» CMA Costume Party: There will be a lot of people dressed like country stars in Nashville this week, and we're not just talking about Halloween. The real tricks and treats happen the next night (Thursday, Nov. 1) at the 46th Annual CMA Awards, airing live on ABC-TV. Big-time pairings have Kelly Clarkson debuting her new country single backed by Vince Gill. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill perform together in tribute to Willie Nelson. Of course, co-hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will also be performing (separately), and Taylor Swift will bow her new song "Begin Again." While the big awards like Entertainer and Album of the Year will be saved for the show, winners in the Musical Event and Music Video of the Year categories will be announced that morning on Good Morning America. Reba will be performing on GMA that morning and Paisley will guest. Reba, Darius Rucker, Jana Kramer,Jake Owen, Nashville's Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, Tim Allen, Lisa Maria Presley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley have been confirmed as presenters. Don't miss it!
» Remember The Album-o: Hope On The Rocks is in stores Tuesday, and albums may be the only big releases we'll see from two-time film star Toby Keith. "It took 10 months to write, produce, act in, complete, publicize and release Beer For My Horses," he says of his 2008 comedy. "At the end of the day, my writing suffered, my time suffered and my creative world suffered all around. I'm glad I did it; there's not a lot of people in my position who can say they have. But they were very time consuming." Toby won't say never, but he'd have to have a perfect scenario. "If they were going to remake The Alamo with lots of stars, lots of money and I was going to play Davy Crockett or Jim Bowie – something crazy big like that – you'd have to consider it. I've got some big-time actor friends and get tossed a few things, but it would have to be a two month window and fit into my schedule. Otherwise, I'm comfortable sitting here watching everybody else do it." Read more about HOTR below.
» Swiftlets: What's a Swiftlet? We're not sure either, it's just a catch-all we made up to categorize the thousands of news items flying around about Taylor Swift. Ready? Swiftlets:
She'll launch her Red Tour March 13 in Omaha, NE, bringing along "Everything Has Changed" duet partner Ed Sheeran as the opening act. Watch Taylor make the announcement here.
A bit closer on the calendar, Swift and LL Cool J will co-host The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! from Nashville. This marks the fifth time nominations have been announced on primetime television. The Dec. 5 event will include performances from Luke Bryan and Maroon 5.
Finally, Swift appears on the Dec. cover of Cosmopolitan. She's also featured on the fronts of the UK's You and Australia's Sunday. Swiftlets concluded.
» Star On The Helmet, Star In The Helmet:Kenny Chesney will be the halftime performer for this year's Thanksgiving Day game between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins at Cowboys Stadium. The performance kicks off the Salvation Army's 122nd Red Kettle Campaign. Fans are invited to submit a 60-second video featuring youth football highlights for the "Boys of Fall Online Video Contest," which offers a trip for four to see the game live and an opportunity to meet Chesney. Details here.
» Double Play: Seven minutes was all it took for Jason Aldean to sell out his show at Boston's Fenway Park. So with the seats all tied-up for July 13, it was time for extra innings and the Aldean team added July 12. With Miranda Lambert, Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett on the bill, the Beantown shows are sure to be a grand slam. Over the weekend, Aldean took a swing at cancer, raising $509,125 for Susan G. Komen For The Cure at his seventh annual Concert For The Cure Saturday (10/27) in Dallas. Concert merchandise to benefit SGK is still available here and there's also still time to get in on the Susan G. Komen Auction For the Cure, which features a pink guitar autographed by Aldean, two tickets with meet-and-greets to a choice of 2013 Aldean concerts and other Aldean merchandise. Place bids here.
» I'm Not A Country Star, But I Play One On TV: Pop-country princess Julliette Barnes has a huge new single called "Telescope" and even superstar Rayna James' daughters are singing it! If you're as confused as we are, it's because none of those people are real. They're characters on ABC-TV's new drama Nashville. The songs, however, are real enough. "Telescope" is available on iTunes (here), as is the kids' version. Hayden Panettiere, who plays Barnes, actually sings the song and a music career isn't completely far-fetched. "I actually headed down the road of doing an album for a while," she said recently on the Rachel Ray Show. In the meantime, save the cheerleader ... to your hard drive.
» What The Dickens? Brad Paisley celebrated his 40th birthday over the weekend and in the spirit of Halloween, his friends at the Grand Ole Opry delivered a b'day video almost worthy of a president. Watch here.
» Hold On To Your Hats: If you haven't been blown away by Carrie Underwood in the past, you'll have more opportunities in the future. Doesn't that totally blow your mind? Underwood's Blown Away Tour adds 40 new dates in 2013. CMA New Artist of the Year nominee Hunter Hayes continues in support. Details here.
» In Case You Missed It: Reba discussed the twists and turns in her career leading up to her new ABC-TV comedy Malibu Country on All Access Nashville With Katie Couric:20/20 (10/26). The program also included interviews with Taylor Swift, LeAnn Rimes, Miranda Lambert and Pistol Annies. Carrie Underwood revealed that Dolly Parton and Reba are near the top of her list of "Queens Of Country." Watch here.
Little Big Town and Big & Rich kicked off Country Week on ABC-TV's Dancing With The Stars: All Stars Monday night (10/29). Taylor Swift shows up for a perfomance on Tuesday along with pop star Jason Mraz.
Season 8 American Idol Finalist Danny Gokey will host the 3rd Annual Cruise for Sophia’s Heart Foundation. The ship sets sail in Port Canaveral, FL Feb. 24.
Darryl Worley (10/31)
Big Kenny Alphin (11/1)
Lyle Lovett (11/1)
Bill Anderson (11/1)
Monday (10/29): Little Big Town, Big & Rich, Dancing With The Stars (ABC); Blake Shelton, The Voice (NBC).
Tuesday (10/30): Taylor Swift, Dancing With The Stars (ABC); Blake Shelton, The Voice (NBC); Kelleigh Bannen, Hart Of Dixie (CW).
Thursday (11/1): The 46th Annual CMA Awards (ABC).
This Week's Album Releases
Toby KeithHope On The Rocks
Keith produced and wrote or co-wrote all 10 tracks with frequent collaborators Scotty Emerick, Bobby Pinson and Rivers Rutherford. "They're all really different, but the reason I trust them is they show up, they want to be there, they want to work and they're not yes-men," Keith says. "They don't just say, 'Here's a song, fix it your way and put your name on it.' We start them all from scratch." A deluxe edition includes remixes of "Red Solo Cup" and "Beers Ago," and live versions of "Whiskey Girl" and "Get Out Of My Car."
This Joplin, MO-based six-piece was a 2009 Colgate Country Showdown finalist and released a self-titled EP in 2011. Tracks include "Whiskey Sunday," "I'll Go To Prison" and lead single "Lies." Justin Woods produced.