Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleThe Swon Brothers have made the leap from finalists on NBC's The Voice to the top 20 on the country chart with their debut single, "Later On." It's taken a lot of hard work to get this point, and the duo's Zach Swon tells ABC News Radio he wouldn't have gotten this far if not for his partnership and friendship with brother, Colton Swon.
Says Zach, "We live together, we're on a bus together, we fly in planes together, but I think it makes us better. 'Cause I wouldn’t want to do this, nor do I think I would succeed as a solo artist, and I think he feels the same way."
While it's easy for Colton and Zach to focus on the daily demands of getting their country career off the ground, they make a point to maintain their relationship as brothers and best friends, too.
Colton explains, "We're running a business together, but you've also got to take time just to be brothers, like, out on the road. Laugh, enjoy it. And just take time doing brother stuff, you know, making fun of each other. Playing video games."
Zach and Colton spend a lot of time just talking on their tour bus when they're not playing the game Catch Phrase with their band members.
Zach says, "We're pretty tame. It's not really a party bus, or anything.
Colton adds with a laugh," And by tame, he means lame. We are lame. We like to sleep."
Look for The Swon Brothers' self-titled debut album to come out October 14.
Image Courtesy Webster PRKenny Rogers will kick off his 33rd Christmas tour November 12 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. The Christmas and Hits Through the Year tour will play 25 dates before wrapping up December 23. Linda Davis is joining Kenny for the trek.
Kenny is also featured on a new song called "That Silent Night" coming out on Jim Brickman's new holiday collection On a Winter's Night: The Songs and Spirit of Christmas. That album is available exclusively at Amazon starting October 7.
Warner Bros. RecordsIf you search the name Blake Shelton online, there’s a 18.47 percent chance you’ll click on a page that tests positive for viruses and other malware. That's according to a new study by the virus fighters at McAfee.
ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel is number one. According to McAfee, you have an 19.38 percent chance of landing on a malicious website if you search his name.
Carrie Underwood made the top 50. She's ranked No. 47.
"Most consumers are completely unaware of the security risks that exist when searching for celebrity and entertainment news, images and videos online, sacrificing safety for immediacy," said McAfee's Gary Davis.
"Cybercriminals capitalize on consumers' attention to breaking celebrity news and leverage this behavior to lead them to unsafe sites that can severely infect their computers and devices and steal personal data," Davis added.
Here's McAfee's top 10 Most Dangerous Cyber Celebrities of 2014:
1. Jimmy Kimmel -- 19.38% chance of downloading a virus. 2. Armin van Buuren -- 19.33% 3. Ciara -- 19.31% 4. Flo Rida -- 18.89% 5. Bruce Springsteen -- 18.82% 6. Blake Shelton -- 18.47% 7. Britney Spears -- 18.19% 8. Jon Bon Jovi -- 17.64% 9. Chelsea Handler -- 17.22% 10. Christina Aguilera -- 16.67%
Image Courtesy ABCLuke Bryan makes a cameo on ABC's Nashville Wednesday night sharing a scene with the show's resident country queen, Rayna Jaymes, played by Connie Britton. This season, Rayna is working hard to get her career back on track, and Luke applauds the Nashville script writers for portraying the country music business accurately.
"You know, there's some stuff that's obviously stretched for TV," Luke tells ABC News Radio, "but all of the producers of the show and the people that we know, they work to keep the show, for the most part, like the reality of Nashville and the music business. It's fun to see them doing that."
Luke also gets a kick out of seeing Music City shot so beautifully on Nashville. He adds, "I think Nashville is one of the most interesting cities. It's just got such an amazing feel and vibe to it. And the show has showcased the city."
Unfortunately, Luke has to keep up with the storyline of Nashville mostly through word-of-mouth since his hectic touring schedule keeps him away from home most of the time.
Says Luke, "Being in Nashville, you kind of know the storyline of the show. Like, this is probably the period of my life that I have watched TV the least."
Luke's fans will want to catch all of Wednesday night's episode of Nashville since his cameo comes towards the end of the show, which begins at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.
Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleZacBrown Band teams up with The Doobie Brothers for a new version of "Black Water" on the new Doobie Brothers country collaborations album, Southbound. Zac Brown admits he jumped at the chance to perform that classic song from The Doobie Brothers catalog.
