Nashville Notes for 6/23/2016

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkStockSongwriter, musician and producer Freddy Powers passed away June 21 from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 84. Powers, who was inducted into the Texas Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006, was a frequent Merle Haggard collaborator, and wrote “Let’s Chase Each Other Around the Room” and “Natural High,” among other songs recorded by Haggard. He also penned George Jones’ chart-topping hit “I Always Get Lucky with You” and produced Willie Nelson’s Somewhere over the Rainbow album. Powers received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Nashville Songwriters Association International in 2013. His memoir The Spree of 83, is due from Waldorf Publishing in February 2017.

Singer Margo Smith reportedly is in intensive care at Ocala Regional Medical Center in Florida where she is being treated for double pneumonia. Smith charted 27 country singles between 1975 and 1988 including the number-one hits “Don’t Break the Heart that Loves You” and “It Only Hurts for a Little While,” plus six other top-10 hits.

“The Streak” singer Ray Stevens has purchased a $2.85 million home in the Nashville satellite city of Belle Meade, The Tennessean reports. Stevens plans to reside in the property. The two-story, 8,363-square-foot home has 14 rooms, including five bedrooms, five full bathrooms and three half baths and sits on 6.38 acres, the newspaper reports.

Hoping to work for Willie Nelson but missing the musical chops? Nelson’s marijuana company, Willie’s Reserve, has openings for several positions in its Colorado office. Unfortunately, Billboard reports, all of the positions require actual related work experience.

Rascal Flatts will perform their most recent hit, “I Like the Sound of That,” on CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert June 23.

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Little Big Town Calls Collaboration With Pharrell Williams "Amazing"

Capitol Records Nashville
What started out as a songwriting collaboration between Little Big Town and artist, producer and The Voice coach Pharrell Williams turned into a mini album for the country band, although the songs on the newly released Wanderlust are not country at all.

Little Big Town’s Jimi Westbrook calls working with Williams “an amazing musical experience” that began as an “off the cuff” pairing. “It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of.”

Westbrook says, “The energy was so palpable in the studio with him … that we wanted to keep going and just see what happened. And that resulted in eight songs that we just felt like we wanted to share because we had such a great time doing it.”

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Brett Eldredge Shaves Beard, Shoots Video at Wrigley Field

Warner Music NashvilleFor an Illinois native like Brett Eldredge, just setting foot in Chicago’s Wrigley Field can be exciting. So it’s no surprise the rising country star was over the moon when he actually got to shoot his new music video, “Wanna Be That Song,” in the historic baseball venue.

Eldredge says he has been a “diehard Cubs fan from the day I was born,” and calls Wrigley Field “a magical place.”

The video features a beardless Eldredge in black and white portraying a 1940s-era Cubs player. Watch it here.

The singer premiered the clip on the Wrigley JumboTron just before the Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals game June 21. He also threw out the game’s first pitch and led the crowd in “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch.

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Kellie Pickler Tours Tokyo Following Split With Record Label

Image Group LA/ABC via Getty ImagesWhile she has yet to comment on her departure from the artist roster at record label Black River Entertainment, Kellie Picker seems to be taking it in stride.

The singer and her husband, songwriter Kyle Jacobs, are currently visiting Japan. Tweeting from Tokyo, Pickler wrote, “Blessed to see the world with my adventure and life partner … love you baby” and “Konnichiwa (hello) from Tokyo!! Making new friends and new memories. #Blessed #Japan.”

Jacobs, meanwhile, posted a photo of the couple on Instagram with the caption “Sup America?! KP and I are hanging in Tokyo for a while and loving every second of it! Love that I get to share these adventures with the most beautiful girl in the world. #luckyman.”

The second season of the couple’s reality show, I Love Kellie Pickler, debuts on CMT in August, but one cast member may be missing. Her childhood pal Daylan Honeycutt, a comic figure in the show’s first season, has reportedly been arrested on an array of charges, including domestic assault.

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Little Big Town Joins Boston Pops Fourth of July Celebration

UMG NashvilleLittle Big Town will be spending next month’s Independence Day holiday in Boston, where the band has been been tapped to appear on the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. They join previously announced performers Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas, who are set to perform their hits in conjunction with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra and its conductor, Keith Lockhart.

The two-hour special will air live from the Charles River Esplanade on the CBS Television Network from 9-11 p.m. ET.

Little Big Town is current on the road as part of Luke Bryan’s Kill the Lights Tour and working on a new country album with producer Jay Joyce.

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Country Star Trivia for 6/22/2016

ComStock/ThinkStockWhat year did future superstar Garth Brooks sign his first recording deal with Capitol Records in Nashville? ANSWER: 1988.

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Nashville Notes for 6/22/2016

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkStockPrior to his June 19 performance at the Buckeye Country Superfest in Ohio, Randy Houser awarded a decked out new truck to a U.S. military veteran as a “thank you” for his service. The Chevrolet Colorado was outfitted with more than $50,000 in tailgating and grilling items. The service member and his family also received free groceries for a year from Kroger. Houser has partnered with Operation Homefront and Eckrich to honor U.S. military families in this way since 2014. He is currently on tour with Dierks Bentley.

The seventh season of Craig Morgan’s Outdoor Channel series, Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoors, premieres July 1. A busy Morgan also released a new album, A Whole Lot More to Me, on June 3.

Toby Keith raised more than $1.1 million during his 13th annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic earlier this month in Oklahoma. The proceeds fund the Toby Keith Foundation’s OK Kids Korral, an Oklahoma City facility where families can stay when their child is receiving cancer treatments locally. Asleep at the Wheel performed at a kickoff dinner.

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Sam Hunt Plans To Turn Ideas Into Music This Fall

UMG NashvilleFans eager for new music from Sam Hunt will have to wait a little longer, and they can blame his busy touring schedule for that.

“It’s hard for me to balance writing with touring,” he says. “Last year I was so busy it was hard to write on the road, especially when we were going so full speed. This year we’re not going quite as hard so it’s a lot easier for me to be around [Nashville] and … get back in that mindset.”

In fact, Hunt has mentally cordoned off some time this autumn just to write for the next project, which presumably means we’ll see it sometime next year.

“I think the bulk of the work will happen this fall when I get home,“ he says. “I … blocked out a time period to kind of disconnect, … get back in that mindset and focus. I’m excited about that.”

At this point, he says the album is a collection of “a lot of cool ideas that are coming along. This fall is where I think it will all come together.”

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Joey + Rory Subject Of New Documentary

Courtesy Hickory FilmsSinger/songwriter Rory Feek, formerly half of the country music duo Joey + Rory, is remembering his late wife and musical partner Joey Martin Feek with a new documentary. To Joey, With Love will be shown in more than 500 movies theaters nationwide just once, on Sept. 20.

The film follows the birth of their now two-year-old daughter, Indiana, and Joey’s valiant battle with the cancer that claimed her life in March when she was just 40 years old. The couple made national headlines and won new fans as Rory documented his wife’s journey, and her enduring faith and spirit, in his widely-read blog.

Tickets for To Joey, With Love can be purchased online at or at participating theater box offices, which are listed on the site.

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Costumes, Props From TV Series "Nashville" Up For Auction

ABC Television NetworkFans of the television series Nashville have a new reason to celebrate. Following recent news that the ABC-cancelled series would be picked up by CMT and Hulu for its fifth season comes word that the show’s production team will auction off 270 mementoes from the first four years.

The site is hosting the “Nashville is Back” sale, which is packed with costumes, shoes and small props, including the wedding dress worn by star Connie Britton (Rayna Jaymes) in the fourth season opener.

Auction items will be offered for seven days, then replaced with new items every week through July 26. The first batch of 52 items is available for bids now.

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