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Bug Country Celebrates 20 Years in 2015!
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Academy of Country MusicJake Owen returns at the host of the Annual ACM Honors Tuesday, September 1 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Jason Aldean, Randy Houser, Miranda Lambert, Roy Clark and Restless Heart are slated to perform, and Kelsea Ballerini and The Swon Brothers are among the presenters.

Look for more stars to be added to the 9th Annual ACM Honors lineup soon. The event recognizes the ACM Awards winners not presented on camera during the nationwide telecast in the spring. Tickets for the ACM Honors go on sale to the general public Friday, July 31 through Ticketmaster.

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Sony Music NashvilleMiranda Lambert is using her position at the reigning ACM and CMA Female Vocalist of the Year to help up-and-coming women get a head start in the music business. The Miranda Lambert Women Creators Fund will provide $40,000 in scholarship money to outstanding female students at Belmont University's Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business.

“I am so excited to establish this scholarship fund at Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business,” Miranda says. “To encourage and empower women to achieve their goals is why I am supporting outstanding women who want to pursue their dreams in the music industry.”

Proceeds from Miranda's sold-out acoustic show Tuesday night at Nashville's 3rd and Lindsley will be used to establish the scholarship fund. Her songwriter pals Jessi Alexander and Natalie Hemby are also on the bill, along with RaeLynn, Clare Dunn and Courtney Cole. Of note, Clare, Courtney and Natalie all graduated from Belmont.

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Sony LegacyThe 30th Annual Farm Aid concert will take place September 19 in Chicago. Farm Aid President and Founder Willie Nelson leads the bill along with Farm Aid board members John Mellencamp, Neil Young and Dave Matthews. Kacey Musgraves will perform, too.

Willie helped start Farm Aid in 1985 as a response to the farm crisis. He says, "Thirty years later, in Chicago, we’ll bring together so many of the people -- farmers, eaters, advocates and activists -- who have made the progress of the Good Food Movement possible."

Farm Aid will be held at FirstMeritBank Pavilion at Northerly Island in downtown Chicago. Tickets go on sale Monday, August 3 at LiveNation.com and at 1-800-745-30001-800-745-3000 FREE.

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John Russell/CMAMiranda Lambert's latest single, "Smokin' and Drinkin'," would probably have ended up on Little Big Town's latest album Pain Killer if Miranda hadn't found the song first. Once Miranda found out LBT wanted the song, she just invited them to sing the song with her for her album, Platinum.

Little Big Town's Phillip Sweet, "I'm just really thankful it happened. I love the sound of it. It takes you back and it's a feel-good groove. And I love it."

Phillip's band mate Kimberly Schlapman says of Miranda, "We love that girl. We always wanted to do something together."

"Smokin' and Drinkin'" is the latest single from Miranda's album, Platinum

Of note, Miranda plays a sold-out club show Tuesday night at Nashville's 3rd & Lindsley. Newcomers RaeLynn, Clare Dunn and Courtney Cole are also on the bill along with Miranda's songwriter friends Jessi Alexander and Natalie Hemby.

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Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is Blake Shelton's middle name? ANSWER: Tollison.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockTanya Tucker will perform the national anthem prior to the Bojangles' Southern 500 NASCAR race on September 6 in Darlington, South Carolina.

Blake Shelton has released "Gonna" as the latest single from his current album, Bringing Back the Sunshine.

Randy Houser's new video, "We Went," premieres this Saturday morning on CMT Hot 20 Countdown.

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#WeWent Music Video Premiere coming Saturday on @CMT!

A video posted by Randy Houser (@randyhouser) on Jul 27, 2015 at 1:44pm PDT


 

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Warner Music NashvilleCountry newcomer Michael Ray's debut hit, "Kiss You in the Morning," leaves a lot to the imagination between the last two lines of the chorus -- "I wanna kiss you with the neon light in your eyes glowing/Then I wanna kiss you in the morning." While it's obvious where this romantic night is leading, Michael thinks there's at least one stop before the couple in the song heads home.

"There was a 3 a.m. Waffle House visit for sure," Michael tells ABC Radio. "That's the time where you're recapping the night, you know, and you're rethinking. The lights are on, you're sobering up a little bit, and you're going, 'OK, we're good. Everybody still agrees with this.'"

Of course, a trip to the Waffle House isn't complete without spending some money on the jukebox. So, which songs would Michael play to set the right mood for the night?

He says, "I would always start with some classic Keith Whitley, some good, good classic country songs."

Besides "Kiss You in the Morning," Michael says he would definitely play John Legend's romantic hit, "All of Me."

"['All of Me'] is what you probably asked her to dance to," Michael says. "You know, 'All of Me' is great. John Legend has really helped a lot of us out."

"Kiss You in the Morning" is the lead single from Michael Ray's self-titled album, out Friday, August 7.

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Warner Music NashvilleAshley Monroe is going on the road this fall in support of her new album, The Blade. The Blade Tour will kick off October 1 in Macon, Georgia and continue in New York, Chicago, Nashville and Washington, D.C.

Tickets go on sale this Friday morning. Go to AshleyMonroe.com for details.

Here are Ashley's The Blade Tour dates:


10/1 -- Macon, GA, Cox Capitol Theatre
10/27 -- New York, NY, Bowery Ballroom
10/29 -- Washington, D.C., Sixth & I
10/30 -- Wilmington, DE, World Café Live
11/13 -- Springfield, IL, Boondocks
11/14 -- Chicago, IL, SPACE
11/19 -- Decatur, GA, Eddie's Attic
11/20 -- Nashville, TN, City Winery
11/21 -- Birmingham, AL, Workplay Theatre

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EMI/ACRAlan Jackson scores his 14th #1 on Billboard's Country Albums chart with Angels and Alcohol. The set sold more than 45,000 copies in its first week. That's enough for a #3 finish on the overall Billboard 200 albums tally.

Angels and Alcohol features Alan's latest single, "Jim and Jack and Hank."

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Greenroom PRJason Aldean's Saturday show with Kenny Chesney at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California attracted more than 53,000 fans. The concert marked the first time country artists have ever headlined the venue.

Jason says, "Standing out there in a sea of country fans at an iconic stadium like Rose Bowl sent chills down my spine. It reminds me how lucky I am to be doing this for a living."

Coming up this Friday morning, Jason plays Today's 20th Annual Summer Concert Series on NBC. He adds, "I hope to see a lot of people there too!"

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CMALittle Big Town has canceled an additional three weeks of shows under doctor's orders as band member Jimi Westbrook continues to heal from vocal cord surgery.

LBT released a statement saying, "We want to come back on the road to you guys at 110% and this additional time will make sure that happens! Thanks again for all of your support during this time, and for your love, patience, and excitement for us to come back! We can’t wait to see all of you."

Little Big Town will return to the stage August 22 in Avondale, Canada.

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Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the title of Blake Shelton's 2012 holiday album? ANSWER: Cheers, It's Christmas.

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Valory Music Co. Brantley Gilbert loves being a part of the country music community, but living in the center of it all in Nashville just doesn't work for him.

Brantley tells The Las Vegas Review-Journal, "You know, I tried that out, but, man, I moved back home. It wasn't that there was anything wrong with Nashville, but I knew I had people at home that would call me out and hold me accountable."

Brantley and his new wife, Amber, now live in Maysville, Georgia, just 10 miles north of where Brantley was raised.

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CMALuke Bryan's professional life is a roller coaster these days as he headlines his Kick the Dust Up tour and prepares to release his new album, Kill the Lights, on August 7. On the personal side, Luke manages to make time for his sons, Bo and Tate, and his nephew, Til, who is now living with Luke and his wife, Caroline. Luke and Caroline's marriage is going strong, but Luke doesn't take their relationship for granted.

He says, "Well, it's something that you never can focus on enough. Somehow, thank the Lord, Caroline and I navigate it. I would not say it is an easy thing."

Luke stresses that he and Caroline work hard to stay on the same page when it comes to coordinating Luke's concerts and other commitments with their family activities. One of the perks of being a country star is Luke can afford to take a plane home in between shows.

Says Luke, "There's even been a couple times that I flew home through the night to be at one of Bo's baseball games early that morning. You just manage it."

With Luke's career on overdrive, he really counts on Caroline to help him keep all those spinning plates in the air.

"I guess I've promised her going on 12 years now that it was gonna slow down, and I don't think she really, she don't really count on that anymore," Luke says. "She just smiles, and she's always there for me. So, we figure it out."

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Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock"Just Got Started Lovin' You" singer James Otto has a new EP, titled Somewhere Tonight, available at all digital outlets.

Brett Eldredge premiered his new song "Just a Taste" with Entertainment Weekly. The track is included on his sophomore album, Illinois, due out September 11.

Josh Turner is barely recognizable with his new beard. The new facial hair is on full display in a picture Josh posted on Twitter Friday in support of the Children's Miracle Network.

Condolences to Brantley Gilbert, whose grandfather recently passed away after a 20-year battle with COPD and emphysema.

Kenny Chesney and Reese Witherspoon posed for a picture together backstage Saturday before his concert at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

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What Southern girls do on Saturday night! Gettin' country with @kennychesney

A photo posted by Reese Witherspoon (@reesewitherspoon) on

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Warner Music NashvilleBlake Shelton returned to the concert stage Friday night in Wisconsin for the first time since announcing his divorce from Miranda Lambert.

According to fans in the audience, Blake was in good spirits for the show, which was cut short at 45 minutes due to bad weather. People reports that Blake tried to get the camera crew to show the big crowd on the screen, but it didn't work. Blake joked, "Come on, who's in charge here? This isn't my week."

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Broken Bow RecordsJason Aldean's self-titled debut album was released 10 years ago today. The project launched Jason's career with the top-10 hits "Hicktown" and "Amarillo Sky," as well as his first #1 single, "Why." The project has been certified platinum, and "Hicktown" remains one of Jason's most dynamic numbers during his live shows.

Of note, Jason just scored his 16th #1 hit this past week with "Tonight Looks Good on You," from his current album, Old Boots, New Dirt.

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Russ Harrington/Sunshine Sachs Kacey Musgraves recently hosted the album launch party for her project, Pageant Material, at the Nashville gay club Play, but she's not the first country star to appear at a venue catering to Music City's LGBT community. It turns out Trisha Yearwood made an appearance at a benefit concert at the now-closed Nashville gay bar, The Connection, back in the '90s.

That concert was staged to raise money for a gay hairdresser friend of Trisha's who was fighting cancer at the time. Trisha admits she got some "backlash" on the performance from people she knew. That resistance didn't stop her, though.  She tells the Nashville Scene, "I was like, "This is for my friend. This is what you do. I don't give a crap what his personal life is about. This is somebody that I care about.'"

Trisha goes on to say she tends to focus on her relationships with individual people, rather than looking at any bigger political picture.

"I wish more people felt that way," Trisha explains. "I think that's the only way we're going to get through all this is if we just let people be who they are and love one another. That's my job not to judge anybody. Good God, I wouldn't want anybody judging my life."

On a lighter note, Trisha recalls going to another Nashville gay bar for a friend's birthday and watching male performers in drag lip sync her signature hit. Says Trisha, "Somebody did 'She's in Love With the Boy' in drag and I was like, 'I'm a star! I've totally made it.'"

For more on Trisha's colorful history, check out her new exhibit Trisha Yearwood: The Song Remembers When, now open at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.

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Sony Music NashvilleChase Rice has announced the first round of dates for his upcoming JD and Jesus Tour 2015, starting this October. It's Chase's third headlining trek with stops planned for Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and New York City. The Cadillac Three will join Chase in the supporting slot. Chase is currently on the road with Kenny Chesney's The Big Revival Tour.

Here are Chase's new tour dates:

10/1 -- Norfolk, VA, The VorVA
10/2 -- Pittsburgh, PA, Stage AE
10/4 -- Las Vegas, NV, Route 91 Harvest Festival
10/8 -- Orlando, FL, Hard Rock Live
10/9 -- Athens, GA, 440 Foundry Pavilion
10/10 -- Chattanooga, TN, Track 29
10/14 -- Philadelphia, PA, the Fillmore
10/15 -- Indianapolis, IN, The Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
10/16 -- Chicago, IL, Aragon Ballroom
10/22 -- Austin, TX, Nutty Brown Café
10/23 -- San Antonio, TX, Cowboys Dancehall
10/29 -- Clive, IA, 7 Flags Event Center
10/30 -- Omaha, NE, Sokol Auditorium
11/5 -- St. Paul, MN, Myth Live Event Center
11/6 -- Milwaukee, WI, The Rave
11/12 -- Atlanta, GA, The Tabernacle
11/13 -- Birmingham, AL, Iron City
11/15 -- St. Petersburg, FL, Ribfest
11/18 -- Patchogue, NY, The Emporium
11/19 -- Boston, MA, Lowell Memorial Auditorium
11/20 -- New York, NY, Terminal 5
11/21 -- Toronto, ON (CAN), Danforth Music Hall
12/3 -- Phoenix, AZ, Comerica Theatre

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CMABlake Shelton and Miranda Lambert hope all the news of their divorce drives you to do one thing -- buy Ashley Monroe's new album, The Blade. Blake tweeted to his now ex-wife, Miranda, on Friday saying, "Hey @mirandalambert can u believe there's people who haven't bought @ashleymonroe new album? Isn't that shocking?!!"

Miranda replied, "@blakeshelton no I can't because it is the best work she has ever done! I love it! We love you @ashleymonroe."

Blake wrote back, "Yes we do!"

Miranda co-wrote the last song on The Blade, "I'm Good at Leavin'," and also sing backup on the title track. Blake and Ashley recently scored a #1 hit with their collaboration "Lonely Tonight."

The fun continued between Blake and Miranda as she tweeted a picture from Entertainment Tonight showing Blake pushing a baby carriage. Her caption reads, "@blakeshelton I knew it… You WERE pregnant!! This calls for a drink!"

Blake wrote back, "Ha!!!!! Busted... I wasn't JUST a fat a**. Drinking shall now begin..."

It turns out Blake took the baby carriage out Thursday in Los Angeles to have some fun with the paparazzi. He placed the carriage in the back of a black Range Rover. When the paparazzi asked him how he was dealing with his divorce, he reportedly said, "Yeah, man. I shoulda drank more today. "

 

@blakeshelton I knew it.... You WERE pregnant! This calls for a drink! pic.twitter.com/HXeaw2FyOK

— Miranda Lambert (@mirandalambert) July 24, 2015

 

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Dave Silvers
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There are MANY GREAT regional concerts throughout the year--who would you LOVE to see?
MONTGOMERY GENTRY!
Lady Antebellum
Dierks Bentley
Florida Georgia Line
Zac Brown Band
Luke Bryan
Kenny Chesney
Brantley Gilbert
Eric Church
Toby Keith
Brad Paisley
Other
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