Like many legendary musicians, Elvis Presley died well before his time. But thanks to modern technology, we get a sneak peek at how he would have appeared today, it is so real it is really creepy. After years of prescription drug abuse, Elvis succumbed to his various health ailments on August 16, 1977, at the age of 42.Today, he would be 78 years old.
Singer, songwriter and entertainer Toby Keith is probably raising a glass after a week that saw his hard work pay off. His latest album Drinks After Work gives Toby his 14th Top 10 all-genre and 21st Top 10 in country. Following the release of Drinks After Work, Toby surpassed the 20 million paid singles download mark. That figure does not include tracks from digitally downloaded albums. Speaking of sales and album debuts, Drinks After Work bowed at No. 1 and No. 2 on the iTunes country chart in Australia, deluxe and standard editions, respectively. Those fans will be well acquainted with the album when Toby launches his first tour on the continent in March. The Hammer Down Under Tour opens Mar.14 and will stop in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and at the iconic CMC Rocks The Hunter Festival. Joining Toby will be the Eli Young Band and Kellie Pickler. Toby is also nominated as Favorite Country Music Icon for this year’s People’s Choice Awards, which airs Jan. 8 on CBS.
Brad Paisley’s Beat This Summer Tour presented by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has been extended through the first of March and renamed Beat This Winter Tour presented by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. Tour dates include a Nashville play at Bridgestone Arena Feb. 22 and a stop in Paisley’s home state of WV (in Charlestonon Mar. 1. Special guests on the final leg of the tour are Chris Young and Danielle Bradbery.
News Briefs: George Strait was honored Nov. 4th with the Founders Award at the ASCAP Awards. Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and Lee Ann Womack paid tribute to King George with a song at the performing rights organization annual awards show. ••• Dolly Parton returns to New Zealand next year for the first time in over three decades, performing at Auckland’s Vector Arena on Feb. 7, 2014. Dolly’s latest studio album of all new material Blue Smoke will be released worldwide on Dolly Records. Release date to be announced. ••• Kenny Rogers will launch his 32nd holiday tour Nov. 27 in Montreal. This year’s show, with special guest Linda Davis, will wind up in Champagne, IL, on Dec. 22. ••• The line-up for MerleFest 2014 has been revealed. Over 130 acts will perform on 13 stages; including, Alan Jackson, Ralph Stanley, and Jim Lauderdale. The event will take place on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC April 24-27. ••• Delighted that Charlie “Sugartime” Phillips is working with biographer, Cy Cushenberry, sharing memories of his amazing career in a book, expected to be in stores by summer 2014. ••• Kellie Pickler will return to Dancing with the Stars on Nov. 25 to perform during the show’s Finale Week.
Whisperin’ Bill Anderson has just created one of the most acclaimed and diversified CD’s of his career, called Life. Available now on iTunes, Amazon and all other digital outlets. One of Country Music’s most awarded songwriters, the legendary Opry star and longtime host of RFD-TV’s Country’s Family Reunion not only puts his prolific pen to work on every song in this collection, but he has also invited some well-known guests to partake in his Life, including Willie Nelson, John Anderson, Vince Gill, Joey+Rory, and Dailey & Vincent, in addition to the All American Choir. Anderson’s Life on Red River Entertainment/ Sony Red will also be available in stores next year starting on March 4.
Kix Brooks’ first lead acting role in the upcoming western Ambush At Dark Canyon will be available at Walmart and Sam’s Club Jan. 14 and at all retailers on Mar. 11. Additionally, the Walmart release will exclusively include a CD soundtrack produced by Kix and features a collaboration with Randy Houser, who also makes his acting debut in the film. “My fans have continued to let me keep doing what I do, whether that’s as an artist, radio host or actor,” said Kix. “They’ve given me the chance to try new things and a reason to work harder than I ever have before. I’m really proud of all of these projects and can’t wait to see what we get into next!” Kix also serves as Executive Producer of the new film A Country Christmas, available on DVD at all retail outlets. The movie is the first of his new family-friendly entertainment brand and features special appearances by Jay DeMarcus and Trace Adkins. Both Brooks and DeMarcus take producer credits for the holiday movie’s music.
Operation Troop Aid (OTA), a nonprofit organization which supports deployed U.S. troops, is set to honor Grammy, CMA, ACM, and Emmy award-winning entertainer Hank Williams Jr. with the 2013 Operation Troop Aid Patriot Award. The presentation will take place Dec. 31, when Williams headlines the New Year’ Eve ‘Bash on Broadway’ in downtown Nashville, Tenn.. Presented annually by OTA to celebrities that champion the men and women serving in the American Armed Forces, the southern rock and country legend was awarded the Eagle Trophy for his countless endeavors to support troops overseas and at local hospitals and for supporting numerous military charities. Well known for his role as an American Patriot, Williams, has performed at various military bases and continues to meet military personnel at every concert appearance. “I am extremely honored to award Hank Williams Jr the 2013 Patriot Award. His art, legacy of family and Spirit of Patriotism is exactly why this award exists. He never forgot his roots and why we have the Freedom we do in America,” says OTA founder and executive director Mark Woods. Williams will join past Patriot Award recipients Toby Keith, Darryl Worley, Aaron Tippin, Gary Sinise, Charlie Daniels, Mark Wills, and KISS.
The Country Music Cruise just added a little more Opry to its week at sea, with Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, Ronnie Milsap, The Gatlin Brothers, and more including 2013 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Kenny Rogers, Jo Dee Messina, Andy Griggs, Bryan White, Wade Hayes, and more. Regular Opry guest artist Chuck Mead will be on hand to add musical accompaniment to The Grand Ole Opry Set Story To Music, an audio-visual trip through the Opry’s fascinating 88-year history. Plus the Backstage At The Grand Ole Opry program will feature photos and stories from a new book by the same name. The Cruise on Holland America’s luxurious Eurodam sails Jan. 19-26, 2014: countrycruise
Oak Ridge Boys Rally-at-Sea Cruise II — Feb. 22 – Mar. 1, 2014. They’re heading to the Eastern Caribbean where you will find some of the most beautiful ports. The Oaks and ETA have announced that special guests for the cruise will be award-winning group, Cherryholmes Family! ORB Rally II – Don’t miss the boat! http://www.cruise-eta.com/event/oak-ridge-boys-cruise-228-34-2013/
The Bellamy Brothers invite fans and friends to join them on Cruisin Country 4. After overwhelming popularity since its inaugural cruise to the South Pacific in 2011, this unique music festival at sea has proven itself as Australia’s newest and most thrilling annual country music festival. Throughout the seven nights on-board, you can look forward to the sights and sounds they offer. Join your favourite Country superstars for the holiday of a lifetime on-board Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas where you will be treated to five-star service on-board with all dining, entertainment and activities catered especially to Country Music lovers. Departs Sydney Oct. 5. 2014 for 7 nights visiting Noumea & the Isle of Pines (New Caledonia). http://www.cruisincountry.com.au/2014/
Vince Gill will be honored with the 2014 Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc. Career Achievement Award at the Country Radio Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Feb. 18. Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell will perform a tribute to Gill as well as presenting him with the prestigious award during the event. The CRB Career Achievement Award is presented to an individual artist or act that, through their creativity, vision, performance or leadership has made a significant contribution to the development and promotion of country music and country radio. Previous winners of this award include Dolly Parton, Brooks & Dunn, Merle Haggard and George Strait.
News Briefs: Dolly Parton returns to New Zealand next year for the first time in over three decades, performing at Auckland’s Vector Arena Feb. 7. Her atest studio album of all new material Blue Smoke will be released worldwide on Dolly Records. Release date to be announced.
Rodney Atkins wed singer-songwriter Rose Falcon during an intimate beachside ceremony Nov. 10 on Captiva Island, Fla. Twenty guests were in attendance as the couple exchanged vows, including Atkins’ son Elijah, who acted as best man. Officiating was Charles Hutchins, founder of Holston United Methodist Home for Children, where Atkins spent his infancy before being adopted. ••• MusicRow reports the Americana Music Association is set to move its conference headquarters to Nashville’s premier boutique hotel, the Hutton Hotel, for the 15th Annual Festival & Conference to be held Sept. 17-21, 2014
EVENTS Calendar 2014:
• June 26-29 – Country Stampede, Manhattan, KS
• July 17-20 – Jamboree In The Hills, Belmont, OH
• Sept. 17-21 – Amaricana Music Festival & Conference, Nashville, TN
Events and more are listed on our LINKS page! www.ifco.org/
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The American public is expressing serious doubts about the implementation of the new health care law, sending President Barack Obama’s ratings to a new low, a poll released Tuesday morning by The Washington Post and ABC News finds.
Obama’s approval rating is down to 42 percent, with a record 55 percent disapproving — down significantly from October, and slightly worse than his previous low point of 54 percent disapproval in late 2011.
Only a third of Americans approve of Obama’s implementation of the new health care law, while 63 percent disapprove. Most don’t think Obama deliberately misled the American public when he said those who liked their policies could keep them — just 44 percent say it was an intentionally false claim. But 56 percent say that the cancellation of some existing policies represents a sign of mismanagement rather than a normal startup problem. An overwhelming majority think the requirement for all individuals to have health insurance should be delayed.
A record 57 percent say they oppose the health care law, up 8 points from last month. Americans remain split over whether the law has a future. Forty-nine percent say the federal government can recover and make the law work successfully, while another 49 percent say it’s unworkable, with responses divided sharply along party lines.
While a wide majority support the law’s requirement for companies with 50 or more employees to provide health care, just 34 percent favor the requirement for all Americans to be insured.
Americans are now 16 points more likely to say that a congressional candidate’s support for the law would be a negative than a positive. In July 2012, the last time The Washington Post/ABC asked the question, responses were evenly divided.
Obama’s signature health law has also taken a clear toll on his popularity, pollsters say.
“Obama has hit other rough stretches in his presidency, whether because of unhappiness about the economy, controversy over health-care reform or reaction to unexpected problems such as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico,” The Washington Post’s Dan Balz and Peyton Craighill write. “But in those cases, his standing was helped somewhat by favorable impressions of him personally.”
Those have faded. A majority disagrees that he is a strong leader, that he is honest and trustworthy, and that he “understands the problems of people like you.” His favorability rating, which was narrowly positive in last month’s Washington Post/ABC poll, is underwater, with 46 percent viewing him favorably and 52 percent unfavorably.
Obama’s approval ratings have taken an especially large hit among independents, moderates and young adults, ABC notes.
The Washington Post/ABC survey is just the latest in a string of dispiriting poll numbers for Obama. A Quinnipiac survey released last Tuesday also found his approval at a record low, as did an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey.
Another poll this week, from National Journal, found Obama’s approval at just 38 percent, but it also found that most Americans still don’t want to see Obamacare repealed.
Most surveys also showed widespread disaffection with both parties. The Washington Post/ABC poll found that 36 percent say the GOP strikes the right balance between liberal and conservative, compared to 41 percent who say the same of Democrats, and 43 percent who say it of Obama. “That suggests the Republicans haven’t left the doghouse so much as Obama and the Democrats, courtesy of the troubled start of the new health care law, have joined them in it,” ABC pollster Gary Langer said.
HuffPost Pollster’s average, combining all publicly available polls, currently puts Obama’s approval rating under 43 percent.
Messages received by Rhon at the Inspiration Station from “Jesus Calling”
and published here to inspire you on this new day
I am pleased with you, My child. Allow yourself to become fully aware of My pleasure shining upon you. You don’t have to perform well in order to receive My Love. In fact, a performance focus will pull you away from Me, toward some sort of Pharisaism. This can be a subtle form of idolatry: worshiping your own good works. It can also be a source of deep discouragement when your works don’t measure up to your expectations.
Shift your focus from your performance to My radiant Presence. The Light of My Love shines on you continually, regardless of your feelings or behavior. Your responsibility is to be receptive to this unconditional Love. Thankfulness and trust are your primary receptors. Thank Me for everything; trust in Me at all times. These simple disciplines will keep you open to My loving Presence.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.