Country Music

Granger Smith’s Yee Yee Apparel supports addiction recovery efforts with new Winter clothing line

Yee Yee Apparel/NPG PRGranger Smith’s clothing line, Yee Yee Apparel, launched its winter collection on Friday. With a varied selection of sweatshirts, tees, hats and more, the new merchandise comes with another added perk: its focus on charitable efforts.

A portion of the proceeds from each item sold from the winter collection will benefit Release Recovery Foundation, a program for sober and transitional living founded by The Bachelorette alum Zac Clark. Zac has a personal connection to Yee Yee Apparel: Granger’s brother and brand co-founder, Tyler, got to know Zac on the set of the show, where they were both contestants during the same season.

“The minute I met Zac, we connected. I could see his heart,” says Tyler. “He’s a great human. After learning a little about Zac’s story, where he came from, how he overcame certain struggles and now being in the position he is to help so many others, I knew I wanted to do anything we could as a company to help further his mission.”

Over the years, Yee Yee Apparel has provided over $250,000 to charities the brothers feel passionate about.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Blake Shelton, Dustin Lynch + more join benefit concert lineup for wildlife conservation

Courstey of NWTFBlake Shelton, Dustin Lynch, Jimmie Allen and Craig Morgan are just a few of the artists set to take the Grand Ole Opry stage for a good cause on Friday night. They’re participating in the National Wild Turkey Federation Foundation’s AID livestream benefit concert, which will support wildlife conservation.

Other participating acts include Chris Janson, Jimmie Allen, LoCash, Lindsay Ell, Travis Denning, Easton Corbin and Chuck Wicks.

The show will take place at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry beginning at 7 p.m. CT on Friday, January 15. In-person tickets to the show are available, and fans can pick up passes to the livestream, too.

Proceeds go to conservation efforts to be enacted in 2021. The NWTF is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife such as wild turkey, and the preservation of hunting.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Kip Moore previews 'Wild World Deluxe' with his soaring “How High,” announces upcoming live album event

Universal Music GroupKip Moore takes fans on a spirited, soaring journey with his new song “How High,” one of the tracks included on his upcoming Wild World Deluxe project.

“It always feels just like a drug / Take me there, take me on / Let down your hair / Anything I want,” he sings in the chorus. “Yeah, I need you like the air / Girl, I swear you keep me stoned...”

Kip pairs his new song with an equally high-flying music video, which follows an elderly woman as she rediscovers her wilder days, letting down her hair and parading through town in a fur coat with a red balloon in her hand.

The singer’s new project is the deluxe version of his 2020 Wild World album, bumping the track list from 13 to 17 songs. The full project comes out on February 12, and to celebrate, Kip has just announced a socially distanced show and global livestream event.

Called Wild World Deluxe: Live at the Ryman, the show will take place on release day at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. A limited number of in-person tickets are now available, and fans can pick up virtual tickets to the livestream, too. $1 of each ticket will be donated to ACM Lifting Lives.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Florida Georgia Line stay the course through life’s ups and downs in sobering Life Rolls On title track

Courtesy of BMLG RecordsFlorida Georgia Line share a message of resilience in “Life Rolls On,” the just-released title track to their upcoming fifth studio album.

“As long as my heart keeps beatin’ / And these old lungs keep breathin’ / The highs and the lows / yes and the nos / Only gonna make you strong,” the country duo reflects in the song’s lyrics. “...Oh, and I know it might be alright, might be all wrong / But life rolls on / And on and on and on...”

Taking a zoomed-out perspective on all the successes and challenges life brings, “Life Rolls On” spotlights FGL’s more reflective side. That’s quite a change from the whimsical and quirky “New Truck,” another song off their new album that the duo recently put out. So far, songs off the project have also ranged from the hard-partying chart-topper “I Love My Country” to the band’s warm and anthemic current single, “Long Live.”

“Life Rolls On” is the 16th and final track on Life Rolls On, which is due out February 12.

The record comes in the midst of a busy year for FGL, who recently announced to fans that they plan to release some individual projects this year in addition to their work as a duo. Brian Kelley says he’s at work on some solo material, while Tyler Hubbard has hinted at plans to collaborate with other artists in the genre.  In fact, he kicked that venture off this week with the release of “‘Undivided,” a duet with Tim McGraw.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

“That’s Life”: Willie Nelson unveils the title track for his new Frank Sinatra tribute project

Legacy RecordingsThis week, Willie Nelson offers up the title track to That’s Life, his forthcoming tribute project to his old friend and touring partner, Frank Sinatra.

This time around, Willie interprets one of the best-loved hits of Sinatra’s career.  Willie previously released “Cottage for Sale” when he first announced his upcoming album, which is due out next month.

That's Life is Willie’s second full album of Sinatra covers, following 2018’s My Way, a project that earned him a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Solo Album the year it came out.

In addition to debuting his new song, Willie also shared an essay about his upcoming project written by music journalist Mikal Gilmore, which details the parallels between the country legend’s artistry and Sinatra’s. The two artists became close friends and frequent colleagues over the years, and Willie has dabbled in Sinatra’s discography for decades.

That’s Life is due out in full on February 26. In addition to the songs Willie’s already shared, the 11-track project includes classics like “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “Luck Be a Lady.”

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Blake Shelton sings the praises of love on a budget as he sends “Minimum Wage” to radio

Warner Music NashvilleBlake Shelton’s upbeat anthem to the kind of love that makes you feel like a million bucks -- no matter your circumstances -- is officially headed to country radio.

“I heard ‘Minimum Wage’ over a year ago and connected with it immediately,” Blake says of the song’s origins. “It’s the timeless truth that you don’t need a lot of money or possessions, you just need love.”

He debuted the song early this year, but quickly received some blowback from listeners who perceived the song’s message as tone deaf, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when many are struggling financially.

Still, Blake has defended his song. “At first I thought, ‘Wow, I guess I’ve just missed something here.’ And the more I read into this, the more I realized this was really not real. Whatever this backlash is is just four or five people that probably don’t know anything about country music,” he told CMT this week.

“They clearly hadn’t heard the song or read the lyrics,” Blake added. “If they had, they couldn’t feel this way about the song.”

Though he's making quite a bit more than “Minimum Wage” at this point, Blake says the song makes him think back to his early days.

“I have a lot of great memories playing dive bars in Nashville and then driving back to Oklahoma to play a gig,” he recalls. “I gravitate toward songs that feel like the stories of where I’ve been and where I am currently in my life, and I’ve got a lot of happiness and joy in my life these days.”

When he debuted the song, Blake introduced it as a message of love to his fiancée, Gwen Stefani.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Gabby Barrett's first child is due any day, but she's already planning for number two

ABC/Image Group LA"I Hope" singer Gabby Barrett will be a first-time mom "any day now," according to her Instagram account, but the former American Idol finalist says she's already thinking about baby number two.

"We're ready to add on to our family and get some babies in there," she tells People. "I definitely want to have more than one in the future, for sure."

Twenty-year-old Gabby, who's expecting a baby girl, says "I always wanted to be a mom. It was something that was always ingrained in me from a very young age. I remember being in high school and I would always pray about my future spouse and my future kids."

"I just can't wait to see what she looks like. It's insane to me that we are literally right around the corner from this; that she's coming very soon," she adds.

Until then, Gabby will have to deal with the downsides of pregnancy.

"I can't do normal things that I want to do. I get so tired so quickly," she laments. "I want to clean the house and make sure everything's so clean, but it's so hard to bend down and it's hard to roll over when you sleep."

Luckily, her husband and fellow American Idol alum Cade Foehner is around to help out.

"He's just been very nice. He rubs my feet every single night. He's been extra, extra thoughtful," Gabby gushes, adding, "He's just been very patient about [my mood swings] and very understanding."

"I hope she gets Cade's hair, not mine," Gabby adds, laughing. "He has much nicer hair than I do."


Diaper prep 101 🍼😂 #wehavesomeworktodo

— Gabby Barrett (@GabbyBarrett_) December 17, 2020


By Andrea Dresdale
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Country star trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockOn this date in 1992, country’s own Man in Black was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. During his lifetime, he also became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, and was awarded many other prestigious accolades and titles. Can you name him? ANSWER: Johnny Cash.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Nearly three years after 'Dark Horse,' Devin Dawson delivers the upbeat 'Pink Slip'

Tyler ConradIf you listen to Devin Dawson's new The Pink Slip EP, you might assume it's a well-thought-out concept album.

But the California native admits it was more of an attempt to organize all the songs he's written since his debut was released almost exactly three years ago. 

"We talked about how I have three sides of me that I do really well... that [were] showcased on Dark Horse..." Devin tells ABC Audio. "And one of them is that kind of groovy, radio-centric, soulful, sunny 'All on Me' thing."

The new songs in the vein of Devin's breakthrough hit were the ones he recorded first, and the only ones he was able to finish before COVID-19 hit.

"It was really, really lucky that these were the first songs that we started with," he explains, "because then I listen to them as a whole and it was like, 'Wow, this is dope. This is actually something that is really indicative of the things that I've gone through in the last year.'"

"And it's also something that I really feel like people need and want in these times," he adds.

In this case, Pink Slip doesn't refer to losing a job, but to the title certificate referenced in the Tim-McGraw-inspired "I Got a Truck." Devin's grandfather stars in the "He Loved Her" video, while his wife Leah shows up in the "Whatever Forever Is" lyric video.

"Until you're looking backwards, it doesn't really make sense why things happen the way they do," Devin reflects. "And so it's really cool to see it come to fruition, in a kind of meant-to-be, everything-happens-for-a-reason kind of way."

Tonight, Devin celebrates The Pink Slip EP with an 8 p.m. ET performance on his YouTube channel.

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockParker McCollum uses a deserted cityscape as the backdrop for his music video for “To Be Loved by You.” The clip arrived this week.

Naomi Judd stars in Ruby, the first installment of a Lifetime-exclusive movie series based on books from best-selling author V.C. Andrews. Based on the Landry family, the four-hour series event kicks off on March 20. 

Stephanie Quayle released her music video for “By Heart” this week. It’s the third and final installment of her “From Horses to Horsepower” series, which is a partnership with Harley Davidson.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

After releasing 'Dangerous,' Morgan Wallen’s planning “a little hiatus” to spend time with his son

ABCMorgan Wallen’s mammoth, 30-track sophomore outing, Dangerous: The Double Album came out earlier this month, and the singer says he’s planning on a little break after a busy season of putting together and promoting the project.

But that doesn’t mean complete R&R. Morgan tells ET online that he’s using his “little hiatus” to focus on raising his six-month-old son, Indigo Wilder, also known as Indie.

The singer adds that his mom also loves spending time around her new grandson, whom she says is a dead ringer for Morgan as a baby. “She says he’s just like me. And I just imagine that when he’s doing the things he’s doing. And I just -- I don’t know, it’s funny to me,” says Morgan.

Little Indie’s mom, KT Smith, seems to also enjoy playing up the family resemblance. She posted a hilarious Halloween snapshot of him dressed up as his country star dad, complete with sleeveless flannel shirt, clip-on earring, ball cap and mullet.

Fans aren’t likely to hear many songs about fatherhood on Dangerous, and that’s because Morgan was “pretty much finished with the writing aspect” of the album before Indie’s birth, he explains. But on songs like “Still Goin’ Down,” he tips his hat to the family resemblance he shares with his own dad.

“The way I talk / I guess I got it from my pops,” Morgan sings in the song’s first verse. 

Dangerous: The Double Album arrived on January 8.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Willie Nelson gives a thumbs-up after receiving first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Gary Miller/Getty ImagesWillie Nelson is among the many Americans who’ve signed up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

During his drive-through vaccination this week, a masked Willie posed for a series of pictures, offering the camera a thumbs-up as he received his dose of the vaccine. The Texas-based Family Hospital Systems shared the images to Facebook, encouraging everyone to sign up for their shots and stating that “getting your COVID vaccine is Willie cool!”

Willie, who turns 88 in April, is among the first mainstream country stars to publicly receive the COVID-19 vaccine, though many of his fellow artists have battled the virus.

John Prine, Joe Diffie and Charley Pride all died of complications of COVID-19 in 2020, while dozens more country stars -- Tyler Hubbard, Lee Brice, Runaway June’s Jennifer Wayne and Natalie Stovall and Parker McCollum, to name just a few -- have spoken about their experiences contracting the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Thursday, 383,351 Americans have died from COVID-19 since the outbreak began.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

CMA Foundation taps Lindsay Ell to be its next music education ambassador

Jeremy Cowart Lindsay Ell will take on ambassador duties for the CMA’s Unified Voices for Music Education initiative beginning this month. She’s the third artist to join the program, following Ashley McBryde -- who was the inaugural artist ambassador, back in December 2020 -- as well as Jimmie Allen.

Known both for her skills as a songwriter and guitar player, Lindsay will participate in the program by creating tutorials, meeting virtually with students and teachers, leading a songwriting workshop and more.

