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Carrie Underwood's Pregnancy Leads Her to Get Serious About Celebrating the Holidays


Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryCarrie Underwood and her husband, Nashville Predators hockey player Mike Fisher, won't get to spend all of Thanksgiving Day together since he has a game that night.

"Our Thanksgivings and actually our holidays are kind of a mess, to be honest, because our plans revolve around mainly his hockey schedule," Carrie admits.

Now that they're expecting their first child, Carrie is committed to really celebrating holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, though.

She says, "I told him this year, I was like, 'I'm really tired of skipping holidays.' I feel like, especially now, we need to make it more of an effort to, no matter what situation or what hand we're dealt, you know, make that special."

Carrie is making the best of the situation this Thanksgiving and inviting a few of her "misfit friends" over for a big meal.

"I guess we'll be watching Mike on TV as we're eating our stuffing and pumpkin pie and things like that," Carrie says. "But he can come join us afterwards. So, I think that's -- we're just gonna make it special one way or another."

Look for Carrie to perform her new song, "All Is Well," with Gospel artist Michael W. Smith on the CMA Country Christmas special this Monday night at 8 ET on ABC.  The duet appears on Michael's new holiday album, The Spirit of Christmas, on sale now.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockJason Aldean and Bob Seger's CMT Crossroads episode premieres Friday night at 10 ET.

Thomas Rhett loves to eat dressing at Thanksgiving, but he's not a fan of gravy.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill try to take their three daughters to the beach every Thanksgiving.

The Band Perry's Kimberly Perry makes a sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and a "sugary nutty topping" every Thanksgiving.

Josh Turner had released the video for "Lay Low," the lead single from his new studio album due out in 2015.

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Luke Bryan Thankful for the 1.7 Million Fans Who Came to See Him This Year


Image Courtesy Dick Clark Productions/ABCWhen Luke Bryan sits down to Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, he'll definitely be thinking about the 1.7 million fans who came to see him in concert this year.

Luke tells ABC New Radio, "I'm thankful for just another year in this business where I felt a lot of love from a lot of people, a lot of fans. We went out and worked our butt off this year and stayed safe and stayed healthy."

All that hard work ended up securing a CMA Entertainer of the Year trophy for Luke earlier this month.

He adds, "I feel like we still moved the needle a little bit and really made some things happen out there."

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Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman Wants You to Help Lend a Ham to Those in Need


Image Courtesy Sandbox EntertainmentLittle Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman has teamed up with Smithfield Brand meats for their Lend a Ham campaign this holiday season.

Every time someone tweets @SmithfieldBrand or posts on their Facebook wall using the hashtag #LendAHam, the company will donate one serving of protein to a food bank, up to one million servings.

To launch the campaign, Kimberly went undercover at a grocery store to hand out $100 gift cards to unsuspecting customers. Highlights from Kimberly's giveaway are now featured in a new YouTube video.

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Joe Nichols Gets a Surprise Visit from Randy Travis at Ft. Worth Concert


Image Courtesy BJ Yeager/Red Bow RecordsJoe Nichols got a surprise visit from Randy Travis over the weekend. Randy attended Joe's show at Billy Bob's Texas Saturday night in Ft. Worth, Texas. The two shared some barbecue, and Joe honored the country legend with an acoustic performance of Randy's song "Promises."

Joe and Randy sang a duet of "Tonight I'm Playin' Possum" in tribute to the late George Jones on Randy's 2013 album, Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am. Randy hasn't made many public appearances since suffering a stroke and undergoing heart surgery last year.

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Sara Evans Debuts Explosive New Video for "Put My Heart Down"


Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleSara Evans doesn't have any co-stars in her new video for "Put My Heart Down." The clip features Sara alone in Nashville's Riverside Mansion, surrounded by hundreds of lights, which are meant to signify the light coming on in her head that this relationship is over. Eventually, the lights explode, something Sara feels demonstrates the song's sad lyrics and happy melody.

She says, "You have such beautiful and pretty scenes with the soft lighting and beautiful mansion, contradicted by the exploding bulbs.  I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.”

Sara premiered the video for "Put My Heart Down" exclusively at RollingStone.com. It's the latest single from her current album, Slow Me Down.

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Big & Rich Playing AutoZone Liberty Bowl Halftime Show December 29 in Memphis


Image Courtesy Webster PRBig & Rich will perform at the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Halftime Show in Memphis December 29. They'll also headline the President's Gala Dinner Dance at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis on December 28.

Big & Rich will also receive the Liberty Bowl's Outstanding Achievement Award at the dinner recognizing their achievements in the music world. Previous recipients include Clint Black, Alabama and Little Richard.

For more information on the game, go to AutoZoneLibertyBowl.org. It airs on ESPN December 29 at 2 p.m. ET.

