Country Music

Nashville notes: Jordyn Shellhart's holiday EP + Conner Smith's LP

Jordyn Shellhart has released her Christmas EP, Cross-Legged By The Fireplace. The four-track set includes a cover of Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani's "You Make It Feel Like Christmas" with Austin Snell. "I made this EP for people who want their Christmas music to sound like mulling spices, watching snow fall gently with a single deer in the distance or sitting cross-legged by fireplaces. I hope this EP serves to enhance those specific activities this holiday season," shares Jordyn.

Conner Smith's upcoming debut album, Smoky Mountains, is now available for preorder on vinyl. The LP will ship on the project's release date, January 26. Grab yours at

Tickets to Jason Aldean's 2024 Highway Desperado Tour are on sale now. The trek kicks off May 18 in Thackerville, Oklahoma, with Lauren AlainaHailey WhittersChase MatthewAustin Snell and Dee Jay Silver opening on select dates. Get your tickets now at Jason's website.

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Dollywood's searching for singers for new musical

Miller Mobley/NBC

Ever wanted to perform at the famed Dollywood? Here's your chance.

Its entertainment team is holding auditions in Nashville on Friday, December 15, to find both male and female country singers to tell Dolly Parton's life story in a new musical at its Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, theme park.

Per a press release, the team's looking for those who can "move and dance in musical numbers that will be featured throughout the new show." For the audition, candidates should prepare two contrasting country songs of 45 seconds each. A piano accompanist will be provided, or auditionees may accompany themselves on guitar or any other hand-held instrument.

Auditions are by appointment only. To register and for more information on the process, visit

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Deck the halls with Cody Johnson


It's time to get in the festive spirit with Cody Johnson.

CMT has announced a new holiday special, A Cody Johnson Christmas. Named after Cody's 2021 album, the event will feature the Texas native and his family delivering yuletide tunes for viewers.

Cody's 10-track A Cody Johnson Christmas arrived in November 2021, and features a cover of Willie Nelson's "Pretty Paper" and Merle Haggard's "If We Make It Through December." 

A Cody Johnson Christmas airs Wednesday, December 13, at 9 p.m. ET on CMT.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Head to the "Southeast Oklahoma Pines" with Corey Kent

Courtesy of Sony Music Nashville

Corey Kent has released an autobiographical new song, "Southeast Oklahoma Pines."

The acoustic-leaning track was penned by Corey, Luke Preston and Jack Hummel, and it finds Corey basking in the stillness of his old stomping grounds.

"Broken Bow, Oklahoma just might be my favorite place in the world. It’s where my family has been for generations running lumber mills & cattle," shares Corey. "It’s where I learned to hunt & fish. It’s where I fell in love with the outdoors."

"To me, Southeast Oklahoma is more than a place. It’s a home cooked meal. It’s a hug when you walk through the front door. It’s heritage. It’s a nudge to slow down. To remove the distractions," he says. "When I make my way home to those Southeast Oklahoma Pines, it’s a reminder that even at its worst, life ain’t all that bad."

Corey's currently approaching the top 40 of the country charts with "Something's Gonna Kill Me," the follow-up single to the chart-topping "Wild as Her."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Sam Hunt shares gender, name of second child

Todd Owyoung/NBC

Sam Hunt is no longer the only male in the Hunt household.

The "Take Your Time" hitmaker shared with People that he and wife Hannah Lee Fowler have welcomed their second child, a boy, named Lowry Lee.

The baby boy's name is derived from his parents' middle names: Lowry is Hunt's and Lee is Hannah's. 

Lowry joins his 18-month-old big sister, Lucy Louise, who arrived in May 2022.

Sam's announcement comes after he posted a photo of the new family of four during the Thanksgiving holiday and captioned it, "Thank You Lord." The picture, however, hid Lowry's face and was shared without mention of his name or gender.

On the music front, Sam's #35 and ascending the country charts with his latest single, "Outskirts."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Carly Pearce praises Jelly Roll: "To know him is to love him"


There's another person who's a big fan of Jelly Roll, and it's none other than fellow country artist Carly Pearce.

The "What He Didn't Do" singer recently posted a photo of her hugging Jelly onstage alongside a heartfelt caption praising him.

"I. Am. Not. Okay. Yall…. I have played so many shows over the last 7 years, but none like tonight. This human is obviously taking country music by storm, but to know him is to love him," Carly shares on Instagram. "I have never met someone with more of a purpose than you @jellyroll615."

