Apr 13

Mitchell educator wins national award

National Life Group announced today that Shane Thill, Director of Second Chance High School and Assistant Principal at Mitchell High School, in Mitchell, South Dakota, has been selected as the Grand Prize Winner for the national 2015-2016 LifeChanger of the Year award.

LifeChanger of the Year is an annual program that recognizes and rewards outstanding K-12 educators and school district employees who have demonstrated a proven ability to make a beneficial difference in the lives of students.

Thill was selected for the top award out of more than 600 teachers, administrators and school district employees from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. He was chosen for his dedication to going above and beyond to provide opportunities for at-risk students, helping them develop confidence and leadership skills.

“Shane exemplifies what it means to be a LifeChanger. He is selfless, compassionate and genuinely concerned about making a positive difference in the lives of students,” said Mehran Assadi, President and CEO, National Life Group. “The hundreds of comments we received on his nomination profile page from students, former students, parents, colleagues and community members are proof-positive that he is indeed changing lives.”

Thill established a high school level Rotary Club, called ‘Interact,’ and has coordinated with local businesses and organizations in the community to obtain scholarship applications, volunteer opportunities and work experience options for students.  He has been known to stay up all night if students need him and invests personal time, energy and resources to help them succeed in life.

“Shane and his wife Deb opened their home up to me, helped me get a car, and cared in ways I would have never imagined,” said former student Selena Thomas. “I completed my schooling at the Alternative School in about two and a half months, but the lessons I learned went beyond the doors of that building.”

Colleagues report being inspired by Thill and many go to him for advice. Community leaders acknowledge the confident and engaged students he presents to them and appreciate his impact on Mitchell’s youth and their futures.

“I have worked with Shane for the past 10 years and he has always been an inspiration. Many of Shane’s students have every reason to fail, yet he is able to show them success,” said Mitchell High School Principal, Joe Childs. “He takes those who have little hope of succeeding, and he offers them a second chance. Shane gives all of his students a chance to buy in to the program, a chance to graduate, a chance to find success and, for many, he’s offering a chance at a better future. Many times, I have heard former students explain that they wouldn’t have made it without him.”

As the National Grand Prize Winner, Thill receives a $10,000 cash award, which is split between a $5,000 individual award and a matching $5,000 donation to Second Chance High School.

In addition to Thill, 14 other educators from across the country were recognized as 2015-16 LifeChanger of the Year finalists. Each received a cash award and was honored during a surprise ceremony at their school.


Apr 13

Brad Paisley Surprises Crowd with John Fogerty's Grand Ole Opry Debut

©2016 Grand Ole Opry / Photo By: Chris HolloBrad Paisley took to social media to tease that his next Opry appearance would be one to remember, and Tuesday night, he lived up to his promise. After performing three of his own hits, the West Virginia native brought Rock & Roll Hall of Famer John Fogerty onstage for his Grand Ole Opry debut.

“We’re going to play some music and you’re going to know these songs, so sing along,” Brad told the crowd, launching into Fogerty’s hits “Lookin’ Out My Back Door” and “Centerfield.”

“I do want to tell you what an honor it is to be standing here,” the Creedence Clearwater Revival singer commented, with Brad insisting “The honor is ours.”

When the audience jumped to its feet and insisted on an encore, Brad quipped “Do you know any more songs?” before the duo delivered a rendition of CCR’s classic, “Proud Mary.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Apr 13

Jon Pardi Plays Dress-Up for "Head over Boots" Video

Capitol Records NashvilleJust as “Head over Boots” claims its spot in the top 20, Jon Pardi is putting out a playful new video for the first single from his sophomore album. Set in a roadhouse, the clip finds present-day Jon Pardi playing the song while propped up against a vintage jukebox, interspersed with some other incarnations of what the California native might’ve looked like through the years. 

Along the way, Jon plays both a fringe-and-scarf-wearing singing cowboy and a seventies-era vocalist with an impressive mustache. You can check out his looks for yourself on YouTube.  Jon’s second album, California Sunrise, comes out June 17.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Apr 13

Nashville Gives Merle Haggard a Send-Off Worthy of a Legend at Tuesday Night's All for the Hall Benefit

John Shearer/Getty Images for The Country Music Hall Of Fame & MuseumMerle Haggard may have been laid to rest Saturday near his home in California, but Tuesday night in Nashville, his Music City family gave him a fitting send-off at the All for the Hall benefit at Bridgestone Arena.

“We are sending our love and prayers and really dedicating this show tonight to the great Merle Haggard,” host Keith Urban proclaimed. “If you ever wondered what Merle looks like with headphones on, there it is!” he added, referring to the picture on his t-shirt.

Early in the evening, Keith’s co-organizer and fellow house band member Vince Gill dedicated his set solely to Haggard tunes, doing both “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down” and “Fightin’ Side of Me.” Emmylou Harris followed with “Kern River.”

Sam Hunt delivered perhaps the most surprising cover of the evening, “The Way I Am,” matching it with a haunting story.

“The other night I was missing being able to go home and go fishing or go home and go turkey hunt or go home and go see my folks back down in Georgia,” he recalled. “I started playing this old Merle song. The next day, I had a co-write in town, so I got up and I called my manager Brad and I said, ‘Hey call up and see if maybe we can do “The Way I Am” next week at the All for the Hall show.’ I walked into my co-write and I’m in there for about an hour and a half and my buddy looks at his computer screen and he just out of the blue says, ‘Oh my gosh.’ He said, ‘Merle Haggard just passed away.’ And it sent chills up my spine and it gave me this real eerie feeling,” Sam said before launching into the hit from 1980.

CMA Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan extended his set to deliver an impromptu rendition of “Big City.”

Urban ended the evening by revealing that the sixth All for the Hall benefit was officially the most successful one ever, raising nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for the Hall’s music education programs. Keith’s last musical offering was a reading of “Sing Me Back Home” that morphed into “Mama Tried,” with the night’s entire lineup returning to the stage for the final song.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Apr 12

Chris Lane Offers Fans the Chance to Get Up Close and Personal by Buying His New CD

Courtesy of Big Loud RecordsIf you’d like to meet newcomer Chris Lane, all you need to do is pick up a physical copy of his new EP. Just as his first single “Fix” is breaking into the top-20, his label is releasing his debut recording on CD exclusively at Target. The new edition of the FIX EP also includes two bonus tracks– a new song called “Drinkin’ Games,” plus an acoustic version of his breakthrough hit. The package also includes a pair of passes to meet Chris at a future show.

This weekend, Chris plays shows in his home state of North Carolina, just as the new version of his project rolls out at Target. This summer, he heads out on the Rhythm & Roots tour with Rascal Flatts.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Apr 12

Keith Urban Goes Shirtless as Artist Writes ripCord Tour Dates All Over His Torso

Capitol NashvilleIf you wonder when Keith Urban’s ripCORD World Tour is coming to your area– well, all you need to do is check the superstar’s torso. In one of the most unusual tour promo videos ever, the tattooed Australian sits patiently while an artist inscribes the dates for his upcoming trek with Brett Eldredge and Maren Morris all over his upper body, as his new single, “Wasted Time,” plays in the background.

The tour kicks off June 2 in Kansas City, Missouri. You can search for the name of the city closest to you in the video that’s now posted on YouTube.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Apr 12

Parmalee Shows Off Their "Roots" with First Single from Sophomore Album

BBR Music GroupIn the past few days, radio programmers all across the country got an unusual package, thanks to the guys in Parmalee. The North Carolina natives mailed out the follow-up single to their top ten hit, “Already Callin’ You Mine” in a cardboard CD cover cut-out in the shape of the Tar Heel State. The elaborate packaging is a reference to the song’s title, “Roots.”

The foursome debuted the song during a private brunch in Las Vegas the weekend of the ACM Awards, recalling how they went to the head of their label for help, when they were worried Luke Bryan might compete to record the song. On Monday, they shared the first taste of “Roots” and its video on social media. You’ll be able to download or stream the first single from Parmalee’s sophomore album April 29.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Our NEW SINGLE Roots is at radio now and available everywhere 4/29!!! #roots pic.twitter.com/BASC3dVZcq

— Parmalee (@parmalee) April 11, 2016

Apr 12

Garth Brooks Challenges Wayne Gretzky to Take to the Ice with Carrie Underwood

Mark TuckerIt looks like the puck is in Wayne Gretzky’s arena, in the latest development in the fun-filled caper involving Garth BrooksCarrie Underwood and husband Mike Fisher.

In case you’re not keeping up — it all started when Carrie Instagrammed a video of her hockey-playing husband quite ably singing along to Garth’s hit, “The River,” around the first of the year. When Garth saw it, he issued the invitation for Mike to join him onstage for a duet. Last week, the two finally managed to get together to do a little harmonizing for fans on the internet. When the American Idol winner saw it, she feigned jealousy, vowing to take to the ice with hockey icon Wayne Gretzky in retribution.

“That was fun,” Garth commented backstage before his first show last weekend in Louisville, Kentucky. “That was a good little jab at Carrie and I loved her response about Gretzky. So, I think the plan is we gotta get Gretzky now to get Carrie in full gear and get her out skating. I think that’s it. So Wayne, I’m calling you out!”

Then, the Country Music Hall of Famer hinted that we haven’t heard the last of his musical collaboration with the Nashville Predators captain. “I have a date with Carrie’s husband first, actually in Nashville to complete the duet. This is gonna be good!” he teased.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Apr 12

Keith Urban Says an Eclectic Array of Performers and the Passing of Merle Haggard Will Make the Sixth All for the Hall Benefit Unique

ABC/Image Group LAHaving already done half a dozen benefits to raise money for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Keith Urban confesses it’s more than his belief in the cause that keeps him and his cohort Vince Gill coming back year after year.

“Vinnie and I love doing it for the same reasons,” the “Wasted Time” singer says. “I mean, we raise a lot of money for the Hall, we raise a lot of awareness for the Hall and what they do. But, yeah, Vinnie and I get to play guitar for everybody, so you know, it’s two guitar players — it’s a lot of fun!”

This year’s All for the Hall concert is titled Mashville:  The Music City in 2016, and with a talent roster that features everyone from rock gods to ultra-traditionalists to the ultra-progressive, Vince and Keith can be sure they’ll always be on their toes.

“We get to sit in with everybody. It’s such a diverse lineup this year,” Keith observes. “It’s celebrating the diversity of Nashville, which is why it’s called Mashville, and everybody is here. I mean, everyone lives in town, from Emmylou Harris to Peter [Frampton] to Sam Hunt to Jason Isbell to Luke BryanFlorida Georgia Line, everybody. It’s so eclectic!”

Keith believes it’s the laid-back atmosphere of these shows that helps make them so special.

“I mean as much as we rehearse and everything else, there’s still an incredible amount of spontaneity and looseness to this show, which for me is an important part of All for the Hall. It’s meant to be much more organic. It’s not slick. It’s not hyper-produced. It’s a very loose, organic affair, and I think the people get to see something that they never see anywhere else because of that.”

Our most substantial peek at Tuesday night’s set list comes as Keith reveals the impact Merle Haggard’s passing last week has had on the gathering.

“We’re celebrating the diversity by everyone doing one of their own songs and in a lot of cases they’ve chosen somebody else’s songs. Certainly this year, there’s a few people doing Merle Haggard songs. We’re gonna do a big tribute at the end of the night, so it’ll be a fun night for us.”  

Keith revealed he was particularly pleased to find out Sam Hunt is one of the people who’ll be performing a Haggard song. The 2016 benefit starts at 7:30 p.m. CT at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Apr 11

Blake Shelton Releases New Single, "Savior's Shadow" to Christian Radio

NBC/David LaChapelleBy now, we’ve learned to expect the unexpected from Blake Shelton, but even so, his latest career move is one not a lot of folks saw coming. He’s releasing “Savior’s Shadow,” the second single from his new album, to Christian radio this week. His comments about how he wrote the song are even more compelling, considering his sudden divorce from Miranda Lambert in the summer.

“At a very dark time in my life last year I dreamed the first verse of this song,” he says. “I woke up and immediately wrote it down. Now, looking back, I know it was God’s way of telling me that he’s here and things are gonna be OK.”

Blake’s album, If I’m Honest, comes out May 20. You can download or stream “Savior’s Shadow” now.  

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