From John Zarling:
* Taylor Swift received her high school diploma in the mail recently after completing 9th and 10th grade at Hendersonville High School and completing her junior and senior years at Aaron Academy, a private Christian school offering homeschooling based in Hendersonville. “Education has always been at the forefront of my priorities, so I’m really glad to have my diploma,” Taylor told the Associated Press on Friday. “I never expected that my senior year would go the way it has. There’s something really exciting about getting to live your dream and continue your education at the same time.”
* Trisha Yearwood recently performed for President Bush during a celebration of music from the Civil War in Washington DC. We asked the superstar what led her to perform at the event and if she got nervous singing for the Commander In-Chief. “I performed on the CD of The Civil War songs that came out about ten years ago,” notes Trisha. “When I found out that they were going to perform this show in DC at the Ford Theater, I was excited to be asked to participate. I’ve sung for three presidents so far in my life, and it’s always nerve wracking!"
*Jack Ingram and The Beat-Up Ford Band have had many chaotic moments on the road the past few summers, from multiple bus fires to Jack’s busted boots to band and crew members getting lost or passing out while running. Since it’s the middle of Summer 2008, we thought we’d check in with the rising star for an update in that regard on Martina McBride’s Waking Up Laughing Tour. “There are no bus issues yet…except that it smells like a foot!” exclaims Jack, laughing. He continues: “We are going to have a ‘Rip Stick Olympics’ with the McBride crew and kids. I don't know how to ride a rip stick yet but I am confident we will win.” Ever the optimist, Jack and the band may want to check out Wikipedia here to ensure his win against Team McBride. (stunt alert: keep this in mind for when the tour comes near you!)
* Jimmy Wayne will release his new album Do You Believe Me Now on August 26th. Wayne’s sophomore effort marks his first recording since his Top 10 self-titled debut, which included the hit singles “Stay Gone, “I Love You This Much” and the perennial holiday favorite “Paper Angels.” “Writing and recording this album was a true labor of love for me,” Jimmy said. “It did take a little longer than the process typically takes, but I really wanted to make sure I found the songs that would make this record everything I wanted it to be. And thanks to these incredible writers, I feel like I’ve met that goal.” His debut on The Valory Music Co. will feature 10 new tracks, each intensely personal, yet exploring universal themes of romance – unrequited, reciprocated and destructive - and the refusal to give up on one’s dream. Wayne, an accomplished songwriter, wrote five songs on the upcoming album.
* Jewel has been closing her set on Brad Paisley’s PAISLEY PARTY Tour with an unexpected surprise that is leaving crowds on their feet: yodeling. For Jewel, yodeling comes naturally: “My dad is a cowboy and he taught himself how to yodel by listening to Jimmy Rodger’s records. When I was six my parents sang at dinner shows for tourists in hotels and part of the act was me getting up and yodeling,” recalls Jewel. “Yodeling took a lot of practice, which sure didn’t make me very popular in first grade…hearing someone learn to yodel is NOT pretty! What’s been amazing to me, is the response I get from audiences all around the world. It is a very traditional and almost dying art so I’m always happy when audiences respond enthusiastically and it sure makes up for all those years I was laughed at!” Fans can see Jewel on the PAISLEY PARTY tour for their chance to hear her yodel and pick up her latest piece of merchandise—a ‘Got Yodel?’ t-shirt!
* From Country Weekly: Toby Keith takes you to his Oklahoma ranch where he and his family share the good times. Toby reveals that the ranch offers an escape from the pressures of the music business. “It’s the perfect balance,” he tells Country Weekly. “When I cross through those gates after being out on the road, I know this is where I’m supposed to be.” Toby talks about his new movie, Beer for My Horses, which hits theaters Aug. 8. “I wanted this to be a character-driven movie,” Toby says. “I wanted every person in it to matter.”
* Some of your favorite country stars know how to stretch a dollar in tough economic times––they’ve all been there before. “We minimize trips when we can, only go out when we have to,” says Craig Morgan. Josh Gracin declares that he’ll be eating out less often. “You can lose track just going through McDonald’s or Starbucks,” he says. “Take a look at your debit card receipts to see where your money’s going.”
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