ABC - Country Music News

ABC/Randy HolmesAs the second decade of the 21st century comes to a close, Billboard’s looking back at the biggest songs and albums of the past ten years. And there’s one name that seems to be coming up a lot: Florida Georgia Line.

FGL has three of the top five hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs of the Decade chart, which takes streaming, airplay, and sales into account. “Meant to Be” with Bebe Rexha is number one, while “Cruise” and “H.O.L.Y.” follow at #3 and #5, respectively.

Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley’s 2012 debut, Here’s to the Good Times, is the third top-selling album of the decade as well.

Sam Hunt’s the only other act to show up in the top five of both the songs and albums rankings. “Body Like a Back Road” is Billboard’s #2 song of the 2010s, while the Georgia native’s debut, Montevallo, is the second-best-selling record as well.

Chris Stapleton’s Traveller finishes at number one on Top Country Albums.

Here’s a rundown of the top five on both lists:

Hot Country Songs
1. “Meant to Be” -- Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha
2. “Body Like a Back Road” -- Sam Hunt
3. “Cruise” -- Florida Georgia Line
4. “Tequila” -- Dan Shay
5. “H.O.L.Y.” -- Florida Georgia Line

Top Country Albums
1. Traveller -- Chris Stapleton
2. Montevallo -- Sam Hunt
3. Here’s to the Good Times -- Florida Georgia Line
4. Crash My Party -- Luke Bryan
5. This One’s for You -- Luke Combs

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



ABC/Randy HolmesRemember the Luke-Combs-themed Crocs that were available exclusively at CMA Fest in Nashville last summer? Well, they’re back for a limited time, and you can order 'em online..

Officially named the “Luke Combs X Crocs Classic Realtree Clog,” the comfy foam shoes feature a green and brown camo pattern, complete with Jibbitz of Luke’s face, deer antlers, and more. Jibbitz are those small charms you can poke into the holes on the top of the shoes.

If that’s not country enough for you, you can even open a beer with the orange strap on the back of the clogs. They’ll run you $60, but you’d better hurry: Some of the larger men’s sizes especially are already sold out.

While Crocs seem to be a love-em or hate-em kinda thing, they seem to be popping up all over the place in country music these days. Guests at Universal’s post-CMA party could trade in their shoes for a pair of white Crocs, complete with Jibbitz of a treble clef, the letter “U,” the American flag, or a rainbow, in a nod to Kacey Musgraves.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



ABC/Image Group LA Will Reba McEntire be getting “Fancy” on tour in 2020?

While there’s no word on whether her three-outfit quick-change ensemble from Wednesday’s CMA Awards will be part of her set, the Country Music Hall of Famer’s definitely hitting the road next year.

The twelve-date run kicks off March 20 in Evansville, Indiana, with pre-sales starting on Tuesday. The first seats go on sale to the general public on Friday, November 22.

As for Reba’s impressive CMA get-up, costume designer Matt Logan revealed to InStyle that he and Reba had less than three weeks to design, test, and perfect the robe/gown/pantsuit ensemble. If you missed Reba’s show-stopping CMA moment or just want to experience it again, you can check it out on YouTube.

Here’s a look at where Reba’s “Fancy” ensemble could potentially make an appearance in 2020:

3/20 -- Evansville, IN, Ford Center
3/21 -- Huntsville, AL, Von Braun Center Arena
3/26 -- Pittsburgh, PA, PPG Paints Arena
3/28 -- Toledo, OH, Huntington Center
4/24 -- Rosemont, IL, Allstate Arena
4/25 -- Green Bay, WI, Resch Center
4/26 -- Sioux Falls, SD, Denny Sanford Premier Center
5/1 -- Biloxi, MS, Mississippi Coast Coliseum
5/2 -- Duluth, GA, Infinite Energy Center
5/7 -- St. Paul, MN, Xcel Energy Center
5/8 -- Peoria, IL, Peoria Civic Center
5/9 -- Grand Rapids, MI, Van Andel Arena

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Joseph LlanesYou can check out a free Kane Brown concert in the comfort of your own home this Saturday night.

The “Homesick” hitmaker makes his Austin City Limits debut tomorrow at 9 p.m. ET on PBS. Kane recorded his contribution to the 45th season of the esteemed show in early March of this year.

If seeing Kane live is more your style, tickets for his Worldwide Beautiful Tour are on sale now. It kicks off February 2 in Dublin, Ireland, before making it to the States on February 29.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



ABC/Image Group LAThe 53rd Annual CMA Awards was a solid winner in the TV ratings.

Eleven-point-three million viewers tuned in to see Carrie UnderwoodDolly Parton, and Reba McEntire host the female-centric show on Wednesday night.

That’s enough to make it the number one program of the night, while also delivering ABC’s largest Wednesday night audience of the TV season so far. The show also grew from last year, when 10.1 million tuned in to watch.

If you missed the show or would just like to see it again, you can watch it in its entirety for a limited time on demand via ABC or Hulu. You can also check out select performances on YouTube.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Comstock/ThinkstockOn this day in 1969, this bluegrass icon performed his classic song “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” at the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam in Washington, D.C., becoming one of the few country artists who take a stand against that war. Can you name him? ANSWER: Earl Scruggs.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Big Machine After their emotionally-charged performance of their hit "What If I Never Get Over You" with pop star Halsey on Wednesday night's CMA Awards, Lady Antebellum releases their new album, Ocean, on Friday. 

The threesome says it feels special to be able to put out their seventh studio effort just days after Country Music's Biggest Night. 

"It does!" Hillary Scott tells ABC Audio. "Yeah, the timing's perfect," Charles Kelley agrees.

"It feels very busy," Hillary continues. "We'll sleep at Thanksgiving, which will be awesome. But we're very, very excited to be able to have this music out. We'll hop a plane to head up to New York to do all the other promotion stuff for the record."

"We've got the Today show, Colbert, all kinds of stuff, so it'll be fun," Charles adds. 

Since the album's titled Ocean, it's appropriate that Lady A took a deep dive emotionally.

"We did dig really deep," Dave Haywood explains. "[with] a couple of songs early on that Charles sent over, and then we wrote a bunch for this record that are pretty vulnerable and pretty honest and very personal."

"We have been a band for thirteen years," he reflects, "and I think we're actually kind of growing up on this record and really digging deep on some heavier topics."  

Lady A's publicity blitz starts Friday on NBC's Today show; they stop by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on CBS on Tuesday. If you missed their CMA performance with Halsey, you can check it out on YouTube now. 

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock

Florida Georgia Line are hosting a yard sale at their Nashville co-working compound, "meet greet," on Sunday from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. CT. Gently used clothing and shoes will be available for purchase, with proceeds benefiting Home Street Home Ministries, an organization that provides aid to people who are homeless. 

Blanco Brown helped StubHub donate $84,000 worth of instruments to his alma mater, Westlake High School, in his home city of Atlanta. It was part of the StubHub's Ticket Forward initiative, which pledges to donate $3 million in instruments to at-risk public schools.  

Nashville singer-songwriter Emily Weisband, who co-wrote Hillary Scott's "Thy Will" and has had cuts by Thomas Rhett and Danielle Bradbery, has released an original Christmas song "The Holly Jolly Truth." The video features home footage of Emily celebrating Christmas as a kid. 

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



ABC/Image Group LABrantley Gilbert may have a rugged persona, but he has a soft spot for his late dog, Alley

In People's 2019 Sexiest Man Alive issue, the "Bottoms Up" singer shares the story of the night he met Alley, a pitbull mix, who was wandering around in the parking lot of a Georgia bar in which he was performing more than a decade ago.  In fact, the singer saved her from a man who was throwing bottles at her.  

“After that she ran right up to me in the alley, so that’s what I named her, and she’s been with me ever since," Brantley says.

He sneaked her into his hotel room after the show, but even though he'd made a bed for her on the floor, he woke up the next day to find her sleeping by his side. The pup then became a part of Brantley's family with wife Amber, son Barrett and daughter Braylen.  

Alley was diagnosed with cancer in October and passed away soon after; Brantley says she was “happy and comfortable” during her final days.

"I do believe all dogs go to heaven and I know our sweet girl is there now," he remarks. 

Dan Smyers of Dan Shay is also included in the "sexy men and their pets" feature in the special People issue, on stands tomorrow.

John Legend was named as the Sexiest Man Alive for 2019; his fellow Voice coach Blake Shelton earned the title in 2017.  

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



ABC/Image Group LADan Smyers of Dan Shay has found himself in People's 2019 Sexiest Man Alive issue, alongside his four furry friends. 

The country singer is part of the special feature that features sexy guys and their pets, with Dan posing alongside his and wife Abby's four dogs, ChiefMacaroniJoy and Ghost. A longtime advocate for animals, Dan has been a supporter of Nashville-based nonprofit Proverbs 12:10 Animal Rescue, and he and Abby have fostered and found homes for nearly 40 dogs.

