Country Stars The Scoop

The Scoop

Leesa Mitchell scoops out the nuggets on Big Cat 105.5.

Miranda Lambert is bringing her "Platinum" tour to a close this weekend in Hawaii.  But the country star admits that while she has a show to stage, this trip isn't all about work.  She says she decided to visit America's Westernmost state in part to do something special for her band and crew.
Miranda adds that her first-ever visit to Hawaii is special for another reason as well.  The singer's  show this weekend will complete her travels throughout the nation, and she will have performed in all 50 U.S. states.  Lambert will take the stage at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center in Honolulu on Saturday.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are sharing a new honor.  Nashville's "Tennessean" says the country couple has been tapped to receive the Nashville Symphony's Harmony Award.  The singers will be recognized with a special presentation during the Symphony Ball, taking place at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center on December 13th.  Tim and Faith will also perform with the orchestra at the event.  
The Harmony Award recognizes individuals who show ongoing interest and support for the Nashville music community, and who have been a significant addition to its development.  Previous Harmony Award winners include Keith Urban, Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Dolly Parton, and Carrie Underwood.  Brad Paisley was last year's honoree.

Country newcomer Sam Hunt's debut album is still a month away, and he's already achieved a record sales milestone.  The singer's breakthrough hit, "Leave The Night On," has gone Gold, surpassing the 500-thousand mark in digital downloads.  Sam admits he's thrilled with the accomplishment.  He says he sees it as "a good sign," because the single "represents what's to come with the album in a lot of ways."  The singer adds that the fans' reaction to "Leave The Night On" just makes him more excited for the arrival of his album.  Hunt's first full-length studio set, "Montevallo," will be available on October 27th.  Sam will mark another career first next week.  He's scheduled to make his national television debut with an appearance on NBC's "Late Night with Seth Meyers" on September 24th.  Hunt will perform his top ten hit on the show.

Funeral arrangements are in the works for Opry star George Hamilton the Fourth, who died this week in
Nashville.  A website post says family members were by his side at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital when he passed away late Wednesday afternoon.  The country singer was hospitalized Saturday after suffering a heart attack.  He remained in critical condition throughout the week.  Hamilton was 77.

Hamilton, who's perhaps best known for the 1963 chart-topper "Abilene," launched his career at the age of 19.  His debut single, "A Rose and a Baby Ruth," peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1956.  His first country hit was 1960's "Before This Day Ends," which helped earn him induction into the Grand Ole Opry.  He had several other hits throughout the '60s, including "Fort Worth, Dallas or Houston" and "Break My Mind."  Hamilton last reached the top ten with 1970's "She's a Little Bit Country," but he continued to land songs on the chart for several more years.  In the early '70s Hamilton also began branching out, and taking his music overseas.  He became known as the "International Ambassador of Country Music" through his efforts, which in 1974 included the first-ever concerts by an American country star in Russia and Czechoslovakia.  And over the decades he remained an Opry regular.  He gave his last Opry performance less than two weeks ago, on the September 6th show.

Trisha Yearwood, who's celebrating her 50th birthday Friday, says she's aware her career won't last forever.  The country star recalls when she inked her first record deal 24 years ago, she saw parallels between her chosen field and that of an athlete.
But Trisha adds that she's "not ready to stop swinging the bat."  The singer admits that in such a youth-driven industry her age doesn't exactly play in her favor, and a seven-year gap between albums can be tough to overcome.  But Yearwood says she's sensing "something in the air" she believes stems from her new single, "Prizefighter," that has her feeling optimistic about her career.  "Prizefighter" is the lead-off release from Yearwood's upcoming album.  She's also been performing the song in concert.  Trisha is on the road with Garth Brooks.  They'll launch their seven-concert run in
Atlanta with two shows Friday night.

Jason Aldean and Eric Church admit they aren't sure what they can do about the seeming rise in violence and medical emergencies at country concerts.  Many of the incidents this summer have involved alcohol.  But Aldean tells "Rolling Stone Country" it's not a product of country music.  He explains that at concerts of all sizes and genres, as well as ballgames and other events, "like it or not, drinking is part of it."  And he and Church agree that as the artist it's hard for them to keep everybody in line.  Eric admits that performers want audience members to "express themselves" and "get involved in the moment."  The singer says fans "can go as crazy as they want to, as long as they don't start affecting other people's crazy."  He says when people do cross that line, "that's when you have to get involved."

