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Country Music News

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.

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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.  

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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. 

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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.

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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.  

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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. 

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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.

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Cover Art Courtesy of Universal Music NorwayBrett Young's talent is traveling across continental lines. 

The country star is collaborating with Norwegian singer Astrid S on her new single, "I Do." The pop-oriented song, featuring acoustic guitar and penned solely by Astrid S, explores the lingering feelings of a past love. Brett appears on the chorus, and says he was drawn to the track by its storytelling nature.

“I was so honored to be asked to collaborate on this track with Astrid," he shares.  "When I first heard ‘I Do,’ I instantly connected to the lyrics and storytelling, so jumping onboard and digging into something a little bit different was a no-brainer for me.  I can’t wait for the fans to hear this one.” 

Astrid S was a contestant in 2013 during the seventh season of Pop Idol, Norway's version of American Idol, placing fifth. Though a pop artist, she cites country music as an "influence" and "inspiration" to her as a songwriter.  

"I Do" will be released February 28.

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Comstock/ThinkstockOn this day in 1999, the Dixie Chicks were at the top spot on the country music albums chart with their major label debut record. Do you remember what it was called? ANSWER: Wide Open Spaces.

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Broken BowTonight at Analog at Hutton Hotel in Nashville, Dustin Lynch records a new episode of Front and Centerfor the show's upcoming tenth season on public television.

Music City's just about eighty miles northwest of where Dustin grew up in Tullahoma, the Tennessee town that inspired the title of his new album.

No matter where you're from, the Grand Ole Opry member believes you can appreciate the music on Tullahoma

"I think there's a sense of pride, no matter where you grow up, how big the city is," Dustin tells ABC Audio. "That place made you who you are as a person, and you carry that place and those values with you the rest of your life. And that's why I think a lot of folks will relate to these songs on Tullahoma."

The self-proclaimed "Small Town Boy" admits his album title is getting him a little extra love from the home folks.

"I hope we get a lot more tourist action down there!" Dustin says of potentially drawing some extra attention to his hometown.

"I think they are thrilled," he continues. "It is a tip of a hat to the place and the people that are back at home that made me who I am, that allow me to dream these dreams and that are still, you know, my biggest champions on Earth."  

One of Tullahoma's main tourist attractions? The distillery where George Dickel Tennessee Whisky is made.

Dustin's new single is "Momma's House," the follow-up to Tullahoma's two previous number ones, "Good Girl" and "Ridin' Roads." 

You'll be able to see Dustin's new episode of Front and Center later this year on public television. In March, it also premieres as a three-hour radio special from ABC Audio. 

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockIn case you missed it, Niko Moon dropped his new EP, Good Time, last week. The title track is headed to country radio on March 16, and the singer’s also scheduled for his Grand Ole Opry debut in April.

Luck Reunion has announced the lineup of its 2020 festival. Willie Nelson will perform and take on hosting duties for the event, and other featured artists include Margo PriceAmanda ShiresShooter Jennings and many more. The fun takes place on March 19. 

On Sunday, Tenille Arts helped kick off the NBA All-Star Game by performing the Canadian national anthem. 

Singer-songwriter CJ Solar celebrated Valentine’s Day last week with the release of a his new ballad, “Watered Down Whiskey.” The song will be included on his upcoming EP. 

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Mercury NashvilleOn the heels of wrapping her first-ever headlining tour, Lauren Alaina is sharing more details about her new Getting Good EP, including the cover art and a full track list for the project. 

The EP’s cover, which Lauren posted on her socials, is a snapshot of the singer dressed in a glittering dark outfit with a plunging neckline, gazing intently into the camera’s lens. The photograph reflects Lauren’s trademark vulnerability, and career-long commitment to being honest with her fans about subjects like her eating disorder, breakups, and the loss of her stepfather to cancer. 

Following the singer’s own That Girl Was Me Tour, which featured opening act Filmore, Lauren will head out on the road again. This time, she’s joining Blake Shelton for his upcoming Friends & Heroes Tour 2020. 

