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'Breaking Bad' star Aaron Paul posts tribute to Pearl Jam

Paul posted a picture of himself with Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder on his Instagram account Thursday.

In the caption, he relates a story of buying the band's debut album, "Ten," on the day it came out in 1991, which also happened to be his 12th birthday. He said he returned home to find his family's house empty and was playing the album when his mother called to tell him they were at the hospital, where his sister had given birth.

He says "so many emotions" went through him that day and Vedder "was a huge part of that."

The band has marked the 25th anniversary of the album's release on tour this year.

This rendition of “Amazing Grace” has music fans across the country in awe

When a performance from 2014 reemerges in 2016, you know it’s something special.

And that’s exactly what happened with this performance from country music rising star Natalie Stovall.

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RELATED: Rory Feek takes his first steps onto the Grand Ole Opry stage without Joey

Originally featured on “The Bobby Bones Show” two years ago, the big-haired blonde delighted a syndicated radio audience with her performance of the heartbreaking hymn “Amazing Grace.” At the time, one fan called the performance “a mix between Fergie and Jesus.”

And just this month, the radio talk show host decided to give the performance a rebirth for country fans who have long rooted for Natalie. Fans may recall, in fact, that Natalie and her fiddle made their Grand Ole Opry debut at the tender age of just 12 years old, and she’s been a longtime country fixture with her backing band, The Drive.

RELATED: This 99-year-old fiddle player blew the roof off of the Grand Ole Opry

“It’s funny when people ask me if my music is country,” Natalie says in a bio listed on her website. “I grew up in Columbia, Tennessee playing fiddle at Opryland every day, but at the same time I was a child of the radio. Once I put my fiddle down for the day, I was just as likely to be listening to Michael Jackson or Aerosmith as I was to Reba or Faith Hill. I’m sure my music reflects that, that’s who I am.”

These days, Natalie Stovall and The Drive continue as true country road warriors, with countless concert dates throughout the year.

Want to check her out firsthand? The Tennessee native will be back out on the road with October dates in North Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, South Carolina and Nevada.

Pittsburgh symphony musicians reject pay cuts, go on strike

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians went on strike Friday after unanimously rejecting calls for a 15 percent pay cut, but management contends those cuts and others are necessary because the orchestra is more than $20 million in debt.

"Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians are exceptional artists and deserve every dollar and every benefit we can afford to offer," said Melia Tourangeau, who took over as symphony president and CEO last year. "At the same time, we must squarely confront the very real financial crisis that we are facing."

Tourangeau said management's demands are part of a "five-year growth model to sustainability." But the need for immediate cuts is necessary because of a recent financial assessment that showed the orchestra "would run out of cash and have to close the doors in May/June 2017," board chair Devin McGranahan said.

Symphony managers say the orchestra is running a $1.5 million annual deficit and faces more than $20 million in cumulative debt over the next five years.

They say the pension fund needs at least $10 million over the next five years to remain solvent. That's one reason they say they wants to freeze pensions for any musician with less than 30 years' experience, and move them into a 401(k) plan — another move that prompted the strike.

The musicians have agreed to concessions in the past, most recently a nearly 10 percent pay cut in 2011 to help the orchestra deal with funding issues. The proposed immediate 15 percent pay cut would reduce each musician's base pay from $107,239 to $91,153, the union said, with annual raises of 2 percent and 3 percent in each of the next two years.

"The consequences of those cuts would be severe and immediate," the union said in a statement announcing the strike. It predicted musicians would leave, and the symphony would be unable to attract top-notch players.

However, management contends several musicians earn more than double the base pay for certain position. Musicians also get up to 10 weeks' vacation and 12 weeks of sick time each year, plus overtime and seniority pay, management said.

The last three-year contract expired Sept. 5. Contract talks had continued with a federal mediator, but the union contends management wouldn't budge from its last offer, which was rejected Thursday. The musicians have offered unspecified "major" concessions on "salary, pension and size of the orchestra — all the topics that are the focus of management's demands," the union said.

