- NBC gave freshman singing competition show “The Voice,” which features Blake Shelton as a judge/mentor, a major vote of confidence by promising it the highly desirable slice of airtime immediately following the next Super Bowl — a full 8 months ahead of time.
- The 8th annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic raised more than $650,000 toward the construction of a home for pediatric cancer patients and families in Oklahoma. Big ticket auction items included dinner with Toby Keith ($52,000) and an all-inclusive elk hunt in New Mexico ($30,000).
- New albums by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Hayes Carll, Austin Lucas, and Kasey Anderson top Farce the Music’s list of the Best of 2011 So Far.
- Sugarland and Little Big Town have joined forces to offer a new live version of “Stand Up” on iTunes, with all proceeds going to support tornado relief efforts of the American Red Cross.
- Shania Twain will make a “special appearance” on the CMT Music Awards (June 8). Now that she’s officially back and showing up all over the place, can we stop billing all of her appearances as special? Some of the novelty wears off, you know. Justin Bieber is also set to appear, with Kid Rock hosting.
- The 45th Annual CMA Awards will air live November 9 from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
- Based on the latest batch of songs posted to her ReverbNation page, I’d say Jaida Dreyer might be onto something with her new music. Especially check out “Wallflower” and “Wish I Was the Rain.”
- Country Universe’s Dan Milliken on the Paisley/Underwood duet of “Remind Me.”
Mostly because it’s trying too hard to be a big event. Paisley crowds out “Remind Me” with guitar licks and drums, and he and Underwood wail up a storm as it progresses, both sounding technically better than ever but obliterating the song’s smoldering sensuality. They’ve mistaken an “I Need You” for a “Don’t You Wanna Stay.”
- In his latest installment of the Country Heritage series at My Kind of Country, Paul W. Dennis covers “Waterloo” and “Smoke Along the Track” singer Stonewall Jackson, a journeyman performer who had a run of classic hits between 1958 and 1965.
- Don’t cross Patrick Wensink. He’s the author of Black Hole Blues, a new novel about a country singer trying to write a love song about every female name in the English language. When Kenny Rogers, who figures into the story as a villain, failed to respond to Wensink’s request to read an advance copy and possibly provide a blurb for the back cover, the humorist took matters into his own hands:
He snubbed me, so I did the only sensible thing: I started a smear campaign. And, thus, Death to Kenny Rogers was born.
- Streaming live tonight (7PM CST) on Music City Roots: Webb Wilder, Kopecky Family Band, Scythian, The Tillers, Jim Avett, Don Gallardo, and host Jim Lauderdale. They’ve got Gene Watson next week.
- Speaking of Music City Roots, they recently uploaded a bunch of great live performances to their Youtube channel, including multiple clips of Elizabeth Cook, The Civil Wars, Cherryholmes (in their final Nashville appearance before disbanding), and Pokey LaFarge. Great stuff.
- Randy Travis is June’s spotlight artist at My Kind of Country, meaning that they’ll be revisiting several of his past albums and discussing his career in some detail. Get excited.
- Here’s an EPK for the Randy Travis duets album out next Tuesday: