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Nino Munoz/Capitol NashvilleDierks Bentley and Brad Paisley are among the performers on NBC’s Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular coming up Saturday, July 4 at 8 p.m. ET. Kelly Clarkson and Meghan Trainor are also singing during the two-hour special airing from New York City.

Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular will feature the Big Apple’s 25-minute fireworks display, complete with 50,000 pyrotechnic shells.

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Sony Music Nashville/Blue ChairKenny Chesney scores his third consecutive #1 country hit from The Big Revival this week with “Wild Child.” The ballad features Grace Potter on harmony vocals and celebrates the spiritual attributes of women in a time when many country songs focus solely on their physical qualities.

Kenny says, “It was everything I wanted to say about what makes a woman alluring…about those things that capture your imagination and make you want to be closer. It certainly wasn’t the norm of what was happening with country radio, but it felt like something I wanted …read more

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Sony Music NashvilleChris Young surprised his former Seigel High school music teacher, Brenda Gregory, with a $2,500 grant for classroom funds Saturday in Nashville. She was giving a music lesson at the CMA Music Festival’s Fan Fair X when Chris surprised her with the check. Chris teamed up with Farmers Insurance Thank America’s Teacher initiative to make the donation possible.

Chris tells People, “She is so deserving. Ms. Gregory has always been supportive of my musical side, both in and outside of school. I’m glad I had a chance to help recognize …read more

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Comstock/ThinkstockCarrie Underwood hails from which Oklahoma town? ANSWER: Checotah.

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Show Dog/UniversalToby Keith has about 60 or 70 awards at his home in Oklahoma, but his Songwriters Hall of Fame induction coming up Monday night trumps them all.

Toby tells The Oklahoman, “This is my ultimate trophy. There’ll never be anything you can give me that’s bigger than this.”

Toby goes on to say he’s shocked some of his own songwriting heroes aren’t in the Songwriters Hall of Fame yet. “Merle Haggard‘s not in there,” Toby says. “Roger Miller‘s not in there. And I’m gonna champion both those guys when I get there.”

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Show Dog/UniversalToby Keith has about 60 or 70 awards at his home in Oklahoma, but his Songwriters Hall of Fame induction coming up Monday night trumps them all.

Toby tells The Oklahoman, “This is my ultimate trophy. There’ll never be anything you can give me that’s bigger than this.”

Toby goes on to say he’s shocked some of his own songwriting heroes aren’t in the Songwriters Hall of Fame yet. “Merle Haggard‘s not in there,” Toby says. “Roger Miller‘s not in there. And I’m gonna champion both those guys when I get there.”

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CMAHere’s a roundup of what the stars said over the weekend backstage at the CMA Music Festival’s nightly concerts at LP Field in Nashville:

Carrie Underwood returned to the concert stage at the CMA Music Festival over the weekend after giving birth to her son, Isaiah, earlier this year. The appearance came just days after she performed at the CMT Music Awards, and Carrie feels great being back amongst her fans.

She says of the CMT performance, “I was nervous just because I had been away from big, public events for a while. This is one …read more

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Nashville Notes

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockGrand Ole Opry star Jim Ed Brown‘s funeral will take place Monday morning at 10 a.m. CT at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. The service is open to the public.

Keith Urban presented Brad Paisley with the CMA’s International Artist Achievement Award Sunday night prior to their respective performances at the CMA Music Festival concert at LP Field in Nashville.

Kacey Musgraves performed “Family Is Family” on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers last week. The song is included on her new album, Pageant Material, due out June 23.

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UMG/McClisterSam Hunt requires a very specific environment in order to write hit songs like “Take Your Time” and “House Party,” so that makes it difficult for him to come up with new songs while on the road.

Sam tells Entertainment Tonight, “A lot of artists write on the road but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. I kind of have my little OCD wood shed at my house where everything is just right when I go write. I haven’t figured take that on the road yet.”

Now that he’s starting …read more

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James GladerMiranda Lambert, Martina McBride and Trisha Yearwood are featured on Don Henley‘s new album, Cass County, his first solo project in 15 years. According to Rolling Stone, the Eagles singer/drummer also recruited Merle Haggard, Alison Krauss, Mick Jagger and Dolly Parton to sing on the album.

As for why he’s going with a country flavor for the new album, Henley says, “I’m a Southerner and a Texan. I have ancestors in Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia. So this is a natural progression for me. It’s not me trying to do the ‘Don …read more

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