Leesa Mitchell scoops out the biggest and best nuggets on Big Cat 105.5
Little Big Town is supporting Tim McGraw's decision to play a benefit show for Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit organization founded after the 2012 school shooting that left 26 people dead. Karen Fairchild told "Rolling Stone Country," that people need to "put the agenda and the hate down." Phillip Sweet said instead of attacking someone who's trying to do something good, people should invest their time and energy into doing better things, like educating their children and loving people in the world. The July 17th benefit show at the XFinity Theater in Hartford, Connecticut will raise money to support the protection of children from gun violence. McGraw's fiddle player is friends with a family who lost their son in the Sandy Hook massacre. Right-wing website breitbart.com called the benefit concert a "gun control fundraiser."
George Jones' widow says the country music legend was talking to God before he died. Nancy Sepulvado told "The Tennessean," for five days before he passed away, Jones was in a hospital bed with his eyes closed and not speaking. She says on April 26, 2013, he opened his eyes and said, "Well, hello there, I've been looking for you. My name's George Jones." He died moments later.
Kacey Musgraves is being added to the lineup at this year's Windy City Smokeout. She'll perform on July 10th, the three-day festival's opening night. Pat Green will also take the stage that night. Chris Young will headline the July 11th show, while Lee Brice plays July 12th. Dan & Shay, Will Hoge, Chris Stapleton, Jon Pardi, Old Dominion and A Thousand Horses are also scheduled to perform. More than 35-thousand people are expected to attend the festival on Grand Street at the Chicago River. Ticket prices range from 40-dollars for single day passes to 400-dollars for three-day VIP passes.
Jim Ed Brown recorded a song called "Tried and True," and in the studio it was casually mentioned that perhaps Vince Gill would come in and do harmony on it. Several weeks later, Brown was at the Grand Ole Opry and Gill came up to him and said how much he enjoyed singing harmony on the song. That was the first time Brown knew that the fellow Opry member had paid him the honor of singing on the tune. Brown and his sisters Maxine and Bonnie are among the newest artists who will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year. The Oak Ridge Boys will also be inducted, as will musician Grady Martin, who is receiving the honor posthumously.
Sam Hunt has penned songs in his career that he felt he could potentially record but he wasn't sure he had a direction in his music. After writing and recording "Take Your Time," the singer thought he had found a song that could set the direction for future music. He is so confident in that sound that he believes he will be recording his sophomore album within a couple years.
Zac Brown is creating a camp for kids. He told "Taste of Country Nights" he spent three summers as a camp counselor in high school and college, and loved it. He says he knew when he was 14 that he wanted to build a camp one day. Camp Southern Ground is being built in Fayetteville, Georgia. Brown says it'll be able to sleep 300 kids every week and will have activities to challenge, educate and inspire children with diverse abilities, and from all socioeconomic backgrounds, races and religions.
Neil Young is hitting the road with Willie Nelsons' sons to support their new joint album called "The Monsanto Years." Lukas and Micah Nelson make up the band Promise of the Real. The record will be released June 16th, while the Rebel Content Tour will kick off July 5th at Milwaukee's Summerfest. For years, Young has railed against Monsanto, a chemical company that specializes in genetically modified seeds. Song from the album boast titles like "Rock Starbucks," "Seeds" and "Too Big to Fail."
Neil Young With Lukas and Micah Nelson Tour Dates
July 5 - Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest
July 8 & 9 - Denver, CO @ Red Rocks
July 11 - Lincoln, NE @ Pinnacle Bank Arena
July 13 - Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
July 14 - Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
July 16 - Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center
July 17 - Bethel, NY @ Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
July 19 - Essex Junction, VT @ Champlain Valley Expo
July 21 - Wantagh, NY @ Jones Beach
July 22 - Great Woods, MA @ Xfinity Center
July 24 - Oro-Medonte, ONT @ Wayhome Festival
Eric Church is short on sleep, but enjoying life with two children at home. He told "Taste of Country," two-month-old Hawk is starting to sleep pretty good and his three-year-old is starting to wake up several times a night. Church says, "they're teaming up." He adds that Boone is adjusting well since his brother was born in February. He says there was a little bit of a problem when all of a sudden Boone didn't get all of the attention, but is doing a good job.
Billy Currington will release his sixth studio album called "Summer Forever" on June 2nd. He says, "Making this album was such a blast for me. I put a lot of love into this project and couldn't be more excited for fans to hear the new music." Currington adds, "Summer Forever for me represents a positive, happy, good time lifestyle and that's what I hope the fans feel when they hear this record."
Gary Allan will kick off the free concerts at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage during the CMA Music Festival. Other performers during the four-day festival include Rodney Adkins, Kristian Bush, Jason Michael Carroll, Craig Campbell, Dustin Lynch, Parmalee, Eric Paslay, Kellie Pickler, Cassadee Pope, Thompson Square and more. The concerts are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily during the CMA Music Festival. It runs from June 11th through the 14th in downtown Nashville.
When Gary Allan opened his clothing store in Nashville, The Label, his goal was to make it a family affair. He says he has now turned it over to his kids to do the buying, bookkeeping, hiring and firing, while he prefers to be out on the road playing his music. The shop offers cutting-edge-design clothing, some of it made by his daughter Dallas.
Country music legend Glen Campbell is another year older. Kim Campbell says her husband celebrated his 79th birthday yesterday with a small, intimate party that included burgers from Five Guys and ice cream cake. She says there was laughing, smiles and hugs. Their two daughters were at the party, along with Campbell's longtime caregiver and Carl Jackson, Campbell's banjo player of 12-years.
Little Big Town is picking up some new fans following their performance at the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. Their provocative song "Girl Crush" was the most Shazamed moment of the three-and-a-half-hour broadcast. The Shazam music app lets users identify songs they're hearing, but are unfamiliar with. Other highly Shazamed moments include Rascal Flatts and Christina Aguilera singing Riot, Garth Brooks' performance of All American Kid, Blake Shelton's Sangria performance and Dierks Bentley singing Riser.
George Strait says it was pretty neat receiving a Milestone Award from the Academy of Country Music. The singer says it was interesting being reminded of some of the previous ACM awards nights. One of his favorite things was seeing all the photos of him and how he's changed over the three decades he's been part of the awards show. Others receiving Milestone Awards included Taylor Swift, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Brooks & Dunn and Miranda Lambert.
Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town says she enjoyed seeing fellow performers at ACM Awards. Fairchild says there's a camaraderie among the entertainers hanging out during the show, and it makes her proud to be a part of the country music community. Little Big Town went home from the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards with the Vocal Group of the Year trophy.
One day after making an appearance at the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, it's been revealed that Randy Travis is married. He quietly tied the knot with his longtime fiancee Mary Davis last month. A rep for Travis confirmed the nuptials with "Billboard." Travis has been recovering since undergoing brain surgery in July 2013 following a stroke. He was also treated for heart failure after contracting a viral infection.
The Academy of Country Music is marking the 50th anniversary of the ACM Awards with a special CD release. "Now That's What I Call ACM Awards: 50 Years" is available at Amazon and iTunes. The two-disc set features 34 songs from some of the standout award winners over the past five-decades. Disc One focuses on the years from 1990 to 2015, while Disc Two culls the best from 1965 to 1989. Proceeds from the CD will benefit ACM Lifting Lives, the charitable arm of the Academy.
Reba McEntire says it was a thrill for her to be at the ACM Awards Sunday night. The singer has won 13 ACM awards and hosted the show for many years. McEntire received the Milestone Award at the 50th annual ACM Awards last night in Arlington, Texas. It signifies multiple achievements for years of success in the music business. The singer is a big fan of award shows and says she loved being at what is being billed as the biggest music awards show ever held.
Church's "Outsiders" World Tour has been named number one on "Billboard" magazine's Hot Tours recap. It is a welcome honor to Eric.
Eric Church likens his "Outsiders World Tour" to his "Outsiders" album. The singer explains that he has waited a lifetime to record the record and produce a tour like this one. Being named the number one tour on "Billboard" magazine's Hot Tours recap is just icing on the cake for the entertainer.
Tim McGraw will perform at this year's Time 100 Gala. The glitzy event will be held tonight at New York City's Jazz at the Lincoln Center. It celebrates the magazine's annual list of the most influential people, whom it says are chosen for changing the world. McGraw, who also made the list this year, begins a 36-city arena tour in June and has a role in the upcoming film "Tomorrowland." Time contributing editor at large Jon Meacham called McGraw "a kind of Renaissance man in a cowboy hat," and said "it's clear he's got a lot of life left to live and art still to make."
The lineup for the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage at the CMA Music Festival will be announced tomorrow. Artists will be revealed through an exciting new video. CMA Exclusive subscribers will be among the first to see it. The CMA Music Festival runs June 11th through the 15th downtown Nashville. Performances on the Riverfront Stage are free.
Willie Nelson is adding another job to his already impressive resume: horticulturalist. Nelson has launched his own brand of cannabis called Willie's Reserve that'll be sold in Colorado and Washington. It'll become available in other cities when state regulations allow. Nelson also just released a new single called "It's All Going To Pot." The playful duet with Merle Haggard can be found on the two legends' upcoming album "Django and Jimmie" that'll be released on June 2nd.
Miranda Lambert is ready to take a breath from the hectic life she leads. Lambert says she and everyone she knows has so many things going on that they can't seem to enjoy everything that is happening to them. The singer admits in her life, it's all about what the next big thing is going to be. She says her song "Automatic" reminded her that it is okay to take time to enjoy life.
Little Big Town is in New York City for a performance at the 13th Annual Can Do Awards Dinner. Tonight's all-star event at Cipriani Wall Street raises money each year for the Food Bank for New York City, which provides support for one-and-a-half-million New Yorkers who rely on Food Bank programs and services. Other celebrity appearances will include Michael J. Fox and Jon Bon Jovi.
Luke Bryan is this year's top country music artist. He took home the Entertainer of the Year trophy from last night's 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. It's his second time winning the fan-voted award. He previously won in 2013. Miranda Lambert was also a big winner. She took home her sixth consecutive award for Female Vocalist of the Year, along with the trophy for Album of the Year for "Platinum" and Song of the Year for "Automatic."
2015 Academy Of Country Music Award Winners:
- Entertainer of the Year: Luke Bryan
- Male Vocalist of the Year: Jason Aldean
- Single Record of the Year: "I Don't Dance," Lee Brice
- Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert
- New Artist of the Year: Cole Swindell
- Album of the Year: Platinum, Miranda Lambert
- Vocal Group of the Year: Little Big Town
- Vocal Duo of the Year: Florida Georgia Line
- Song of the Year: "Automatic," Miranda Lambert
- 50th Anniversary Milestone Award: George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Reba, Brooks & Dunn
- Video of the Year: "Drunk on a Plane," Dierks Bentley
- Vocal Event of the Year: "This Is How We Roll," Florida Georgia Line feat. Luke Bryan
The Academy of Country Music is honoring its biggest winners. During the 50th Annual ACM Awards last night, Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, George Strait and Taylor Swift were recipients of the 50th Anniversary Milestone Award. Brooks has earned six ACM Entertainer of the Year awards, the most of any artist. Chesney has received four Entertainer of the Year trophies, including the first fan voted version in 2008. Brooks & Dunn have received the most ACM Awards in the past 50-years with a total of 27 wins. Strait has won 21 trophies spanning the course of four decades. Lambert is the most-awarded solo female artist with a 18 wins. McEntire is the Academy's most-awarded female vocalist of the year with seven wins. Swift holds the record for being the youngest Entertainer of the year.
The 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards is in the record books. The audience at AT&T Stadium was so big that it made the Guinness Book of World Records for most attended live awards show. It's typically held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but was moved to Arlington, Texas for the 50th anniversary. Brad Paisley and Miranda Lambert are also record holders. They were surprised during Friday's rehearsals for the 2015 ACM Awards by a Guinness World Records adjudicator. Paisley was awarded his record for most consecutive wins as ACM Male Vocalist of the Year, an honor that he took home every year from 2006 through 2010. Lambert received her award for most consecutive wins as ACM Female Vocalist of the Year, with a five-year sweep.
Tim McGraw is standing by his plans to headline a Sandy Hook benefit concert. In response to gun rights advocates, McGraw said in a statement in "The Washington Post" that as a gun owner, he supports gun ownership. He added that with gun ownership, comes the responsibility of education and safety, most certainly when it relates to children. The July 17th concert in Hartford, Connecticut will benefit Sandy Hook Promise, an organization aimed at protecting children from gun violence. McGraw became involved in the group because his fiddle player is a longtime friend of Mark Barden, who lost a child in the 2012 shooting. Gun rights advocates have called the concert a "gun control fundraiser." McGraw's tourmate Billy Currington has dropped out of the show because of the controversy. Chase Bryant says he's decided to go forward with performing.
Keifer and Shawna Thompson from Thompson Square are okay following a massive crash in Aurora, Colorado that left at least a dozen people injured. The duo posted on their website on Friday that a bus for singer-songwriter Twin Shadow rear-ended a truck stopped on I-70 east of Denver. The bus then hit another truck and Thompson Square's tour bus. Colorado State Patrol says fog played factor in the accident. Twin Shadows' bus driver, John Crawford, was injured, along with eleven of the bus' passengers.
The Band Perry is working on a new album. The sibling trio told "Taste of Country" that they're most of the way through the recording process and the first single in tentatively set for June. They say the album is a step in a different direction musically. Kimberly Perry says they asked their country radio friends for advice and were told, "We always expect The Band Perry to do something we don't expect," so they followed suit with that advice.
Kenny Chesney is launching No Shoes TV. He says there's so much more to his shows and his tour than what happens on stage. Kenny calls his No Shoes Nation the most passionate music lovers he's ever seen and when you get out amongst them, you can't help but get swept up. Kenny says No Shoes TV is one way to give the people who can't be there a chance to get the feel for the whole day. He adds, "because some of what happens, you'll never get a regular TV network to make part of a concert special." No Shoes TV will be hosted by ESPN Music's Deanna Kay and is available at kennychesney.com.
Eric Church's "The Outsiders World Tour" is Number One on Billboard's Hot Tours recap. Church has visited more than 60 cities and sold more than 725-thousand tickets so far in support of his 2014 album "The Outsiders." Church set venue attendance records in three cities, including Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. There are still more than 20 dates left on the tour.