» Cast Away: Quit arguing with your friends over who the best new country artist is! Now you can actually do something about it as Jana Kramer, Kacey Musgraves and Sunny Sweeney face off for ACM New Female Vocalist, Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert and Hunter Hayes vie for Male and Florida Georgia Line, Love and Theft and Thompson Square duel for Duo. The Academy of Country Music is once again allowing us regular folk to vote alongside its high-falutin "professional members" to decide who the top three newbies are. That group will then contend for the ultimate New Artist of the Year award at the 48th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, which air live from Las Vegas in April. Go here and let your voice be heard!
» Who Let The Dog Out?After a fight with a mountain line, a trip down a raging river and thousands of miles of the harshest terrain, Dierks Bentley's dog Jake came limping over the hill into the arms of his tearful master. (At least, that's how we imagined it. Or maybe we've seen Homeward Bound one too many times.) In all seriousness, a panicked Bentley took to the web Sunday night after Jake hopped a fence during a thunderstorm and disappeared for hours. Fans, family and friends searched high and low for Dierks' best friend and music video co-star. "The president of my record label Mike Dungan and many other friends decided to drive around as well in the middle of the night," tweeted Bentley. "Means alot." He was notified via Facebook that Jake was found by a passing motorist and the pooch was returned safely Monday morning (1/14). "One of the happiest days of my life," Dierks said. "Grown men don't cry ... yeah, right." Excuse us, please. We're having a moment.
» Save A Horse, Thank A Cowboy: Speaking of animal rescues, Luke Bryan helped save a horse named Misty that fell into Tennessee's Harpeth River last week. Bryan and a friend were boating on the river when they saw the horse in trouble and notified the owners. "It was a blessing," said Misty's owner Janet McCormick. "If they hadn't been going down the river in a boat ... I wouldn't have known that she had fallen in." A team of a dozen people and a tractor worked for more than an hour to pull the horse to dry land. Watch Nashville news station WSMV's report on the story here.
» More Dates, Less Shoes: If Kenny Chesney gets his way, we'll be a nation of splinters, stubbed toes and dirty soles. Seriously! (Okay, maybe we're being a tad too literal.) Mr. Old Blue Chair has added 28 dates to his 2013 No Shoes Nation tour, which will kick off at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium March 16. The added stops bring the total number of shows to 46. Joining Chesney on No Shoes Nation in various cities are Zac Brown Band, Eric Church, Eli Young Band and Kacey Musgraves. Additional dates and details here. Having symptoms? Check with your local podiatrist.
» Swearing In Songs:Brad Paisley will join Alicia Keys, Fun., Katy Perry and more as part of the lineup for the Kids’ Inaugural Concert. The event is hosted by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden in support of military families and will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center Jan. 19.
» In Case You Missed It:Keith Urban appeared with Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Friday (1/11). The Amerian Idol judges and host commented on personality conflicts that often result in on-screen disagreements. "I've got a restraining order against Randy right now," joked Urban. "But the plus side is that if the four of us unanimously agree on you ... it's a magical moment." Watch here.
Alan Jackson will headline the 5th Annual Stars Go Blue benefit at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium March 20. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Colon Cancer Alliance’s Blue Note Fund. More here.
Heidi Newfield will be the honorary chair for The National Multiple Sclerosis Society Mid South Chapter’s 11th Annual Women Against MS Luncheon in Nashville Feb. 21. Proceeds will go toward funding local patient programs and national research focused on finding the cause and cure. Details here.
The Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum set an all-time attendance record in 2012; 564,777 people visited, the most in its 45-year history.
Ronnie Milsap (1/16)
Steve Earle (1/17)
Wednesday (1/16) and Thursday (1/17): Keith Urban, American Idol (FOX).
This Week's Album Releases
Katie ArmigerFall Into Me (1/15)
“We took our time making this record because I had a personal story to tell and as a songwriter I wanted to really showcase the past two years in the music,” Armiger says of her fourth studio album. “I worked with so many amazing people for the album and I am so proud of it because I think everyone will relate to each song.” All 14 tracks were co-written by Armiger and produced by Grammy Award winner Chad Carlson. The first single is “Better In A Black Dress.”
» Go Fish:Chris Young shows off his catch on a boat he bought his dad for Christmas. Next Christmas, he's buying his mom a deer stand!