ABC - Country Music News

Frazer Harrison/Getty ImagesFlorida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard is a dad again.

He and his wife Hayley tell People magazine that they welcomed their third child, Atlas Roy Hubbard, on September 24 in Nashville.  He weighed in at 8 lbs 2 oz. and, the couple tells People, arrived over a week late.

"We were just convinced he was happy in his little hot tub, safe from 2020," they laugh.

As for the baby's unusual moniker, the couple explains, "Atlas stands for strength. For us, this name also represents our family's passion for travel and experiencing different cultures."

Tyler adds that the baby's middle name, Roy, was his father's name.

"[He] passed away when I was 20. Getting to name our son after him is so special to us," Tyler notes. "Atlas will carry on my dad's legacy and will always be a reminder of how well he loved everyone."

Atlas joins big sister Olivia, who's two-and-a-half, and big brother Luca, who's 13 months.

"Having three under three was not our plan but clearly it was God's plan, and now we can't imagine it any other way," the couple gushes. "Liv is so excited and ready to meet her baby brother."

And Tyler adds, "Also, I've said it before, and I'll say it again. My wife is a CHAMP. She's so strong and peaceful at the same time. With each delivery, I'm reminded not only of how amazing the birthing process is, but also how incredible women are for giving birth."

By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Rick Diamond/Getty ImagesLoretta Lynn shares a personal family story about addiction in a new Facebook post dedicated to her granddaughter, Tayla Lynn.

Tayla grew up in country music and was also formerly a member of country trio Stealing Angels, alongside Runaway June’s Jennifer Wayne and Caroline Hobby, who was then known by her maiden name, Cutbirth.

But Tayla also struggled with a painful addiction battle, something that Loretta says she witnessed firsthand.

“She put me through the wringer with her battle with addiction,” the country legend writes, along with a link to The Ties That Bind Us, a new interview series about musicians in recovery, on which Tayla's featured.

“This story is raw but it’s real," writes Loretta. "I’m so proud of her sobriety.”

Loretta has seen many friends and family members struggle with addiction over the years, including her own husband, Oliver “Doolittle” Lynn, whom Loretta called Doo.

“I’ve had a front-row seat to addiction a lot in my life. My Doo was my greatest fan and the mind behind all my success but he battled the bottle and it haunted us,” Loretta explains, going on to say that she's addressed that subject matter in her recent songwriting.

“The title track of my last album, ‘Wouldn’t It Be Great,’ is all about that,” Loretta notes. “Addiction imprisons the soul and robs your loved ones blind. It’s heartbreaking. A lot of families don’t want to talk about it but everybody I know has been impacted some way or another.”

Wouldn’t it Be Great, the 45th studio album of Loretta’s career, came out in 2018.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

ABC/Mark LevineIt’s been several days since Keith Urban shared his tenth studio album, The Speed of Now Part 1, and the singer’s still reveling in fan reactions to his newest batch of tunes.

There’s plenty of variety across the project, from the fast-paced and fun-loving “Tumbleweed” to the lovestruck single “God Whispered Your Name,” but few songs go deeper than one track on the album, “Say Something.”

That song urges listeners to express themselves instead of burying their thoughts and feelings. While that could be interpreted as a call to social action, Keith says he had a more personal situation in mind when he wrote it.

“I thought about my dad. I was raised in a house with a father who was always like, ‘Ah, you know, just don’t rock the boat. Don’t speak out against things; just be quiet,’” the singer reflects to Rolling Stone. “I was raised like that, and that way of being was somewhat problematic in our family.”

As an adult, Keith married Nicole Kidman and the couple started a family of their own, with daughters Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret.

“...Our family now is very, very different on that front,” he continues, explaining that he feels a particular connection to the song’s line, “I don’t want to be like my father was / Scared to rock the boat but never speaking up / I want to live my truths wide open.”

The singer points out that even though he doesn’t consider himself a “jump-on-the-soapbox” person, he’s still learning all the time about how important it is to say the things that really matter.

“There are so many things I wish I’d said to my father and I didn’t get the chance before he died,” Keith reflects.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

ABC/Image Group LAWillie Nelson is urging fans to make their voices heard this election season with the release of a patriotic new animated music video for his song, “Vote ‘Em Out.”

Joined by his sons Lukas and Micah on backing vocals, the country legend calls American citizens to action in the lyrics, reminding listeners of how important their right to vote truly is.

