News And Notes
Dec 16

Maddie & Tae Make History

Maddie & Tae

Photo courtesy facebook.com/maddieandtae.

Maddie & Tae may still be teenagers, but their youth hasn’t stopped them from making history. They are closing out 2014 by celebrating their first No.1 single and Gold certification for “Girl In A Country Song.” The pair is only the second female duo to debut at No. 1 on the Nielsen BDS charts, with The Wreckers being the first, in 2006 for “Leave The Pieces.”

Maddie & Tae are also only the third female duo to reach No. 1 on “Billboard’s” Country Singles chart. The Davis Sisters were the first, with their No. 1 hits “I Forgot More About Love Than You’ll Ever Know” and “Jealous Love.”

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Posted at 7:00 am | Permalink
Dec 15

Dollywood Presents the Smoky Mountain Christmas Festival

dollywood-smoky-mountain-christmas

Photo courtesy of dollywood.com

For a magical Christmas spectacle full of lights, seasonal music and festive fun, head to the Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas festival. The event lasts through Jan. 3 and features plenty of family-friendly attractions, like Carol of the Trees, Dollywood’s A Christmas Carol, Santa’s Workshop and more.

The newest installment at the park brings characters from the beloved TV classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, to life. Rudolph, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster are stationed at the Holly Jolly™ Junction for meet-and-greets and photos.

Six Christmas-Themed Train Rides for the Entire Family »

Dollywood’s A Christmas Carol stage production, adapted from the Charles Dickens story, transports you to the Victorian period with lavish scenery and costumes. The classic tale is underscored with seven new songs written by Dolly exclusively for the musical. Plus, thanks to holographic technology, Dolly stars as the “Ghost of Christmas Past” in every show.

See the full list of Dollywood Christmas events here!

And be sure to tune in to special encore presentations of Backstory: Dolly Parton on Great American Country this month and next.

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Posted at 6:00 pm | Permalink
Dec 15

Luke Bryan Shares Christmas Memories, Traditions

Luke Bryan

Photo courtesy of facebook.com/lukebryan

2014 has been the best year of Luke Bryan’s career to date, bringing with it sold-out tours and stadium shows, several No. 1 songs, and a slew of awards, including the trophy for CMA Entertainer of the Year. He also has a loving wife and two healthy boys at home.

After such a great year, the only thing he wants this Christmas season is a little bit of down time before kicking off a busy 2015. He’s especially looking forward to Christmas morning.

Top 10 Country Christmas Songs »

“With having two young boys, Christmas morning, watching them grow older and starting to understand Christmas and understand the excitement of Christmas, it’s just fun watching them tear into toys and sitting on Santa Claus’ lap at the mall, watching them pick what they want Santa Claus to bring,” he said. “And honestly, teaching them what the real reason for Christmas is and the reason for the season. It’s just great having them around, and certainly, Christmas isn’t anything without kids.”

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Dec 14

Country Stars Support Charities in 2014

country-music-star-charities

Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/santatrain

Whether they were volunteering, fundraising or otherwise supporting charitable causes, country stars were generous in 2014. As a reminder that this is the season of giving, here are a few stories Great American Country featured this year.

Scotty McCreery recently raised $60,000 at a benefit concert for the 12.14 Foundation, which was established in memory of lives lost in the 2012 Newton, Conn., school shooting.

Over Thanksgiving, Miranda Lambert and her MuttNation Foundation opened a no-kill animal shelter called Redemption Ranch.

Keith Urban filmed a PSA for November’s Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in support of the Nikki Mitchell Foundation.

As part of his involvement in and support of the USO’s Every Moment Counts campaign, Hunter Hayes played a free concert in downtown Nashville at the 2014 CMA Festival. Continue Reading

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Dec 14

Darius Rucker and Sheryl Crow Holiday Duet Inspiration

Darius Rucker

Photo courtesy of DariusRucker.com.

Darius Rucker found inspiration for his new Christmas album, Home for the Holidays, in a blockbuster film. The project features a duet of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Sheryl Crow, and while most duets are recorded separately, Rucker and Crow recorded the song together in the studio.

“When we got Sheryl to come and do it, and after sitting there with her in the studio right next to each other singing it over and over and laughing and having a great time, I knew it was a great choice,” Rucker said.

Rucker chose to record the song thanks to the holiday comedy Elf, starring Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel. Continue Reading

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Dec 13

Kenny Chesney Reflects on GRAMMY Nomination

Kenny Chesney: American Kids

Photo courtesy of facebook.com/kennychesney.

