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Kenny Chesney More Focused on Making Music for the Fans Than Winning Awards These Days


Image Courtesy Blue Chair/SonyKenny Chesney has won CMA Entertainer of the Year four times in the past decade, but he won't be upset if his name isn't called when the CMA nominations are announced Wednesday morning.  He spent this year mostly out of the spotlight working on his upcoming album, The Big Revival, featuring his latest hit, "American Kids."

Kenny says with a laugh, "If I was really worried about awards show season, I wouldn't have taken a year off, you know what I mean? It was more important for me to cut a great record and concentrate on that. What comes with that comes with it."

While Kenny admits winning CMA Awards has meant a lot to him in the past, he's just focused on making music for his fans from here on out.

Says Kenny, "I think I'm at the point now in my life and career if I win an award, great. If I don't, I just want to connect with my audience and grow it, and whatever comes, comes. But it doesn't mean I'm not competitive, 'cause I am."

Kenny is currently using his competitive nature to put together his 2015 live show. The Big Revival comes out September 23.

Little Big Town and Darius Rucker will announce the top nominees for the 48th Annual CMA Awards on ABC's Good Morning America Wednesday morning during the 8:30 half-hour. They'll announce the rest of the categories in a press conference streaming live at CMAAwards.com starting at 10 a.m. ET.

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Garth Brooks Releasing New Single, "People Loving People," to Country Radio Wednesday


Image Courtesy CMAGarth Brooks' new single, "People Loving People," will be released to country radio on Wednesday. The song is written by busbee, Lee Thomas Miller and Chris Wallin. It's the lead single from Garth's upcoming studio album, coming out later this year.

There's a good chance Garth will perform the new single when he kicks off his run of shows in Chicago Thursday night.

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Luke Bryan Closes Out 2014 Stadium Shows with Attendance Record at Soldier Field


Image Courtesy Lyle Waisman/ Soldier FieldLuke Bryan played the last of his four 2014 stadium shows Sunday night at Chicago's Soldier Field, and in the process set a record as the best-selling country concert ever held at the venue.

More than 225,000 fans in all caught one of the stadium dates on Luke's That's My Kind of Night tour.

Luke also played back-to-back sold-out shows in Indianapolis over the weekend. He moves on to New York City for a show at Madison Square Garden on September 12 and another show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn September 14.

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Lady Antebellum Scores Ninth Number-One Hit with "Bartender"


Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleCongratulations to Lady Antebellum for scoring their ninth #1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart with "Bartender." It's the lead single from the group's upcoming album, 747.  Lady A's Hillary Scott explains "Bartender" is just the kind of fun, breakup song they were looking for.

"We went into this wanting to put a spin on it and take the approach that the only way to get over it is to get out on the town with your girls!" Hillary says. "It's also insanely fun to perform, and the three of us have had a blast pumping up the tempo and going all out on it."

Look for 747 to land in stores September 30.

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Florida Georgia Line Playing Pop-Up Show Tonight in Nashville for CMT's "Instant Jam"


Image Courtesy Kristin Barlowe/Republic NashvilleFlorida Georgia Line is playing a surprise show at Nashville's Exit/In tonight as part of the CMT Instant Jam concert series. The first fans in line at noon Nashville time at Exit/In get in free to the show. We'll keep you posted on the airdate.

Kenny Chesney filmed a pop-up concert last Friday night in Athens, GA for the first installment of Instant Jam, premiering September 27. Each episode of Instant Jam will showcase live performances, and gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at the hours leading up to the concerts.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockWhich one of Nicole Kidman's famous husbands is taller? ANSWER:  Keith Urban reportedly stands 5'10", while Tom Cruise is allegedly only 5' 7".

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Dustin Lynch Says Even the Fans Have Noticed His Major Crush on Reba


Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsWhen Dustin Lynch recently Instagrammed a picture of Reba on #WCW-- Woman Crush Wednesday-- he wasn't kidding. In fact, his adoration for the country icon has gone so far that even the fans have noticed it.

"Well, she is my crush," he confesses, "and she knows that. That's what's awesome. I have a Reba cup onstage every single night. .. It's interesting, in, where was I -- Warsaw, Indiana. I look in the crowd and they've got Reba shirts on. So, it's getting out there. If they're not wearing my shirts, they're wearing Reba McEntire shirts to my concerts. So, it's pretty cool. But she is my crush. She's always been a dream girl of mine since I was a little bitty guy."

As you can imagine, Dustin would love to sing with the red-headed superstar, but he says he's not going to rush it.

"I think that's one of those things I want to earn my way into asking," he says. "I don't think I've gotten there yet, but hopefully, one day our paths will cross, and I can have enough courage to say, 'Hey, you know, I've got this song I'd love to record.'  How awesome would that be?"

Dustin goes on to say he gets chills just thinking about it. His new album, Where It's At, comes out September 9.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockJosh Turner recently launched his Instagram account with a video of himself heading into the studio. His new single is called "Lay Low."

Lady Antebellum fans can get a sneak peek at their new album at ladyapassport.com, with song previews, videos and even a contest to win a cruise. 747 comes out September 30.

Alan Jackson:  25 Years of Keepin' It Country opened Labor Day Weekend at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. The exhibit runs through March of next year.

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Kenny Chesney Performs Surprise Georgia Concert for CMT's Instant Jam


Sony Music NashvilleKenny Chesney performed a surprise pop-up concert Friday night in front of a small crowd of about 500 lucky fans at the Georgia Theatre in Athens, Georgia.

The concert was videotaped for the first installment of CMT's new Instant Jam series, which premieres September 27.  Each episode of Instant Jam will showcase live performances, and gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at the hours leading up to the concerts.

At Friday's show, Chesney performed 23 songs, including two from his upcoming release The Big Revival, which is due out September 23. Kenny even covered Hank Williams Sr.'s "Kaw Liga" and George Strait’s "Carried Away."

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Jason Aldean Making Big Announcement Tonight; New Album, "Old Boots, New Dirt," Due Out October 7


Broken Bow RecordsJason Aldean will release his new album, Old Boots, New Dirt, on October 7 featuring his latest hit, "Burnin' It Down." He revealed details on the album on BuzzFeed, where he'll host another surprise event Tuesday night at 8 ET.

Jason says, "It’s going to be a pretty big thing I think and something we’ve never done before.  Just hope everyone will tune in and check it out and see what we got going on."

As for the album title, Jason says it ties in with the "madness" he's experienced through in the last two years splitting with his wife in 2013 and forging a new relationship with girlfriend, Brittany Kerr.

Jason tells BuzzFeed, "In the last couple of years, it feels like everything I’ve done has been on blast, personally and professionally. That title and that song, ‘Old Boots, New Dirt,’ is about starting with a clean slate. I’m the same dude, but we’re gonna start over and hit some uncharted territory here.”

As evidenced by the lead single, Jason felt free to explore new sounds on Old Boots, New Dirts. The 15 songs on the album include everything from Southern rock and R&B to pop and classic country.

Jason says, "When we’re cutting a record, we don’t have any rules. It’s just about finding the best songs we can find.”

Here's the Old Boots, New Dirt track listing:
"Just Getting' Started"
"Show You Off"
"Burnin' It Down"
"Tryin' to Love Me"
"Sweet Little Somethin'"
"Laid Back"
"Tonight Looks Good on You"
"Too Fast"
"If My Truck Could Talk"
"Old Boots, New Dirt"
"I Took It with Me"
"Don't Change Gone"
"Miss That Girl"
"Gonna Know We Were Here"
"Two Night Town"

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Keith Urban Says Releasing Two Car Songs in a Row Is Just a Coincidence


Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleIf you think it's by design that Keith Urban followed his hit "Cop Car" with another automobile song, "Somewhere in My Car," he says you'd be wrong.

"It's not intentional. It's just the themes, I guess, that hit some of my songs," he says. "Not all of them, it's just with these singles -- the order of the singles has seen this car theme, but they're the only car songs on the whole album."

Keith admits he is definitely a car aficionado, though.

"It's the first thing, for me, that I was excited to be able to get, my first car," he recalls, "and most people remember what their first car was. My dad was a car-lover, so I really inherited that. My taste in cars run the gamut of all sort of eclectic things, but it's trucks, too. I love trucks, cars, everything, and we've got some truck songs on the record. But, 'Somewhere in My Car' is really, it's not really about a car so much as it is what happens in the backseat of a car."

When he's in the front seat, the Aussie superstar does follow some more serious pursuits, it turns out.

 "It's where I still listen to more music than anywhere, probably, in the car," he says. "It's just a great place of sort of coming to terms with everything, you know what I mean? It's the only quiet place you can get, sometimes, is in the car, as well."

Next weekend, Keith takes his Raise 'Em Up tour to Irvine and Mountain View, California.

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Carrie Underwood Announces She's Pregnant


Chris Hollo

Carrie Underwood picked an appropriate day -- Labor Day -- to announce that she and her husband Mike Fisher are expecting their first child.

Carrie posted on Twitter a photo of herself holding her two dogs, Ace and Penny.  The caption reads, "In honor of 'Labor' Day...Ace & Penny would like to make an announcement. Their parents couldn't be happier!"  Ace is sporting a t-shirt that reads "I'm gonna be a big brother," while Penny is wearing one that reads "I'm gonna be a big sister."

In case there was any question about whether or not Carrie and husband NHL player Mike Fisher were actually having a baby, or just getting a new puppy, he responded to a Twitter question to confirm that in fact the pair are expecting.

It's not clear how far along Carrie is in her pregnancy.  She and Fisher married in 2010.

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In honor of "Labor" Day...Ace & Penny would like to make an announcement. Their parents couldn't be happier! pic.twitter.com/bROrzuHJ4J

— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) September 1, 2014

 

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Taylor Swift Joining "The Voice" as Season Seven Mentor


Sarah Barlow/Big Machine RecordsGet ready to see a lot of Taylor Swift on your TV this season.  The singer has joined The Voice as a mentor for all four teams, US Weekly reports.

Taylor will be working with the show in the same way that Coldplay's Chris Martin did last season: she'll advise the contestants on the teams of veteran coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, as well as new coaches Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams.

As previously reported, each team will also have its own advisor: Stevie Nicks will work with Adam, while Alicia Keys joins Pharrell. Gwen's husband, rocker Gavin Rossdale, will advise her team, and Little Big Town will work with Blake.

A source tells US Weekly, "Taylor was an absolute pleasure to work with. She had great feedback for all the contestants. She made for an amazing mentor." 

The new season of The Voice begins September 22.  Taylor's new album, 1989, is out October 27.

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Taylor Swift Loves Blake Shelton's Pizza Hut Spots


Warner Music NashvilleTaylor Swift is apparently a fan of Blake Shelton's Pizza Hut commercials.

"I saw Taylor Swift this week," Blake tells Rolling Stone Country. "She said, 'You're so funny in those Pizza Hut commercials!' And I said, 'Yeah, Taylor. That was my goal all along as a kid: to make it to this level in country music so I could sell the most amount of pizzas possible… reach the biggest audience of pizzas that I possibly can," he jokes.

Next up, Blake returns to his regular TV gig when the new season of The Voice starts September 22. The avid sportsman's only regret is that he'll be so busy he won't be able to spend much time in a tree stand this year.

"It's funny, because every year for the past 10 years, I've had this phone call with my manager where I say, 'Hey man, this fall… I'm not kidding this time, I'm not doing it. I don't care what it is. I'm tired, I want to protect my fall — that's when deer season starts. I just want to be home.' And here we go again."

Blake's new album, Bringing Back the Sunshine, comes out September 30, right before he wraps up his tour at the Hollywood Bowl on October 4.

