ABC/Mark LevineBlake Shelton is giving back to children in need.
The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation, of which Blake is a board member, announced on Facebook that The Voice coach recently partnered with its Fostering Outdoor Oklahoma Families to spend time with children who are under foster care.
The country star invited a group of children to his farm in his home state of Oklahoma for what the organization calls a "pond to table" activity where Blake not only taught the children how to catch fish, but also how to fillet and fry them.
A series of photos shows Blake teaching one of the boys how to cast a line, while another shows him with a fishing rod in hand, posing with a young boy who proudly shows off his bass catch to the camera.
A group shot reveals that each of the boys caught a fish, which they excitedly hoist in the air to show Blake and the volunteers.
"Thank you, Blake for being so generous and taking time to invest in the children from your home state by showing them what outdoor Oklahoma is all about," the Foundation declares in the post.
The "God's Country" singer, who's a native of Tishomingo, joined the board of the OWCF in 2018. The foundation works to preserve the state's wildlife habitats.
Sony Music NashvilleKane Brown finds hope in the darkness in the video for his song, "Worldwide Beautiful."
The video opens with a post-apocalyptic scene of a town beset with destruction. While the adults are frozen in time, only the children are conscious of the plight around them, serving as a symbol of a unified future.
A couple wearing blindfolds as they stand in front of a TV screen broadcasting the news and a man staring down at his cell phone as the world burns around him are some of the symbolic messages embedded in the video.
But a young boy and girl tossing a globe to one another amid the destruction while others walk among a sweeping green meadow offer symbols of hope as Kane sings, "We ain't that different from each other/From one to another, I look around/And see worldwide beautiful."
The children then unite on the war-torn street, clasping hands as a pink flower blooms from the rubble, the camera panning to Kane as flowers begin to rapidly pop up around him, covering the carnage that was once there.
The video ends with Kane holding his 11-month-old daughter, Kingsley, in his arms, surrounded by all the other children in the street that's been turned into a beautiful garden.
"Worldwide Beautiful" is the second single off Kane's latest EP, Mixtape, Vol. 1.
Joseph LlanesThe COVID-19 pandemic can't stop Carrie Underwood from honoring a career-long tradition.
Over the weekend, the superstar singer turned to Instagram to share that she had paid a trip to Target to purchase a copy of her new album, My Gift. In light of the pandemic times, Carrie is posed inside the store wearing a black sparkling mask.
And while it was a different kind of CD-buying experience for the star, she assures that she did have a smile on under the face covering.
"As per tradition, had to go buy the CD at the store! As not per tradition, I had to wear a mask! I promise I’m smiling, though!" she writes alongside the snap, holding a copy of the album while standing next to an end cap display featuring the cover.
Underwood dropped My Gift, her first holiday album, on Friday. It features an appearance by her 5-year-old son, Isaiah, on "Little Drummer Boy."
Comstock/ThinkstockKaren Fairchild, one fourth of the beloved country group known for chart-topping hits like “Pontoon” and “Girl Crush,” is celebrating her 51st birthday today. Can you name the band? ANSWER: Little Big Town.
ABC/Image Group LASince returning to her longtime label, MCA Nashville, earlier this year, Reba McEntire's last two projects have been re-releases of her classic albums, 1994's Read My Mind, and 1990's Rumor Has It.
But Reba's not resting on her laurels. She's busy working on the follow-up to last year's Stronger Than the Truth.
"Right now, I'm looking for songs, and we're narrowing 'em down," she reveals. "I probably had fifty songs that I absolutely loved..."
"That's what we've been doing is really listening..." she continues. "And if there's a song that I kind of lose interest in, I will put it on the back burner for maybe later."
Even in a global pandemic, Reba says there's no shortage of songs in Nashville.
"The songwriters are hot right now," she observes. "There are so many great songs out there and so many people have taken this time and this opportunity to sit and write. Everybody's writing via Zoom, and they're getting along great with it."
That includes Reba herself.