Church adds that he's hoping it's an issue they can "manage the right way" so all concertgoers can a good time.  But Aldean says in many ways crowd control involves the fans managing themselves.  He explains that audience members need to act responsibly on their own accord, because the performers "can't make people do that stuff."

Carrie Underwood is already getting offers of help once she has her babyThe Band Perry's Kimberly Perry tells E! News she and her brothers Neil and Reed are excited for Carrie and her husband, Mike Fisher, who are expecting their first child.  The country star says Carrie and Mike "are such great human beings," and she predicts "they are going to be great parents."  Kimberly adds that if Carrie and Mike ever need a babysitter, she and her brothers are just a phone call away.

But Kimberly's interest in babysitting might not be entirely altruistic.  It'll give her experience caring for a child, which might come in handy.  Kimberly says she has no plans to start a family just yet.  But she admits "somewhere down the line that will be happening."  The newlywed singer married her husband, baseball player J.P. Arencibia, in June.

Country Birthdays Include
Trisha Yearwood is 50.

Radney Foster is praising "the power of social media."  The country star announced Monday on Facebook that ten of his guitars and a custom amplifier had been stolen from a storage facility on NashvilleHe posted a rundown of the instruments, including descriptions, serial numbers, and personal remarks about them.  And within a day Radney had recovered six of the ten guitars, and had "a line on where to find two more."  He also posted photographs of the two guitars still at-large.

One is a 1977 Martin D-28 acoustic Radney says he bought when he was 17, which he calls "the first good guitar" he ever purchased.  The other is a black 1988 Gibson J-30 he received as a Christmas present from RCA Nashville.  Radney adds that the guitar was stolen once before in Houston, Texas, and he never removed the evidence tag when he got it back.  The singer says he's "hoping lightning strikes twice."

Taylor Swift is getting some award recognition overseas.  The country-pop superstar is among the nominations for the upcoming MTV Europe Music Awards, with bids in two categories.  She's up against Beyonce, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj for Best Female.  Taylor's also facing off against Perry and Minaj as well as Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora for Best Look.  Perry leads the list of hopefuls, with seven chances to win.  The 2014 MTV Europe Music Awards will be presented in a ceremony in Glasgow, Scotland on November 9th.  Voting is under way now at

Loretta Lynn will be on hand at the Americana Music Awards as both a performer and an honoree.  The country legend is slated to receive the AMA's Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting at the event.  She's also part of an extensive lineup that also features Rosanne Cash, Rodney Crowell, Marty Stuart, and others.  Meanwhile, Vince Gill, Carlene Carter, J.D. Souther, and Emmylou Harris are just some of the stars who've been tapped as presenters for the ceremony.  Cash and Crowell are also nominees heading into the event.  Rosanne is among the top contenders, and is in the running for Artist of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of Year.  Rodney is also vying for the Artist of the Year title.  The Americana Music Association's 13th Annual Honors and Awards will take place in Nashville on Wednesday, and be taped to air on PBS later this year.
Lynn is one of several honorees this year.  Jackson Browne, Taj Mahal, and Flaco Jiménez are also being recognized with special awards, and are expected to perform as well.  The awards ceremony is part of the AMA's annual Americana Music Festival, which continues through Sunday.  Lee Ann Womack, Angaleena Presley, and Rodney Crowell are just a few of the many artists who'll perform over the course of the event.

Here are the nominees for the Americana Honors & Awards:
Rosanne Cash
Rodney Crowell
Robert Ellis
Jason Isbell

Build Me Up From Bones, Sarah Jarosz
The Lights From The Chemical Plant, Robert Ellis
The River And The Thread, Rosanne Cash
Southeastern, Jason Isbell

The Avett Brothers
The Devil Makes Three
Hard Working Americans
Lake Street Dive
The Milk Carton Kids

"Cover Me Up", Jason Isbell
"A Feather's Not A Bird", Rosanne Cash
"Ohio", Patty Griffin
"Only Lies", Robert Ellis

Hurray For The Riff Raff
Parker Millsap
St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Sturgill Simpson
Valerie June

Larry Campbell
Fats Kaplin
Buddy Miller
Bryan Sutton

Little Big Town have a special show coming up next month.  The quartet will mark the arrival of their new album, "Pain Killer," with a release-day performance at New York's Best Buy Theater on October 21st.  They're calling their one-off performance a "pre-tour concert," since it will be the group's last live show until the launch of their "Pain Killer Tour."  The trek is slated to begin in Youngstown, Ohio on November 8th.  Tickets for their New York City show go on sale this Friday at the Best Buy Theater box office and online at

It wasn't exactly a winter wonderland outside when Darius Rucker recorded his upcoming Christmas album, "Home For The Holidays."  But the singer says he had no problem conjuring up a seasonal mood for the project. Darius adds that a track called "What God Wants For Christmas," which he penned with Frank Rogers and Monty Powell, got him in the right frame of mind.  He says as soon as they finished the song, he thought, "That's Christmas."  "What God Wants For Christmas" is one of two original songs on "Home For The Holidays," which also features "White Christmas," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," and other seasonal classics.  The 12-track set will be available October 27th.

Dierks Bentley says "What Was I Thinkin'," -- his debut single and first number one hit -- was "huge," telling it was "an incredible way to get the party started."  But the singer believes his most recent chart-topper, "Drunk on a Plane," is "possibly the biggest song" of his career.  He credits co-writer Josh Kear with the idea.  Direks recalls during their songwriting session Josh commented that he "always wanted to write a song called 'Drunk on a Plane.'"  And the singer admits that as both a pilot and a "fan of drinking" he instantly loved it, saying it combines his "two favorite hobbies."  "Drunk on a Plane" is Bentley's second consecutive chart-topper from his latest album, "Riser," following "I Hold On."

Justin Moore admits when he moved to Nashville he never imagined he'd be maintaining a successful career in country music more than a decade later. Justin explains that his only goal was to have one hit record, so he wouldn't feel like "a complete failure" after taking his shot and returning home.  The singer says instead he's been "very blessed" to have had support from country radio "from the get-go," and to have attracted such dedicated and loyal followers.  Justin adds his fans have really "been there" for him, and he's "forever indebted to them" for that.

As The Swon Brothers' career grows beyond their Oklahoma roots, the duo is becoming more involved in the country music community.  And Zach Swon says he and Colton are glad they can include their mom and dad in some of their special activities.
Zach adds that he and his brother know how much it means to their parents to see them succeed.  He says just seeing The Swon Brothers' picture on the wall of the Sony Records building is a thrill for their mom and dad, and he and Colton enjoy sharing even their small accomplishments with their folks.  But the singers have a career milestone coming up.  The Swon Brothers will release their major label debut on October 14th.  Their self-titled album features their hit single, "Later On."

Live shows aren't the only thing Keith Urban is skipping following the death of his father-in-law.  The star will miss this week's "American Idol" audition round in New York City.  A post on the shows Twitter page announced that Keith is taking time off to be with his family, and Adam Lambert has been tapped to fill in for him.  The singer immediately canceled a charity performance and postponed a concert late last week, after learning Nicole Kidman's dad had passed away.  Keith, Nicole, and their two daughters traveled to Sydney over the weekend to support and grieve with Nicole's mother and sister.

Today in 1960, Loretta Lynn made her Grand Ole Opry debut.
Today in 1977, Reba McEntire made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry.  She performed "Invitation to the Blues."
Today in 1996, the mayor of Rhinelander, Wisconsin proclaimed it "Trace Adkins Day," and presented the singer with the key to the city.  The previous month, the mayor of Trace's hometown of Sarepta, Louisiana had made a similar a declaration.
Today in 2008, The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution Thursday recognizing Toby Keith's commitment to members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Today in 2009, Carrie Underwood was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
Today in 2012, Rascal Flatts received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Miranda Lambert is on board for this fall's CMA Awards.  The singer, who's the top nominee heading into the Country Music Association event, is also among the first confirmed performers for the ceremony.  Her husband Blake Shelton is on the lineup as well, along with Luke Bryan and Keith Urban.  All four stars are in the running for the event's highest honor of Entertainer of the Year.  The reigning CMA Entertainer, George Strait, rounds out the category but has not been confirmed to perform.  Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will serve as hosts for the 48th annual CMA Awards, marking their seventh consecutive year at the helm.  The event will take place in Nashville, and air on ABC on November 5th.

Daryle Singletary has another daughter.  The country star and his wife, Holly, welcomed their new baby girl at a Nashville hospital on Sunday.  Daryle calls little Charlotte Rose Singletary their "little blessed surprise," explaining that she arrived a little earlier than expected.  But the singer tells "Country Weekly" that like their other children, he and Holly think their newest addition "is perfect," and they're "in love all over again."  Charlotte Rose is the fourth child for the Singletarys, but their only September baby.  The couple also has twin boys who'll turn four on October 27th, six days after their oldest daughter turns two.

