Leesa Mitchell scoops out the biggest and best nuggets on Big Cat 105.5
Carrie Underwood is a new mom. The country star and "American Idol" winner announced Tuesday via Twitter that she gave birth to little Isaiah Michael Fisher last Friday, February 27th. Underwood wrote, "Tiny hands and tiny feet.... God has blessed us with an amazing gift." The singer also included the first photo of her newborn son with husband Mike Fisher. Underwood first revealed she was pregnant last September. She and Fisher married in July 2010 two years after they began dating.
Blake Shelton has done it again. He's topped the Country Airplay chart. This time it's with "Lonely Tonight," his duet with Ashley Monroe. The song has become Shelton's 14 consecutive number one on the list, which Billboard.com says is the longest string of chart-toppers since the chart was established 25 years ago. Blake began his string of consecutive chart-toppers five years ago, when his Trace Adkins collaboration "Hillbilly Bone" reached the summit in March 2010.
Blake Shelton could be poised for another season of country domination on "The Voice." Tuesday's episode was night four of the blind auditions, and the country star didn't have to do much to win over some of the top talent. Despite pleas from Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams, young country singer Corey Kent White had to choose Team Blake after singing Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried."
Pharrell was so taken by Corey's voice that he walked onto the stage to make his case. Adam followed Pharrell's lead, while Blake sat back and let his record speak for itself. Shelton also scored big points with teenage singer Brenna Yaeger, who auditioned with Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me." The rest of the judges knew they didn't stand a chance when she said she had Miranda's lyrics tattooed on her ankle.
Adam was the least happy about Blake's sweep of the country artists, but did add another two singers to his team. Team Christina Aguilera also stepped up to add some contenders. She picked up the only four-chair turn of the night, Jeremy Gaynor, the lead male vocalist of the West Point Academy Band. The coaches are getting more selective as fewer spots remain on their teams, which will be completed when "The Voice" returns with more blind auditions next Monday and Tuesday on NBC.
Wynonna Judd is taking her "stories and songs" to the South By Southwest Music Conference. The country star is slated to both speak and sing. She'll take part in a special interview session, during which she'll discuss her career and what's ahead. Her husband and drummer, Cactus Moser, will join her for the conversation. Later, Wy and her band The Big Noise will perform, headlining a multi-artist showcase event. Wy's appearance at South By Southwest is set for March 20th. The interview will take place at the Austin Convention Center, while the showcase will be held at St. David's Bethell Hall. The week-long South By Southwest Music Conference begins in Austin, Texas on March 17th.
Wynonna is currently on her "Stories & Songs" tour. Her next performance is coming up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania on Thursday. She's slated to wrap up the trek in Boston on Sunday.
Willie Nelson is once again hosting his own festival in conjunction with the South By Southwest Music Conference. He'll be headlining the Medicine Show Stage, which will also feature Hurray for the Riff Raff, Nikki Lane, Delta Spirit, and others. Butch Walker leads the lineup on the Revival Tent Stage. Other performers include Angel Olsen, Israel Nash, and Lindi Ortega. The festival will also include art booths and food vendors. Willie's 4th annual Heartbreaker Banquet will take place at his Luck, Texas ranch on March 19th.
Vince Gill, Brandy Clark, and Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott are just a few of songwriters on board for the upcoming Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival. The Nashville Songwriters Association International is behind the five-day event, featuring more than 350 performers playing dozens of shows at a variety of venues throughout Nashville. RaeLynn, Will Hoge, Angaleena Presley, and Josh Thompson are on board as well, along with Larry Gatlin, Bill Anderson, Mac Davis, and Jeannie Seely. The lineup also includes James Otto, Chuck Wicks, Casey James, and many others. The Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival begins on March 24th. More details are available at TinPanSouth.com.
Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus says the group's current Las Vegas engagement isn't just about the show -- despite what his bandmates might think. Jay and bandmate Joe Don Rooney also intend on playing some golf while they're in Vegas. Gary LeVox might join them, but the singer's off-stage priorities aren't recreational. He says the dry desert air wreaks havoc on his sinuses, so he'll be spending his time "tryin' to get hydration" up into his nasal passages. The trio recently launched their "Rascal Flatts Vegas Riot!" at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, with dates scheduled through March 14th. Shows also feature an opening set from "The Voice" winner Craig Wayne Boyd.
LoCash members Chris Lucas and Preston Brust say longtime fans shouldn't be alarmed by the name change. The country singers explain that it doesn't mean they're abandoning or rejecting their past. But Chris and Preston say they feel like they're launching a new phase of their career. LoCash recently signed with Reviver Records, and the guys are pleased with the support they're getting from the company. They say they believe they now "have a shot," because they're finally working with a great team who's "on the same page" with them. LoCash's new single, "I Love This Life," is their first release with the label.
Darius Rucker admits that most of his songs are somewhat autobiographical, or cover a subject that's important to him. But the singer says when he's choosing material to record, quality is what he considers above all else.
Darius has co-written the majority of his songs, including his latest single. He penned his current hit, "Homegrown Honey" with Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley and songwriter Nathan Chapman. The song is the lead-off release from Rucker's upcoming album, "Southern Style," which will be available on March 31st.
Taylor Swift is one of the top nominees at this year's Radio Disney Music Awards. The superstar is up for awards in four categories going into next month's fan-voted awards show. Her hit "Shake It Off" is facing off against two of last year's Billboard chart-toppers for Song of the Year -- Ariana Grande's "Problem" and Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass." Taylor's also up for Best Female Artist, Best Song To Dance To and Most Talked-About Artist. The Radio Disney Music Awards are set to air on Sunday, April 26th at 8 p.m. Eastern on the Disney Channel. Voting is now open and fans can pick their favorites on the official site and its social media pages.
The wish of a four-year-old Texas girl dying of cancer is fulfilled thanks to Taylor Swift. Jalene Salinas, who is battling terminal brain cancer, dreamed of dancing with Swift to her hit song "Shake It Off." On Monday night, that wish became a reality when Swift gave her a surprise Facetime call. Jalene's health had taken a turn for the worse, and Twitter users rallied around the #ShakeItOffJalene hashtag to get Swift's attention. Swift is currently on tour in London and said she plans to reach out again when she returns to the U.S.
Brooks & Dunn's Kix Brooks admits he and Ronnie Dunn haven't really done much planning for their upcoming Las Vegas run. But the country star says he's not all that concerned about it yet, in part because Reba McEntire's involved. The
country duo is reuniting and teaming up with McEntire for "Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas." They'll kick off the engagement at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on June 17th, which will mark Kix and Ronnie's first performances together since Brooks & Dunn's split five years ago. They'll play a total of nine shows over the summer, then return for seven more concerts in December. More details are available at TheColosseum.com.
Luke Bryan is making his European debut with his participation in this year's C2C: Country To Country festival. The singer played his first show Saturday, headlining the event in Stockholm. He also learned how well his fans in Sweden know his music. Luke tweeted a clip of his performance of "Drink a Beer."
Miranda Lambert, RaeLynn, and Gwen Sebastian have one more thing in common. The three country ladies now have matching tattoos. Miranda shared a photograph from their experience, in which they all got a musical note tattooed on their right arms. Along with the Instagram picture, she writes, "Inked in perfect harmony." Miranda also extends her love to RaeLynn and Gwen and her appreciation to the Tulsa, Oklahoma shop that did the work.
Lambert's Tulsa show Saturday was the last stop on the trek for RaeLynn. Sunny Sweeney will take over the opening spot on the tour when Miranda resumes her "Certified Platinum" trek in Oklahoma City on Friday. Gwen is one of Miranda's backing singers on the trek.
The members of Lady Antebellum admit there's one thing they don't want to have in common with Fleetwood Mac -- the behind-the scenes drama. CMT.com says the group address their interpersonal dynamic at a session during last week's Country Radio Seminar. Lady A's Dave Haywood used Fleetwood Mac as a comparison, explaining that the country trio has worked to avoid the off-stage turmoil. He said they've all agreed that they would only remain a band as long as they loved the group, and they could approach each other with love and respect.
The trio's Charles Kelley said one key to their success in conflict resolution stems from recognizing that everyone is different, and in allowing people to "be who they are." Lady A's Hillary Scott added that compromise and concession are part of the process. She admitted that "in any work situation there are parts of you that you have to temper down every now and then," because "you have to be together a lot" and "you don't want continuous flare-ups." Lady A's techniques seem to be working for them. Haywood, Kelley, and Scott have maintained their stable working relationship for the past nine years.
Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, and Florida Georgia Line are leading the lineup for this year's Route 91 Harvest festival. They'll be headlining the three-day event, taking place in Las Vegas from October 2nd through the 4th. Lady Antebellum, Jake Owen, and Thomas Rhett are also among the 19 stars slated to appear, along with Mark Chesnutt, Frankie Ballard, Joe Nichols, and others. More details on the performers and ticket information are available at Rt91Harvest.com.
The Route 91 Harvest Country Music Fest is now in its second year. Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Jason Aldean were the headliners for 2014's inaugural event.
Wynonna Judd says she has a lot to be thankful for, despite her bus catching fire Wednesday night. The country star revealed on Twitter that the vehicle's generator triggered the blaze, which she says could have been a lot worse. While she tweets that she's "certainly not thankful" for the fire, she lists seven reasons why she is thankful. She says she's grateful that she and her band weren't actually on the road when the fire occurred, that everyone is "OK," and that she had another bus to get her to her show in Pennsylvania Thursday night. The singer adds that she's glad her driver was with the bus at the time, and could "out the fire" so all her road gear didn't go up in smoke. Wy even speculates on a reason for the fire, saying, "This distraction is probably causing us to stop now so that we avoid something even worse that could have happened up the road." "The Voice" just launched its eight season. RaeLynn was a finalist on season two of the NBC reality series in 2012. Last month she released her debut EP, "Me," and is currently opening shows on Miranda Lambert's "Certified Platinum" tour. Upcoming stops include North Little Rock, Arkansas on Friday and Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday.
Wynonna is currently on her "Stories & Song" tour. From Pennsylvania she'll head to New York for shows in Westbury on Friday and Verona on Saturday. She'll perform in Annapolis, Maryland on Sunday.
Sam Hunt, and Maddie and Tae are among the emerging acts who'll help bring this year's Country Radio Seminar to a close. They'll join Frankie Ballard, Cole Swindell, and Eric Paslay in performing at the New Faces of Country Music Show Friday to cap off the annual convention taking place this week in Nashville. But they're just a few of the stars taking the stage over the course of the three-day event. Billboard.com says mix of stars ranging from veterans to newcomers were on hand for Universal Music Nashville's showcase Thursday. Keith Urban and Eric Church both debuted new songs and teamed up for their current single, "Raise 'Em Up," while Kacey Musgraves introduced her next single, "Biscuits." The track -- the lead-off release from Kacey's upcoming sophomore album -- is slated for release on March 17th. The extensive lineup of performers also featured Vince Gill, Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, and others.
Keith Urban is set to return to CRS on Friday, but not to perform. He's been tapped to serve as a featured speaker. In "Keith Urban: Being Present" the singer will share the ways he's broken down the walls between himself and his audience to be in the moment with his fans, and build a stronger, closer connection with them. The session will also address how radio stations can apply his techniques to enhance the business environment and help on-air personalities develop stronger bonds with their listeners.
Shania Twain admits it was scary to make her return to the stage. But the country star says one of her siblings gave her the courage to sign on for her Las Vegas show "Shania: Still the One."
Shania adds that it was "a turning point" for her when Carrie agreed to be part of the show, because her sister wasn't just offering moral support. Carrie served as one of Shania's backing singers for the two-year run, which wrapped up last December. Twain's show at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace marked her concert comeback following an eight-year absence from the stage.
And now fans who weren't able to attend the show in person are now able to see Shania's performance. "Shania: Still The One Live From Vegas" will air on ABC Saturday night, and be released on CD and DVD on Tuesday.
RaeLynn says she thinks she has something to offer aspiring singers. The country star and "The Voice" alum admits she'd jump at the chance to serve as a mentor on the show that launched her career.
Luke Bryan and Lady Antebellum are among the stars exporting country music. They're the headliners for the 3rd annual C2C: Country To Country festival, which launches this weekend in Europe. The expanded event now encompasses two weekends in four countries. This Saturday, Luke will cap off a show that also features Florida Georgia Line, Lee Ann Womack, and Doug Seegers in Stockholm, Sweden, while Lady A performs along with Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert, and Kip Moore in Oslo, Norway. The performers will then swap places on Sunday. They'll move the festival to the UK and Ireland next weekend, with Brandy Clark taking Seegers' place in the lineup.
The London event, set for March 7th and 8th, has also grown beyond the main stage. Sam Hunt and "Nashville" star Sam Palladio are some of the performers slated for the Satellite stage. Hunt will also give a couple of performances on the Pop Up Stage.
Keith Urban might have been born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, but he's a nominee in the International categories at the Australian Country Music Channel Awards. Keith is one of 20 American-based stars vying for the International Artist award, along with Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, and others. Urban is also in the running for International Video of the Year with his hit "Cop Car." Lady Antebellum's "Bartender," The Band Perry's "Chainsaw," Maddie and Tae's "Girl in a Country Song," and Sam Hunt's "Leave The Night On" are among the 20 nominated clips in the category.
Balloting in the fan-voted event closes on Sunday. Fans can see the full lists of nominees and place their votes at CountryMusicChannel.com.au. The 5th annual CMC Awards will be presented in Brisbane on March 12th.
The Grand Ole Opry House now has historic designation. The Nashville venue, which has been home to the Opry since 1974, has just been added to the National Register of Historic Places, listing cultural resources worthy of preservation. The Opry House opened on March 16, 1974 with a VIP guest list that included President Richard Nixon. It is the Grand Ole Opry's sixth home and only home built specifically for the Opry. Its distinction comes as the Opry itself prepares to launch a nine-month celebration of its 90th anniversary beginning with a kick-off show on March 24th. The Opry's 90th Birthday Bash Weekend is scheduled for October 2nd through October 3rd.
The life and work of the late Ray Price is going on display in his home state. The exhibit "For The Good Times" is opening this weekend at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Ray's widow, Janie Price, will be on hand for Saturday's exhibit launch in Carthage, Texas. She says she believes it would mean a lot to Ray to be honored in this way, and "so close to home." Janie says her husband was "so proud" to "accomplish his dream of becoming an international star." But she admits Ray was "most proud to be a Texan, and to be able to give back to his home state." Janie adds that it's "a special honor" to "continue to write the last chapter in his life story" with this exhibit.
"For The Good Times" features memorabilia from Price's life and career. Displays include his Grammy and other awards, wardrobe selections, and personal items such as his custom saddle, a 1972 thank you letter from former President Lyndon Johnson, and other keepsakes. Price was inducted into Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996. He became a Texas Country Music Hall of Famer in 2006.
Florida Georgia Line's producer doesn't work exclusively with country acts. The duo has recorded both of their albums with Joey Moi, who is perhaps best known for his work with Nickelback. But Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard sees no problem in sharing a producer with the Canadian rockers.
And Florida Georgia Line isn't the only country act to work with Joey. He's also produced a few projects for Jake Owen, and was at the helm for RaeLynn's hit "God Made Girls."
New Music Tuesday is becoming New Music Friday. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has announced a major change in the day the music industry puts out new releases. The British-based organization said Thursday that the plan to release new music on Fridays instead of Tuesdays would go into effect this summer. The organization hopes the move will combat piracy, since albums are often released internationally before the United States. IFPI says an aligned global release day puts an end to the frustration of not being able to access releases in one country when the music is available in another country.
It also says it hopes the move to Friday will "re-ignite excitement and a sense of occasion around the release of new music" allowing artists to better focus their social media campaigns. The change has been in the works for a while now. Citing consumer research, the IFPI says more people are more interested in buying new music on Fridays and Saturdays than mid-week.
Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott says she and her bandmates are "just so humbled" by their new honor. The trio is this year's recipient of the Country Radio Broadcasters Artist Humanitarian Award, which they received Wednesday at the 2015 Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. AllAccess.com says last year's honoree Carrie Underwood appeared in a pre-taped video to help make the presentation. In accepting the award, Scott recalled how from the start one of their goals as Lady Antebellum was to "get to a point as artists to use this platform for something good." She said she, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood are "passionate" about their charitable work and "don't take it lightly." The singer added that they're "so grateful" for the recognition and support they've received from the CRB. Thomas Rhett says Blake Shelton can write more than songs. The country star recalls when he was a kid Shelton once gave him a hand with his homework.
The Artist Humanitarian Award was among the opening day events for the three-day Country Radio Seminar. Country newcomer Mickey Guyton helped launch the conference with a performance of the national anthem, while Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood took part in honoring the new inductees into the Country Radio Hall of Fame. Lady A will return Thursday to take part in a panel discussion about the group. The conference will come to a close Friday, wrapping up with the annual New Faces of Country Music Show featuring Sam Hunt, Frankie Ballard, and others.
Three times’s the charm for Taylor Swift. The country-turned-pop superstar has earned her first BRIT Award, getting the nod for International Female Solo Artist. But in her acceptance speech, Taylor gave the credit for her success in the UK to another singer-songwriter.
