» George Jones Memorial: The country music family stopped to remember George Jones Thursday (5/2) with an emotional, music-filled funeral service at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House. Tanya Tucker and The Imperials opened with "The Old Rugged Cross" as Christian hymns dominated the song choices. "He joins the ranks of the greatest of the greats," Charlie Daniels said. "As long as there is country music, he will be remembered." Performers, speakers and attendees included Randy Travis, Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Laura Bush, the Oak Ridge Boys, Bob Schieffer, former First Lady Laura Bush, Jamey Johnson, Wynonna and Travis Tritt. "George was and always will be the greatest singer of all time in country music," Barbara Mandrell said at one point. "There won't be anyone, ever, [to] fill his shoes." Vince Gill added later, "It's my belief they don't make those shoes anymore." He and Patty Loveless delivered a tearful performance of "Go Rest High On That Mountain." The service closed with Alan Jackson's shattering performance of Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today."
» Home Run In The Fast Lane: Tim McGraw kicks off his Two Lanes Of Freedom Tour Tuesday (5/2) in Birmingham, AL, and it's all about the music. "With every tour we put together we focus on making it new and exciting for the fans," he says. "All the production bells and whistles are nice and we'll certainly have all those, but this tour is all about smacking you in the face with a huge sound and great songs and giving you an unforgettable night of music." Brantley Gilbert and Love and Theft will help with sound smacks as openers. Additionally, Tim will give away more mortgage-free homes to military veterans and their families at each of the 31 stops through his HomeFront program in association with Chase and Operation Homefront. More about the homes here and a complete list of dates here.
» This One's For The Girls: "I got really tired of those standard country characters," Kacey Musgraves tells Rolling Stone in their Best of Rock 2013 issue. "For girls, either you're a wilting flower who's been done wrong or, like, a ball-busting, angry redneck bitch who's gonna burn your house down." Kacey is featured alongside "Nashville's Newest Hitmakers" Ashley Monroe as The Stoner Girl, Dustin Lynch as The New Hat In Town, Hunter Hayes as The Country Bieber and The Band Perry as The Arena Rockers. More here.
» Zip Lock: After the cell phone replaced the lighter as the cool thing to hold up at concerts, the lighter business had to start thinking outside of the bun. They could either a) encourage fans to light their cell phones on fire or b) partner with Lee Briceas he hits the road opening Brad Paisley's Beat This Summer Tour May 9. Lee created designs for two custom Zippo lighters that will be sold at the shows and available to download as an app, for the best of both worlds. So hold 'em up when you hear his new song "Parking Lot Party" live. He'll also sign autographs at the Zippo Encore booth in select cities. More here.
» Pope Culture: Cassadee Pope brought a pop-rock background and sound to The Voice's Team Blake last season and won. Now she's ready to launch a career on the same label as Florida Georgia Line and The Band Perry. What made her decide to take the country road? "When I sang 'Over You' on the show, the reaction was so incredible and I really connected with the lyrics, so it just kind of happened naturally," she says. "It's funny, people say because Blake's a country singer that he pushed me to do it, but it's something that I started on my own and it naturally progressed." Cassadee debuts her single June 4 on The Voice, hits the road with Rascal Flatts this fall and will be the subject of a new CMT series documenting the start of her country career.
» In Case You Missed It: The Band Perry discussed how their parents wouldn't allow them to have a backup plan on The Talk Wednesday (5/1). Watch here.
Florida Georgia Line shined on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Tuesday (4/30). Watch here.
Kenny Chesney raised his "Pirate Flag" on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (4/30). Watch here.
Garth Brooks returns to the Encore Theater in Las Vegas for Memorial Day and July 4th weekend shows, which will be filmed for an upcoming DVD release. "Any day that Garth is in the Wynn is a good day for the hotel and a great night for the audience," Steve Wynn says. Garth's three-year residency at the hotel ended in November. More here.
The Daytime Emmy Awards were announced Wednesday (5/1) and, in the category of Outstanding Original Song, Little Big Town received a nod for "Good Afternoon America" from Good Afternoon America and Sheryl Crow for her song "This Day" from Katie. Trisha Yearwood's Trisha's Southern Kitchen was nominated for Outstanding Culinary Program.
Eric Church (5/3)
Gwen Sebastian (5/3)
Randy Travis (5/4)
Robert Ellis Orrall (5/4)
The late Tammy Wynette (5/5)
Jimmie Dale Gilmore (5/6)
Friday (5/3): Kacey Musgraves, The Late Show With David Letterman (CBS);
Saturday (5/4): Blake Shelton, The Voice (NBC).
Sunday (5/5): Blake Shelton, The Voice (NBC); Trace Adkins, All-Star Celebrity Apprentice (NBC); Jennifer Wayne and Caroline Cutbirth, The Amazing Race (CBS).
Monday (5/6): Kellie Pickler, Dancing With The Stars (ABC); Blake Shelton, The Voice: The Live Playoffs, Part 1 (NBC).
Upcoming Album Releases
Pistol AnniesAnnie Up (5/7)
Lady AntebellumGolden (5/7)
Craig Campbell Never Regret (5/7)
Various ArtistsThe Music Of Nashville Season 1, Volume 2 (5/7)
Trace AdkinsLove Will ... (5/14)
George Strait Love Is Everything (5/14)
Various ArtistsEverybody Has A Story (5/14)
Darius RuckerTrue Believers (5/21)
Hunter HayesEncore (6/18)
» I Am The ... Huh?Keith Urban's T-shirts aren't quite as tight as Simon Cowell's, but they still get people talking.
» T-Shirt Swap:Jason Aldean uses a T-shirt to announce he'll co-host the 2013 CMT Music Awards with Veronica Mars' star Kristen Bell, and she does the same. The show will air live from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena June 5.