CMA Presenters To Include Reba, LeAnn Rimes, Dierks Bentley And More
CMA Awards nominee Luke Bryan will serve as the red carpet correspondent for the “Ellen DeGeneres Show” at the 45th Annual CMA Awards on Nov. 9. His CMA red carpet segment will air on “Ellen” the following day. Bryan is nominated in the new artist category, and will also be performing on the CMA Awards this year.
Bryan made his first appearance on “Ellen” in late September to perform his hit “Country Girl (Shake It For Me),” and also comically portrayed “Pierre” in DeGeneres’ ongoing soap opera drama, “As the Tide Turns.” Watch it here.
In other CMA Awards news, Lauren Alaina, Dierks Bentley, Billy Currington, Jake Owen, Kellie Pickler, Reba McEntire and LeAnn Rimes have been added as presenters. Also, pop singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson will perform his new single “Run” with Sugarland, with whom he wrote the song and toured earlier this year. And singer/actress Laura Bell Bundy will host the pre-telecast award ceremony, where she will present awards to the winners in three CMA Awards categories as well as to all of the recipients of the CMA broadcast awards.
Rodney Atkins, Scotty McCreery To Appear In Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade
• Wynonna (right) is hitting the road for a 12-date holiday tour, which kicked off Thursday in Phoenix. She will return to the studio in December to continue working on her eighth studio album for Curb Records. It is being produced by her boyfriend, Cactus Moser of the country group Highway 101.
• Trailer Choir (pictured below) has released its first single since being dropped from Toby Keith’s Show Dog-Universal Records, and since downsizing from a trio to a duo. The song, “Love Me First,” was released to digital retailers on the band’s own Hollaville Records imprint. According to group member Butter, the song’s lyrics reflect all that he and bandmate Big Vinny have gone through in the past year, including Vinny’s diagnosis with Type 2 Diabetes.
Meanwhile, Vinny moves into week seven on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” where he is currently appearing as a contestant. He has already lost 59 pounds on the show.
• Rodney Atkins and Scotty McCreery will be among the performers at the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York on Nov. 24. Adkins says he plans to wear his deer hunting gear to stay warm. Additional performers will include Mary J. Blige, Cobra Starship, Neil Diamond, Cee Lo Green, Avril Lavigne, actor Daniel Radcliff and the cast of Broadway’s “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”
• Billy Dean will join Kenny Rogers’ annual “Christmas and Hits Tour” for the second time. This year’s tour kicks off the day after Thanksgiving and will hit 16 cities.
Procedure Forces Postponement Of Benefit Concert
Keith Urban is set to undergo throat surgery later this month, to remove a polyp, which has developed on his vocal chords. The outpatient procedure, while minor, will require complete voice rest followed by a recuperation period of undetermined length, forcing the postponement of the “All For The Hall” benefit concert Urban had planned to stage on Jan 18, 2012 as a benefit for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. The event, which was to take place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, was also set to include appearances from Vince Gill, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, the Oak Ridge Boys and Alison Krauss + Union Station.
Urban will be honoring his pre-existing commitments for which he is just scheduled to perform one song leading up to his procedure at the end of this month. All other appearances will be rescheduled in the new year.
December Outing Will Visit 11 Cities
Vince Gill and his wife, Christian music star Amy Grant, will embark on their sixth Christmas tour, “The Twelve Days Of Christmas,” Dec. 7 in Baltimore. The 12-date, 11-city run concludes with two shows at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. During the two-hour program, the couple will perform both holiday standards and newer seasonal material.
The couple has lots of material to draw from. Gill has released three Christmas albums: “Let There Be Peace On Earth,” “Breath Of Heaven” and “Christmas Collection.” Grant’s releases include the 2008 holiday set “The Christmas Collection.”
“Christmas audiences are special,” says Grant in a press release. “They tend to involve the whole family, and their emotions are a wonderful mix of anticipation and reverence. It’s a thrilling experience for both of us.”
“These holiday tours have become our favorites,” adds Gill.
The Two Singers Will Duet On Loggins’ ‘Footloose’
Blake Shelton and Kenny Loggins will get the Nov. 9 CMA Awards on ABC off to what’s likely to be a rousing start with a duet of “Footloose.”
Both artists recorded the song, written by Loggins (pictured) and Dean Pitchford, for the films of the same name. Loggins’ version, from the original film, was a No. 1 hit for three weeks in 1984. Shelton’s version, from this fall’s re-make of the film, was recently released.
Loggins first rose to prominence as a member of the duo Loggins & Messina with Jim Messina, a hit with “Your Mama Don’t Dance.” As a solo artist, Loggins wrote and/or recorded such favorites as “Whenever I Call You ‘Friend’” (a duet with Stevie Nicks), “This is It,” “I’m Alright,” “Heart to Heart,” “Meet Me Halfway,” “Danger Zone,” “Conviction of the Heart,” and “For the First Time.”
As a songwriter, Loggins has some previous country music credentials. He wrote or co-wrote such classics as “Danny’s Song” (a top 10 hit on both the Billboard Country and Hot 100 charts for Anne Murray in 1972), “A Love Song” (also a top 10 hit on the Billboard Country Singles chart for Murray in 1974), and “What A Fool Believes” (which hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1979 for co-writer Michael McDonald’s band, The Doobie Brothers).
Both Sets Feature Country Stars Covering Others’ Songs
Willie Nelson will release a collection of classic country cover songs, “Remember Me, Vol. 1,” on Nov 21. A volume two is in the works for next year.