The union contends management also wants the right to unilaterally cut orchestra staff, currently 99 musicians and two librarians, by an unspecified number. Management said only that it wants to leave three vacant positions unfilled, but didn't otherwise address staffing numbers.

The union contends ticket sales are up and that donations to the orchestra's annual fund broke a record. Management doesn't dispute that but said the other changes still are necessary.

___

This story has been corrected to show the symphony president's first name is Melia, not Malia.

Interview: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's John McEuen Talks Solo Project, 'Made in Brooklyn'

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's John McEuen has released a new solo album, 'Made in Brooklyn'.

Continue reading…

Judge: Bieber must sit for deposition or face arrest, court

A Florida judge has ordered pop star Justin Bieber to sit down for a deposition within the next 30 days or face the threat of being arrested and brought to court.

Circuit Judge Jerald Bagley issued the order Wednesday in Miami.

The order compels Bieber to sit for a deposition in a lawsuit filed by a photographer who got into an altercation with one of the singer's bodyguards two years ago in Miami Beach.

The photographer's attorney says he has been unable to get Bieber to sit for the deposition. Attorney Mark DiCowden says Bieber isn't entitled to any special treatment just because he's a celebrity.

Bieber's attorney, John Atkinson, didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Luke Bryan Has Learned From Living With Nephew: 'Don't Wrestle a Teen!'

Luke Bryan's home life has changed tremendously since taking in his 14-year-old nephew, Til, following the death of his brother-in-law in 2014.

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Jason Aldean’s love for his country shines through in this amazing performance

If you’ve ever had the window seat for a cross-country flight and peered out as you soared across the United States, you know the beautiful patchwork quilt that our country’s landscape creates. Being one of the biggest stars in country music, we can only assume that Jason Aldean has enjoyed those views as he flies or takes his tour bus from city to city to perform for his fans.

And that’s part of the reason he recorded his 2012 chart-topping single, “Flyover States.”

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RELATED: This country star’s version of the national anthem is so intense you’ll feel it in your bones

When he released the single, Jason told CMT, “I fell in love with the song. It talks about something that doesn’t get a lot of attention anymore, which is the farmers and people who are the backbone of our country…We spend a lot of time traveling the country in a bus or plane or whatever we might be doing that particular week. We get a chance to go out and see that firsthand, and I think maybe that is one of the reasons that I was probably drawn to it a little bit. I visualize myself looking out the plane window and you see those big square patches of land it looks like a quilt out there. I think visually it’s just a really cool song.”

RELATED: Watch Jason Aldean flawlessly tackle this medley of hits

The song has truly become an American anthem with politicians using it in their campaigns and athletes using it is as their theme music. Mostly, it’s a reminder that from coast to coast, north to south and east to west, we really do live in the best country.

‘Merica.

Dolly Parton Makes Hot Country Songs Chart History

Dolly Parton is now the first artist to earn a Top 20 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart from the 1960s through the 2010s.

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Country music is alive and well in this rising star

It’s an ongoing and weary debate — the current state of country music. Where fiddle, steel guitar and mandolin were once the solid foundation of a country song, drum loops, wicky-wicky guitars and urban-influenced grooves now dominate the radio waves. Stetsons have been replaced by flat bills, and cowboy boots have been replaced by high tops. And artists look a whole lot more like the Backstreet Boys and Gwen Stefani than George Strait and Patty Loveless.

It is heavily debated, which is right and which is wrong, but the only thing that everyone can agree on is that it is definitely different.

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Lately, though, the wind is shifting again. Those long absent fiddles, steels, mandos and banjos are finding their way onto tracks and entire albums from new artists, and longtime country fans are refreshed. But, you know what? Some of those country fans that have latched onto artists like Sam Hunt are also enjoying the new look at old sounds, thanks to artists like newcomer William Michael Morgan.

RELATED: This is why Sam Hunt is not afraid to push country music boundaries

This handsome, young country singer has no problem with what he hears on country radio today, it just isn’t what he does. “It’s just a matter of that’s where my heart lies, is real tradition country,” he explains to Rare Country. “I listened to R. Kelly, Usher and Snoop Dogg, but I’m not going to put that in my music. It’s not me as an artist. I appreciate them as artists, but that’s not me. Hell, I couldn’t rap to save my life.”

Snoop Dogg? Really? The 23-year-old grins and says, “I listened to everything. I listened to all that bumpin’ shit. Frank Sinatra is one of my favorites also. I grew up in the time of Green Day and Nirvana, and I love that music. I love good music. But also, I think that’s why there are genres. Sometimes you want to listen to that, sometimes you want to listen to this.”

“This” would be the kind of music that William Michael/Will/Willie would be writing and recording, the kind of music he sought ought as a youngster.

“Being a kid in the ’90s, I was born in ’93, what was going on at that time was Mark Chesnutt, Tracy Lawrence and Tracy Byrd. George Strait was still rocking and kicking. That’s the kind of music that I was listening to growing up. Once I got old enough to start using a computer a little bit, I just started looking up those songs that I loved. And there was a little bitty ‘recommended’ bar on the side that said ‘Merle Haggard’ so I clicked on that. Then I’d see another one and it would say ‘Merle Haggard and George Jones, ‘Yesterday’s Wine’ so I clicked on that. From there it would be Gary Stewart and just on and on and on, Johnny Paycheck and David Allan Coe. I got sucked in and I was not getting out.”

As traditional as William sounds, he isn’t hellbent on a crusade to change things, he just wants to be part of them. “My plans aren’t to change anything,” he says with conviction. “Me and Jon Pardi and Mo Pitney, I can’t speak for them, but for me, I’m not planning on changing it. Something has to be broke to fix it. Nothing’s broke. It’s the same message with a different way of saying it. It’s all country music. That being so left at the moment, and I don’t mean left in a bad way, but the people that are coming in that are to the right of center, are just being noticed because it’s different. Same as when the left came along. It’s ever-changing.”

RELATED: New “Forever Country” video honoring the legendary Randy Travis will give you chills

While Will’s debut album, “Vinyl,” doesn’t utilize a lot of contemporary country sounds, that doesn’t mean that every track sounds like the other. “Something to Drink About” has got a definite edge to it, “Beer Drinker” is a fun romp, “Cheap Cologne” is a two-steppin’ dream, “I Know Who He Is” is heartbreakingly poignant and his hit single, “I Met a Girl,” is lush, melodic and dreamy.

In spite of the cowboy hat and boots, the pearl snaps and even the Texas emblem on his guitar strap, Will is actually from Mississippi, but he doesn’t mind that almost everyone asks him if he hails from the Lone Star State. “I think that the best country music has come from Texas,” he says smiling. “Willie Nelson, David Allan Coe, George Strait, George Jones, Mark Chesnutt, Tracy Byrd, the people that I base myself around come from Texas. I love Texas. I love Texas women, too!”

And Texas artists like Aaron Watson and Randy Rogers have taken Will under their wings, having him open for them in both Tennessee and Texas.

Having his first country album isn’t the only thing that is new for William. He welcomed a new baby girl earlier this year and it has changed everything. “It changed how I call my parents, it changed how I look at them, it changed my business outlook, it changed my personal outlook, especially. I’ve never been closer to God. I’ve never felt this way before in my whole life. I don’t know if it’s part of growing up or if it’s just me finding my way finally, but I’ve never felt so great in my whole life.”

At 6-foot-3, handsome and lethally charming, the future looks brilliant for this talented man, especially as he hits the road with Lee Brice and Justin Moore on the American Made Tour. And for that, he only needs two things — “a steel guitar and a cold beer.”

“Vinyl,” featuring his hit “I Met a Girl,” is available in stores and online Sept. 30.

Forever Country: Lauren Alaina Gives Stellar Cover of Brooks & Dunn's 'Believe'

Lauren Alaina turned to social media to share a jaw-dropping cover of one of Brooks & Dunn's most powerful hits, "Believe." Continue reading…

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