Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockReba was named CMA Entertainer of the Year in which year? ANSWER: 1986.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


New Grand Ole Opry Tours Give Fans All Access to Country Music's Most Famous Stage

Grand Ole OpryA new backstage tour at the Grand Ole Opry gives fans a chance to stand on that legendary stage, even if they can't carry a tune.

The VIP Behind the Opry Curtain tour allows a few fans to stand onstage as the curtain goes up for an Opry performance. Those on the tour will also see the Opry's themed dressing rooms, the Opry House Family Room with photos from major events in the show's history, and Opry House Studio A, where shows like Hee Haw were filmed.

An Opry House Post-Show tour with video host and Opry star Darius Rucker, and a daytime tour with video host Blake Shelton, are also available. Go to Opry.com for booking information.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Carly Rae Jepsen: From Opening Act to Headliner

ABC/TODD WAWRYCHUKLast year, Carly Rae Jepsen spent time touring the world's stadiums with Justin Bieber. This summer, she's out on her own, headlining shows from North America to Japan.  And she says it's what she learned last year that's allowed her to take it to the next level as far as touring is concerned.

"Before touring with Justin, I had been kind of playing more theater things and just kinda of gigs within Canada," Carly tells ABC News Radio. "I've toured a lot, and I've done, like, the...not-so-glamorous type of touring, so it was really fun to all of a sudden have a bus and be in these huge stadiums."  And those stadiums were an important part of learning stagecraft, according to Carly.

"Number one, I've learned how important it is to connect with that person in the back of the audience, just like they're that person in the front row," she explains. "Aand with a place that big, it takes a second to realize how to do that and how to make your movements and everything a little bit grander."

Earlier this week, Carly traveled back home to Canada for a show in Calgary, and tonight, she's playing another gig in Canada, at Quebec's massive Festival D'Ete [day TAY].  The 11-day blowout in Quebec City, which started July 4, features hundreds of performances by artists from every genre, from Stevie Wonder to Bruno Mars to legendary Canadian rockers Rush.  Carly says in general, she loves returning to Canada for concerts, especially if they take place in or around her hometown of Mission, British Columbia.

"Going home is always exciting... for obvious reasons like getting to see family and friends, which is a rare thing, with the schedule being so packed," Carly says. "But there is something about a hometown show, because that's really where I learned to love music, that's where I saw my first shows -- the James Taylors and the Melissa Etheridges of the world -- and getting to play on the same stages it just feels really unbelievable."

Carly has dates booked through the end of September, and she's already started work on her next album.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sevendust Hints at Another Acoustic Tour, Plans to Record Acoustic EP Next Year

7 Bros/AsylumBack in 2004, Sevendust went out on an acoustic tour to promote the release of their CD/DVD set, Southside Double-Wide: Acoustic Live. Now, guitarist John Connolly has revealed that the band has plans to hit the road for another set of stripped-down shows.

"There's a lot of talk, a lot of buzz kind of going around about another acoustic tour," Connolly tells The Lansing State Journal in a video interview. "We've always wanted to do one, but we really don't want to do it without a record, so we may be hopping in at some point to do some kind of an acoustic EP."

Connolly adds that fans will have to wait a while for the band to put out the acoustic record. "Ideally, it would be nice if we could get it kind of wrapped up before the end of the year, but I think, realistically, it might be January, February, March, somewhere around there,” he explains. The guitarist notes that the release will probably feature acoustic versions of “some older songs” and “a handful of newer songs.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


New Gov't Mule Album "Shout!" to Feature Variety of Guest Singers Including Steve Winwood, Dr. John

Blue Note RecordsGov't Mule, the veteran rock group fronted by Allman Brothers Band guitarist Warren Haynes, will release a unique and star-studded new album project titled Shout! on September 24.  The two-CD set will feature one disc offering 11 brand-new songs from Gov't Mule and a second boasting a variety of guest singers performing those same tunes with accompaniment from Haynes and company.

Among the vocalists who contribute their talents to Shout! are Steve Winwood, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, ex-Deep Purple bassist Glenn Hughes and Dave Matthews.

