Willie Nelson canceled a gig at SeaWorld over the weekend, slamming the water park for its maltreatment of sea creatures. Speaking with CNN, Nelson said the decision to cancel wasn't a difficult one: "I don't agree with the way they treat their animals. It wasn't that hard a deal for me." Nelson added that several petitions had come to his attention, including one at Change.org.
Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves were among the names in country music to receive Grammy nominations. Swift scored nods for Best Country Album, Best Country Song ("Begin Again"), Best Country Duo/Group ("Highway Don't Care" with Keith Urban) and Album of the Year (Red). Kacey will face off in the Best Country Song with Swift with her hit "Merry Go Round."
During the annual Charlie Daniels & Friends benefit concert for Christmas 4 Kids, Garth Brooks took some time out to honor his late bus driver Jim Payne. Jim and his wife Carla have served on the Board of Directors of Christmas 4 Kids for many years. "Jim and Carla are just so sweet people that believe in this effort so much . . ."
Craig Morgan recently celebrated his five-year anniversary of being a member of the Grand Ole Opry. The 49-year-old country singer performed onstage at the historic venue and received a plaque from Pete Fisher, who is general manager of the Opry. "I wore them out when I first started as a singer," said Morgan of the honor.
Keith Urban has announced that the 2014 Keith Urban Calendar, benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is ready for order via KeithUrbanFans.com. Since 2003, KeithUrbanFans.com has created a limited edition, one-of-a-kind Keith Urban calendar featuring a collection of concert photos taken by his fans.
Eric Church says that the title track to his latest album, The Outsiders, was written for the misfits and loners of the world. Speaking with Billboard, Church said the tune is meant to give such kids hope:
"[It's a song] for a 13 or 14-year-old kid who doesn't quite have it all together yet, and he's the outcast. It's a gladiator song. It's a locker-room song."
Lady Antebellum, currently on the road promoting their Golden Deluxe album, set up shop on their tour bus to record an acoustic rendition of "And the Radio Played," which they aired as part of their Webisode Wednesday series. The vid features the trio harmonizing on the tune beautifully, despite being packed into the bus' tiny quarters.
Laura Bell Bundy has released her "Silent Night (Club Mix)" via her website, and sat down to talk about the haunting dance version of the traditional Christmas tune. "More often you'll get in there, and the musicians will start to do something based on what you're saying, and then it finds its own unique thing," she said.
Jake Owen has released "After the Music's Stopped," a cut from his recently released fourth studio album, Days of Gold. The song appears on the deluxe version of the LP, available exclusively through Target, but is also currently streaming at theBoot.com. The wistful track features Jake reminiscing on what might have been.
Blake Shelton is upset that the word "Lord" was removed from the gospel classic, "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," during a performance on the Voice. The censoring came during the Seattle Starbucks Chorus' performance with the top eight contestants, when "Lord" was replaced with the word "oh."
Following his farewell Vegas residency gig, Garth Brooks has announced a return to the same venue for four shows. Garth's previous run was a solo event, but the new shows will be done with a full band. "I've been itching for the chance to bring my band to Vegas to play this room," Brooks says in a press release.
Luke Bryan made the wish of eight year old Tatum Libbesmeier come true by visiting with her. Tatum, who is afflicted with eye cancer, was granted a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Her wish happened to be to meet up with her favorite country star, Bryan. Bryan met Tatum back stage at the CMA Country Christmas special and played a private concert for her.
Carrie Underwood was injured on the set of the recent Sound of Music production for NBC. The country star hit Twitter to notify fans of her clumsiness, while also assuring them that she's okay. "So yesterday I hit myself in the head with my own guitar & later fell on my face playing leap frog! What do today's rehearsals have for us?" she wrote.
Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert have been added to the bill of Country Thunder Wisconsin, which goes down in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin from July 24 through the 27. Additional performers include Brantley Gilbert, Gary Allan, Sawyer Brown, Craig Morgan, Mark Chesnutt, Joe Diffie, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Charlie Worsham.
Love and Theft singer Stephen Barker Liles has welcomed his new son Jett into the world. Liles broke news of the addition to his family, telling fans and friends that his son's birth was more exciting than any concert he's ever given. "Jett Barker Liles is here! It was the greatest rush I have ever experienced!" the singer said.