At the CMA Awards on Wednesday, Carly Pearce is celebrating a lot of firsts: Her first CMA nod -- for New Artist of the Year -- and her first red carpet as a married woman.
Carly and Michael Ray tied the knot just over a month ago, and the couple will be making their red carpet debut as husband and wife on Wednesday.
"He says he's my arm candy, which he is," Carly laughed on Tuesday. "He's got a designer suit. I'm proud of him! It's got some stuff on it -- it's cool. And then m[y dress] is just...you know, I may never get nominated again for a CMA, so I'm going all out!"
Just as exciting for Carly is the fact that she's got her first nomination in a year when women will be highlighted on the telecast, and Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton are hosting.
"Just the photos that have come out of Carrie and Reba and Dolly together, that is such a powerful statement for me," Carly gushed.
"To look at those three women who are in different decades but have made so much happen for people like me in this industry, and to be able to be a part of the show, this particular year, where there are so many iconic women a part of it, and to be nominated this year...it feels so special."
When it comes to winning, Carly swore she'd be fine if anyone else in her category -- like Morgan Wallen or Ashley McBryde -- takes home the trophy.
"All of them deserve it, and all of them I respect as artists...as people, and I'm a fan," she said. "I mean, this is a stacked category. I don't care who wins. Whoever wins, it's a good representation of country music."
Maren Morris is the leading nominee going into Wednesday's CMA Awards with six nominations, and she says she got a very special sign of encouragement from an unexpected source.
Tuesday on her socials, Maren, who's expecting a baby boy with husband Ryan Hurd, posted a sonogram video which showed her fetus waving with its little hand. She told ABC Audio that it was not Photoshopped.
"I'm halfway to my due date this week, so we had our ultrasound, the anatomy one, where they measure everything," she explained. "And they showed the profile of our kid and he, like, waved! I feel like he was giving me like a good-luck wave for the week or something!"
Maren's already lucky: She's the leading nominee on a night that's all about celebrating women.
"I feel like the belle of the ball right now," she laughed. "It's been such an incredible year of my album Girl and that...message, and being on tour with...women [artists]."
"And then when they said the theme of this year's CMA is...the women of country music...it just feels crazy to be nominated that many times at a night like that!"
Maren will perform twice on Wednesday's CMA telecast: Once with her group The Highwomen, and then solo, singing "Girl."
As for the actual awards, Maren doesn't see the other nominees in the Female Vocalist of the Year category -- Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood and Kelsea Ballerini -- as competition.
"We are supportive of each other...out of genuine admiration, because none of us can really be compared to the other," she explained. "It really is us all functioning in our own lanes and killing it. And I think that we've made country music proud this year, each of us in our own way."
Garth Brooks has been named the CMA Entertainer of the Year six times. He's nominated again this year, but he says everyone who's nominated this year is deserving, especially the guy who won the trophy last year. In fact, Garth even voted for him.
"Keith Urban's the reigning Entertainer. If that name's on there, that's an award you want right there," he told ABC Audio Tuesday.
"You don't get better than Keith Urban. So I vote for him every year, it's tradition," Garth added. "I'd love to to take it home, but the truth is, you can't lose in this bunch...I mean, you're looking at all the names and all the shows are fantastic. And it is the year of the woman."
Wait, is that a hint that he's rooting for Entertainer nominee Carrie Underwood? Could be. Garth said he's all for Wednesday night's CMA telecast shining a spotlight on the great female voices of country music.
"What I'm looking forward to most is, the industry for one night's gonna pull our head out of our butts and go, 'These are great examples,'" he said bluntly.
"I have three daughters. [I'm] married to one of the greatest singers ever. So I see the work ethic. I see what women have to do," Garth continued. "They work a thousand times harder to get a tenth as much. They roll their sleeves up and they go to work...And so this is gonna be a perfect girls' power kind of night."
Saturday, when CMA Week is over, Garth brings his tour to Knoxville, TN's Neyland stadium, home of the Vols.