Her new EP features a number of songs fans already know and love, such as the title track and the empowerment anthem “Ladies in the ‘90s.” Set for release on March 6, it will also feature three brand-new tracks.

Here’s a full track list for Lauren’s Getting Good EP:

“In My Veins”
“Getting Good”
“Somebody Else’s Problem” 
“Ladies in the ’90s”
“Country in Me”
“The Other Side”

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ABC/Image Group LADuring her appearance as a guest artist on iconic kids’ show Sesame StreetMaren Morris filmed a special song called “Oops! Whoops! Wait, Ah Hah!” Aside from being quite catchy, the tune offers an important message of encouragement for viewers who might be trying to learn new skills.

The lyrics of “Oops! Whoops! Wait, Ah Hah!” explain that it takes time to get good at a skill, whether that’s hula hooping, baking cookies, playing basketball or singing country music. The cast of Sesame Street chimes in with background vocals as Maren sings, and also acts out the process of getting better through practice.

According to CMT, the song was written by the Sesame Street writers. The episode featuring the song airs Saturday on HBO at 9AM ET. 

Maren filmed her guest spot on Sesame Street over a year ago, and since then, her appearance on the show has taken on a whole new meaning. She and her husband, fellow country artist Ryan Hurd, are now expecting their first child, a boy. 

In late 2019, she reflected that she can’t wait to share her episode of Sesame Street with her son someday.

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Universal Music GroupIn his scathing new breakup tune, Travis Denning is leaving a dead-end relationship for “Abby” -- and yep, that stands for “anybody but you.”

The new song is the perfect anthem for anybody who’s alone on Valentine’s Day, although Travis assures People that he’s not against the observance on principle. He just loved the clever wordplay behind the song.

“The minute I heard this song I knew I had to record it, because my instant reaction was, ‘Man, I wish I had written that,’” Travis explains. “I feel like anyone who has gone through a breakup can relate to it in some way and wishing they had a response as bold as ‘Any body but you.’”

The rising country star has a big year ahead of him on the road, as he joins Dustin Lynch on the latter’s headlining Stay Country Tour. Following that run, Travis will join Sam Hunt for the Southside Summer Tour. Fortunately, he adds, “Abby” has already proven to be a smash hit at his live show.

“We’ve played it out on the road live a few times and the reaction has been wild. I’m excited that more people are getting to hear this song. It’s a fun one," Travis adds.

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True PublicityIn celebration of shelter pets -- and the volunteers and organizations that help them find good homes -- Miranda Lambert is offering a little extra love to ten animal rescues across the country.  

The “Wildcard” singer challenged thousands of volunteers to “Pledge to Volunteer” at their local rescue. To sweeten the challenge, volunteers who took the pledge were entered to win a grand prize of concert tickets and and a personal meet-and-greet with Miranda. 

Now, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Miranda has awarded that prize to volunteer Andrea Shike of Wisconsin.  

Miranda also automatically registered each participating shelter to be in the running for one of ten $1,000 grants given by her MuttNation Foundation. The list of winning shelters includes organizations throughout the country, from the singer’s home state of Texas to deserving pet rescues in Illinois, Washington, Tennessee and more.  

Founded by Miranda and her mom, Bev Lambert, MuttNation works to promote adoption and improve the lives of shelter pets through spay and neuter initiatives and public awareness.

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ABC/Image Group LAJason Aldean is a couple of weeks into his 2020 We Back Tour, and thanks to the singer’s wife, Brittany, fans can check out all the behind-the-scenes action from the run. Brittany took to Instagram Stories last night to document the Moline, Illinois tour stop.  

Brittany kicked things off with some stage-side footage of opening act Morgan Wallen as he warmed up the crowd. She posted clips of Morgan singing “Cover Me Up” as well as “Heartless,” his collaboration with DJ Diplo

She also played paparazzi to her headliner husband during the behind-the-scenes videos, following Jason through the backstage halls of the venue. 

In an accompanying behind-the-scenes video of life on the road, Brittany takes fans through a typical day on tour. After leaving the bus -- and walking through chilly temperatures of just fourteen degrees -- she shows fans the backstage of the venue, including all the gear and instruments necessary to make a concert run smoothly. 

Towards the end of the video, Brittany takes the cameras into a cozily lit room where everyone involved with the show hangs out.

“It’s just kind of where the guys get ready for the day,” she explains. “A lot of times you can find them playing old-school music videos and stuff.”

Jason’s 2020 We Back tour gets its name from the lead single of his 2019 studio album, 9. He’ll be out on the road through September. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Capitol NashvilleLuke Bryan has offered a first look at the title track of his seventh studio album, Born Here, Live Here, Die Here. If the new song is any indication, Luke’s next project will be all about celebrating life in a small town. 

“Born here, live here, die here / From the roots to the boots to the lay me down suit,” he sings in the song’s sweeping chorus. “Yeah, I’m gonna be proud to be right here / Just like my daddy and his daddy did, too...”

The song’s chorus name-checks Luke’s upcoming Proud to Be Right Here Tour, which will kick off in late May in Cincinnati, Ohio -- about a month after Born Here, Live Here, Die Here drops in full on April 24. 

Until then, Luke is tiding fans over with the full ten-song track list for his new album. The project includes a few songs that fans already know and love, like the chart-topping “Knockin’ Boots,” as well as several brand-new tunes.

Here’s the full track list for Born Here, Live Here, Die Here:

“Knockin' Boots”
“What She Wants Tonight”
“Born Here Live Here Die Here”
“ One Margarita”
“Too Drunk to Drive”
“Build Me a Daddy”
“ Little Less Broken” 
“For a Boat”
“Where Are We Goin'”
“Down to One”

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Big MachineIt’s no secret that love has been a big part of Carly Pearce’s life over the last couple of years -- last October, she married fellow country artist Michael Ray. Now, her just-released, self-titled sophomore album takes fans through every step of her love story.

Carly Pearce’s 13 tracks include plenty of love stories from the bubbly early stages of a relationship, including “Heart’s Going Out of its Mind,” which Carly wrote just two days after her first date with Michael. 

The singer even enlists her husband as a guest vocalist on one of the songs, a duet called “Finish Your Sentences.” With a star-studded songwriter list that includes Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini, “Finish Your Sentences” is a lovestruck ode to the early days of a budding romance. 

Listeners with a more cynical outlook on Valentine’s Day also will find plenty of heartbreak to enjoy. The album’s first single, a breakup duet with Lee Brice called "I Hope You're Happy Now," is currently a top-fifteen hit. 

Carly Pearce also grapples with loss. Songs like “It Won’t Always Be Like This” call to mind the unexpected and tragic loss of Carly’s producer and mentor, busbee, who died last September shortly after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

“A lot of life and learning happened as I recorded this album: Sorrow, forgiveness, sass, flirtation. But overall, love,” Carly reflects. “I am so grateful to these incredible collaborators for helping me to create these songs that truly reflect my stories over the last couple of years.”

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ABC/Image Group LASince Riley Green's a good-looking, single, former college football player who's also a successful country singer, there are likely plenty of women who dream of being his Valentine. 

Even so, the "There Was This Girl" hitmaker warns that anybody interested might want to rethink that.

"I’m definitely a procrastinator when it comes to any holidays," he admits. "A lot of my Christmas gifts get wrapped in newspaper."

In fact, the Alabama native maintains he's never really had a significant other on February 14.

"I don’t know that I’ve celebrated a Valentine’s Day with a girl," he reveals. "But I would imagine that if I did it would go a lot like that. It would be a last-minute type of flower-from-the-grocery-store type situation."

The upside might be that Riley could always sing to you. His latest single, "I Wish Grandpas Never Died," is currently a top-fifteen hit.  

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

 

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Comstock/ThinkstockValentine’s Day may be the holiday of love and warm fuzzy feelings, but on this day in 2011, one country star was preparing to say goodbye. The hitmaker behind songs like “Wichita Lineman” announced his final studio album and farewell tour. Who was it? ANSWER: Glen Campbell.

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