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Sugarland Tapped For Grammy Noms Special

Nominees in select Grammy categories will be revealed during a primetime television special airing Wed., Dec. 2, 8 PM/CT on CBS. Sugarland is the first Country group announced to perform on The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night. The Black Eyed Peas and Maxwell are also set for the show hosted by LL Cool J at Club NOKIA in Los Angeles. The 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Jan. 31, 2010, and be broadcast on CBS.

In more Sugarland news, People.com has an exclusive comedic video of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush promoting their Christmas album Gold And Green. They also taped an episode of GAC Nights in support of the project and GAC Pres. Ed Hardy, Sr. VP Sarah Trahern, and host Suzanne Alexander presented them with a triple platinum plaque for their debut record Twice The Speed of Life and double platinum plaque for Love On The Inside, which vies for Album of the Year at tonight’s CMA Awards.

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(L to R): Suzanne Alexander, Sarah Trahern, Jennifer Nettles, Kristian Bush and Ed Hardy. Photo: Jenny Dew

RIAA Awards Country Certifications

darius-albumLoads of Nashville hitmakers received plaques from the RIAA during August and September.

Earning Platinum bling for the first time were Darius Rucker, Zac Brown Band, and Lady Antebellum. The awards were for Rucker’s Learn To Live (Capitol Nashville), ZBB’s The Foundation (Homegrown/Atlantic Records), and Lady Antebellum (Capitol Nashville).

During those months, it’s probably no surprise that Taylor Swift scored the RIAA’s highest album certifications, with her self-titled debut and most recent Fearless both swelling to quadruple-Platinum status.

Rascal Flatts, who already have a multitude of Gold and Platinum Awards, received their sixth Platinum plaque for Unstoppable on Lyric Street.

In August, Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” was certified 2x Platinum for digital single sales. The pop song penned in Nashville is featured on Miley’s Platinum-certified Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack (Walt Disney).

Jason Aldean raked in more brass with three Gold single awards. The Broken Bow artist earned his fourth Gold song cert for “Amarillo Sky,” and Gold mastertones for “She’s Country” and “Big Green Tractor.” Aldean boasts three RIAA-certified albums, his first self-titled album has gone Platinum while his other two Relentless and Wide Open have hit Gold.

Lady A Unveil New Album, Celebrate Platinum Debut

Capitol trio Lady Antebellum has announced release information for its sophomore album. Titled Need You Now, the album is scheduled for a January 26, 2010 release. The title track and lead single is the fastest rising of their career, pushing into both the Billboard and MusicRow Top 10 in under 10 weeks.

“This song, and what we’ve finished of the new album so far, is all about passion,” explains guitarist/vocalist Dave Haywood. “There’s a real sense of urgency and fire…almost like a spark has reignited us creatively in the studio…so when we started talking about album titles, Need You Now felt like it summarized our vibe right now perfectly.”

The unveiling of Need You Now’s release date happened on the same day the group’s self-titled debut album was certified Platinum by the RIAA. 18 months after its release, Lady Antebellum also remains in the top 10 on the iTunes Country album sales chart.

“This is just beyond anything we ever could have imagined when we sat down to write our first song together in 2006,” said Hillary Scott. “I wish we could thank every one of the fans personally… that would be the coolest thing in the world for us. Everybody always says they have the best fans in the world, but ‘everybody’ hasn’t met Lady A’s fans…they are truly the best!”

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Capitol Nashville President Mike Dungan surprised Lady A in the studio to announce that the group’s self-titled debut album had been certified Platinum and present the band with plaques. Pictured (L-R): Producer Paul Worley, Charles Kelley, Producer Victoria Shaw, Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Dungan.

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Rucker And Team Toast Platinum Album

Photo 2: (Top Row L-R) Charles Vegara, (McGhee Entertainment), Jason Hauser (McGhee Entertainment), Melanie Wetherbee (McGhee Entertainment), Doc McGhee (McGhee Entertainment), Mike Dungan (President/CEO Capitol Records Nashville) & Cindy Mabe (SVP Marketing Capitol Records Nashville)  (Bottom Row L-R): Steve Hodges (SVP Promotion Capitol Records Nashville), Scott McGhee (McGhee Entertainment), Rucker, Frank Rand (McGhee Entertainment), & Frank Rogers (Learn to Live Producer).

(Top row L-R) Charles Vegara, (McGhee Entertainment), Jason Hauser (McGhee), Melanie Wetherbee (McGhee), Doc McGhee (McGhee), Mike Dungan (President/CEO Capitol Records Nashville) & Cindy Mabe (SVP Marketing Capitol). (Bottom row L-R): Steve Hodges (SVP Promotion Capitol), Scott McGhee (McGhee), Rucker, Frank Rand (McGhee), & Frank Rogers ("Learn to Live" Producer).

Capitol Records Nashville threw a party for Darius Rucker last week to celebrate the success of his country debut album Learn To Live which was just certified Platinum by the RIAA for shipments of over one million copies.

Rucker will continue the celebration tomorrow (8/25) at his No. 1 party for his latest song “Alright.” All three of Rucker’s singles (“Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “It Won’t Be Like This For Long,” and “Alright”) have shot to the top of the Country Singles charts.

After his No. 1 party, Rucker will head to the Grand Ole Opry House to perform a free show for Samsung AT&T’s 3rd Annual Summer Krush series. A portion of the performance will air on Jimmy Kimmel Live this Thurs., Aug. 27. He will also be one of the artists featured Aug. 31 on ABC’s CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock, as well as upcoming Unstoppable Tour dates with Rascal Flatts.

Swift’s Global Sales Soar

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From Swift's photo shoot for the upcoming MTV VMA's. Photo by Rene Cervantes, MTV.com

Taylor Swift, who sold more albums last year than any other artist, is making a significant impact on the global music scene, earning Gold and Platinum sales certifications in fourteen countries. Her Fearless album, rapidly approaching quadruple-Platinum in the US, has earned the following international sales awards: Triple Platinum in Australia and Canada; Platinum in Singapore, New Zealand, Ireland, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan; and Gold in the UK (2x), Norway, South Africa, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Sales are driven partially by her single “Love Story,” which has topped airplay charts in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Big Machine Records reports that Swift has sold more albums than any artist in the world so far this year.

She is headed to the UK this week for her second string of sold out shows there this year, and is planning another trip overseas for a Nov. 23 headlining date at London’s Wembley Arena. Earlier this year, she also headlined a short series of shows in Australia, all of which sold out.

Upon her return from the UK, Swift resumes her US tour with a headlining show at Madison Square Garden, where tickets sold out in one minute.

Here in the States, Swift’s self-titled debut CD has been certified quadruple-Platinum, and she is celebrating her fourth consecutive No. 1 single. Her paid music downloads now exceed 19.5 million songs, she has more than a million followers on Twitter, and she has surpassed the 250 million mark for music streams on MySpace.

Paisley Mines Digital Gold

brad-paisley-ar10Brad Paisley tops the country album sales chart for a second consecutive week with his new release, American Saturday Night. The album’s first single, “Then,” has already become a three-week No. 1. The second single, “Welcome to the Future,” has already zoomed to No. 44 on the MusicRow Country Breakout chart, even though the official impact date was just Monday (7/13).

The good news has continued with a flurry of July RIAA certifications for Paisley, including two recently announced Gold Digital Singles, one for “Then,” and another for the playful smash, “Ticks.” Yet another new certification finds the Paisley chart-topper “I’m Still a Guy” vaulting to Gold, recognizing sales of 500,000 copies. Both “Ticks” and “I’m Still a Guy” are from Paisley’s hit-filled 5th Gear album.

In all, the three July certifications bring Paisley’s total Gold Digital Singles to eight, joining such hits as “Mud on the Tires,” “Alcohol,” “She’s Everything,” “When I Get Where I’m Going,” and “Whiskey Lullaby,” a duet which featured Alison Krauss.

Pickler Strikes Gold Again

Kellie Pickler‘s current single, “Best Days Of Your Life,” was recently certified Gold by the RIAA for sales in excess of 500,000. Pickler was surprised with a plaque from the Sony Nashville/BNA Records staff that also celebrates the gold certification of her debut single, “Red High Heels.” Pickler co-wrote both songs.

Pictured (L-R): Heather McBee, VP Digital Sony Nashville; Sony Nashville Chairman Joe Galante; Pickler; Renee Bell, Executive VP A&R, Sony Nashville; Tom Baldrica, VP Marketing, Sony Nashville; Wes Vause, VP Media, Sony Nashville and BNA VP Promotion, Bryan Frasher.

Pictured (L-R): Heather McBee, VP Digital Sony Nashville; Sony Nashville Chairman Joe Galante; Pickler; Renee Bell, Executive VP A&R, Sony Nashville; Tom Baldrica, VP Marketing, Sony Nashville; Wes Vause, VP Media, Sony Nashville and BNA VP Promotion, Bryan Frasher.

Monday Morning Rundown- WB, Ray Price, Platinum Plaques, AMA, Alana Grace

Warner Bros. Records’ Frankie Ballard, Michelle Branch, Blake Shelton and staff braved the flood waters of the Grand River in Iona, MI during the 17th Annual WBCT (B-93) Birthday Bash recently. The flooding caused the concert to end early, so Branch, Shelton, and Craig Morgan participated in a modified guitar pull, so all three could play a couple of songs and explain to the fans what was going on. Pictured (L-R, Top): Peter Strickland, Sr. VP Sales/Marketing; Shelton; Gator Michaels, Sr. VP Promotion; Ballard; (L-R), Bottom): Carole Ann Mobley, VP A&R; Julianne Hough; Branch; Bill Bennett, Executive VP, Kristen Williams, NE Reg. Promo Mgr

Warner Bros. Records’ Frankie Ballard, Michelle Branch, Blake Shelton and staff braved the flood waters of the Grand River in Iona, MI during the WBCT (B-93) Birthday Bash recently. The flooding caused the concert to end early, so Branch, Shelton, and Craig Morgan participated in a modified guitar pull, so all three could play a couple of songs and explain to the fans what was going on. Pictured (L-R, Back): Peter Strickland, SVP Sales/Mktg; Shelton; Gator Michaels, SVP Promotion; Ballard; (L-R, Front): Carole Ann Mobley, VP A&R; Julianne Hough; Branch; Bill Bennett, Exec. VP; Kristen Williams, NE Reg. Promo Mgr

Country singer Ray Price underwent surgery on June 23 to remove precancerous polyps from his colon. Doctors say the operation was a complete success and he is making a slow, steady recovery with the help of family and friends, especially his wife Janie.

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The Hannah Montana soundtrack was the only Country album which received an RIAA certification during May. The project went Platinum in only two months, marking Miley Cyrus’s ninth million selling album. Meanwhile, Country tracks by Taylor Swift and Keith Urban were part of the 30th edition of the always popular Now That’s What I Call Music! series which was certified Gold in May.

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Current registration rates for Americana Week, running Sept. 16-19, end tomorrow (6/30). The price for AMA members is $300, and the price for non-members is $400. Conference registration includes all daytime events at the Nashville Convention Center, admission to all Music Festival showcases and a ticket to the Honors & Awards show. Details and registration at www.americanamusic.org.
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Nashville rocker Alana Grace is on the 2009 Vans Warped Tour which will stop in nearly 50 cities across the U.S. and Canada. The tour opened in Pomona, Calif. on Friday (6/26).

Strait Adds To Platinum Tally

george-straitGeorge Strait’s latest, Troubadour, has been certified Platinum by the RIAA, bringing his career total to 33 different Platinum or multi-Platinum albums—more than any other Country artist. Strait ranks third in all genres, behind only The Beatles and Elvis Presley.

More good news for Strait came this morning when SoundScan reported a more than 300% increase in sales for his albums Troubadour, 22 More Hits, and 50#1’s (a 2-CD set). The significant sales bump is due largely to the George Strait: ACM Artist of the Decade All Star Concert which aired last week on CBS.

This weekend Strait has the honor of headlining the inaugural event at the new Dallas Cowboys stadium. The June 6 concert, with guests Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton and Julianne Hough, sold out in less than one hour.