Nashville News and Notes for WEDNESDAY

ACM Nominees To Be Announced In Digital Press Conference Wednesday


The nominees for the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards are being revealed Wednesday.  Little Big Town, The Band Perry, and Scotty McCreery will help with the special announcement, which will be made in a digital press conference starting at 9:30 a.m. Eastern.  Ryan Seacrest, "Two Broke Girls" star Beth Behrs, and "Entertainment Tonight's" Nancy O'Dell and Rob Marciano will also take part in the special presentation.  Each category will be unveiled in real-time videos that will be posted on  the ACM's Facebook page and Twitter feed.  The Entertainer of the Year nominees will be announced by the fans, through videos they submitted naming the artists they want to see in the running for the event's top prize.  The 48th annual ACM Awards will be presented in a ceremony in Las Vegas, and air on CBS on April 7th.


Reba, Chris Young Featured On "Katie" Country Episode


Reba McEntire and Chris Young are helping Katie Couric go country.  The singers are among the guests for a special country music edition of Couric's talk show, "Katie."  Reba will discuss her new sitcom "Malibu Country."  She also gives her thoughts on how to maintain a successful marriage, and about Kelly Clarkson officially becoming a member of her family.  Young will also discuss relationships.  He also reveals what he does "when fans are throwing their unmentionables on stage."  The show will also feature "Nashville" star Connie Britton, who'll share feedback she's received about the ABC drama from real-life country stars.  The "Katie Goes Country" episode of "Katie" airs Wednesday on ABC.


Natalie Maines To Release Solo Album, Hesitant About Country Return


The Dixie Chicks' Natalie Maines is returning to music, but not necessarily to country.  The singer admitted her reluctance in resuming her country career on the red carpet of last week's MusiCares event honoring Bruce Springsteen.  When CMT's Katie Cook told her she still had lots of fans in the country community, Maines said that "lots of people don't love" her as well.  She added that it's "kind of like going back to your abusive husband," and she's "just not feeling it."  Maines became an outsider ten years ago, after speaking critically of President Bush at a Dixie Chicks show in London at the start of the war in Iraq.  The group faced a severe backlash that included death threats during their subsequent North American tour.  The Chicks returned in 2006 with "Taking the Long Way," but have been relatively quiet since then.  A few years ago Dixie Chicks Martie Maguire and Emily launched the duo Court Yard Hounds.


Maines is now prepping for the release of her debut solo album, "Mother," which will arrive in stores on May 7th.  The title track is Maine's cover of the Pink Floyd song, and "USA Today" says the project was "influenced by a more rock-based, edgy sound."  Maines' version of "Mother" is also featured on the soundtrack to the documentary "West of Memphis," about  the wrongful murder convictions of three Arkansas teens known as the West Memphis Three.  But Natalie is also expected to return to the Dixie Chicks this year.  The group has three Canadian festival appearances scheduled in July.


Alabama Announces Initial Dates For 40th Anniversary Tour


Alabama is giving a nod to their roots as they mark their 40th anniversary this year.  The group has announced the first dates for their upcoming "Back to the Bowery Tour."  The trek is named after the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina venue where Alabama played their first show, and they're launching the tour with a two-night stand in Myrtle Beach on April 5th and 6th.  Alabama frontman Randy Owen says he's "so excited to celebrate 40 years" since the group's first show at The Bowery.  He explains that after all these years he and his bandmates "still love one another," and "are blessed to still be around."  Randy adds that they're "ever grateful for the fans," many of whom have been following the group since they "used to play for tips."  Owen says returning to the road to play for them "will make this a very special year."


Owen, Jeff Cook, and Teddy Gentry officially launched their career in 1973 as Wildcountry, and served as the house band at The Bowery.  A few years later, when the group got a recording contract, they changed their name to The Alabama Band.  Alabama went on a Farewell tour in 2003 and 2004, which they intended to be their retirement from the road.  The group returned to the stage a couple of years ago to raise money for residents of their home state following the devastating tornado outbreak in April 2011.  The "Back to the Bowery Tour" will be Alabama's first extensive road trip since their Farewell Tour.


