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Thompson Square Moving Forward with Work on Upcoming Third Album


Image Courtesy Stoney Creek RecordsThompson Square is back in the studio working on its upcoming third album, but the husband-and-wife duo is in no big hurry to issue a follow-up to 2013's Just Feels Good.  Thompson Square has used Jason Aldean's backing band on its previous albums, but this time the group is working with different musicians for more flexibility.

The duo's Keifer Thompson tells the Albuquerque Journal, "This time we don't have to wait for schedules to match up.  We're going to move ahead with the album and see how it works out.  I know that we will put out the best music we can, and that's a top priority for us."

Thompson Square has concert dates lined up for the rest of the year, too.  Go to ThompsonSquare.com to see where the duo is playing next.

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Garth Brooks to Honor Jay Leno at Mark Twain Prize for American Humor Event


CMAGarth Brooks has joined the lineup of stars honoring Jay Leno as he receives the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor on October 19 in Washington, D.C.

The event takes place at the Kennedy Center with Jimmy Fallon, Chelsea Handler, Seth Meyers and Jerry Seinfeld also set to pay tribute to Leno.  The program will be taped for a PBS special airing November 23.

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Kenny Chesney Approves of Taylor Swift's Pop Crossover, but He Won't Be Following Her


Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleKenny Chesney has added his name to the list of country stars supporting Taylor Swift's full-time move into the pop world with her upcoming album, 1989.

He tells Entertainment Tonight, "She is such a global act. I mean, it's unbelievable. I have always been one of Taylor's biggest fans and I think that her songwriting has gotten really good. And I think that's the foundation of everything we do, songwriting."

While Kenny loves Taylor's new pop single, "Shake It Off," you won't find him flirting with a top 40 crossover anytime soon.

"I am going to be a country act just because of the way I talk and sing. I can't make those records," Kenny says. "If I did, it would be very disingenuous."

Kenny's new album, The Big Revival, is out Tuesday featuring the #1 hit, "American Kids."

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New Garth Brooks Album Coming November 11


Image Courtesy Grand Ole Opry/Chris HolloGarth Brooks' long-awaited new album will arrive November 11.  Garth made the announcement during a Friday press conference in Atlanta, GA. The disc will feature his current hit, "People Loving People."

Unsurprisingly, you can now pre-order the as-yet untitled album on Garth's newly-announced digital music service, GhostTunes, as well as at GarthBrooks.com.  While you're at it, you can also order a "mega-bundle" that includes digitally-remastered versions of all eight of Garth's studio albums; a new 25th anniversary edition of his concert disc Double Live, featuring 30 songs and 30 videos; an instant download of "People Loving People"; and a bonus track, "Send 'Em on Down the Road."

The new album will be Garth's first regular studio disc since 2001's Scarecrow.

Garth kicked off his world tour with a series of shows in Chicago earlier this month.  He'll play a total of five dates in Atlanta, starting today through September 27 before heading to Jacksonville, FL for another five dates, October 10 through 18.  Head to GarthBrooks.com for more info.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is Miranda Lambert's middle name? ANSWER: Leigh.

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Jerrod Niemann and His Fiancée Are Asking for Charitable Donations Instead of Wedding Presents


Image Courtesy CMAJerrod Niemann and his fiancée, Morgan Petek, will be married next month in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but they're not looking for traditional gifts from their friends and family to celebrate the wedding.  Instead, Jerrod and Morgan are asking for donations to his charity, Free the Music USA, to benefit music education programs.

The couple tells People, "We can't think of a better way to honor our upcoming nuptials than to combine the two things that we love the most: music and helping others."

Jerrod and Morgan have been dating since 2005.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockIt looks like fans of ABC's Nashville will be getting a holiday album from the cast this Christmas season. Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus posted a photo with the show's star, Connie Britton, and vocal coach, Valerie Morehouse, on Instagram with the caption, "Wrapping up the Nashville cast Christmas record…Gonna be a great record!!!" The new season of Nashville premieres Wednesday, September 24.

Dierks Bentley suggests you pick up Tim McGraw's latest album, Sundown Heaven Town. Dierks tweeted, "Love that he is always trying to take the music to new places."

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Miranda Lambert Will Have Played All 50 States After Her Saturday-Night Show in Hawaii


Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleMiranda Lambert is taking her Platinum tour to Honolulu, Hawaii, this weekend in order to reach a big milestone.

She says, "I’ve never played Hawaii. It’s my 50th state to play. My whole career, I've played in 49 states. I think I finished off the 49th in Rhode Island a couple years ago."

Miranda has never even been to Hawaii before this weekend, and she plans to spend some time on the beach after she's finished entertaining her fans.

"Might as well kill two birds with one stone," Miranda says with a laugh. "We’ll work and go on vacation."

Taking her band and crew to The Aloha State is a way of saying thank you for their loyalty throughout Miranda's career.

She says, "My newest of my core group of crew and band has been there seven years, and I take a lot of pride in that. I really believe if you treat your people well, they treat you well."

