Country Stars The Scoop

The Scoop

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


Blake Shelton's done it again.  The country star has led another singer to victory as a coach on NBC's "The Voice."  On Tuesday's season seven finale, Team Blake's Craig Wayne Boyd got the nod over Matt McAndrew, Chris Jamison, and Damien to capture the 100-thousand dollar prize and recording contract.  The finale marked another showdown between Shelton and Maroon 5's Adam Levine, who coached the other three.  Craig is the fourth Team Blake singer to win "The Voice."  Shelton's other successes include season two's Jermaine Paul, season three's Cassadee Pope, and season four's Danielle Bradbery.

Craig is a country singer
.  Over the course of the competition he performed a number of country covers including George Strait's "You Look So Good In Love," Johnny Cash's "I Walk The Line," and Merle Haggard's "Workin' Man Blues."  The Texas-born
Nashville resident says in his Facebook bio that he began pursuing a country music career well before competing on "The Voice."  His efforts have included opening shows for Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser, and Brantley Gilbert.  Craig's debut single, "My Baby's Got a Smile on Her Face," is available now.  He'll make appearances Wednesday on NBC's "Today" and "The Tonight Show."

Florida Georgia Line's Brian Kelley says he and Tyler Hubbard are "happy to be there to support the troops."  And the country star tells the "Miami Herald" they aren't alone.  He says whenever they've taken part in concerts honoring the men and women in uniform everybody involved is "just so passionate and loyal," and "it's just a good energy.  Florida Georgia Line is among the stars taking part in the WWE's holiday special "Tribute to the Troops," airing on USA Wednesday night.  Hubbard says being a WWE event makes it even better.  The singer explains that wrestling fans are "awesome and loud and energetic and passionate," while those in the WWE are "amazing and friendly" and "very welcoming."

Blake Shelton is featured on the special as well, along with his fellow coaches from "The Voice."  Seth Meyers, Tom Brokaw, and The Kardashians are some of the other celebrities also making appearances at the event, which was recently taped at Fort Benning, Georgia.  In addition to Wednesday's two-hour USA Network special, a one-hour edition of the WWE's "Tribute to the Troops" will air on NBC on December 27th.

Shania Twain is spreading the word about domestic violence.  The country star has filmed a public service announcement to raise awareness of the issue. Shania continues, admitting that domestic violence isn't easy to discuss but shouldn't be ignored.  She encourages victims to "tell someone you trust," and report all incidents to police.  The full, minute-long clip is posted on YouTube.

Twain shot the
PSA for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. says it's her end of a deal she made with the law enforcement agency, which allowed her to appear on horseback in a full RCMP dress uniform at the Calgary Stampede last summer.  Shania's two shows at the Canadian event marked her first full performances outside of Las Vegas in a decade.  And with the concerts Twain became the first artist ever to play two sold out shows on consecutive nights at Calgary, Alberta's Scotiabank Saddledome.

Taylor Swift says she was determined to make "1989" a pure pop album.  But the singer tells "Billboard" that decision didn't go over well at her label.  She recalls Big Machine President Scott Borchetta "went into a state of semi-panic" when she revealed her plans, and appealed to her to reconsider.  She says he wanted her to put a few country tracks on the album and add a fiddle to "Shake It Off," but she gave "a very firm 'no'" to all of his suggestions.  Taylor explains that it "felt disingenuous to try to exploit two genres when your album falls in only one."

Taylor adds that she was bombarded with doubts from her team as well, and admits it "really frustrated" her.  She says they called "1989" a "weird title," opposed a cover image that showed "less than half" of her face, and questioned her decision to leave country music for pop.  But Swift has likely silenced those naysayers -- "1989" is one of the biggest releases of 2014.

Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild says she brought the whistling to their hit "Day Drinking."  But the country star admits it was an act of necessity, not creativity.  She explains it stemmed from fatigue following as series of performances.
But Karen says when her bandmates heard her whistle the melody line they loved it, and decided to keep it as part of the song.  "Day Drinking" is the lead-off single from Little Big Town's most recent album, "Pain Killer."  The track has also earned a Grammy nomination.  It's one of the songs in the running for Best Country Duo/Group Performance.  The 57th annual Grammy Awards will be presented in a ceremony in
Los Angeles, and air on CBS on February 8th.

Garth Brooks says he really likes his current single, "Mom."  The country star explains it's a powerful song that touches on a subject that's dear to him. Songwriters Wynn Varble and Don Sampson penned "Mom," which is on Garth's new album, "Man Against Machine."  The singer says it's his favorite song on the disc, and just might be his favorite song of his entire career.  "Mom" is the second single from "Man Against Machine," which is in stores now.

Toby Keith says he knew he had to record "Drunk Americans" the moment he heard it.  He tells "CMT Hot 20 Countdown" it reminded him of his earliest work, adding "sometimes you just gotta go back and do what you do best."  The country star adds that the song is the type which he's "always struck gold."  "Drunk Americans" is the lead-off single from Toby's next album, "35
MPH Town."  The upcoming disc will be his follow up to 2013's "Drinks After Work."  Keith will be featured on this weekend's edition of "CMT Hot 20 Countdown."

Kip Moore has plenty to celebrate.  Two of the country star's singles have reached new sales milestones.  His 2013 top ten "Hey Pretty Girl" has been certified Platinum, while his 2012 chart-topper "Somethin' 'Bout a Truck" has gone double Platinum.  The sales achievements coincide with his success at Monday's American Country Countdown Awards, where he was named Breakthrough Artist Of The Year.  It was the event's only fan-voted category. Moore is currently working on his sophomore album, and prepping for his upcoming tour.  He'll launch his 2015 trek in Missoula, Montana on January 27th.

Trisha Yearwood says when she was a kid, it just wasn't Christmas unless she saw one particular holiday special.
But Trisha says her stepdaughters don't seem to possess that same kind of love for "Rudolph," which she understands on an intellectual level.  The country star admits claymation isn't quite as unique today as it was back in the '60s and '70s.  Trisha adds that "Santa was kind of mean to Rudolph in that one."  But the singer says "Rudolph" is "classic Christmas TV," and it'll always be special to her. 

Luke Bryan could have another big awards show night.  The singer is the top nominee for the first ever American Country Countdown Awards, airing on Fox tonight (Monday).  Luke is entering the event with seven bids in five categories, including Male Vocalist and Artist of the Year.  He's also slated to perform during the ceremony, along with nominees Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, and others.  The lineup for the two-hour show also boasts Carrie Underwood, Brett Eldredge, and Hank Williams Jr., while Kenny Chesney and Reba McEntire will receive special honors at the event.  Florida Georgia Line will be on hand in three capacities -- the six-times nominated duo has been tapped to perform and host the ceremony.

Nominees and winners for the American Country Countdown Awards are based on different statistics, including radio airplay charts, album sales, and digital and tour data.  The only exception is Breakthrough Artist of the Year, which is a fan-voted category.

Nominees for the American Country Countdown Awards