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Country News Digest, April 2011


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April 30, 2011 - MerleFest 2011, held Thursday through today, enjoyed a slight increase in attendance this year with more than 80,000 people attending the festival in North Carolina. The 2010 fest drew about 79,000 people. For the second year in a row, first day festival attendance (Thursday, April 28) was the highest... »»»
April 29, 2011 - Miss Willie Brown better watch their backs on the Dierks Bentley tour because they pranked first. On the Jagermeister Country Tour this past weekend, the duo, comprised of Kasey Buckley and Amanda Watkins, gave Bentley's CJ-7 Jeep a little makeover. Miss Willie Brown's publicist said in a press... »»»
April 29, 2011 - Randy Montana was added to the Taylor Swift tour. He will play eight shows on Swift's 2011 Speak Now Tour. Montana has been on the road since 2010 opening for Sugarland and Lady Antebellum. He has released a three-song EP, including 1,000 Faces and Last Horse, which features a harmony vocal by Emmylou Harris.... »»»
April 29, 2011 - The Dirt Drifters premiered their debut music video for their new single Something Better on CMT.com. The band is offering their fans the chance to watch the video and get a free download of their song on their website - TheDirtDrifters.com. "Hats off to our director as the lumberyard reminded us of... »»»
April 28, 2011 - Kenny Chesney assumed the top spot on the Billboard Country Songs chart for the week ending May 7 with Live a Little. Chesney displaced This by Darius Rucker, which fell to fifth. On the CD chart, Alison Krauss & Union Station stayed first with "Paper Airplane." Sara Evans was second on the Country... »»»
April 28, 2011 - David Bromberg emerged from a recording hiatus of 17 years with the solo, acoustic, traditional folk-blues album "Try Me One More Time" (Appleseed, 2007). Fans won't have to wait so long this time out as he's releasing "Use Me" on July 12 with a national tour to follow. For the CD, Bromberg asked some... »»»
April 28, 2011 - Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice announced today their latest Rebel Records album, "Cold Heart," drops this summer. Rhonda Vincent contributes duet vocals on The Sound of Your Name. The album will also feature the songwriting talents of Tom T. and Dixie Hall. The new release comes on the heels of... »»»
April 28, 2011 - Danish singer/pedal steel guitarist Maggie Bjorklund's debut solo album "Coming Home" resulted in five videos being released by Bloodshot Records for the disc. Country Standard Time is hosting the exclusive premiere of Bjorklund's Summer Romance. Maggie Bjorklund with Rachel Flotard - Summer Romance.... »»»
April 28, 2011 - Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton will host the Tornado Relief Concert in May 26 in their native Oklahoma to provide relief to those affected by the recent tornado in Atoka County. McEntire was born just outside of Kiowa, which is approximately 30 miles away from the greatest devastation.... »»»
April 27, 2011 - The Civil Wars will open dates for British singer Adele in mid-May for one week of her tour of the U.S. The duo - John Paul White and Joy Williams - are slated to begin their run of 6 dates on May 12 in Washington and end 1 week later in New York. The Adele gigs are part of an overall touring... »»»
April 27, 2011 - Luke Bryan's latest song Country Girl (Shake It For Me) debuts as the number 1 country digital single, achieving a career-high for Bryan with 105,498 in U.S. digital single sales. The song broke into the Top 20 in 4 weeks and has become his fastest rising single to date. Country Girl (Shake It For Me),... »»»
April 27, 2011 - Hayes Carll, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison, Robbie Fulks, Chatham County Line, Steve Wynn and the Baseball Project will play at this year's Twangfest in St. Louis in June. Hayes Carll headlines the Wednesday, June 8 opening night show at the Pageant. Old time punk blues Kentucky Knife Fight and an... »»»
April 26, 2011 - Rodney Atkins is riding radio again with his new single Take A Back Road. The song received play from 40 stations in its debut week. This is the second single from Atkins' forthcoming Curb Records release. Written by Rhett Akins and Luke Laird, Atkins said, "I heard this song and immediately knew it was for me.... »»»
