McBride at NASCAR and Urban Supports St. Jude

Martina McBride To Perform at NASCAR Ceremony

Multi-platinum and award-winning artist Martina McBride will perform “America the Beautiful” at NASCAR’s 2010 Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony. McBride joins a lineup that includes Rascal Flatts, Colbie Caillat, comedian Frank Caliendo and a special performance by Cirque du Soleil’s “Viva Elvis.”

“I’m looking forward to singing for the NASCAR drivers and teams at this year’s awards ceremony,” said McBride. “NASCAR and country music go hand-in-hand and have one very important thing in common—the fans. They are the most loyal of any I’ve ever known and it’s always a thrill to perform live for such an enthusiastic and supportive audience.”

The 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Ceremony will be held on Friday, December 3, at the Wynn Las Vegas. This event culminates NASCAR’s Champion’s Week, a postseason celebration offering fan-friendly activities in Las Vegas.

More information is available at

Urban for St. Jude

For the ninth year, Keith Urban has teamed up with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to produce a 2011 calendar. This calendar features photos of Urban, taken by members of his fan club, and is part of the Country Fans Care for St. Jude Kids fundraising program.

This program unites country music fans and fan clubs from across the world to raise money for the life-saving work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Through the program, donations to St. Jude are made in honor of the donor’s favorite celebrity, allowing fans to show support for their favorite entertainer while helping the kids of St. Jude at the same time.

To date, Urban’s calendars have raised over $500,000 for the kids of St. Jude, as 100 percent of the net proceeds benefit the hospital.

The calendar is available for purchase for $15 here.

Country Sales Thunder Toward Holiday Finish

The graph shows 2010 YTD album sales for all genre (purple) and country (red) compared with the same period in 2009. Country began the year up 18% on 3/14 but quickly started slipping. Note the strong uptick between 9/5 and 11/28 showing country's gaining from -13.2% to -6.1%.

With the warm buzz of family and friends gathered round the holiday table still in our hearts, it gives us added joy to note that country sales also had a robust holiday, resounding in the sweet sound of registers ringing. According to Nielsen SoundScan, country album sales for the period ending 11/28/2010 were up 12% compared with the previous week. The increase also had a nice effect on shrinking the 2010 sales deficit (see graph) which is now -6.1% compared with the same period in 2009. With five weeks remaining, country needs to shift 2.1 million album units each week to equal last year’s total album sales of 46.13 million units. (This week’s album tally was 1.574.) Attaining the 46.13 million unit mark appears a stiff challenge and inside odds-makers are predicting a finish down 5-7%. Country labels would like to be in positive territory, but when compared with all-genre album sales which are down 12.8% we’re ahead of the group. That’s the big picture, now let’s delve into some of the week’s highlights.

One could call the country album chart, “Swift’s List.” Riding her T-day, TV special, Taylor’s Speak Now CD jumped up 64%—almost 100k units—to sell over 240k (20k in digital format). Her Fearless disc also got a 72% bump of almost 20k. Alan Jackson’s 34 Number Ones was the only significant debut of the week landing at No. 7 with sales slightly over 32k. (Over on the Top 200 chart, however, Swift’s buddy Kanye West ruled with a strong debut of 496k units.)

Country consumers also stuffed acts like Sugarland (No. 4; +31%; 63k+), both Lady A discs (No. 6; +52%; 50k–No. 19; +260%; 14k+), and Darius Rucker (No. 14; +29%; 21k)  into shopping carts in record numbers. Rascal Flatts (-50%) and Keith Urban (-53%) saw lighter than normal week two declines and landed respectively at No. 2 and 3 on the country album chart.

Digital Tracks
Country track sales dropped 6% this week to about 963k total on the Top 100. This week eleven songs were downloaded over 20k times. The Band Perry narrowly topped Sugarland, both selling slightly more than 58k units to land at No. 1 and 2 respectively. Swift (No. 3, 4) and Jason Aldean (No. 8, 9) claimed two spots each on the Top 11. Others included Zac Brown Band (No. 5), Tim McGraw (No. 6) and Kenny Chesney (No. 7). Blake Shelton (No. 10) and Eric Church (No. 11) closed out the over 20k crowd.

