Country Music

Lady A's Hillary Scott is finding "peace" and a "reset" for "mind and heart" in TR's "Be a Light"

ABC/Image Group LALady A's Hillary Scott has been pulling double duty lately, as she's not only climbing the chart with her band's "Champagne Night," but also with her contribution to Thomas Rhett's uplifting "Be a Light." 

"It was an honor," she says of singing on the hit with Keith UrbanReba McEntire, and Christian artist Chris Tomlin.

"I said this the other day, once I heard that the song went number one," Hillary continues. "But it's almost like God gave Thomas Rhett a message that he knew the world would need months later."

"So to be asked to be a part of that," she adds, "towards the tail end of last year, to then record it, and to see just what this song has done -- I mean, gosh, it's been one that I go to just to find peace and kind of reset my mind and heart in just the midst of everything that's been going on over these last several months."

As a second generation country star just like TR -- Hillary's mom is Linda Davis, while TR's dad is Rhett Akins -- Hillary couldn't be happier for her friend's success.

"It's his sixteenth number one," she tells ABC Audio. "I mean, it's just so incredible to see his career, just the trajectory it's been on. And to be a part of it is truly just -- I'm just really thankful I got invited."  

"Be a Light" is nominated for Musical Event of the Year at November's 54th CMA Awards. 

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

Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockCaylee Hammack will perform her new single "Just Friends" on the Today show this morning at 10 a.m. local time on NBC. 

Texas country band Asleep at the Wheel is at the center of an upcoming show chronicling the group's appearances on Austin City Limits. Titled ACL Presents: 50 Years of Asleep at the Wheel, the retrospective show will include clips of the band's 11 appearances on the long running public TV series over the course of their 50-year career. It airs on PBS on October 31.  

Trea Landon has released a cover of Ronnie Milsap's "He Got You" as part of his monthly Classic Cover Series.

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

Thomas Rhett on ACM Entertainer of the Year win: "It made me feel like I’m not the new guy anymore"

John Shearer/ACMA2020/Getty Images for ACMFor Thomas Rhett, co-winning Entertainer of the Year at the 2020 ACM Awards offers a sense of validation.

The "Life Changes" singer tied with Carrie Underwood as the winner of the top prize during the ceremony last week, marking his first win in the category and her third. 

Reflecting on the career accomplishment, Thomas calls it a bucket list moment. 

“It truly has been a dream of mine since day one. There’s countless times where my manager, Virginia, has asked me, ‘What are your goals for the next five years?  What are your goals for the next ten years?’  And winning Entertainer of the Year was definitely #1 on the list," he explains.

"Getting to hear an idol of mine, Keith Urban, mention my name along with Carrie Underwood, it made me feel like I’m not the new guy anymore, if that makes any sense," he continues. 

The father of three goes on to say that he's been a fan of Carrie's since he was a teenager and that winning an "iconic" award alongside her feels like a rite of passage.

He also credits his band and crew for their efforts that contributed to the win.

"I think this was a big pat on the back for just the amount of hours we’ve put into rehearsing and improvising and making our show as best as it could possibly be," he expresses. "And this is such a dream, I don’t know how to put it into words.”  

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

Tim McGraw calls wife Faith Hill "the best person I've ever known" in birthday post

John Shearer/Getty Images for Country Music Hall Of Fame & MuseumTim McGraw shared a sweet social media post for his wife Faith Hill in honor of her birthday. 

The "I Like It, I Love It" hit maker took to Instagram on Monday to celebrate his wife's 53rd birthday, sharing a throwback publicity photo of a young Hill with her hair blowing in the wind, wearing a creme-colored sweater and velvet tan shorts while casting a sultry look at the camera.

He accompanied the photo with a heartfelt caption raving about his wife, comparing her to such natural wonders as flowers and the sun.

"The best person I've ever known. She lights up every room she walks in.....She's every rose I see.....The sun as it breaks the morning...And will be my sun as I break into the night," he poetically writes. "I love her, I love her, I love her. I love you baby." 

The country couple wed in 1996 and will be celebrating their 24th anniversary next month. They share three daughters: 18-year-old Audrey, 22-year-old Maggie and 23-year-old Gracie

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

Maren Morris, Dolly Parton & more country stars react to passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Brent Harrington/CBSSeveral country stars have turned to social media to share remarks over the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

In the days following Ginsburg's passing on Friday at the age of 87 after a battle with pancreatic cancer, Maren Morris, Dolly Parton and Carly Pearce are among the country stars sharing their sorrow over the loss of RBG, who was the second woman to serve in the Supreme Court and was a longtime pioneer for women's rights. 

“The real O.G. of law and order. RIP RBG,” Maren shared on Instagram, with Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild commentin,g “so heartbreaking." 

Dolly captured Ginsburg's essence in a Twitter post that cited her as "small in stature but even the tallest looked up to her." 

"Her voice was soft but her message rang loud and clear and will echo forever," the country icon praises. "Thank you, RBG. Rest In Peace." 

"I am gutted. RIP RBG. Power, grace, leadership, strength," Trisha Yearwood expressed, adding "2020 you are literally the worst. #dissent #NotoriusRBG." 

Carly used Twitter to share one of Ginsburg's inspiring quotes -- "Women belong in all places where decisions are being made" -- while Tim McGraw thanked the judge and activist for her years of service. 

"Rest in power, RBG. Thankful for your service, wisdom and devotion to justice," he states.  

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

Ingrid Andress' 'Lady Like' deluxe edition features collaboration with Little Big Town

Warner Music NashvilleIngrid Andress' album Lady Like is getting the deluxe treatment. 

The breakout star is releasing the deluxe edition of her debut album Lady Like on October 2.  It includes three unreleased songs, including a revamped version her chart-topping hit "More Hearts Than Mine," recorded as a collaboration with Little Big Town

The project will also feature a new song called "Feeling Things" and a cover of pop singer Charli XCX's 2017 single "Boys," which was co-written by Ingrid. 

Her summery single "Waste of Lime" also appears on the new track list, along with a re-imagination of "The Stranger." 

"My love life and emotions are always all over the place and with the new songs as a part of the deluxe, I felt like this special track listing was a perfect way to let fans inside my head a little bit more," Ingrid shares in a statement. 

Lady Like was originally released in March. Ingrid is nominated for New Artist of the Year at the 2020 CMA Awards, while "More Hearts Than Mine" picked up a nod for Song of the Year. 

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

Runaway June to bring holiday cheer with new Christmas EP

BBR Music GroupRunaway June is adding its own spin to the holiday season with the When I Think About Christmas EP, set to drop this fall.  

The five-song project features two original songs, "Christmas on the Radio" and the title track, along with three classics in "O Holy Night," "Let it Snow" and "Sleigh Ride." 

Group members Naomi CookeNatalie Stovall and Jennifer Wayne say the project is embedded with fiddle and "beautiful mountain Appalachian sounds" alongside cheerful vibes surrounding the holiday season. 

Jennifer co-wrote the vintage-sounding "When I Think About Christmas" with Josh Matheny and Tiffany Goss, a song that she states “feels like it’s been around for a hundred years,” while "Christmas on the Radio" also carries a classic melody.

Meanwhile, "O Holy Night" is described as an "art piece" supported by mountain music sounds, as juxtaposed by a jovial rendition of "Let it Snow."   

Runaway June experienced a formation change this year, welcoming in Natalie after former member Hannah Mulholland departed in May. 

When I Think About Christmas will be released on October 16. 

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

Country star trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockThe country superstar behind hits like “Breathe” and “Wild One” is celebrating her 53rd birthday today. This “Mississippi Girl” is also well-known for her duet projects with her husband, fellow star Tim McGraw. Can you name her? ANSWER: Faith Hill.

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

Russell Dickerson doesn't "Love You Like I Used To": He's now a diaper-changing machine

ABC/Image Group LA These are sweet days in the life of Russell Dickerson: he and his wife Kailey welcomed their first child -- a son they named Remington Edward -- on September 10, as Russell's hit, "Love You Like I Used To," nears the top ten. 

Like so many of his songs, it was inspired by his bride.

"She's an absolute angel," Russell tells ABC Audio. "Yeah, this song was written probably five years into our marriage, where "Yours" was written like six months into our marriage."

"And so we've grown, we've, you know, experienced a little life together," he smiles.

In fact, Russell sees the lead single from his forthcoming sophomore album as an update on his breakthrough hit.

"It's basically 'Yours,' part two," he explains. "Like, I still love you just as much, but every single kiss, every single day, it gets better and better and better."

In fact, Russell loves his wife and son so much, Kailey recently shared she's "so spoiled by" her husband, she "didn’t change a single diaper the first week of Rem’s life."  

Earlier this month, Russell tweeted that his second album is finished. Stay tuned to find out when it'll be released.

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

Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockBrandon Lay shared his new song, “Startin’ Young,” last week. Wistful and nostalgic, the lyrics look back at a relationship that might’ve worked out if only it had happened when the two lovers were a little older and more mature.

Americana favorite Tyler Childers surprised fans with the release of his fourth album, Long Violent History. He shared his mostly-instrumental, fiddle-driven project along with a video message supporting Black Lives Matter and asking white rural fans to reconsider what it means to have Southern pride and heritage.

In-demand songwriter Luke Laird dropped his new record, Music Row, on Friday.

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

“God ain’t done with me yet”: Blanco Brown shares photo of his life-saving helmet after head-on crash

ABC/Image Group LA“The Git Up” star Blanco Brown is on the mend after a serious head-on motorcycle collision in early September left him hospitalized and fighting for his life. The singer underwent a 12-hour surgery to address the unspecified traumas he sustained.

Fortunately, Blanco is expected to make a full recovery. As he continues to heal, the singer touched base with his fans on social media for the first time since the crash. He posted a picture of the helmet that he was wearing, and also praised the rest of his Indian Motorcycle safety gear for “[showing] true to its quality.”

“Firstly, I have to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for sparing my life and keeping me whole!!!” Blanco wrote. “The fact that I’m here and still in my right mind is God’s proof -- I feel so blessed!”

He went on to thank his fans, friends, family and everyone else who wished him well after the accident.

“I fought for my life,” the singer noted. “I fought to see all y’all’s faces and those smiles again, and I fought to share my purpose.”

In the picture he shared, Blanco’s arms are still in casts. However, he seemed to be in high spirits, and excited to return to normal life and music-making.

“God ain’t done with me yet, we’re just getting started!” he promised.

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

'We Need Christmas': Maddie & Tae are getting festive with a six-song holiday collection

Mercury NashvilleMaddie & Tae get into the holiday spirit with their new mix of festive classics and seasonal originals, We Need Christmas. The duo say they hope their new batch of tunes will bring some fun and excitement at the end of what has been a challenging year for many.

“We are so proud of this project and loved recreating some of our favorite Christmas classics as well as [writing] some of our own,” explain Maddie Font and Taylor Kerr.

“Making We Need Christmas was such a bright spot for us this year,” they add,  “and we hope this project brings a little joy and peace to our fans during this difficult year.”

We Need Christmas includes two original tunes: The title track and “Merry Married Christmas.” The two bandmates each had a hand in writing both those tracks, and appropriately enough, Taylor’s husband Josh Kerr contributed his notable songwriting talents to “Merry Married Christmas.”

The project is due out on October 23. It’s available for preorder on the duo’s website, along with a special limited edition line of holiday-themed merchandise. You can pick up bundles including a custom candle, Christmas tree ornament, pajama sleep set and more.

Here’s the track list for We Need Christmas:

“This Christmas”
“Holly Jolly Christmas”
“O Come All Ye Faithful”
“Merry Married Christmas”
“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
“We Need Christmas”

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

"When the Party’s Over”: Brett Eldredge’s Billie Eilish cover is unexpected and haunting

Warner Music NashvilleCountry crooner Brett Eldredge knows that a song by Billie Eilish is far from the first thing fans expect him to cover, but he’s a big fan of the pop phenomenon’s catalogue. That’s why he was inspired to deliver his own live take on “When the Party’s Over,” which is out today.

Brett had dropped “When the Party’s Over” into his set during his most recent European tour. The released version was recorded during his show in Glasgow, Scotland, which was actually the first time he and his band performed it.

“I heard this song a year or two ago and I just love how unique of an artist she is and the complex nature of the songs she writes,” Brett gushes. “I love how emotional and intense they are and could tell she had to grow up fast and really puts her life out there in her music.”

As someone who took a break from technology and shut out the outside world while he made his most recent album Sunday Drive, Brett knows first-hand how difficult it can be for songwriters to figure out what they want to say. That’s another reason why he’s so impressed by 18-year-old Billie.

“I think it’s a powerful thing to be that young and to have found your voice, and it speaks to people of all ages,” he points out.

