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Little Big Town, The Band Perry and Lady Antebellum All Hoping for CMA Vocal Group of the Year Win


Image Courtesy CMAReigning CMA Vocal Group of the Year Little Big Town landed their first performance slot on the CMA Awards nearly a decade ago, but the ceremony still brings out a sense of wonder in the four band members.

LBT's Karen Fairchild tells ABC News Radio, "The CMA Awards are so special. They really are, just from growing up and watching the CMA Awards and then just pinching ourselves standing up on that stage, much less to have won one or two or three. Thank you, Jesus."

Karen and her husband/band mate Jimi Westbrook display their CMA trophies in the office at their house, and the group's Kimberly Schlapman has a special case for her CMA hardware.

She tells us, "My husband built shelves for mine. Love 'em."

Little Big Town is nominated for Vocal Group of the Year again at this Wednesday night's ceremony along with Eli Young Band, Zac Brown Band, The Band Perry and Lady Antebellum.

Just getting a nomination is a big thrill for The Band Perry's Reid Perry. He tells ABC News Radio, "The CMAs are always great 'cause, you know, voted on by your peers, so it's already an honor to be in the category voted on by peers, but to also win that award would be nice."

Lady Antebellum won that Vocal Group trophy in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Now that they're back at the top of the country chart with "Bartender," Lady A's Charles Kelley has his fingers crossed for another win.

"To have a little time with not winning that award, it's gonna be sweet if we can get that again," Charles says. "But we're gonna focus on performing like we always try to."

Lady A and The Band Perry will perform on the CMA Awards Wednesday night at 8 ET on ABC. Look for Little Big Town to team up with pop star Ariana Grande on the live broadcast, too.

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Cole Swindell Meets His Hero, Reba; Announces "Down Home Sessions EP" Coming November 17


Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleCole Swindell got to meet his hero, Reba, on Thursday in Nashville while trying on clothes for next week's CMA Awards. Cole was in the middle of a wardrobe fitting at his manager's office, which is located inside Reba's Starstruck building on Music Row, when Reba herself suddenly walked in.  The whole episode was captured on video and posted to YouTube.

She told him, "Good thing I didn't come in here when you was stark naked."

Cole bent over in shock when he realized Reba was in the room. He then told her how much her shows meant to him growing up after his parents  divorced. Cole was in fifth grade at the time and moved with his mother to Albany, Georgia. A farmer in town, named Ronnie Lee, took a young Cole to see Reba every year in Albany, and those shows helped spur Cole's passion to pursue a music career.

He told her, "I got to see everybody that ever toured with you. It was so awesome. So, I've been waiting to meet you."

Cole will be dressed to kill at the 48th Annual CMA Awards Wednesday night at 8 ET on ABC. He's up for New Artist of the Year.

In other Cole Swindell news, he's releasing the new Down Home Sessions EP on November 17 in conjunction with the launch of his Down Home Tour. The five-song digital project is designed to get as many songs out to the fans as possible, even between albums.

He says, "I'm always writing and I have lots of songs that I want my fans to hear. As a songwriter that's what you want, but everything can't always make it onto your album so I decided the best way to release this music was to put together the Down Home Session EP."

Here's the Down Home Sessions EP track list:

"Ready:
"The Way You're Lovin' Me Now"
"Kiss"
"Workin' on Me"
"Boomerang"

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Carrie Underwood's "Greatest Hits: Decade #1" Track Listing Revealed


Jeremy Cowart/Arista NashvilleCarrie Underwood's releasing her first best-of compilation, Greatest Hits: Decade #1, December 9 featuring her current hit, "Something in the Water."  That song's just one of 25 songs included in the two-CD set, according to the official track listing, released today.

"Something in the Water" is also one of two new tracks Greatest Hits: Decade #1, the other being "Little Toy Guns."  Those songs lead off disc one, while disc two ends with never-before-released versions of familiar hits, including a live version of Carrie's duet with Vince Gill on the gospel standard "How Great Thou Art," and in-progress "worktape" versions of "So Small," "Last Name," and "Mama's Song."