“They’re always making us laugh. It is like a constant form of entertainment. We no longer need to go to the movies or watch TV shows," Dan says of the couple's four canines. “They live a pretty good life and they are very, very goofy. All of them, they have their own interesting quirks and we love them for it.”

The singer has taken the pups with him on tour, and says they love exploring new places -- they also, he says, make being on the road more enjoyable.

“They are the life of the party on the road…especially when we get to go somewhere that they’re not used to like the beach or something. They love that," he says, adding that the dogs bring a sense of balance into their lives. 

“They can sense when we’re stressed or when we’re tired, and they’ll curl up next to you," he continues. "They can make it all go away and it makes everything else feel a little bit smaller.”

Dan Shay were crowned Vocal Duo of the Year last night at the 2019 CMA Awards.  

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Diego PerniaAfter hitting 32 stops on the trek in 2019, Zac Brown Band has announced that they’ll be extending their “The Owl Tour” into the spring of 2020. So far, the group has hit historic music venues across the country, in a streak that includes 11 consecutive sold-out shows.

Kicking off in February in Moline, IL, the new string of dates features opening acts Amos Lee and Jason “Pooh Bear” Boyd. The dates ahead will include festival stops, and are set to run through July. The group’s set list features plenty of new tunes, showcasing the music of their latest album, The Owl, which dropped in September.

“The energy throughout ‘The Owl Tour’ has been electric at every stop,” band frontman Zac Brown says in a statement. “It’s been an unforgettable year and we’ve had so much fun sharing the new music with our fans. We can’t wait to get back on the road next spring.”

Tickets for the just-announced tour dates go on sale November 22 at 12 pm local time, with a pre-sale for the Zamily Fan Club beginning on November 19. 

Here’s the full list of spring 2020 tour dates for the The Owl Tour: 

2/28 -- Moline, IL, TaxSlayer Center 
2/29 -- Lincoln, NE, Pinnacle Bank Arena
3/4 -- Raleigh, NC, PNC Arena
3/5 -- Knoxville, TN, Thompson Boling -- Arena
3/6 -- Lexington, KY, Rupp Arena
3/12 -- St. Louis, MO, Enterprise Center
3/13 -- Columbus, OH, Nationwide Arena
3/14 -- Detroit, MI, Little Caesars Arena
3/15 -- Toronto, ON, Scotiabank Arena
3/26 -- Salt Lake City, UT, Maverik Center
3/27 -- Las Vegas, NV, T-Mobile Arena
3/28 -- Phoenix, AZ, Ak-Chin Pavilion
4/15 -- Sioux Falls, SD, Denny Sanford PREMIER Center
4/16 -- Kansas City, MO, Sprint Center
4/17 -- Little Rock, AR, Simmons Bank Arena
4/23 -- Charlottesville, VA, John Paul Jones Arena
4/24 -- Greenville, SC, Bon Secours Wellness Arena
4/25 -- Nashville, TN, Bridgestone Arena
7/24 -- Shakopee, MN, Twin Cities Summer Jam
7/25 -- Monticello, IA, Great Jones County Fair

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



ABC / Image Group LADuring Tuesday night's episode of The VoiceBlake Shelton revealed that his fellow coach John Legend is People’s 2019 Sexiest Man Alive. As the recipient of that title in 2017, Blake was uniquely qualified to offer the newly-crowned Sexiest Man a little advice, as he explained to Entertainment Tonight.

“I’m the one that broke the news to him on The Voice as a former sexy guy,” Blake joked to ET Online at the CMA Awards in Nashville Wednesday night. “I told him afterwards, I said, ‘Hey man, listen. After this announcement comes out, wait about two weeks before you look at social media. Because everybody that ever hated you is gonna have something to say about it.'”

When Blake first made the on-air announcement earlier in the week, John jokingly responded that it was Blake who had inspired him to earn the title. 

“I want to thank People magazine, of course, but mostly I want to thank Blake Shelton, because I sat next to him for the last few months, and I learned his sexy ways,” he said.

“I observed every move that he made, every utterance that came from his mouth -- and I think some of it rubbed off on me. I think that has everything to do with why we’re here today.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



ABC/Image Group LAThough the 2019 CMA Awards ceremony may have been structured around honoring country’s iconic women, the top honor of the evening ultimately went to Garth Brooks. It was the seventh time the country legend has received the CMA Entertainer of the Year title. 

While Garth was the big honoree of the night, he used his acceptance speech to call out rising artists -- male and female -- who shone during the show and beyond. Backstage after his win, he doubled down on his support for other artists, beginning with his wife, fellow country star Trisha Yearwood

“It’s an honor to be married to one of the strongest individuals ever -- forget male or female,” he told ET Online. “Just a strong being.”

While awards are nice, the country star said he’s perhaps even more excited to be celebrating his 14th wedding anniversary next month. That celebration will being all about family, including Garth’s three adult daughters, Taylor, August and Allie. 

“[Trisha] got married to the girls, you know, they exchanged rings and everything,” he explained. “So, all five of us enjoy our anniversary together. We’ll go somewhere to dinner, and it will be five minutes until I realize I’m the weak link in the chain of all the women there, and it’ll just be great. As long as everybody’s healthy, that’s all you care about.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Comstock/ThinkstockOn this day in 2001, this country superstar appeared as a special guest during *NSYNC Live! The Atlantis Concert special, singing "Stand By Me," "Fire And Rain" and "Lean On Me" with the popular boy band. Can you name him? ANSWER: Tim McGraw.  

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



ABC/dick clark productionsdick clark productions and ABC announced Thursday morning that multi-platinum singer/songwriter Ciara will host the 2019 American Music Awards.

ABC also announced Kesha will be joined by Big Freedia for a performance during the show; it will mark Kesha's first return to the American Music Awards stage as a performer since 2013.

The pair join previously announced performers Billie Eilish, Camila Cabello, Selena Gomez, Dua Lipa, Lizzo, Thomas Rhett and Shania Twain. Taylor Swift will also perform in addition to taking to the podium to receive the 2019 AMA Artist of the Decade award.

The 2019 American Music Awards will broadcast live from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 24 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on ABC.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Mark Seliger/ABCThe 53rd annual CMA Awards, airing live from Nashville Wednesday night on ABC, was supposed to be all about celebrating the great female voices of country music.  And while those voices were front and center on the telecast -- and a few even made it to the podium -- ultimately, the evening's biggest award went to a guy who'd previously won it six times before.

While many fans and fellow artists were rooting for CMA host Carrie Underwood to take home the Entertainer of the Year Award -- which hasn't been won by a woman since 2011-- it was another Oklahoma superstar, Garth Brooks, who grabbed the big prize. 

In his acceptance speech, the stadium-filling singer was gracious as always, singling out co-host Reba McEntire for special praise, raving about Kelsea Ballerini's performance, predicting double winner Luke Combs would take home the Entertainer trophy some day soon, and declaring his love for his wife Trisha Yearwood.

As for the female winners, Ashley McBryde triumphed in the New Artist of the Year category -- not bad for a girl going nowhere -- while Maren Morris won the prestigious Album of the Year trophy for her critically acclaimed sophomore release Girl

A tearful Maren, who's four-and-a-half months pregnant with her first child, used her speech to pay tribute to hitmaking producer busbee, who died of brain cancer in September. "We miss him so dearly," said Maren, and thanked his widow for "sharing your husband with us." 

Blake Shelton, who won Single of the Year for "God's Country," also paid tribute to busbee, as well as his own hero, singer Earl Thomas Conley, who died in April.

But it was Kacey Musgraves, who won her first Female Vocalist of the Year trophy, who addressed country's current lack of female representation directly...if not specifically.

“I just want to say the female creative spirit, female energy, it's really needed right now. It's really important," the Grammy-winner said, "And I feel like it's something that Earth needs. And so whether it's me that's up here or any of the other women in this category, it's a beautiful thing.”

But as promised, women were a huge part of Country's Biggest Night, starting with co-hosts Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton, who kicked off the proceedings with a performance of "Those Memories of You," from the 1987 Trio album Dolly made with two more female icons: Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris.

Then, it was an absolute delight to see a string of female stars perform a medley of landmark hits by women:  Jennifer Nettles, and Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman and Karen Fairchild sang Loretta Lynn's "You're Lookin' at Country" while Loretta herself watched from the front row. The Highwomen sang Tammy Wynette's "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad." 

Then Tanya Tucker, Gretchen Wilson, Crystal Gayle, Terri Clark and Sara Evans perfored snippets of their signature songs, and Martina McBride closed it out with a rousing rendition of "Independence Day." We also got to see Pam Tillis, Janie Fricke, Deana Carter and Kathy Mattea as presenters during the night.

Later on, the next generation took center stage, as Kelsea Ballerini, Lindsay Ell, Runaway June, Maddie & Tae, Ashley McBryde and Carly Pearce all performed Little Big Town's "Girl Crush."  Little Big Town themselves joined at the end, with Karen Fairchild declaring, "You're looking at the future of country music right here."

And our co-hosts Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton kept the flag flying for females in country throughout the night.  And Reba -- who stopped the show by tearing off not one but two different dresses during her performance of "Fancy" -- said it best: "We're doing it for all the little girls watching tonight, dreaming of ruling the world of country music — or maybe just ruling the world.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



ABC/Randy HolmesThe 53rd Annual CMA Awards aired Wednesday night on ABC, and later on, so did a sixth installment of Jimmy Kimmel Live!'s Mean Tweets: Music Edition.

As always,a variety of artists opened themselves up to some of the meanest, nastiest comments currently on the internet, procured especially by host Jimmy Kimmel. This time around, Billie EilishAlice CooperChance the RapperLuke PerryLizzoLuke Combs and a host of others took their licks.

As for the latter, one Twitter user accused Combs of making "music for people who taste the gas before they fill up their truck," while another noted, "Midland looks like they have a white van with 'free candy' written on the side" -- to which Cameron Duddy corrected, "It's a black van."

One of the biggest insults, however, was aimed at Cooper.  "Alice Cooper looked 65 in 1972.  How is he still alive," he read before shooting an equally confused look into the camera.  

The overall best reaction came from Cardi B, who read in a pointedly soft voice, "I just watched a muted performance of Cardi B and that b**** just looks loud without any sound on.  Like no thank you."

"How I look loud?  How I look loud??  I'm loud?"  She asks while looking around in bewilderment before deadpanning, "I don't even think I'm like loud.  Suck my a***"

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

 



Country Music AssociationBackstage at the 53rd Annual CMA Awards at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, Garth Brooks reveled at winning his seventh Entertainer of the Year trophy, a number that's quite famously always held special significance for him. The ever-humble superstar heaped praise on fellow winners like Luke Combs, while also celebrating Reba McEntire's performance of "Fancy" and the night's female-centric theme.

Luke Combs himself seemed somewhat in disbelief at having won both Male Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year for "Beautiful Crazy." Garth's "Dive Bar" partner Blake Shelton revealed he was drawn to Single of the Year winner "God's Country" because it pushed him vocally.

After winning both Female Vocalist and Music Video of the Year for "Rainbow," Kacey Musgraves admitted that while she appreciated the night's female-centric theme, she believed women in country music should be celebrated every year.

New artist winner Ashley McBryde used her platform to inspire others to chase their dreams, while Album of the Year winner Maren Morris told the crowd of reporters she's decided the baby boy she's expecting is her good luck charm, since he kicked right before she walked onstage.

Dan Shay's Dan Smyers marveled at how the duo's third album continues to change their lives and propel their career forward, while Old Dominion admitted their second Vocal Group honor in a row probably means they're here to stay.

Musical Event of the Year winner, "Old Town Road" hitmaker Lil Nas X seemed particularly happy to hold his CMA award in his hands, still marveling that he'd been able to bring two disparate genres together.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockCaroline Jones will make her Grand Ole Opry debut on Saturday. Held at the Ryman Auditorium, Caroline will perform during the evening's two sets at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. 

Up-and-coming country singer Sandra Lynn is partnering with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Nashville to generate toy donations for children in need. Sandra is encouraging those who attend her performance at the Song Suffragettes round in Nashville on December 9 to bring a toy donation that will go to the charity. 

NASCAR is bringing its Champion's Week event to Nashville from December 3-5. The two-day event will feature autograph singings with race car drivers, a NASCAR night at the Ryman Auditorium and more. The weekend will end with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards on December 5.  

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Mark Seliger/ABC

Here are the winners of the 53rd Annual CMA Awards, handed out Wednesday night in Nashville:

Entertainer of the Year
Garth Brooks

Album of the Year
Girl, Maren Morris

Single of the Year
“God’s Country,” Blake Shelton

Song of the Year
“Beautiful Crazy,” co-written by Luke Combs, Wyatt Durrette, Robert Williford, recorded by Luke Combs

Male Vocalist of the Year
Luke Combs

Female Vocalist of the Year
Kacey Musgraves

New Artist of the Year
Ashley McBryde

Vocal Duo of the Year
Dan Shay

Vocal Group of the Year
Old Dominion

Music Video of the Year
“Rainbow,” Kacey Musgraves

Musical Event of the Year
“Old Town Road (Remix),” Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus

Musician of the Year
Jenee Fleenor

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



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