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Country Music News

ABC/Image Group LACarly Pearce is one of the many country artists feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that's brought the touring industry to a standstill.

Carly, who released her self-titled album in February, was eager to hit the road and share the new music with fans face-to-face. However, the social distancing guidelines put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus has left her and many other musicians to find ways to creatively bring music to fans from home.

“It is not fun," she shares with her label, Big Machine, about her inability to tour. "It is really difficult to be holding all this new music and be so excited and have a tour that you don’t know if it’s going to happen and have all these plans for the year that kind of came to a very screeching halt." 

Carly admits that she also feels a sense of responsibility to her band members, who have lost work since they're unable to be on the road. Meanwhile, her husband Michael Ray has been in the difficult position of having to cut the salaries of his band members.

But the singer is remaining positive, hopeful that the music community will find solutions and move forward. 

"Thankfully we’re all in it together and we’re all trying to figure it out together, and hopefully we will be able to find creative ways to get to fans," she concludes. "We’re all trying to figure out what this means for all of us, but we’re going to try to get music out in the best way we can and then hopefully have, like, the surge of fans ready for it when we do get to come back.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LAFollowing her appearance last night during ACM Presents: Our Country, Miranda Lambert is reiterating an important message. 

Miranda delivered a lovely acoustic performance of her latest single, the heartwarming "Bluebird," during the ACM special on Sunday night, and turned to Instagram today to remind fans to keep music close to heart during these trying times. 

"I want to remind everybody to lean into music and to let that heal you right now, because Music is Medicine, and it'll help us get through this time," she shared, alongside the video of her performance of "Bluebird," which was delivered from the porch of her rural Tennessee home. 

Miranda was one of many country stars who offered uplifting songs and words of encouragement during the two-hour broadcast, which took the place on the night of what would have been the ACM Awards.  The Awards, which were postponed due to COVID-19, will now take place on Sept. 16. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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MCA NashvilleIn spite of the six-year gap between the release of Sam Hunt's debut album, Montevallo, and his follow-up album, Southside, the singer says he's as inspired as ever.

In a clip from Spotify's enhanced album experience, "Sam Hunt Presents Southside," the singer explains how he needed time to "re-center" following the release of Montevallo, which turned him into a country music superstar. In the interim, he was continuing to write songs and married his now wife, Hannah Fowler

As inspiration continues to thrive, Sam says he likely won't wait as long to release his third album as he did with his sophomore installment. 

"I'm as inspired now as I have been the past five or six years, so I'm looking forward to keeping the ball rolling this time and getting back on it sooner rather than alter as far as working on the next project goes," he declares.

Sam released Southside on Friday. Spotify's enhanced  album includes all of the tracks featured on Southside, along with with clips of Sam discussing the stories behind such songs as "Sinning with You" and his current single, "Hard to Forget." The Spotify album also features acoustic performances of "Hard to Forget" and "2016," along with other content.

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ABC/Image Group LAKeith Urban and Kacey Musgraves will participate in the upcoming global online benefit concert One World: Together at Home.

Presented by the World Health Organization and Global Citizen, artists from across the music spectrum are coming together to support healthcare professionals as they work to save lives amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year, along with multi-Grammy Award winner and Golden Hour creator Musgraves, will represent country music during the broadcast that also features virtual performance by Lady Gaga, who helped curate the event, Paul McCartneyElton JohnStevie WonderBillie EilishJohn LegendChris Martin of Coldplay and more.

Several other superstar acts will participate in the special event in benefit of the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund launched by WHO to provide aid around the world to those in need. Local and regional charities that are helping people in their communities gain access to food, shelter and other needs will also be supported by the broadcast. 

Additionally, healthcare professionals will be sharing their experiences during the telecast that will be hosted by a trio of beloved late night hosts: Jimmy FallonJimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert

One World: Together at Home will broadcast live on several networks including ABC, as well as on streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook and Instagram on April 18 at 8 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LAIt appears that Luke Bryan is caught in a case of mistaken identity with another country superstar. 

The American Idol judge shared a photo on Instagram showing a humorous mix-up. In a screenshot from a news broadcast recapping his performance during Sunday night's ACM Presents: Our Country, Luke's identified as The Voice coach and fellow country singer, Blake Shelton.

