Plus, Wade Bowen Has A New Album In The Works
• Chris Young continues his support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, one of the world’s premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other deadly childhood diseases, by auctioning off a monthly, one-of-a-kind, handmade quilt designed and sewn by his grandmother, whom he calls “Nanny.”
May’s quilt, which highlights many of the songs Young has recorded across his three albums, is available for bidding via the “Chris Chatter Forum” on Young’s Web site. A new quilt, handmade by “Nanny,” will be offered each month, with all money raised donated to St. Jude.
“I think it’s really cool that Nanny has taken up the cause to help raise money for these incredible St. Jude kids who are fighting for their lives,” said Young in a press release statement. “I hope my fans will check out her handmade quilts each month and consider making a bid to help support St. Jude.”
• In other news, Texas singer/songwriter Wade Bowen will release his first major label album, “The Given,” on Sony Music Nashville May 29. Bowen, who has spent the last 14 years making a living playing 200-plus nights a year on the road, previously released five albums independently.
The 10-song set includes a cover of Townes Van Zandt’s “To Live Is To Fly” featuring guest vocals by Guy Clark. It will be available at all digital music retailers and in select physical stores. As an added bonus, Bowen will give fans full-access to the recording process by offering the work tapes from the writers’ room of several of the new tracks exclusively on wadebowen.com beginning on release day.
“The album is called ‘The Given’ because I feel like all of these amazing opportunities have been given to me by my fans,” explains Bowen in a press release. “They are the reason I get to live my dream every night and they’ve been patiently waiting almost three years now for new music. So, I’m excited to be able to say ‘here it comes and there’s more on the way!’ I’m so blessed that they’ve stuck with me.”
Singer Tweets “My Face Hurts From Smiling”
After a very brief engagement, Jake Owen model girlfriend Lacey Buchanan got married Monday morning at a sunrise ceremony on a beach in the groom’s hometown of Vero Beach, Fla., according to People.com and the artist’s own Twitter posts. Owen proposed to Buchanan on stage at one of his shows just last month.
Yesterday Owen, 30, tweeted this wedding photo and the message, “A best friend for life. I now have a wifey :) My face hurts from smiling. What a wonderful way to start the rest of my life.”
The couple met when Buchanan, 22, appeared in Owen’s music video for “8 Second Ride” and began dating after she starred in the video for his hit “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” according to People.
The bride wore an Amsale gown and veil and the groom was clad in a white linen Armani shirt and Tommy Bahama drawstring pants. Both were barefoot.
Owen tells People the sunrise ceremony was his idea because “it’s symbolic of the dawn of a new day and starting our new life together.”
The ceremony was a family-only affair. Lacey’s sister Leah was her maid of honor, and Jake’s twin brother Jarrod served as best man. His uncle, Ron Owen, officiated, People reports.
After the couple exchanged vows and their first kiss, the party walked to the patio of the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa for a brunch reception.
“I’m looking forward to being a husband, someone his wife relies and leans on,” Owen told People.
Also, Are Tim McGraw And Faith Hill Headed To Vegas?
• Country star Joe Nichols has been forthright about his struggles with alcoholism and his stints in rehab, but he really opens up about those issues, as well as his abuse-filled childhood, in an upcoming episode of Great American Country (GAC)’s “Backstory,” set to debut May 12. Nichols’ brother, wife, manager, producer, therapist and friend are also interviewed.
In the show, Nichols recalls his parents’ hostile divorce, physical abuse from his father, and a dependency on whiskey he says started at around age 13.
When he his recording career took off, the Grammy-nominated singer reveals, he found it very difficult to deal with, explaining that historically, high points in his life sent him into a destructive mode and, ultimately, in and out of rehab.
“Those are the most dangerous times for me,” Nichols says of the career highs. “That’s when I want to destroy everything.”
Just as his career took off, Nichols’ father passed, and he says, “I was ill-equipped to handle the loss.”
Just 30 days after his marriage to Heather Singleton in ’07, Nichols was back in rehab, and what followed was a one step forward, two steps back pattern of behavior until 2008 when an intervention orchestrated by his family and friends sent the singer to an intensive, in-patient rehab treatment program.
Says Nichols of his wife, “There’s no way that Heather should still be married to me. It’s only by grace.”
Nichols also opens up about the fertility issues the couple has faced, suffering five miscarriages until last month when they finally became parents of baby girl Dylan River. “I hope through my story that other people find a sliver of hope because I have lost five children to get to this one,” Heather says in the show.
Today Nichols admits to enjoying life one day at a time. “I live free now,” he says. “I don’t live perfectly, I don’t claim that. That’s a mistake because I can’t promise anything past today.”
