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Country Music News

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 
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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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Capitol NashvilleAs Dierks Bentley works on his tenth studio album, the Arizona native's been splitting time between Nashville and his home in Colorado. 

While not everyone loves that writing sessions via Zoom have become a necessity because of COVID-19, Dierks is embracing the efficiency of it.

"Nobody wants to be on Zoom any longer than they have to be, so I think it forces songwriters to get after it," he explains. "So I've really enjoyed it, been writing a lot of great songs."

"But as always, when I'm trying to make a record, you know, I just want to pick the best two-by-fours when you're making a house, whether you made 'em or not," he adds.

That's why Dierks decided to go with the outside cut, "Gone," as the album's lead single.

"When it came time to go cut some stuff, this song just kind of rose to the top," he says. "And I gravitate towards it because I love the title. I love [the] good classic country wordplay of 'ever since you left, I've been gone.' But he actually hasn't gone anywhere."

As "Gone" nears the top twenty, it's clear it's a sentiment that's resonating with fans.

"I feel like I've been gone," Dierks reflects. "I feel like we've all been gone. So it touches on a little bit of the idea of what's been going on here with COVID, but it does it in a metaphorical way through a relationship... I don't think anybody wants to hear anything too directly written about what's happening right now, it'd be too depressing... But I just love the groove, I love the way it feels."

So far, Dierks hasn't revealed the title or release date for his follow-up to 2018's The Mountain.

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

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Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Hailey Whitters last week announced Living the Dream, the deluxe edition of her 2020 album The Dream. The new project features duets with the likes of Trisha Yearwood, Little Big Town and Jordan Davis, the latter of whom is featured on her just-released “The Ride.”

Avenue Beat shared their new song, “Woman,” on Friday. It’s the follow-up single to their timely viral megahit, “F2020.”

Violinist Lindsay Stirling, who recently teamed with Darius Rucker on a CMA Country Christmas rendition of “What Child is This,” shared her song “Lose You Now” last week. It's a collaboration with singer-songwriter Mako.


By Carena Liptak
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Yee Yee Apparel/NPG PRGranger Smith’s clothing line, Yee Yee Apparel, launched its winter collection on Friday. With a varied selection of sweatshirts, tees, hats and more, the new merchandise comes with another added perk: its focus on charitable efforts.

A portion of the proceeds from each item sold from the winter collection will benefit Release Recovery Foundation, a program for sober and transitional living founded by The Bachelorette alum Zac Clark. Zac has a personal connection to Yee Yee Apparel: Granger’s brother and brand co-founder, Tyler, got to know Zac on the set of the show, where they were both contestants during the same season.

“The minute I met Zac, we connected. I could see his heart,” says Tyler. “He’s a great human. After learning a little about Zac’s story, where he came from, how he overcame certain struggles and now being in the position he is to help so many others, I knew I wanted to do anything we could as a company to help further his mission.”

Over the years, Yee Yee Apparel has provided over $250,000 to charities the brothers feel passionate about.

By Carena Liptak
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Courstey of NWTFBlake Shelton, Dustin Lynch, Jimmie Allen and Craig Morgan are just a few of the artists set to take the Grand Ole Opry stage for a good cause on Friday night. They’re participating in the National Wild Turkey Federation Foundation’s AID livestream benefit concert, which will support wildlife conservation.

Other participating acts include Chris Janson, Jimmie Allen, LoCash, Lindsay Ell, Travis Denning, Easton Corbin and Chuck Wicks.

The show will take place at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry beginning at 7 p.m. CT on Friday, January 15. In-person tickets to the show are available, and fans can pick up passes to the livestream, too.

Proceeds go to conservation efforts to be enacted in 2021. The NWTF is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife such as wild turkey, and the preservation of hunting.

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

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Universal Music GroupKip Moore takes fans on a spirited, soaring journey with his new song “How High,” one of the tracks included on his upcoming Wild World Deluxe project.

“It always feels just like a drug / Take me there, take me on / Let down your hair / Anything I want,” he sings in the chorus. “Yeah, I need you like the air / Girl, I swear you keep me stoned...”

Kip pairs his new song with an equally high-flying music video, which follows an elderly woman as she rediscovers her wilder days, letting down her hair and parading through town in a fur coat with a red balloon in her hand.

The singer’s new project is the deluxe version of his 2020 Wild World album, bumping the track list from 13 to 17 songs. The full project comes out on February 12, and to celebrate, Kip has just announced a socially distanced show and global livestream event.

Called Wild World Deluxe: Live at the Ryman, the show will take place on release day at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. A limited number of in-person tickets are now available, and fans can pick up virtual tickets to the livestream, too. $1 of each ticket will be donated to ACM Lifting Lives.


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

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Courtesy of BMLG RecordsFlorida Georgia Line share a message of resilience in “Life Rolls On,” the just-released title track to their upcoming fifth studio album.

“As long as my heart keeps beatin’ / And these old lungs keep breathin’ / The highs and the lows / yes and the nos / Only gonna make you strong,” the country duo reflects in the song’s lyrics. “...Oh, and I know it might be alright, might be all wrong / But life rolls on / And on and on and on...”

Taking a zoomed-out perspective on all the successes and challenges life brings, “Life Rolls On” spotlights FGL’s more reflective side. That’s quite a change from the whimsical and quirky “New Truck,” another song off their new album that the duo recently put out. So far, songs off the project have also ranged from the hard-partying chart-topper “I Love My Country” to the band’s warm and anthemic current single, “Long Live.”

“Life Rolls On” is the 16th and final track on Life Rolls On, which is due out February 12.

The record comes in the midst of a busy year for FGL, who recently announced to fans that they plan to release some individual projects this year in addition to their work as a duo. Brian Kelley says he’s at work on some solo material, while Tyler Hubbard has hinted at plans to collaborate with other artists in the genre.  In fact, he kicked that venture off this week with the release of “‘Undivided,” a duet with Tim McGraw.


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

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Legacy RecordingsThis week, Willie Nelson offers up the title track to That’s Life, his forthcoming tribute project to his old friend and touring partner, Frank Sinatra.

This time around, Willie interprets one of the best-loved hits of Sinatra’s career.  Willie previously released “Cottage for Sale” when he first announced his upcoming album, which is due out next month.

That's Life is Willie’s second full album of Sinatra covers, following 2018’s My Way, a project that earned him a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Solo Album the year it came out.

In addition to debuting his new song, Willie also shared an essay about his upcoming project written by music journalist Mikal Gilmore, which details the parallels between the country legend’s artistry and Sinatra’s. The two artists became close friends and frequent colleagues over the years, and Willie has dabbled in Sinatra’s discography for decades.

That’s Life is due out in full on February 26. In addition to the songs Willie’s already shared, the 11-track project includes classics like “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Luck Be a Lady.”


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

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Warner Music NashvilleBlake Shelton’s upbeat anthem to the kind of love that makes you feel like a million bucks -- no matter your circumstances -- is officially headed to country radio.

“I heard ‘Minimum Wage’ over a year ago and connected with it immediately,” Blake says of the song’s origins. “It’s the timeless truth that you don’t need a lot of money or possessions, you just need love.”

He debuted the song early this year, but quickly received some blowback from listeners who perceived the song’s message as tone deaf, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when many are struggling financially.

Still, Blake has defended his song. “At first I thought, ‘Wow, I guess I’ve just missed something here.’ And the more I read into this, the more I realized this was really not real. Whatever this backlash is is just four or five people that probably don’t know anything about country music,” he told CMT this week.

“They clearly hadn’t heard the song or read the lyrics,” Blake added. “If they had, they couldn’t feel this way about the song.”

Though he's making quite a bit more than “Minimum Wage” at this point, Blake says the song makes him think back to his early days.

“I have a lot of great memories playing dive bars in Nashville and then driving back to Oklahoma to play a gig,” he recalls. “I gravitate toward songs that feel like the stories of where I’ve been and where I am currently in my life, and I’ve got a lot of happiness and joy in my life these days.”

When he debuted the song, Blake introduced it as a message of love to his fiancée, Gwen Stefani.

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

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ABC/Image Group LA"I Hope" singer Gabby Barrett will be a first-time mom "any day now," according to her Instagram account, but the former American Idol finalist says she's already thinking about baby number two.

"We're ready to add on to our family and get some babies in there," she tells People. "I definitely want to have more than one in the future, for sure."

Twenty-year-old Gabby, who's expecting a baby girl, says "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."

"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," she adds.

Until then, Gabby will have to deal with the downsides of pregnancy.

"I can't do normal things that I want to do. I get so tired so quickly," she laments. "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."

Luckily, her husband and fellow American Idol alum Cade Foehner is around to help out.

"He's just been very nice. He rubs my feet every single night. He's been extra, extra thoughtful," Gabby gushes, adding, "He's just been very patient about [my mood swings] and very understanding."

"I hope she gets Cade's hair, not mine," Gabby adds, laughing. "He has much nicer hair than I do."

 

Diaper prep 101 🍼😂 #wehavesomeworktodo pic.twitter.com/WER2CVcYfi

— Gabby Barrett (@GabbyBarrett_) December 17, 2020

 

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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