» Show Of Hands: Sugarland's In Your Hands tour opened last week in Toledo (4/5) and yielded some epic concert memories for both band and fans, who determined the set list via Twitter, handwritten signs and an online request line. "Boy, did you help clean out the cobwebs," the duo said in a post-show blog. "When's the last time we played 'County Line' or 'One Blue Sky?'" The night's biggest surprise was a request from a pint-sized fan. "We spotted a girl in the crowd with a sign that read, 'Please call my dad when you play 'Baby Girl,'" the duo said in the recap. "So, we pulled her up onstage and did just that! We dedicated the song to her dad, John." The duo also dedicated "Tonight," "Incredible Machine" and "Find The Beat Again" to various fans. Full recap and set list here.
» Reality Check: The setting of Kenny Chesney's No. 1 party for "Reality" was a far cry from the tropical location where he and co-writer Brett James crafted the chart-topper. The pair gathered on a rainy Nashville afternoon last week to celebrate Chesney's 23rd No. 1 hit, which they wrote, along with "Out Last Night," in one sitting at Chesney's Caribbean home. "That was an afternoon well-spent," Chesney said. "The thing that makes me happiest is when I can sit down with guys like Brett and make something up that touches people ... Thank you, everyone, for giving us a great reality."
» Not Too Long A Way: Head 30 miles west June 5 for your copy of Alan Jackson's new album. Seriously, the collection is actually called Thirty Miles West. The title is drawn from one of the album's songs called "Dixie Highway" about a road that stretches from upstate Michigan to south Florida. "I grew up on Highway 34 outside Newnan, about 30 miles west of the official part of the Dixie Highway that runs through Georgia," Alan explains. The album also features singles "So You Don't Have To Love Me Anymore" and "Long Way To Go."
» May The Horse Be With You:Rocker Jon Bon Jovi gets credit for coming up with the title for Big & Rich's upcoming studio album Hillbilly Jedis. "It came out in a writing session we were doing with Richie Sambora and Bon Jovi the other week," Kenny Alphinexplains. "They are going to record the song on our new album, and a line in the song was, 'Hillbilly Jedis with attitude.' All of a sudden, Jon stops and says, 'Hillbilly Jedis? That's it. I'd buy that shirt.'" The collection will be B&R's first album since 2007's Between Raising Hell And Amazing Grace.
» Overruled: Can you imagine Blake Shelton singing lead vocals on Miranda Lambert's "Over You?" According to his wife, the song was almost Shelton's because it was inspired by the 1990 car accident death of his older brother Richie. "After the song was written, we were like, 'What do we do with this amazing masterpiece?'" Lambert explains. "Blake said, 'I think it's better suited for you ... I don't think I can get through it in the studio or every night ... it'd be an honor to me if you were to record it.'"
» Tweet-And-Greet: Last week Lionel Richie and Madonna shared the top of the all-genre albums sales chart when his Tuskegee, featuring collaborations with top country artists, landed at No. 2 behind the Material Girl's MDNA. But did you know the two once shared the same street? The pair congratulated each other over Twitter on their respective chart debuts, sending them on a trip down Memory Lane. "Remember when we were neighbors?" Madge tweeted. "Do I remember?" Richie responded. "The only problem I had is when I came out of my house, fans would ask me where you live ... I was the tour guide for the street. The neighborhood was never the same after you left." Read the conversation here.
» Wedding Belle: Best wishes to Jake Owen and Lacey Buchanan, who became engaged Saturday during "Don't Think I Can't Love You" at his hometown concert in Vero Beach, FL (4/7). "You're probably wondering where your ring is, right?" Owen said. "I just said I can't buy you a big diamond ring ... but I promise you I will love you forever and ever." Watch the proposal here.
» In Case You Missed It: On SPIKE TV's Impact Wrestling, Montgomery Gentrygot into a "slight altercation" backstage with TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Roode.
Lionel Richie and Billy Currington performed "Just For You" (25:05 minute-mark) on Thursday's The Talk (4/5). Richie closed the show with "Three Times A Lady" (33:30 minute-mark).
Artist and publishing royalties from Keith Urban's new single "For You" will benefit the Navy SEAL Foundation, which supports SEAL families and their parent commands. The song is from the Act of Valor soundtrack and is available through Urban's website, iTunes and Amazon.
Taylor Swift appears on B.o.B.'s album Strange Clouds, out May 1. Swift is featured on the track "Both Of Us."
The Band Perry and Kimberly Williams-Paisley participated in the launch of Walmart's Fighting Hunger Together initiative. The program encourages the purchase of products from participating suppliers (General Mills, ConAgra, Kraft and Kellogg) to generate more than 42 million meals for Feeding America and Action For Healthy Kids. Walmart's Facebook page is collecting votes for one of 200 communities hardest hit by unemployment, with the winner receiving $1 million to help fight hunger.
Gretchen Wilson will support ZZ Top on their Gang Of Outlaws tour launching May 25 in Manchester, NH. 3 Doors Down are also on the bill. Complete list of dates here.
Steve Azar (4/11) Vince Gill (4/12) Loretta Lynn (4/14)
Tuesday (4/10): Shooter Jennings, Late Show With David Letterman (CBS); Blake Shelton, The Voice (NBC).
Wednesday (4/11): Shooter Jennings, Imus In The Morning (FOX Business); Dolly Parton, The Better Show (syndicated); Craig Morgan, Conan (TBS); Trisha Yearwood, The View (ABC).
Thursday (4/12): Shooter Jennings, The View (ABC).
Friday (4/13): Various Artists, ACM Presents: Lionel Richie And Friends – In Concert (CBS).
Upcoming Album Releases
Josh Abbott BandSmall Town Family Dream (4/24) Lee BriceHard 2 Love (4/24) Kip MooreUp All Night (4/24)
» Set Break:Eli Young Band and Jimmy Kimmel hang on the JKL set, where the group performed "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" last Monday (4/2) after winning the Song of the Year ACM Award for "Crazy Girl." Pictured (l-r) are James Young,Chris Thompson, Kimmel, Mike Eli and Jon Jones.
» Cake Bake Ready:Lady Antebellum give Thompson Square a cake Friday (4/6) in Kansas City to congratulate them on their ACM win for Duo of the Year. Pictured (l-r) are Dave Haywood, Keifer and Shawna Thompson, Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley.