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Sam Hunt Gives Nashville a Sneak Peek at Lipstick Graffiti Tour

Sam Hunt previewed his Lipstick Graffiti tour with a five-song performance at Nashville's Rocketown Monday evening. The mini-concert was staged during Sam's party celebrating his first #1 hit as an artist, "Leave the Night On."

Sam's set included that song as well as his latest single, "Take Your Time."

I just wanna take your time... @samhuntmusic

A video posted by Hunter Kelly (@nashvillehk) on

In keeping with the name of the tour, artists created graffiti paintings in the venue as Sam worked his way through the Montevallo album tracks "Speakers" and "Break Up in a Small Town." Sam recruited four break dancers, including two very young dancers, to bust some moves in the crowd for his final song, "House Party."

Baby break dancer at @samhuntmusic tour preview! #houseparty

A video posted by Hunter Kelly (@nashvillehk) on

Sam's Lipstick Graffiti tour kicks off Thursday night at The Troubador in Hollywood, California.

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Chase Bryant Launching Take It On Back Club Tour Friday in North Carolina

Image Courtesy Broken Bow Label GroupChase Bryant is heading out on a headlining club tour starting this Friday, January 30 in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Take It On Back Tour launches as Chase's debut hit, also titled "Take It On Back," hits the top 10 on the country chart. He'll be on the road with Tim McGraw later this year, but Chase wanted to take this opportunity to connect with his fans in smaller venues.

In a message to his fans posted at, Chase says, "I wanted to bring the party to you guys and just kick it old school. We're all fans. We're all friends. The music is our connection. We'll all get where we're going together. That's the beauty of music."

Chase is bringing DJ Hish along as his opening act for the club tour.

Here are Chase Bryant's Take It On Back Tour Dates:

1/30 -- Wilmington, NC, Ziggy's by the Sea
1/31 -- Greenville, SC, Blind Horse Saloon
2/7 -- Medina, OH, Thirsty Cowboys
2/12 -- Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall
2/13 -- Springfield, IL, Boondocks
2/14 -- Chicago, IL, Joe's on Weed
3/5 -- Greensboro, NC, Cone Denim Entertainment Center
3/6 -- Myrtle Beach, SC, The Boathouse
3/7 -- Charlotte, NC, Coyote Joe's
3/19 -- Dallas, TX, The Rustic
3/20 -- New Braunfels, TX, Gruene Hall
3/21 -- Oklahoma City, OK, Diamond Ballroom
3/26 -- Nacogdoches, TX, Banita Creek Hall
3/27 -- Baton Rouge, IL, Texas Club
4/3 -- Indianapolis, IN, 8 Seconds Club

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Kenny Chesney and His Team Working to Accommodate Fans for Tour-Opening Nashville Dates

Image Courtesy Sony Music/Blue ChairTicket demand for Kenny Chesney's two-night stand in Nashville remains extremely high. That's why Kenny and his team have opened up several hundred more seats for the sold-out Music City dates, coming up March 26 and 27. These shows mark the beginning of Kenny's The Big Revival tour, and he's very excited to see his fans grabbing up the concert tickets so fast.

Says Kenny, "To me, it’s about the passion the people who love this music bring. They give us the fuel to really push -- and I promise we’re working on creating a really rocking show!”

The newly-released tickets are now on sale at Ticketmaster, but they aren't expected to last long.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhich Keith Urban hit was written by Sam Hunt? ANSWER:  "Cop Car."

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Thomas Rhett Finds Worthy Competition in RaeLynn & The Cadillac Three

Image Courtesy CMAAs Thomas Rhett prepares to release his sophomore CD later this year, he says he’s happy to be competing with a group of new artists who are constantly upping the ante-- among them, the trio of Music City natives known as The Cadillac Three.

“I’m obsessed with The Cadillac Three, I’m sure that everybody in Nashville is, but they are the funnest people in the world to watch, to me,” he confesses. “So, I wish the best for those guys. They inspire me. We’ve done shows with them a bunch and they -- when you have somebody that opens for you that really like sets that bar, makes you appreciate somebody a whole lot. When somebody can get on stage before you and, you know, I’ve been in that spot. We’ve opened for people and we really just try to get out there and slaughter somebody. That's just what you do.”

 At the end of the day, Thomas says all the competition is friendly.

“It’s fun to be in competition with each other and at the end of the day you’re all best friends and The Cadillac Three have done that for me. They’ve definitely made me step up my game a lot of nights and they’re super-talented and they do it with just three people, which blows my mind.”

When it comes to female artists, Thomas says he has his eye on former Voice contestant RaeLynn.

“I think that RaeLynn is super talented. I’ve written with RaeLynn and me and Rae have gotten to know, we’re on the same record label, and all that kinda stuff, and I’ve seen her play a bunch a little songwriters nights and stuff, and I just think that girl's a superstar. I love her single ‘God Made Girls.’ I think she’s great.”

Right now, Thomas Rhett is on the Anything Goes tour with Florida Georgia Line and Frankie Ballard.

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Blake Shelton Brings Country Music to "Saturday Night Live"

Image Courtesy Dana Edelson/NBC

Blake Shelton brought country music to Saturday Night Live in a big way as the host and musical guest this past weekend.

In addition to performing his #1 hits "Neon Light" and "Boys Round Here,", Blake recreated the "Picking and Grinning" segment from the classic country variety show Hee Haw for his monologue. Several SNL cast members, dressed in gingham and overalls, joined Blake onstage for the Hee Haw bit, but his attempts at teaching them about G-rated country humor went south very quickly.



Next up, Blake wore a blonde wig and moustache to look like Alan Jackson for the '90s-inspired music video, "Wishin' Boot," co-starring Aidy Bryant as a version of Wynonna and Kate McKinnon dressed up like Reba. The inspirational song parody told the story of a boot that mysteriously appeared to grant wishes for the down-and-out.

The country theme continued with Blake playing an Iowa farmer looking for love in "Farm Hunk," a version of ABC's The Bachelor. He actually played himself in a Celebrity Family Feud sketch with the SNL players in the role of Blake's fellow coaches from The Voice taking on the American Idol judges. Later, Blake played a singer/songwriter performing a disturbing love song he had to write for his landlord. He closed out the show with turns as a Texas parole board officer and a heckler at a magic show.

Blake joins a short list of country stars to host Saturday Night Live, including Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash.

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Nashville Notes

Image Courtesy Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockSam Hunt celebrates the number one success of his hit “Leave the Night On” with a party Monday at Nashville’s Rocketown.

Scotty McCreery and his dad Mike were at Gillette Stadium last week to watch the controversial game that sent the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl.

Garth Brooks welcomed Lee Brice onstage Saturday night in Boston to perform "More Than a Memory." Lee co-wrote the song, and Garth took it to #1 in 2007.

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Sam Hunt Admires the Evolution of Taylor Swift

Image Courtesy UMG NashvilleWhile some fans may have been disappointed at the lack of a country single on Taylor Swift’s latest album, newcomer Sam Hunt says he can’t help but admire her evolution as an artist.

“I can definitely relate to her progress,” he says. “She's somebody who I've always had a whole lot of respect for. Even though I didn't necessarily relate personally to her songs, always, I always had a huge respect for her songwriting.”

Taylor's album has spent eight non-consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard album chart, it's currently #2, and Sam believes he understands her motivations.

“She doesn't want to make the same record over and over again, and there's an evolution. You know, she's influenced by other genres of music. As much as, I'm sure, she loves country music, I'm sure that if she has the ability, she wants to continue to write things that inspire her, and I feel the same way.”

Even though Sam only has his debut album Montevallo under his belt, he hopes fans will notice similar progress from song to song.

“You can see that, not with multiple albums, but you can see that on this specific album. Over the course of a nine month period, I felt the same way. You know, every time I'd write a song, I'd want to push it a little more with the next one. There are several songs you can see the progression with.”

Sam is currently climbing the country charts with his latest single, “Take Your Time.”

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Canaan Smith Shares a Frigid Moment with Dierks Bentley

UMG NashvilleWhen tickets go on sale Monday for the Sounds of Summer tour, newcomer Canaan Smith will already have a major bonding moment under his belt with headliner Dierks Bentley -- one he calls “the worst experience of my life.” Dierks enlisted his tourmates, including Kip Moore and Maddie & Tae, to take part in his annual Polar Plunge this January.

“It was so freaking cold. The ride out to the middle of the lake on the pontoon was miserable enough, and then when we took our clothes off and jumped in subzero water, that was another thing,” Canaan recalls. “Then riding back against the wind to the shore was the cherry on top,”

He’s looking forward to performing his latest hit, “Love You Like That,” in a warmer climate, when Dierks’ tour kicks off June 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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Kip Moore Remembers How Ronnie Dunn Inspired Him During Lean Times

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleKip Moore recalls how Ronnie Dunn inspired him to keep pursuing his dreams, in the latest installment of the YouTube series Backstage at the Ryman.

“Ronnie Dunn played here, doing a solo acoustic thing one time... It was right when I first moved to town. Ronnie Dunn blew me away in this building, like blew me away, his voice was so magical," Kip remembers. "That was probably the second year I’d been living here and I’d never had the money the first year to get in, so I remember how hard that hit me in the chest and just being like, ‘Gosh I gotta get on that stage, somehow.’"

Last October, Kip realized his dream, as he delivered his own sold-out show at the Ryman Auditorium. Now that he’s successful, Kip admits you’ll still find him hanging out at the same bar near Music Row as he did when he was struggling.

“When I do come home, I spent so much time in the back room of Losers, playing shuffle board and drinking a few beers, long before we started traveling a lot. It’s always fun to go back in there,” he says. “A lot of the same characters are in there, propped up at the bar, they’re playing a lot of the classic music on the jukebox and stuff. It’s a cool place.”

You should start hearing Kip’s new single, “I’m To Blame,” on country radio next month.

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Hit Songwriter Chris Stapleton Releases First Solo Album

Becky Fluke/Mercury Records NashvilleWith five number ones already under his belt and album cuts by artists as diverse as Adele and Brad Paisley, writer Chris Stapleton is set to release his first album as a solo artist this spring. Though you may not be familiar with his voice, Chris has penned hits like Kenny Chesney’s “Never Wanted Nothing More,” “Drink a Beer” by Luke Bryan, and George Strait’s “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright.”

Though he’s most often hit the road with his bluegrass band The SteelDrivers, Chris sets out on the Pain Killer Tour with Little Big Town in March, before heading out with Eric Church in May. His album, Traveller, comes out May 5. Fans can preview the record on Vevo now.

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Hunter Hayes Plots Collaboration with Ed Sheeran

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes is dying to collaborate with British hitmaker Ed Sheeran, and he’s hoping he might have the chance to bring it up at this year’s Grammys. Sheeran, known for his hits like “Don’t,” is set to sing on the show, while Hunter is up for Best Country Solo Performance for “Invisible.”

"There's tons of people who want to work with him who are way more capable than I am, so how do you even sell it? Do you bet him? Or bribe him? I might have to bribe him," he jokes to Yahoo Celebrity.

But it turns out the two have met before.

"It was after the Grammys, the first year that I went because afterwards I went to a Justin Timberlake concert and he was there, so we shook hands and talked a little bit,” he recalls. “Probably the place I talked to him the most was after that, when he joined Taylor Swift on her Red tour. So we know each other and we are acquainted so we will see what happens. Still, there's no pressure, Ed."

While Sheeran collaborated with Taylor as she was developing more of a pop following, Hunter says he’s not necessarily looking to cross over.

“I'm absolutely country at heart, and that's just me," he says. "It's not necessarily a choice kind of thing, but it is a home."

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhich season of American Idol did Carrie Underwood win? ANSWER:  Carrie took home the title during season four in 2005.

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Frankie Ballard Recalls "Glory Days" with Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleIn his latest single “Young & Crazy,” Frankie Ballard sings about “sit(ting) out on the porch, telling stories ‘bout my glory days.” So with back-to-back number ones with “Sunshine & Whiskey” and “Helluva Life,” does Frankie feel like he’s living his “glory days” now?

“I don't feel like I've had 'em, yet,” he says. “You know, I feel like I'm in the middle of 'em now. I definitely have stories I could tell people, but your glory days are your prime, you know, when you're just at your best when you feel like you can take over the world. That's what I feel like now. So, I'd have to be way past the way I feel today before I could honestly speak to glory days.”

Ironically, Frankie says the pinnacle of his success thus far happened when he got to meet the artist who had his own hit called “Glory Days.”

“The most, like, high moment I've had in my music career was when we were on the Bob Seger tour, and we played Madison Square Garden, and Bob introduced me to Bruce Springsteen backstage,” he recalls. “To me, it's like, if I keeled over after this meeting, that would be my highlight. Not only to get to meet Bruce Springsteen, but to be introduced to him by Seger at Madison Square Garden. It was like, ‘Where am I? What am I doing here?’ So, that's probably my highlight so far.”

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Carrie Underwood's "Something in the Water" Is Now Her Longest-Running Chart Topper

Image Courtesy Sony Music/Jeremy CowartCarrie Underwood’s latest single, “Something in the Water,” has passed a milestone. This week, it spends a seventh week atop Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, giving her the longest run at #1 of her career, besting her debut single.  Nine years ago this week, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was midway through its six-week run on that same chart. But aside from her chart success, Carrie says she has first-hand knowledge of how her hits are affecting the fans.

“I guess they feel like they know me, especially those that have been with me for 10 years. They definitely have a tendency to write me letters or tell me things that are very, very personal. I think it's really amazing that they can relate to my stuff in that way. It's not gonna fix their problems. It's not gonna make their lives magically any better, but it might make them feel better for a little bit. It's pretty cool,” she reflects.

But Carrie is careful to make sure all her songs aren’t as deep as “Something in the Water” and “Jesus, Take the Wheel.”

“If I wrote and sang, like really heavy songs all the time, like, that would weigh heavily on my heart, you know, giving that every single night song after song after song. So, it's important to have fun stuff in there, too, every once in a while that's just for the sake of being fun,” she says.

"Something in the Water” is up for Best Country Solo Performance at this year’s Grammys.

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Blake Shelton Fails at "The Whisper Challenge" During "Tonight Show" Visit

Warner Music NashvilleBlake Shelton visited NBC's The Tonight Show Thursday to plug this weekend's appearance on Saturday Night Live as host and musical guest. He also joined Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon for a new game called "The Whisper Challenge."

The premise of the game is one person wears headphones with loud music playing that prevents him from hearing the other person say a random phrase. The person wearing the headphones has to guess what the other one is saying by reading lips.

The 38-year-old singer didn't do well at the game. When he donned headphones and Fallon said "Pumpkin Spice Latte," Blake thought he said. "My pee pee's stretched out."

Blake also couldn't figure out that Fallon was saying "Cobra Kai" -- the name of the gang that continually tormented Ralph Macchio's character in The Karate Kid.

When Fallon wore the headphones, he was able to figure out the phrases Blake was saying.

Blake also revealed the two songs he'll be performing during his SNL appearance: "Neon Light" and "Boys 'Round Here."

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Nashville Notes

Image Courtesy Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockBrad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Florida Georgia Line are set to headline the third annual Faster Horses Festival July 17-19 in Brooklyn, MI.

Mary Kay will be the official beauty sponsor of the 50th Annual ACM Awards, airing six commercials during the live broadcast from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX April 19.

Jerrod Niemann takes Fox News Channel on a tour of Music City in the debut installment of Road Trip w/ Anna Kooiman Friday at 7:20 a.m. ET on Fox & Friends.

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Miranda Lambert Grows "Roots and Wings" for Ram Trucks

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleThere’s new music today from Miranda Lambert, thanks to her partnership with Ram Trucks. Miranda composed “Roots and Wings” especially for Ram's latest ad campaign. It’s also the focus of a new music video shot at significant locations in Miranda’s life. The YouTube clip showcases many of Miranda's personal family photographs.

Miranda set out to create a song that would represent what the brand stands for: “being who you are, working hard, staying true to your roots.” “’Roots and Wings’ is personal to me about where I come from and where I am going,” she says. “I hope it speaks to people the way it does to me."

In November, Ram donated a Laramie Longhorn truck that raised close to $55,000 for Miranda’s MuttNation Foundation dog charity. A similar truck tows Miranda’s Airstream to and from each venue on her Certified Platinum tour, and is on display alongside the trailer she named “Wanda the Wanderer.” This weekend, Miranda and her convoy stop in Knoxville, Tennessee and Charleston, West Virginia. 

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Jason Aldean Celebrates Engagement with Super-Secret Nashville Party

Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsJason Aldean celebrated his upcoming wedding to Brittany Kerr with a swanky party at a secret location in Nashville last weekend, according to Us Weekly. Upon their arrival, guests were personally greeted by Jason and his bride-to-be and served champagne. Close to one hundred people attended, including Luke Bryan, Eric Church and family members.

The “Just Gettin’ Started” hitmaker laid aside his trademark hat, sporting instead a black suit with a white shirt, while his fiancée wore a silver-beaded gown. A six-tiered white cake was the centerpiece, while the party also boasted a photo booth and a logo that featured the couple’s initials between a pair of antlers. The celebration lasted well into Sunday morning.

Though they’ve yet to publicly reveal the exact date, Jason and Brittany are set to tie the knot later this year.

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Shania Twain to Release "SHANIA: Still the One Live from Vegas" March 3

Mercury NashvilleIf you never got to Las Vegas to see Shania Twain perform during her residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace, no problem.  You'll be able to see and hear it in the comfort of your own living room this March.

March 3 sees the release of SHANIA: Still the One Live from Vegas, exclusively at Walmart.  It's available as either a CD, or as a DVD that captures Shania's full Vegas production, as well as behind-the-scenes footage of rehearsals, costumes, training and more.  The elaborate show featured a 13-piece live band, horses, a flying motorcycle and, of course, Shania's numerous hits.

In a statement, Shania says, "This show has been my labor of love for over three years. It has meant so much to me and was such a privilege to live out my visions on that stage, and it is so exciting to now get to share the whole experience with the fans all over the world!”

Here's the track list for the CD and DVD of SHANIA: Still the One Live from Vegas:

1.  "I’m Gonna Getcha Good!"
2.  "You Win My Love"
3.  "Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)"
4.  "Up!"
5.  "I Ain’t No Quitter"
6.  "No One Needs to Know"
7.  "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?"
8.  "Any Man of Mine"
9.  "That Don’t Impress Me Much"
10. "Honey, I’m Home"
11. "(If You’re Not In It for Love) I’m Outta Here"
12. "Come On Over"  (Acoustic)
13. "Love Gets Me Every Time"  (Acoustic)
14. "Rock This Country!"  (Acoustic)
15. "Today Is Your Day"  (Acoustic)
16. "You’re Still the One"
17. "From This Moment On"
18. "Red Storm"
19. "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"

1.  Opening
2.  "I’m Gonna Getcha Good!"
3.  "You Win My Love"
4.  "Don’t Be Stupid (You Know I Love You)"
5.  "Up!"
6.  Good, Bad And Sexy (Interlude)
7.  "I Ain’t No Quitter"
8.  "No One Needs to Know"
9.  "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?"
10. "Any Man of Mine"
11.  Shania Style (Interlude)
12. "That Don’t Impress Me Much"
13. "Honey, I’m Home"
14. "(If You’re Not In It for Love) I’m Outta Here"
15. "Carrie Anne"
16. "Come On Over"
17. "Love Gets Me Every Time"
18. "Rock This Country!"
19. "Today Is Your Day"
20.  Black Horse, White Horse (Interlude)
21. "You’re Still the One"
22. "From This Moment On"
23.  Red Storm (Interlude)
24.  "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!"
25.  "Rock This Country!"  (Live from Calgary) & Credits

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