet."  Previews of "Pump Boys and Dinettes" are slated to begin on March 19th, with opening night scheduled for April 8th.


Hunter Hayes Shares His Pre-Concert Ritual


Hunter Hayes doesn't ever hit the stage cold.  The singer tells CMT News he takes several steps to make sure he's ready to perform.  He says he has his "hour-long vocal warm-ups," which he calls "a ritual" he has "to be faithful to."  Hunter explains that his pre-performance routine is "a chill time" that also allows him to "to relax and mentally prepare" for the show.  The country star adds that while he might get a boost from a "5-Hour Energy" drink, he won't have any caffeine before a concert because it "messes with" his throat."  Hayes admits he's "way more calculated" than he "ever thought" he'd be with his diet, adding that he'll "play it safe" and only eat "a bunch of carbs that will turn into sugar at show time."


Hayes spent this fall opening shows on Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away Tour."  They'll resume the trek next year with a show in Colorado Springs, Colorado on February 13th.


Darius Rucker Names Some Of His Ideal Duet Partners


Darius Rucker says there are a few singers he'd love to record with.  The singer has no doubt that a collaboration with one particular country lady would be a big hit.


But Underwood isn't the only person on Rucker's duets wish list.  Darius also believes that he and Reba McEntire "could just tear it up" if they had the "right song," because they have "those voices that would fit perfectly."  Rucker adds that he'd enjoy teaming up with Brad Paisley again.  The two once performed a re-written version of Willie Nelson's "To All The Girls I've Loved Before" on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."  Darius says he'd like to record another song with Brad that they could "actually put on the radio."


Darius has a few guests joining him on his upcoming album.  Lady Antebellum and Sheryl Crow are among the stars who contribute to Rucker's new CD "True Believers," which will be in stores on January 22nd.


"Nashville" Stars Share Their Awe At Performing At The Ryman


"Nashville" stars Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio, who are both musicians as well as actors, admit it was a thrill to perform at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.  Clare, who plays the part of Scarlett O'Connor on the ABC series, says she it was "a dream come true" to get the chance to take the famous stage.


Sam, who portrays Gunnar Scott on the show, says he felt "privileged" to appear at the Ryman.  He explains that he's previously performed in bars, sometimes for less than ten people, so it was "an incredible jump" for him to appear before an audience of 23-hundred.  Bowen and Palladio made their Grand Ole Opry debut in November.  They sang two songs including "If I Didn't Know Better," which is featured on the recently released "Nashville" series soundtrack.



Country Birthdays Include


Ricochet drummer Jeff Bryant is 51.

Elvis Presley's guitarist Scotty Moore is 81.



Today In Country Music History


Today in 1963, Merle Haggard made his chart debut with "Sing Me A Sad Song."


Today in 1977, the album "Here You Come Again" by Dolly Parton was certified Gold.


Today in 1978, Kenny Rogers was number one on the charts with what became a signature song, "The Gambler."


Today in 1982, the Oak Ridge Boy's "Christmas" album was certified Gold.


Today in 1989, the video "Heartland" by the Judds was certified Gold.


Today in 1994, Ricky Van Shelton's "Greatest Hits Plus" album was certified Platinum, while Marty Robbins' discs "Biggest Hits" and "Best of Marty Robbins" and Dolly Parton's "Home For Christmas" CD were certified Gold.


Today in 2000, Shania Twain's "When," from the CD "Come On Over," came in at number 34 on the Jam! Showbiz website's list of the most played songs in Canada for the year.  Shania's track was the only country tune on the tally.


Today in 2005, Carrie Underwood received the title of "Oklahoman of the Year" by "Oklahoma Today" magazine.


Today in 2007, Little Big Town's Phillip Sweet and his wife, Rebecca Arthur, celebrated the birth of their daughter Penelopi Jane.


Today in 2007, two Dallas police officers allegedly held Steve Holy and a friend at gunpoint at Holy's home after Holy had invited them, and an officer he knew, to his house to play foosball.  After the cop Holy knew left, one of the other policemen became belligerent and said he didn't believe Steve really was the country singer he said he was.  Steve eventually was able to convince the man to let him go upstairs to get his identification, and at that time he told his wife to call 911.  The officers were put on administrative leave while the incident was investigated.


Today in 2007, Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler, and Taylor Swift took in a hockey game together, cheering on the Nashville Predators as the team beat the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nashville's Sommet Center.


Today in 2010, LeAnn Rimes announced that she and Eddie Cibrian were officially engaged.


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