"It's supposed to be clear and 50 Saturday....Perfect college football weather. And they're going to come in their full colors," Garth grinned. "Trust me."
ABC/Image Group LADrink up, Dierks Bentley fans: The singer has announced plans to break ground on a fifth location of his Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row. This time around, his bar, restaurant and music venue will be heading to Denver, CO.
In partnership with Riot Hospitality, Dierks is planning to begin construction on the Denver location in January of 2020. The newest Whiskey Row will be in the downtown area’s historic 1942-1946 Market St., and will include plans to preserve and enhance the significance of the buildings. Other additions include a rooftop and patio section.
In a press release, Dierks says it’s no coincidence that Denver is Whiskey Row’s next stop.
“Every Whiskey Row is located in a city and state that is very special to me,” he explains. “Our first one opened in my hometown of Scottsdale, Arizona six years ago and our most recent location is my adopted hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. I couldn’t be more excited about Whiskey Row now having a home in Denver as well.”
Dierks adds that the new location will give him even more reason to spend time in Colorado, which is also the home state of his annual Seven Peaks Festival.
“Colorado has always been a big part of my life and continues to be so as a place where I write and record music, spend time with family and put on our Seven Peaks Festival. Selfishly, opening a Whiskey Row there just gives me more excuses to head to the mountains!” Dierks says.
Kelsea Ballerini is nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year at Wednesday night's CMA Awards, but she says she feels she's already won.
"Honestly, getting nominated is amazing because that means that you get some type of performance, and I think performing is winning," she told ABC Audio Tuesday. "I think having that amount of time on a show like the CMAs to show what you do is an award."
Not only that, but Kelsea is performing twice. First, she'll give her latest single, "homecoming queen?," its TV debut.
"It's just me and my guitar, which I haven't done before on an award show," she said. "And I'm just excited to show that side of the song and really get those lyrics across. I'm really proud of the song. So it's going to be special. I think."
Also special will be Kelsea's performance as part of a group of fellow female artists: Carly Pearce, Lindsay Ell, Ashley McBryde, Runaway June and Maddie & Tae.
"It's the new women voices of country coming together and showing what we do and showing our strength. And I start it on the satellite stage, and they finish it on the main stage," Kelsea explained. "And I turned around yesterday during rehearsal and I just watched it. And...it looked so strong and so empowered. And it's gonna be a really powerful moment."
And speaking of female power, Kelsea knows who's got her vote for Entertainer of the Year.
"Listen, everyone in that category is amazing. They're all entertainers," she says. "But Carrie [Underwood] is the Entertainer of the Year, period."
As for her own chances of winning, Kelsea said she doesn't know what she'd do if her name was called.
"Probably something awkward: fall, because it's me," she laughed.
Luke Combs has two nominations going into Wednesday night's CMA Awards, but when you see him on the red carpet, you may not recognize him, because he won't be wearing his signature baseball cap.
"I love wearing a hat, but I love wearing a suit and I just feel like hats and suits -- baseball hats specifically -- I feel like they don't go with suits," Luke told ABC Audio on Tuesday. "As much as I want to wear one because I don't have the best hair, and I'm very bald."
"So they got the spray," he said, referring to his glam squad. "You know, they do the spray, and so, I don't look bald, which is cool," he admitted. "But, yeah, I'm going suit again. No hat."
Aside from his fashion choices, Luke said it's hard to choose which category he'd prefer to win on Wednesday night: His smash hit "Beautiful Crazy" is up for Song of the Year, and he's up for Male Vocalist of the Year.
"I wrote that song about my fiancée," he said of "Beautiful Crazy." "And yeah, that would be really special, man. That's one that I would definitely love to win. That was always a dream of mine, was to get nominated for Song of the Year."
But at the same time, Luke said winning Male Vocalist would "mean a lot."
"I mean, there's a big, big line of my heroes that have won that award and I still can't believe I'm even nominated for that," he noted. "So, you know, I don't expect to win, but I'm excited to be at the dance for that one for sure."
Tune in to the 53rd annual CMA Awards Wednesday night on ABC to see if Luke wins both awards.
ABC/Image Group LAMaren Morris introduced her fans to her unborn child with a new sonogram video, which shows her baby boy waving hello. “I got a wave today,” the singer wrote alongside the clip, which she posted to her socials.
Maren and her husband, fellow country artist Ryan Hurd, announced her pregnancy and her baby boy’s gender in late October, also on social media. Given the fact that her most recent album is titled Girl, and she's spent much of 2019 at the helm of an all-female world tour, Maren admitted that the irony of her child being a boy wasn’t lost on her.
“The irony is just too rich that after a year of living in the Girl headspace, the universe would give us a baby boy to even things out,” she wrote. “See you in 2020, little one.”
Though she may have initially been expecting a girl, Maren would have been thrilled with any sex, People reports.
“I’ve never really had a male sibling or anything like that, so I had just felt like I’m gonna have a girl ‘cause I’m constantly surrounded by women,” she explained. “And I put out a record this year called Girl. And nope -- the test said it was a boy!”
According to a tweet from Ryan, the couple’s baby boy is due in March. It will be their first child.
Brothers Osborne are up for a number of awards at Wednesday night's CMA Awards, including Vocal Duo of the Year and Single of the Year -- and the whole Osborne clan will be in the audience cheering them on.
"Our sister will be with us, our mom's gonna be there, our dad and his girlfriend are gonna be there," John Osborne told ABC Audio Tuesday. "My wife unfortunately will be out of town...[but] this is full-on family duty for me and TJ."
But they'll probably have to ditch the parents after the show when the parties begin. Since the duo is up for Vocal Event of the Year twice -- for "Burning Man" with Dierks Bentley and "All My Favorite People" with Maren Morris -- whose afterparty would they rather hit up?
"They both throw great parties. It'd be hard to pick one," TJ Osborne told ABC Audio. "But Maren is throwing a party that we will be joining after the awards show. I don't know if Dierks is or not."
TJ admits that, at Dierks' parties in the past, he and John were always the last to leave, and laughs, "I'm gonna be going to all the parties. I can't turn down a party on a CMA night!"
Even if they don't win, TJ and John are fulfilling a childhood dream with their performance on the telecast: They'll share a stage with iconic duo Brooks & Dunn.
"We grew up watching Brooks and Dunn, not only perform on the CMAs, but then win every year on the CMAs," TJ said. "And...this moment coming...is literally stuff you dream of as a kid, that just seems like a dream that will never happen."
"So we're here," he said proudly. "We've come to a crossroads in our life of our dreams coming true."
Her duet with Brantley Gilbert, "What Happens In a Small Town," just hit number one, and she's nominated for a CMA Award Wednesday, so Lindsay Ell must be having one of the best weeks of her life, right?
"I want to say...in the top three...maybe it's just the best week of my life!" she told ABC Audio Tuesday in Nashville. "I have dreamed of having a number-one song ever since I was a little girl. I mean, ever since I was 10 years old, I've been going to sleep praying, like to have a number-one song one day."
"And to wake up this week, CMA Awards week -- the week that I am nominated for my first CMA award -- to have the number one song in the country with Brantley Gilbert...I mean, everything is happening, and this week is awesome!" Lindsay says.
In fact, Lindsay is so over the moon that even if she and Brantley don't win for Vocal Event of the Year on Wednesday, she won't mind.
"I mean, the fact that we're celebrating our number one this week, Brantley and I get to walk the carpet and and high five to that, it's my first CMA nomination, so much is happening that is just such an honor to be here," she gushed.
"I'm performing on the show with my idols, Little Big Town," the Calgary native adds. "It's going to be such an incredible Wednesday night that I'm happy regardless."