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Garth Brooks Canceling This Week's TV Appearances in Wake of Unrest in Ferguson, MO


Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryGarth Brooks is rescheduling as many TV appearances as possible this week, due to the riots in Ferguson, MO.  This includes his planned appearance on Live with Kelly & Michael Tuesday, a Thursday night appearance on NBC's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and a Friday morning appearance on NBC's Today. Garth is also slated to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which tapes in Los Angeles, on Tuesday afternoon. He taped that appearance Monday before the grand jury's decision was announced not to indict police officer Darren Wilson on murder charges in the death of Michael Brown.

Garth sent an email to fans Tuesday, saying, "We landed in New York last night to the news of the civil unrest that was going on in our nation. To spend the day promoting our stuff like nothing was wrong, seemed distasteful to me. I will gladly reschedule any or all appearances the networks will allow. Love one another...g"

We'll keep you posted on Garth's confirmed cancellations and rescheduled appearances.

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Randy Houser Surprises Military Family with VIP Trip to His Upcoming Tucson Concert


Image Courtesy EckrichRandy Houser was the bearer of really good news for one military concert during a backstage visit at his show in Baltimore, Maryland, on Saturday night. Air Force Staff Sergeant Christopher Solso and his wife, Clare, were surprised with a meet-and-greet with Randy, who presented them with a voucher for a year of free groceries on behalf of Eckrich meats' Operation Inspiration campaign and Operation HomeFront.

Randy will also host the Solso family for a VIP trip to his December 14 concert in Tucson, Arizona. The husband and wife will tour the film studio in Tucson where Randy shot his latest video, "Like a Cowboy," before seeing Randy's show that night at the city's Fox Theater.

Randy says, "Being a part of Operation Inspiration and getting to meet with military families like Christopher and Clare Solso is such an honor. I am proud to have been a part of this surprise and can’t wait to see them again in December."

For more information on Operation Inspiration, go to Facebook.com/EckrichMeats.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockKelly Clarkson's husband, Brandon, is the manager of which country superstar? ANSWER: Blake Shelton.

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Dustin Lynch Gets a Big Career Boost with First #1 Hit, "Where It's At"


Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsDustin Lynch had a party in Nashville Monday night celebrating the first #1 hit of his career, "Where It's At." The song has elevated Dustin's career to a new level on the road.

"It's crazy to go in any town in the country and have that many faces looking back at you singing," Dustin says. "Our audience has grown tremendously over the course of the summer as this song has grown in numbers and in just energy that they're bringing to the show."

When Dustin has a big hit song like "Where It's At," his band and road crew feel the effects, too.

He explains, "We rely on hit songs to make a living and to pay for diapers, too. A hit song definitely benefits a lot more people than just myself out there."

Dustin's mom and dad drove into Nashville from their hometown of Tullahoma, Tennessee, about an hour outside of Music City. Dustin's sister, however, felt bad that she couldn't get away for the party since she has two kids.

Dustin says, "Since Thanksgiving starts tomorrow, I'm gonna see them tomorrow, so I told them not to worry about it."

Dustin has released the new song "Hell of a Night" as the follow up to "Where It's At." Both tracks are included on his sophomore album, Where It's At, out now.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockToby Keith's new video for "Drunk Americans" premieres on CMT Thursday.

Garth Brooks appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Tuesday.

Jake Owen premiered the video for his latest single, "What We Ain't Got," at ETOnline.com Monday.

Kelly Clarkson loves Little Big Town's next single, "Girl Crush," so much she covered it during a recent concert. A video of the performance is on YouTube.

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Toby Keith and Lady Antebellum Playing College Football National Championship Concert Special


Image Courtesy Show Dog/UniversalToby Keith and Lady Antebellum will perform on CMT's Ultimate Kickoff Party Live from the College Football Playoff National Championship special. The show airs Friday, January 9, 2015 at 9 p.m. ET from Dallas, in connection with the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship.  That's set for January 12, 2015 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Big & Rich and Brett Eldredge will also perform on the 90-minute special. More acts will be announced soon.

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Little Big Town Strikes Gold with Latest #1 Hit, "Day Drinking"


Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town has scored another chart topper with their latest single, "Day Drinking," the lead single from their new album, Pain Killer. It's the first time the group's Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook have been co-writers on a #1 hit.

Jimi says, "This feeling will never get old. Thank you so much to the fans and country radio for making our first song from Pain Killer such a success."

"Day Drinking" has also been certified gold for 500,000 downloads and streams. The next single from Pain Killer is "Girl Crush." Listen for that track to hit the airwaves December 15.

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Brantley Gilbert Tying the Knot with Fiancée, Amber Cochran, in June 2015


Image Courtesy Valory Music Co.Brantley Gilbert will tie the knot with his fiancée, Georgia school teacher Amber Cochran, at the end of June 2015. He revealed the date backstage at the American Music Awards Sunday night after winning Country Album of the Year for Just as I Am. Brantley and Amber met 10 years ago, and were together for five years before splitting up. They reconnected after Brantley got sober.

