News And Notes
Apr 23

Take Our Country State of Mind Quiz

Country State of Mind Quiz

You know what pairs perfectly with country music? Travel, y’all. Country stars spend a lot of time on the road, riding their glamorous motor homes  from city to city to play music for their fans. Some artists also use their travel experiences as inspiration for songs.

Do you know which tune is about a band that shares its name with a state? How about which Jason Aldean song name-drops states like Indiana, Kansas and Oklahoma? Do you know which country stars named albums after their home states?

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Apr 22

7 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Celebrate Earth Day on April 22

Start an herb garden and hang it in your kitchen window. (Photo courtesy of HGTV Gardens)

Earth Day and Earth Month only occur once a year, but don’t limit “green” behavior to the 30 days of April. You can protect the environment every day by doing these seven simple tasks, and once they become habit, helping to preserve Mother Nature won’t seem like a chore.

1. Unplug — Instead of scrolling through Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or blogs tonight, flip through a neglected newspaper, magazine or book. Turn off the TV and cook an incredible meal with organic, local ingredients. Reconnect with your spouse, partner or family with an al fresco meal, drinks and music.

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Apr 21

Budget Wedding: 6 Ways to Save Money

Wedding Flowers on a Budget
For many engaged couples, wedding planning kicks into high gear this time of year. And while it’s fun choosing menu items, a cake and flower arrangements, it’s also stressful and exhausting, especially for anyone working with a tight budget. Since I’m in the midst of planning a wedding myself, I’d like to share some tips on how to save money and keep your sanity during the process.

Morning and non-Saturday weddings are very budget-friendly.
Want to save money before you even make the guest list? Choose an early start time on a weekday or Sunday. Most weddings start late Saturday afternoon or evening, with guests eating and drinking well into the night. A morning wedding requires less food, less (if any) alcohol and (probably) less dancing. Venues also offer cheaper rental rates on weekdays and Sundays. Continue Reading


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Apr 20

Miranda and Luke Win Big at ACM Awards

50th Annual ACM Awards

Everything is bigger in Texas, so the Academy of Country Music headed to the Lone Star State to celebrate the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, co-hosted by Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, home of the Dallas Cowboys. The evening kicked off with Keith Urban and Eric Church taking the stage to perform Church’s “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag” and the pair’s current duet, “Raise ‘Em Up.” Continue Reading


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Apr 18

Q&A With the Salvage Dawgs

Mike, Sally and Robert of Black Dog Salvage

In Great American Country’s new series, Salvage Dawgs, the guys at Virginia-based Black Dog Salvage are on a mission to find and repurpose the treasures hidden inside historic structures. The series premieres with two back-to-back episodes on Monday, April 20 at 10/9c, and if you haven’t jumped on the upcycling bandwagon yet, you’re about to.
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Apr 17

Spring Festivals in Bloom

Knoxville Dogwood Festival

Photo courtesy of

Spring should be officially titled the “season of festivals” due to the number of outdoor events that take place during its three-month stretch. The days last longer; people stay out later; music plays louder; the drinks taste better. Yes, spring has sprung in all its glory. Most of us look for excuses to get outside, eat good food and saunter with no agenda. Festivals lend themselves to this leisurely lifestyle quite well.

And while it seems like music festivals get all the attention this time of year, cities are also putting their region’s seasonal blooms on display with parades, contests and street fairs. Below are just a few of the festivals that celebrate the best of spring’s flora.
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Apr 17

Miranda Has Two Weeks at No. 1 on Top 20

MIranda Lambert - Little Red Wagon Video

Miranda pairs up with her favorite canine costar in “Little Red Wagon.” An avid dog lover, she is the founder of MuttNation Foundation to end animal cruelty, and href=”″>Redemption Ranch, a no-kill shelter in her home state of Oklahoma.

Miranda Lambert makes it two weeks at No. 1 on Top 20 Country Countdown with “Little Red Wagon,” but she had some serious competition! Carrie Underwood remained at No. 2 with “Little Toy Guns,” while Lambert’s husband, Blake Shelton, made it to the list with “Sangria,” coming in at No. 3. Florida Georgia Line and Tyler Farr also debuted new videos on this week’s countdown.

Top 20 Photo Gallery »

Want to re-watch some of your favorite interviews? Get Top 20 online extrasincluding videos and photos. You can also cast your votes and take a look at the current chart to see where your favorite videos land.

This Week’s Chart

  1. Miranda Lambert – “Little Red Wagon”
  2. Carrie Underwood – “Little Toy Guns”
  3. Blake Shelton – “Sangria”
  4. The Swon Brothers – “Pray For You”
  5. Cole Swindell – “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey”
  6. Chris Young – “Lonely Eyes”
  7. Reba McEntire – “Going Out Like That”
  8. Maddie & Tae – “Fly”
  9. Luke Bryan – “Spring Breakdown”
  10. Eric Paslay – “She Don’t Love You” Continue Reading


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Apr 17

Spring Travel: 7 Savory Festivals

Music festivals aren’t the only noteworthy events to add to your travel itinerary this spring. All across the U.S., you can find celebrations that highlight local cuisine and will satisfy any foodie’s palate. From fresh strawberries in Virginia Beach to buttery biscuits in Knoxville, Tenn., we’ve rounded up the best (and most outrageous) spring food festivals to add to your road-trip bucket list.

International Biscuit Festival

Crawfish Music Festival
Biloxi, Mississippi
April 16-19, April 23-26
Spanning two weekends, this event brings nearly 40,000 guests to the Magnolia State to enjoy live music and a whole lot of crawfish — or mudbugs, as locals would call them. If you can, try to make it for the festival’s second weekend to watch the Crawfish Cook-Off and taste all of the delicious creations.
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Apr 16

Krystal Keith in the Kitchen: Italian Breakfast Pasta

Italian Breakfast Pasta Recipe

Photo courtesy of Krystal Keith.

Who doesn’t love a fancy brunch? This dish is one of my favorites. OK, I say that about a lot of my dishes…so, I guess I have a lot of favorites…but this one ranks pretty high on the list. I love to serve this to overnight guests because it is always so unexpected.

The rich, flavorful yolk creates the perfect sauce for the fettuccini, and the spinach, pancetta and roasted peppers are the perfect complement to the dish. This is the ultimate comfort food brunch, so I highly recommend you host one and serve this dish. You and your guests will definitely not be disappointed. Continue Reading


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Apr 14

5 Surprising Places To Visit in Alabama

Have you considered Alabama for your next family vacation? From its white sand beaches to art galleries, Alabama is filled with a rich history and charm, as well as art, culture and natural beauty. Here are 5 places to visit in the Yellowhammer State.

Birmingham. The revitalized downtown area embodies the area’s progressive mindset. Railroad Park, built in 2010, offers running and bike paths, fitness classes, concerts, picnic spaces and skateboarding ramps. Four-legged friends are also welcome.

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

Photo courtesy of the Alabama Tourism Department.

Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. Located in the tiny town of Leeds, a few miles outside of Birmingham, this museum houses more than 1,200 vintage and modern motorcycles, vintage racecars and the largest collection of Lotus cars in the world.  Bikes range from a 1902 model to current-year production, representing 20 countries and 200 different manufacturers. Continue Reading


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