Nashville News and Notes for TUESDAY

Mindy McCready Mourning Death Of Her Boyfriend


Mindy McCready's boyfriend has died.  The singer revealed her sad news in a statement, saying David Wilson -- the father of her nine-month-old son Zayne -- passed away on Sunday at the age of 34.  Details on his death haven't been made public.  Mindy says that with David's death she's lost her "soulmate."  She adds that he was "a caregiver and guiding hand" to both Zayne and six-year-old Zander, her son with ex-boyfriend Billy McKnight.  McCready calls Wilson "a precious gift from God."  She says those who knew him will miss him, while those who didn't have "missed the opportunity to know a truly loving and gifted man."  Wilson was the person McCready turned to in the fall of 2011, when Mindy took Zander from her father's house in Florida during a custody dispute.  David took them in, and tried to help her hide from authorities in his Arkansas home.


Kenny Chesney Records "Amazing Grace" For Sandy Hook Victim


Kenny Chesney is paying tribute to a young fan.  The country superstar has recorded a version of "Amazing Grace" for seven-year-old Grace McDonald, one of the children killed in the Connecticut school shooting last month.


Chesney recorded the song for CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" in honor of all the victims of the tragedy.  Cooper says he reached out to Chesney after learning that Kenny was one of Grace's favorite singers, and she and her mom would sing his songs on their way to school.


Dierks Bentley's Dog Drama Has Happy Ending


Dierks Bentley is thrilled to be reunited with his dog, Jake.  The singer tweeted that Jake had "jumped a fence" and disappeared during the thunderstorm on Sunday, and he was "praying" someone had found a "cold wet white dog" with a red collar.  He offered an update late Sunday night, saying he was "still looking," and "overwhelmed" by all the support he'd received in his search.  Bentley announced his good news early Monday morning, tweeting that he learned via Facebook that someone had found Jake and was bringing him back home.  Dierks called it "one of the happiest days" of his life, adding, "grown men don't cry...yeah right," and extending his thanks to all the effort that went into finding Jake.  An hour later he posted a photo of him and Jake and the woman who rescued him, tweeting that she "swooped in and picked jake up after he was almost hit by another car."


And with Jake safely back home, Bentley was able to resume rehearsing for his upcoming "Locked and Reloaded" tour with Miranda Lambert.  The trek will begin in Columbia, South Carolina on January 17th.


ACM Allowing Fans To Choose Top New Artist


Fans are once again getting the chance to pick the Academy of Country Music's New Artist of the Year.  The selection process begins by determining the ACM's New Male, Female, and Duo or Group.  The winners from these three categories will become the nominees for New Artist of the Year.  New Female Vocalist hopefuls include Jana Kramer, Kacey Musgraves, and Sunny Sweeney, while Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, and Hunter Hayes are each vying for the New Male Vocalist award.  Florida Georgia Line, Love And Theft, and Thompson Square are up for New Vocal Duo or Group.  The first round of voting begins at and on January 21st at noon Eastern Time, and will remain open until 3:00 p.m. Eastern on February 4th.  The winners will be announced in February, and fans will be able to start casting ballots for the ACM's New Artist at on March 25th.  Voting will continue until April 7th -- the day of the ACM Awards.  The New Artist of the Year winner will be announced during the show.


Fans will also be able to get to learn more about the New Artist nominees through a series of GAC specials.  "ACM Showcase," featuring all nine nominees, will debut on January 21st at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.  "ACM New Artist Of The Year," debuting on March 25th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, will feature interviews and performances from the winners in the New Male, Female, and Group categories.  The 48th annual ACM Awards will air on CBS on April 7th.


Nominees in the "New Artist" Categories for the 48th annual ACM Awards



Jana Kramer

Kacey Musgraves

Sunny Sweeney



Lee Brice

Brantley Gilbert

Hunter Hayes



Florida Georgia Line

Love and Theft

Thompson Square


Alan Jackson Headlining Cancer Charity Benefit In March


Alan Jackson continues to step up in the fight against cancer.  The country star has signed on to headline the 5th annual Stars Go Blue benefit concert, which supports the Colon Cancer Alliance.  The cause is one that's personal to Alan.  His wife, Denise, was diagnosed with the disease in 2010, and Jackson admits that the news really "knocked" both of them down.  The singer adds that it was "so hard" to watch the woman he loves "go through that," because he felt like there wasn't a thing he could do for her.  The Stars Go Blue concert will take place at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium on March 20th, which is during Colorectal Cancer Awareness month.  Money raised through the show will go to the CCA's Blue Note Fund, which provides one-time grants to colon cancer patients with no restrictions on the use.


The Stars Go Blue concert isn't Jackson's first fundraising effort for the CCA.  In December he released a special photography book of pictures he took of Sweetbriar, the Nashville-area estate he and his family called home for many years.  Jackson recently sold the lavish piece of property, which included a 19-thousand-square-foot main house along with two log cabins and a barn.