You can pre-order Greatest Hits: Decade #1 at all the usual digital outlets beginning Tuesday, November 4, five days ahead of the official release date.

Here's the track listing for Greatest Hits: Decade #1:

Disc 1
"Something in the Water"
"Little Toy Guns"
"Inside Your Heaven"
"Jesus, Take the Wheel"
"Don’t Forget to Remember Me"
"Before He Cheats"
"Wasted"
"So Small"
"All-American Girl"
"Last Name"
"Just a Dream"
"I Told You So" (feat. Randy Travis)

Disc 2
"Cowboy Casanova"
"Temporary Home"
"Undo It"
"Mama’s Song"
"Remind Me" (duet with Brad Paisley)
"Good Girl"
"Blown Away"
"Two Black Cadillacs"
"See You Again"
"How Great Thou Art" (with Vince Gill) (Live from ACM Presents: Girls’ Night Out)*
"So Small" (writing session worktape 1/24/07)*
"Last Name" (writing session worktape 1/22/07)*
"Mama’s Song" (writing session worktape 2/5/09)*

* = never-before-released version.

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Garth Brooks Reveals Track Listing, Cover Art for "Man Against Machine"


Sony NashvilleIf you haven't already, now's the time to head over to Garth Brooks' GhostTunes music service to hear a preview of his forthcoming new album, Man Against Machine.  Garth's giving what he calls a "sneak peek" of the album all day today, through midnight: that much, he announced Thursday. Today, he also revealed the track listing and cover art.

The Man Against Machine cover features a tough-looking Garth, shot from the waist up, standing in front of some rusty gears and cogs with his arms crossed, clad in a tight black tee-shirt, black sunglasses and a black hat.

Man Against Machine, Garth's first album of all-new music since 2001's Scarecrow, hits retailers November 11.  If you order it now from GhostTunes, you'll score immediate downloads of two songs from the album: "People Loving People" and "Send 'Em on Down the Road."

Here's the full Man Against Machine track listing:

"Man Against Machine"
"She's Tired of Boys"
"Cold Like That"
"All-American Kid"
"Mom"
"Wrong About You"
"Rodeo and Juliet"
"Midnight Train"
"Cowboys Forever"
"People Loving People"
"Send 'Em On Down the Road"
"Fish"
"You Wreck Me"
"Tacoma"

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockBlake Shelton and Miranda Lambert make their home in which Oklahoma town? ANSWER: Tishomingo.

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Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line Among "Billboard" Touring Awards Finalists


Image Courtesy Dick Clark Productions/ABCLuke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line have picked up some big nominations for the 2014 Billboard Touring Awards.

Luke is up against One Direction and Justin Timberlake in the Top Draw category, which is based on BoxScore attendance figures.  Luke's That's My Kind of Night tour with Lee Brice and Cole Swindell is also up for Top Package along with Jason Aldean's 2014 trek with Florida Georgia Line and Tyler Farr.

Florida Georgia Line is also nominated for Breakthrough touring act against OneRepublic and Arcade Fire.

In the Concert Marketing & Promotion Award, Luke has a mention for his partnership with Cabela's. Hunter Hayes is also nominated in that category for his work with Conagra Foods, and Blake Shelton earned a mention for his work with JCPenney.

The 2014 Billboard Touring Awards will be handed out November 20 at the Edison Ballroom in New York City.

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Luke Bryan Partners with Outdoor Outfitter Cabela's for 32 Bridge Clothing Line


Image Courtesy Cabela'sLuke Bryan is expanding his relationship with outdoors outfitter Cabela's with the launch of a new clothing line, 32 Bridge. The name comes from the Route 32 bridge that crosses the Flint River, connecting Lee and Worth counties in Georgia, where Luke grew up. The clothing line features men's and women's apparel, including t-shirts and caps.

Luke says, "This brand is so dear to me and such a big part of who I am that seeing it come to life is so exciting. I can’t wait to share it!”

32 Bridge goes on sale Saturday at select Cabela's stores and online.

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockSara Evans and Brandy Clark will perform at the CMA Songwriters Series performance at the CMA Theater in Nashville on Wednesday, November 4.

