Thanksgiving is officially a holiday, but that won’t stop many of country music’s top stars from working while the rest of us eat.
Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and James Otto are a few of the artists who have Turkey Day activities planned. Some of those appearances — including Taylor’s first-ever network special — were already shot. But others, such as Gloriana’s appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, indeed occur in real time.
Here’s a roundup of country-related Thanksgiving stuff:
• The one-hour “Taylor Swift–Speak Now” debuts at 8 p.m. ET on NBC with a series of performances shot in unique locations, including New York’s Central Park and Los Angeles’ Hollywood Walk of Fame, where Taylor gave a one-song concert for fans who gathered to see her based on a single, short Tweet. According to The Dallas Morning News, a performance of a new song, “Haunted,” was also shot at the Psycho attraction at Universal Studios in L.A.
• Keith Urban will perform the halftime show in the Dallas Cowboys-New Orleans Saints NFL game to officially kick off the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign. Editor’s note: On Wednesday, Dec. 1 at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, GAC will premiere Keith Urban: Halftime in Real Time, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Keith’s halftime show.
• Josh Gracin is slated to sing the national anthem for the Detroit Lions’ game against the New England Patriots. Kid Rock will play the Lions’ United Way halftime show, designed to call attention to the issue of childhood obesity.
• Sugarland appears on “CNN Heroes: An All Star Tribute,” a special that was shot Saturday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The duo does “Stand Up” from its current album, The Incredible Machine, and shares the stage with such celebrities as Bon Jovi, John Legend, Jessica Alba and Renee Zellweger. “If people have never seen this show, really check it out,” Jennifer Nettles says. “It will make you feel warm and fuzzy and grateful and moved. It will probably make you love your family even more when you see these wonderful people doing wonderful things.”
• Gloriana does “Wild At Heart” during its ride down Broadway in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade from Manhattan. Crystal Shawanda will also appear on the Onieda Indian Nation’s True Spirit of Thanksgiving float singing “Let’’s Come Together.” “I watch the Macy’s parade every year with my family,” Crystal says, “so this is as surreal for me as it is exciting.” Also in the parade: one-time country singer Jessica Simpson and the cast of Million Dollar Quartet, a Broadway production that revolves around Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.
• Carrie Underwood is set to appear on “The Thanksgiving Day Parade On CBS.”
• Aaron Tippin is in the Middle East, performing for U.S. soldiers who can’t be home for the holidays.
• Chuck Wicks will play a free tree-lighting event at the Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, joined by “American Idol” graduate Katharine McPhee and R&B vocalist Bobby V.
• James Otto and Ronnie Milsap will cover their smokin’ duet, “Good Thing’s Gone Bad,” on NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” backed by the show’s house band, the Roots. The song appears on James’ current album, Shake What God Gave Ya.
• Dolly Parton is slated for the syndicated talk show “Live! With Regis And Kelly.” It’s actually a repeat from earlier this year.
• There are plenty of viewing options on GAC, including Conversations From The Road: Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts: Why Wait, George Strait: ACM Artist Of The Decade All Star Concert and Country Comes Home: An Opry Live Celebration, which included Blake Shelton’s invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry.