Nashville News and Notes for WEDNESDAY

Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw Performing At March Madness Fest


Jason Aldean and Tim McGraw will be getting in on the "March Madness."  The country stars are on board for next month's concert event in Dallas in conjunction with the men's' college basketball championship series.  Aldean will headline the first day of the festival on Friday, April 4th.  McGraw will perform the next day, before the first semifinal game.  The Killers are also on board for the event's second day, and will take the stage after the game.  Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are the event's headliner.  The band will close out the March Madness Music Festival on Sunday, April 6th, following a set from fun.


More performers are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.  The shows are free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.


Taylor Swift Gets Restraining Order Against Deranged Stalker


Taylor Swift has been granted a restraining order against a persistent fan.  Timothy Sweet believes he's the singer's husband.  According to TMZ, legal documents show Sweet has been sending the country superstar obsessive messages through letters and social media since 2011.  Some of the threatening messages seemed to target members of Taylor's family, three of whom have been granted restraining orders as well.  Sweet allegedly wrote that he "will carry a gun to protect her the rest of [his] life" and will "kill any man who gets in the way of [their] marriage."  He reportedly mentioned Secretary of State John Kerry in one of the notes. 


Brad Paisley Receives Home State Honor


Brad Paisley is getting recognition from his home state.  The country star has been named a Distinguished West Virginian.  WOWK TV says officials from the Governor's Office and the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame met with the singer prior to his concert in Charleston Saturday night to make the presentation.  The Distinguished West Virginian Award is the state's highest honor.


Paisley has strong ties to both the state and its musical heritage.  He was born and raised in Glen Dale, West Virginia, near Wheeling.  He was still in junior high school when he launched his career as a weekly performer on Jamboree USA -- a Wheeling, West Virginia radio show akin to the Grand Ole Opry.  Brad stayed with the show for eight years, and was the youngest performer ever inducted into the Jamboree USA Hall of Fame.


Kip Moore Praising Fellow ACM New Artist Nominee Justin Moore


Kip Moore is singing the praises of another Moore.  Both Kip and Justin Moore are nominees for the Academy of Country Music's New Artist of the Year -- and Kip says Justin "has deserved this award for quite a while."  He tells "somebody messed up" because Justin "should've won this award before."  Kip admits that musically he and Justin are "polar opposites," but he loves to see Justin perform.  Kip explains that they've been on the road together, so he's seen how Justin "just walks on stage and owns it."  He adds that Justin is building a strong fan base of loyal followers who buy albums and concert tickets -- which he believes is "the most important thing" for an artist.


But Kip would still like to win.  He says this type of award "kind of validates that your whole journey wasn't in vain," and getting that kind of recognition is "a cool feeling."  But he adds that he "learned early on" that "you can't focus on things you can't control" -- like awards.  In addition to Kip and Justin, Brett Eldredge is also up for the fan-voted honor.  The ACM's New Artist of the Year will be announced at the 49th annual ACM Awards, airing on CBS on April 6th.


Blake Shelton "Honored" To Record Duet With Shakira


Blake Shelton says the story behind his new duet with Shakira dates back nearly a year.  He recalls when they were both on "The Voice" last spring the Colombian pop star shared her interest in country music with him, which led to them performing Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" on the show.  Blake says when Shakira returned this season, she told him she'd written a country duet.


The song, which is reportedly titled "Medicine," will be on Shakira's new album.  The self-titled disc is due in stores on March 25th.


Dierks Bentley Shares Origins Of Latest Single


Dierks Bentley says his latest single stemmed from a bit of introspection.  The country star explains that he was in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, reflecting on how he still has the pickup he and his dad used to move him to Nashville nearly 20 years ago.


Dierks adds that if his guitar could talk, "it'd have some good dirt" on him.  "I Hold On" is Bentley's latest top ten hit.  The song is from his new album, "Riser."


Eli Young Band Excited About RodeoHouston Show


The Eli Young Band's Mike Eli says the group is particularly excited to perform at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo this year, because their new album just hit stores.  But the country star admits the event has always been special to the band.


Mike adds that he has memories of RodeoHouston that date back well beyond the Eli Young Band's 2010 debut.  The singer explains that he grew up in the Houston area, and as a kid he saw some of the biggest stars in country music play the Rodeo concerts.


The Eli Young Band is performing at the Houston Rodeo on Wednesday, which is also the event's Armed Forces Appreciation Day.  The group's new album, "10,000 Towns" is in stores now.


