Nashville News and Notes for WEDNESDAY

Brad Paisley Intending To Spark Discussion With "Accidental Racist"


Brad Paisley says he had a purpose in mind with his controversial new song "Accidental Racist."  The country star explains that with his LL Cool J collaboration, he's trying to draw attention to race relations in the U.S.


And "Accidental Racist" has started people talking -- about Paisley and the song.  The track is from Brad's new album, "Wheelhouse," which arrived in stores Tuesday.  The song has sparked a lot of activity on social media.  Many people have criticized the lyrics for seeming to trivialize the subject of racism.  A few celebrities have also chimed in on the track, suggesting it may have been meant as satire.


Craig Morgan Rides Reindeer-Pulled Sled, Learns About The Sami


Craig Morgan's Arctic adventure has begun.  The country star arrived in Stockholm on Monday for the 6th annual Fjällräven Polar dogsled race.  Tuesday was an educational day.  The singer is sharing the experience via Facebook.  He's posted a couple of pictures, including one of him "riding a sled pulled by reindeer" the way the indigenous Sami people "have done it for centuries."  A second photo shows him in the Teepee having coffee "after a day of sledding and listening to stories of the Sami people's history."


Morgan and the other racers will officially begin the Fjällräven Polar today.  According to the event's website, "participants will navigate their dogsled through spectacular scenery in an inhospitable environment, through the barren tundra and over frozen lakes" on the the 205-mile journey to Jukkasjärvi , Swedish Lapland, where they're expected to finish on Saturday.


The Blind Auditions End On "The Voice"


The teams are now set on NBC's "The Voice."  Blake Shelton was the first to find his 12th singer in Jacqui Sandell, who won him over with her rendition of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams."


But Blake admitted regretting he couldn't turn his chair for Amber Carrington, who impressed with her performance of Carrie Underwood's "Good Girl."  Amber is completing Adam Levine's team.  But Shelton said she'd remain on his radar, adding that she's somebody he'd "be interested in stealing" later in the competition.  Usher and Shakira battled over Luke Edgemon following his rendition of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me."  He ultimately chose Shakira.  Her powers of persuasion included striking Usher's typical pose -- putting her foot on her chair and propping her arm up on her knee.  Usher was the last to complete his team with the addition of Jessica Childress, who sang Bruno Mars' "Marry You."  But Adam let her know that Usher wasn't the only one interested in her -- he explained that nobody else could push their button for her.


The Battle Rounds begin next week, and the four coaches will be getting some help from guest advisors.  Sheryl Crow will be working with Team Blake, while Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott is on board with Team Adam.  Good Charlotte's Joel Madden will be assisting Team Shakira, and Pharrell Williams is joining Team Usher.  The next episode of "The Voice" airs next Monday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.


Ashley Monroe Getting Wedding Help From Miranda Lambert


Miranda Lambert has a new nickname.  Pistol Annies' Ashley Monroe tells that Miranda has been a big help to her as she prepares for her upcoming wedding.  She adds that Lambert has been dubbed "Plannie Annie" for the way she can "just make things happen."  Miranda brings quite a bit of wedding experience with her.  She lent a hand to Pistol Annies' Angaleena Presley as she got ready for her big day last year, and Lambert held her own wedding to husband Blake Shelton just two years ago.


Ashley isn't divulging much about her own wedding plans, and won't say when she'll be walking down the aisle.  But she says the dress selection has been her favorite part of the process.  Ashley is engaged to Chicago White Sox pitcher John Danks, who popped the question back in September.


Taylor Swift Reflects On Relationships, Break-Up Recovery


Taylor Swift says she's OK with having uncertainty in her love life.  The country-pop superstar tells "Wonderland" magazine that with her career she knows exactly where she'll be and what she'll be doing two months from now, but she has "no idea" where she'll be mentally or emotionally, or in terms of her "dreams, goals, wishes, [or] hopes."  She explains that she has "no idea" if she's "going to get married or be single forever or have a family," or just be on her own to "paint in a cottage by the ocean" by herself.


Swift adds that she's "kind of into that."  The singer admits she goes through something "very complex" when a relationship ends, and she's "never feeling just sad."  She identifies nine stages of relationship recovery.  Taylor explains that it might start with pure sadness, but then evolves into anger, feeling "fine," and feeling "confident."  But she says that strength then gives way to "a sense of doubt, and then you're insecure, and then there's jealousy" before "you're back to sad -- and then you feel fine again."  Swift is on the cover of the latest issue of "Wonderland," which is on newsstands now.


Dierks Bentley Planning New Single In May, New Album This Fall


Dierks Bentley is working on his next album.  The country star tells he's "really excited" about the project.  He adds that it's "a big one" for him.  Bentley explains that it's not just his follow up to "Home," which features the Grammy-nominated, chart-topping title track, but it will also complete his label deal with Capitol Nashville.  Dierks says he's "putting a lot of time" into the project and is "doing it right," because he wants it to be his "best one, something really special."  The singer is hoping to release the first single from his upcoming disc next month, and have the album in stores this fall.


Alabama Tribute Album In The Works


Alabama is being honored with a tribute album. say Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, and Luke Bryan are among the stars contributing to the project, which will feature a mix of cover songs and duets with the honored band.  But Showdog Universal's Mark Wright says this isn't going to be like Lionel Richie's "Tuskegee."  He explains that Alabama performs on some tracks, but with "people who have their own band," like Rascal Flatts and the Eli Young Band, "it's hard to put a band with a band."  Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, and Trisha Yearwood are some of the other artists on board for the special album, which will also feature new material.  Wright says two new Alabama songs will also be included, which will be the first fresh tracks from the group in more than a decade.  "Alabama & Friends" is expected this fall.


The Henningsens Create Special Prop For "American Beautiful" Video


The handiwork of The Henningsens' Brian Henningsen is featured in the trio's clip to their hit "American Beautiful."  Brian build the toy barn the little girl plays with in the video.  He says he really enjoyed the small-scale construction project.


The Henningsens shot the video for "American Beautiful" with director Darrin Dickerson.  Brian says it was Darrin's idea to include the miniature barn in the clip.  "American Beautiful" is the debut single from The Henningsens.  The video to the song is posted on the trio's website.


The Band Perry Talk Cupcakes


The Band Perry's Kimberly, Neil, and Reid Perry are pleased with their own signature pastry.  The trio explain how they helped create The Very Perry Chocolate Cherry cupcake by suggesting a mix of a the prototypes they were given to sample.


Gigi's Cupcakes is behind The Very Perry Chocolate Cherry cupcake, which was inspired by the song "I'm A Keeper."  The track is on The Band Perry's new album, "Pioneer."  Additional information on The Very Perry Chocolate Cherry cupcake is available at


Today in Country Music History


Today in 1971, John Denver made his pop chart debut with "Take Me Home Country Roads."


Today in 1982, the single "Always On My Mind" by Willie Nelson entered the Top 40 chart.


Today in 1989, after winning countless awards, racking up over 20 number one hits,and selling 50 million records worldwide, Alabama was named "80's Artist of the Decade" by the Academy of Country Music.


Today in 2002, after enjoying more than four decades of success in the music business, the Statler Brothers announced plans to say goodbye to touring.


Today in 2002, Lonestar's album "I'm Already There" was certified Platinum, while Brad Paisley's album "Part II" was certified Gold.


Today in 2003, Sara Evans visited Vanderbilt Childen's Hospital in Nashville to sing to the young patients and spotlight the annual Music City Tennis Invitational, which raises funds for the hospital.  Songwriters Marcus Hummon and James Slater accompanied her on the mission.


Today in 2006, "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood won two awards at the 2006 CMT Music Awards, including Female Video of the Year and Breakthrough Video of the Year for her clip "Jesus Take The Wheel."  Keith Urban's "Better Life" captured the top prize of Video of the Year.  Brad Paisley's duet with Dolly Parton, "When I Get Where I'm Going," took the title of Most Inspiring Video of the Year.  Other winners include Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, and Billy Currington.  Hank Williams, Jr. was a special honoree, receiving CMT's Johnny Cash Visionary Award.


Today in 2007, The Hendersonville, Tennessee house of the late country legend Johnny Cash, which the Bee Gees' Barry Gibb had purchased in January 2006, was destroyed in a fire sparked by workers restoring the home.


Today in 2008, Brad Paisley was honored at a "ten" party in Nashville.  The event recognized the country star for selling ten-million records and logging ten number one hits over the course of his ten-year career.


Today in 2008, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Lari White, and Jimmy Dean were among the performers at a benefit for the Vanderbilt Voice Center at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.


Today in 2009, George Strait lost his older brother.  John "Buddy" Strait was found dead in a hotel room in San Antonio, Texas.  Buddy was 58.


Today in 2010, Dolly Parton, Wynonna, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Alison Krauss were among the many stars who took part in a special tribute concert in Ledyard, Connecticut celebrating Kenny Rogers' 50th anniversary in music.  The lineup also featured Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Chris Isaak, Sheena Easton, and original members of The First Edition -- Rogers' band from 1967 until 1975.  In addition, Tim McGraw, Billy Currington, and Darius Rucker contributed taped segments which were included in the TV special, "Kenny Rogers: The First 50 Years."


Today in 2011, Willie Nelson was among the performers at the Kokua For Japan Benefit Concert in Honolulu, Hawaii.  The event raised one-point-six-million-dollars for the American Red Cross' efforts in Japan following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan a month earlier.


Today in 2011, The Judds' self-titled docu-series debuted on the Oprah Winfrey Network.


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