OFFSTAGE: Kellie & Hoda Wake Up With Jack & Ernest

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that's happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Nothing like a little Jack Daniel's on live television to get your morning off to an incredible start. And Kellie Pickler was just the girl to explain that to Hoda Kotb on Friday's (March 23) Today show. Kotb was telling her that all her country co-hosts from the week who wanted a drink during the broadcast wanted Jack Daniel's. What's up with that, right? "I mean, have you had it?" Pickler asked Kotb. "It's smooth ... a little Tennessee whiskey. Cheers, by the way." After the toast, they talked shoes, co-writing with Taylor Swift and marriage. Then Ernest Tubb. Because when Kotb asked Pickler to hear her cell phone's ringtone, she played it: a scratchy recording of Tubb's 1941 "Walking the Floor Over You." Pickler admitted, "I like me some old-school country." To prove it, she went on to sing a bit of Kitty Wells' 1952 hit "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels." Even that early in the morning and after a few sips of Jack, Pickler still sounded like a honk-tonk angel.

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