Country Music

"It was so much bigger than us": Rascal Flatts discuss their 20-year career and farewell tour

ABC AudioWednesday at Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, Rascal Flatts came together for a retrospective look at their 20-year career, which will come to a close in October when they wrap up their farewell tour.

The chart-topping trio discussed their many achievements, such as winning the CMA's Horizon Award, becoming members of the Grand Ole Opry and picking "killer songs" -- classics such as "Bless the Broken Road," "What Hurts the Most" and "My Wish" -- which Gary LeVox described as "songs that have saved lives throughout the world."

Despite the group using the words "sad" and "bittersweet" to describe the impending finale of their touring career, there were still plenty of moments of levity -- mostly made by Jay DeMarcus.  He, Gary and Joe Don Rooney poked plenty of fun at their questionable fashion choices over the years, and shared some hilarious stories about their video shoots.

When asked to sum things up, each man spoke from the heart about the effect that his band mates have had on him.

"Both of you guys saved my life, and gave me reason and purpose," said Jay.  "It's been an amazing ride, and I can't imagine going through all we've gone through in the past 20 years without you guys....I love you both."

Gary spoke about the milestones the group achieved, such as selling out Madison Square Garden and playing Wrigley Field.  "The impact that we had...it was so much bigger than us, and we'll miss it for sure," he noted.

As for Joe Don, he added, "The connection the three of us have together is so powerful and so special...now way could I have hand-picked two other people in this world to do this with. What a blessing it's been."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kenny Chesney receives Humanitarian Award, thrills crowd with acoustic performance at CRS in Nashville

Kayla Schoen for CRS It's been so long since Kenny Chesney played some of his songs live that, he admitted at Country Radio Seminar in Nashville on Wednesday, he literally had to look up the words to some of them.

But thankfully, he didn't stumble over any of the lyrics as he performed three of his songs acoustically -- "When the Sun Goes Down," "Save It for a Rainy Day" and "Get Along" -- for an appreciative crowd at a luncheon hosted by his record label, Warner Brothers.

Prior to his performance, Kenny was honored with the Country Radio Seminar Humanitarian Award, for all the causes he's supported over the years, especially his drive to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands, his favorite place.  He humbly thanked his record label for agreeing that all the money from his 2018 album Songs for the Saints would go to that cause.

But Kenny wasn't the only one who performed during the luncheon -- many of his labelmates took the stage as well for special acoustic performances. Here's who played what:

Chris Janson (debuting his new ukulele) : "Don't"

Michael Ray: "Her World or Mine"

Gabby Barrett (accompanied by her husband and fellow American Idol alum Cade Foehner): "I Hope"

Cody Johnson: "Dear Rodeo"

Ashley McBryde: "One Night Standards"

Also performing was new artist Shy Carter, who's written hits like Sugarland's "Stuck Like Glue," Kane Brown's "Heaven" and Billy Currington's "It Don't Hurt Like It Used To."  He sang a track called "Good Love."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"I'm most proud of the honesty": Miranda Lambert talks about her life and career at CRS in Nashville

ABC AudioOn her way to perform eight shows in ten days, Miranda Lambert stopped off to make an appearance at Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, TN on Wednesday.  In a rare intimate conversation, Miranda talked about her earliest days making music, her current album Wildcard, and more.

Miranda, who said that she was such a shy kid that she wouldn't even order by herself at McDonald's,  recalled that her first public performance came in the third grade, when she sang Holly Dunn's hit "Daddy's Hands" in the school talent show. Not long after, she wrote her first song, about a girl named Mandy Lee going to Nashville to become a star.   Her little brother said it wasn't that great but noted she was "getting there."

After that, Miranda entered a competition and came in third, which landed her a house gig at a bar at the age of 17.  Onstage, she recalled, "My personality came alive."  After that, she auditioned for Nashville Star and bombed, because, she says, she didn't put any effort into it. Her mom forced her to re-audition in a different city -- she sang "Crazy" a cappella and made it.  As most of us know by now, she came in third, and admitted she really didn't want to win.

Miranda then spoke about how making her new album Wildcard was a lot like making her very first album.  Following the somber record that was The Weight of These Wings, Miranda says, she wanted to get back to the kind of sassy, fun material that was on her first album, Kerosene.

Recalling the highlights of her career -- singing with Loretta Lynn, paying tribute to Merle Haggard with Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson, and meeting Dolly Parton -- she admitted that sometimes when she gets down, it helps to remind herself, "You've done some stuff!"

And when asked to say what she's most proud of, Miranda said, "the honesty, and that I've never strayed away from exactly who I am. I've never cut a song I was iffy about...my manager and I have a saying: "If it's a maybe, it's a no."  

And even if her career hasn't always resulted in her topping the charts, she noted, "It's real and it's the truth."

Moving forward, Miranda says, she's looking to "quality not quantity" in her life and adds, "I just try to keep growing and moving forward."

She also treated the crowd to acoustic renditions of two Wildcard songs: "Dark Bars" and "How Dare You Love."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Garth Brooks says 2020 will be year of "stadium shows and dive bars"

ABC Radio Garth Brooks dominated venues on the opposite end of the spectrum in 2019 as he simultaneously juggled his Stadium Tour with the Dive Bar Tour, and he says that won't stop any time soon. 

During the most recent episode of his online show, Inside Studio GGarth raved about the fun he had performing inside the massive stadiums and intimate dive bars, a trend he will continue this year.

He already has three stadium shows scheduled, including the first one of the year at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan on February 22.

“Stadium shows and dive bars. I didn’t want last year to end, so it’s not going to! This year’s stadiums, the three fastest sellouts we’ve had on this Stadium Tour, which is crazy…to maybe think that this thing might be actually kind of ‘waking up,’” Garth describes. 

Chase Rice will open for Garth in Detroit, the show setting the record at the venue as the biggest attendance ever at a one-night music event.

The country icon also booked shows at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio in May. His first Dive Bar show of 2020 took place at Six String Grill in Foxborough, Massachusetts on February 5. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Trailblazer Festival reveals "Next From Nashville" lineup

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty ImagesA group of up-and-coming country artists have been selected to perform at Trailblazer Festival's "Next From Nashville" stage.

Fans who attend the New York-based festival will have the opportunity to see some of Nashville's rising talent including FilmoreNiko MoonBrandon Ratcliff and Hailey Whitters.

Caroline Jones, who's toured with the likes of Zac Brown Band, and dueted with Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffett on her song "Gulf Coast Girl," will also take the "Next From Nashville" stage, along with "Delight" trio Avenue BeatTeddy RobbKylie Morgan and many others.

The newcomers will join headlining acts Luke BryanDierks Bentley and Thomas Rhett during the three-day festival that sets up shop at Hunter Mountain Resort in Hunter, New York June 12-14. Tickets are on sale now.  

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Ashley McBryde announces European tour dates

ABC/Image Group LAAshley McBryde is heading back across the pond. 

The "One Night Standards" singer is set for a nine-date run across Europe in September, and is scheduled to perform in England, Ireland, Scotland and elsewhere. Ashley will spend roughly two weeks in the British Isles, playing for crowds at such venues as the Academy Dublin, Barrowlands in Glasgow, and the O2 Ritz in Manchester.

The tour begins at The Limelight in Belfast, Ireland on September 1 and concludes at The Long Road in Leicestershire, England on September 12.

Pre-sale tickets are available now for Premium Trybe members. For a full list of UK tour dates, visit Ashley's website.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Brad Paisley to see "The World" on 2020 tour

ABC/Mark Levine Brad Paisley is trekking across the globe on a new tour. 

Brad has booked the 2020 World Tour that takes him across North America and over to Europe throughout the spring and summer.

The tour includes shows all over the U.S. before heading to Europe for a string of dates in Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany. Brad will also make a stop in Montreal, Canada at the inaugural Lasso Festival DeMusique Country.  

Proceeds from the ticket sales will go toward Brad and his wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley's new nonprofit The Store, a free, referral-based grocery story in Nashville that allows people in need to have access to essential items.    

