» Pontoon Party: "After working towards this for 13 years, it's an even sweeter reward than we dreamed." That's Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town, who are celebrating their first and long-sought No. 1 single with "Pontoon." "We're just soaking it all in, and it feels so good. We'll be celebrating this for awhile. We can't say thank you enough." For an idea of the band's level of excitement, check out this clip they made for fans and industry supporters. The platinum-certified "Pontoon" is the first single from their new album Tornado, which lands Sept. 11.
» Get Me To The Church On Time: The first live album from Eric Church is coming in early 2013 and will be culled from an upcoming two-night stand at Chattanooga, TN's Tivoli Theatre (10/8-9). Fans can win tickets and a meet-and-greet via the "Captured" video contest, in which participants are encouraged to show how Church's music has impacted them and why. Church will pick 10 finalists, with online voting determining the winner between Sept. 17 and Sept. 26. View a complete tour schedule here.
» 'Tis The Season: Something old, something new, something borrowed ... hey, wait! We're talking Noel (not nuptuals) with Scotty McCreery, who nevertheless mixed up the fresh and familiar for his upcoming holiday collection. "I knew of a few that I just had to do, like 'Mary, Did You Know?' and 'The First Noel'," Scotty says. "Then we heard some originals that blew me away." Nine standards made the list, including "Holly Jolly Christmas," "Santa Claus Is Back In Town" and "Winter Wonderland." The newbies are "Christmas In Heaven" and "Christmas Is Coming Around." Back to Scotty: "When I heard 'Christmas In Heaven,' I listened to the first verse and automatically said, 'You can stop it. That is on the album.'" Christmas With Scotty McCreery begins Oct. 16, and he'll be calling 100 fans who purchase it through his website. Autographed copies and the chance to win a meet-and-greet are also potential tree trimmings. Details here.
» My Kind Of Crazy: How does Dierks Bentley celebrate a song about going crazy? With a stop at the DMV and a little father-daughter time. (Yawn.) Okay, maybe it's not completely nap-inducing: Bentley registered his '67 Camaro and took daughter Evie to an ice skating event hosted by the Nashville Predators. In between, he and an industry crowd toasted his 10th chart-topper "5-1-5-0," which was inspired by the police code about an insane person. "A lot of people want to know where '5-1-5-0, somebody call the po-po came from," Bentley said. "In my song 'Country And Cold Cans,' there's a line 'Let's get 51-50,' and I had to explain to [my co-writer Jim Beavers] what that meant ... the next day I saw him at the [gym] and he was singing '5-1-5-0 somebody call the po-po.' I thought it was the stupidest thing I'd ever heard in my life. But apparently I was wrong, [and] it's one of my favorite songs to play live."
» He's Leavin' Today: Jason Aldean is in the Big Apple this week to start spreading the news about his new album Night Train (out 10/16). He's helping announce CMA Awards nominees Wednesday on Good Morning America (with Lady Antebellum), he'll play the Late Show With David Letterman Thursday (9/6), and adds a Live On Letterman webcast, which airs online from the Ed Sullivan Theatre Wednesday at 9pm ET. "I'm really looking forward to doing a full set [there] because of the history of that stage and all of the artists who have performed on [it] like Elvis and the Beatles," Aldean says. "But I'm also excited because we'll be previewing a few new songs for the first time."
» Crib Note: Congrats to Emily Robison and Martin Strayer on the birth of their first child, Violet Isabel Strayer. "Violet was born at 3:01am on Sept. 4, 2012, weighing 8.5 lbs," a post on the Dixie ChicksFacebook page reads. "Mom and baby Violet are doing well, and Dad couldn't be happier."
Jamey Johnson will ring in the street date of his new album Living For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran by headlining Nashville's Ryman Auditorium Oct. 16.
According to Deadline.com, Brad Paisley's wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley will appear in the upcoming season of ABC-TV's Nashville. The drama premieres Oct. 10.
Toby Keith's "Red Solo Cup" made RyanSeacrest.com's "Freshman 15" list of songs that should be on incoming college freshmen playlists.
The late Patsy Cline (9/8) The late Jimmie Rodgers (9/8) The late Harlan Howard (9/8)
Wednesday (9/5): Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Good Morning America (ABC); Miss Willie Brown, Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC); Luke Bryan, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (NBC).
Thursday (9/6): Luke Bryan, Good Morning America (ABC); Taylor Swift, MTV Video Music Awards; Jason Aldean, Late Show With David Letterman (CBS); Billy Ray Cyrus, Tonight Show With Jay Leno (NBC).
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)