Nashville News and Notes for WEDNESDAY

Hunter Hayes To Launch ACM Week In Las Vegas


Hunter Hayes is helping to transform Sin City into Music City.  The country star has been tapped to headline the Academy of Country Music's ACM Week Kick Off Party.  The concert will take place at The LINQ in Las Vegas on April 3rd, featuring Hayes along with David Nail, Cole Swindell, and Sasha McVeigh.  The event also includes a Fun Zone, described as a "family-friendly country marketplace" with interactive activities including food trucks and vendors.  The ACM Week Kick Off Party is in conjunction with the 49th annual ACM Awards, which will be staged in Las Vegas on April 6th.


Darius Rucker Sets Dates For Annual St. Jude Fundraiser


Darius Rucker is getting ready for his annual charity event.  The two-day benefit will begin with the "Darius and Friends" concert at Nashville's Wildhorse Saloon on June 2nd, followed by the "Darius and Friends Celebrity Golf Tournament" on June 3rd.  Participants for this year's fundraiser haven't been announced yet.  Luke Bryan, Justin Moore, and Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley are just a few of the stars who took part in last year's event, which brought in more than 95-thousand-dollars for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  Since launching the benefit in 2010, Rucker has raised more than 320-thousand-dollars for the medical facility.


Jon Pardi Earns First Gold Certification


Country newcomer Jon Pardi says he's still having a tough time believing his single "Up All Night" has been certified Gold.  The singer admits it's a track he really likes.


"Up All Night" is also Jon's first top ten hit.  The track is from his debut album, "Write You A Song."  Pardi just released his third single from the disc, "What I Can't Put Down," this week.


Brantley Gilbert Unveils Details On Upcoming CD


Brantley Gilbert's new album is just a couple of months away.  The country star will release his third studio set, "Just As I Am," on May 19th.  Brantley had a hand in writing all eleven songs on the disc, which features his current single "Bottoms Up."  Gilbert says the new album "picks up" where his last one "left off" in telling his "story."  He explains that all the "highs and lows" he's been through over the past few years are "reflected in this project."  Brantley adds that he thinks the album has "something for everyone," and includes a mix of party songs and "the gentler stuff."  "Just As I Am" is Gilbert's follow up to his 2010 release, "Halfway to Heaven."


Kacey Musgraves Enjoying Lady A Tour


Kacey Musgraves says she's having a great time on Lady Antebellum's tour.


Kacey adds that all three members of Lady A -- Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood -- have treated her very well, and have been "champions" of both her and fellow opener Kip Moore.  The next stop on Lady A's "Take Me Downtown" tour is coming up in Las Vegas on Friday.


Toby Keith On Australian Fans, Country Music


Toby Keith is on his first Australian tour, but he's already familiar with entertaining an Australian audience.  The American country star tells the "Sydney Morning Herald" when other Allies were stationed at a base he'd visit on a USO Tour, Australian troops would attend his shows.  He adds that he'd always hang out with the Aussie troops because "they had the beer."  American troops aren't allowed to drink beer on the base.


But Toby isn't about to insert himself into current debate over the "Americanization" of Australian country music, saying he doesn't know enough about the nation's music culture.  However, he says he believes Australians should "be proud" of their musical heritage, and not "just do what the U.S. does."  Keith is wrapping up his inaugural Australian run with a show in Melbourne on Wednesday.


Don Williams Appreciates Support For Latest Album


Don Williams admits he doesn't write much anymore.  And the 74-year-old Country Music Hall of Famer tells CMT Edge he's "grateful and knocked out" that publishers and writers still think of him and send him new material.  He just released the new album, "Reflections," which also features a cover of Townes Van Zandt's "I'll Be Here in the Morning" and Merle Haggard's "Sing Me Back Home."  Don says he'd considered the Van Zandt song for his last album and didn't use it.  But he explains that he records songs that "haunt" him and "creep back" into his head "on a pretty regular basis," and the "In the Morning" was "one of those."


Don says his Haggard cover was unintentional.  The country legend explains that he "didn't recall" that it was a Haggard track when he picked it, but just thought it was "a great country song."  Williams' "Reflections" is in stores now.


Bill Anderson Came Up With Idea Of "Nashville" Decades Ago


Bill Anderson says he loves the ABC series "Nashville."  The country star explains that he and a TV network executive dreamed up something very similar over 30 years ago.


Anderson was active with ABC in the late 1970s and early '80s.  In 1977 he hosted the ABC game show "The Better Sex," and began a multi-year run portraying a fictional version of himself on the soap opera "One Life to Live."  Anderson envisioned his "Nashville"-like series as a daytime soap as well, but the project never got off the ground.  The nighttime drama "Nashville" airs on ABC on Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.


Julianne Hough Announces Dance Tour With Brother


Julianne Hough is returning to the road.  But she's not planning on showcasing her country music skill on this trek.  She's teaming up with her brother Derek for the Move Live On Tour."  The spring trek trek will kick off May 25th in Park City, Kansas, and make stops in 42 cities.  Shows will include solo, duet, and group dance performances with back up dancers.  Tickets go on sale Friday.  More information is available on the website. 


Julianne and Derek both rose to fame with their choreography and winning turns on ABC's "Dancing With The Stars."  Julianne left the show in 2008 to pursue a career in country music and film.  Derek remains with the celebrity dance competition.  Last spring he danced to victory with country star Kellie Pickler, who captured the mirrorball trophy as the season 16 winner.


"The Voice" Adds Coldplay Singer As Guest Mentor


Blake Shelton will be getting some additional help as a coach on NBC's "The Voice."  Coldplay's Chris Martin has been tapped to advise all four teams on the singing competition when the second round of battles begin on March 31st.  The British singer's new "guest mentor" role will include passing along tips he's learned over his career about vocal techniques, stage presence, and tailoring songs to fit the singer.  In the current Battle Rounds Team Blake is getting some assistance from The Band Perry.  Meanwhile, Shelton's wife Miranda Lambert is serving as an advisor for Team Shakira.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1957, Elvis Presley bought Graceland, a former church on the outskirts of Memphis that had been converted into a 23 room mansion.  It was named after the aunt of the previous owner.


Today in 1974, the "Would You Lay With Me" album by Tanya Tucker was released.


Today in 1984, RCA recording artists The Judds made their first stage appearance, opening for the Statler Brothers in Omaha, Nebraska.


Today in 1988, Porter Howell of Little Texas married his wife, Angela.


Today in 1988, Ricky Van Shelton scored his first number one with the Harland Howard classic "Life Turned Her That Way."


Today in 1991, new album releases included George Strait's "Chill Of An Early Fall" and Kathy Mattea's "Time Passes By."


Today in 1993, Patty Loveless' single "Blame It On Your Heart" debuted on the charts.


Today in 1994, Neal McCoy scored his first number one single "No Doubt About It."


In 1996, Shania Twain's album "The Woman In Me" officially became the best selling studio album ever by a female country artist after being certified for sales of six million copies.  Patsy Cline's "Greatest Hits" previously had that distinction.

 Today in 1999, 67-year-old George Jones walked out of the hospital 13 days after his near fatal traffic accident.


Today in 1999, Kenny Chesney topped the "Radio & Records" charts with "How Forever Feels."


Today in 2002, Martina McBride's single "Blessed" hit number one on both the "Billboard" and "Radio & Records" charts.


Today in 2002, Diamond Rio's Brian Prout announced that he and his wife, songwriter Stephanie Bentley -- who wrote Faith Hill's "Breathe" -- were expecting their first child in October.  The happy couple welcomed their daughter, Lily Arlina Kay Prout, on September 25th in Nashville.


Today in 2003, Kenny Chesney was on the 50-yard line of the University of Tennessee's Neyland Stadium announcing plans for the "Back Where I Come From 3: One Night At Neyland" concert, which turned out to be one of the biggest shows of his career.


Today in 2003, Terri Clark was in Nashville to celebrate the chart-topping success of her single "I Just Wanna Be Mad."


Today in 2007, Billy Ray Cyrus began his stint on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."


Today in 2008, Charlie Daniels was recognized at a special reception in honor of his 50th anniversary in the music business.


Today in 2008, Wynonna and Travis Tritt were performers at the Lili Claire Foundation's First Annual "Everyone's A Miracle" Benefit Concert at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.  Jo Dee Messina and Lorrie Morgan also performed while Alison Krauss was among those attending the fundraising event.


Today in 2008, Kellie Pickler made a guest appearance on Fox's "American Idol."


Today in 2009, Jake Owen, Julianne Hough, and the Zac Brown Band received their trophies as the Academy of Country Music's "Top New" winners.  Owen took the title of Top New Male Vocalist, Hough was named Top New Female Vocalist, and Zac Brown Band earned Top New Duo or Group.  They received their awards on the TV special "ACM Top New Artists," hosted by Sara Evans.


Today in 2011, Craig Morgan received an award backstage at the Grand Ole Opry House in recognition of his heroics a few weeks earlier, in which he rescued two small kids from a burning house in Charlotte, Tennessee.  He also received an

honorary lifetime membership to the Tennessee City Fire Department.


Today in 2013, David Allan Coe was hospitalized after a car accident in Ocala, Florida.  The then-73-year-old singer suffered multiple cuts, neck, side, and back injuries in the crash, and needed firefighters to remove him from his mangled vehicle.  Coe had to cancel several shows because of the accident.


Today in 2013, new country releases included Kacey Musgraves' "Same Trailer Different Park."


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