» Taylor Gets The Red Out: "This has been the most amazing week," Taylor Swift told Twitter followers Wednesday (8/22) after setting a record with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together." "I can't believe incredible you guys are (jumping up and down)." According to Nielsen SoundScan, the song sold 623,000 copies and broke Ke$ha's female artist record for "Tik Tok," which sold 610,000 in one week (2010). Swift is also second overall to Flo Rida's "Right Round," which sold 636,000 units in Feb. '09.
Additionally, Swift will perform on VH1 Storytellers: Taylor Swift (airing 11/11) and the MTV Video Music Awards (airing 9/6). A contest to determine which university or high school will host the Storytellers event runs through Sept. 23. The top five will receive $10,000 grants for their respective music programs. Swift will premiere a new song from her album Red (out 10/22) during the MTV VMAs, and she appears in spots promoting the show.
» Dawg Days Are Over: A storied summer bromance comes to an end this weekend as Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw close the Brothers Of The Sun Tour with a two-night stand at Foxboro, MA's Gillette Stadium (8/24-25). Kenny's next engagement will be a performance at Sept. 22's Farm Aid benefit in Hershey, PA. He's due back in Nashville Sept. 24 to receive the ACM Honors' Crystal Milestone Award. McGraw's activities includes this week's "Truck Yeah" music video shoot in Chattanooga, TN, a performance on Sept. 7's Stand Up To Cancer telethon, two one-off dates and the Soul2Soul Las Vegas run, which opens Dec. 7 with wife Faith Hill.
» The Pen Is Bossier: Know what's boss? How about a handwritten note from the Boss himself? That's what Eric Church received after Sunday's show in Gilford, NH. Bruce Springsteen's assistant and tour manager Wayne LeBeaux showed up backstage with the message, written by Bruuuuuce after his three-hour Fenway Park show in Boston. "[He] filled up the whole back of the set list talking about how he was a fan of the song and how his family was a fan of the song," Church says. The song he's referencing is, of course, "Springsteen." "He signed it and said, 'I hope we cross paths somewhere' ... It's the first time I've officially heard from him." Church says the letter is "locked up" in a safe place.
» Home Run: With No. 1 hits like "You Don't Know Her Like I Do" and "Country Must Be Country Wide," as well as Jason Aldean's "Dirt Road Anthem," you wouldn't think Brantley Gilbert would have seriously considered living in a double-wide. "I'm building my dream house in my hometown, and it's everything I want," Gilbert said at Wednesday's No. 1 party for "You Don't Know." "I got the land first, and I was going to put a trailer or something on it to live in it for a short period of time. But the more I talked with my business manager, he told me to go ahead and build it. That meant a lot to me, to be able to see some hard-paid dues pay off." Gilbert's first headlining tour kicks off Sept. 27 in West Lafayette, IN.
» Trip It On Back: Dierks Bentley relived the college experience this week along the three-stop SEC university tour in support of the Country And Cold Cans EP. Highlights included filming the "Tip It On Back" music video shoot at Athens' Georgia Theater before headlining UGA's Legion Field, photographing girls on shoulders at the University of South Carolina and playing beer pong at a random house party after performing at The Grove at Ole Miss. View photos from the trek here.
» Ballot Initiative: The country music community will have their eyes on Jason Aldean and Lady Antebellum Sept. 5 when they reveal the final nominees for the 46th Annual CMA Awards on ABC-TV's Good Morning America. The first five categories will be announced in the 8:30am ET half-hour segment, and the remaining seven categories will be revealed at 9:15am ET.
» Urban Flatts: Rascal Flatts are going into the restaurant business. The band has partnered with Philip Lama and Eric Soe to develop themed restaurants throughout the U.S. and Canada as part of the Rascal Flatts Restaurant Group. The first eatery in development is a 14,000-square-foot Phoenix location with a state-of-the-art soundstage, two bars, retail area and Flatts Lounge. Future establishments include Columbus, OH, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Minneapolis and Long Island.
In a Wall Street Journalarticle, Blake Shelton discusses his first job making $8 an hour as a roofer.
The Love For Levon benefit concert will include performances by Dierks Bentley and Eric Church. John Mayer, My Morning Jacket, Ray LaMontagne, Gregg Allman, Marc Cohn, Patty Griffin and the Levon Helm Band are also on the bill. Proceeds from the Oct. 3 event in East Rutherford, NJ will benefit the Levon Helm estate to maintain ownership of his properties and run the Midnight Ramble Sessions. Full lineup here.
In advance of her new album Spitfire, LeAnn Rimes has relaunched LeAnnRimesWorld.com. The site will be home to the Spitfire Social Club, which offers exclusive content for an annual fee. Those who join by Aug. 28 will have access to a live chat on Rimes' 30th birthday (8/28 at 9am PT) and a chance to win the autographed corset she wears on the cover of the forthcoming album.
The 63-disc Johnny Cash – The Complete Columbia Album Collection hits the streets Oct. 30. The box set begins with his Columbia debut The Fabulous Johnny Cash, which includes his first No. 1 single "Don't Take Your Guns To Town." The 1990 release Highwayman 2 with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson closes the set. More here.
Kristyn Osborn (SheDaisy) (8/24) Billy Ray Cyrus (8/25) Jo Dee Messina (8/25) Jimmy Olander (Diamond Rio) (8/26) Jeff Cook (Alabama) (8/27)
Friday (8/24): LeAnn Rimes, The Talk (re-air) (CBS).
Saturday (8/25): Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley, Craig Morgan, Montgomery Gentry, Noteworthy At The Opry (GAC).
Sunday (8/26): Trace Adkins, Backstory (GAC).
Monday (8/27): Martina McBride, Opening Act (E!).
Upcoming Album Releases
Kix BrooksNew To This Town (9/11) Bucky CovingtonGood Guys (9/11) Aaron LewisThe Road (9/11) Little Big TownTornado (9/11)
» Call Me The Breeze:Little Big Town perform a private album preview of Tornado at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The group breezed through the 11-track collection, which had Jimi Westbrook and Karen Fairchild on lead on "Your Side Of The Bed," while Phillip Sweet took lead on "Front Porch Thing." After the show, the group hobnobbed with their families and other VIPs including Jay DeMarcus (Rascal Flatts) and wife Allison.