Nashville News and Notes for TUESDAY

Willie Nelson Receives Martial Arts Black Belt

 

Don't let the gray braids fool you -- Willie Nelson is one tough octogenarian.  The country legend, who's turning 81 this week, celebrated his latest accomplishment Monday night -- accepting the title of Master with his fifth-degree black belt in the modern Korean martial art of Gong Kwon Yu Sul.  The "Austin American-Statesman" says Nelson's teacher, Sam Um, praised his oldest student for his dedication and commitment to the practice, which Willie has been studying for the past two decades.  During the ceremony Willie received a certificate and a scroll along with birthday wishes.  Those attending the event not only congratulated Nelson, but sang "Happy Birthday" to him.  And Willie was generous as well, posing for pictures and signing autographs after the ceremony.

 

Jo Dee Messina To Sing National Anthem At Kentucky Derby

 

Jo Dee Messina will be at this weekend's Kentucky Derby.  The country star has been tapped to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the 140th Run for the Roses.  Jo Dee says she's excited about the event, calling it "an amazing opportunity."  She explains that she's always "so proud" to sing the national anthem, and that performing it at the Kentucky Derby will be an "experience of a lifetime."  The Kentucky Derby will take place Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.  The event, including Messina's performance, will air live on NBC at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.

 

Messina becomes the fourth country star to sing the national anthem at the Kentucky Derby since the event began including a live performance of the patriotic song.  LeAnn Rimes gave the inaugural performance in 2009, and Rascal Flatts followed in 2010.  Martina McBride sang the anthem at the Derby last year.

 

Kacey Musgraves To Perform At GLAAD Media Awards

 

Kacey Musgraves will be taking part in this weekend's GLAAD Media Awards.  The country singer will perform at the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization's New York event.  She's slated to sing her hit "Follow Your Arrow," which encourages listeners to be true to themselves and appreciate who they are.  GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis praises Musgraves for "ushering in a new era in the country music industry, where supporting all loving families is now a core country value."  Chely Wright, country music's first openly gay star, will introduce Kacey.  The 25th annual GLAAD Media Awards will take place at the Waldorf Astoria in New York on Saturday.

 

Josh Turner Believes Women Will Enjoy "Man Stuff" Too

 

Josh Turner says even though his new book is called "Man Stuff," he thinks there's something in the pages for everyone.  The singer tells "Country Weekly" the first person to read his book was his wife, who discovered things about him "that she never knew."  Turner adds that he believes the lessons, anecdotes, and experiences he shares "can help men and women from all walks of life."  "Man Stuff: Thoughts on Faith and Fatherhood" includes personal details and insights Turner hopes readers will find entertaining, informative, and inspirational.  "Duck Dynasty" star Jase Robertson provides the forward to "Man Stuff," which arrives in stores Tuesday.

 

Hunter Hayes Excited About New Album

 

Hunter Hayes says he got an education working on his sophomore album.  The country star explains it's because he did things differently for "Storyline."

 

Hunter says he had a lot of fun making new discoveries and learning these different songwriting styles.  The singer adds he's both nervous and excited about people hearing his new album.  Hayes' CD "Storyline" features his single "Invisible."  The disc will be in stores on May 6th.

 

Dolly Parton Previewing New Album Online

 

Dolly Parton fans are getting the chance to hear the country legend's new album before it's released.  NPR.org is previewing "Blue Smoke," starting with the energetic title track.

 

"Blue Smoke" is the latest release in a career that dates back nearly 60 years.  And Parton admits it wasn't easy back then getting her career off the ground.  But she tells the UK's "Daily Mirror" she didn't take any shortcuts.  Dolly says early on she met "a lot of sleazy guys," but she "never slept with anyone" to get ahead in the music business.  The singer explains that having grown up with brothers and uncles she "understood the nature of men," so if any of them "got out of line" professionally she'd simply "make it light-hearted and turn it into a joke."  Parton's "Blue Smoke" will be in stores on May 13th.  She'll launch the U.S. portion of her "Blue Smoke World Tour" in Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 22nd.  Dolly will take her trek to Europe this summer.

 

Kacey Musgraves Credits Mom With Inspiring Latest Single

 

Kacey Musgraves says her latest single actually started with her mother.

 

Kacey adds that her songs don't usually start with the title, but when she brought "Keep It To Yourself" into a writing session everyone "loved it."  The country star adds that she can identify with the song they came up with.  "Keep It To Yourself" takes the perspective of a woman who doesn't want to know her ex still has feelings for her, because she's not interested in a reconciliation.  The song is from Musgraves' latest album, "Same Trailer Different Park."

 

Deana Martin Planning Country Album

 

The late Dean Martin's daughter has a new studio project in mind.  Deana Martin says she wants to record a country album.  She adds that she already has some people in mind for duets.

