Country fans will be in hog heaven when it comes to celebrating the 4th of July this year. Whether you like mainstream country music or more traditional, older country music, then you're in luck. The Band Perry will headline the 2011 Waterfront Independence Festival presented by Fifth Third Bank on Sunday evening, July 3. The trio is scheduled to perform a free concert at 9 p.m., followed by fireworks over the Ohio River at 10:15. For all the details, visit www.waterfrontindependencefestival.com
Also on July 3 will be the New Albany Independence Day Celebration at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater. This free show will feature "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly" singer Aaron Tippin, "John Deere Green" singer Joe Diffie and "Queen of My Double Wide Trailer" singer Sammy Kershaw. This concert will also be followed by fireworks over the Ohio River.
While en-route to Alaska last month for a fishing trip and concerts in Fairbanks and Anchorage, "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" singer Trace Adkins' Brentwood, Tennessee home was destroyed by fire. It has been determined that the June 4 fire began due to an overheated or a loose electrical connection in a power strip below a workbench in the singer's garage. The blaze spread to the attic and totally engulfed the 5000-square-foot house. Adkins' wife, Rhonda, was running errands at the time the fire broke out, but two of their daughters were at home with a nanny but safely escaped. Rhonda Adkins was very complimentary of the family's local firefighters, as they had taught the children during a school presentation what to do in an emergency and the family had put an evacuation plan together as a result of this presentation. It proved to be successful.
Brianna, Adkins' 9-year-old daughter, realized that once she, her sister and the nanny had safely escaped the house, two of the family dogs were still in the burning house. She heroically went back into the house with a neighbor's help and rescued the dogs. PETA has since awarded Brianna with its Compassionate Action Award stating, "Thanks to the heroic actions of Brianna Adkins, her family's beloved dogs survived the fire and are alive and well. Her heroism is a compelling reminder that all members of the family – including dogs, cats, and other animals – deserve help in an emergency."
Since the fire, which destroyed their home, many sentimental personal items, a Cadillac Escalade and Adkins' Harley Davidson motorcycle, fans have offered their financial support to the Adkins family. The outpouring of love and support has been phenomenal, but Adkins has urged fans that he and his family will be fine and has asked them rather to donate their support to the American Red Cross to help victims of recent floods and tornadoes. Fans can make a donation by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. The Adkins family is currently residing at their farm outside Nashville. Fans can expect new music from Adkins next month as his new CD, titled Proud to Be Here, is scheduled to be released on August 2.
Country music has been well represented on the mostly pop singing competition American Idol during the last decade, producing the top-selling Idol winner of all-time, country sweetheart Carrie Underwood (who has surpassed record sales of the first American Idol, Kelly Clarkson), as well as the likes of Kellie Pickler, Josh Gracin, and Bucky Covington, but this year's finale, which wrapped in late May, was a country showdown between 17-year-old Scotty McCreery and 16-year-old Lauren Alaina. When host Ryan Seacrest announced more than 122 million votes had been cast for the pair of country finalists and the envelope was opened, McCreery was crowned the Season 10 American Idol. Throughout the entire season, McCreery remained true to his traditional country roots despite the genre of music the contestants were forced to sing each week and he delivered fan favorite renditions of tunes by Josh Turner, Montgomery Gentry, George Strait, and Tim McGraw. Alaina leaned more pop-country with covers of artists like The Band Perry, Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, and Shania Twain.
Although McCreery was the winner of a recording contract, both he and Alaina will be touring on the American Idols concert tour this summer and recording country albums in Nashville between tour stops. McCreery's debut single, "I Love You This Big," and Alaina's debut single, "Like My Mother Does," are both climbing the country charts and promise that each of the youngsters will have a promising future in country music. The two fulfilled lifelong dreams as they made their Grand Ole Opry debuts on the famed Opry stage during CMA Country Fest last month. Keep your ears and eyes open for Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina as they just may take country music by storm!
Congratulations, Scotty and Lauren!
Why Not? With Shania Twain, a six-episode documentary on Oprah Winfrey's OWN network, chronicled Twain's venture to regain her voice after a six-year hiatus from country music following her divorce from her husband, co-writer and producer "Mutt" Lange. During the series finale, Twain introduced her brand new single, "Today Is Your Day," which was shipped to radio and available on iTunes immediately following the June 12 broadcast of the show. Later that week during the CMA Country Music Fest in Nashville, Twain was full of surprises. She held a press conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum to announce that she will perform sixty shows a year for two years at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas beginning December 1, 2012. These will be the first major shows Twain has performed since 2004 when she toured following the release of her Up! album.
The night of the press conference announcing her two-year Vegas engagement, Twain made her first major public appearance in Nashville in many years during the 2011 CMT Music Awards. Things didn't go so smoothly for her though, as she took a hard fall as she was walking to the stage to present an award. She quickly picked herself up off the floor, laughed the incident off, and went on with the show, stating the following day that she was planning to auction the pair of high heels she had been wearing during the incident for charity. Also during the country music festival, Twain autographed copies of her brand new autobiography, From This Moment On, offering fans a chance to meet their idol one-on-one.
As if all of this excitement wasn't enough for Twain and her fans, the Canadian country-pop songstress hailing from Timmons was also honored with her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last month. Things are definitely starting to look up for Twain and her career!
When the fan-voted 2011 CMT Music Awards were handed out last month, although she was performing a concert in Milwaukee and couldn't be at the awards ceremony to pick up the honor, Taylor Swift took home the top prize of Video of the Year for "Mine." The Band Perry and Blake Shelton took home the most number of belt buckle trophies with two each. The Band Perry's "If I Die Young" was named the USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year and the brother/sister trio was honored with the Nationwide® Insurance On Your Side® Award. Blake Shelton's "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking" was named Male Video of the Year, while his "Kiss My Country A**" was named Best Web Video of the Year. Mrs. Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, was honored with the Female Video of the Year award for "The House That Built Me." Pop phenom Justin Bieber earned his first-ever country music award, Collaborative Video of the Year, along with Rascal Flatts for "That Should Be Me."
And the winners are: Video of the Year: Taylor Swift's "Mine"; Female Video of the Year: Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me"; Male Video of the Year: Blake Shelton's "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking"; Duo Video of the Year: Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue"; Group Video of the Year: Lady Antebellum's "Hello World"; and Collaborative Video of the Year: Justin Bieber & Rascal Flatts' "That Should Be Me."
CMT Performance of the Year: Zac Brown Band & Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville"; USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year: The Band Perry's "If I Die Young"; Best Web Video of the Year: Blake Shelton's "Kiss My Country A**"; Video Director of the Year: Trey Fanjoy; and Nationwide® Insurance On Your Side® Award: The Band Perry.
Congratulations to all the winners!
The producers of the insanely popular American Idol singing competition have teamed up with Country Music Television for a brand new country music competition, titled CMT's Next Superstar. The inaugural season's finale was held June 10 and 25-year-old Fairland, Indiana native Matt Mason was competing with 29-year-old Thomasville, Georgia native Steven Clawson for the title, narrowed down from 10 finalists. When the winner's envelope was opened, Mason was named the winner, receiving a record deal with Warner Music Nashville's Elektra label. Upon winning, Mason said, "It's all very surreal. I've wanted this for so long. I couldn't be more grateful for this opportunity and look forward to making the most of it. Huge thanks to everyone who voted for me."
Fans will be able to hear Mason perform live this fall as he'll be the opening act on the "CMT on Tour" concert tour starring Luke Bryan and special guests Lee Brice and Josh Thompson.
When the 2011 Billboard Music Awards were handed out in late May, Taylor Swift and Lady Antebellum made country music quite proud amongst all genres of music. Swift received the first award of the evening, the coveted Billboard 200 Artist Award in recognition of her current smash album, Speak Now. This album went on to later be named Country Album of the Year and helped Swift land the title of Country Artist of the Year. While accepting the Billboard 200 Artist Award, Swift stated, "I want to thank my record label for working so hard and I want to thank my family–my mom, my dad, and my brother–for giving me the chance to make albums. You know, the impact of an album is all determined by the fans. You're the ones who play the music in your cars and in your bedrooms. And you've just given me another reason to be completely in love with you. Thank you so much for this!"
The only remaining country award went to Lady Antebellum. The trio's crossover hit "Need You Now" was named Country Song of the Year.
Congratulations, Taylor, Hillary, Charles, and Dave!
Well, that's it for another month. I'd like to wish you and your family a happy and safe 4th of July. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, 'cause country music is comin' your way."