Singer has cancelled all concerts this month
Ray Price is back in the hospital, battling kidney stones, in addition to his previously diagnosed pancreatic cancer. As a result, all of his June shows have been cancelled. His wife, Janie, posted the news on his Facebook page yesterday. She wrote:
“Hello to all of Rays Friends,
“So sad to tell you that Ray has been readmitted to hospital. Test results show that the long-term dehydration has caused kidney stones to develop and Ray was in severe pain. The doctors have gotten the pain under control and are now deciding on the best way to remove the stones.
“We have canceled all of the June concerts and the Rob Battle Artist Agency is rescheduling the dates. We will post the new dates when all have been confirmed.
“Ray asked me to thank you all for your love and support and to tell you that your prayers are keeping us both going.
“Gratefully, Janie Price”
Price had previously been hospitalized in May for severe dehydration, as reported here.
The 87-year-old singer confirmed last fall that he was battling pancreatic cancer. The past February, he announced the cancer was in remission, but clearly the complications keep coming.
Price charted a whopping 109 songs on Billboard’s country singles chart between 1952 and 1989. That includes his eight No. 1 hits, including “Crazy Arms,” which spent an incredible 20 weeks at No. 1 in 1956, and “City Lights,” a 13-week chart-topper in 1958.
Garth Brooks also on the bill, despite a scheduled show in Vegas that same night
As first tipped here June 2, Toby Keith has organized the Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert and scheduled it for July 6 at 3 p.m. at the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord Family—Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, the town where Keith currently resides. Proceeds from the show will benefit The United Way Of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund.
Set to join Keith on the bill are Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood, and Ronnie Dunn. Brooks and Dunn are Oklahoma natives. Yearwood currently resides in the state with her husband, Brooks. The afternoon start for the show is likely planned to accommodate Brooks, who is scheduled to perform at the Wynn Las Vegas at 8 p.m. that same evening. If he participates live in Norman rather than remotely from Las Vegas, Brooks will be logging a lot of time on his plane as he’s also scheduled to perform at the Wynn July 4 and 5.
Says Keith in a media release, “I grew up in Moore, [Okla.,] I live in Norman and I’ve got lots of family and friends who were directly affected,” by the devastating May 20 tornados. “I know these folks and they’re resilient, but we’re going to keep helping them any way we can. I’m proud to get together with some others from around here who are just as committed as I am to supporting these communities.”
Adds Brooks, “Once we got the news that the tornado had hit Toby’s hometown, Miss Yearwood and I told Toby we were at his service for whatever he chose to do. I am amazed at the human spirit the tornado victims have shown. I am humbled by the giving of the volunteers. It is an honor to get to be a part of this healing process.”
Dunn (right), says, “The ultimate goal is to put as much money and aid in the hands of the people affected by the tornadoes throughout Oklahoma as we can. Money is no substitute for the horrific loss of life that this disaster has caused, but it can rebuild homes and aid in the replenishment of hope that is an indispensable element to recovery in so many ways. Even before Toby officially announced that he was going to do a benefit concert, we were working behind the scenes to do everything within our powers to enlist friends from the private and business sectors to join in and participate. The response has been overwhelming. Human compassion and decency has rallied to overshadow the vanity of celebrity. I’m proud to be joining Toby, Garth, Willie and Trisha to use what we do – performing music – to help.”
Tickets go on sale June 21, and all seats are $25. Updates on the event and lineup will be posted at tobykeith.com.
A similar concert recently organized and staged by Blake Shelton, “Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert,” raised $6 million for the United Way of Central Oklahoma through ticket sales and pledges. That concert aired live on NBC and several cable outlets, as well as radio stations nationwide.
Plus, news from Darius Rucker, Brad Paisley, Alison Krauss, Tate Stevens and more
• Storied Memphis record label Sun Records, which has worked solely in the licensing business for more than four decades, will return to releasing new music with an album from former Mercury Records Nashville artist Julie Roberts (above), reports Billboard.biz. Her album, “Good Wine and Bad Decisions,” will be released Oct. 29.
Roberts’ two Mercury albums, “Julie Roberts” and “Men & Mascara,” each cracked the top 10 on Billboard’s Top Country albums charts when they were released in 2004 and 2006. She charted three singles in those years, including the top 20 “Break Down Here.”
More recently, Roberts lost her house and car in the 2010 Nashville flood, and was also diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She attempted a comeback this year by auditioning for NBC’s “The Voice,” but none of the coaches turned around their chairs during the blind rounds.
Roberts, who released her last album independently, launched a promotional campaign behind the new album last weekend at CMA Music Festival in Nashville, announcing a pre-sale campaign via PledgeMusic. The album is unfinished, but 16 songs are in various stages of production, reports Billboard.biz. Producers on the set include Sugarland guitar player Thad Beaty and Roberts’ drummer since 2004, Jason Collum.
Famous for releasing the early recordings of Elvis Presley, Sun was the early label home of Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and others.
• Darius Rucker will be featured in an upcoming episode of ABC’s “The Bachelorette,” airing June 17 at 8 p.m. (ET). The episode will feature a one-on-one date at which Rucker will give a private concert for the current Bachelorette, Desiree Hartsock, and a few guests. Rucker performs two songs from his recently released album “True Believers,” including “Lost In You” and the album’s title track.”
• The Rolling Stones announced earlier today via Twitter that Brad Paisley will be joining them on stage at their June 18 concert in Philadelphia. He joins an impressive (and growing) list of country stars who have performed with the Stones on their current tour, including Keith Urban, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. The tweet read: “The Rolling Stones will be joined by the incredible @BradPaisley in Philly on June 18! What song do you think he’ll play on? #Stones50”
• Alison Krauss is set to mark her 20th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry Opry member with a July 3 appearance on the Opry stage. In related news, FOX Television’s “The X Factor” season 2 winner Tate Stevens made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry June 8. The show segment featuring Stevens was hosted by Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame member Mel Tillis.
“Next to my children being born, performing at the Opry was the highlight of my life,” says Stevens in a media release. “I have dreamed of performing on the Grand Ole Opry ever since I was a kid. It was the honor of a lifetime to be invited to perform there.”
Pictured on the Opry stage are, from left, Grand Ole Opry VP/General Manager Pete Fisher, Stevens, Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame member Connie Smith, and Tillis.
• Later this year, Ricky Skaggs will release his first-ever autobiography, titled “Kentucky Traveler.” The book details his life and “gives a priceless look at America’s most cherished and vibrant musical tradition through the eyes of someone who has lived it,” according to publicity materials.
Skaggs has also teamed with musician Bruce Hornsby for a live concert album, titled “Cluck Ol’ Hen,” scheduled for release in the third quarter of this year.
Set includes Moore’s duets with Miranda Lambert and Charlie Daniels
Song will be included on Travis’ next album, due in the fall
Randy Travis and Joe Nichols have teamed up to record a tribute to the late country legend George Jones, who passed away April 26.
Their collaborative single, “Tonight I’m Playin’ Possum,” is available on iTunes and is also streaming on RandyTravis.com. Written by Keith Gattis, it’s the first song from Travis’ new album, set to be released this fall.
“It was an honor when I received a request to record this tribute to George Jones, and after I heard how well Keith Gattis had written ‘Tonight I’m Playin’ Possum,’ I was excited to record it,” says Travis (right) in a media release. “Thanks to Joe Nichols for coming in and helping on this project.”
Travis previewed the song for fans at last week’s CMA Music Festival in Nashville, where it received a standing ovation. He first unveiled the song during the “Remembering George Jones” panel session last Friday. The panel also includes Jones’ widow, Nancy, his longtime drummer Bobby Birkhead and country stars John Rich and Jamey Johnson. Travis also performed the song again that night at Nashville’s LP Field.
Nashville-based program’s first affiliate is in New York City
Four country stars are embarking on a new career . . . in country radio. Lee Ann Womack, Terri Clark, Sunny Sweeney and Chuck Wicks will be co-hosts of a new morning show headed by radio veteran Blair Garner (pictured). The show, launching later this month, will initially air only on New York’s new country radio station, Cumulus Media’s WNSH (Nash-FM), but the show’s name, “America’s Morning Show,” tips the company’s plans for it. The program is expected to be quickly added at other Cumulus country stations across the nation.
The show will originate from Nashville (beginning at 5 a.m. local time/6 a.m. in New York), and will incorporate a live studio audience made up of fans who will apparently enjoy being up before the sun rises. HLN anchor and sometime country singer Robin Meade will provide the show’s twice-hourly news updates from HLN’s Atlanta studios.
Canadian native Clark, a Grand Ole Opry cast member, enjoyed a string of hits between 1995 and 2004, including the No. 1 singles “You’re Easy on the Eyes” and “Girls Lie Too,” plus eight more top 10 hits.
Womack’s hit streak ran from 1997 until 2008, and included the five-week No. 1 smash “I Hope You Dance” in 2000, and six more top 10s. She was named CMA female vocalist of the year in 2001.
Sweeney was a nominee this year in the ACM top new female vocalist category, and has charted three songs on the Billboard chart since 2010, including the top 10 “From A Table Away.” She is the only one of the show’s four country star co-hosts who does not live in Nashville, and will presumably handle her co-hosting chores remotely from her Texas home.