“For whatever reason, when people hear my cover of this song, I think they’d say to themselves, ‘I didn’t see that coming at all,’" but that’s exactly what I wanted because when I heard it I thought, ‘Man, I could do something special with this,’” Brett adds.

“I’m so grateful for the song that she’s written and grateful to be able to sing it.”

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

Jennifer Nettles reunites with Bon Jovi for “Do What You Can,” a song for the COVID-19 era

BMLG RecordsJennifer Nettles lends her soaring harmonies to “Do What You Can,” a song written and previously released by Bon Jovi in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When you can’t do what you do, you do what you can / This ain’t my prayer, it’s just a thought I’m wanting to send,” the two artists sing in the uplifting chorus.

“‘Round here we bend but don’t break/Down here we all understand/When you can’t do what you do, you do what you can.”

The music video for the new song is even more suited to the times, with scenes of an eerily empty New York City. Jennifer and Jon Bon Jovi wear masks as they wander the streets, surveying the impact COVID-19 has had as well as the resilience of essential workers who keep the gears of the city turning.

“Dedicated to the everyday heroes fighting to rise above this pandemic,” a note at the end of the clip explains.

Jennifer and Bon Jovi first announced their new collaboration earlier this week on social media, explaining that they were excited to try and recapture some of the magic dust from their duet 15 years ago: the Grammy-winning “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.”

The original version of “Do What You Can” will appear on Bon Jovi’s new album 2020, which is due October 2.

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

Old Dominion makes the case for love and mutual support with Amazon Original “Lean on Me” cover

Courtesy of Amazon MusicOld Dominion puts a fresh spin on a classic today with the release of their “Lean on Me,” an Amazon Original cover of Bill Withers’ timeless friendship anthem from 1972.

Though the feel-good message of finding mutual support and understanding in your community never loses relevance, it’s a particularly poignant message in 2020, amid worldwide division, a global pandemic, a rejuvenated Civil Rights movement and more.

“We chose ‘Lean on Me’ because it’s a song that’s really timely right now,” explains bandmate Brad Tursi. “Everyone’s just a little on edge and we need to lean on each other in these times.”

The band stays true to the feel-good vibes of the original song, while also adding their own personal touches to their version of “Lean on Me.”

“We switched it up and made the chords just a little bit more angsty and put our own spin on it, so we hope you all like it,” Brad adds.

It’s also a sweet tribute to the late Withers, who died on March 30, 2020 at the age of 81.

Old Dominion’s version of “Lean on Me” is available exclusively on Amazon Music. It comes out just a couple of days after the 2020 ACM Awards, where the band brought home two trophies: Group of the Year and Song of the Year for “One Man Band.”

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

We cut #leanonme as an #amazonoriginal because it’s a song that’s timely right now. Everyone’s a little on edge & we need to lean on each other in these times. We switched it up & made the chords a little more angsty & put our spin on it. @amazonmusic

— Old Dominion (@OldDominion) September 18, 2020

Luke Combs drops the curtain on new track titles, shares “Without You” with featured guest Amanda Shires

River House Artists/Columbia NashvilleHot on the heels of his ACM Album of the Year win for What You See Is What You Get, Luke Combs is readying a deluxe version of that project, and it will include five new songs.

On Friday, the singer was ready to shed some light on the new material included on his deluxe album, which is called What You See Ain’t Always What You Get. He offered up the list of new tracks in an Instagram post, and even dropped one in full to tide fans over until the rest are released.

That song is “Without You,” which features Highwoman and member of Jason Isbell’s 400 Unit Amanda Shires on fiddle. Though the Americana-leaning singer-songwriter might seem like an unusual choice of partner for a mainstream country artist, it’s not a huge surprise that Luke teamed up with Amanda: The pair previously performed “Beautiful Crazy” at the 2019 ACM Awards.

The song is a tender ode to Luke’s support system, paying tribute to the people in his life behind the scenes who make sacrifices so that he can pursue his musical dreams.

As for the rest of the new material? Fans will have to wait just a little bit longer to hear what Luke’s got in store. What You See Ain’t Always What You Get will be available on October 23.

In the meantime, here’s the list of new songs included on Luke’s deluxe album:

“Cold as You”
“The Other Guy”
“My Kinda Folk”
“Without You” (feat. Amanda Shires)
“Forever After All”

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

Country star trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockOn this date back in 1967, one of country’s living legends released her debut album. It included her first ever Top 30 hit, “Dumb Blonde.” Since then, she has charted a whopping 110 singles, joined the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, and become one of the most successful crossover artists. Can you name her? ANSWER: Dolly Parton.

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

Rascal Flatts look back at two decades of musical memories with brand new greatest hits album

Big Machine RecordsRascal Flatts are continuing to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band with the announcement of a new best-of album: Twenty Years of Rascal Flatts The Greatest Hits.

The 20-song collection, which includes 13 of their 17 number-one hits, will take fans on a journey through the superstar trio’s career. Fan-favorite tunes like “Bless the Broken Road,” “My Wish” and “What Hurts the Most”  all appear on the project, and the bandmates say that selecting the track list was a sweet walk down memory lane.

“When we were putting together the track listing for this, it was an emotional but nostalgic feeling, getting a chance to look back during this anniversary year,” singer Gary LeVox reflects. “We hope that our fans feel the same way when they listen to it. This release and this year as a band is all a huge thank-you and celebration for them.”

At the start of 2020, Rascal Flatts announced plans to break up at the end of their milestone anniversary year. In the meantime, they made plans for a big year of surprises and live shows. However, the pandemic has rearranged that timeline a bit, and the band’s 2020 tour schedule has been scrapped.

That didn’t stop the group from releasing new music, though: In addition to this new greatest hits project, they also dropped their How They Remember You EP earlier in the year.

Twenty Years of Rascal Flatts The Greatest Hits will be out on October 2, but you can preorder it now. Here’s the track list: 

“I’m Movin’ On”
“These Days”
“Bless the Broken Road”
“Fast Cars and Freedom”
“What Hurts the Most”
“Life is a Highway”
“My Wish”
“Take Me There”
“Here Comes Goodbye”
“Why Wait”
“I Won’t Let Go”
“Easy” (featuring Natasha Bedingfield)
“Come Wake Me Up”
“I Like the Sound of That”
“Yours if You Want It”

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

We are so excited to announce TWENTY YEARS OF RASCAL FLATTS THE GREATEST HITS will be out October 2nd. This release and this year as a band is all a huge thank you and celebration for you, our amazing fans. You can preorder the album now:

— Rascal Flatts (@rascalflatts) September 18, 2020

Keith Urban's feeling just like the rest of us: 'The Speed of Now' is "sort of in between"

Capitol NashvilleKeith Urban's The Speed of Now Part 1 arrives today, shaped -- at least partially -- by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I had a record that I could have put out prior to February, March of this year," the Australian superstar tells ABC Audio. "But I had this feeling that there was just a few songs missing."

"And the ones that came from just the stay-at-home orders and lockdown and everything just grinding to a halt," he continues, "the songs that came from that turned out to be the ones I was missing... 'Out the Cage,' 'Say Something,'... 'Live With,' all of those songs came from that period."

While Keith typically prefers to simply follow the muse when making records, this time, he had more of an intention in mind.

"I think my vision was clearer..." he explains, "on what kind of spirit I wanted to manifest -- or let manifest, probably."

"You know, people talk about pushing boundaries, and I think I never think about pushing boundaries," he reveals. "I think about making sure no one stops -- no part of me stops -- the thing from naturally flowing... I think about making sure there's no fences or borders in the way."

With his tenth album finished, Keith confesses he's still grappling with the realities of 2020.

"I guess we're feeling a lot of things," he reflects. "If anybody's like me, it fluctuates from moment to moment. I'm walking around, getting on with my life, and then I go, 'What the hell happened?... Where did everything go?' You know?"

'''... I feel... just surreal feelings every now and then," he says, "of this sort of parallel universe: the one we used to be in, the one we're kind of in, the one that isn't quite here yet. So we're sort of in between." 

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

Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockStarting today, Granger Smith will launch his new fall line of Yee Yee Apparel. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Veteran Outdoors, an organization that provides hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities to veterans.

Brantley Gilbert will appear on Fox & Friends today during the 8AM ET Hour. He’s debuting a special acoustic performance video for his new single, “Hard Days.”

Legendary songwriter the late John Prine’s Souvenirs album will soon be available for the first time on vinyl. The new version of the record comes out September 25 on John’s own Oh Boy Records.

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



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