Gary Allan Took Different Approach In Naming Latest CD


Gary Allan says there is no track called "Set You Free" on his new album.  But he says the phrase is still connected with a song on the disc.


Allan says naming an album after one song on the disc is very common, and he's done it before himself.  But he explains that the goal is to come up with something that "captures the flavor of the album and doesn't sound cheesy and says what you want to say."  The phrase "set you free" is in Allan's current hit "Every Storm (Runs Out Of Rain)."  Gary's album will be in stores on January 22nd.


Taylor Swift Happy With Success Of "Begin Again"


Taylor Swift admits her hit "Begin Again" was born out of a painful experience.  But the singer-songwriter says the track is still very optimistic.


Swift adds that she's really happy that "Begin Again" is doing well and getting radio airplay.  She explains that it's a "really emotional, vulnerable song," and it "means a lot" to her that the fans have embraced it.


Eli Young Band Credit Texas Roots For Their Development


The Eli Young Band believes it's a good thing they didn't try to launch their career in Nashville.  Bassist Jon Jones says he's not sure the group would have become what it is if they hadn't started out in Texas.


Mike Eli and James Young started the Eli Young Band more than a decade ago, when they were both students at the University of North Texas.  The group honed their skills over the years, achieving some success with the hit "Always the Love Songs" in 2008.  But the Eli Young Band really broke through in 2011 with the chart-topper "Crazy Girl."  The group's current single is "Say Goodnight," the third single from their 2011 album "Life At Best."


Blake Shelton Admits To Some Frustrating Times Last Year


Blake Shelton says he's "having a ball" as a coach on "The Voice."  But the country star also admits there was a time last year when he was ready to chuck it all in.  He tells that in a very short time span he was busy with the NBC reality series, the CMA Awards, and his own Christmas special.  The singer says at one point he called his manager and "was like, that's it. I quit."  Blake explains that he "never planned" on become a fixture on TV, and he was trying to figure out how to "balance being a maturing country artist" and "someone that's involved in television" while not damaging his new marriage to Miranda Lambert.  The couple have been married less than two years.  Shelton adds that he's not sure he'll even try to attach himself to another TV series once "The Voice" runs its course, but he's not interested in giving up TV just yet.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1992, Johnny Cash was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony at New York's Waldorf Astoria.


Today in 2000, bluegrass great Ralph Stanley became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.  He was a significant part of the "O, Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack and has also recorded with a number of other artists, including Josh Turner and Alabama.


Today in 2002, new album releases included Alan Jackson's "Drive" and Willie Nelson's "The Great Divide."


Today in 2005, Kenny Chesney performed on NBC's "Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope," where he first met Renee Zellweger.


Today in 2005, Brad Paisley hosted his "Mudstock in the Valley" hometown concert in Wheeling, West Virginia.  Money raised went to the Brad Paisley Foundation, which donated the proceeds to the Northern Panhandle Long-Term Flood Recovery Committee to help area residents rebuild following then-recent floods.  It was Paisley's second charity homecoming event.


Today in 2005, Trick Pony sang the national anthem and Travis Tritt performed at halftime during the Atlanta Falcons-St. Louis Rams NFL playoff game in Georgia.  Meanwhile, Hank Williams Jr. sang "The Star Spangled Banner" in advance of the playoff game between the Steelers and the New York Jets in Pittsburgh.  In addition, Darryl Worley was the pre-game performer during the "High School Football All-Star Game: All-American Bowl" in San Antonio, Texas.


Today in 2006, Martina McBride was featured on celebrity chef Emeril's show on the Food Network.


Today in 2007, Keith Urban accompanied wife Nicole Kidman to a Golden Globes after-party, which was his first public appearance after leaving the Betty Ford Clinic in Southern California.  He'd been in the facility for nearly three months receiving treatment for alcohol addiction.


Today in 2007, Trick Pony announced that Aubrey Collins was the band's new singer, replacing Heidi Newfield in the group.


Today in 2007, John Anderson shot the video for his single "A Woman Knows" in Nashville.


Today in 2008, new CD releases included Trisha Yearwood's "Trisha Yearwood - Love Songs"  and Anne Murray's duets collection "Friends & Legends," which the singer said would be her last album of new material.  Martina McBride, Shania Twain, and Amy Grant are among those who joined Murray for the project.


Today in 2010, Charile Daniels suffered a stroke while snowmobiling during his winter vacation in Colorado.  While he was initially left with some lingering numbness in his left hand and stiffness in his left arm, he made a full recovery.


Today in 2010, T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham's "The Weary Kind," from the movie "Crazy Heart," earned the award for Best Original Song at the 15th Annual Critics Choice Awards took place in Hollywood.


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