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Country Music News

Zack MasseyLuke Combs has scored his 10th consecutive #1 single with "Better Together." 

The romantic song tops the Billboard Country Airplay chart this week, continuing the superstar's #1 streak with previous singles including "Even Though I'm Leaving," "Does to Me" featuring Eric Church and "Lovin' On You."

This marks the first time an artist has accumulated 10 straight #1 hits on the chart. 

Additionally, Luke's sophomore album, What You See Is What You Get, was recently certified double platinum by the RIAA.

"Better Together" is one of five new songs featured on the deluxe edition of the album, What You See Ain't Always What You Get, which debuted at #1 on the all-encompassing Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts after its October 2020 release. 

The success of "Better Together" comes after "Forever After All" debuted at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, earning Luke the distinction of having the highest entrance for a male country solo artist in the chart's history. 

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABCIngrid Andress is making her Ellen debut next week. 

The singer will perform her current single "Lady Like," the title track of her debut album, on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on January 25. 

“‘Lady Like’ is one of the most personal songs I have ever written,” Ingrid describes. "To me, being ladylike is about courage, strength, compassion, leadership and love. I encourage each and every one of you to find out what it means to you too, because at the end of the day, I believe we could all stand to be a little more ladylike.”

Additionally, Ingrid ties with Miranda Lambert as the most-nominated country artist at the 2021 Grammy Awards, scoring nods for Best Country Album, Best Country Song for her chart-topping debut hit "More Hearts Than Mine" and is the only country act in the all-genre category of Best New Artist.   

The Ellen show airs weekdays in syndication. 

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Valerie Macon/Getty ImagesIn honor of her 75th birthday, Dolly Parton has a special birthday wish: kindness. 

The music superstar has been flooded with well-wishes on her milestone birthday, taking to Instagramto show her appreciation by sharing a glowing throwback photo of herself with big hair and a smile to match, alongside a heartfelt message. 

"Thank you for all of the love on my birthday. This year my wish is a call for kindness. We can’t just hope for a brighter day, we have to work for a brighter day," she expresses. "Love too often gets buried in a world of hurt and fear. We have to work to dig it out so we can share it with our family, our friends and our neighbors. So today, January 19th, let’s get to unearthing love." 

Those wishing the icon a happy birthday range from Maren Morris to Jimmy Fallon

"Will never be over her pulling me in. Happy birthday, @DollyParton," Maren writes next to a video of The Highwomen singing with Dolly backstage at the 2019 Newport Folk Festival. 

"Happy birthday to the country queen. I hope I can be a tiny fraction of what you mean to country music & the world," shares Carly Pearce

"It’s @DollyParton’s birthday and I am totally wigging out!!!" Jimmy quips alongside a clip of Dolly appearing on The Tonight Show, while Reese Witherspoon praises, "Your bright spirit and passion for helping others shines through in everything you do. Thank you for always inspiring me to DREAM MORE! I love you forever."

This year my birthday wish is a call for kindness. We can’t just hope for a brighter day, we have to work for a brighter day. Love too often gets buried in a world of hurt and fear. So today, January 19th, let’s get to unearthing love ❤️ https://t.co/CTShxNkbRq pic.twitter.com/0UFiMCyM9D

— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) January 19, 2021

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Chris HolloBlake Shelton and Brad Paisley are teaming up for a special event honoring the Grand Ole Opry's 95th anniversary. 

The Opry members will co-host Grand Ole Opry: 95 Years of Country Music, a retrospective that celebrates the iconic show by featuring vintage clips and behind-the-scenes stories. 

The special also unites veteran and contemporary artists who are part of the Opry's history performing some of their biggest hits, along with covers of country classics from Opry members. Interviews and other appearances from artists in various stages of their careers will also be featured 

The two-hour event airs on February 14 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC -- the same week that Blake celebrates his 10th year as an Opry member and Brad recognizes his 20th anniversary. 

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABCLuke Combs is combining his love of music and NASCAR with a headlining performance at the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show next month, serving as the kick-off event for the NASCAR Cup Series and the 63rd annual The Great American Race. 

“I grew up watching the NASCAR race every Sunday with my granddad; that was our thing. I never could have imagined back then that I’d be playing the Daytona 500 one day, so this is super awesome and is something I’m really looking forward to," Luke says in a statement. 

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Luke will perform for a limited, socially-distanced audience at the Daytona International Speedway in Florida. Other safety protocols include mandatory face coverings, non-contact temperature checks, and hand sanitizing stations set up throughout the venue. 

Keith Urban, Luke Bryan and Darius Rucker are among the other country artists who have performed at the Daytona 500 Pre-Race Show. 

