Nashville News and Notes for TUESDAY

Luke Bryan Making "Special Announcement" Tuesday


Luke Bryan will soon make his "special announcement."  The country star is slated to divulge his latest news at a press conference at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena Tuesday morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.  The singe is sharing the information just two days before he launches his "That's My Kind Of Night Tour."  Bryan is slated to kick off the first leg of the trek Thursday in Columbus, Ohio.  Lee Brice and Cole Swindell are on board as openers for the two-month road trip.


Tim McGraw Debuts New Single, Announces Tour Plans


Tim McGraw is unveiling new music.  The country star's "Lookin' For That Girl" is making its debut on "Entertainment Weekly's" website.


"Lookin' For That Girl" is the lead-off single from McGraw's next album.  The upcoming disc is his follow up to 2013's "Two Lanes of Freedom."  A release date for the still-untitled album hasn't been announced yet, but the single will be available on iTunes on January 21st.


McGraw is also making plans to hit the road.  Dates haven't been revealed yet for the "Sundown Heaven Town 2014 Tour," but Tim is expected to launch the 30-city trek in May.


Keith Urban Joins "Idol" Judges At TCA Tour


Keith Urban is helping to promote the new season of "American Idol."  The country star joined fellow judges Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.  "The Hollywood Reporter" says the judges and producers on the panel shied away from questions regarding last season's Mariah Carey-Nicki Minaj feud, but insisted that season 13 would be bring new shakeups.  Urban, who starred alongside the divas, said "they are different seasons" and that this year, he and the panel have "such a mutual appreciation for music."  "American Idol" returns this week.  The season premiere will air Wednesday night on Fox.


Craig Morgan Featured On Premiere Of "Crazy Hearts: Nashville"


Craig Morgan is helping launch a new country-based reality series.  He's featured in the premiere of A&E's "Crazy Hearts: Nashville."  The show introduces viewers to aspiring country stars, focusing on their on and off-stage lives as they work toward their breakthrough in Music City.  For the show, Craig was filmed performing his latest single, "Wake Up Lovin' You," at Nashville's legendary Bluebird Café.  "Crazy Hearts: Nashville" will debut on A&E Wednesday night at 11:00 p.m. Eastern.  Another new episode will air on Thursday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, which is the show's regular time slot.


Jennifer Nettles Describes Writing For Solo Album


Jennifer Nettles says she didn't want to limit herself as she worked on her solo album.  The country star explains that as she was crafting material for "That Girl," she didn't put any boundaries or restrictions on the songwriting process.


Nettles wrote or co-wrote ten of the eleven tracks on "That Girl."  Her songwriting partners on the disc include Sara Bareilles, Richard Marx, and Little Big Town's Phillip Sweet.  She wrote the album's lead-off single and title track with rocker Butch Walker.  Along with all the originals, Jennifer covered the Bob Seger classic "Like A Rock" for the album.  Nettles' "That Girl" arrives in stores on Tuesday.


Mary Chapin Carpenter Releasing Orchestral Album


The songs on Mary Chapin Carpenter's new album might be familiar to fans, but they're also different.  "Songs From The Movie" features orchestral remakes of ten of her songs.  The country star tells she'd never sung with an orchestra before, and it was "a wonderful experience."  But she admits the project had its challenges -- such as choosing the material.  Carpenter says she had specific criteria in mind, explaining that she wanted to include songs that "told stories" and are "lyrically demanding on the part of the listener."  But she adds that she was primarily focused on finding songs "that lent themselves musically to these new treatments with an orchestra." 


The singer says composer Vince Mendoza created the arrangements, which are "very different."  Carpenter recorded "Songs From The Movie" in London with a 63-piece ensemble.  The album arrives in stores Tuesday.


Travis Tritt Says He's Always Been Genuine


Travis Tritt says he's always been true to himself.  But the country star admits that when he first arrived in Nashville -- in leather pants with hair down to his shoulders -- not everybody recognized his sincerity.


Tritt adds that Southern rockers like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band, singer-songwriters such as John Denver and James Taylor, and country legends including George Jones, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings are among his influences.


This year Tritt is celebrating his 25th anniversary in music, and he's starting with some special concerts.  On Tuesday he'll play the second of two acoustic shows at the Franklin Theater in Franklin, Tennessee -- marking his first Nashville-area concerts in more than a decade.  He's also taping the shows for an upcoming live DVD.


Brad Paisley Kicking Off RodeoHouston Concerts


Brad Paisley is on board to launch the 2014 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo concerts.  The country star will take the stage at Houston's Reliant Park to kick off the 21-date event on March 4th.  Others on board include Reba McEntire, Chris Young, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, and Luke Bryan.  The Eli Young Band is slated to appear on the event's Armed Forces day, while R&B star Usher will perform on Black Heritage day.  Pesado and Banda MS will perform on Go Tejano day.  Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, The Band Perry, and Hunter Hayes are also scheduled to appear, along with REO Speedwagon, Robin Thicke, and Selena Gomez.  The Zac Brown Band will close out the concerts on March 23rd.


Tickets for individual shows go on sale Saturday.  Additional details are available at


2014 Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo Concerts Lineup


March 4 - Brad Paisley

March 5 - Eli Young Band - Armed Forces Day

March 6 - Reba

March 7 - Usher - Black Heritage Day

March 8 - Chris Young

March 9 - Selena Gomez

March 10 - REO Speedwagon

March 11 - Jason Aldean

March 12 - Jake Owen

March 13 - Maroon 5

March 14 - Keith Urban

March 15 - Hunter Hayes

March 16 - Pesado and Banda MS - Go Tejano Day

March 17 - Luke Bryan

March 18 - Robin Thicke

March 19 - Florida Georgia Line

March 20 - Blake Shelton

March 21 - Easton Corbin

March 22 - The Band Perry

March 23 - Zac Brown Band


Country Stars Sign On For Faster Horses Festival


Tim McGraw, Miranda Lambert, and Keith Urban are among the stars on board for this year's Faster Horses Festival.  The three-day event is returning this year following its inaugural run last year.  Little Big Town, Joe Diffie, Kip Moore, and Brett Eldredge are also slated to appear at the event, along with Ashley Monroe, Cassadee Pope, Jana Kramer, Parmalee, and others.  And the lineup isn't complete yet.  Faster Horses is set for Brooklyn, Michigan from July 18th through the 20th.  Tickets go on sale January 23rd.  Additional information is available at


Rare Photo Shows Teenage Elvis In Tupelo


A new photograph thought to be of a teenage Elvis Presley is surfacing in "Vanity Fair."  The picture dates back to 1948, and shows a boy believed to be Presley -- who would have been 13 at the time -- standing on the street with a bicycle in his hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi.  Elvis fan Wade Jones owns the photograph.  He reportedly got it from a woman named Janelle McComb, who said the picture was taken by a woman dropping off a roll of film at the drug store.  She had one picture left, and asked the boy to pose.  Elvis' first cousin Billy Smith tells "Vanity Fair" the boy in the photo is his famous relative.  In addition, Elvis expert Tony Stuchbury says he's "convinced the photo is real," because "the body language matches."  Tupelo historian Roy Turner, who helped with research for the book "Elvis and Gladys, adds that he has "no doubt" it's Elvis.  And Elvis' childhood friend, Sam Bell, who's now 78, says "that’s the way he’d be looking. That’s the way he’d be dressed. And the bike too, that’s what we rode."


Turner adds that the photo is particularly special because it's "the only pictorial reference to Elvis' years in North Tupelo, living in the historically black community."  He says Elvis often spoke of his childhood in Tupelo, but with this picture, people can now "see his story."  And Elvis fans are interested in the picture.  A print sold on eBay last August for 361-dollars-and-68 cents.  The image has been made into a poster, and is available now on eBay.


Tim McGraw Attributes Changes In Country Music To More Influences


Tim McGraw is attributing the changes in country music to the greater availability of all types of music.  The country star explains that the media has grown significantly over the decades, and there was a time when listeners -- including future country stars -- were exposed to a limited variety of music.


But Tim says now, especially with the Internet, people can hear a wide variety of musical styles and genres from all over the world at the touch of a button.  He adds that with such a diverse array of influences, it's only natural that those different sounds would crop up in country music.


Quick Bite


Jon Pardi, Rosanne Cash, and Kix Brooks have new material arriving in stores.  Pardi is celebrating the arrival of his debut album, "Write You A Song," featuring his hit single "Up All Night."  Cash, meanwhile is seeing the release of her 13th album, "The River and The Thread."  Brooks' offering is of the cinematic kind.  He stars in the new movie "Ambush at Dark Canyon," which is coming out on DVD.  Randy Houser is in the film as well.  Kix and Randy also contribute to the soundtrack.


Country TV Today And Tonight


LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN (CBS) Jennifer Nettles is a guest.


Country Birthdays Include


T-Bone Burnett is 66.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1978, the single "Here You Come Again" by Dolly Parton peaked at number three on the pop singles chart.


Today in 1986, Reba McEntire joined the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 1995, Tim McGraw hit number one on the "Billboard" chart with his album "Not A Moment Too Soon."


Today in 1996, Clay and Lori Walker became parents to their daughter, MaClay.


Today in 1999, Garth Brooks guest starred on "Sesame Street," singing the song "Together We Make Music" with the Monster Muppets.


Today in 1999, the Judds reunited on "The Tonight Show."


Today in 2000, Alan Jackson kicked off his "Under the Influence" tour in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Lonestar and Brad Paisley were among his opening acts.


Today in 2003, Terri Clark's "Pain To Kill" album and Bering Strait's self-titled debut CD arrived in stores.


Today in 2006, Keith Anderson, Montgomery Gentry and LeAnn Rimes performed a benefit concert at Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center to conclude the "Sprint Sound and Speed - A Celebration of Music and Motorsports."


Today in 2007, Kelly Clarkson's guest appearance on Reba McEntire's sitcom "Reba" aired on the CW Network.  She played the part of an intern who was thought to be after the local TV weather girl job, which would put Reba's ex-husband's new wife Barbara Jean, portrayed by Melissa Peterson, out of work.


Today in 2008, Tim McGraw and Dwight Yoakam were in Los Angeles working on the film "Four Christmases."


Today in 2008, Taylor Swift's "Our Song" marked its sixth consecutive week at number one on the Billboard country singles chart, while Sugarland's "Stay" hit the top of the "Mediabase/Country Aircheck" singles chart.


Today in 2010, Kellie Pickler launched her third USO tour, and spent several days performing for U.S. troops stationed in Iraq with Jamey Johnson and Randy Houser.


Today in 2013, Dierks Bentley was reunited with his dog, Jake.  A thunderstorm a day earlier had spooked the animal, who jumped his fence and took off.  The singer used social media to alert his fans that his dog was missing, and later learned via Facebook that Jake had been found.


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