Cole Swindell Is Off to the Races

Warner Music Nashville Cole Swindell is off to the races, in more ways than one. The “Middle of a Memory” hitmaker is set to kick off this weekend’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Cole will wave the green flag Sunday at 1:30 CT to start the fifth race in the Chase for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup.

In addition to finishing up his final dates on Florida Georgia Line’s Dig Your Roots Tour, he’s preparing to strike out on his own with his latest headlining trek, just ahead of the release of his Down Home Sessions III EP on October 28.

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Chris Young Partners with Toys for Tots to Play Santa This Season

RCA Records NashvilleNot only is Chris Young releasing his first holiday album this year, he’s also teaming up with Toys for Tots to play Santa this season.

The “Sober Saturday Night” singer will collect presents for the 69-year-old charity run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on his I’m Comin’ Over dates from November 17 through December 10. It’s a cause that’s close to his heart.

“My sister and brother-in-law both served in the United States Marines Corps,” he says, “so I’m excited to join up with Toys for Tots and help share the Christmas spirit with kids in the cities along my tour.”  

Chris is encouraging fans to bring an unwrapped book or toy to his shows, which will then be distributed by Toys for Tots in each community. His new album, It Must Be Christmas, is out this Friday.

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Robin Roberts Goes Honky-Tonkin' for Her 8th Annual CMA Special

ABC/Heidi GutmanRobin Roberts’ pre-awards specials have become a CMA tradition, and this year, for the 50th anniversary of country music’s biggest awards show, the Good Morning America anchor is doing something special.

The former Music City resident will tape her eighth annual preview in front of a live audience at one of the world’s most famous honky tonks, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge on Nashville’s famed Lower Broadway. The show will include performances and appearances from some of the biggest stars in the genre, along with a look back at the most memorable moments in a half-century of awards.

All Access Nashville:  Celebrating the CMA Awards with Robin Roberts will air Monday, October 31 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC, just ahead of the trophies being handed out on Wednesday.

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Garth Brooks Invites You to "Lay Down and Dance" with New Single

Pearl Records, Inc.Garth Brooks is back with the first single from his forthcoming, 11th studio album. If “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” sounds like classic Garth, it’s likely because it’s a collaboration between the writers of mega-hits like “The River,” “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” and “Papa Loved Mama.”

“[It] was just a fun title that Kent Blazy has had in his book of titles forever, always threatening to write it,” Garth says of how the song started. “So one day, Kim [Williams], Kent and I sat down and wrote it. We got a little help from Steve Dorff and then Victoria Shaw finished it. In the middle of this, Kim Williams passed away. I’ve got to tell you. I love love love this song, but probably my greatest joy is the fact that this is a Kim Williams song.”

You can download “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance” for free by purchasing one of the specially marked bags of Fritos with Garth’s picture on the package.

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Carrie Underwood Explains Her Alternate, Offstage Personality

Photo Credit: Jeff LipskyIf you run into Carrie Underwood when she’s out and about living her everyday life, she warns you shouldn’t expect too much. In fact, she believes she’s pretty different than the superstar we’re used to seeing on stage and screen.

“I love being on stage, but that’s different. That’s not Carrie,” the CMA Entertainer of the Year nominee tells Redbook. “That’s Carrie Underwood. The rest of my life I feel like I’m incredibly disappointing to people. Like if I run into someone at the grocery store, I really don’t know what to say because I don’t have a microphone in my hand or bling on. They expect me to be ‘Carrie Underwood,’ but I’m just Carrie. I’m sorry!” she adds.

You can read more in the November issue of Redbook, which features Carrie on the cover.

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Shania Twain's Entire Catalog Comes to Vinyl This Friday

Mercury NashvilleThis Friday, Shania Twain’s entire collection of recordings will be available on vinyl for the first time ever. Even though she’s only made four albums during her career, she remains the best-selling female country artist in history.

The vinyl reissues start with her self-titled debut from 1993, and continue with 1995’s The Woman in Me and 1997’s Come On Over, which happens to be the best-selling country album of all-time. Up! will come in both a green/country version and a red/pop version, as it did when it was released in 2002.

Next week, CMT will honor Shania as its first female Artist of a Lifetime Thursday at 9 p.m. ET, during its annual Artists of the Year special, which airs live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

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Little Bit Country, Little Bit Rock and Roll: Jennifer Nettles and Elle King Team Up on "American Supergroup"

PRNewsFoto/American SupergroupJennifer Nettles and rocker Elle King just may be the two busiest women in country music.

The Sugarland frontwoman has both a new single from her Playing with Fire album, titled “Hey Heartbreak,” as well as a new holiday album, To Celebrate Christmas, due October 28. If that weren’t enough, she’ll also reprise her role as Dolly Parton’s mother November 30 in Circle of Love:  Christmas of Many Colors on NBC.

Elle King, on the other hand, has a number-one duet with Dierks Bentley on “Different for Girls,” a CMA nomination for said song, and has just wrapped a tour with the Dixie Chicks.

Now, the two will be rubbing elbows as judges on a new music competition show titled American Supergroup that’s filming in Music City. The series takes 25 finalists and divides them into five groups of five to end with the ultimate quintuplet. Pop/soul artist Aloe Blacc and Chicago’s lead singer, Jason Scheff, round out the panel.

You can catch the premiere October 11 at 8 p.m. ET on Pop, with subsequent airings on MTV Live and MTV Classic.

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Tim McGraw Set to Kick Off This Year's ACC/SEC Match-Up

BMLGTim McGraw hits the road next year on his Soul II Soul World Tour with wife Faith Hill, but you still have a handful of chances to see the superstar in 2016. One of those comes this December, when he’ll headline the Belk Bowl Fanfest at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The “How I’ll Always Be” hitmaker will take the stage at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, December 29, just ahead of the ACC/SEC match-up at Bank of America Stadium at 5:30.

Tickets are on sale now, but you’ll need a seat for the game to be able to see Tim’s show. The first 10,000 football fans to show their tickets at the ballpark box office will be able to score a concert voucher.  

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Greenway voted America's Pig Farmer of the Year

The National Pork Board announced today that Brad Greenway, a pig farmer from Mitchell, South Dakota, is the recipient of its 2016 America’s Pig Farmer of the YearSM Award by achieving the highest score from a third-party judging panel and online voting. The award recognizes a pig farmer who excels at raising pigs using the We CareSM ethical principles and who connects with today’s consumers about how pork is produced.

“We are pleased to have Brad represent America’s pig farmers. He embodies the very best in pig farming,” said Jan Archer, National Pork Board president and a pig farmer from Goldsboro, North Carolina. “It’s important that we share with today’s consumers how we raise their food in an ethical and transparent way. Brad’s interest in sharing his farm’s story – and putting a face on today’s pig farming – will help us reach this goal.”

“We had 2 finalists from South Dakota; Brad Greenway and Craig Andersen from Centerville, SD. Brad will represent us well and this just goes to show that these two represent the caliber of producers here in our state. Both are concerned about the environment, animal well-being, community involvement, the swine industry and agriculture as a whole,” said Glenn Muller, Executive Director of South Dakota Pork Producers Council.

Greenway has focused on doing what’s right for people, pigs and the planet on his family farm for the last 40 years. He and his wife, Peggy, own two wean-to-finish pig barns. They also raise beef cattle and grow corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa.

 “I look forward to sharing my personal farm story with consumers to help them understand the care that goes into raising pigs today,” said Greenway. “I am proud of my industry and the hard work my fellow farmers put into producing safe, high-quality food, and in caring for animals and the environment every day.”

Greenway was named America’s Pig Farmer of the Year following a third-party audit of on-farm practices and conducting a series of written and oral interviews by subject-matter experts. He has achieved excellence in all aspects of pig farming, including animal care, environmental stewardship, employee work environment and outstanding community service.

The panel of expert judges met in early September with the four finalists. Members of the panel were Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane; Kari Underly, a third-generation butcher, author and principal of Range®, Inc., a meat marketing and education firm; Justin Ransom, senior director, supply chain management at McDonald’s USA; Jodi Sterle, an associate professor of animal science at Iowa State University; and Keith Schoettmer, the 2015 America’s Pig Farmer of the Year.

As a judging panel member, Ganzert said, “As an animal lover and the leader of the country’s first national humane organization, I am honored to be a judge for America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. American Humane celebrates all those, including our nation’s farmers, who care for animals and work hard to ensure they are treated humanely. Today, more than ever, it is important not only to point out where progress is needed, but to recognize when we get it right.”

Animal Instincts: Carrie Underwood's Artsy New Video for "Dirty Laundry" to Debut on "ET"

Arista NashvilleYou can get your first look at Carrie Underwood’s new black-and-white video for “Dirty Laundry” Wednesday on Entertainment Tonight.

“It’s all about emotion and that moment when a woman has finally reached that point, after the heartache, of being done with a relationship,” the CMA Entertainer of the Year nominee says. “[Director] Shane [C. Drake] had the idea to include some beautiful animals that represent the parallels between human and animal behavior and instincts, which look great interwoven with visuals of emotional women and men. It gave us a way to portray one of my songs in a way we’ve never done before,” Carrie adds.

ET rolls out a behind-the-scenes feature on its Tuesday show, with the full video set to stream at after its Wednesday premiere.

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