Nashville News and Notes for WEDNESDAY

Nashville Memorial Service For Mindy McCready Taking Place Wednesday


Lorrie Morgan says she remembers "all good" about the late Mindy McCready.  Lorrie tells that Mindy was "beautiful, sexy, talented, funny and full of life," and she's "so sad" that Mindy isn't here "to have fun and to make music anymore."  Morgan is among the country stars who'll be paying tribute to McCready at a special service at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville on Wednesday.  Music City Media is behind the event, which is described as "an intimate memorial" to "celebrate Mindy's life" which is "open to family, close personal friends," and those in the music industry.  Bryan White and Bekka Bramlett are also confirmed for the ceremony, while others are expected to perform as well.  The event announcement also notes that the McCready estate is establishing a fund for Mindy's sons Zander and Zayne, and asks those interested in honoring the singer's memory to make a donation in lieu of sending flowers.


The Nashville event is the second memorial service for Mindy.  Her family held a funeral in her hometown of Fort Myers, Florida last week.  Mindy McCready died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at her home in Heber Springs, Arkansas on February 17th.  She was 37. 


Craig Morgan To Perform For Troops In Southwest Asia This Spring


Craig Morgan has another overseas trek planned.  But this one is for the troops.  The country star is slated to play a series of acoustic shows at U.S. bases in Southwest Asia.  Armed Forces Entertainment and Stars For Stripes are behind the trek, which is scheduled to take place this spring.  The upcoming tour will be Craig's tenth overseas trip to perform for the troops.  The singer and Army veteran made his first trek to entertain U.S. military members stationed far from home back in 2003.


The Stars For Stripes trek is one of two overseas trips Morgan will be taking this spring.  He'll also be traveling to Europe to participate in a five-day dogsledding race in Northern Scandinavia.  The event launches in Norway on April 9th.


Alan Jackson To Release Second "Precious Memories" Set


Alan Jackson is coming out with another collection of hymns.  The country star will release his second gospel album, "Precious Memories, Volume 2," later this month.  Alan says the new disc will be similar to his previous disc of spirituals, explaining that he recorded his latest album in the same "heartfelt and simple" way as 2006's "Precious Memories."  Jackson adds that his new disc grew out of the original project.  He says he and his wife Denise "had made a list of 30 to 40 songs to do for that first album," which he pared down to 15 tracks.  Alan explains that since there were so many songs he didn't include on his 2006 release, he decided to "go in and do a few more."  "Amazing Grace," "Love Lifted Me," and "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder" are among the songs on the eleven-track "Precious Memories, Volume 2," which will be in stores on March 26th.


Jackson hadn't intended to release his first "Precious Memories" album.  He created the disc as a Christmas gift for his mother, and made a few other copies to give to friends.  But those who heard the album encouraged him to officially release the disc.  "Precious Memories" debuted at the top of the Billboard Top Christian Albums and Top Christian & Gospel Albums charts, and was the first gospel record to enter the Top Country Albums chart at number one.  The disc peaked at number four on the all-genre Billboard 200.  Before the year was over, "Precious Memories" had become the first country gospel album by a solo artist to be certified Platinum, and held the number eight spot on's year-end list of the top country CDs of 2006.


Luke Bryan's "Tanlines" Follow Up Due This Summer


While Luke Bryan just put out his new "Spring Break" disc, that's just one of two albums the country star plans to release this year.  The singer tells "Entertainment Weekly" that his follow up to 2011's "Tailgates & Tanlines" should be in stores this summer, with the disc's lead-off single arriving next month.  Luke adds that he's excited for fans to hear his new music.  He explains that he had more time to work on this project than he did for his previous discs, which enabled him to get each song exactly how he wanted it.  He also believes fans will be able to hear the difference.  Bryan says those who've heard the disc tell him his voice "seems to go to a new level."  Luke admits he's "excited about that," because his goal is to continually improve and become "a better singer, a better guitar player, a better entertainer, and better at this business."


Bryan's "Spring Break...Here To Party" arrived in stores this week.  The 14-track disc features two new songs along with select cuts from his four previous "Spring Break" EPs.  He'll be supporting the release with an appearance on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" Wednesday night.  Next week he'll make his debut on TBS' "Conan," and play his annual spring break concerts at Spinnaker Beach Club in Panama City Beach, Florida.


Ashley Monroe Keeping "The Legacy Going"


Ashley Monroe says playing country music wasn't exactly a choice for her.  The Pistol Annies singer tells that her father's mother "was a Carter," while her father's father was a first cousin to June Carter Cash's first husband, Carl Smith.  She says once she moved to Nashville she would visit Carl.  Ashley recalls that they would go out to eat, and he'd tell her stories and say she had to "keep the legacy going."  And Vince Gill -- who produced Monroe's new album "Like A Rose" -- is confident she's up for the task.  He praises Ashley as "one of the most talented young people to come to this town in many years," explaining that she "has this old soul in the way she writes songs."  Gill adds that Monroe has "such an undeniable voice," which he feels is comparable to Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss, or Emmylou Harris.


Vince says he also believes Ashley "is going to do what Emmylou did in the mid '70s," and be successful in "turning young people on to country music."  He explains that Monroe's sound is very "traditional," and he feels young listeners will like it because it's "real" and "authentic."  Monroe's "Like A Rose" is in stores now.


Lee Brice Pleased With Latest Single's Chart Run


Lee Brice is thrilled that "I Drive Your Truck" is making a quick climb up the chart.  The country singer says it feels great to see such rapid results from his efforts.

Lee adds that fans have really embraced the song, and at shows the crowds are singing it "with their hearts."  "I Drive Your Truck" has become Brice's fastest rising single.  It took his last hit, "Hard To Love," 19 weeks to reach the top ten, while 2010's "A Woman Like You" was on the chart for 23 weeks before it was in the top ten.  And Lee's first top ten hit, "Love Like Crazy," spent 46 weeks working its way up the chart.  "I Drive Your Truck" is from Lee's 2012 album, "Hard 2 Love."


Taylor Swift Responds To Tina Fey, Amy Poehler's Golden Globes Joke


Taylor Swift is firing back at Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for the joke they made at her expense during January's Golden Globes.  In an interview with "Vanity Fair," the country star didn't address them directly, but instead quoted something that broadcast vet Katie Couric once told her -- "There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."  Taylor did say that she's used to her love life being mocked in the press, but feels it's "frankly a little sexist" that the media portrays her as "some clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend" when all she does is write about her feelings like any other artist.  The joke in question was over Fey and Poehler insisting that she "stay away" from Michael J. Fox's son. 


Poehler responded to Taylor's comments in a statement to "The Hollywood Reporter."  She apologized and said she does feel bad if Taylor found the joke upsetting.  Poehler continued, saying, "I am a feminist and she is a young and talented girl. That being said, I do agree I am going to hell. But for other reasons. Mostly boring tax stuff."


Greg Bates Recalls Writing "Fill In The Blank"


Greg Bates says "Fill In The Blank" came from his first writing session with Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally.  The country newcomer admits the meeting got off to a rough start, but then Osborne said something that triggered an idea.


"Fill In The Blank" isn't what Greg expected would come from the session.  He explains that all he knew walking in was that Shane had co-written Lee Ann Womack's hit "Last Call," so he brought in "this moody, groove thing" thinking it was "what he did."  Greg adds that they gave it a try, and worked on it for about 90 minutes "but it just wasn't going anywhere."  "Fill In The Blank" is from Greg's 2012 self-titled debut album.


Thomas Rhett Recalls Writing "Beer With Jesus"


Thomas Rhett says his current single, "Beer With Jesus," is something he wrote a couple of years ago.  The country singer recalls the idea for the song came from a conversation he had with his friends Rick Huckaby and Lance Miller.


Rhett says they approached the concept with reverence, explaining that he, Rick, and Lance are "all believers" and wrote from the heart.  He adds that "it's still to this day" one of his favorite songs he's ever written.  "Beer With Jesus" is from Rhett's self-titled debut album, and is his follow up to his breakthrough single "Something To Do With My Hands."


Country Birthdays Include


Doug Dillard is 76.

Singer-songwriter Skip Ewing is 49.


Today In Country Music History


Today in 1976, the song "Good Hearted Woman" by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson began its third week at the top of the charts.


Today in 1982, Alabama's "Love in the First Degree" peaked at number 15 on the "Billboard" pop chart.  The song had already topped the country chart.



Today in 1983, the Country Music Television cable channel -- better known as CMT -- debuted.


Today in 1990, Travis Tritt's debut album, Country Club," arrived in stores.


Today in 1999, George Jones was severely injured as a result of a crash in his Lexus SUV.  He was driving home when he crashed into a bridge and it was later revealed that alcohol was a factor.  George has since said that the incident helped him turn his life around.


Today in 1999, Sara Evans' "There's No Place For That" became her first chart-topping single.


Today in 2002, Chely Wright received the National Association for Music Education's FAME Award in Washington DC.


Today in 2004, Julie Roberts made her debut at the Grand Ole Opry.


Today in 2004, the second season of "Nashville Star" began on USA.  By the end of the competition Brad Cotter emerged the winner, while Canadian singer George Canyon was the runner-up.


Today in 2004, Kenny Chesney was featured on A&E's "Live By Request."


Today in 2007, new releases included Gary Allan's "Greatest Hits," Sunny Sweeney's "Heartbreaker's Hall of Fame," Mary Chapin Carpenter's "The Calling," Johnny Cash's "Here Was a Man: The Ultimate Gospel Collection," and Jerry Lee Lewis' live DVD "Last Man Standing."


Today in 2008, Brad Paisley received a plaque during his show at Country Radio Seminar honoring him for reaching the ten-million mark in album sales.


Today in 2008, Gary Allan celebrated the chart-topping success of his single "Watching Airplanes" with a party in Nashville.


Today in 2009, Lady Antebellum, the Zac Brown Band, and Kellie Pickler performed at the annual New Faces of Country Music show, along with James Otto and Chuck Wicks.


Today in 2010, Jack Ingram and Phil Vassar made their concert debuts in Australia, performing at the CMC Rocks the Snowys in Sydney.


Today in 2010, Brad Paisley ended his "American Saturday Night" tour with a bang -- literally -- as he took a tumble during the encore of his show in Charleston, South Carolina.  After the concert Paisley went by ambulance to a local hospital.  While he didn't suffer any breaks or fractures, he was left with a severely bruised torso.


Today in 2010, Billy Ray Cyrus "won" the Razzie for Worst Supporting Actor for his efforts in "Hannah Montana: The Movie" at the 30th annual Golden Raspberry Awards.  The event looks at the "worst" movies and film performances of the year.


Today in 2011, John Rich began on "The Celebrity Apprentice."  He went on to win the compeition, and raise one-point-four-million-dollars for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


Today in 2011, Dolly Parton launched her Imagination Library in Scotland, marking the first time she'd introduced the literacy program on a national level.


Today in 2012, Wade Hayes made his first public performance since undergoing treatment for colon cancer, joining Trace Adkins and Exile for the Stars Go Blue for Colon Cancer benefit concert in Nashville.


Today in 2012, new releases included Neal McCoy's "XII" , his first studio effort in seven years, and Luke Bryan's EP "Spring Break 4: Suntan City."


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