ABC - Country Music News

Disney Channel/Image Group LAYou may know Mason Ramsey as “Walmart Boy,” the preteen who found Internet fame in 2018 when footage of him yodeling a Hank Williams tune in the aisles of his hometown superstore went viral.

Now, the talented young singer’s got a new claim to fame, as the voice behind Burger King’s ultra-catchy ad spot addressing beef production’s climate impact.

The dazzling, bizarre new commercial finds Mason strumming his way through a colorful, two-minute clip, backed by an ensemble of young singers decked out in lemongrass-topped cowboy hats. Meanwhile, mechanical cows dance in the background, passing colorful clouds of gas that float up into the sky. 

“When cows fart and burp and splatter / It ain’t no laughing matter / They’re releasing methane every time they do,” Mason sings in the first verse of the song. “And then methane from their rear / Goes up through the atmosphere / And pollutes our planet, warming me and you...”

He then launches into a chorus, yodeling the word “methane” over and over again.

While it’s easy to get distracted by Mason’s lyrics and rhinestone gas mask, the ad’s message is a serious one. It speaks to the impact greenhouse gas emissions from beef production has on the environment, advertising Burger King’s new line of reduced emissions Whopper sandwiches.

According to Billboard, the restaurant chain discovered that “adding 100 grams of dried lemongrass to the cows’ daily feed” provided a “reduction of up to 33% on average during the period the diet was fed.”

The new line of reduced-emissions beef will be featured at select U.S. Burger King restaurants in cities inluding Austin, Miami, New York City, Los Angeles and Portland.

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

ABC/Chris HolloThe battle over usage of the name Lady A continues to rage on, as blues singer Anita White explains why talks broke down with the country group formerly known as Lady Antebellum.

Last month, the band announced their decision to drop the word “Antebellum” from their name, in acknowledgement of the word’s ties to slavery. There was just one problem: White, who's an independent artist, has been performing under the moniker Lady A for three decades.

The two acts entered into talks, with the band hoping to share the name and maybe even release a song together to cement their harmonious coexistence.

But White tells ABC News that she and the band could never come to terms with what that coexistence would look like, saying their talks fell apart because the band’s efforts towards a compromise were ultimately “insincere.”

“They disregarded me as if I’d never asked the question,” says the singer, recalling the times when she asked the band and their team about the logistics of sharing the name.

“The talks kind of broke down when I could see the insincerity. What privilege allows you to do is think that what you’re doing is right and that you don’t have to explain yourself,” adds Anita, who's Black.

Earlier this month, the band filed suit against White, asking a court to affirm their right to use the name Lady A without paying her the $10 million she and her team requested. That amount of money, the blues singer says, would have been evenly split between her own rebranding process and donations to Black Lives Matter, local activism efforts, and support of other independent artists who find themselves in similar disputes.

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

ABC/Image Group LARising star Gabby Barrett is adding another accolade to her collection.

The singer has been named as one of a class of artists participating in Amazon’s Breakthrough, an international program spotlighting some of the fastest-rising acts across all genres. Gabby is the only country act included in the mix.

As a participating artist, Gabby will release Amazon Original tracks and even be the subject of her own mini-documentary. Her current single, “The Good Ones,” is also included on a brand-new playlist highlighting the featured up-and-coming acts.

It’s no surprise that Gabby is receiving so much mainstream attention: The American Idol alum has become one of country’s fastest-rising stars over the past year. She notched her first chart-topping hit at country radio with her debut single, “I Hope.” Her full-length debut project, Goldmine, has also broken records, netting the highest-ever number of first-week streams of any debut country album. 

As a member of the Breakthrough program, Gabby is in impressive company. Other featured artists include rising German pop star Malik Harris, U.K. rapper Jay1, pioneering R&B singer/poet Arlo Parks and more.

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

Comstock/ThinkstockOn this day in 2003, this iconic country duo released its eighth studio album, Red Dirt Road. It reached number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and spawned three hit singles: "Red Dirt Road," "You Can't Take the Honky-Tonk out of the Girl," and "That's What She Gets for Lovin' Me." Can you name the duo? ANSWER: Brooks & Dunn

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

ABC/Image Group LAIt’s been 26 years since Reba McEntire starred in her first televised concert special. Now, she plans to revisit all the fun and excitement of that show as Reba: Live airs exclusively on YouTube this Friday.

Filmed at her 1994 stop at the Omaha Civic Center, the hour-long, 12-song event features all the dazzling musical moments that keep fans coming back to Reba’s concerts today.

“This was one of my first big tours with all the dancers and costume changes, and it was my very first network television special,” the singer reflects. “It’s so much fun to get to revisit it and share it with my fans all these years later!”

The special premieres on Friday, July 17 at 7pm CT. To make the experience even more special, Reba will join fans on her YouTube channel to discuss the event and share some of her memories from recording the show.

“I hope they enjoy it and I can’t wait to share some stories from the behind-the-scenes during the chat,” she adds.

The premiere of Reba: Live comes just one day before Reba is booked to return to the Grand Ole Opry stage this Saturday, alongside her fellow Opry member and Oklahoma native, Vince Gill.

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

Mercury NashvilleIn Maddie & Tae's heartbreak ballad, "Die from a Broken Heart," the protagonist asks her mom not to tell her dad what she's going through, adding he should "keep that pistol in the drawer."

For Maddie Marlow, that line's more than a sly moment of comic relief in the song, it's autobiographical. 

"My dad does have a pistol in his drawer," she reveals. "So it's like, it's very real. And I just feel like even when I got my heart broken -- the many times that I've had my heart broken -- my Texas dad, like that is such a thing, you know."

"So I just felt like with that second verse," she continues, "we felt like it elevated the song a little bit where it just feels like, 'Please don't tell Dad, but like, also keep the pistol handy.'"

For Tae Dye, it's the next line that rings especially true: "Mama, please don't say I'm gonna laugh about this some day."

"Don't tell me I'm gonna laugh it off, " Tae reflects, "because right now the last thing I want to do is laugh. So, it's just so real."

"Something my parents always say," Maddie chimes in, "is like, 'Maddie, you won't even remember his name five years from now!' And I'm like, 'I know, but I really know his that right now, and I'm so sad!'"

"You know, that's not the right thing to say," Maddie explains. "So I'm glad that we put that line in there."

For the record, broken hearts don't seem to be much of a concern for Maddie or Tae these days, since they've both recently tied the knot. 

"Die from a Broken Heart" is the second single from the duo's sophomore album, The Way It Feels, and their first top-ten hit in nearly five years.

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

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThe Live Sessions featuring Kalie Shorr and Maggie Rose streams tonight on Real Music TV at 8 p.m. ET. Up-and-coming Nashville-based artists Ruthie Collins and Kyshona Armstrong will also appear, along with performances by sister band SHEL, replacing Lillie Mae, who had to drop out due to the fact that one of her family members was exposed to COVID-19. 

Kip Moore is featured in a short film advertising Ford's new Bronco vehicle. The film, titled Built Wilddebuted during the CMA Best of Fest special.

Bailey Bryan has released the video for her new song, "play w/me." She shot the video during quarantine using a green screen in her Nashville apartment.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Jason Squires/Getty ImagesTucker Beathard has revealed that he has a daughter. 

The "Rock On" singer turned to Instagram on Monday to share with fans that he's the father of a two-year-old daughter named Sage, marking the first time he's publicly introduced her.

Tucker explains in an honest post that he got a call from the child's mother in Seattle in November 2017, when he was 22, informing him that he was about to become a father. She later gave birth to Sage in July 2018.   

"To say I was scared is an understatement. It seemed like everything was kinda falling apart around me," Tucker expresses about his mindset at the time, revealing that he was also in the process of leaving his record label then and had hit his "breaking point." 

But through leaning on his faith, the country star says he experienced tremendous growth and embraced the new chapter in life. 