"I gotta work harder," Luke jokes in the caption.

Jason Aldean and Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town were among the many to leave comments, both symbolizing their reactions with crying laughing emojis. 

This isn't the first time Luke has been misidentified. In 2017, he was cited as "Luke Bryant" by another news station in a photo he took with Dierks Bentley and former President George W. Bush.  

The superstar singer delivered his hit "Most People Are Good" during the CBS special that featured several country stars performing remotely from their homes. He also participated in the tribute to Kenny Rogers, singing "Coward of the County."

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Vanderbilt University Medical CenterThomas Rhett and Craig Morgan are among the country artists this week who are sending Gratitunesto the staff at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Thomas will be joined by Sara EvansLindsay EllWalker Hayes and many others in performing an uplifting song on their individual Instagram pages that will go into a playlist that's streamed to the doctors, nurses and others medical professionals who work at VUMC.

The new program began last week with Brad Paisley's performance of "Southern Comfort Zone." Dustin Lynch and Jewel also delivered "Gratitunes," a program that's designed "to help lessen stress and anxiety, and lift spirits" of healthcare professionals as they battle COVID-19. 

You can also add "Gratitunes" to the playlist and submit encouraging social media posts that will be collected and shown to the hospital staff.

Songs currently on the multi-genre playlist include Carrie Underwood's reflective hit, "Jesus, Take the Wheel," "Get Along" by Kenny Chesney, and Kacey Musgraves' "Rainbow."

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CMTActress and singer Rita Wilson has been selected as the host of CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers: A Benefit for MusiCares.

The special serves as a musical celebration of life for the late singer and raises money for MusiCares' COVID-19 Relief Fund and includes performances and interviews with many of Kenny's friends such as Dolly PartonLionel RichieLady AntebellumVince Gill, Rascal Flatts and more.

The stars will not only perform Kenny's songs, but also reflect on his impact. Additionally, fans will be able to make donations to MusiCares' COVID-19 Relief Fund, which provides financial aid to those in the music industry who have suffered loss of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Wilson and her husband, actor Tom Hanks, recently returned to the U.S. after spending two weeks in quarantine in Australia after they were diagnosed there with COVID-19.

Half of the proceeds raised during the CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers: A Benefit for MusiCares broadcast will go directly to the country music community in Nashville.

Following Kenny's passing, his family encouraged fans on social media to donate to the fund, as the singer always helped his fellow musicians. 

CMT GIANTS Kenny Rogers: A Benefit for MusiCares airs on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Comstock/ThinkstockOn this date in 1998, we lost the legendary performer who was known as the “First Lady of Country Music.” Known for hits like “Stand By Your Man” and “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” she was 55 at the time of her death. Can you name her? ANSWER: Tammy Wynette.

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ABC/Image Group LAAs Americans embark on another week of self-isolation, Shania Twain has a couple recommendations on how to pass the time -- all of them enticing book titles. 

The country singer on Saturday showed off the mountain of books she plans to consume while staying safely indoors to wait out the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Remember books?!," Twain playfully captions the video with a crying laughing emoji, "Anybody else reading to pass the time?"

As for the 54-year-old country icon, she has over a dozen books she's ready to recommend to fans looking for something to stimulate their brain.  

The video starts with the "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" singer shuffling into her room while precariously balancing 15 books in her arms.  She then climbs onto her bed and grunts as she drops the stack into a collective heap.

"Okay," she begins with an excited smile, "As you can see, I made a pit stop at the bookstore and stocked up on some really great reads."  

The five-time Grammy winner begins rifling through the pile, pulling up some titles she can't wait to dig into.  One of the books she's most excited to jump into is Robin: A Biography of Robin Williams, revealing with a smile "This one I've been wanting to read for awhile."

But, Twain has a plan of attack on how to cut through her sizable "to read" list.  The first book she plans on polishing off is the first volume in the Heart of Texas series by Debbie Macomber, which she promises "to start tonight."

"This is the way to pass the time," urges Twain, who gestures encouragingly with a book firmly in hand, "Get back into books!"

