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Dustin Lynch Hopes for Luke Bryan, Chris Young Collaborations on Next Album

Dustin Lynch is a busy man these days, to say the least. From headlining his own tour, the Hell of a Night Tour, to opening for top acts including Luke Bryan and Chris Young, Lynch is now looking ahead to new music -- and he's hoping to bring his all-star friends with him.

Continue reading…

An elderly couple’s story of survival from the Tennessee wildfires has us reaching for the tissues

People in the state of Tennessee are emotional, as they continue to pick up the pieces from the deadly wildfire that swept through portions of the Smokey Mountains on Monday, Nov. 28.

Many stories from the event can be described as both tragic and heartbreaking. Yet, other tales that have been heard are more uplifting. And, it’s the uplifting ones that are bringing smiles of hope to people’s faces at a time when they need it the most.

RELATED: People are marveling over this statue left behind in the Tennessee wildfires

Take for example, married elderly couple Daryl and Robert Hullander. Not only did they escape from the fire in the nick of time, but they also got out with hardly a scratch. That’s pretty miraculous seeing that they’re both in their 80s.

According to WBIR, the Hullanders operated a bed and breakfast near their Campbell Lead Road neighborhood in Gatlinburg, where several victims have been found. They described their plan of action that took place when fire ripped through that area.

“The only reasonable way to go at that time was to go down a hill,” Robert recalled, explaining that the two traveled down a steep, mountainous terrain by foot. “Fire was blowing across the road. So, I didn’t know of another way to get down from where we were easy so we just covered up our mouths, and we were running right straight through it.”

He added, “We couldn’t see anything at all going down. We had to feel our way down.”

“We’re 82 years old,” Daryl chimed in, “Now going down a mountain is not on the exercise chart. [Robert] kept yelling at me, ‘Foot first! Foot first!’ and ‘Grab a tree! There’s a tree!’”

RELATED: Country stars react to the devastating fires sweeping through east Tennessee

While it’s clear that Robert and Daryl are now safe and sound, everything else including their home is another story. It’s gone. But through it all, the sweethearts, who have been happily married for 57 years, remain optimistic.

“It’s things, you know. You can’t buy your body, but you can buy things,” said Robert. “Just don’t fret about what you’ve lost. Be grateful for the fact that you didn’t get hurt anymore than a scratch.”

This country star’s rendition of Blake Shelton’s faithful hit just gave us chills

Country cutie Kelsea Ballerini sure knows how to make a song sound amazing. Heck, her first three singles from her debut album, “The First Time,” all shot up to No. 1 on the country charts.

But aside from all of that, the 23-year-old star can also slay a cover. And, she proved that during a recent appearance on the Bobby Bones Show in Nashville.

Watch the video

RELATED: Kelsea Ballerini conquered 2016 with a mix of sweetness and determination

Kelsea appeared on the nationally syndicated radio program on Dec. 1, as part of the annual St. Jude Radiothon. She wasn’t the only guest of honor on hand though. In fact, singer-songwriter David Barnes also showed up to participate. David is known for penning songs like Blake Shelton’s hit “God Gave Me You.”

Together, David and Kelsea performed the faith-filled track, and it was breathtakingly beautiful.

RELATED: Kelsea Ballerini put her own spin on Chris Stapleton’s signature song

In this video, David accompanies Kelsea on guitar, while she belts out the ballad’s first verse. Then David takes the second verse before the pair joins together in epic harmony on lyrics that take them into the last chorus. Kelsea and David’s duet was one of a handful of in-studio performances that help raise money in the fight against child cancer.

If you love Kelsea, be sure to cast your vote for her in the 2016 Rare Country Awards. Kelsea is nominated for “New Artist of the Year.” To participate, vote now at RareCountryAwards.com. Winners will be announced on Dec. 15.

Obamas celebrated at their last Kennedy Center Honors

The longest, loudest standing ovation of the Kennedy Center Honors gala wasn't reserved for Al Pacino, Mavis Staples or the Eagles. Instead, it went to the man sitting to their left, attending his eighth and most likely his last honors presentation: President Barack Obama.

