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Country Music Is My Life
Country Music Is My Life

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Carrie Underwood will release a new album on May 1, although the title has not yet been revealed. However, she will issue "Good Girl" as the project's first single to country radio on Feb. 23. Mark Bright produced the album. Underwood's previous albums include Some Hearts (2005), Carnival Ride (2007) and Play On (2009). CMT Crossroads: Steven Tyler & Carrie Underwood From the Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam airs live Saturday (Feb. 4) at 11 p.m. ET/PT on CMT

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It's hard to believe there was a time when Keith Urban was just the guy with a six-song set opening up for the Brooks & Dunn tour. But Ronnie Dunn told me yesterday (Jan. 10) that he remembers that 2001 tour well.

"We took him out with B&D years ago, when he'd just broken away from the Ranch. Keith was one of the few artists I'd actually leave the bus for, to go listen to a few songs. And I'd tell people, 'This guy's gonna be a big star.'"

Now it's 10 years later, and Dunn has broken away from Brooks & Dunn. And Urban is telling him how much he loves his new solo stuff, especially "Cost of Livin'."

"Keith had called me a couple times when the record first came out and said, 'Man, this is hands down song of the year.' He'll even text me and say, 'I'm listening to the song.'"

Tim McGraw shared the enthusiasm for that song, too.

"I was in Montana a few months ago, and McGraw called and said he was on his way to the Opry and he said, 'Man, this song just hit me.' For him to pick up the phone and do that is a big deal. I was speechless. He caught me totally off guard. To get that kind of validation from guys in the business is pretty strong. Especially from those two."

When I told Dunn that "Cost of Livin'" was on Urban's best-of list from 2011, he acted genuinely humbled, then laughed and said, "I like everything Keith does."

Stay tuned for more from our conversation about what went on behind the scenes of his "Let the Cowboy Rock" video, later this week

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Dolly Parton cheerfully reviews her new movie, Joyful Noise, like this: "It's really fun. It makes you laugh so hard. It'll make you cry. The music will lift you up."

Parton stars in the family-oriented film, which opens Friday (Jan. 13), as an outrageous rich woman named G.G. Sparrow -- G.G. is short for "Gorgeous Grandma." She's married to the church choir director (Kris Kristofferson), who dies early in the film, leaving the gospel choir without a strong leader just before a major competition. Meanwhile, longtime church member Vi Rose (Queen Latifah) gets the coveted gig, despite G.G.'s best efforts to grab it herself.

And, yes, a brawl did break out on set -- to great comic effect. CMT Insider host Katie Cook visited Parton on the set to get the scoop on the script, the soundtrack and the sisterhood between the stars.

CMT Insider: Making a movie is such a big-time commitment, and I know you wouldn't do it unless you loved the script. Was there one scene in particular that made you say, "Oh, I have to do this"?

Parton: The whole script. Todd Graff, who wrote and directed the movie, said he wrote the whole thing around me, and he said he didn't know what he would have done if I hadn't done it. It's really so much my own personality. She's a larger-than-life, over-the-top person with a big mouth that don't know when to hush and when to shut up. So it was real easy for me to play. I got to do some serious acting, but it was not hard because it was so true to who I really am. There's not a big separation in who G.G. is and myself.

So you didn't have to Dolly-ize her much. It sounds like they had you in mind all along.

Well, this is G.G.'s hair and these are G.G.'s clothes. It's not all that different. They tried to tame me a little bit and over-exaggerate me a little more in some areas. But it's more about the movie. And it's good that I never take movies where I don't think that I can pretty much be myself, because I'm not a real actress.

Gospel music is something that's very important to you, and you say the movie is filled with wonderful music. Have you been writing for it? What can we expect?

I have written four songs for the movie, but there are actually a lot of songs that they've taken from the rock, pop and the rap field. And they've combined them, put them into great medleys, but they've changed the name to where it's really about God instead of about a person.

Murph Warren, who has done a lot of wonderful work -- he did Sister Act and The Preacher's Wife and a lot of wonderful things -- did the music for it. So he's taken all these great songs out of these other worlds of music and made them gospel-type songs. But my songs that I wrote, I tailor-made for the story, and so I'm very proud of that. There are about four different choirs that compete, so I really think that the music in this movie is going to be so good. I really think that the soundtrack is going to be a big, big soundtrack.

Your character and Queen Latifah's character are rivals, right? Is this because your choirs are competing? Tell us the story there.

Yes. Well, actually, we're in the same choir. Early on, it starts out with my husband, but he dies right away. He dies in the first song in the movie. He comes back later in a fantasy scene. But when he passes away, I think -- because I have helped write and work on all these arrangements at this church -- I should be the one to take over because I'm musical.

