When Kenny Chesney fans ascended upon Lexington's Rupp Arena for their favorite superstar's "Goin' Coastal Tour" on May 14, they had no idea just how special the evening would be. In the midst of the show, as Chesney was about to slow things down for a few acoustic numbers, the crowd went wild; unnoticed by Chesney, the legendary "Possum," George Jones, walked onstage as the band broke into "I Don't Need Your Rocking Chair." The band and crew had successfully pulled off a highly orchestrated surprise. After completing a duet of "Rocking Chair," Chesney asked his musical hero to treat the audience to his signature classic hit, "He Stopped Loving Her Today," which Jones happily obliged.
Chesney has been a fan of Jones for many years now and invited the legend to record a cover of his "Small Y'all" on his latest CD, Hemingway's Whiskey. As if recording a duet with his hero wasn't enough, speaking of the opportunity to share the stage with him in Lexington, Chesney said, "There's nothing like sharing the stage with your heroes and when George walked on stage in Lexington, it was one of the biggest thrills of my life! He means so much to so many and it meant the world to me that he came to the show."
June has arrived, meaning summer is just around the corner, but more importantly, so is 4th Street Live!'s annual Hot Country Nights concert series. The music will begin with the high-energy local group Edgewood on Friday, June 3, followed by a triple-header of "From a Table Away" singer Sunny Sweeney, "Lover, Lover" singer Jerrod Niemann, and "Wildflower" duo The JaneDear Girls on June 10. Husband and wife duo Thompson Square will perform their #1 debut single "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" on June 17, followed by a yet-to-be-announced act on June 24. Kentucky band 6 Miles South will kick the month of July off in style on July 1. CMT's "Can You Duet" winning duo Steel Magnolia will return to 4th Street Live! on July 8 to perform "Keep On Lovin' You" and "Last Night Again." "Small Town USA" and "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" singer Justin Moore will head back to the Derby city on Friday, July 15. David Nail will be sure to perform his hit "Red Light" when he takes the stage on July 22. "Look It Up" and "Takin' Off This Pain" songstress Ashton Shepherd will perform on July 29, followed by "Family Man" singer Craig Campbell on August 5. The final three shows will consist of "Way Out Here" singer Josh Thompson on August 12, and local singers Erica Martin on August 19 and The Stickers on August 26.
Each concert in the Hot Country Nights series is absolutely FREE and open to all ages, thanks to sponsors Red Stag, Bud Light, and our pals at 97.5-FM WAMZ. Concertgoers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian and must arrive prior to 9 p.m. as only concertgoers 21 and over will be admitted after 9.
When it comes to patriotism, hardly anyone is more dedicated to the U.S. of A. than country music artists and country fans. And when it comes to patriotic country artists, there's hardly anyone more patriotic than Flatwoods, Kentucky native Billy Ray Cyrus. On June 28, Cyrus will release a brand new album, I'm American, which was inspired by a 2009 USO tour, during which the "Achy Breaky Heart" singer performed for American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq. He invited Amy Grant and singing veterans Darryl Worley, Craig Morgan, and Jamey Johnson to join him on songs such as "We Fought Hard," "Stripes and Stars," "Old Army Hat," "Nineteen," "Keep the Light On," and the album's title track. In addition, Cyrus has recorded a new version of the title track from his 1992 debut album, Some Gave All. The lead single from this new album, "Runway Lights," is also being used as the theme song to Cyrus's brand new TLC show, Surprise Homecoming (which premieres on July 11), on which he'll greet troops returning home from the war. On the night that the Navy SEALs killed terrorist Osama bin Laden, Cyrus just so happened to be with troops at Ft. Hood.
When the nominations for the fan-voted 2011 CMT Music Awards were announced recently, Jason Aldean captured the most nominations with four nods. He'll vie for Video of the Year, Male Video of the Year, and Best Web Video of the Year for "My Kinda Party," as well as Collaborative Video of the Year along with Kelly Clarkson for "Don't You Wanna Stay." Following in Aldean's footsteps with three nominations each are The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, and the Zac Brown Band, while Kenny Chesney, Sheryl Crow, Aaron Lewis, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Sugarland, Thompson Square, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban each earned two nods.
And the nominees are: Video of the Year: Jason Aldean's "My Kinda Party," The Band Perry's "If I Die Young," Kenny Chesney's "The Boys of Fall," Lady Antebellum's "Hello World," Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me," Rascal Flatts' "Why Wait," Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue," Taylor Swift's "Mine," Carrie Underwood's "Undo It," and Zac Brown Band's "Colder Weather"; Female Video of the Year: Sara Evans' "A Little Bit Stronger," Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me," Reba McEntire's "Turn On the Radio," Taylor Swift's "Mine," and Carrie Underwood's "Undo It"; and Male Video of the Year: Jason Aldean's "My Kinda Party," Kenny Chesney's "The Boys of Fall," Toby Keith's "Bullets in the Gun," Blake Shelton's "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking," and Keith Urban's "Without You."
Duo Video of the Year: The Civil Wars' "Barton Hollow," The JaneDear Girls' "Wildflower," Steel Magnolia's "Last Night Again," Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue," and Thompson Square's "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not"; Group Video of the Year: The Band Perry's "If I Die Young," Lady Antebellum's "Hello World," Little Big Town's "Little White Church," Rascal Flatts' "Why Wait," and Zac Brown Band's "Colder Weather"; and Collaborative Video of the Year: Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson's "Don't You Wanna Stay," Justin Bieber & Rascal Flatts' "That Should Be Me," Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow's "Collide," Aaron Lewis, George Jones & Charlie Daniels' "Country Boy," and Loretta Lynn, Miranda Lambert & Sheryl Crow's "Coal Miner's Daughter."
CMT Performance of the Year: Martina McBride & Train's "A Broken Wing," Reba McEntire's "If I Were a Boy," Darius Rucker & Adele's "Need You Now," Keith Urban & John Mayer's "Sweet Thing," and Zac Brown Band & Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville"; USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year: The Band Perry's "If I Die Young," Lee Brice's "Love Like Crazy," Aaron Lewis's "Country Boy," Jerrod Niemann's "Lover, Lover," and Thompson Square's "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not"; Best Web Video of the Year: Jason Aldean's "My Kinda Party," Luke Bryan's "It's a Shore Thing," Lady Antebellum's "Stars Tonight," Blake Shelton's "Kiss My Country A**," and Taylor Swift's "Mine"; and Video Director of the Year: Trey Fanjoy, Deaton Flanigen, Chris Hicky, David McClister, and Roman White.
The 2011 CMT Music Awards ceremony will air live on CMT on June 8. Fans can vote for their favorite videos through June 7 by logging onto www.cmt.com. During the ceremony, Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland, and Keith Urban are scheduled to perform.
Sissy Spacek portrayed Loretta Lynn in the movie Coal Miner's Daughter, Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon portrayed Johnny and June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, Annette O'Toole portrayed Tammy Wynette in Stand By Your Man, George Hamilton portrayed Hank Williams in Your Cheatin' Heart, Jessica Lange portrayed Patsy Cline in Sweet Dreams, and now Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is set to portray the legendary Charley Pride in a biopic of the Grand Ole Opry's only African-American member. Johnson will star in and produce the movie along with fellow producers Dany Garcia, American Idol judge Randy Jackson, and John Daines, Pride's manager. The Country Music Hall of Famer best known for his #1 hit "Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'" was one of 11 children born to Mississippi sharecroppers, played baseball in the American Negro League, and served in the U.S. military prior to embarking on an illustrious country music career.
Pride recently admitted in an interview that actor Terrence Howard was originally scheduled to portray him in the movie, but movie studio changes forced Howard out of the project. Pride stated, "Terrence is no doubt a more in-depth actor academically, but Dwayne is such a force on screen. It startled me a little at first, but he flew down to Dallas and spent a day with me just sitting, talking recently. And when he left, it was like parting with an old friend. We had such similar views on so many things." This still untitled movie is expected to be released sometime next year.
The world was aflutter last month in anticipation of the royal wedding and it all took place on May 14 at the Don Strange Ranch about 45 minutes from San Antonio, Texas. That's right, country music's royal couple, Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, tied the knot in front of 550 family members and friends, including fellow musicians and pals Reba McEntire (who sang five songs), Martina McBride, Kelly Clarkson, Neal McCoy (the official wedding singer), the Bellamy Brothers, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley, and Cee Lo Green, Shelton's fellow judge on NBC's newest hit singing competition The Voice. Following the ceremony, during which Lambert wore here mother's wedding dress, Mr. Shelton said, "I wanted to be married to Miranda the day I proposed. Finally, it's official!" Mrs. Shelton added, "I'm married to my best friend! Looking forward to a lifetime of laughter."
"Blue" singer LeAnn Rimes and actor Eddie Cibrian have taken a lot of criticism for falling in love while filming a made-for-TV movie called "Northern Lights," during which they were both married to other people, but fast-forward to April 22 and the happy couple are finally husband and wife. The couple, who were engaged last December, invited approximately 40 family members and friends to a private California home for an engagement party this April Friday evening and the guests didn't discover the party was actually the couple's wedding until they had arrived. Rimes' previous husband of seven years, Dean Sheremet, was not in attendance and likewise Cibrian's ex-wife Brandi Glanville, but Cibrian's sons, 7-year-old Mason and 4-year-old Jake, were there for their father's new union.
Grand Ole Opry legend Bill Anderson and Australian country rocker Keith Urban are the latest inductees into the Music City Walk of Fame. GAC TV host Bill Cody and 2006 Walk of Fame inductee Ronnie Milsap were on hand to welcome Anderson and Urban during the May 15 ceremony in Walk of Fame Park in downtown Nashville on Nashville's Music Mile on Demonbreun between 4th and 5th Avenues South. As the stars' commemorative sidewalk markers were revealed, bringing the total number of inductees to 50, Urban's movie star wife, Nicole Kidman, was making Tammy Wynette proud, "standing by her man." The two honorees were celebrated with this "tribute to those from all genres of music who have made significant contributions to preserving the musical heritage of Nashville and have contributed to the world through song or other industry collaboration."
Well, that's it for another month. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin' your way."