While politics were absent from the tributes to the performers who were recognized for influencing American culture on Sunday night, the arts community's affection for Obama — and its nervousness about President-elect Donald Trump — was palpable in the Kennedy Center Opera House.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama were introduced last, after Pacino and his fellow honorees: gospel singer Staples; pianist Martha Argerich; singer-songwriter James Taylor; and Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmidt and Joe Walsh, the surviving members of the Eagles.

After a sustained ovation, host Stephen Colbert greeted the crowd of Washington insiders as "endangered swamp-dwellers," referencing Trump's "drain the swamp" campaign pledge. He joked that Obama would need to receive the honor to attend again and that "unlike the Nobel Peace Prize, they don't just give these away."

The Kennedy Center Honors are in their 39th year, a period that has included six presidents — three Republicans, three Democrats — and all have taken time to welcome the recipients. But the 2016 election was noteworthy for the way A-list performers lined up behind Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, while Trump had relatively few celebrity endorsements.

Although the president has no say in who receives the awards, Colbert joked that next year's honorees would include Scott Baio, Gary Busey and Meat Loaf.

"For the past eight years, the White House has given us a leader who's passionate, intelligent and dignified," Colbert said, and the crowd rose for another prolonged ovation, prompting Obama to stand and wave.

"Sir, I don't even know why you stood up. I was talking about Michelle," Colbert said.

Earlier, at the White House, Obama welcomed the honorees at a reception and said participating in the gala was "one of the perks of the job."

"The arts have always been part of life at the White House because the arts are always central to American life," Obama said. "That's why over the past eight years Michelle and I have invited some of the best writers, musicians, actors and dancers to share their gifts with the American people and to help tell the story of who we are."

Kennedy Center chairman David Rubenstein also thanked the Obamas, noting that the president isn't required to attend the honors or host a reception. He offered them a "golden ticket" good for free admission to any event at the center.

"Parking is extra," Rubenstein said.

Another standing ovation went to Bill Clinton, who made a surprise appearance on stage to talk about how Taylor's music resonated with him and the American public in times that tested the nation's resolve.

"Our nation was reeling from the pain of Vietnam," Clinton said. "James was there to satisfy our hunger for both intimacy and authenticity."

Politics aside, the honors proceeded as usual, with musicians and actors taking the stage to pay tribute to the honorees, who stood on a balcony, waving and applauding as they wore the event's signature rainbow-colored garlands. The ceremony will be broadcast Dec. 27 on CBS.

The tribute to Pacino included remarks by Sean Penn and recitations of Shakespeare by Laurence Fishburne and Lily Rabe. Chris O'Donnell and Gabrielle Anwar re-enacted the tango that Pacino danced with Anwar in "Scent of a Woman," the 1992 movie that won Pacino his long-overdue Oscar.

Kevin Spacey gave a virtuoso tutorial on how to impersonate the actor whose passionate delivery has helped create some of the most memorable lines in American cinema. The keys are to look surprised and exhale loudly, Spacey said.

"Al seems to have a lot of air," he said.

Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow and Darius Rucker performed medleys of Taylor's music. Yitzhak Perlman played violin and Yuja Wang played piano to honor the Argentine-born Argerich.

Staples' songs were performed by Elle King, Bonnie Raitt and Andra Day, and actor Don Cheadle spoke about the civil rights legacy of Staples and her family, who were close to Martin Luther King Jr. and performed at John F. Kennedy's inauguration.

"She's still fighting. She's still singing freedom songs," Cheadle said.

The Eagles were originally selected to be honored last year, but the band opted to delay participation because of founding member Glenn Frey's poor health. Frey died in January at age 67, making the event a bittersweet one for the surviving Eagles, who were joined by Frey's widow, Cindy Frey. Henley has said the band will never perform again. Bob Seger, Vince Gill and Kings of Leon performed the Eagles' music on Sunday.

"I want to dedicate this evening to our brother Glenn," Henley said as the band accepted its honors Saturday night at the State Department. "He was so much a part of our success. He was the driving force in this band. He believed in the American dream."

The band's longtime manager, Irving Azoff, sobbed as he raised a glass to Frey.

"For our Eagles family," he said, "2016 couldn't have had a harder beginning or a more appropriate ending."

___

Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

Obamas celebrated at their last Kennedy Center Honors

The longest, loudest standing ovation of the Kennedy Center Honors gala wasn't reserved for Al Pacino, Mavis Staples or the Eagles. Instead, it went to the man sitting to their left, attending his eighth and most likely his last honors presentation: President Barack Obama.

While politics were absent from the tributes to the performers who were recognized for influencing American culture on Sunday night, the arts community's affection for Obama — and its nervousness about President-elect Donald Trump — was palpable in the Kennedy Center Opera House.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama were introduced last, after Pacino and his fellow honorees: gospel singer Staples; pianist Martha Argerich; singer-songwriter James Taylor; and Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmidt and Joe Walsh, the surviving members of the Eagles.

After a sustained ovation, host Stephen Colbert greeted the crowd of Washington insiders as "endangered swamp-dwellers," referencing Trump's "drain the swamp" campaign pledge. He joked that Obama would need to receive the honor to attend again and that "unlike the Nobel Peace Prize, they don't just give these away."

The Kennedy Center Honors are in their 39th year, a period that has included six presidents — three Republicans, three Democrats — and all have taken time to welcome the recipients. But the 2016 election was noteworthy for the way A-list performers lined up behind Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, while Trump had relatively few celebrity endorsements.

Although the president has no say in who receives the awards, Colbert joked that next year's honorees would include Scott Baio, Gary Busey and Meat Loaf.

"For the past eight years, the White House has given us a leader who's passionate, intelligent and dignified," Colbert said, and the crowd rose for another prolonged ovation, prompting Obama to stand and wave.

"Sir, I don't even know why you stood up. I was talking about Michelle," Colbert said.

Earlier, at the White House, Obama welcomed the honorees at a reception and said participating in the gala was "one of the perks of the job."

"The arts have always been part of life at the White House because the arts are always central to American life," Obama said. "That's why over the past eight years Michelle and I have invited some of the best writers, musicians, actors and dancers to share their gifts with the American people and to help tell the story of who we are."

Kennedy Center chairman David Rubenstein also thanked the Obamas, noting that the president isn't required to attend the honors or host a reception. He offered them a "golden ticket" good for free admission to any event at the center.

"Parking is extra," Rubenstein said.

Another standing ovation went to Bill Clinton, who made a surprise appearance on stage to talk about how Taylor's music resonated with him and the American public in times that tested the nation's resolve.

"Our nation was reeling from the pain of Vietnam," Clinton said. "James was there to satisfy our hunger for both intimacy and authenticity."

Politics aside, the honors proceeded as usual, with musicians and actors taking the stage to pay tribute to the honorees, who stood on a balcony, waving and applauding as they wore the event's signature rainbow-colored garlands. The ceremony will be broadcast Dec. 27 on CBS.

The tribute to Pacino included remarks by Sean Penn and recitations of Shakespeare by Laurence Fishburne and Lily Rabe. Chris O'Donnell and Gabrielle Anwar re-enacted the tango that Pacino danced with Anwar in "Scent of a Woman," the 1992 movie that won Pacino his long-overdue Oscar.

Kevin Spacey gave a virtuoso tutorial on how to impersonate the actor whose passionate delivery has helped create some of the most memorable lines in American cinema. The keys are to look surprised and exhale loudly, Spacey said.

"Al seems to have a lot of air," he said.

Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow and Darius Rucker performed medleys of Taylor's music. Yitzhak Perlman played violin and Yuja Wang played piano to honor the Argentine-born Argerich.

Staples' songs were performed by Elle King, Bonnie Raitt and Andra Day, and actor Don Cheadle spoke about the civil rights legacy of Staples and her family, who were close to Martin Luther King Jr. and performed at John F. Kennedy's inauguration.

