Nashville News and Notes for WEDNESDAY

Garth Brooks Announces Four January Vegas Concerts


Garth Brooks isn't staying away from the stage for long.  The country superstar, who officially wrapped up his run at the Encore Theater at the Wynn Las Vegas last Friday, has announced plans to play four shows at the venue next month.  But this time around the singer won't be presenting his one-man show.  "Garth Brooks: The Man, His Band and His Music” will feature Brooks staging a full concert, playing his own hits with his backing group.  Garth says he’s excited about the upcoming shows, explaining that he’s “been itching for the chance” to bring his band to perform at this particular venue.  “Garth Brooks: The Man, His Band and His Music” shows are set for the Encore on January 3rd and 4th, with two performances each night.  Tickets run 200-dollars plus taxes and fees, and go on sale this Friday.


Jewel Among Stars Set For "Christmas In Rockefeller Center"


Jewel is helping to bring a festive feel to New York City.  She's among the stars who'll be taking part in the annual holiday event "Christmas in Rockefeller Center."  The NBC special features a slate of stars performing songs of the season along with the lighting of the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.  Kelly Clarkson is also on board for the show, along with Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, and the Goo Goo Dolls.  Mary J. Blige, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, and Ariana Grande will perform as well.  "Today's" Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales will host "Christmas in Rockefeller Center," which will air on NBC on Wednesday night.  The national broadcast begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.


Stars Turn Out To Salute 2013's Top Country Artists


The country music community is saluting 2013's most successful stars.  Jason Aldean is one of this year's CMT Artists of the Year, and the only recipient who's been recognized every year since the event began in 2010.  In accepting his award, the singer said the CMT ceremony gives him a chance to show respect to those who paved the way for him -- like fellow honoree Tim McGraw -- as well as those who are following him.


Some "buddies" Aldean mentioned by name included fellow honorees Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line, while Hunter Hayes was also among this year's recipients.  The star-packed celebration featured tributes and performances, including a few collaborations.  Peter Frampton, who presented the award to Hayes, added guitar to Lady Antebellum's salute to McGraw.  Travis Tritt and Cassadee Pope performed in honor of Aldean, while Train's Pat Monahan joined Hayes for a special performance.  Bryan closed the show -- but not with any of his hits.  He shared the spotlight with Lionel Richie to sing two of Richie's songs.  Blue Collar Comedy star Ron White brought the humor as the official host of the show, while he and "Anchorman" Ron Burgundy -- played by Will Ferrell -- engaged in a battle over which "Ron" should be at the helm.  The CMT Artists of the Year special aired live on CMT from Nashville Tuesday night.


Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson Recordings Get Grammy Induction


A Dolly Parton classic and the debut releases from Kris Kristofferson and Doc Watson are entering the Grammy Hall of Fame.  Parton's "Jolene" is among the 17 singles that have been selected for the honor, along with the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women," Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World," and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son."  Inducted albums include "Kristofferson" and "Doc Watson," as well as George Harrison's three-disc set "All Things Must Pass," U2's "The Joshua Tree," the "Mary Poppins Original Cast Sound Track," and others.  The oldest inductee is Hoagy Carmichael's 1930 single "Georgia (On My Mind)," while recordings by Neil Young, Chicago, Miles Davis, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe have also been added to the collection.  Eligible recordings must be at least 25 years old and be considered "of lasting qualitative or historical significance."  With the latest inductees, the Grammy Hall of Fame has grown to 960 titles.


Joe Nichols Scores First Billboard Chart-Topper In Over Three Years


Joe Nichols is back on top.  His latest single, "Sunny and 75" has reached the number one spot on the Country Airplay chart to become his first "Billboard" chart-topper in more than three years.  His last number one hit was "Gimmie That Girl," which spent two weeks at the top of the chart in May 2010.  Joe says he's thrilled with the accomplishment.  He explains that "seeing your song at the top of the charts never gets old," whether "it's your first number one record or your 50th."  "Sunny and 75" is Joe's fourth Billboard chart-topper.


But the three-year, seven-month span isn't Nichols' largest gap between chart-toppers.  Four years and five months elapsed between "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off," which topped the chart in December 2005, and "Gimmie That Girl."  Nichols' first number one hit was "Brokenheartsville," which peaked at number one in March 2003.


Country Singer Jon Pardi Having Surgery Over The Holidays


Jon Pardi admits he’s not thrilled with his holiday plans.  The country singer explains that he’s having knee surgery, so he’ll be spending Christmas at his home in Nashville recovering instead of celebrating with his family in California.  But Jon says he’ll do what he can to keep things festive.


Pardi says he’s never missed a family Christmas before, and his mom in particular is “super sad” that they won’t be celebrating the holiday together.  And the celebrations will continue for Jon after the first of the year.  He’ll be releasing his debut album, “Write You a Song,” on January 14th.  The album features his hit singles “Up All Night” and “Missin’ You Crazy.”


Fatherhood Not Influencing Jake Owen's Music -- Yet


Jake Owen says people seem to think the changes in his personal life would have affected him as a performer by now.  The country star agrees that becoming a family man will likely influence his music -- eventually.


Last year, in the span of seven months, Jake proposed to his girlfriend, got married, and celebrated the birth of their first child.  Jake plays off the title of his 2011 release in saying people now expect him to be "the ‘barefoot diaper night’ guy or something."  The singer admits being a dad has changed him -- in very positive ways.  He says it's made him more patient and understanding, and just a "better person" overall.  And after celebrating his daughter's first birthday last month, Jake is now celebrating the arrival of his latest album.  He'll be supporting "Days Of Gold" with TV appearances this week on "Good Morning America" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live."


Taylor Swift Excited About Australian Tour


Taylor Swift says she’s thrilled to be back entertaining her fans “down under.”  The country-pop superstar explains that she has a dedicated and loyal fan base in Australia. 


Swift adds that it’s nice to be ending the year in the Southern Hemisphere, where it’s summertime.  Taylor launched her trek in New Zealand last Friday, and has shows scheduled over the next ten days.  She’ll be making stops in Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth, and play her final show in Melbourne on December 14th -- the day after her 24th birthday.  Taylor is the first solo female artist to stage an Australian stadium tour since Madonna back in 1993.


Tribute Concerts, Funeral Set For Slain Country Singer Wayne Mills


Eric Lee Beddingfield, Trent Tomlinson, and Jesse Keith Whitley are some of the artists on board for the first of two upcoming tribute concerts for late country singer Wayne Mills.  Shannon Lawson, Brian Warner, Chris Gantry, and Brad Cotter are some of the others slated to appear at the show, which will take place at the Tin Roof in Nashville on Wednesday.  Ashton Shepherd and Cowboy Troy are leading the lineup for a second event in Mills’ honor, set for the War Bama in Silas, Alabama on December 20th.  Money raised through both shows will go to Mills’ family.  His survivors include his wife and six-year-old son.


Wayne Mills was apparently shot during an argument a couple of weeks ago at a Nashville bar.  He later died of his injuries.  The bar’s owner has admitted to the shooting, saying it was self-defense.  Services for Mills will take place in his hometown of Arab, Alabama this weekend.  Montgomery’s WSFA-TV says visitation is scheduled for Sunday morning at Brookwood Cemetery, while Mills’ funeral is set for Sunday afternoon at Arab High School.


Aldean, Lambert, Band Perry To Headline Arizona Country Thunder


Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert and The Band Perry are on board for next spring's edition of Country Thunder.  The Band Perry will cap off the second day of the event, with Lambert leading the day three and Aldean closing out the festival.  An opening night headliner hasn't been announced yet.  However, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Will Hoge are among the acts who'll help launch the four-day festival.  Joe Diffie, Mark Chesnutt, Craig Morgan, and Sawyer Brown are some of the other artists confirmed for the event.  The spring Country Thunder festival will take place in Florence, Arizona from April 10th through the 13th.  Additional information is available at


Country Birthdays Include


Diamond Rio's Brian Prout is 58.

Lila McCann is 32.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1971, George Strait married his wife, Norma.


Today in 1991, Naomi and Wynonna Judd gave the final concert of their "Farewell" tour.  The last show was the most successful musical pay-per-view event in history.


Today in 1996, Reba McEntire injured her knee while skiing in Utah.  As a result, she was forced to undergo surgery and cancel concert dates.


Today in 1996, Deana Carter appeared on "Prime Time Country" and shaved host Gary Chapman's legs.


Today in 1996, Doug Stone and Beth Snyder were married.


Today in 2000, ratings figures showed that Faith Hill's Thanksgiving television special, "FAITH!," attracted more than 20-million viewers to help give CBS its best Thursday showing of the season.


Today in 2000, Shania Twain was voted the "Sexiest Vegetarian Alive" by the readers of PETA's "Animal Times" magazine.


Today in 2001, Tim McGraw was the big country winner at the 2001 Billboard Music Awards.  He took home five trophies.


Today in 2002, Blake Shelton proposed to longtime love, Kaynette "Katt" Williams.  The couple exchanged "I do's" in November 2003.  They divorced in 2006.


Today in 2003, Phil Vassar and his wife, Julie, welcomed their daughter, Presley Jade, at 2:58 p.m. in a Nashville hospital.


Today in 2003, Lonestar was in Washington DC for an appearance at the 80th annual National Christmas Pageant of Peace, which includes the ceremonial lighting of the national tree.


Today in 2003, Brad Paisley was among those on hand to help in the announcement of the upcoming Grammy Awards nominees at a press conference in Beverly Hills, California.  Ricky Skaggs was the top country nominee, while Paisley, Shania Twain, Johnny and June Carter Cash, Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, the Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, and Randy Travis were also named as nominees in multiple categories.


Today in 2005, Blaine and Sammi Larsen married in Seattle.


Today in 2006, Kenny Chesney and Carrie Underwood were among the country winners at the Billboard Music Awards.


Today in 2006, Brooks & Dunn launched their two-year contract at the Las Vegas Hilton with the first of a three-show engagement at the venue.


Today in 2007, Garth Brooks was in Washington, DC to donate items from his career to the National Museum of American History.  Among the things Brooks gave the museum were his first gold record for his self-titled album, the handwritten lyrics to his song "Beaches of Cheyenne," and a black Stetson cowboy hat.


Today in 2007, Craig Morgan played a show for volunteers who stuffed ten-thousand USO care packages at an Air Force base near St. Louis, Missouri.  He also lent a hand in putting the packages together.


Today in 2007, Big Kenny of Big & Rich was named the Save Darfur Coalition's December "Darfur Hero."


Today in 2007, Trisha Yearwood was on hand to help Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver kick off the holiday season in California by performing at the 76th annual State Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Sacramento.


Today in 2007, Dierks Bentley had a rather chilly number one party for his hit single "Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)."  The singer rented Nashville's Sommet Center so he could celebrate his success while playing a game of hockey at the home of the Nashville Predators.


Today in 2007, Lonestar's Michael Britt joined Gibson to unveil the guitar company's new Gibson Robot Les Paul guitar with self-tuning technology.


Today in 2007, new releases included Trace Adkins' album "American Man: Greatest Hits Volume 2" and The Wreckers' CD/DVD "Way Back Home: Live From New York," while Bucky Covington's "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and Trent Tomlinson's rendition of the classic Alabama song "Christmas In Dixie" became available digitally.


Today in 2010, Merle Haggard attended a special State Department Dinner, hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the White House as one of the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors recipients.


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