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Published: Friday, 12/29/2006

Keith Urban back in the news

Keith Urban is apparently going to be testing that old saying that any publicity is good publicity. Since releasing his fourth album, "Love, Pain & the whole crazy thing," Urban has continued to rehab in a drug and alcohol clinic reportedly in the Nashville area.

On Wednesday, Urban appeared with wife Nicole Kidman at a private movie screening in Sydney. The couple was seen holding hands. Keith s publicist Paul Freundlich denied that the superstar had completed his rehab, only that he was in Australia for Christmas break.

Yesterday, Freundlich had a bigger controversy to deal with as a 23-year-old Nashville model alleged in a London newspaper that she had an affair with Urban until a month before his June wedding to Kidman.

Amanda Wyatt told London s The Mail that she met Urban at a Nashville bar in 2004. She admits looking for a one-night stand but claims the affair continued for almost two years.

Wyatt was paid for her interview with the paper. Freundlich claims the report is complete fiction.

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Country music fans will have the chance to get their fill of their favorite music on New Year s Eve. "A Nashville New Year with Sean Hannity" will be airing at 10 p.m. on Fox News Channel Sunday night.

Performances, from the Nashville Palace, will include Crystal Gayle, John Conlee, Van Zant, Heartland, John Stone, Josh Gracin, Hank Williams Jr., JoDee Messina, Collin Raye, Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin, and the Kentucky Headhunters.

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Faith Hill has recorded a duet with Aretha Franklin. The duet will be included on Franklin s upcoming album, "Aretha: A Woman Falling Out of Love," which will be released early next year.

Hill "was fabulous, just fabulous. She s a very nice lady," Franklin told Billboard magazine.

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One guy I m really excited about is Jason Michael Carroll. Carroll penned the current hit "Alyssa Lies," which is the heart-breaking story of an abused little girl. The single is skyrocketing toward the Top 10. Carroll performed the single at his debut at the Grand Ole Opry on Friday night. I love this guy s voice, and I m anxious to hear his album, "Waitin in the Country," which should be in stores on Feb. 6.

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Speaking of upcoming albums, there will be several new discs hitting stores soon. Ty Herndon returns with "Right About Now" on Jan. 9. Clint Black will be releasing "The Love Songs" on Jan. 23. On the same date, Tracy Lawrence will be releasing "For the Love." On Feb. 20, Carolyn Dawn Johnson will be returning to the country music spotlight as "Love & Negotiation" comes out, her first album on Equity Records. And I just got a copy of Blake Shelton s new CD, "Pure BS," which will be in stores on March 27. Blake definitely shows off a more tender side, but his fans are going to love it.

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Noted Nashville songwriter Dennis Linde has died of a rare lung disease at the age of 63. Linde wrote Elvis Presley s last big hit, "Burning Love," and the Dixie Chicks "Goodbye Earl."



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