Ethan Miller/Getty Images via ABCAfter spending the last couple of years doing a residency in Las Vegas, Shania Twain is taking her act on the road. The Grammy-winning singer is launching her first tour in 11 years -- and she says it'll be her final one.
The Rock This Country tour -- named after a track on Shania's 1997 album, Come On Over -- kicks off in Seattle on June 5 and will visit 50 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, wrapping up in August. When it's over, there'll be no more touring, but Shania isn't retiring. She also doesn't plan for the tour to serve as a tearful farewell to her fans: quite the opposite, in fact.
In a statement, Shania says, "This is a celebration tour. It's party time. It's a celebration that after all these years, I can still do it! The Rock This Country Tour will have a different spirit than my past tours."
She adds, "It's the momentum of confidence. The Vegas show was so intense and nerve-wracking because of not being onstage for all those years. So now that I got that out of my system, this tour is all about having fun, letting go and enjoying the new-found attitude."
To that point, Shania promises a more upbeat show than her Vegas extravaganza. "There's a lot more punch. It's dynamic and reflects the rockier edge of things, because I have so many electric guitars in my music," she explains. "I'm looking forward to rocking out."
The tour will visit Boston, Miami, Atlanta, New York City, Nashville and Washington, D.C., among other dates, as well as Shania's native Canada. She promises fans "a Shania they've never seen before," adding, "A lot of years have gone by and I've got a lot more to share. It's all about looking back together. It's that unified community spirit of 'I remember where I was when I first heard that song.'"
Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryDarius Rucker is always open to collaborate with other artists, but music business politics often get in the way of making those collaborations actually happen. This subject has got a lot of attention in the past few weeks since Kelly Clarkson admitted in an interview other artists often turn her down when she approaches them about collaborating. According to Darius, those artists might not even know Kelly asked to sing with them in the first place.
He says, "A lot of times management's not even letting it get to the artist to where the artist can say yes or no. I've had some shocking moments over the last few years and stuff where I was turned down from where I was shocked, but, you know, that's just the nature of the business."
A lot of times artists will get together at an event like next month's ACM Awards and come up with an idea for a collaboration. Darius says it's getting harder and harder to take those song ideas from the drawing board to the recording studio.
He explains, "When it happens like that, it's cool. But as soon as you call up somebody's management company, you know, they mess up the coolness of that stuff, 'cause that's a cool thing."
For the record, Darius says he would sing with Kelly Clarkson "in a heartbeat" if she ever asked. As for his dream duet partner, Darius says, "It would be Paul McCartney. I would go and bark on a Paul McCartney record if that's what he wanted me to do. Ruff, ruff! I'm down!"
Darius's new single, "Homegrown Honey," is the lead release from his new album, Southern Style, due out March 31.
Image Courtesy Mercury NashvilleIf you've caught Billy Currington's new video, "Don't It," then you're probably wondering how well Billy knows his beautiful, brunette co-star. The two get very cozy in the romantic clip, but Billy had never seen her before they shot the video in Nashville.
He tells ABC Radio, "I didn't know the girl. I still don't know her. I'll probably never see her again. But for that moment, that day, we had good chemistry. It was easy to do that."
Billy adds, "Hopefully, I made you feel like she's real, and the love was real. It was a good time."
The clip was shot at an old theater in downtown Nashville, but the space isn't used for plays or concerts anymore.
"They actually record music in there sometimes," Billy explains, "but they kind of emptied it out a little bit for us to make that video."
"Don't It" is the lead single from Billy's new studio album, due out later this year.
Image Courtesy Shock InkWillie Nelson will perform at the fourth annual Heartbreaker Banquet at his Luck, Texas ranch near Austin. The event takes place March 19, and tickets are now on sale at HeartbreakerBanquet.com.
The Heartbreaker Banquet showcases artists in the roots music community and is timed to coincide with the South by Southwest conference each year. Willie's son, Lukas Nelson, is also on the bill with his band, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.
Image Courtesy Campbell Entertainment GroupLady Antebellum's Hillary Scott, RaeLynn, Casey James, Craig Campbell and Brandy Clark are on the performers lineup for the 23rd Annual Tin Pan South Songwriters Festival, March 24 through 28 in Nashville. The event takes places at multiple venues around Music City with 92 shows booked throughout the week. Charlie Worsham, Josh Thompson and Vince Gill are also on the bill along with dozens of Nashville's top songwriters.
Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleGary Allan's new single, "Hangover Tonight," finds him exploring a '50s and '60s-inspired sound, which is a very comfortable place for the singer. Gary tapped into his own musical history to co-write the song with Chris Stapleton and two other young Nashville hitmakers.
Gary says, "I was in rockabilly bands my whole life, and to me it was just a throwback to my youth writing with these guys. It was a lot of fun.”
"Hangover Tonight" is the lead single from Gary's new studio album, due out later this year.
Image Courtesy Broken Bow Label GroupChase Bryant is a triple-threat when it comes to singing, writing and performing guitar on all his songs. His creativity doesn't stop when he leaves the stage, though. Chase is fast becoming one of country music's best chefs, too. He's mastered Italian, Mexican and steak dishes in the past few years, but Chase's specialty is still his grandmother's fried chicken recipe.
Chase tells ABC Radio, "I like to make it like my grandma used to. Put it in a brown bag and shake it up and then toss it in the fryer and go to town."
Lately, Chase has been drawing culinary inspiration from TV cooking shows like Chopped and Top Chef, and the results are pretty out there.
"I'm taking, like, wacky ideas like making these crazy sauces out of, like, cotton candy and different stuff," Chase explains. "It's crazy, but it's really cool. I'm just way into it."
Getting creative in the kitchen ultimately helps recharge Chase's batteries when it's time to make music again.
He says, "It's a way to be creative in another way and kind of get away from the music for a minute and just kind of give it a break. So, that's really cool. "
Chase is currently on the road with his Take It On Back tour. He'll join Tim McGraw's Shotgun Rider tour starting in May.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockCountry newcomer Mickey Guyton will make her national TV debut on ABC's Good Morning America Friday singing her debut single, "Better than You Left Me."
Rascal Flatts will perform the national anthem at the NASCAR race taking place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 8.
George Strait and his Ace in the Hole band played their first gig at Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, Texas. Kent Finlay owned the club and served as a mentor to George and many other aspiring singer/songwriters. Finlay died Monday, and George issued a statement, "Country music -- and just music in general really -- lost a great friend today. His legend will live forever in Texas, though. We'll never forget our friend Kent Finlay. Sad day."
Image Courtesy Stoney Creek RecordsRandy Houser just wrapped up his first run of shows opening for Luke Bryan, and performing on Luke's massive stage is requiring some adjustment for Randy.
He tells ABC Radio, "It is amazing all the real estate that's out there. The big stage. There's a lot of ground to cover."
On some tours, Randy would be restricted to performing on a small portion of the stage, but Luke has given Randy the freedom to use the entire stage and all his video screens to create the best show possible.
"He's so gracious," Randy says of Luke. "Gives us access to all the production and everything. It's just really neat. We've had a blast."
Even though Randy is entertaining the largest audiences of his career, he still tries to create intimate moments during his concerts. He pulled that off recently by playing his latest hit, "Like a Cowboy," backed up by a single acoustic guitar.
Randy says of that performance, "It was such an amazing thing to hear people really singing with me on it. It was, I don't know, a really unexplainable feeling. Really, one of the best experiences I've ever had playing music."
"Like a Cowboy" is the latest single from Randy's current album, How Country Feels.
Image Courtesy Greenroom PRKix Brooks was honored with the CMA Foundation's first-ever Humanitarian Award Monday night in Nashville. The two-hour gala was held at City Winery with Kix's pal Reba leading the toast in his honor. Chris Young was also in the crowd to honor Kix for his work in growing the CMA Music Festival into a big fundraiser for school music education programs. He spearheaded those changes when he joined the CMA Board of Directors in 1998.
Kix was also recognized for his work on behalf of Nashville's Monroe Carell, Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. Next up for Kix, he's kicking off a run of shows with Reba as one-half of Brooks & Dunn at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas starting this June.
