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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockChase Rice is a co-writer on which one of Florida Georgia Line's #1 hits? ANSWER: "Cruise."

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Billy Currington Has the Crowds Going Wild with "We Are Tonight"


Image Courtesy Mercury NashvilleBilly Currington had his concert crowds in mind when he recorded his latest hit, "We Are Tonight." Now that fans are screaming the lyrics back to him, Billy is seeing his vision for "We Are Tonight" come to life.

"When I heard the song, I was like, 'Now there is an anthem for the live show,'" Billy explains.  "As I grew to know the song better and better, and, of course, when I finally recorded it, I just started envisioning everybody chanting the 'We Are Tonight.'"

The song is now getting the biggest response of any number in Billy's set, so he's pushed "We Are Tonight" towards the end of the show.

Says Billy, "People are singing it as loud as they can, probably louder than any song that I have right now. I don’t know if it’s just ‘cause it’s current and they’re hearing it a lot, but, boy, they sing it loud."

"We Are Tonight" is the title track of Billy's current album, available in stores and online now. Look for him on the road with Lady Antebellum through August 31.

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Taylor Swift Jammed with Oscar Winner Jeff Bridges on "The Giver" Movie Set


Courtesy The Weinstein CompanyTaylor Swift is one of the stars of the much-anticipated movie The Giver, in which she appears opposite such acting heavyweights as Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep.  Not only did she bond with Bridges on set, but according to the Oscar-winning actor, they got to spend some of their downtime jamming.

Bridges is also a musician who's recorded a few albums and toured.  He told reporters at Comic-Con in San Diego this week, "Taylor was so terrific. Our scenes we had together, a lot of [them] were at a piano. So, we [both being] lovers of music, we talked a lot about music, and we got to pick a little between set-ups and stuff."

So what did Bridges think of Taylor's performance in The Giver? She plays Rosemary, a small but crucial role, and her character has a deep connection to The Giver, played by Bridges.  "She's so, so sweet and such a good actress," he said. "And, of course, a phenomenal songwriter and musician."

So, does he think Taylor has a future as an actress?  "Oh, I think so. Yeah!" he replied.

The Giver is Taylor's third film: her first was 2010's Valentine's Day.  She also voiced a role in the 2012 animated film The Lorax.  On TV, she's appeared on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and New Girl, and has hosted Saturday Night Live.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockChase Rice will perform "Ready Set Roll" on NBC's Late Night with Seth Meyers Wednesday, August 6. The appearance marks Chase's late-night TV debut. His full-length album, Ignite the Night, comes out August 19.

Montgomery Gentry's new single, "Headlights," hits the airwaves next month.

Miranda Lambert tells People she named her latest rescue dog Bellamy after one of hubby Blake Shelton's favorite groups, The Bellamy Brothers. She says, "I figured naming him that might soften the blow of a sixth puppy!"

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Is Garth Brooks Planning a Mini-Residency in Chicago?


Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Schmidt RelationsTickets for Garth Brooks' first World Tour stop in Chicago go on sale Friday morning. So far, he's only announced a Thursday, September 4 date at Allstate Arena, but fans can expect more shows to be added once that show sells out.

As it stands now, Garth's show is the only event taking place at the Allstate Arena for a three-week period, starting August 24 and running through September 16. That means Garth's Chicago engagement could potentially turn into a mini-residency.

Garth will announce future tour cities individually.  His wife Trisha Yearwood is set to open all shows.

Fans can expect to hear new music from Garth, as well as his signature hits like "Friends in Low Places" and "The Thunder Rolls." He performed a full-band show at the Wynn Las Vegas this past New Year's Eve, and Garth says all of those '90s hits stood the test of time when he played them for the Sin City crowd.

"Now, the people's voice will tell me if that happens when we go out on tour," Garth says, "but from an artist looking at the music, I feel very lucky to be associated with songs like those."

A new single from Garth is expected at radio in the coming weeks, with a new double-album coming out around Thanksgiving. In addition, his back catalog will be available digitally for the first time soon at GarthBrooks.com.

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Kenny Rogers Giving In-Depth Interview at Country Music Hall of Fame August 16


Image Courtesy Webster PRKenny Rogers will sit down for an in-depth interview at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville August 16 to celebrate the new exhibit, Kenny Rogers: Through the Years. If you can't attend, you can watch the event live that day at 3:30 p.m. ET at CountryMusicHallofFame.org/streaming.

Kenny's exhibit opens August 15 and runs through June 14, 2015.

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The Band Perry and Miranda Lambert Performing on "Fashion Rocks" September 9


Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleThe Band Perry and Miranda Lambert will celebrate the connection between style and music when performing at this year's Fashion Rocks concert on CBS. The show airs live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Tuesday, September 9. Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, Usher and KISS are among the other stars on the bill.  Ryan Seacrest will host.

Look for even more stars to join the lineup in the coming weeks. If you want to be there in person, tickets go on sale Friday, August 1 through Ticketmaster.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the name of Carrie Underwood's Oklahoma hometown? ANSWER: Checotah.

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New ACM Sweepstakes Lets Fans Play Fantasy Football with Darius Rucker, Florida Georgia Line and More


Image Courtesy ACMFootball fanatics Darius Rucker, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Young and Little Big Town's Jimi Westbrook are among the stars heading up fantasy football leagues this fall, and ACM Lifting Lives is giving you a chance to get in on the action.

The Academy of Country Music has partnered with CBSSports.com for a new celebrity fantasy football sweepstakes. One $5 donation to ACM Lifting Lives, the Academy's charitable arm, is good for one entry into the sweepstakes. A few lucky winners will then be invited to join the games with country stars serving as league commissioners.

Sara Evans, Jana Kramer, Love and Theft and Montgomery Gentry are also taking part in the sweepstakes. Go to ACMLiftingLives.org now through Saturday, August 9 for your chance to win.

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Jack White, Dave Matthews, Neil Young, John Mellencamp & Willie Nelson to Headline Farm Aid 2014


Farm AidThis year's Farm Aid benefit show will take place on September 13 in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the lineup includes all the usual suspects, plus one new face: Jack White.

White will join Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and Neil Young on the bill at the event, which takes place at Raleigh's Walnut Creek Amphitheater.  Tickets go on sale August 1 at 10 a.m. ET.  Others on the bill include country star Jamey Johnson, the Preservation Jazz Hall Band, and the group Delta Rae.

In a statement, Willie Nelson, Farm Aid's president, says, "In North Carolina and across the Southeast, family farmers have struggled to stay on the land, but they have also pioneered new roads to economic sustainability. This region knows the value of its farmers and offers increasing opportunities for new farmers to build a strong regional food system."

He adds, "On the Farm Aid stage Saturday, September 13, we'll celebrate family farmers and the healthy communities they're growing for all of us."

Mellencamp added in a statement that Farm Aid has a "fair-like feeling," explaining, "All day long, people are performing onstage and food from family farmers is being served. It’s a great occasion for families to come listen to great music and teach their children about where their food comes from."

Farm Aid was inspired by something Bob Dylan said at Live Aid in 1985: he noted that he hoped some of the money raised would go to help farmers who were in danger of losing their farms because they couldn't pay their mortgages.  Later that same year, the first Farm Aid concert was held in Champaign, Illinois, with a massive lineup of performers, including Dylan, Mellencamp, Nelson and Young, plus Bon Jovi, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed, Carole King, Huey Lewis, Roy Orbison, Billy Joel and dozens more.  Since then, Farm Aid events have raised $45 million to support family farmers.

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Kenny Chesney's Latest Hit, "American Kids," Will Be a Cornerstone of His Upcoming Concert Set Lists


Image Courtesy Blue Chair/Sony Music NashvilleKenny Chesney will most likely return to the concert trail in a big way next year, and his latest hit, "American Kids," will be a centerpiece of his new live show. The song excites Kenny because it sounds unlike anything he's put out in the past.

"It's fun to have a melody that you may not have had before," Kenny says. "It was kind of the same way I felt about 'Somewhere with You' when that first came out. I knew exactly where I was gonna put that song in the show, and how it was gonna make our show a little bit different with a few more twists and turns. And I feel that way about 'American Kids.'"

Kenny can't tell you exactly where the new single will fall in his 2015 set list, but he can't wait to see his fans have a good time singing along with it.

Says Kenny, "It's such a fun, summer song. It's going to be a song that I feel like that is gonna be a part of our life for a long time. I can't wait to see how it comes across."

Kenny will be performing "American Kids" at his one-off show August 16 at the Florida-Alabama line on Perdido Key. His new album, The Big Revival, comes out September 23.

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Keith Urban Raises 'Em Up with Birthday Boy Jerrod Niemann and Pal Brett Eldredge Starting Tonight


Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleKeith Urban's Raise 'Em Up tour takes its name from the Eric Church duet on his latest album, Fuse. Keith felt the song's anthemic feel and empowering lyrics captured how he feels about performing for his fans.

Says Keith, "I thought the essence and spirit of that song is really what playing live is all about for me. It's a sense of community. It's a sense of oneness. It's a sense of optimism."

Unfortunately, Eric won't be on hand to sing "Raise 'Em Up" with Keith on this tour, but Jerrod Niemann and Brett Eldredge will bring fans plenty of excitement as the opening acts. Jerrod's stint on the tour starts in New Hampshire Thursday night, which just happens to be his 35th birthday.

Jerrod calls opening for Keith "the best birthday present ever." He says, "Just want to say thank you to him for letting me and my buddy Brett Eldredge come out and spend a summer with him. It's gonna be a blast."

Go to KeithUrban.net to see the complete list of Raise 'Em Up tour dates.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockHunter Hayes and band and crew took the bullet train from Osaka to Tokyo Tuesday on his current tour of Japan.

Carrie Underwood is playing both shows at the Grand Ole Opry this Friday night.

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Miranda Lambert Shows Off Her On-the-Road Oasis


Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleMiranda Lambert is rocking out harder than ever on her just-launched Platinum tour, so she wanted her tour bus to be an oasis from the madness of being on the road. That's why she completely remodeled the interior with soft fabrics and colors for the 2014 tour.

Miranda showed off her new home on wheels in a new video posted on USA Today's website. She says, "When I come on here, I really just wanted to have a place that's like a cottage on wheels and I could really have relaxation before I have to go out there and hit the craziness."

The new tour bus is stocked with water, beer, wine, juice and snacks in her vintage-looking pink refrigerator. There's even a full-sized dresser and a laundry chute so Miranda can store and maintain all her stage clothes. After the shows, Miranda nods off to sleep in her back bedroom with about three dogs laying on top of her through the night.

Miranda is on the road all summer long on the Platinum tour. Go to MirandaLambert.com to see where she's playing next.

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Alan Jackson Exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame Opening August 29


Image Courtesy Kristy Belcher/Schmidt RelationsAlan Jackson's new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville opens August 29.

"Alan Jackson: 25 Years of Keepin' It Country" gives museum visitors a look at memorabilia including the water skis Alan wore in the "Chattahoochee" video, the guitar he played on the 2001 CMA Awards debuting "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" and the Harley-Davidson he posed with on the cover of his 1992 album A Lot About Livin' (and a Little 'bout Love).

Alan will also perform a few Artist-in-Residence shows at the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year. His exhibit runs through March 2015.

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Randy Travis's "Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am" Due Out August 19


Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleA second volume of Randy Travis's Influence album series is due out August 19. Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am features Randy's take on classics from Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Johnny Cash, Vern Gosdin and more.

Randy says, "The 'Influence' that the older, great ones had on me, and the 'Influence' that I may, somehow, have on the ones that come along after me, is God’s way of allowing us to pay it forward. It is my prayer answered -- and, His will done -- it is what makes me, 'the man I am.'"

Randy's Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am is now available for pre-order at iTunes. Several songs will be released to pre-order customers in the weeks leading up to album release.

Here's the Influence Vol. 2 The Man I Am track listing:

"I’m Moving On"
"Set 'Em Up Joe"
"Are the Good Times Really Over?"
"Nearly Lose Your Mind"
"There I've Said It Again"
"That's the Way Love Goes"
"Sunday Morning Coming Down"
"Don't Worry 'Bout Me"
"Mind Your Own Business"
"Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line"
"For the Good Times"
"California Blues"
"Tonight I'm Playing Possum" (Solo Version)

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Taylor Swift Shares Love Advice with Fan: "Unrequited Love Is Just as Valid as Any Other Kind"


Image Courtesy CMAIf she ever steps away from her music career, Taylor Swift definitely has a future as an advice columnist.

A fan named Hannah reached out to Taylor on Instagram asking the superstar for advice on how to deal with her unrequited feelings for a guy she's known for years.

Hannah, whose name on Instagram is SherbetSwift, describes her love interest as "a guy who's sweet and charming and makes me laugh. A guy who said sorry for eating in front of me after finding out I had to skip breakfast…A guy who was my first best friend." It turns out this guy has a girlfriend, whom Hannah describes as "pretty" and "nice" with an "amazing figure."

Taylor wrote a lengthy reply to Hannah, telling her that true love isn't just "the kind that lasts forever or is fully realized." She continues, "I think unrequited love is just as valid as any other kind. It's just as crushing and just as thrilling. No matter what happens in this situation, I want you to remember that what you are doing is selfless and beautiful and kind."

Taylor goes on to tell Hannah she'll someday find someone who loves her in that same, selfless way.

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Craig Morgan's 8th Annual Charity Event Raises $60,000 for Tennessee Foster Kids


Image Courtesy Angelyn Tinsley/Edwards Photography StudiosCraig Morgan's 8th annual Charity Event raised more than $60,000 on Sunday in Dickson, Tennessee. Fellow country stars Tracy Lawrence and Chuck Wicks joined Craig and a few other motocross celebrities for a motocross exhibition and trail ride before performing a concert that night at the Dickson War Memorial Lawn.

Proceeds from Craig's Charity Event go to the Dickson County Craig Morgan Foundation to assist foster kids in that county and throughout Middle Tennessee.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is Jake Owen's twin brother's name? ANSWER: Jarrod.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockMiranda Lambert has been covering ZZ Top's "Give Me All Your Lovin'" during her recent live shows.

Jake Owen has selected "What We Ain't Got" as the follow-up single to his #1 hit, "Beachin'."

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