Country Entertainment News
Zac Brown Band Adds New Member in Time for Upcoming Summer Tour

CMAZac Brown Band has added an eighth member just in time for their Great American Road Trip starting next month. Matt Mangano has joined the group on bass, leaving bassist and vocalist John Driskell Hopkins free to play other instruments. Matt previously toured as a guitarist with John Mayer and is also featured on Zac Brown Band's latest album, Uncaged. He appears on their live DVD, Pass the Jar, too.

Zac Brown Band's upcoming tour includes two sold-out shows at Boston's Fenway Park June 27 and 28. Kacey Musgraves will join the trek May 29 through June 1, too.

Here are Zac Brown Band's Summer Tour Dates:

5/24 -- Lincoln, NE, Pinnacle Bank Arena
5/29 - 5/30 -- Tampa, FL, MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheater
5/31 - 6/1 -- West Palm Beach, FL, Cruzan Amphitheatre
6/5 -- Orange Beach, AL, The Amphitheater at the Wharf
6/6 -- Pelham, AL, Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
6/7 -- Atlanta, GA, Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood
6/12 -- Charlotte, NC, PNC Music Pavilion
6/13 -- Cincinnati, OH, Riverbend Music Center
6/14 -- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Blossom Music Center
6/19 - 6/20 -- Camden, NJ, Susquehanna Bank Center
6/21 -- Forest Hills, NY, Forest Hills Stadium
6/22 -- Bristow, VA, Jiffy Lube Live
6/27 - 6/28 -- Boston, MA, Fenway Park
7/3 -- Milwaukee, WI, Summerfest - Marcus Amphitheater
7/10 -- Holmdel, NJ, PNC Bank Arts Center
7/12 -- Burgettstown, PA, First Niagara Pavilion
7/13 -- Noblesville, IN, Klipsch Music Center
7/16 -- Paso Robles, CA, Midstate Fair
7/20 -- Lake Tahoe, NV, Harvey's Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena
8/2 -- Camrose, ABC (CAN) Big Valley Jamboree
8/4 -- Sturgis, SC, Buffalo Chip
8/9 -- Detroit Lakes, MN, WE Fest
8/15 -- Endicott, NY, Dick's Sporting Goods Open

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

70,000 Tickets Sold for 50th Annual ACM Awards and Party for a Cause Next April

ACMAll 70,000 tickets for the 50th Annual ACM Awards and the ACM Party for a Cause music event in Arlington, TX sold out just 18 minutes after going on sale this week.  The awards show will take place April 19, 2015 at AT&T Stadium while the ACM Party for a Cause: 50 Years of Music & Memories event is set for April 17 and 18, 2015 at Globe Life Park.

A few seats may open up closer to the event date. Fans who sign up for the free ACM A-List at ACMCountry.com will be notified first about that availability. Artists appearing at these events will be announced at a later date.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Kip Moore's Latest Single, "Dirt Road," Is Already a Fan-Favorite

MCA NashvilleKip Moore has been road-testing new songs for his upcoming album, and his new single, "Dirt Road," passed with flying colors.

He says, "I actually worked it up with the band on the road and we played it live that same night.  We did that with a lot of the new songs and in a way the live crowds helped shape this album because of that."

Kip especially loves the groove of "Dirt Road," which will be included on Kip's new album, due out later this year.  He'll be playing it live this summer on Tim McGraw's Sundown Heaven Town tour starting May 8.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Keith Urban's "American Idol" Dressing Room Leaves a Lot to Be Desired

FOXKeith Urban isn't exactly living the good life on the American Idol set this season.

In the hilarious first installment of the new Idol Chatter video series, Keith reveals he's making do with a small U-Haul trailer in the parking lot as his American Idol dressing room. The cramped quarters are located next to fellow Idol stars Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Seacrest and Harry Connick Jr.'s luxury trailers. Keith's U-Haul is decked out with a folding chair, a banana, a guitar, and a hanging rack for his signature t-shirts.

Keith blames his small quarters on a "communication mix-up," but he insists he's not upset about it. He makes the best of it by listening to his hit, "Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me," on his "boombox," which turns out to be his iPhone in a red Solo cup to amplify the sound.

See if Keith's rough surroundings affect his judging abilities on American Idol Wednesday night at 8:00 ET on FOX.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio



 

Justin Moore Just Says No to Talking Politics in Public

Valory Music Co.Justin Moore is an open book on most topics, but you won't find him speaking out on politics. It's not that Justin isn't interested in what's going on in Washington, D.C.

He says, "I think the older you get and the more responsibility you have, and in particular, the more responsibility you have for your kids and your family, I think you get into it a little more. I like to keep up with what’s goin’ on. I like to be informed."

Of course, Justin has his own opinions about how the country should be run, but he can respect people with different opinions, too. For his part, Justin prefers to keep the focus on his music over his political positions.

"Whether or not you can really express your opinions, when you have a job in the spotlight, I think you have to very careful about it," Justin says. "I just kinda keep it under the vest and kinda roll along and try not to tick anybody off."

Justin continues his Off the Beaten Path tour Tuesday night in Springfield, MA.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is Justin Moore's middle name? ANSWER: Cole.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockVince Gill, Lee Ann Womack and Ricky Skaggs are performing at the grand opening for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum's new exhibit space Tuesday afternoon in Nashville.

More than 44,000 fans attended Rock the Ocean's Tortuga Music Festival over the weekend in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  Eric Church and Luke Bryan were the headliners.

Kip Moore's new single, "Dirt Road," has been delivered to country radio.

Kacey Musgraves received her two Grammy awards in the mail Monday.

Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard has a new puppy named Harley, who he describes as "the freshest pup on the block."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Randy Houser Explains His "Slightly Creepy" Love Song, "Goodnight Kiss"

Stoney Creek RecordsRandy Houser continues his string of romantic hits with "Goodnight Kiss," but he admits this one is more forward than his recent #1 hits, "Runnin' Outta Moonlight" and "How Country Feels."

"Yeah, we're definitely taking things probably, slightly creepy fast in that song," Randy tells ABC News Radio. "We just wrote it about thinking about that nervous energy whenever you're trying to build up the courage to get your first kiss on a date or waiting 'til the end of the night for the good stuff."

Instead, Randy suggests he and his lady get to the good stuff earlier in the evening in "Goodnight Kiss."

He adds with a laugh, "You know, have fun and then go play. That's kinda creepy, isn't it?"

"Goodnight Kiss" is included on Randy's latest album, How Country Feels, available now.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

"Nashville" Tour Sells Out Three Shows, Adds Philadelphia Date

ABCThe Nashville concert tour is a big hit. Tickets for the trek's stops in Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C. sold out within minutes of going on sale earlier this month. Now, the cast of the ABC TV hit has added another concert date: Monday, May 5 at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia.

Nashville stars Charles Esten, Clare Bowen, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio and Chris Carmack will perform at all concerts. Will Chase joins them for the May 6 show in Manhattan.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift Crashes Super-Fan's Bridal Shower

Gena Gabrielle via InstagramTaylor Swift was full of big surprises this past weekend. After showing up unannounced during Seth Rogen's Saturday Night Live monologue Saturday night, Taylor flew to Columbus, Ohio to surprise one of her big fans, Gena Gabrielle, at her bridal shower on Sunday. Gena documented the entire event on Instagram.

Of course, Taylor didn't show up empty-handed. She gave Gena a KitchenAid mixer, along with a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Gena revealed those were the same cookies Taylor baked with her pal, Olympian Gracie Gold, last week.

According to Gena, Taylor told her, "This is my first bridal shower, and Gena's last."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Bid Farewell to Las Vegas Residency

VenetianTim McGraw and Faith Hill closed out their Soul2Soul residency at The Venetian in Las Vegas Saturday night, and Faith took to Twitter to mark the occasion.

"We would like to thank the incredible staff & crew at The Venetian for their hard work and hospitality during both runs of #soul2soul," Faith posted,  She also thanked the fans who came out to see the shows: "It was a thrill getting to perform for you all on that stage."

Faith is featured on Tim's new single, "Meanwhile Back at Mama's." That song is included on Tim's upcoming album, Sundown Heaven Town, due out September 16.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

George Jones's Widow to Mark One-Year Anniversary of His Death with Nashville Ceremony

Webster PRGeorge Jones' widow, Nancy Jones, will mark the one-year anniversary of her husband's death with a public celebration April 26 at his grave in Nashville. She'll plant two dogwood trees at  Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today" monument.

Nancy says, "I am so fortunate for the friends and fans that George and I made through the years.  I want everyone to come celebrate with us, not because he is no longer with us, but to keep his legacy alive.”

The event starts at 1 p.m. CT at Woodlawn Cemetery.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockBrad Paisley first saw his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, in which early '90s movie? ANSWER: Father of the Bride.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thompson Square Share Stories from Their World Tour Entertaining the Troops

Stoney Creek RecordsThompson Square's Keifer and Shawna Thompson recently returned from a world tour entertaining U.S. troops stationed in Japan, Guam and Hawaii.  While they were thrilled to make the trip, the couple didn't expect to be so overwhelmed at the gratitude coming from the troops and their families.

Shawna tells ABC News Radio, "There were so many people that came through the meet and greet, wives that their husbands were deployed that were like, 'Oh, my God.  Thank you so much for coming because this reminds me of home, and I'm so lonely right now, and just to have something that's from home, it means so much.'"

Keifer adds, "We stayed and signed for everybody after the shows.  It was just really interesting to hear stories, and some of our songs helped them through some tough times and stuff.  That was an amazing thing just to see."

Thompson Square is back in the U.S. for its Just Feels Good tour.  Check out the group's website for dates.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockReba hosted the Muhammad Ali Fight Night again this weekend in Phoenix.

Brad Paisley built a bar in the studio on his property south of Nashville to create a party atmosphere while recording his upcoming album.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman Welcomes Country Stars Into Her Own Kitchen on "Kimberly's Simply Southern"

Photo Credit: Becky FlukeLittle Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman doesn't have to leave her house to tape her Great American Country cooking show, Kimberly's Simply Southern, this season.

Thanks to the money from LBT's big hit "Pontoon," Kimberly was able to renovate the kitchen in her Nashville-area home to make it perfect for filming the show.  Her husband, Stephen, designed the kitchen with some input from the cooking show's producer.

Kimberly tells ABC News Radio, "We brought in the producer of the cooking show just to say, 'If you had your druthers, where would you like for the stove to be?  And does it matter, you know, where a few things sit?'  Steve pretty much designed the whole [thing], and I'm so proud of it."

While Kimberly loved filming the first two seasons in her friend's kitchen in Nashville, having access to her own kitchen supplies makes cooking on television that much easier for her.

"When we needed a spoon on set, I just opened the drawer and knew right where it was," Kimberly explains.  "If we needed extra olive oil, I just grabbed my little olive oil thing.  So, it felt more like home. "

Kimberly welcomes quite a few special guests into the kitchen this season, including band mate Karen Fairchild, Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott, Brett Eldredge, Kix Brooks, Eric Paslay, Jewel and Thompson Square.  One guest in particular, Wynonna, had Kimberly quite star-struck.

Says Kimberly, "I grew up a third member of The Judds, actually, 'cause I sang along with them.  I knew every song, still do, every song by heart.  I went to see them in concert.  I mean, I'm a huge fan.  Was incredibly excited."

Kimberly's Simply Southern airs Mondays at 4 p.m. ET on Great American Country.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brad Paisley Drew from Childhood Memories for His Latest Single, "River Bank"

Arista NashvilleBrad Paisley grew up 500 yards from the Ohio River in West Virginia, so he had a ton of memories to draw from while writing his latest single, "River Bank."

Brad tells The Tennessean, "My best memories with my grandfather are on that body of water, and my dad and learning to ski.  It's kind of like a back-to-basics song."

"River Bank" is the lead single from Brad's upcoming album, due out later this year.  He started working on the album in January and finished writing it in just three months.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift Pops Up on "Saturday Night Live" to Support Pal Ed Sheeran

Image Courtesy Ed Sheeran via Instagram

Taylor Swift's now a part-time New York City resident, so she didn't have to go out of her way too much to make a surprise appearance on Saturday Night Live this weekend.

