Country Stars The Scoop

The Scoop

Leesa Mitchell scoops out the biggest and best nuggets on Big Cat 105.5


Blake Shelton is known for his sass and swagger, but there are lines that he won't cross.  He told Ryan Seacrest on his KIIS radio show that he was asked to do a collaboration with Pitbull, but opted out because he wasn't sure how it would go over with his soccer mom fans.  He said he was honored to be asked, though. 

Willie Nelson is mourning the loss of his younger brother.  Ira Doyle Nelson Jr. passed away on Wednesday at the age of 77 of natural causes.  Doyle, as he's referred to on Nelson's Facebook page, was a bus driver for groups like Bon Jovi, Van Halen and John Fogerty.  The post called Doyle a "gentle man who will be dearly missed."

More than 20 presenters will be on hand at Sunday's ACM Awards to hand out some of the night's biggest trophies.  Among them will be celebrities from television, movies and sports.  The 50th Annual ACM Awards will air live from AT&T Stadium in
Arlington, Texas at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

Among 2015 ACM Awards Presenters
Troy Aikman
 Clint Black
 Justin Moore
Keith Urban
Lee Brice
Brett Eldredge
Brantley Gilbert
Mickey Guyton
Hunter Hayes
Jake Owen
Thomas Rhett
Darius Rucker
Jason Witten
Trisha Yearwood
Dwight Yoakam
Big & Rich

The Academy of Country Music's "Party for a Cause" festival is kicking off Arlington, Texas.  More than 50 artists will perform at Globe Life Park during the two-day event, including Eric Church, Reba, Keith Urban, Jake Owen, Brooks and Dunn, Lady Antebellum, Brantley Gilbert, Alan Jackson, Cole Swindell, The Band Perry, Sara Evans, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan and Darius Rucker.  The outdoor concert is part of the festivities leading up to the ACM Awards on Sunday at AT&T Stadium.  Segments of it will be taped for "ACM Presents: Superstar Duets," a two-hour special scheduled to air on May 15th on CBS. 

Luke Bryan also hints that the
Academy of Country Music has some interesting performances planned for Sunday. The Academy of Country Music Awards airs at 8 p.m. Eastern over CBS.  The event will be held at ATT Stadium in Arlington, Texas, making it the largest venues to ever host and awards show.

Frankie Ballard will perform at the third annual ACM Party for a Cause Festival today and tomorrow in Arlington, Texas.  The singer admits he might have to slip away to the Grassy Knoll, which played a huge part in the investigation of President Kennedy's assassination.  Ballard is a history buff, so his fans might find him at some of the more historical places in the Dallas-Fort Worth area while he is in town for the ACM awards.  Ballard won't be hard to spot if he is wearing the fancy suit he had made just for the Awards Show red carpet.  The Academy of Country Music awards will air live from ATT Stadium in Arlington over CBS on Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern. Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan host the 50th anniversary edition of what is being called the largest awards show ever held in any genre.

Country star Tim McGraw is getting social media backlash from gun owners because he agreed to do a fundraiser to protect children from gun violence.  McGraw's opening act, Billy Currington, announced Thursday night that he was dropping out of the show because of the criticism.  McGraw says proceeds from the July concert in Hartford, Connecticut will benefit a non-profit organization with a mission of protecting children from gun violence.  The non-profit was created after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.  McGraw has responded to the backlash by saying that with gun ownership comes the responsibility of education and safety.  

Kellie Pickler is partnering with the Grand Ole Opry to launch a collection of home furnishings.  Selma Drye by Kellie Pickler is named for her great-grandmother.  Kellie says she had a "simple, loving touch that made her house a home like no other."  The collection includes unique frames, candles, pillows, dishes, aprons, canisters and select furniture pieces.  They're available at and in the Grand Ole Opry retail stores in Nashville

Martina McBride will headline this year's St. Jude Country Music Marathon concert.  Admission is free for those who run in the April 25th race.  Cost is 35-dollars for family and friends.  Martina will perform at Bridgestone Arena after the awards ceremony from the marathon and half marathon.

Keith Urban, Tim McGraw and Toby Keith will close out the daily concerts at the 2015 Taste of Country Music Festival.  The three-day event will take place at
Hunter Mountain in central New York State June 12th through the 14th.  Friday night performances will feature Keith Urban, Eli Young Band, Colt Ford, LoCash, Logan Mize and Rachel Lipsky on the main stage.  Saturday, it'll be Tim McGraw, Billy Currington, Easton Corbin, Tracy Lawrence, Chase Bryant, Jackson Michelson and Amanda Watkins.  On Sunday, Toby Keith, Jerrod Niemann, Sara Evans, Josh Abbott Band, Western Underground and Sasha McVeigh will take the main stage.  Three-day tickets start at 180-dollars, while single-day tickets are 99-dollars per day.

Easton Corbin will release his third studio album "About To Get Real" June 30th.  Easton says when country fans listen to the CD, he wants them to take away that even though the music mixes the modern with the classic, it's entirely real.  He says, "Like the music of my heroes, it's the real deal." 

Garth Brooks may be forced to lip sync his way through his performance at the ACM Awards on Sunday.  The singer will wrap five nights in Portland tonight and says he's worried that the series of shows may steal his voice.  He told Storme Warren on Sirius XM's "The Highway" channel that just in case, he's taped a performance solely for the awards show.  Brooks says returning to the ACM stage will be very emotional for him.  In addition to performing, he's also nominated for Entertainer of the Year.

Miranda Lambert will have her good luck charm with her at Sunday's ACM Awards.  Lambert told "Billboard" that her grandmother gave her a ring for her 30th birthday, and she did well when she wore it to the Grammys and the CMA  Awards.  Lambert is nominated in eight categories at ACMs, including Entertainer of the Year.  She says the excitement of hearing her name called has yet to wear off and admits to getting butterflies.  Lambert has 18 ACM trophies to her name.

Chris Young, Tyler Farr and Jerrod Niemann will headline a special concert in Ocho Rios, Jamaica over Memorial Day weekend.  Named "Boots on the Beach," the extravaganza will take place May 22nd through the 26th at the new Sandals beachside resort.  Proceeds from the "Boots on the Beach" vacation will support the Boot Campaign, a non-profit that raises awareness of challenges faced by military members both during their enlistment and after their return home.

Kelly Clarkson says her husband isn't her "other half."  She told "Redbook," "he's a whole and I'm a whole."  She says she's never believed in someone taking care of her, probably because she grew up poor and without a lot of family stability.  Clarkson and has been married to Brandon Blackstock for 18-months.  Clarkson also believes that one of the reasons other people have such a problem with her weight is that she doesn't obsess over it.

Garth Brooks is taking his World Tour to Knoxville.  He'll perform two concerts at Thompson Boling Arena on May 29th and May 30th.  It will be his first concert dates in the Knoxville area in nearly two-decades.  Tickets for both shows go on sale Friday, April 24th at 10 a.m. ET.  There is an eight ticket limit per purchase.

The Band Perry will "cruise" through summer with a series of performances for Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival LIVE series.  The sibling trio will play onboard the Carnival Sensation, Carnival Fascination and Carnival Magic while they're docked in Nassau July28th through the 30th.  The up-close, unique shows will take place in the main theaters on each ship.  Neil Perry told "Country Weekly," it'll be a different experience and should be a lot of fun.  Other acts booked this year include Boston and Heart, along with Lionel Richie.

Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town is just as comfortable in the kitchen as she is on stage.  She's sharing some of her favorite recipes in her new cookbook "Oh Gussie!" It's available now.  The cookbook was written with award-winning author Martha Foose and also features stories from Schlapman's childhood in Georgia, plus her travels with Little Big Town.  Schlapman also hosts "Kimberly's Simply Southern" cooking show on Great American Country.

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard will release their follow-up to 1983's "Pancho and Lefty" on June 2nd.  "Django and Jimmie" features 14 tracks, eight of which were co-written by either Haggard or Nelson.  Nelson says the title is a nod to Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers because "both of those guys were very influential in both of our careers." 

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, Django and Jimmie Track Listing:
1. "Django and Jimmie"
2. "It's All Going to Pot"
3. "Unfair Weather Friend"
4. "Missing Ol' Johnny Cash"
5. "Live This Long"
6. "Alice in Hulaland"
7. "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright"
8. "Family Bible"
9. "It's Only Money"
10. "Swinging Doors"
11. "Where Dreams Come to Die"
12. "Somewhere Between"
13. "Driving the Herd"
14. "The Only Man Wilder Than Me"


Jason Aldean is looking forward to going to Texas for the ACM Awards.  He says the new location creates more excitement for the trip because it's "sort of a wildcard."  The show is usually held in Las Vegas and Aldean says typically you know what to expect when you go there.  The 2015 ACM Awards will be broadcast from AT&T Stadium in Arlington.  Aldean played there last year with George Strait on his "Cowboy Rides Away" tour.  Aldean is nominated for Entertainer of the Year at the ACMs, along with Album of the Year for "Old Boots, New Dirt." 

Trisha Yearwood says her husband Garth Brooks is her "biggest cheerleader."  In an interview with "People Country," Yearwood says he's the guy who says "There's nothing you can't do."  She adds, one of the things they respect about each other is that they're both independent.   They're both very opinionated too.  Yearwood says "we try not to give each other advice unless we're asked."  The couple is approaching their ten-year wedding anniversary.