The pre-show event will air on February 14 on Fox at 2:30 p.m. ET.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABCEric Church is teaming up with R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan to perform the national anthem at the 2021 Super Bowl. 

The NFL announced on Tuesday that the singers are joining forces for the first time to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" ahead of Super Bowl LV, taking place at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida next month. Jazmine is known for hit singles "Need U Bad" and "Bust Your Windows" and has been nominated for multiple Grammy Awards.

Eric follows in the footsteps of fellow country star Luke Bryan, who performed the national anthem at the 2017 Super Bowl. Past anthem performers also include Beyoncé, Whitey Houston, Lady Gaga,Mariah Carey and more. 

Additionally, R&B singer-songwriter H.E.R. will perform "America the Beautiful" during the pregame festivities.  The Weeknd will headline the Super Bowl halftime show. 

Super Bowl LV will air globally on CBS on February 7 beginning at 6 p.m. ET. 

GRAMMY-nominated artists @ericchurch and @jsullivanmusic will join us in Tampa Bay to sing the National Anthem at Super Bowl LV!

GRAMMY-award winning artist @HERMusicx will sing America the Beautiful.

Tune-in on Feb 7 to the Super Bowl on CBS Kick-Off Show at 6pm ET pic.twitter.com/mh1Y8fjgpV

— NFL (@NFL) January 19, 2021

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Capitol Records Nashville Carrie Underwood is releasing her gospel album, My Savior, on March 26. 

The album, which features a variety of traditional hymns Carrie grew up singing, is co-produced by the singer and Cry Pretty co-producer David Garcia.

In a trailer for the project, Carrie refers to the songs as "legacy stuff," and says she was intentional about doing "the familiar" in terms of covering the songs she was raised on in church.

"These songs are like a warm hug," Carrie says in the trailer video over footage of her in the studio, along with a clip of her and husband Mike Fisher singing with friends on the porch swing of their home.

The superstar adds that she's excited to connect with others who also grew up singing these songs, and to introduce them to a new generation.

"Hymns and gospel music have shaped me as an artist because those were the first things I sang. I think that was just a great foundation for me now as an artist," she reflects.   

My Savior will also be released on vinyl on April 30.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Big Machine RecordsTim McGraw and Tyler Hubbard are bringing a message of unity to Inauguration Day. 

The singers are teaming up for a performance of "Undivided" on the special Celebrating America, a televised special part of Wednesday's Inauguration Day festivities. Tim made the announcement on Instagram, calling the performance an "honor."

"What an honor it will be to get to share such an important message during such a historical moment in time," adds Tyler.   

The special, hosted by Tom Hanks, serves as a celebration of soon-to-be President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris after they're sworn into office, and they will make appearances throughout. It will also spotlight essential workers, teachers and other personnel on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other performers include Jon Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake and Demi Lovato

"Through different segments and performances, the program will highlight the strength of our democracy, the perseverance of our people, and our ability to come together during trying times and emerge stronger than ever before," according to a statement by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. 

Celebrating America airs at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC. 

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Comstock/ThinkstockOn this day in 1946, this global icon known for such hits as "9 to 5" and "Jolene" was born in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Today, she celebrates her 75th birthday. Can you guess who it is? ANSWER: Dolly Parton.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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8 Ten, Inc.On Wednesday, Garth Brooks will perform alongside Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez, at the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. 

The seven-time CMA Entertainer of the Year made the announcement during a news conference on Monday, after taking the weekend to consider the possibility after "a very sweet ask" during a phone call with future First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

"The main message they're pushing is unity," Garth says. "That's right down my alley, man, because I think if we're gonna get anywhere, we're gonna get there together."

The Oklahoma native has performed for every U.S. President since his close friend, Jimmy Carter, with the exception of Ronald Reagan

Garth also revealed he'd been asked to sing at the 2016 inauguration of President Donald Trump as well, though he "couldn't fulfill that one because we had already had dates in Cincinnati set there."

Garth didn't unveil what he plans to perform, but did confirm it likely won't be his classic, "We Shall Be Free," since he previously sang it at President Barack Obama's inaugural. 

While seeming to indicate his own political persuasion, Garth went on to make it clear that he and the Biden administration share a common goal. 

"I might be the only Republican at this place, but it's reaching across, loving one another, because that's what's going to get us through probably the most divided times that we have [ever had]," he reflected. "I want the divided times to be behind us."

"I want to be able to differ in opinion and hug each other at the same football game. Right?" he asked. 

ABC's Inauguration Day coverage is set to kick off at 7 a.m. ET on Wednesday, with the ceremony itself slated to begin at noon. 

