JASON ALDEAN'S SUCCESS ALLOWED HIM TO 'BREATHE EASIER' GOING INTO NEW ALBUM


Jason Aldean says that with success comes freedom. Rather than feeling pressure to measure up to a certain standard, he tells us his that with each album he feels more confident about his song choices and his flexibility to try out new things. "I think it allows me to probably breathe a little easier, you know, simply for the fact that I feel pretty confident in what it is that we do and that there is a group of people out there that like it. I feel like I have a really good ear for songs, and I feel like I sort of set myself up to be able to kind of branch off and try different things and people aren't gonna look at me like I've got two heads, so I love that part of it, and I think because of all those things it sort of allows me to just sort of relax, go in, have fun in the studio, and as long as the songs are there that's where it centers. If you have that, it just seems like everything else falls into place." .

The lead single, "Burnin' It Down," has already topped the country charts and is the fastest platinum-certified song of the year, surpassing the million mark in just nine weeks.

AUDIO: JASON ALDEAN ON FEELING CONFIDENT ABOUT SONG CHOICES

KENNY CHESNEY'S ALBUM BOWS AT NUMBER ONE


Kenny Chesney scores his 13th Number One debut on the Billboard Country Albums chart with The Big Revival. The CD was released last week and sold 130,000 copies in its first week.

Kenny said, "There are people passionate about life, about music, about their friends and how they dig in and get through as much as how they have a good time. I knew during the last tour, they were hungry for more from this music. They wanted songs that showed them more of their life, which maybe offered some different things musically . . . the response I’m getting says we did the right thing."

Kenny's new single is called "Til It’s Gone." It follows up his Number One hit, "American Kids."

RASCAL FLATTS' MEMBER WELCOMES BABY GIRL, GROUP TO TURN OPRY PINK


Joe Don Rooney and his wife, Tiffany Fallon, welcomed their third child into the world on Monday (September 29th). Daughter Devon Olivia was born at a Nashville hospital at 7:01 p.m. weighing 6 lbs., 11 oz.. She joins big brother and sister, Jagger Donovan, 6, and Raquel Blue, 4.

The proud parents told People.com, "We are so thrilled to finally become a party of five. Jagger and Raquel are so happy to be her big brother & big sister."

In other Rascal Flatts news, the group will flip the switch to turn the Grand Ole Opry pink on Tuesday, October 28th. The event is in conjunction with Women Rock For The Cure in the fight against breast cancer. This will be the sixth annual "Opry Goes Pink" show.

The special show will also include Opry members Terri Clark and Montgomery Gentry and special guests Danielle Bradbery, Sara Evans and Nashville star Will Chase. When fans order tickets to the night’s 7 p.m. show, $5 from every ticket sold will be donated to Women Rock For The Cure. Tickets are available at (615) 871-OPRY and opry.com.

CARRIE UNDERWOOD, LITTLE BIG TOWN TO PERFORM ON 'CMA COUNTRY CHRISTMAS' SPECIAL


The CMA is not only gearing up for next month's CMA Awards, but also its annual CMA Country Christmas special airing on ABC closer to the holidays. Jennifer Nettles will be back for the fifth year as host of the event, and performers so far include Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town, Dan + Shay, Brett Eldredge, Sara Evans, Lucy Hale, Hunter Hayes, Idina Menzel, LeAnn Rimes, and Michael W. Smith.

Jennifer said, "After being the host of CMA Country Christmas for five years now, it is hard to pick one thing I love about it. There are so many fun moments. Whether it is the performances or duets, getting to perform Christmas songs with such great artists is really fun for me. It’s really a fun show all around."

She's particularly thrilled about the charitable aspect of the show, as she explains: "We are inviting the audience to participate by bringing their own toys unwrapped for a donation for the kids within the community, and obviously the artists who are on this show and within the Nashville community, we're super interested in contributing and giving back, and this is a wonderful way that now the audience can join in and have their own contribution and make a donation for kids for Christmas because after all that is what it's all about is celebrating the generosity of the season."

CMA Country Christmas will tape in front of a live audience on November 7th at 7:30 p.m. at the Bridgestone Arena. The Nashville-based nonprofit group Generosity will collect the donated toys beginning at 5 p.m. that day. The toys will be given to children in need in Nashville.

Tickets to CMA Country Christmas are $25-$50 and are on sale now through Ticketmaster at Ticketmaster.com or by calling 1-800- 745-3000.

AUDIO: SUGARLAND'S JENNIFER NETTLES ON CHARITABLE ASPECT OF CMA CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

JOE NICHOLS FINDS IT 'HARD TO BE COOL' AROUND HIS WIFE


The new single from Joe Nichols' Crickets album is called "Hard To Be Cool." The song presents a situation Joe tells us he's personally experienced and could instantly relate to. "‘Hard To Be Cool’ is a very fun song that puts me in a situation with a girl – and makes me feel like I’ve felt a hundred times, especially with my wife, that I’m so head over heels for this girl that it’s hard to keep my cool. The lyric is nothing that poets haven’t said a million times but there’s something about how the music comes together with the lyric, it kind of lightens up a little bit and makes you kind of feel in the moment with a girl and a guy. They’re just having a little fun for the first time."

"Hard To Be Cool" follows up Joe's last two consecutive chart-toppers -- "Sunny And 75" and "Yeah."

AUDIO: JOE NICHOLS ON RELATING TO 'HARD TO BE COOL'

TAYLOR SWIFT SAYS COUNTRY MUSIC WASN'T 'CHALLENGING' ENOUGH


Taylor Swift is taking a different approach with her upcoming album 1989 because apparently country music wasn’t "challenging" enough. Taylor -- who is featured on the cover of the latest issue of the UK's Vogue, told the mag, "This time around I've chosen the brave and bold way of going about things. Because with this album I've completely changed the sound of everything I've done until now. So it's interesting to not be afraid of that."

  • She added, "You know, I don't want to hurt people's feelings, I don't want to betray Nashville, whatever, but essentially it comes down to challenging yourself as an artist."

BITS AND PIECES: DIERKS BENTLEY & JIM ED BROWN


Dierks Bentley proved what a good guy he is by taking his "original fan", a woman dying of cancer, for a spin around Nashville in his '67 Camero earlier this week. Ann Soyers was his very first fan in Music City. She worked at the Station Inn where Dierks got his start playing. In fact, she booked him to play there and took money at the door, to name a few of her responsibilities. She told The Tennessean that she knew Dierks was destined for stardom, so much so that she attended most of his shows and even sold his CDs. Dierks posted a picture of he and Ann on Instagram with the caption, "Taking my pal Ann Soyars for one last ride in the ’67 camero. she’s hanging tough. enjoying good friends and music."

Opry star Jim Ed Brown has taken the next few months off from touring to battle lung cancer, with which he was recently diagnosed. The 80-year-old singer posted a video message to fans on Facebook explaining that he will spend the next four months undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Brown is best known for his hits such as "The Three Bells," "Pop a Top" and "I Don't Want to Have to Marry You."

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