"I go nine-hundred-mile-an-hour all day long," she explains. "I'm exhausted when I lay down. And I sleep really well. But I love life and I enjoy doing what I do. So I just rechannel that to try to be more creative. I've even written -- co-written -- a few songs."
In keeping with her positive outlook, Reba says we can expect a "happier album," which is perhaps a harbinger of the changes she hopes to see once we put COVID-19 in the past.
"I hope our new normal is a better new normal," she reflects. "I hope we're nicer, I hope we're kinder. I wish all this hate and anxiety would go away. I wish that would definitely go away. I want a better normal."
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockDanielle Bradbery recentlyunveiled her nostalgic new piano ballad, “Girls in My Hometown.”
All-vocal country group Home Free announced their upcoming holiday album, Warmest Winter, which is planned for release on November 6. The project includes “Christmas in Dixie,” a duet with legendary group Alabama.
Kent Blazy, the songwriter behind massive hits like Garth Brooks’ “Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)” and “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance,” has a new album out. Called Authentic, the 13-track project is available on the singer’s website now.
Texas Hill, the trio composed of Craig Wayne Boyd, Adam Wakefield and Casey James, shared their self-titled debut EP last week.
Rising country performer Filmore has released his full-length studio debut, Shape I’m In. The singer-songwriter co-wrote every one of the project’s 18 tracks.
Frazer Harrison/Getty ImagesFlorida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard is a dad again.
He and his wife Hayley tell People magazine that they welcomed their third child, Atlas Roy Hubbard, on September 24 in Nashville. He weighed in at 8 lbs 2 oz. and, the couple tells People, arrived over a week late.
"We were just convinced he was happy in his little hot tub, safe from 2020," they laugh.
As for the baby's unusual moniker, the couple explains, "Atlas stands for strength. For us, this name also represents our family's passion for travel and experiencing different cultures."
Tyler adds that the baby's middle name, Roy, was his father's name.
"[He] passed away when I was 20. Getting to name our son after him is so special to us," Tyler notes. "Atlas will carry on my dad's legacy and will always be a reminder of how well he loved everyone."
Atlas joins big sister Olivia, who's two-and-a-half, and big brother Luca, who's 13 months.
"Having three under three was not our plan but clearly it was God's plan, and now we can't imagine it any other way," the couple gushes. "Liv is so excited and ready to meet her baby brother."
And Tyler adds, "Also, I've said it before, and I'll say it again. My wife is a CHAMP. She's so strong and peaceful at the same time. With each delivery, I'm reminded not only of how amazing the birthing process is, but also how incredible women are for giving birth."
Rick Diamond/Getty ImagesLoretta Lynn shares a personal family story about addiction in a new Facebook post dedicated to her granddaughter, Tayla Lynn.
Tayla grew up in country music and was also formerly a member of country trio Stealing Angels, alongside Runaway June’s Jennifer Wayne and Caroline Hobby, who was then known by her maiden name, Cutbirth.
But Tayla also struggled with a painful addiction battle, something that Loretta says she witnessed firsthand.
“She put me through the wringer with her battle with addiction,” the country legend writes, along with a link to The Ties That Bind Us, a new interview series about musicians in recovery, on which Tayla's featured.
“This story is raw but it’s real," writes Loretta. "I’m so proud of her sobriety.”
Loretta has seen many friends and family members struggle with addiction over the years, including her own husband, Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn, whom Loretta called Doo.
“I’ve had a front-row seat to addiction a lot in my life. My Doo was my greatest fan and the mind behind all my success but he battled the bottle and it haunted us,” Loretta explains, going on to say that she's addressed that subject matter in her recent songwriting.
“The title track of my last album, ‘Wouldn’t It Be Great,’ is all about that,” Loretta notes. “Addiction imprisons the soul and robs your loved ones blind. It’s heartbreaking. A lot of families don’t want to talk about it but everybody I know has been impacted some way or another.”