But, Vi Rose, who's played by Queen Latifah, well, she's been there a long time. She's very talented, and they give her the job. And so there's automatically that thing of me thinking it should have been mine, and she never liked me anyway because I'm so over-the-top. And because I have money and sponsor the choir, she kind of resents that.

So we have lots of little things that we don't like about each other for different reasons. It builds and it builds until we eventually have this huge fight -- a knockdown, drag-out, food fight. She gets me in a headlock, and you'll be rolling in the aisles. People will just love this. It took us two days to do this whole scene where we were throwing food and having a big knockdown drag-out.

I'm just thinking, did she mess up your hair if she got you in a headlock?

She did. In fact, that's part of the comedy. She's messing up my hair, and I say so. I talk about my hair like I'm more worried that she's going to mess it up than I am about the fact she may break my neck.

Off camera, did you find that you two have a lot in common?

Oh, we loved each other to start with. That's why we both were so excited about the movie. And we both said, "I'll do it if she does it." ... She said she'd always wanted to work with me. I've always wanted to do something with her. I didn't know what it'd be. I always thought it'd be fun to work with her because everybody just loves her. And she is so cool and she's so funny. We really get along great. There's a great chemistry, which we hoped there would be, and it really comes through. There's a lot of magic in it.

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Taylor swift wasn't cool in school :O

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Blake Shelton and Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott dish on some good stuff about relationships in the February issue of Cosmopolitan. And while I wouldn't necessarily leave the sexy magazine on the coffee table if company was coming over, I am pretty fond of pages 119 and 124.

There's a story about how and when Scott knew that Chris Tyrell, whom she married earlier this month, was The One. "It was when I met his family. His brother is 10 years younger, and when I saw them together, I knew he'd be a great father. I just melted," she said.

And Shelton opens up about what he finds attractive in a woman. "I understand it's gotta be tough to be a girl. But a woman who doesn't give a crap if I notice her? That drives me crazy."

I'm not sure if he means that he likes women who want to be noticed, or ones who don't. Not that it matters. Now that he's married, I'm sure he only has eyes for his wife, Miranda Lambert. He told the magazine he loves her because "Miranda isn't afraid to try to cook anything."

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Brad Paisley(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that's happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Sure, Brad Paisley is an excellent guitar player now. But in his first semester at Belmont University, he got a D in his guitar class.

No, I haven't been searching the Belmont archives. Paisley admits all of this in his book, Diary of a Player: "I, Brad Paisley, future multiple winner of the Guitar Player magazine reader's poll for best country guitarist ... got a D in guitar," he confesses.

He goes on to say that his cavalier attitude about actually going to the class earned him that D. When he asked what he could do about the D, his teacher told him, "What you can do is show up for class, Brad. This grade isn't about your playing. It's about you not even showing up or learning anything that I told you to learn," he said.

Paisley ultimately brought that guitar grade up to a B, but says that he thinks back to that D whenever he gets a little too cocky.

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Seriously, snow? On the very day Miranda Lambert's much-anticipated On Fire tour kicks off, the weather is unleashing its wrath? Today's (Jan. 12) forecast in Rockford, Ill., is a blustery four to eight inches of snow. So if you're going, Ran Fans, allow extra time to get there and get home.

Speaking of "Gettin' You Home," make sure you arrive at the show early for Chris Young. His show is so incredible. And I know he's honored to be sharing the stage with Lambert.

"It's an amazing feeling, especially with her. I've got a good relationship this year especially," Young told CMT Radio. "I ended up hangin' out with her and Blake a lot on the road and love both of them as people and as artists. So, the fact that she asked me and my band to go out with her and be a part of that tour is big, and it's something I'm overwhelmingly looking forward to."

If you can't make it to the snowy show, you can catch Young on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday (Jan. 17).

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Faith Hill is in L.A. right this minute, probably starting to get ready for her performance on tonight's (Jan. 11) People's Choice Awards. And I think I know just what she's using: her Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System, her LaMer the Eye Concentrate, her Kevyn Aucoin the Pure Powder Glow (in Shadore) and then her L'oreal Paris Voluminous Mascara, which she tells InStyle magazine is her "go-to mascara." She also has a rather high-end and low-end moisturizing method for her skin. On the high end, there's Retinol, for about $75 for a little tube. "It just clears everything up and creates a better texture for your skin," Hill said. And on the low end, there's Chapstick, for about $3. Hill says if she's in a rush she'll just put Chapstick all over her face. -origginally posted on
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