Thomas Rhett Duets with His Dad for a Home State Crowd

ABC/Randy HolmesThere’s no doubt a home state crowd loves Thomas Rhett. When his March date at Atlanta’s Wild Bills sold out in a matter of hours, the Georgia native added a second show in April, which sold out just as quickly.  

The “Die a Happy Man” hitmaker made it well worth his fans’ efforts, even bringing out his famous father at one point for an epic jam session. “The one, the only, the man, the myth, the legend — Mr. Rhett Akins,” the second-generation country star offered, before asking, “Ya’ll ever heard this song called ‘That Ain’t My Truck?’” and launching into his dad’s hit from 1995.

The good-natured banter between father and son continued, with Thomas saying, “I don’t mean to get your ego any bigger than it already is, but whenever you turn on the radio, probably seventy percent of the songs you hear are written by this guy right here,” before the two played Blake Shelton’s smash, “Boys Round Here.” You can watch snippets of the night’s performances on YouTube.

This Friday night, Thomas Rhett takes the stage with another duet partner, as he and Nick Jonas tape their upcoming episode of CMT Crossroads in Nashville.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hillary Scott Recalls a Lighthearted Prince Moment on Tour with Lady A and Darius Rucker

Capitol NashvillePrince may not have been a country singer — but that certainly didn’t stop him from having a big impact on many of the stars in the genre. Hillary Scott recalls a particularly funny moment involving the legend that happened when Lady Antebellum was out with the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish.

“One of my most vivid memories with his music was when we were on tour,” she remembers. “It was the Own the Night tour with Darius Rucker and he had closed his set every night with ‘Purple Rain.’ And this is kind of a lighthearted moment. One of the last shows of the tour, Charles [Kelley] went out dressed as Prince. Obviously Prince being much smaller in stature than Charles — he’s 6’6”– it just was one of the most just sweet, funny, hilarious moments.”

Darius himself reacted to Prince’s death Thursday on Twitter, saying, “Once again Heaven’s band just got even more incredible. One of my absolute idols #Prince. Thank u for showing me what true GREATNESS is!!”

Hillary, who’ll soon release a new faith-based album with her family, believes Prince’s greatest accomplishment may come down to one word — originality.

“There’s no one comparable to him. He’s his own…So many people, even to this day right now in a room or on [Music Row] somewhere, are trying to emulate what he does, what he did.”

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Keith Urban: "Prince Was a Monster on Guitar!"

Capitol NashvilleKeith Urban was in the middle of two days of interviews promoting his new album Ripcord on Thursday, when he learned that iconic pop, rock and funk superstar Prince had passed away at the age of 57.

“The very first time I saw him was on MTV, you know? ‘1999,’ I guess, was the song and the video,” the Aussie native recalled. “That period you saw so many artists come and go, one-hit wonder sort of thing, but there was something immediate about that track and about him and the way he performed. It was no surprise that that was going to be something of legend. That catalog of his is just mind-blowing,” he adds.

For students of the six-string like Keith, the artist who will forever be known as Prince means something special.

“You kind of have to ask guitar players about Prince, because most other people don’t seem to know,” he muses. “But every guitarist I’ve ever talked to knows that he was a monster on guitar. Certainly when you went and saw him live, you’re just like, ‘Omigod! That’s you! You played on the records? Omigod!’”

You can check out Keith’s own guitar-playing when his new release, Ripcord, comes out May 6.

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Kelsea Ballerini Is Ready for Her Close-Up

ABC/Image Group LAIf you watched Wednesday night’s episode of Nashville, you know Thomas Rhett played himself on the ABC show set in Music City, performing his chart-topping hit “Die a Happy Man.” Next up, Kelsea Ballerini is ready for her close-up. She’ll play her latest single “Peter Pan” in the upcoming installment of the show titled “The Trouble with the Truth.”

“I’ve watched Nashville since it came out and have always loved the story it tells, and more than anything, the music it shows,” the artist with two number ones under her belt tells Billboard. “I’m so excited to be a part of this episode!”

You can catch Kelsea’s star turn on Nashville May 4 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Country Stars Feel the Passing of Prince

Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImageThough he never cut any country tracks as far as we know, stars ranging from Blake Shelton to Brothers Osborne felt the passing of pop, funk, R&B and rock legend Prince on Thursday.

Prince’s publicist, Yvette Noel-Shure, confirmed his death in a statement provided to ABC News. 

“It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary iconic performer, Prince, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57,” the statement reads.  “There are no further details as to the cause of his death at this time.”

Prince’s Paisley Park Studios and estate are located in Chanhassen, Minnesota, outside of Minneapolis.

The musician’s plane reportedly made an emergency landing early last Friday morning in Moline, Illinois, so that the singer could be rushed to the hospital.  He was soon released and returned home to Minnesota, reportedly suffering from the flu. 

Here’s how country stars reacted to the news of his passing on social media:

Darius Rucker:  “Once again Heaven’s band just got even more incredible. One of my absolute idols #Prince. Thank u for showing me what true GREATNESS is!!”

Blake Shelton:  “Dang it… Truly hate hearing we lost Prince. Sad day..”

Brad Paisley:  “Oh no. No no no. Not another! So sad. Rest in peace Prince.”

Kip Moore:  “Sad I never saw him live..what an incredible talent. RIP Prince”

Chris Young:  “Prince gone at 57… Sad day”

Zac Brown:  “Already a bad year for losing musical legends. Gigantic kick to crotch to lose Prince so young. So sad.”

Brett Eldredge:  “Damn…lost a legend…thank you Prince for always reminding me to party like 1999”

Parmalee:  “RIP Prince! Lost an Icon today! Thx for your musical influence #purplerain”

Brothers Osborne:  “Prince?! Damn.”

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Why Dan+Shay Are "Obsessed" with Their Fans and Their Music

ABC/Fred LeeDan+Shay make no bones about it — they owe everything to their fans, even the name of their new record.

“The idea for the album title, Obsessed, came directly from our fans,” Dan Smyers reveals.

“Our fans know we live on social media both when we’re in and out of the studio,” Shay Mooney adds, “and we started noticing that hashtag #obsessed being tagged in all our fans’ posts when we first revealed our single, ‘From the Ground Up.’ So when it came time to pick a title for this album, it seemed pretty appropriate that we’re even more obsessed with making music for our fans than they are to hear it.”

The duo’s sophomore album will be released June 3, the same day Dan+Shay head out on the Good for a Good Time tour with Darius Rucker and Michael Ray. “From the Ground Up” is currently in the top 30, while the song Shay co-wrote for Rascal Flatts, “I Like the Sound of That,” happens to be number one this week.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Mitchell School District lauds elementary school educators and retirees

The Mitchell School District honored thirteen elementary school educators and four retirees during a special event Wednesday.

“I’m a Teacher…What’s Your Super Power?”, served as the theme.

Terriann Murray, Kristina Borgan, and Donna Ripp were recognized for fifteen years of service, Joanna Meyers, Sonya Fossum, and Eileen Toman, twenty years. Deb Thill and Mary Nath, twenty-five years, Hallie Tate, Susan Dodd, and Jane Dahme, 30 years. Plus Cheryle  Aslesen and Mary Marchand, 35 years.

Marchand, along with Patty VerSteeg, Kathy Ewing, and Joan Pfaff are retiring.

School board member Neil Putnam and Superintendent Joe Graves distributed tokens of appreciation and thanked the honorees for their service.

Senior High Assistant Principal Shane Thill served as emcee.


"Nashville" Recap: "Didn't Expect It To Go Down This Way"

ABCOn Wednesday night’s NashvilleRayna Jaymes and Deacon Claybourne searched frantically for their daughter Maddie, who ran away after her dad pulled her off stage when he found the teen playing in a downtown bar. Luke Wheeler had his own missing person’s case on his hands, as his tour partner Riff Bell was nowhere to be found as the opening night of their tour approached.

Juliette Barnes was none too happy to discover that not only was her ex-husband Avery Barkley going on the Wheeler tour with Layla Grant, he was also planning to take their daughter Cadence. Once Juliette witnessed the chemistry between Avery and Layla onstage, she began to feel like the newcomer had stepped into the life that was rightfully hers.

As Will Lexington continued to work on his album for Wheelin’ Dealin’ Records, he got the courage to ask one of his backup singers on a date — only to find out he’d misinterpreted the signals and his potential love interest was straight.

Meanwhile, Autumn Chase still couldn’t stay out of the personal lives of her openers The Exes, eventually coaxing Scarlett O’Connor to admit she and Gunnar Scott still had feelings for each other — they’d just decided not to act on them for the sake of the band. Autumn set her sights on Gunnar as a love interest for herself, though he rebuffed her advances.

Riff eventually turned up in a New Orleans emergency room, suffering a stroke after days of drink, drugs and debauchery with an escort. Real-life country star Thomas Rhett came through to help Luke out on the opening night of the tour, but Layla and Avery were both shocked when Luke announced it would be Juliette who’d be stepping up to fill Riff’s spot for the remainder of the tour.

When Rayna and Deacon finally came face to face with Maddie at her friend Cash’s house, she threw them a huge curveball — announcing she’d talked to a lawyer about becoming emancipated from her famous parents.

The twists and turns of Nashville continue next Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Opening Act Kip Moore Forges Such a Bond with Fans in the UK and Ireland, He's Returning as the Headliner

MCA NashvilleThis weekend, Kip Moore kicks off five headlining dates overseas, as he embarks on his very first solo tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland. The trip comes after an enthusiastic response to the job he did warming up the crowd last year at Europe’s largest country music festival, Country to Country, or C2C.

“I mean, I went [to] C2C for two weeks and was the opening act for the whole tour, which most of the time the venue was half full when I went on. So, you know, this will be the first chance to really stretch my legs,” he says of the opportunity.

Even though he took the stage first, the “Running for You” hitmaker still managed to forge a bond with the audiences, something they must’ve sensed too — considering his dates in both Manchester and Glasgow had to move to bigger venues because they were selling so well.

“I felt like something special happened,” Kip remembers. “I told my team that. I said, ‘I think there was something very real that happened between us and the fans over there.’ And to see what’s happening right now, with all the venues, is definite evidence of that. So I can’t wait. I cannot wait to get over there!” 

The Wild Ones creator plays Dublin, Ireland, Friday night, before heading for Glasgow, Scotland, on Saturday. He wraps up with shows in Birmingham, Manchester and London, England, next Monday through Wednesday. This summer, he’ll be on the road with Miranda Lambert and Brothers Osborne in the States.

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CMA Plans a Party in the Park with Everyone from Kristian Bush to Lauren Alaina

CMAKristian BushLauren AlainaNashville’s Chris CarmackDrake White & the Big FireJamie Lynn Spears and Aubrie Sellers are just a few of the nearly forty artists who’ll play The Park Stage during this year’s CMA Music Festival. The Swon Brothers kick things off Thursday, June 9 at 10:30 a.m. CT in Walk of Fame Park, across the street from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

The performances are free and open to the public, and continue until Andy Griggs plays the Park Stage at 4:30 on Sunday. Next Tuesday, the Country Music Association announces the acts who’ll play The Broadway Stage at the Hard Rock Café via its 2016 smartphone app.

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