ABC AudioCarrie Underwood was in tears Friday afternoon at Country Radio Seminar as she received a Platinum album for her most recent release Cry Pretty, which she co-produced.
"This means a lot, 'cause I feel like this is the project that I've done, and the album that I've done, that is the most 'me,'" Carrie said through sobs, as two executives from her record label gave her the giant plaque.
"And the fact that you guys were there supporting the whole way and didn't laugh at me when I said I wanted to produce, and were equally as excited about these songs as I was...just, thank you," she continued. "I'm honored and I'm humbled and God is good."
The presentation came at the end of a sit-down interview Carrie did called Finding Your Path, whose name was inspired by the title of her upcoming book Find Your Path. She discussed her artistry, her role as a leader in the music industry, and her personal life, including how she manages to juggle country superstardom with being a wife and mother of two. Bottom line: Her husband Mike is super-supportive and, she says, "We figure it out."
Carrie also revealed her secret musical passion: heavy metal. She confessed to listening to Ozzy Osbourne's new album before taking the stage on Friday, and recalled attending concerts by Hole, Green Day and Slipknot as a teenager.
Carrie also described going to a recent Guns N' Roses concert, where she watched from the audience, rather than in a special VIP box.
"It was one of the best nights of my life," she raved. "I was losing my mind -- and it was amazing, amazing, amazing!"
Of course, for anyone who remembers Carrie coveringMotley Crue's "Home Sweet Home" for the American Idol farewell song one year, this won't come as a surprise.
Sara HertelLeAnn Rimes donned Western wear and headed to a saloon-themed Gruene, Texas photo studio for the latest installment of her LovE Sessions. The singer’s newest cover performance taps pop singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved.”
The breakup ballad’s subject matter may tug on the heartstrings, but LeAnn says she was equally inspired by Lewis’ goofball sense of humor.
“It’s such a beautiful song! Definitely one of my favorites that’s come out in the last few years,” LeAnn says of “Someone You Loved.” “I adore Lewis Capaldi’s voice, but I adore his wacky sense of humor just as much. So, in honor of not only a great song, but the pure entertainment he brings to the world, we thought we’d take this video down a little cheeky path.”
LeAnn’s LovE Sessions celebrates the month of love with a new release every Friday. Each week, the singer covers one of her favorite love songs. Though LeAnn’s known best for her country roots, she explores far beyond her home genre, putting her own spin on songs by the likes of Billie Eilish and Selena Gomez. Previous installments of the LovE Sessions were filmed at her home, but this time around, she recorded “Someone You Loved” while on Tour in Texas.
Round Here RecordsRaeLynn’s bold new release, “Keep Up,” is an attitude-packed anthem for country girls who know how to work, play and party every bit as hard as their male counterparts. The singer also dropped a music video to match, which encapsulates the same high-energy fun.
“I want women to take away from ‘Keep Up’ that they can be just as rowdy as the guys can!” the singer explained to ET Online. “This is the country girl anthem that we need. From the moment I wrote ‘Keep Up,’ I had a vision for a fun video that incorporates my personality and all the bright colors.”
In bringing that vision to life, RaeLynn enlisted plenty of sequins, some serious dance moves and even a cameo from her husband, Josh.
RaeLynn co-wrote her latest song with Corey Crowder, Steven Lee Olsen and Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard. She recently signed to FGL’s newly-formed, artist-helmed label, Round Here Records, and has since been busily plotting her next musical chapter.
“Keep Up” is the second song she’s dropped since becoming a Round Here Records artist; the new tune follows the empowering breakup anthem “Bra Off,” a quirky and fun-loving tune that celebrates getting out of a relationship that just didn’t fit right.
Legacy RecordingsCountry legend Willie Nelson will drop the 70th solo studio album of his career, First Rose of Spring, on April 24. The new release comes right before the singer’s 87th birthday on April 29.
In addition to a variety of original material, Willie will tip his hat to a series of other iconic artists in the track list of his new project. The record includes a rendition of Toby Keith’s “Don’t Let the Old Man In,” Billy Joe Shaver’s “We Are the Cowboys” and Pete Graves’ “Just Bummin’ Around,” a tune that’s also been recorded by the likes of Dean Martin and Jimmy Dean.
As well as sampling some favorite cover tunes, Willie also called on a couple of notable artists to help him write the material on First Rose of Spring. For example, Randy Houser co-wrote the project’s title track.
Fans can hear that track right away, as Willie released the song and its accompanying music video when he announced his new album.
First Rose of Spring was produced by Willie’s longtime collaborator Buddy Cannon, who also co-wrote several of the songs with the country legend.
The new album is in keeping with a pattern for Willie, who has consistently put out at least one album every year since 2016. The new release follows his 2019 project, Ride Me Back Home.
Warner Music NashvilleTucker Beathard returns with an emotional new power ballad that’s all about the pain of still caring about someone who no longer cares for you.
Called “You Would Think,” the song describes a breakup that ends on one-sided terms -- but Tucker says that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s about a romantic relationship.
“We all had different impressions of it while we were writing it,” he tells American Songwriter. “I was under the impression that it was talking about a kid and his relationship to his father. We kept it open to interpretation and we didn’t specify what we were talking about.”
Speaking of fathers, one of Tucker’s co-writers for “You Would Think” was his own dad, Nashville songwriting legend Casey Beathard. By this point in Tucker’s career, the father-son duo have plenty of experience writing together, and the singer says they’re typically able to set aside their personal dynamic when they head into the writing room.
“You Would Think” comes off the upcoming second chapter of Tucker’s debut album. The first half of the project, Nobody’s Everything, dropped in 2018.
It’s also the first song Tucker has shared since his younger brother Clayton was killed in a bar stabbing in Nashville last December. The singer’s relationship with his brothers has previously been the subject of his songwriting, too, and in the wake of Clayton’s death, Tucker posted a clip of his song “Brother” on social media as a tribute.
Rick DiamondThe King of Country Music has a new stadium show on the books: George Strait will headline the University of Notre Dame’s stadium in South Bend, Indiana on August 15. It’s an unbeatable lineup for country fans, with Brothers Osborne and Chris Stapleton set to open for the legendary performer.
The newly announced show is one of a handful George is planning for August of 2020. He recently shared plans for a stadium show in Minneapolis; Chris is also serving as direct support for that show, along with Little Big Town. After that, at the end of the month, George will head to Las Vegas for two more dates of his Strait to Vegas residency.
Notre Dame is a particularly memorable venue for country fans, as it was the site of Garth Brooks' first stop on his stadium tour in October of 2018. Garth’s performance was the first-ever concert to take place in the stadium, which seats over 80,000 people.
So far this year, George has delivered three performances, all of which have sold out. He's offered limited touring engagements since concluding his Cowboy Rides Away farewell tour in 2014.
Tickets for the South Bend, Indiana show go on sale March 6 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Diego PerníaThey may still be in the middle of their 2020 The Owl Tour, but the Zac Brown Band is already expanding on their upcoming summer plans. The group revealed five new tour stops on their 2020 Roar with the Lions run, as well as an exciting new pair of openers.
Longstanding live favorites Old Crow Medicine Show will join the trek for two newly announced shows in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio and Noblesville, Indiana on September 10 and 11, respectively.
Following that, ZBB have tacked three California dates onto the end of their tour, on October 23, 24 and 25. Rising country hitmaker Riley Green will join them for those stops, taking place in Chula Vista, Los Angeles and Mountain View.
Tickets for the just-announced dates go on sale next Friday at 12PM local time. However, members of ZBB's Zamily Fan Club will have access to a pre-sale beginning on February 25. Find more info and a complete list of tour dates at ZacBrownBand.com.
Warner Music Nashville After teasing new music for several weeks and even sharing the title of his next single, Kenny Chesney’s next tune is finally available for us to hear.
“Here and Now” is the name of the song, which serves as an uptempo reminder of the importance of staying present in the moment.
Kenny and his co-writers, including “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” duet partner David Lee Murphy, wrote the song "Here and Now" while sharing cold drinks, soaking up the sun and telling stories about life.
“This song kind of blew my mind,” Kenny says. “The chorus is everything I feel about that time onstage with No Shoes Nation...that rush of it absolutely being the best place, best moment in the entire world. There’s no rush like it.”
"Here and Now's" release comes just two days after Kenny accepted the Country Radio Seminar Humanitarian Award in honor of all the causes he’s supported over the years, such as his work to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The song doubles down on the singer’s message of making the world a better place -- and savoring every moment along the way.
“There is so much in the world we can’t change,” Kenny declares. “You can get so caught up in that, you miss your life. I can’t save the world, but I can make music that makes people happy, play shows that let them forget their problems for an evening -- and occasionally cut a song that maybe reminds all of us what we ought to be embracing.”
Comstock/ThinkstockOn this day in 1958, one particularly rough-and-tumble country legend was transferred to San Quentin Prison after a failed attempt to break out of Bakersfield Jail. Do you remember who it was? ANSWER: Merle Haggard.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockAmericana legend John Prine announced that he’ll be taking a break from touring in order to recover from a hip injury. A post on the singer’s Instagram explained why John’s taking some time off the road, adding that he’ll be back in time for Merle Fest in late April.
Eric Church, Shooter Jennings and more are featured in a new documentary, Chasing Whiskey -- the Untold Story of Jack Daniels. The new film is a deep dive into the history and making of Jack Daniels whiskey. The documentary will be available in select cinemas for one night only on May 11.
Kree Harrison’s new single, “Make it Easy,” is out today. Her sophomore album, Chosen Family Tree, is due out on June 12, 2020.
ABC/Image Group LACongratulations are in order for Frankie Ballard and his wife, Christina who welcomed their daughter Pepper Lynn on February 8.
The couple shared the exciting news in a heartfelt Instagram post on Thursday alongside an adorable photo of a tiny leather jacket embellished with a pink rose, pink floral scarf and uber-cute stuffed animal.
"God gave us a DAUGHTER," she wrote. "@frankieballard I’ll never forget this unbelievable day with you and how my heart grew a schimillion times watching you hold our baby girl."
"Thank you Jesus for my sweet family of 3. My cup is running over and full to the brim. Pepper Lynn you’re a precious angel and beautiful gift from Heaven and I love being your Mommy Cue all the tears," she added.
The first-time parents, who married in March 2017, revealed they were expecting in November. At the time, the "Sunshine & Whiskey" singer had a hard time finding the words to describe how he was feeling about finding out that he would become a father but eventually he spit out, "Shock-tacular, grateful, awe."
"This is our first baby in here," Ballard told People while on the red carpet at the 2019 CMA Awards. "We’ve been excited to become parents for a long time... to have our growing little family is a dream come true."
ABC AudioEric Church doesn't do things like everyone else, and nothing underscores that like the way he created the songs for his new album.
Wearing regular glasses instead of his signature shades, The Chief gave the keynote address at Country Radio Seminar in Nashville on Thursday. The theme was "Chasing Creativity," and he certainly did that with his new project.
"It was time to do something nuts," he admitted.
To that end, Eric and his band took over a restaurant in the mountains of North Carolina that's closed in the winter, moved all their recording gear in, and set a goal of writing and recording 28 songs in 28 days.
"I would write a song in the morning, and we'd cut it that night," he explained. "For me, it's as far out there as I've gotten. But I think by getting that far out there, it really opened up some really great stuff, 'cause I was really locked in creatively: My antenna was up."
"Looking back on what came out of it, it was exactly what had to happen," he explained. "Everybody had to be uncomfortable, including the producer, the band, the writers...they had no clue what they were in for. I think all that is what made it great."
Asked how many of those 28 songs are actually good, Eric said he's trying to determine that now, but he thinks, "a lot."
He then played one of the songs, which is either called "Jenny" or "Jenny Let's Go." He explained that it was inspired by the people who kept on telling him during the recording process that the generator -- which they called a "genny" -- wasn't working.
No word on when we can expect Eric's new music, which will be the follow-up to 2018's Desperate Man.
ABC AudioCarrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan and Reba McEntire, all on the same bill? That's what fans got to enjoy Thursday during Country Radio Seminar, as the UMG record label group hosted its 11th annual luncheon and performance event at Nashville's iconic Ryman Auditorium.
Each year, the label group takes over the venue to showcase its lineup of superstars and rising acts. The show usually ends with a performance from a surprise artist, and this time it was Reba.
The country legend has re-signed with MCA Records, the label on which she scored many of her biggest hits, and marked the occasion Thursday by singing her 1984 number one hit "How Blue," as well as "And Still" and "Fancy."
Carrie Underwood had never taken part in the Ryman event, so fans were thrilled to see her step onstage. She sang a song which she hadn't performed on her current tour because, she said, it's so personal: "Spinning Bottles" from her Cry Pretty album.
Last year at this event, Keith Urban premiered his song "We Were" and on Thursday, he premiered another new song, "God Whispered Your Name." And since Carrie was in the house, of course Keith brought her out to sing their hit duet "The Fighter" -- and the audience went wild.
Luke Bryan nearly took the stage without his band, who showed up at the last minute due to, of all things, parking problems. He performed the title track of his upcoming album Born Here Live Here Die Here.
Dierks Bentley's 90s parody group Hot Country Knights opened the show with "Pick Her Up," complete with mullet wigs, sunglasses, cut off midriff shirts and super-tight jeans. Dierks actually reached into the fly of his jeans and pulled out a flute, which he then played -- or pretended to play.
Here's who else played what at the event:
Sam Hunt: A new song from his Southside album, "2016"
Jon Pardi: "Ain't Always the Cowboy," from Heartache Medication
Brothers Osborne: A bluesy new song which may be called "Skeletons"
Kip Moore: "She's Mine," in a medley with another song which may be called "Janie Blue"
Travis Denning: "Abby" (which stands for "Any body but you")
Chris HolloReba McEntiredropped a huge surprise on fans today: She is returning to Universal Music Group Nashville, her original label home, which is where she spent the first 32 years of her career.
Reba spent time with both Mercury and MCA Records, two of the four labels that form UMG. It’s been over a decade since she released an album through the platform: Her most recent project with UMG was her 50 Greatest Hits album, which dropped in 2008.
In the meantime, though, the singer has kept busy, putting out her most recent album, 2018’s Stronger Than the Truth, via Big Machine Records.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to be back with the family where I started,” says Reba, who celebrated 33 chart-topping singles during her time with UMG. “I am thrilled because my catalogue is here at Universal and I’m really excited to revisit all the songs that I recorded many years ago. We’re going to have a lot of fun.”
To that end, Reba’s hitting the road. On March 20, she’ll embark on her first headlining arena tour since 2011. Rising artist Caylee Hammack will join as opening support for the country legend.
In addition to her own tour, Reba will spend time in Las Vegas with Brooks & Dunn for the two acts’ previously announced residency. For a full list of dates and info, visit Reba’s website.
Robby Klein/Sweet Talk PublicityGabby Barrett’s star continues to rise as her soulful new single, “I Hope,” eclipses 200 million on-demand streams. The song ranks in the top five of all on-demand country streams, clocking in at the No. 3 spot in Country song sales. Moreover, “I Hope” is sitting at the top of the Apple Music country chart.
The searing breakup anthem is climbing at radio, too: Gabby’s single is in the top fifteen on the country radio airplay charts, and broke the top ten on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. That makes her the first solo female to claim that honor with a debut single since 2017.
“I Hope” is Gabby’s breakout debut, following her run as a Top 3 finalist on American Idol. Highlighting her soulful, powerhouse voice, the song tells the story of coming off a bad breakup, and hoping that the person who broke her heart received the same treatment at the hands of his next love interest.
Gabby’s looking forward to a busy 2020 ahead. The singer is opening for Brad Paisley on his 2020 World Tour, which kicks off in May.
ABC/Image Group LAAmazon Music has released a new exclusive mini-documentary, called Velocity, about the rise and reign of country superstar Kane Brown.
The short film follows Kane’s journey from a budding artist who gained his first fans through social media covers of artists like Randy Travis, to becoming one of the genre’s top three most-streamed artists in the country genre.
“I’m incredibly proud of the family I’ve been able to build along the way, including not only my wife and daughter, but the family I have out on the road that works so hard behind-the-scenes to make it all happen,” notes Kane. “This Amazon Music mini-documentary gives fans a new glimpse into my world, including some of the incredibly hard moments that have led up to this point.”
He adds, “I appreciate everyone and all the fans who have been there since day 1, and hope that anybody that watches takes away one thing: That this is a family. And we want to do you all proud.”
ABC/Image Group LAMaren Morrisand Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit have been named as headliners for this year’s Railbird Festival, which will take place in August in Lexington, Kentucky.
The festival’s roster skews towards Americana and indie rock, with acts like the Head and the Heart, the Decemberists and Shovels and Rope taking the stage. However, mainstream country is well represented at this year’s Railbird Festival, too: In addition to Maren, Tanya Tucker will also perform during the event.
The second consecutive year of the Railbird Festival will return to Lexington’s Grounds at Keeneland. A national historical landmark and premiere equine facility, the venue will offer festival-goers a curated bourbon experience as well as opportunities to bet on horse races.
Remaining tickets for the festival go on sale Friday at 10AM ET. By the time the festival takes place on August 22-23, Maren will likely be taking the stage as a first-time mom -- she and her husband, fellow artist Ryan Hurd, are expecting their first child this March.
John Shearer/Getty Images for Amazon MusicKelsea Ballerini headlined the Amazon Country Heat showcase at Nashville’s Country Radio Seminar on Wednesday night, and she took the opportunity to share a bit more of her just-announced third album, kelsea.
Kelsea treated the audience to the previously-shared song “club,” as well as her current top-twenty single, “homecoming queen?” She also delivered a brand-new, never-before-played-live tune called “Hole in the Bottle.”
Other artists who took the CRS stage on Wednesday included Niko Moon, Gabby Barrett and Jon Langston. Country rockers The Cadillac Three also served up a slice of their just-released record, Country Fuzz. The trio’s high-energy performance included new songs “Blue El Camino,” “Heat,” and “Hard Out Here for a Country Boy.”
Aside from “club,” “homecoming queen?” and “Hole in the Bottle,” Kelsea hasn’t shared many hints about the track list for her upcoming new project. We won’t have to wait too long, though: kelsea will drop on March 20. It follows Kelsea’s 2017 sophomore effort, Unapologetically.
ABC/Todd WawrychukLuke Combsjust launched his 2020 What You Get Tour earlier this month, but the country superstar is already making big plans for later in the year: He’s extending the run to include several more dates this fall and winter.
For the newly-confirmed dates, Luke will mount a new, in-the-round style stage design. Joining him will be current opening acts Ashley McBryde, Drew Parker and Ray Fulcher.
Additionally, the fall run will include some landmark dates for Luke, including his debut headlining performance at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. He’ll play the iconic stage on Dec. 1; tickets for that show and the bulk of the rest of the new stops go on sale next Friday at 10AM local time.
Before launching the next leg of his tour, Luke will deliver six consecutive sold-out shows in April and May. The tour is named for his critically acclaimed new album, What You See is What You Get, which came out last November.
Here’s the itinerary for the newly announced dates on Luke’s tour:
9/19 -- Raleigh, NC, PNC Arena 9/22 -- New Orleans, LA, Smoothie King Center 9/25 -- Dallas, TX, American Airlines Center 9/26 -- Memphis, TN, FedEx Forum 10/2 -- Grand Forks, ND, Alerus Center 10/3 -- Sioux Falls, SD, Denny Sanford PREMIER Center 10/15 -- Eugene, OR, Matthew Knight Arena 10/17 -- San Francisco, CA, Chase Center 10/20 -- Billings, MT, MetraPark – First Interstate Arena 10/22 -- Salt Lake City, UT. Vivint Smart Home Arena 10/23 -- Las Vegas, NV, T-Mobile Arena 10/24 -- Bakersfield, CA, Mechanics Bank Arena 11/6 -- Chicago, IL, United Center (on-sale February 28 at 12:00pm CT) 11/7 -- St. Louis, MO, Enterprise Center 11/19 -- Jacksonville, FL, VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena 11/20 -- Fort Lauderdale, FL, BB&T Center 11/21 -- Orlando, FL, Amway Center 12/1 -- New York, NY, Madison Square Garden 12/ 4 -- Boston, MA, TD Garden
Comstock/ThinkstockOn this day in 1988, this iconic pair that frequently performed on the Porter Wagoner Show dueted on the Grand Ole Opry together for the first time since parting ways in 1974. Can you guess who it is? ANSWER: Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner.