Owen, Messina Offering Live Concerts Online

RCA’s Jake Owen will offer fans a chance to view his live show online with is first-ever streaming concert tonight (12/3). Owen is set to play a sold-out show at Joe’s Bar in Chicago, and will stream the entire 90 minute event live for free. Sponsored by LongHorn Steakhouse and Chicago’s US99, the concert starts at 10 pm CT and can be seen at www.jakeowen.net/live.

“I am so excited to do this show and to be able to give something like this to the fans who can’t be there in person,” says Owen.

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Similarly, Jo Dee Messina will be streaming her second annual “Inspirational Evening of Words and Music” on Saturday, Dec. 4 live at 7 pm CT on www.jodeemessina.com. The event, which benefits Nashville’s Harvest Hands Community Development Corporation, takes place at Brentwood United Methodist Church. Online viewers will be able to make donations while watching. Tickets are still available by making a donation on Messina’s website or http://www.harvesthandscdc.com/.

“I feel so blessed to be able to help folks give to the Harvest Hands,” says Messina.  “And I’m grateful that Brentwood United Methodist Church is again, this year, facilitating the cause.”

Holiday Releases Roundup

Word/Warner Bros. trio Point of Grace has released a Christmas CD called Home For The Holidays, and just announced its Home For The Holidays Tour in December to support the recording. The tour launches today in Eden Prairie, MN and wraps Dec. 19 in Greenwoods, SC. Fervent Records artist Chris August will support.

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Mandy Barnett also has a new Christmas album, Winter Wonderland, which is available at Cracker Barrel stores everywhere. The video for its single “This Time Of Year” is already playing on The Boot. Barnett will join Bill Cody on WSM from 7-10 am tomorrow morning to talk about the project.

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Gretchen Wilson is releasing the holiday oddity “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas,” which was originally recorded by Gayla Peevey in 1953. Wilson’s version features several children from her daughter’s school singing on the track. “This is such a fun, silly song,” says Wilson. “And having my daughter and her friends in the studio with me made it really special.”

•  •  •  •

For those who prefer holiday meals with a little river flavor, Steve Azar is re-releasing his song “Catfish Christmas.” “We all enjoy the same traditional food during the holidays, and as much as I like turkey and all its trimmings, it can’t hurt to spice it up a little and introduce a new tradition now and again,” says Azar. “Here’s wishing everyone a very Merry Catfish Christmas.”

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Fresh from a November 26 appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, Highway 101 has a new DVD called Christmas On Highway 101. The DVD offers 11 holiday songs including the single “Six Gold Coins,” as well as a cameo from Wynonna.

Opry Events Manager Exits; Obedia Opens Nash Offices

Grand Ole Opry Events Manager Sara Winne Foster has exited her post with the company. Foster joined Gaylord Entertainment and the Grand Ole Opry in 2007, where she oversaw all private events at the Opry Entertainment Complex. Prior to the Opry, she worked for The Promotional Edge in Los Angeles, where she managed client events and worked on award shows such as VH1’s Rock Honors, Spike TV’s Video Game Awards, Nickelodeon’s Kid’s Choice Awards, the Daytime Emmys and more. She is currently seeking her next opportunity and can be reached at 615-714-2084 or [email protected]

• • •

Los-Angeles based Obedia, a music tech support and training firm has moved its headquarters to Nashville and set up shop at 2817 West End Ave. although it will maintain an L.A. office.

“The move to Nashville puts us in a better position to work closely with Nashville’s vibrant music community, which has embraced technology in producing music known throughout the world,” said CEO Jayce Murphy in a news release. “I’m looking forward to expanding on our success and to bring service and support into the next generation.”

Obedia provides services ranging form installation of software and hardware, to system optimization and customization, to how-to training. For more info visit www.obedia.com

People Magazine Auction Features Reba, Lady A

People magazine and charitybuzz present an exclusive auction for country music fans that will benefit flood relief in Nashville and the middle Tennessee area.

Exclusive photos of country stars including Reba, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift and Brad Paisley in their favorite Nashville places are currently on display at the Hutton Hotel in downtown Nashville. These photos, which are also featured in the December 2010 issue of People Country, are up for auction here.

The following items are up for auction until December 17th:

Reba on “Why I Love Ryman Auditorium”
Meet Reba at the concert of your choice and take home an autographed photo

Lady Antebellum on “Why We Love 3rd and Lindsley”
Meet Lady A at the concert of your choice and take home an autographed photo

Taylor Swift on “Why I Love Kids Kingdom”
Win an autographed Baby Taylor guitar and a photo

Brad Paisley on “Why I Love the Grand Ole Opry House”
Tour the Grand Ole Opry and take home an autographed guitar and photo

Dierks Bentley on “Why I Love My Farm in Leiper’s Fork”
Meet Dierks and take home an autographed guitar and photo

Miranda Lambert on “Why I Love Losers”
Win an autographed guitar and photo

Keith Urban on “Why I Love Gruhn Guitars”
Meet Keith at the concert of your choice and take home an autographed photo

2010: A Good Year for The Grascals

2010 was a good year for The Grascals. The group’s latest album, The Famous Lefty Flynn’s, topped the Bluegrass Unlimited chart for four months. Their current single, “Last Train To Clarksville,” claimed the No. 1 spot on the singles chart this month as well.

This banner year was ushered in with several significant changes; the band parted ways with their label of six years, Rounder Records, and started their own imprint, BluGrascal Records. Additionally, The Grascals celebrated a successful first year with New Frontier Touring, playing over 150 shows in 2010, including high-profile sets with Hank Williams Jr.’s Rowdy Friends Tour, the Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon, the CMA Music Festival, the IBMA Fan Fest and multiple Opry appearances.
“We worked hard, we reaped a good bit of what we’ve sown, and we are continually blessed,”  remarks Jamie Johnson, vocalist and guitar player for the group.

The Grascals formed in Nashville in 2004 and have received multiple IBMA Awards, including Emerging Artist of the Year (2005), Song of the Year (2005), and Entertainer of the Year (2006 and 2007).

The Grascals Receive No. 1 plaques for The Famous Lefty Flynn’s at NorthStar Studios in Nashville. Pictured Standing, L-R: Jeremy Westby (Entertainment Evolution), Mary Matthews (New Frontier Touring), Terry Smith, Jeremy Abshire, Kristin Scott Benson, Jon Bell (New Frontier Touring), Jamie Johnson, Danny Roberts, Kirt Webster (Entertainment Evolution) and Terry Eldredge. Kneeling, L-R: Logan Bosemer (New Frontier Touring), Paul Lohr (New Frontier Touring), Martha Moore (So Much Moore Media) and Aaron Summer (New Frontier Touring).

Weekly Chart Report (12/03/10)

Warner Bros. Records’ Frankie Ballard recently wrapped up the Texas portion of his opening slot on Uncle Kracker's club tour and stopped by the local FOX affiliate to appear on morning show "Good Day Dallas." Ballard's single "Tell Me You Get Lonely" is at No. 43 on the CountryBreakout Chart and he is currently finishing up his debut album, expected for release next year. (L-R): FOX 4 Good Day Anchors Tim Ryan, Ballard, Good Day Anchor Lauren Przybyl

Citadel’s WOGT/Chattanooga has flipped to a Classic Hits format. As of this week, it will no longer be a part of the CountryBreakout Reporting panel.

Reba’s on a roll. “Turn On The Radio” is very likely causing people to do just that, and it sits at No. 1 for a second consecutive week. This is Reba’s third straight CountryBreakout No. 1 song after “Consider Me Gone” and “I Keep On Loving You”; both topped the chart over the previous year. Two men of Capitol Records–Keith Urban and Luke Bryan–cover up spots No. 2 and 3 with triple digit spin gains. New to the Top 10 are Eric Church’s “Smoke A Little Smoke” (No. 9) and Kenny Chesney’s “Somewhere With You” at No. 10.

Several new singles are on the move at the year’s end. Taylor Swift’s “Back To December” sits out front just at No. 19, and Darius Rucker’s “This” is a few steps back at No. 24 after a 482 spin increase. Perhaps the most quickly moving of all is Brad Paisley’s “This Is Country Music,” which moves 74-36 after a 692 spin surge. Not quite on the same pace, but moving rapidly up the chart are “Don’t You Wanna Stay” by Jason Aldean with assistance from Kelly Clarkson at No. 37, and “Little Miss” by Sugarland at No. 40.

