Country Music Stars Abound on GAC's Kickin' Country Weekend

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Four-day country music marathon features exclusive performances, concerts, new Grand Ole Opry Live, debut of Cracker Barrel Songs of the Year event, exclusively on Great American Country network (GAC)

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This was such a magical evening for all of us, with so many great acts paying tribute to the enduring nature of country songs and the impact that these songs have had on today's top artists

Great American Country once again stakes its claim as the network where country music lives all the time with its Second Annual Kickin' Country Weekend. The four-day country music marathon (January 26-29) includes the world premiere of the Cracker Barrel Songs of the Year concert; an all new Grand Ole Opry Live with Dierks Bentley, Josh Turner, Montgomery Gentry and Rodney Atkins; and a two-hour concert special, CMA Music Festival: Country Music's Biggest Party, featuring performances by top country artists Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn, Martina McBride, Sugarland, Trace Adkins and many more.

GAC's Kickin' Country Weekend kicks off on Friday, January 26, at 8 p.m. ET with a special edition of GAC Nights from the Red Carpet of the Cracker Barrel Songs of the Year event. GAC hosts Suzanne Alexander and Nan Kelley talk with top country music stars as they arrive for the concert at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

An all new Grand Ole Opry Live ushers in a stellar Saturday (8 p.m. ET) line-up. Dierks Bentley, Montgomery Gentry, Rodney Atkins and Josh Turner liven up the stage of Nashville's legendary Ryman Auditorium with an hour full of country music favorites.

Following the Opry, GAC premieres the highly-anticipated Cracker Barrel Songs of the Year concert (9 p.m. ET). The two-hour special showcases timeless country music songs that have won "Song of the Year" awards from the Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music or the Grammy Awards. Co-hosted by Trace Adkins and Desperate Housewives' star James Denton, the concert features powerful performances from Adkins, Josh Turner, Lonestar, Merle Haggard, Billy Currington, Blake Shelton, Deana Carter, Jack Ingram, Jo Dee Messina, Josh Gracin, Michael McDonald, Trisha Yearwood, Ronnie Milsap, The Wreckers, Eric Church and Jypsi. GAC cameras captured the event live from the stage of Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center during CMA Week in November.

"This was such a magical evening for all of us, with so many great acts paying tribute to the enduring nature of country songs and the impact that these songs have had on today's top artists," said Sarah Trahern, senior vice president of programming for GAC.

"As an artist, it's always exciting to get to do something other than your own songs," said Yearwood. "There's so many levels that I'm honored to participate to make sure the artists who have paved the way for us to understand that the history of these songs is not forgotten, but is in fact celebrated, remembered and applauded."

GAC kicks it up a notch further on Sunday evening with the cable premiere of CMA Music Festival: Country Music's Biggest Party. The two-hour special, captured during last June's CMA Music Festival in Nashville, highlights the heart of the annual event and the unique bond that exists between country music artists and their fans. Concert highlights include performances by many of country music's brightest stars, including Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Hank Williams Jr., Kenny Chesney, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert, Sugarland, Brooks & Dunn, Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Jason Aldean, Gary Allan, Wynonna and Montgomery Gentry.

"When viewers tune to GAC, they want to see what they expect: country music programming that is both informational and entertaining," Trahern said. "GAC constantly seeks to bring to our viewers the best in country music performances and events. Always have. Always will."

Other highlights of GAC's Kickin' Country Weekend include an encore presentation of the 2006 Academy of Country Music Awards Show (January 29, 8 p.m. ET) and an encore of GAC's popular tribute to Barbara Mandrell, She Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool (January 28, 10 p.m. ET). Check GACTV.com or your local television listings for the full schedule.

Highlights of GAC's Second Annual Kickin' Country Weekend (January 26-29, 2007) All times ET.

Friday, January 26

8 p.m. GAC Nights special from the Red Carpet of Cracker Barrel Songs of the Year

9 p.m. GAC Top 20 Country Countdown with special guest Sarah Buxton

Saturday, January 27

8 p.m.     Grand Ole Opry Live with featured artists Dierks Bentley, Montgomery Gentry, Rodney Atkins and Josh Turner

9 p.m.     Cracker Barrel Songs of the Year two-hour concert special

Sunday, January 28

8 p.m.     CMA Music Festival: Country Music's Biggest Party

10 p.m. Barbara Mandrell tribute: She Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool

11 p.m. GAC's new series The Year, hosted by Mark Wills

Monday, January 29

8 p.m.    2006 Academy of Country Music Awards Special

11 p.m. Offstage with Lorianne Crook: Trace Adkins

About Great American Country (GAC)

Great American Country (GAC) is America's main street for the widest variety of country music, its artists and the lifestyles they influence. In addition to country music videos, GAC features original programming, special musical performances and live concerts, and is the exclusive television home of the Grand Ole Opry. GAC is available in more than 45 million households and online at http://www.GACTV.com.

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