"I have seen a lot of people, including myself, make a lot of tip money because of ‘Black Water,’ so this is a full circle moment," Zac says. "“To collaborate and recreate this iconic song is just an amazing moment as an artist. As a new generation vocal band, it is an absolute honor to get to play with them."
Fans can now pre-order Southbound at iTunes or Amazon and get an instant download of The Doobie Brothers and Zac Brown Band's version of "Black Water." The full album comes out November 4.
Image Courtesy Nino Munoz/Capitol NashvilleDierks Bentley often returns to Nashville's famed bluegrass club, the Station Inn, to catch a show or even sit in with some of his musical heroes. Over the years, Dierks has become close friends with Ann Soyers, the woman who collects cover charges and books talent at the Station Inn. According to The Tennessean, Ann was an early supporter of Dierks' music before he became a staple of country radio. Now that she's battling cancer, Dierks has kept a regular vigil at her hospital room in west Nashville. He even took her out for "one last ride" in his vintage '67 Camaro this week.
Dierks posted a picture on Instagram of their ride. The caption says, "She's hanging tough. Enjoying good friend and music."
Image Courtesy Becky FlukeMiranda Lambert is taking her seventh annual Cause for the Paws festival to Las Vegas this Friday in conjunction with the first-ever Route 91 Harvest Festival. Miranda will headline the Friday night show, and all proceeds from her appearance will go to her charity, the MuttNation Foundation, to help homeless dogs get a new lease on life.
Miranda says, "I am so excited to be playing Vegas to raise money for a cause so dear to my heart. With your donations, we are able to watch happy, healthy dogs being given a second chance at life through adoption.”
The Cause for the Paws event also includes a sold-out VIP cocktail party prior to Miranda's show, complete with a live and silent auction of items from Miranda and her husband, Blake Shelton. An online auction will go live on eBay to coincide with the event.
Miranda's Cause for the Paws raised more than $400,000 event last year in Oklahoma. Overall, the MuttNation Foundation has generated $1.5 million to help dogs in need in the past seven years. For more information, go to MuttNationFoundation.com.
Image Courtesy Valory Music Co.If Brantley Gilbert ever starts feeling cooped up on his tour bus, he's got his choice of five Harley-Davdison motorcycles on the road with him all the time. His pal, Harley-Davidson dealership owner Ricky Kelley, actually gave Brantley three motorcycles to take with him on tour, but Brantley couldn't leave his own hogs at home.
He says, "My newest one and my '99, I'm so addicted to 'em, that I end up bringing them out anyway."
Over the past few years, Brantley has become friends with bikers all over the U.S. who are glad to show him around when he's in their city.
Brantley explains, "If we don't know a lot of road systems around there and what roads are good to ride and what's got a good bit of scenery, these guys will show up and we'll kind of follow 'em around and get a good ride during the day."
Brantley is on the road with his Let It Ride tour through December 13.
Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum's new album, 747, comes out this week featuring something most of this fall's other major country releases don't have -- a female voice. In fact, Lady A's Hillary Scott sings lead or duet vocals on most of the new album's 11 tracks, including the lead single, "Bartender."
It's not that the group made 747 in response to combat the lack of women in country music. Hillary tells ABC News Radio , "It just kind of fell that way. I think a lot of songs that we cut that were outside songs weren't originally duets, and then we made them into duets, which 'Lie with Me' was one of those, and then 'Damn You Seventeen' another one."
While "Bartender" is a drinking song, it's written and performed from the point of view of a woman. Hillary was especially glad to be the voice singing that song as it topped the country chart.
"It was at such a time where there was so few female songs on radio," Hillary says. "So, having that female perspective is so important. That's the majority of who is listening to our music on a daily basis driving in their car. You know, you have to have that voice, that perspective."
Fans of Lady A's other lead singer, Charles Kelley, will find plenty of vocals from him on 747, too. Lady Antebellum performs on NBC's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Wednesday night.
Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleFans of Blake Shelton's early hits like "Austin" and "Ol' Red" should be very happy with his new album, Bringing Back the Sunshine, available now. While Blake is happy with the progressive sounds of his recent hits "Doing What She Likes" and "Boys 'Round Here," he wanted to find a way to incorporate his early country sound in the new music.
Says Blake, "I think we did that. 'Neon Light,' I think, is a perfect example of staying true to who I’ve become as an artist but also tipping my hat to that old honky-tonk sound that I started with.”