"And more than anything, he took what I thought was 'the last thing I needed in my life' and instead, on 7/13/18, gave me the greatest blessing I could possibly ask for by bringing this little girl into my life," Tucker declares, alongside a series of photos of his daughter, including one of her resting her hand on his guitar as he plays. "Happy 2nd Birthday to my beautiful daughter Sage... now I just pray she doesn’t raise as much hell I as I did growing up." 

Tucker rose to fame in 2016 when his debut single, "Rock On," reached number two on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. He released part one of his debut album Nobody's Everything in 2018. He' also the son of hit songwriter Casey Beathard.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Columbia RecordsWhen the band formerly known as the Dixie Chicks rebranded to The Chicks, frontwoman Natalie Maines had a different direction in mind for what she wanted the new band name to be. 

The Grammy-decorated trio of Natalie and sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer officially changed its name to The Chicks in June following the wave of protests for racial justice after the deaths of George FloydBreonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery

In interview with VultureThe Chicks reveal that one idea they had when brainstorming new band names was MEN, representing the initials for each of their names: Martie, Emily and Natalie. 

"Recently, the one I leaned toward the most if we didn’t go with the Chicks, or couldn’t go with the Chicks legally, was gonna be MEN," Natalie explains. "I liked that we would go from Chicks to MEN." 

The trio previously shared with the The New York Times that they'd wanted to change the band name for years so they'd no longer be aligned with the word "dixie," which is associated with the Confederate states during the Civil War. 

The Chicks' new album, Gaslighter, will be released on Friday.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Erick Anderson Circle TV is honoring the life and legacy of Charlie Daniels with a special tribute airing on Sunday night. 

Circle, which also streams weekly episodes of the Grand Ole Opry, will devote its Sunday night programming to the country legend, who passed away last week from a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 83. 

Segments include Reflections from the Circle: Charlie Daniels, an interview with Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs in which Charlie reflects on his career from the Opry stage, airing at 8 p.m. ET. There will also be a re-ariing of The Charlie Daniels Band: Live at Billy Bob’s Texas, originally taped in 2015, along with clips of Charlie's appearances on Hee Haw. 

The night will culminate with the 30-minute tribute, Circle Sessions: Remembering Charlie Daniels, a retrospection on "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" singer's Grand Ole Opry induction in 2008, plus career highlights and interviews with artists who have been impacted by the star, airing at 10 p.m. ET. 

The set of shows begin at 7 p.m. ET on July 19 on the Circle network. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

ABC/Mark LevineThomas Rhett and his family have spent the past several weeks at the beach in Florida, but it appears it hasn't all been fun and games based on a funny photo Thomas shared with his youngest daughter.

The photo at hand shows Thomas standing on the beach with a stone cold expression on his face while holding his crying five-month-old daughter Lennon in his arms. "I promise everything is fine," he captions the LOL-worthy snap that also shows him rocking a mini man bun to match his daughter's pair of adorable pigtails.

"Top notch top knot," comments "All on Me" singer Devin Dawson.

Thomas has shared a series of sweet memories from the beach trip, including a photo of his two other daughters Willa Gray and Ada James sharing a loving embrace on the beach at sunset.

"This is pretty much everything," he captions the moment, while calling his wife Lauren Akins "Superwoman" alongside a photo of her holding a slumbering Lennon in one hand and a can of Truly hard seltzer in the other.

Thomas ascended the country charts earlier this year with his fifteenth number-one song "Beer Can't Fix" featuring Jon Pardi.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

ABC/Mark LevineLuke Combs has set an unprecedented record on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. 

Luke's sophomore album, What You See Is What You Get, claims the number-one spot again this week.  That marks the album's 25th week in the top slot, which makes Luke the first artist in the chart's 56-year history to have his first two studio albums spend more than 25 weeks at number one.

Luke's debut album, This One's for You, released in 2017, spent a whopping 50 weeks at number one. 

Taylor Swift previously held the chart record, with her 2006 self-titled debut sitting at number one for 24 weeks, while her Grammy-winning follow-up, Fearless, spent 35 weeks at the top of the chart. 

Garth BrooksShania Twain and Alabama are the only other artists in the history of the Top Country Albums chart who have spent 25 or more weeks at number one with two albums.  Garth did it with No Fences and Ropin' the Wind in 1990 and 1991, respectively, while Shania's wildly popular albums The Woman in Me and Come on Over spent 79 weeks combined at number one on the chart. In 1981 and 1982, Alabama was sitting high with Feels So Right and Mountain Music

Luke also tied Shania's record for Come on Over with This One's For You for the longest run at number one, both logging 50 weeks.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Frazer Harrison/Getty ImagesA week after Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood postponed their second acoustic show due to possible exposure to COVID-19, the couple has announced that they've tested negative for the virus. 

Garth revealed during Inside Studio G Monday night that he and Trisha, along with another person who was potentially exposed to the virus, all tested negative. 

Garth and Trisha were supposed to host the second round of Garth Request Live last Tuesday, but out of an abundance of caution they delayed the event to quarantine.

"We all tested. Everybody tested negative, including the possible exposure, which ended up not being a possible exposure...So we're back," Garth shared. 

The superstar also announced on social media Monday that Garth Request Live 2 will take place tonight, with he and Trisha taking song requests from fans online that they'll perform in a live stream. 

"We're going to make this really organic. This should be fun," he teases. "I just miss getting to play. I think there's some things you do for a living, and there's some things you do to live -- and I think that is what I do."

Garth Request Live 2 streams tonight on Facebook at 7 p.m. ET.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Walt Disney Television/Lorenzo BevilaquaMorgan Wallen revealed in an Instagram post on Monday night that he's now a father. 

The "Up Down" singer shared in a lengthy post that his son, Indigo Wilder, "Indie" for short, was born last Friday. People reports that Morgan's former fiancé, KT Smith, gave birth to Indie on July 10 at 5:43 p.m. CT at a Nashville hospital, the baby weighing 6 lbs., 13 oz.   

"Little Wilder, I’m a changed man. Since you came into the world Friday, I see mine differently now. It’s not just me anymore, and I’m glad it’s not," Morgan writes alongside a photo of him at the hospital, holding the newborn.

The singer goes on to reveal that it's been a challenging year for him, but the arrival of his son has made it all worth it.

"I’ll be the Dad you deserve as well as the co-parent your mother deserves. Since you were born, I know that every decision I make will be with you in mind," he continues, calling the new child "a gift." 

Morgan also admits that the idea of being a father initially scared him, but now describes it as "the coolest damn feeling." 

"Thank you to my friends and family who have called and texted me letting me know how happy they are for me and that I have their support. I can’t wait to see him hook into his first big one," he concludes. 

KT also shared photos and videos from the hospital after giving birth. "Indie Wilder you are your mama’s answered prayer times infinity and the cutest little human ham hunk I’ve ever laid eyes on," she raves.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Comstock/ThinkstockFive years ago today, this Knoxville native's debut single "Love Me Like You Mean It" was certified gold. The song also reached number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, making her the first solo female artist to hit number one on the chart with a debut single since Carrie Underwood in 2006. Can you name the singer? ANSWER: Kelsea Ballerini. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Connor DwyerSam Hunt's latest hit, "Hard to Forget," begins with a sample of Webb Pearce's number one from 1953, "There Stands the Glass." 

Of course, Sam's made a name for himself by putting a progressive spin on country music with smashes like "Body Like a Back Road" and "House Party." If you're wondering why he took such a traditional turn, the Georgia native confesses Ken BurnsCountry Music documentary on PBS may be to thank.

"I think that may have been one of the reasons I was so drawn to it," Sam tells ABC Audio. "When I listen to country music, I'll go back to about the seventies and maybe some early George Jones I listen to sometimes, which goes even further back."

"Occasionally, some Hank [WilliamsSenior," he adds, "but rarely do I, like, really listen to that era of country music."

"But it is familiar to me," he continues, "because it's always been around. My granddad listened to a lot of that music growing up and he'd be singing it around the house or he'd have it on or it'd be on at the feed store."

For Sam, the PBS series reminded him of good times he spent with his grandfather.

"Watching that documentary, really, it kind of filled in some blanks with the story of my grandparents and their parents and their grandparents," he reflects. "And so it it was very familiar to me."

"And I think after watching that documentary -- and I can't remember if I watched that before hearing that sample -- but I was just in that state of mind when I was writing that song," Sam explains. "It just really felt like a piece of home to me."  

"Hard to Forget" is on track to be Sam's next number one.

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

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockSinger-songwriter Brett James is taking part in the Country Music Hall of Fame's Songwriter Sessions tonight. Brett is the writer behind such hits as "Something in the Water" by Carrie UnderwoodKenny Chesney's "When the Sun Goes Down," and "I Hold On" by Dierks Bentley. The show will stream on the CMHOF's Instagram at 9 p.m. ET.

Bill Anderson will release his 73rd album, The Hits Re-Imagined, on July 24. The project features songs written by Bill that were recorded by other artists including George Strait's "Give it Away," and "Whiskey Lullaby" by Brad Paisley

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

ABC/Paula LoboLittle Big Town join forces with Trombone Shorty for a lively rendition of Hank Williams' classic "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)." 

The two acts originally debuted the song during the United We Sing event hosted by Harry Connick, Jr. on CBS in June to honor front-line workers of the COVID-19 pandemic.  They're now releasing an official version of the track that adds even more spice to Williams' original. 

In the new version, Trombone Shorty's mastery of the horn adds vibrancy to the foursome's bright harmonies as they sing of jambalaya, crawfish pie and filé gumbo while having "big fun on the bayou."

The exuberant song was released by Williams in 1952 and topped the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.  It's since been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.   

Proceeds from the song will go toward the Trombone Shorty Foundation and The Roots of Music, two organizations that provide music education for youth in New Orleans. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Greg NoireBrett Eldredge delivered a message of positivity to viewers during his appearance on ABC's Good Morning America today. 

Joining the New York City-based show for a virtual visit, Brett offered a stripped-down performance of the new track that is centered around the idea of changing one's perspective for the better. 

"There's a lot of negativity, a lot of tough things in life that you can focus on, and I noticed my mind getting into that pattern," Brett explains of the inspiration behind the song, adding that he learned to alter his mind to think, "what if I choose to take my best foot forward and choose to have a good day?"

That's precisely what he did, channeling this reformed mindset into a mellow acoustic performance, flanked by an acoustic guitarist and pianist as his sultry and smooth vocals drive home the lyrics: "If the world gonna keep on spinnin'/Let it keep spinnin' on my way/I got a feelin'/It's gonna be a good day."

"Good Day" is featured on Brett's album, Sunday Drive, which was released Friday.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Getty Images for Live NationBrad PaisleyDarius Rucker and Jon Pardi took over Music City this weekend with drive-in concerts as part of Live Nation's Live from the Drive In series. 

Setting up shop in the parking lot of Nissan Stadium on Saturday night, Brad surprised the crowd with a virtual duet with Carrie Underwood on their hit, "Remind Me," along with other signature songs "Waitin' on a Woman," "Water," "Mud on the Tires" and more. 

Meanwhile, the "Dirt on My Boots" singer entertained an outdoor crowd at Nissan on Friday before Darius closed the series on Sunday night, performing hits ranging from the chart-topping "Come Back Song" to the Hootie & the Blowfish classic, "Only Wanna Be with You." 

“Thank you for this weekend everyone. People stayed by their cars, rules were followed, and beer was drank. We will never take the chance to play music for granted," Brad shared on Instagram.

Live Nation worked with local and state health officials to follow social distancing protocols. Vehicles were placed in separate tailgate zones and fans were encouraged to wear masks and remain in their designated areas.  

The series also spanned to the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis, where Brad performed on Friday, and the Ruoff Music Center in Indianapolis that saw performances by Jon and Brad on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Nelly and El Monstero also performed individual sets during the three-night series.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.