"Singles You Up" hitmaker Jordan Davis and American Idol season 16 finalist Gabby Barrett will globetrot with Brad as opening acts. 

Paisley's tour launches May 15 in Concord, California and wraps on September 27 in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton turn Boise into a "Dive Bar" in live video

ABC Radio Garth Brooks has unveiled the long-awaited video of him and Blake Shelton performing "Dive Bar" live for the first time. 

Captured during Garth's show at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho in July 2019, the video, which premiered on Facebook today, shows the two superstars delighting the capacity crowd with the lighthearted tune about the joys of a dive bar.

The performance begins with Garth singing the first verse solo before Blake rises from below the stage to join him. The crowd is thoroughly enjoying every moment, with shots of fans singing and dancing along and raising their beers in the air are interspersed between performance clips.

As the two duet, Blake pulls a sign from a fan in the audience that reads "Blake is My Hall Pass," getting a laugh from Garth.

At song's end, Garth lets out a celebratory scream while Blake soaks in the applause from the massive crowd, the set ending with a hug between the two stars.   

"Blake -- he looks fantastic. But the crowd! The crowd just killed it for me," Garth remarked about the video during the Monday night episode of his Facebook Live series, Inside Studio G

"Dive Bar" will be featured on Garth's upcoming album, Fun. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"Drink a Beer": Luke Bryan announces original line of lager

Capitol NashvilleLuke Bryan is venturing down a new creative path. 

The superstar has partnered with high-end wine, beer and liquor company, Constellation Brands, to launch his own brand of beer. Titled Two Lane American Golden Lager, the company says the beer is made from ingredients sourced from the U.S., including two-row barley and water gathered from the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Luke worked with Constellations to help develop the light lager, calling the new venture a dream come true. 

“Between my songs, Instagram posts and onstage toasts to my audience, it’s no secret that I like beer,” he says in a statement. “For a long time, I’ve dreamed of creating a beer to enjoy no matter if you are hanging out at one of my shows or at home with friends and family, and I was so grateful to find a partner in Constellation to make that dream a reality.”

Two Lane will first be available throughout the South and Mid-Atlantic, including Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, the Carolinas and Virginia, beginning March 2.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Country star trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockOn this date in 2011, this "Gunpowder and Lead" hit maker became the first woman to sell out the iconic honky tonk, Billy Bob's, in Fort Worth, Texas two nights in a row. Can you guess who it is? ANSWER: Miranda Lambert

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Florida Georgia Line heads to the country for remix of Justin Bieber's "Yummy"

ABC/Randy HolmesFlorida Georgia Line has added a country flavor to Justin Bieber's "Yummy."

The duo teamed up with the pop superstar for a country remix of his hit track, adding countrified references ranging from black stallions to Chick-Fil-A.

FGL honors the song's original instrumentation while Justin adds a little twang to his vocals. Meanwhile, the duo's Tyler Hubbard takes on the second verse that mentions Waffle House, Chick-Fil-A and heading out to the country for home cooking.  

"Yummy let me take you to the country/We can call it home cooking/I mean chicken/You my dumpling/We say grace/I say thanks/For my baby and this drank," he raps over the earworm melody.

"Just a little fun with the fellas," Justin says of the song on Instagram

The "Meant to Be" hitmakers teased on social media that they were cooking up a "Yummy" remix with Justin 10 days before its release. "Yummy" is the lead single off Justin's new album, Changes.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Hold the seafood, but bring on the gelato: Maren Morris reveals her pregnancy diet

ABC/Image Group LAWhen Maren Morris plays the prestigious Houston Rodeo on March 7, she'll be nine months pregnant and almost ready to deliver her first child, a son with fellow singer/songwriter Ryan Hurd.

Maren's clearly been pretty fearless during her pregnancy, but she admits there's one thing that's proved impossible, at least when it comes to eating.

"One food thing that’s been tough to enjoy, that I’ve kind of stayed away from during pregnancy, has been any sort of seafood," she reveals. "I used to love salmon and any sort of fish dish, and recently I just can’t smell it without getting sick."

Luckily, Maren's found comfort in one particular sweet treat.

"One thing I can’t live without food-wise since being pregnant is Talenti gelato," she explains. "That’s been a non-negotiable. Before bed, I have to have ice cream. It’s like a more amplified sweet tooth than I ever had."

"Salted Caramel Truffle is the flavor." she laughs, "And careful with it -- because you’ll want to buy like twelve pints!" 

Here's something else that's pretty sweet in Maren's life these days: this week, "The Bones" -- the song she wrote about the strength of her relationship with Ryan -- is spending its second week at the top of the country chart. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockGarth Brooks will reveal the video of his and Blake Shelton's performance of their hit song "Dive Bar" during Garth's Stadium Tour stop last summer in Boise, Idaho on Facebook today. The performance marked the live debut of the song, which is currently in the top 10 on country radio. 

The Valory Music Co, an imprint of Big Machine Label Group, has signed Abbey Cone to its roster. Abbey is also a member of the CMT Next Women of Country 2020 class. 

Pop-country duo Hasting & Co. has released the colorful video for their current single "Brunch Drunk." The video features Jed Wyatt, season 15 winner on the Bachelorette. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

 

 


Chris Stapleton is smooth as "Tennessee Whiskey" with surprise performance at Tyler Perry show

ABC/Image Group LAFans who attended Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Farewell play in Nashville got an extra treat with a surprise performance by Chris Stapleton

Chris and his wife Morgane were amongst the thousands of fans who attended Tyler's production of Madea's Farewell play Friday when it made a stop at Bridgestone Arena. The acclaimed filmmaker and playwright invited the country superstar to sing a snippet of his signature hit, "Tennessee Whiskey." 

The crowd erupted in deafening applause the moment Chris rose from his seat with a microphone in hand and smoothly belted out the song's first verse and chorus as the crowd roared with cheers around him. At performance end, Tyler could be seen clapping from the stage dressed in his Madea attire.

"Madea could not come to the end of the farewell tour and have @chrisstapleton in the audience in Nashville, Tennessee and not have him sing a verse of Tennessee Whiskey! And he KILLED IT!! Thank you Chris, blessings to you, your wife, and them babies!!" Tyler writes on Instagram

Nashville was one of the last dates on the Madea Farewell Play Tour that sees the end of Tyler's famous character who's been at the center of multiple films and plays over the past 20 years.   

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


New study shows that country radio listeners are in favor of equal airplay

Courtesy CMTCMT has partnered with media research company Coleman Insights to gather more data regarding the lack of airplay female artists receive on country radio. 

In the new equal play research study conducted in partnership by the two organizations, it's reported that 84 percent of the 1,000 listeners polled between the ages of 25-54 want equal airplay on radio for female artists, while seven out of 10 listeners want to have more female artists in country music.

Additionally, 72 percent of listeners said they hear more songs by men than women on country radio, while 44 percent responded that they would be "very interested" in a radio station that highlights women. More than half said they don't have a gender preference when it comes to the artists they listen to. 

"When we approached Coleman Insights about this specific line of research, we were shocked to learn no one had ever commissioned data on the listeners themselves. CMT took it directly to the fans and what we found couldn’t have been more clear: listeners want equal play and women do want to hear women on the radio,” CMT Senior Vice President of Music & Talent Leslie Fram explains. 

“This tells us country music fans want to hear good songs period. But it also tells us that we are training listeners not to hear female voices. Without creating an equal playing field, fans don’t know what they are missing," she continues. "This is about a balance of gender and diversity. It’s essential for all voices to be heard.”

The new study comes roughly one month after CMT put into effect its 50/50 video airplay initiative, meaning that its 29 primetime videos hours are split equally between female and male artists.  

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood + more to perform at 2020 Hometown Rising

ABC/Image Group LAHometown Rising Country Music & Bourbon Festival has announced its star studded lineup. 

Blake SheltonCarrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley and Old Dominion are among the superstar talent to perform at the second annual festival that unites bourbon and music in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Blake and Old Dominion are set to perform on September 12, topping a lineup that includes Jon PardiClint Black, and up and comers like Caylee Hammack and Jon Langston, among others. The closing night set sees Carrie and Dierks on the bill with additional performances by Chris JansonBilly Ray CyrusCamBlanco BrownMitchell Tenpenny and more.

In addition to the country stars, attendees also have access to bourbon tastings, workshops, art activations and several other activities. 

Hometown Rising will take place September 12-13 at Highland Festival Grounds at KY Expo Center in Louisville. Select tickets go on sale February 21 at 10 a.m. ET. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kane Brown to be profiled in Amazon Music documentary

ABC/Image Group LAKane Brown is the focus of a new Amazon Music documentary. 

Titled Velocity, the mini-documentary will chronicle Kane's fast rising career from building a fan base on social media to becoming one of country music's modern superstars who headlined the Staples Center's 20th anniversary concert in January, which sold out in 90 minutes. Kane is one of few country stars to perform at the famed arena and is one of 10 country artists to sell out the venue.  

The special will also feature interviews with Kane's wife Katelyn, manager Martha Earls and other members of his team, along with friends David Bliek and barber CT Kutz

Release of an Amazon Original Live EP with songs from Kane's performance at the Staples Center will coincide with the documentary. Both projects drop on February 20.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Trace Adkins announces The Way I Wanna Go Tour dates

Kristin Barlow Trace Adkins is hitting the road this year on The Way I Wanna Go Tour. 

The deep baritone singer will voyage across the country, performing in theatres, state fairs and other venues on a 27-date tour that runs from spring through the fall.

The trek begins on April 15 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and brings him to such cities as Charleston, West Virginia, Biloxi, Mississippi and Las Vegas. He'll conclude the tour on the five night cruise, Country Cruising, from November 9-14.  

Trace is set to deliver fan favorite hits he's recorded throughout the years, the tour allowing him to connect with fans loyal and new. 

“I’ll be on stage singing ‘Every Light in the House Is On,’ and I look down at the crowd and realize that person right there wasn’t even alive when I recorded that song. To watch their face go, 'Oh, that’s a cool hook, I like this…' it’s like, ‘Well, these songs still resonate today and are tried-and-true hits,'" Trace describes. "It’s pretty special.”

Visit the singer's website for a full list of dates.  

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"Be Our Guest:" Rascal Flatts announce opening acts, new dates to farewell tour

ABC/Image Group LARascal Flatts are expanding their farewell tour with the announcement of several new dates and opening acts.

The CMA Award winning group has added 11 shows to the Rascal Flatts Farewell: Life is a Highway Tour, including a stop in their home cities of Columbus, Ohio, where they formed, and Nashville, Tennessee where they've spent the past decade cultivating their career.

They'll play at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus on September 25 and close out the tour at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on October 30.

The beloved trio will bring many up-and-coming country stars on the road with them, as Chris LaneChase RiceCaylee HammackKing CalawayRachel WammackMatt Stell and Avenue Beat will serve as opening acts on select dates. More guest acts will be announced in the coming weeks.  

They've also added new stops in New Orleans, Louisiana, Omaha, Nebraska, Birmingham, Alabama and more towns across the U.S. during the trek that runs from June through October. Check out Rascal Flatts' official website for a full list of tour dates. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Carrie Underwood will "Find Your Path" on upcoming book tour

ABC/Image Group LACarrie Underwood is bringing Find Your Path on tour. 

The superstar singer announced on Instagram that she will embark on a brief book tour to promote her new book Find Your Path: Honor Your Body, Fuel Your Soul, and Get Strong with the Fit52 Life. Carrie will visit four cities in the U.S. surrounding the book's release in March.

She begins in Brooklyn, New York at Powerhouse on March 2 before traveling to Stamford, Connecticut on March 3 at Chelsea Piers. She'll then make a stop at Parnassus Books in Nashville on March 5. The tour wraps on March 17 in Los Angeles at Ray Kurtzman Theatre.

Find Your Path is available on March 3.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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