Friday Artist News (8/12/11)

CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock airs at 8 pm ET this Sunday (8/14) on ABC. The two hour special features performances from country music’s biggest including Keith Urban, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Alan Jackson, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Zac Brown Band and many more. CMA will also feature a Tween ‘n’ Greet Sunday with members of the media and fans can follow along using #CMAfest on Twitter.

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Jamey Johnson is set to appear at Farm Aid 2011 in Kansas City tomorrow (8/13) along with concert founders Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews. “Farm Aid is set up to look after the family farmer, the ones that actually take part in the same crops that they produce for other people,” he says. “They are not just growing food to send down the line; their family eats the same foods that they sell.” The Alabama-born singer is also writing and recording songs for the followup to his acclaimed album The Guitar Song.

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Chris Young’s star is quickly rising, and GAC will document his journey when it airs Origins: Chris Young on Sunday, August 21. Fans will get to hear from Young’s favorite teacher, his parents, his best friend, fan club president, and his reps in the music industry, as well as be treated to five acoustic performances. The performer just released his third album Neon, which features his No. 1 hit “Tomorrow”

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Country artist and U.S. Military Veteran Keni Thomas will be able to add author to his resume on October 1, when B&H Publishing releases his book Get It On! What It Means To Lead The Way. A personal account of his experience in the 1993 Black Hawk Down battle in Somalia, Get It On! also details a set of leadership lessons learned in the line of duty. Thomas will share his message of leadership along fellow U.S. Army rangers Danny McKnight, Charlie Manis and Howard Mullen Jr. as part of the Black Hawk Down Tour running Sept. 27 – Oct. 7. Details on his website.

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Southern rockers Blackberry Smoke will make its debut on the Grand Ole Opry September 13, where they will join a who’s who of country legends in an important rite of passage. “To quote Minnie Pearl, we are ‘tickled’ to do it and hope we make Hank proud,” says lead singer, Charlie Starr. The Atlanta-based band is currently opening shows on Zac Brown Band’s summer tour and is recording its third studio album for Southern Ground Artists.

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