Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleJosh Turner, Eric Paslay, David Nail, Jon Pardi, Lauren Alaina and Mickey Guyton have signed on to be torchbearers in the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America. The torch will be lit in Athens, Greece and travel across all 50 U.S. states for 46 days before making its way to the Special Olympics World Games in July.
More than 20,000 people will participate in the relay -- you can sign up to participate at UnifiedRelay.org. ESPN will carry nightly highlights from the Special Olympics World Games, starting with the Opening Ceremony on July 25.
Image Courtesy UMG NashvilleMickey Guyton clearly isn't singing the blues over her ex-boyfriend on her debut single, "Better than You Left Me." The lyrics were inspired by Mickey's old relationship that was clearly going nowhere when she decided to make the move to Nashville a few years ago. Mickey says it all came to a head for the couple during a final fight when he told her, "Don't make me find someone else."
Mickey tells ABC News Radio, "I can't even believe someone would even say that. We were together for four years, and he was always so back-and-forth and unsure with me, and he was always going and finding someone else, and he was always throwing me to the wayside."
At that point, Mickey found the courage to tell that guy goodbye once and for all.
"I realized that he was not the prize and that I was the prize," she says. "I said, 'No more,' and I told him to go find someone else."
Mickey has now moved on with her life, but she still gets emotional singing the song.
She says, "I'm so much better than I was -- just a better person than I was back then, and I'm so thankful."
Now that "Better than You Left Me" is climbing the country chart, Mickey has been busy promoting the single at radio stations across the country. She's been amazed to hear that a lot of other people find strength in her lyrics.
Says Mickey, "I've had a lot of women call in and just say, 'I had to pull over on the side of the road 'cause I was bawling my eyes out, because I'm going through that.'"
"Better than You Left Me" is now available for download at iTunes.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images via ABCNext month, Shania Twain is bringing her Las Vegas show to ABC.
The concert special Shania: Still the One Live from Vegas will air February 28 at 9 p.m. ET. It documents the show that Shania staged for two years at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace before wrapping it up in December. The ABC special features over an hour of never-before-seen footage documenting the show's development, as well as the entire performance, which features a live band, trained horses, a flying motorcycle and more.
Shania: Still the One Live from Vegas will be released on CD and DVD on March 3, exclusively at Walmart.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockIn celebration of Glen Campbell's 79th birthday coming up on April 22, a remastered and expanded 40th Anniversary Edition of Glen's 1975 album Rhinestone Cowboy will be released on March 31. The album features five rare or previously unreleased tracks.
Kacey Musgraves and Chris Young are performing at the 40th Annual Key West Songwriters Festival in Florida May 6 through 10. Go to KeyWestSongwritersFestival.com for details.
Image Courtesy CMALukeBryan is on track to score his sixth #1 hit from his latest album, Crash My Party, with the power ballad, "I See You." Luke always hoped the song would be a single.
He says, "You know, 'I See You' and 'Crash My Party' were the two that we were going back and forth with on what should be the [first] single, and we chose 'Crash My Party.'"
"Crash My Party" was released in April 2013, so it's taken quite awhile for Luke to get around to "I See You" as a single. As for why he was drawn to the song, Luke adds, "It’s got that youthful lyric, kind of almost a hip-hop lyric and then that big ol' chorus that really kind of jumps off the speakers at you."
Luke is also a big fan of the big guitar riff in "I See You." The song will be featured on Luke's That's My Kind of Night tour starting February 10 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleThe Band Perry has been named curators for the3rd annual Grammy Amplifier program.
The online music initiative, sponsored by Hyundai and The Recording Academy, aims to mentor aspiring artists and provide them with the opportunity to showcase their talent.
The Band Perry will help evaluate online submissions to narrow the field down to the program’s three winners. The winners will individually be awarded one of the following prizes: A studio recording session with a Grammy winning producer; filming and starring in their own music video with a noted director; or securing an opening act spot for an established musician and/or at a music festival.
The program is currently accepting submissions at GrammyAmplifier.com. Based on their track plays and social media performance, the top 25 finalists will be brought together for a mentorship experience, and then narrowed down by program curators to a short list of finalists. The program’s curators this year also include Ziggy Marley and singer/songwriter Allen Stone. Hit artist/producer Mark Ronson will pick the three winners and decide which winner gets what prize.
Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleIt looks like Blake Shelton has picked up another acting gig. Fresh off his stint hosting Saturday Night Live last weekend, Blake has reportedly joined the cast of the new Adam Sandler movie, Ridiculous 6.
According to TheWrap, Blake will play Old West icon Wyatt Earp in the comedy. Adam Sandler will play an orphan raised by a Native American tribe, with Nick Nolte playing his biological father. Vanilla Ice is also part of the cast along with Luke Wilson, Taylor Lautner and Dan Akroyd.
Production on Ridiculous 6 starts next month. The movie will air on Netflix as part of Sandler's deal with the on-demand entertainment company.
Image Courtesy Taryn Pray PRThe Band Perry and Josh Turner are joining headliners Kenny Chesney and Zac Brown Band for the 3rd Annual Rock the Ocean's Tortuga Music Festival April 11 and 12 at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, in Florida. Previously-announced performers include Jake Owen, Sam Hunt, Little Big Town, Chase Bryant, Frankie Ballard, Maddie & Tae, Trace Adkins, Chase Rice, and David Nail.
Tickets for the event are available at TortugaMusicFestival.com. Proceeds benefit the Rock the Ocean Foundation in their fight to preserve the world's oceans.
Image Courtesy UMG/Nino MunozDierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line and Brad Paisley are headlining Chicago's first-ever major country music festival -- Windy City LakeShake. The event runs June 19 through 21 at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. Frankie Ballard, Thomas Rhett, Randy Houser, Maddie & Tae, Justin Moore, Joe Nichols, Mickey Guyton, RaeLynn, and Kip Moore are among the stars already set to appear. More talent will be announced soon.
Image Courtesy CMAEric Church scores his second #1 hit from his album, The Outsiders, this week with "Talladega." Since Eric took a lot of creative chances while making his latest album, he only had a few songs on the project he felt would work at country radio.
"'Talladega' was one of them, from a commercial standpoint, because I just knew it would strike a chord," Eric explains. "I knew it was one that would just resonate with people. It did with me, so I knew if it resonated with me that it would probably resonate with other people."
Since "Talladega" went to radio late last year, Eric has watched as his concert crowds sing along to the song and begin to associate the song's nostalgic lyrics with their own lives.
Says Eric, "That's what it's all about, is getting them to attach their life to it."
Eric is up for four trophies, including Best Country Song for his previous #1 hit "Give Me Back My Hometown", at the Grammy Awards coming up Sunday, February 8 on CBS. He's also slated to perform on the show, airing at 8 p.m. ET.
Image Courtesy NBCCarrie Underwood will perform the opening for NBC's coverage of Super Bowl 49 this Sunday. The "Waiting All Day for a Super Bowl Fight" is a new version of Carrie's Sunday Night Football opening, "Waiting All Day for Sunday Night." The new elements include lyrics referring to the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, too.
Carrie has been performing the opening for two seasons now, and she is proud of the hard work the crew and production staff puts into the opening.
Says Carrie, "They really put a lot of love into it, so I definitely try to do the same -- everything from wardrobe and hair and make-up to tryin’ to work my way around the stage and interact with the audience, and I just love the way it turns out."
Being a part of NBC's Super Bowl coverage is the perfect marriage of two of Carrie's loves -- music and football.
"It was, I guess, only a matter of time before I got to do everything, all that, all at once," Carrie says. "So, I definitely hope that’s something that I get to do for many years, 'cause it’s just so much fun."
NBC's Super Bowl coverage kicks off at noon ET this Sunday.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThe nominations for the 50th Annual ACM Awards were to be announced Tuesday morning, but that announcement has been postponed until later this week due to the severe snowstorm in the Northeast.
Hunter Hayes,Brandy Clark, Taylor Swift and Lee Ann Womack were among the stars on hand for the annual Grammy Awards nominees party Monday night at Nashville's Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. They'll all be on hand for the actual Grammy Awards ceremony coming up February 8 on CBS.
Maddie & Tae gave a surprise performance of their new single, "Fly," while in the air on a Southwest flight Monday as part of the airline's Live at 35 series.
UMG NashvilleSamHunt previewed his Lipstick Graffiti tour with a five-song performance at Nashville's Rocketown Monday evening. The mini-concert was staged during Sam's party celebrating his first #1 hit as an artist, "Leave the Night On."
A video posted by Hunter Kelly (@nashvillehk) on Jan 26, 2015 at 2:11pm PST
In keeping with the name of the tour, artists created graffiti paintings in the venue as Sam worked his way through the Montevallo album tracks "Speakers" and "Break Up in a Small Town." Sam recruited four break dancers, including two very young dancers, to bust some moves in the crowd for his final song, "House Party."
Image Courtesy Broken Bow Label GroupChase Bryant is heading out on a headlining club tour starting this Friday, January 30 in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Take It On Back Tour launches as Chase's debut hit, also titled "Take It On Back," hits the top 10 on the country chart. He'll be on the road with Tim McGraw later this year, but Chase wanted to take this opportunity to connect with his fans in smaller venues.
