» We're Red-y: Relax. Kick your red Keds up and watch No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya's custom-painted car at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series while enjoying a slice of Papa John's pizza. Now close your eyes and tell us the first thing that comes to mind. If you said, "Taylor Swift's new album is available this week," then all the promotion worked. We've been waiting for weeks and now that Reddropped (more below), here's what they're saying:
Swift: "I’d rather be too something than not enough something." –Time
Swift "continues to write ever-more convincingly – and wittily and painfully ..." –USA Today
» Garth Gave It Hall: When George Strait, James Taylor and Bob Seeger gather in one room to perform in tribute to a country artist, it's got to be something big. Garth Brooksbig. "What I admire about Garth is his passion," Seeger said at Brooks' induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame Sunday in Nashville (10/21). "He's never afraid to be passionate. I love the fact that even with his enormous success, his historic success, he's still a really good guy." Brooks, as is his pattern, turned the attention to others, recalling hearing Strait's "Unwound" for the first time. " At that point I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life," Brooks said. "I wanted to be George Strait so damn bad."
He closed by telling his daughters Taylor, August and Allie that a parent's success in life is judged through their children's eyes and that they were "the greatest things in my life." Recalling a Bible passage, Brooks concluded with a nod to wife Trisha Yearwood, "It says a man makes it to heaven through his wife. Miss Yearwood, you're my only shot." Also inducted were Connie Smith and keyboard player Hargus "Pig" Robbins.
» We Met On A Reality Show: Some relationships aren't meant to last past one season of reality television: Jef Holm and Emily Maynard. Kelsey Grammer and Camille. Honey Boo Boo and Glitzy. But shows with country artists seem to be the exception. Blake Shelton will duet with Christina Aguilera on "Just A Fool," which will appear on her album Lotus, out Nov. 13 and Carrie Underwood will join Steven Tyler for Aerosmith's "Can't Stop Loving You" on their upcoming release Music From Another Dimension, due Nov. 6.
» Holiday In:Lady Antebellum released their holiday album this week (see below) and will perform a holiday concert to be televised Dec. 5 on GAC. The band discusses what the song "I'll Be Home For Christmas" means to them in their latest Webisode Wednesday. Watch here.
» High Cost Of Living: Jamey Johnson zigzags across the country and back with his Living For A Song Tour starting Nov. 8 in Knoxville, TN and concluding in Montgomery, AL Dec. 31. The tour shares its name with Johnson's new album, which itself is a tribute to acclaimed singer-songwriter Hank Cochran ("I Fall To Pieces"). Dates here.
» Auction Ears:Did the George Strait concert in your town sell out within hours? If your answer is "yeah-boy," the King Of Country has your back. Strait will auction a pair of front row seats for each date of The Cowboy Rides Away Tour. Proceeds will benefit the Jenifer Strait Foundation. Learn more about the charity and make your bid for tickets here.
» In Case You Missed It: Taylor Swift discussed this week's release of Red with George Stephanopoulos on ABC's Good Morning America. Watch here.
Atlantic's Hunter Hayes performed "Wanted" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Monday (10/22). Watch here.
Nokia celebrated the launch of Nokia Music in Nashville last week with a $10,000 donation to Musicians On Call. Republic Nashville's Eli Young Band visited VA patients earlier in the day and performed at the event.
Winners at the 18th Annual ICM (Inspirational Country Music) Faith, Family & Country Awards included Vince Gill, who won for Mainstream Inspirational Country Song ("Threaten Me With Heaven") and Mainstream Country Artist.
Dwight Yoakam (10/23)
Jimmy Wayne (10/23)
Chely Wright (10/25)
Tuesday (10/23): Taylor Swift, Good Morning America (ABC) and the Late Show With David Letterman (CBS); Scotty McCreery, Christmas With Scotty McCreery (QVC); Blake Shelton, The Voice (NBC).
Wednesday (10/24): Taylor Swift, The View (ABC); Little Big Town, Live With Kelly & Michael.
Thursday (10/25): Taylor Swift, The Ellen DeGeneres Show (ABC); Martina McBride, Anderson Live.
This Week's Album Releases
Taylor SwiftRed (10/22)
“You have two choices when you’re making your fourth album: you can do things the way you’ve always done them or you can change,” Swift says. “I love the idea of evolving and giving the fans something new to listen to and a new direction to follow.” Unlike Speak Now, which she wrote by herself and produced with Nathan Chapman, Red features a wide array of co-writers and production credits. These include Dann Huff, Semisonic's Dan Wilson, pop producers Max Martin and Shellback, Irish rocker Jacknife Lee, and duets with singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody.
Lady AntebellumOn This Winter's Night (10/22)
Their full-length holiday collection keeps to the traditional classics – "All I Want For Christmas," "The First Noel," "A Holly Jolly Christmas" – save their self-penned title track. Paul Worley produced.
Billy Ray Cyrus Change My Mind (10/23)
“My songs come to me when I’m dealing with heavy stuff,” Cyrus says. “If I’m going through something emotional, the songs pour out of me. It’s the only way I know how to express myself. I have lived through every emotion on every one of these songs.” Tracks include “I’m So Miserable,” “Hope Is Just Ahead” and "Good As Gone."
» Honey, I Shrunk Rascal Flatts: Or maybe it's just the really big ticket being presented to the band prior to their Nashville show Friday (10/19). The presentation commemorated career sales of more than seven million tickets. Pictured (l-r) are Live Nation's Brian O'Connell, and Flatts' Joe Dan Rooney, Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus.