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Warm-weather country comfort on the way

Big country shows are pretty much the lifeblood of Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek -- as in just about the only thing keeping the city-owned amphitheater still going at this point. So here's a big chunk of the venue's 2013 schedule, its Country Megaticket of big arena-country acts coming to Walnut Creek this year. Pre-sales start on Tuesday and prices range from $199 to $799.

Tim McGraw, Brantley Gilbert, Love and Theft (May 4)
Kenny Chesney, Eli Young Band, Kacey Musgraves (May 23)
Brad Paisley, Chris Young, Lee Brice (June 8)
Luke Bryan, Thompson Square, Florida Georgia Line (July 13)
Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Dustin Lynch (July 26)
Blake Shelton, Easton Corbin, Jana Kramer (Aug. 9)
Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley (Aug. 24)
Jason Aldean, Jake Owen, Thomas Rhett (Sept. 13)
Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry (Sept. 27)

Meanwhile, Durham Performing Arts Center has also unveiled a choice country-leaning booking: Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell with Richard Thompson Electric Trio, playing DPAC on March 30. If you don't get in on any of the pre-sales, tickets go on sale Jan. 25.

Scotty hopes his fans will come through for him again

Scotty McCreery is again hoping that his fans will come through for him in a national voting contest.

Starting today, voting began online for the Academy of Country Music’s “New Artist of the Year” Award. Scotty, the 18-year-old Garner High School senior, is one of three finalists competing for the prize.

The winner will be announced live on the 47th Academy of Country Music Awards on April 1 on CBS.

“The fans have been great to me when it comes to getting down and voting,” Scotty said in an interview last month.

Scotty gets another nomination and another gold record

Scotty McCreery, the reigning "American Idol" from Garner, has received a double dose of good news: he now has a second gold single and he's up for a second country music award.

"The Trouble With Girls," the second single from Scotty's album, "Clear As Day," was just certified as a gold record, meaning more than 500,000 copies shipped. Scotty's first single, "I Love You This Big," also went gold. The CD has reached both gold and platinum status. A platinum album has sold at least 1 million copies.

Scotty also learned that he is a nominee for New Artist of the Year at the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.

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