Nashville News and Notes for THURSDAY

George Strait To Receive Award For Wildlife Conservation


George Strait is being recognized for his love of the great outdoors.  The country star has been tapped to receive the Park Cities Quail T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award.  The honor recognizes people who demonstrate a passion for the sporting life while showing their respect for wildlife through conservation efforts.  The award's namesake says Strait readily fits the bill.  T. Boone Pickens calls George "a true national treasure," adding that the singer is "a respected third generation rancher, conservationist and humanitarian who generously shares his resources and influence to make this world a better place."


Strait says he feels honored to receive the award.  He explains that "as a lifelong hunter" he's "grown to appreciate the fact that we have to take care of our wildlife."  Strait will receive his award at the Park Cities Quail Dinner and Auction, taking place at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas Thursday night.


Billy Currington Launching Tour


Billy Currington is hitting the road.  The country star is heading out on his "We Are Tonight" tour.  The trek borrows its name from the singer's most recent album, which he's supporting with the road trip.  The disc, which was released last September, features Billy's chart-topping hit "Hey Girl."  Currington is launching the tour with a show in Tulsa, Oklahoma Thursday night.  The 17-date trek continues thought an appearance in Fort Smith, Arkansas on May 3rd.  Brett Eldredge and Chase Rice are also on board as openers.


Billy Currington's "We Are Tonight" Tour Dates


March 6 - Tulsa, Oklahoma, at The Joint

March 7 - Shawnee, Oklahoma, at The Grand Casino Resort

March 8 - Little Rock, Arkansas, at the Verizon Arena

March 14 - Biloxi, Mississippi, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

March 15 - Tunica, Mississippi, at Harrah's Tunica

March 20 - DeKalb, Illinois, at the Northern Illinois University Convocation Center

March 21 - Rochester, Minnesota, at the Mayo Civic Center Auditorium

March 22 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at The Rave

March 27 - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center

March 28 - Johnstown, Pennsylvania, at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena

March 29 - Troy, Ohio, at the Hobart Arena

April 10 - Pikeville, Kentucky, at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center

April 11 - North Charleston, South Carolina, at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center

April 24 - Dothan, Alabama, at the Toadlick Music Festival

May 1 - Austin, Texas, at Austin City Limits Live

May 2 - Bossier City, Louisiana, at the Horseshoe Bossier City Riverdome

May 3 - Fort Smith, Arkansas, at the Fort Smith Convention Center


Lady Antebellum Having No Problem Touring With Baby


Motherhood and music are mixing well for Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott.  The country star tells that touring with her daughter Eisele , who's now seven-months old, has been a breeze.  And she attributes it to her own upbringing.  Hillary calls herself "a road baby," explaining that when she was little her mom -- Linda Davis -- was a touring musician.  She says she spent "a couple of years" on the road with her mother, and "was homeschooled for kindergarten and first grade."  Scott adds that her own experience should make touring with Eisele easier for both of them, because she knows what Eisele is going through.


Lady A is currently on the Canadian portion of their "Take Me Downtown" tour, with upcoming shows in Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver.  The band will return to the U.S. with a show in Boise, Idaho on March 12th.


Eli Young Band Loves Performing


While the Eli Young Band just released "10,000 Towns" -- their third major-label album --bassist Jon Jones says their hearts are on the stage.


Jones says even if the Eli Young Band didn't have the success they've achieved, they'd "still be in some dive bar doing it to this day."  The country star adds that the group really appreciates the opportunities they've received from such stars as Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts to perform for much bigger crowds.  The Eli Young Band is currently opening shows on Darius Rucker's "True Believers" tour.  They'll be in Enid, Oklahoma Friday night.


Dierks Bentley Takes Top Spot On Country Albums Chart


Dierks Bentley has another chart-topping disc to his credit.  The singer's latest studio effort, "Riser," is debuting at number one on the Billboard Country Albums chart, with first-week sales of 63-thousand.  That figure reflects his best sales week since 2009, when "Feel That Fire" opened with 71-thousand copies sold.  "Riser" is also starting its run on the Billboard 200 in the top ten, entering the all-genre list at number six.  Only two of his albums have done better.  "Fire" peaked at number three, and his 2006 effort, "Long Trip Alone," topped out at number five.  Bentley also reached number six on the Billboard 200 with 2005's "Modern Day Drifter."  All Three of those older albums topped the Country Albums chart.


Little Big Town Describe Latest Single


Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman believes the group's latest single, "Sober," is "special."  The country star says it's a love song that transcends time.  She explains that she recently saw something at a show that illustrates her point.


Band member Jimi Westbrook describes the song in more visual terms.  The singer says to him "Sober" is "like hazy sunshine," explaining that it makes him think of a boardwalk and other places "that have the piers that go out" with "the ferris wheels and people holding hands."  "Sober" is the fourth single from Little Big Town's most recent album, "Tornado."


David Nail Opens Up About Emotional Struggle


David Nail says he's currently doing well.  But the country star admits that hasn't always been the case.