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Tim McGraw Includes Tribute to His Mother's Sacrifice in Sundown Heaven Town Liner Notes


Image Courtesy Big MachineFans who flip through the liner notes of Tim McGraw's brand-new album, Sundown Heaven Town, will notice a seemingly random photo of a teenage girl from the 1960s wearing a mini-skirt and go-go boots is included on the back page. It's a photograph of Tim's mother, Betty, in the mid-'60s, around the time she got pregnant with her now-famous son.

When the photograph was taken, Betty was part of a dance troupe that backed up pop stars who played in her hometown of Jacksonville, FL. Betty was also working on fulfilling her dream of joining the dance team on the ABC music variety show Where the Action Is, when she started up a summer romance with Tim's father, Tug McGraw, who was playing for a minor league team in Jacksonville at the time.

Tim explains, "She ended up getting pregnant. It was her senior year in high school. She found out she was pregnant with me, and she got a callback to audition for Where the Action Is, and she couldn't do it because she found out she was pregnant with me."

Betty had to drop out of school and go to Louisiana while she was pregnant with Tim so no one would know she was an unwed mother.  

"To me, that was sort of the moment in time that my mom's whole life changed," Tim says of that picture of his mother. "To be on my album project and have a picture of her sort of is full circle in a lot of ways that maybe I helped her fulfill, at least vicariously maybe some of her dream."

Appropriately enough, Tim's latest hit is titled "Meanwhile Back at Mama's." That song is included on Sundown Heaven Town along with Tim's new single, "Shotgun Rider."

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Tim McGraw and Faith Hill to Receive Nashville Symphony Harmony Award This December


Image Courtesy Red Light ManagementTim McGraw and Faith Hill will receive the Nashville Symphony's Harmony Award at the 2014 Symphony Ball on December 13. The honor recognizes individuals who represent the "harmonious spirit" of Nashville's music community. In addition to receiving the award, Tim and Faith will perform with the symphony at the event, according to Nashville's The Tennessean.

Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Dolly Parton and Trisha Yearwood are among the previous recipients of the Nashville Symphony's Harmony Award. Vince Gill and Amy Grant will host the 2014 Symphony Ball patron party December 9.

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Kenny Chesney Will Be All Over TV Next Week to Promote "The Big Revival"


Image Courtesy Allister Ann/Sony Music NashvilleKenny Chesney is scheduled to be all over TV next week to celebrate the release of his brand-new album, The Big Revival.  The project comes out Tuesday, and he'll perform on NBC's Today program that morning.  Kenny will sing on NBC's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday before flying to Los Angeles for a September 25 performance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

The usually press-shy Kenny says, "Normally I don't get geared up for this much television, but this record makes me wanna get out and talk about it."

Look for Kenny to continue promoting The Big Revival with a performance on TBS's Conan on September 29, followed by an appearance on CBS's The Talk on October 2.

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Luke Bryan Taking Cole Swindell and a Few Other Friends Out on His Farm Tour 2014


Image Courtesy Michael MonacoLuke Bryan is bringing Cole Swindell and top Nashville songwriters Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip, collectively known as The Peach Pickers, along for his sixth annual Farm Tour. DJ Rock and female newcomer Chancie Neal are also on the bill for the trek, launching October 1 at Maple Lane Farms outside Knoxville, TN.

Luke's Farm Tour will hit eight Southeastern cities, with a portion of the proceeds going to students from farming families in the areas surrounding the concerts. Tickets for all shows are now available at LukeBryan.com.

Here are Luke's Farm Tour 2014 Dates:

10/1 -- Knoxville, FL, Maple Lane Farms
10/2 -- Auburn, AL, Ingram Farms
10/3 -- Tallahassee, FL, Cross Creek Place
10/4 -- Gainesville, FL, Whitehurst Cattle Farm
10/8 -- Statesboro, GA, Meldon Farm
10/9 -- Athens, GA, Meldon Farms
10/10 -- Columbia, SC, Culler Farms
10/11 -- Macon, GA, Midway at Central City Park

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Blake Shelton Tweets Excitement About New Duet with Ashley Monroe, "Lonely Tonight"


Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleBlake Shelton's new duet with Ashley Monroe, "Lonely Tonight," has already hit #1 on the iTunes Country Songs chart. Blake tweeted a screenshot of the chart Wednesday with the message, "Sooo…I'm guessing he word is out about my duet with Ashley Monroe…. Happy happy joy joy!!!"

"Lonely Tonight" and Blake's current hit, "Neon Light," are both included on his new album, Bringing Back the Sunshine, coming out September 30.

In other Blake news, he and fellow The Voice coach Gwen Stefani engaged in an epic lip sync battle with Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday night's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Blake showed off his tap dancing skills while lip syncing to "Puttin' on the Ritz" by Taco, but his gender-reversing performance with Gwen on Diana Ross and Lionel Richie's "Endless Love" convinced Fallon to throw in the towel and declare Blake and Gwen the winners.

Gwen and Blake join Adam Levine and Pharrell Williams as coaches on the new season of The Voice premiering Monday night at 8 ET on NBC.

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Tyler Farr Plans to Keep Singing About What He Knows on Upcoming Sophomore Album


Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleTyler Farr plans to include several songs about drinking beer, partying and driving trucks on his upcoming sophomore album because that's what he does to have fun. Instead of living near downtown Nashville, Tyler lives south of town in Chapel Hill, Tennessee, which is home to the largest tractor pull in the South.

He tells the Arizona Republic, "There's not a lot more that you do on the weekends than drink and party.  And I write what I know about.  So I am gonna have songs that have partying and hot girls and pickup trucks."

"A Guy Walks Into a Bar" is the lead single from Tyler's new album, due out next year.  Fans can look forward to hearing a collaboration with his friend and tour mate Jason Aldean on the project, too.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockLee Ann Womack sang her signature hit, "I Hope You Dance," at the recent funeral of which major literary figure? ANSWER: Maya Angelou.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockAlan Jackson will re-release his holiday album, Let It Be Christmas, on October 27 to all digital retailers.

Lady Antebellum's new song, "Freestyle," is now available for download at iTunes. It's included on their new album, 747, coming out September 30.

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Lee Ann Womack Tapes CMT "Crossroads" with John Legend


Image Courtesy Sugar Hill RecordsLee Ann Womack teamed up with pop/R&B star John Legend to tape a new episode of CMT Crossroads Wednesday night in Franklin, TN.

The eight-song set included the two singers swapping vocals on their biggest hits, including Lee Ann's "I Hope You Dance" and "I May Hate Myself in the Morning," as well as John's pop hits "All of Me" and "Green Light." Lee Ann's new single, "The Way I'm Livin'," also made the set list, as did John's new offering, "You and I (Nobody in the World)."

CMT Crossroads: Lee Ann Womack and John Legend premieres Friday, September 26 at 10 p.m. ET on CMT. Lee Ann's new album, The Way I'm Livin', is due out this Tuesday.

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Lee Brice Gives the Inside Story of Performing the National Anthem with Luke Bryan in New York City


Image Courtesy Curb RecordsLee Brice still gets emotional talking about his performance of the national anthem with Luke Bryan during their September 12 concert at New York City's Madison Square Garden. Since it was the day after the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Luke gave a shout-out to those who lost their lives on that day in the attack on the World Trade Center. As the crowd chanted, "USA! USA!" Luke brought Lee onstage and whispered in his ear, "I just feel like we should do the national anthem."

After they decided Luke would start it off, Lee then jumped in on harmony. Says Lee, "It was something really special. I've never heard a crowd sing the national anthem that loud. It was a moment I will never forget, and I think Luke's the same way."

Lee especially loves that the big display of patriotism was all off-the-cuff, too.

"I don't think he even knew he was going to ask me to do that," Lee says of Luke's decision to sing the anthem, "but he definitely just threw it at us as we're walking out onto the stage in front of people, he's whispering in my ear. So, that was the coolest part."

Lee is very thankful to Luke for letting him warm up the crowd every night on the That's My Kind of Night tour. They've played two sold-out shows at Madison Square Garden this year before moving on to become the first country concert ever held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn last week.

Lee says of the opportunity to tour with Luke, "There has been a lot of experiences that I, you know, who knows if I would have ever gotten to do?"

The good times keep rolling for Lee. He had a party in Nashville Wednesday to toast his latest #1 hit, "I Don't Dance." It's the title track from his latest album, which just debuted at #1 on Billboard's Country Albums chart.

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Grand Ole Opry Star George Hamilton IV Dead at 77


Image Courtesy Grand Ole Opry/Chris HolloGrand Ole Opry legend George Hamilton IV died Wednesday at a Nashville hospital at the age of 77, ABC News has confirmed. He'd suffered a heart attack last weekend.

Hamilton IV released his signature hit, "Abilene," in 1963. However, he'd scored a number of hits before then, including "A Rose and a Baby Ruth," "Before This Day Ends," "Three Steps to the Phone (Millions of Miles)" and "If You Don't Know I Ain't Gonna Tell You."

Hamilton was known as “The International Ambassador of Country Music,” a title he earned after becoming the first American country singer to perform in the then-Soviet Union and in Prague.

Hamilton had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1960.

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Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott Headed to the Beach for Some Downtime with Loved Ones


Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum's Hillary Scott is taking some downtime at the beach with her husband, Chris, and their daughter, Eisele, this week.  She'll also meet up with a close friend who is raising her children while her military husband is deployed overseas.

Hillary posted a photograph of New York City on Instagram as she took off Wednesday morning with the message, "Off to meet Chris and Eisele in VA Beach to get some quality time with my best friend and her boys!!! #bff #militarymom #myhero."

In other Lady A news, fans can get their new song, "Long Stretch of Love," by signing up for their Passport Challenge at LadyAPassport.com.  That song and their latest hit, "Bartender," are both included on Lady A's new album, 747, due out September 30.

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