Lindsay and Little Big Town are actually performing as part of a huge number that will also include Kelsea Ballerini, Carly Pearce, Maddie &Tae, Runaway June and Ashley McBryde.
Tune in to the 53rd annual CMA Awards Wednesday night at 8 on ABC to see what they'll be performing, and who wins.
ABC/Image Group LADespite chilly temperatures, the stars turned out on Monday, November 11 for the 2019 American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) Country Music Awards.
The ceremony, which took place at Nashville’s Renaissance Hotel, celebrated the writers and publishers behind this year’s most popular songs, and also honored some iconic members of the Nashville songwriting community.
Randy Travis received the ASCAP Founders Award, in a tribute that included two surprise performances: One from Carrie Underwood, who performed Travis’ hit, “Promises,” and the other from Garth Brooks, who delivered a rendition of Travis' signature song, “Forever and Ever Amen.”
Brothers Osborne took home their previously announced ASCAP Vanguard Award during the ceremony, which was presented to them for their innovative approach to the country format. The duo’s tribute had a Hollywood twist, as actor Ted Danson and his wife, actor/musician and ASCAP member Mary Steenburgen, presented the Brothers Osborne with their trophy.
In-demand Nashville songwriter Hillary Lindsey brought home the ASCAP Global Impact award; Kelsea Ballerini and Little Big Town honored her with words and song, respectively. Meanwhile, acclaimed songwriter Ashley Gorley was named ASCAP Country Music Songwriter of the Year for a whopping seventh time in his career.
Other honorees Monday night included Stephen Battey, who won ASCAP Country Music Song of the Year for his first-ever country hit, Luke Combs’ “One Number Away.” Old Dominion’sMatthew Ramsey and Trevor Rosen also won trophies for ASCAP Country Music Songwriter-Artists of the Year.
Mark Seliger/ABCIf you're wondering who came up with the idea to use this year's CMA Awards to honor country's most-loved female voices, you probably don't have to look much farther than twelve-time host, Carrie Underwood.
"When we started talking about the CMAs this year, thinking about what theme we might have... I definitely was kind of pushing for a tribute to females in country music," she tells ABC Audio.
While the lack of female voices on country radio has been a hot topic for some time, Carrie sees 2019 as the time quite a few people finally decided to do something about it.
"I feel like right now, this year in country music, a lot of us have decided to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak," she says candidly. "I feel like we've been talking about needing more of a presence of women in country music."
"I'm not the only female headlining tour with all-female acts," she adds. "I feel like we all decided, 'Well, we['re] just gonna have to do it ourselves!'" she laughs.
This year, both Carrie and Miranda Lambert both hit the road on all-girl tours.
On Country Music's Biggest Night, Carrie enlists Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire to continue the cause.
"It's all about just lifting each other up, supporting each other with Dolly and Reba," Carrie explains. "I feel like we all get to be ourselves. We're all adding our own lines to to the script, and wanting to be ourselves, but also just wanting to lift each other up, support each other."
We'll find out exactly what Carrie, Reba, and Dolly have come up with Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET, as the 53rd Annual CMA Awards air live from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on ABC.
Lady Antebellum is nominated for Vocal Group of the Year at Wednesday's CMA Awards, and they're also performing on the show with pop star Halsey. Between them, the three members of Lady A have six children, so will they be watching mom and dad on the show? Well, half of them will.
"My kid'll just love the excuse to stay up!" Charles Kelley says of his son Wade. "But he'll watch for sure, 'cause I think we're [performing] somewhere in the middle of the show."
"Yeah, the older kids will stay up," adds Dave Haywood, referring to his son Cash and Hillary Scott's daughter Eisele. "Our young girls" -- Hillary's twins and Dave's daughter, who are all under two -- "will probably be asleep by the show time."
Hillary adds, though, that when Lady A is on TV in the morning, "They're there for that every time."
"But it's going to be awesome, man!" Dave says of the kids tuning in to the CMAs. "It's so fun to watch their excitement now at this phase of our career with what we're doing."
Charles, meanwhile, says his, Dave and Hillary's three older kids are their "mini-me's," and they may soon be following in their parents' footsteps.
"We do need to do a video at some point," he says. "If we come out with a really fun song and have the three...of them...play us? That'd be hilarious!"
Hardy, alias Michael Hardy, has had success as an artist with songs like "Rednecker," and as a songwriter, writing hits like "Up Down," "Simple" and "I Don't Know About You." But co-writing Blake Shelton's #1 hit "God's Country" has now earned him a nomination for CMA Song of the Year, which he says is a very big deal.
"I was a songwriter for so many years, and there's a few really high honors that you can have as a songwriter," he told ABC Audio on Monday. "Song of the Year is obviously, if not number one on the list, it's right there with one of the highest honors."
But even more valuable than that may be Hardy's newfound friendship with Blake and his girlfriend Gwen Stefani.
"He [texted me and] asked if I wanted to come be in the 'Hell Right' music video," Hardy recalled. "So me and my girlfriend went and spent two days with him and Gwen and some of their friends on their ranch...and it was, like, crazy!"
"He's just the coolest guy, Gwen is super-cool, they were both so down to earth and just made us feel...very at home," he added. "It was just one of the most amazing experiences I've had in my life."
In fact, Hardy said, at one point, he and his girlfriend were riding around in an old truck with Blake and Gwen, looking at all the exotic animals on Blake's ranch.
"We just rode around the farm for like an hour and just talked," he gushed. "And it was like, 'What is our life right now???'"
Tune in to the 53rd annual CMA Awards, airing Wednesday, November 13 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET to see if "God's Country" wins Song of the Year.
Courtesy of PBSFilmmaker Ken Burns' new eight-part documentary series Country Music has been seen by 34.5 million people, according to Nielsen Live 7 data. That impressive early viewership makes Country Music the most-watched of Burns’ films since The Roosevelts came out in 2014.
Country Music is an all-encompassing documentary that offers an in-depth look into almost a century of musical history, from the earliest days of country music to where the genre is today.
Burns both directed and co produced the series, which premiered on September 15 on PBS, with the first four episodes airing nightly from September 15 through September 18 and the final four episodes airing from September 22 through September 25. During that eight-night premiere span, Country Musicreached an average audience of 6.8 million cross-platform viewers.
“We couldn’t be happier with the audience we reached with Country Music,” said Burns in a press statement. “We were fortunate to travel across the country to towns large and small to discuss this film and this history, and in each, we were met with new stories about the power of music.”
If you missed Country Music, you'll soon get another chance to see it. The series will re-air on Friday nights at 8 pm ET on PBS from January 3 to February 21, 2020.
Chris Janson is one of the many artists who'll be performing at the CMA Awards telecast on Wednesday night. The "Good Vibes" star thinks it's great that the show will be highlighting the female stars of country music, and that Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton and Reba will kill it as hosts.
When it comes to his personal life, Chris believes the old saying, "Behind every great man is a great woman," should be flipped, because he believes behind every great woman is a man.
"She gets all the credit. I mean, really," Chris says of his wife Kelly. "And she's just smarter and she's more wittier and she just gets it. I hate that old saying, man, 'Behind every dude...' Like, I prefer to reverse that."
He also thinks that the CMA telecast will be "killer" because of the presence of Carrie, Dolly and Reba.
'The hosting is going to be pretty much top tier. I think it's going to be the best. You've got a trio of three great women doing it and they're all really good at it. So that's gonna be amazing," Janson gushes.
As for his part of the show, Chris taking part in an all-star tribute to legendary singer/songwriter Kris Kristofferson.
"Front and center, [it's] me, Dierks [Bentley], Sheryl Crow, Joe Walsh and my friend Johnny O from Brothers Osborne. So it's gonna be a great tribute," says Chris. "I'm gonna do what I do best and that's play, and sing if needed. But I'm there to provide my harmonica skills and like stand out and do my soloing and stuff. So I'm excited!"
You can watch the all-star jam Wednesday night when the 53rd annual CMA Awards airing on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.
CRBCountry Radio Seminar 2020 has announced the nominees for the New Faces of Country Music Show.
The nominees consist of nine up-and-coming artists who have achieved success at country radio throughout the year. Nominees for 2020 are Morgan Evans, who had a #1 hit with his debut single, "Kiss Somebody in 2018; Ingrid Andress, whose song "More Hearts Than Mine" is currently climbing the charts; and Riley Green, who went #1 with "There Was This Girl" in 2019.
Additional nominees include Ryan Hurd, the co-writer behind such hits as Luke Bryan's "Sunrise Sunburn Sunset" and "You Look Good" by Lady Antebellum and who released three EPs as a solo artist; and "Rednecker" singer Hardy, who's known as a frequent collaborator with Florida Georgia Line and is one of the co-writers of Blake Shelton's "God's Country."
Rounding out the New Faces of Country Music Show list is Runaway June, the first all-female trio to earn a top-five hit since 2005; Mitchell Tenpenny, who went #1 with "Drunk Me;" Matt Stell, who reached the top spot on the Billboard Country Airplay chart with "Prayed For You"; and "The Difference" singer Tyler Rich.
Full-time radio employees from around the country will vote on the five artists who will be named to the New Faces class. The artists will perform at the New Faces showcase during 2020 CRS, which takes place at the Omni Hotel in Nashville February 19-21.
ABC/Paula LoboThe 2019 CMA Awards just got a little more colorful.
Good Morning America announced Monday that Kacey Musgraves is set to perform the famous Muppets song "Rainbow Connection" with Willie Nelson during the 53rd annual broadcast.
Kacey turned to Instagram to share GMA's exclusive announcement, alongside a throwback video of herself performing the song when she was nine years old. "A [WILLIE] FULL CIRCLE MOMENT," she writes in the caption, alongside a rainbow emoji.
Willie's performance with Kacey marks the first time in seven years that the legendary star has performed at the CMAs since winning the inaugural Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 ceremony.
Their collaboration is one of many on the broadcast. Dolly Parton will perform with For King and Country and Zach Williams, Brooks & Dunn are teaming up with Brothers Osborne while Lady Antebellum will sing with Halsey, among several others.
The CMAs will open with a superstar collaboration as hosts Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Dolly join forces with The Highwomen, Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Tanya Tucker, Gretchen Wilson, Terri Clark, Crystal Gayle and Jennifer Nettles for a tribute to the women of country music.
The 2019 CMA Awards air live from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Singer/songwriter Ryan Hurd is ready for a big night at the CMAs on Wednesday: His wife, Maren Morris, is the leading nominee with six nods, including Album of the Year. Ryan tells ABC Audio that she can't wait to bring home some more CMA Awards.
"Between the two of us. We've got a lot of gold records and a lot of stuff on the wall that we really are proud of," says Ryan. "But...just one CMA, man. She's ready to add to that. And she's kind of got the itch, I think."
And Ryan says he's super proud of Maren's nominations, especially Album of the Year for Girl.
"She deserves it. And she made what I think is the best album of the year. So...it's just really validating to her and to everybody that worked on it: People like me that got to write for it, and producers....she's just really excited, man, and she should be."
But that's not the only exciting thing happening the talented couple's lives: They're also expecting their first child, a boy.
"We're so proud," Ryan gushes. "We had such an awesome year that this is just I don't know, this is better than anything else that we could ever imagine musically, you know what I mean? So this is new for both of us. We have no idea what we're doing. I especially don't, but I'm really excited about learning."
While the couple has a name picked out, they're not revealing it just yet, though as Ryan admits, "We're not good at secrets, so it'll probably just sneak out on Twitter or something."