• In other news, are Tim McGraw and Faith Hill about to sign contracts to do a series of weekend concerts in Las Vegas? That unconfirmed story comes from the Las Vegas Sun, which reports the country couple will do a series of concerts running from November to April at an as yet unidentified 1,800 seat venue, which would put their show in competition with fellow Las Vegas weekend performer Garth Brooks, who headlines at the Wynn’s Encore Theater.
According to the Sun, the deal is “so close to being signed that Tim and Faith have scrapped plans to go out on tour together so they can enjoy a residency here. It can’t start sooner because Tim is touring with Kenny Chesney this summer.” The couple’s three daughters go to school in Nashville, so performances during the week wouldn’t be feasible.
Singer’s ‘Side Gig’ In Radio Hasn’t Deterred Him From Making New Music
Jack Ingram is best known as the country music singer of such hits as “Wherever You Are” and “Barefoot And Crazy,” but behind the scenes he has a growing side business that involves his speaking voice. Ingram is the production voice of a dozen country radio stations around the U.S., including WSIX Nashville; KWJJ Portland, Ore; WYNK Baton Rouge, La.; and KRYS (K99) Corpus Christi, Texas.
In a recent interview with radio industry Web site Radio-Info.com, Ingram described what he refers to as his “strange little side gig” and how it works. When he’s home in Austin, Texas, between tour dates, he’ll make a visit once or twice a month to a studio just down the street from his house and record promos and other on-air elements requested by his radio clients.
Ingram’s on-air delivery is noticeable for its naturalness, and the singer says he tries to just sound like himself and not the typical big-voiced radio announcer.
“You always think of some big dude with a soundstage in his house doing Moviefone,” he says of his vision of a guy in that line of work. “What I hope [listeners are] getting out of it is that I’m not trying to put them on, because nothing makes me turned off than when I think people are trying to put me on.”
Sometimes radio production can stretch the considerable country star swagger of the man named the Academy of Country Music’s best new male vocalist in 2008, but he doesn’t mind.
“This is country radio, so they get pretty goofy,” he says of some of the things he’s been asked to voice. “Sometimes I look out the [studio] window and my engineer is looking at me like ‘Dude, I can’t believe you just said that.’ But people don’t know it’s me.”
As the clients have added up, so has the money, and Ingram says he jokes with his wife that if the radio jobs had been offered back in his 20s when he was a struggling musician, “I wouldn’t have had to work. I could work an hour a month and we’d be golden.”
Meanwhile, he’s continuing his primary passion—making music—and has completed about half of a new album that he’s excited about. Since amicably parting ways with Big Machine Records last year, Ingram admits he’s still deciding what path to pursue next.
“Every day I have about and hour [of] internal struggle with myself about where everything’s headed and whether it’s worth fighting for a major deal or if I can get what needs to be done with an independent label or on [my] own,” he tells Radio-Info.com. “I’m figuring it out, but the best part about what I’m doing is that I really only care about how I feel about my music.”
As for the new music he’s recorded, Ingram says, “I’m as proud of this as anything I’ve done. I just feel great about it. It would stand a chance commercially, but it has an element of just making music for art’s sake that I think was lacking a little bit for years.”
Plus, Jewel To Play June Carter Cash In TV Movie, And More
• Brad Paisley (left) has announced more dates for the next leg of his Virtual Reality World Tour, which picks back up on May 18. Continuing on the tour will be The Band Perry and Scotty McCreery, with Easton Corbin joining on select dates. At some venues, Paisley will be collecting food for local food banks with one person winning a meet and greet with the country star.
Pre-show elements for fans at an outdoor plaza will include a “Virtual Opry” stage that incorporates a futuristic Grand Ole Opry backdrop and signature mic stands. Performing on the stage starting at 5 p.m. on tour nights will be Kristen Kelly, Jana Kramer and Love and Theft.
• Vince Gill (right) will take to the road for a dozen bluegrass shows in June. The 20-time Grammy-winner and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame will be backed by a band made up of some acclaimed pickers, including fiddler Stuart Duncan, guitarist Jeff White, banjoist Jim Mills and bassist Dennis Crouch. Gill will round out the band on guitar, mandolin and vocals.
“After the passing of Earl Scruggs [on March 28], it means the world to me to do these dates with this world-class band playing the music that Earl defined,” Gill says in a press release announcing the tour. “ I absolutely adore this music."
The tour kicks off June 13 and runs through the end of that month. Bluegrass prodigy Sarah Jarosz will open for Gill from June 13 through June 23.
• Country and pop singer Jewel will play country music legend June Carter Cash in a Lifetime biopic about the former wife and musical partner of Johnny Cash, reports TheWrap.com.
The TV film, which has the working title “The June Carter Cash Story,” is based on son John Carter Cash’s book “Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash,” and follows the late singer’s life from her early beginnings to her tumultuous marriage to Johnny Cash. It will begin filming in early summer in Atlanta, for a premiere later this year.
• The Dirt Drifters have unexpectedly cancelled touring plans for the foreseeable future. The Warner Music Nashville-signed band posted the following cryptic message on their Web site yesterday: “We hate to disappoint you guys, especially after all the support you have given us over the past few years, but due to some private, personal issues we will not be going out on the road and will be canceling all upcoming shows and appearances. We apologize for any inconvenience to anyone who had plans to come see us this summer, you know there is nothing we love more than playing music and we will miss you. We cannot thank you enough for your support and for standing by us.”
Plus, Carrie Underwood Touring News, Ricky Skaggs Celebrated By Opry
• Jason Aldean (right) and Brad Paisley will be part of a new reality TV singing contest that premieres July 9 on the E! cable channel. The show is called “Opening Act,” and in it, “American Idol” producer Nigel Lythgoe, R&B music star Mary J. Blige and a producer will scour the Internet for talent, then offer the artists they find a spot opening a show for a participating big-time music act five days later. Those acts include including Aldean, Paisley, Jason Mraz, Rod Stewart, LMFAO, Gym Class Heroes and Nicki Minaj.
First, though, the artists the “Opening Act” team thinks are promising will be invited to a “performance boot camp,” where it will be determined whether they’re ready for the big time, reports the New York Daily News.
• Carrie Underwood will host Hunter Hayes as the opening act for her headlining “Blown Away” arena tour. The first leg of the tour launches in September and runs through the end of the year.
Underwood plans to donate a dollar from each ticket sold on the North American leg of tour to support Red Cross disaster relief. This donation will help the Red Cross provide shelter, food, and emotional support for those in need after a disaster. Some of the proceeds from her Canadian concerts will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross.
• The Grand Ole Opry will honor Ricky Skaggs (left), on his 30th anniversary as an Opry member on May 15. The 14-time Grammy winner was inducted into the Opry on May 15, 1982. His milestone anniversary will be celebrated with performances by the honoree, fellow Opry members Alison Krauss, Josh Turner, and The Whites, plus special guests Dailey & Vincent.
Rogers Planning Autobiography And New Album
• Kenny Rogers is currently putting the finishing touches on his first autobiography, scheduled for a fall 2012 release by HarperCollins. The book includes numerous stories from Rogers’ life both on and off stage.
“I have to admit, I’ve had an incredible life,” Rogers says in a press release announcing the book. “Once I started actually recalling some of the special moments, I was shocked as to how much fun it was for me. I would hope that as you read this book you get a sense of where I came from, who I am, and where I’m going.”
Rogers is also carving out time this year to begin recording a brand new studio album with producer Dann Huff (Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban). Huff previously worked with Rogers on 2006’s “Water & Bridges.”
The busy star also plans to perform on an as yet unannounced date at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, taking place in in Manchester, Tenn., June 7-10, as well as at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville on June 9.
• Zac Brown Band will once again stage its Southern Ground Music & Food Festival this year. The second annual event will take place Oct. 20-21 at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island in Charleston, S.C. Zac Brown Band will perform both nights of the festival, and curate every facet of the concert experience from the food to the talent lineup and craft vendors. VIP tickets include onstage seating and a gourmet meal prepared by a team of renowned chefs under the helm of Southern Ground executive chef Rusty Hamlin.
Also Shares The Confusing History Of His Own Moniker
Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus and his wife, TV personality Alison DeMarcus, previously announced they’re expecting their second child this summer. Now, Jay has revealed the baby’s name to “CMT Country Countdown USA” host Lon Helton. The revelation came when DeMarcus co-hosted the nationally syndicated radio show this past weekend.
Said DeMarcus, “We really are thrilled to be having a boy, and we’re gonna name him Dylan Jay DeMarcus. My wife, being the sweetheart that she is, decided that ‘Jay’ needed to officially be in the family.”
He went on to explain what that meant, noting that his own legal name is not actually “Jay.” Said DeMarcus, “My real name is Stanley Wayne DeMarcus, Jr. My parents hated the name Stanley and they both hated Wayne, but my dad wanted a namesake. So my mom said, ‘I’m not gonna call him JR, I’m not gonna call him Junior, I’m not gonna call him Wayne,’ because my dad went by Wayne. ‘So we’re gonna call him Jay.’ So my name has been Jay my entire life, and you can imagine the nightmare in school, [and] trying to get a driver’s license, because I was always called Jay.”
In keeping with the history of Jay’s name, band mate Gary LeVox joked that while the baby’s name will be Dylan Jay DeMarcus, “they’re gonna call him Todd.”
The baby is expected sometime in August when the band will be halfway through its Changed tour. Dylan will join older sister Madeline (pictured above), who was born in December 2010.
live local music on
Enter your ZIP code to see concerts happening in your area.
Data provided by Zvents