Nashville News and Notes for TUESDAY

Toby Keith Praying For Hometown Following Moore, Oklahoma Tornado


Toby Keith says he's praying for his hometown of Moore, Oklahoma where a powerful tornado struck Monday.  The country star explains that members of his family were in the tornado's path.


Keith adds that while the storm has been devastating, he's confident the community will recover from the tragedy.  He says Oklahomans are resilient and will rebuild.


Blake Shelton, Swon Brothers Share Concerns For Folks In Oklahoma


Blake Shelton says prior to Monday's edition of "The Voice" he was getting inundated with messages about the deadly tornado that was ripping through his home state of Oklahoma.  At the start of the NBC show, the country singer admitted it was tough for him to be there while friends and family members were "going through hell."


But Shelton wasn't alone in his concern for loved ones in Oklahoma.  Team Blake's Swon Brothers, who are from Muskogee, said it was "hard to enjoy a night like this," and a storm like that "lets you know what's really important."  They added that they were praying for everybody back home.


Country Stars Tweeting Prayers For Oklahoma


Country stars are expressing their concern for Oklahoma residents as severe storms rip through the state.  Reba McEntire, who was born and raised in Southeastern Oklahoma, tweets, "All my prayers go out to the folks in Oklahoma dealing with these tornados.  Stay safe everyone!!!!"  Fellow Oklahoma singer Blake Shelton also tweetd his hope that people can "get somewhere safe!!!"  Shelton's Texas-born wife Miranda Lambert, who is now an Oklahoma resident, tweets, "Pray. That's all we an do. Pray for peace for Oklahoma."  But the prayers aren't just coming from the stars with connections to Oklahoma.  Josh Turner, who's from South Carolina, tweets, "Oklahoma, you are in our prayers."  And Chris Young, who was born and raised in Tennessee, tweets "Crazy footage. Praying for Oklahoma right now."


Kellie Pickler Getting "Dancing" Support From Thompson Square


Kellie Pickler is getting some words of encouragement from Thompson Square as she enters the "Dancing With the Stars" finale.  The duo's Shawna Thompson tweets that she and Keifer have enjoyed watching her on the show, and they believe she's "so got this."  Kellie turned in some stellar routines on Monday's show.  She and partner Derek Hough earned perfect scores for their quickstep and their stripped-down freestyle, which brought judge Carrie Ann Inaba to tears.  But Pickler came in second in the cha-cha-cha relay to end the night with a score of 64, and trailing Disney Channel star Zendaya by one point.  Olympic gold medalist Alexandra Raisman earned a total of 61 points from the judges, and NFL star Jacoby Jones is entering the last results show with 56 points.


Season 16 of "Dancing With the Stars" will wrap up tonight, and Kellie will learn if she's the one taking home the show's mirrorball trophy.  The night will also feature a number of musical guests, including Wynonna.  She had also competed on the show this season, but was eliminated in the third week.  The "Dancing With the Stars" finale will air on ABC at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.


Trace Adkins, Penn Jillette Reflect On "Celebrity Apprentice" Experience


"All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" winner Trace Adkins says he wasn't necessarily hoping to face Penn Jillette in the show's finale.  The country singer tells NBC's "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" he saw Penn as his biggest threat, so as the first team leader he intended to assemble a group that would be unfavorable to Penn.


And Penn says it's not bad being Adkins' runner-up.  He explains that "if anything happens to the winner" he'll "take over his duties," which includes "making a lot of money and getting a lot of women."  Jillette adds that this past season might not be the last time fans see the two of them on Donald Trump's reality series.  He says they actually proposed to the show's producers to make him and Trace one team that takes on any ten people they choose.  Penn adds that if such a show comes about, "the finalists will be exactly the same."


As the "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" winner, Adkins earned the show's 250-thousand-dollar grand prize for his charity.  But that's just a fraction of the money the singer raised for the American Red Cross.  His efforts on the show brought in a total of one-point-five-million-dollars for the organization.