RaeLynn may be the country queen of selfies.  She told "Taste of Country" that the key to a good selfie is good lighting.  RaeLynn even has a dedicated selfie window at her house and carries a selfie stick in her purse.  When it comes to "duck lips," she says, "I won't judge you if you don't judge me."

Jo Dee Messina is paying tribute to moms in the new "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book. 
Messina co-authored the book, titled "Thanks to my Mom."  It's described as a collection of 101 stories of love, learning and gratitude that say a big "thank you" to mothers of all ages across the country.  Messina says the stories will make you smile, laugh out loud and even tear up a few times.  She wrote the introduction and the first chapter as a tribute to her mother. 

Toby Keith is gearing up for his 12th Annual Toby Keith and Friends Golf Classic.  It'll be held May 15th and 16th at the Belmar Golf Club and Riverwind Casino in Norman, Oklahoma.  The event raises money for the OK Kids Korral, a home away from home for pediatric cancer patients and their families.  Friday night's dinner will include live and silent auctions, and musical performances.  The silent auction items include memorabilia from Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, George Strait and more.  The winner of Saturday's Built Ford Tough Shootout will drive off in a new Ford truck.

Reba McEntire may be busy recording and touring, but she always has time to be a devoted grandma.  During a chat with "Taste of Country Nights," McEntire said her granddaughter, River Rose, is already a music lover.  She even has a favorite singer; her mother, of course.  McEntire says, "Would you be complaining if your mom was Kelly Clarkson?" 

Luke Bryan says his fans make him strong.  In a video message, he said, "you give me confidence when it's easy, when it's hard; in the good and in the bad; in the ups and the downs."  During the message, footage of Bryan's fans at his concerts from across the nation plays in the background.  Bryan adds, "you make me laugh, you make me cry. You are country music fans: you are the best fans in the world."  Bryan will co-host the ACM Awards on April 19th with Blake Shelton.  He's nominated for Entertainer of the Year, along with Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks and Florida Georgia Line.

Jake Owen is cutting back on his drinking.  He told CMT's Cody Alan that he's gotten to where he realizes that when he drinks, bad things happen.  He says, once you reach that point, you just kind of have to "be a smart man and do what's best for you."  Owen says he hasn't quit drinking entirely, but doesn't remember the last time he had a drink.  Owen says life with his wife and daughter is "the greatest" and he's "really comfortable" where he is right now.

Justin Moore is promising to play a private, acoustic concert at a fan's home if his "Off the Beaten Path" CD reaches Gold.  In a recent announcement to fan club email subscribers,
Moore said each time a new sales milestone is reached, prizes will be unlocked.  They include autographed CDs, meet and greets, personal phone calls and more.  Fans can enter the contest at

Alan Jackson, Brantley Gilbert, Sara Evans and Eric Paslay are ready to "Rock the South" for charity.  The "Rock the South" festival will take place June 19th and 20th in Cullman, Alabama.  The lineup also includes Jon Pardi, Travis Tritt, Tyler Farr, Corey Smith, Dee Jay Silver and Blackberry Smoke.  More artists will be announced in coming weeks.  Since the inaugural "Rock the South" in 2012, more than 150-thousand-dollars has been donated to local charities.

Garth Brooks is bringing his World Tour to Birmingham, Alabama.  He'll play June 12th and 13th at Legacy Arena.  Tickets go on sale April 17th at 10 a.m. CT.  Brooks' hasn't played a concert in Birmingham in 19-years.  He's said he's selecting cities for his World Tour based on the memories of "did I have I fun there?"  He says, "we're going back to all the fun places."

Jaren Johnston from The Cadillac Three says he has a lot in common with Taylor Swift.  Not only are they both signed to Big Machine Label Group, but they both write a lot of their own music.  Johnston told "MusicRadar" that Swift has been putting herself out there with her writing since she was 14-years-old and "that's hard to do."  He says, "When I was 14, I was popping zits, running on a skateboard and learning how to play drums."  And, while some country fans were sad to see Swift officially switch to pop music, Johnston says he admires what she's done and calls it impressive that she sold more than one-million copies of her "1989" album in the first week.

Country heartthrob JT Hodges is returning to the Grand Ole Opry.  He'll perform on April 25th and immediately following, will make an in-store appearance at the Opry Shop to sign copies of his new EP "Locks On Doors."  The EP features the summertime single "Ray-Bans" and will be released on April 22nd. 

The Kentucky Headhunters are releasing a new album of live-recorded songs featuring legendary blues pianist Johnnie Johnson.  Johnson is best known for his work with Chuck Berry.  He met up with the Kentucky Headhunters in 2003 to record some piano parts for the band's "Soul" album that came out later that year.  The meeting turned in to a three-day writing and recording session, the results of which have been compiled into "Meet Me In Bluesland."  It'll be released on June 2nd.  Johnson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and died in 2005.