Also, Martina McBride’s Duet With Train’s Pat Monahan Is Her Next Single
• The Academy of Country Music has added Luke Bryan, Sara Evans, Tim McGraw and Jennifer Nettles to the all-star lineup of artists scheduled to perform at the “ACM Presents: Lionel Richie and Friends—In Concert” special taping April 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The show will air April 13 on the CBS Television Network. The four stars join previously announced performers Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, and Rascal Flatts, who will pay tribute to Richie by performing his songs. Richie (pictured above with Bryan performing last month in Nashville) will also perform duets on the show with Kenny Chesney (“My Love”), Kenny Rogers (“Lady”) and McGraw “Sail On.” Tickets proceeds from the show benefit the charity ACM Lifting Lives, which works to improve lives through music.
• The Band Perry will record their sophomore album this spring and plan to release it in the fall.
• Dolly Parton’s new album and DVD project, “An Evening With . . . Dolly,” will be released exclusively to Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores on April 2. The two-disc, 15-song set includes music recorded live at a sold-out concert at London’s O2 Arena. The set, which includes such hits as “Coat of Many Colors,” “9 to 5,” “Jolene,” Here You Come Again” and “I Will Always Love You,” will sell for $11.99 in stores and online at crackerbarrel.com/music. The package also includes the previously unreleased live bonus tracks “Shattered Image” and “My Tennessee Mountain Home.” In the “Soundcheck” DVD feature, fans get to take a peek backstage and see the inner workings of the show. This is Parton’s second exclusive project for the restaurant/retail store chain.
• The third single from Martina McBride’s “Eleven” album will be “Marry Me,” which features Pat Monahan from the group Train. The track was originally performed by the two artists for an episode of CMT’s “Crossroads” series.
Singer And His Band Are Safe
Country Singer Matt Stillwell lost his tour bus March 2 when violent storms ravaged much of the country, including an automart in East Bernstadt, Ky., where his bus was being serviced. Stillwell and his band were not on the bus, nor in the area where the tornados touched down, but you can see the damage caused to the bus in this photo.
“I’ve never seen or been a part of anything like this,” Stillwell said in a press statement. “I feel so bad for the people of East Kentucky and all the other areas that were hit with the storms last week, Thankfully my friends and band are all OK and our bus is completely replaceable, but lives, homes, and businesses are gone, and that’s a shame. I’m praying for everyone involved.”
The total damage of Stillwell’s bus has not yet been determined, but he plans to get back on the road shortly to visit radio stations in support of his new single, “Ignition.” Stillwell is signed to Colt Ford’s record label, Average Joe’s Entertainment.
Chesney Reveals Release Date (But Little Else) For New Album
• In an announcement that was light on details, Kenny Chesney (left) revealed this week that he’ll release a new album on his longtime label home, BNA Records, on June 19. The project has not yet been titled.
• “American Idol” season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina (right) will return to the hit Fox show March 8 to perform her current single, “Georgia Peaches.”
“I think it’s gonna be such a great feeling to go back to ‘Idol’ and be on the other side,” Alaina says in a press release. “It will be great to perform without the stress of the competition on my mind. I am excited to show the ‘Idol’ viewers what I have been doing since last appearing on the show. It’s going to be like a homecoming.”
• Fresh from announcing his departure from his longtime record label, MCA Nashville, Vince Gill remains as busy as ever. He’s planning a European tour for July and is currently producing albums for Ashley Monroe (also a member of Pistol Annies), Nashville band The Time Jumpers, and his daughter, Jenny Gill.
Gill has also recently recorded on albums for Chris Botti, Don Williams, Bonnie Tyler and Rodney Crowell. The Crowell project, “Kin, Songs By Mary Karr and Rodney Crowell,” also features guest vocals by Norah Jones, Lucinda Williams, Lee Ann Womack, Rosanne Cash, Chely Wright, Kris Kristofferson and Emmylou Harris. It will be released on Vanguard Records June 5.
Singer Reveals One Body Part, Brags About Another
Two country stars recently joined the Twitterverse. Both Trace Adkins and Carrie Underwood have finally begun tweeting to their fans. While Underwood’s tweets (@CarrieUnderwood) have been fairly benign thus far, the same can’t be said of Adkins (@TraceAdkins).
Adkins first posted a quick video on Monday explaining how he’s “surrendered” to Twitter after dropping his old flip phone, and replacing it with an iPhone. He ended the message with “let the games begin,” and he wasn’t kidding. Since then, he’s tweeted nearly 40 times, and is apparently following the Blake Shelton model that there’s no such thing as too much information, sharing such thoughts as “Rhonda [his wife] says I’m becoming a dirty old man, but since I was a dirty young man I didn’t even notice.”
But Adkins surpassed even Shelton’s outrageous Twitter antics on Tuesday when he tweeted the photo above of his bare behind peeking out of a hospital gown. That photo has already generated a Twitter account of its own, @TracesButt, with 10 followers and counting.
In subsequent tweets, Adkins explained that he was at Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville for a procedure in which doctors broke up eight kidney stones. He also felt compelled to share the news that his doctors told him they needed an “unusually long” stent to do the procedure because a certain body part is “freakishly long.”
Let the games begin, indeed.
High School Group Played ‘You Gonna Fly’ At Capitol Records
To celebrate his song “You Gonna Fly” going No. 1, Keith Urban sent a high school marching band over to his label, Capitol Records, to play it as a surprise for the staff. The song is Urban’s third consecutive No. 1 from his current album, “Get Closer.”
In this video, you can see the Father Ryan High School marching band practicing the song, traveling to Capitol, marching through the halls, and performing for a delighted label staff. Urban was not on hand for the big moment.
In related band news, last week at a gathering of country radio professionals in Nashville, the staff of Toby Keith’s label, Show Dog-Universal Music, hired a group of tuba players to perform Keith’s “Red Solo Cup” outside the convention hotel, and near the dock where a rival label was loading up convention attendees for a show aboard the General Jackson showboat.
Fans Will Determine The Set List In Each City
Sugarland announced plans today to kick off their sixth headlining tour in April, which will be dubbed the “In The Hands Of The Fans” tour. As the title suggests, the set list in each city will be entirely determined by requests and other fan interaction.
“This year's tour is based around the concept of putting the show into the hands of the fans,” says Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles in a press release. “They will make the requests that will help form the set list and guide the show. Through texts, handwritten signs, the Internet (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) phone calls made during the show, and selections directly from the stage, the fans will become the conductors as well as the audience. If it’s on one of our records or if we’ve played it on a stage, it is fair game.”
The 27-date tour launches April 5 in Toledo, Ohio, and is scheduled to wrap Aug. 18 in Nevada. Opening acts in select cities will be “American Idol’s” Lauren Alaina and newcomer Canaan Smith, both label-mates of Sugarland at Mercury Records. There are no dates scheduled in Indiana, the scene of last year’s fatal stage collapse at a Sugarland show.
New Album Includes Covers of Iconic Country Standards
Hank Williams III has tried to carve his own music path distinct from his famous grandfather and father, but for his next album project, he’ll pay tribute to the country icon that originated the name.
The album, “Long Gone Daddy,” will be released on Curb Records, which had also been the longtime label home to the second-generation star, Hank Williams Jr., for more than two decades.
The 10-song set, due in stores April 17, includes covers of Hank Sr.’s “I’m A Long Gone Daddy” (a top 10 hit in 1948) and “Neath A Cold Gray Tomb of Stone.” Also included on the album are covers of songs made famous by Merle Haggard (“The Bottle Let Me Down”), Johnny Cash (“Wreck of the Old 97”) and Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson (“Good Hearted Woman”). The collection includes six previously unreleased recordings and four resurrected from prior releases.
Hank III previously charted one single on the country singles chart in 2000, when his “I Don’t Know” peaked at No. 50.
Singer Dresses Up As The Headliner And Joins Him In Concert
Artists who tour with Brad Paisley rave about what a hospitable headliner he is, but they also confess to living in fear of what pranks Paisley will pull on them on the road or on stage. Scotty McCreery, who is opening Paisley’s current Virtual Reality Tour, decided not to wait around to see what might happen and, instead, preemptively pranked Paisley. He dressed up as the guitar slinger (that’s actually Scotty on the left, and Paisley on the right in the photo), and joined him on stage.
Of course, Paisley wasn’t exactly the innocent victim here. During his shows, Paisley has shown doctored photos featuring McCreery’s head on the body of a muscular man in a bathing suit, and he recently put a photo of Ernest T. Bass from The Andy Griffith Show on McCreery’s dressing room door.
And During Paisley’s nightly performance of “Celebrity,” the screens flash fake tabloid headlines including “Is Scotty McCreery Brad Paisley’s Love Child?” That’s what inspired McCreery to steal Paisley’s hat, add some fake facial hair, an electric guitar and a tight Paisley t-shirt, and take to the stage.
“When we thought the time was right, we put it all together and went out there,” McCreery says. “He loved it! He was cracking up. So now I am sleeping with one eye open.”
Beyond the pranks, McCreery says the tour with Paisley and The Band Perry “is going great. Brad and The Band Perry are great people. I couldn’t think of a better tour to be on. I’m learning a lot every single night. We’re having a great time!”
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.