Opry star George Hamilton the Fourth remains hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.  A post on the country singer's website says he's "resting comfortably," but is "in critical condition."  The message adds that George and his family "greatly appreciate" the fans' prayers, as well as the respect they've shown for his privacy "at this personal time."  His website administrator also promises "more updates as the week progresses."

The Grand Ole Opry initially announced that Hamilton had been hospitalized. saying in a Facebook post Saturday that he had "suffered a serious heart attack."  The 77-year-old performer has been an Opry m

Tim McGraw says he believes his new album, "Sundown Heaven Town," spans his catalog in terms of style.  The country star explains that some tracks are reminiscent of his older hits while others sound more current, and seem to hint at what's to come.  
Tim explains that his hit "Meanwhile Back at Mama's" reminds him of his 1998 chart-topper "Where the Green Grass Grows," while "Lookin' for That Girl" is one of the songs "on this end of the spectrum."  McGraw's "Sundown Heaven Town" will be available in both standard and deluxe editions on Tuesday.  Tim will support the effort with upcoming TV appearances, including a release day visit to ABC's "Good Morning America" and a stop at ABC's "The View" Wednesday.

George Strait is sharing the final show of his "Cowboy Rides Away" tour with an even larger audience -- everyone -- with his new CD.  The country great's star-packed concert in Arlington, Texas last June drew a record crowd, which George admits made him nervous.
The CD "The Cowboy Rides Away: Live From AT&T Stadium" features 20 songs from the show, including George's solo renditions of the hits along with performances with Eric Church, Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, and other concert guests.  The album will be in stores Tuesday.

Darius Rucker says his current single is the result of something that was long overdue.  The singer explains that he penned "Homegrown Honey" with Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley.  Darius adds that it's particularly amazing to him that he and Charles had never before teamed up to write a song, given that they've toured together before.  But he says they were intent on collaborating, and even scheduled a songwriting session to make sure it would happen.  "Homegrown Honey" is the lead-off single from Rucker's upcoming album, which is expected to arrive early next year.

Darius Rucker is getting into a Christmas mood with his next release.  "Home For The Holidays" is the singer's first collection of seasonal material.  The 12-track set features such classics as "White Christmas," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," and "Winter Wonderland."  Sheryl Crow is featured on the duet "Baby It's Cold Outside," while Rucker also penned two songs for the project.  Darius says he's "so excited" to record a Christmas album, explaining it fulfills "a lifelong dream."  He adds that he had a great time making the record, and he hopes it brings the same amount of enjoyment to his fans.  Rucker's "Home For The Holidays" will arrive on October 27th.

Pistol Annies' Angaleena Presley is sharing one of the tracks from her upcoming solo album.  She debuted the song "Grocery Store" Monday on  Angaleena says the idea for the song came to her during one of her many trips to the grocery store while she was pregnant.  The singer explains that "when you're in line at the grocery store," it's one of those times in life when "you're just forced to stop."  She adds that it's an experience most people can relate to, describing it as "this forced little moment of meditation that we all have in the middle of our hectic, crazy day."  Presley's debut album, "American Middle Class" will be available on October 14th.

Vince Gill and Emmylou Harris are on board for the upcoming Rock and Roll Hall of Fame salute to the Everly Brothers.  The pioneering duo is this year's Music Masters Series subject, and the country stars are some of the first confirmed artists for the event's tribute concert.  Shelby Lynne is also slated to appear along with the duo The Secret Sisters, who have drawn comparisons to the Everly Brothers.  Rock legend Graham Nash and Peter & Gordon's Peter Asher are also on the lineup, while more artists are expected to be added.  The show, featuring Rodney Crowell as the musical director, will cap off the week-long Music Masters event.  In addition, guitarist Albert Lee, who was the musical director for the Everly Brothers' 1983 reunion concert, will be in the house band.  Surviving Everly Brother Don Everly is also expected to appear.

The Music Masters Series includes panel discussions, interviews, films, and educational programs to explore the Everly Brothers' influence on popular music.  The duo has been inducted into both the Rock and Roll and Country Music Hall of Fame.  The event begin in Cleveland on October 20th.  The tribute concert is set for the State Theater on October 25th.