• LABOR DAY: AJ, BILLY, CANAAN, DARIUS, DAVID, DIERKS, ERIC CHURCH, ERIC PASLAY, JON, LADY A, LUKE

    For many decades, Labor Day was seen as a day for workers to voice their complaints and discuss better working conditions and pay.

    U.S. Congress declared Labor Day a national holiday in 1894, and on Monday, September 5th, we will once again celebrate the people in every occupation whose work and dedication make this nation great. Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers.

    Labor Day weekend also signals the unofficial end to summer, and many of the hottest country stars are taking a look back at some of the toughest jobs they had prior to making their mark in music or their dream job now.

     

    Audio / Alan Jackson says that working man values have always been a part of his music.

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    AJ (working people songs) OC: … appreciate that. :28
    “I’ve always written songs and recorded songs, other people’s songs, about workin’ people, and workin’, the workin’ life ’cause I mean, that’s where I’m from. I mean, I worked…I’d already had jobs and worked as a grown person before I ever even thought about bein’ in the music business, so I come from that background, and…although I hadn’t had a job in a long time (laughs), I still remember a lot about it, you know, and I remember what the lifestyle is, and I still appreciate that.”

    Audio / Billy Currington recalls some of the jobs he had before landing his record deal in 2003.

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    Billy Currington (Labor Day) OC: …record deal. :40
    “I started working like at [age] 12, landscaping. This was summer, every summers, and roofing. I started when I was about 16 roofing houses, and that was probably one of my toughest jobs because down there in south Georgia, it gets hot, so doing that every day all summer long. The pawn shop when I moved to Nashville was one of my favorites, even though it was one of my least favorites. The concrete job was my least favorite of all – six years of that, and I couldn’t take it no more. After that job, that was my turning point. Either I’m going to do something else for a living [laughs] or quit and try to really focus on music and get this record deal.”

    Audio / Canaan Smith talks about the bad jobs he had before signing a publishing deal and later a record deal.

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    Canaan Smith (worst jobs) OC: …of that. [laughs] :54
    “I’ve had some terrible jobs. I was a janitor for a while, and I mopped floors, vacuums all kinds of, picking up dog poop, taking out trash, just basically somebody’s beyatch [laughs], that was my job. I did that for two-and-a-half years before I signed a publishing deal. Before that, actually my very first job, I got fired from. It was some sort of candy/chocolate store. My mom dropped me off one time, and I went to work and I was like I think I can do this, and then two shifts later I just didn’t show up because I didn’t understand the concept of having to look at a schedule to see when you come in. I just didn’t show. I just thought they’d call me, ‘Hey, we need you to come in.’ I didn’t know. I was 15 years old, and never worked and that kind of stuff. I always cut grass when I was a kid and cleaned golf clubs – whatever I could do to make some money. But, yeah, I got fired from my first job. I’m pretty proud of that.” [laughs]

    Audio / Clare Dunn discovered her love of music while working on her family’s farm in Southern Colorado.

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    Clare Dunn (discovered music) OC: …that way. :40
    “I did most of my music discovery as a young girl driving a tractor for most of the day – 10, 12 hours a day, you have nothing but the radio as your companion, basically, to keep you entertained. So, there was a local country radio station, and they, along with my parents’ love of music, I mean, that’s how I found Keith Urban and George Strait. My mom is a huge Waylon Jennings’ fan. And so music for me, I discovered it driving long hours on a tractor or hauling water to a cattle in a pickup by myself or through my parents’ love of music. And so, I was really fortunate that way.”

    Audio / Darius Rucker recalls one of his worst jobs before turning to music.

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    Darius Rucker (Labor Day) OC: …pizza. :15
    “I was fifteen, and I worked at a pizza place, and the guy decided that at fifteen, that I could not only clean the floors and wash the dishes, but I also had to make pizza. So, for two months, he taught me how to make pizza.”

    Audio / David Nail recalls his first job at Dairy Queen.

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    David Nail (Labor Day) OC: …Dilly Bar. :32
    “The first job that I ever had was working at Dairy Queen. One of my very best friends in the world’s mother purchased a franchise, so it was kinda a cool place to work. You put me in an ice cream place, it’s a recipe for disaster. So, Kathy Jeffers, her mother tends to tell people it was a ‘mutual separation,’ but I can vividly remember her saying that they were going to lose money if they continued to let me work, because I was eating more food than I was selling. But, it was a great two days that I spent there, and I had many a Dilly Bar.”

    Audio / Dierks Bentley makes a living performing for his fans, and he can’t say enough about them.

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    Dierks Bentley (Labor Day) OC: …generosity. :26
    “Personally, the fans give me amazement. That’s the only word to really sum it up. I look out in the crowd, you know, usually see a lot of faces and fans are cheering. I know each one of these like from the road-the signs are from California…Michelle and Kayla live up in the Ohio area. They’re all, I just see them, and I’m like, ‘Wow!,’ they’re all from different regions. You know when you’re in a different region of the country and you just see certain fans. These people are way more hard core than I am, and I’m just amazed by their generosity.”

    Audio / Eric Church talks about one of his worst jobs.

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    Eric Church (Labor Day-odd jobs) OC: …bought at 2am. 1:27
    “I had an awful job. I’ve had a lot of awful jobs…my worst one was when I first came to Nashville. I got a job at the Shop at Home Network. I worked midnight, graveyard, midnight to eight. That was bad enough but then I would work all night, go home, shower and then I had writing appointments all day because I was trying to get a career started. I’d go write songs and get meetings just trying to get signed. And end up getting done at 3 of 4 with all of that, I’d go home, take a shower or sleep for a little bit and then I had to be at work again at midnight. So the schedule was bad enough, however, what I had to do at the job…I sold knives from midnight to 7 or 8am. And, anytime somebody calls you at 3 or 4am and needs 200 knives for $19.95, it’s automatically an alarming situation. And I just, I was young and I’d been in a lot of these people’s shoes, I had done this…I knew they were drunk. I knew what they had done. They’d just come home from the bar, flipped on Shop at Home and said, ‘You know what? I need that.’ So the reason the job didn’t last long for me is that I was maybe the worst salesmen in history because I ended up talking a lot of these people out of it, I’d say, ‘I’ll tell you what man, go to bed, call me, I’ll be here in the morning. If you get up in the morning and want these knives you call me back.’ Because I knew what was going to happen, you know. They bought 200 knives for $19.95…first of all some of these people you didn’t know whether you should call the cops. What do you need 200 knives for? Even though I’m selling them…what do you need them for? So, it was awful doing that job. And then they got rid of me because, they were like, ‘You’re the worst. I can’t believe you’re talking people out of it.’ I was like, ‘Man I know…I’ve been there.’ [laughs] I’d want some to talk me out of buying some of the stuff I’ve bought at 2am.”

    Audio / Eric Paslay talks about his first job…printing logos on fanny packs.

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    Eric Paslay (Labor Day) OC: …could print. :34
    “My first official job was working at a screen printing place in Texas during the summer in a metal building that had no AC. We printed on fanny packs – really cool — and these other little bags. And it was eye doctors that, some company if you bought supplies through them, they’d put your logo on fanny packs for your customers to put in a drawer somewhere. Fanny packs are cool, if you like ‘em. You know, we’d like time ourselves to see how many fanny packs you could print.”

    Audio / Jon Pardi talks about his worst job, which was at a grocery store.

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    Jon Pardi (Labor Day) OC: …so bored! :17
    “The worst job I ever had was at Hometown Grocery Store. I didn’t want to work, I was 15, and I did not want to work at the grocery store. Bagging was fun, but they sent me down the aisles to pull up cans and turn ‘em around and face ‘em, and I would just get so bored!”

    Audio / Kip Moore recalls his worst job...ever.

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    Kip Moore (Labor Day-worst job) OC: …than that. :21
    “I’d have to say my worst job ever was laying sod in the south Georgia heat. There’s nothing than that, especially when somebody would think that you’re waiting for the next sod patch to be thrown to you and you got your back turned, and all of a sudden, that big ole piece of sod hits you right on the back. You got nowhere to clean up, and you’re just stuck with dirt on your back for the rest of the day. It doesn’t get any worse than that.”

    Audio / Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum tells us what he used to do to make a buck before finding success as a musician.

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    Lady A (Labor Day) OC: …I had a lot of crummy jobs. :31
    CK “I used to…” HS: “… knock out asbestos walls.” CK: “I did that for a long time. But even before that, I used to do lawn care every summer. Oh, man, I do not miss that. Just glad those days are over. I get out here and play music for a living. It’s a lot more fun. But yeah, I used to do that, and I used to work as a bag boy at a golf course once. I did that for a couple of summers. I had a lot of crummy jobs.”

    Audio / Luke Bryan talks about the different jobs he worked in and around Leesburg, Georgia, before heading to Nashville to pursue a career in music.

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    Luke Bryan (Labor Day-jobs) OC: …Nashville… 1:07
    “At age 12 thru 13, I worked at Rubos IGA Supermarket in Leesburg, GA. I worked during the summers on Monday and Tuesday. I stocked and cleaned up the produce.  They paid me under the table…I peeled off all of the brown lettuce. Let’s see, when I was 15, I was a cashier at K-Mart for two months. I worked at K-Mart for two months, and then I reverted back to Rubos because it didn’t really make sense for me to drive all the way into Albany and work for K-Mart. The benefits were great though-you’d get an hour-long on the blue light special. So I started back at Rubos, and then I quit Rubos and worked for my Dad-just awful just driving tractors through cotton all day, and spraying pesticides that eventually would turn your hair green. And then at some point, I started playing guitar. And well, after college I went back and worked for my dad and continued to spray and haul fertilizer around. And then I moved to Nashville…”

  • ALAN JACKSON IS PART OF NEW ROCK’N ROLL HALL OF FAME EXHIBIT.

    Alan Jackson is among the more than 50 musical artists featured in a new exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Louder Than Music: Rock, Power & Politics chronicles a variety of times, places and moments where music and American history have crossed paths over the last several decades – Alan is represented by the Jim Triggs guitar he played onstage at the 2001 CMA Awards ceremony in Nashville, where he first performed his iconic “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” a song inspired by the events and aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The exhibit also includes Alan’s handwritten lyrics of the song.
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    Alan’s guitar is featured alongside artifacts and items from such wide-ranging talents as Beyonce, Bob Dylan, Lady Gaga, U2’sBono and Keith Richards…as well as superstars and music icons such as John Lennon, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder. Louder Than Music: Rock, Power & Politics is open now – the exhibit runs at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland through November 27 (Thanksgiving Weekend), when it will be packed and moved to The Newseum in Washington, DC to be placed on display a week ahead of next year’s Presidential Inauguration.

    “Where Were You” captured a still-reeling nation’s emotions unlike any other song – it would go on to be honored with Grammy, CMA and ACM Awards and other accolades…and, 15 years after the events of September 2001, remains a staple of Jackson’s concerts due to fan demand.

    Jackson recently celebrated his 25th year as a member of the Grand Ole Opry with an appearance on its world-famous stage…and he just spent a month at the top of Billboard’s all-genre Music DVD chart with Keepin’ It Country: Live at Red Rocks, a concert DVD captured on tour at the revered Colorado concert venue in 2015. Jackson’s Keepin’ It Country Tour – extended from 2015 into this year – continues this summer with performances this weekend at Ohio’s iconic Jamboree in the Hills (July 15) and the Faster Horses Festival in Michigan (July 17). More shows – available at www.alanjackson.com – follow in August and through the fall.

    ABOUT ALAN JACKSON:
    The man from rural Newnan, GA, who claims he is just a “singer of simple songs,” has sold nearly 60-million albums worldwide and ranks as one of the 10 best-selling male vocalists of all-time in all genres. He has released more than 60 singles – registering 50 Top Ten hits and 35 #1s (including 26 Billboard chart-toppers). He has earned more than 150 music industry awards – including 18 Academy of Country Music Awards, 16 Country Music Association Awards, a pair of Grammys and ASCAP’s Founders and Golden Note Awards. Jackson received the first-ever ASCAP Heritage Award in 2014 having earned the title of most-performed country music songwriter-artist of ASCAP’s first 100 years. He is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.
    Alan Jackson is one of the most successful and respected singer-songwriters in music. He is in the elite company of Paul McCartney and John Lennon among songwriters who’ve written more than 20 songs that they’ve recorded and taken to the top of the charts. Jackson is one of the best-selling artists since the inception of SoundScan, ranking alongside the likes of Eminem and Metallica. Jackson’s current album, Angels and Alcohol, topped the country album charts when it was released last summer. He is also the subject of a new box set, Genuine: The Alan Jackson Story, available now
  • FOURTH OF JULY 2016: AJ, Billy, Canaan, Darius, David, Dierks, Easton, Eric, Josh, Keith, Kip, Lady A, Luke, Sam

    Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain. The holiday is commonly associated with fireworks displays, parades, barbecues and concerts. Some of your favorite country stars take time to remember their Fourth of July traditions, memories and what the holiday really means to them.

    Audio / Alan Jackson recalls one of the coolest Fourth of July memories he’s ever enjoyed.

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    AJ (fave 4th of July memory) OC: …very cool. :58
    Well, this one is hard to beat. A couple of years ago, maybe longer than that now, I had an old boat in Florida. It’s like an old antique motor yacht, and it was kind of a cool old boat. I had taken that boat, I’ve always wanted to take it up north like to New York and up in that area, up in the northeast where it’s so pretty. So, we took the boat up there and Denise and the girls, we all went up. They like going to New York City, which I don’t really care about going to the city. So, I got to stay in my boat there at the harbor tied up, which was cool anyway. So they spent time in the city a few days and then that was Fourth of July, and we went out in the Hudson River that night and they shot the fireworks off and we were anchored out in front of the Statue of Liberty and New York City was behind us, and the Statue of Liberty and the fireworks were going off sitting on that boat. That was the coolest thing and my girls still talk about that. I mean, that was the coolest thing on Fourth of July I can ever remember. I can’t top that one probably. It was emotional sitting there watching the Statue of Liberty and thinking about all that. It was very cool.”

     

    Audio / Billy Currington talks about his favorite Fourth of July memories.

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    Billy Currington (4th of July) OC: …of my life. :16
    “My best memories would be hanging out with my mom, brother and sister on the beach on Tybee Island right off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. We’d go there every year, and we’d light our own fireworks and watch the ones that they had for us. They were the best times, some of the best times of my life.”

    Audio / Canaan Smith talks about his Fourth of July memories growing up in Williamsburg, Virginia.

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    Canaan Smith (Fireworks July Fourth) OC: …kinds of stuff. :39
    “Williamsburg, Virginia has a great fireworks display. It’s one of the best in the nation, they say or something like that. We’d go to the Governor’s Palace. They have a big lawn, and we’d sit out there and lay a blanket down. This was before I was old enough to drink, but we probably tried to sneak some in anyhow. And we’d just watch the [show], you know they’d have the grand finale, which always blew my mind ‘cause just when you thought it was over, they’d start bringing out all of the tricks and it just gets crazy. We did that on a regular basis. Other times, we’d do stuff in our own yard. We had a big yard when we were growing up with a dirt track in the back, and our neighbor’s yard was equally as big, so when you put ‘em together, we had a massive area to be destructive and do whatever we wanted. So, we blew up all kinds of stuff.”


    Audio / Darius Rucker, who headlines this year's Freedom Over Texas Fourth of July celebration in Houston, talks about what the Fourth of July means to him.

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    Darius Rucker (4th of July) 1 OC: …in the world. :24
    “The Fourth of July to me is a day to celebrate freedom. We get to travel all over the world and see a lot of stuff, and I’ve been to a lot of countries that aren’t like ours and that’s when you really appreciate the fact that you can do whatever you want. As long as you’re willing to deal with the consequences, you can do whatever you want, you know?  [I] appreciate those soldiers who died for us to be sitting here doing this, and we live in the greatest country in the world.”

    Audio / Darius Rucker enjoys setting off fireworks.

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    Darius Rucker (fireworks) OC: …off once. :15
    “Oh, I love fireworks. We had the bottle rocket fights and all that good stuff. I was the typical little crazy kid, you know. In South Carolina, it was always legal, so we shot fireworks when it was legal. We did all that sort of stuff. I almost blew my hand off once.”

    Audio / David Nail talks about where he and his friends used to watch the Fourth of July fireworks back home in Kennett, Missouri.

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    David Nail (4th of July) OC: …up front. :45
    “In Kennett, Missouri where I grew up [on] the Fourth of July, it was a race to get your car parked, so we could watch the fireworks at the airport; they did ‘em off the golf course. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be a country club kid to watch it from that side of town, so everybody else had to, you’d be riding through town at 8 o’clock, 9 o’clock in the morning and you could see lawn chairs along the side of the road by people getting their spot so they could see ‘em, even though the town’s so small you could sit in your front yard and watch ‘em. That wasn’t good enough. Everybody wanted to see ‘em up close. I can remember doing that as a kid and then as we got older, it became a little easier to get your spot, but as a kid, you wanted to get there as quickly as possible and be up front just so you could say you were up front.”

    Audio / Dierks Bentley explains why he is so patriotic.

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    Dierks Bentley (4th of July-patriotic) OC: …all the time. :17
    “I’m extremely patriotic. I love this country, and I love the history of this country. I read books on this country. I spend my time on the road traveling physically throughout the country. The soldiers and their families are constantly on my mind. We work closely with the Wounded Warriors Project. We think about this stuff all the time.”

    Audio / Easton Corbin recalls his family’s tradition on the Fourth of July.

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    Easton Corbin (Fourth of July) OC: …clown around. :28
    “Fourth of July, I remember growing up and having cookouts, and course we did the whole fireworks thing. I remember my uncle, he’d always get fireworks and bring down like from Alabama, because in Florida, you couldn’t get the bottle rockets and stuff, so he’d always go up to Alabama, ‘cause they live in Tallahassee, which was close to the [state] line. So, he would go over the line and get the good fireworks and bring ‘em down to my grandma’s for me and my cousin, and we’d just hang out all day and shoot off fireworks and clown around.”

    Audio / Eric Church recalls his family activities on the Fourth of July holiday.

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    Eric Church (4th of July) OC: …freedoms. 1:17
    “The Fourth of July for me, growing up we would always go to the lake, we didn’t live on the lake but we would all go to the lake. Had a buddy who had a pontoon and we would always get on the pontoon and you go out and you’d tie all the pontoons together and just have a big time. This was before, I was younger then, the adults were having more fun than we were, you know it was just to go swim in the water and shoot off fireworks. Basically, water tailgating is what it was. And then as we got older, same thing…we would just, us younger kids had our own boat and we had as much fun as the adults.”

    Audio / Josh Turner, who will perform during the Independence Day Celebration in Shreveport, Louisiana, Turner talks about the fireworks “wars” his family would have when he was growing up.

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    Josh Turner (fireworks) OC: …of money. [laughs] :20
    “Yeah, we had fireworks around, especially my Daddy’s family. All the individual families had a lot of competition with each other and tried to outdo each other to try to see who had the biggest and baddest fireworks and all that. [laughs] My daddy, I think, was the smartest one. He just went out and bought maybe $25 worth of fireworks and let everybody else put on the big show, so he saved a lot of money.” [laughs]

    Audio / Keith Urban defines patriotism.

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    Keith Urban (patriotism) OC: …the unity. :24
    “It’s common, shared beliefs and identity. And I think at its core, it’s an incredibly strengthening, vital thing for our people to have, and it’s particularly gratifying in the midst of so much separating of ideas that it can get fractious. And it’s kind of nice that a sense of patriotism can remind everybody of the unity.”

    Audio / Kip Moore says he’s very proud of the U.S. military and can’t imagine having to do what they do to protect the United States.

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    Kip Moore (Fourth of July-soldiers) OC: …every day. :32
    “I’m a very, very patriotic person, proud of the country that I live in, and I’m very proud of what those guys do for us each and every day, and I don’t take it for granted one bit. My grandparents were in the military, fought wars, and I’ve seen the battle that they go through, just the horror of remember things. When I start to think that I’m half-way tough, I realize how I’m not one bit when I talk to soldiers when I’m out and realize the things that they go through. I can’t imagine facing what those guys face every day.”

    Audio / Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott talks about her favorite Fourth of July memories.

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    Lady A (4th of July-Hillary) OC: …on my hand. :29
    “For many, many years in a row, we would be up at the lake for Fourth of July, and having those memories of being on the boat and going tubing and skiing and enjoying being out in the summertime, great weather on the water. But, then for me, Fourth of July was when [husband] Chris [Tyrell] proposed. So, I got proposed to on July 2nd up at the lake, the same lake I grew up going to, and so that’s probably the biggest highlight of Fourth of July to me – getting a rock on my hand.”

    Audio / Luke Bryan recalls one of his favorite Fourth of July memories.

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    Luke Bryan (4th of July memories) OC: …we used to. :21
    “Some of my favorite Fourth of July memories were spent on Lake Blackshear down in Georgia with my family. I was always kind of in charge of driving home from Tennessee and picking up all the fireworks and my nieces and nephews always got excited when I rolled in because they knew I had all the fireworks. But, it was always a great memory, and I miss not getting to do that as much as we used to.”

    Audio / Luke Bryan explains his definition of what it means to be an American.

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    Luke Bryan (American) OC: …we want. :17
    “I think the definition of an American is somebody who stands up during the ‘Pledge of Allegiance’ and stands up when ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ is being sung and just appreciates what all the fallen heroes and soldiers have done to keep us living in a country that’s free where we have the right to do anything we want.”

    Audio / Sam Hunt talks about what he and his family did over the Fourth of July holiday when he was growing up in Georgia.

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    Sam Hunt (Fourth of July) OC: …good time. :39
    “My granddad on the other side of my family, he would always take a lot of pride…fireworks were actually, I’m from Georgia, and most of them were illegal, I’m pretty sure, growing up. But over in Alabama, that’s where all the firework stands were, and we only had to drive 10, 15 minutes to get to the Alabama line, so we could go get a bundle of fireworks pretty easy. But he would always take a lot of pride in going and finding all the good stuff, and coming back with a  big pile. He’d have his torch out there at the end of the driveway and we’d all eat homemade ice cream and put down towels on the driveway and he’d shoot off fireworks for 30-45 minutes. Such a good time.”

     

  • FOURTH OF JULY 2016: LINERS

    Here are Fourth of July liners from several of your favorite artists:

    Audio / LINER AJ (4th of July)

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    “Hey! This is Alan Jackson, wishing you a happy and safe Fourth of July.”

    Audio / LINER Billy Currington (4th of July)

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    “Hey guys! I’m Billy Currington, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”

    Audio / LINER Bros Osborne (Fourth of July)

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    “Hey y’all! I’m John, and I’m TJ, and we are Brothers Osborne, wish you a very Happy Fourth of July.”

    Audio / LINER Canaan Smith (Fourth of July)

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    “Hey! What’s up guys? I’m Canaan Smith, wishing you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

    Audio / LINER Clare Dunn (Fourth of July)

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    “Hey! This is Clare Dunn, wishing you a very Happy Fourth of July.”

    Audio / LINER Darius Rucker (4th of July)

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    “Hey y’all, what’s up? This is Darius Rucker, wishing you a very, very happy Fourth of July!”

    Audio / LINER Darius (Happy Birthday, America)

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    “Happy Birthday, America!”

    Audio / LINER David Nail (4th of July)

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    “This is David Nail, wishing you a happy Fourth of July!”

    Audio / LINER Dierks Bentley (4th of July)

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    Hey everybody! This is Dierks Bentley, wishing you a Happy and safe Fourth of July.

    Audio / LINER Easton Corbin (4th of July)

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    “Hey! This is Easton Corbin. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.”

    Audio / LINER Eric Church (4th of July)

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    “Hey this is Eric Church, wishing you a very happy Fourth of July.”

    Audio / LINER Eric Paslay (4th of July)

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    “Hey! This is Eric Paslay, wishing you a very happy Fourth of July.”

    Audio / LINER Gary Allan (4th of July)

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    “Hey! This is Gary Allan. Happy Fourth of July.”

    Audio / LINER Jon Pardi (4th of July)

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    “Hi, it’s Jon Pardi, wishing you a happy Fourth of July.”

    Audio / LINER Keith Urban (summer)

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    Hey everybody, Keith Urban here, wanting to wish you all a fantastic and safe summer. Enjoy the sunshine. Hopefully, you’ll get to spend some time with the ones you love, and hopefully, we’ll also get to see you out on the road.”

    Audio / LINER Lady A (4th of July)

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    “Hi! This is Charles, Hillary and Dave of Lady Antebellum, wishing you a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend.”

    Audio / LINER Lauren Alaina (4th of July)

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    “Hey! It’s Lauren Alaina. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July.”

    Audio / LINER LBT (4th of July)

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    “Hey! We’re Little Big Town. Happy Fourth of July!”

    Audio / LINER Luke Bryan (4th of July)

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    “Hey! This is Luke Bryan, wishing you a very happy Fourth of July.”

    Audio / LINER Mickey Guyton (4th of July)

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    “Hey! This is Mickey Guyton, wishing you a Happy Fourth of July.”

    Audio / LINER Sam Hunt (Fourth of July)

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    “Hey everybody! This is Sam Hunt, wishing you a safe and happy Fourth of July.”

    Audio / LINER Toby Keith (Fourth of July)

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    “Hi! It’s Toby Keith, wishing you a safe Fourth of July.”

  • FATHER’S DAY 2016, PART 1: AJ, Canaan, Darius, Dierks, Eric Church, Eric Paslay, Keith, Kip, Lady A, Luke, Sam

    Father’s Day is Sunday (June 19th), and we have thoughts, memories and more with many of your favorite country stars! Check them out and download below.

    Audio / Alan Jackson allows his three daughters to live and learn.

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    AJ (parenting style) OC: …what they did.  :19
    “We try to be just not pushy hands-on parents. We let them live and be their own way. I’m not stern with them. You know, I’m funny and light, and try to give them guidance and let them live and learn their own ways. And that’s something, I think, my parents did. It was accidental, but that’s what they did.”

    Audio / Canaan Smith says his father is a big inspiration.

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    Canaan Smith (Father’s Day) OC: …I love him. :35
    “My dad, I think is just the greatest man. He’s always provided for us. He was always there. He was always a great dad. He worked his butt off, you know, and showed me what it was like to work hard and provide for a family, and I just hope I can do that one day too. We’ve always had a special bond. He’s been a songwriter and a singer too for a long, long time, and so I got to grow up listening to him do his thing, sitting in the other room while they do band rehearsal. I’d be sitting on the couch in the other room just taking it all in, dreaming one day to be behind that microphone, so he’s definitely been an inspiration. I love him.”

    Audio / Canaan Smith (Father’s Day) 2 OC: …learned that too. :45

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    “I learned that music scores chicks. [laughs] My dad had a rehearsal one time at his piano player’s house, and I was sitting on the couch in the living room, and the piano player had two daughters that were around my same age, and they were sitting on either side of me on the couch. I thought I was king of the world, you know, watching this rock and roll band and a girl around each arm, and I was like six-years-old, eight-years-old something like that, old enough to know that was pretty awesome! My dad, he taught me hard work too. It took rehearsals. It took dedication. You can’t just get up on a stage and fly by the seat of your pants. You have to be prepared, and so I learned that too.”

    Audio / Darius Rucker says his kids would say he was a fun dad, unless they did something wrong.

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    Darius Rucker (Father’s Day) OC: …loving dad. :41
    “I think if you asked my kids what kind of Dad I was they would probably say…Danny would say that I was a fun Dad. My little daughter would say that I was a fun dad; she thinks I’m a lot of fun. I think if you caught them at the right moment they would say I was mean [laughs] because when I’m home I’m not afraid to discipline them. I’m all fun until it’s not fun anymore and then daddy’s not the fun guy. I think that they’d say that I was a fun Dad, I’m a loving Dad and I think they would say that. I’m gone so much that when I’m home, I just shower love upon my kids. I say ‘I love you’ probably fifty times a day. We hug, we kiss all the time. I’m always wanting them to know how much I love them. So I’d hope they’d say that I was a loving dad.”

    Audio / Darius Rucker says his mother made him a good father to his three children.

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    Darius Rucker (mother’s qualities makes him a great father) OC: …my mom. :45
    “She had a lot great qualities, but she was always, family was first for her. She was always a rock and making sure she took care of us and making sure we had things we needed to have to survive – food and clothes and a home – and seeing that and seeing how hard she worked and all the things she did just really made me the father that I am today. I mean, I’m so crazy and hands-on with my kids. I think it all comes from watching my mom have to struggle so much to support us. And so now, I don’t want me or my wife to ever have to struggle, and I don’t want my kids to ever want or wonder where I am or where there mom is. I want them to always know where we are and always be taken care of, and that all comes from my mom.”

    Audio / Dierks Bentley, the father of three, is very grateful to his own dad for turning him on to country music as a kid.

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    Dierks (Father’s Day) OC: …that’s for sure. :10
    “My dad was my biggest influence in country music because my dad loved country radio. So, we always drove around listening to country radio and George Strait, Hank Williams and Randy Travis and all these guys, so. Without him, I wouldn’t be doing this, that’s for sure.”

    Audio / Dierks Bentley explains how being a father (to three children) has changed him.

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    Dierks Bentley (how fatherhood has changed him) OC: …different. :07
    “There’s a whole kind of different universe that has opened up that I never knew existed, and I’m not the center of it, which is really cool. It just makes you look at things totally different.”

    Audio / Eric Church describes his father and the qualities he admires in him.

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    Eric Church (Father’s Day) OC: …always admired. :29
    “My dad is a, I’m trying to find the right words to describe him. My dad is a great guy, honest guy, very call it like he sees it, which is where I get a lot of that. No BS. I’m gonna tell you how I feel whether you like it or not. I’m that guy, I’m me…My dad’s that way, so I get a lot of that from him. There’s also an honesty and an integrity that my dad carries himself with that I’ve always admired. I think the both of them combined, and they’ve been married for I think 40 years, to be together that long in this day and time is a feat in itself.”

    Audio / Eric Paslay says his father taught him how to work hard and to do a lot of things himself, such as electrical work and other handyman tasks.

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    Eric Paslay (Father’s Day) OC: …ceiling fan. :23
    “He just taught me that working hard and sticking it out, even when you know things aren’t right, that if you stick it out, it’s worth it in the end. And he just taught me to work hard, and there’s a lot of things that you don’t have to pay someone else to do, and it feels more rewarding when you’re able to put in new light fixtures or paint your own walls or put in a new ceiling fan.”

    Audio / Keith Urban – father to daughters Sunday and Faith -- says there are a number of things that are at the top of the list of being a dad.

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    Keith Urban (Father’s Day) OC: …experience that. :36
    “The first thing is probably just having someone call you dad. I’m like, ‘Omigosh! I’m her dad! That’s amazing.’ That’s probably the first thing to me. I don’t know, I mean, the different personalities that our two daughters have, that’s amazing. It’s such a long list I think. I always say…I think for the people that haven’t had kids – which I hadn’t for a long, long time. I didn’t have kids ‘til later on, and being around it is not the same as having them, you know? I realize that it’s not something that can be explained until you actually sort of have it, so I’m glad I got to experience that.”

    Audio / Kip Moore talks about his father’s influence on his music career, and how he’d play classics on their fishing trips.

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    Kip Moore (Father’s Day-dad’s influence) OC: …of us singin’ ‘em. :29
    “He would just play all those classic records – Little River Band, Jackson Brown, Springsteen, Seeger, Willie Nelson, the Red-Headed Stranger, Kristofferson, Sam Cook – like classic music. He’d be singing the songs and telling us why it was such good music. And I looked up to him so much, that’s the music I gravitated towards and that’s what I continue to listen to. Whenever I think about those old fishing trips, that’s what I think about is on the way down there, him singing those songs and all of us singin’ ‘em.”

    Audio / Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood says his father was a big influence both personally and musically, and he wants to pass along those qualities to his own children.

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    Lady A (Father’s Day-Dave) OC: …like that. :39
    “My dad was a really hard worker growing up and was always great, however hard he worked, he’d always make important time for family, important time to be home for dinner and be there for a lot of special moments for us growing up. For all the money he would make, he would always give a portion of it back to charity or to the church, and so that was always important for me to watch. We had a great relationship growing up. My dad plays guitar; he’s very musical. I learned how to play acoustic guitar with him playing ‘Day Tripper’ by the Beatles and all these old songs we’d play together when he’d show me how to play these James Taylor songs and things like that. So, definitely want to pass along music, of course, to my children, as well, like that.”

     

    Audio / Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott says her father is a great communicator.

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    Lady A (Father’s Day-Hillary) OC: …my children. :33
    “I definitely got my Type-A personality from my dad. He’s the same way, but one thing I’m so appreciative of – especially from a father-daughter relationship – my dad always, always talked to me, even when I didn’t want to talk to him. He would force me to communicate and talk through things, and not always the easy stuff, which is such a rare quality in a man, truthfully. And so, I am very, very thankful for that. I think it helped me find the right husband for me, and I also know that it will help me be that much of a better communicator to my children.”

    Audio / While Luke Bryan has a show in Columbus, Ohio on Sunday (Father’s Day), he says all he wants or needs on this special day is to be with his family.

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    Luke Bryan (Father’s Day 2016) OC: …I’m happy. :39
    “Well, I’m doing a show but the boys will be there. As long as we’re together as a family, and my wife is so great about wanting to, like, if it were up to her every moment like that would be fireworks and balloons filled, cakes and all that. They’re gonna come up to our show, and then we’ve got a couple days together. Just as long as I get to be with my family on important days, whether it’s birthdays or anniversaries or stuff like that or certainly Father’s Day or Mother’s Day, that’s all I need. Just let them make me a cup of coffee in the morning and I’m happy.”

    Audio / Sam Hunt says his father taught him a lot about being a man and knowing the right thing.

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    Sam Hunt (Father’s Day) OC: …he’s great. :27
    “I’m obviously biased about my parents, but I’ve been around a lot of great men of integrity, but he is by far the best man that I know. He’s just taught me so much about being a man, doing the right thing, knowing the difference between right and wrong. And even though I don’t always follow his lead, I definitely know better because of him, and that means a whole lot to me. I was just really fortunate to have him as a dad, and he’s great.”

  • ALAN JACKSON AND PLY GEM DEDICATE HOUSE IN LAVERGNE, TENNESSEE AS PART OF HABITAT FOR HUMANITY.

    Alan Jackson and Ply Gem® (NYSE: PGEM), a manufacturer of building products, helped dedicate a house built with a local family as part of the Habitat for Humanity national Home Builders Blitz week.

    Ply Gem partnered with Jackson to serve as the ambassador of the Home for Good project, and his song, “You Can Always Come Home,” is the anthem for the program, emphasizing that having a place to call home is both fortunate and comforting.

    “This is the reason why I love this country so much – we step up and we give of our time. Thank you Ply Gem and Habitat for Humanity,” Jackson said before giving the house keys to new Rutherford County Area Habitat homeowner Keosha Hendricks, and her daughter Akori’ Yanah. “This is just a house, but you and Akori’ will make it a home.”

    AJ Habitat 1 aj habitat 2
    Hendricks brushed away tears as she received keys to the house she helped build.

    “I’m so grateful to be a part of this program. The experience has been amazing and my daughter is going to have a stable, healthy home,” she said through tears. “Thank you Habitat, Ply Gem and Alan. We finally have a home to call our own.”

    Ply Gem, headquartered in Cary, North Carolina, is the presenting sponsor of Habitat’s Home Builders Blitz, in which professional builders in 31 states worked this week alongside nearly 250 Habitat homeowners to build or repair their homes. The sponsorship is one component of the Home for Good project – a multi-year initiative that includes the donation of more than $1 million of performance siding and windows and funds for Habitat for Humanity to use to help families build nearly 300 homes in 2016, alone. Home Builders Blitz kicked off June 6 with a wall-raising ceremony in Raleigh, North Carolina, where four homes are being constructed.

    “As a leading manufacturer of building products, like siding, windows, stone, roofing, fence and rail, giving back by helping to build houses across North America makes sense for Ply Gem, and partnering with Habitat for Humanity was a natural choice,” said Gary E. Robinette, chairman and CEO, Ply Gem.

    “Through the Home for Good project we are spreading the word to rally everyone to grab a hammer and help in communities nationwide. Ply Gem is reaching out to the building industry, our 8,900 associates and community members.”

    Habitat launched its first Home Builders Blitz in 2006, four years after Habitat for Humanity Wake County, North Carolina and local builder Tom Gipson recruited 12 homebuilders to donate their time to each build a house in five days. To date, more than 1,500 homes have been constructed under the Home Builders Blitz model. Habitat and local families are building two homes in LaVergne.

    To find out how to get involved, please visit Habitat.org, or to learn more about Ply Gem’s Home for Good project, go to www.plygem.com/homeforgood.

    About Alan Jackson

    Alan Jackson is one of the most successful and respected singer-songwriters in music.  He is in the elite company of Paul McCartney and John Lennon among songwriters who’ve written more than 20 songs that they’ve recorded and taken to the top of the charts. Jackson is one of the best-selling artists since the inception of SoundScan, ranking alongside the likes of Eminem and Metallica. The man from rural Newnan, GA, who claims he is just a “singer of simple songs,” has sold nearly 60 million albums worldwide and ranks as one of the 10 best-selling vocalists of all-time in all genres. He has released more than 60 singles—registering 50 Top Ten hits and 35 #1s (including 26 Billboard #1s).  He has earned more than 150 music industry awards—including 18 Academy of Country Music Awards, 16 Country Music Association Awards, a pair of Grammys and ASCAP’s Founders and Golden Note Awards. Jackson received the first-ever ASCAP Heritage Award in 2014 having earned the title of most performed country music songwriter-artist of ASCAP’s first 100 years.  He is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.

    About Ply Gem Holdings

    Ply Gem (NYSE: PGEM), headquartered in Cary, N.C., is a leading manufacturer of exterior building products in North America. Ply Gem produces a comprehensive product line of windows and patio doors, vinyl and aluminum siding and accessories, designer accents, cellular PVC trim and mouldings, vinyl fencing and railing, stone veneer and gutterware, used in both new construction and home repair and remodeling in the United States and Canada. Visit www.plygem.com for more information.

    About Habitat for Humanity International

    Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity has grown from a grassroots effort that began on a community farm in southern Georgia in 1976 to a global nonprofit housing organization in nearly 1,400 communities across the U.S. and in over 70 countries. People partner with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

  • CMA MUSIC FEST 2016: AJ, Darius, Dierks, Easton, Eric Church, Eric Paslay, Jon, Josh, Keith, Lady A, Lauren, Luke and more

    It’s that time of the year again! The 2016 CMA Music Festival begins this week in Nashville, and the stars are coming out to perform and check in with their fans!

    Audio / Backstage at last year’s CMA Music Festival, Alan Jackson talked about CMA Music Fest and how it’s become a family affair. Alan is set to perform at ACME in downtown Nashville on Tuesday, as well as at the Grand Ole Opry on Friday.

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    Alan Jackson (CMA Music Fest) OC: …all about. :28 [NOTE: There’s a slight buzz underneath audio.]
    “My daughter – three daughters – and about 10 friends every year, we have to pack into vans and get ‘em out here. They come every night. They come every night, not to see me, they come see everybody else. So, it has become more of a local event, and of course it evolved tremendously since I first started when it was Fan Fair at the old fairgrounds and signing autographs in a hot buildings. But the fans are the same, and that’s what it’s all about.”

    Audio / Darius Rucker will host his 7th annual Darius and Friends concert at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon Monday (June 6th) during this year’s CMA Music Festival. Proceeds will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Darius is nominated for a CMT Music Award – CMT Performance of the Year – for “Alright” from the show, Instant Jam.

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    Darius Rucker (CMA Music Fest) OC: …awesome. :48
    “Music Fest is like nothing else. I say all the time that country music is the only genre that could have something like that. It’s truly amazing, when I come that weekend, people are everywhere and they want to be your best friend. It’s always cool and I love coming here. The thing that always gets me is the show. The fact that you can get that many superstars at one show all playing for free, for the same goal, to entertain those people that are in that stadium that come here for the whole week from all over the world. They come here for one week to see country music, and it’s amazing that those artists say on Friday and Saturday night, this is country music come on out. That’s awesome.”

    Audio / Dierks Bentley is making a few appearances during CMA Music Festival week, including performing his latest single, “Different for Girls,” on this year’s CMT Music Awards with Elle King. He’ll also perform during the nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium (home of the Tennessee Titans) on Thursday (June 9th). Dierks Bentley talks about the lengths that fans will go to show their appreciation.

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    Dierks (fans) OC: …commitment. [laughs] :22
    “I know a lot of the early fans by name, because we played a lot of shows at a lot of small venues where we’d be around a lot after the shows. I’m not gonna say her name ‘cause I don’t know if she’d want me to or not, but she has like a dog print of Jake, my dog’s Jake, but she has this dog print on her shoulder with my name in the middle of the tattoo. So, tattoos are always, that’s a big deal when somebody gets your name tattooed on part of their body or something. It’s kind of a scary thing, because it’s kind of a lifelong commitment. [laughs]”

    Audio / Dierks Bentley recalls the weirdest thing he has signed.

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    Dierks Bentley (signing a baby’s head) OC: …child’s brain. :13
    “A baby’s head with a sharpie. Yeah, like a two-week old baby. I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to do it. The woman was like, ‘Please.’ I was like, ‘Alright.’ The head at that point is so vulnerable, transparent, so I’m just hoping they didn’t get any ink in the child’s brain.”

    Audio / Easton Corbin, who has hit the airwaves with his latest single “Are You With Me,” talks about CMA Music Festival.

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    Easton Corbin (CMA Music Fest) OC: …wouldn’t work. :25
    “CMA Music Fest, it’s a great opportunity to hang out with your fans and stuff. The great thing about the country genre is it’s one of the only genres that really has a festival dedicated to their fans, and I think that’s great because without the fans we wouldn’t be here. They’re the ones that make it work. Without the fans to buy records and listen to the radio and come to the shows, it just wouldn’t work.”

    Audio / Easton Corbin talks about his fans.

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    Easton Corbin (fans) OC: …being here. :24
    “My fans mean a great deal to me, especially the fans that come out to the shows and the ones that make it to every show around their home or in that vicinity. I even have people come here every time, in these meet-and-greet lines or maybe at the fence over there by the when you’re getting off the red carpet, I try to always make it a point to recognize those fans and just let them know how much that I care and how much I appreciate them being here.”

    Audio / Eric Church, who’s making his way up the country charts with his latest single “Record Year,” says CMA Music Festival is special and unique to country music. Eric is set to perform at Nissan Stadium on Friday (June 10th).

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    Eric Church (CMA Music Fest) OC: …to see.
    “Well, I think it’s what makes country music unique. Find me another format that happens in, it’s just not something that happens. I think it’s about what we were talking about earlier; country music is the one for mat where the fans…the music is really about them. And we’re them; we’re not different than them. We’re not a lot of the rock stars and a lot of the other guys where they’re their own person, they’re their own agenda…they’re not like the people that are listening to them. It’s different in country, we are. We come from there, we are that. I think it’s just a great thing for them to be able to come to our town and to get just this barrage of music. We’ve always tried to do it a little different when we’ll have different events, a couple years ago we made the fans find us…they had to find clues around town of where we were playing and then when they found out they could post it and tell people and then that night we had a full show. We started that day with no people, we didn’t advertise, we said, ‘We’re playing, find us.’ We called it ‘Midnight Church.’ So at midnight we played the Rutledge. They found us, and they were out the door, and they found us there. It was really cool to have some fun in our town and just do stuff like that every year. I’ve done, last year I did a show where I did 3 nights in a row at a place. The first night was me and my band, the second night was an acoustic show, and the last night was me and the songwriters that helped me write this record all sitting up there playing songs and telling stories. It was three different takes on basically the same songs. Just unique. It’s my favorite thing about doing it, is when people come to town, we able to do some shows that we’re not able to do throughout the year because we’re touring a certain way. This is a chance for us to have a little more freedom, creatively, and give the fans something maybe they don’t get to see.”

    Audio / Eric Paslay will be all over the place during CMA Music Fest. On Tuesday morning (June 7th), he’ll take part in the Tug McGraw Sporting Clay Event at the Nashville Gun Club. He’s also set to perform at Riverfront Stage Friday (June 10th), followed by booth signings and Behind the Music Listening Event at the Music City Center, as well as a performance at the HGTV Lodge. Here he talks about getting his first autograph.

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    Eric Paslay (1st autograph) OC: …first autograph. :42
    “The first autograph that I ever got was in Branson, Missouri, and it was Shoji Tabuchi, and he’s a great fiddle player, and I always remember that, you know if you go to Branson, you know who he is. But I was a 9, 10 year old kid, and I always remember that. Every time I meet a kid, I don’t know if it’s their first concert. It could be their 100-thousandth, but whenever I sign an autograph for a kid, I really make sure it’s special and memorable, and with anybody, but especially with kids. I still have that Shoji Tabuchi autograph, you know? Because it meant that much. I didn’t know he was until we saw him, but he tore the place down playing the “Orange Blossom Special.”

    Audio / Jon Pardi, whose new album California Sunrise comes out June 17th, will be all over town during CMA Music Fest. On Tuesday (June 7th), he’ll be at 5th and Demonbreun at Noon with Wrangler signing and chatting with fans, then later that night, he’ll be at the Cannery Ballroom performing during the Musicians On Call event. On Thursday (June 9th), he’ll be in the UMG booth at the Music City Center signing from 3p – 4p, followed by a performance at the Riverfront Stage beginning at 12:15p.

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    Jon Pardi (performing live) OC: …really loud. :19
    “To get up on stage, it feels like home. It’s like, ‘Yeah, this is where I want to be.’ I’d rather be there than a lot of places. I love just getting up on stage not matter where it is. It’s fun to get up and entertain people and have a good time, make everybody feel a part of the show and get up there and play my guitar really loud.”

    Audio / Josh Turner, who just released his new single “Hometown Girl,” recalls the weirdest item he’s ever been asked to sign.

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    Josh Turner (weirdest things he’s signed) OC: …Sharpie, though. :10
    “A toothpick; an unused toothpick, let me throw that out there, an unused toothpick. It was quite challenging, actually, and it didn’t look anything like my autograph. It took a really small Sharpie, though.”

    Audio / Keith Urban, who’s sitting inside the Top 10 with his current single “Wasted Time,” will be making a couple of appearances at this year’s CMA Music Fest. First, he’ll play the HGTV Lodge Thursday (June 9th) and at Nissan Stadium (home of the Tennessee Titans) on Sunday (June 12th). Keith will also perform during the CMT Music Awards on Wednesday (June 8th), where he’s up for Video of the Year and Male Video of the Year for “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16.”

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    Keith Urban(CMA Music Fest) OC: …love it. :25
    “I love it! It’s like summer camp. I mean, it is! It’s a chance to obviously see a lot of people I don’t normally see. I don’t know. It’s just palpable. Since Fan Fair, it’s just been that sort of week-plus of energy; the town just explodes, and what it is we love about this genre and the community aspect of it. I always love it.”

    Audio / Kip Moore fans will get a chance to see him a couple of times this week. He’ll perform during the Pandora Country Music event at Marathon Music Works Tuesday evening, and then you can catch him at the HGTV Lodge downtown on Thursday afternoon. He tells us about his favorite thing about performing live. You’ll definitely get to hear him play his latest hit single, “Running for You,” which is from his Wild Ones album.

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    Kip Moore (favorite thing about performing live) OC: …it gets. :17
    “I’d say that my favorite thing about being on the road is the fact that I get to play music each and every night with my best friends. There’s nothing better than that than playing with your best buddies and seeing the joy that you bring to other people’s faces playing the music that you love to play. I mean that’s the best it gets.”

    Audio / Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley will participate in Fan Fair X, part of the CMA Music Festival bringing fans and artists together. Hillary, along with her family, will be the artist of the day on Thursday (June 9th) showcasing their upcoming faith-based album with performances and a Q&A, while Charles will give fans an up close and personal look into his solo album, The Driver, on Sunday (June 12th).

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    Lady Antebellum (Music Fest) 3 OC: …really cool. :25

    “When you see the same fans, these die-hard fans that camp out outside the radio remotes and the hotels, and all of these places, and you start recognizing them, I think that’s when you start going ‘Wow, this is a special and unique industry.’ You talk to them by name and give them a hug. I can’t think of any other genre that has that kind of connection. The people that come back the same time every year, you know where they are going to be. It’s really kind of a fun thing. It’s really cool.”

    Audio / Lauren Alaina says she owes it all to her fans, and she starts this year’s CMA Music Festival on Tuesday with the City of Hope Softball Game. On Wednesday evening, she’s set to perform a late-night set downtown in HonkyTonk Alley, and on Thursday morning, Lauren will perform an acoustic set on the Disney Stage at the Music City Center, followed by a signing at the UMG booth. On Friday, she’ll perform in the park at the city’s Walk of Fame, and on Sunday, she’ll perform at the Music City Center.

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    Lauren Alaina (fans) OC: …me wrong. :30
    “My fans helped me grow as a person in lots of different ways. I grew up in front of them. I was 15 on American Idol, so they watched me grow up and kind of helped me mold into who I am, because I worked at CiCi’s Pizza, and now I’m traveling all over the place. It’s like I learned responsibility through all of it. I learned who I am as a person, ‘cause my fans have made me stronger, they’ve made me more responsible, they made me believe in myself 10 times more, because I thought I was going home every week on American Idol, and they proved me wrong.”

    Audio / Luke Bryan, who is set to perform at Nissan Stadium on Sunday (June 12th), enjoys CMA Music Fest Week. Luke is nominated for a pair of CMT Music Awards, including Video of the Year and Male Video of the Year for “Strip It Down.”

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    Luke Bryan (CMA Music Fest) OC: …for this week. :33
    “It’s a great week. I truly love this week for hundreds of reasons. I always remember my first ones and starting out and doing River Stages and always dreaming of coming over here and performing at LP Field (now Nissan Stadium) and all of the stuff building the fan base early in the week. It’s an amazing week for Nashville, and it’s a great week for me. And then I get to be home and do all this stuff. It’s always been a fun week for me. A lot of my family always comes in for this week.”

  • ALAN JACKSON IS SET FOR A PAIR OF SPECIAL PERFORMANCES IN NASHVILLE DURING CMA MUSIC FEST NEXT WEEK.

    Alan Jackson – a virtual fixture at Nashville’s annual CMA Music Festival (formerly Fan Fair) since his recording career began – is preparing a couple of very special performances for the multitudes of music lovers who’ll descend on Music City next week.

    On Tuesday, June 7th, he’ll treat fans to rare performance as he’s featured in the “Acme Unplugged” series at Acme Seed and Feed in the heart of Music City. This special appearance on Nashville’s Lower Broadway will find the music icon playing a Music Festival installment of the venue’s acclaimed songwriter series. Tickets are $50.00 per person, with a very limited number of VIP ticket packages available. The show is open to all ages; tickets may be purchased online at http://bit.ly/AlanAcmeUnplugged beginning Friday, June 3rd at 10:00am CT. The performance will also stream live on WranglerNetwork.com, as well as on Acme Radio via AcmeRadioLive.com and the TuneIn app.

    On Friday, June 10, the Grand Ole Opry member will step onto the world-renownded Opry stage, as he celebrates his 25th year as a Grand Ole Opry member. This comes on the heels of the recent milestone marking the 25th anniversary of the release of his landmark Don’t Rock the Jukebox, an album that spawned five hit singles (including four #1 hits) and to date is certified quadruple-platinum.

    Jackson currently tops Billboard’s all-genre Music DVD chart with Keepin’ It Country: Live at Red Rocks, a concert DVD captured on tour at the revered Colorado concert venue in 2015. The DVD has topped the chart since its release in early May, outpacing recent offerings by Eric Clapton and Adele. Jackson’s Keepin’ It Country Tour – extended from 2015 into this year – continues this summer with performances at Ohio’s iconic Jamboree in the Hills (July 15) and the Faster Horses Festival in Michigan (July 17). More shows – available at www.alanjackson.com – follow in August and through the fall.

    ABOUT ALAN JACKSON:
    The man from rural Newnan, GA, who claims he is just a “singer of simple songs,” has sold nearly 60-million albums worldwide and ranks as one of the 10 best-selling male vocalists of all-time in all genres. He has released more than 60 singles – registering 50 Top Ten hits and 35 #1s (including 26 Billboard chart-toppers). He has earned more than 150 music industry awards – including 18 Academy of Country Music Awards, 16 Country Music Association Awards, a pair of Grammys and ASCAP’s Founders and Golden Note Awards. Jackson received the first-ever ASCAP Heritage Award in 2014 having earned the title of most-performed country music songwriter-artist of ASCAP’s first 100 years. He is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.

    Alan Jackson is one of the most successful and respected singer-songwriters in music. He is in the elite company of Paul McCartney and John Lennon among songwriters who’ve written more than 20 songs that they’ve recorded and taken to the top of the charts. Jackson is one of the best-selling artists since the inception of SoundScan, ranking alongside the likes of Eminem and Metallica. Jackson’s current album, Angels and Alcohol, topped the country album charts when it was released last summer. He is also the subject of a new box set, Genuine: The Alan Jackson Story, available now.
  • NEWS AND NOTES: Luke, LBT, Lady A, Chris, Brothers O, AJ, Kacey, Kip, Canaan, Jon and more.

    Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum, Chris Stapleton and Brothers Osborne are among the artists performing during the Country 500 three-day concert event taking place on the infield of the Daytona International Speedway, during Memorial Day Weekend. Also known as “The Great American Music Fest at Daytona,” the Country 500 is the first huge music festival inside the grounds of one of the most iconic motorsports venues.

    During Jimmy Buffett‘s recent show at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater, Alan Jackson surprised the crowd to perform their huge hit, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”

    Brothers Osborne
     and Kacey Musgraves are set to play alongside bands like Violent Femmes and Better Than Ezra at the second annual Pilgrimage Music & Culture Festival September 24 and 25 in Franklin, Tennessee.

    Kip Moore revealed to Us Weekly a rock playlist that “inspire him and get his blood pumping.” Some of the tracks include Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” and The Killers’ “Shot at the Night.”

    Canaan Smith will take part in the 4th Annual Cornhole Challenge, hosted by Craig Campbell on Tuesday, June 7th during this year’s CMA Music Festival. Proceeds will benefit the fight against colorectal cancer.

    Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley won $10,000 for their Lady Aid children’s charities at the KNCI Golf and Guitars event.

    Jon Pardi’s upcoming album, California Sunrise, is now available for pre-order. The album is available beginning June 17th.

    Little Big Town was recently named the Artist of the Year by the Music Business Association.

  • UMG NASHVILLE ARTISTS REACT TO THE PASSING OF THE LEGENDARY MERLE HAGGARD

    Country Music has lost a legend. Merle Haggard, who turned 79 today, died Wednesday (April 6th) in California, surrounded by friends and family. The Country Music Hall of Famer had been in failing health for quite some time, diagnosed with double pneumonia in December, which led to the cancellation of several dates, including a two-night stand at the Ryman Auditorium.

    Haggard had 40 No. 1 songs, including “Mama Tried,” “Workin’ Man Blues,” “Okie From Muskogee” and “The Fightin’ Side of Me” and wrote many classics, some of which had been recorded by folks such as Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill, who is a lifelong fan of the iconic entertainer.

    “I‘ve been a [Merle] Haggard nut my whole life,” says Vince Gill, who along with his pal Paul Franklin released Bakersfield album in 2013 (a collaborative tribute of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens songs). “And I’ve played country music, recorded country music my whole life, and I’ve tried to emulate what I loved about Merle Haggard on a lot of occasions.”

    Many of country music’s brightest stars took to Twitter to offer their thoughts:

    For Eric Church, he wrote and recorded “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag” for his Sinners Like Me album. The song also featured the subject of the song, Mr. Merle Haggard.

    Eric Church ‏@ericchurch 
    Rest in peace. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00IEK9KdWgE …

    Alan Jackson ‏@OfficialJackson 
    “We lost one of the greatest singer/songwriters since Hank Williams. Inspiration to millions, great American, thank you Merle. I’ll miss you.”

    Luke Bryan ‏@LukeBryanOnline 
    “A true hero was lost today. Thank you for your contribution to not only country music but all music. @merlehaggard

    Keith Urban ‏@KeithUrban 
    “One of the gr8 concert memories I have is seeing Merle and the Strangers at the Ryman in Nashville. We had a ‘live’ album of his when I was growing up and I felt like I’d fallin’ inside my Dad’s stereo speakers. One of my all time favorite voices – and a master songwriter. Blessings to your soulful spirit Merle & all of you family & loved ones.” – KU

    Hillary Scott ‏@HillaryScottLA
    “You are a cornerstone of country music @merlehaggard…u will be missed greatly. Praying for the Haggard family.”

    KACEY MUSGRAVES ‏@KaceyMusgraves 
    “I think I’ll just stay here and drink.”

    Billy Currington ‏@billycurrington 
    “rip @merlehaggard thank you for all the great music u blessed us with. we will play it forever.”

    Dierks Bentley ‏@DierksBentley 
    “Literally just fell to the floor. can’t believe we lost the hag. rip merle haggard.”

    CfYkrqMUMAE6MX-
    Toby Keith ‏@TobyKeithMusic 
    “The greatest singer songwriter of my lifetime is gone. Thanks for the music and friendship. R.I.P. Hag. – T”

    GaryAllan ‏@GaryAllan 
    “Merle was my all-time hero. Today we lost one of the greatest songwriters of country music and I will always regret not recording with him. He was a legend and I was honored whenever we got the chance to share a stage with him. Thank you for the inspiration, the advice and for always being you. I, as well as the entire music community, will miss you Merle.”

    Darius Rucker ‏@dariusrucker
    “Heaven’s band just got better! RIP to the LEGENDARY @merlehaggard. Your music will never die!”

    Jon Pardi ‏@JonPardi 
    “Sad day today @merlehaggard has passed. RIP to a true songwriter, a pioneer of California Country, and country music.”

    Kip Moore ‏@KipMooreMusic 
    “RIP Merle…you paved the way for so many. You had what we all hope for…a voice that matters and survives the ever changing trends.”

    Josh Turner ‏@joshturnermusic  5m5 minutes ago
    “Pains me to say that country music icon @merlehaggard has passed away. So honored to have known him and shared the stage with him. Thanks Merle for all you’ve done for us!”

    Mickey Guyton ‏@MickeyGuyton 
    “RIP Merle Haggard. Heaven’s choir just got a heck of a lot better.”

    For David Nail, seeing Merle in concert was a life-changing experience. “The night I saw Merle At the Golden Nugget, it was the single greatest combination of seeing an artist/venue/city together, that I’ve ever witnessed.  It was a spiritual experience.  I looked at my buddy multiple times in disbelief that we were actually there.  I teared up on a few songs.  I knew the greatness I was seeing/hearing.”

    George Strait was a huge fan of Merle Haggard’s. He says, “When I was in the Army and stationed at Schofield barracks in Hawaii, you know Merle came there, and he played Conroy Bowl.  And I remember I was playing an NCO club that night, and before my little gig, I got to run over there and I kinda snuck in and saw Merle and it just blew me away. That’s what I wanted to be like, you know, I wanted to be like the Hag. And so, I can’t tell you how big of an influence he was on me, just huge.”

    Strait also posted a reaction on his socials: “It’s a very sad day for all of us Hag fans. He was a true icon of the music world and it’s hard to believe we won’t be able to see him anymore. I honestly think that had it not been for him, I would not have chosen the path that I chose.” – G

    Audio / During a recent interview for his new album, Down to My Last Bad Habit, Vince Gill says he’s always been a huge fan of Merle Haggard.

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    Vince Gill (Haggard nut) OC: …occasions. :12
    “I‘ve been a  Haggard Nut my whole life. And I’ve played country music, recorded country music my whole life, and I’ve tried to emulate what I loved about Merle Haggard on a lot of occasions.”

    Audio / George Strait talks about the huge influence Merle Haggard had on him and is career.

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    George Strait (Merle Haggard) OC: …it’s just huge. :41
    “You know, Merle was huge in my career. When he did ‘Okie from Muskogee’ back in the 70’s, I think it was, you know I kinda got hooked then on Merle and country music.  When I was in the Army and stationed at Schofield barracks in Hawaii, you know Merle came there, and he played Conroy Bowl.  And I remember I was playing an NCO club that night, and before my little gig, I got to run over there and I kinda snuck in and saw Merle and it just blew me away. That’s what I wanted to be like, you know, I wanted to be like the Hag. And so, I can’t tell you how big of an influence he was on me, just huge.”

     

     

    Video / Vince Gill -- with Paul Franklin -- on Merle Haggard

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    Video / Brothers Osborne "Natural High"

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