» Swag More, Bark Less: Sure a lucky few walked away with some serious trophy-shelf hardware, but that doesn't mean country's other big names left last week's CMA Awards empty-handed. "The Zac Brown Band's John Hopkins pulled out his iPhone and was like, 'Look! I'm wearing the Maui Jim sunglasses I got last year on my upcoming album cover," their rep told us in the backstage gift room. Elsewhere, Blake Shelton was choosing Hick Stuff caps for himself and wife Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean scored an Atwood cowboy hat, Kelly Clarkson grabbed some sparkly Belldini tops, Little Big Town brought their kids for some Marble Slab ice cream and the Eli Young Band picked up cosmetics and skincare products from Sephora and Euphora. (Are they related? Nobody knows!) But sometimes the simplest gifts are the best, like Unwined Candles made in recycled wine bottles. Said the rep: "Everyone said they were excited to get them because they make their stinky tour buses smell better."
» Please Remove Shoes: Nobody has ever walked into a football stadium and said, "Oh, I better take my shoes off. This place looks fancy." But don't tell that to Kenny Chesney, who's hoping fans leave their shoes, shirts and problems behind as they roll in for his No Shoes Nation tour stops. Chesney brings his laid back island vibe to 17 stadiums next year, docking in Dallas, Seattle, Pittsburgh and more. Eric Church and Zac Brown Band will be featured at select locations. Eli Young Band and Kacey Musgraves will open all of the shows. Details here.
» At Ease, Soldiers: A 10-year Army veteran, Craig Morgan brings first hand experience to the role of spokesperson for Jack Daniel's "Operation Ride Home." The program helps service members and their families travel home for the holidays. “Having been there, I know that empty feeling in your gut when you want to travel from your base home for the holidays but just don’t have the money to do it,” says Morgan. “There are so many of these heroes who have served multiple deployments overseas and haven’t seen their families for years. Our nation’s military does a wonderful job getting them back to their bases, but it’s just not home.” The distillery donates $100,000 to the cause, and accepts donations here.
» Christmas Comes But Thrice:A perfect lead-in to spiked eggnog and unruly relatives,CMA Country Christmas will air Dec. 20, 22 and 23 on ABC-TV. Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles hosts the special, which will feature "songs and stories" from Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Scotty McCreery, The Band Perry, Keith Urban and more.
» Opening For Santa: Although we wish it was in the form of a giant balloon, Trace Adkins will appear in person at the 86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Adkins will make his way through the streets of Manhattan, stopping occasionally to perform songs for the crowd between baton tossers, Broadway show numbers, Carly Rae Jepsen and more Nov. 22 on NBC-TV.
» BoJingles: Scotty McCreery has partnered with Bojangles Restaurant to offer customers a free download of "First Noel," "Jingle Bells" or "O Holy Night." McCreery will also appear in TV and radio commercials for the chicken chain. Watch the hilarious TV spot here.
GAC is inviting fans to pick the Top 50 Videos of 2012. Vote for your favorites between now and Nov. 30 here and be entered for a chance to win $50,000. Results air Dec. 24.
Singer-songwriter Carter Robertson will release her memoir Playin’ On The Tracks Nov. 12. The only female member of Waylon Jennings's band, Robertson is the mother and namesake of sister trio Carter's Chord. More on her story here.
Miranda Lambert (11/10)
Chris Cagle (11/10)
Sunday (11/11): Taylor Swift, Storytellers (VH1).
Monday (11/12): Toby Keith, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (NBC).
Upcoming Album Releases
Aaron LewisThe Road (11/13)
Darius Rucker True Believers (1/22)
Tim McGraw Two Lanes Of Freedom (2/5)
» Very McCreery Christmas:Scotty McCreery lines up with buds for what may have resulted in Radio City Rockette high kicks after filming his holiday special. Pictured (l-r) are Brett Eldredge, Jana Kramer, McCreery, Gloriana’s Rachel Reinert, Tom Gossin and Mike Gossin. The special, Christmas With Scotty McCreey & Friends airs Dec.1 on GAC.
» Scratching Post:Lauren Alaina celebrates her 18th birthday exactly the way a girl is supposed to ... she bought some Jumbo Bucks, had a friend take a picture, and posted it on Instagram. Happy Birthday, Lauren! Don't forget that pack of Marlboro's on the counter.