New singles debuting this week include Matt Gary’s “I’m Just Sayin’” at No. 73, followed by Alan Jackson’s take on “Ring of Fire” at No. 74. Point of Grace’s “Love & Laundry” clocks in at No. 76, with Brantley Gilbert’s “My Kind of Crazy” a mere one spin behind at No. 77. Looking outside the Top 80, expect the arrival of Steel Magnolia’s “Last Night Again” to make an impressive debut on next week’s chart.

Upcoming Singles
December 6
Chuck Wicks/Old School/RCA
LeAnn Rimes/Crazy Women/Curb
The Harters/If I Run/Bigger Picture
Alan Jackson/Ring of Fire/Arista
Crossin Dixon/Goodbye To Henry/Stoney Creek
Steel Magnolia/Last Night Again/Big Machine

Holiday Airplay
Jason Michael Carroll/Christmas On The Farm/Stray Records/Quarterback
Danny Gokey/Tennessee Christmas/19/RCA
Deborah Allen Feat. Cledus T. Judd/Redneck Christmas/GMV/Aristomedia
Kenny Rogers/The Chosen One/Joy To The World (Live)/DCE
Rachel Holder/Christmas Eve
Burns & Poe/Hear The Angels Singing/Blue Steel
Rodney Carrington/Camouflage and Christmas Lights/EMI Records Nashville
Darius Rucker/Candy Cane Christmas/Capitol Nashville
Mishavonna with Crystal Gayle/Christmas Everywhere/Redrum/GrassRoots
Sandy Kastel/Santa Baby/Silk and Satin Records

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New On The Chart—Debuting This Week
Artist/song/label — chart pos.
Matt Gary/I’m Just Sayin’/Quarterback Records — 73
Alan Jackson/Ring of Fire/Arista — 74
Point Of Grace/Love & Laundry/Word/WMN — 76
Brantley Gilbert/My Kind of Crazy/Average Joe’s Entertainment — 77
Kelly Parkes/Nothing/Lofton Creek — 78
Karli Whetstone/I Didn’t/Ohio Records — 80

Greatest Spin Increase
Artist/song/label — spin+
Brad Paisley/This Is Country Music/Arista — 692
Taylor Swift/Back To December/Big Machine — 548
Jason Aldean w/Kelly Clarkson/Don’t You Wanna Stay/Broken Bow — 492
Darius Rucker/This/Capitol — 482
Sugarland/Little Miss/Mercury — 315

On Deck—Soon To Be Charting
Artist/song/label — spins
Josh Abbott Band/Oh, Tonight/PDT — 227
Steel Magnolia/Last Night Again/Big Machine — 213
David St. Romain/Live, Laugh, Love And Drink — 199
Taylor Made/Quiet Kind of Crazy — 195
Jadi Norris/Home Is Where The Heart Is — 190

Two Week Most Added*
Artist/song/label — New adds
Brad Paisley/This Is Country Music/Arista — 41
Jason Aldean w/Kelly Clarkson/Don’t You Wanna Stay/Broken Bow — 28
Sugarland/Little Miss/Mercury — 21
Darius Rucker/This/Capitol — 19
Steel Magnolia/Last Night Again/Big Machine — 14
Easton Corbin/I Can’t Love You Back/Mercury — 13

Republic Nashville's The Band Perry stopped by KX96 FM in Oshawa, Ontario to play a few songs and discuss their No. 1 song "If I Die Young." Pictured (L-R): Reid and Kimberly Perry, KX96's Ellis and Archer and Neil Perry.

Christian/country group Point of Grace joined WSIX's Gerry House and Mike Bohan on-air to kick off Gerry's last 12 days. The trio's has just released a new single "Love and Laundry" as well as a Christmas CD "Home for the Holidays." Pictured (L-R): Mike Bohan, Denise Jones, Shelley Breen, Gerry House and Leigh Cappillino.

Exclusive Strait Album Available; Kelley EP Out This Week

Exclusive Strait Album at Wrangler Retailers

George Strait’s exclusive album release with Wrangler is now available at select Wrangler Specialty Apparel retailers nationwide. The collector’s album, which is free with a $50 purchase of Wrangler apparel, is entitled George Strait Cowboy Love Songs and features hits such as “Check Yes Or No” and “You Look So Good in Love.”

The full track listing is as follows:

“You Look So Good In Love”
“The Chair”
“I Cross My Heart”
“You’re Something Special To Me”
“Carrying Your Love With Me”
“Check Yes or No”
“If You Ain’t Lovin’ (You Ain’t Livin’)”

George Strait Cowboy Love Songs is available until December 31st. To find a retailer or for more information, visit www.wrangler.com or call 888.784.8671.

A Teaser From Kelley

MCA artist Josh Kelley released a three-song EP this week, piquing interest for his spring 2011 release Georgia Clay. The EP includes his current single and title track from the upcoming album, building on the buzz that Kelley has created in anticipation of releasing the album he’s been working on for the past two years.

“I am super excited about these songs,” Josh says. “These are the perfect three songs for a three-song EP to give people a little taste of what’s to come.”

Kelley wrote the song “Georgia Clay” with his brother, Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, and was inspired as the two reminisced about high school. “I asked Charles whatever happened to that old truck Dad used to let us drive,” Josh says. “He said it was in a junkyard somewhere. I said, ‘Man, if there’s still some Georgia clay underneath it, if that Georgia clay could speak what would it say?’ It would have seen our childhood and seen Charles and I experiencing our first everythings.”

Kelley, who made his Opry debut on November 12th, is currently on tour with Miranda Lambert and Eric Church.

CMT Artist Of Year Premieres Tonight

Photo: Rick Diamond/WireImage

CMT’s first Artists of the Year presentation will feature Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift and the Zac Brown Band. Hosted by Kevin Costner the show will premiere Dec. 3. Taped in Franklin, TN at The Factory, the 90-minute special also features presenters such as Celebrity Chef Cat Cora, Hayley Williams of Paramore, Boston Red Sox’s Josh Beckett, Kid Rock, Kix Brooks, Luke Bryan, Martina McBride, Alabama’s Randy Owen, Randy Travis and Smokey Robinson.

Over the past 12 months, Carrie Underwood, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift and Zac Brown Band 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 CMT.com charts, proving themselves to be the top country artists for 2010.

CMT Artists Of The Year is produced by Audrey Morrissey and Chad Hines. John Hamlin and Margaret Comeaux serve as executive producers for CMT.

Billboard Launches Social 50 Chart

Billboard is expanding its chart offerings to include a new chart, the Social 50. Presented by ZYNC from American Express, the Social 50 chart will track and rank the most active artists on the world’s leading social networking sites including MySpace, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and iLike. Data from these sites will be tracked by Next Big Sound, a provider of online music analytics and insights.

The Social 50 will rank each artist’s popularity through a formula that blends artist page views, song plays, and additions of friends/fans/followers on a weekly basis. It will emphasize friends and fan behavior above other metrics and will include a unique metric which measures the ratio of page views to fans. The inaugural chart slates Rihanna as the top artist, followed by Justin Bieber, Eminem, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, respectively, in the top five.

“The Social 50 provides a weekly snapshot of the artists that music fans engage with the most in the social arena, which in today’s world is a significant validation of their investment in an act,” says Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard Chart Director.

“We continue to adapt the way we chart the changing landscape of music,” adds Bill Werde, Billboard Editorial Director.  “The Social 50 is yet another step in the evolution of Billboard and an important response to our changing times.”

The Social 50 will be updated on Billboard.com and Billboard.biz every Thursday and in each issue of Billboard magazine.

Swift Named “Entertainer” by Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly magazine announced today that Taylor Swift is their 2010 “Entertainer of the Year.” Swift will be featured on the cover of the December 10th issue, which hits newsstands today. Swift is the youngest celebrity to receive this honor.

Entertainment Weekly stated that Swift was chosen due to the fact that she earned “a career’s worth of commercial and critical success in just 12 short months.” Swift kicked off 2010 with a hit single, “Today Was a Fairytale,” a hit movie, Valentine’s Day, and four Grammy wins. Her October 25th release, Speak Now, garnered the highest first-week sales of any album in the past five years.

2010 was certainly the Year of Taylor, as she continues to dominate the digital world as well, reaching a milestone with over one million unique visitors to her website in November. She has over 4.7 Twitter followers and more than 14 million Facebook friends.