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Kentucky State Fair is Once Again Goin' Country
Country music fans will be happy to hear that this year's Kentucky State Fair, which runs August 15-25, is once again goin' country! As we announced last month, Newnan, Georgia native Alan Jackson will open the Fair on Thursday, August 15 in Freedom Hall. Opening for Jackson will be the must-see Gary Allan. Tickets for this show cost $49 and $39 and are already on sale. Saturday night, August 17, Toby Keith will make his long-awaited return to Louisville when he headlines the indoor Fair show. He'll be bringing along hot newcomer Kip Moore and tickets for this duo will be $56 and $45. Tickets for both of these shows can be purchased in-person at the Kentucky Exposition Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center ticket offices, at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com, or by phone at 800-745-3000.
The old Cardinal Stadium will also be heating up during this year's Fair with several FREE country concerts. The Oak Ridge Boys will make their 37th consecutive appearance at the Fair on Sunday, August 18, along with former Statler Brother Jimmy Fortune. Clay Walker will perform on Tuesday, August 20 along with the North Carolina newcomer quartet Parmalee. Wednesday night, August 21 will feature some new faces of country music, including Jerrod Niemann, Thomas Rhett, and Kelsey K. And the last country concert of this year's Fair will be Nicholasville, Kentucky duo Montgomery Gentry on Friday, August 23. Opening for MG will be Taylorsville's own up-and-rising country star J.D. Shelburne.
This year's free concerts in Cardinal Stadium will be configured much differently than ever before. Due to recent safety inspections, the 56-year-old stadium's grandstand has been deemed unsafe, therefore all concert seating will be on the stadium's field. Fair officials recently stated, "We are moving forward to provide an even better concert experience in a safe and comfortable environment. The free concerts are a huge draw for the Fair, and we intend to improve the setting and the excitement with this new configuration."
George Jones: The Passing of a Legend
On Friday, April 26, not only did the country music family lose a legend, but the entire music industry lost one of the most influential artists of all time. Country Music Hall of Famer George Jones passed away at the age of 81 at Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The legend had been hospitalized for eight days, suffering from a fever and irregular blood pressure, eventually dying from hypoxic respiratory failure.
Born on September 12, 1931, George Glenn Jones began his musical journey in his teens in Jasper and Beaumont, Texas. He never put music aside as he served in the U.S. Marine Corp during and following the Korean War. Once he left the Marines, he made his first mark in country music with his 1955 recording of "Why Baby Why." He went on to record "White Lightning" in 1959. A decade later, he and Tammy Wynette were married and throughout their tumultuous marriage, they charted with hits like "Golden Ring," "We're Gonna Hold On," "Two Story House," and "(We're Not) The Jet Set." Just like his first two marriages, alcohol and drugs destroyed this marriage between country music royalty.
Following his divorce from Wynette, as Jones' life continued in a downward spiral, his career also suffered a down-swing as he became known as "No Show Jones" due to missing several concerts due to his addiction struggles. While at one of his lowest points, in 1980, Jones' world and the country music world alike were forever changed as he recorded what has been called the "greatest country song of all time," "He Stopped Loving Her Today." In 1983, Jones married Nancy Sepulvado, who saved both his life and his career, standing by him until his last breath on April 26.
Last year, Jones announced that he would forever retire from touring and scheduled his last show to take place November 22, 2013 at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena. Since his passing, the previously scheduled star-studded finale will now go on as a tribute concert, allowing friends and fellow artists like Garth Brooks, Charlie Daniels, Jamey Johnson, Kid Rock, Montgomery Gentry, Sam Moore, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Travis Tritt one last musical goodbye to the music legend.
Jones is survived by his loving wife of 30 years, Nancy, daughters Susan and Georgette, sons Jeffrey and Bryan, numerous grandchildren, and sister Helen Scroggins.
Our condolences go out to the entire Jones family! George, you will be greatly missed! Who's gonna fill your shoes?
WAMZ & 4 th Street Live! Offer Hot Country Nights
Country radio powerhouse 97.5-FM WAMZ is teaming up with 4th Street Live! once again this summer to present the free "Hot Country Nights" concert series. The series kicked off Friday, May 31 with "Cowboys and Angels" singer Dustin Lynch. Hot husband and wife duo Thompson Square, known for hits like "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" and "If I Didn't Have You," will perform June 7. The X Factor winner Tate Stevens, who released his self-titled debut CD last month, will hit the stage on June 14. Hot newcomer "Merry Go 'Round" singer Kacey Musgraves is sure to wow the crowd on June 21. And the final concert of the series will be "How Country Feels" singer Randy Houser on June 28.
Our thanks in advance to our friends at WAMZ and 4th Street Live! for another GREAT series of FREE country concerts!
2013 CMT Music Award Nominees
Nashville's CMA Music Festival will kick off in high gear on June 5 with the 2013 CMT Music Awards ceremony at the downtown Bridgestone Arena. Jason Aldean and actress Kristen Bell will host the ceremony which will air live on Country Music Television. When the nominees were recently announced, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, and Miranda Lambert were the top nominee grabbers with four nods each. Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Florida Georgia Line, and Rascal Flatts each received three nominations, followed by Hunter Hayes, Jana Kramer, Journey, Little Big Town, Tim McGraw, Kacey Musgraves, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood with two nods each.
And the nominees are: Video of the Year: Jason Aldean's "1994," Luke Bryan's "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye," Kenny Chesney's "Come Over," Eric Church's "Springsteen," Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise," Hunter Hayes' "Wanted," Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart," Little Big Town's "Tornado," Tim McGraw's "One of Those Nights," Brad Paisley's "Southern Comfort Zone," Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," and Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away"; Female Video of the Year: Faith Hill's "American Heart," Jana Kramer's "Why Ya Wanna," Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart," Kacey Musgraves' "Merry Go 'Round," Taylor Swift's "Begin Again," and Carrie Underwood's "Two Black Cadillacs"; and Male Video of the Year: Jason Aldean's "Take a Little Ride," Luke Bryan's "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye," Kenny Chesney's "Come Over," Eric Church's "Creepin'," Hunter Hayes' "Wanted," and Blake Shelton's "Sure Be Cool If You Did."
Duo Video of the Year: Big & Rich's "That's Why I Pray," Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise," Love and Theft's "Runnin' Out of Air," and Thompson Square's "If I Didn't Have You"; Group Video of the Year: The Band Perry's "Better Dig Two," Lady Antebellum's "Downtown," Little Big Town's "Pontoon," Pistol Annies' "Takin' Pills," Rascal Flatts' "Come Wake Me Up," and Zac Brown Band's "Goodbye in Her Eyes"; and Breakthrough Video of the Year: Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise," Randy Houser's "How Country Feels," Jana Kramer's "Why Ya Wanna," Dustin Lynch's "Cowboys and Angels," Kip Moore's "Beer Money," and Kacey Musgraves' "Merry Go 'Round."
Collaborative Video of the Year: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan & Eric Church's "The Only Way I Know," The Avett Brothers & Randy Travis's "Three Wooden Crosses," Kenny Chesney & Tim McGraw's "Feel Like a Rockstar," Kelly Clarkson & Vince Gill's "Don't Rush," Brad Paisley & Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way," and Rascal Flatts & Journey's "Changed"; CMT Performance of the Year: Dierks Bentley's "5-1-5-0," Luke Bryan & Ryan Tedder's "Drunk On You/Feel Again," Eric Church's "Homeboy," Toby Keith's "Beers Ago," Miranda Lambert's "Over You," and Rascal Flatts & Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'"; and Nationwide Insurance "On Your Side" Award: Lee Brice, Florida Georgia Line, Hunter Hayes, and Kip Moore.
Fans can vote for their favorite nominees through June 2 at midnight for all categories except Video of the Year. Final nominees for that category will be announced during the live telecast of the awards ceremony and final voting will take place during the live show. Fans can vote by logging onto www.CMT.com or by using the CMT Insider app on their mobile device.
As of press time, artists scheduled to perform during the awards ceremony include: Luke Bryan, Hunter Hayes, Little Big Town, the Pistol Annies, and Taylor Swift.
Congratulations and best wishes to all the nominees.
Taylor Swift Sweeps the 2013 Billboard Music Awards
When the 2013 Billboard Music Awards were handed out last month, Taylor Swift was the big winner of the evening, taking home a whopping 8 trophies. Her wins include: Top Country Artist, Top Country Song for "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," Top Country Album and Top Billboard 200 Album for Red, and the all-genre Top Female Artist, Top Billboard 200 Artist, Top Digital Songs Artist, and the most-coveted trophy of the evening, Billboard Artist of the Year.
Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean each had three nominations: each in the Top Country Artist and Top Country Album categories, while Bryan was up for Top Country Song and Aldean was up for all genre Top Male Artist. Unfortunately for Bryan and Aldean, they went home empty-handed because it seems that Swift took home all the trophies.
Country's Reality Television Roundup
When country crooner Trace Adkins first appeared on NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice" five years ago, he finished the competition as runner-up to CNN anchor Piers Morgan. Well, in this year's 13th season of the Donald Trump reality competition show, "The Celebrity Apprentice: All-Stars," Adkins once again survived to the very end, this time squaring off with magician Penn Jillette of Penn & Teller fame. Well, Adkins pulled off the win when Mr. Trump hired him as the Celebrity Apprentice All-Star. This season's competition and resulting victory helped Adkins raise more than $1.5 million for the American Red Cross!
Secondly, when former American Idol Top 10 contestant and country sweetheart Kellie Pickler took to the dance floor (along with Ashland, Kentucky native Wynonna) on the 16th season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," everyone was surprised how she blossomed each week. Before long, she and her professional dance partner, Derek Hough, were getting top scores from the judges and their free-form dance on the first of the two night finale seemed to seal their fate as the winners as the couple's performance brought judges to tears as they deemed the routine a beautiful work of art that touched the heart. Pickler's momentum continued to the very end and she and Hough were crowned the DWTS winners, taking the coveted mirrorball trophy back to Nashville!
And finally, this year's edition of "American Idol" almost crowned another country winner last month, but 23-year-old Kree Harrison fell just shy of the Idol crown, finishing the competition as the Season 12 runner-up. Although she doesn't officially have a record deal just yet, she plans to start writing songs for her debut album as soon as possible. In the meantime, fans can download her debut single, "All Cried Out," right now. Fans can also see Harrison performing live on concert on the "American Idols Live Tour," which kicks off in St. Louis on June 29 and will roll into the KFC Yum! Center on August 30.
Congratulations, Trace, Kellie, and Kree!
Country Family Album
After incriminating photos of him kissing American Idol contestant Brittany Kerr made their rounds on the internet late last year, Jason Aldean has filed for divorce from wife Jessica Ussery. On April 26, the day following an announcement from a representative in Aldean's camp about the couple's separation, Aldean filed for divorce from his high school sweetheart, whom he married on August 4, 2001. The country star reportedly contacted Kerr just prior to filing to warn her of an imminent media storm following the filing, at which time Kerr deleted social media accounts. Aldean and Ussery have two daughters, 10-year-old Keeley and 5-year-old Kendyl.
Congratulations are in order for "Tip It On Back" crooner Dierks Bentley and his wife Cassidy, who are expecting their third child. Baby #3 will join big sisters Evie, 4, and Jordan, 2. Bentley announced the upcoming event on Twitter when he tweeted, "So my wife and I will be changing our family defensive strategy come the fall, switching from MAN-to-MAN to ZONE. #3! Advice @TheTimMcGraw?," asking the father of three, Tim McGraw for advice. McGraw replied to the tweet, "Hey @DierksBentley, with all girls so far you might do best to just join the offense!!...congrats on #3." Congratulations, Dierks and Cassidy!
Clara Henningsen, who makes up the family trio The Henningsens along with her brother, Aaron, and father, Brian, tied the knot with Jacob Calaway at the Henningsens' family farm in Illinois on May 4. The newlywed is already back on the road performing the trio's debut single, "American Beautiful," opening on Brad Paisley's "Beat This Summer Tour." Congratulations, Clara and Jacob!
Well, that's it for this month. Here's wishing each and every one of you a happy and healthy summer. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, 'cause country music is comin' your way."