Thursday Morning Country Music Headlines

JERROD NEIMANN COUNTS FRIENDS AND FAMILY

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Jerrod Niemann says "there's nothing like support and friendship" and he counts on his family and pals including Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser and Lee Brice. Niemann says his relationships with his peers are especially important because they came up together through the music industry ranks. He credits Jamey Johnson's success for helping to pave the way for him and others and says they lean on each other for support. Making music is a dream come true says Niemann, but watching his friends succeed is equally fulfilling. Neimann released his sophomore album, "Free The Music," earlier this month.

T.G. SHEPPARD IN CRITICAL CONDITION

UNDATED (AP) -- T.G. Sheppard is still in critical condition after being hospitalized late last week for a bladder infection. Country Weekly reports that Sheppard's wife Kelly Lang released a statement explaining the infection "spread into his bloodstream and is very hard to treat." The "Slow Burn" singer is in a Nashville-area hospital. Lang says he is "very weak" and is being treated for a high and irregular heart rate, a complication from the infection.

MIRANDA LAMBERT AND BLAKE SHELTON NOT QUITE READY FOR PARENTHOOD

NASHVILLE, (AP) -- Miranda Lambert says her and husband Blake Shelton's schedules are too hectic to start a family anytime soon. Lambert tells Good Housekeeping magazine that she doesn't "want to raise a child on a bus or in L.A." and she wants to be "a little more settled" before embarking on motherhood. Lambert, who graces the cover of the November issue, points out that she and Shelton have been married almost a year and a half, but have only been in the same place together for about five months. But she's not complaining. Lambert says she knows she's very lucky and at that rate, they'll be "newlyweds for three years."

TOBY KEITH SAYS IT TOOK FIVE SECONDS TO TURN DOWN AMERICAN IDOL

UNDATED (AP) -- Rumors swirled over the summer about which country star was going to be named the next "American Idol" judge. Before Keith Urban took the job, Toby Keith tells "Country Weekly" he declined an offer. "It's a great big TV show," he says and a "lucrative deal" but still it only took him "five seconds" to think about it and decline. Keith knew he would regret the time commitment so he says he "just turned it down quick."

BRAD PAISLEY AND RASCAL FLATTS GIFT COWS TO MASAI TRIBE

UNDATED (AP) -- Members of a Masai tribe in Kenya are now the proud owners of four cows named, Paisley, Gary, Joe Don and Jay. As in Brad Paisley and all the guys in Rascal Flatts. The musicians each donated a cow to the tribe whose herd dwindled due to a draught several years ago. Paisley also picked up the tab to send Detroit morning radio personality Steve Grunwald to personally deliver the bovine gift. It all started out as a dare in 2007 when Paisley bet Grunwald that he couldn't travel to 10 countries in 10 days. Grunwald did it and stayed in touch with members of the tribe who contacted him recently about their need for a new cow. Paisley was happy to help out and when the members of Rascal Flatts heard about the mission, they offered funds to buy the village three additional cows. Grunwald made the trip last week and reports on his WYCD blog that the tribe waited by the road for two days and were "very happy" to see him and the four cows.

TAYLOR SWIFT HAS FANS IN ETHEL AND RORY KENNEDY

Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP) -- Kennedy family matriarch, Ethel Kennedy, says "we should be so lucky" when asked about Taylor Swift who is dating her grandson, Conor. The elderly Kennedy was with filmmaker daughter Rory Kennedy in Beverly Hills to talk about Rory's new documentary on her mother, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy. Rory met Swift when she took her daughters to a concert and "that's what started it all" according to Ethel Kennedy. Rory says Swift is "awesome."

"X FACTOR"

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- At least a couple of country guys make it to the live rounds on "The X Factor." Tate Stevens and Willie Jones both got the good news on last night's episode. But Fox didn't air the whole show, because of a rain delay in the National League playoff game. The West Coast saw a rerun. Fox says the entire two-hour episode will air next Tuesday.

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


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