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Willie Nelson, Carrie Underwood Lead Country’s Weekend

Willie Nelson photo by David McClister, courtesy of Lost Highway.

Concerts, politics and awards were the order of the day.

Country music kicked off the final quarter of 2010 with some pretty special moments this past weekend, including iconic live dates by Carrie Underwood and Willie Nelson, a public vote involving Sammy Kershaw and an NFL appearance by Country Music Hall of Fame member Charley Pride.

Country’s big moments included:

• Farm Aid 25 was held Saturday in Milwaukee, where Willie Nelson’s duet partners included new “American Idol” judge Steven Tyler, who made a surprise appearance according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Norah Jones did a cover of Johnny Cash’s “Cry, Cry, Cry”; Kenny Chesney played with a pared-down, two-man band; and the bill included John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, Neil Young and the Randy Rogers Band.

• Carrie Underwood played the historic Hollywood Bowl for the first time in her career Saturday with her tour partners Billy Currington and Sons Of Sylvia. The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra augmented her band, and The Hollywood Reporter noted the show included one surprise guest: Randy Travis, who teamed with Carrie on “I Told You So.”

• Sammy Kershaw was on the ballot as voters in Louisiana went to the polls to pick a new lientenant governor Saturday. Sammy’s big campaign hook was his commitment to the position — he said he was the only candidate who had no aspirations to become governor. Alas, he finished third. According to WDSU-TV in New Orleans, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne received 28% of the vote, while attorney Caroline Fayard collected 24%. Sammy got 19%.

Tim McGraw received the True Ally Award when the Men Stopping Violence Awards were handed out Saturday in Atlanta.

• Charley Pride sang the national anthem Sunday before the Tennessee Titans football game at LP Field in Nashville. Charley didn’t bring any good luck with him for the team. The Denver Broncos took the game, 26-20.

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