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Sara Evans Ex-Husband is Taking TMZ to Court

sara evans

Craig Schelske, the former husband of country music star Sara Evans is suing TMZ for defamation.  According to Mr. Schelske,  TMZ maliciously disseminated false and damaging statements in a nationally broadcast segment which claimed that he was unfaithful to his wife of 14 years.

The 12 page lawsuit alleges that during a June 2014 broadcast, TMZ stated as fact that Mr. Schelske “took a hundred photographs of himself having sex with other people. That’s how [Sara Evans] found out.”  According to the lawsuit, while TMZ made this pronouncement, one of the individuals on the show appears to knowingly look at a smart phone, suggesting that they had these photographs in their possession.  Then, it was declared: “Yeah. That’s pretty good proof.”

“The proclamation made by TMZ left its viewers with the unmistakable belief that Mr. Schelske was unfaithful to his wife of 14 years, and that Sara Evans had discovered his infidelity when she found a hundred photographs of him having sex with other people. These statements made by TMZ on the June 17, 2014 broadcast, were and are unequivocally false.  And, if TMZ had done any investigation, they would have seen, in their own previous articles that the photo allegations were false,” said Jason P. Fowler with the R. Rex Parris law firm.

“TMZ clearly understood the difference between reporting facts and allegations, but instead chose to sensationalize the story at Mr. Schelske’s expense.  It is unfortunate when a powerful media outlet places more value in quickly publishing a story than thoroughly investigating that story before destroying someone’s life” added Fowler.

Before filing the lawsuit, Mr. Schelske gave TMZ the opportunity to retract the false statements about him and TMZ refused.  Mr. Schelske is seeking compensatory damages, general damages, special damages (for loss of reputation) in an amount to be proved at trial,” concluded Fowler.


Kentucky Headhunters Celebrate 25 Years of Pickin’ On Nashville

Kentucky Headhunters Live

It was the album that Nashville – or the music industry as a whole – didn’t quite know what to do with. But, the fans quickly figured it out. On October 17, 1989 – twenty-five years ago today – Mercury Records released the album Pickin’ On Nashville, the debut disc from The Kentucky Headhunters.

The band originated in 1968 and was comprised of Richard and Fred Young, along with cousins Greg Martin and Anthony Kenney. They didn’t look or sound like any other groups in the business, they were more comfortable in t-shirts and jeans than your typical stage attire – and their sound was a hybrid of Country, Southern Rock, and Blues.

Growing up in Edmonton, KY on a family farm, the band had played together for over twenty years prior to their big break. That time period included a couple of brushes with the spotlight. Under the name Itchy Brother (Richard Young recalls the name came from a scraggly lion from the cartoon Bongo Congo), the group were groomed by Capricorn Records in the 1970s, and almost signed with Led Zeppelin’s Swan Song Records in the early 1980s. However, the third crack at the big time proved to be the charm.

With a lineup that now included bass player and vocalist Doug Phelps, and his brother, Ricky Lee, the die was firmly cast for stardom. Having created a buzz with their live appearances in the Southern Kentucky area, as well as “The Chitlin’ Show,” their popular radio show at WLOC in Munfordville, by 1988, the Headhunters were ready to take their sound nationwide. Encouraged by their fans and friends like Tom Long, Larry Shell, and manager (and former Swan Song exec) Mitchell Fox, the boys agreed to roll the dice and take their music to Nashville.

Richard Young remembers their showcase in Nashville.

“As soon as I hit those first chords of ‘Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine,’ it looked like someone yelled “’There’s a bomb in here!’ With the exception of the bartender, waitress and a few friends, we cleared Douglas Corner. One man was left standing, Harold Shedd, then president of Mercury Records. He came up, took one of our homemade albums and left. The next day he called and said, ‘Boys, we may be cooking hamburgers next year, but I gotta try this.”

Shedd’s gamble proved to be right on the money. “Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine,” the Bill Monroe classic was released as the first single, hitting the Billboard Country Singles chart on September 30, 1989. Radio didn’t know what hit them, as the group watched the single move up the charts.  Though the single only made it to No. 25 on the charts, Stan Hitchcock at CMT was paying attention, and the video spread the music of the Kentucky Headhunters around the nation like wildfire.

Pickin’ On Nashville included three more singles, “Dumas Walker,” “Rock and Roll Angel,” and their top-ten cover of Don Gibson’s “Oh Lonesome Me.” When the dust settled, the disc sold well over two million copies, and was named as the 1990 Album of the Year by the Country Music Association – not bad, when considering the group recorded the album in three days for only $4500 – an unheard of amount of time and money then and now. The success of the album also led to back-to-back wins for Vocal Group of the Year from the CMA in 1990 and 1991. They also won the Academy of Country Music trophy for Vocal Group of the Year, an American Music Award, and the most coveted award in all of music – a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for the album. Their fan base would also include some of the biggest artists of all time, such as ZZ Top. Young recalls a conversation he once had with the architects of Rock & Roll, Carl Perkins.  “You know Carl, I was beginning to think we would never get an album out,” he told the man behind “Blue Suede Shoes.”  To which Perkins replied, “Yeah buddy, but when ya’ll came out, you came out sideways!” Truer words were never spoken.

All of these years later, the success keeps coming for the Kentucky Headhunters. Never one to be pigeon-holed in any one specific genre, the group continues to tour and record to this day. All in all, they have released thirteen albums, including their self-titled disc this year. They also continue to play to packed houses both here in the United States and abroad.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Pickin’ On Nashville, the Headhunters will be featured in a special article on Billboard.com this weekend where The 615’s Chuck Dauphin ventured from Nashville to the group’s “Practice House” in the Edmonton, KY to recall the impact that the record made – and continues to make. Also, the Kentucky Headhunters will be featured in special programming on SiriusXM this weekend, sharing their reflections and memories of the music. Richard Young sums up his feelings on the group’s success, saying simply

“We are lucky boys, who have lived a charmed life.”

 

Little Big Town Inducted As Newest Member of Grand Ole Opry

©2014 Grand Ole Opry / Photos By: Chris Hollo

©2014 Grand Ole Opry / Photos By: Chris Hollo

The critically acclaimed Grammy®-winning vocal group Little Big Town (Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, and Jimi Westbrook) was formally inducted into the Grand Ole Opry this evening by Opry members Little Jimmy Dickens and Vince Gill. The group had been invited to join the Opry on Oct. 3 by Opry member and friend Reba McEntire. The night marked a major milestone for the group whose first-ever public performance together was on the Opry in 1999.

The group opened its set with a performance of its hit “Bring it On Home,” hearkening back to its Opry debut. On that night, as the members recalled backstage, they had been accompanied by only a borrowed guitar. After the group’s performance of the smash “Boondocks,” Dickens and Gill took the stage along with Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher to present the group with its Opry Member Award.

“The word ‘family’ really means something out here. It really does,” Gill said to the group. “You’ll make friends like I have with this man right here,” he continued, nodding to Dickens. “You’ll be so be blessed by the friends you’ll make out here, and they’ll last your entire life. Welcome to the family, and remember to come here as often as you can.”

After the group shared its thanks to the Opry, family members, friends, and others who’d helped make its Opry dream come true, the members invited Gill to join them on their final song of the night, the Kris Kristofferson classic “Why Me.”

“Welcome them home!” Gill cheered before a standing ovation sold out audience.

Backstage, group members reflected on having grown up with the Opry and on its importance to their music. “This feels like the biggest moment of our lives and our career,” Schlapman said.

“I’m so excited about sharing this moment with the band,” Fairchild added. “We’ve been through the highest of highs together, and this is sure to be the highest. This is as good as it gets.”

Sweet reflected on everyone at the Opry having embraced the group over the years. “It feels like home,” he said. “It’s family.”

“There’s nothing like walking those halls backstage,” added Westbrook, later sharing amazement with the other members that the group’s name would be added to the Opry Member Gallery at the Opry House backstage entrance.

 

Dierks Bentley Added to Country Thunder

Dierks Bentley

The man behind the smash hit of the summer “Drunk on a Plane,” Dierks Bentley, will join previously-announced headliners Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton at Country Thunder in Twin Lakes, Wis., July 23-26, 2015. One of country music’s most-respected singer/songwriters, Dierks’ long list of chart-topping hits includes, “5-1-5-0,” “I Hold On,” “Sideways,” “Come a Little Closer,” “What Was I Thinkin,” and more. Fans can expect even more exciting announcements in the coming months.

A very limited number of campsites have been released in Preferred Camping and are available for $160. If you missed the action in 2014 because tickets were sold out, don’t delay and get your tickets for 2015 now, as they’re expected to go quickly! Four-day passes are available in limited quantities for $160. Also, don’t forget, in order to enter the campgrounds a four-day admission wristband is required. For more info on tickets or for any of your Country Thunder needs, please visit countrythunder.com or call (866) 802-6418.

Stay up-to-date on all things Country Thunder by liking us on Facebook at facebook.com/countrythunder

Hunter Hayes to Be Featured on CMT’s ‘Inside Fame’

hunter hayes

CMT’s hit biography series INSIDE FAME returns with an exclusive profile of four-time Grammy-nominated artist and global phenomenon Hunter Hayes premiering Saturday, November 1 at 8 p.m., ET/PT. At age 23, Hayes has amassed sales of more than 9 million digital tracks worldwide, and earlier this year was named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30.” A multi-talented performer, musician, producer and writer, his career first made the national spotlight after he performed onstage with Hank Williams Jr. at the age of five. CMT chronicles the life of the musical prodigy turned country superstar in the one-hour special episode INSIDE FAME: HUNTER HAYES, featuring new interviews with Hayes about his sophomore album, Storyline, and never-before-seen performance clips.

In the new installment of INSIDE FAME, Hayes speaks candidly about growing up in Breaux Bridge, La., and the passions that eventually brought him to Nashville, including his earliest performances and his first guitar – a gift from Hollywood legend Robert Duvall. The superstar has accomplished much at an early age, including the Guinness World Record for the most live concerts performed in 24 hours in different cities. The special features new interviews with those closest to Hayes including his family, label representatives, music critics and fellow superstars Carrie Underwood, Jason Mraz, Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts; who share what it’s like to collaborate with the young artist and just what makes Hayes so special.

Visit CMT.com, Hunterhayes.CMT.com and the CMT Artists App for exclusive outtakes, videos and more.

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