» "Wind"-Aided: Congrats go out to Zac Brown Band on the No. 1 debut of Uncaged, which landed atop both the all-genre and Country albums charts this week. The group's third studio album sold approximately 234,000 copies last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. "This was easily the biggest week in ZBB album sales ever," the band's Clay Cooksays. "The best part about releasing a new record is the effect it has on the live show. We can now play in concert some of these songs that we're so proud of. We feel really good about our new music, hoping that one day some of these songs will be just as much your favorites as the others." ZBB's previous albums The Foundation and You Get What You Give also jumped inside the Top 20 on the all-genre chart this week.
» Storm Warning: Little Big Town revealed Wednesday (7/18) that their fifth studio album Tornado arrives in stores Sept. 11. The 11-track collection stars LBT's road band and the hit summer single "Pontoon." "Nashville has the most incredible musicians in the world, but this time we decided to use the guys that travel with us on all our shows, and it gave it such a fresh spirit," Kimberly Schlapman says. "We rehearsed with them for four days, and then we cut [the record] for the next three [days] in a row ... We worked our little tails off and had so much fun. I think you can hear the spontaneity and the energy in the music." Learn more at the band's new website here.
» Party Anthem: Taking a break from the My Kinda Party tour, Jason Aldean spent Tuesday afternoon in Nashville celebrating his ninth No. 1 hit "Fly Over States" with songwriters Michael Dulaney and Neil Thrasher. Before the private event, Aldean revealed that the song was written seven years ago and was originally considered for the Wide Open album. "We got the song kind of late in the recording process for Wide Open [and] just ran out of room," Aldean said. "I started kicking myself immediately for not recording the song because I kept listening to it over and over. But it ended up being one of the first songs we cut for My Kinda Party." During the plaque presentations, an exec from Aldean's label revealed that his new single "Take A Little Ride" had topped iTunes' all-genre and Country singles charts.
» 5-1-5-0 Almost A No-Go: Dierks Bentley can thank rockers Van Halen for inadvertently inspiring his latest hit "5-1-5-0." "I was at a friend's 13th birthday party, and he had an electric guitar," Bentley recalls. "We went back to his room, played power chords and listened to Van Halen. I immediately dropped everything ... and that's all I listened to for awhile. They had an album called 5150 and all their t-shirts and stuff showed them in straitjackets ... I dug around and found out that 51-50 was the police code for a crazy person." Years later, Bentley used the code in the song "Country & Cold Cans." He adds, "I had a line in there [saying], 'Are y'all with me? Let's get 51-50.' I told my [co-writer] about it, and the next day at the gym he was saying, '5-1-5-0, somebody call the po-po.' I thought it was the stupidest thing I'd heard in my life. [But] it caught on and it's kind of blown up."
» Fest For The Eyes: The three-hour CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock concert special airs Sept. 17 at 8pm ET on ABC-TV. Co-hosted by Luke Bryan and Kimberly Perry, the show will feature performances from the June 7-10 event including sets by Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Kix Brooks, Bryan, Eric Church, Brantley Gilbert, Hunter Hayes, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Scotty McCreery, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, The Band Perry, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Hank Williams, Jr. and Zac Brown Band.
» Quotebook: Female country stars remember the late Kitty Wellsas the first "Queen Of Country Music." Wells passed away at her Nashville home Monday (7/16), and she was the first female to top the Country charts, with "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels."
"She was my hero. If I had never heard of Kitty Wells, I don't think I would have been a singer myself. I wanted to sound just like her ... She truly is the Queen of Country Music." – Loretta Lynn
"Kitty Wells was every female country music performer's heroine. She led the way for all of us, and I feel very grateful and honored to have known her. She was always the most gracious, kind and lovely person to be around. I so appreciated her being a part of my life and a mentor to me." – Barbara Mandrell
"Kitty Wells was the first and only Queen of Country Music, no matter what they call the rest of us. She was a great inspiration to me as well as every other female singer in the country music business. In addition to being a wonderful asset to country music, she was a wonderful woman. We will always remember her fondly." – Dolly Parton
"My heart cries over the loss of Ms. Kitty Wells. She is and always will be the true Queen of Country Music." – Kellie Pickler
» In Case You Missed It: Kip Moore performed his new single "Beer Money" on Tuesday night's Conan (7/17).
Brad Paisley has partnered with Dollar General and Pepsi for the Tune In To Giving promotion, supporting the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Through Aug. 19, a $1 donation (up to $75,000) will be made to the Foundation when shoppers buy a 10-ounce or larger bag of Lay's chips with a two-liter Pepsi product and enter their receipt code at dollargeneral.com. The promotion also offers chances to win Paisley swag and concert tickets. More here.
Glen Campbell's Australian and New Zealand concerts in August have been canceled. "While the tour in the US is going well, and Glen is comfortable, he felt the long plane ride to Australia was more than he wanted to do," Campbell's rep tells us. Announced in May, the dates affected include six shows with Kenny Rogers and a solo performance at Brisbane's QPAC Aug. 17. Local country artists will support Rogers' tour Down Under, preceded by a Aug. 10 gig in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Highlights from the UK leg of Lady Antebellum's Own The Night tour are featured in this week's Webisode Wednesday. Watch here.