For the new set, Nelson hand-picked 14 songs from among the top Billboard hits of the last 70 years, including some from such esteemed artists and songwriters as Ernest Tubb, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Rosemary Clooney, Porter Wagoner and Ray Price. A 15th song is included as an iTunes exclusive for those who purchase the album there.
Here’s the complete track listing, with each song's hit-making artist, year and peak Billboard position in parentheses:
1. Remember Me (Ernest Tubb, 1950, No. 5 country)
2. Sixteen Tons (Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1955, No. 1 country and pop)
3. Why Baby Why (George Jones, 1955, No. 4 country)
4. Today I Started Loving You Again (Merle Haggard, 1970)
5. I'm Movin’ On (Hank Snow, 1950, No. 1 country)
6. That Just About Does It (Vern Gosdin, 1989, No. 4 country)
7. This Old House (Rosemary Clooney, 1954, No. 1 pop)
8. Sunday Morning Coming Down (Johnny Cash, 1970, No. 1 country)
9. Smoke That Cigarette (Tex Williams, 1947, No. 1 country)
10. Slowly (Webb Pierce, 1954, No. 1 country)
11. A Satisfied Mind (Porter Wagoner, 1955, No. 1 country)
12. Roly Poly (Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, 1946, No. 3 country)
13. Release Me (Ray Price, 1954, No. 6 country)
14. Ramblin’ Fever (Merle Haggard, 1977, No. 2 country)
*15. More And More (Webb Pierce, 1954, No. 1 country) *iTunes exclusive
Meanwhile, Texas-based singer/songwriter Pat Green will release his own set of covers, titled “Songs We Wish We’d Written II,” on Feb. 28, 2012. It will be his first release on his new record label home, Sugar Hill Records, and is a follow-up to his 2001 collaboration with friend Cory Morrow, “Songs We Wish We’d Written.” Green recorded the new set with his longtime road band in Texas.
“You’ll hear a few songs you already know, and may notice others that are unfamiliar; which was by design,” Green says in a press release. “I enjoy spreading the word about great talents and great music.”
On the album, Green pays tribute to songwriters including Joe Ely, Lyle Lovett, Walt Wilkins, Todd Snider, Will Kimbrough and Jon Randall. He also interprets some of his favorite songs by such artists as Tom Petty and Shelby Lynne. Tracks include Lovett’s “If I Had A Boat” and Petty’s “Even The Losers.”
Green is currently writing new material for his next album and will head into the studio early next year to record it.
Also, Glen Campbell Tribute Planned For CMA Awards
• Dierks Bentley will take his “Country & Cold Cans” tour international next year, starting with a string of dates in Canada, followed by a leg of headlining Australian shows with Aussie country star Lee Kernaghan. The Canadian portion of the tour kicks off Feb. 15, 2012, for eight shows, then Bentley heads down under in March for five more dates.
“You can find hard core country music fans all over the world, and I love being able to tour other countries and bond over that music we all love,” said Bentley (left) in a press release statement. “The fall leg of the Country & Cold Cans Tour has been crazy and really exceeded all my expectations. I’m looking forward to taking it to Canada and Australia in 2012. They do make Labatt and Fosters in a can, right?”
• Kellie Pickler (right) will release her third album, “100 Proof,” on January 24, 2012, and she wrote six of the album’s 11 songs. It was co-produced by Lee Ann Womack husband (and accomplished producer) Frank Liddell. Tracks include “Where’s Tammy Wynette” and “Long As I Never See You Again.”
• Singer Jimmy Wayne, best known for his hits “Do You Believe Me Now,” “Stay Gone,” and “I Love You This Much,” will release his first novel, “Paper Angels,” Nov. 1 via Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. The Christmas-themed book was inspired by Wayne’s own childhood, when he and his sister were beneficiaries of the Salvation Army’s holiday Angel Tree program. His 2003 song, also titled “Paper Angels,” deals with the same subject matter.
• Guitar greats Brad Paisley, Vince Gill and Keith Urban will pay tribute to Country Music Hall of Fame member Glen Campbell (right) during “The 45th Annual CMA Awards,” airing live from Nashville Nov. 9 on ABC. Campbell was named both CMA entertainer and male vocalist of the year in 1968, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Among his five No. 1 hits were “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Earlier this year, Campbell announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He is in the midst of his “Goodbye Tour” following the release of his final album, “Ghost on the Canvas.”
• Trace Adkins and Kristin Chenoweth, who are co-hosting the second American Country Awards Dec. 5, also join the list of the show’s first announced performers, along with Blake Shelton, Pistol Annies, Thompson Square, Eli Young Band and The Band Perry. The two-hour show airs live on FOX from Las Vegas. It will also feature appearances by Lauren Alaina, actress Rachel Bilson, Miranda Lambert, Scotty McCreery and the men of “Pawn Stars” (Richard Harrison, Rick Harrison, Corey Harrison and Austin Russell). Additional performers and presenters will be announced.
Singer Planning USO Tour For 2012
Rodney Atkins has partnered with Applebee’s to launch a military thank you campaign aimed at honoring veterans and active duty soldiers worldwide. As ambassador of the “Thank You Movement,” Atkins officially launched the campaign this week during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show.
The goal of the Thank You Movement is to create a groundswell of gratitude for our nation’s military. Civilians can post message at ThankYouMovement.com, on Applebees’ Facebook fan page, on Twitter using the hashtag #thankyoumovement, or on YouTube. The Web site hosts a live rolling counter of ongoing “thank yous.” Veterans and active duty troops can then go online anytime to see and hear these heartfelt thanks from the people they serve.
In 2012, Atkins will participate in a USO tour of military bases abroad.
His latest album, “Take A Back Road,” was recently released on Curb Records.
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.