Wouldn’t it Be Great, the 45th studio album of Loretta’s career, came out in 2018.
ABC/Mark LevineIt’s been several days since Keith Urban shared his tenth studio album, The Speed of Now Part 1, and the singer’s still reveling in fan reactions to his newest batch of tunes.
There’s plenty of variety across the project, from the fast-paced and fun-loving “Tumbleweed” to the lovestruck single “God Whispered Your Name,” but few songs go deeper than one track on the album, “Say Something.”
That song urges listeners to express themselves instead of burying their thoughts and feelings. While that could be interpreted as a call to social action, Keith says he had a more personal situation in mind when he wrote it.
“I thought about my dad. I was raised in a house with a father who was always like, ‘Ah, you know, just don’t rock the boat. Don’t speak out against things; just be quiet,’” the singer reflects to Rolling Stone. “I was raised like that, and that way of being was somewhat problematic in our family.”
As an adult, Keith married Nicole Kidman and the couple started a family of their own, with daughters Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret.
“...Our family now is very, very different on that front,” he continues, explaining that he feels a particular connection to the song’s line, “I don’t want to be like my father was / Scared to rock the boat but never speaking up / I want to live my truths wide open.”
The singer points out that even though he doesn’t consider himself a “jump-on-the-soapbox” person, he’s still learning all the time about how important it is to say the things that really matter.
“There are so many things I wish I’d said to my father and I didn’t get the chance before he died,” Keith reflects.
ABC/Image Group LAWillie Nelson is urging fans to make their voices heard this election season with the release of a patriotic new animated music video for his song, “Vote ‘Em Out.”
Joined by his sons Lukas and Micah on backing vocals, the country legend calls American citizens to action in the lyrics, reminding listeners of how important their right to vote truly is.
“If it’s a bunch of clowns you voted in / Election Day is comin’ round again,” Willie sings in the second verse of the song. “If you don’t like it now / If it’s more than you’ll allow / If you don’t like who’s in there, vote ‘em out...”
Willie first released this song in 2018, premiering it at an Austin, Texas rally for then-Democratic Senate nominee Beto O’Rourke. With the 2020 presidential election rapidly approaching, however, the song is more timely than ever.
The video for the song drops ahead of this year’s Farm Aid, which will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Willie’s Farm Aid partners Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp and Neil Young will all appear at this year’s event, as will a stacked array of guest performers including Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton and more. You can watch the event online and on AXS TV.
Mercury NashvilleBack when Chris Stapleton first broke into the mainstream in 2015, he grabbed fan attention with a genre-blending version of “Tennessee Whiskey” that added a hearty dose of soul and R&B to the country staple.
Chris’ guitar work on “Tennessee Whiskey” even tipped its hat to Etta James’ hit “I’d Rather Go Blind,” cementing the singer-songwriter’s status as a fan of soul music right out the gate. Now his love of soul and R&B takes center stage once more in his just-released “Cold.”
The mournful heartbreak ballad begins with only a somber piano line but builds as it progresses, culminating in dazzling vocal runs and an anguished, passionate guitar solo.
“Oh, why you got to be so cold? / Why you got to go and cut me like a knife? / Put our love on ice?” Chris sings in the chorus. “Oh, girl you know you left this hole / Right here in the middle of my soul / Oh, why you got to be so cold?
The song comes off of Starting Over, Chris’ forthcoming fourth studio project. The album’s not due out until November 13, but he's already shared its title track.
Of course, Chris has kept things pretty country, too. After all, he's a Kentucky native and former Steel Driver band mate who cut his teeth in the late ‘90s as a member of a Travis Tritt tribute band.
Jeremy Cowart/Shauna Dodds & Sarah Dodds/Backstage Design StudioGranger Smith returns this week with the release of Country Things Vol. 1, the eight-song first section of a new double album. It’s the singer’s tenth studio project to date, and he believes it’s also his best work yet.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to release new music! I’m so proud of these songs and the stories they reflect from my life. I really believe it’s my best album yet,” the singer says. “Roll the windows down and crank it up!”
Granger began working on this project back in early 2019, but everything changed for him after the unexpected drowning death of his 3-year-old son, River. In the wake of that tragedy, the singer ultimately returned to music-making with the perspective that writing the songs was a healing outlet.
Now, Country Things Vol. 1 is a spirited look into the singer’s family life, state of mind and, of course, love of all things country.
You can celebrate the album release with Granger tonight by tuning in to his virtual release party show, called Live at the Yee Yee Farm, on YouTube. The party starts at 6:15 PM CT; 15 minutes after Granger premieres the music video for the title track of his album, “Country Things.”
Sean Hagwell/Warner Music NashvilleMichael Ray stirs up some good old fashioned country heartbreak in his just-released single, “Whiskey and Rain.” It’s an ode to the classic, tear-in-your-beer breakup anthems of the ‘90s -- a resemblance the singer says is intentional.
“I miss story songs that you have to listen to all the way through to understand,” Michael reflects. “This song is everything I love about country music -- traditional country music, like Tim McGraw and Earl Thomas Conley, and I want to bring that back.”
In fact, Ray adds, songs like “Whiskey and Rain” inspired him to pursue country music in the first place.
“This is the music I originally came to Nashville to make, and I’m grateful to have this opportunity for fans to get to know me better as an artist,” the singer says.
In fact, Michael’s been getting back to his roots in more ways than one recently. The singer says that while off the road during the pandemic, he’s been spending some time in his hometown of Eustis, Florida, where he grew up in a family of musicians.
“If I start feeling real down, I just need to go down there for a few days to see everybody. I’ll get rejuvenated with my family. Something about being on that dirt just does a lot for me,” he reflects.
It’s been a tumultuous year in Michael’s personal life, too: This summer, he got divorced from fellow country star Carly Pearce after eight months of marriage.
Comstock/ThinkstockEight years ago today, this trailblazing female country star celebrated 50 years as a Grand Ole Opry Member. After rising from humble beginnings as a “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” this Butcher Holler, Kentucky native rose through the ranks to become one of country music's all-time greats. Can you name her? ANSWER: Loretta Lynn.
Foundry RecordsHitmaking ‘90s duo Shenandoah are putting out their first album of original material since 1994, and it’s a star-packed duets project.
This week, band mates Marty Raybon and Mike McGuire drew back the curtain on Every Road: A 10-song collection of original material that features appearances from some of the hottest artists of modern-day country music.
Luke Bryan, Ashley McBryde, Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley are just a few of the guests who collaborate with Shenandoah on a song for the album. Lady A lends their voices to a song that two of the trio’s members, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott, also co-wrote.
Brad Paisley offers his megawatt vocals on a song, too, and Carly Pearce and Cody Johnson both represent the contingent of up-and-coming performers who continue to carry the torch for traditional country music.
Every Road is due for release on November 13. Before it drops in full, you can get a listen to the project’s first single, “I’d Take Another One of Those,” which is the first track on the album and a duet with Zac Brown Band.
The album is available for pre-order now. Here’s the full track list:
“I’d Take Another One of Those” (with Zac Brown Band) “Make It Til Summertime” (with Luke Bryan) “If Only” (with Ashley McBryde) “Every Road” (with Dierks Bentley) “Then a Girl Walks In” (with Blake Shelton) “High Class Hillbillies” (with Cody Johnson) “Every Time I Look at You” (with Lady A) “Life Would Be Perfect” (with Brad Paisley) “I’ll Be Your Everything” (with Carly Pearce) “Boots on Broadway”
Joseph LlanesCarrie Underwood's first full-length holiday album, My Gift, arrives today, a full three months ahead of Christmas.
While John Legend joins her for the track "Hallelujah," there's no guest quite as special as her son, Isaiah Fisher, who's featured on his mom's version of "Little Drummer Boy."
"It was wonderful to have Isaiah be a part of what I love," Carrie reflects. "You know, having that moment, I was like, 'I don't know how he's gonna do. I don't know.'"
"He was super excited to be there," she adds. "If nothing else, [I thought], he'll have, like, a fun day seeing what mommy does."
Even before he turns six in February, Isaiah's already delivered an impressive performance behind the mic.
"It was such a great moment for me as a mom to have him share something that I really love to do," Carrie continues. "And he ended up being really great in the studio, which was just like, I was so proud."
Vinyl copies of My Gift will be available October 30, with Carrie's full-length special -- complete with a live orchestra and choir -- set to premiere this yuletide on HBO Max.
Carrie leads off a busy season of country stars putting out new holiday offerings in 2020, as Dolly Parton's A Holly Dolly Christmas follows on October 2, just ahead of Runaway June's When I Think About Christmas on October 16.
Buck Owens' A Merry Hee Haw Christmas also gets a 2020 re-release on November 13, showcasing the country classic, "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy."
Expect at least one more major holiday offering -- as well as some single tracks -- to be announced as well.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockAfter being part of The Time Jumpers since 2010, solo performer and current Eagles bandmate Vince Gill has left the group, Rolling Stone reports. After a pandemic-induced break from live performances, the Time Jumpers will return to the stage without Vince next month.
Country comedian and Hall of Famer Ray Stevens has announced the reopening of his West Nashville venue, CabaRay, on October 1. After being closed for several months due the pandemic, the showroom will reopen at limited capacity, with a socially-distanced table set-up.
ABC/Image Group LAWhen the 2020 CMT Music Awards nominees were announced earlier this week, Blanco Brown made the list twice with his viral 2019 smash, “The Git Up.”
The first-time CMT Awards nominee not only netted a mention in the Breakthrough Video of the Year category, but he also scored a nod in the event’s most coveted honor of the night: Video of the Year. He’s one of fourteen nominees in the latter category; that list will be whittled down to five fan-voted finalists by October 12.
Blanco’s accomplishments ahead of the awards show were particularly poignant due to recent events in the singer’s personal life. Early in September, he was hospital after being involved in a head-on motorcycle crash, and underwent a 12-hour surgery to address his injuries.
Fortunately, Blanco's now on the mend and expected to make a full recovery, but he was still recuperating in a hospital bed when word got out that he’s nominated at the CMT Awards. He posted footage on social media of the special moment when he found out he was in the running, as well as his first reaction to the news.
“Man, I tell you, I can’t even imagine that. CMT, I love y’all,” Blanco said, shaking his head in disbelief. “It’s a blessing. Especially, like...the family over there. It’s deeper than just a song. I mean, it’s a blessing, man.”
Blanco joked that he was going to have to find a way to celebrate, hospital-style. “Now I gotta go take a shot of water!” he said, grinning ear to ear.
The 2020 CMT Music Awards will air on Wednesday, October 21 at 8PM ET on CMT. You can vote for your favorite artists in all categories now through October 12 at 12PM ET.
Michael Hickey/Getty ImagesCanaanSmith finds a creative way to get over heartbreak in the music video for his latest single, “Colder Than You.”
In the clip, Canaan hightails it out into the woods to hide from a relationship gone bad, with only his pickup truck and some beer-brewing gear for company. Over the course of the video, we see Canaan mix together water, hops and so much more, ending up with a delicious beer that’s a surefire cure for heartache.
Filmed by a creek in a scenic stretch of Georgia near the Blue Ridge Mountains, the “Colder Than You” video combines two of the singer’s real-life passions: The outdoors and a delicious chilled beer. In fact, Canaan hints that the video’s subject matter is also a clue about at something to come that he’s got brewing off-camera.
It’s certainly not the first time that Canaan has celebrated the magic of a cold beer in his songs. Previously-released tunes include “Pour Decisions” and “Beer Drinkin’ Weather.” His latest tune was co-produced by Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley; Canaan is also signed to the duo’s Round Here Records.