The singer appeared onstage during host Seth Rogen's opening monologue, along with a few other unannounced guests: Zooey Deschanel and James Franco.  Rogen angrily insisted that he didn't need his famous friends to come by and help him out, and when he asked Taylor what she was doing there, she replied, "You're getting really upset, and when a man shows emotion, I appear!"

But the real reason she was there was to support her good friend Ed Sheeran, who was making his Saturday Night Live debut.  In fact, it was she, and not Rogen, who announced that he was the musical guest.  Ed performed two songs from his forthcoming album, X: "Sing" and "Don't."   The latter song is about a woman Ed was seeing, who he claims cheated on him with a friend while they were staying at the same hotel.  While the woman in question was a musician, Ed has insisted that Taylor is not the subject of the song.

At the end of the show, Taylor joined Ed, Rogen and the rest of the cast onstage for the traditional good-byes.  Zooey Deschanel stayed around to say goodbye as well, and she and Taylor very spoke animatedly to each other and appeared to jump up and down with delight while chatting.  You may recall that Taylor guest-starred on Deschanel's show New Girl last year.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

 

Miranda Lambert Fires Back at Tabloid Rumors with New Song "Priscilla"

Sony Music NashvilleMiranda Lambert is now so famous the tabloids only use her first name when printing stories about her relationship with husband Blake Shelton.

One of those obviously fabricated stories inspired the song "Priscilla," which is on her upcoming album, Platinum.  Miranda was hanging out at her Nashville condo with writer Natalie Hemby when Natalie noticed a tabloid on the kitchen counter.

Miranda tells People Country, "It had a story that I was pregnant or getting an abortion or leaving Blake  -- or all three.  Natalie asked, 'How do you deal with all this BS?'  I just told her I had no choice.  It's just part of the deal now, and I'm still adjusting."

Natalie took that conversation with Miranda and wrote "Priscilla," a song that finds Miranda reaching out to Elvis Presley's ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, for advice on how to deal with Blake's growing fame.

"Blake and I are nothing like Elvis and Priscilla, obviously," Miranda says, "but with anyone who reaches that level of celebrity, it creates a pull on the couple.  You are being pulled apart.  Literally."

Blake and Miranda make it work by carving out time to be together and supporting each other on their separate projects.

She says, "I just love being his wife and watching him do his job, and he does the same for me."

Miranda's new album, Platinum, is due June 3.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Florida Georgia Line Is Doing Its Part to Outnumber Hunger

CMAFlorida Georgia Line is the face of the annual Outnumber Hunger campaign, but the group has been working to help the hungry for several years now.

The duo has performed at the Stars for Second Harvest concert to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank in Nashville for the past two years. Before that, when he was in college, FGL's Brian Kelley chipped in with his basketball teammates at Belmont University to take food to the homeless in downtown Nashville almost every week.

Brian tells USA Today, "It was no organization, just us trying to help.  Even a college student can buy five cheeseburgers for five bucks -- that's five meals right there."

Duo partner Tyler Hubbard feels that giving back to those less fortunate comes with the territory since they've become country stars.

"It's hard for us to get burned out doing something that helps others when we look around and see what everybody's doing for us," Tyler explains.

Look for a photo of Florida Georgia Line on select General Mills products.  The boxes will include codes that shoppers can enter online in order to help provide money to food banks.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Justin Moore Honored with Armed Forces Foundation's Humanitarian of the Year Award

Valory Music Co.Justin Moore was recognized with the Humanitarian of the Year award from the Armed Forces Foundation this week at the 10th Annual Congressional Gala in Washington, D.C.

Justin was selected for the honor in large part of his work with the Crown Royal Your Hero's Name Here contest, which gives servicemen and women the chance to have their name be the title of a NASAR race.

While Justin admits he feels uncomfortable being honored in a room full of soldiers, he says, "I’m thrilled to know that what I do with the AFF has helped, and that it is appreciated by all. Both of my grandpas served in our military and they, along with my parents, instilled in me what our servicemen and women mean to us."