"I feel inspired by the power of music and by the power of the underdog," she continues. "Unbelievably proud of what Jelly is doing & feel so honored to have witnessed the impact tonight. If you ever need your next duet partner, CALL ME."

Carly's currently #25 on the country charts with her Chris Stapleton-assisted ballad, "We Don't Fight Anymore." Meanwhile, Jelly's #2 and approaching the #1 spot with his Lainey Wilson-featured single, "Save Me."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Cole Swindell revisits parents' divorce in "3 Feet Tall"

Warner Music Nashville

Cole Swindell isn't shying away from the emotional aftermath of his parents' divorce in his new song, "3 Feet Tall."

Jordan WalkerTrannie Anderson and Trey Lewis wrote the track, which finds Cole chronicling a divorce from the lens of the couple's young son.

"There's a lot I don't remember, but that cryin' down the hall/ Had a way of makin' me wonder maybe it was all my fault/ I got stuck in the middle of weekends and holidays/ And my suitcase was too little to carry all that weight/ I might not have understood it all/ But not everything goes over your head/ Even when you're three feet tall," Cole recounts in the aching chorus.

"I can't believe the 1st song from Album 5 is finally out. Songs like these are why I feel in love with Country Music in the first place," Cole shares on Instagram. "For all of you out there that have lived it in any way, I'm here for you. I've been there too."

"Music is so powerful and I feel like this song is just special," he adds. "I hope it hits a few of you out there like it does me. Love y'all."

"3 Feet Tall" is the first preview of Cole's next studio album. His latest full-length record is 2022's Stereotype, which spawned the #1 hits "She Had Me at Heads Carolina" and the Lainey Wilson-assisted "Never Say Never."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Chayce Beckham's "This Ol' Rodeo" is inspired by a true story

19 Recordings/BBR Music Group/Wheelhouse Records

Chayce Beckham has released his brand new song, "This Ol' Rodeo."

Chayce and Stephen Wilson Jr. penned the breezy neo-traditional ode, which chronicles a longtime passion Chayce's friend had.

"'This Ol' Rodeo' is a song I wrote about a buddy of mine who was a steer wrestler, a bulldogger, and I used to live with him when I was in high school," Chayce tells ABC Audio. "[He] and I went to a lot of rodeo practices. And then I found out what it was like to love something that could hurt you or something that doesn't always love you back."

"I was like, 'Man, you kind of got to be crazy,'" the American Idol alum recalls. "That's where that song comes from. It's about loving something that can't love you back and that's hard to hold on to."

"This Ol' Rodeo" was preceded by Chayce's earlier releases "Whiskey on the Wall," "Little Less Lonely" and "Till the Day I Die." He's currently #17 and ascending the country charts with "23."

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Nashville notes: Scotty's autographed ornaments + Kacey's Elvis cover

Scotty McCreery is giving away five limited-edition autographed ornaments. Per Scotty's post on X, formerly Twitter, "These collector's items were previously available only to fan club members." Enter for a chance to win now via the contest link.

Kacey Musgraves performed her cover of Elvis' hit song "Can't Help Falling in Love" on NBC's Christmas at Graceland. If you missed her performance, check it out on YouTube.

HARDY's celebrating Thirsty Thursday on the seventh day of his HARDY-MAS promotion. For one day only, he's giving fans $10 off a bottle opener with any T-shirt purchased. Grab yours now at HARDY's merch store.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Elle King to host 'New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash'

ABC/Robby Klein

Elle King is set to host CBS' New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash alongside Entertainment Tonight's Rachel Smith.

"New Year’s Eve is the one party we celebrate all over the world," says Elle. "I wouldn’t want to spend it any other place than Music City! I’m so excited to get to host another beautiful night of music, friends, love, and joy. I can’t wait to celebrate an incredible year and welcome a new one together."

In addition to hosting, Elle joins the performance bill that includes previously announced headliners Thomas RhettLainey Wilson and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

"We will celebrate 50 years of the iconic southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, the skyrocketing Lainey Wilson and country music superstar Thomas Rhett, with over a dozen artists and special guests still to be announced," shares executive producer Robert Deaton.

New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash airs live on CBS Sunday, December 31, at 7:30 p.m. ET and be available to stream on Paramount+.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Hear a snippet of Corey Kent's "This Heart"

Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Stagecoach

Corey Kent's been hard at work readying new music, and he recently finished recording a song called "This Heart."

The "Wild as Her" hitmaker shared the news with fans on Instagram via a Reel previewing the upbeat track.