“If it’s a bunch of clowns you voted in / Election Day is comin’ round again,” Willie sings in the second verse of the song. “If you don’t like it now / If it’s more than you’ll allow / If you don’t like who’s in there, vote ‘em out...”

Willie first released this song in 2018, premiering it at an Austin, Texas rally for then-Democratic Senate nominee Beto O’Rourke. With the 2020 presidential election rapidly approaching, however, the song is more timely than ever.

The video for the song drops ahead of this year’s Farm Aid, which will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Willie’s Farm Aid partners Dave Matthews, John Mellencamp and Neil Young will all appear at this year’s event, as will a stacked array of guest performers including Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton and more. You can watch the event online and on AXS TV.

If you’re not sure whether you’re registered to vote, check on your status now.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mercury NashvilleBack when Chris Stapleton first broke into the mainstream in 2015, he grabbed fan attention with a genre-blending version of “Tennessee Whiskey” that added a hearty dose of soul and R&B to the country staple.

Chris’ guitar work on “Tennessee Whiskey” even tipped its hat to Etta James’ hit “I’d Rather Go Blind,” cementing the singer-songwriter’s status as a fan of soul music right out the gate.  Now his love of soul and R&B takes center stage once more in his just-released “Cold.”

The mournful heartbreak ballad begins with only a somber piano line but builds as it progresses, culminating in dazzling vocal runs and an anguished, passionate guitar solo.

“Oh, why you got to be so cold? / Why you got to go and cut me like a knife? / Put our love on ice?” Chris sings in the chorus. “Oh, girl you know you left this hole / Right here in the middle of my soul / Oh, why you got to be so cold?

The song comes off of Starting Over, Chris’ forthcoming fourth studio project. The album’s not due out until November 13, but he's already shared its title track.

Of course, Chris has kept things pretty country, too.  After all, he's a Kentucky native and former Steel Driver band mate who cut his teeth in the late ‘90s as a member of a Travis Tritt tribute band.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Jeremy Cowart/Shauna Dodds & Sarah Dodds/Backstage Design StudioGranger Smith returns this week with the release of Country Things Vol. 1, the eight-song first section of a new double album. It’s the singer’s tenth studio project to date, and he believes it’s also his best work yet. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to release new music! I’m so proud of these songs and the stories they reflect from my life. I really believe it’s my best album yet,” the singer says. “Roll the windows down and crank it up!”

Granger began working on this project back in early 2019, but everything changed for him after the unexpected drowning death of his 3-year-old son, River. In the wake of that tragedy, the singer ultimately returned to music-making with the perspective that writing the songs was a healing outlet.

Now, Country Things Vol. 1 is a spirited look into the singer’s family life, state of mind and, of course, love of all things country.

You can celebrate the album release with Granger tonight by tuning in to his virtual release party show, called Live at the Yee Yee Farm, on YouTube. The party starts at 6:15 PM CT; 15 minutes after Granger premieres the music video for the title track of his album, “Country Things.”

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Sean Hagwell/Warner Music NashvilleMichael Ray stirs up some good old fashioned country heartbreak in his just-released single, “Whiskey and Rain.” It’s an ode to the classic, tear-in-your-beer breakup anthems of the ‘90s -- a resemblance the singer says is intentional.

“I miss story songs that you have to listen to all the way through to understand,” Michael reflects. “This song is everything I love about country music -- traditional country music, like Tim McGraw and Earl Thomas Conley, and I want to bring that back.”

In fact, Ray adds, songs like “Whiskey and Rain” inspired him to pursue country music in the first place.

“This is the music I originally came to Nashville to make, and I’m grateful to have this opportunity for fans to get to know me better as an artist,” the singer says.

In fact, Michael’s been getting back to his roots in more ways than one recently. The singer says that while off the road during the pandemic, he’s been spending some time in his hometown of Eustis, Florida, where he grew up in a family of musicians.

“If I start feeling real down, I just need to go down there for a few days to see everybody. I’ll get rejuvenated with my family. Something about being on that dirt just does a lot for me,” he reflects.

It’s been a tumultuous year in Michael’s personal life, too: This summer, he got divorced from fellow country star Carly Pearce after eight months of marriage.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Comstock/ThinkstockEight years ago today, this trailblazing female country star celebrated 50 years as a Grand Ole Opry Member. After rising from humble beginnings as a “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” this Butcher Holler, Kentucky native rose through the ranks to become one of country music's all-time greats. Can you name her? ANSWER: Loretta Lynn.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Foundry RecordsHitmaking ‘90s duo Shenandoah are putting out their first album of original material since 1994, and it’s a star-packed duets project.

