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■ REBA HOSTS & PERFORMS ON ACM AWARDS TONIGHT; EXCITED TO SEE ARTIST FRIENDS: Reba will be hosting tonight’s Academy of Country Music Awards for the 12th time, and the superstar will be performing her new single “I Keep On Loving You”.  We asked Reba if the process is nerve-wracking debuting a new song like this on television.  “I guess I’m a always a little nervous to perform in front of my peers, but I’m excited to get a chance to sing this song on the show!”  says Reba.  “It takes a lot of hard work and preparation to be ready for a successful hosting job at the ACMs.  To make it a smooth running show, I have to listen to the directors and stretch when we’re running ahead of schedule and make my intro’s short and sweet when we’re running behind.  Live TV is a blast and I love it!”  She continues, “I also love getting to host the ACMs because it gives me a chance to see all my artist friends.  Most of us travel so much throughout the year, that this is one of the few times we are all in the same place and get a chance to visit.”  Reba is not only hosting and performing on tonight’s broadcast; she is also vying for Female Vocalist of the Year, where she shares the nomination with Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Lee Ann Womack.

■ JEWEL PUSHED HERSELF ON SELF-DESCRIBED ‘RANGY’ NEW ALBUM ‘SWEET AND WILD’: Jewel’s new album SWEET AND WILD will land in stores June 8th, and the superstar, who produced the project with Nathan Chapman, previewed the album during a VIP listening event in Las Vegas this weekend.  “I’m so excited about this new record,” exclaims Jewel, in town for the Academy of Country Music Awards.  “I feel it’s some of my strongest writing and I pushed myself to try and record ‘rangy’ material that pushed my vocals more than any studio album.  I have always sung better live for some reason.  I’m really happy [all the fans] will get the chance to hear it soon.  I also just finished my photo shoot for the album and I really love the new images.  I can wait for everyone to see them.”  The album will contain 11 songs, including the collection’s lead single “Stay Here Forever”.

■ JUSTIN MOORE ON BEING COUNTRY VS. BEING A COWBOY: One look at Justin Moore, and there is no doubt he is country.  One listen to Justin Moore and there is no doubt he’s country.  But for Justin Moore, being country doesn’t mean you have to be a cowboy.  “You know, I get asked that a lot, and I always say I’m not a cowboy, but I’m country,” says Justin Moore, in response.  “There’s a difference.  Since I grew up on a farm, I’ve always worn a cowboy hat and boots, but I didn’t grow up on a ranch with cattle like the guys you’d normally call cowboys.  But whether you call yourself a cowboy or just country, it’s about the same values.  It’s about standing up for what you believe in and trying your best to always do the right thing.”  Justin’s latest ‘country’ anthem “Backwoods” continues to climb the charts this week, perching at #11 on Billboard and Mediabase.

■ JIMMY WAYNE’S MAKING A NEW ROUTINE FOR HIMSELF OUT ON THE ROAD: Jimmy Wayne is a man of routine.  He is someone who loves order and sticking to a schedule.  So when his life was turned on its head earlier this year when he began his 1700-mile Meet Me Halfway trek, Jimmy had to get used to days with uncertainty of weather and without a set schedule.  But he still managed to find a routine.  “I’ve come to learn you can find a routine in everything,” states Jimmy.  “I’ve always liked order.  I carry my guitar in the same hand every time and I put it on in the same way every time I play.  You know, as a kid, when I was sleeping outside and in the middle of chaos, you forget stuff and you lose stuff, and I couldn’t afford that.  So I established routines to remember to do things.  For me, it was part of surviving the situations.  And I’ve put that same thought process into this walk, to keep me organized and keep me moving forward.”  And moving forward towards his goal is at the forefront of his mind right now: Jimmy has currently walked over 720 of the 1700 miles it will take to reach his destination in Phoenix.  Click here to follow Jimmy on Twitter and track his journey.

■ RANDOM NOTES: Reba told Entertainment Tonight about her prep work for the ACM Awards.  Click here to watch it.


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