"Hoping to have it out to you guys in Late January," Corey captions his clip, which shows behind-the-scenes footage of Corey in the recording studio.

"But I got a problem/ And it ain't even you/ No, it ain't even you/ Damn this heart and everything that comes with it/ Damn this missing you every night feeling," Corey sings in the song over heavy drumbeats and electric guitar work.

Corey's approaching the top 40 of the country charts with his new single, "Something's Gonna Kill Me." It's the follow-up release to "Wild as Her." You can find both tracks on Corey's debut album, Blacktop.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Cole Swindell's about to roll out a special song


A new era of music is on the horizon for Cole Swindell.

After several cryptic posts on social media this week, Cole has finally revealed what he's got up his sleeves. The country hitmaker is set to release his new song, "3 Feet Tall," on Friday, December 1.

"This one is special… '3 Feet Tall' out 12/1," Cole captioned his Instagram post of the song's cover art. The photo features a boy seemingly looking at his parents, who appear to be talking to each other, as he plays with his toys on the floor. 

Cole's latest album, Stereotype, arrived in 2022 and received the deluxe treatment, Stereotype Broken, the same year. The record spawned the hit singles "She Had Me at Heads Carolina" and the Lainey Wilson-assisted "Never Say Never," as well as Cole's latest single, "Drinkaby."

Presave "3 Feet Tall" now to hear it as soon as it drops.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

ERNEST "still can't fully process" his Ryman shows

Danielle Del Valle/Getty Images

It's not every day that a Nashville native gets to headline the historic Ryman Auditorium for two consecutive nights. But, that's what happened recently to ERNEST.

The "Flower Shops" singer was back in his hometown for the final two shows on his This Fire Tour. The special moment, which ERNEST also shared with wife Delaney and son Ryman, was captured with photographs and shared on Instagram.

"Gonna prolly be a few posts from me in the next 48… I still can’t fully process how special these shows at @theryman were for me… and my family," ERNEST captions his Instagram carousel, complete with photos of him onstage, offstage and at rehearsal.

"[It’s] way more than just a venue… it’s a vortex… hard to explain, but [if] you know - you know…. Nashville.. you’re HOME and the last two nights were the perfect homecoming," he adds.

The Ryman Auditorium also posted an Instagram Reel of ERNEST singing "This Fire" with Ryman on the famed stage during soundcheck.

To see ERNEST at an upcoming show, visit

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Morgan Wallen, Luke Combs, Bailey Zimmerman among Billboard's 2023 top country artists

Rich Polk/NBC

Billboard has released its year-end charts and revealed 2023's top country artists.

On the all-genre charts, Morgan Wallen's "Last Night" and One Thing At A Time sit atop the Hot 100 songs and Billboard 200 album charts, respectively. Morgan is also the second top artist across all formats, behind Taylor Swift.

In terms of country-specific charts, the top 10 Country Airplay artists are Morgan, Luke CombsBailey Zimmerman, Jelly RollLainey WilsonJordan DavisTyler HubbardKane BrownJason Aldean and Cole Swindell.

Morgan's "Last Night," Bailey's "Rock and a Hard Place," Tyler's "Dancin' in the Country," Luke's cover of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" and Jelly's "Need a Favor" are the top five songs on the 2023 year-end Country Airplay songs chart. 

For the full list of year-end stats, check out the November 24 issue of Billboard Country Update.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Lainey Wilson covers an Elvis holiday classic

Katherine Bomboy/NBC

Lainey Wilson recently put her spin on Elvis Presley's "Santa Claus Is Back in Town" for NBC's Christmas at Graceland.

The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year's rendition melded sass, attitude, rock and her signature "country with a flare" style. 

"Well, it's Christmas time, pretty baby/ And the snow is falling on the ground/ Well, it's Christmas time, pretty baby/ And the snow is falling down/ Well, you be a real good, little girl/ Santa Claus is back in town," Lainey sang in the chorus in her shiny all-red festive outfit, in front of the historic Graceland Mansion.

"Well y’all…I sure am in the Christmas spirit now!" Lainey captioned an Instagram Reel that featured behind-the-scenes footage of her getting ready for the holiday special. "What a way to officially ring in the holidays by honoring the rock n roll legend himself, @elvis, at the beautiful @visitgraceland."

If you missed Lainey's performance, you can watch it now on YouTube.

Coming up, Lainey will continue spreading festive cheer on CMA Country Christmas, which airs Thursday, December 14, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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