Blake points to the crowd reaction to his older hits, including "Some Beach," during his live shows as a big reason for going back to his musical roots.
"They get as big of a reaction still today as 'Boys ‘Round Here' and whatever other current song I've had," Blake explains. "So, it shows me that that’s still alive -- that sound, that type of music is still alive."
In keeping with the theme of going back to his roots, Blake sent his team to his hometown of Ada, Oklahoma, to take photographs for the new album's artwork. They ended up using a shot of the town's water tower on the cover of Bringing Back the Sunshine because Blake says, "I’m tired of seeing pictures of myself!"
He adds, "I’ve been looking at that water tower my whole life. It may not be iconic to everyone out there, but it is to me. When I see it, it takes me back to being a kid.”
Look for Blake to promote Bringing Back the Sunshine with an appearance on Live with Kelly & Michael on Thursday.
Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes had added two "Wild Card" shows to his Tattoo (Your Name) Tour beginning with an October 28 concert at Best Buy Theatre in New York City. The newly scheduled dates continue with a November 29 show at Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie in Dallas, Texas. The "Wild Card" shows are named after a track from Hunter's latest album, Storyline.
Dan Shay and new country group The Railers join Hunter in the opening slots on the Tattoo (Your Name) Tour.
Image Courtesy Webster PRThe George Jones Museum is coming to Second Avenue in downtown Nashville soon featuring a gift shop, restaurant, event space and music venue. George's widow, Nancy Jones, will unveil plans for the museum very soon.
She says, "We hope that this will draw George's friends and fans worldwide to our great city. George and I made this our home, and he would be happy to know that we found a home to continue his legacy in the heart of Music City."
George Jones died in April 2013. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992.
Image Courtesy CMAKeith Urban and Nicole Kidman have shared a word of thanks via Facebook for the encouragement they've received since Nicole's father, Antony Kidman, died unexpectedly. The note reads, "We would just like to thank everyone for their love and prayers over these past couple of weeks. We are all heartbroken but knowing we are in the hearts and thoughts of others is so comforting." It's signed, "Sending love, Nic and Keith xx."
Antony Kidman died earlier this month after suffering a fall in Singapore.
Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsJason Aldean's new single, "Burnin' It Down," has become the fastest-selling single of 2014. The sexy track has been certified platinum just nine weeks after it was released digitally.
Jason's understandably happy his fans have accepted this new sound with open arms. "It's so awesome that my fans trust that I have a pretty good ear for the kinds of songs they will like, and that they follow me to new places with each album," he says. "I couldn't be happier with all the excitement around the new music."
"Burnin' It Down" is the lead single from Jason's new album, Old Boots, New Dirt, due out next week. Look for Jason to promote the album with a performance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Wednesday.
Image Courtesy CMACarrie Underwood and Brad Paisley are confirmed to perform at the 48th Annual CMA Awards November 5 in Nashville. They're also hosting the live broadcast for a seventh consecutive year.
Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town and The Band Perry have also joined the performers lineup. Entertainer of the Year nominees Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, and Keith Urban will sing as well.
Tickets for the CMA Awards are sold out for the sixth consecutive year. The show broadcasts live on ABC Wednesday, November 5 at 8 p.m. ET.
Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum's Dave Haywood and his wife, Kelli, welcomed their first child, Cash Van Haywood, earlier this month, and Dave already has a spot for his young family on his tour bus. The back lounge has been converted to a nursery. Dave doesn't know how often his wife and baby will use the back lounge of his bus, but he wanted to have it ready to go.
He tells The Tennessean, "My guess is that she comes out twice as much as she does now, but not all the time. I don't want to miss stuff when he's going through these stages."
Lady A has a big delivery coming in this week. Their album, 747, is out Tuesday featuring the hit single, "Bartender."
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThe 2014 CMT Artists of the Year special will broadcast live from Nashville on Tuesday, December 2 at 8 p.m. ET. This year's five honorees will be announced soon.
The Band Perry will perform at the T.J. Martell Foundation's 39th New York Honors Gala in Manhattan on October 21.
The Swon Brothers deliver an acoustic performance of their song, "Pray for You," in a new feature now posted at TooFab.com. The song appears on the duo's upcoming debut album, due out October 14.
Jason Aldean and his tour mates, Florida Georgia Line, had a hardcore female fan rush the stage during their recent show in Chula Vista, CA. The hilarious video of Jason directing the female fan off the stage was captured in a YouTube clip.