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Carrie Underwood Avoids Holiday Shopping Crowds at All Costs


Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleYou won't find Carrie Underwood anywhere near a mall this holiday season.

"I do not do crowds," she says. "Never have."

Growing up in Oklahoma, Carrie went with her mother to Walmart just about every Black Friday, and the experience seriously freaked her out.

She explains, "I'd have to leave the store because I would hyperventilate and need to get out."

These days Carrie ends up looking for good deals online instead of in stores.

She says with a laugh, "I like the online shopping. I'm more of a Cyber Monday kinda girl."

Carrie has a gift for her fans this holiday season. Her double-disc Greatest Hits: Decade #1 compilation comes out December 9 featuring her latest hit, "Something in the Water."

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Miranda Lambert Appearing on Shelter Pet Adoption Special Thanksgiving Night


Image Courtesy Becky FlukeMiranda Lambert is one of the stars appearing on Fox's Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular Thanksgiving night. The special is designed to raise money for and awareness of shelter pets, and that's a cause very dear to Miranda's heart. She just opened a no-kill shelter, Redemption Ranch, in her hometown of Tishomingo, Oklahoma.

As for appearing on the Fox special, Miranda says, "I'm thankful for anybody that's willing to put something together to celebrate shelter pets. That's what I do."

Pedigree is one of the show's sponsors, and Miranda has worked extensively with the dog food company to help get shelter pets adopted.

"Pedigree renovated 48 shelters this year and gave 500,000 pounds of food away, including pallets and pallets of it to my shelter," Miranda says. "So, when I'm not doing music, I'm doing something with animals. It's my other passion."

Jane Lynch and Hilary Swank co-host Cause for Paws Thursday night on Fox. Scarlett Johansson, Betty White, Kristen Bell, Fergie and Pink are among the other stars appearing on the special.

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Cole Swindell Says Performing on Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade "Doesn't Even Seem Real"


Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleCole Swindell usually heads back home to Georgia for Thanksgiving, but he's making an exception this year to sing at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Cole grew up watching the parade every year, and he's having trouble processing that he'll actually be a part of the event on Thursday.

He says, "That doesn’t even seem real. Especially from, you know, the folks where we're from, we've all watched that. Even New York is bigger than we've ever imagined."

Cole expects he'll be getting a lot of texts and phone calls from friends and family back home that day.

"My family's gonna be gathered around and waching," Cole says. "It's gonna be fun."

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade airs Thursday morning on NBC. Dan Shay will perform during the parade, too.

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Lady Antebellum's Dave Haywood Navigates the Family Politics of Having a New Baby at Thanksgiving


Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum's Dave Haywood and wife, Kelli, will be spending their first Thanksgiving with their baby boy, Cash, this week. Of course, everyone else in Dave and Kelli's family wants to see Cash on Thanksgiving, too. Dave isn't getting into the what he jokingly calls the "dirty politics" of visiting his family over Kelli's family this holiday season though.

He says, "I think for the holidays this year, it's just gonna be about, 'What's the most amount of family we can get him around.' Everybody wants to see him."

Dave and Kelli have come up with a great solution to give Cash the most family time possible on Turkey Day.

"I think we're gonna, obviously, entertain everybody coming to Nashville and being with us probably more than us traveling too much during the holidays," Dave says.

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Garth Brooks Spends Second Week at #1 on Country Albums Chart with "Man Against Machine"


Image Courtesy RCA/PearlGarth Brooks spends a second week at #1 on Billboard's Country Albums chart with Man Against Machine. According to Nielsen Soundscan, the project moved 62,000 copies to come in at #5 on the overall Billboard 200 Albums chart.

Man Against Machine is available in physical form at all retailers, but you can get it digitally only at Garth's GhostTunes.com.

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Sam Hunt Bringing His Band and Crew Home to Georgia for Thanksgiving


Image Courtesy MCA Nashville/McClisterSam Hunt has a show in Florida the day after Thanksgiving, so he's bringing his entire band and crew home to Georgia to celebrate Turkey Day. It's no problem since Sam's hometown is on the way from Nashville to Florida.

He says, "[We] get together with my dad’s folks for lunch and then my mom’s folks for dinner.  I’m gonna bring the guys down, and they’re just gonna be part of the family."

Sam plays Tallahassee, Florida, Friday night prior to the Florida-Florida State game on Saturday.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the name of Miranda Lambert's boutique with locations in her hometowns of Tishomingo, Oklahoma, and Lindale, Texas? ANSWER:  The Pink Pistol.

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Carrie Underwood's Pregnancy Leads Her to Get Serious About Celebrating the Holidays


Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryCarrie Underwood and her husband, Nashville Predators hockey player Mike Fisher, won't get to spend all of Thanksgiving Day together since he has a game that night.

"Our Thanksgivings and actually our holidays are kind of a mess, to be honest, because our plans revolve around mainly his hockey schedule," Carrie admits.

Now that they're expecting their first child, Carrie is committed to really celebrating holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, though.

She says, "I told him this year, I was like, 'I'm really tired of skipping holidays.' I feel like, especially now, we need to make it more of an effort to, no matter what situation or what hand we're dealt, you know, make that special."

Carrie is making the best of the situation this Thanksgiving and inviting a few of her "misfit friends" over for a big meal.

"I guess we'll be watching Mike on TV as we're eating our stuffing and pumpkin pie and things like that," Carrie says. "But he can come join us afterwards. So, I think that's -- we're just gonna make it special one way or another."

Look for Carrie to perform her new song, "All Is Well," with Gospel artist Michael W. Smith on the CMA Country Christmas special this Monday night at 8 ET on ABC.  The duet appears on Michael's new holiday album, The Spirit of Christmas, on sale now.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockJason Aldean and Bob Seger's CMT Crossroads episode premieres Friday night at 10 ET.

Thomas Rhett loves to eat dressing at Thanksgiving, but he's not a fan of gravy.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill try to take their three daughters to the beach every Thanksgiving.

The Band Perry's Kimberly Perry makes a sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and a "sugary nutty topping" every Thanksgiving.

Josh Turner had released the video for "Lay Low," the lead single from his new studio album due out in 2015.

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Luke Bryan Thankful for the 1.7 Million Fans Who Came to See Him This Year


Image Courtesy Dick Clark Productions/ABCWhen Luke Bryan sits down to Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, he'll definitely be thinking about the 1.7 million fans who came to see him in concert this year.

Luke tells ABC New Radio, "I'm thankful for just another year in this business where I felt a lot of love from a lot of people, a lot of fans. We went out and worked our butt off this year and stayed safe and stayed healthy."

All that hard work ended up securing a CMA Entertainer of the Year trophy for Luke earlier this month.

He adds, "I feel like we still moved the needle a little bit and really made some things happen out there."

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Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman Wants You to Help Lend a Ham to Those in Need


Image Courtesy Sandbox EntertainmentLittle Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman has teamed up with Smithfield Brand meats for their Lend a Ham campaign this holiday season.

Every time someone tweets @SmithfieldBrand or posts on their Facebook wall using the hashtag #LendAHam, the company will donate one serving of protein to a food bank, up to one million servings.

To launch the campaign, Kimberly went undercover at a grocery store to hand out $100 gift cards to unsuspecting customers. Highlights from Kimberly's giveaway are now featured in a new YouTube video.

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Joe Nichols Gets a Surprise Visit from Randy Travis at Ft. Worth Concert


Image Courtesy BJ Yeager/Red Bow RecordsJoe Nichols got a surprise visit from Randy Travis over the weekend. Randy attended Joe's show at Billy Bob's Texas Saturday night in Ft. Worth, Texas. The two shared some barbecue, and Joe honored the country legend with an acoustic performance of Randy's song "Promises."

Joe and Randy sang a duet of "Tonight I'm Playin' Possum" in tribute to the late George Jones on Randy's 2013 album, Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am. Randy hasn't made many public appearances since suffering a stroke and undergoing heart surgery last year.

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Big & Rich Playing AutoZone Liberty Bowl Halftime Show December 29 in Memphis


Image Courtesy Webster PRBig & Rich will perform at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Halftime Show in Memphis December 29. They'll also headline the President's Gala Dinner Dance at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis on December 28.

Big & Rich will also receive the Liberty Bowl's Outstanding Achievement Award at the dinner recognizing their achievements in the music world. Previous recipients include Clint Black, Alabama and Little Richard.

For more information on the game, go to AutoZoneLibertyBowl.org. It airs on ESPN December 29 at 2 p.m. ET.

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Sara Evans Debuts Explosive New Video for "Put My Heart Down"


Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleSara Evans doesn't have any co-stars in her new video for "Put My Heart Down." The clip features Sara alone in Nashville's Riverside Mansion, surrounded by hundreds of lights, which are meant to signify the light coming on in her head that this relationship is over. Eventually, the lights explode, something Sara feels demonstrates the song's sad lyrics and happy melody.

She says, "You have such beautiful and pretty scenes with the soft lighting and beautiful mansion, contradicted by the exploding bulbs.  I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.”

Sara premiered the video for "Put My Heart Down" exclusively at RollingStone.com. It's the latest single from her current album, Slow Me Down.

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Garth Brooks Canceling This Week's TV Appearances in Wake of Unrest in Ferguson, MO


Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryGarth Brooks is rescheduling as many TV appearances as possible this week, due to the riots in Ferguson, MO.  This includes his planned appearance on Live with Kelly & Michael Tuesday, a Thursday night appearance on NBC's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and a Friday morning appearance on NBC's Today. Garth is also slated to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which tapes in Los Angeles, on Tuesday afternoon. He taped that appearance Monday before the grand jury's decision was announced not to indict police officer Darren Wilson on murder charges in the death of Michael Brown.

Garth sent an email to fans Tuesday, saying, "We landed in New York last night to the news of the civil unrest that was going on in our nation. To spend the day promoting our stuff like nothing was wrong, seemed distasteful to me. I will gladly reschedule any or all appearances the networks will allow. Love one another...g"

We'll keep you posted on Garth's confirmed cancellations and rescheduled appearances.

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Randy Houser Surprises Military Family with VIP Trip to His Upcoming Tucson Concert


Image Courtesy EckrichRandy Houser was the bearer of really good news for one military concert during a backstage visit at his show in Baltimore, Maryland, on Saturday night. Air Force Staff Sergeant Christopher Solso and his wife, Clare, were surprised with a meet-and-greet with Randy, who presented them with a voucher for a year of free groceries on behalf of Eckrich meats' Operation Inspiration campaign and Operation HomeFront.

Randy will also host the Solso family for a VIP trip to his December 14 concert in Tucson, Arizona. The husband and wife will tour the film studio in Tucson where Randy shot his latest video, "Like a Cowboy," before seeing Randy's show that night at the city's Fox Theater.

Randy says, "Being a part of Operation Inspiration and getting to meet with military families like Christopher and Clare Solso is such an honor. I am proud to have been a part of this surprise and can’t wait to see them again in December."

For more information on Operation Inspiration, go to Facebook.com/EckrichMeats.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockKelly Clarkson's husband, Brandon, is the manager of which country superstar? ANSWER: Blake Shelton.

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Dustin Lynch Gets a Big Career Boost with First #1 Hit, "Where It's At"


Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsDustin Lynch had a party in Nashville Monday night celebrating the first #1 hit of his career, "Where It's At." The song has elevated Dustin's career to a new level on the road.

"It's crazy to go in any town in the country and have that many faces looking back at you singing," Dustin says. "Our audience has grown tremendously over the course of the summer as this song has grown in numbers and in just energy that they're bringing to the show."

When Dustin has a big hit song like "Where It's At," his band and road crew feel the effects, too.

He explains, "We rely on hit songs to make a living and to pay for diapers, too. A hit song definitely benefits a lot more people than just myself out there."

Dustin's mom and dad drove into Nashville from their hometown of Tullahoma, Tennessee, about an hour outside of Music City. Dustin's sister, however, felt bad that she couldn't get away for the party since she has two kids.

Dustin says, "Since Thanksgiving starts tomorrow, I'm gonna see them tomorrow, so I told them not to worry about it."

Dustin has released the new song "Hell of a Night" as the follow up to "Where It's At." Both tracks are included on his sophomore album, Where It's At, out now.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockToby Keith's new video for "Drunk Americans" premieres on CMT Thursday.

Garth Brooks appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tuesday.

Jake Owen premiered the video for his latest single, "What We Ain't Got," at ETOnline.com Monday.

Kelly Clarkson loves Little Big Town's next single, "Girl Crush," so much she covered it during a recent concert. A video of the performance is on YouTube.

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Toby Keith and Lady Antebellum Playing College Football National Championship Concert Special


Image Courtesy Show Dog/UniversalToby Keith and Lady Antebellum will perform on CMT's Ultimate Kickoff Party Live from the College Football Playoff National Championship special. The show airs Friday, January 9, 2015 at 9 p.m. ET from Dallas, in connection with the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship.  That's set for January 12, 2015 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Big & Rich and Brett Eldredge will also perform on the 90-minute special. More acts will be announced soon.

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