Olivia Newton-John Las Vegas Shows Canceled; Chris Brown Contemplates Country Album + More: Country News Roundup
The Boot rounds up today's country music news from around the web.
Olivia Newton-John has canceled her upcoming Las Vegas residency to help her older sister, Rona, through treatments for brain cancer. The singer-actress, who is a breast cancer survivor herself, was due to begin a series of shows at the Flamingo hotel this summer. "As a cancer 'thriver' myself, as many people are, I am very aware of the importance of love, support and family during this journey she is about to begin," Olivia explains of her decision to postpone her Sin City run.
Keith Urban's We're All for the Hall 2013 benefit concert last week raised nearly $650,000 for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Musem. That brings the event's four-year total to more than $2 million for the coveted Nashville landmark. This year's show featured Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Eric Church, Trace Adkins, Hank Williams, Jr., Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Brantley Gilbert, Montgomery Gentry, Rosanne Cash, Jessi Colter and Billy Joe Shaver. Keith and Vince Gill played in each artist's backup band for the "Rebels and Renegades"-themed night. See photos from the show here.
Kellie Pickler remains a "Dancing With the Stars" frontrunner! The blond beauty and her partner, Derek Hough, received a 29 rating (out of a possible 30) for their Quickstep on Monday's (April 22) show. Judge Len Goodman called it the "best dance of the season." Another country star also joined last night's episode, as Hunter Hayes had the honor of singing in the opening number with Stevie Wonder. Watch their performance, along with Kellie's awesome dance moves here.
Toby Keith is headed out on yet another USO Tour. The country mogul, who has been honored by the government for his tireless military support, will perform on military bases in Guam, Hawaii and the Phillippines, beginning April 27. All concerts will be free for military personnel and their families. Toby has played more than 200 USO shows over the past 11 years.
Martina McBride is planning a special show for the National Women's Survivors Convention, which will take place in Nashville on August 22-24. The angelic-voiced beauty will close the two-day event with a performance for the attending cancer survivors at the Grand Ole Opry. More special guests will be announced soon. Click here for more information.
Willie Nelson had quite the early birthday celebration in Nashville last week, as he was the guest of honor at a tribute show at Jack White's Third Man Records building. Neil Young, Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, Jamey Johnson, Ashley Monroe and Leon Russell were among the celebrities who paired for duets on some of the Redheaded Stranger's biggest hits. The party was filmed for an upcoming episode of "CMT Crossroads." Willie turns 80 on April 30.
Gretchen Wilson has a fun gig coming up this Thursday (April 25): she's co-hosting "The View"! The country singer will join regular hostesses Whoopie Goldberg, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd and Barbara Walters on the ABC chat-fest's couches for the entire hour. "I'm not sure if they knew what they were getting themselves into when they booked me for the show," Gretchen laughs. "This will be completely different from what I do every day, but I'm really looking forward to hanging out with these strong women and maybe even stirring things up!"
BMI has honored lauded country songwriter Scotty Emerick with several of its "Million-Air" Awards. The honor represents songwriting and publishing credits for more than 10 million radio air plays for some of Scotty's biggest hits, including "I Love This Bar," "Beer for My Horses," "As Good As I Once Was," and "Big Blue Note," all of which were recorded by his friend and co-writer, Toby Keith.
Is controversial R&B star Chris Brown going country? He tells Charlotte radio station WPEG-FM that when music is labeled, it's segregated, adding, "When I get older, I might want to do a country album." But the country community may not be so accepting. In 2012, Miranda Lambert expressed her shock over Chris' Grammy wins, tweeting, "Chris Brown twice? I don't get it. He beat on a girl ... Not cool that we act like that didn't happen." She later was seen in concert holding a sign that read "Take notes Chris Brown" while she sang "Gunpowder and Lead." [WPEG-FM]
Kenny Chesney might have been a little lightheaded when he left the set of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" on Monday. That's because the humorous host tricked the country star into a little drinking game. (Watch it below.) Kenny's new album, Life on a Rock, hits stores April 30.