Kenny Chesney’s latest hit, “American Kids,” has earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Country Song. The track, featured on his new album, The Big Revival, was cowritten by Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Rodney Clawson. Chesney knew it was a special tune, but wasn’t prepared for the impact the song would have.

“I knew the second I heard it that I was going to cut ‘American Kids,’” he said. “With two hooks, three rhythm scans and some of the most ingenious wordplay I’ve ever heard, this song’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard. It feels good. It says something about the heart and the passion people in small towns have — and it makes you smile every time you hear it.

“The fact that the GRAMMY voters heard it, too, that they recognized how truly special and innovative this song is, makes me so proud for Shane, Luke and Rodney,” he continued. “This really is a song that breaks a lot of rules, does things you don’t expect and offers a picture of how it is that isn’t cliché or expected. What a cool thing to have happen to some very talented guys! I’m just glad I got to be the one who cut it.”

See which Kenny Chesney tune made our list of
Top 10 Country Christmas Songs » 

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Posted at 7:00 am | Permalink
Dec 12

Brett Eldredge Stops By Top 20, Carrie Underwood Remains At No. 1

Brett Eldredge

Brett Eldredge’s “Mean to Me” comes in at No. 16 on this week’s chart. Photo courtesy of twitter.com/bretteldredge.

It was a jam-packed Top 20 Country Countdown this week! Host Nan Kelley sat down with Brett Eldredge to talk about the big year he has had as one of country’s hottest new stars.

Top 20 Photo Gallery»

On the countdown, Carrie Underwood makes it three weeks at No. 1 with her new video, “Something In the Water,” while Blake Shelton, with Ashley Monroe, and Brad Paisley round out the top 3. New videos from Lady Antebellum, Jake Owen, Sara Evans, Josh Turner and Toby Keith also debut on the Top 20 Country Countdown.

Favorite Holiday Recipes from Country Stars »

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. Carrie Underwood – “Something In the Water”
  2. Blake Shelton w/Ashley Monroe – “Lonely Tonight”
  3. Brad Paisley – “Perfect Storm”
  4. Blake Shelton – “Neon Light”
  5. Tim McGraw – “Shotgun Rider”
  6. Lady Antebellum – “Freestyle”
  7. Dierks Bentley – “Say You Do”
  8. Jason Aldean – “Burnin’ It Down”
  9. Jake Owen – “What We Ain’t Got”
  10. Rascal Flatts – “Payback”
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Posted at 5:30 pm | Permalink
Dec 12

Luke Bryan Is 2014′s Most Played Artist on TouchTunes

Luke Bryan

Photo courtesy of facebook.com/lukebryan

If you were in a venue with a jukebox in 2014, chances are, you heard a Luke Bryan song. According to TouchTunes, the largest in-venue interactive entertainment platform in North America, Bryan was the Top Played Artist in 2014, based on songs played across its network of over 60,000 jukeboxes.

“Since I started my career playing bars across this country, it makes me proud to be TouchTunes’ Top Played Artist this year,” Bryan said. “I hope I can continue to make music that makes people want to have fun.”

AC/DC came in at No. 2 on the list, followed by Eric Church, Jason Aldean and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Kid Rock, Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, George Strait, and Metallica round out the top 10.

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Posted at 7:00 am | Permalink
Dec 11

8 Artisan Gifts for Everyone on Your List

Our 2014 holiday gift guide features unique, handcrafted items made right here in America. So, instead of shopping at crowded chain stores for cheaply made products, why not order quality goods, from a handbag fashioned in durable leather and canvas to a hand-stitched necktie inspired by 1950s and ’60s styles. Take a look!

american-made-artisan-christmas-gifts

Photo courtesy of R.Riveter

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Posted at 5:00 pm | Permalink
Dec 11

Craig Morgan Partners With MoonPie to Thank Troops

Craig Morgan Partners With MoonPie

Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/craigmorganmusic

Craig Morgan has come up with yet another way to say “thank you” to the members of our Armed Services. This time, he has partnered with MoonPie to send a treat to remind them of home. Together, Morgan and MoonPie will distribute more than 35,000 MoonPies to military personnel who will be spending the holidays away from home.

“Chattanooga Bakery has demonstrated its ongoing support for our troops since World War II,“  Tory Johnston, VP of Marketing at MoonPie, said. “Partnering with Craig Morgan and the USO was really perfect for this ‘thank you’ campaign for our servicemen and -women.”

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