Image Courtesy ABC/Rick RowellIf you notice a lot of women coming out of your local salon with much shorter hair, you can thank Faith Hill. According to Google, her blonde pixie cut was the most-searched hairstyle from the red carpet at last month's Oscars.
Faith was on hand to support her husband, Tim McGraw, who sang the nominated song "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," from the documentary Glen Campbell…I'll Be Me.
Image Courtesy CMAMiranda Lambert is having such a great time on her Certified Platinum tour, she got a new tattoo to celebrate the experience. Miranda, her backup singer Gwen Sebastian, and opening act RaeLynn took to Instagram to show off the matching music note tattoos they got on their forearms over the weekend in Tulsa, OK.
A photo posted by Miranda Lambert (@mirandalambert) on Feb 28, 2015 at 7:03pm PST
The three ladies sing the Dixie Chicks' "Cowboy Take Me Away" during the show every night, so the tattoos represent their performance as a trio.The caption to the photograph says, "Inked in perfect harmony. Thank you Brookside Tattoo! #sisterink."
Miranda continues her Certified Platinum tour with a show at the Houston Rodeo Thursday night.
Image Courtesy CMABlake Shelton has scored his 14th consecutive #1 hit with "Lonely Tonight," featuring Ashley Monroe. It's his 19th career #1, but "Lonely Tonight" marks the first time Ashley has topped the country airplay chart.
Blake says, "What I’m most excited about with this particular song is that it’s the launch of Ashley Monroe’s solo career and she’s so talented and deserves this opportunity. That’s really the highlight of this one for me is to see her finally getting the credit she’s deserved for a long time.”
Ashley thanks Blake for giving her the opportunity to sing on "Lonely Tonight."
"It’s so incredible to see my name aside his at the #1 spot on the chart," Ashley says. "Since I was a little girl it’s been my dream to be a part of country radio and this is truly a dream come true for me.”
"Lonely Tonight" is the latest single from Blake's current album, Bringing Back the Sunshine. Ashley's new solo single, "On to Something Good," is now starting its climb up the country chart.
Image Courtesy CMAYou clicked on their videos and made it happen. Brad Paisley and Hunter Hayes are among the winners of the 2015 YouTube Music Awards.
Pop stars Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, Meghan Trainor, and Katy Perry are also among the 50 acts being recognized for their unique YouTube contributions.
The winners were chosen based on the biggest growth in views, subscribers and engagement over the last six months. Together, these artists were watched over 47 billion times.
In honor of the artists who proved their YouTube worth, the video-sharing website will be doing something it’s never done before. A collection of exclusive new music videos from 15 of the winning artists will be released on The YouTube Music Awards channel March 23. The videos will debut simultaneously at 10 a.m. PT.
YouTube has enlisted VICE to produce the videos and some A-List video auteurs to direct. You'll also have the chance to get in on the action: artists will take some lucky fans behind the scenes and invite others to be a part of the videos.
Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleAfter playing for a sold-out crowd of 13,000 last week with Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett at New York City's Madison Square Garden, Frankie Ballard says it’s pretty cool to play a venue where you can actually rock the house.
“The one thing I learned about that place is that it’s hanging from the fifth floor. It’s actually suspended in the air,” Frankie says, showing off his knowledge of the building.
“There’s a giant hub above the scoreboard and bridge cables that are anchored around the circles and it’s actually floating and there’s like an inch of tolerance all the way around the outside, so the engineers wanted the house to actually rock, and it will," he says. "You can feel it moving. Sometimes it feels like an earthquake in there because it’s actually swinging in the air.”
He discovered one thing that’s not necessarily so easy, though, is trying to park a tour bus in New York City.
“Honestly it’s kind of hectic, cause there’s not a lot of places to park… We were like, ‘Well we’re on the show,’ and they were like, ‘Well we don’t really care,’ you know. So we were gonna shuttle in from Jersey or something. Then at the last minute, they were like, 'OK we’ve got a space,' so we actually got to park the bus down there, which was cool. But it’s right on the street, you know there’s people walking everywhere. It’s exciting, you know there’s so much happening in the streets and you’re like ‘Wow! Madison Square Garden!’”
The “Young & Crazy” crooner reunites with the Anything Goes tour March 21 in Orange Beach, Alabama.