Roxstarz Launches in Nashville; AirPlay Direct Joins Forces With CD Baby

Roxstarz Launches in Nashville

Matchless Management’s Shawn Pennington and business partner Andrew Fishbone announced the launch of Roxstarz, a private air charter brokerage firm headquartered in Nashville. Roxstarz, which caters to the needs of the music, movie and sports industries, will offer various luxurious yet affordable air charter options to clients. Among the services that Roxstarz will offer is negotiating the lowest rates amongst multiple carriers, handling all of the logistics on behalf of the client.

“A large section of our target client base doesn’t even realize how affordable private air travel can be, and how much the convenience of it can drastically raise their productivity level and quality of life,” says Pennington, a pilot himself. Pennington’s new venture resolves the disconnect between traditional services provided by the travel industry and the often daunting logistical needs of high profile celebrities and industry executives.

Roxstarz’s initial launch will focus on air charter services, and future rollouts will include promotional and sponsorship opportunities in addition to traditional concierge services. “Roxstarz will offer a service that appeals directly to the entertainment business, unmatched by any competitor, with an edge that will push Roxstarz into business spaces never before breached in the travel industry,” Fishbone explains.

AirPlay Direct Joins Forces with CD Baby

Global music delivery service AirPlay Direct has formed a strategic marketing partnership with CD Baby. AirPlay Direct services radio and the entertainment industry with downloadable content from both label and independent artists. This partnership with CD Baby, the world’s largest online distributor of independent music, will benefit clients of each respective company with discounts on services and other cross-marketing opportunities.

“We are very excited about the strategic partnership with CD Baby,” says  Robert Weingartz, CEO and Founder of AirPlay Direct. “AirPlay Direct and CD Baby were both founded on common principals: to assist in the growth and development of the independent music movement. In the ever-changing landscape of today’s music business world, we are pleased to join forces with a company who shares our desire to find solutions that will benefit the rising independent musician.”

“AirPlay Direct is an excellent option for DIY artists who want to have hands-on involvement in the promotion of their music to radio,” states CD Baby President, Brian Felsen. “We’ve heard artists voice their praises after working with AirPlay Direct on their radio campaigns, so we’re excited to offer CD Baby members a 50 percent discount on APD’s services. Plus, we’re always trying to think green around here, and the fact that AirPlay Direct handles music and press kit delivery digitally is good for the environment, simpler for the radio programmers, and cheaper for indie artists.”

Jimmy Wayne Featured in Upcoming CBS Special

Valory Music artist Jimmy Wayne will be featured in the entertainment special, “The 12th Annual A Home for the Holidays,” to be broadcast on Wednesday, December 22 at 8:00 pm ET/PT on CBS. This program celebrates the joys of adoption, sharing inspirational stories about foster care and adoption. Performances by artists including Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Nelly and Melissa Etheridge will accompany these evocative stories, which will be presented by celebrities who have their own adoption experiences.

Wayne, who knows firsthand about living in foster care, will share his incredible story of being abandoned at a bus station at the age of 13. After shuffling through 12 schools and nearly as many foster placements, Wayne found a home with Russell and Bea Costner, a couple in their 70s who opened their hearts to him.

“I was 16 years old and that family changed my whole life, every cell in my body,” Wayne explains. “I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for them.”

After settling in with the Costners, Wayne graduated from college and soon after signed his first recording contract. He continues to be very involved in supporting foster children in the U.S. who are awaiting adoption and the acceptance into permanent, loving homes. Earlier this year, he completed a 1,700-mile “Meet Me Halfway” walk, reaching his goal of walking halfway across the country to raise awareness of at-risk youths in the foster system.

Other celebrities who will appear on this special program include Julie ChenSharon Osbourne, Holly Robinson Peete and Mira Sorvino.

NEEDTOBREATHE To Join Taylor Swift on Tour

Taylor Swift announced that NEEDTOBREATHE will be a featured artist for the North American dates of her Speak Now World Tour 2011.

NEEDTOBREATHE, who released their debut album on Atlantic Records in 2006, have had multiple hits across the rock, Christian and Triple A radio formats with “Something Beautiful,” “More Time,” and the various cuts from their third and most recent album, The Outsiders. Additionally, their songs have been featured in several movies and television shows.

Known for their unique brand of atmospheric yet epic, Southern-infused rock, NEEDTOBREATHE’s rapidly expanding fan base has had the opportunity to catch them live at one of their 1,000+ shows in the past few years. The hardworking band is especially excited to bring their music to Swift’s massive audience.

“It means a lot to us that Taylor hand-picked us for her Speak Now tour,” NEEDTOBREATHE guitarist and co-songwriter Bo Rinehart says. “Everyone knows she has amazing fans, and we thrive on performing live, especially in front of new audiences.”

NEEDTOBREATHE, who previously toured with artists including Train and Collective Soul, will join the Speak Now tour on May 27th. They will be featured in all shows in the U.S. and Canada. NEEDTOBREATHE plans to record and release the follow-up to their Billboard Top 20 album The Outsiders in 2011.

Lady A Gets Six Grammy Nods

Nominations for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards® were announced tonight (12/1) by The Recording Academy®. Eminem tops the nominations with 10; Bruno Mars garners seven; and Jay-Z, Lady Antebellum, and Lady Gaga each earn six nods. Jeff Beck, B.o.B, David Frost, Philip Lawrence, and John Legend receive five each; and Alex Da Kid, the Black Keys, Drake, Cee Lo Green, Ari Levine, Katy Perry, Rihanna, the Roots, Dirk Sobotka, and Zac Brown Band each have four nominations.

Many Nashville-related artists like Kings of Leon, Paramore and Hayley Williams, and The Nashville Symphony Orchestra also picked up multiple nominations.

For the third year, nominations in select categories were revealed on the CBS primetime television special, “The GRAMMY® Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night®.”

The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on Feb. 13, 2011, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and once again will be broadcast live on CBS from 8 – 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).


Album Of The Year:
The Suburbs — Arcade Fire
Recovery — Eminem
Need You Now — Lady Antebellum
The Fame Monster — Lady Gaga
Teenage Dream — Katy Perry

Record Of The Year:
“Nothin’ On You” — B.o.B Featuring Bruno Mars
“Love The Way You Lie” — Eminem Featuring Rihanna
“F*** You” — Cee Lo Green
“Empire State Of Mind” — Jay-Z & Alicia Keys
“Need You Now” — Lady Antebellum

Best New Artist:
Justin Bieber
Florence & The Machine
Mumford & Sons
Esperanza Spalding

Song Of The Year:
“Beg Steal Or Borrow” — Ray LaMontagne, songwriter (Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs)
“F*** You” — Cee Lo Green, Philip Lawrence & Bruno Mars, songwriters (Cee Lo Green)
“The House That Built Me” —Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)
“Love The Way You Lie” — Alexander Grant, Skylar Grey & Marshall Mathers, songwriters (Eminem Featuring Rihanna)
“Need You Now” — Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott, songwriters (Lady Antebellum)


Best Female Country Vocal Performance:
“Satisfied” — Jewel
“The House That Built Me” — Miranda Lambert
“Swingin’” — LeAnn Rimes
“Temporary Home” — Carrie Underwood
“I’d Love To Be Your Last” — Gretchen Wilson

Best Male Country Vocal Performance:
“Macon” — Jamey Johnson
“Cryin’ For Me (Wayman’s Song)” — Toby Keith
“Turning Home” — David Nail
“‘Til Summer Comes Around” — Keith Urban
“Gettin’ You Home” — Chris Young

Best Country Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocals:
“Free” — Zac Brown Band
“Elizabeth” — Dailey & Vincent
“Need You Now” — Lady Antebellum
“Little White Church” — Little Big Town
“Where Rainbows Never Die” — The SteelDrivers

Best Country Collaboration With Vocals:
“Bad Angel” — Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert & Jamey Johnson
“Pride (In The Name Of Love)” — Dierks Bentley, Del McCoury & The Punch Brothers
“As She’s Walking Away” — Zac Brown Band & Alan Jackson
“Hillbilly Bone” — Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins
“I Run To You” — Marty Stuart & Connie Smith

Best Country Song:
“The Breath You Take” — Casey Beathard, Dean Dillon & Jessie Jo Dillon, songwriters (George Strait)
“Free” — Zac Brown, songwriter (Zac Brown Band)
“The House That Built Me” — Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)
“I’d Love To Be Your Last” — Rivers Rutherford, Annie Tate & Sam Tate, songwriters (Gretchen Wilson)
“If I Die Young” — Kimberly Perry, songwriter (The Band Perry)
“Need You Now” — Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott, songwriters (Lady Antebellum)

Best Country Album:
Up On The Ridge — Dierks Bentley
You Get What You Give — Zac Brown Band
The Guitar Song — Jamey Johnson
Need You Now — Lady Antebellum
Revolution — Miranda Lambert

Best Country Instrumental Performance:
“Tattoo Of A Smudge” — Cherryholmes
“Magic #9” — The Infamous Stringdusters
“New Chance Blues” — Punch Brothers
“Willow Creek” — Darrell Scott
“Hummingbyrd” — Marty Stuart


Best Americana Album:
The List — Rosanne Cash
Tin Can Trust — Los Lobos
Country Music — Willie Nelson
Band Of Joy — Robert Plant
You Are Not Alone — Mavis Staples

Best Bluegrass Album:
Circles Around Me — Sam Bush
Mountain Soul II — Patty Loveless
Family Circle — The Del McCoury Band
Legacy — Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band
Reckless — The SteelDrivers

Best Traditional Folk Album:
Genuine Negro Jig — Carolina Chocolate Drops
Onward And Upward — Luther Dickinson & The Sons of Mudboy
Memories Of John — The John Hartford Stringband
Maria Muldaur & Her Garden Of Joy — Maria Muldaur
Ricky Skaggs Solo: Songs My Dad Loved — Ricky Skaggs

Best Contemporary Folk Album:

Love Is Strange – En Vivo Con Tino — Jackson Browne & David Lindley
The Age Of Miracles — Mary Chapin Carpenter
Somedays The Song Writes You — Guy Clark
God Willin’ & The Creek Don’t Rise — Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs
Dream Attic — Richard Thompson


Best Gospel Performance:
“He Wants It All” — Forever Jones
“You Hold My World” — Israel Houghton
“Nobody Greater” — VaShawn Mitchell
“He’s Been Just That Good” — Kirk Whalum & Lalah Hathaway
“Grace” — BeBe & CeCe Winans

Best Gospel Song:
“Beautiful Things — Lisa Gungor & Michael Gungor, songwriters (Gungor)
“Better Than A Hallelujah” — Sarah Hart & Chapin Hartford, songwriters (Amy Grant)
“It’s What I Do” — Jerry Peters & Kirk Whalum, songwriters (Kirk Whalum & Lalah Hathaway)
Our God — Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman, Jesse Reeves & Chris Tomlin, songwriters (Chris
Return To Sender — Gordon Kennedy, songwriter (Ricky Skaggs)

Best Rock Or Rap Gospel Album:
Church Music — David Crowder Band
For Those Who Wait — Fireflight
Beautiful Things — Gungor
Rehab — Lecrae
Hello Hurricane — Switchfoot

Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album:
Beauty Will Rise — Steven Curtis Chapman
Love God. Love People — Israel Houghton
Pieces Of A Real Heart — Sanctus Real
Mosaic — Ricky Skaggs
Tonight — TobyMac

Best Southern, Country, Or Bluegrass Gospel Album:

Times Like These — Austins Bridge
The Reason — Diamond Rio
Expecting Good Things — Jeff & Sheri Easter
Journey On — Ty Herndon
Live At Oak Tree: Karen Peck & New River — Karen Peck & New River

Best Traditional Gospel Album:
The Experience — Vanessa Bell Armstrong
A City Called Heaven — Shirley Caesar
Downtown Church — Patty Griffin
Here I Am — Marvin Sapp
All In One — Karen Clark Sheard

Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album:
Get Ready — Forever Jones
Love Unstoppable — Fred Hammond
Triumphant — VaShawn Mitchell
Aaron Sledge — Aaron Sledge
Still — BeBe & CeCe Winans


Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals:

“Ready To Start” — Arcade Fire
“I Put A Spell On You” — Jeff Beck & Joss Stone
“Tighten Up” — The Black Keys
“Radioactive” — Kings Of Leon
“Resistance” — Muse

Best Rock Song:

“Angry World” — Neil Young, songwriter (Neil Young)
“Little Lion Man” — Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford & Country Winston, songwriters (Mumford & Sons)
“Radioactive” — Caleb Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill & Nathan Followill,
songwriters (Kings Of Leon)
“Resistance” — Matthew Bellamy, songwriter (Muse)
“Tighten Up” — Dan Auerbach & Patrick Carney, songwriters (The Black Keys)

Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals:
“Don’t Stop Believin’ (Regionals Version)” — Glee Cast
“Misery” — Maroon 5
“The Only Exception” — Paramore
“Babyfather” — Sade
“Hey, Soul Sister (Live)” — Train

Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals:
“Airplanes, Part II” — B.o.B, Eminem & Hayley Williams
“Imagine “— Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono No 1, Jeff Beck & Oumou Sangare
“If It Wasn’t For Bad” — Elton John & Leon Russell
“Telephone” — Lady Gaga & Beyoncé
“California Gurls” — Katy Perry & Snoop Dogg

Best Classical Album:
Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 — Mariss Jansons, conductor; Everett Porter, producer; Everett Porter, mastering engineer (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra)
Daugherty: Metropolis Symphony; Deus Ex Machina — Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Blanton Alspaugh, producer; Mark Donahue, John Hill & Dirk Sobotka, engineers/mixers (Terrence Wilson; Nashville Symphony Orchestra)
Mackey, Steven: Dreamhouse — Gil Rose, conductor; Rinde Eckert; Catch Electric Guitar Quartet; David Frost, producer; David Frost, Tom Lazarus, Steven Mackey & Dirk Sobotka, engineers/mixers; Silas Brown, mastering engineer (Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Synergy Vocals)
Sacrificium — Giovanni Antonini, conductor; Cecilia Bartoli; Arend Prohmann, producer; Philip Siney, engineer/mixer (Il Giardino Armonico)
Verdi: Requiem — Riccardo Muti, conductor; Duain Wolfe, chorus master; Christopher Alder, producer; David Frost, Tom Lazarus & Christopher Willis, engineers/mixers (Ildar Abdrazakov, Olga Borodina, Barbara Frittoli & Mario Zeffiri; Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Chicago Symphony Chorus)

Best Orchestral Performance:
Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 — Mariss Jansons, conductor (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra)
Daugherty: Metropolis Symphony; Deus Ex Machina — Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor (Terrence Wilson; Nashville Symphony)
Mackey, Steven: Dreamhouse — Gil Rose, conductor; Rinde Eckert (Catch Electric Guitar Quartet; Boston Modern Orchestra Project; Synergy Vocals)
Salieri: Overtures & Stage Music — Thomas Fey, conductor (Mannheimer Mozartorchester)
Stravinsky: Pulcinella; Symphony In Three Movements; Four Études — Pierre Boulez, conductor (Roxana Constantinescu, Kyle Ketelsen & Nicholas Phan; Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Best Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra):
Daugherty: Deus Ex Machina — Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Terrence Wilson (Nashville Symphony)
Dorman, Avner: Mandolin Concerto — Andrew Cyr, conductor; Avi Avital (Metropolis Ensemble)
Kletzki: Piano Concerto In D Minor, Op. 22 — Thomas Sanderling, conductor; Joseph Banowetz (Russian Philharmonic Orchestra)
Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 23 & 24 — Mitsuko Uchida (The Cleveland Orchestra)
Porter, Quincy: Concerto For Viola & Orchestra — John McLaughlin Williams, conductor; Eliesha Nelson (Northwest Sinfonia)

Aldean, Bryan, Band Perry Join ACA Line-up

Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and The Band Perry are the latest performers announced for the American Country Awards, airing live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Monday, Dec. 6 (8:00-10:00 PM/ET) on FOX.
They join previously announced performers Trace Adkins, Easton Corbin, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts, Reba, Blake Shelton, Steel Magnolia, Josh Turner and Uncle Kracker. Adkins will host the first annual fan-voted awards show.
Signing on to appear are Jaron and The Long Road to Love, Jerrod Niemann, Lee Ann Womack, actresses Kaley Cuoco and Jennette McCurdy, television personality Nancy O’Dell, and extreme sports athlete Travis Pastrana. Previously announced participants are Laura Bell Bundy, Rodney Carrington, Jewel, Lady Antebellum, Bret Michaels, Ty Murray, Jeff Dunham and Michael Waltrip.
Fans can vote once each day for Artist of the Year at until Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010.

Grammy Noms Special Tonight; Artist TV Appearances


Nominations in several categories for the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards will be revealed tonight (12/1) when “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! — Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night” airs at 9 pm CT on CBS.

The one hour special will be hosted by LL Cool J at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. Grammy-winning band Train (“Hey, Soul Sister”) recently signed on to perform at the show, joining previously announced performers Miranda Lambert, Justin Bieber, B.o.B., Bruno Mars, and Katy Perry.

Artists presenting nominations will include Selena Gomez, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Hayley Williams (Paramore) and Stevie Wonder. Williams was a guest vocalist on B.o.B’s hit “Airplanes,” but there is no confirmation she will join the rapper onstage.

This event marks the third time Grammy nominations will be announced on live television.


Darius Rucker will visit The Tonight Show With Jay Leno tonight (12/1), NBC, 11:35 PM/ET. Thursday (12/2) he will be on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC.

Miranda Lambert will perform on Ellen Monday (12/6).

The Band Perry will perform on ABC’s The View on Dec. 15.

Benefits/Lifenotes: Tim Johnson Fund; Norbert Nix’s Father

Tim Johnson

Songwriter Tim Johnson has been diagnosed with both liver and colon cancer. Johnson has served on NSAI’s Song Camp faculty and served as a longtime board member of NSAI. He is presently undergoing chemotherapy and is preparing for further treatment. NSAI has established a fund to help him defray treatment costs, travel and other necessary expenses. For more details, click here.


Edmund Nix, father of RCA Nashville National Director of Promotion Norbert Nix, passed away this morning (12/1), following a long and courageous battle with numerous health challenges. The Honorable Judge Edmund A. Nix is survived by his wife, Kay, and five children (Kim, Norbert, Mary Kay, Eddy, Michael). Visitation will be Sunday afternoon, December 5, at The Blaschke Funeral Home in La Crosse, WI, with funeral services on Monday morning at Blessed Sacrament Parish in La Crosse, WI.


As previously reported, a memorial/tribute service for Linda Hargrove will be held Dec. 8, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Douglas Corner Cafe. Hargrove died Sunday, Oct. 24. She was one of the few female session guitar players in Nashville in the ’70s, recorded for three major labels (Elektra, Capitol, RCA) and wrote the hits “Tennessee Whiskey” for George Jones and “Let It Shine” for Olivia Newton-John. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Mark Ford at NSAI, [email protected].

CMT Salutes Artists of The Year

All photos by Alan Mayor.

Lady Antebellum

Carrie Underwood

CMT taped its Artists of the Year special last night (11/30) at the Factory at Franklin honoring Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift and Zac Brown Band. Kevin Costner hosted the evening of performances and tributes.

Some of the honoree artists sang their own hits, while others were saluted in song by fellow stars. Aldean was joined onstage by Aerosmith’s Joe Perry for the rockin’ “My Kind of Party.” Zac Brown Band sang new single “Colder Weather” joined by the soulful Amos Lee. And Underwood performed a medley of charttoppers “Cowboy Casanova,” “Temporary Home” and “Undo It.”

Jason Aldean and wife

Maroon 5 surprised honoree Taylor Swift by performing her latest hit, “Mine,” and Darius Rucker and Adele offered the Lady Antebellum smash “Need You Now.”

Surprises were also in store as the honorees watched pre-taped segments of praise from Charlie Daniels, Reba McEntire, Ryan Seacrest, Selena Gomez and more.

Among the presenters were Kid Rock, Kix Brooks, Luke Bryan, Martina McBride, Alabama’s Randy Owen, Randy Travis, Smokey Robinson, Hayley Williams (Paramore), celebrity chef Cat Cora, and Boston Red Sox player Josh Beckett.

Taylor Swift

CMT Artists of the Year will premiere Friday, December 3 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on CMT and

CMT selected Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift and Zac Brown Band as Artists of the Year because in the last 12 months they have collectively received over 2.5 million plays of their current songs; sold over 8.5 million copies of their current albums; sold over 21 million individual downloads of their current singles; and topped both the touring and charts.

Host Kevin Costner

Smokey Robinson

Maroon 5