Thomas Rhett Is Activating His Fan Army for ACM New Artist of the Year Voting

Image Courtesy CMAFan voting in the ACM New Artist of the Year category starts Wednesday, and Thomas Rhett knows his followers will be working hard to make sure he takes home that trophy.

Thomas tells ABC Radio, "They get up and when they know that fan-voting is going on, they literally -- that's the first thing they do is they wake up, they eat breakfast and they go vote. So, it's just amazing to have such committed fans."

Thomas knows his fellow New Artist nominees Sam Hunt and Cole Swindell have a lot of fans supporting them for the win, too.

"It's a fun, tough category," Thomas admits. "That's what I love about the New Artist category. There's always three people there that have worked their butts off, and have all kind of had equal amounts of success. I guess it's just gonna come down to who has more dedicated fans than the other one."

As for this year's ACM ceremony taking place in Texas, Thomas adds, "It's gonna be a different dynamic for sure being in Dallas instead of Vegas, so I can't really go play blackjack before the awards."

You can vote for your favorites in the ACM New Artist and Entertainer of the Year categories starting Wednesday at VoteACM.com. The winners will be revealed on the 50th Annual ACM Awards, broadcasting live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, April 19 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockGeorge Strait's son is a co-writer on his brand-new single, "Let It Go." What is his name? ANSWER: Bubba Strait.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThomas Rhett's new single, "Crash and Burn," will be released to country radio Tuesday. It's the first release from his upcoming sophomore album.

George Strait has released a brand-new single, "Let It Go." He's expected to perform the track on the 50th Annual ACM Awards coming up Sunday, April 19 at 8 p.m. ET.

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Kristian Bush’s Role in Sugarland Becomes Clear Listening to His Solo Debut, “Southern Gravity”

Image Courtesy Streamsound RecordsKristian Bush proved he could sing lead on a country hit with his top 20 single "Trailer Hitch." Now, the founding member of Sugarland is stepping out in an ever bigger way with the release of his solo debut album, Southern Gravity. If you are a fan of Sugarland's uptempo hits like "All I Want to Do" and "Stuck Like Glue," you'll find plenty of familiar elements when you listen to the new project.

Kristian tells ABC Radio, "I would say that the departure for anybody would be that you're listening to me sing for the first time, but I would say that the consistency is that you're listening to records that I make, and you've been listening to them for a while."

Sugarland's last album, The Incredible Machine, was released in 2010, and Kristian looks forward to listeners getting a better sense of what he brought to the duo as they listen to Southern Gravity.

"You start to understand that I produced those Sugarland records and that I wrote those songs with my friends and with Jennifer [Nettles]," he says. "So, as you listen to this, there are a lot of [familiar] rhythms. There's a lot of [that same] attitude about how to make records."

So, is Southern Gravity an idea of what Sugarland might sound like in 2015?

Kristian answers, "I mean, it's where I am now. It's what I did the moment we stopped running the bus. This is the next set of music that was made."

Country fans will hear another familiar voice, Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman, singing harmony with Kristian on the song "Waiting on an Angel."

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Trace Adkins Signs New Record Deal; Plans to Release New Music Soon

Image Courtesy Kristin Barlowe/SunshineSachsTrace Adkins has signed a new record deal with BBR Music Group and plans to have new material out later this year. The move makes Trace a label mate of Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch, Randy Houser and many others.

Trace says of the deal, "When you’ve been doing this as long as I have, you don’t always get the feeling that the sky’s the limit. I feel that way right now. When I sign up for something, I go all-in."

Trace is currently in the recording studio working on his 13th studio album.

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Steven Tyler Signs with Nashville-Based Big Machine Label Group

Image Courtesy Zack WhitfordAerosmith front man Steven Tyler has officially signed a record deal with Nashville-based Big Machine Label Group, led by American Idol mentor Scott Borchetta. Tyler confirmed he was releasing a country album during a surprise appearance on the Grand Ole Opry last week. That project is due out later this year on Big Machine's imprint, Dot Records.

Steven says, "My earliest influences put me somewhere between the Everly Brothers and The Carter Family and this project is all about me paying homage to my country roots. I’ve been working with some f**king epic Nashville songwriters, getting my feet wet with their style and groove."

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