Nashville News and Notes for TUESDAY

Tim McGraw Sets TV Appearances Behind New Album


Tim McGraw is launching his media blitz later this week in support of his new album, "Two Lanes of Freedom."  He'll kick off his string of TV appearances Friday with an early morning performance at the House of Blues in New Orleans that will air live on ABC's "Good Morning America."  Fans will be able to see Tim Saturday on "Austin City Limits," and on Sunday he'll be featured on CBS' "CBS Sunday Morning."  Next Tuesday -- the day "Two Lanes of Freedom" hits stores -- Tim will be a guest on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."  That night McGraw will play a concert aboard the USS Midway which will be streamed on Yahoo!'s "Ram Country Live."  Next week Tim will also make stops at "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live."  A "Chelsea Lately" appearance is also on the horizon.


Taylor Swift Is New Face Of Diet Coke


Taylor Swift is reuniting with an old love in a new video. 


The country-pop sensation has inked a new endorsement deal with Diet Coke, one Coca Cola described on Monday as a "long-term partnership with the superstar."  The company says Taylor will be incorporated into "all key marketing efforts for the brand."  According to "AdAge," the details of making Taylor the new face of Diet Coke are still under wraps, but the site speculates that the partnership will go beyond basic advertising.  The deal appears to be Coca Cola's answer to the 50-million dollar deal that Pepsi made with Beyonce last month.  Taylor has plenty of experience as a brand ambassador.  She's helped sell products for companies like Target, Sony, CoverGirl and Elizabeth Arden in the past.


Gretchen Wilson Releases New Single, Has Three Albums On The Way


Gretchen Wilson is returning to record outlets in a big way this year.  The country singer has released the new single "Still Rollin'."  The track is from her upcoming disc, "Right On Time," which is expected in stores on April 2nd.  It'll also be the first of three new albums from the singer.  Gretchen will follow with "Under The Covers," a collection of '70s classic rock remakes, on May 28th.  She'll wrap up the year with something for the holidays.  Wilson's first Christmas album is on track for an October release.


Gretchen says she's "very excited to have so much new music coming out" in 2013.  She adds that "looking forward to an incredible year with old friends and new beginnings."  Wilson's last release was 2010's "I Got Your Country Right Here," which included the hit single "Work Hard, "Play Harder."


Chris Young To Receive CMA Honor


Chris Young is set to be honored by the Country Music Association.  He's earned the CMA's Triple Play Award for writing three hits that all topped the chart within a 12-month span.  Chris logged the accomplishment with his number one singles "Voices," "Tomorrow," and "You."  "Voices" topped the February 19th, 2011 chart during its second run as a single.  Young then reached number one again six months later with "Tomorrow," which led the August 6th, 2011 chart.  Chris clinched his Triple Play when "You" went to number one on February 12th, 2012.  Young will receive his award at an event on Tuesday.


Willie Nelson Becomes NSAI's First Kris Kristofferson Award Recipient


Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson are sharing a special honor.  Nelson is the inaugural recipient of the Nashville Songwriters Association International's newly established Kris Kristofferson Award.  Nashville's "Tennessean" says that in making the presentation, Kristofferson said Nelson wasn't just a hero not only to him but to all of Nashville's "serious songwriters."  He also praised Willie as "a unique singer" and "one of the best songwriters who ever wrote in any language."  Kris added that Willie is "probably the funniest human being" he's ever known -- and Willie then displayed some of that humor.  When Kristofferson admitted he was "embarrassed" that his own name and face were on the award, Nelson quipped that he can "take that right off."  The two also performed together at the event, which took place at Nashville's Bluebird Cafe Sunday night.


Kris Kristofferson Singing His Gratitude On New Album


Kris Kristofferson says his new album is an expression of gratitude, not an ode to death.  The singer-songwriter tells CMT Edge that the title track to "Feeling Mortal" is really just a reflection of his age.  He explains that "when you get to be 76 years old, you start thinking about the shortness of the time left," which he adds is something that "amazingly" he can do "without regret."  But he says people "don't think about dying all the time even though we know that's what's gonna happen," because "fortunately, we're wrapped up enough in our lives."  Kristofferson says that with the album he's giving thanks to God for the life he's had.  He explains that it's "not like a prayer, but it's talking straight to the Man."


Other tracks on "Feeling Mortal" include a song to his friend, "Ramblin' Jack," and "My Heart Was the Last One to Know," a collaboration with Shel Silverstein that Kris says is "about heartbreak" he was going through.  "Feeling Mortal" arrives in stores Tuesday.


Vince Gill Proud Of The Time Jumpers


Vince Gill says he's proud to be a part of The Time Jumpers.  The country legend officially became a member of the Western swing group in 2010.  Vince says his decision to join the band stemmed in part from his 2007 induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.


Gill says playing with The Time Jumpers has made him a better musician, because everyone in the group is "so good."  He adds that The Time Jumpers are filling a void in country music, and he's glad the group has an audience.  The Time Jumpers have also caught the ear of The Recording Academy, and are two-time nominees at this year's Grammy Awards.  The Time Jumpers' self-titled disc is up for Best Country Album, while the track "On The Outskirts of Town" is in the running for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.  The 55th annual Grammy Awards will be presented in a ceremony in Los Angeles, airing on CBS on February 10th.


Kip Moore Shares Inspiration Behind Latest Single


Kip Moore says his new single, "Hey Pretty Girl," stems from a true story.  Moore explains that it was inspired by a conversation with his guitarist, Dave Lapsley, who at the time was on his way to becoming a dad.


Moore says he's not interested in settling down and starting a family just yet, but it's something he wants for his future.  Kip adds that he shared Dave's story with songwriting partner Dan Couch, as well as his own hopes for a family, which they "tried to capture" in the song.  "Hey Pretty Girl" is from Moore's debut album "Up All Night."


Hunter Hayes Shares Difficulties Monitoring Songs Chart Run


Hunter Hayes says it's a nerve-racking experience for him to have a song on the charts.


Hunter admits it's tough for him to not keep track of his songs' chart progress, because he'll start to feel guilty about detaching himself from his work.  But he explains that it's something he has to do to "not be nervous."  These days Hayes is not monitoring his hit "Somebody's Heartbreak," which is currently at number 12 and rising on the "Billboard "Country Airplay chart.  Hunter says he "selfishly" wants "Somebody's Heartbreak" to do well because it's a song he really likes.  He adds that he's hoping the song will become one of those signature songs he'll perform for the rest of his life.  "Somebody's Heartbreak" is the third single from Hunter's self-titled debut album.


Quick Bite


Lady Antebellum is seeing quick returns from their new single, "Downtown."  The track is entering the Billboard chart at number 25 to become the trio's highest chart debut.  The group performed the song on "The Tonight Show" last night, and they aren't finished stepping in front of the cameras just yet.  Lady A will remain in Los Angeles today to join Stevie Nicks in shooting their episode of "CMT Crossroads." 


Country Birthdays Include


The Mandrell Sisters' Irlene Mandrell is 57.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1969,  the "Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" debuted on CBS.


Today in 1977, Kenny Rogers launched his country music career when his first single, "Lucille," entered the country singles chart.


Today in 1993, Travis Tritt topped the country charts with the single "Can I Trust You With My Heart."


Today in 1994, Diamond Rio's single "Sawmill Road" peaked at number three on the charts.


Today in 1996, Garth Brooks made headlines when he declined his American Music Award for Favorite Overall Artist, saying it should have gone to Hootie & the Blowfish, quote, "who kept music alive in '95."  As a result of the controversy, the entire category was eliminated from the awards.  Hootie & the Blowfish later thanked Garth in the liner notes of the band's next CD.


Today in 2002, Garth Brooks was tapped as one of the stars to honor Billy Joel as MusiCares Person of the Year.  The ceremony took place in Los Angeles on February 25th of that year.


Today in 2006,  LeAnn Rimes Mary Chapin Carpenter were among the celebrities who appeared in the Animal Planet special "Trail Mix," about stars and their horses.


Today in 2006, Brooks & Dunn opened for the Rolling Stones in Omaha, Nebraska.


Today in 2007, Big & Rich were among the performers at the dedication ceremony for The Center for the Intrepid, a new, high-tech rehab and recovery facility at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas for members of the military who are severely injured in combat.


Today in 2008, Rascal Flatts arrived in Britain for a week of live shows and media appearances throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, and gave their first performance, an acoustic concert for industry guests and fans at The 100 Club in London.


Today in 2008, Sara Evans joined Maroon 5 to tape their episode of CMT's "Crossroads" in front of an invitation-only audience in Nashville.


Today in 2008, Phil Vassar shot a video for his single, "Love Is A Beautiful Thing."  The final product also incorporated personal wedding photos and video footage fans submitted for the clip.


Today in 2008, new album releases included Willie Nelson's "Moment Of Forever" and The Wrights' self-titled effort.


Today in 2010, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Lucinda Williams, Patty Grffin, Emmylou Harris, and T Bone Burnett were among those who took part in the 2010 MusiCares Person of the Year salute to Neil Young.  The gala was among the special events in conjunction with the Grammy Awrads ceremony in Los Angeles.


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