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RTIST NEWSFLASH
■ WITH THE HELP OF DIERKS BENTLEY, JACK INGRAM BRINGS HIS SELF-DESCRIBED BIGGEST HIT EVER TO 12.5 MILLION PEOPLE: Although it has never yet charted on any national tally, Jack Ingram names “Barbie Doll” the biggest hit of his career.  And with the help of Dierks Bentley, Jack brought his live anthem to the 12.5 million people watching last weekend’s Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas with a raucous performance.  [Click here to watch it.]  “You know, that song has always been a ‘buddy’ song to me,” proclaims Jack.  “I wrote that song with my friend Todd Snider, and originally recorded it ten years ago.  Then, through the years, the song has taken on a life of its own, becoming our biggest live hit.  So when I was putting finishing touches on the ‘Big Dreams & High Hopes’ album, I thought it would make perfect sense to record this with Dierks.  I knew he was a fan of the song and, I knew he, like me, had spent plenty of nights playing clubs where he saw the scene in the song play out over and over again.  We had such a great time recording this song, and you know, that’s really what it should be about anyway.”  Jack has just launched a solo version of the song on Play MPE this week that features “The Little Big Lost Beat Up Ford Funky Times Freedom Choir”, otherwise known as Little Big Town, The Lost Trailers, Randy Houser, James Otto, Jedd Hughes, Blu Sanders, and of course Dierks, on background vocals.  
           
■ AMERICAN GREETINGS BRINGS MORE TAYLOR TO FANS AND SHOPPERS: As the sponsor of Taylor Swift’s sold-out FEARLESS 2010 concert tour, American Greetings this week announced a concert ticket giveaway in 10 select US cities. Fans and greeting card enthusiasts of all ages are encouraged to enter by becoming a fan of American Greetings on Facebook. A random drawing of concert tickets and weekly prizes will be given away to support the exclusive partnership between American Greetings and Taylor Swift. The contest ends on May 31, 2010.  Taylor’s cards for your life stories and love stories arrived in retail stores earlier this year. The eclectic line of cards is a true reflection of the singer/songwriter’s creative style, and the authenticity of her writing immediately resonated with consumers of all ages. Now, the unique features that have made her paper cards such a success are being brought to life online through new e-cards from AmericanGreetings.com.  Featuring the music of hits like “Love Story” and “Fearless,” the designers at American Greetings Interactive have created e-cards to celebrate the love shared between friends or that special someone, along with a reminder to be fearless on your next birthday. Currently, five e-cards are available with more cards being added to the collection in the coming months.  The new e-cards can be found online at http://www.americangreetings.com/ecards/taylorswift.

■ MELISSA PETERMAN TO STAR IN NEW CMT SCRIPTED SITCOM; ANCHORS THIRD SEASON OF ‘THE SINGING BEE’ PREMIERING THIS SUMMER: As first tipped to Deadline Hollywood this week, CMT has ordered pilot presentations for three new scripted comedy series this year, one starring the host of the network’s #1-rated original program The Singing Bee, Actress Melissa Peterman.  Melissa, who just inked a comedy deal with Big Machine Records in February, will star in Working Class, written and executive produced by Jill Cargeman (Gary Unmarried) and produced by Melissa Peterman and her manager Darris Hatch.  The multi-camera project stars Peterman as a blue collar, single mom moves into a home she can barely afford in an affluent neighborhood in order to provide the best life possible for her kids.  In addition to taping the pilot season for Working Class, Melissa will be extremely busy this summer.  Not only does she return for a third season of The Singing Bee on CMT this summer, the multi-media entertainer will also be hitting the road on a solo stand-up tour this summer, record her debut comedy album for Big Machine, and prep to return to arenas in the fall as part of the second leg of George Strait and Reba’s co-headlining arena tour.  Stay connected with Melissa via Twitter here.

■ STEEL MAGNOLIA THINKS ‘KEEP ON LOVIN’ YOU” HAS BEEN PERFECT SONG TO LAUNCH THEIR CAREER: Steel Magnolia’s Meghan Linsey and Joshua Scott Jones have a passion for songwriting, but they know a great song when they hear one regardless of who wrote it, and that keen ear led them to record their debut top 10 single “Keep On Lovin’ You”.  This week the duo told us just what it was about the song that they connected with.  “I think a big part of it was the demo, actually. Chris Stapleton and Trent Willmon wrote the song, and Chris sang the demo,” recalls Josh.  “And if you’ve ever heard Chris Stapleton sing, he has the most amazing voice I think I’ve ever heard in my life. The way he sang it with so much soul.  He just brought it to life.  As soon as we heard it, it fit our style totally.”  “I have a lot of soul influence being from New Orleans and growing up in southern Louisiana. It just felt good,” Meghan chimes in.  “It felt like one of those songs that you hear on the radio, and you would turn it up and you’re jamming in your car to it.  If we were going to put out a song, I think that was a great first single choice.”  The single continues its chart climb this week, as it propels from #10-#8 on Billboard and #9-#7 on Mediabase!

■ TAYLOR SWIFT STARS IN SONY ELECTRONICS COMMERCIAL PREMIERING MONDAY; REVEALS MORE INFO ON NEW MUSIC: Taylor Swift will be in a Sony Electronics commercial featuring the Sony TX7 Cyber-shot camera, set to premiere on Monday. In a Sony Electronics videoTaylor filmed to promote the ad, she shares, "It's really cool to partner up with Sony for this commercial. I'm so excited about it." The superstar claims the panorama mode she demonstrates is "really cool" because you can sweep it along and get a panorama shot of what's around you. She adds, "I'm still really pretty amazed by it."  In the clip, as documented by Dial Global Prep, Swift says she is really excited about her upcoming new album that she has been working on for the past two years. She reveals, "It's already really very far along in the process and I'm so excited about taking a lot of time to finish it up this summer. Taylor also discusses if she will continue to pursue acting opportunities. She reveals, "Music had always been my number one priority, so touring is always going to take precedence - and making my album and writing it and recording it is always going to come first. But, if I read a script that really knocked me over, I would, of course, have to go for it. Because I've always been about telling a great story, and whether that happens with music or whether that happens on screen, that's always something that I'm always going to jump at the opportunity to do."

■ FROM CMT.COM: JARON OF JARON AND THE LONG ROAD TO LOVE GIVES BACK STORY OF NEW ‘PRAY FOR YOU’ VIDEO: So why exactly is Jaron of Jaron And The Long Road To Love so pissed off in his "Pray for You" video?  The one where he's wishing all kinds of evil things will happen to his ex?  Well, enter the prequel.  His brand new video for the song may be coming "after," but it gives you a look at how bad the relationship was "before."  "This second-version idea?  Not mine.  I wish it was my idea.  But Monte Lipman and Scott Borchetta came up with it," Jaron told CMT.com’s Alison Bonaguro.  "I wasn't so sure about it.  I was skeptical and hesitant.  But they wanted to justify why a seemingly nice guy like me would sing a song like this.  They wanted a video that answered questions like what happened to this guy, and why's he so angry, and show it in a dark comedic way."  As for casting Jamie Pressly (who plays Joy on My Name Is Earl) as the root of all evil, that was pretty brilliant.  "Another idea that wasn't mine.  Someone brought her up and we were all like 'yes!'  Originally I wanted my real ex (Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco) to do it.  I think she would've really tried to kill me in the video, and that could have been really funny too," he said.  Fans can view the original clip here and the new version of the video here.

■ RANDOM NOTES: In case you haven’t checked out Big Machine artist iPhone Apps, be sure to discover Taylor Swift’s here and Jack Ingram’shereSteel Magnolia’s Joshua Scott Jones and Meghan Linsey were named the best-dressed couple by AOL at last weekend’s ACM Awards.  Click here to see the photo from the red carpet…Taylor Swift performed “Change”, from her 6X platinum album FEARLESS, on last weekend’sAcademy of Country Music Awards.  Click here to watch the performance.

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