April 26, 2011 - Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle lead the list of new releases this week. Harris returns with "Hard Bargain" (Nonesuch). Harris penned 11 of the 13 songs on her latest, while also covering a Ron Sexsmith tune. The album follows Harris' 2008 release, "All I Intended to Be." Earle is out with "I'll... »»»
April 25, 2011 - The Grand Ole Opry will mark the first anniversary of the flood that devastated much of Nashville and temporarily displaced the Opry from the Grand Ole Opry House with a star-packed show including Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley. The show, Play On, Nashville!, is set for Tuesday, May 3 at the Opry House.... »»»
April 25, 2011 - Blake Shelton is going to release yet another disc - in July. This follows three EPs he put out in 2010, the best year of his musical career. Shelton's ninth disc will be out July 12 and produced by Scott Hendricks. The release will include Shelton's fastest rising single to date, Honey Bee.... »»»
April 25, 2011 - Jo Dee Messina released a new song as part of a multi-million dollar fundraising effort for a school in Nashville. The "A Million Doors" campaign is trying to raise $2.3 million for a non-profit school in Nashville, the Holy Trinity Montessori. Messina recorded Carry Me, available for $1 at A Million Doors.... »»»
April 25, 2011 - Kenny Chesney will grab the top spot on the Billboard Country Songs chart with Live A Little when the chart is out Thursday. This marks Chesney's 22nd number one song. He took over the slot from This by Darius Rucker. The song is the third straight number one from "Hemingway's Whiskey' (BNA).... »»»
April 25, 2011 - Ronnie Dunn's debut disc since Brooks & Dunn folded will have 12 songs. He also revealed the cover art for the disc out June 7. Dunn had a hand in writing 9 of the songs. Dunn's music video for Bleed Red premiered Friday on CMT, CMT.com, and CMT Pure as part of the network's Big New Music Weekend.... »»»
April 25, 2011 - Elektra Nashville country newcomer Jana Kramer will premiere her new song, Whiskey, tomorrow on "One Tree Hill" on CW. The show airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. eastern. This is Kramer's second performance on the show with her debut, I Won't Give Up, which she co-wrote, selling more than 40,000 digital copies... »»»
April 24, 2011 - The Americana Music Association extended the deadline for submissions for 2011 Americana Music Festival showcases through April 30. The festival will be held in September in Nashville. Submission instructions and the application form can be found on the AMA website. If you prefer to submit... »»»
April 23, 2011 - James McMurtry will kick off his summer tour with a few solo shows along the West Coast. McMurtry will play material from deep in his catalogue, according to a press release. His last release was "Live in Europe" from 2009, although he reissued "We Can't Make It Here" and "Childish Things" in November 2010.... »»»
April 23, 2011 - Kris Kristofferson was the final performer added to next week's Stagecoach Festival in Indio, Cal. Kristofferson will replace Loretta Lynn. Earlier this week, Lynn canceled the next few weeks of her 2011 tour based on her ongoing recuperation from recent knee surgery. Kristofferson performed at the... »»»
April 23, 2011 - Bluegrass and folk singer Hazel Dickens died at 75 on Friday in Washington from complications from pneumonia. Dickens was known for being a member of Hazel and Alice with Alice Gerrard. The duo toured extensively in the bluegrass and folk circuit in the 1960s and 19070s. They recorded four albums in... »»»
April 23, 2011 - Alison Krauss & Union Station have the number 1 country album with "Paper Airplane" on the Billboard country album chart for the week ending April 30. On the song chart, Darius Rucker secured the top spot on the Billboard Country Songs chart with This. Rucker assumed the number one slot from Zac Brown... »»»
April 23, 2011 - LeAnn Rimes tied the knot with Eddie Cibrian on Friday night in a surprise ceremony, according to People.com. "LeAnn and Eddie were happily married today surrounded by their closest family and friends," said Rimes spokesman, Rhett Usry. "They thank everyone for their well wishes.... »»»
April 22, 2011 - Neal McCoy signed a new record deal with an indie label, Blaster Records. McCoy has three platinum album certifications, beginning with his breakthrough disc "No Doubt About It" in 1994, which produced back-to back number 1 singles with both the title track and Wink. A new CD is slated for a January 2012 street date.... »»»
April 22, 2011 - Joey + Rory set Saturday, June 4 as the date for their third Annual "Bib & Buckle Fest" Homecoming Concert, Food & Fun event. The day includes a canoe float, games, karaoke, and music on a field behind their farmhouse in Pottsville, Tenn. "Each year we put on the festival, it grows and becomes... »»»
April 22, 2011 - Will Hunter Hayes be the next big thing? The 19-year-old could be on his way because he won CMT's Next Big Thing. CMT will air the premiere of Hunter's new video, Storm Warning today. The song, written by Hunter, Gordie Sampson and busbee, is the debut single from his forthcoming album set for release later this year.... »»»
April 20, 2011 - Kenny Rogers will perform The Rock Of Your Love, a song from his new gospel album, "The Love Of God," with Dove Award winners Point of Grace at the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards this week. The show will be taped live today at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta and will air on Easter Sunday, April 24 at 7 p.m. eastern on GMC.... »»»
April 20, 2011 - Joe Nichols kicks off his The Shape I'm In Australian Tour April 29, marking the third visit to Oz for the singer. "Joe has been a big hit here in Australia," said promoter Rob Potts. "The country music fans can't seem to get enough of him. I know he sold out of product at each of his previous shows.... »»»
April 20, 2011 - Gary Allan will kick off the free concerts at the upcoming CMA Music Festival. The 2011 CMA Music Festival will be held Thursday-Sunday, June 9-12, in downtown Nashville. The Daily Concerts on the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage are free and open to the public. This is Allan's first performance at CMA... »»»
April 19, 2011 - Darius Rucker scored his fifth chart-topping single this week with This, the second single from his 2010 release "Charleston, SC 1966." Zac Brown Band had been number one with Colder Weather. "When we set out to record this album, we tried to choose songs that would mean something to the fans," said Rucker.... »»»
April 19, 2011 - Having earned an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of a grizzled former country music legend in the 2009 film "Crazy Heart," actor and musician Jeff Bridges signed a recording deal with EMI's Blue Note Records, which will release his major-label debut album in late summer.... »»»
April 19, 2011 - Sugarland and Kelly Clarkson were added to the list of performers for the 2011 CMA Music Festival. The duo will perform during the Nightly Concerts at LP Field on Friday, June 10. Clarkson will appear on Thursday, June 9, joining Jason Aldean during his set for a performance of their recent... »»»
April 18, 2011 - Alabama member Teddy Gentry is spearheading a CD, "Teddy Gentry's Best New Nashville," from 12 new artists coming out via Cracker Barrel on May 16. Gentry, who produced, regularly works with up-and-coming artists on stage and in the studio. "I tell them that they really have to love a song because,... »»»
April 18, 2011 - Ralph Stanley could be forgiven if he was taking it easy. After all, he's 84. But nope, Stanley is putting out a new album today. "A Mother's Prayer" (Rebel) drops with 14 songs in a disc produced by his son Ralph Stanley II, who also plays in the band. Songs include John the Revelator and What Kind of... »»»
April 16, 2011 - Zac Brown Band held the top spot on the Country Songs chart for the week ending April 23 with Colder Weather. Jason Aldean remained first on the Country Album chart with "My Kinda Party." On the album chart, Zac Brown Band's "You Get What You Give" was second, Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" third, Lady... »»»
April 16, 2011 - Rascal Flatts is facing a law suit from its former managers. All Access reported that Turner Nichols sued the group seeking continued commission on income from deals negotiated while Turner Nichols represented the band. Rascal Flatts said in a statement, "We are disappointed they have chosen to file,... »»»
April 16, 2011 - Tim McGraw pulled out of the Denzel Washington film, "Safe House" due to scheduling conflicts. "I had to back out," McGraw told Chicago's US99 radio station, according to The Boot. "We had all signed up to do the movie and we all had our schedules, and then my tour was going to start ...... »»»
April 15, 2011 - Ashton Shepherd is set to release her sophomore disc, "Where Country Grows," on July 12 via MCA Nashville. Look It Up, the album's debut single and the first song she recorded for this project, has become the fastest-rising hit of her career and currently sits at 21 on the Billboard country singles chart.... »»»
April 15, 2011 - The video for David Nail's new single, Let It Rain, debuted Thursday. The song from his forthcoming sophomore album debuted on Vevo. The video, co-directed by Nail and Stephen Shepherd, captures the pain of a man who realizes that a passionate indiscretion has probably cost him his marriage.... »»»
April 15, 2011 - Craig Morgan will headline the first annual NRA Country Jam on Friday, April 29 in Pittsburgh. Sarah Darling and Due West will open the show. A former service member and active supporter of the U.S. military, Morgan, together with NRA Country and Bushnell, designated a portion of the proceeds from the... »»»
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April 12, 2011 - Alison Krauss and Union Station are back with their first album together since 2004. Others include the Del McCoury Band with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, k.d. lang and Jason Isbell. Krauss and Union Station last were heard from "Lonely Run Both Ways' in 2004. No one has been silent, of course,... »»»
April 12, 2011 - Chely Wright has set a wedding date of Aug. 20. The singer is marrying Lauren Blitzer at a private location in Connecticut. The couple met last year through their LGBT rights advocacy work. A native New Yorker, Blitzer is the development director at the non-profit organization, Faith in America.... »»»
April 12, 2011 - Ashton Shepherd will perform the national anthem at Aaron's 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Talladega, Ala. on Sunday, April 17. The race and national anthem will be televised nationally on FOX. Shepherd's current single, Look It Up, from her upcoming sophomore album "Where Country Grows" has... »»»
April 12, 2011 - Jennette McCurdy, star of Nickelodeon's iCarly, released a single, Generation Love, to country radio Monday. McCurdy has engaged in a multi-week cross country mall tour, Generation Love For St. Jude, raising money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. McCurdy has made it her personal mission... »»»
April 11, 2011 - Frankie Ballard readying the release of his self-titled debut in late May. Ballard debuted with the single Tell Me You Get Lonely and A Buncha Girls is his second radio single. The CD will be out on Warner on May 24 with 8 songs. Produced by Michael Knox (Jason Aldean), Ballard brings a bluesy, rocking edge.... »»»
April 11, 2011 - Chris Young is preparing to make his second visit to entertain U.S. troops stationed overseas as part of the Stars For Stripes tour later this week. Young will embark on the "Piece of Home" tour, performing for service members stationed in Iraq and Kuwait, from April 13-21. Young and his full band... »»»
April 11, 2011 - Country duo Miss Willie Brown were added to the 2011 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival lineup this year on Saturday, June 11, it was announced Monday. Miss Willie Brown, comprised of Kasey Buckley and Amanda Watkins, is currently on the road with the Jagermeister Country Tour featuring Dierks Bentley.... »»»
April 11, 2011 - Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush are set to debut their Sugarland Radio station on the virtual airwaves beginning this morning. Listeners can tune in to Sugarland Radio's debut on A.P.E. Radio at www.iheartradio.com/sugarland, Clear Channel Radio's "iheartradio" network, and the iheartradio mobile... »»»
April 11, 2011 - k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang will perform I Confess on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. The track is the lead single from "Sing it Loud," due out tomorrow on Nonesuch Records. To celebrate its release, lang and her new band will play the album in its entirety tonight at Los Angeles' Troubadour... »»»
April 8, 2011 - Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors will kick off the 2011 "Emotional Traffic" tour tonight with a sold-out show at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. In addition to playing hits from throughout his career, McGraw will be performing five songs from his forthcoming album, "Emotional... »»»
April 7, 2011 - With a few new members aboard, The Greencards are slated to release a new disc in June on their own label. The quartet, spearheaded by Australians Carol Young and Kym Warner, will put out "The Brick Album" on June 20 on their own Darling Streets Records. "We've been striving for this since our first... »»»
April 7, 2011 - Alison Krauss & Union Station and Target are partnering for the exclusive, deluxe edition of "Paper Airplane," Krauss' 14th album and the band's follow-up to 2004's "Lonely Runs Both Ways." The Target deluxe edition features six additional songs, including three exclusive studio songs - These Days and... »»»
April 7, 2011 - Zac Brown Band scored its seventh straight number one hit with Colder Weather jumping from fourth to first for the week ending April 16 on the Billboard Country Songs chart. ZBB took over for Thompson Square's Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not, which slipped to second. On the album chart, Jason Aldean... »»»
April 7, 2011 - Zac Brown Band will perform at MerleFest 2011, it was announced Thursday. Zac Brown Band, which has enjoyed seven consecutive number one songs, will appear on Thursday evening along with Corb Lund, Town Mountain, Scythian, Del McCoury Band and Randy Travis. With more than 90 artists performing on 14... »»»
April 7, 2011 - A memorial service for Grand Ole Opry star Mel McDaniel will be held Wednesday, April 13 from 2-4 p.m. at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. The memorial will be open to the public. In lieu of flowers, McDaniel's family requests memorial donations be made to the Opry Trust Fund at this address: ... »»»
April 7, 2011 - Jazz singer Diane Schuur is going country. Schuur will release "The Gathering, a collection of 10 country classics, on June 7 on Vanguard. Alison Krauss and Vince Gill are among the country performers on the disc, which also will feature Mark Knopfler, Larry Carlton and Kirk Whalum.... »»»
April 6, 2011 - Tumbling Tumbleweeds by Sons of the Pioneers and Stand By Your Man by Tammy Wynette were the 2 country songs to make the Library of Congress list Wednesday of 25 songs named to the National Recording Registry. Other songs included Take Me Out to the Ballgame by Edward Meeker, Al Green's Let's Stay... »»»
April 6, 2011 - Tracy Lawrence will host the first Golf For A Cure Charity Golf Classic on Monday, May 2, benefitting Susan G. Komen Greater Nashville. To be held at Five Oaks Golf & Country Club in Lebanon, Tenn., Lawrence will be joined by celebs from the performing stage and the ball field for golf and... »»»
April 6, 2011 - When the 54th annual Grammy Awards are held in 2012, don't worry who's going to win the Best Female or Male Country Vocal Performance categories. No one will. Instead of Taylor Swift going against Carrie Underwood, it will be the likes of Swift and Underwood vying for a new honor - Best Country Solo... »»»
April 6, 2011 - Zac Brown Band will earn their seventh consecutive number one with their latest hit, Colder Weather, on Mediabase and Billboard this week. ZBB assumes the top spot from Thompson Square's Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not. The news about the second single from "You Get What You Give" (Atlantic/Southern... »»»
April 5, 2011 - New artist Craig Campbell has gained airplay with the hit single Family Man. Now the Georgia native releases his full-length, 11-song debut after putting out an EP last year. Campbell recalls Alan Jackson... »»»
April 5, 2011 - Randy Houser has a new single out, In God's Time. The record will go for ads on April 25, but is available now exclusively on iTunes through April 26. Houser has enjoyed previous success with Boots On and Anything Goes. Houser penned the new song with Shane Minor and David Lee Murphy.... »»»
April 5, 2011 - Finalists were named for the 19th annual Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest 2011. The festival is scheduled for April 28-May 1 in Wilkesboro, N.C. Writers of the following twelve songs, selected from over 1,053 entries, will compete on the Austin Stage at MerleFest on Friday, April 29: ... »»»
April 4, 2011 - The Academy of Country Music awards won the ratings war for CBS on Sunday night, although ratings dropped about 2 percent from 2010, according to Zap2it.com. The ACMs won each hour of the show, which went during prime time from 8-11 p.m. versus NBC, ABC and Fox. The ACMs had 13.3 million viewers at 8 p.m., 13.... »»»
April 4, 2011 - Fresh off her big win Sunday night at the Academy of Country Music awards for Entertainer of the Year, Taylor Swift will talk about her honor on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Tuesday, April 5. The show airs on NBC at 11:35 p.m. eastern/Pacific and 10:35 p.m. central/mountain.... »»»
April 4, 2011 - Dierks Bentley will headline the first annual Summer Send Off Music Festival in Alberta, Canada in September. Presented by Big Air Entertainment and the Ponoka Stampede Association, the festival will be held at the Ponoka Stampede Rodeo Grounds, starting on Friday Sept. 2. "We are pleased to... »»»
April 4, 2011 - Big & Rich not only will be touring, but recording new music. That's the word from the duo, who made the announcement Sunday during an interview prior to the start of the Academy of Country Music ceremonies. "We're going to start new rehearsals next month," said Big Kenny Alphin in an interview on the... »»»
April 4, 2011 - Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas will criss-cross North America this summer on a nationwide tour eventually taking them to more than 50 cities. The tour, which starts June 4 in Louisville, Ky., follows the April 11 release of "Paper Airplane." The CD is the first since 2004's... »»»
April 3, 2011 - Miranda Lambert was the big winner Sunday taking three Academy of Country Music awards with a song she sang also winning, but Taylor Swift was the big winner, taking the fan-voted Entertainer of the year award. Swift was understandably excited to win the award, hugging fellow nominees Lambert and Brad... »»»
April 3, 2011 - The success of Lady Antebellum at country music awards shows continued Sunday as for the second time within a few minutes, the trio took home an honor. Minute after winning Album of the Year, the group won the Top Vocal Group. They gave some more shout outs, such as to their label, Capitol Nashville.... »»»
April 3, 2011 - Lady Antebellum continued its good run at winning awards taking the ACM Album of the Year for "Need You Now." Charles Kelley, one third of the band, thanked Miranda Lambert for not being nominated because Lambert already took home three awards during the evening. Lambert had already won the award last year.... »»»
April 3, 2011 - It's becoming Miranda Lambert's night at the Academy of Country Music awards. The singer took Single Record of the Year for the song that is doing it for her tonight The House That Built Me. Lambert also had won the Song and Video of the Year honors. She thanked those associated with the song.... »»»
April 3, 2011 - The Band Perry won Best New Artist at the ACM awards on Sunday, taking it over Eric Church. Each had previously won the honor for Top New Vocal Group and Top New Artist. Kimberley Perry said, "We are a family band in The Band Perry." She thanked their parents and the fans. "We are so humbled by this.... »»»
April 3, 2011 - The House That Built Me, recorded by Miranda Lambert won the ACM Song of the Year. The award actually goes to songwriters to Allen Shamblin and Tom Douglas. Lambert was clearly excited, clapping right after the award was announced. Lambert did not say anything in winning the award.... »»»
April 3, 2011 - Miranda Lambert won an Academy of Country Music award in pre-television ceremonies for The House That Built Me in the video category. GAC reported the news via Twitter. Lambert won over another video of hers Only Prettier and her fiancé Blake Shelton's Hillbilly Bone with Trace Adkins.... »»»
April 3, 2011 - Zac Brown Band and Alan Jackson won the Academy of Country Music award for Vocal Event of the Year for their number one single As She's Walking Away. GAC reported the news in a tweet. Also nominated were: Blue Sky, Emily West featuring Keith Urban Producer: Mark Bright Coal Miner's Daughter,... »»»
April 3, 2011 - How many Academy of Country Awards will Miranda Lambert after leading the pack with seven nominations? Zac Brown Band was behind Lambert with five nominations, while The Band Perry and Taylor Swift captured four each. The wait is soon over because the ACMs will be held tonight in Las Vegas.... »»»
April 1, 2011 - Craig Morgan signed with Black River, it was announced Friday. Morgan had been with Broken Bow and the BNA label. "You could take a poll of country fans," said Gordon S. Kerr, Black River's Chief Operating Officer, "and be pretty sure at least one or two of Craig's hits would be among their all-time favorites.... »»»
April 1, 2011 - Laura Cantrell will get her Kitty well jones out with "Kitty Wells Dresses: Songs of the Queen of Country Music" dropping on Tuesday, May 17. Fans can go to Cantrell's web site to download a free MP3 of Cantrell's original composition, Kitty Wells Dresses. Nashville born and New York based,... »»»
April 1, 2011 - Big & Rich and Gretchen Wilson will hit the road for "Xtreme Muzik The Tour." The tour, which will include special guests Cowboy Troy and Two Foot Fred, will visit over 30 cities beginning June 18 in Springfield, Mo. Sharing one eight-piece band on a custom stage that includes a fully-operational... »»»