Nashville News and Notes for THURSDAY

Luke Bryan Excited About ACM Awards


Luke Bryan says he's really looking forward to this weekend's Academy of Country Music Awards.  The singer admits he's amazed to be playing such a prominent role in the event for a second consecutive year.


It'll also be a busy night for Bryan.  In addition to hosting the ceremony with Blake Shelton he's slated to perform twice -- on his own on the main stage and with Florida Georgia Line at the ACM Fan Jam remote.  He's also a three-time nominee, with bids for Entertainer, Male Vocalist, and Album of the Year.  Luke is the reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year, and says earning the event's highest honor last year "truly changed" his life.  The 49th annual ACM Awards will be presented in a ceremony in Las Vegas, and air on CBS Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.


More Performers, Presenters Set For ACM Awards


Brad Paisley will debut his next single, "River Bank," at the 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards.  The singer is one of several new additions to the event.  Other stars signing on include Dierks Bentley, who'll perform his hit "I Hold On" with Sheryl Crow, while Lee Brice and Darius Rucker will each sing their nominated songs and Rascal Flatts will perform "Rewind."  Meanwhile, Clay Walker, Trisha Yearwood, and Jewel are among the presenters for the event.  The lineup also features Tim McGraw, Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line, and many others.  Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan will host the 49th annual ACM Awards, which will air on CBS Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.


Hunter Hayes Launching ACM Week In Las Vegas


Hunter Hayes is getting the ACM festivities started in Las Vegas.  The singer is headlining the Academy of Country Music's ACM Week Kick Off Party, taking place at The LINQ Thursday night.  Hunter will cap off the free show, which also features sets from David Nail, Cole Swindell, and Sasha McVeigh.  The event is just one of many concerts and activities scheduled in conjunction with the 49th annual ACM Awards.  Over the next few days country stars and fans converge on the city for the ceremony, which will air on CBS on Sunday.


Johnny Cash Tops Country Chart With Latest Posthumous Release


The late Johnny Cash is back at the top of the chart. says his new "lost" album, "Out Among the Stars," is starting its run at number one on the Country Albums list, with first-week sales of 54-thousand.  It's debuting at number three on the all-genre Billboard 200, behind the "Frozen" soundtrack" and Shakira's new self-titled set -- which features the Blake Shelton duet, "Medicine."  "Out Among the Stars" features songs Johnny recorded in the 1980s that his son, John Carter Cash, recently discovered.


Buck Owens, Louvin Brothers, Ronstadt, Everlys Added To Recording Registry


Material from Buck Owens, the Louvin Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, and the Everly Brothers are among the latest selections for inclusion in the National Recording Registry.  The album "Carnegie Hall Concert with Buck Owens and His Buckaroos" was recorded in March 1966, and marked just the second time a country act had performed at the famed New York City venue.  The Louvin Brothers' 1955 breakthrough single "When I Stop Dreaming" is also getting the nod, along with the Everly Brothers' 1960 classic "Cathy's Clown" and Ronstadt's 1974 country crossover album "Heart Like A Wheel."  Linda's chart-topping disc includes her Grammy-winning cover of Hank Williams' "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You."


The oldest recording getting the nod is George Washington Johnson's "The Laughing Song."  The Library of Congress says the track, which dates back to the 1890s, is "probably the first 'hit' sung by an African-American."  Other material making the cut includes the "Sweeney Todd" original cast recording, U2's "The Joshua Tree," and Roland Hayes' 1940 spiritual "Were You There."  The National Recording Registry includes all types of recorded material that has technical, historic, or other significance.  Recordings must be at least ten years old to be eligible for inclusion.


CMT Reviving "Inside Fame," Developing New Documentaries


Florida Georgia Line will be the first act featured as CMT relaunches "Inside Fame."  The series explores the lives and careers of country stars.  The duo's episode is slated to debut in May.  The network is also developing a number of new documentaries.  Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson are among the many stars contributing to the eight-hour, four-part series "They Called Us Outlaws," which examines the shift in country music in the 1960s and '70s.  The country music explosion following the 1980 film "Urban Cowboy" is the subject of "Urban Legend: When a Nation Went Country."  Other documentaries cover the life and music of Johnny Cash, the American Farmer, and freedom in America.


Country Stars Featured On Gregg Allman Tribute Concert Release


The all-star tribute concert earlier this year honoring Gregg Allman is headed to stores. has a preview of the upcoming release, with the premiere of "Midnight Rider" featuring Allman with country stars Zac Brown and Vince Gill.


Allman tells "Rolling Stone" he "really enjoyed singing this song with Vince and Zac," and that they "really added something special to it."  Martina McBride, Eric Church, and Trace Adkins were also among the many rock and country performers who took part in the event, which was staged in Atlanta back in January.  The one DVD-two CD set "All My Friends" will be released on May 6th.


Blake Shelton Still Waiting For Garth Brooks To Arrive Online


An April Fool's Day radio prank Tuesday hit on an issue that's dear to Blake Shelton.  The country star has been public in his appeal to Garth Brooks to join the digital age.  He says he thinks it's critical that Brooks make his music available online. 


Blake says he understands that Garth wants to maintain the integrity of his albums, and doesn't want listeners to just pick and choose random tracks.  But Shelton thinks Brooks should be able to make a deal with iTunes and other digital retailers that would satisfy his concerns.


A Connecticut radio station used the issue for an on-air stunt, broadcasting a supposed phone call from Garth announcing his music would be available on iTunes this week.  The two-minute conversation ended with a shout of "April fools!"


Willie Nelson's Stuffed Armadillo Returned After Second 'Dillo-Napping


Willie Nelson's having a tough time hanging on to his armadillo.  The country legend has once again been reunited with his stage mascot, Ol' Dillo, who disappeared from Willie's show in Henderson, Nevada Monday night.  The 'dillo-napping inspired the launch of a Facebook page in Ol' Dillo's name to help "ease our pain," and included an appeal to help "bring him home."  It's the second time in seven months the taxidermied critter has been snatched, but this time he wasn't gone long.  On Tuesday a post from Ol' Dillo announced, "I'm back," adding "The showgirls were nice."  A picture accompanying the message shows the small stuffed armadillo next to a shoe box on which someone wrote, "Please return to Willie Nelson. Very Important!!"  On Wednesday Ol' Dillo shared "some pics" from his "brief abduction," along with the admission that he doesn't "remember much of it."  Nelson's tour will continue with a show in San Diego on Friday.


Ol' Dillo was previously taken last September, after a Willie Nelson concert in Port Chester, New York.  Local police launched an investigation into the matter.  The armadillo was returned anonymously to the theater's box office eight days later.  Nelson declined to press charges.


Keith Urban Glad His Kids Really Enjoy Music


Keith Urban says he's happy to see music become an important part of his kids' lives.  The country star says five-year-old Sunday and three-year-old Faith enjoy a variety of material.


Urban says his daughters' current favorite song is "Let It Go" from the "Frozen" soundtrack.  But he adds that they "like all sorts of stuff," and when they're in the car the girls will often sing along with whatever is on the radio.


Country TV Tonight


THE CRAZY ONES (CBS) Brad Paisley makes a guest appearance on the Robin Williams sitcom.

HEADLINE COUNTRY (GAC) Kix Brooks Florida Georgia Line, George Strait, Little Big Town, and Dan + Shay are featured.


Country Birthdays Include


Billy Joe Royal is 72.


Today in Country Music History


Today in 1948, the radio debut of Louisiana Hayride was broadcast on KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana.  It would go on to feature such acts as Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Sr., Jim Reeves, and George Jones.


Today in 1975, Emmylou Harris debuted with her "Hot Band" at a San Francisco club.  The "Hot Band" eventually became a proving ground for future country stars, with a line up that included at various times, Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, and Ricky Skaggs.


Today in 1983, the Oak Ridge Boys' "American Made" album was certified Gold.


Today in 1987, President Reagan presented Minnie Pearl with American Cancer Society's annual Courage Award for her personal fight against cancer.


Today in 1990, Restless Heart earned a Gold record for the album "Big Dreams in a Small Town."


Today in 1992, Dolly Parton's film "Straight Talk" opened in theaters nationwide.


Today in 1995, BlackHawk released the single, "That's Just About Right."


Today in 1995, Diamond Rio's single, "Bubba Hyde," hit number nine on the charts.


Today in 1998, Mavericks' drummer Paul Deakin announced that he eloped the week before and married Tracy Bidochka in McMinnville, Tennessee.


Today in 2002, Brad Paisley was surprised with the annual Nashville Songwriters Association International "Songwriter/Artist of the Year" award.  Bill Anderson, who hosted the event and is a collaborator friend of Brad's, presented him with the award.


Today in 2003, Travis Tritt appeared on the Fox News Channels' "The O'Reilly Factor" to discuss the support of America's troops, his personal visits to military bases around the country, and his involvement with the "Spirit of America Tour."


Today in 2006, Sara Evans sang the national anthem at the Kansas City Royals home opener.


Today in 2007, Martina McBride was on NBC's "Today Show" and "Conan O'Brien."


Today in 2007, Tim McGraw performed on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." 


Today in 2007, Martina McBride released "Waking up Laughing;" Jimmy Buffett, Alan Jackson and George Strait" were in stores with "Live at Texas Stadium;" and Dolly Parton's early solo career was explored in three album reissues -- "Coat of Many Colors" (1971), "My Tennessee Mountain Home" (1973) and "Jolene" (1974).  All were expanded with previously unreleased studio tracks.  Reba McEntire was featured on the DVD release of "Charlotte's Web" as the voice of Betsy the Cow. 


Today in 2007, Tim McGraw's album "Let It Go" debuted at the top of the "Billboard" 200 all-genre chart.  It sold 325-thousand copies its first week in stores.


Today in 2007, Doug Supernaw was ordered to undergo psychiatric testing by a Brazos County Court judge in Texas.  Supernaw was in court on a misdemeanor charge when he told the judge he was the subject of police conspiracy that kept him from having a career in music and baseball.


Today in 2007, Billy Joe Shaver surrendered to police after charges of assault were filed against him stemming from an incident in a Texas night club.  Shaver shot a man outside of Papa Joe's Texas Saloon in Lorena, Texas on March 31st.  The singer/songwriter posted a 50-thousand dollar bond after turning himself into the McLennan County jail in Waco.


Today in 2007, Charlie Daniels' book "Growing Up Country" was released.  The book features essays from other celebrities including Sara Evans, Dolly Parton and President Jimmy Carter.


Today in 2010, Love And Theft's Eric Gunderson married his girlfriend Emily Hagar in a private ceremony in Henderson, Tennessee.  Gunderson's dad and bandmates Brian Bandas and Stephen Barker Liles stood up with him as attendants.  After the wedding the newlyweds left for a six-day honeymoon in the Dominican Republic.


Today in 2010, Darius Rucker performed at the Big Dance Concert in Indianapolis, Indiana, which was one of events surrounding the NCAA Men's Final Four college basketball championship.


Today in 2011, Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert were the big winners at the 46th annual ACM Awards.  Taylor was named Entertainer of the Year, while Miranda took four categories including Top Female Vocalist of the Year.  Brad Paisley received his fifth consecutive Top Male Vocalist award, while Lady Antebellum, Sugarland, and The Band Perry were also winners.


Today in 2011, Kenny Chesney was the headliner for finale of the NCAA Men's Final Four Big Dance Concert series in Houston, Texas.  Pat Green and Uncle Kracker also performed.


Today in 2013, Blake Shelton's "Based on a True Story..." debuted at number one on the Country Albums chart on sales of 199-thousand, marking the singer's best sales week to date.


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