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Blake Shelton brought country music to Saturday Night Live in a big way as the host and musical guest this past weekend.

In addition to performing his #1 hits “Neon Light” and “Boys Round Here,”, Blake recreated the “Picking and Grinning” segment from the classic country variety show Hee Haw for his monologue. Several SNL cast members, dressed in gingham and overalls, joined Blake onstage for the Hee Haw bit, but his attempts at teaching them about G-rated country humor went south very quickly.

Next up, Blake wore a …read more

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UMG NashvilleWhen tickets go on sale Monday for the Sounds of Summer tour, newcomer Canaan Smith will already have a major bonding moment under his belt with headliner Dierks Bentley – one he calls “the worst experience of my life.” Dierks enlisted his tourmates, including Kip Moore and Maddie & Tae, to take part in his annual Polar Plunge this January.

“It was so freaking cold. The ride out to the middle of the lake on the pontoon was miserable enough, and then when we took our clothes off and jumped in subzero water, that was another thing,” …read more

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Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleKip Moore recalls how Ronnie Dunn inspired him to keep pursuing his dreams, in the latest installment of the YouTube series Backstage at the Ryman.

“Ronnie Dunn played here, doing a solo acoustic thing one time… It was right when I first moved to town. Ronnie Dunn blew me away in this building, like blew me away, his voice was so magical,” Kip remembers. “That was probably the second year I’d been living here and I’d never had the money the first year to get in, so I remember how hard …read more

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Becky Fluke/Mercury Records NashvilleWith five number ones already under his belt and album cuts by artists as diverse as Adele and Brad Paisley, writer Chris Stapleton is set to release his first album as a solo artist this spring. Though you may not be familiar with his voice, Chris has penned hits like Kenny Chesney‘s “Never Wanted Nothing More,” “Drink a Beer” by Luke Bryan, and George Strait‘s “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright.”

Though he’s most often hit the road with his bluegrass band The SteelDrivers, Chris sets out on the Pain Killer Tour with Little Big Town in March, …read more

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Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes is dying to collaborate with British hitmaker Ed Sheeran, and he’s hoping he might have the chance to bring it up at this year’s Grammys. Sheeran, known for his hits like “Don’t,” is set to sing on the show, while Hunter is up for Best Country Solo Performance for “Invisible.”

“There’s tons of people who want to work with him who are way more capable than I am, so how do you even sell it? Do you bet him? Or bribe him? I might have to bribe him,” he …read more

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Country Star Trivia

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Comstock/ThinkstockWhich season of American Idol did Carrie Underwood win? ANSWER: Carrie took home the title during season four in 2005.

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Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleIn his latest single “Young & Crazy,” Frankie Ballard sings about “sit(ting) out on the porch, telling stories ‘bout my glory days.” So with back-to-back number ones with “Sunshine & Whiskey” and “Helluva Life,” does Frankie feel like he’s living his “glory days” now?

“I don’t feel like I’ve had ‘em, yet,” he says. “You know, I feel like I’m in the middle of ‘em now. I definitely have stories I could tell people, but your glory days are your prime, you know, when you’re just at your best when you …read more

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Warner Music NashvilleBlake Shelton visited NBC’s The Tonight Show Thursday to plug this weekend’s appearance on Saturday Night Live as host and musical guest. He also joined Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon for a new game called “The Whisper Challenge.”

The premise of the game is one person wears headphones with loud music playing that prevents him from hearing the other person say a random phrase. The person wearing the headphones has to guess what the other one is saying by reading lips.

The 38-year-old singer didn’t do well at the game. When he donned …read more

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Nashville Notes

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Image Courtesy Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockBrad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and Florida Georgia Line are set to headline the third annual Faster Horses Festival July 17-19 in Brooklyn, MI.

Mary Kay will be the official beauty sponsor of the 50th Annual ACM Awards, airing six commercials during the live broadcast from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX April 19.

Jerrod Niemann takes Fox News Channel on a tour of Music City in the debut installment of Road Trip w/ Anna Kooiman Friday at 7:20 a.m. ET on Fox & Friends.

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Image Courtesy Sony Music/Jeremy CowartCarrie Underwood‘s latest single, “Something in the Water,” has passed a milestone. This week, it spends a seventh week atop Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart, giving her the longest run at #1 of her career, besting her debut single. Nine years ago this week, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was midway through its six-week run on that same chart. But aside from her chart success, Carrie says she has first-hand knowledge of how her hits are affecting the fans.

“I guess they feel like they know me, especially those that have …read more

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