News And Notes
May 14

New Season of Junk Gypsies

The Junk Gypsies are back! Sisters Amie Sikes and Jolie Sikes-Smith — in their own words, “a little bit hippie, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll and a whole lot of heart and soul” — return to Great American Country this Friday, May 15

Junk Gypsies Amie and Jolie Sikes

The Junk Gypsies Friday night marathon kicks off at 8/7c, with new back-to-back episodes starting at 10/9c.  

Meet the whole family »

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Posted at 5:05 pm | Permalink
May 10

5 Unique Places To Visit in Louisiana

Laissez les bons temps rouler! Good times roll in Lousiana, a traditional Mardi Gras destination but also a state that honors the dead, perpetuates magic, and invites the public to a rodeo run by convicts! Here are 5 unique places to visit during a trip to the Sportsman’s Paradise state.

Angola Prison Rodeo

Angola Prison Rodeo. Raise some eyebrows by heading to the Louisiana State Penitentiary, which houses some of the state’s most violent criminals. The prison is open to the public for one weekend in April and every Sunday in October, during which inmates sell handmade goods and compete in the Angola Prison Rodeo.
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May 8

Blake Shelton Gets A Three-Peat on Top 20

Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton pulled off a three-peat on this week’s Top 20 Country Countdown, making a third week at No. 1 with his new video, “Sangria.” Videos from Little Big Town and Keith Urban with Eric Church rounded out the Top 3 this week, while Rascal Flatts’ latest video, “Riot,” made its countdown debut, coming in at No. 20. Plus, host Nan Kelley paid a special visit to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee in Nashville.

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. Blake Shelton – “Sangria”
  2. Little Big Town – “Girl Crush”
  3. Keith Urban w/ Eric Church – “Raise ‘Em Up”
  4. Carrie Underwood – “Little Toy Guns”
  5. Miranda Lambert – “Little Red Wagon”
  6. Billy Currington – “Don’t It”
  7. Sam Hunt – “Take Your Time”
  8. Kenny Chesney w/ Grace Potter – “Wild Child”
  9. Cole Swindell – “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey”
  10. Florida Georgia Line – “Sippin’ On Fire” Continue Reading

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Posted at 4:59 pm | Permalink
May 7

Go High-Tech at Your Wedding, Save Money

Go High-Tech at Your Wedding and Save Money

Photo courtesy of DIYNetwork

When planning a wedding on a small budget, technology can be your best friend. Free wedding websites and apps can save you hundreds of dollars and hours of stress. My fiancé and I created a wedding website where guests can RSVP, get directions from Google Maps and see our registry all in one place. These days, it just seems silly to not use technology to personalize your wedding and cut costs at the same time. Here are three simple ways to incorporate tech into your wedding.

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Posted at 8:39 pm | Permalink
May 6

Last-Minute Presents for Mom

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10. (For the procrastinators out there, that’s this Sunday.) So, if you’ve yet to get a gift, these ideas may help. Remember, small, thoughtful gestures go a long way. Whether you give her one-on-one time or an indulgent candle, Mom is sure to appreciate anything that expresses your love.
Mother's Day Gift - Tote

Photo courtesy of The Little Market

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Posted at 2:42 pm | Permalink
May 5

20 Country Songs About Mom

The perfect country song, according to David Allan Coe’s hilarious classic “You Never Even Called Me By My Name,” requires that you refer to trains, trucks, prison, gettin’ drunk and – of course – mama. By those standards, none of these songs are perfect, but they’re all at least very good at paying homage to Mom as we slide into Mother’s Day.

It’s probably not the definitive list – you could argue that others, such as Merle Haggard’s “Mama’s Hungry Eyes” – belong here, but it’s good enough to give you a full-bodied picture of your mom, my mom, somebody’s mom.

In no particular order, here are 20 country songs – and one bonus title – for moms everywhere:

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“Mama’s Song,” Carrie Underwood (2010) – A rolling music bed and Carrie’s own romantic storyline with hockey player Mike Fisher form the backdrop for a song that shows a mother just what a great job she’s done. She parented a daughter who picks the right kind of partner.

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“The Hand That Rocks The Cradle,” Glen Campbell with Steve Wariner (1987) – “There ought to be a hall of fame for mamas.” Well, there’s not, but there is this nifty little duet built around the psychologies of birth, breast feeding and teaching life lessons.

“Mama Don’t Forget To Pray For Me,” Diamond Rio (1991) – In many families, Mom is the one who provides the strongest moral compass. In this case, she gets a phone call from her adult son, looking for advice from his best-loved guidance counselor.

“So Much Like My Dad,” George Strait (1992) – “Mom, can we talk?” George is as good at anyone at delivering a song that’s essentially a conversation set to music. In this case, it’s a mother/son chat as he tries to figure out exactly why his own household is falling apart.

