» Country Clubbing: Coming soon to a bar near you ... an Entertainer of the Year? Blake Shelton took the big-star-small-room concept to Florida last weekend, playing free shows at The Barn in Sanford (near Orlando) and the Dixie Roadhouse in Cape Coral (near Ft. Myers). The move is a familiar one to Kenny Chesney, whose Keg In The Closet shows pop up from time to time, last week in Key West (Hog's Breath Saloon) and Jacksonville (Freebird Live). Chesney is ramping up to the open of his No Shoes Nation Tour Saturday in Tampa (3/16). Shelton plays the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Friday (3/15) and has a few other dates before opening the Ten Times Crazier Tour July 19 in Virginia Beach.
» Vegas, Baybee! Three weeks out, and the concentration of country crooners heading to Las Vegas is rising rapidly. Dierks Bentley, Hunter Hayes, Brantley Gilbert, Jana Kramer and Florida Georgia Line have been added to the list of performers for the 48th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards telecast (4/7 on CBS-TV). They'll participate remotely from The Orleans Arena, where they will also take part in the 3rd Annual ACM Fan Jam & Post-Award Concert. They join previously announced headliner Brad Paisley for the event, which will be emceed by GAC's Storme Warren. LL Cool J is also set to make an appearance. Tickets and info here.
The following night, Bentley, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Pit Bull are set to join previously announced performers Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift and Ne-Yo for ACM Presents: Tim McGraw's Superstar Summer Night April at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The special will be broadcast on CBS-TV later in the year. Tickets available here. Also in Vegas, Darius Rucker will leave the "Wagon Wheel" on the Putt Putt course to host the ACM Lifting Lives Celebrity Golf Classic April 6.
» X Games: Lady Antebellum will help launch the AT&T U-verse Fan Fair X (FFX) at the new Music City Center during CMA Music Festival. "Lady A Day at FFX" will include autograph signings, interviews and a live performance from the band June 6 to help kick off the 2013 gathering of all things country in Nashville. FFX will be open June 6-9 and is free to all four-day ticket holders. More here.
» Country Must Be Intercontinental:Brantley Gilbert makes his first-ever European tour stops this weekend in Glasgow (3/15), Manchester and London (3/17). The latter is the Country 2 Country Festival, where he joins Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Vince Gill, Little Big Town and others. He then embarks on another first: a USO tour with four shows overseas. "I have so much respect for what our service men and women do every day," says Gilbert. "To have the chance to perform for them while they are actively serving our country couldn’t make me more proud."
» Perry Me Home: Republic Nashville's The Band Perry will perform a free concert and sign autographs in their hometown of Greenville, TN March 30 to raise awareness for Outnumber Hunger, and to preview new music. "Anyone who knows us knows how much we love our hometown," says Neil Perry. "We have been traveling so much the past several years that we wanted to bring our new music and our new show back home to the folks in Greeneville to say how much we appreciate their support." Their album Pioneer drops April 2.
» In Case You Missed It: Pistol Annie Ashley Monroe performed "Like A Rose" Monday (3/11) on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. Watch here.
Blake Shelton "proved a charming showman" at Strawberry Festival. –Tampa Bay Times
Swift premiered the video for "22" on Good Morning America Wednesday. Watch here.
Dierks Bentley's fifth Rodeo Houston performance was "arguably his best."–Houston Chronicle
Miranda Lambert & Bentley gave Oklahoma City "a double-barrel blast of boundless energy and nonstop hits." –The Oklahoman
In advance of her Red Tour kickoff Wednesday in Omaha, Swift "fulfilled a dream" with a visit to a patient at the local children's hospital. –Omaha World-Herald
Darius Rucker is "a storyteller musician that’s relevant and emotive, and polished and talented and real." –Tulsa World
» Crib Note: Congratulations to Love And Theft’s Eric Gunderson and wife Emily on the March 10 arrival of their first child, Camden William Gunderson. The young affection burglar came a few weeks early, but his health is said to be good.
Hunter Hayes will perform three live shows next week (March 18, 19, 22) streamed exclusively through Country Financial's Facebook, here.
Luke Bryan has the overall No. 1 album in the nation as Spring Break ... Here To Party tops the charts this week.
Zac Brown has tapped a former Ronald McDonald House Charities executive, Rob Parker, to run Brown's non-profit Camp Southern Ground as President/CEO. The charity is currently building a new facility in Fayetteville, GA offering a year-round retreat destination for special needs children.
Jerry Jeff Walker (3/16)
Little Big Town's Phillip Sweet (3/18)
Charley Pride (3/18)
Friday (3/15): Hayden Panettiere, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (NBC).
Monday (3/18): Wynonna and Kellie Pickler, Dancing With The Stars (ABC); Kip Moore, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (NBC); Wynonna, The Road Back (GAC).
Upcoming Album Releases
Kacey MusgravesSame Trailer Different Park (3/19)
Alan JacksonPrecious Memories Volume II (3/26)
Blake SheltonBased On A True Story … (3/26)
Thompson SquareJust Feels Good (3/26)
Maggie Rose Cut To Impress (3/26)
The Band PerryPioneer (4/2)
Gretchen WilsonRight On Time (4/2)
Brad Paisley Wheelhouse (4/9)
Eric ChurchCaught In The Act: Live (4/9)
» Hope For Haiti:Brad Paisley joins former U.S. Senator and physician Bill Frist and Olympic gold-medal skater Scott Hamilton in Haiti to help LiveBeyond with its community development project, the LiveBeyond Base, Thomazeau. The project will establish a hospital, orphanage, school and worship center in the area, which was devastated in the 2010 earthquake. Pictured (l-r) are Paisley, Frist, LiveBeyond CEO Dr. David Vanderpool and Hamilton.