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Country Stars Take Center Stage on MDA Show of Strength


Big Machine Label GroupRascal Flatts, Brad Paisley, LeAnn Rimes, Sara Evans and Nashville's Charles Esten all take center stage on this weekend's MDA Show of Strength Telethon. Rascal Flatts' performance of "I Wish" and Sara's "A Little Bit Stronger" were both taped on the Grand Ole Opry stage.  The traditional Labor Day weekend special raises money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. You can catch this year's two-hour version this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Lee Ann Womack and John Legend Team Up for CMT Crossroads


Sugar Hill Lee Ann Womack teams up with John Legend for CMT's next episode of Crossroads. The pair will sing alternate versions of each other's hits and duet on others, in a taping outside Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee before the special  premieres in September.

Legend won the 2005 Best New Artist Grammy and performed his most recent smash hit "All of Me" at June's CMT Awards with Jennifer Nettles and Hunter Hayes. Lee Ann's latest single is the title track from her new album The Way I'm Livin', her first in almost six years.

Fans can enter CMT's Destination Crossroads sweepstakes to win airfare, hotel and spending money for the taping between now and September 10. CMT Crossroads:  John Legend and Lee Ann Womack airs September 26 at 10 p.m. ET, just a few days after Lee Ann's album comes out on the 23rd.

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Jason Aldean Rolls Out Steamy Clip for "Burnin' It Down"


Image Courtesy Jim Wright/Broken BowYou can check out Jason Aldean's steamy new video for "Burnin' It Down" on E!'s Music Channel.  The sexy clip, shot in Nashville earlier this month, features a scantily-clad brunette seducing a guitar player at home, while Jason and his band perform the song amid a pyro-laced backdrop.

Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley are two of the song's co-writers. It's the first single from Jason's sixth studio album, titled Old Boots, New Dirt. It's due October 7, before Jason wraps his tour in Texas on October 25.

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Brad Paisley Calls Out E! News over Taylor Swift Headline


Arista NashvilleBrad Paisley is apparently not too happy with E! News. In response to E!'s online article titled Taylor Swift’s ‘Becoming More of a Product’ as a Pop Music Singer, Says Brad Paisley,” the singer tweeted, "Bulls**t headline, E. Nice interview. Go taylor.”

Though the headline seems to indicate that Brad has some problem with Taylor’s acknowledgement that her forthcoming album 1989 will be her first full-blown pop effort, the article itself points out that she and Brad are longtime friends.  He goes on to call the crossover “admirable” and to say she “has the vision for who she wants to be going forward.”

In the quote where he actually uses the world “product,” Brad is talking about how Taylor has grown from her Music City roots.

"People are going to have to get used to it cause it's not the Taylor Swift obviously that you knew,” he told E! News. “Because this is somebody -- like, she was talking about how she cut her hair, and she is spending time in different cities more and becoming more of a product -- and she is a world famous superstar now. She is just not Nashville's, [and] we just have to kind of get used to that."

So far, there’s no response from Taylor on the minor brouhaha. Her new album is due October 27, while Brad’s latest, Moonshine in the Trunk, came out last Monday.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockOn which hit reality show was Chase Rice a runner-up? ANSWER:  Survivor: Nicaragua in 2010.

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Toby Keith Opens "Big Dog Daddy's" in Time for First OU Game


Show Dog/Universal Though his name is already over the door in at least sixteen locations of I Love This Bar & Grill, Toby Keith can now count one more restaurant as part of his empire. This week, Big Dog Daddy's Ice House opened in Norman, Oklahoma, achieving its goal to be ready for this year's first University of Oklahoma home football game on Saturday.

Big Dog Daddy's is a "casual, college bar setup" with an "old classic Texas Ice House feel," according to The Norman Transcript. Toby's partners in the venture are the Hal Smith Restaurant Group, who also run the Oklahoma locations of I Love This Bar & Grill.

The menu revolves around build-your-own hot dogs, burgers and pizza, and also features Toby's signature fried bologna sandwich.  Big Dog Daddy's also serves up jalapeno Spam on Texas toast, along with "Red Solo Cup" specials, in a tip of the hat to Toby's hit song.

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