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockWillie Jones has released his new single "American Dream" that serves as a patriotic protest anthem against racial injustice. The song is featured on Willie's debut album, Right Now, that will be released on Friday. 

Author and country singer Billy Dawson has unveiled the video for his song, "Unite." He's also partnered with Meridian Senior Living in Maryland to launch the YouTube series "Seniors & Songwriters" next month, where he interviews seniors about their life stories. 

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Disney Channel/Image Group LACarrie Underwood is set to perform as part of gospel singer CeCe Winans' upcoming livestream concert. 

The powerhouse country star is uniting with the multi-Grammy Award winning gospel singer, Tauren Wells and CeCe's brother Marvin Winans for "An Evening of Thanksgiving with CeCe Winans." 

"There is so much going on in the world, and we could all use a night to forget about all of the chaos," CeCe says about the faith-based event that will feature performances of worship songs, in addition to surprise guests. CeCe refers to the event as a celebration of the "season of gratitude."

Fans can purchase tickets for the livestream now. It airs on February 21 at 8 p.m. ET on Compassion Live. 

"I’m so excited to be a part of this livestream concert with Gospel music LEGEND @CeCeWinans," Carrie writes on Twitter 

Carrie will also step into gospel territory with her upcoming album My Savior that sees her covering hymns that she grew up singing. The album is set for release around Easter.  

I’m so excited to be a part of this livestream concert with Gospel music LEGEND @CeCeWinans on Sunday, February 21 at 7pm CT! #AnEveningOfThanksgiving https://t.co/GOR6xJgbF2

— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) January 15, 2021

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Warner Music NashvilleDan Shay are so excited that they may not be going to sleep anytime soon: Their latest single "I Should Probably Go To Bed" claims the #1 spot on the country charts this week.

This makes for the duo's fifth consecutive #1 hit and eighth overall, following in the footsteps of "Tequila," "Speechless," "All to Myself" and "10,000 Hours" featuring Justin Bieber

"We’re honestly so happy about this we could cry. We poured our hearts and souls into making this song at home during quarantine, and to see country radio our fans embrace it has truly meant the world," the twosome rave on Twitter.

"Huge thanks to everyone who made ISPGTB the #1 song this week!," they add.

The track was co-written by the duo and pop songwriters Jason Evigan and Sean Douglas and was produced solely by Dan. It also reached #1 on the Billboard Country Digital Songs Sales chart following its July 2020 release.  

Additionally, the duo is nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance at the Grammy Awards for "10,000 Hours." 

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Gavin BondLuke Bryan has already found a stellar voice on the upcoming season of American Idol. 

In a series of trailers for the reality competition show's fourth season -- now available on People.com -- Luke can be seen dancing along to an audition and excitedly clapping in approval at the end of another;  He and fellow judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie are also seen cheering in unison, "You're going to Hollywood!" to multiple contestants. 

"You have my favorite voice in the competition," the country star tells one of the aspiring singers. 

Additionally, the three judges recite famous music-themed quotes from icons like Stevie Wonder and Kenny Rogers: Luke quotes words of wisdom from Johnny Cash

"You can choose love or hate, I choose love," Luke says. 

This marks Luke's third year as a judge on the revival of the popular show. The new season of American Idol premieres on February 14 on ABC. 

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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J. Kempin/FilmMagicGarth Brooks is performing at the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris

Garth announced Monday that he will be singing on-site at the swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. alongside previously announced artists including Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez

Garth calls the opportunity a "chance to serve" and "not a political statement, a statement of unity." 

The country superstar also performed at President Barack Obama's inauguration in 2008, where Biden was sworn in as vice president.

Garth didn't share what he'll sing but did say that it likely won't be "We Shall Be Free," because that's what he sang at Obama's inauguration. 

The inauguration ceremony takes place at noon ET on Wednesday, two weeks after rioters stormed the Capitol building on January 6, resulting in five deaths and extensive damage.

By Stephen Hubbard & Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Americana MusicLoretta Lynn has received the COVID-19 vaccine. 

The 88-year-old music icon revealed on Instagram over the weekend that she and her daughter, Peggy Jean, were administered the vaccine at a local health facility in Tennessee. 

"Well, I bundled up and Peggy Jean and I rolled out of Hurricane Mills so I could get this vaccine. I’m sure glad to get it and am sure ready to put Covid in the rear view mirror!And I enjoyed the mom daughter time, too!" Loretta wrote alongside a set of photos where she's all smiles in her winter wear, along with a close-up of her "I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine!" sticker. 

Loretta isn't the only country legend who's been vaccinated. Family Hospital Systems shared a photolast week of Willie Nelson getting his shot.   

On the music front, the "Coal Miner's Daughter" singer is releasing her new album, Still Woman Enough, on March 19, featuring collaborations with Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and more. 

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABCGabby Barrett and her husband, Cade Foehner, are days away from welcoming their first child, and Gabby admits that the third trimester has "definitely been the hardest" of her pregnancy.

In addition to mood swings, the country chart-topper is also experiencing fatigue, with daily activities such as tidying up the house exhausting her energy. 

"I can't do normal things that I want to do. I get so tired so quickly. I want to clean the house and make sure everything's so clean, but it's so hard to bend down and it's hard to roll over when you sleep," she explains to People

In spite of the inconveniences, welcoming a baby girl is a lifelong dream come true for the country star, who met her husband when they both competed on season 16 of American Idol. 

"I always wanted to be a mom. It was something that was always ingrained in me from a very young age. I remember being in high school and I would always pray about my future spouse and my future kids," Gabby recalls. "I just can't wait to see what she looks like. It's insane to me that we are literally right around the corner from this; that she's coming very soon."

Gabby is due later this month. 

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Trae Patton/NBCBlake Shelton admits that he put on several pounds because of quarantine and lockdown.  However, he says he's not trying to quickly lose the weight because of a New Year's resolution -- he wants to look good for his big wedding to Gwen Stefani.

The "God's Country" singer recently confessed to pal Luke Bryan on Apple Music that his waistline expanded during the pandemic and now he's working hard to melt off that quarantine weight.

His current goal is to shed about 20 pounds and, when asked about his chances, the Grammy-nominee asserted, "I feel like if I say 10, I have to do it... So 10. It’s out there now. I can’t let people down."

As for how he's psyching himself up for his new diet, Shelton touched upon his unconventional methods to boost his self esteem. 

"I’ve readjusted all the mirrors in the house, so they look like when you’re taking a selfie from up above, because I can’t even stand to look at myself in the mirror," Shelton admitted. "So I’ve rearranged them where they’re kind of angled down, looking down on me, so I’m looking up and it’s not so bad."

Previously, Shelton joked with Ellen DeGeneres in September that he feels like he "gained 117 pounds" while hunkering down at his Oklahoma ranch.  

While Shelton nor Stefani have revealed when they intend to walk down the aisle, Bryan tried to get his buddy to name him best man.

"You know I told you earlier that I'm not good at saying no," Shelton huffed. "Perhaps I'll just blame this on COVID, again, and say, well, I don't know, Luke. Maybe we're just going to have a private ceremony."

Shelton and Stefani publicly announced their engagement in late October.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Comstock/ThinkstockThirty-four years ago this week, one of the biggest stars in country was officially inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. She’s still a regular performer there, and her Opry shows thankfully go a lot smoother than her first-ever visit to the hallowed stage. At seven years old, during her first trip to the Opry as a fan, she got sick during the show, ran outside and threw up on the steps. Do you know who she is? ANSWER: Reba McEntire.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABCMorgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album, which boasts a whopping 30 tracks, is the new leader of the Billboard 200.

This is the country singer's first number one album.  His 2018 debut If I Know Me peaked at number 13.

Dangerous, which dropped January 8, moved an impressive 265,000 units in its first week, amounting to the album's songs being streamed 240.18 million times.  In addition, the album moved 74,000 physical copies in stores and was downloaded 50,000 times, reports Billboard.

The album has scored the best reception since Carrie Underwood's Cry Pretty, which came out in 2018.  Cry Pretty moved 266,000 units in its first week of release.

Dangerous is also the 11th country album in music history to hit number one on the Billboard 200.

Not only is Wallen's sophomore effort his first chart-topper, it also smashed several streaming records.

By accomplishing over 240 million streams in its first week, Dangerous blows past the previous record held by Luke Combs to become country music's top streaming album.

Combs' What You See Is What You Get notched 102.26 million streams in a week, which is less than half of Wallen's record-breaker.

Billboard acknowledged that Wallen's 30-track outing helped secure the accomplishment, but found that Dangerous's 18 least-listened to tracks racked up 105.08 million streams -- still more than what Combs' What You See had.

In addition, Wallen notches the third-largest streaming week for a non-R&B or hip hop album -- following Ariana Grande's Thank U, Next and Taylor Swift's Folklore.

Overall, Dangerous holds the title for the 22nd largest streaming week ever and boasts the ninth-best week for any album in the past 12 months.

Wallen, 27, previously announced a "little hiatus" to focus on raising his six-month-old son, Indigo Wilder.


By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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