Country Stars React to B.B. King’s Death

Image Courtesy Kevin WestenbergCountry stars are sharing their remembrances of blues legend B.B. King, who died Thursday at the age of 89 after years of ill health. Here's a round-up of their reactions:

Brad Paisley: "Sad to hear B.B. King has left us. I loved collaborating with him, loved his music, & his spirit. He changed music forever. God bless him."

Lee Brice: "B.B. King. My heart just broke into a million pieces. Not enough space to describe my feelings of the man. Legend, pure, real, teacher."

The Band Perry: "RIP #BBKing... One of the true greats."

Frankie Ballard: "The thrill most certainly is gone...The King of the Blues has gone home. Lucille is without her man."

Chris Young: "Rest in Peace B.B.King... Met him in a hotel lobby in New York when I was 16. So much great music and such a kind man."

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Country’s Collaborative Spirit on Display with Tonight’s “ACM Presents: Superstar Duets” Special

Heather Wines/CBSCountry's biggest stars ranging from Luke Bryan and Kenny Chesney to Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley are featured on the ACM Presents: Superstar Duets special Friday night on CBS. Most of the artists are collaborating with either their peers or one of their country star heroes. Keith Urban teams up with John Anderson to perform "Swingin'" on the special, and Keith says this idea for a country duets special is a good fit for the format.

"Our genre's got such a great history of legendary duets, you know, all the way from Conway [Twitty] and Loretta [Lynn] to Dolly [Parton] and Porter [Wagoner]," Keith says. "The list goes on and on. I've been lucky to have a few on this last record, too, including the one right now with Eric Church, ['Raise 'Em Up']. So, I'm all about the collaborative spirit."

Brett Eldredge and Hunter Hayes team up to salute the late Marty Robbins with a performance of his 1959 classic "El Paso." The ballad is a favorite of Brett's with its Spanish guitar introduction and tale of love and murder in the Wild West.

Says Brett, "It takes you to that place. 'Out in the West Texas town of El Paso,'…as soon as you hear that, you're there, and that's what I love about songwriting and music, and Marty Robbins was a master at that."

Lady Antebellum and Brandy Clark duet on the Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers classic "Islands in the Stream," and Sam Hunt joins Dwight Yoakam on Dwight's '90s hit, "Fast as You." Jake Owen, Alabama, Eli Young Band, Brantley Gilbert, Brooks & Dunn, Reba, Darius Rucker and Sara Evans are among the other stars performing on ACM Presents: Superstar Duets Friday night at 9 ET on CBS.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockJake Owen is featured on the song "Back Home" from pop outfit Owl City's new album, Mobile Orchestra, coming out July 10.

Chase Bryant will host the Country Music Hall of Fame's Annual Words & Music Night May 21 in Nashville. The program will feature local students performing the songs they have written as part of the Hall of Fame's education program.

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Little Big Town Feels the Love from Boy George on Their Gender-Bending Single, “Girl Crush”

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town has received a lot of support from their fellow country stars on their latest hit, "Girl Crush." The song caused a bit of a stir when some listeners misunderstood the lyrics as describing a woman's romantic attraction to another woman. "Girl Crush" is actually about a woman's jealousy when her man leaves her for another woman, but the confusion over the lyrics got the attention of one gender-bending superstar -- Boy George.

The '80s pop star tweeted the group saying, "What's your agenda @littlebigtown? I'm in!"

LBT's Karen Fairchild wrote back saying, "Just following your lead!!! Good music and good eyeliner."

Beyond Boy George's seal of approval, "Girl Crush" has been covered by Miranda Lambert and Kelly Clarkson as well as Blake Shelton team member Meghan Linsey on NBC's The Voice. That support from their peers means the world to Little Big Town.

Karen says, "It speaks to the kind of people that we get to work with all the time in the creative community. And good songs. And the agenda is, it's a good song. We didn't write it, so we can say that."

Look for Little Big Town to perform "Girl Crush" with Faith Hill on the 2015 Billboard Music Awards Sunday night at 8 ET on ABC.

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