Image Courtesy Grand Ole Opry/Chris HolloLittle Big Town was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry Friday night. Opry members Vince Gill and Little Jimmy Dickens were on hand to welcome the group into the Opry fold. The quartet started their performance singing "Bring It on Home" with just an acoustic guitar. They then performed their breakthrough hit, "Boondocks," and closed out their set singing Kris Kristofferson's "Why Me."
Backstage before their performance, Little Big Town reflected on how much the Opry has meant to them over the years. Their first public performance ever took place on the show in 1999, and band member Kimberly Schlapman's grandparents could only pick up the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcast on their car stereo. Since Kimberly had no idea when they were going on, her grandparents had to sit in the car for hours waiting to hear Little Big Town.
Kimberly said Friday night, "My papa had to go to the bathroom. So, he went into the bathroom, and, of course, we came on. So, my grandmother laid down on the horn -- just laid down on it. And my papa comes out pulling up his pants trying to make it to the car. He made it in time.
She added with a laugh, "He's in heaven with his pants on, I'm sure, watching tonight."
Grand Ole Opry member Reba surprised Little Big Town onstage at the Opry earlier this month to extend the membership invitation. She walked out unannounced singing the "motorboating" line of "Pontoon" during LBT's set.
Group member Karen Fairchild said, "We've replayed Reba singing 'motorboating' over and over and over. I don't know if anything could ever beat that."
The Opry induction kicked off a big week for Little Big Town. Their new album, Pain Killer, is coming out Tuesday featuring the hit single, "Day Drinking."
LBT's Phillip Sweet commented before their Opry appearance, "I feel like more people are gonna hear the music than ever before, and I really am proud that they're gonna hear this record. I think we're so honestly proud of it. It's all Little Big Town."
Strictly Country RecordsSongwriter Paul Craft, who penned such hits as Moe Bandy's "Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life," Bobby Bare's "Dropkick Me, Jesus (Through the Goalposts of Life)," Mark Chesnutt's "Brother Jukebox," and Ray Stevens' "It's Me Again, Margaret," died Saturday "after years of deteriorating health," the Tennesseanreports. He was 76 years old.
Craft, who also wrote songs that were recorded by Alison Krauss, the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt, died at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville.
Craft was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame on October 5 after being nominated numerous times. The Tennessean reports Craft posed for photos with other inductees and was then rushed to the hospital after falling ill.
The Tennessean notes that Craft was a member of American Mensa, a group for people whose IQ is in the top two percent of the population.
Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsGet well wishes go out to Dustin Lynch, who was hit in the face with a full beer can during his Friday night show in Niceville, FL. Dustin was taken to the hospital and got stitches to close the wound. The guy who threw the can was not apprehended.
Dustin tells People, "It's not cool. This guy caused an incident that almost ruined a great night. The crowd was insanely loud and supportive and that's why I wanted to finish my show [despite the bleeding]. I didn't want to get off the stage until I had to."
Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleJerrodNiemann has scored multiple #1 singles, so he knows what it feels like to perform a hit song in concert. That's why he's feeling great about his latest single, "Buzz Back Girl."
Jerrod says, "Since the first day we put "Buzz Back Girl" in the set, it just seems to be one of those songs that connects with the crowd."
Even though Jerrod felt like "Buzz Back Girl" would be a big hit, he's learned you can't predict how an audience will react to a song when they first hear it.
"You never know when you get on stage what songs will do that and what won’t," Jerrod explains, "and it’s always fun whenever the songs that you care about the most are the ones that the crowd cares about the most."
"Buzz Back Girl" is featured on Jerrod's latest album, High Noon, available now.
Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleKipMoore has been playing a ton of new music on his CMT Up in Smoke tour, including the rocking song, "Wild Ones." Even though the lyrics were inspired by the rowdy fans Kip sees in the crowd every night, he hesitated about adding the song to his set list.
Kip tells The Tennessean, "So much of me wanted to hold this song back because I knew how slamming this song was and how excited people would be about it, but I couldn't. It’s just too much fun.”
Kip is also encouraging fans to write obscure song requests on posters when they come to his shows. He'll pick one and try to play it through with his band. Go to KipMoore.net for tour dates.
Image Courtesy CMAThomas Rhett headlines the Fred's 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series post-race concert at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama Saturday. Getting to play a show at the legendary race track is a big deal for Thomas.
He says, "Talladega is one of those iconic places that you grow up knowing about, whether you follow NASCAR or not. So, to be able to go there and perform…that definitely goes on the 'Things I'll tell my grandkids' list."
Image Courtesy Blu Sanders/ShoreFireYou know Angaleena Presley as the brunette in Pistol Annies, the band she formed in 2011 with Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe. Now, Angaleena is stepping out with her debut album, American Middle Class, in stores now. As she did with the Annies, Angaleena is brutally honest in the lyrics of her new songs. "Pain Pills" takes on the epidemic of prescription medicine abuse in her native Kentucky while "Life of the Party" details the effects of getting drunk night after night. "Knocked Up" gives a look at the situation surrounding Angaleena's out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
Angaleena tells ABC News Radio, "You know, my mom doesn't like me telling all this, but God wants me to. So, I just have to tell it. But it's just growing up, and sometimes you really have to grow up 'cause you see two little blue lines staring at you in the face."
If you're thinking this all sounds like the exact opposite of "bro country," you're right. That doesn't mean Angaleena has a beef with all the guys dominating country radio with songs about about trucks, girls in short-shorts and binge drinking.
She explains, "It doesn't make me mad because we're all singing about the same thing. We're all singing about the party. It's just some of us are singing about the party, and some of us are singing about the next day when you wake up pregnant in a pool of your own vomit."
Angaleena performed the title track from American Middle Class on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman earlier this week. While critics are raving about her new music, Angaleena knows it's not always easy to get people to pay attention to your music no matter how good it is.
She adds, "I'm just gonna keep writing these songs and just hoping that they find their way."
Image Courtesy Pearl RecordsDespite reports to the contrary, Garth Brooks is not playing shows in Ireland in 2015. His rep tells ABC News Radio the news stories coming from across the pond are just rumors. Garth is expected to continue his World Tour well into the new year.
As previously reported, Garth canceled five planned shows in Dublin over the summer because of issues with concert permits.
Image Courtesy McClister/UMGSam Hunt plays Nashville's Ryman Auditorium Friday night opening for Kip Moore on the CMT on Tour: Up in Smoke trek. Charlie Worsham is also on the bill, and Sam has had a blast getting to know those guys in the past few weeks.
Sam tells ABC News Radio, "We all get along so well. They have good people on their team, and we have good people on our team. I think good people just get along together."
A lot of that bonding has taken place at the pre-show meals backstage.
Says Sam, "There's a lot of time spent during the afternoon before the actual show happens that we get to hang out."
Kip and his team usually find a place to work out before shows, and Sam is hoping some of that commitment to fitness rubs off on him soon.
"I go through phases," Sam admits. "I'll do two or three weeks where I’m pretty good, and then I lose my discipline and I fall off for a little while and then I get inspired to go back. So, I'm back and forth."
Sam's debut album, Montevallo, is due out November 27 featuring his hit single, "Leave the Night On."
Image Courtesy CMAReba will headline a benefit concert in Gallatin, Tennessee, on Sunday, November 30 to fund lung cancer research at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville. The show is organized by Dawn Sears, who is currently battling lung cancer. She is a member of The Time Jumpers western swing band along with Vince Gill.
Image Courtesy Republic NashvilleFlorida Georgia Line has had a jam-packed week in New York City promoting their just-released album, Anything Goes. While the duo is having a blast sharing their new music with fans, the crazy schedule can get stressful. That's why FGL's Tyler Hubbard will probably break out his yoga mat at some point this weekend to blow off some steam.
Tyler and his fiancée, Hayley, often post photographs on Instagram of their yoga practices, which is something Tyler would've never done before they got together.
He tells ABC News Radio, "If you'd have told me a couple years ago I'd be doing yoga, I'd would have laughed at you, but it's something I enjoy, and it's definitely a good time to unwind and just let loose a little bit."
Practicing yoga helps Tyler with some back issues while giving him an extra boost of energy to perform for his fans.
"It keeps us in shape," Tyler explains. "I like to enjoy life to the fullest, man. You gotta feel good, so it helps out with that, for sure."
Be sure and catch Florida Georgia Line performing on CMT Instant Jam Friday night at 10 ET.
Image Courtesy Webster PRTanya Tucker's career is the subject of a new exhibit opening November 14 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
"Tanya Tucker: Strong Enough to Bend" will feature several of Tanya's stage costumes, including a few custom-made Nudie's Rodeo Tailor designs from her career. Tanya's custom Harley Davidson motorcycle painted in her own special hue of pink will be on display along with an enlarged reproduction of her Rolling Stone cover from September 1974. A container of Tanya's salsa rounds out the exhibit.
The Tanya Tucker exhibit will run through May 2015.
Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleCharlieWorsham is starting to choose which of the 30 songs he's written for his sophomore album will make the final cut. Fans can expect the music of Charlie's home state, Mississippi, to heavily influence the follow up to his 2013 debut, Rubberband.
Instead of trying to keep up with every other male singer on country radio today, Charlie tells The Tennessean, "I want my compass to be my heart and the fact that I grew up in a state that gave us Elvis Presley and B.B. King and Marty Stuart and everybody and their momma. When people dig into my new record, I want them to feel that.”
Fans can catch Charlie Worsham opening Kip Moore's current CMT on Tour: Up in Smoke outing. Go to CharlieWorsham.com for tour dates.
Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleCarrie Underwood sings about the transformation of being baptized as a Christian in her new single, "Something in the Water." Looking back on her own baptism a child in Oklahoma, Carrie tells Billboard, "It really was just kind of a wonderful day."
She says, "I wanted to do that. I had gotten saved, and that was the next step, you know. That was kind of what we had always been taught. I just remember being so proud that day."
Carrie and her studio band and background vocalists certainly felt the spirit when they recorded the song a few months back.
Says Carrie, "My manager has a video on her phone of me bouncing in the room because I just couldn't contain myself. We were going to church in the studio."
"Something in the Water" is included on Carrie's new compilation, Greatest Hits: Decade #1, due out December 9.
Image Courtesy Show Dog/UniversalToby Keith and Vince Gill are among the nominees for possible induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015.
Other nominated non-performing writers include Bobby Braddock, who wrote George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and Billy Currington's "People Are Crazy," and Bob McDill, who wrote Alan Jackson's "Gone Country" and Alabama's "Song of the South."
The Songwriters Hall of Fame honors composers and lyricists whose work has had an impact around the world. Voting among the Hall of Fame's members is underway now through December 15. The inductees will be announced following the vote, and they'll be honored at the 2015 Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards Gala on Thursday, June 18 at the New York Marriott Marquis.
Image Courtesy BBMA/Dick Clark/ABCEurope's biggest country music festival is getting even bigger in 2015. Luke Bryan and Lady Antebellum will headline the C2C: Country to Country Festival, returning to London and Dublin on March 7 and 8. This year, the festival expands to Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo Norway on February 28 and March 1, respectively.
Florida Georgia Line, Brandy Clark, Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert and Kip Moore also are slated to perform at this year's C2C: Country to Country Festival. Go to C2C-CountrytoCountry.com for ticket information.