Speaking recently with ABC News Radio, Haynes explains that the album "started out as a normal Gov't Mule record, [but] somewhere along the line we took this drastic left turn onto a dirt road that led us to the idea of, 'What would happen if we offered a bonus disc of all these same songs but with other singers singing them?'"

With regard to concept behind Shout!, Warren says, "It's something I don't think anybody's ever really done before and we're very excited about it."  As for the artists who appear on the album, he adds, "They're a lot of my favorite singers, a lot of close friends [and] a lot of people that influenced us and influenced these particular songs."

Haynes tells ABC News Radio that he was particularly happy about how "each song and each guest performance really connect in a way that the singer sounds like he or she were meant to sing the song."

Haynes points out that, sonically, the new album "represents a culmination of everything we've done in the past and where we are right now."  He also explains that for some of the new songs, Gov't Mule decided to explore more specifically certain genres and bands that had long inspired the group.

"It kind of shows influences that we've always had that have never come to the surface until now," he suggests. "[And] it kind of shows some influences that we've hinted around at in the past but never to this extent."

Haynes is hoping the band will schedule a special show or shows that will feature some of the guest singers performing alongside Gov't Mule, although definite plans haven't been nailed down.  The band currently is touring Europe but will be back in the U.S. in time to play the Gathering of the Vibes festival on July 27 in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Visit Mule.net to check out all of the group's upcoming concerts.

Here is the complete track list for Shout!: along with the guest artist featured on each song:

Disc 1:

"World Boss"
"No Reward"
"Whisper in Your Soul"
"Scared to Live"
"Stoop So Low"
"Forsaken Savior"
"Done Got Wise"
"When the World Gets Small"
"Funny Little Tragedy"
"Bring On the Music"

Disc 2:

"World Boss" (with Ben Harper)
"Funny Little Tragedy" (with Elvis Costello)
"Stoop So Low" (with Dr. John)
"Captured" (with Jim James)
"Whisper in Your Soul" (with Grace Potter)
"Scared to Live" (with Toots Hibbert)
"No Reward" (with Glenn Hughes)
"Bring On the Music" (with Ty Taylor)
"Forsaken Savior" (with Dave Matthews)
"Done Got Wise" (with Myles Kennedy)
"When the World Gets Small" (with Steve Winwood)

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


2 Chainz Launches New Documentary Miniseries Online


2 Chainz has released the first installment of his new 24 Hours to Live miniseries on YouTube.

The nearly 5 minute-clip was filmed in South Africa and Los Angeles and flashbacks to significant events he attended -- including the VMAs, BET Awards, Coachella festival and ASCAP Awards.

The video begins with the rapper reflecting on his "lucrative career path" and wondering where he should go next.

"What if I only had 24 hours to live?” he says. “‘Cause the thing is, you never know when it’s your last 24 hours.”

The rapper comments on the alleged connection hip-hop has with the Illuminati.

“What I always wanted to know was why Illuminati only catered to rappers,” 2 Chainz states. “Seems like it came out after Jay-Z became so successful.  That sh** don’t mean nothing.  That means that God has pinpointed you to be successful and to be basically privileged.  And for me, I grinded, I worked hard, I prayed for this.”

The video precedes his upcoming album B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time, which is slated to arrive on September 10.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Report: Justin & Selena Dating Again After He Promises to Behave Himself; Justin Kicked Out of Nightclub?

ABC/RICK ROWELLAre they together, or are they not together? Rumors have been flying again lately about the status of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, and now TMZ is claiming that they are indeed dating again.

According to the website, Selena agreed to take Justin back after he promised to tone down his wild behavior. Justin and his buddies supposedly decided to turn over a new leaf because of the negative press he’s received recently: for example, the accusation that he was driving recklessly in his gated neighborhood in May. Just this week, TMZ posted video of Justin urinating in a mop bucket and insulting a photo of former President Bill Clinton, for which he reportedly called Clinton to apologize.

Selena may want to check TMZ often to make sure Justin stays out of trouble. The latest TMZ report on the 19-year-old states that he was booted from a Chicago nightclub this week after police discovered that he and his posse were served alcohol. The club was reportedly cited for serving the underage group.

And here's some more drama -- Justin's pal Lil Twist was arrested in Calabasas, California, early Thursday on suspicion of DUI while driving Justin's Fisker Karma car, according to MTV.com.

Justin himself fueled the speculation that he and Selena are again an item after he recently posted to Instagram a photo of the two of them together. There was also talk that they spent the Fourth of July together. However, E! Online this week denied that Justin and Selena are anything more than friends.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Lady Gaga Confirms "ARTPOP" Release Date

Image courtesy Lady Gaga via TwitterLady Gaga has announced via her Facebook page that her new album, ARTPOP, will be released on November 11, with a single set to drop August 19.

The album will be released as part of an app. According to a statement on her page, “the app itself is a musical and visual engineering system that combines music, art, fashion and technology with a new interactive world-wide community.”

The statement continues, “The album ARTPOP musically mirrors Gaga's creative process as she passes through the mediums of each artist she collaborates with, scoring a blueprint of her journey. The result, a ‘rage’ of electronic passion and fury, defining each artistic process from beginning to end, ARTPOP could mean anything. But for her, this is a celebration of obsession.”

According to her Facebook page, pre-orders for the album and app begin September 9.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Jason Aldean Still Can't Believe He's Headlining Stadiums

Greenroom PRJason Aldean still can't believe he's the headlining act for two sold-out shows at Boston's Fenway Park Friday and Saturday night. He's already played a sold-out show at Sanford Stadium in Athens, GA this year, and he'll follow those gigs up with a concert at Chicago's Wrigley Field on July 20. Before this year, Jason had only attended these kind of stadium shows as a fan or an opening act.

Jason recalls, "I was the guy going to all those stadium shows looking around, going, 'God, this must be awesome.' You know, and now [I'm at] at a point in my career where we're able to go do that is just incredible."

There aren't many country artists that can attract crowds big enough to fill these stadiums, and Jason thinks it's crazy he's now in that elite group.  "The couple that come to mind are George Strait and Kenny Chesney. Garth obviously could do it, but there wasn't a lot of guys that could go out and do those things," says Jason.

Miranda Lambert is on the bill with Jason for his shows in Boston, and his "Don't You Wanna Stay" duet partner Kelly Clarkson will perform a set before his Chicago show. Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett will be featured on all the shows.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Madonna Will Be a Topic at Exorcists Meeting in Poland

Facebook.com/MadonnaMadonna will be a topic of conversation during an upcoming conference at Poland’s Jasna Gora monastery, though she shouldn’t feel flattered.

The conference will be attended by European exorcists and will focus in part on what Britain’s Telegraph newspaper describes as “finding evil in pop culture.” It quotes one of the organizers of the conference, Father Andrzej Grefkowic,  as saying, "Part of the conference is dedicated to the hidden subliminal message in communication, and the choice of this subject was inspired by the woman who dares to call herself Madonna.”

Grefkowic also says, “We’ve been worried about her concerts.”  That’s not surprising, since Catholic groups in the past have criticized her for her use of crucifixion and other religious imagery in her performances.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Photographer Must Turn Over Pictures in Lawsuit Brought by Lady Gaga's Ex-Assistant

ABC/ SHAREIF ZIYADATPhotographer and Lady Gaga collaborator Terry Richardson has been ordered by a federal court judge in New York to turn over 142,000 photos he snapped of the pop star.  The order comes as part of a lawsuit brought by Gaga's former assistant.

Jennifer O’Neill filed suit in 2011, claiming she is owed back pay for the more than seven thousand hours of overtime she says she worked.  According to the New York Daily News, she requested that Richardson’s photos, taken during Gaga’s Monster Ball tour, be turned over in order to prove that she worked long hours.  Richardson fought the request, to no avail.

In a deposition last year, Gaga called O'Neill a "f***ing hood rat who is suing me for money that she didn’t earn."

Gaga and Richardson collaborated on a photo book, Lady Gaga X Terry Richardson, that was released in 2011.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockToby Keith and Sammy Hagar have recorded a duet version of Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville" for the album Sammy Hagar and Friends, due out September 24.

Carrie Underwood has signed to perform at the Grand Ole Opry on August 10.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Reba Celebrating Country Music Hall of Fame Exhibit Opening with Interview August 10

StarstruckReba's exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame, Reba: All the Women I Am, opens Friday, August 9, and the country superstar will be there in person on Saturday, August 10.  Reba will sit down for an interview that afternoon at the Hall of Fame's Ford Theater to discuss her life and career.  A program pass is required to attend the interview.  It will also be streamed live at CountryMusicHallofFame.org.

Reba has loaned the exhibit a ton of stage costumes, awards and personal items for display.  Her infamous, low cut red dress from her performance of "Does He Love You" at the 1993 CMA Awards will be there along with costumes she wore on Broadway in Annie Get Your Gun and in the movies North, Is There Life Out There? and The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw.

Other fun items in the exhibit include a Reba Barbie, a Reba lunchbox and a bag of Fritos featuring Reba's likeness. A 104-page book commemorating the exhibit is also going on sale in the Museum Store and at CountryMusicHallofFame.org.

Reba was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Raheem DeVaughn Releases Second Single "Ridiculous"

Jive/ZombaFollowing his lead offering, "Love Connection," Raheem DeVaughn has issued the second single from his upcoming album, A Place Called Love Land.

With production from Jerry Good and Ryan Tedder, the new song is titled "Ridiculous" and it was written byNe-Yo, who previously wrote “I Don’t Care” on Raheem’s 2010 album release, The Love & War MasterPeace.

"So call me a fool, call me insane, tell me that loving you the way I do is ridiculous," he sings on the smooth tune.

In addition to the new track, Raheem tweeted a link to his official SoundCloud page where fans can stream five snippets off his first studio effort in three years.

The Grammy-nominated singer's fourth studio album will be released on August 20 through E1 Music.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Elton John's Insurance to Pay Out Millions to Promoters After Tour Postponement

Facebook.com/EltonJohnElton John's insurance company will pay out a sizable sum of money to cover the postponement/cancellation of several European tour dates due to his battle with appendicitis.

John won't be able to make up some of the performances because they were scheduled for summer festivals, so fans who were hoping to see him there will receive refunds.

According to the U.K.'s Daily Mirror, Elton's insurance company will fork over as much as 10 million British pounds -- more than 15 million American dollars -- to promoters to cover lost revenue.  A source says, "Artists have insurance for the promoters' liability.  Elton is insured so they get their money back or they can have another concert.  It has all been taken care of and will be rescheduled.  No promoter will be out of pocket."

The source adds, "Elton even spoke to some of the festival promoters to apologize because he has been working with them for so long."

The Rocket Man is expected to resume touring in early September, after he recovers from his upcoming surgery.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Nikki Sixx Says New Sixx: A.M. Record Is "Coming Together Fast"

Facebook.com/SixxAMMusicNikki Sixx is making some serious progress on his side group Sixx: A.M.'s next album.  The Mötley Crüe bassist posted a message on his Facebook page on Wednesday, noting that he scheduled time with his band mates to begin recording tracks for their follow-up to 2011's This Is Gonna Hurt.

"Writing Sixx: A.M. lyrics today at home," Nikki reports.  "Cutting bass parts tomorrow with [frontman] James [Michael] and DJ [Ashba] will be laying down his guitar parts when he returns from Canada...This album is coming together fast...Time to start thinking of an album title."

Sixx will have about two months to work on the release after he finishes a series of dates with Mötley Crüe that wraps up on July 22 at the Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.  Crüe will then return to Las Vegas for another residency this fall, with 12 concerts at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino from September 18 to October 6.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Backstreet Boys' Kevin Richardson Welcomes Second Son

Photo by Graeme Flegenheimer/FilmMagicIt's child #2 for Backstreet Boys singer Kevin Richardson. He has announced on Facebook that he and his wife, Kristin, welcomed another son on Wednesday.