Alabama's "Back To The Bowery Tour" Dates


April 5 & 6 - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, at The Alabama Theatre

April 26 - Wallingford, Connecticut, at Toyota presents Oakdale Theatre

April 27 - Rama, Ontario, Canada, at Casino Rama

May 1 - Westbury, New York, at The NYCB Theatre at Westbury

May 17 - Atlanta, Georgia, at the Fox Theatre    

July 5 - Orange Beach, Alabama, at the Amphitheater at the Wharf

August 30 - Highland Park, Illinois, at Ravinia Festival

August 31 - Hinckley, Minnesota, at the Grand Casino

October 4 & 5 - Minot, North Dakota, at the Norsk Hostfest

October 12 - Thackerville, Oklahoma, at the Winstar Casino


Carrie Underwood Resumes "Blown Away" Tour


Carrie Underwood is returning to the road.  The country singer is resuming her "Blown Away Tour" with a show in Colorado Springs, Colorado Wednesday night.  The trek includes nearly 50 shows, with stops across the U.S. and Canada as well as a few overseas dates.  Underwood will be one of the headliners at the inaugural Country To Country festival in London next month.  She also has shows booked in Ireland and Northern Ireland.  Hunter Hayes, who also toured with Carrie last fall, is once again on board to open shows for most of the North American dates.  Underwood is touring behind her most recent CD, "Blown Away."  She's also raising money with the trek.  One-dollar from each ticket sold is going to the Red Cross.


Carrie Underwood's 2013 "Blown Away Tour" Dates


February 13 - Colorado Springs, CO Colorado Springs - World Arena

February 14 - Broomfield, CO - 1STBANK Center

February 17 - Boise, ID - Taco Bell Arena

February 19 - Billings, MT - MetraPark

February 21 - Spokane, WA - Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena

February 22 - Yakima, WA - Yakima Sundome

February 25 - Oakland, CA - Oracle Arena

February 26 - Stockton, CA - Stockton Arena

March 2 - Las Vegas, NV -  Mandalay Bay Events Center

March 3 - Ontario, CA - Citizens Business Bank Arena

March 5 - Fresno, CA - Save Mart Center

March 8 - Rio Rancho, NM - Santa Ana Star Center

March 14 - Dublin, Ireland, at the Olympia

March 15 - Belfast, Northern Ireland - Belfast Waterfront Hotel

March 17 - London, England - O2 Arena, at the Country To Country festival

March 21 - Richmond, VA - Richmond Coliseum

March 23 - Roanoke, VA - Roanoke Civic Center

March 25 - Hershey, PA - Giant Center

March 26 - Buffalo, NY - First Niagara Center

March 28 - Hamilton, ON - Copps Coliseum

March 29 - Windsor, ON - WFCU Centre

March 30 - Kingston, ON - K-Rock Centre

April 2 - St. John, NB - Harbour Station

April 9 - Portland, ME - Cumberland County Civic Center

April 11 - Youngstown, OH - Covelli Centre

April 13 - Lansing, MI - Breslin Student Events Center

April 14 - Ft. Wayne, IN - Allen County Memorial Coliseum

April 16 - Greenville, SC - BiLo Center

April 17 - Columbia, SC - Colonial Life Arena

April 19 - Augusta, GA - James Brown Arena

April 20 - Jacksonville, FL - Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena

April 23 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center

April 25 - San Antonio, TX - Freeman Coliseum

April 27 - Cedar Park, TX - Cedar Park Center

April 29 - Lafayette, LA - Cajundome

May 2 - Bloomington, IL - U.S. Cellular Coliseum

May 3 - Milwaukee, WI - BMO Harris Bradley Center

May 5 - Toledo, OH - Huntington Center

May 8 - Charleston, WV - Charleston Civic Center

May 10 - Rockford, IL - BMO Harris Bank Center

May 12 - Omaha, NE - CenturyLink Center

May 13 - Sioux City, IA - Tyson Events Center

May 15 - Winnipeg, MB - MTS Centre

May 17 - Moose Jaw, SK - Mosaic Place

May 18 - Edmonton, AB - Rexall Place

May 20 - Dawson Creek, BC - EnCana Events Centre

May 21 - Prince George, BC - CN Centre

May 23 - Abbotsford, BC - Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre

June 30 - Dauphin, MB - Dauphin's Countryfest


Taylor Swift Doesn't Chase Boys, Throw Fits, Or Yell At Exes


Taylor Swift says stories about her ardently pursuing potential boyfriends just aren't true.  The country-pop star tells "Elle" that she often sees rumors claiming she's "chasing somebody" who doesn't like her as much as she likes him.  She adds that "people love that angle" on her, and like to accuse her of coming on too strong.  But she says she doesn't ever "chase boys" because "they don't like it."  Swift also says she's always treated her exes well.  She explains that she's "not a yeller," and can't recall ever screaming at a former boyfriend.  Taylor says she's just "not a fit thrower," and can accept "if something is done, it's done."  Swift is featured on the cover of the new "Elle" magazine, which will arrive on newsstands February 19th.


Tim McGraw Tries To Be Romantic All Year Long


Tim McGraw says he and wife Faith Hill always celebrate Valentine's Day in one form or another.  But the country star adds that he doesn't limit the romance in their marriage just to February 14th.


Tim says Faith loves roses but that's not necessarily his go-to gift idea, since she has her own rose garden.  But McGraw uses the roses as inspiration for gifts, explaining that he's been giving Faith antique vases so she can display the flowers around their house.


Taylor Swift Shares Stories Behind Song Ideas With Writing Partners


Taylor Swift says she opens up to her songwriting partners.  The country-pop superstar explains that when she's teaming up with someone to write a song, she wants her collaborator to understand the inspiration behind her ideas.


But Swift didn't have to divulge any personal details that inspired her latest country hit, "Begin Again."  It's one of the nine tracks on "Red" that the singer-songwriter penned on her own.  However, her collaboration strategy appears to work.  Taylor's hit "I Knew You Were Trouble," which she wrote with Max Martin and Shellback, is now spending its fourth week at number one on the Billboard Pop Songs Chart.  Swift also wrote her Grammy-nominated chart-topper "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" with Martin and Shellback.


Little Big Town Surprised By Their Grammy Win


The members of Little Big Town admit they were surprised to receive a Grammy Award at last weekend's event.  Even though the group has been nominated for Grammys before, Karen Fairchild says they really didn't expect to win.


Little Big Town earned their Grammy for Best Country/Duo Performance with their hit "Pontoon."  They got the nod over Eli Young Band's "Even If It Breaks Your Heart," Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars' "Safe & Sound," The Time Jumpers' "On The Outskirts Of Town," and Don Williams and Alison Krauss' "I Just Come Here For The Music."  The 55th annual Grammy Awards were presented in a ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1971, Sammi Smith's "Help Me Make It Through The Night," written by Kris Kristofferson, topped the number one position in the "Billboard" country singles charts.


Today in 1988, "Tennessee Flat Top Box" becomes Rosanne Cash's seventh number one hit.  The song had originally been written and recorded by her father in 1961, but Rosanne didn't know that until she cut it.  Johnny's response?  Cash took out full-page ads in the trades congratulating her on the accomplishment.


Today in 1996, Wynonna released her third solo album, "Revelations."


Today in 1999, John Michael Montgomery and his wife, Crystal, welcomed their son, Walker Carl Montgomery, who weighed in at eight-pounds, ten-ounces.


Today in 2001, Rodney Crowell's album "The Houston Kid" was released.


Today in 2002, country great Waylon Jennings died following a long struggle with diabetes.  He was 64.


Today in 2002, Garth Brooks declined an offer to join the Colorado Rockies' for spring training.  Citing obligations to his three daughters in Oklahoma, he said he couldn't make a six-week commitment to the team.


Today in 2003, Faith Hill performed a free concert for members of the military and their families at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  A portion of her show aired on TV in a live broadcast on ABC's "Good Morning America."


Today in 2003, Flatt & Scruggs banjo player Earl Scruggs was added to Hollywood Walk of Fame.  He was the first bluegrass artist to be honored and also the first full-time banjo player to be inducted.


Today in 2005, "Live Like You Were Dying" won two Grammy Awards, one for Tim McGraw's performance, the other for songwriters Craig Wiseman and Tim Nichols.  Loretta Lynn, the Dixie Chicks, Ricky Skaggs, and Gretchen Wilson were also winners.


Today in 2005, Garth Brooks appeared at a benefit concert in Fort Worth, where he introduced Trisha Yearwood as his wife, quote, "someday."


Today in 2005, Toby Keith had a colt running in a horse racing event in Santa Anita, California.


Today in 2007, Taylor Swift made her debut on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on NBC.  She sang her hit "Tim McGraw."


Today in 2007, Lonestar's Dean Sams, Montgomery Gentry's Troy Gentry, and Julie Roberts were the celebrity players for the second day of Country Week on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."


Today in 2008, Keith Urban made his concert debut at New York's Madison Square Garden.  The sold out show put Urban alongside Garth Brooks and Shania Twain as a country star to perform a headlining show before a capacity crowd at the famed venue.


Today in 2010, Trace Adkins' tour bus was involved in a fatal accident in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, in which a pickup truck crossed the center line and crashed head-on into the bus.  The two men in the pickup were killed, and five people on the bus were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.  Trace wasn't on the bus, but traveled by van to the accident site to pick up his uninjured band members then went to the hospital to check on those who were hurt.  Adkins, who was touring with Martina McBride, still performed his scheduled show that night in Bossier City, Louisiana.  He played a scaled-down acoustic set.


Today in 2011, Lady Antebellum was the big winner at the Grammy Awards, taking five of the six categories in which they were nominated including the all-genre prizes of Record and Song of the Year for the hit "Need You Now."  Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson, Diamond Rio, Patty Loveless, and Marty Stuart were also winners.  Lady A and Lambert also performed at the event, while Martina McBride took part in an all-star salute to Aretha Franklin.


Today in 2011, Craig Morgan put his skills as a former EMT and Assistant Deputy Sheriff to work when he rescued two children from a burning house in his hometown of Dickson, Tennessee.  He also assisted firefighters in putting out the blaze.


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