Keith Urban Gearing Up for a Jam-Packed Weekend Leading Up to the ACM Awards

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleKeith Urban isn't planning on having any downtime when he's in Dallas for the ACM Awards this weekend. His non-stop schedule kicks off Friday night with a performance at the ACM Benefit Lifting Lives gala at the Omni Hotel. Little Big Town, Hunter Hayes, Lady Antebellum, Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood and The Band Perry will also be on hand for the event, and proceeds go to the ACM's charitable organization, Lifting Lives.

Keith says, "I think country music in general has always been very, very strongly connected to community. So, events like Lifting Lives, it's such a natural marriage, I think, for a country artist to be involved, and I'm glad we get to do it this year."

On Saturday night, Keith is teaming up with country legend John Anderson for a performance at the ACM Party for a Cause festival in Arlington, TX. That collaboration will be featured on the ACM Presents: Superstar Duets special airing May 15 on CBS.

He says, "There's so many events happening in and around the actual award night. So, it's gonna be magical. First time they've done it down in Dallas, too. So, huge."

Look for Keith to perform on the 50th Annual ACM Awards broadcast Sunday night at 8 ET on CBS.

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Darius Rucker Takes the Field During South Carolina Gamecocks Practice

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleDarius Rucker took the field with his beloved South Carolina Gamecocks Saturday during the team's annual Garnet and Black spring practice game. Coach Steve Spurrier always has a surprise trick play in the game, and he recruited Darius to sneak into the end zone and catch a touchdown pass from quarterback Connor Mitch.

According to the Greenville News, Connor was expecting to see another country star in the end zone for that pass. He says, "Actually, during the meeting on [Friday], coach Spurrier told me I was throwing to Kenny Chesney. I'm looking over for Kenny Chesney. I guess they kind of switched it."

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Tim McGraw Performing Benefit Concert for Sandy Hook Promise Organization

Image Courtesy Big Machine RecordsTim McGraw will perform a benefit concert for Sandy Hook Promise this summer in Hartford, CT. The organization was founded in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT and seeks to help protect children from gun violence.

Tim says, "Out of this tragedy a group was formed that made a promise to honor the lives lost and turn it into a moment of transformation. Sandy Hook Promise teaches that we can do something to protect our children from gun violence. I want to be a part of that promise -- as a father and as a friend.” 

The cause hits close to home with Tim's band, too. His fiddle player, Dean Brown, is a longtime friend of Mark Barden, whose son was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting.

Tim's Concert for Sandy Hook Promise will take place Friday, July 17 at the XFinity Theatre in Hartford with special guests Billy Currington and Chase Bryant. Tickets are on sale Friday through Ticketmaster.

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Trace Adkins Doesn’t Care What His Grandkids Think His About Sexy, Onstage Dance Moves

Image Courtesy Sunshine SachsTrace Adkins may be a grandfather now, but that doesn’t mean he's going to tone down his onstage dance moves. Before Luke Bryan started shaking it for audiences, Trace was getting down with his hits "Ladies Love Country Boys" and "Hot Mama."

He tells Billboard, "I was at the Opry and thinking the other night, "Man, when I'm 80 years old my grandkids are going to be here, and they're going to be so grossed out whenever I go out to do 'Honky Tonk Badonkadonk' and I do the pelvic thrust."

Trace just signed a new deal with Broken Bow Records and will release new music later this year.

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Jason Aldean Ready for a Change of Scenery as the ACM Awards Move to Texas

Image Courtesy Broken BowJason Aldean has been going to the ACM Awards for the better part of a decade now, so he's used to the setup when the show is in Las Vegas. Usually, all the artists stay in the same hotels and eat at the same restaurants year after year, but the ACM's move to Texas for the 50th Anniversary show switches up the routine for stars like Jason.

He says, "It just kind of creates more excitement for us. Sort of the not knowing -- typically you know what to expect when you go to Vegas or whatever, and this is sort of a wild card."

The ACM Awards broadcast live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on April 19. Jason is excited to play the venue after performing there last year.

"I got a chance to play there last year with Strait on his Cowboy Rides Away tour, so that was pretty neat," Jason explains. "To go back, have the show there -- I mean, what better place to have it than Texas, too? So, I think it's gonna be a fun night."

Jason is nominated for the fan-voted Entertainer of the Year award, but he really has his sights set on taking home the Album of the Year trophy for Old Boots, New Dirt. Everyone on Jason's team -- from his record label and management company to his touring band and publicist -- is involved in making his album a success.

Says Jason, "There's a lot that goes into launching an album, and whatever that album does sort of sets you up for the next year-and-a-half or whatever. So, it's big to get a nomination for that."

Voting in the Entertainer of the Year category is now open at VoteACM.com. The 50th Annual ACM Awards air live Sunday, April 19 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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