"She's still fighting. She's still singing freedom songs," Cheadle said.

The Eagles were originally selected to be honored last year, but the band opted to delay participation because of founding member Glenn Frey's poor health. Frey died in January at age 67, making the event a bittersweet one for the surviving Eagles, who were joined by Frey's widow, Cindy Frey. Henley has said the band will never perform again. Bob Seger, Vince Gill and Kings of Leon performed the Eagles' music on Sunday.

"I want to dedicate this evening to our brother Glenn," Henley said as the band accepted its honors Saturday night at the State Department. "He was so much a part of our success. He was the driving force in this band. He believed in the American dream."

The band's longtime manager, Irving Azoff, sobbed as he raised a glass to Frey.

"For our Eagles family," he said, "2016 couldn't have had a harder beginning or a more appropriate ending."

___

Associated Press writer Kevin Freking contributed to this report.

Hear Shane Owens' Acoustic Take on New 'God and the Ground She Walked On' [Exclusive Video]

Listen to an acoustic version of "God and the Ground She Walked On" by Shane Owens.

Continue reading…

Dolly Parton Organizing Telethon for Tennessee Wildfire Victims

Dolly Parton is stepping up once again for Tennessee residents who were impacted by the wildfires that raged in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge recently. The singer is organizing a telethon, with the proceeds going to benefit the victims.

Continue reading…

Undying Love: See Pictures of Country Music's Most Adorable Couples

Love is in the air, and we're celebrating the best way we know how — with country music's cutest couples! Continue reading…

Trump blasts 'Saturday Night Live,' Alec Baldwin on Twitter – again

Donald Trump is at it again.

During this week's episode of "Saturday Night Live," the president-elect took to Twitter to sound off on the show – which skewered him in its opening sketch – and actor Alec Baldwin.

>> Watch the sketch here (WARNING: Profanity)

"Just tried watching Saturday Night Live – unwatchable!" Trump tweeted shortly after midnight Sunday. "Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can't get any worse. Sad."

Baldwin, who plays Trump, quickly fired back. 

"Release your tax returns and I'll stop," Baldwin wrote. "Ha."

>> PREVIOUS STORY: 'Saturday Night Live': Alec Baldwin appears as Trump for first time since election

Baldwin again teamed up with Kate McKinnon in Saturday's sketch, in which a preoccupied Trump ignores his security briefing to retweet his followers.

"I just retweeted the best tweet," Baldwin's Trump says. "I mean, wow, what a great, smart tweet."

After the security team objects, Baldwin's Trump continues, "This could not wait. It was from a young man named Seth. He's 16, he's in high school, and I really did retweet him. Seriously, this is real."

"He really did do this," adds McKinnon, playing Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway.

>> Read more trending stories

After taking shots at other Trump retweets, his rumored remarks about unflattering photos and his recent dinner with Mitt Romney, "SNL" took aim at chief strategist Steve Bannon with a sight gag. Check it out here.

Read more here.

Kanye West 911 call: 'Don't let him get any weapons,' dispatcher says

Prior to his nine-day hospitalization in Los Angeles, rapper Kanye West exhibited signs that something may have been wrong with him.

After several onstage rants, the prolific rapper abruptly canceled the rest of his cross-country tour and retreated to his home.

Shorty after the tour was called off, a personal altercation led West’s doctor to call for backup.

On Thursday, the doctor's heavily redacted 911 call was released. During the call, he asks for police backup after determining that medical first responders may not be fully equipped to handle the situation.

>> Listen to the call here

“I’m one of his doctors, request if we could have some police backup,” the doctor says in a recording published by TMZ, the Los Angeles TimesKABC and other outlets.

“He definitely is going to need to be hospitalized.”

Rumors have abounded about what caused West’s hospitalization, and the doctor's explanation is redacted from the phone call.

>> Read more trending stories

Whatever his condition may have been, a 911 dispatcher warns the caller to make sure West stays away from things that could harm him.

“Don’t let him get any weapons or anything like that," the dispatcher says.

West was reportedly released from the hospital last week.

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