Leesa Mitchell scoops out the biggest and best nuggets on Big Cat 105.5
The Oak Ridge Boys, The Browns, and the late guitarist Grady Martin are headed to the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Oak's Richard Sterban admits the news is a bit overwhelming. The Oak Ridge Boys will be added in the Modern Era category, while The Browns will become members in the Veterans Era category. Martin is being posthumously honored as a Recording and/or Touring Musician active before 1980. The new Country Music Hall of Fame inductees will receive their formal welcome with the annual Medallion Ceremony later this year.
Jennifer Nettles is featured in two new duets. The country star was tapped to team up with Jennifer Hudson to record the new Diane Warren composition "You Will," which is the new theme song for Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network. Oprah unveiled a video for the song showing Hudson and Nettles in the studio recording the inspirational track. On Facebook, Oprah called the song a "beautiful gift" from the three powerhouse artists.
Meanwhile, the Sugarland singer is also making a guest appearance on Reba McEntire's new album. Reba recently posted an 86-second preview of the duet "Enough" on YouTube. The track will be on Reba's new album, "Love Somebody," which will be available on April 14th.
Taylor Swift is getting an apology over her misquoted lyrics, and one of her fans will also benefit from the mistake. The folks at Princeton Review has expressed they regrets over messing up the words to her song "Fifteen" in an SAT prep test question, tweeting, "Oops! We own up to the lyric fail." But they say Swift's lyrics are still grammatically incorrect, adding "somebody/them = points off on the SAT." But in another Princeton Review tweet they vow to "make it up" to Taylor. They've asked her to "pick a #grammar lover fan" to receive two tickets to one of her upcoming shows.
The late Tennessee Ernie Ford is getting new recognition. His classic "Sixtten Tons" is among the latest additions to the National Recording Registry. Ford's chart-topper is being honored along with The Doors' debut album, the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'," and 22 other recordings that have been selected to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry for preservation. Twenty five recordings are picked each year for their cultural, historical or aesthetically significant impact on society. Recordings must be at least ten years old to be considered for inclusion. The selections for the 2014 registry now brings the total number of recordings on the registry to 425.
Brad Paisley is taking his humor to a new crowd. The country star has been tapped to host a night of the upcoming Wild West Comedy Festival. As emcee Brad will introduce each act and also interact with the comedians. The show is set for April 16th at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center's Andrew Jackson Hall, featuring stand-up performances from comedians Greg Hahn, Theo Von, Sarah Tiana, and others. The Wild West Comedy Festival will take place at various venues in Nashville from April 14th through the 19th. Tickets for Paisley's night go on sale this Friday. More information is available at WildWestComedyFestival.com.
In Highlights and Lowdown, Sound from Keith Urban on how he's creating new music for his next album, Darius Rucker on Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell on standing behind the mic on stage, Zac Brown on not being discouraged early on in his career and Tyler Farr on utilizing Nashville's most precious commodity. Plus, newlywed Jason Aldean releases a new single and Kenny Chesney sells a million tickets before even hitting the road.
Reba McEntire is branching out into cosmetics. The country star is teaming up with her longtime makeup artist, Brett Freedman, to launch Reba Beauty. Both Reba and Brett have been sharing details about the launch on Instagram. Reba says in a post that the first product will be "a slim, shiny lipstick/gloss hybrid." along with a "sneak peek" photo of six metallic lipstick-tubes. Brett gives their debut product a more formal name, "Deluxstick." He also says he's excited for people to see their "fresh and new ideas," adding that "it's gonna be glammy fun." Reba Beauty will be available from Amazon and Reba.com starting April 7th.
But a makeup isn't the only new thing coming soon from Reba. She'll also release her new album, "Love Somebody" on April 14th. The disc is the singer's long awaited follow up to her 2010 effort, "All The Women I Am."
Garth Brooks is marking his 26th anniversary as a recording artist. On March 25th, 1989, the country superstar made his chart debut with "Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)." Garth says the song is special to him, not just for launching his career, but for what it represents.
Garth says he owes his career to the cowboys and cowgirls, adding that they're "classy characters." He adds that he also has a great deal of respect for others like the cowboy, including farmers, ranchers, military members, and other well-mannered people who are "out to do the right thing."
Garth is currently on the road playing his hits on his first tour in over a decade. The singer just wrapped up a run of shows in Denver, and is now headed to Sacramento, California. He'll play the first of six shows at the Sleep Train Arena on Friday.
Kristian Bush has another song preview for fans. He debuted the new track "Light Me Up" on Billboard.com. Kristian says the song is "a special one" for him. He says it's the first time he's been able to "sing a love song directly" to his listener, and truly express himself "as a man." The singer explains that for much of the past 12 years he's been writing songs knowing they'd be sung by a woman, and certain things he's wanted to say just "didn't quite fit in that context." Kristian says "Light Me Up" is a celebration of the "powerful, unforgettable force" of "a woman's love," which "changes you forever."
"Light Me Up" is from Kristian's upcoming solo album, "Southern Gravity." The set, which also features the single "Trailer Hitch," will be in stores April 7th.
So much for a summer wedding. Jason Aldean and Brittany Kerr are now husband and wife. UsMagazine.com says the country superstar and the former "American Idol" finalist tied the knot in Mexico on Saturday. Aldean released a statement calling it "the best day ever." Family and friends attended the ceremony, including Jason's daughters from his first marriage and "Duck Dynasty" star Willie Robertson.
Aldean and Kerr caused a stir when they were first seen together, getting cozy in a Los Angeles bar in October 2012 -- while Aldean was still married. Aldean reportedly tried to reconcile his relationship with his wife, but he ended up filing for divorce six months later. Jason and Brittany confirmed that they were dating last March. They became engaged last September, and hosted a lavish party celebrating their relationship back in January. At the time they said they were planning a summer wedding.
Eric Church knows how to really pack 'em in. The country star set a new attendance record for the Allstate Arena in suburban Chicago, when 18-thousand-626 fans turned out for his show Friday night. The previous record was set in 2007, when Vincente Fernandez entertained 18-thousand-452 people at the Rosemont, Illinois venue. Eric admits he's amazed at how his Chicago-area audience has grown, which he credits to the fans. He says his "journey in the city started in 2005" when he played for "about 20 people" at Joe's Bar, and over the past ten years those 20 people "turned this thing into damn near 20-thousand."
Eric performed for nearly two-and-a-half hours for his record-setting audience. His 28-song set included such hits as "Talladega," "Drink In My Hand," "Springsteen," and his current single, "Wrecking Ball." The next stop on Eric's "Outsiders" tour will be in Tallahassee, Florida on Thursday.
Zac Brown Band have added another date to their upcoming trek, and are making history in the process. The country group is becoming the first act to play a three-night stand at Boston's Fenway Park. The band was originally scheduled to perform at the iconic ballpark on August 7th and 8th, but the demand for tickets prompted the addition of a show on August 9th. Tickets for the new date go on sale to the general public this Friday. Presales for Zamily members begin Monday. Details are available at ZacBrownBand.com.
Zac Brown Band are hitting the road behind their new album "Jekyll + Hyde," featuring the hit "Homegrown." The disc will be released on April 28th, while the group's"Jekyll + Hyde" tour will begin in Nashville on May 1st.
Hunter Hayes is expanding his career beyond North America. The country star gave his concert debut in the UK on Friday with a sold out performance at The Borderline in London. During his appearance Hunter also announced plans for his first UK album and tour. The ten-track set is being called "I Want Crazy," and includes his two UK singles, "Tattoo" and "Light Me Up." Other songs in the collection include the U.S. hits "Wanted," "Invisible," and "Somebody's Heartbreak" as well as the title track.
Hayes' "I Want Crazy" will be available in Britain on May 25th, during his inaugural UK trek. He'll launch his "Let's Be Crazy UK Tour" in London on May 22nd. Hunter will also visit Birmingham and Manchester, England, and bring the four-date run to a close in Glasgow, Scotland on May 26th.
Wynonna admits there's a reason she's only now making her South By Southwest debut. Billboard.com says the country star admitted to the crowd that she doesn't like taking part "in things that are too organized," but this year she couldn't resist the invitation to perform in a church. Less than 250 night owls were on hand for her midnight set, which capped off a Friday showcase at St. David's Episcopal Church. Along with her music Wy shared thoughts on other artists including Kanye West. She used a finger-down-the-throat gesture to express her opinion of the rapper, adding that she could "take him with one hand tied behind" her back.
Wy's "Storytellers"-type show also included tales from her own life. She recalled spending time in Austin as a teenager, and credits Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds for teaching her about the blues. The singer added that it was "a big fat hair deal" for her to be there, and that she felt it was "fitting" that she was performing in "a church -- not a bar." Wy's set spanned her career, including solo hits, Judds classics, and several songs from her upcoming album. She added that performing the new tracks left her eager to "get this record done." Wy also indicated that while it was her first SXSW appearance, it probably won't be her last.
Taylor Swift is taking some preemptive action to keep her name from being misused on the Internet. According to a new report from CNN, the superstar has purchased the web addresses called TaylorSwift.porn and TaylorSwift.adult. They were purchased ahead of the June 1st deadline, after which the addresses would have become available to the public. The move came from the help of a nonprofit group called the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which helps public figures to get ahead of the curb to protect their names.
Darius Rucker says he goes out of his way to make sure he'd doing right by his opening acts. The singer explains that it's something he vowed to do as a headliner, because he didn't always get such treatment.
Darius says he plans group and individual outings for him and his tourmates. He explains that he'll invite openers to go out with him to play a round of golf, or if their schedule permits he'll reserve a restaurant and take his openers and their crews out to dinner. The singer says it gives everyone a chance to get to know each other a little better. Rucker will launch his "Southern Style" tour in Holmdel, New Jersey on May 14th. Brett Eldredge, the Brothers Osborne, and A Thousand Horses are the openers.
A Thousand Horses' Michael Hobby and Graham Deloach admit they live in rather close quarters on the road. But the country newcomers say they know how to keep the peace.
A Thousand Horses will be performing in Pensacola, Florida on March 29th. Their full schedule is posted at AThousandHorses.com. The group is on the road promoting their latest single, "Smoke." A Thousand Horses' new album, "Southernality," will arrive June 9th.