And Taylor wasn't just a BRIT winner but a performer as well. She sang her hit "Blank Space" during the ceremony. The 2015 BRIT Awards -- the UK's equivalent to the Grammys -- were presented in London on Wednesday.
Taylor had been nominated for a BRIT Award twice before. In 2013 she was also up for the International Female honor, which went to Lana Del Rey. In 2010 Taylor was in the running for International Breakthrough Act, but lost to Lady Gaga.
Glen Campbell is benefiting from his Oscar nomination, even if he didn't win. Billboard.com says all the songs performed during Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony have seen an increase in sales. Campbell's last recording, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from the documentary "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me," was in the running for Best Original Song. He lost to Common and John Legend's "Glory" from "Selma," which also saw the biggest Oscar bump. But "I'll Be Me" was the biggest gainer among the soundtrack albums featuring the nominated songs. Just under three-thousand copies of the disc sold during Oscar week, which is an 805-percent increase from the previous week.
Glen, who's battling Alzheimer's disease, wasn't at the ceremony. Tim McGraw performed "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" during the ceremony.
Shania Twain is giving fans a glimpse of her upcoming live DVD. The country star has posted her performance of "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" on YouTube.
In the video, Shania -- in a short, sparkly black outfit with long black gloves and thigh-high boots -- is singing and dancing with a troupe of six well-dressed men at her side. The clip is from the upcoming release "Shania: Still The One Live From Vegas." The concert film, which was taped during her recently concluded Las Vegas residency, will be available on CD and DVD on March 2nd. ABC will also present the concert in a special broadcast airing Saturday night.
Garth Brooks is adding two nights in Portland, Oregon to his ever-unfolding world tour. The country superstar has announced April 12th and April 13th stopovers at Portland's Moda Center with tickets going on sale March 6th through Ticketmaster. Brooks has been trickling out tour dates piecemeal over the last several months. He began his comeback tour run last September with a multi-night stand at Chicago's Allstate Arena. He's scheduled to wrap up a four-night stint in Detroit this weekend with shows scheduled for Friday and Saturday. After that it's on to Buffalo, New York for another four-night stand, starting March 5th. Concerts in Denver and Sacramento are also on the itinerary before Garth's tour arrives in Portland in April.
Randy Houser says he couldn't be happier for "The Voice" winner Craig Wayne Boyd. The country star adds that he believes the reality show was the perfect vehicle for Craig to advance his career.
Randy has known Craig for more than a decade. The two toured together back in 2004, with Boyd opening shows for Houser. Craig was the season seven winner on "The Voice," taking the title last December. Blake Shelton served as his coach. Craig is now opening shows for the "Rascal Flatts Vegas Riot!" They just launched the nine-date engagement at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas this week. Shows are scheduled through March 14th.
The late Johnny Cash is returning to TV, courtesy of a tribute artist. Oklahoma City-based performer Philip Bauer will be demonstrating his talents as the legendary Man In Black in an upcoming episode of AXS [[ access ]] TV's "The World's Greatest Tribute Bands." Shows air live from the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California, with the tribute artists performing before an audience. The series will launch its fifth season next month with Las Vegas' Gary Anthony performing as Frank Sinatra. Bauer is scheduled to take the stage as Cash on April 28th. New episodes will also feature tribute performers as Stevie Wonder, the Eagles, U2 and others. Host Katie Daryl says she's "so proud" of all the tribute bands that have performed on the show. She adds that the singer's post-appearance success is a testament to the impact "The World's Greatest Tribute Bands" has had on the music world.
Zac Brown Band's Zac Brown lives by the motto "if you want something right, do it yourself." The band's Coy Bowles says Zac plays an active role in everything the group does, and always has.
But Zac says he's not doing everything on his own. He adds that as the group has grown as a business they've brought on a number of other people to work with them, and he's "not any more important" than anybody else. However, Coy gives Zac the credit for building the band's team. He explains that Brown hires good people who are "really good at their job and they love working for him."
Zac Brown Band is currently promoting their latest single, "Homegrown." The group is also prepping for their "Saturday Night Live" debut, which is coming up on March 7th.
Those types of country star encounters weren't all that unusual for Thomas growing up, since his father is singer-songwriter Rhett Akins. He adds that he remembers getting a "B" on that English paper, which was better than he expected.