|» Buckle Down: Jason Aldean kicked off Wednesday night's 2013 CMT Music Awards with Lenny Kravitz live from Nashville's Bridgestone arena (6/5). They performed "American Woman" followed by Aldean's stage drop into an opening sketch starring his co-host Kristen Bell, Blake Shelton, Reba, Vince Vaughn, Dr. Drew, Kelsey Grammer and Lorraine Bracco. Cassadee Pope took care of Twitter coverage during the show and performed a commercial bumpout on the Nationwide Insurance Stage, as did Ashley Monroe, Dustin Lynch, Kree Harrison, Love And Theft and Randy Houser, all backed by house band The Mavericks, who paid tribute to George Jones with "The Race Is On."
Aldean performed "Night Train" and Hunter Hayes did "I Want Crazy" on the arena plaza stage outside, while Luke Bryan took the show honky-tonkin' a block down the street at The Stage. Other perfomances came from Keith Urban doing "Little Bit Of Everything," then joining Little Big Town for Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain." Lady Antebellum did "Goodbye Town" then provided background vocals for Darius Rucker on "Wagon Wheel." Taylor Swift rocked "Red," Miranda Lambert sang "Mama's Broken Heart" and Kacey Musgraves got the crowd singing along to "Blowin Smoke." Carrie Underwood's "See You Again" was dedicated to victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes and Florida Georgia Line closed out the show with "Cruise" featuring Nelly. George Strait was scheduled to perform, but was forced to cancel following the passing of his father.
|» Buckle Up: Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" took home Video Of The Year at the 2013 CMT Music Awards. Other "buckle" winners were:
|» Tonight We Fest! A few showers didn't stop dozens of country artists from throwing swag out the back of pickups during the 9th Annual CMA Music Festival Kick-Off Parade Wednesday (6/5). Grand Marshall Kix Brooks led the way and the Budweiser Clydesdales followed as GAC's Nan Kelley and Storme Warren emceed the march down Nashville's Lower Broad. Clydesdale Levi stopped by the CMA office to pick up his credential and was greeted by Country Music Hall-of-Famer Brenda Lee.
Levi has access to events throughout the weekend which started with Lady Antebellum cutting the ribbon on the Fan Fair X experience at the gleaming new Music City Center Thursday morning (6/6). Lady A followed the ceremony with a performance and Q&A inside. Sara Evans opened the Riverfront Stage performances. LP Field concerts commence Thursday (6/6) with performances from Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert and Zac Brown Band. If you're unable to attend, don't worry ... it'll all be taped for the Aug. 12 ABC-TV special.
|» Pickler Back: Kellie Pickler came back to Nashville from her Dancing With The Stars win to perform at the Grand Ole Opry Tuesday (5/4). She sang her new single “Someone Somewhere Tonight” and was surprised when the Opry audience held up DWTS perfect 10 paddles. "Did y’all plan that or did everybody just happen to have those in their pocket?" she asked. "That is so sweet. I wish y’all could’ve been the judges!" American Idol runner-up Kree Harrison made her Opry debut the same night and was joined by Keith Urban to perform Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through The Night." "Unbelievably proud of @KreeHarrison," tweeted Keith. "So honored to share the stage @ her @Opry debut! You brought the house down."|
|» In Case You Missed It: Taylor Swift surprised Team Usher contestant Michelle Chamuel Monday (6/3) on The Voice. "Thanks for picking my song," said Swift as she entered Chamuel's rehearsal of "I Knew You Were Trouble." Watch here.
"Filing this under 'never in my wildest dreams.' Thank you @RollingStones for inviting me to Chicago to sing with you," Swift tweeted after her performance of "As Tears Go By" and slow dancing with Mick Monday (6/3). Watch here.
Gretchen Wilson fought back nerves at The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson last night (6/5) to discuss her new album Under The Covers and perform "Hot Blooded." Watch here.
LeAnn Rimes explained how her husband inspired "You've Ruined Me" from her new album Spitfire on Chelsea Lately last night (6/5). Watch here.
Ronnie Dunn surprised fans leaving the 2013 CMT Music Awards with a four-song set at Rippy's in Nashville accompanied by a flash mob. Watch here.
The late Les Paul (6/9)
Sunday (6/9): Blake Shelton, The Voice (NBC).
Monday (6/10): Blake Shelton, The Voice (NBC).
Upcoming Album Releases
Ash Bowers Shake It Off (6/11)
Hunter Hayes Encore (6/18)
LoCash Cowboys LoCash Cowboys (6/18)
Various Artists Live From The Archives of 650 AM WSM - Volume 1 (6/25)
Gwen Sebastian Gwen Sebastian (6/25)
Travis Tritt The Calm After ... (7/9)
Joey + Rory Inspired Songs of Faith and Family (7/16)
Brett Eldredge TBD (8/6)
Keith Urban Fuse (9/10)
Sheryl Crow Feels Like Home (9/10)
Chris Young A.M. (9/17)
» Wimbledumb: Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood (l) face off against Little Big Town's Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet (r) at Ping Pong & Songs in the Fan Fair X exhibit hall during CMA Fest.