• FATHER’S DAY AUDIO: Canaan, Darius, Dierks, Church, Paslay, Keith, Kip, Lady A, LBT, Sam, Scotty

    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 says his father taught him quite a bit about being a musician.

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    Canaan Smith (Father’s Day) 2 OC: …learned that too. :45
    “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 / Dierks Bentley is a father of three, and he said it has changed him significantly.

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    Dierks Bentley (how fatherhood has changed him) OC: …different. :07
    “There’s a whole kind of universe that opens up that I didn’t know existed, and I’m not the center of it, which is really cool. It just makes you look at everything 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.”

    Audio / Eric Paslay talks about what his father has taught him.

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    Eric Paslay (Father’s Day) OC: …ceiling fan. :21
    “He just taught me that working hard and sticking it out, even when you know things aren’t right, if you stick it out, it’s worth it in the end. He just taught me to work hard, and there’s a lot of things that you don’t need to pay someone 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 someday.

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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 / Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley says he’s always idolized his dad.

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    Lady A (Father’s Day-Charles) OC: …rubbed off. :23
    “My father definitely passed down his work ethic to me. I idolized my dad a lot and would always like to be by his side when he did certain projects, and so I learned a lot from him about that, and just always respected him and just the way he could see a project from start to finish with such dedication, and so I’ve taken that into this and into this group, and hopefully, some good has rubbed off.”

    Audio / Little Big Town’s Jimi Westbrook says fatherhood is absolutely beautiful. He and wife Karen Fairchild became parents to Elijah Dylan on March 5, 2010.

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    Little Big Town (Jimi-Father’s Day) OC: …beautiful. :32
    “It’s still such a new experience for us, and man, I’m telling you, people can tell you all day long how great it’s going to be, but it still never touches it. That little man looking back at me, it’s the most unbelievable feeling. And every day, for me who hates mornings [laughs], waking up to a slap in the face; he’s like pounding on me, then he’s like kissing on me and stuff. It’s unbelievable. It’s absolutely beautiful.”

    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.”

    Audio / Scotty McCreery says his father has helped him grow into an adult.

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    Scotty McCreery (Father’s Day) OC: …was to me. :29
    “My father has been incredible to me my whole life. I remember going to the baseball field when I was five-years-old and he played ball in college, so he was always trying to teach me the mechanics, but more so than that, he was teaching me the life lessons growing up. Those are the things you learn on the field – becoming a man out there. So, he’s always had my back and he’s always teaching me those values and those morals that are important to a young kid and also a growing young adult. So, love my daddy, love my father, and I just hope that one day I can be half the dad he was to me.”

  • FATHER’S DAY LINERS: Billy, Canaan, Darius, Easton, Church, Paslay, Gary, Jon, Josh, Kacey, Keith, Lady A, Lauren, LBT, Sam, Scotty, Shania, Vince

    Father’s Day is Sunday (June 21st), and we have liners with many of your favorite country stars! See and download below.


    Audio / LINER Billy Currington (Father’s Day)

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    “Hey everybody! I’m Billy Currington, wishing you a very Happy Father’s Day!”

    Audio / LINER Canaan Smith (Father’s Day)

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    “Hey! What’s up, guys? I’m Canaan Smith. Happy Father’s Day, Pops!”

    Audio / LINER Darius Rucker (Father’s Day)

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    “Hey! What’s up? This is Darius Rucker wishing you a Happy Father’s Day.”

    Audio / LINER Easton Corbin (Father’s Day)

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    “Hey! This is Easton Corbin. Happy Father’s Day!”

    Audio / LINER Eric Church (Father’s Day)

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    “Hey! This is Eric Church, wishing you a Happy Father’s Day.”

    Audio / LINER Eric Paslay (Father's Day)

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    “Hey! This is Eric Paslay. To all you fathers, Happy Father’s Day!”

    Audio / LINER Gary Allan (Father's Day)

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    “Hey! This is Gary Allan, and I want to wish all the dads out there a Happy Father’s Day.”

    Audio / LINER Jon Pardi (Happy Father’s Day)

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    “Jon Pardi here. Happy Father’s Day to all you father’s out there.”

    Audio / LINER Josh Turner (Father’s Day)

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    “Hey y’all! This is Josh Turner, and I just want to wish all you father’s out there a Happy Father’s Day!”

    Audio / LINER Kacey Musgraves (Father's Day)

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    “Hey! It’s Kacey Musgraves. Happy Father’s Day!”

    Audio / LINER Keith Urban (Father's Day)

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    “Hey everyone! It’s Keith Urban, wishing all you Dads out there a Happy Father’s Day.”

    Audio / LINER Lady A (Father's Day)

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    “What’s up all you Dads out there? It’s Lady Antebellum, and we just wanted to wish you all a good, Happy Father’s Day. Thanks for being great dads. Hope you get pampered and you don’t have to barbecue. And we hope you get some good ties this year.”

    Audio / LINER Lauren Alaina (Father's Day)

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    “Hey! It’s Lauren Alaina. Happy Father’s Day!”

    Audio / LINER LBT (Father's Day)

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    “Hi! This is Little Big Town, wishing all you father’s a Happy Father’s Day.”

    Audio / LINER Sam Hunt (Father's Day)

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    “Hey! This is Sam Hunt. To all you fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day!”

    Audio / LINER Scotty McCreery (Father's Day)

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    “Hey! This is Scotty McCreery. Happy Father’s Day!”

    Audio / LINER Shania Twain (Father's Day)

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    “Hi! This is Shania Twain. Happy Father’s Day.”

    Audio / LINER Vince Gill (Father's Day)

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    “Hey everybody! It’s Vince, and I just wanted to wish you a Happy Father’s Day. Wish mine was still around.”

  • LITTLE BIG TOWN POSTPONES SHOWS FOR VOCAL CORD SURGERY.

    Little Big Town has had to postpone or cancel a handful of shows on their Pain Killer Tour as band member Jimi Westbrook is having to undergo vocal cord surgery. The band took to their website to let fans know Jimi is having a polyp removed from his vocal cords and part of his recovery includes resting his voice and not singing or talking.

    “It breaks our hearts to let you guys down, but Jimi’s health is the most important thing, and he is expected to make a full recovery with rest and treatment,” the band writes. “We will keep everyone updated on Jimi’s progress. Thanks for your understanding and support.”

    The band just finished hosting and performing at different events during this year’s CMA Music Fest. Currently, 13 shows through the end of July will need to be canceled or rescheduled.

    The band is currently making its way up the country charts with their latest single, “Girl Crush.”

  • LITTLE BIG TOWN COMES FULL CIRCLE WITH THE OAK RIDGE BOYS.

    Little Big Town realized a full circle moment when they took to the stage to perform “Elvira” with the Oak Ridge Boys during this year’s CMA Music Fest.

    “I saw the Oak Ridge Boys – it was my very first concert as a little girl in Maryville, Indiana at the Star Amphitheater, I think they call it, and they’ve been playing there ever since,” says Karen Fairchild. “It’s such a full circle moment for me, standing in front of that stadium crowd last night and singing ‘Elvira.’ I just love them. Their hearts, they have the most generous, kind, beautiful hearts, and we can only hope and pray to have long careers like them.”

    Little Big Town have returned as hosts for CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock for the third year. The special is scheduled to air August 4th at 8pm ET on ABC.

    The band is currently climbing the charts with “Girl Crush,” their latest single from Pain Killer.

    Audio / Little Big Town’s Phillip Sweet and Karen Fairchild talk about what an honor it was for them to sing “Elvira” with the Oak Ridge Boys at CMA Music Fest 2015.

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    Little Big Town (performing Elvira with Oaks) OC: (Karen) …like them. :47
    PHILLIP: “It was like a boyhood dream come true. It was amazing, and we were having so much fun. It was like time stood still up there, and they’re so great and so sweet to us and they care so much, and they know all about, they followed us and they talked to us. Love this band, and they’re sweet human beings, you know?” KAREN: “I saw the Oak Ridge Boys – it was my very first concert as a little girl in Maryville, Indiana at the Star Amphitheater, I think they call it, and they’ve been playing there ever since. It’s such a full circle moment for me, standing in front of that stadium crowd last night and singing ‘Elvira.’ I just love them. Their hearts, they have the most generous, kind, beautiful hearts, and we can only hope and pray to have long careers like them.”

  • NEWS AND NOTES: Little Big Town, Keith, Lady A

    Little Big Town will return to host CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock for the third time. The special is scheduled to air August 4th at 8pm ET on ABC. “We are honored to host this incredible party for another year,” says LBT’s Jimi Westbrook. “We look forward to this week all year long, and being able to spend all four days with the fans is just incredible. Big thanks to ABC and the CMA for having us back!”

    Keith Urban has been tapped as one of the headliners of the PlentiTogether Live concert July 19th at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom. The show will also feature performances by Nick Jonas and Pitbull.

    Lady Antebellum, who picked up the CMT Award for Group Video of the Year for “Bartender” this week, tweeted that they will team up with electronic dance music producer and DJ Audien on the song called “Something Better.”

    Lady Antebellum ‏@ladyantebellum  Jun 9

    We are so excited to be featured on the upcoming song “Something Better” by our amazingly talented friend @Audien. Stay tuned…coming soon!

  • CMT MUSIC AWARDS WILL INCLUDE SOME BIG PERFORMANCES.

    Several of your favorite artists will be attending Wednesday night’s CMT Music Awards, including Video of the Year nominees Luke Bryan (“Play It Again”), Dierks Bentley (“Drunk on a Plane”), Darius Rucker (“Homegrown Honey”), Sam Hunt (“Leave the Night On”), Lady Antebellum (“Bartender”).

    Luke, Eric Church, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Darius and Sam, as well as Carrie Under, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen, Reba and Zac Brown Band, are scheduled to perform.

    Darius will sing to several thousand folks during an outdoor performance down the street from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, while Keith will perform his brand new single, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” during the show. The members of Lady A are pairing up with DJ-producer Zedd with an EDM-inspired country performance.

    Dierks’ alter-ego Captain Holden Mike Johnson performed “Drunk on a Plane” during last year’s CMT Music Awards and apparently made out like a bandit. “Last I’d heard, he’d been demoted, and he’s flying a little Cessna smiling somewhere where there’s no FAA regulations after his CMT performance debut,” says Dierks. “He’s a strong man with a strong look, and I don’t know…He took my wife home from the CMT Awards, so he’s got some moves.”

    Darius says he’s just happy to be nominated this year. ““It’s really just one of those things where I’m really happy to be nominated, because I didn’t expect that all,” says Darius. “What I always look forward to is the performances, because you never get to see anybody because we’re always on the road and you only see the guys you play with.”

    Sam Hunt has two nominations – Video of the Year and Breakthrough Video of the Year — for his first official music video, “Leave the Night On.” He made a couple of videos prior to getting signed to MCA Nashville, and said he learned a lot. “I learned from making a few of these low-budget videos early on that the best way to go about doing it is just try to keep it honest and real and all of the people in the ‘Leave the Night On’ video was friends of ours,” says Sam. “We didn’t really want to hire actors and actresses to come in. It’s just hard to stage a good time. You kinda have to just let it naturally happen. So, that was a good thing about that video is that it turned into a just a fun day hanging out with all of our buddies, and we had a really good time making the video.”

    The Walking Dead‘s Norman Reedus will be on hand to dole out trophies, as will Little Big Town, Dancing With the Stars champ Rumer Willis, action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger,  Nikki Reed, Aloe Blacc, Billy Ray Cyrus, Brett Eldredge, Cassadee Pope, Cole Swindell, David Spade, Hunter Hayes, Jana Kramer, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Houston Texans JJ Watt, Kellie Pickler, American Idol’s Nick Fradiani, Noah Galloway, Ron White, Sara Evans, Thomas Rhett and Tom Arnold will also present.

    The six finalists for video of the year will be announced at the beginning of the live show, and fans can then vote at CMT.com throughout the live telecast (ET/CT only) to determine the night’s big winner.

    The 2015 CMT Music Awards will broadcast live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, Wednesday (June 10th) at 8pm ET.

    Video of the Year
    Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water”
    Darius Rucker, “Homegrown Honey”
    Dierks Bentley, “Drunk on a Plane”

    Florida Georgia Line, “Dirt”
    Jason Aldean, “Burnin’ It Down”
    Kenny Chesney, “American Kids”
    Lady Antebellum, “Bartender”
    Lee Brice, “I Don’t Dance”
    Luke Bryan, “Play It Again”
    Maddie & Tae, “Girl in a Country Song”
    Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, “Somethin’ Bad”
    Sam Hunt, “Leave the Night On”

    Male Video of the Year
    Dierks Bentley, “Drunk on a Plane”
    Eric Church, “Talladega”

    Jason Aldean, “Burnin’ It Down”
    Keith Urban, “Somewhere in My Car”
    Kenny Chesney, “American Kids”
    Luke Bryan, “Play It Again”

    Female Video of the Year
    Carrie Underwood, “Little Toy Guns”
    Carrie Underwood, “Something in the Water”
    Lee Ann Womack, “The Way I’m Livin'”
    Miranda Lambert, “Little Red Wagon”
    RaeLynn, “God Made Girls”
    Reba, “Going Out Like That”

    Group Video of the Year
    A Thousand Horses, “Smoke”
    Eli Young Band, “Dust”
    Lady Antebellum, “Bartender”
    Little Big Town, “Day Drinking”

    The Band Perry, “Chainsaw”
    Zac Brown Band, “All Alright”

    Breakthrough Video of the Year
    Chase Rice, “Gonna Wanna Tonight”
    Frankie Ballard, “Sunshine & Whiskey”
    Kelsea Ballerini, “Love Me Like You Mean It”
    Maddie & Tae, “Girl in a Country Song”
    RaeLynn, “God Made Girls”
    Sam Hunt, “Leave the Night On”

     

    Duo Video of the Year:
    Big & Rich “Look at You”
    Brothers Osborne “Rum”
    Florida Georgia Line “Dirt”
    Florida Georgia Line “Sun Daze”
    Maddie & Tae “Girl in a Country Song”
    Swon Brothers “Later On”

    Collaborative Video Of The Year
    Blake Shelton feat. Ashley Monroe, Lonely Tonight
    Brantley Gilbert feat. Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett, Small Town Throwdown
    Jennifer Nettles feat. Brandy Clark, His Hands
    Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter, Wild Child
    Miranda Lambert with Carrie Underwood, Somethin’ Bad
    Tim McGraw feat. Faith Hill, Meanwhile Back at Mamas

    CMT Performance Of The Year
    Brett Eldredge, Beat of the Music from CMT’s Ultimate Kickoff Party
    John Legend and Lee Ann Womack, You & I (Nobody In The World) from CMT Crossroads
    Katy Perry and Kacey Musgraves, Roar from Crossroads
    Keith Urban, It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World from 2014 CMT Artists of the Year
    Kenny Chesney, American Kids from Instant Jam
    Lady Antebellum and Aloe Blacc, Wake Me Up from CMT’s Ultimate Kickoff Party
    Lady Antebellum and Chris Stapleton, Drink a Beer from 2014 CMT Artists of the Year

    Audio / Dierks Bentley gives an update on Captain Holden Johnson, who performed “Drunk on a Plane” at last year’s CMT Music Awards.

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    Dierks Bentley (CMT—Drunk captain) OC: …some moves, yeah. :26
    “Captain Holden Mike Johnson – I don’t know where he is right now. Last I’d heard, he’d been demoted, and he’s flying a little Cessna smiling somewhere where there’s no FAA regulations after his CMT performance debut. I don’t know. I think he’ll still come around every now and then. He’s a strong man with a strong look, and I don’t know. Management’s not too excited about him, but we’ll see. [laughs] He took my wife home from the CMT Awards, so he’s got some moves, yeah.”

    Audio / Darius Rucker says he’s just happy to be nominated at this year’s CMT Music Awards.

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    Darius Rucker (CMT performances) OC: …play with. :11
    “It’s really just one of those things where I’m really happy to be nominated, because I didn’t expect that all. I’m looking forward to, what I always look forward to is the performances, because you never get to see anybody because we’re always on the road and you only see the guys you play with.”

    Audio / Sam Hunt talks about his music video for “Leave the Night On,” which is nominated for CMT Video of the Year.

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    Sam Hunt (Leave the Night On video) OC: …making the video. :38
    “‘Leave the Night On’ was my first official music video, although I have a bit of a passion for the video world because my manager, Brad, comes from the videographer world. That’s how our relationship started was shooting this little video for another song about six months before that. But I learned from making a few of these low-budget videos early on that the best way to go about doing it is just try to keep it honest and real and all of the people in the ‘Leave the Night On’ video was friends of ours. We didn’t really want to hire actors and actresses to come in. It’s just hard to stage a good time. You kinda have to just let it naturally happen. So, that was a good thing about that video is that it turned into a just a fun day hanging out with all of our buddies, and we had a really good time making the video.”

    Audio / Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley talks about the band's CMT video nomination for "Bartender."

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    Lady A (Bartender video) OC: …was perfect. :34
    “I think there’s no surprise why ‘Bartender’ is in video of the year — Kate Upton. You’ve got all these guys sitting there voting, and the first thing that pops in their mind is Kate Upton. And so, that was all part of the plan, so our evil plan worked. But, that was definitely one of the most fun videos to shoot, having Kate Upton and Tony Hale. He was hilarious. I mean, he took the video to a whole ‘nother level. So, we’re just really proud of that video. Shane Drake did a great job, and just kind of really actually took this basic concept and really brought it to life. I thought it was perfect.”

  • LITTLE BIG TOWN’S ‘GIRL CRUSH’ IS CERTIFIED PLATINUM.

    Little Big Town’s latest single, “Girl Crush,” has been certified platinum for sales of more than 1-million downloads. The song, which is from their Pain Killer album, continues to rule at the top of the iTunes country chart.

    The band’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman heard the song right after Liz Rose, Lori McKenna and Hillary Lindsey wrote it, and asked for the song to be saved for them. “Kimberly and I are so lucky that we were writing with them, and they had just written that song. And…Liz said, ‘Can we play you guys something? She said, ‘You’ll never cut it, but I just want to play it for you. We said, ‘Yeah, yeah, play it.’ We had just set down, cups of coffee in the morning, we were hanging out, and they played ‘Girl Crush,’” says Karen. “We could not say, ‘Can we please have that’ quick enough. Like as soon as it was over, we were like, ‘We want that song! We want it right now!’ Why would we not cut that song?”

    Little Big Town are in Nashville for CMA Music Fest this week, performing at Fan Fair X on Thursday (June 11th) and at LP Field on Saturday (June 13th). They’re also up for the CMT Award for Group Video of the Year for “Day Drinking.”

    Audio / Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild recalls the moment they first heard “Girl Crush.”

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    LBT (Girl Crush) 3 OC: …that song? :33
    KAREN: “Kimberly and I are so lucky that we were writing with them, and they had just written that song. And they said, (JIMI: “…like the day before.”) Liz said, ‘Can we play you guys something?” PHILLIP: “You’ll never cut it.” KAREN: “She said, ‘You’ll never cut it, but I just want to play it for you.” We said, ‘Yeah, yeah, play it.’ We had just set down, cups of coffee in the morning, we were hanging out, and they played ‘Girl Crush.’” KIMBERLY: “We were slayed.” KAREN: “We could not say, ‘Can we please have that’ quick enough. Like as soon as it was over, we were like, ‘We want that song! We want it right now!’ Why would we not cut that song?”

    Video / Little Big Town Girl Crush video

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  • CMA MUSIC FEST 2015: Darius, Dierks, Easton, Church, Paslay, Josh, Keith, Lady A, LBT, Luke, Scotty

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

    Audio / Darius Rucker is making a couple of appearances during this year’s CMA Music Festival. On Monday (June 8th), he hosts his 6th annual Darius and Friends concert at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon and his golf tournament. Proceeds will benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Darius is also set to perform at LP Field (home of the Tennessee Titans) on Sunday, June 14th where he will entertain the crowd with his list of hits.

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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 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 / Easton Corbin says his fans are very important to him.

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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. And I even have people come here that I know every time, in this meet-and-greet lines or maybe at that fence over there by the fence where 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 I appreciate them being here.”

    Audio / Eric Church, who’s performing at LP Field (home of the Tennessee Titans) on Sunday (June 14th), says CMA Music Festival is special and unique to country music.

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    Eric Church (CMA Music Fest) OC: …to see. :32

    “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 because country music is really the one format that the fans…the music is really about them. And we’re them; we’re not different than them. You got a lot of 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.”

    Audio / Eric Paslay recalls the first autograph he ever received.

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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 to me. I didn’t know who he was until we saw him, but he tore the place down playing the “Orange Blossom Special.”

    Audio / Josh Turner recalls one of the weirdest things he’s ever had to sign from one of his fans.

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    Josh Turner (weirdest thing he’s been asked to sign) 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 is performing Sunday night (June 14th) at LP Field (home of the Tennessee Titans), says he loves attending CMA Music Festival.

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    Keith Urban (CMA Music Fest) OC: …always love it. :25
    “I love it! It’s like summer camp. I mean, it is! It’s just 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 whole town just explodes, and what it is we love about this genre and the community aspect of it. I always love it.”

    Audio / Lady Antebellum, who are scheduled to perform at LP Field on Friday (June 12th) in front of a sold-out crowd, talk about performing on the big stage during CMA Music Fest.

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    Lady Antebellum (Music Fest) 1 OC: …over the world. :14

    “The electricity in LP Field every year for that, you can’t really beat it. It’s so much fun to be there, and to have a stadium full of the most die-hard country fans you could ever imagine, from all over the world.”

    Audio / Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott talks about her early Fan Fair (now CMA Music Festival) memories.

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    Lady A (Fan Fair Memory – Hillary) OC: …extra special. :23
    “I have been raised as being at the fairgrounds with no air conditioning and actually helping take photos of the fans with my mom. I would like stand and take everybody’s camera, so I was a part of it. And actually in high school, I volunteered at the City of Hope, the softball game, for a couple of years. So, I mean, born and raised in Nashville, this has been a part of my life, my whole life, so now to be a part of it as an artist is extra special.”

    Audio / Little Big Town recall their first appearance at Fan Fair (aka CMA Music Festival). The group will be making several appearances, including their performance at LP Field on Saturday (June 13th).

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    Little Big Town (CMA Music Fest) OC: (Phillip) …the best, man. 1:43
    KIMBERLY: “We played at the fairgrounds. I guess it was the last year at the fairgrounds. We had just gotten our record deal.” PHILLIP: “I remember we were just about to walk out on stage, and we had to play acoustic. I mean there was no backing band.” KIMBERLY: “We were at Mercury. They wanted us to play before Wynonna sang.” PHILLIP: “I remember, my hair was short and Wynonna walked by and tuffed my hair and was like, ‘Oh that’s cute…cute red hair boy.’ [laugh] I was like, ‘Oh great.’ Like little puppy dog, ‘You’re gonna be OK, kid.'” KIMBERLY: “We were nervous.” KAREN: “Oh my gosh, were so nervous. We were so green.” KIMBERLY: “We didn’t have many songs at that point. Maybe three songs, which is what we sang. It was all we knew at the time which is what we had worked up. Because literally we got our record deal in May, and that was June.” KAREN: “And they were like, ‘Why don’t you guys sing a couple songs?’ And, we’re like, ‘Good, because a couple is what we know.’ That was fun. And then moving form that to the stadium shows, to me that the most fun you can ever have…CMA Fest, Stadium shows. It is an energy unlike anything else. It was over the top and I could just come out of my skin at those moments. KIMBERLY: “Me too.” KAREN: “It’s like you just want to float.” PHILLIP: “And it’s like the best country crowd you could ever compile. Every country fan from all over the world wants to be there. That’s like the crux of country music awesomeness. I’m telling you it is the best fun.” KAREN: “It’s the best feeling out there.” KIMBERLY: “They let them line up and all come across the stage so you have all these people that are so giddy, crazy giddy, because they get to walk up close to the stage.” PHILLIP: “And they’re waving and their arms are about to fall off. They’re just so excited. It’s the best.”

    Audio / Luke Bryan, who performs at Nashville’s LP Field on Friday (June 12th), explains the name of his fan club.

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    Luke Bryan (fan club name) OC: …words, you know. :13
    “That’s the name of my fan club – the Nut House, because they’re nutty and my Daddy’s a peanut farmer. I figured I spent my whole life hauling around peanuts, I would name…just a play on words, you know.”

    Audio / Scotty McCreery talks about his fans.

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    Scotty McCreery (fan support) OC: …back to us. :31
    “My fans are incredible. I tell them that every night on stage, and a lot of artists say thanks to the fans and ‘you’re the reason I’m here,’ but for me, it’s literal because they voted me through (American Idol), they’ve been with me since then. They’ve helped make the album platinum, the album gold, come to my concerts. In a sense, I really owe all this to them. They’ve really kind of helped make me who I am. I enjoy the chance to go out there and make music for them. I enjoy going out there to sing a concert for them. The biggest thing for me is when I look out and see the fans and they’re smiling, having a good time. Dancing, singing the songs back to us.”

  • LITTLE BIG TOWN, VINCE GILL, LAUREN ALAINA AND MORE WILL PLAY IN THE CITY OF HOPE CELEBRITY SOFTBALL GAME DURING CMA MUSIC FEST 2015.

    Nashville, Tennessee – (May 27, 2015) – The Grand Ole Opry and iHeart Radio are readying their rosters as they prepare to strike out cancer at the City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game. More than 25 music and sports stars will step up to the plate for this 25thanniversary event, taking place June 13 from the new First Tennessee Park during CMA Music Festival. Tickets are available now at http://bit.ly/csg15pr.

    Country standouts Angie Johnson, Bret Michaels, Bucky Covington, Deana Carter, JT Hodges, Phil Vassar and The Bobby Bones Show, along with Titans cornerback Perrish Cox and current and former Nashville Predators players Seth Jones and Stu Grimson, will play alongside previously announced participants Aaron Watson, Charles Esten, Chuck Wicks, Lauren Alaina, Lindsay Ell, Little Big Town, Love and Theft, and Vince Gill to strike out cancer with City of Hope. Winning StageIt performers SaraBethand Doug McCormick will also take to the field for the anniversary event. CMT After Midnite’s Cody Alan and The Crook and Chase Countdown’s Lorianne Crook will emcee and offer play-by-plays for the thousands of fans in attendance.

    Team Opry: Aaron Watson, Bucky Covington, Charles Esten, Chuck Wicks, Deana Carter, Eric Gunderson (Love And Theft), JT Hodges, Jimi Westbrook (Little Big Town), Kimberly Schlapman (Little Big Town), Phil Vassar, SaraBeth, Stu Grimson and Vince Gill.

    Team iHeart Radio: Angie Johnson, Bret Michaels, Doug McCormick, Karen Fairchild (Little Big Town), Lauren Alaina, Lindsay Ell, Perrish Cox, Phillip Sweet (Little Big Town), Seth Jones, Stephen Barker Liles (Love And Theft) plus The Bobby Bones Show’s Bobby Bones, Eddie and Lunchbox.

    Joining the lineup is Music City native Stephen Bess, who received lifesaving treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia more than two years ago at City of Hope. He and his genetically matched stem cell donor, who reside nine time zones apart, will meet for the very first time in a special ceremony before taking the field for the 25th Annual Celebrity Softball Game.

    A pioneer in the treatment of bone and blood marrow diseases, City of Hope has performed more than 12,000 lifesaving bone marrow transplants. It also is a leading biomedical research institute for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses. The City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game, presented by Staples and sponsored by PEOPLE Country, raises funds for that research.

    Each year, the Celebrity Softball Game regularly features some of Country Music’s biggest and hottest stars. Over the years, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Scotty McCreery, Vince Gill and many more have taken to the field in support of City of Hope’s lifesaving mission.

    City of Hope is an independent biomedical research institution and comprehensive cancer center where scientists and physicians quickly transform scientific discoveries into better treatments and prevention strategies for people around the world. Support from the Nashville community and its country music artists directly benefit City of Hope’s mission to find cures for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

    Tickets for the game can be purchased through Ticketmaster. Get more information on the game and the line-up of celebrities at www.cityofhope.org/softball. Those not able to attend the game can still support the cause. A variety of unique merchandise and experiences, including meet-and-greets with the hottest artists, will be available for bid at charitybuzz.com. The proceeds will benefit City of Hope’s mission to eradicate cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

    Learn more about the game HERE. To request media credentials for the 25th Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game, apply HERE.

    Suggested Tweet: Teams @iHeartRadio vs @opry are readying rosters to #strikeoutcancer @cityofhope Celeb Softball Game 6/13 @firsttnpark get tixhttp://bit.ly/csg15pr

    About City of Hope
    City of Hope is an independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as a comprehensive cancer center, the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with research and treatment protocols that advance care throughout the nation. City of Hope’s main hospital is located in Duarte, California, just northeast of Los Angeles. It is ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” in cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation and genetics.

  • MEMORIAL DAY AUDIO: Dierks, Church, Keith, Kelleigh, LBT, Luke, Sam

    School is letting out for a few months; dads are firing up the bar-be-cues; pools, lakes and beaches will be packed with families celebrating warm days together. It’s the unofficial kick-off to summer…and it’s Memorial Day Weekend.

    Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. However, by the turn of the 20th century, Memorial Day celebrated Americans who have sacrificed their lives in all wars. The holiday also typically marks the start of the summer vacation season.

    Some of your favorite country artists talk about their favorite summertime activities – besides traveling around and performing for fans – as well as what it means to be free because of the brave men and women willing to fight and sacrifice for our freedom.

    Audio / Dierks Bentley, whose own father was a World War II veteran, talks about the sacrifices made by U.S. servicemen and women.

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    Dierks (Memorial Day) OC: …upon them. :37
    “On the most basic level, I think, for me on the road, I just think about being gone two, three days at a time, maybe a couple of weeks at a time, you know. That seems like a long time when you have kids and family, but these soldiers, they’re gone for months and years at a time – they’re doing 12 to 15 to 18 months — and they have family back home. That, in itself, is such a huge sacrifice, and that’s just the beginning of it. That’s just scratching the surface of what these guys [and gals] are doing every day – preparing for battle, actually being in battle, being wounded in battle, sometimes dying in battle. So, this country obviously, we would not exist without those courageous men and women, and our future depends upon them.”

    Audio / Eric Church says we should celebrate our freedom AND the people fighting for our freedom.

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    Eric Church (Memorial Day) OC: …those freedoms.
    It’s about, especially the soldiers I come in contact with on the road. And not only that, to be able to make the music that I’m able to make, to say what I want to say, and that freedom to be able to do those things and to be in a country where we’re able to do that and to be in a country where we’re able to play that stuff on the radio. I don’t think you’re going to have any America argue that America isn’t the best place to live, and I’m certainly one of them. I’m very proud to be from here and very proud that we have the soldiers. I know there are a lot of other countries out there in the world that don’t want to live the way we do, and that’s fine, they can keep living the way they are, but I’m very proud of it. I think that’s a time to celebrate being proud to be an American and celebrate those freedoms…and celebrate the people that are over fighting for those freedoms.”

    Audio / Keith Urban wrote and recorded “For You” a few years ago for the film, Act of Valor, which was inspired by real life events and stars a group of active-duty Navy SEALs. After hanging out with the SEALS, he was very impressed with their commitment of service.

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    Keith Urban (SEALS mantra) OC: …conviction. :30
    “They have a mantra, and they say ‘the only easy day was yesterday’ and they had this spirit of brotherhood and that’s a particular thing that’s the way in which, I think, it exists is very specific to the Seals. I mean, military in general have this very strong brotherhood code; it’s a particular kind of thing in the Seals. As was the testament, to Lt. Roark who is the lead guy in the film; when he was interviewed talked about funerals he had been to, and he says ‘there isn’t really any one of us who isn’t just a little bit jealous of the guy who’s died,’ and ok, I heard that, that’s a particular way of being that I cannot relate to. That is an unbelievable depth of commitment and conviction.”

    Audio / Kelleigh Bannen says she’s very thankful for our men and women in uniform.

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    Kelleigh Bannen (Memorial Day) OC: …our families. :10
    “I am so thankful for our men and women in uniform, and it is their sacrifice and them putting their lives on the line that allow us to be able to celebrate with our families.”

    Audio / Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild says they’re overwhelmed by the huge sacrifices that both the military and their families make in order to be free.

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    LBT (Memorial Day) OC: …whenever we can. :44
    KAREN: “It’s such a huge sacrifice what these men and women do for us, not only the ones that are serving, but the families that are left here at home. Kimberly and I met a young girl…she’s 21 years old, and she has a third baby, and her husband has served multiple times overseas. She’s raising these children at home and doing a great job and the best that she can, and he’s serving our country. He’s making a monstrous sacrifice, but so is she, and so are those children. And we just can’t take it for granted. I mean, it’s just a huge commitment that they make, and what an honor. We love to be able to sing for them and entertain them and to say thank you whenever we can.”

    Audio / While Luke Bryan’s on the road on his Kick The Dust Up Tour, he’ll most likely check out some places where he can catch up on his favorite pastime – fly-fishing.

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    Luke Bryan (favorite summer activities) OC: …the family. :10
    “My favorite summer activity is definitely the opportunity to go fly-fishing out West when I’m out there touring, or really, just fly-fishing anytime…and obviously, getting a week off down at the beach with the family.”

    Audio / Sam Hunt talks about his grandfather who served during World War II.

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    Sam Hunt (Memorial Day) OC: …those freedoms. :40
    “My granddad was in World World II. He was on the USS Texas battleship, and he was over at Normandy and over near Japan and he spent a lot of time right in the thick of World War II. He really took pride in what that meant, and it was something I got to see it first hand, as somebody who got to experience that; somebody who had that galvanized American trait. It’s hard to describe it. It was just somebody who’s been through that, seen that and really appreciates what that means. I try to channel that into my life, because I haven’t fought in any war, but I have a ton of respect for folks who have, folks who’ve sacrificed, families who’ve lost lives and just sacrificed years of their own lives and time and effort to maintain those freedoms.”

    Audio / Sam Hunt talks about Memorial Day weekends growing up in Georgia.

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    Sam Hunt (Memorial Day) 2 OC: …experience. :47
    “I spent a lot of Memorial Day weekends on the lake especially as I got a little order in high school and on into college, and it was always that summer inauguration celebrating the beginning of what would be summer. And even though I’m finished with school, when May comes around, I get that kind of ‘school’s out’ feeling, even now. So, when summer’s here, it’s always an exciting time of year. I think it’s just an extra reminder just the freedom in that and the good times and it’s usually with your buddies and you’re celebrating all these great things and about what it means to be a product of all the sacrifices that people have made in years past and in the wars past that we can now experience.”


    Sam Hunt (Memorial Day) 2 OC: …experience. :48
    “I spent a lot of Memorial Day weekends on the lake especially as I got a little order in high school and on into college, and it was always that summer inauguration celebrating the beginning of what would be summer. And even though I’m finished with school, when May comes around, I get that kind of ‘school’s out’ feeling, even now. So, when summer’s here, it’s always an exciting time of year. I think it’s just an extra reminder just the freedom in that and the good times and it’s usually with your buddies and you’re celebrating all these great things and about what it means to be a product of all the sacrifices that people have made in years past and in the wars past that we can now experience.”