» Remembering George Jones: "One of the greatest singers to ever live." That's no less than George Strait remembering the late George Jones, who passed Friday in Nashville (4/26). He was 81. His funeral, open to the public this Thursday at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House (5/2), is likely to be an outpouring of remembrance, music and love from country's biggest names and its biggest fans. They will honor a man who set a vocal standard that will never be matched. The Texas native scored his first top 10 single with "Why Baby Why" in 1955, then notched the first of many No. 1 songs with 1959's "White Lightning." After marrying the late Tammy Wynettein 1969, the couple became Country's premier duo, topping the charts with "Near You," "We're Gonna Hold On" and "Golden Ring." Their marriage ended in the '70s and Jones endured a career lull that included a battle with drugs and alcohol. He became famous for missing concerts, leading to the nickname "No Show Jones."
In 1980, he revitalized his career by recording "He Stopped Loving Her Today," which was named CMA Single of the Year, won a Grammy and is regularly cited as arguably the greatest country song of all time. He credited his 1983 marriage to Nancy Ford Sepulvado with inspiring his sobriety. She, his sister, children and grandchildren survive him. Jones had announced a farewell tour for 2013, concluding with a Nov. 22 show at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena. Plans for that final Nashville show have yet to be determined.
» Possum's Posse:Country artists continue to pour their hearts out in remembering one of the greats. Here's a sampling:
Urban payed tribute with a self-filmed YouTube video performance of "He Stopped Loving Her Today." Watch here. And Toby Keith was one of many performers at the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, CA over the weekend who tipped their hat. Toby covered Jones' "She Thinks I Still Care" and “White Lightning" during his Red Solo salute.
» Friendship Brings: Kenny Chesney dedicated his last album Welcome To The Fishbowl to Kristi Hansen, the fiancé of his boat captain Ben Shepherd. Kristi passed away while giving birth to a daughter, who also died. On Kenny's new album, Life On A Rock, he continues to honor her memory with a song. He recorded "Happy On The Hey Now" and recruited another island friend, Gretchen Rhodes, to perform background vocals. "Having you on this record represents Kristi's wonderful circle of friends and how much fun we all had together," Kenny writes to Gretchen in the album's liner notes. "Having you ... is just special. And that's everything our friend Kristi Hansen was. Special!" See below for more info about how Kenny made Life On A Rock his most personal album to date.
» 51-Year-Old Virginian: He plays himself on the All-Star Celebrity Apprentice, but Trace Adkins' IMDB page proves he's willing to explore more complicated roles. Roles that allow him to be sensitive 6'6" 240-pound dudes, intellegent 6'6" 240-pound dudes, nerdy 6'6" 240-pound dudes, and The Virginian. Although there's no release date, Trace will play the title character in the film alongside Victoria Pratt and Ron Perlman.
» Annie Haul: Fans are making quick detective work of Pistol Annies' interactive online graphic novel, Pistol Annies and the Case of the Stolen Gear. The search has resulted in the recovery of a custom Gibson guitar in Louisville, signed lyrics in Austin, and a leather jacket in Atlanta. More stuff is still missing and the girls are posting clues, asking for help. Daily recaps and the grand prize, a chance to win a flyaway trip to a secret Pistol Annies show, can be found here as the adventure continues leading up to the May 7 release of Annie Up.
» In Case You Missed It: Trace Adkins stayed away from the mechanical dog and out of the boardroom on Sunday's All-Star Celebrity Apprentice (4/28). Watch here.
Jennifer Wayne and Caroline Cutbirth continue their run towards the finals of The Amazing Race. Watch the latest episode here.
Willie Nelson (4/30)
Carolyn Dawn Johnson (4/30)
Tim McGraw (5/1)
Larry Gatlin (5/2)
Ty Herndon (5/2)
Tuesday (4/30): Kenny Chesney, Good Morning America (ABC); Kellie Pickler, Dancing With The Stars (ABC); Blake Shelton, The Voice (NBC); Florida Georgia Line, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (NBC); Kenny Chesney, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon (NBC).
Wednesday (5/1): The Band Perry, The Talk (CBS); Sheryl Crow, The Wendy Williams Show; Keith Urban, American Idol (FOX).
Thursday (5/2): Keith Urban, American Idol (FOX).
This Week's Album Releases
Kenny Chesney Life On A Rock (4/30)
"The spirit of this record is so much about friendship," says Chesney. "A lot of these songs were inspired by the people I’ve met, the lives we’ve shared and the way they inspired me." Those friends include Willie Nelson, who joins Chesney for the track "Coconut Tree," and The Wailers, who help him out on "Spread The Love."
Upcoming Album Releases
Pistol Annies Annie Up (5/7)
Lady Antebellum Golden (5/7)
Craig Campbell Never Regret (5/7)
Various Artists The Music Of Nashville Season 1, Volume 2 (5/7)
Trace Adkins Love Will ... (5/14)
George Strait Love Is Everything (5/14)
Various Artists Everybody Has A Story (5/14)
Darius Rucker True Believers (5/21)
Hunter Hayes Encore (6/18)
» Resident Bush: Charles Kelley faces his toughest nightly decision ... which will be the perfect chest hair extension to attach for tonight's show?