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“Mama Tried,” Merle Haggard (1968) – Perhaps the hardest part of the job for mothers: You can do everything right, and the kid insists on messing up anyway. In this mostly autobiographical account, the adult Merle takes responsibility for ignoring Flossie Haggard’s wisdom and ending up in prison by age 21. Continue Reading

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Posted at 8:00 am | Permalink
May 4

7 DIY Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mother’s Day is Sunday and while all moms would love a fancy brunch or a day at the spa, handmade gifts, especially from anyone on a tight budget, often mean just as much as more expensive gifts, if not more. If you are looking for a sentimental, heartfelt way to show Mom how much you appreciate her, get to work on one of these Great American Country DIY gift ideas.

DIY Fingerprint Frames for Mom

Fingerprint Frames. While Mom might not love the fingerprint smudges on her just-Windexed windowpanes, she will love the fingerprints on this easy DIY frame. All you need are a wooden frame, some paint and small fingers eager to help. Get the Fingerprint Frame instructions »
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Posted at 4:12 pm | Permalink
May 3

6 Famous Places To Visit In Iowa

What do you know about Iowa? Located in America’s Heartland, not only does this state boast the highest literacy rate in the country, it is the birthplace of John Wayne and home to romantic covered bridges, an infamous murder house and the one and only “Field of Dreams.” Here are six locations that are worth a visit in the Hawkeye State.

Fox River Mills Sock Animals

Fox River Mills, Inc. Founded in 1900 in Osage, Iowa, this turn-of-the-century mill purchased the Nelson Knitting Company 92 years later and, in the process, acquired the trademark on the Red Heel socks used to make sock monkeys and other sock animals. From athletic socks to work socks, women’s socks to kids’ socks, Fox River Mills makes them all and includes instructions for making a sock monkey in every packet.

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Posted at 12:01 am | Permalink
May 2

6 of America’s Best Craft Beer Festivals

Asheville Brewgrass Festival

Whether you’re  pulling up a stool at your local bar or attending a professional sporting event, chances are good that a selection of craft beer will be on tap. Defined by The Brewers Association as “beer brewed in small, independent, traditional breweries,” craft beers continue to grow in popularity across the United States and festivals that celebrate them abound. Here are five events to put on your calendar.

Brewgrass Festival — Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville is known for doing two things very well: bluegrass and craft pints. The Brewgrass Festival brings those two things together for one of the premiere brewery festivals on the East Coast. In fact, Asheville has been named “Beer City USA” four years in a row! Brewgrass 2015 will take place September 19 and feature over 50 breweries, as well as music from Jeff Austin Band, Big Daddy Love and Packway Handle Band.

The 5 Best Bluegrass Festivals in the Country »

American Craft Beer Fest — Boston, Massachusetts
Home to Cheers, the bar where everybody knows your name, Boston also houses the American Craft Beer Fest, presented by Beer Advocate and Harpoon Brewery. This year’s festival, May 19-20 at the Seaport World Trade Center, will offer 640+ craft beers from 140+ American brewers. Over 15,000 beer enthusiasts from around the world are expected to attend — but leave the under-21s at home since there’s a strict no-kids policy.

Top of the Hops Festival — Charlottesville, Virginia
Top of the Hops Festival may be one of the newer brewery festivals on the map, but what it lacks in age, it makes up in size and attendance. With access to over 150 craft beers for sampling, a number of which are made locally, visitors can attend beer education sessions and seminars like Food Pairings and Cooking with Beers, all in the heart of historic downtown. Plans for the 5th Annual Top of the Hops Festival will be announced soon.

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Posted at 12:01 am | Permalink
May 1

Blake Shelton Has Second Week at No. 1 on Top 20

Blake Shelton's "Sangria" Music Video

Photo courtesy of facebook.com/blakeshelton.

Blake Shelton fended off wife Miranda Lambert to claim a second week at No. 1 on Top 20 Country Countdown with his new video, “Sangria.” Videos from Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban with Eric Church round out the Top 3 this week, while Lambert dropped to No. 4 with “Little Red Wagon.” Easton Corbin also made his countdown debut with his latest video, “Baby Be My Love Song.”

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. Blake Shelton – “Sangria”
  2. Carrie Underwood – “Little Toy Guns”
  3. Keith Urban w/ Eric Church – “Raise ‘Em Up”
  4. Miranda Lambert – “Little Red Wagon”
  5. Little Big Town – “Girl Crush”
  6. Cole Swindell – “Ain’t Worth The Whiskey”
  7. Reba McEntire – “Going Out Like That”
  8. The Swon Brothers – “Pray For You”
  9. Billy Currington – “Don’t It”
  10. Sam Hunt – “Take Your Time” Continue Reading

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Posted at 6:00 pm | Permalink