Thursday Morning Country Music Headlines


NEW YORK (AP) -- Keith Urban is the man in the middle. The new "American Idol" judge had to play peacemaker between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey. Video leaked to TMZ shows Minaj and Carey in a heated and sometimes profane argument. Urban says he feels like the United Nations. He made the comment on the red carpet yesterday, at the New York Film Festival gala honoring his wife, Nicole Kidman. Idol debuts in January.


UNDATED (AP) -- "Presumptuous" is the word that Taylor Swift chooses to describe John Mayer in a recent interview with Glamour magazine. Mayer took Swift's song "Dear John" personally and told Rolling Stone said that he was "really humiliated" by the lyrics which made made him feel "terrible." But Swift, who is featured on the cover of Glamour's November issue, says she never discloses who her songs are about and she doesn't want to know the specifics of what Mayer said. As Swift says that's because she puts a "high priority on staying happy" and knows what she "can't handle." Swift explains it's not because she's an "egomaniac" who doesn't want to hear anything negative about herself. She says it's because she "never developed that thick a skin."


BEVERLY HILLS (AP) -- Connie Britton, one of the stars of ABC's upcoming drama "Nashville," says the opportunity to sing was one of the reasons she took on the role of Rayna James, a country star down on her luck. Britton had no professional singing experience before signing on, but things are apparently going so well that ABC Studios and Big Machine Records -- home to artists including Taylor Swift, Tim McGraw and Rascal Flatts -- announced yesterday an exclusive partnership to release and market music from the series. Members of the cast including Britton, Hayden Panettiere, and Jonathan Jackson are slated to sing original material created for the series by both new and established songwriters. The show, shot entirely in Music City, offers a window into the world of the record business. Big Machine will release original music from "Nashville" each week on iTunes and ABC's Music Lounge. The series premieres on October 10.


UNDATED (AP) -- Willie Jones continues to impress the judges on "The X Factor." He's the deep-voiced black teen who sings country. Last night the 17-year-old from Louisiana did "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy." Willie makes it through to the next round. So does Freddie Combs. He's the minister from Tennessee who weighs 540 pounds. About 120 hopefuls made it through the original auditions to Boot Camp. Half were cut last night. Tonight, the eliminations continue.


DALLAS (AP) -- He grew up the son of sharecroppers in Mississippi and became one of country music's biggest stars. Now the Smithsonian in Washington has acquired memorabilia from Charley Pride's life, including a pair of boots and one of his guitars, for the upcoming National Museum of African American History and Culture. Pride says it was difficult to part with some of the items, but it's nice to know that they will be in a museum where he can always go visit. Dwan Reece, the museum's curator of music and performing arts, says Pride is "a great example of a man transcending the barriers of race who was accepted by audiences because he was a good country singer." Pride, at 78, is still touring and heads to Ireland this month and the U.K. next month. He has three Grammy Awards, dozens of No. 1 hits and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000. The Smithsonian new museum is scheduled to open in 2015.


UNDATED (AP) -- Multi-award-winning Canadian group Emerson Drive plans to release their fifth studio album "Roll' on October 30. The lead single from the new album, "She's My Kind of Crazy," has been the highest-selling Canadian country song for the past eight weeks. The next single due out on October 23 is "Let It Roll," a song written with members of Doc Walker. "Let It Roll" marks the first time two Canadian country bands have ever released a "duet" to radio. Emerson Drive is expected to announce plans for their 2013 tour soon. In the past they've hit the road with acts like Shania Twain, Toby Keith and Big and Rich.


RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Scotty McCreery has been racking up accolades and awards ever since his winning performance on "American Idol" last year. He's got a platinum album, ACM and CMT Music Awards and now he has a new museum exhibit dedicated to his achievements. The North Carolina Museum of History is currently showcasing objects donated by McCreery, including the outfit he wore for his final duet on "Idol" back on May 25, 2011. McCreery sang "Live Like You Were Dying" with country music star Tim McGraw. The outfit consists of a black leather jacket, jeans, T-shirt and cross necklace. The exhibit also includes the lyric sheet for "Live Like You Were Dying," along with his gold record for his first album, "Clear as Day." The exhibit runs through January 4.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Garth Brooks says he's "thoroughly enjoyed" his run at Wynn Las Vegas but the show will not go on. The 50-year-old singer will play six more dates this fall concluding his three-year run on November 17. In a news release Brooks called Steven Wynn "the easiest and best boss" he's ever worked for. Brooks came out of retirement to take the job in 2009. It came with the gift of a jet from Wynn. According to the news release, Brooks plans to film his one-man show next for a possible network special. He'll be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this month.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.

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