Country Music News for June 23, 2014

Miranda Lambert’s Platinum tops Billboard’s country albums chart for the second week in a row while Brett Eldredge’s “Beat of the Music” scoots into first place on the airplay rankings following a 38-week climb.

The big Taylor Swift news this week is that she got another kitten. It is an adorable kitten named Olivia Benson — after the Law & Order character played by Mariska Hargitay — that makes her about 100 times cuter.

Is it fun to be a country star? Sure is. Luke Bryan was like a kid in a candy shop last week when he hit the field of Busch Stadium for a little batting practice with the St. Louis Cardinals. Sporting his own custom jersey, Luke hopped into the batting cage. He managed to hit a few line drives and shared plenty of laughs with the players. They seemed just as much in awe of Luke being there as the singer was of being there with them. Amidst the fun, Luke took to his Instragram page, where he posted a short video to allow his fans in on some of the action.

If you know anything about Kip Moore besides the fact that he’s a talented singer and songwriter, it’s that he’s as honest as the day is long. And his tolerance for things that are unjust or unfair, especially when it comes to his fans, is pretty limited. OK . . . that tolerance is actually nonexistent. Kip loves his fans. The other thing he has zero tolerance for is ticket scalpers. In a handwritten letter he shared on his Facebook page, Kip shows off that dedication to his fans’ well-being and his opposition to the shady business of reselling tickets to his shows. Kip writes, “I know what it’s like to live on a strict budget and wish you had funds to take your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, friend, daughter, son, etc. to a show or game, but you just can’t afford to.” He then lists several things that “piss him off” including “the thing that pisses me off the most is scalpers. I could sit back and ignore it, because I know it’s a losing battle, but I just can’t do that.”

Ray Stevens is known and beloved to fans as a versatile musician, comedian, singer and songwriter. Now you can add author to Ray’s list of accomplishments. Ray is set to release his book Ray Stevens’ Nashville, detailing his life and career, on June 22. Nashville takes readers from Ray’s humble upbringing in Georgia to his musical career in Nashville, where he became a successful singer, songwriter and music publisher.

Summer is here, which means the always-fun Teen Choice Awards are around the corner. The nominations have been announced and voting is underway, so get ready because some of your favorite country stars are in the running for the show’s signature surfboard trophy. And not just in country music categories! Taylor Swift has a nod for overall Choice Female Artist and for Choice Smile. And actress-turned-recording-artist Lucy Hale grabs a nomination in the Choice TV Actress: Drama for her part in Pretty Little Liars.

The country categories are as follows:
CHOICE MALE COUNTRY ARTIST
Luke Bryan
Hunter Hayes
Jake Owen
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

CHOICE FEMALE COUNTRY ARTIST
Jana Kramer
Kacey Musgraves
Miranda Lambert
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

CHOICE COUNTRY GROUP
Florida Georgia Line
Lady Antebellum
Parmalee
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band

For a complete list of all the nominees, and to cast your vote (teens only), go to teenchoiceawards.com. The Teen Choice Awards take place Aug. 10 on FOX. Hosts, performers and presenters will be announced in the coming days.

Lady Antebellum enlisted a couple of famous friends for a drink-off in their new music video for their latest single, “Bartender.” The trio premiered the video, starring Kate Upton and Arrested Development’s Tony Hale, Thursday morning on NBC’s Today. Directed by Shane Drake, the video stars Kate and her friends on a girls’ night out, which ends with bartender Tony slinging his best shots in an effort to win an epic drinking battle. Willie Nelson’s Texas ranch, named “Luck,” suffered heavy damage from high winds as storms blew through the state last week. The ranch was built in 1986 to look like an authentic Western town as the set of his film, Red Headed Stranger. Willie shared the news of the damage on Facebook. “Our beautiful Luck wasn’t so lucky recently,” he wrote. “Last week’s tornado-force winds ripped several buildings apart, including the bank, the post office, and left World Headquarters holding on by a splinter.” The ranch, not open to the public, includes a church, bank and post office and has been used during SXSW’s Heartbreaker Banquet. Despite the damage, Willie was still able to find the “luck” in the situation. “We are happy to report no one was hurt and the church only had a few windows blown out,” he said. “Some towns got it a lot worse, so we aren’t complaining. Luck is a tough town. It can be rebuilt.”

Via CMT, Country Weekly, GAC TV, Nashville Gab.