» Aurora On Our Minds: Both Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw took time at Saturday's Brothers Of The Sun tour stop at Denver's Mile High Stadium to address last week's movie theater shootings in suburban Aurora that left 12 dead and more than 50 wounded. Instead of his usual entrance, McGraw walked onstage without fanfare and spoke to the crowd: "Our job tonight is to come out here for a little while and put a smile on your faces." McGraw then segued into Petra's "More Power To Ya" and continued with his scheduled set. Chesney waited until a few songs into his show to pay tribute to those affected. "My road family and I are just like the rest of the nation, hurting with this city tonight," Chesney said before performing "I Go Back." "We love you and we're with you ... If you guys will let us, we want to let music start to heal this town just a little bit tonight." Our insider tells us, "I felt like Kenny and Tim were like the rest of us, trying to make sense out of a senseless situation." Before "Boys Of Fall," Chesney brought out as surprise guests Denver Broncos head coach John Fox and new quarterback Peyton Manning, whom were both met with a "deafening ovation" from the crowd of 45,000+. "[It was] a wonderful reminder of the bond that comes with being a fan, with loving football, with loving your city through good times and painful ones," a tour blog reads. "We are so honored to have been here to witness that moment, and this entire beautiful, cathartic, celebratory show."
» Quotebook: Country stars react to the tragedy in Aurora, CO:
"Been thinking about all the folks out in Colorado. God bless those families." – Dierks Bentley
"[My] prayers for all those affected by the tragic events in Colorado." – Luke Bryan
"[I'm] sickened by what has occurred in Aurora. Let's do our best not to let the culprit have an ounce of fame for this gross act on humanity." – Randy Houser
"[I'm] so sad for all the families, friends and victims in Colorado." – Martina McBride
"Disgusted by the devastating news in Colorado. So sad. They've had enough already." – Jerrod Niemann
"There are no words to describe how terrible the Colorado theater shooting is. I'm so sad. Praying for these families." – Brad Paisley
"My heart and prayers go out to the folks in Aurora. I'm so sorry this has happened. I don't understand it." – Reba
"Praying continually for all the families and victims in Aurora shooting ... to feel God's arms around them every moment of every day." – Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott
» Swift Picks: Taylor Swift won five 2012 Teen Choice Awards at Sunday night's Los Angeles event. Swift nabbed surfboards in categories for all-genre Female Artist, Female Country Artist, Country Song for "Sparks Fly," all-genre Single by a Female Artist for "Eyes Open" and Movie Voice for her role as "Audrey" in The Lorax. "Five Teen Choice Awards?" Swift tweeted after the show. "I'm so happy ... Thank you so much for voting!" The night's wins bring Swift's Teen Choice Award total to 20, making her the most-awarded celebrity in the event's history, according to her publicist. Additionally, Hunter Hayes won Male Country Artist and Lady Antebellum won Country Group. View the full list of winners here.
» Pickler Pin-Up: Inside Maxim's "Salute To The Military" issue (out July 31), cover girl Kellie Pickler discusses her work with the USO including her most recent military entertainment tour in Afghanistan. "We were at Camp Spann," Pickler says. "There's a little chapel there. It's nothing fancy, but it has a lot of love, and my whole band and I stayed up one night until 3am picking with the soldiers who played guitar. We had a picking party." Pickler also discussed her stay at one of Saddam Hussein's palaces and the stories behind her tattoos.
» New Lease On Love And Theft: The new Love And Theft album lands in stores Tuesday (7/24)! Featuring the top 5 hit "Angel Eyes," the self-titled collection is the first from Eric Gunderson and Stephen Barker Liles as a duo, and it's their first release from RCA (home to Chris Young, Miranda Lambert and Jake Owen). "We feel like people will be hearing us for the first time," Gunderson says. "We feel like we've made the record we've wanted to make for awhile." Liles adds, "The history of RCA is incredible. Just knowing that we are on the same label as some of our biggest influences, like Elvis Presley, is an awesome feeling." Love And Theft will ring in Tuesday's release date on FOX News' Fox & Friends (7/24). More below.
» In Case You Missed It: On Thursday's season finale of Duets (7/19), Jennifer Nettles' partner J Rome was named the inaugural champion, winning a contract with Hollywood Records. Nettles' other partner John Glosson was the runner-up, while Kelly Clarkson's protégé Jason Farol rounded out the top three finalists. Performance highlights included the J Rome and Nettles collaboration on DeBarge's "Rhythm Of The Night," the Glosson and Nettles duet on "For Good" from the musical Wicked and Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" by Clarkson and Farol. Watch the full episode here.
» Crib Note: Congratulations to Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus and wife Allison DeMarcus on the birth of their second child, son Dylan Jay DeMarcus, who made his debut Friday afternoon (7/20) before the group's show in Detroit. Dad even made the Motor City concert that night after detouring to Nashville for the birth. Dylan joins sister Madeline Leigh, born Dec. 17, 2010.
In the current Shapemagazine, Sara Evans dished about 11 foods she can't live without. "I like the Quaker Oat bars ... the peanut butter ones," she says. "They're 90 calories. They totally fill me up, and they taste like a sweet." Evans' other go-to items include carrots, grilled chicken, string cheese and mozzarella.
In the latest DBTV, Dierks Bentley performs "Home" in the middle of a rainstorm in Jefferson, WI.
Dwight Yoakam collaborated with rocker Beck to co-produce "A Heart Like Mine" and "Missing Heart" for his first studio album in seven years called 3 Pears. The 12-track collection streets Sept. 18.
The first single from Toby Keith's forthcoming record hits digital retailers Tuesday (7/24). Titled "I Like Girls Who Drink Beer," Keith co-wrote the song with Bobby Pinson (Sugarland's "All I Want To Do" and "Already Gone"), and he couldn't wait to get the track out to his fans. "We were in the studio, and everybody who heard it was like, 'You've got to release that!'"
Kelly Clarkson told Us Weekly that Carrie Underwood would make a "perfect new judge" for AmericanIdol.
Pam Tillis (7/24) Bobbie Gentry (7/24) Martina McBride (7/29) James Otto (7/29) Neal McCoy (7/30)
Tuesday (7/24): Hunter Hayes, The Talk (CBS); Clint Black, History Detectives (PBS); Craig Morgan, Road Warriors and Morning Express With Robin Meade (HLN); Love And Theft, Fox & Friends (FOX News).
Wednesday (7/25): Pistol Annies, The View (ABC); John Rich, Live With Kelly (syndicated).
Thursday (7/26): The Farm, Mary Chapin Carpenter, On The Steets (GAC).
Friday (7/27): Lionel Ritchie, Chelsea Lately (re-air) (E!) and Ellen DeGeneres (re-air) (syndicated).
In Stores Tuesday (7/24)
Love And TheftLove And Theft The lead single "Angel Eyes" kicks off the 11-track collection, which Eric Gunderson and Stephen Barker Liles recorded over three sessions with producer Josh Leo (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Alabama). "We made a point to make sure everything was consistent so it sounds like one cohesive body of work," Gunderson says. "We have an emotional connection to every song, [and] I feel like we took a few more risks with this record. A lot of fans who were in their teens when we first came out are grown up now. So, we wanted our music to grow and evolve with us and our fans." Gunderson co-wrote "Angel Eyes" with Jeff Coplan and newcomer Eric Paslay.