ABC - Country Music News

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockUK country duo The Shires is releasing their new album, Good Years, in the U.S. on March 13. The album was recorded in Nashville and features a song co-written by Cam. The Shires is the first UK country act to perform on the Grand Ole Opry and is the best-selling country act in history in the UK. 

Daily & Vincent is bringing its Landfest music festival to Texas for the first time with the Lonestar Landfest. The two-day festival brings a lineup of Alison Krauss, Ricky Skaggs, The Voice winner Jake Hoot and more to The Theatre at Grand Prairie on May 30 and 31. Tickets are on sale now.  

Payton Smith made his Grand Ole Opry debut on February 22. He was introduced by Chris Young, who he'll open for on Chris' upcoming Town Ain't Big Enough World Tour. 

Passes are on sale now for the yearly songwriters festival, Tin Pan South. The 28th annual event will feature performances by Jake OwenJamey JohnsonTravis Denning and more. The festival takes place across Nashville March 24-28.

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ABC/Image Group LALil Nas X made "The Happiest Place on Earth" even more exciting with a surprise appearance for some special children. 

According to the official Instagram page for Bert's Big Adventure, an organization that provides free trips to Disney World for children who have life-threatening illnesses, the Grammy-winning superstar paid a visit to a Bert's Big Adventure group during their recent trip to Disney in Orlando, Florida.  

Lil Nas X had a dance party with the children, and also performed his signature smash, "Old Town Road." He also posed for photos and supplied all the kids with signed cowboy hats. 

"The kiddos promptly lost their minds, and everyone was on their feet and singing along while the rapper performed his record-breaking hit, 'Old Town Road,'" the organization describes, sharing a gallery of photos that show the star performing and engaging with the Bert's Big Adventure kids and their families. 

"He was so kind and thoughtful," they add. "It was an experience to last a lifetime!" 

Lil Nas X made history in 2019 when he and Billy Ray Cyrus' remix of "Old Town Road" became the longest-running number-one song in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. He and Billy Ray also took home two 2020 Grammy Awards for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Best Music Video.

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ABC RadioGarth Brooks is getting very close to announcing the next stops on his Stadium Tour, and he promises that they are "historic." 

During the most recent edition of his weekly Facebook Live series, Inside Studio GGarth teased that the location for his next Stadium Tour show will be unveiled within the next 10 days. Though he doesn't give any hints as to the city or venue, he does promise that it will be a major announcement. 

“The next two, I’m tellin’ you just hang onto everything you’ve got, ‘cause this is getting crazy!” he says. "And can I tell you -- ‘cause once you hear it, you’ll go, ‘hey…he wasn’t blowing smoke’ -- historic. The one right after that's frickin’ historic!!”

The country legend played his first stadium show of 2020 on Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, drawing the biggest crowd in the venue's history. He's also scheduled for a pair of stops in May at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina and the Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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ABC/Image Group LAFlorida Georgia Line wants to collaborate with Carrie Underwood, and they already have a song in mind for it. 

The hitmaking duo turned to Instagram to make their plea for the fellow superstar to join them on a song they recently wrote with pop star Julia Michaels. Dubbing it a "public song announcement," the duo's Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley are in the studio excitedly talking up the new track before offering fans a snippet of the demo they recorded with Julia. 

"We'd really love for Carrie Underwood to hear this song. We think it'd be a massive collaboration, we'd love to send it to you," they share before pressing play on the track that feature lyrics, "Man it feels good just ridin' around/ All around you and the windows down/Feels good, feels good/Good to love you baby/And yeah it's like heaven having you to hold/My sweet ice tea, my little country gold."

"Just call us," Brian teases.

"Let us know if you want it, we're going to send it your way. Let's go Carrie!" Tyler adds.    

FGL are the kings of collaboration, known for such crossover hits as "Cruise" with Nelly and the record-breaking "Meant to Be," with Bebe Rexha.

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BBR Music Group Blanco Brown and Parmalee have released the heartwarming video for their collaborative song, "Just the Way." 

The sunny video shines a spotlight on different types of women, from a young girl who's in a wheelchair to an older woman full of life. The scene is set against a colorful backdrop as the guys hand each woman red, pink and yellow roses, the camera capturing their delighted reactions as the bubbly pop-country song plays overhead.  

"Just the Way" was released in late 2019 and marks the first collaboration between the label mates and longtime friends. The song will make its live TV debut when Blanco and Parmalee perform "Just the Way" on the Today show on Wednesday, February 26 during the fourth hour.

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ABC/Randy HolmesIf you listen closely, you'll hear a special little guest on Florida Georgia Line's remix of Justin Bieber's "Yummy."

The sweet voice that says "yummy" at the beginning and in the middle of the song is Tyler Hubbard's two-year-old daughter, Olivia, an appearance that occurred by happenstance.

The duo was in the studio recording the track when Tyler's wife, Hayley, and Olivia stopped by for a visit. Knowing her fascination for headphones, Tyler set up an impromptu recording session with his daughter that resulted in a guest spot on their cover song. 

“My family came by the studio to hang out, and Liv loves to wear headphones -- so we put them on and moved the mic in front of her. She said, ‘Yummy,’ and we knew in that moment that we needed to add it in," Tyler explains to People about the "completely unexpected" appearance. "Now every time she hears the song she says, ‘That’s me.’”

Hayley also shared a photo from the time of the recording on her Instagram, both Tyler and Olivia looking gleeful as the singer holds his daughter up to the microphone.  

FGL's "Yummy (Country Remix)" featuring Justin was released on February 19. "Yummy" is the lead single off the pop superstar's new album, Changes.

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ABC/Image Group LABlake Shelton's Friends and Heroes 2020 Tour is off to a roaring start. 

The country superstar celebrated three sold-out shows during the second weekend of the tour. He treated the crowd to a thrilling surprise when his superstar girlfriend, Gwen Stefani, joined him for a performance of their hit duet "Nobody but You" at the Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield, California, followed by stops in Fresno and Sacramento. 

The opening weekend of Blake's tour also saw him playing to a trio of sold-out venues. The tour launched on February 13 in Portland, Oregon and continues through March 21.

“I moved to Nashville when I was 17 years old to get a record deal, get my songs played on the radio and go on tour to play my music," Blake says. "I’m living that dream out here on the road with several of my friends and heroes, and I’m so glad y’all are having as much fun as we are, ‘cause we’re having a damn blast! Can’t wait to fire this thing up again Thursday night in Salt Lake.”

Trace AdkinsLauren AlainaBellamy Brothers and John Anderson are among the friends and heroes joining Blake on the tour as opening acts.

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ABC/Randy HolmesFlorida Georgia Line are Billionaires. 

The hitmaking duo have been bestowed with the Billionaire plaque by Pandora for achieving a whopping five billion career 'spins' on the digital music platform. They are also among the top 10 country acts to have the most spins in Pandora history.

The singers were surprised with the commemorative plaque backstage at the Big Machine luncheon during 2020 CRS.  

"We are constantly blown away by the support from our fans and are grateful to Pandora for sharing our music around the world. This honor inspires us even more and we can’t wait for you to hear what’s coming next!” FGL's Brian Kelley says. 

FGL's current single, "Blessings," has also been on Pandora's Top Spins chart for seven weeks in a row.

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Comstock/ThinkstockOn this date in 2005, Tim McGraw's crossover hit with rapper Nelly made him the first country artist to earn a Platinum single for digital downloads from the RIAA. Can you name the tune? ANSWER: "Over and Over."

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It may be a new season of The Voice, but there's a brand new face sitting in one of the judge's chair this year -- Nick Jonas of The Jonas Brothers. The young singer proved to be a formidable opponent when battling it out with the other judges over competitors, too.

Jonas knew how to keep his fellow judges guessing from the second he arrived on the set -- via parachute.  That wasn't all, though.  He also proceeded to do a series of costume changes before Kelly ClarksonBlake Shelton, and John Legend right after he landed.

"Is this a Magic Mike moment?"  Kelly yelled in disbelief as Jonas ripped off his wingsuit to reveal a black tuxedo underneath.  He then tore off that outfit to reveal underneath a much more casual gray suit.

Memorable introductions aside, Jonas didn't make it easy for the other judges to woo over competitors that he wanted on his team.

First up was Todd Tilghman, 41, of Mississippi.  The father of eight created the season's first four-way chair turn during his soulful rendition of Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band's "We've Got Tonight." 

While Kelly tried winning Tilghman over by approaching him as a fellow parent as Jonas turned on the charm and spoke to him husband to husband -- it was Blake who snagged the first competitor of the night by connecting with Tilghman on a personal level.

Next to take the stage was 27-year-old Nelson Cade III, a full time musician who once performed with the legendary Stevie Wonder. It doesn't take long for his raspy, bluegrass voice to win over John, Kelly, and Nick with his cover of Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Pride And Joy."

Unfortunately for Nick, he realizes that he was blocked by Legend, meaning no matter what pitch he had up his sleeve to win Cade over, it was fruitless.  To turn insult to injury, the "All Of Me" singer then bragged about it by mocking he the words "star" and "wow" that Nick jotted down during the audition.  Playing dirty paid off for John, who ended with a three-punch combo by casually sharing that Wonder also performed at his wedding to Chrissy Teigen.

Now with the judges warmed up, it's game on when Tate Brusa, 16, takes the stage. Brusa's chances of making it on a team looked grim, that is until he hits an edgy note towards the end of his audition convincing Nick to spin around. But he's not alone, Shelton follows shortly after, if for nothing than to give the Jo' Bro a hard time.

Nick hops on stage with Brusa and gives him an impromptu singing lesson to prove just how good of a coach he can be which triggers Shelton to play dirty by bringing out some reinforcement -- an adorable white-furred puppy. 

"If you don't choose me as your coach, this puppy's gonna go straight back to the animal shelter," he threatened.

Despite the taunt, the threat fails to sway Brusa and the teenage crooner picks Nick, making him the first contestant on his team.

Seven more hopefuls take the stage including rocker Todd Michael Hall who makes it onto Blake's team but it's "old soul" Joanna Serenko who closes out the show with a four-chair-turn.

The 18-year-old from St. Louis wooed with her jazzy, slowed-down version of "All My Loving" by The Beatles and just as she's deciding who's team to go to, Nick decides to lay it all on the line.

Bearing it all he pleads, "I'm gonna fight for you today. I know I'm not the logical choice but I have something to prove," which works.

The other singers of the night were Darious Lyles who went over to Team Legend, Todd Michael Hall to Team Blake --and two for Team Kelly, Megan Danielle and Tayler Green.

The Voice returns to NBC Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.

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ABC/Image Group LARussell Dickerson and Thomas Rhett are great friends, so the "Every Little Thing" hitmaker couldn't wait to meet TR's new daughter, Lennon Love, who was born on February 10.

Last Thursday night, Russell and his wife Kailey finally got to spend some time with TR's third daughter. Like her big sister Ada James, she bears a strong resemblance to her dad.

"It was so awesome," Russell tells ABC Audio. "[She's] so tiny. And again, looks exactly like Thomas Rhett. I'm like, I feel so bad for [TR's wife] Lauren, because she's so beautiful."

"I'm like, 'You need a baby that looks like you, not Thomas Rhett,'" he laughs. "...But she's an absolute angel. She's so beautiful. And [she's] got the cute little little mohawk hair. And I commented on Thomas Rhett's picture the other day. It was like, 'She looks like you, but she's got hair like Uncle Russ.'"

TR and Lauren adopted Lennon's oldest sister, four-year-old Willa Gray, in 2017, before two-year-old Ada was born that August. 

Russell confesses since his close friends like TR and Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard are all having babies, it's making him eager to start his own family with Kailey. 

"You know, we're open to that," he reveals. "You know, we're ready. We get our own bus in July. In case, if that were to ever come about, then we'd be ready."

"There's so many people that we look up to and are so close to that have that example of how to have a family on the road," he adds. "So it's again, like [my friendship with] Tyler and TR and all that, it's just like the biggest blessing." 

Russell's just released "Love You Like I Used To," the lead single from his upcoming sophomore album.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockTenille Townes has written and released a song called "In My Blood," recognizing women in the Future Farmers of America (FFA). The song is part of a new campaign titled 50 Years of Women in FFA, honoring the impact women have made in the 50 years since they were granted membership into the agricultural organization. Tenille's video was shot and produced by an all-female team.    

Dustin Lynch will perform his new single, "Momma's House," tonight on Jimmy Kimmel Live! The song has already been shipped to radio.   

Eric Paslay is joining U.K. country duo The Shires on a European tour in the spring. Eric will open for them as they cross the U.K. April through June. Tickets are on sale now. 

Single-day tickets are on sale now for the inaugural Campfire Gathering music festival. Taking place at Camp Lucy in Dripping Springs, Texas, the festival will feature Margo PriceRay Wylie Hubbard and more, in addition to culinary programming and local vendors. The event runs March 16-17. 

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ABC/Image Group LACarrie Underwood and husband Mike Fisher returned to Bridgestone Arena for a weekend Nashville Predators game, but this time as fans of Mike's former team. 

The powerhouse vocalist and former NHL player were in the stands when the Nashville Predators beat the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night, but the event was a bit nostalgic for the couple, who spent many nights at the arena when Mike was a member of the team for seven years, two of which he spent as captain.

Carrie shared a snap of their night out on Instagram, throwing up the team's "fang fingers" and joking that maybe her unemployed husband should return to the ice.    

"Good to be back at a @predsnhl game! Way to pull out the win, guys! Didn’t realize how much I missed it. Think I can talk the hubby into coming back for one more round?" she writes alongside playful hashtags such as  #UnRetiredAgain? and #MyHusbandNeedsAJob. 

Mike was traded to the Nashville Predators from his native Ottawa Senators in 2011. He announced his initial retirement in 2017, but a few months later he decided to rejoin the team for a final season, officially retiring from the NHL in 2018.

Carrie was recently surprised with a plaque from the Recording Industry Association of America commemorating her latest album, Cry Pretty, earning Platinum status.

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Capitol Nashville Luke Bryan finally feels like he's hitting his stride on American Idol. 

Now in his third year as a judge on the ABC singing competition, Luke says that he's having more fun than ever. A major part of this enjoyment stems from how he and fellow judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie are able to foster young talent from across the country, which he says gives him a sense of fulfillment.

"You're able to watch good TV that you can sit down and watch with your family. You can cry, you can cheer these kids on. There's some kids from backgrounds where you just … pull for them. It's the microcosm of life, we get to see it walk in and you get to see what America's all about. They get to stand in front of us and sing," Luke shares with People. 

He also praises Katy and Lionel, explaining how the three of them have struck a balance thanks to them knowing one another's strengths and weaknesses.  It creates a sound dynamic that makes them capable judges.

"And year three, I'm enjoying it now more than ever. I feel like, with the show, it seems like we're catching a good stride," Luke says. "And I'm just excited to be a part of it."

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Shock InkToby Keith has another honor to add to his collection. 

The "How Do You Like Me Now?!" singer was the recipient of the Arnie Award at the 2020 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament in Pebble Beach, California.

Awarded by Golf Digest, the country star was recognized for his efforts in helping critically ill children and their families in his home state of Oklahoma through his own annual tournament, Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic. The 17th annual event will take place in Oklahoma City later this year.  

Toby also showed off his golf skills during the Pro-Am when he sunk a nearly 40-foot-long putt at the 15th hole on the Pebble Beach Golf Links course. With the move, he birdied on his third round at the hole, nearly replicating a shot he made at the same "lucky hole" during the 2019 tournament. 

Toby launches his Country Comes to Town Tour on May 1 in Estero, Florida, continuing through September 5 where it wraps at the Hard Rock in Atlantic City.

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ABC/Image Group LAMaddie & Tae's Taylor Dye is married. 

Taylor wed songwriter Josh Kerr in a ceremony in Nashville on February 21. The couple shared photos from the special day on Instagram, revealing that Taylor wore a long-sleeved white gown with a plunging back. They also included shots of them standing face-to-face as they took the wedding vows while another shows them kissing as family and friends hoist white ribbons over them in celebration.

"My person for life. I am madly in love with you @joshkerrmusic," the singer writes"Wife, my forever, my best friend," Josh captions alongside a gallery of wedding photos.

The singer-songwriter couple announced their engagement in September 2019. Taylor celebrated her bachelorette party earlier this month, thrown for her by her Maddie & Tae cohort Maddie Marlow

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ABC/Image Group LABrandi Carlile is lending her support to a meaningful cause. 

The beloved singer has been tapped as the official 2020 Record Store Day ambassador. The annual tradition   began in 2008 and takes place one Saturday in April, encouraging music lovers to visit and celebrate their local record shops, where you can also purchase music only available to participating independent record stores.

Brandi unveiled the news via a passionate letter on Instagram, sharing her deep admiration for record stores. She relates how growing up, she often dreamed of seeing her own music in a record store one day and how important they've become to her and longtime collaborators Phil and Tim Hanseroth, known as "the twins," her co-ambassadors. 

"Independent record stores are home to me and the twins," she writes. "We’ve covered every square inch of this country and visited damn near every record store it has to offer and I still believe these places are the heart and soul of American music."  

Brandi joins an elite group of past Record Store Day ambassadors including Pearl JamMetallica and Dave Grohl. 2020 Record Store Day takes place across the world on April 18.

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ABC/Image Group LACraig Morgan is making his way back to TV.

The country star is partnering with the recently launched country music network, Circle, for a new reality show called Craig's World. The 10-episode series will follow the singer as he navigates his music career in Nashville, along with family life with his wife, Karen, and their children. 

Craig's World follows Craig Morgan All Access Outdoors and Morgan Family Strong, the latter of which ran on the UP network in 2018 and chronicled the family's grieving process after his son, Jerry, was killed in a boating accident in 2016.

“We do our normal stuff. We don’t create stuff. There’s no drama -- if there is, it’s real life and is really happening,” Craig tells Rolling Stone. “Like dealing with the loss of our son and the pain we may be feeling that day. Or having a band member quit and having to replace them. Or teaching my grandson to ride a motorcycle.”

Craig's World begins on March 5 and will air every Thursday through May 7 at 8 p.m. ET on Circle Network.

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Comstock/ThinkstockOn this day in 1991, the ‘50s honky tonk legend behind hits like “In the Jailhouse Now” died of pancreatic cancer. Do you know who he was? ANSWER: Webb Pierce.

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ABC/Mark LevineShay Mooney, one half of the Grammy Award-winning duo Dan Shay, announced on Saturday that he welcomed another son with wife Hannah Billingsley.

The "10,000 Hours" singer was over the moon when announcing the birth of Ames Alexander, who was born on Friday.

Mooney sweetly wrote, "Welcome to the Mooney family. Asher has been so excited to meet you, 'baby brover.'"  The "Speechless" artist also uploaded a series of photos documenting little Ames' first moments.

"You are already so loved. I’m so proud to be your dad. And you have have the best momma on planet earth," gushed the 28-year-old before delving into a cute anecdote about how three-year-old Asher James is comprehending that he's no longer an only child.

Added Mooney, "Yesterday, Asher asked Hannah when baby brother’s mom was gonna come pick him up and take him to his we might be in for a slight rude awakening."

Billingsley also paid tribute to her newborn on Saturday, adoringly writing that the "world is already a brighter place" because he's in it.  "Now, let the adventures begin," She happily added.

The couple first announced they were expecting another boy back in August.

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