George Strait Moved to Write New Single, "I Believe," Following Newtown School Shooting

MCA NashvilleGeorge Strait lost his daughter, Jenifer, in a car accident in 1986, so his heart especially goes out to those parents whose children were killed in the Newtown, CT elementary school shootings last December. While watching the news coverage of the Newtown tragedy, George was moved to write down his thoughts for those parents.  Those words eventually became his latest single, "I Believe."  

George says, "Man, it’s such a sad thing.  Having been through something like that before myself, I just knew that I kinda wanted to say a little something."

It turns out George's son, Bubba, was on the same page watching the footage from Newtown.

"I wrote a few things down, and I called Bubba," George says, "and I started talking to him about it.  He said, 'Dad, I was actually thinking the same thing.'"

George and  Bubba continued writing separately, and then Bubba finished "I Believe" with hit songwriter Dean Dillon. The song appears on George's latest album, Love Is Everything.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockCountry Music Hall of Fame member Jim Foglesong died Tuesday at age 90.  The longtime Nashville music executive was instrumental in launching the careers of Reba, Garth Brooks, George Strait and Don Williams among many others.

Loretta Lynn will host her first-ever Gospel Music Festival at her ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN September 28 and 29. Go to LorettaLynn.com for more details.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Nicki Minaj Talks Relationship, "American Idol" and More in "Marie Claire"


Nicki Minaj has made history by becoming the first female rapper to grace the cover of Marie Claire.

In the forthcoming August issue, Nicki responds to a handful of the 20,000 questions that her Barbz submitted via Twitter.

Many pressed about her current relationship status, to which the Queens native replies, "Dear Barbz: I don't have a man. And if he were a secret man, why would I reveal him?"

The rapper also explains how her stint as a judge on American Idol helped her grow up.

"I started feeling more comfortable with less," she says. "I learned so much about myself, like how perception is reality."

With her third album, tentatively titled The Pink Print, slated to arrive next year, Nicki shares, "I at least want to do three more albums.  If I can do that, I'll feel complete," she says. "One day, when I start getting a couple gray hairs, maybe it will all be only acting.  I just never know."

Minaj, who says she dreamed of reaching "Halle Berry status," will appear in an upcoming comedy titled The Other Woman alongside Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann.  She says of the role, "I would be lying if I said I was not nervous, I can't blow this."

She also gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at the magazine photo shoot, where she answers fun rapid-fire questions. She reveals what’s on her DVR -- Love & Hip Hop, her go-to menu -- steak and king crab legs from BOA Steakhouse with a side of corn -- and what she buys over and over: "I buy like a toothbrush everyday, is that the weirdest thing," she says.

The August issue of Marie Claire will hit newsstands on July 16.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Peter Frampton Kicks Off Second Leg of Guitar Circus Tour in Virginia Tonight

Facebook.com/PeterFramptonAfter taking a short break, Peter Frampton launches the second leg of his Frampton's Guitar Circus Tour tonight in Glen Allen, Virginia.  As previously reported, the trek features the veteran rocker performing alongside a variety of other famous guitarists.

During July, Frampton will be joined on stage at select dates by Rick Derringer, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Toto's Steve Lukather, Los Lobos' David Hidalgo and Pearl Jam's Mike McCready.  The trek runs through an August 31 concert in Paso Robles, California, and the stars who'll be playing with Peter that month are B.B. King, Sonny Landreth, Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, The Byrds' Roger McGuinn, Stone Temple Pilots' Dean DeLeo, Mountain's Leslie West, UFO's Vinnie Moore, jazz virtuoso Larry Carlton, British folk-rocker Richard Thompson and Hidalgo.

On the first leg of Guitar Circus outing, which got under way on May 26, the musicians Frampton welcomed to the stage included Robert Cray, Steve Cropper, ex-Eagle Don Felder, Vince Gill, McGuinn and West.

Frampton is making available full performances of each show on the tour as digital downloads that can be purchased at FizzKicks.com.

Here is the complete list of upcoming Peter Frampton's Guitar Circus Tour dates along with confirmed guest musicians:

7/10 -- Glen Allen, VA, Innsbrook Pavilion (RD, KWS)
7/13 -- Durant, OK, Choctaw Events Center (SL, RD)
7/14 -- San Antonio, TX, Majestic Theater (KWS, SL)
7/16 -- Corpus Christi, TX, Selena Auditorium (SL, RD)
7/19 -- Quapaw, OK, Downstream Casino (SL, RD)
7/20 -- Dubuque, IA, Diamond Jo Casino (SL, RD)
7/21 -- Minneapolis, MN, State Theater (KWS, SL)
7/23 -- Beaver Creek, CO, Vilar Performing Arts Center (SL)
7/26 -- Airway Heights, WA, Northern Quest Casino (KWS, DH)
7/27 -- Manson, WA, Mill Bay Casino (KWS, DH)
7/28 -- Marysville, WA, Tulalip Resort Casino (KWS, DH, MM)
8/5 -- Bethlehem, PA, Musikfest (BBK, SLa, VM)
8/7 -- Simsbury, CT, Performing Arts Center - Simsbury Meadows (SLa, LW)
8/8 -- Baltimore, MD, Pier Six Pavilion (BBK, SLa, RM)
8/10 -- Atlantic City, NJ, Trump Taj Mahal (BBK, SLa, RM)
8/11 -- Vienna, VA, Wolf Trap Filene Center (BBK, RM)
8/13 -- Alpharetta, GA, Verizon Wireless Amphitheater (BBK, SLa, DH, LC)
8/14 -- Cincinnati, OH, PNC Pavilion at Riverbend (BBK, SLa, DH)
8/16 -- Aurora, IL, RiverEdge Park (BBK, SLa, RN, LC)
8/17 -- Council Bluffs, IA, Harrah's Hotel & Casino (BBK, SLa, RN, LC)
8/18 -- Kansas City, MO, Kauffman Center (BBK, SLa)
8/20 -- Morrison, CO, Red Rocks Amphitheater (BBK, SLa, DH)
8/21 -- Albuquerque, NM, Route 66 Casino
8/23 -- Las Vegas, NV, Las Vegas Hotel & Casino (BBK, DD)
8/24 -- Los Angeles, CA, The Greek Theatre (BBK, SLa, DD)
8/25 -- San Diego, CA, Civic Theatre (BBK, SLa, DD)
8/28 -- Saratoga, CA, Mountain Winery (BBK, DD)
8/30 -- Lincoln, CA, Thunder Valley Casino Resort (BBK, RT)
8/31 -- Paso Robles, CA, Vina Robles Amphitheater (BBK, SLa, RT)

RD - Rick Derringer; KWS - Kenny Wayne Shepherd; SL- Steve Lukather; DH - David Hidaldo; MM - Mike McCready; VM - Vinnie Moore; BBK - B.B. King; SLa - Sonny Landreth; LW - Leslie West; RM - Roger McGuinn; LC - Larry Carlton; RN - Rick Nielsen; DD - Dean DeLeo; RT - Richard Thompson.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


John Mayer Buys Guitar for Teenage Fan

Image courtesy Julie Fermin via TwitterJohn Mayer was in a very generous mood last Friday.  Not only did he chat with an excited fan at a New York City music store, he also bought her an acoustic guitar.

People magazine reports 16-year-old aspiring musician Julie Fermin and her friends were inside Rudy’s Music when John and his apparently-on-again girlfriend, Katy Perry, popped in.  They all struck up a conversation, and at one point John asked Julie to point out which guitar in the store she liked the most.

After John and Katy left the store, an employee informed Julie that John had purchased for her the guitar she’d mentioned to him.  Julie says, "I cannot describe all the emotions I was feeling at that moment."  No need to -- E! News has posted a terrific video, apparently taken by a Rudy's employee or customer, of Julie's reaction when she learns the news.

A store employee tells People magazine, "I experienced first-hand the kind of sweet guy John is.  He and Katy are just wonderful people."

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Jennifer Lopez: I Was Homeless When I Started Dancing Full-Time

JenniferLopez.comJennifer Lopez recently visited her childhood home in the Bronx for the August cover of W magazine, and she gives readers a candid peek into the tougher times of her life before she was a megastar.

She admits she was a bit nervous about her return to the place where she grew up, stating that the last time she was there was when her “mom and dad called us home to tell us that they were separating after 33 years of marriage.”

Lopez, 43, also reminisces about moving out of her house at age 18 to pursue dancing full-time and forgo college, something that didn’t pay off at first and caused a rift between Jennifer and her mother, Guadalupe.

“She and I had a break. I started sleeping on the sofa in the dance studio,” the mother of twins Max and Emme, both 5, says. “I was homeless, but I told her, ‘This is what I have to do.’”

But J-Lo didn’t remain homeless for long. “A few months later, I landed a job dancing in Europe. When I got back, I booked In Living Color. I became a Fly Girl and moved to L.A. It all happened in a year,” she notes.

But looking back, Lopez is forthcoming about her respect for her parents and what they did to put food on the table.

“My dad worked nights, and I was aware of how much he was doing for us,” she says. ”My mom was a Tupperware lady and also worked at the school.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Man Arrested at Taylor Swift Concert After Alleged Facebook Threat

Sarah BarlowA 28-year-old man was arrested at Taylor Swift’s concert in Pittsburgh Saturday night after police say he threatened her on Facebook.

According to KDKA-TV, police say Joseph Jackson of Clarksburg, Pennsylvania, also brought posters to the concert venue, Heinz Field, that read “I luv you” and “Taylor Swift is with Satan.”

Jackson was removed from his seat after Taylor’s security team informed police about him. Police records state that Jackson told the arresting officers “Taylor Swift is Satan and that 6,000 years is six days and death comes on the sixth day, so Taylor Swift is in danger.”

Jackson has been jailed and is expected to undergo a mental evaluation.

The KDKA-TV report cites sources who say that Taylor’s security team is “very proactive” in reacting to threats directed at her.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros Frontman Ebert Says His Singing Voice Has "Changed a Lot" Since Last Album

Vagrant RecordsFrontman Alex Ebert hopes that you’ll notice a change in his singing voice on Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros’ upcoming self-titled album. The singer says his vocals have evolved quite a bit since the group released 2012's Here, thanks to the band's constant touring schedule.

“My voice has changed a lot just from singing every day,” he tells ABC News Radio. “I didn’t grow up a singer so it’s taken a while for me to wear in my voice to point where I feel good about it.  So yeah, it’s been a long road to this album…and I just feel really good about the songs.  I think we all do.”

Ebert adds that he wanted to make sure the group put out the forthcoming album as quickly as possible so he could settle unfinished business he had with Here.  “Here…for me wasn’t and isn’t a complete statement of who we are or where we’re at musically,” he explains.  “It was important to me to get out the complete statement as soon as possible after that.

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros self-titled record will arrive in stores on July 23.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


"R&B Divas Atlanta" Boosts TV One Ratings; Part Two Reunion Airs Tonight

TV OneIf you were one of the many glued to the TV every Wednesday night, it should be no surprise that R&B Divas has been a big success for the TV One network.

R&B Divas Atlanta, featuring Faith Evans, Syleena Johnson, KeKe Wyatt, Angie Stone and Nicci Gilbert, helped the network to its highest primetime ratings of the year in June, according to a network press release, a 34 percent improvement over last June's ratings.

The second season not only experienced a jump in ratings but also a rise in drama, as the ladies attempted to put together a tour for their lasting fan-base. During the season finale June 19, viewers were left wondering if the cast would even return to the show after tension exploded inside an Atlanta restaurant during KeKe's birthday party.

Despite the conflicts that ensued, there were apologies and laughs shared among the women during the R&B Divas Atlanta Reunion: Part 1 special on June 26.