He wrote, "Special delivery! Another Richardson boy... At 3:05am Wednesday morning (7/10/13), Maxwell Haze Richardson decided to join the party. He is a stout 9 lbs. 8 oz. / 23 inches long. Love! Love! Love!"

Kevin, 41, and his wife announced the pregnancy in April. They also have a six-year-old son, Mason.  

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Jim James, Myles Kennedy, Dave Matthews Featured on Gov’t Mule’s New Album

Blue Note RecordsMy Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge and Dave Matthews are among the artists who have lent their talents to Gov’t Mule’s new double album, Shout!  The singers are featured on the release's second disc where they will offer their own interpretations of songs from the album's first disc.

“We’ve always taken a nontraditional approach to everything we’ve done, and it works for us,” says Mule frontman Warren Haynes in a statement.  “One of things we’re very proud of about this record is that all the songs stand up for themselves and have their own personality.  Hopefully, hearing another singer interpret them helps shine even more of a light on the songs and somewhere in that picture people get a glimpse of what Gov’t Mule does.”

Shout! is set to be released on September 24.  Other artists contributing vocals to the album's second disc include Elvis Costello, Dr. John, Ben Harper, Toots Hibbert, Glenn Hughes, Grace Potter, Ty Taylor and Steve Winwood.

Here is the track list:

Disc 1: All songs performed by Gov’t Mule

“World Boss”
“No Reward”
“Whisper in Your Soul”
“Scared to Live”
“Stoop So Low”
“Forsaken Savior”
“Done Got Wise”
“When the World Gets Small”
“Funny Little Tragedy”
“Bring on the Music”

Disc 2:

“World Boss” (featuring Ben Harper)
“Funny Little Tragedy” (featuring Elvis Costello)
“Stoop So Low” (featuring Dr. John)
“Captured” (featuring Jim James)
“Whisper in Your Soul” (featuring Grace Potter)
“Scared to Live” (featuring Toots Hibbert)
“No Reward” (featuring Glenn Hughes)
“Bring on the Music” (featuring Ty Taylor)
“Forsaken Savior” (featuring Dave Matthews)
“Done Got Wise” (featuring Myles Kennedy)
“When the World Gets Small” (featuring Steve Winwood)

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Little Big Town Picks Up Their Second Platinum Album Certification for "Tornado"

Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town's Tornado has been certified as their second platinum album, moving a million copies since its release last September. They group first achieved that sales milestone with their 2005 release The Road to Here.

Tornado has produced Little Big Town's back-to-back #1 hits "Pontoon" and "Tornado." Their latest single from that project, "Your Side of the Bed," is now climbing the country chart. They'll sing all those songs on Keith Urban's Light the Fuse tour, launching July 18 in Cincinnati, OH.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Drake's Social Media Power Outranks Jay-Z, Kanye West

MySpace.com/DrakeWith all the buzz surrounding new albums from Jay-Z and Kanye West, it would be natural to assume that they are the most talked about rappers on the Internet.  But it's not so, according to USA Today.  The newspaper reports that over the past 12 months interest in Drake has outpaced interest in the more seasoned hip-hop veterans.

Citing information compiled by media research company Networked Insights, the newspaper says Drake has garnered the most social media conversations across Twitter, Facebook, blogs and various Internet forums during the past year -- 46.2 million, to be exact, almost twice as many as Kanye, who came in at number 2 on USA Today's list.

According to the paper's analysis, while conversations about Drake were the most consistent over the year, interest in Drake spiked when news broke in May that he was spending studio time with Jay-Z.

In recent days the veterans have experienced spikes of their own, with conversations about Kanye spiking with the release of Yeezus and the birth of North West, and conversations about Hova spiking with the release of Magna Carta Holy Grail.

Lil Wayne ranked third over the past 12 months, with interest spiking as news came of his hospitalizations.

According to the paper the six rappers dominating social media conversations during the past year were:

1. Drake -- 46,212,641
2. Kanye West -- 25,418,362
3. Lil Wayne -- 22,052,209
4. Rick Ross -- 16,113,915
5. Jay-Z -- 16,022,820
6. 2Chainz -- 13,628,752

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio