News And Notes
Apr 16

Country Music Hall of Fame Celebrates Expansion with Grand Opening

Country Music Hall of Fame Celebrates Expansion with Grand Opening

Vince Gill delights the crowd with his rendition of “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s expansion ceremony on April 15, 2014. Photo courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled its 210,000-square-foot expansion on Tuesday, more than doubling the size of its home in downtown Nashville. The grand opening ceremony took place in the museum’s Event Hall overlooking the Nashville skyline. Vince Gill, the McCrary Sisters, Ricky Skaggs, the Valentines and Lee Ann Womack, accompanied by the Grand Opening All-Star Band under the direction of Buddy Miller, performed at the event.

Additionally, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Museum Director Kyle Young and museum board Chairman Steve Turner each delivered inspiring commemorative remarks. The celebration marked the final phase of the museum’s expansion, joining recently-opened additions including the 800-seat CMA Theater, the Taylor Swift Education Center, a new home for the letterpress operation Hatch Show Print and the Event Hall. The expansion also includes archival and library storage. Continue Reading

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Posted at 8:38 pm | Permalink
Apr 16

Justin Moore & Scott Borchetta Honored for Helping Military Families

Justin Moore & Scott Borchetta Honored for Helping Military Families

Justin Moore photo by Kristin Barlowe, courtesy of BMLG.

Justin Moore and BMLG President/CEO Scott Borchetta were jointly named the “Congressman Bill and Beverly Young Humanitarian of the Year” for their service and commitment to the morale and welfare of military families through the Crown Royal “Your Hero’s Name Here” contest by the Armed Forces Foundation. The pair were honored during the 10th annual Congressional Gala in Washington, D.C. on April 9.

“Although extremely grateful, I feel a little uncomfortable being honored at an event where there are decorated war heroes present,” Justin Moore said. “I feel that my contributions are much less significant than theirs. They are the true American heroes. However, I’m thrilled to know that what I do with the AFF has helped, and that it is appreciated by all. Both of my grandpas served in our military and they, along with my parents, instilled in me what our servicemen and women mean to us. It was an honor to tell some of them face to face last night. God bless our troops and God bless America.” Continue Reading

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Apr 16

Martina McBride Rides Her Soul Train

Martina McBride Rides Her Soul Train

Martina McBride’s 2014 album, Everlasting.

By Bob Doerschuk

© 2014 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.

Country Music headliner Martina McBride’s catalog overflows with powerfully communicative performances. The playful “I Love You,” the heartbroken ballad “Wrong Again,” and the empowering anthems “Independence Day,” “This One’s for the Girls” and “Wrong Baby Wrong” unfold along clear lines of melody, which the five-time CMA Award winner animated with her own distinctive phrasing and interpretive sense.

In contrast, much of her new album, Everlasting, pays homage to R&B and showcases vocal improvisation. A perfect example would be “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” which in essence was a sketch over which Otis Redding unleashed his volcanic and highly extemporized performance. Speaking generally, the emphasis in soul music is often on the performance, while to paraphrase a familiar line in Music City, Country recordings start with and often stay grounded on the song.

“There are some differences in phrasing,” McBride noted. “When I was first thinking about making this record and finding songs that would fit my voice, I was a little bit overwhelmed. Tackling some of these songs was a bit intimidating. But then Don (Was, producer) helped me a lot. He said, ‘Just be you. Sing it how you would sing it.’ That was a liberating moment for me. I was like, ‘Oh! That makes sense!’” Continue Reading

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Apr 16

Rodney Atkins Holds StageIt Show for Holston United Methodist Home for Children

Rodney Atkins Holds StageIt Show for Holston United Methodist Home for Children

Rodney Atkins hosted a live Stage-It show and online auction to raise funds for Holston United Methodist Home for Children. Photo courtesy of Scott Whitley.

Rodney Atkins and his wife, singer-songwriter Rose Falcon, celebrated Rodney’s recent birthday by hosting a live-streamed StageIt show and online auction to raise money for the Holston United Methodist Home for Children in Greenville, Tennessee. They both donated items for the auction, including handwritten and autographed lyrics and personal mementos such as Rodney’s first mounted buck and artwork painted and signed by Rose.

“Holston United Methodist Home took care of me as an infant and helped me find a place with my adoptive parents,” Rodney said. “It means so much to Rose and me to be able to give back to them through music and with the help of our fans and friends.” Continue Reading

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Apr 16

Exclusive: Sarah Darling’s Wedding Diary — The Wedding Registry

Exclusive: Sarah Darling's Wedding Diary -- Bachelorette Bliss

Sarah Darling tries on a beautiful wedding dress. Is it “the one”? Follow this Great American Country blog series to find out which one she chose for the big day! Photo by Sara Kauss Photography.

Sarah Darling and James Muriel tied the knot in a secret spur-of-the-moment ceremony back in April 2013 — but they’re still planning a big Nashville wedding in May 2014 to celebrate with family and friends! Sarah’s sharing her personal wedding diary exclusively with Great American Country. She’ll take us along on the whole journey, from the dress to the flowers to the big day. Check back every other Wednesday for a new post from Sarah!

The Wedding Registry:
This your chance to create the dream wish list for your home and new life together. What could easily be considered one of the most fun parts of planning a wedding sometimes ends up becoming stressful and overwhelming. It’s also extremely hard in the moment to pick things you actually like as a couple! Imagine yourself in a busy department store thinking of what you’ve always dreamed of. I find myself asking, ‘Do I really need a cake pop machine?’ I don’t know about you but I get hot flashes in those situations, and immediately want to beeline to the nearest Starbucks!

That’s when online shopping comes in. In fact, James and I chose a lot of our registry online. To avoid ending up with dozens of serving dishes, mismatched plates and no flatware at all, really take the time to register things that you both will like — and will want — in your new place together.

There are also questions to ask yourself: What type of couple are you? Do you both like cooking? Entertaining? Are you adventure seekers? Do you enjoy wine, cocktails, or beer? All of the above, none of the above? How you answer these questions will determine what you should be registering for. When you get down to it, James and I are all of the above.

We both definitely love cooking. I think if we had our way, we would have every kitchen gadget imaginable. Before James moved to Nashville, we would do Skype cooking together! We also love to travel and enjoy nice bottles of vino. Now it’s getting fun! This is the perfect way to start your registering. Continue Reading

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Posted at 9:37 am | Permalink
Apr 16

ACM Awards Sell Out Dallas Cowboy Stadium in 18 Minutes

Country music fans can’t wait to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Academy of Country Music Awards. Set for April 19, 2015 at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, fans snatched up 70,000 tickets in 18 minutes, selling out both the ACM Awards and the ACM Party for a Cause festival April 18-19. The events were the biggest and fastest selling in the Academy’s history.

“We want to thank the fans for their continued support,” Bob Romeo, CEO of the Academy, said. “This sale was unprecedented and far exceeded our expectations. We’re working hard to plan more events to accommodate as many fans as we can. Country music is alive and well in North Texas!”  Continue Reading

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Apr 15

How Sara Evans is Helping Busy Moms at Dinnertime

How Sara Evans is Helping Busy Moms at Dinnertime

Sara Evans photo courtesy of Sony Music Nashville.

Sara Evans has partnered with Hidden Valley Original Ranch for a program that helps busy moms during one of the most hectic times of their day – dinnertime. Hidden Valley’s limited edition “Twist on Tonight” activity box will offer simple solutions to involve kids in meal preparation through a variety of creative, hands-on activities that encourage healthy eating habits.

“With a blended family of nine, I know crunch time all too well,” Sara said. “I’m excited to help other moms with an activity box that includes my family’s favorite salad dressing, as well as simple solutions for making a meal everyone loves while spending quality family time together. Moms can also sign up to receive helpful texts during crunch time with tips from moms, including me.” Continue Reading

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Apr 15

Krystal Keith in the Kitchen: How to Make Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

Krystal Keith in the Kitchen: How to Make Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

Krystal Keith photo courtesy of Show Dog-Universal.

You may know Krystal Keith as the singer of the sweet father/daughter wedding dance song, “Daddy Dance With Me,” which she wrote for her own wedding as a surprise for dad Toby Keith. Or maybe you know her from her official debut single, “Get Your Redneck On.” [Get it here!] But did you know she’s also super talented in the kitchen? Krystal’s been creating delicious meals from family recipes for years and featuring them in her blog, The Barnyard Bistro. But now she’s sharing some of them exclusively with Great American Country! Check back with us every Tuesday for a new recipe from Krystal.

“Occasionally I find some great cuts of chicken that aren’t your everyday chicken breast,” says Krystal. “One of my favorite finds is boneless-skinless chicken thighs. They have so much flavor and the fact that they are boneless and skinless make them easy to cook, easy to eat and without the skin, they are also much healthier – bonus! I made honey mustard chicken bites years ago for a class on Spanish Tapas and decided to try that recipe out on these chicken thighs. It was delicious. The little blackened bits of honey on the edges combined with the subtle sharp flavor of the mustard makes this dish one that you will definitely want seconds of.”

Ingredients:
1.5lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 Tbsp honey (plus extra for finishing drizzle)
1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
2 tsp olive oil (plus extra for drizzling in pan)
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Krystal Keith in the Kitchen: How To Make Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

Photo by Krystal Keith.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine honey, mustard, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper; mix well. Rub the mixture generously over each thigh rolling the thighs back up to original shape. In an oven-safe skillet, drizzle oil and heat over medium-high heat. Once the oil is heated, Continue Reading

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Apr 14

Great American Country Announces Original Series Highway Cowboys and Junk Gypsies

Great American Country Announces Original Series Highway Cowboys and Junk Gypsies

Junk Gypsies

Great American Country, with its fresh all-American lifestyle positioning, has seen ratings growth of 23 percent among P25-54 viewers versus first quarter last year. Capitalizing on its viewership gains, the network will debut 150 hours of new, original programming in 2014, including the premieres of Highway Cowboys and Junk Gypsies coming in July.

Highway Cowboys, set deep in the wilds of Texas, follows a deadly epidemic sweeping through cattle country. Loose livestock become a lethal threat when they find themselves on the highways and byways of the Lone Star State. It’s life and death, and authorities are turning to the only experts who can handle the job: the Highway Cowboys. The 14 hour-long episodes focus on the brave men tasked with clearing the roads of wild animals. The stakes are high and this job is without question one of America’s dirtiest!

Highway Cowboys is a lively, exciting series that is beautifully shot and features heroic characters,” said Steven Lerner, senior vice president of programming and development for Great American Country, and its sister networks, HGTV and DIY Network. “It celebrates an American way of life that appeals to our viewers, who are hard workers themselves and have strong American values.” Continue Reading

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Posted at 3:39 pm | Permalink
Apr 14

Read an Excerpt from Josh Turner’s New Book

Read an Excerpt from Josh Turner's New Book

Photo courtesy of Essential Broadcast Media.

Josh Turner‘s book, Man Stuff: Thoughts on Faith, Family and Fatherhood, will be released nationwide April 29. In the book, Josh shares what he’s learned over the years as a son, brother, friend, husband and father.

“I was raised in a strong Christian family in a tight-knit community in rural South Carolina,” Josh says in the book’s introduction. “I was taught why being thoughtful, respectful, and considerate of others makes life more fulfilling, and why trusting God with your life’s decisions is wise. If all that sounds a little old-fashioned, well, that’s because it is. And I’m okay with that.”

In the following excerpt from Man Stuff, Josh reveals what happened when he took those life lessons and applied them to his career in the form of bus rules:

In the early days of my career, we all traveled on the same bus. By ‘we all’ I mean my wife, Jennifer, the crew, the band, everybody. That’s just how it is when you’re starting out. But I felt convicted that we needed some rules, some bus rules. So I posted a list in the bus. There were actually quite a few, but here are four I remember:

1. No women on the bus unless they’re family.
2. No alcohol, drugs, or smoking.
3. Clean up after yourself.
4. We play country music and we dress the part.

I remember playing at the Grand Ole Opry several years ago, and a member of another band got on our bus and “took” the rules and hung them up in the men’s bathroom of the Opry. As you might guess, this got me and my list a lot of attention—negative attention.

Billboard magazine even included it in a story they were doing at the time on touring in the music industry. My reaction to the whole thing was “What’s the big deal? I’m not ashamed of the rules on my bus. I don’t care what anybody else thinks about it. It’s my bus.”

I don’t post my bus rules anymore. Everybody who works for me knows what I expect, and they abide by those expectations—or they don’t work for me. I believe this is the way it is with our heavenly Father. God has rules and expects us to abide by them. This is His world, and He knows how it works best. If we don’t want to follow His rules, we’re free to find another bus. But His is the only one that’ll get us to where we really need to be.

[Excerpted from Man Stuff, Josh Turner, Thomas Nelson, Releasing Nationwide April 29, 2014]

Order a copy of Man Stuff >>

If you happen to be in the Nashville area on April 22 you can meet Josh, who’ll be signing copies of the book at Lifeway Christian Store in Franklin, Tenn. from 6:15-7:15 p.m. The signing is free and open to the public.

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