George Strait Achieves "60 For 60" Milestone


The George Strait "60 For 60" campaign was a success, and gives the singer an unprecedented musical milestone.  The country star's most recent single, "Give It All We Got Tonight" has topped the Mediabase chart to become Strait's 60th number one hit.  That's more chart-toppers than any other artist in any musical genre.  And Strait did so while he was still 60.  The song went to number one on the chart for the week of May 12th through the 18th.  Strait's 61st birthday was on the 18th.  George says he's thankful to his fans and country radio for all their support, because "they are the ones who made this happen" -- both with this song and all his other hits.  He adds that when he released "Give It All We Got Tonight" he just hoped he was putting out music his fans would enjoy, and didn't realize he was "making history."


A host of country stars are helping George celebrate the milestone in a special birthday video.  Lady Antebellum, Eric Church, Trace Adkins, Scotty McCreery, Darius Rucker, and Vince Gill contribute to the clip, along with Gary Allan, Billy Currington, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels, and many, many others.  Montgomery Gentry's Eddie Montgomery calls the feat "awesome," and suggests a new goal, asking "what about going 80 for 80?"


Chely Wright, Wife Welcome Twin Boys


Country singer Chely Wright and wife Lauren Blitzer Wright are proud new parents of identical twin boys.  Wright's rep tells "Us Weekly" the couple welcomed their sons George Samuel and Everett Joseph Saturday in New York City.  In a statement, Chely said she and Lauren were grateful for the medical care they received and the support of family and friends.  She described the boys as "thriving" and said she and Lauren feel blessed with their relationship and now their sons.  The couple announced they were expecting back in January. 


Wright came out as gay in May 2010 - a first for the country music community.  She and Blitzer, a music executive, tied the knot in August 2011.


Darius Rucker Has Something To Prove With New Album


Darius Rucker says he has something to prove with his new CD, "True Believers."  The singer explains that despite having two successful country albums to his credit, he felt that with his third country project he really had to deliver.


"True Believers," which features the chart-topping single "Wagon Wheel," arrives in stores today.  Rucker will promote the album with a release day appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America," and a visit to ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Wednesday.  Darius is also supporting the disc with his "True Believers Tour."  The next stop on the trek is coming up in Little Rock, Arkansas on Friday.


Jennifer Nettles' Solo Album Doesn't Mark The End Of Sugarland


Jennifer Nettles says Sugarland isn't splitting up.  She tells fans shouldn't "panic" over the news that she's working on a solo album.  The country star explains that she and Kristian Bush are simply "taking time to do things individually, personally, and professionally."  She adds that they're each "super supportive of each other" in their own pursuits.  Jennifer adds that launching a solo career alongside Sugarland gives her the chance to widen her range of experiences.  She explains that with Sugarland she gets to "go out and play the big shows, play the arenas," and on her own she's getting to do something "more intimate and more personal."  Nettles' debut solo album is expected to arrive this fall.


Kenny Chesney Reflects On Stadium Shows


Kenny Chesney admits that playing before a packed stadium is very different from when he was performing on his own for tips.  But the country superstar says the best shows actually blend the two experiences.


Chesney also admits it took him time for him to adjust to performing at football stadiums, but he now has quite a bit of experience playing that type of show.  He says that by the end of "No Shoes Nation" tour this summer he'll have played more than 100 stadium shows over the course of his career.  Chesney's next stadium date is coming up at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on Friday.  Kenny's next show will be at the Time Warner Music Pavilion in Raleigh, North Carolina on Thursday.


Country TV Today And Tonight


DANCING WITH THE STARS (ABC) Kellie Pickler is in the finale, while Wynonna is among the guest performers.

THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO (NBC) Thompson Square is the musical guest.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1976, the "All The Love In The World" album by Mac Davis was certified Gold.


Today in 1977, Waylon Jennings topped the charts with the single "Luckenbach, Texas."


Today in 1983, John Conlee topped the charts with the single "Common Man."


Today in 1991, Lee Greenwood's video "God Bless The U.S.A" was certified Gold and Platinum, while George Strait's album "Chill Of An Early Fall" was certified Gold.


Today in 1993, Alan Jackson's single "Chattahoochee" was released.


Today in 1993, Dwight Yoakam's "Ain't That Lonely Yet" topped the charts.


Today in 1994, John Barry had his first number one with "Your Love Amazes Me."


Today in 1994, Trisha Yearwood and the Mavericks' Robert Reynolds were married at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.  They later divorced.


Today in 1998, Garth Brooks album "No Fences" was certified for multi-platinum sales of 14-million.


