Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Member Paul Craft Dead at 76

Strictly Country RecordsSongwriter Paul Craft, who penned such hits as Moe Bandy's "Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life," Bobby Bare's "Dropkick Me, Jesus (Through the Goalposts of Life)," Mark Chesnutt's "Brother Jukebox," and Ray Stevens' "It's Me Again, Margaret," died Saturday "after years of deteriorating health," the Tennessean reports. He was 76 years old.

Craft, who also wrote songs that were recorded by Alison Krauss, the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt, died at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville.

Craft was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame on October 5 after being nominated numerous times. The Tennessean reports Craft posed for photos with other inductees and was then rushed to the hospital after falling ill.

The Tennessean notes that Craft was a member of American Mensa, a group for people whose IQ is in the top two percent of the population.

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Kip Moore Rocking New Songs on His Up in Smoke Tour This Fall

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleKip Moore has been playing a ton of new music on his CMT Up in Smoke tour, including the rocking song, "Wild Ones." Even though the lyrics were inspired by the rowdy fans Kip sees in the crowd every night, he hesitated about adding the song to his set list.

Kip tells The Tennessean, "So much of me wanted to hold this song back because I knew how slamming this song was and how excited people would be about it, but I couldn't. It’s just too much fun.”

Kip is also encouraging fans to write obscure song requests on posters when they come to his shows. He'll pick one and try to play it through with his band. Go to KipMoore.net for tour dates.

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Thomas Rhett Headlining NASCAR Truck Series Post-Race Concert at Talledega Superspeedway

Image Courtesy CMAThomas Rhett headlines the Fred's 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series post-race concert at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama Saturday. Getting to play a show at the legendary race track is a big deal for Thomas.

He says, "Talladega is one of those iconic places that you grow up knowing about, whether you follow NASCAR or not. So, to be able to go there and perform…that definitely goes on the 'Things I'll tell my grandkids' list." 

To see the rest of Thomas's tour dates, go to ThomasRhett.com.

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Pistol Annies’ Angaleena Presley Is Hiding Nothing on Her Solo Debut, “American Middle Class”

Image Courtesy Blu Sanders/ShoreFireYou know Angaleena Presley as the brunette in Pistol Annies, the band she formed in 2011 with Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe. Now, Angaleena is stepping out with her debut album, American Middle Class, in stores now. As she did with the Annies, Angaleena is brutally honest in the lyrics of her new songs. "Pain Pills" takes on the epidemic of prescription medicine abuse in her native Kentucky while "Life of the Party" details the effects of getting drunk night after night. "Knocked Up" gives a look at the situation surrounding Angaleena's out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

Angaleena tells ABC News Radio, "You know, my mom doesn't like me telling all this, but God wants me to. So, I just have to tell it. But it's just growing up, and sometimes you really have to grow up 'cause you see two little blue lines staring at you in the face."

If you're thinking this all sounds like the exact opposite of "bro country," you're right. That doesn't mean Angaleena has a beef with all the guys dominating country radio with songs about about trucks, girls in short-shorts and binge drinking.

She explains, "It doesn't make me mad because we're all singing about the same thing. We're all singing about the party. It's just some of us are singing about the party, and some of us are singing about the next day when you wake up pregnant in a pool of your own vomit."

Angaleena performed the title track from American Middle Class on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman earlier this week.  While critics are raving about her new music, Angaleena knows it's not always easy to get people to pay attention to your music no matter how good it is.

She adds, "I'm just gonna keep writing these songs and just hoping that they find their way."

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Garth Brooks’ Rep Shoots Down Reports He’s Playing Ireland in 2015

Image Courtesy Pearl RecordsDespite reports to the contrary, Garth Brooks is not playing shows in Ireland in 2015. His rep tells ABC News Radio the news stories coming from across the pond are just rumors. Garth is expected to continue his World Tour well into the new year.

As previously reported, Garth canceled five planned shows in Dublin over the summer because of issues with concert permits.

Go to GarthBrooks.com for a full list of tour dates.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockDustin Lynch studied pre-med at which Nashville college before launching his country career? ANSWER: Lipscomb University.

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