Network special will include performances from Luke Bryan, Sheryl Crow, Rascal Flatts and more
Jennifer Nettles will return for the fourth year as host of the "CMA Country Christmas" TV special. The show will be filmed in front of a live audience at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 8, and will air on the ABC Television Network during the holiday season. Nettles is best known as half of the hit-making duo Sugarland, and will be releasing a solo album early next year.
Artists scheduled to share stories and songs during the special are: Trace Adkins, Luke Bryan, Sheryl Crow, actress/singer Lucy Hale ("Pretty Little Liars"), Nettles (pictured above), Jake Owen, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker and Christian music star Michael W. Smith.
"I love the holiday season, and for me to get to be a part of this show for the fourth year in a row is a really big honor," says Nettles in a prepared statement. "What I love about doing this gig is that it's the closest I've gotten to the old classic television variety shows. It is entertainment that everybody in the family can find fun, and I hope it's something that keeps happening for years and years and years."
Twelve-city run will feature celebrities reading 'The Grinch' at each stop
Martina McBride will once again be sharing her holiday spirit (and music) with fans when she embarks on her sixth The Joy Of Christmas tour this fall. The 12-city run, sponsored by Pandora Jewelry, kicks off Nov. 29 and wraps Dec. 21, leaving McBride barely enough time to get her holiday shopping done.
"This is such a fun and special tour to do," says McBride in a prepared statement. "I love bringing Christmas to life on stage and putting everyone in the Christmas spirit. My favorite part of the show is the Q&A where I go into the audience. You never know what is going to happen, and the spontaneity is something I really enjoy."
The show features classic holiday music, much of which McBride recorded for her 2007 "White Christmas" album, as well as multiple costume changes throughout the show and video screens depicting holiday scenes. McBride is backed on the tour by a 12-piece band, including a string section
As on previous tours, at each stop an athlete, popular radio personality or local celebrity will read the 1957 classic "How The Grinch Stole Christmas!" story, while McBride sings "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch." Past celebrity participants include former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson, Pittsburgh Steeler Brett Keisel and hockey great Jim Dowd.
Singer will be joined Down Under by Eli Young Band and Kellie Pickler
Toby Keith has been a star in the United States for 20 years. Surprisingly, however, in all that time he’s never tried to expand his fan base into Australia by performing there. That all changes next year when he’ll launch the Hammer Down Under Tour, with plans to play in three Australian arenas in March, and headline the CMC Rocks the Hunter Festival in New South Wales.
The tour will visit Brisbane (March 14), Sydney (March 18) and Melbourne (March 19). Keith will also perform on March 16, the final date of the three-day CMC Rocks the Hunter Festival at the Hope Estate in Pokolbin, NSW. Tickets for all shows go on sale Oct. 4.
Keith’s new album, “Drinks After Work,” will be released in Australia on Nov. 1 and in the U.S. on Oct. 29.
Singer is also reportedly working on a new album
Just when you thought you’d missed your final opportunity to see Garth Brooks perform in Las Vegas, then missed it again, now comes word that Brooks will be returning for yet another series of shows at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Brooks ended a three-year performance residency at the hotel and casino’s Encore Theater last November. He then returned to the venue for six more shows in May and July, which were recorded for an upcoming DVD release.
Now, the Wynn has announced eight more shows, scheduled for October and November. He will play two shows on each of the following dates: Oct 18 and 19, and Nov. 8 and 9.
In related news, Music Row reports that during last weekend’s Music City Eats festival in Nashville, Brooks' wife, Trisha Yearwood, told the crowd at her cooking demonstration that “Garth is in town now working on a new [album] project.”
Brooks began his initial run of weekend performances at the Encore Theater in December of 2009 and wrapped his residency there last fall. Tickets for the new dates go on sale Sept. 24 at wynnlasvegas.com or by phone at 702-770-1000. No details on the DVD release have been announced.
Singer expected to make a "quick recovery" with proper care and rest
Alison Krauss has cancelled her appearance at next weekend's Wide Open Bluegrass festival in Raleigh, N.C., after being diagnosed with a vocal condition called dysphonia. According to a statement on her Web site,
"Alison has been advised to have vocal rest . . . We anticipate a smooth, quick recovery given proper treatment and adequate rest."
According to WebMD.com, dysphonia is "a speech disorder that gives a hoarse quality to the voice. It can be caused by an injury to the nerve that affects the voice box (larynx) or a tumor in the brain stem. It also has other possible causes that are not related to nervous system problems."
Shania Twain revealed her own dysphonia diagnosis in 2011, but she has since recovered and is now performing regularly at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
At Wide Open Bluegrass, Krauss was to have participated in a performance being billed as a 90-minute "epic collaboration" among Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Béla Fleck, Del McCoury, Tony Rice, Mark Schatz and Krauss. It will continue on with the other billed performers on Friday night at Red Hat Amphitheater. No other shows are currently on Krauss' tour schedule.
Singer and chef makes the food festival rounds, and reveals plans for her third cookbook
As a country music star, Trisha Yearwood has commanded stages all over the world. As a celebrity chef, however, she admits she's still building her confidence.
Yearwood will appear this weekend at the Music City Eats: Nashville Food, Wine & Spirits Festival and next month at the New York Food and Wine Festival. She's becoming a familiar face at such events, where she hosts cooking demonstrations and signs copies of her two New York Times bestselling cookbooks, "Georgia Cooking In an Oklahoma Kitchen" and "Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood," newly available in paperback. The fourth season of her Food Network show, "Trisha's Southern Kitchen," begins airing this fall.
With credentials like that, you'd think Yearwood would be at home on the food festival circuit, but she says such events draw the "rock stars of the culinary world." She admits she found the idea of joining them intimidating at first, despite the fact that she's an actual rock star. (OK, country music star.)
"I didn't want to do any of these festivals to begin with because I'm not classically trained as a chef," she says. "I thought these guys who really know their stuff and have all this training are going to look down on me and not respect what I do." But she has been happily surprised.
"I can't tell you how welcoming they've all been," she says. "I haven't met a chef that hasn't just really been kind and said 'What you bring to the table is a good thing.' . . . I really have felt accepted by all of them. I don't see the kind of cutthroat competition, although I'm sure it exists. Maybe it's that ignorance is bliss thing with me where I'm just the new kid going 'Hey, I'm just having a good time.' It's kind of refreshing and different."
Yearwood says she loves to talk, so she's found a way to increase her comfort at food festivals while simultaneously upping the level of audience interaction. While she's cooking, she takes questions from audience members, who might ask about her music, her life or even the food she's preparing. But she admits that takes concentration.
"You're multi-tasking, so you have to remember as you’re having this conversation with an audience that you're still making a dish and you have to remember what you're putting in it," she says. "It's a little bit like rubbing your head and patting your belly at the same time. I tend to pick recipes for those things that I really do make a lot at home so I'm not having to think too much about what goes in it."
Yearwood films her Food Network show in Oklahoma, in a home five minutes from one she shares with husband Garth Brooks. That show earned a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Culinary Program earlier this year.
"We don't do it in my house for lots of reasons,"she says. "First of all, it's a 30-person crew! Secondly, cooking show [sets] have those cook tops with the islands facing the camera so you're not facing the wall and your butt's to the camera the whole time. That's a whole different show," she adds with a laugh. She films the show in 12-hour days, but then gets to go home and sleep in her own bed at night.
Yearwood tells MSN Music she's already at work on a third cookbook. The first two books, which she calls "a tribute to my history," were packed with classic Southern recipes from her own family, many quite decadent. But Yearwood, who recently lost 35 pounds, says the new book will include—where it makes sense—some of the more calorie conscious recipe substitutions she's made to help her live healthier. But, she stresses, it won't be a weight loss book.
"I don't want to write a diet book because, first of all, it's so foreign from the first two books," she says. "Second of all, I'm not doing any kind of special diet. It's a moderation thing.
"We all want to eat food that tastes great," she adds, "but we want to find better ways to do it."
To read about some of Yearwood’s culinary mishaps, click here.
Even this Emmy-winning chef makes mistakes in the kitchen
Despite authoring two top-selling cookbooks and hosting an Emmy Award winning TV cooking show, country music star Trisha Yearwood doesn't consider herself a culinary master. "I'm not a chef, I'm a cook," she says, making a distinction most of her fans wouldn't. "I learned how to cook from my Mom . . . so I don't have that chef training of knowing 'When this goes wrong, how do I fix it?'"
Sure, there are some tips she learned from her mother, like putting a raw potato in over-salted soup while it's cooking to absorb some of the excess sodium. But, she says, "I don’t know how to fix the cake that’s falling apart in your hands, other than losing your mind and throwing it in the trashcan. That's my go-to."
For all her accomplishments in the culinary world, Yearwood is relatable to the average home cook because she freely admits, "For every recipe of mine that's turned out, there's been at least one or two that have been horrible failures . . . You just kind of have to live and learn." She's self-deprecating enough to document those failures with photographs, and also to share the stories with MSN Music.
Plus, Brad Paisley extends his summer tour well into fall
• Tim McGraw is set to begin filming his newest movie role in Vancouver next week. Billboard.com reports the country star joins the cast of the new Disney production, "Tomorrowland," which stars George Clooney. The film is tentatively scheduled for a late 2014 theatrical release.
As Billboard reports, the film centers on a bright teen (Britt Robertson) and a "former boy-genius inventor" (Clooney) as they embark on a "danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory as 'Tomorrowland.'"
The film is McGraw's ninth, according to Billboard. He has also appeared in "Friday Night Lights," "The Blind Side," "Four Christmases" and "Country Strong," among others. His most recent film, 2011’s "Dirty Girl," co-starred fellow country musician/actor Dwight Yoakam.
• Brad Paisley (left) has extended his Beat This Summer Tour into November. Support acts on this leg of the tour, which kicks off Oct. 17, include Chris Young and Lee Brice through October and Young and Danielle Bradbery for November. There are 12 new dates for this leg, which might be more appropriately re-named the Beat This Fall Tour.
• Christian music artist and award-winning Nashville studio musician Gordon Mote has enlisted a group of country stars to join him on his recently released new album, "All Things New." The album features vocal collaborations with Trace Adkins, Darius Rucker, Josh Turner, Sheryl Crow and Scotty McCreery.
Mote has strong country music connections. A former member of Lee Greenwood's band, he has previously toured and recorded with Trisha Yearwood, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood, and he has twice been honored as the Academy of Country Music's piano/keyboard player of the year. The blind musician has previously released nine albums as an independent artist.
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