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■ TAYLOR SWIFT TO RECEIVE SPECIAL AWARD FROM SONGWRITERS HALL OF FAME: Taylor Swift will receive the Hal David Starlight Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards on June 17 in New York City.  Phil Collins and music producer Phil Ramone also will receive special awards at the event. This year’s Hall Of Fame inductees include Leonard Cohen, Jackie DeShannon, David Foster, Johnny Mandel, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Larry Dunn, Al McKay and Earth, Wind & Fire's Maurice White.

■ STEEL MAGNOLIA KICK OFF BRAD PAISLEY’S WATER-THEMED H2O WORLD TOUR NEXT FRIDAY: Steel Magnolia’sMeghan Linsey and Joshua Scott Jones kick off their opening run on Brad Paisley’s H2O World Tour next Friday in Virginia Beach, VA as part of the WaterWorks Stage.  Given the water-themed nature of the tour, we asked the rising stars if they are into water sports.  “I grew up on the lake, so we always took a boat out and hang out.  I never really got into the water, though.  That was my whole thing.  I wasn’t into alligators and snakes where I’m from,” says Meghan, who grew up in Louisiana.  Regardless of their affinity for the water, the duo is looking forward to spending time with their tour mates.  “It seems like we play a lot of shows with Easton Corbin and his guys. They’re fun. I was talking with Drew, his guitar player, about Frisbee golf. So, I think we’re gonna get some Frisbee golf goin’ on,” Josh notes.  “We’ve been on radio tours, and Easton and Josh Thompson have been touring as well on a radio tour. We always joke because we end up doing the same shows, we’ve already kind of started the Paisley tour.  We’re all really good friends, and we’re excited to be out together.”  Meghan does take note that she is the only female artist out on the entire tour.  “It does appear like I’m the only girl,” Meghan muses.  “I don’t know why that is.  I’ve been in a lot of bands and been around guys a lot, so I’m kind of used to it.  I will say I will definitely be bringing out a girl every now and then.  I think it’s going to be great.  But I am a little nervous about the pranking, being the only girl.”

■ JARON AND THE LONG ROAD TO LOVE’S DEBUT ALBUM SHOWS MORE THAN JUST A FRUSTRATED SIDE OF LOVE: Jaron And The Long Road To Love’s runaway hit “Pray For You” hit the Mediabase Top 20 this week, but the break-up anthem is just one perspective on love presented on the Georgia native’s debut solo album Getting Dressed In The Dark (in stores 6/22).  With the words ‘The Long Road To Love’ following his name, many believe Jaron has a band with him, but it’s just Jaron and his quest for love.  “It's my journey,” he proclaims.  “It's my way of letting listeners know that my songs are about my personal experiences of falling in and out of love.  It's an account of where I got it right and where I got it wrong.  That's what this album is all about."  Currently the song chronicling where Jaron got it wrong is making all the noise, but the singer-songwriter is quick to point out that the album has tracks about the highlights he's experienced in relationships as well.  “I have a song on the album called ‘That’s Beautiful To Me' and I receive hundreds of emails every week from fans telling me they're going to walk down the aisle to this song,” continues Jaron.  “This song represents the sweetest moments I have found in love.  When you start dating someone, everything they do is cute.  After a while some of the cute things become annoying.  But if you stick around long enough, it all becomes Beautiful again.  I chose to end the album on a positive note because I truly believe that the stings you get from love are worth the sweetness of the honey.”  Fans can hear that song and several other tracks as part of a sneak peek album preview here

■ RANDOM NOTES: This week, the CMT Music Awards final nominations were announced and Taylor Swift landed three nominations.  She vies for Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year for her #1 smash “You Belong With Me” and she is also up for Collaborative Video of the Year with Kellie Pickler for “Best Days Of Your Life”.  Vote for Taylor here.  Label mates Steel Magnoliaalso landed two nominations for USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year and Duo Video of the Year for their debut video “Keep On Lovin’ You”.  Vote for Steel Magnolia hereJack Ingram is giving fans a sneak peek of the music he’s been writing via a multi-week campaign with American Songwriter magazine.  The first song, “America,” will be up on on Monday, with a new song being released every other week…Jaron And The Long Road To Love has been selected as Clear Channel’s NEW! Featured Artist for June.  New music streams and website features will be available beginning June 1st across all Country radio stations...Taylor Swift was named to Victoria’s Secret 5th Annual ‘What Is Sexy’ List as the celeb with the sexiest hair.  This week she also was named one of MAXIM’s 100 Hottest Celebrities…The nominees for the MTV Movie Awards were announced this week and Taylor Swift earned a nomination, along with her Valentine’s Day co-star Taylor Lautner, in the Best Kiss category.  The two shared a smooch during the film that was released earlier this year…Steel Magnolia recently pulled a prank on their Big Machine regional rep Jeff Davis at a radio station, and this week staff and listeners of WUSY/Chattanooga pulled a prank on the duo.  Click hereto watch both pranks!...Taylor Swift has been announced as one of the special guests for the Tim McGraw & Faith Hill-hosted benefit concert for Tennessee flood relief June 22 at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena. Proceeds from Nashville Rising: A Benefit Concert For Flood Recovery go to The Community Foundation Of Middle Tennessee. Details can be found hereAlso, in light of the recent devastation in Nashville, the COUNTRY THROWDOWN TOUR and its artists are lending a hand to the local residents in need.
COUNTRY THROWDOWN artists are coming forward to help in a collective way.  As of press time, Montgomery Gentry, Jack Ingram, Eric Church, Eli Young Band and all the Bluebird Café Tent singer-songwriters will be donating the net proceeds from the sale of their merchandise at select shows.


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