The Doobie Brothers will perform on the 48th Annual CMA Awards Wednesday, November 5 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Their new country collaboration album, Southbound, is out Tuesday.

Brad Paisley made a cameo on Comedy Central's The Daily Show this week to sing a hilarious tribute to "The State of Texas."

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New Duo Maddie & Tae Share Their Favorite Halloween Costumes from Years Past


Image Courtesy Dot RecordsJudging from their debut hit, "Girl in a Country Song," new duo Maddie & Tae probably won't be dressing up in short-shorts and crop tops for Halloween. Looking back on some of their most memorable Halloween costumes, the duo's Maddie Marlow recalls dressing up like The Little Mermaid a few years back.

She says, "It was rockin’, but I like fell every step because of that dang tail. I could not walk in it."

Maddie's duo partner, Tae Dye, got together with several of her female high school friends to dress up like guys for Halloween.

"One of us dressed like a gangster and the other dressed like a preppy," Tae explains, "and I dressed like a redneck man. So I wore like my Dad’s camo overalls.That should be illegal, they’re really bad."

Tae rounded out the costume with some fake buck teeth and dark makeup to make it look like she had dirt on her face.

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Sam Hunt Admits He'd Be Freaked Out to See Someone Dressed as Him This Halloween


Image Courtesy David McClister/UMGSam Hunt is becoming known for his crisp fashion sense wearing shirts buttoned all the way to the top along with his signature flatbill baseball hat. The look is pretty distinctive, so it's possible a fan could dress up like Sam this Halloween. So, how would Sam react if he saw someone trick-or-treating as him?   

"That would freak me out," Sam tells ABC News Radio. "Hopefully, I don't have too unique of characteristics to help someone distinguish themselves as me, in a bad way."

As for his own childhood Halloween costumes, Sam says he most enjoyed dressing up like Zorro.

He explains, "I was a huge Zorro fan when I was a lot younger. I mean, really young."

Sam's debut album, Montevallo, is out this week featuring his debut hit, "Leave the Night On."

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Florida Georgia Line and Cole Swindell Ready to Tailgate Prior to Florida-Georgia Game


Image Courtesy Dick Clark Productions/ABCFlorida Georgia Line will host their Anything Goes Tailgate 2014 concert Friday night in Jacksonville, Florida. The event is part of the festivities surrounding Saturday's college football match-up between the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs. Of course, FGL's Tyler Hubbard is a huge Bulldogs fan since he hails from Georgia. Florida native Brian Kelley is a Florida State Seminoles fan, so he'll be pulling for Bulldogs this weekend.

"Any time I get a chance to root against the Gators, [I'm] all for it," Brian tells ABC News Radio. "The Dogs are my team that day. No competition on that. We're just excited to go play for our amazing fans on the border in Jacksonville and celebrate our album coming out. It's gonna be nuts."

Cole Swindell is performing with FGL in Jacksonville, but he doesn't have a Halloween costume lined up for the show.

Cole says, "I haven't talked to the guys to see if they're dressing up or what I'm doing. I probably need to get something. Do something. It's Halloween."

If all else fails, Cole says he'll just dress up as himself for Halloween.

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Little Big Town Splashes onto the Country Albums Chart with "Pain Killer"


Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town's latest album, Pain Killer, made a big splash on Billboard's Country Albums chart this week. The set bowed at #3 on that tally with 42,000 copies sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Pain Killer features the lead single, "Day Drinking."

Florida Georgia Line's Anything Goes holds on to the #1 spot on the Country Albums chart with Jason Aldean's Old Boots, New Dirt following at #2.

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Brad Paisley Will Be ESPN's "College GameDay" Guest Picker on Saturday


Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleBrad Paisley will be the guest picker on ESPN's College GameDay this Saturday at West Virginia University in Morgantown. He'll join host Chris Fowler and analysts Lee Corso, Kirk Berbstreit and Desmond Howard on the set for the winning picks segment. The show runs Saturday morning from 9 to noon ET.

The West Virginia Mountaineers will take on Texas Christian University Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET in a game that will air on ABC.

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Keith Urban Kicking Off CMA Awards Day with a "Good Morning America" Performance


Image Courtesy CMAKeith Urban will kick off CMA Awards day in Nashville Wednesday with a performance on ABC's Good Morning America. Keith is up for multiple trophies that night, including Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year for Fuse. Miranda Lambert will also appear on GMA that day, and the winners of two CMA categories will be announced that morning, too. GMA meteorologist Ginger Zee and contributor Tim Tebow will be in Nashville for the broadcast as well.

Look for Keith and Miranda to perform on the 48th Annual CMA Awards Wednesday, November 5 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Billy Currington Releases New Single, "Don't It," to Introduce Upcoming Sixth Studio Album


Image Courtesy UMG NashvilleBilly Currington's new single, "Don't It," is the lead release from his upcoming sixth studio album, due out in 2015. The new track follows his back-to-back #1 hitd, "Hey Girl" and "We Are Tonight." Billy thinks the "sultry groove" of "Don't It" is the perfect introduction to his new music.

Says Billy, "I’m excited to give fans a taste of my new album with 'Don’t It.' This song was one of the first I cut and the sound really guides the direction of the new project."

Billy will be playing his new music on the road this spring. Go to BillyCurrington.com for all the latest tour dates.

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Country Star Trivia


Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the title of Gretchen Wilson's debut hit from 2004? ANSWER: "Redneck Woman."

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Nashville Notes


Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockGretchen Wilson will co-host ABC's The View on November 10.

According to The Oklahoman, Vince Gill was honored Wednesday with the unveiling of a life-size statue of himself outside his Oklahoma alma mater, Northwest Classen High School.

Lady Antebellum has released a very off-the-wall video featuring viral video star Keith Apicary for their latest single, "Freestyle."

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Get a "Sneak Peek" of Garth Brooks' New Album, "Man Against Machine"


John Russell/CMAGarth Brooks' new album, Man Against Machine, isn't due for official release for another two weeks, but he's giving fans the chance to hear it now -- though only for 24 hours.

Starting at midnight tonight and lasting through the entire 24 hours of Halloween, Garth will make what he's calling a "sneak peek" of his new album available exclusively on his new music distribution website, GhostTunes.

There's no word on exactly what that sneak peek will entail, but in an email message to fans, sent in the wee hours Thursday morning, Garth writes, "A friend of mine at GhostTunes asked if we would take a different look at sampling for this new record...he wanted to know if we would speak a little bit on each song as a snippet of the song was playing. Because he asked, we went into studio and tried it. We were all surprised to hear how cool it turned out. Because it was his idea and his ask, I felt it fair to keep this to GhostTunes. Because it is GhostTunes, Halloween seems like the perfect time."

He adds, "I just thought you all should be the first to hear it if you wanted to. I really hope you like the new music."

Man Against Machine, Garth's first album of all-new music since 2001's Scarecrow, hits retailers November 11.

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Lady Antebellum, Brantley Gilbert and Darius Rucker Sort Out Their Halloween Costumes


Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum turned their event celebrating the #1 hit "Bartender" into a Halloween costume party Wednesday afternoon in Nashville. The group's Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood dressed as whiskey barrels with Dave wearing a crazy wig and glasses. Charles had a fake beer mug on his head, and Hillary Scott was decked out like the glittery disco ball she sings about in the song.

Hillary says, "We thought with the number one party being so close to Halloween, we might as well keep it loose and fun. You know, we've been known to dress up when we've had shows on Halloween anyway."

Hillary's infant daughter, Eisele, was on hand dressed up like a pig. She'll be dressed as a kangaroo this Friday, though.

As for Dave Haywood's baby boy, Cash, he says, "My wife has a onesie with the skeleton all over the onesie, but he's eight weeks now. So, it's too early to go out trick or treating."

Brantley Gilbert isn't much for dressing up on Halloween, but he has inspired few Halloween costumes lately.

He says with a laugh, "Last year I got a picture from a brother of mine and my godson actually dressed up like me. That was pretty cool. It was pretty funny."

Darius Rucker and his son, Jake, usually coordinate their costumes. One year, Jake went as Darth Vader and Darius went as Luke Skywalker from Star Wars.

Says Darius, "We were walking around, and [Jake] would look at everybody and go, 'I’m his father.'"

This year, Darius and Jake thought about dressing up like professional wrestlers but then decided that would be too obscure.

He says, "The Ninja Turtles are the winner right now, but we’ll come up with something cool."

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"Nashville" Recap: "Nobody Said It Was Going to Be Easy"


Image Courtesy Bob D'Amico/ABCOn Wednesday's Nashville, Avery Barkley rushed to be by his ex-girlfriend Juliette Barnes' side after she collapsed at a concert. Juliette is carrying Avery's baby and suffers from a previously-unknown medical condition that causes blood clots. This disorder, which led to her collapse, forced Juliette to cancel her tour and bump up the shooting schedule on her Patsy Cline biopic.

As for Avery, Juliette told him he'd have to be her boyfriend again if he wanted to see the baby. Ultimately, Avery forgave Juliette for the infidelity that ended their relationship, but he's still not able to trust her. Avery added that Juliette had no choice but to let him be in their child's life. The episode ended with Juliette announcing her pregnancy at a press conference and naming Avery as the father.

Gunnar Scott continued bonding with his son, Micah, though the child's mother, Kylie, did not want Micah knowing Gunnar is his father. Gunnar was able to convince Kylie to stay in Nashville instead of taking Micah with her as she pursued a new love interest in another town. Gunnar's girlfriend, Zoey Dalton, walked in on Kylie, Gunner and Micah looking like a family inside Gunnar's. It's another unwelcome blow for Zoey, who was fired from the Juliette Barnes tour this week, too.

In his quest to sign Rayna Jaymes' daughters to a record deal against her well, Jeff Fordham continued growing closer to Rayna's ex-husband and co-parent, Mayor Teddy Conrad. Teddy met a woman named Natasha through Jeff, and she and the mayor ended up going for a skinny dip in Jeff's pool. Teddy was furious when Jeff told him Natasha was a paid escort, but Teddy ended up calling her for company later in the episode. Look for Jeff to use Teddy's relationship with the escort as leverage in future episodes.

While Teddy was swimming with his call girl and Rayna was out on tour, their daughter Maddie hosted a wild party at Rayna's house. Younger daughter Daphne got scared when the party got out of hand and called the police.

Rayna was also thrilled to learn she and fiancé Luke Wheeler were both nominated for multiple CMA Awards, including Entertainer of the Year. Due to some Twitter backlash, Rayna grew concerned she was only getting the nods because of her relationship with Luke. She decided to campaign against Luke for the trophies, but they vowed they wouldn't let the competition strain their romantic relationship.

Luke Wheeler also welcomed Sara Evans onstage at his show in Milwaukee to perform a duet of her latest single, "Put My Heart Down." In real life, that duet has been serviced to country radio and is now available for download. Will Chase, who plays Luke Wheeler, absolutely loved working with Sara.

He tells ABC News Radio, "She's a gem anyway. She's a real treat. She's the real deal."

Will also appreciates the deceptive nature of the song's lyrics and melody.

"It's a joyous, lilty, great groove, but it's about breaking up," Will says with a laugh. "So, it's this lovely juxtaposition that I think these writers in this town really get."

As for his portrayal of Luke Wheeler, Will drew on some of country's biggest male country stars for inspiration.

He explains, "The template they kept giving me was Tim McGraw, as far as superstardom and stuff like that, but I think I tended to go more towards Blake [Shelton] as far as that charm and disarm and just a good guy."

Will insists he thinks Tim is a good guy, but he adds, "Blake just wears that on his sleeve, and [he's] just a good 'ol boy."

Will is already picking out the clothes he's going to wear to next week's real-life CMA Awards, which will pre-empt Nashville next Wednesday night on ABC. Nashville returns with a brand-new episode Wednesday, November 12.

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