South Georgians dominate the country music charts

CELEBRITY WATCH: Phillip Phillips getting ready for Canada tour

Phillip Phillips, of Leesburg, shown in this 2012 file photo, is scheduled to perform today at the Super Bowl pregame show, then head north in a little over a month for a concert tour in Canada. (File photo)

Phillip Phillips, of Leesburg, shown in this 2012 file photo, is scheduled to perform today at the Super Bowl pregame show, then head north in a little over a month for a concert tour in Canada. (File photo)


Jennifer Nettles, a Douglas native, debuted at No. 1 on the country music chart with her solo album “That Girl” and maintained that same position last week, her second week of release. (Photo courtesy UMG Nashville)


Luke Bryan, center, a Leesburg native, performs with Brian Kelley, left, and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line Nov. 6 at the Country Music Association Awards in Nashville. FGL is at No. 2 on the country chart, while Bryan is right behind them at No. 3. (Reuters)


Alex Kendrick, left, will be on the big screen in an acting role May 9 with the release of “Moms’ Night Out.” He and brother Stephen Kendrick, right, are also working on a project through their Kendrick Brothers production company, with casting expected this spring. (Special photo)


Now that she’s back on dry land, Paula Deen’s next announced event is a cooking show coming up in Buffalo, N.Y. (Special photo)

ALBANY — Phillip Phillips will be heading north soon.

Leesburg’s Phillips, who’s scheduled to perform at today’s Super Bowl pregame show, will launch his Canadian tour early next month. The season 11 “American Idol” winner is scheduled to perform 15 dates, beginning March 8 in Halifax and concluding March 28 in Vancouver, according to his website, phillipphillips.com.

The schedule includes show in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.


Country music was dominated last week by Georgia natives, including two from Southwest Georgia.

The top country album according to Billboard last week was Douglas native Jennifer Nettles’ new solo album. “That Girl” debuted at No. 1 the previous week and is showing no signs of losing steam with fans.

And showing why they have seven Academy of Country Music Awards nominations between them, Florida Georgia Line and Leesburg native Luke Bryan are at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively.

FGL moved up two spots from the previous week with “Here’s to the Good Times,” which has been on the chart for 60 weeks. Bryan’s “Crash My Party,” which has been on the chart for 25 weeks ticked up two spots from the previous week.


Alex Kendrick, one-half of the writing team behind Sherwood Pictures’ movies “Courageous” and “Fireproof,” will be back on the big screen in May in a movie executive produced by Patricia Heaton of “Everybody Loves Raymond” and her husband, Mark Hunt.

Billed as a “new kind of family comedy,” “Moms’ Night Out” is set for release in theaters on May 9 — just in time for Mother’s Day.

In the film, Kendrick portrays the character Pastor Ray with a cast that includes Heaton, currently appearing on ABC’s “The Middle,” Sarah Drew (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Sean Astin (“Lord of the Rings” and “Rudy”) and platinum-selling country recording artist Trace Adkins (“The Lincoln Lawyer”). Hunt also has an on-camera role.

In the story, Allyson (Drew) and her friends turn their kids over to their respective husbands so that they can have a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and talk – a long-overdue “moms’ night out.” The plan, it’s safe to guess, doesn’t come off without a few funny hitches.

“Every mom and dad in America — whether they have toddlers, tweens or teens — is going to love this movie,” Heaton said. “It’s a hilarious family-friendly celebration of the trials and triumphs of parenting — a joyous affirmation of the world’s hardest but most important job.”

The Tristar Pictures movie, filmed a state over in Birmingham, Ala., was written by Andrea Nasfell and Jon Erwin and directed by Erwin and his brother, Andrew Erwin. It’s rated PG for “mild thematic elements and some action.” TriStar also was the distributor for “Courageous.”

Besides Kendrick, two other “Courageous” alumni are in the cast — Robert Amaya, of Miami, and Kevin Downes, of Visalia, Calif.


Meanwhile, Alex Kendrick’s brother, Stephen Kendrick, said their Kendrick Brothers production company was moving forward with the brothers’ next project.

In a posting on the Kendrickes’ website on Jan. 20, Stephen Kendrick thanked those who had offered prayers and encouragement in regard to their yet-untitled project.

He said they were “inspired and excited as we continue with the script writing and research for the next movie. God continues to confirm and bless the direction.”

Stephen Kendrick said current plans are to cast actors, select crew and schedule production details this spring, and that more than 500 people had applied to be actors and nearly 200 applicants want to work on the crew.

“Please pray that God will grant us wisdom and clear direction as we make crucial story and production decisions,” he wrote. “God continues to show us His needed favor as we move forward. We recognize that we are totally dependent on Him. Will you join us in praying for His blessing, favor, power, and protection on all aspects of this project? Our prayer is that this movie will transform countless lives, strengthen the body of Christ, and impact the nations for His glory.”


Celebrity chef Paula Deen, an Albany native, is back from her winter cruise with fans and will be heading north this week as well, but not quite as far as Phillips.

A Paula Deen Live! show is set for Saturday at Samuel’s Grand Manor in Buffalo, N.Y. Following a VIP lunch, Deen will perform a two-hour cooking show starting at 3 p.m.

According to her website, pauladeen.com, her next scheduled event is her summer cruise, which hits the high seas on July 19 out of Fort Lauderdale.