Briefs: News from Keith Urban, John Rich, Scotty McCreery and more
Plus, Florida Georgia Line to embark on its first headlining tour
• Singer John Rich (right) of Big & Rich will star in a new fall reality show on TV Guide’s network, TVGN. “The Untitled John Rich Project” will film at Rich’s Nashville home and feature live performances, celebrity interviews, surprise guests and lots of audience interaction in a loose party atmosphere, TV Guide reports. Rich’s longtime manager, Marc Oswald, is one of the show’s executive producers.
• Keith Urban (below) is launching a line of musical greeting cards at select Hallmark Gold Crown stores. The collection includes 12 cards marking occasions like birthdays as well as some offering friendship, support, love, encouragement and more. Priced at $4.99, each card in the line features a textured background and a 15-second sound clip from one of Urban’s hit songs including as “Long, Hot Summer” and “Sweet Thing.”
“For me, a card, like music, has the ability to make an emotional connection,” says Urban in a statement on his Web site. “I love knowing that these cards, and my music, will mark such meaningful moments in so many people’s lives.”
• After opening slots on Taylor Swift’s The Red Tour and Luke Bryan’s Dirt Road Diaries Tour, Florida Georgia Line (below) is set to make its first headlining run this fall with the Here’s To The Good Times Tour. Kicking off Oct. 3 in Brookings, S.D., the 32-city tour will run through mid-December and features Colt Ford and, on select dates, openers Tyler Farr or Canadian singer Dallas Smith.
The first show to go on sale, the Oct. 19 date at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, Ky., sold out its 10,718 tickets in a record-breaking 23 minutes.
“We can’t wait to give our fans what they have been asking for all year, our own headline tour,” says the duo’s Tyler Hubbard in a prepared statement. “It is unreal, and the first night of the tour can’t get here fast enough!”
Adds the band’s Brian Kelley, “This is another dream of ours coming true. I couldn’t be more excited and more proud of the tour. Having Colt, Dallas and Tyler along with us is going to make for a party!”
• Ashley Monroe recently hit the road in support of her critically acclaimed album, “Like A Rose.” She’s first touring with rock band Train, with whom she recorded the duet “Bruises,” which she is performing with the band’s Pat Monahan on stage at each show. The 25-date Train outing is called the Mermaids Of Alcatraz Tour. Monroe will be with that tour through Aug. 14.
In October, Monroe will join Hunter Hayes on his 24-date Let’s Be Crazy tour, which runs through early December.
• Reigning CMA vocal group of the year Little Big Town (left) will host the network TV special “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock,” set to air Aug. 12 from 8-11 p.m. (ET) on the ABC Television Network.
The three-hour special includes performances and appearances by Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow, the cast of “Duck Dynasty,” ABC’s “Nashville” stars Charles Esten and Lennon and Maisy Stella, Hunter Hayes, “Dancing with the Stars” champion Derek Hough, Kid Rock, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Kip Moore, Jason Mraz, Kacey Musgraves, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and Zac Brown Band. Surprisingly, a performance from Lenny Kravitz also made the cut for the TV special, despite Kravitz having flipped a two-handed bird at the audience as he angrily left the stage when the show was filmed in June.
The special features behind-the-scenes access and interviews, day-in-the life segments, late-night jams, performances, and surprise collaborations. This show marks the 10th anniversary of the CMA summer TV special.
• Scotty McCreery (right) is being sued by his former management firm, Nashville-based Cassetty Entertainment, for non-payment. The lawsuit, filed in Davidson County Chancery Court, maintains that McCreery refuses to pay the management company for services rendered over the several month period they worked together, beginning last October.
Manager Todd Cassetty, a highly respected music industry veteran, claims in the suit he was “strung along for months” as the “American Idol” winner failed to finalize the management agreement, reports the Nashville Post. The parties parted ways in April.
According to the lawsuit, Cassetty claims that 19-year-old McCreery, then a college freshman, offered to pay him the industry standard of 15%-20% of all gross revenues. But McCreery’s mother, Judy, who is heavily involved in his career, “stepped in and offered only two percent,” the Post reports. The lawsuit calls McCreery payment claims “fraudulent and deceptive.”
McCreery claims in a statement, “There is no truth to these allegations. I have offered to pay Todd more than once, but he wanted an unreasonable amount for only five months of work. Anyone who knows me knows how I conduct myself, so I am not worried they will believe any of this. This is just an attempt to embarrass me and my family. The facts will come out when we have our day in court.”
• Willie Nelson and his two youngest sons, musicians Lukas and Micah, star in a new print ad campaign for the John Varvatos men’s clothing brand. The black and white photographs of the Nelsons wearing the designer’s clothes were shot in Des Moines, Iowa, by photographer Danny Clinch at the 1920s historic museum Salisbury House. Family portraits of the late 1800s and early 1900s inspired the photographs.
The three men also shot a short film featuring them playing guitar together and performing the song “Still Is Still Moving to Me,” intercut with moments of the three talking about music and style influences, growing up on the road, having famous “uncles” (Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings) and hating haircuts. Watch it here.
Willie Nelson says in a press release, “John Varvatos and his team are great. His clothes look and feel good on your skin and are made for every man, and his sons.”
Micah Nelson comments, “When you dress sharp in John Varvatos, it’s easy to feel like the biggest gangster badass in the room.”
Lucas Nelson performs with is band, Promise of the Real. Micah Nelson is a member of the band Insects vs. Robots and performs acoustically as the Particle Kid
Among the artists who have appeared in past John Varvatos ad campaigns are Jimmy Page, Green Day, The Roots, Dave Matthews, ZZ Top, Cheap Trick, Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Joe Perry, Ryan Adams and Slash.
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