In a message to his fans posted at Billboard.com, Chase says, "I wanted to bring the party to you guys and just kick it old school. We're all fans. We're all friends. The music is our connection. We'll all get where we're going together. That's the beauty of music."
Chase is bringing DJ Hish along as his opening act for the club tour.
Here are Chase Bryant's Take It On Back Tour Dates:
1/30 -- Wilmington, NC, Ziggy's by the Sea 1/31 -- Greenville, SC, Blind Horse Saloon 2/7 -- Medina, OH, Thirsty Cowboys 2/12 -- Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall 2/13 -- Springfield, IL, Boondocks 2/14 -- Chicago, IL, Joe's on Weed 3/5 -- Greensboro, NC, Cone Denim Entertainment Center 3/6 -- Myrtle Beach, SC, The Boathouse 3/7 -- Charlotte, NC, Coyote Joe's 3/19 -- Dallas, TX, The Rustic 3/20 -- New Braunfels, TX, Gruene Hall 3/21 -- Oklahoma City, OK, Diamond Ballroom 3/26 -- Nacogdoches, TX, Banita Creek Hall 3/27 -- Baton Rouge, IL, Texas Club 4/3 -- Indianapolis, IN, 8 Seconds Club
Image Courtesy Sony Music/Blue ChairTicket demand for Kenny Chesney's two-night stand in Nashville remains extremely high. That's why Kenny and his team have opened up several hundred more seats for the sold-out Music City dates, coming up March 26 and 27. These shows mark the beginning of Kenny's The Big Revival tour, and he's very excited to see his fans grabbing up the concert tickets so fast.
Says Kenny, "To me, it’s about the passion the people who love this music bring. They give us the fuel to really push -- and I promise we’re working on creating a really rocking show!”
The newly-released tickets are now on sale at Ticketmaster, but they aren't expected to last long.
Image Courtesy CMAAs Thomas Rhett prepares to release his sophomore CD later this year, he says he’s happy to be competing with a group of new artists who are constantly upping the ante-- among them, the trio of Music City natives known as The Cadillac Three.
“I’m obsessed with The Cadillac Three, I’m sure that everybody in Nashville is, but they are the funnest people in the world to watch, to me,” he confesses. “So, I wish the best for those guys. They inspire me. We’ve done shows with them a bunch and they -- when you have somebody that opens for you that really like sets that bar, makes you appreciate somebody a whole lot. When somebody can get on stage before you and, you know, I’ve been in that spot. We’ve opened for people and we really just try to get out there and slaughter somebody. That's just what you do.”
At the end of the day, Thomas says all the competition is friendly.
“It’s fun to be in competition with each other and at the end of the day you’re all best friends and The Cadillac Three have done that for me. They’ve definitely made me step up my game a lot of nights and they’re super-talented and they do it with just three people, which blows my mind.”
When it comes to female artists, Thomas says he has his eye on former Voice contestant RaeLynn.
“I think that RaeLynn is super talented. I’ve written with RaeLynn and me and Rae have gotten to know, we’re on the same record label, and all that kinda stuff, and I’ve seen her play a bunch a little songwriters nights and stuff, and I just think that girl's a superstar. I love her single ‘God Made Girls.’ I think she’s great.”
Right now, Thomas Rhett is on the Anything Goes tour with Florida Georgia Line and Frankie Ballard.
Image Courtesy UMG NashvilleWhile some fans may have been disappointed at the lack of a country single on Taylor Swift’s latest album, newcomer Sam Hunt says he can’t help but admire her evolution as an artist.
“I can definitely relate to her progress,” he says. “She's somebody who I've always had a whole lot of respect for. Even though I didn't necessarily relate personally to her songs, always, I always had a huge respect for her songwriting.”
Taylor's album has spent eight non-consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard album chart, it's currently #2, and Sam believes he understands her motivations.
“She doesn't want to make the same record over and over again, and there's an evolution. You know, she's influenced by other genres of music. As much as, I'm sure, she loves country music, I'm sure that if she has the ability, she wants to continue to write things that inspire her, and I feel the same way.”
Even though Sam only has his debut album Montevallo under his belt, he hopes fans will notice similar progress from song to song.
“You can see that, not with multiple albums, but you can see that on this specific album. Over the course of a nine month period, I felt the same way. You know, every time I'd write a song, I'd want to push it a little more with the next one. There are several songs you can see the progression with.”
Sam is currently climbing the country charts with his latest single, “Take Your Time.”