He says, "I had some things going on in my life that she wasn't really willing to be a part of. I understand that completely now, and I'm so, so thankful that that was the way it was."

Brantley has said Amber inspired several of his hit songs, including "More than Miles." Amber was with Brantley at the AMAs Sunday night.

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Maddie & Tae Confess They're Frugal, Domestic, Neat Freaks


New duo Maddie & Tae might take aim at some of the cliches about women in country music in their first top five hit, but the pair confess they are much more put together than any “Girl in a Country Song.” Furthermore, the duo is well-matched, since they’re both neat freaks.

“On the road, oh my gosh, it's so awesome,” Maddie says.  “We both have our toiletry bag and then we've got our sections of PJs and jeans and…  it's just really nice to not have clutter everywhere… We're both kind of weird in that. We love, like, to be organized.”

Image Courtesy Big Machine Label GroupIt seems the term “domestic goddess” might also apply to the two.

“I like to cook. It's one of my escapes. Like, working out, cooking, and this is weird, but cleaning really helps, too,” Maddie confesses. “Oh, cleaning. Organizing my closet is therapy,” Tae chimes in. “Like color-coordinating my clothes. Love it.”

And if you suspect that might mean they have expensive tastes, you’d be wrong.

“We're both, like, really frugal and kind of bargain Betties. I got, like, a bunch of my clothes, that either I just don't wear or don't fit or whatever. And I went and sold them and made, like, 20 bucks,” Maddie brags.

So far, “Girl in a Country” song has been certified gold, selling half a million digital downloads.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockWhat was Little Big Town's first appearance on the country charts? ANSWER:  The foursome went to #33 with "Don't Waste My Time" in 2002.

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Josh Turner Adapts and Bends as He's Finishing His Sixth Album


George HolzBy the time his new single “Lay Low” started climbing the charts several weeks ago, Josh Turner already had more than ten years of chart success under his belt. The 37-year-old believes he owes at least part of his good fortune to those who came before him.

“I feel like you can learn a lot from artists who have had a really long career and that have had a lot of longevity,” he says. “The reason they've had that longevity is that they're willing to adapt and bend a little bit here and there, but at the same time, continue to make their music.”

Josh admits he’s been doing some bending and adapting himself, as he’s finishing up his forthcoming sixth studio album.

“Good music takes on a lot of different forms. So, I definitely pay attention to that and with Nashville and country radio being so song-driven, you know, I try to really just make sure that the songwriting and the pitch meetings and the listening and all that kind of stuff is a priority.”

Right now, Josh is already road-testing  four of the new tunes from the new CD, due out next year.

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Luke Bryan Named Favorite Male Country Artist at 2014 American Music Awards


ABCLuke Bryan was named Favorite Male Country Artist at the 2014 American Music Awards, which aired Sunday night on ABC from the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles.  Carrie Underwood was named Favorite Female Country Artist and Florida Georgia Line took home the trophy for Favorite Band, Duo or Group -- Country.

Brantley Gilbert won for Favorite Country Album for Just As I Am.

The only country music performance came via satellite from Greensboro, North Carolina.  Garth Brooks was shown onstage live performing his new song "People Loving People."

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American Music Awards Winners List


Dick Clark ProductionsHere are the winners at the 2014 American Music Awards, which aired Sunday night on ABC from the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles:

Artist of the Year
One Direction

New Artist of the Year Presented By Kohl’s
5 Seconds of Summer

Single of the Year

Katy Perry Featuring Juicy J, “Dark Horse”

Favorite Male Artist -- Pop/Rock
Sam Smith

Favorite Female Artist -- Pop/Rock

Katy Perry

Favorite Band, Duo or Group -- Pop/Rock

One Direction

Favorite Album -- Pop/Rock

One Direction, Midnight Memories

Favorite Male Artist -- Country

Luke Bryan

Favorite Female Artist -- Country

Carrie Underwood

Favorite Band, Duo or Group -- Country  

Florida Georgia Line

Favorite Album -- Country

Brantley Gilbert, Just As I Am

Favorite Artist -- Rap/Hip-Hop
Iggy Azalea

Favorite Album -- Rap/Hip-Hop
Iggy Azalea, The New Classic

Favorite Male Artist -- Soul/R&B

John Legend

Favorite Female Artist -- Soul/R&B

Beyoncé

Favorite Album -- Soul/R&B
Beyoncé, Beyoncé

Favorite Artist -- Alternative Rock

Imagine Dragons

Favorite Artist -- Adult Contemporary

Katy Perry

Favorite Artist -- Latin

Enrique Iglesias

Favorite Artist -- Contemporary Inspirational
Casting Crowns

Favorite Artist -- Electronic Dance Music (EDM)

Calvin Harris

Top Soundtrack
Frozen

Dick Clark Award of Excellence
Taylor Swift

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