Viewers can catch R&B Divas Atlanta Reunion: Part 2 when it airs tonight, July 10 at 9 p.m. ET, immediately followed by the season premiere of R&B Divas LA -- which includes Kelly Price, Dawn Robinson formerly of En Vogue, Lil Mo, Michel'le, Chante Moore and Claudette Ortiz of City High.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Jonathan Davis Says New Korn Album, "The Paradigm Shift," Was Fueled by Getting Off Anti-Depressant Medication

Ragnar Singsaas/Getty ImagesFrontman Jonathan Davis has revealed that Korn’s upcoming album, The Paradigm Shift, was written while getting off anti-depressant medication, a process that kept him a hazy state of mind.

“The whole writing process I was on autopilot," he tells Rolling Stone. "It was stream-of-consciousness -- so many songs I don't know what the f**k I'm talking about. I didn't really have to try to write, it just came out.”

Davis adds that he decided to stop taking the medicine and go to rehab after a visit with his physician. “I detoxed off that medication -- it was an anti-depressant, the anxiety and stuff,” he explains. “I'd been on it for three years and the doctor told me you gotta get off this, it's bad for you."

The Paradigm Shift is expected to arrive at all the usual outlets on October 1. The forthcoming release marks the return of guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, who quit the band in 2005.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Clint Black Releasing New Album, "When I Said I Do," Exclusively Through Cracker Barrel

Photo Credit: Russ HarringtonClint Black is in a romantic mood on his new album, When I Said I Do, coming exclusively to Cracker Barrel Old Country Store August 5. The project features three brand-new songs as well as Clint's duet with his wife, Lisa Hartman Black, on the previously released title track. Clint's other hit love songs, including "Something That We Do," "Like the Rain" and "One Emotion," round out the 14-track release.

He says, "It’s exciting to have new music available for the fans. I hope listeners love the new songs and enjoy rediscovering the ones we’ve previously released.”   

Fans can also purchase When I Said I Do at CrackerBarrel.com and select digital outlets.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


"The Voice" Champ Danielle Bradbery Performing Debut Single on "Today" Next Week

Big Machine RecordsThe Voice season four winner Danielle Bradbery will launch her debut country single, "The Heart of Dixie," with a performance on NBC's Today show Wednesday, July 17. The song tells the story of a woman named Dixie breaking out of her dead-end life.

Danielle says, "For me, Dixie’s story is about inspiration… it is so honest. People of all ages and backgrounds supported me on The Voice, and I love that this song shows how we can have the same feelings through different experiences, no matter where we are in life.”

"The Heart of Dixie" goes on sale Tuesday, July 16 at iTunes.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mark Knopfler's "Privateering" Album to Get US Release in September

Verve RecordsMark Knopfler's latest album, Privateering, is finally set to get its release in the United States.  The two-CD collection, which initially was issued in the U.K. last September, will hit U.S. stores on September 10 thanks to a new worldwide deal the ex-Dire Straits frontman has signed with Universal Music Group's Verve Records label.

In a statement, the singer/guitarist explains that he decided to release Privateering as a double album "because of the sheer volume of material" he had amassed.  He adds, "I didn't want to separate songs into genres and I didn't want to leave too many songs on the shelf.  I just wanted it to be a reflection of the fantastic sessions we had."

Knopfler worked with his longtime solo band on the record, including former Dire Straits keyboardist Guy Fletcher.  The album, which is Mark's first ever two-disc studio effort, also includes contributions from Fabulous Thunderbirds singer/harmonica player Kim Wilson and acclaimed country musicians Paul Franklin and Tim O'Brien.

Knopfler's new label agreement comes after he ended a 35-year association with Warner Bros. Records.

"Mark has long been one of the most innovative and successful artists in music," says Universal Music executive Max Hole.  "We're thrilled he's decided to sign to Verve so that we are now working with him everywhere across the world."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Foghat Releases New Single Co-Written by Contest Winner

Foghat.netVeteran boogie rockers Foghat are back with a brand-new single titled "The Word of Rock n' Roll."  The song actually is an updated version of the band's 2010 instrumental track "495 Boogie" that features lyrics written by a fan named Phil Dessinger in conjunction with a songwriting contest launched last year.

A special lyrics video for the tune, which celebrates the crazy life of a rock group on the road, can be viewed now at Foghat's official YouTube channel.  The clip includes a variety of candid, fan-submitted photos of the band members clowning around and hanging out with some of their faithful followers.  It also features footage of Foghat performing on stage.

"The Word of Rock n' Roll" was released Tuesday and is available for purchase now as a digital download at Amazon.com and iTunes.

Meanwhile, Foghat has more than 20 upcoming concerts scheduled this year.  Here are all of the band's confirmed 2013 tour dates:

7/13 -- Marion, IN, Brandt's I-69 Harley Davidson
7/19 -- Tygh Valley, OR, Run 21 Motorcycle Rally
7/26 -- Oswego, NY, Harbor Fest Main Stage
7/27 -- Morgantown, WV, Mountainfest Motorcycle Rally
8/3 -- Decatur, IL, Decatur Celebration
8/8 -- Albany, OR, Monteith River Park
8/9 -- Tillamook, OR, Tillamook City Fair-Rodeo
8/10 -- Sequim, WA, James Center for the Performing Arts
8/16 -- Santa Cruz, CA, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
8/17 -- Central City, CO, The Reserve Casino Hotel
8/18 -- Des Moines, IA, Iowa State Fair
8/24 -- Lewiston, ID, Lewiston's Hot August Nights
8/31 -- Freeport, TX, Memorial Park Downtown
9/7 -- Ellsworth, WI, SCVR Chili Feed
9/13 -- Ocean City, MD, Ocean City Bikefest
9/14 -- Lodi, CA, Lodi Grape Festival
9/21 -- Plymouth, NH, The Flying Monkey Movie House
9/28 -- Salt Lake City, UT, The Rockin' Beehive Festival
10/5 -- Las Vegas, NV, Las Vegas Bikefest 2013
10/19 -- Leon, Mexico, Motofiesta Leon 2013
12/6 -- Miami, FL, Magic City Casino
12/13 -- Chicago, IL, Copernicus Center

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Kevin Jonas and Wife Expecting Child

Facebook.com/JonasBrothersKevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle Jonas, are expecting their first child.  The Jonas Brothers musician has revealed to E! News that his wife of three and a half years is pregnant, saying, "It's been the most exciting thing in my life so far."

Kevin has also tweeted, “It's true @daniellejonas is pregnant! can't even imagine how excited we are I can't wait to share this with my best friend. I love you baby.”

Kevin, 25, and Danielle, 26, tied the knot in December 2009.  They star in their own E! reality series, Married to Jonas.

This will be the first child for any of the Jonas Brothers.  Joe and Nick are not married.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Monica Celebrates Third Wedding Anniversary

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images via ABCMonica is still head over heels in love.

The singer posted a series of pictures on her Instagram page to celebrate the anniversary of her wedding to husband Shannon Brown.

Monica, who began dating the Phoenix Suns basketball player in 2010, tweeted that the pair were first married on November 22, 2010 but a lavish ceremony was held the following year, on July 9.

The singer shared her joy with fans and wrote, "July 9th 2011.... One of the best days of my life as the years pass by our love grows stronger each day!!! God is love & his love guided us to one another."

She captioned another picture, "ForeverAlways 7/9 this day was more than I dreamed of Thank U SB for all u did to make my dreams reality. On this day & everyday since ?MBSB"

After confirming her pregnancy back in May, the singer is now seven months pregnant and expecting her third child, which will be her first with Brown.

The Atlanta native is working on her eighth studio album, the follow-up to 2011's New Life.  The disc will include production from Missy Elliott, Rico Love, Jim Jonsin, Stargate, Mike WiLL Made It and Polow Da Don.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Daft Punk Getting Their Own Action Figures

P-Bandai.jpAfter listening to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” over and over again this summer, you’ll have a chance to play with action figures modeled after the duo during the holiday season.

The Japanese toy company Bandai is helping to create figures of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo in the outfits inspired by their latest album, Random Access Memories.

According to an Amazon description, the figures were created under Daft Punk’s supervision, and will feature “seven sets of left/right interchangeable hand parts.” The figures are set to go on sale December 27.

Daft Punk was previously immortalized with action figures when their soundtrack to Tron: Legacy was released in 2010.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sting Holding 10 Concerts in NYC This Fall to Benefit Arts Organization

Credit: Fabrizio FerriSting will hold 10 concerts in New York City this fall to benefit the city’s Public Theater arts organization.

From September 25 through October 9, Sting will appear at the 260-seat Anspacher Theater. He’ll perform songs from his new album, The Last Ship, which will be released September 24. He'll also provide "unique insight into the creative process" of his musical of the same name, which he hopes will open on Broadway next year.

Sting says in a statement, “The Public Theater, a New York institution committed to supporting all of the city's distinct communities, was a natural fit to perform this material that is, at its core, about the importance of community."

A limited number of seats for each show will be made available for free in a lottery held the day of the performance.

American Express card members can get their hands on tickets beginning Wednesday at 6 p.m. Eastern time. Tickets go on sale to the general public beginning Sunday night. For more ticket info, you can visit PublicTheater.org.

It’s also been announced that tickets for a separate Public Theater concert -- scheduled for October 2, Sting’s 62nd birthday -- will be given away to 100 Sting.com fan club members. More details on that show will be announced later on Sting.com.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Jay-Z's "Magna Carta Holy Grail" Sales Projections for Next Week

Facebook.com/JayZAfter cutting a deal with Samsung to promote his latest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, many are wondering where Jay-Z will land on the Billboard 200 chart next week.

Tuesday marked the first day fans were able to purchase copies in stores -- the project was previously given to one million lucky Samsung users on July 4.

According to industry forecasts, Magna Carta Holy Grail is expected to sell between 350,000 to 400,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, July 14, based partly on information from pre-orders on iTunes, Billboard reports.

The feat would give the rap mogul his 13th number one album on the Billboard 200, second only to The Beatles, who have an impressive 19 chart-toppers, and more than any other solo act.

The rapper's album may already be platinum. As previously reported, Hov's unprecedented decision to partner with Samsung for the Magna Carta Holy Grail app resulted in the Recording Industry Association of America changing its rules for awarding gold and platinum certifications.

Under the RIAA's prior rules, artists had to wait 30 days after release before the Association would certify album sales -- gold for 500,000 copies sold, platinum for 1 million copies sold.  The Association has yet to make an official certification but Jay doesn't have to wait 30 days to apply for a certification.

Meanwhile, Billboard has remained firm in its sales count policy -- opting not to count the one million albums Samsung distributed toward the album's chart position because Samsung gave them away to users, and did not sell them.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Aerosmith & Chickenfoot Members Featured on Ex-Alice Cooper Guitarist Steve Hunter's New Solo Album

PFA Media; Mad Ink PRAerosmith's Joe Perry and Chickenfoot's Joe Satriani are featured on an upcoming solo album by Steve Hunter, the lauded guitarist whose fluid playing is featured on classic recordings by Alice Cooper, Lou Reed and Peter Gabriel. Titled The Manhattan Blues Project, the forthcoming release also includes contributions from ex-King Crimson bassist Tony Levin and actor/guitarist Johnny Depp.

Perry and Depp play together on a 12-bar blues tune titled "The Brooklyn Shuffle." "I was thrilled when that happened," declares Hunter.  "I told them both, 'Plug the guitars in and have a blast,' and it sounds like to me they did."

The Manhattan Blues Project is available for purchase now on the CD Baby website and via iTunes.  Visit TheManhattanBluesProject.com for more information about the record.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio