News And Notes
Jul 30

Meet Emi Sunshine


Photo courtesy of Emi Sunshine/Hamilton Music.

Emi Sunshine isn’t your average 10-year-old.

She is not only a singing sensation, she’s an old soul. As she sips her decaf iced mocha latte and politely leaves her bedazzled iPhone sitting on the table, it’s difficult to picture her playing in a sandbox or having a pillow fight. Her demeanor is cool and collected, not to mention mature beyond her years.

While other kids her age are getting ready for their first day of school, Emi is preparing for her Grand Ole Opry debut, slated for August 5.

The Madisonville, Tenn. native grew up listening to classic Bluegrass and country singers. Emi defines her music as “Americana Gospel,” taking influences from Ricky Skaggs, Amy Grant, Emmylou Harris and Buddy Miller.

Her mom, Alisha Hamilton, introduced Emi to music at a mere four years old. They wrote simple songs together, then advanced to songs she could play on her ukelele or mandolin. Eventually, her dad, Randall Hamilton, and brother, Johnathon Letner, helped out teaching her chords and leads, respectively.

Besides her impressive vocals and “sunny” personality, Emi rocks a unique style all her own. She buys almost all of her clothes at thrift stores or flea markets and owns more cowboy boots than she can count. Vintage hats are wardrobe staples, as are bandanas and jeweled headbands. She shared photos of some of her favorite outfits with us.

Pictures of Emi Sunshine>>

Still three years away from teenage-dom, Emi has already performed at the Ryman, appeared on the TODAY show and garnered over a million views on YouTube with her cover of “Folsom Prison Blues.”

Watch Emi perform on the TODAY show:

YouTube Preview Image

“I didn’t know what to say,” she says of her first viral hit, a cover of  Jimmie Rogers’ “Blue Yodel #6.” “When [the frenzy] died down I thought,’ That was good. That was a lot of fans we gained.’”

Indeed, she gained a lot of fans — loyal fans, that is. Her newest song, “Sweet Lucy,” already has 3,556 shares on Facebook. Emi enjoys the fame for a different reason than most young music stars, however. For her, it’s not about money or clothes. She just loves to play music. “I do want people to know me, and know who I am, and make a lot of people happy,” the singer said.

When discussing the Ryman, Emi reminds her road manager of a certain someone who stole her piece of pizza before the show. Confused, her road manager surrenders to Emi’s knowing stare as the pint-sized singer reveals the culprit: “Marty Stuart!”

Emi said playing on the Opry stage is a dream come true. “I thought it’d be a long time before I played [at the Opry.] That would’ve been my biggest goal. Now I don’t know what I’m gonna do,” she said, grinning.

For more information about performance dates, follow Emi Sunshine on her Facebook page.


Posted at 2:09 pm | Permalink
Jul 30

Luke Bryan Announces Farm Tour 2014

Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan photo by Joseph Llanes, courtesy of Schmidt Relations.

Luke Bryan has announced his sixth annual Farm Tour. This year’s tour will kick off in Knoxville, Tenn., on October 1 and wrap October 11 in Macon, Ga. As in previous years, a portion of proceeds will go to local college scholarships for students from a farming family within the communities the tour plays.

Last year, Bryan’s Farm Tour played for more than 115,000 fans in eight Farm Tour towns, breaking the previous year’s record. Special VIP experiences will be available for Farm Tour 2014.  The “Harvest Time VIP Experience” includes a general admission ticket which includes a VIP viewing area, a parking pass, access to VIP-only restrooms, limited edition Farm Tour poster, private cash bar and more. Continue Reading


Posted at 12:36 pm | Permalink
Jul 30

Thompson Square Recalls Heartache With New Single

Thompson Square

Thompson Square photo by Joseph Anthony Baker, courtesy of Dashboard Media.

Thompson Square’s Shawna and Keifer Thompson have been happily married for more than 15 years. Although they haven’t been on the dating circuit in a long time, they still remember the heartache that comes with a failed relationship. That heartache is reflected in their new single, “I Can’t Outrun You.”

“Everyone’s been in that situation where you’ve been with somebody for whatever length of time, and it goes south, and you try to move away, move across town — and, in my case, across five, six states — and you just can’t get away from the memory with the person,” Keifer Thompson told “That’s what the song is about. It’s a wonderfully written song.” Continue Reading


Posted at 10:00 am | Permalink
Jul 30

David Nail Announces I’m A Fire Tour

David Nail

David Nail photo by Jim Wright, courtesy of MCA Nashville.

David Nail has announced via Rolling Stone Country that he will kick off his I’m A Fire Tour this fall. The tour begins September 11 in Oxford, Miss., and runs through November, with stops in more than 20 cities. Nail will be joined by special guest duo Native Run.

“It’s so much fun to open up for big acts and know that there’s going to be 5, 10, or even 15,000 people out there when you play, but it’s always difficult to only play for 35 minutes,” Nail said. “I’ve always felt like we benefit so much more when we can really lay back and play an entire 75 to 90 minute show. We can show the range of the past three records.”

Watch the tour announcement below: Continue Reading


Posted at 6:00 am | Permalink
Jul 29

Dollywood Presents the Great American Country Show

Great American Country Show at Dollywood

Photo courtesy of

This summer, Great American Country and Dollywood team up to present the Great American Country Show at Dolly Parton‘s Celebrity Theater. Running May 24 through October 18, the 40-minute production features six country music acts including special appearances by famous country artists and Great American Country personalities Nan Kelley from Top 20 Country Countdown, Amie and Jolie Sikes of the Junk Gypsies, and Suzanne Alexander of Great American Playlist.

Along with live performances, Dollywood offers a variety of entertainment. Test your limits on some of Dollywood’s most exciting roller coasters, like Thunderhead and Daredevil Falls, or head over to Splash Country, home of Tennessee’s first and only water coaster —RiverRush®. Younger ones can enjoy Little Creek Falls with size-appropriate slides and an activity center. See local artisans’ creations in Craftsmans Valley. They use the same techniques as early Smoky Mountain settlers to forge iron, make candles, carve wood and blow glass.

Great American Country’s stars of LogHeads own a showroom in the heart of Craftsmans Valley. Gwen and Tommy Mitchell opened Rocky Top Log Furniture in Dollywood over 20 years ago. Now, they’re back with a custom line of log furniture made exclusively for Dollywood.


LogHeads, Gwen and Tommy Mitchell

In addition to its thrilling rides and attractions, Dollywood captures the culture of the Appalachian area. Every ride speaks to a unique aspect of the mountains or the South. There is even a historically accurate schoolhouse, fully operating grist mill and working train for visitors’ enjoyment. Dolly Parton fans can also explore Dolly’s Home-on-Wheels, a perfectly maintained bus that carried Dolly across the U.S. while she was touring.



Dolly Parton, photo courtesy of Dolly Records.

You’re bound to work up an appetite after a day at Dollywood. Luckily, Aunt Granny’s serves authentic southern cuisine, buffet-style, for hungry park-goers. For an afternoon treat, Sweet Shoppe offers a variety of sweets for the chocolate lovers to the ice cream fanatics.

Great American Country also hosts Great American Country Nights at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. Every night at park closing, a cast of 12 dancers and singers perform, accompanied by The Time Machine Band and hosts Shannon Thomason and Rachel Wallace.

Tune in to Great American Country for the premiere of Backstory: Dolly Parton on August 2 at 8/7c.>>


Posted at 3:35 pm | Permalink
Jul 29

Off the Map With Shannen & Holly Lets Fans Help Choose Their Adventures


Holly Marie Combs and Shannen Doherty want adventure and they need your help.

In the new original series Off the Map With Shannen & Holly, the traveling pair ask fans to help pick their adventures for their next stop, which will then appear on Great American Country in 2015. These two real-life celebrity friends travel with no agenda, visit unknown places and meet locals along the way. Great American Country follows the duo on their road trip through the southeastern United States where they explore the southern culture of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

Help Decide Their Next Adventure Now! >>

After her stint on Beverly Hills, 90210 Doherty co-starred with Combs as sister witches in The WB series Charmed for eight seasons. in 2010, Combs joined the Pretty Little Liars cast as the mother of Aria Montgomery, played by actress (and country artist) Lucy Hale. In their newest venture, Off the Map, these two real-life celebrity friends travel with no agenda, visit unknown places and meet locals along the way.

Their upcoming series is generating buzz on celebrity outlets like, E! News and TV Guide

“I always wanted to do something in the travel space and really explore America and all its diversity and beauty. To do that with my best friend just makes it that more special,” Doherty said.


“To travel America and see everything it has to offer, with my best friend, sounds like the perfect road trip,” adds Combs.

Help the girls choose what to do at their next stop by selecting an activity at You can also interact with the pair on Twitter using the hashtag #ShannenAndHolly.


Posted at 3:06 pm | Permalink
Jul 29

Tim McGraw Reveals More Details About His New Album

Tim McGraw's New Album - Sundown Heaven Town
Tim McGraw has revealed more details about his new album, Sundown Heaven Town, set for release on September 16. In addition to a collaboration with wife Faith Hill on his current single, “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s,” McGraw also worked with Catherine Dunn on “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” and Kid Rock on “Lincoln Continentals and Cadillacs,” which only appears on the album’s deluxe edition.

“This album is very encompassing of everything that I’ve done in my career,” McGraw said. “I think it’s a good microcosm of what my 20 or so years in music have been, in a lot of ways. You can certainly hear parts of my career throughout all of these songs, as well as the future and where my music is headed. To me, the title of the album is all about that time where you stop doing what you have to do, and start doing what you want to do. Continue Reading


Posted at 2:45 pm | Permalink
Jul 29

Great American Country’s ‘Backstory’ Features Dolly Parton


Dolly Parton photo courtesy of Dolly Records

Dolly Parton is a world-class actress, best-selling author, dedicated philanthropist and a savvy businesswoman who’s been charting her own course for decades. But before life in the spotlight, Parton lived a humble life in the Smoky Mountains. This Saturday at 8/7c, Great American Country’s Backstory gives you an inside look at Parton’s rise to fame and her myriad endeavors as a country music star.

Many people know Parton for her music, but Dollywood is almost as much of an institution as Parton herself, especially in East Tennessee. Her theme and water parks attract thousands of visitors and celebrities every year. HGTV’s own Property Brothers visited in April with their other brother, J.D. Scott.

Whether she’s on stage, in the studio or making appearances at Dollywood, Parton never forgets her less-than-glamorous childhood. Tune in to Backstory on Saturday, August 2 at 8/7c for the complete story about country music’s sweetheart, Dolly Parton.

See Dolly Parton’s Photos, Videos and More >>

Quiz: Test your Dolly Parton Knowledge >>


Posted at 12:04 pm | Permalink
Jul 29

Alan Jackson Exhibit to Open at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson photo courtesy of Schmidt Relations.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will open an exhibit celebrating Alan Jackson’s 25 years in country music on August 29. The Alan Jackson: 25 Years of Keepin’ It Country exhibit will run through March 2015. Jackson will also serve as the Museum’s next artist in residence, making him the first ever to serve in that capacity while also being the subject of an exhibit.

“This exhibit will be a rare treat for museum visitors,” Museum Director Kyle Young said. “Fans will recognize artifacts from milestone moments in Alan’s career, as well as items from his life away from the stage that are as personal as many of the songs he has penned over the years. This exhibit and his artist-in-residence shows this fall are not to be missed.” Continue Reading


Posted at 6:00 am | Permalink
Jul 28

Luke Bryan Partners With Miller Lite to Bring Servicemen and Women to Chicago Show

Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan photo by Joseph Llanes, courtesy of Schmidt Relations.

Luke Bryan has teamed up with Miller Lite to bring 45 Army and Air Force servicemen and women to the Chicago stop on his That’s My Kind of Night Tour on August 31 at Soldier Field, all expenses paid. The text-to-win promotion will only be available in Army and Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES) stores from May through August.

“We are excited to give these incredible servicemen and -women the chance to win a truly amazing experience with Luke Bryan and Miller Lite,” Ryan Reis, Miller Lite senior director, said. “It’s an honor and privilege for Miller Lite to give back to the heroes in our armed forces.” Continue Reading


Posted at 2:40 pm | Permalink