David adds that he's "lucky" to have "an amazing" and "patient" wife who stood by him "through the journey of kind of trying to figure things out."  The singer also says he believes his new album, "I'm a Fire" is "a result" of what he's been through, the support he's received, and his new outlook.  "I'm a Fire" is in stores now.  The album features David's chart-topping hit "Whatever She's Got" and his new single, "Kiss You Tonight."


Hunter Hayes Reveals Possible Celebrity Crush


Hunter Hayes is opening up -- a little bit -- about his celebrity crush.  After being peppered with questions on the subject, the country star told "J-14" magazine he actually has "a few" celebrity crushes, which seem to "go along with" his favorite movie characters.  When asked specifically about "The Hunger Games" star Jennifer Lawrence, he said "that's a possibility," adding that he's a "huge fan" of hers.


The issue first came up last March during an interview with CMT Radio.  As Hunter was denying rumors that he was dating Selena Gomez, he admitted to having a celebrity crush.  But he wasn't willing to divulge who was the object of his unspoken affection.  He explained that he didn't want her to know, because he thought it "could be awkward" if they ever met and she knew how he felt.


Country Stars Sign On For Watershed Music Festival


Kip Moore says he's looking forward to returning to this year's Watershed Music Festival.  The country star says after last year's event, he knew it was the type of festival he wanted to play as often as possible.  He explains that it's held in "such an iconic and beautiful place," and "adds to what is already a great vibe."  In addition to Moore, this year's lineup features Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, and Jake Owen.  Billy Currington, the Eli Young Band, and Randy Houser are on board as well, along with Cassadee Pope, Randy Houser, Joe Diffie, and others.  The three-day Watershed Music Festival is set for The Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington from August 1st through the 3rd.  Tickets go on sale March 13th.


Country Birthdays Include


Singer-songwriter Skip Ewing is 50.



Today In Country Music History


Today in 1976, the song "Good Hearted Woman" by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson began its third week at the top of the charts.


Today in 1982, Alabama's "Love in the First Degree" peaked at number 15 on the "Billboard" pop chart.  The song had already topped the country chart.

 Today in 1983, the Country Music Television cable channel -- better known as CMT -- debuted.


Today in 1990, Travis Tritt's debut album, Country Club," arrived in stores.


Today in 1999, George Jones was severely injured as a result of a crash in his Lexus SUV.  He was driving home when he crashed into a bridge and it was later revealed that alcohol was a factor.  George has since said that the incident helped him turn his life around.


Today in 1999, Sara Evans' "There's No Place For That" became her first chart-topping single.


Today in 2002, Chely Wright received the National Association for Music Education's FAME Award in Washington DC.


Today in 2004, Julie Roberts made her debut at the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 2004, the second season of "Nashville Star" began on USA.  By the end of the competition Brad Cotter emerged the winner, while Canadian singer George Canyon was the runner-up.


Today in 2004, Kenny Chesney was featured on A&E's "Live By Request."


Today in 2007, new releases included Gary Allan's "Greatest Hits," Sunny Sweeney's "Heartbreaker's Hall of Fame," Mary Chapin Carpenter's "The Calling," Johnny Cash's "Here Was a Man: The Ultimate Gospel Collection," and Jerry Lee Lewis' live DVD "Last Man Standing."


Today in 2008, Brad Paisley received a plaque during his show at Country Radio Seminar honoring him for reaching the ten-million mark in album sales.


Today in 2008, Gary Allan celebrated the chart-topping success of his single "Watching Airplanes" with a party in Nashville.


Today in 2009, Lady Antebellum, the Zac Brown Band, and Kellie Pickler performed at the annual New Faces of Country Music show, along with James Otto and Chuck Wicks.


Today in 2010, Jack Ingram and Phil Vassar made their concert debuts in Australia, performing at the CMC Rocks the Snowys in Sydney.


Today in 2010, Brad Paisley ended his "American Saturday Night" tour with a bang -- literally -- as he took a tumble during the encore of his show in Charleston, South Carolina.  After the concert Paisley went by ambulance to a local hospital.  While he didn't suffer any breaks or fractures, he was left with a severely bruised torso.


Today in 2010, Billy Ray Cyrus "won" the Razzie for Worst Supporting Actor for his efforts in "Hannah Montana: The Movie" at the 30th annual Golden Raspberry Awards.  The event looks at the "worst" movies and film performances of the year.


Today in 2011, John Rich began on "The Celebrity Apprentice."  He went on to win the compeition, and raise one-point-four-million-dollars for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


Today in 2011, Dolly Parton launched her Imagination Library in Scotland, marking the first time she'd introduced the literacy program on a national level.


Today in 2012, Wade Hayes made his first public performance since undergoing treatment for colon cancer, joining Trace Adkins and Exile for the Stars Go Blue for Colon Cancer benefit concert in Nashville.


Today in 2012, new releases included Neal McCoy's "XII" , his first studio effort in seven years, and Luke Bryan's EP "Spring Break 4: Suntan City."


Today in 2013, Lorrie Morgan and Bryan White were among the stars who took part in a memorial service for the late Mindy McCready, who died a few weeks earlier.


Today in 2013, The Time Jumpers announced that singer Dawn Sears was battling lung cancer, but would continue performing with the group whenever she could.


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