Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThe new CD from two-time CMA Vocal Group of the Year the Mavericks will be released February 17 by the Valory Music Co. It's titled Mono.

When she's not dueting with Blake Shelton on his new single "Lonely Tonight," Pistol Annies' Ashley Monroe is busy finishing up her next solo album with Vince Gill.

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Billy Gilman Reveals He’s Gay

One Voice ProductionsBilly Gilman has come out as gay.  The 26-year-old singer made the announcement via a YouTube post on Thursday, the same day his friend and fellow country artist, Ty Herndon, revealed he was gay.

“It’s taken me a good many weeks to figure out how I was to approach this video that you’re watching right now,” Gilman begins the video. “But today, actually, a fellow country artist and friend made it easier for me to make this video. And I wanted my fans, who have stuck by me for many, many years, to know.”

Gilman went on to explain that he decided to come out after he was spotted with his partner by a local reporter.

“We filmed a video for the single ‘Say You Will’ in Rhode Island and was getting ready to do an interview with a reporter, locally," he recalls. "And coincidentally I ran into this reporter at a local fall festival with my partner, someone who I am happily now sharing my life with."

"This reporter took a picture of us and it was in that moment that I knew that I’d rather it be from me, than you reading it somewhere else, and probably filled with not truth,” he adds.

Gilman also expressed his displeasure at the Nashville establishment, which he claims discriminates against gay artists.

"Being a gay male country artist is not the best thing," he says, explaining, "You know, if people don’t like your music, that’s one thing. But after having sold over five million records and having a wonderful life in the music industry, I knew something was wrong when no major label wanted to sit down and have a meeting and listen to the new stuff."

Gilman, however, had nothing but praise for his fellow artists.

“I want to say that all of the country artists that literally I grew up in front of, Keith Urban, Vince [Gill] and LeAnn Rimes and all of these wonderful friends of mine, have been nothing but supportive," he insists. "Not that they knew, but they have been such wonderful people.”

“So I thank you for your support," he concluded, noting, "I know some people won’t agree with this. And that’s OK. To each his own. But I felt it was time for me to be honest and to be truthful. I love you all and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.”

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Miranda Lambert Raises $66,000 for Rescue Dogs

Image Courtesy Becky FlukeMiranda Lambert’s custom Ram Laramie Longhorn truck helped raise nearly $66,000 for her MuttNation Foundation. The truck itself netted just shy of $55,000 in an online auction, with the remaining $11,000 coming from signed guitars, CD’s and 2015 concert tickets.

“I’m happy to see everyone come together to raise so much money for MuttNation Foundation, which is so close to my heart,” Miranda says. “I appreciate Ram for donating the truck to me to auction off and for making this all possible. So many dogs will have happier holidays and lives thanks to this generosity.”

In the past seven years, Miranda’s charity has raised more than two million dollars to help make life better for animals. So far, Miranda herself has adopted seven dogs.

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Ty Herndon Comes Out to Entertainment Tonight

Valeisha Kelly-PedigoAfter years of speculation about his sexuality, Ty Herndon officially went on the record, acknowledging that he's gay in an interview with Entertainment Tonight on Thursday. "I went to great lengths to cover up that fact to be a country star," Ty says, "and today I get to tell the world that I'm an out, proud and happy gay man."

“I have an awesome relationship that I’ve been in for a good number of years,” he says, “[I] love him very much and he loves me.” Ty even went on to say he hopes a proposal from his partner of five years might follow his public revelation.

Rumors about his orientation date back to a 1995 incident where an undercover male police officer accused the country singer of exposing himself in a park. Ty says he doesn’t remember much about the episode.

“I wish I had really great recall or memory about that. I think I had been up for like six days doing drugs. The night and the day was really a huge blur for me,” he recalls.

Ty also reveals that both his wives knew about his homosexuality. “I had a lot of people around me that I trusted at a time and I was like, ‘Hey, you know this about me but the world doesn’t. So I’m gonna need to call on your services for a little while.' It was unfortunate that I had to do that, but I felt that’s what I had to do to have my career.”

In the nineties, Ty scored three number ones with “It Must Be Love,” “Living in a Moment” and “What Mattered Most.” His last top 40 country hit was 2001’s “Heather’s Wall,” which went to number 37.

The 52-year-old says this month’s CMA Awards give him hope that country music is becoming more accepting of the LGBT community. “Kacey Musgraves won Song of the Year for “'Follow Your Arrow'…and two amazing songwriters that happened to be gay wrote that song.” His most recent CD is 2013’s Lies I Told Myself.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhen did Kenny Chesney first appear on the Billboard Country Singles chart? ANSWER:  Kenny went to #59 with "Whatever It Takes" in 1994.

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Grammy Foundation Offers Fans Chance to Get Closer to Miranda, Carrie & Taylor

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleIf you’d like to get up close and personal with Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift or The Band Perry, now is your chance. You can bid on one-of-a-kind experiences with the superstars from now through December 10 at CharityBuzz.com.

Carrie will treat the winner of her package to a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry before her concert, while Taylor’s top bidder will be invited to the pre-show party. A one-on-one Skype session with Hunter Hayes is also up for grabs.

The second annual holiday auction helps the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares pay for educational programs and help members of the music community who’ve fallen on hard times.

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