This week, band mates Marty Raybon and Mike McGuire drew back the curtain on Every Road: A 10-song collection of original material that features appearances from some of the hottest artists of modern-day country music.

Luke Bryan, Ashley McBryde, Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley are just a few of the guests who collaborate with Shenandoah on a song for the album. Lady A lends their voices to a song that two of the trio’s members, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott, also co-wrote.

Brad Paisley offers his megawatt vocals on a song, too, and Carly Pearce and Cody Johnson both represent the contingent of up-and-coming performers who continue to carry the torch for traditional country music.

Every Road is due for release on November 13. Before it drops in full, you can get a listen to the project’s first single, “I’d Take Another One of Those,” which is the first track on the album and a duet with Zac Brown Band.

The album is available for pre-order now. Here’s the full track list:

“I’d Take Another One of Those” (with Zac Brown Band)
“Make It Til Summertime” (with Luke Bryan)
“If Only” (with Ashley McBryde)
“Every Road” (with Dierks Bentley)
“Then a Girl Walks In” (with Blake Shelton)
“High Class Hillbillies” (with Cody Johnson)
“Every Time I Look at You” (with Lady A)
“Life Would Be Perfect” (with Brad Paisley)
“I’ll Be Your Everything” (with Carly Pearce)
“Boots on Broadway”

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Joseph LlanesCarrie Underwood's first full-length holiday album, My Gift, arrives today, a full three months ahead of Christmas.

While John Legend joins her for the track "Hallelujah," there's no guest quite as special as her son, Isaiah Fisher, who's featured on his mom's version of "Little Drummer Boy." 

"It was wonderful to have Isaiah be a part of what I love," Carrie reflects. "You know, having that moment, I was like, 'I don't know how he's gonna do. I don't know.'"

"He was super excited to be there," she adds. "If nothing else, [I thought], he'll have, like, a fun day seeing what mommy does."

Even before he turns six in February, Isaiah's already delivered an impressive performance behind the mic.

"It was such a great moment for me as a mom to have him share something that I really love to do," Carrie continues. "And he ended up being really great in the studio, which was just like, I was so proud."

Vinyl copies of My Gift will be available October 30, with Carrie's full-length special -- complete with a live orchestra and choir -- set to premiere this yuletide on HBO Max.

Carrie leads off a busy season of country stars putting out new holiday offerings in 2020, as Dolly Parton's A Holly Dolly Christmas follows on October 2, just ahead of Runaway June's When I Think About Christmas on October 16.

Buck OwensA Merry Hee Haw Christmas also gets a 2020 re-release on November 13, showcasing the country classic, "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy." 

Expect at least one more major holiday offering -- as well as some single tracks -- to be announced as well.

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockAfter being part of The Time Jumpers since 2010, solo performer and current Eagles bandmate Vince Gill has left the group, Rolling Stone reports. After a pandemic-induced break from live performances, the Time Jumpers will return to the stage without Vince next month.

Country comedian and Hall of Famer Ray Stevens has announced the reopening of his West Nashville venue, CabaRay, on October 1. After being closed for several months due the pandemic, the showroom will reopen at limited capacity, with a socially-distanced table set-up.

Orville Peck and Paul Cauthen have teamed up as the Unrighteous Brothers with the release of two Righteous Brothers cover songs: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” and “Unchained Melody.”

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

ABC/Image Group LAWhen the 2020 CMT Music Awards nominees were announced earlier this week, Blanco Brown made the list twice with his viral 2019 smash, “The Git Up.”

The first-time CMT Awards nominee not only netted a mention in the Breakthrough Video of the Year category, but he also scored a nod in the event’s most coveted honor of the night: Video of the Year. He’s one of fourteen nominees in the latter category; that list will be whittled down to five fan-voted finalists by October 12.

Blanco’s accomplishments ahead of the awards show were particularly poignant due to recent events in the singer’s personal life. Early in September, he was hospital after being involved in a head-on motorcycle crash, and underwent a 12-hour surgery to address his injuries.

Fortunately, Blanco's now on the mend and expected to make a full recovery, but he was still recuperating in a hospital bed when word got out that he’s nominated at the CMT Awards. He posted footage on social media of the special moment when he found out he was in the running, as well as his first reaction to the news.

“Man, I tell you, I can’t even imagine that. CMT, I love y’all,” Blanco said, shaking his head in disbelief. “It’s a blessing. Especially, like...the family over there. It’s deeper than just a song. I mean, it’s a blessing, man.”

Blanco joked that he was going to have to find a way to celebrate, hospital-style. “Now I gotta go take a shot of water!” he said, grinning ear to ear.

The 2020 CMT Music Awards will air on Wednesday, October 21 at 8PM ET on CMT. You can vote for your favorite artists in all categories now through October 12 at 12PM ET.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Michael Hickey/Getty ImagesCanaan Smith finds a creative way to get over heartbreak in the music video for his latest single, “Colder Than You.”

In the clip, Canaan hightails it out into the woods to hide from a relationship gone bad, with only his pickup truck and some beer-brewing gear for company. Over the course of the video, we see Canaan mix together water, hops and so much more, ending up with a delicious beer that’s a surefire cure for heartache.

Filmed by a creek in a scenic stretch of Georgia near the Blue Ridge Mountains, the “Colder Than You” video combines two of the singer’s real-life passions: The outdoors and a delicious chilled beer.  In fact, Canaan hints that the video’s subject matter is also a clue about at something to come that he’s got brewing off-camera.

It’s certainly not the first time that Canaan has celebrated the magic of a cold beer in his songs. Previously-released tunes include “Pour Decisions” and “Beer Drinkin’ Weather.” His latest tune was co-produced by Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley; Canaan is also signed to the duo’s Round Here Records.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

ABC/Image Group LANearly a year after the release of her seventh studio album, Wildcard, Miranda Lambert revisits the process of making the record in a new behind-the-scenes video featuring her producer, Jay Joyce, and some of the writers who helped her make the album.

The project marked a turning point for Miranda, who says that she returned to the mindset of making her first album, Kerosene, and also changed directions by taking a break from working with her longtime producer, Frank Liddell.

The result, she reflects, was an album that came together completely naturally.

“Of all the albums I’ve made, [Wildcard] is the one that I’ve over-thought the least. I just had confidence in the process,” she explains. “I just felt like it was gonna work.”

“It ended up in a place of just owning it -- all of it,” the singer continues, explaining that while Wildcard marked a new venture for her in some respects, it also sees her getting closer than ever to the musical identity she’s always had.

“I’ve always been that way in my music. I’ve never tried to hide anything. Sometimes I’ve been too honest, uncomfortably honest,” Miranda points out. “But I just believe in it, because that’s my job, is to just say, ‘Here’s my story, hope y’all have one similar.”

Throughout the behind-the-scenes video, Miranda also revisits some specific songs off of Wildcard and shares the stories behind them, with songwriters such as Luke Dick, Natalie Hemby, Ashley Monroe and many more.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

ABC/Image Group LAMatt Stell returns today with news of a new EP, Better Than That, due for release on October 16.

Matt’s next batch of tunes will include his current top-10 single “Everywhere but On,” as well as his breakout hit “Prayed for You” and another previously-released song, “If I Was a Bar.”

In addition to those three songs that fans already know and love, Matt’s including five new tracks on Better Than That. The singer says that although he’s been sad to be off the road this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these songs have been an upside to quarantine.

“I think the silver lining to quarantine and being off the road is that I’ve been able to focus on writing and becoming more creative,” the singer explains. “I’m really proud of these new songs, so it’s exciting to finally get them out to the fans.”

Though the full  Better Than ThatEP won’t drop until next month, Matt is tiding fans over with the release of the title track, “Better Than That.” It’s a catchy, mid-tempo love song for a girl worth waiting for, with lyrics that focus on how sometimes, a more subtle strategy is more effective when it comes to flirting.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

©Grand Ole Opry/ Photo By: Chris HolloEver since the COVID-19 pandemic forced Nashville stages to close to the public back in March, the Grand Ole Opry has been broadcasting its weekly Saturday evening show without its usual live audience.

Now, the venue announces that they will begin welcoming back concertgoers on Saturday, October 3 -- with some safety measures in place.

Each show will have a strict capacity cap at 500 audience members, with physically distanced seating that allows groups to sit together but distances them from other audience members. All guests, staff and Opry operations personnel will be required to wear masks, and there will be no concessions services. Furthermore, the venue will have enhanced cleaning procedures and temperature checks for all staff.

Dierks Bentley, Terri Clark, Vince Gill and Lorrie Morgan are on deck to perform on October 3, which is also the Opry’s 95th anniversary celebration. Appropriately enough, it also marks Dierks’ 15th anniversary of being inducted into the Grand Ole Opry family.

The show will continue to be livestreamed on the venue’s website, as well as broadcast on the Opry’s flagship home of 650 WSM AM.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

ABC/Image Group LADolly Parton’s heard some pretty salacious rumors about herself over the years. She’s been falsely romantically linked to everyone from Elvis Presley to Kenny Rogers, accused of being ultra-high maintenance in the studio, and much more.

The star has gotten used to shutting down stories about herself that aren’t true, but there is one long-time rumor that she admits holds a little bit of water.

“I do have some tattoos, that’s true,” Dolly tells People. “But they’re tasteful. I’m not a tattoo girl. My tattoos are pretty, they’re artful...”

In fact, she adds, she got the idea to start adding some ink to her skin not because she loved the idea of tattoos necessarily, but in order to cover up scarring related to long-ago medical procedures.

“They usually started out to cover some scar, not to make a big statement. Ribbons and bows and butterflies are the things that I have,” the singer continues. “I was very sick for a while and I had to wear a feeding tube. It left a little indentation on my side and I didn’t like it because I’m so fair that scars turn purple on me.”

So, she decided to take matters into her own hands. “I like to make positives out of negatives. I had a little beehive tattooed over it -- a little yellow-and-brown beehive with a tiny little bee on top of the hive. The mouth of it is that little sinkhole,” Dolly explains.

She goes on to say that she’s not ruling out the possibility of adding to her collection, especially after seeing how fascinated fans are with her tattoos.

“Who knows, I may get some more later,” Dolly adds. “I may just have to get covered with tattoos just so everybody could be right!”

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Comstock/ThinkstockOn this date in 2015, the superstar pop-country crossover artist who duetted with Dolly Parton for “Islands in the Stream” officially announced his retirement. The singer called the music business quits after his final tour. Can you name him? ANSWER: Kenny Rogers.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Capitol Records NashvilleAs the Friday release date nears for Carrie Underwood’s holiday album, My Gift, the singer reveals that she’s got yet another holiday treat in store for fans.

This week, Carrie revealed that she'll release a holiday television special on HBO Max to go along with her new album. The show, which is set to shoot this fall in time for the holiday season, will feature Carrie performing songs off of My Gift. She’ll be backed by a live orchestra and choir.

The singer says that she can’t wait to add a visual component to her new holiday collection, which is the first full-length Christmas album she’s ever released.

“The journey of writing and recording this album started last year when I finished my tour, and we could have never anticipated the circumstances we would be in this year,” Carrie explains. “Creating this album has been good for my heart, and I’m thrilled to get to share it with the world and bring it to life with Playtone and HBO Max.”

The My Gift special is produced in partnership with Playtone, which is Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s film and television production company. Carrie also co-executive produces the event, along with her manager, Ann Edelbute.

My Gift is due for release on September 25, and will be available on special red vinyl on October 30. Ahead of release day, Carrie shared one of the tracks on the album, her rendition of "Let There Be Peace."

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

ABC/Image Group LA Fresh off winning Group and Song of the Year at last week's ACM Awards, Old Dominion's heading back into the studio to start work on their next album. 

And in a rare bright spot in a year when they can't play live shows because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they'll get to make their record in a way they've always envisioned.

"The cool thing is we are looking forward to making more music," lead singer Matthew Ramsey tells ABC Audio. "So we actually decided, 'You know what? We've always talked about, "Wouldn't be great to make an album like they did in the old days where they had all the time in the world, and they just lived in the studio and went in there and created? And when they were done, they left."'"

So the "Never Be Sorry" hitmakers are headed outside Nashville.

"We actually booked a recording studio in another town," Matthew explains. "And it's got a house and everything, and we're just going to live for like a month."

"And we have no plan," he adds. "We're just gonna go in there and come out with something. We'll see, you know."

So far, OD's excited about their prospects.

"I think it's gonna be good," Matthew says, "because we've started to sort of work on things here. And the things that we're kind of playing with are really different and really cool, and [it's] exciting for us to be able to create again."

Still, Matthew jokes it could go either way: "I was talking to my brother the other day... and I said, 'We're either gonna come out with something great or kill each other -- or both!'"  

OD also vies for Vocal Group and Album of the Year at the CMA Awards November 11 on ABC.

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.