Vince Gill, Rascal Flatts' Joe Don Rooney Set For Tin Pan South Festival


Vince Gill, Jewel, and Rascal Flatts' Joe Don Rooney are just a few of songwriters on board for the upcoming Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival.  The Nashville Songwriters Association International is behind the five-day event, which features hundreds of performers playing dozens of shows at a variety of venues throughout Nashville.  More than 350 performers and songwriters are on this year's list of performers.  Alabama's Teddy Gentry, Rhett Akins, Amy Grant, Will Hoge, and Bill Lloyd are also slated to play shows, along with Mac Davis, Craig Campbell, Jamie O'Neal, Lee Roy Parnell, and many others.  The Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival begins on March 25th.  More details are available at


Alabama, Hank Jr. To Close Out SeaWorld Concert Series This Weekend


Two country legends will close out the SeaWorld Orlando's "Bands, Brew & BBQ Festival" this weekend.  Hank Williams Jr. is on board for Saturday's show, while Alabama will cap off the six-weekend event on Sunday.  Many artists who had been scheduled to perform at the Florida park cancelled their appearance in light of the controversy sparked by the documentary "Blackfish."  Hank Jr. hasn't commented on his decision to perform, while Alabama isn't addressing the controversy.  The band simply says in a tweet that they're "excited to be coming back to Orlando" during their "All American Tour 2014."


Hank Jr. and Alabama are joining the ranks of Alan Jackson, Gretchen Wilson, and Scotty McCreery, who also performed at SeaWorld's "Bands, Brew & BBQ Festival."  Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood, Trace Adkins, and Martina McBride are among the country stars who dropped out of the event.


Lucy Hale Happy To Have Music, Acting Careers


Lucy Hale says she knew what she was "signing up for" when she decided to launch her music career.  The "Pretty Little Liars" star tells she actually started as a singer, and "thought the music would happen before the acting."  She says it means she's been "waiting a few years" to launch her music career, and she's glad it's finally happening.  Hale admits her life has become much more hectic with the dual career, and it'll "be an adjustment" once shooting begins again on "Liars."  But she's not complaining.  Lucy says she feels "so lucky" to be able to do what she loves.  She adds that she has "a lot of great people" around her "making sure things get done" and that she's "taking care" of herself.


Hale released her debut single, "You Sound Good to Me," earlier this year.  Her debut album, "Road Between," will be in stores on June 3rd.


Country TV Tonight





Today In Country Music History


Today in 1960, Elvis Presley was released from the army.


Today in 1963, Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins were killed when their small plane went down in a wooded area near Camden, Tennesse.


Today in 1973, Alabama appeared for the first time as performers at the Bowery Club in Myrtle  Beach, South Carolina.


Today in 1983, Ronnie Dunn debuted on the country charts as a solo act. Eight years later he returned to the charts as one half of the duo Brooks and Dunn with singing partner Kix Brooks.


Today in 1988, Alabama scored a number-one hit as "Face to Face," the band's duet with K.T. Oslin. topped "Billboard's" country chart.


Today in 1991, the "Pocket Full Of Gold" album by Vince Gill was released.


Today in 2001, Montgomery Gentry were named national spokesmen for Jim Beam and the company's "Country Band Search."  As part of the deal, the duo hit the road in a bus emblazoned with their name and the company's logo during a club tour sponsored by the distillery.


Today in 2003, Shania Twain was named as one of eleven inductees for Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto's Theatre District.  She attended the induction ceremonies that occurred in June.


Today in 2004, Brad Paisley was named the 2004 Artist Humanitarian of the Year by the Country Radio Broadcasters at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville.


Today in 2005, Pat Green made his Grand Ole Opry debut.


Today in 2006, Dolly Parton, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her song "Travelin' Thru" in the Original Song category, lost to "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" by Three 6 Mafia. When Dolly walked the red carpet for the 78th annual awards, she was wearing diamond jewelry worth more than two-million dollars.


Today in 2006, Billy Ray Cyrus laid his father, Ron, to rest at a funeral in Wellington, Kentucky.  The elder Cyrus had recently died of lung cancer.


Today in 2007, Kenny Chesney and Sugarland announced the nominees for the Academy of Country Music AwardsGeorge Strait was the top contender for the event with eight nominations.


Today in 2008, Trace Adkins, Garth Brooks, and Clay Walker were among the participants at the annual Country Radio Seminar in Nashville.  Trace performed an invitation-only concert, and brought his "Celebrity Apprentice" co-stars Omarosa, Marilu Henner, Nely Galan, and Tiffany Fallon with him, quote, "just to show them a little about the music business here."  Garth performed as well, and discussed his life and career with the crowd.  Meanwhile, Walker received the Humanitarian of the Year Award for his efforts in the fight against multiple sclerosis.


Today in 2010, Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook became parents with the birth of their first child, son Elijah Dylan Westbrook.


Today in 2013, new country releases included Ashley Monroe's "Like A Rose."


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