“Music education was such an important part of my childhood,” the singer explains. “Growing up, I learned to lean into music as an outlet thanks to the guidance and encouragement of some truly amazing teachers....Being able to teach the power of music to students in school at an early age is a gift that I believe will serve them in so many ways for the rest of their lives.”

The Unified Voices for Music Education is still a relatively new initiative, and Ashley helped forge a path during her time with the program by putting together a band lesson about building the musical note major scale.

Jimmie, meanwhile, met virtually with a third-grade class to share his musical journey with the young students, and also participated in a webinar series to discuss music education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

President Trump awards National Medal of Arts to Toby Keith, Ricky Skaggs amid impeachment vote

Gary Miller/Getty ImagesOn Wednesday afternoon, President Trump awarded Toby Keith, Ricky Skaggs and three other people the National Medal of Arts.

A White House official reports that the ceremony began at 3:30 p.m. ET and lasted approximately an hour to an hour and a half.  At the same time, the House of Representatives was voting to impeach Trump for a second time.

Keith and Skaggs have both voiced their support of President Trump in the past. In 2016, Skaggs said “I believe Donald Trump is the right person in the right place, and that it’s prophetic,” according to Billboard. The bluegrass and country legend also explained at the time that he endorsed Trump due to his stances on abortion, job creation, the military and other issues.

For his part, Keith performed during the Make America Great Again Welcome Celebration and Concert ahead of Trump’s inauguration, back in January 2017.

It’s evident that Keith, at least, attended the White House’s Wednesday afternoon ceremony in person. An Instagram post from former White House press secretary Sean Spicer shows the singer standing beside the president.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Hunter Hayes flips the script in new single “The One That Got Away,” debuts the song on 'Good Morning America'

LP EntertainmentHunter Hayes is kicking off his next album cycle with “The One That Got Away,” an upbeat single with bouncy pop beats and a message of optimism to match.

Though the song’s about ending a relationship, Hunter doesn’t seem to be shedding many tears in the lyrics to his new tune. Instead, it’s about finding the good in a difficult situation, and feeling free as he looks to the future.

“I wrote ‘The One That Got Away’ after having a certain chapter in my life end abruptly," says Hunter.  "At first, I saw that change as a bad thing, even though I’d played a part in the ending. The song came from realizing that certain things I was holding onto so tightly were destroying me."

“I wanted to write something that people could get a speeding ticket to and feel so lucky that they’ve gotten away from whatever wasn’t good for them,” he adds. “Whether that be a town or a job or a relationship or whatever else.”

Hunter stopped by ABC’s Good Morning America Thursday to debut “The One That Got Away.” Following that performance, he released the song everywhere, along with a free-wheeling music video to go with it. 

"The One That Got Away" is the first single to come off of Hunter's upcoming album, Red Sky (Part II).

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Zac Brown unites with dozens of Taylor Guitars artists for massive “I Know What Love Is” collab

ABCZac Brown is among the 50 acts taking part in a massive collaborative charity single called, “I Know What Love Is.”

Organized by Taylor Guitars, the sweeping, large-scale project calls on singer-songwriters of diverse backgrounds and genres who all work with the brand. Keith Goodwin, KT Tunstall, Jason Mraz, Daniel Donato and Alana Springsteen are just a few of the musicians participating.

Following a year that’s been difficult on everyone in the live entertainment industry, “I Know What Love Is” will benefit MusiCares, the Recording Academy’s charitable arm, which provides relief for industry members in need, including supporting those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keith Goodwin, who wrote “I Know What What Love Is,” explains that he hopes it will convey an uplifting message for those struggling.

“During lockdown, one of the most challenging things for me was trying to adapt to not having my friends around to play music with,” he reflects. “This project really helped keep me focused on making music when everything else in life had changed so drastically. I’m grateful for this opportunity to connect and collaborate with such great artists and for a good cause.”

“I Know What Love Is” will be available on January 21. You can register to see the song’s premiere and an exclusive performance of it at 9:30AM PT that day, as part of NAMM’s Believe in Music Week.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Lindsay Ell introduces her new rescue pup, Hendrix, after breakup from boyfriend Adam Roa

ABC/Image Group LALate last year, Lindsay Ell parted ways with her boyfriend, motivational speaker and poet Adam Roa. The pair had started dating during 2020, and made their relationship Instagram official in October.

By the holiday season, though, they agreed to call it quits. “We just realized that we wanted different things, but I wish him all the best,” Lindsay tells People, but adds that the timing made the split especially tough. “Going through a breakup over the holidays and not being able to go home to see my family, I just knew that waking up Christmas morning was going to be so hard,” she explains.

On top of that, being around Adam’s dog, Serendipity, had re-awakened her inner dog lover. “[It] reminded me how much I loved having a dog; waking up to a dog and their sweet little face,” Lindsay adds.

Though she grew up with dogs, Lindsay hadn’t had one in a while, mostly because of all the time she typically spends on tour. After quarantine and her relationship, though, she decided to take the plunge, and started seeking out adoptable dogs. Ultimately, she found a perfect match in a one-year-old Pomeranian from a Louisiana shelter, who Lindsay named Hendrix.

These days, Lindsay says, she and her new pup are keeping busy together, and hanging out with friends like Carly Pearce and her Shih Tzu, June.

“She loves everyone she meets, but if I take her on the road with me, she has to at least know how to come and sit and stay and be able to listen to me. We have a lot to learn!” says Lindsay.

Lindsay’s most recent album, heart theory, came out last August.

Naturally. 💁🏼‍♀️👯‍♀️

— Lindsay Ell (@lindsayell) January 9, 2021

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Country star trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockOne year ago today, this country legend's hit "Walkin' After Midnight" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Can you name her? ANSWER: Patsy Cline. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Garth Brooks on being selected as a Kennedy Center Honoree: It’s “extremely humbling”

ABC/Image Group LAAs a Country Music Hall of Famer and seven-time CMA Entertainer of the Year, Garth Brooks is no stranger to recognition and awards shows. But the singer says it’ll be “extremely humbling” to become a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in May, during a postponed ceremony that was scheduled to air last December.

Garth’s fellow honorees include actor Dick Van Dyke, choreographer and actress Debbie Allen, singer-songwriter Joan Baez and violinist Midori.

“Like any award, the names that are already on it makes the award that award,” Garth reflects. “And to think of the names that have been presented this in the past -- and the names that will be there that night -- is...extremely humbling.”

In the country genre alone, the list of past Kennedy Center Honors recipients is formidable. Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson are just a few, while Garth himself took part in on-stage tributes to 2003 recipient Loretta Lynn and 2008 recipient George Jones, among others.

Garth adds that he’s particularly honored to receive the award in the name of the genre closest to his heart.

“...[I’m] probably most excited and most proud for country music. Any chance you get to ‘wave that flag’ among the many other flags of entertainment -- not only in this country, but around the world -- that’s always an honor,” he adds.

The Kennedy Center Honors ceremony was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In keeping with safety protocols, the May event will be formatted differently than usual, with a heavy trend toward virtual and small, socially distanced events.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Jordan Davis counts the "Almost Maybes" that led to happily ever after

Eric Ryan Anderson

In Jordan Davis' current top-25 hit, the Louisiana native considers the "Almost Maybes" that paved the way to finding true love. 

So exactly how many "Almost Maybes" did the "Singles You Up" hitmaker have?

"I go to, like, three serious ones," Jordan tells ABC Audio.  "Three ones that were, like, legit, you know, like, when it ended, it was kind of tough."

"I was like, 'Man, that wasn't any fun,' you know?" he adds. "But yeah, I would say three, like, serious girlfriends before I met Kristen."

Jordan and Kristen tied the knot in 2017, after he and his brother Jacob both graduated with degrees in environmental science from LSU. 

With two good-looking aspiring musicians in the Davis household, Jordan admits there was rarely a shortage of female attention.

"Yeah, me and Jacob, we definitely had our fair share of girlfriends, both in high school, and in school in Baton Rouge," Jordan laughs. "But yeah, we had to go through some breakups and heartbreaks, but we found the right ones for us."

"And now we've got four little Davis girls between the two of us now," he smiles.  

Jordan's daughter, Eloise, celebrated her first birthday this past November. His brother Jacob also co-wrote his second of three number ones so far, "Take It from Me."


By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.



Best of Phathead and Cande in the Morning! 1.15.21 pt 4

National Days, Disneyland gets rid of annual passes, a Bitcoin story, New Jersey

Best of Phathead and Cande in the Morning! 1.15.21 pt 3

A Dolly Parton statue, Hunter Hayes new song, Disenchanted a follow up to Enchan

Best of Phathead and Cande in the Morning! 1.5.21 pt 2

Phathead’s WiFi issues and what Phathead is watching on Netflix.