Wicks, who self-released a new EP last month, has charted five songs on the Billboard chart, landing at No. 1 with his debut, “Stealing Cinderella,” in 2007. He also appeared as a celebrity cast member on “Dancing With The Stars” in 2009.
Garner is best known as the host of the long-running, nationally syndicated overnight radio show “After MidNite with Blair Garner,” which airs on more than 230 stations across the country. He will reportedly continue to host that show, at least in the short term, after launching his new morning program.
Set includes a duet with Willie Nelson
Billy Currington is readying the release of his first new album in three years. The set, titled “We Are Tonight,” is due in stores Sept. 17, and includes his current single, “Hey Girl,” as well as a cover of Jack Johnson’s “Banana Pancakes.” Johnson is having a mini hot streak in country music right now, as he’s also named checked in Sheryl Crow’s debut country single, “Easy,” where she calls him “the new Don Ho.”
Also featured on the 10-song album is Currington’s duet with Willie Nelson on the track “It’s Hard To Be A Hippie.”
Says Currington of the project, “It was a great experience to be able to bring a different sound to this album and I hope the fans love it as much as I do.”
The Grammy-nominated singer has landed six No. 1 singles on the Billboard country airplay chart since launching his career in 2003. They include "Good Directions,""People Are Crazy" and "Must Be Doin' Somethin' Right."
“Nashville’s” singing siblings Lennon & Maisy made a surprise appearance
The final night of CMA Music Festival brought truncated performances at LP Field due to storms looming nearby, but fans still got a great night of music with performances from Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, The Band Perry, Gary Allan, Jake Owen, Lee Greenwood, and a surprise appearance by adorable singing siblings Lennon & Maisy, who play Maddie and Daphne Conrad on the ABC drama “Nashville.” Charlie Daniels also surprised the crowd, taking the stage to perform with Paisley. (They are pictured together above.)
Backstage in the press room, where our intrepid intern Thomas Griffin has been busily jotting down country stars’ pearls of wisdom and humor over the festival’s four-day run, Paisley spoke about performing at the festival, saying, “It’s important to be here for the town [of Nashville]. Country music, more than any other music, has a town. This is the heart, this is the place.”
Underwood (left) also commented about the Festival, noting, “We’re the only genre that does this for our fans. Country music has the most loyal fans anywhere . . . It’s really great to see people come and make a week out of it.”
Paisley briefly addressed the controversy that blew up around his song “Accidental Racist” earlier this year, saying, “My fans have been great. I have so much love and support from them on it. When you’re going to bring up topics and tackle certain things like we did, we expected to ruffle some feathers, but at the same time I stand fully behind what we did.”
The singer, who has been known to treat his touring partners to go cart outings, midnight movie screenings, among other adventures, joked that the plan behind his generosity is to “make it real hard for other headliners to show them a good time.”
Underwood commented about her recent one-song guest appearance with The Rolling Stones at a Canadian tour date, saying, “It was amazing . . . Getting there and seeing all the guys at sound check, goofing off, it was very surreal.”
The Band Perry (right) spoke about exploring the possibility of staging their own headlining tour after having opened for numerous other stars. Said the band’s Kimberly Perry, “We’ve gotten to be on all of our dream tours, and feel like now is the time to start dipping our toes into headlining tours.”
Speaking about the band’s latest album, “Pioneer,” Perry said, “We dug really, really deep on the tracks on this record. We challenge ourselves to grow the songs, and the songs challenge us to grow the show.”
Sisters Lennon and Maisy Stella (pictured during their LP Field performance below) spoke to the press corps about their first-ever CMA performance (“Truly amazing,” said Lennon), meeting fellow star Keith Urban (“a sweetie,” declared Maisy), and their newfound fame as “Nashville” cast members. “I was in so much shock,” said Maisy. “We’re not used to being stopped by people and being asked for autographs. It’s overwhelming, in a good way.”
Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis, who are now performing together as a duo called Grits & Glamour, spoke about the friendship they’ve forged by touring together. Said Morgan. “We’re very blessed to find somebody in this business that you can be this close to. This tour has allowed us to become really good friends.” Added Tillis, “We really understand each other in a way that’s rare. We find some of the same things amusing that maybe nobody else would get.”
Reporting by Thomas Griffin in Nashville.
about the blogger
Veteran entertainment journalist Phyllis Stark has been reporting extensively on the music industry for two decades. As a freelance writer, her work appears regularly in numerous publications and sites. She previously was Nashville Bureau Chief at Billboard magazine.