Today in 2000, the animated Fox series "King of the Hill" went to Fan Fair.  The show featured cartoon versions of Clint and Lisa Hartman Black, Brooks & Dunn, Terri Clark, Charlie Daniels, Vince Gill, Martina McBride, Randy Travis and Wynonna, which were also voiced by the stars themselves.


Today in 2000, Willie Nelson's voice was heard in a segment of Fox's animated series "The Simpsons."


Today in 2001, Faith Hill sang the national anthem prior to the premier of the movie "Pearl Harbor" in Hawaii.  Lee Greenwood sang "God Bless the U.S.A."


Today in 2001, Tim McGraw's trial for assault charges resumed with a new judge in Orchard Park, New York.  The singer was served with a personal injury suit.  Kenny Chesney was also named in that suit.


Today in 2002, new releases included self-titled albums from Mark Chesnutt, Emerson Drive, and Little Big Town.


Today in 2002, police stopped Jo Dee Messina for jaywalking on Ventura Boulevard while she was jogging in Los Angeles. They decided not to press charges when they found out she was from out of town.


Today in 2002, Sara Evans' then-husband, Craig Schelske, lost his bid for a congressional seat in Oregon's primary.


Today in 2002, Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow taped an "CMT Crossroads" on the Sony Pictures lot in Los Angeles. The two sang their hits as well as the Johnny Cash & June Carter classic "Jackson."


Today in 2003, Toby Keith was named Entertainer of the year at the 38th annual Academy of Country Music Awards.  Other winners included Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Brooks & Dunn, Emerson Drive, Joe Nichols, and Kellie Coffey.  In addition, Alabama earned the prestigious ACM Pioneer Award, while George Strait received Gene Weed Special Achievement Award.


Today in 2003, Tim McGraw performed a free concert at the Fort Carson Army Base near Colorado Springs, Colorado for military personnel and their families.


Today in 2004, Montgomery Gentry made their debut on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."


Today in 2004, Gretchen Wilson climbed to the top of "Radio & Records'" country chart with her debut hit, "Redneck Woman."


Today in 2004, Wynonna Judd performed at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.  She was part of an event sponsored by the USO that was part of National Military Appreciation Month.


Today in 2005, Eddie Montgomery rode in a parade in his hometown of Danville, Kentucky for Armed Forces Day.


Today in 2006, Grand Ole Opry member Billy Walker, his wife Bettie and two band members were killed in an auto accident near Fort Deposit, Alabama.  Walker's grandson, Joshua Brooks, was critically injured in the crash.


Today in 2006, Montgomery Gentry hosted the Celebrity Motorcycle Ride in Las Vegas, Nevada in conjunction with the Academy of Country Music Awards.


Today in 2006, Toby Keith held his third annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic in his native Oklahoma. The tournament benefited Ally's House, an organization which helps the families of Oklahoma pediatric cancer patients. The two-day event included a celebrity golf tournament, silent auction, gala dinner and Toby and friends concert.


Today in 2006, Josh Turner and his wife Jennifer announced they were expecting the arrival of their first baby in the fall. 


Today in 2006, the CW network announced that it would renew the sitcom "Reba," starring Reba McEntire, for 13 episodes as a midseason replacement.


Today in 2007, Montgomery Gentry opened for Dr. Maya Angelou when she appeared at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville.


Today in 2008, Carrie Underwood was one of the guest performers on "American Idol's" seventh season finale.


Today in 2010, Brad Paisley launched his "H2O Tour" as scheduled, even though he lost much of his touring equipment just three weeks earlier in Nashville's flood.


Today in 2010, David Allen Coe and Larry the Cable Guy performed at the opening night dinner of Toby Keith's two-day charity event in Norman, Oklahoma.  The Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic raised money for the OK Kids Korral at the Oklahoma University Medical Center.


Today in 2011, Taylor Swift opened up the final dress rehearsal for her "Speak Now" tour to the public to raise money for storm relief efforts following the devastating tornado outbreak that struck the South and Midwest a few weeks earlier.  Her benefit raised more than 750-thousand-dollars.


Today in 2011, Chely Wright and her father, Stan Wright received The Voice and Visibility Award from the National Center for Lesbian Rights at an event in San Francisco.


Today in 2012, Gloriana appeared on "The Bachelorette," performing a "surprise concert" in Charlotte, North Carolina for "Bachelorette" Emily Maynard and one of her dates.


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