Justin's label mate, Cassadee Pope, was also on hand at the Congressional Gala.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Luke Bryan to Perform on the 2014 Billboard Music Awards

Capitol NashvilleLuke Bryan has signed on to perform on the 2014 Billboard Music Awards Sunday, May 18 on ABC. Imagine Dragons, John Legend and OneRepublic are also set to appear on the show, broadcasting live from Las Vegas.

Luke is up for six trophies at the Billboard Music Awards, including Top Male Artist and Top Country Artist.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockThomas Rhett's father scored several country hits in the mid-'90s. What is his name? ANSWER: Rhett Akins.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Jason Aldean Showing Off His Vocal Talent on Upcoming Studio Album

Photo Credit: James MinchinJason Aldean is known for his larger-than-life stage shows and party anthems, but you only have to listen to the last part of his recent hit, "Night Train," to know Jason can really sing, too.  When asked about his big vocals on that song, Jason says with a laugh, "Thank God for tuners."

While he admits hits like "Dirt Road Anthem" don't really show off his vocal power, Jason adds, "I like recording songs like that where I can kinda show that side of everything a little bit.  Show my vocals a little bit more."

Jason, who just won his second ACM Male Vocalist of the Year award, is in the studio this week recording the vocals for his upcoming studio album.

He says, "I think we'll have a new single coming out off of it probably end of June, first of July, maybe something like that.  And then the album dropping later this fall."

Jason launches his Burn It Down tour May 1 in Roanoke, Virginia, with special guests Florida Georgia Line and Tyler FarrMiranda Lambert will join the bill for select stadium shows.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockNew group Natalie Stovall and the Drive will make their national TV debut on Fox Business's Imus in the Morning on April 15.

Brantley Gilbert, Craig Campbell and more will take part in the Tug McGraw Foundation's 3rd Annual Celebrity Sporting Clay Pro-Am June 3 at the Nashville Gun Club. Proceeds go to help military service men and women affected by Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Little Big Town finished recording the vocals for their upcoming studio album Thursday night.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Dolly Parton to Debut New Album, "Blue Smoke," on April 27 QVC Special

Dolly RecordsDolly Parton will debut songs from her new album, Blue Smoke, on QVC with a live concert performance Sunday, April 27 at 7 p.m. ET.

Fans can purchase the new album along with an exclusive deluxe edition of Dolly Live starting April 24 through QVC.com. That's a full 20 days before the project lands in stores and online.

Dolly brings her Blue Smoke World Tour back to the U.S. with a May 22 show in Tulsa, OK.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Taylor Swift Adds Olympian Gracie Gold to Her List of Besties

Taylor Swift via InstagramTaylor Swift has added another famous friend to her list of besties.  The singer posted several selfies with Olympic figure skater Gracie Gold on Instagram this week.  The pair had dinner Wednesday night and then topped the night off by baking cookies.

This outing follows Taylor's road trip through California with Victoria's Secret supermodel Karlie Kloss.  She also keeps company with pop stars Lorde and Ed Sheeran on a regular basis.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lee Ann Womack Returns with New Album Due Out this September

CMALee Ann Womack will release her new studio album this September, with the first single slated for a summer release.

The multiple CMA Award-winner enlisted her husband, Frank Liddell, to produce the project. He's the man behind Miranda Lambert and David Nail's latest projects.

Lee Ann's new album is rooted in her and Frank's mutual passion for country music.  She says, "When we started this record, Frank and I promised each other we would only cut songs that we absolutely loved for no reason other than we loved them very much. No other factors, and I think that freedom really inspired us.”

Lee Ann's last album, 2008's Call Me Crazy, features the hit "Last Call."

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the name of Eric Church's North Carolina hometown? ANSWER: Granite Falls.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Carrie Underwood and Sheryl Crow Honoring Linda Ronstadt at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony

CMACarrie Underwood and Sheryl Crow are among the artists paying tribute to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Linda Ronstadt at the Hall's annual induction ceremony Thursday night.  Emmylou Harris, Stevie Nicks and Bonnie Raitt will also perform in honor of Ronstadt at the event, taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Linda won't be on hand for the ceremony because her Parkinson's disease diagnosis makes it difficult for her to travel.  The 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions will air on HBO on Saturday, May 31.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio