» Blake Superior: NBC-TV's The Voice returns Monday (9/10), and not only is last year's victorious coach Blake Shelton ready for another win, he can't wait to discover music's next big star. "My favorite thing about going into the blind auditions of season three is that at any moment we could be hearing the next superstar," Shelton says. "There are two coaches that have a lot to prove. One of them is not me, and the other is not Adam [Levine]. It's got to be getting to Cee Lo [Green] and Christina [Aguilera] that they have not won this thing yet." View season three's first sneak peek here.
» And The Winner Could Be: Eric Church leads 46th Annual CMA Awards nominees with five: Male, Album (Chief) and Single, Song and Video for "Springsteen." "I'm still in a little bit in shock," Church says. "I'm truly speechless. I think it's a testament to the fans that really believed in the music and loved the music and told people about the music. Otherwise, we don't really have the track record to be the most-nominated artist." Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton each earned four nods. Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town and Taylor Swift follow with three each. Aldean and Luke Bryan revealed the artist categories on Good Morning America, and Lee Brice announced the Broadcast Awards finalists at the CMA Nashville offices Wednesday (9/5). Click here for a full list and read more reactions below. The CMAs air Nov. 1 on ABC-TV.
» CMA Quotebook:Stars react to their nominations:
"Woke up to the wonderful news: Three CMA nominations! Entertainer, Female and [I'm] so excited to be nominated with the Civil Wars for Vocal Event!" – Taylor Swift
"Super-excited about CMA noms. Huge thanks to you guys for making this an incredible year." – Jason Aldean
"We're so thrilled and so honored. The Group of the Year category is fierce, fierce. We’re so honored to be a part of it." – Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild
"There are so many incredible bands in country music. We are extremely blessed and very proud about being nominated for Vocal Group Of The Year. We are in great company among friends." – Eli Young Band's Mike Eli
"I am so grateful to the country music community for embracing this project and making me feel so at home. To share this nomination with my friend Darius Rucker makes it even more special. I have a CMA nomination and a friend for life. It doesn't get much better than that." – Lionel Richie on his Vocal Event nomination with Rucker for "Stuck On You"
"I have been watching my idols on the CMA Awards since I was a little kid. It is such an honor to be nominated in two categories. I have been dreaming of this my whole life." – Love And Theft's Eric Gunderson
» Motorin' To The Top: Has Little Big Town's first No. hit "Pontoon" led to a rise in boat sales? A Los Angeles Times article named-dropped the summer smash in its boating industry piece, which showed a 6% sales bump industry-wide and named the deck boat as the top seller. "We've read all kinds of articles about how we've helped increase the sales of pontoon boats all over the nation," Phillip Sweet says. Karen Fairchild adds, "People email articles to us all the time about the boating industry crediting us." Yes, but have their efforts scored them "party in slow motion?" "CMT gave us the pontoon we used at the CMT Awards, but it won't float," Sweet says. "It was so big, we couldn't store it in our rehearsal space. So they cut it into four pieces." LBT's Tornado featuring "Pontoon" lands Tuesday (9/11).
» To Awareness And Beyond: Fans are abuzz over Kellie Pickler's new 'do! The blonde bombshell shaved her locks in support of her childhood friend Summer Holt Miller, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in June. "Cancer does not discriminate," Pickler says. Miller adds, "If this compels even one person to change their mentality toward [not] waiting until the age of 40 for their mammogram, then it will be worth it." Athena Water has partnered with the duo to help raise awareness on early detection. By 2014, the company will donate a minimum of $2 million to support breast cancer awareness, treatment and research. Learn more about their story here.
» Hollywood Gills: Reba, producer Tony Brown and Amy Grant were among the speakers at Vince Gill's Hollywood Walk of Fame induction in Los Angeles Thursday (9/6). Reba called Gill a true friend and called him out for setting up a TV between the monitors onstage to watch the World Series during a concert at the Greek Theatre. Brown called Gill one of the best guitarists in the world, and Grant spoke of her husband's dedication to his fans. "I don't know if it's the smartest thing I did, but it was the luckiest thing I did," Gill said of moving to Hollywood at 19. "I made a lot of friends and I'm surrounded by people who have been with me my whole life. I'm completely moved."
» Chronicle: Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer "The Reverend" Joe South passed away at his Buford, GA home Wednesday (9/5). He was 72. Best known for penning the Grammy-winning songs "Games People Play" (1969's Song of the Year and Best Contemporary Song) and "Rose Garden" (1970's Best Country Vocal Performance, Female for Lynn Anderson), South also wrote Billy Joe Royal's "Down In The Boondocks" and "I Knew You When" and Deep Purple's first U.S. hit "Hush." As a session guitarist, South can be heard on Aretha Franklin's "Chain Of Fools," Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde and Simon And Garfunkel's "The Sound Of Silence."
» In Case You Missed It: Luke Bryan performed "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" on Wednesday's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon(9/5).
Chris Young will headline his first show at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium Nov. 15. "The first time I set foot on the Ryman stage was an unbelievable experience," Young says. "Saying I can't wait for this show is an obvious understatement." More here.
Lee Brice co-wrote a new fight song titled "Orange Empire" for the Clemson University football team. A former Tiger player himself, Brice recalls riding with the team to the stadium on game days: "When we'd get to the top of that hill ... there really is no describing the intensity and excitement." The Tigers will take the field to the new song at each game starting Saturday when Clemson hosts Ball State (9/8).
Craig Morgan and Field And Stream Editor-at-Large T. Edward Nickens will co-host the Outdoor Channel's 13-episode series Field & Stream Total Outdoorsman Challenge. Previously a four-part special, the Challenge will follow 14 participants as they compete for a chance to win more than $50,000. The series premieres Oct. 3 at 9:30pm ET. Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoors is currently in its third season on the network.
The late Buddy Holly (9/7) The late Patsy Cline (9/8) The late Jimmie Rodgers (9/8) The late Harlan Howard (9/8)
Friday (9/7): Billy Ray Cyrus, Access Hollywood Live (syndicated).
Saturday (9/8): Eric Church, Origins (GAC).
Sunday (9/9): Zac Brown Band, Uncaged In Vegas (GAC).
Monday (9/10): Martina McBride, Opening Act (E!); Blake Shelton, The Voice (NBC) and Live With Kelly (syndicated); Little Big Town, Good Morning America (ABC).
Upcoming Album Releases
Kix Brooks (9/11) Bucky Covington (9/11) Little Big Town (9/11)
» Paging Drs. Love & Feelgood:Kiss and Mötley Crüe present an oversized $50,000 check to Tim McGraw for Operation Homefront, which assists military families and wounded warriors. "The freedom we all enjoy is only made possible by the brave servicemen and women who chose to put themselves in harm's way to protect this great country," Kiss' Paul Stanley says. "Tim's work is a great example of how those in our position can show our appreciation while also [encouraging] all Americans to contribute on whatever level they can." The rockers made the donation while in Nashville Tuesday performing at Bridgestone Arena. Pictured (l-r) are MC's Mick Mars, Kiss' Gene Simmons, MC's Vince Neil, Kiss' Eric Singer, McGraw, Stanley, MC's Nikki Sixx and Tommy Lee and Kiss' Tommy Thayer.
» Fallon Around:Jimmy Fallon surprises Luke Bryan (l) with a plaque recognizing sales of seven million downloads of songs from Tailgates & Tanlines.