Eric Church’s Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour stop at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom on March 14th (2012), made the New York Times list of “The Best Concerts of 2012, as Seen by Times Critics.”

    “A mean show, as these things go. Mr. Church has clawed his way into the country mainstream with a series of post-outlaw anthems, and he delivered them with verve and tension, as if he might not be allowed to for much longer,” according to the Times critic, Jon Pareles.

    Eric is the only country artist on the list, which also includes The Rolling Stones, Mary J. Blige, Nicki Minaj, Radiohead, Jay-Z, Neil Young and Crazy Horse and Mumford & Sons.

  • CMA AWARDS 2012: Darius Rucker (AUDIO)

    Darius Rucker is nominated for a CMA Award for Music Event of the Year with the legendary Lionel Richie for their duet on “Stuck on You” from his hit duets album, Tuskegee. It’s Lionel’s first-ever CMA nomination.

    “I am thrilled to receive my first nomination from the CMA. I am so grateful to the country music community for embracing this project and making me feel so at home,” Richie said in a statement following the nominations announcement. “To share this nomination with my friend Darius Rucker makes it even more special. I have a CMA nomination and a friend for life. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

    Darius picked up his first CMA Award for New Artist of the Year in 2009. Check out the video below beginning at 4:56.

    AUDIO: Darius Rucker talks about what it was like to record with his idol, Lionel Richie.

    Darius Rucker (recording with Lionel Richie) OC: …he’s funny. :58“I
    remember it like it was yesterday. We walked into the studio and, you know, I’d met Lionel once years ago, but it was like a one thing at a bar where we just said hey and never really talked. And so, you know, here we are, meeting one of my idols, one of the guys who I’m, why I’m sitting here, Lionel Richie…He was funny, great, telling stories. I’m a songwriter and I meet Lionel Richie, and within the first 10 minutes he asked me if I was working a lot. I was like ‘Yeah, I think I’m gonna play 210 dates this year or something.’ He’s like, ‘That reminds me of when I was in The Commodores.’ I was like, ‘Really?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, somebody brought me this 365 page book once, and it was every day of the next year for The Commodores.’ And he said, ‘You know what I did?’ And I said, ‘What?’ And he said, ‘I sat down and wrote ‘why in the world would anybody put chains on me/I paid my dues to make it/everybody wants me to be/what they want me to be.’ I realize he’s sitting there telling me the story of how he wrote ‘Easy.’ You know? And I’m like, I’m freaking out. As a songwriter I’m like, ‘Wow, this guy’s just sitting here telling me the story.’ And that’s what every time I’m with him, that’s what it’s like. He’s awesome, he’s fun, he’s funny. “

    AUDIO: Darius Rucker says he was blown away by Lionel Richie’s graciousness when it came to recording their duet, “Stuck on You.”

    Darius Rucker (Stuck on You) 1 OC: …was awesome. :29“H
    “He said something that blew me away, most guys that do duets records, they’re doing it for themselves, and the guy who’s with him is just coming on because of your name and they want you on there and they’re gonna tell you what to sing and you do it. Lionel Richie, the first thing he said to me was, ‘So man, what part you wanna do?’ And I thought that was unbelievable. I thought, he’s asking me what I, you know. I thought I was gonna come in here and [producer] Tony Brown was gonna tell me, ‘Sing this note,’ and I was gonna say, ‘Yes sir, Mr. Brown.’ You know? But it didn’t-he came and asked me what I wanted to do. I thought that was awesome.”

    AUDIO: Darius Rucker reveals what he told Lionel Richie when asked what part he wanted to sing on “Stuck on You” for the legendary performer’s duets album, Tuskegee.

    Darius Rucker (Stuck on You) 2 OC: …what I do.” :10
    “I wanna do your part (laughs). That’s what I told him, I’m doing your part. That’s the only part I know, I’m doing your part. I’m a lead singer man. That’s what I do.”             

    Video / 43rd Annual CMA Awards (Part 6/15)


    Keith Urban loves that American Idol creates superstars and has the power to influence the music industry. Find out what he loves most about being an American Idol judge in the video below.

    Video / Keith Urban Talks Idol - American Idol

  • NEW YEAR’S EVE 2012: Dierks, Eric, Gary, Kacey & Luke (AUDIO)

    A few of your favorite country artists talk about their best New Year’s Eve, plans for New Year’s or their favorite hangover cure for those who imbibe a little too much on December 31st.

    AUDIO: Dierks Bentley says there’s not really a cure for a hangover.

    Dierks (NYE) OC: …for that. :10
    “I think January first is universally accepted as a dog. So I mean, a little hair of the dog, I guess. But just…water and stay on the couch, I guess. There’s no real sure-fire cure for that.”

    AUDIO: Eric Church has a couple of hangover cures for those times (especially on New Year’s Eve) when you might imbibe a little too much.

    Eric Church (hangover cure) OC: …every time. :17
    “The best hangover cure – I’ve got two. One is 5-hour Energy [bottles], because of all the B-vitamins that are in it. You can start pounding those, and it’s either gonna work or It’s gonna keep you up and prolong your misery. But the other one I have is just take two Advil and a beer in the morning. Hair of the dog, man – that works every time.”

    AUDIO: Gary Allan is playing at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve, so we asked him what happens in Vegas on New Year’s Eve.

    Gary Allan (NYE in Vegas) OC: …of the year. :28
    “[laughs] Everything happens in Vegas. You know what? It’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen. If you’ve been to Vegas [and] if you haven’t been on New Year’s, it’s way different. There’s like a half a million people in the street that just can’t get into anything. It’s stupid packed. This year, we’re playing in Mandalay Bay. We’re playing at the House of Blues, and I think the last couple of times we did it, you could buy a ticket to get into like 5 or 6 different events and just kinda cruise to the different bars. But, yeah, absolutely nuts, just packed and the biggest party of the year.”

    AUDIO: Newcomer Kacey Musgraves has her own hangover cure.

    Kacey Musgraves (NYE) OC: …water. Yup! :32
    “Coconut water is a major help with hangovers and also, a lot of times we go and eat Vietnamese fuh. It’s a soup, and it’s got this awesome broth. You can get different things in it or whatever, but for some reason, it’s just like…it’s almost like a chicken noodle soup kind of an idea, you know, but it’s good. That’s good for hangovers too. That, sleep, Tylenol, coconut water and just water, in general. And when you’re drinking, have your alcohol, drink a little bit of water, drink some more alcohol, drink some water. Yup!”

    AUDIO: Luke Bryan talks about his best New Year’s Eve.

    Luke Bryan (Best NYE) OC: …great night. :17
    “My best New Year’s Eve is definitely when my wife and I started back dating. We started back dating right before Christmas, and we went on a trip down to Florida and met some friends. And her birthday is New Year’s Eve. We celebrated it that night. It was just a great night.”

  • HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012 LINERS: Darius, David, Dierks, Easton, Eric Church, Eric Paslay, Gary Allan, Jamey, Josh, Kacey, Keith, Kip, Little Big Town, Luke, Randy Rogers, Sugarland & more! (AUDIO)

    LINER Darius Rucker (Happy New Year)
    “Hey y’all! What’s up? This is Darius Rucker, wishing you a Happy New Year!

    LINER David Nail (New Year)
    “This is David Nail, wishing you a Happy New Year’s Day.”

    LINER Dierks Bentley (Happy New Year)
    “Hey, it’s Dierks Bentley. Happy New Year!”

    LINER Easton Corbin (New Years)
    “Hey everybody! I’m Easton Corbin, wishing you a Happy New Year!”

    LINER Eric Church (5 COUNTDOWN)
    “5-4-3-2-1…Happy New Year. This is Eric Church, and here’s to 2012.”

    LINER Eric Church (5 COUNTDOWN) 2
    “5-4-3-2-1…Happy New Year, everybody. I’m Eric Church, and I’ll be your ‘Rocket Man.’”

    LINER Eric Church (10 COUNTDOWN)
    “10-9-8-7—6-54321, Happy New Year, y’all. It’s Eric Church, and it’s time to put a drink in MY hand!”

    LINER Eric Church (Hand your keys to a friend)
    “Hey! Eric Church here…This New Year’s Eve, if you put a drink in your hand…hand your keys to a friend. Trust me guys, don’t drink and drive.”

    LINER Eric Church (Happy New Year)
    “Hey! It’s Eric Church, hoping you have a Happy New Year.”

    LINER Eric Church (Put your ass in a cab)
    “Hey! Eric Church here…This New Year’s Eve, and if you put a drink in your hand, put your ass in a cab!”

    LINER Eric Church (Put your butt in a cab)
    “Hey! Eric Church here…This New Year’s Eve, and if you put a drink in your hand, put your butt in a cab!”

    LINER Eric Paslay (Happy New Year)
    “Hi! I’m Eric Paslay, wishing you a Happy New Year!”

    LINER Gary Allan (New Year)
    “Hey everybody! I’m Gary Allan. Happy New Year!”

    LINER Jamey Johnson (New Year)
    “This is Jamey Johnson, wishing you a Happy New Year.”

    LINER Jon Pardi (New Year)
    “Hi! I’m Jon Pardi, wishing you a Happy New Year.”

    LINER Josh Turner (New Year)
    “Hey! I’m Josh Turner. Happy New Year!”

    LINER Kacey Musgraves (New Year)
    “Hey! It’s Kacey Musgraves, hoping you have a safe and Happy New Year!”

    LINER Keith Urban (New Year)
    “Hey everyone! This is Keith Urban. Have a safe and happy New Year.”

    LINER Kelleigh Bannen (New Year)
    “Hey there! It’s Kelleigh Bannen, wishing you a very Happy New Year.”

    LINER Kip Moore (New Year)
    “It’s Kip Moore, wishing you a Happy New Year.”

    LINER LBT (New Year)
    “Hey! We’re Little Big Town. Happy New Year!”

    LINER Luke Bryan (New Year)
    “Hey! This is Luke Bryan, wishing you a Happy New Year.”

    LINER Randy Rogers Band (New Year)
    “Hey everybody! It’s Randy Rogers. We want you to have a safe and Happy New Year’s. From the Randy Rogers Band to whatever party you get yourself into.”

    LINER Sugarland (New Year)
    “This is Jennifer and Kristian from Sugarland, wishing you a Happy New Year.”

  • CHRISTMAS 2012: Gary Allan Reveals Plans (AUDIO)

    AUDIO: Gary Allan reveals his plans for Christmas this year.

    Gary Allan (Christmas plans 2012) OC: …be fun. :23
    “The last two years, we’ve stayed home. Our holidays always used to always be super hectic, ‘cause I have family in California, so we’d always try to fly out there. They have family out in Utah, and they’d try to fly out there, and we were all just on airplanes all through Thanksgiving and Christmas. About two years ago, we all decided not to go anywhere, and it was kind of a mistake; something just fell through, and it was the best Christmas we had…the last two. So, I think we’re all gonna stay in again, and it’ll be fun.”


    In this week’s Urban Chat, Keith Urban gives an American Idol update from the end of Hollywood week! Be sure to tune in January 16th on FOX for the premiere!

    Video / Urban Chat: Video 35: Idol Updates!


    A new round of American Idol promos, featuring Keith Urban, as well as the other three judges — Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj — have been revealed. Check out Keith giving a girl advice about “the country music thing,” sitting in the middle of the two spirited females on the panel, as well as falling out of his chair during a particular audition and being inspired by a contestant with a speech impediment. Then check out all of the action when the new season of American Idol premieres January 16th on FOX.

    Video / American Idol Season 12 Promo "Superstar Judges, Superstar Talen

  • CHRISTMAS 2012: Kacey Musgraves (AUDIO)

    AUDIO: Kacey Musgraves talks about one of her favorite Christmas traditions.

    Kacey Musgraves (Christmas puzzle tradition) OC: …a little tradition. :28
    “My grandpa has a scavenger hunt puzzle that he does every year. Even though I’m like too old for the puzzle, he’s like, ‘You’re still gonna do it.’ So, every year we do that, and it’s funny ‘cause sometimes you’ll find your present in the bathroom or in a tree or out behind the shed. He does a little trail of like either corn or a string to it. It’s very imaginative, and it’s something I look forward to every year. It’s a little tradition.”

    AUDIO: Kacey Musgraves says one of her favorite things at Christmas are the stockings.

    Kacey Musgraves (Christmas stockings) OC: …are fun. :07
    “Stockings. I love stockings. They’re kinda my favorite, ‘cause it’s like all the little goodies in there just are fun.”

    LINER Kacey Musgraves (Christmas)
    “Hey! It’s Kacey Musgraves, wishing you a very Merry Christmas.”


    Jon Pardi is throwing his “End of the World Party” at Joe’s in Chicago on Friday (December 21st). According to a very popular myth, the Mayans, whose civilization spanned across southern Mexico, Guatemala and Belize from 1000 B.C. to 1519 A.D., carved into their calendar the day the world would end, which is December 21st, 2012…hence, the name of Jon Pardi’s “Party.”

    “We’ve named this the Year of the Pardi and if the world is really going to end that day, I can’t think of a better place to be than Joe’s on Weed,” Jon says. “The Pardi Animals have been a big part of Year of the Pardi, so of course I want them to be at Joe’s with me before the world ends!”

    AUDIO: Jon Pardi explains what would be the last thing he’d like to do if the world ended.

    Jon Pardi (last thing he’d do) OC: …my family. :09
    “Just keep seeing family. I’m always more realistic. I’d probably just hang out with family and see everybody and make sure everybody’s fine. I gotta see my mom! I don’t ever get to see my family.”

    AUDIO: Jon Pardi talks about what he’d want for his last meal.

    Jon Pardi (last meal) OC: …Chinese food. :08
    “For my last meal, just a good steak. I grew up eating steak all the time, and you just can’t beat that…or some Chinese food.”