Nashville News and Notes for THURSDAY

Chely Wright Pregnant With Twins


Chely Wright is on her way to becoming a mom.  The country singer and her wife Lauren Blitzer-Wright announced that they were expecting identical twins this summer.  The couple revealed their big news Wednesday on the YouTube series "Gwissues with Howard Bragman."  Chely is carrying the children, and admitted that it's only now starting to sink in for her that she's pregnant.  She explained that while she's experienced morning sickness -- in the evenings -- her clothes are no longer fitting as she's starting to show.


Wright added that she and Lauren are "excited to be parents" and just hope they "don't mess it up too badly!"  Chely also explained that while her due date is in July, identical twins "typically have to be delivered a month early" so she anticipates giving birth in June.


Jana Kramer "In Love" With Engagement Ring


Jana Kramer apparently approves of fiance Brantley Gilbert's taste in jewelry.  The singer tells "People" magazine that she's "in love" with her new engagement ring, and "can't stop looking at it."  Kramer's new accessory was added to her finger over the weekend, when Brantley dropped to one knee at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium and proposed.  Gilbert tapped the folks at Glador Fine Jewelry in Nashville to help him create the custom, five-carat round-cut ring, which includes diamonds embedded in the white gold band.  He gave Jana the ring and asked her to be his bride last Sunday, which was also his 28th birthday.


Gary Allan's New Album Could Top All-Genre Billboard 200


Gary Allan appears poised to log his first-ever number one album on the Billboard 200. says the singer's new disc, "Set You Free," is expected to see first-week sales of 80-to-90-thousand copies, which could be enough to put the album at the top of the all-genre chart.  The figure falls a little short of Allan's previous best sales week, which came with his 2005 album "Tough All Over."  That disc had first-week sales of 100-thousand, which put him at number three on the Billboard 200.  Gary's 2007 effort "Living Hard" also peaked at number three on the Billboard 200, while he's had two other albums -- 2007's "Greatest Hits" and 2010's "Get Off On The Pain" -- reach number five on the list.  Allan's last six studio albums, starting with 1999's "Smoke Rings in the Dark," all hit the top ten on the Country Albums chart, with "Tough All Over" and "Greatest Hits" both topping that chart.


Allan just released "Set You Free" this week.  He'll find out on January 30th where his latest album falls on the charts.


Tim McGraw Leading Post ACM Awards All-Star Concert Special


Tim McGraw will be the focus of this year's concert special following the Academy of Country Music Awards.  The singer is playing a role in selecting the performers for "ACM Presents: Tim McGraw's Superstar Summer Night," which will be taped at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 8th -- the night after the 48th annual ACM Awards.  Country, rock, and pop artists as well as movie and TV stars will be joining Tim for the show.  McGraw says his goal is to "help turn the fans on to some of the best live music that will be on the road this summer," and "really put a spotlight" on the artists he believes the audience "won't want to miss."


The list of participants and an air date haven't been announced yet, but the show will air on CBS.  Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday.  Money raised through the concert will go to the Academy's charity, ACM Lifting Lives.


Miranda Lambert Reveals She's Performing At Grammy Awards


Miranda Lambert is on board for the upcoming Grammy Awards.  The country star revealed that she'll be performing at next month's event during her appearance on CBS' "The Talk."  Miranda added that she's really looking forward to the event, saying it "means the world to have a nomination and to get to perform," because the Grammys are "so exclusive."  Lambert is a nominee in the Best Country Album category with her most recent studio effort, "Four The Record."  Miranda is joining a performance lineup that also boasts Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood as well as Mumford And Sons, The Black Keys, fun., and Rihanna.  The 55th annual Grammy Awards will take place in Los Angeles and air on CBS on February 10th.


Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman Speculates On Success Of "Pontoon"


Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman says she believes the group's hit "Pontoon" just has an infectious vibe.  The singer explains that it's an easygoing, carefree song, and listeners can hear that attitude the band brought to the studio as they recorded it.


"Pontoon" is the biggest record of Little Big Town's career.  Last year it became the group's first number one hit and first platinum single, and now it could earn them their first Grammy.  The song is among the nominees for Best Country Duo/Group Performance at the upcoming Grammy Awards ceremony, which will take place in Los Angeles and air on CBS on February 10th.


Brantley Gilbert Enjoyed Time On "Nashville"


Brantley Gilbert says he enjoyed making a guest appearance on ABC's "Nashville." He and Chris Young were featured on last night's episode.  Gilbert tells that they "had an easy job" because they portrayed themselves.  The country singer adds that there was "a lot of 'hurry up and wait,'" but it was still "a pretty cool experience."  Brantley explains that they were told what to expect in advance, so there weren't any surprises.  He says he and Chris both came to the day's shoot in their buses and just "hung out all day."


But Brantley didn't catch the acting bug from the experience.  He says he might "entertain the thought of it" if he's offered a role that really grabs him.  But Gilbert says his main focus always "has been and will be" his music.


Hayden Panettiere Is A Miranda Lambert Fan


"Nashville" star Hayden Panettiere says she really appreciates music that's honest and real.  She explains that in recording her own songs for the show, she's been drawing inspiration from one artist in particular.


Panettiere's "Love Like Mine, which is on "The Music Of Nashville: Season 1 Volume 1" soundtrack album, has drawn comparisons to Lambert.  Hayden plays the part of Juliette Barnes on the ABC drama, which airs on Wednesday nights.


Chris Young Still Not Used To Compliments -- Especially From His Heroes


Chris Young admits he's still surprised when people compliment his music.  The country star says he's particularly stunned when the praise comes from someone he admires.


Chris says he saved a soundbite of Alan Jackson talking about how much he enjoyed Young's rendition of the song "Wanted" at an event in Jackson's honor.  Young recalls that he was really nervous about the performance, and was absolutely thrilled and amazed by Jackson's reaction to it.



Country Birthdays Include


Lonestar's Keech Rainwater is 50.

Doug Kershaw is 74.

Ray Stevens is 74.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1981, Dolly Parton topped the country charts with "9 to 5," the title track of her first movie.  The song went on to hit number one on the pop charts as well.


Today in 1994, Neal McCoy released the album "No Doubt About It."


Today in 1997, Tracy Lawrence hit number one on the country charts with his single "Is That A Tear."


Today in 2001, The WB -- now the CW Network -- confirmed that Reba McEntire would be starring in a television series for the network.  The project, originally titled "Sally," eventually took the name "Reba."


Today in 2001, Faith Hill's performance of the national anthem at the 2000 Super Bowl came in at number three on a "TV Guide" list of the top five anthem renditions at the football championship game.


Today in 2002, Tim McGraw's album sales topped the 20-million mark in the U.S.


Today in 2002, Alan Jackson's album "Drive" debuted at number one on the "Billboard 200," bumping the rock group Creed's "Weathered" out of the top spot after commanding the chart for the previous eight weeks.  "Drive" logged sales of more 423-thousand, giving Alan his best first-week numbers and his first number one on the all-genre album chart.  The disc also entered the "Top Country Albums" chart at number one.


Today in 2002, Steve Holy earned his first number one on the country singles charts with "Good Morning Beautiful."


Today in 2003, Mark Wills logged his fourth consecutive week at the top of the country music charts with his single "19 Somethin'."  Broadcast Data Systems reported over six-thousand spins for the son, which made Wills' hit the most played song for a single week in the BDS's then-13-year history.


Today in 2005, "Rose Garden" singer Lynn Anderson was arrested for shoplifting a "Harry Potter" DVD in Taos, New Mexico.  While being put into the patrol car, Anderson punched one of the arresting officers.


Today in 2005, Martina McBride's "My Heart" -- an eight-song CD specifically created as a romantic offering for Valentine's Day in conjunction with Hallmark -- went on sale.


Today in 2006, Jenny Gill performed with her father, Vince Gill, for the first time, at a concert in Sarasota, Florida.


Today in 2006, new releases included Josh Turner's "Your Man," Rosanne Cash's "Black Cadillac," and Kenny Rogers' "21 Number Ones."


Today in 2007, the Wreckers participated in the National Hockey League's All-Star Celebration in Dallas.  The duo sang the national Anthem prior to the All-Star Game and also performed during intermission.


Today in 2011, Johnny Cash was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.  Trace Adkins was among those who took part in the ceremony.


Today in 2011, Joe Nichols' video out to his hit "The Shape I'm In" had its premiere on CMT.


Today in 2012, Garth Brooks was received a one-million-dollar judgement in his case against the Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital in Yukon, Oklahoma, which after telling the singer they'd use his 500-thousand-dollar donation to build a women's health center that would be named after his mother failed to do so.


Today in 2012, Keith Urban unveiled the video to the song "You Gonna Fly."


Today in 2012, new album releases included Tim McGraw's "Emotional Traffic" and Kellie Pickler's "100 Proof."


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