 

Deana adds that she has a musical connection to Mickey Gilley.  She explains that her father also recorded "Room Full of Roses," the George Morgan classic that was Mickey's breakthrough single.  Deana says she recently saw Gilley and mentioned the song, and Mickey was thrilled to hear Dean Martin's version of the country hit.  Deana's latest release is a collection of pop standards.  "Destination Moon" is in stores now.

 

Zac Brown Band Adds Wrigley Field, Other Shows To Upcoming Tour

 

The Zac Brown Band's tour is growing.  The group has added a few more stops to their upcoming trek, including a headlining show at Chicago's Wrigley Field..  Band members say they're looking forward to performing in the historic ballpark, which this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary.  As it stands the Wrigley Field show on September 13th is the final stop for Zac Brown Band's "Great American Road Trip."  Tickets for the show go on sale June 7th.

 

Zac Brown Band has also tacked on two night stands in Gilford, New Hampshire and Toronto.  Tickets for the New Hampshire shows, set for August 16th and 17th, go on sale May 3rd.  The Canadian concerts, on August 21st and 22nd, go on sale to the general public on May 2nd.  Zac Brown Band's "Great American Road Trip" begins in Lincoln, Nebraska on May 24th.

 

Country Birthdays Include

 

The Oak Ridge Boys' Duane Allen is 71.

James Bonamy is 42.

 

Today In Country Music History

 

Today in 1976, "You've Never Been This Far Before" album by Conway Twitty was certified Gold.

 

Today in 1982, Alabama's "Mountain Music" album was certified Gold and Platinum.

 

Today in 1989, George Strait's album "Beyond the Blue Neon" was certified Gold.

 

Today in 1991, Alan Jackson and Michael Irwin shared song of the year honors at the "Music City News Country Songwriters Awards" in Nashville for "Here In The Real World," the title track from Jackson's first album.

 

Today in 1992, the Judd's "Final Concert" video was released.

 

Today in 1992, Doug Stone underwent quadruple-bypass surgery in Nashville after experiencing chest pains three days earlier at a concert in Oregon.

 

Today in 1992, Garth Brooks was named Entertainer of the Year and Top Male Vocalist at the 27th annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

 

Today in 1996, Kenny Rogers underwent laser gall bladder surgery in Athens, Georgia.

 

Today in 1999, the "I'm Alright" album by Jo Dee Messina was certified Platinum.

 

Today in 2000, George Strait kicked off his third annual "Country Music Festival" tour with an all-star lineup that included Asleep at the Wheel, Kenny Chesney, Mark Chesnutt, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, and Lee Ann Womack.

 

Today in 2000, Garth Brooks performed at the Equality Rocks concert at RFK Stadium in Washington DC.

 

Today in 2004, the four-day Merlefest, featuring performances from Rosanne Cash, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Nickel Creek, and Earl Scruggs, began in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

 

Today in 2004, Wynonna Judd teamed up with Heart to tape an edition of "CMT Crossroads" in Nashville.

 

Today in 2005, Martina McBride was in Medicine Lodge, Kansas, as construction began on a new playground for the community.  McBride was able to give Medicine Lodge the recreation area as the winner of the Home Depot Humanitarian Award at the 2004 Academy of Country Music Awards.

 

Today in 2005, Vern Gosdin was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

 

Today in 2005, The Grascals performed at the "Are You Ready for the Country?" benefit concert series at the Cannery in Nashville, in support of Memphis' St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

 

Today in 2006, Diamond Rio's Jimmy Olander and Gene Johnson took part in the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon in Nashville to raise money for Big Brothers and Sisters of Middle Tennessee.

 

Today in 2007, Joe Nichols performed the national anthem at the 499 NASCAR Nextel Cup series race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.  He also played a free concert after the race.

 

Today in 2008, Alan Jackson and his wife, Denise, were the first recipients of the Richard Brooks Visionary Award of Artistic Achievement.  The hometown honor was created to recognize people who have contributed significantly to the arts in the Noonan, Georgia area, either as artist themselves or as patrons of the arts.

 

Today in 2008, Tim McGraw announced that he'd be putting out his own fragrance, "McGraw by Tim McGraw."

 

Today in 2008, new releases included Martina McBride's CD/DVD "Martina McBride: Live in Concert," Mark Chesnutt's "Rollin' with the Flow," Phil Stacey's self-titled debut album, and Tim McGraw's "Greatest Hits - Limited Edition."

 

Today in 2010, Darryl Worley launched the Stars For Stripes' "We've Not Forgotten" tour, a five-day trek that took him to U.S. military bases throughout Iraq.

 

Today in 2011, Craig Morgan was the headliner for the inaugural NRA Country Jam in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

 

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