» Gonna Make You Sweat: Keith Urban kicked of his Light The Fuse Tour with guests Dustin Lynch and Little Big Town Thursday (7/18), and the Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati was one hot ticket according to our Country Insider, "It was 96 degrees and ridiculously humid! Keith opened with 'Long, Hot Summer,' which was fitting." The show featured video captured from Keith's new Fret-Cam. "It's a camera that's mounted on top of the guitar neck near the tuning keys," we're told. "He could adjust it so that sometimes it was pointing down at his fingers, or at someone else in the band."
On top of his job as the Fret-Cam operator, Keith walked the aisles as a song vendor. "He entered the crowd twice. Once to sing a few a lines of 'You Look Good In My Shirt' right in front of the stage, and the other as he was on his way to a smaller stage near the back of the venue." Keith lights the fuse again in Charlotte Thursday (7/25) and Raleigh Friday (7/25). Get the full list of upcoming dates here.
» Some Beach: The Ten Times Crazier tour lived up to its name as Blake Shelton kicked things off Friday in Virginia Beach (7/19). The show spanned the multimedia performer's entire career ... headgear included. "Blake said he was going to do some older stuff, and ended up playing 'Playboys Of The Southwestern World,'" says our Country Insider. "When he finished, he paused and said, 'You know, this just doesn't feel right artistically; there's something wrong here.' Then he grabbed a cowboy hat that was fully equipped with its own mullet. It was a flashback to his old look and just really funny."
Fun and crazy aside, there were serious moments, as well. "The U.S.S. Truman was scheduled to leave the Norfolk Naval Base Monday (7/22)," says our Insider. "That's a big deal here and Blake addressed it as he went into 'Home,' which was huge. Lots of those families were at the show and it was their last weekend together for eight or nine months." After the show, Shelton tweeted, "Thank you, Virginia Beach, for the biggest night of my touring career." Next stop is St. Louis Friday (7/26). Easton Corbin and Jana Kramer are opening. View all their upcoming dates here.
» Wrig Gig: "From the moment Jason Aldean took the stage, he just rocked it," an attendee told us shortly after Aldean's Wrigley Field show Saturday (7/20). "It started raining right before he went on and not a soul left." Fans covered the Chicago Cubs' field as Kelly Clarkson, Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett opened. "It was special experience like no other with the famous Wrigley ivy climbing behind the pyrotechnics of Aldean’s stage. Thousands were singing along word-for-word. And there’s nothing like seeing cowboy boots stretch throughout Chicago from the Miracle Mile of Michigan Avenue to North Clark running by Wrigleyville." View Jason's upcoming shows here.
» Baby Antebellum: Royal watchers the world over were stunned as their cheers of, "It's a boy!" were drowned by throngs of country fans countering, "No, it's a girl!" That's right, Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott and husband Chris Tyrrell welcomed their baby girl, born Monday (7/22). "She's here," Scott tweeted. "We are in heaven! Eisele Kaye, our beautiful angel, Happy Birthday!" Long live the queen.
» DVD Player: Carrie Underwood is offering a fly-a-way sweepstakes to attend the release party for The Blown Away Tour: Live DVD. Between now and July 26, fans can enter for a chance to win a trip for two to the event and meet Underwood. Additionally, 10 fans that tweet #BlownAwayLive along with their favorite moment of the tour will be randomly selected to win an autographed copy of the DVD. Details here.
Alison Krauss (7/23)
Pam Tillis (7/24)
Tuesday (7/23): Kelly Clarkson, Who Do You Think You Are? (TLC).
Thursday (7/25): Court Yard Houds, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno (NBC).
This Week's Album Releases
Pam Tillis & Lorrie Morgan Dos Divas (Red River)
Also known as "Grits and Glamour," Tillis and Morgan recorded four songs each, plus six duets including their first single, "I Know What You Did Last Night."
Various Artists God's Country: George Jones And Friends (Red River)
Originally released in 2006, the 10-track album has been upgraded with a behind-the-scenes DVD and features Jones' hits covered by Joe Diffie, Vince Gill, Tracy Lawrence, Pam Tillis, Tanya Tucker and others.
Upcoming Album Releases
Vince Gill & Paul Franklin Bakersfield (7/30)
Brett Eldredge Bring You Back (8/6)
Luke Bryan Crash My Party (8/13)
Charlie Worsham Rubberband (8/20)
Alabama Alabama & Friends (8/27)
Keith Urban Fuse (9/10)
Sheryl Crow Feels Like Home (9/10)
Chris Young A.M. (9/17)
Billy Currington We Are Tonight (9/17)
Justin Moore Off The Beaten Path (9/17)
» No. 1 Baby: Jake Owen and wife Lacey receive a plaque for their recent No. 1 hit ... daughter Olive Pearl.