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Academy of Country MusicThe show must go on, and on Sunday night, it did, though the CBS special that aired was much different than the one the Academy of Country Music originally planned. Once the COVID-19 pandemic made the annual ACM Awards in Las Vegas impossible, a who's-who of country stars came together to record socially-distant performances for ACM Presents: Our Country

Hosted by Gayle King, the two-hour special kicked off with reigning Entertainer of the Year Keith Urban, who's still set to host this year's awards, which have been moved to the fall.

Stars turned in stripped-down performances from all across the U.S., with Luke Bryan and half of Little Big Town checking in from Florida. Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani were in Oklahoma, while Darius Rucker and Dierks Bentley were both in their home states, South Carolina and Colorado, respectively. Shania Twain did a memorable performance from Las Vegas, alongside both her horse and her dog.

As you might expect, the show was heavy on positive, uplifting tunes like Tim McGraw's "Humble and Kind," Luke Bryan's "Most People Are Good," Thomas Rhett's new song "Be a Light," and Florida Georgia Line's "Blessings." 

Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley were surrounded by their families in BK's Nashville living room, while Lady Antebellum's performance of "What I'm Leaving For" included cameos from Charles Kelley's son Ward and Dave Haywood's little boy, CashKimberly Williams-Paisley ran camera for her husband.

Brad Paisley teamed up with his pal Darius Rucker for virtual duets on "Mud on the Tires" and "Wagon Wheel," returning to close the show with a tribute to Kenny Rogers, who passed away March 20. Brad and Darius did "Lucille" and "The Gambler," with Luke Bryan contributing "Coward of the County." 

Carrie UnderwoodKelsea BalleriniOld DominionEric ChurchLuke CombsMiranda LambertKane BrownJohn Legend, and Sheryl Crow all contributed performances as well. 

The 55th ACM Awards are set to air Wednesday, September 16 on CBS, though the Academy hasn't announced where they'll be held. 

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockCarly Pearce is set to perform a virtual show tomorrow night via Instagram Live. You can tune in to watch at 7:30 ET. 

Tenille Townes hosted a multi-artist virtual group performance of the late Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” last week. Caylee HammackAbby AndersonKassi AshtonAdam Hambrick, Keelan Donovan and Alex Hall all also joined in. 

String group Old Crow Medicine Show have released their anthemic new song “Nashville Rising,” a message of positivity in response to the tornado that damaged Music City in early March, as well as in response to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. 

Gone West bandmates Colbie Caillat and Justin Young have broken up. The couple had been engaged since 2015 and were together for a decade. They split on amicable terms, Colbie explained on social media, and will continue to make music together.

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Horse of Troy Productions, Inc.

Earlier this week, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood staged a live concert from their home recording studio. Called Garth & Trisha Live!, the hour-long acoustic set list was constructed entirely from fan requests.

The special aired on CBS, an idea spawned from Garth and Trisha initially attempting to host a live concert over Garth’s live Facebook series, “Inside Studio G.”  Some 5.2 million viewers tuned in to watch, crashing the social media site.

Now, fan demand has inspired a repeat broadcast of the CBS special. Garth & Trisha Live! will re-air on Sunday, April at 10PM ET on CBS, featuring the superstar couple’s listener-selected blend of hits, duets and cover songs. 

Garth and Trisha are also taking the opportunity to help provide relief for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We’re seeing how big things can be when we all do them as one. In addition to the special, we and CBS will donate $1 million to charities to be determined, combating the COVID-19 virus,” the couple say.

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Matthew Berinato / Yu Tsai

Kane Brown and John Legend on Friday debuted the music video for their new duet, “Last Time I Say Sorry.” The two artists are co-directors on the project, and recorded footage from their homes while in self-quarantine amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before dropping the new video, Kane made a virtual appearance on CBS This Morning to chat about the song. 

“It came pretty naturally. We just started talking about both of our relationships, and mainly the guys in a relationship, they’ll say sorry for something they did and then they’ll turn around and they’ll do it again,” Kane said. “Me and John were both like, ‘That’s the worst feeling in the world.’”

The singer adds that the subject matter was personal to both artists. 

“On my end, I wrote it for my wife, just saying that ‘I never wanna mess up,” he revealed. “I just wanna love you for the rest of my life and never have to tell you ‘sorry’ again.”

Kane and John will perform the song live for the first time during the ACM Presents: Our Country special this Sunday. The show will broadcast during the time slot of the postponed 2020 ACM Awards, airing at 8PM ET on April 5.

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ABC/Image Group LAKeith Urban is self-quarantined at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the singer says he’s making the most of the unexpected downtime. 

“It’s early days, still, in a lot of ways, but it’s been a very vibrant house,” Keith tells ET.

The singer’s household includes his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, and their two daughters: 11-year-old Sunday and 9-year-old Faith. In their house, family time means a whole lot of board games, like Apples to Apples, Uno, and What Do You Meme? 

Keith adds that the family is staying active, explaining that the time at home includes “a lot of music around the piano, dancing and getting out in our backyard.”

Fans have gotten to get a few peeks into the star’s more musical at-home pursuits, since Keith's been live-streaming performances from home with help from Nicole. Like his musical peers, Keith misses performing live for his fans, but he appreciates having the ability to stay connected with virtual shows. 

"Country music is many things to many people, but the one thing I've always felt it is is community… Music is the great connector, so I've been elated to see so many at-home concerts," Keith explains. "Everybody's getting incredibly creative with how they can express and create and connect with everybody."

Keith also recently released the music video for his new song, "God Whispered Your Name."

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ABC/Image Group LACarrie Underwood and her husband, former hockey pro Mike Fisher, are encouraging fans to practice social distancing in a new video shared to social media. The clip shows the couple at home, with Carrie showing her Music City pride with a shirt that reads “Spread love, it’s the Nashville way.”

“To help the health of our community, we’re asking everyone to stay at home as much as possible and practice social distancing,” Mike says.

“Working together, we can stop the spread of COVID-19,” Carrie adds, before the two say in unison, “Do your part, stay apart.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic has halted tours, festivals and events throughout the country music industry and beyond, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Events such as the 2020 ACM Awards and more have been postponed to the fall as part of a larger effort to curtail the pandemic’s reach. 

‘90s hitmaker Joe Diffie died in late March after contracting COVID-19. Additionally, famed songwriter John Prine is currently hospitalized as he battles the virus.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Do your part. Stay apart.

An important message for Tennessee residents from @carrieunderwood & @mikefisher1212: #TNStayApart I @TNDeptofHealth pic.twitter.com/PviCalpBeT

— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) April 1, 2020

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CMTThe 2020 CMT Awards, originally scheduled for June 3, will now take place on October 14. The postponement comes in light of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as the tornadoes that ravaged middle Tennessee and Nashville in early March. 

“Our top priority this last month has been rebuilding our hometown of Nashville following the tornado and ensuring the safety of our fans, employees, artists and partners during the COVID-19 crisis,” CMT explained in a statement. 

The show is the latest in a long string of events, festivals and tours to be cancelled or postponed amid the pandemic. The ACM Awards, originally scheduled for April, are among the affected events, moving its annual show to September and opting instead to air a TV special called ACM Presents: Our Country in the award show’s original time slot. 

In late March, the COVID-19 virus claimed the life of ‘90s hitmaker Joe Diffie. Additionally, Americana giant John Prine is currently hospitalized with the virus.

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Curb Records

Lee Brice is headed back to country radio this month with a brand-new song, “One of Them Girls.” The tune will be available beginning April 10. 

The song was the product of a “emergency songwriting session” that Lee called at two o’clock in the morning, enlisting an all-star songwriting cast including Ashley GorleyDallas Davidson and Ben Johnson. He got the inspiration to write the track after a reflective moment with his family on Father’s Day of 2019. 

“I just love that the title could easily come across as a negative connotation at first,” says Lee, who is a father of three. “But, it’s so very much about that girl that all of us -- deep down, at the end of the day, at the end of our lives -- really hope to have loving us.”

“One of Them Girls” will follow Lee’s chart-topping hit, “Rumor,” as well as his new duet with Carly Pearce. That song, “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” is currently a top-fifteen hit at country radio.

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Sony MusicLoretta Lynn puts a new spin on Patsy Cline’s 1961 classic “I Fall to Pieces” on a new recording of the song that's tied to her forthcoming book, Me & Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust

It’s a special song to Loretta: She’s been performing “I Fall to Pieces” for decades, beginning with a 1961 live rendition on the radio show Midnight Jamboree, which she sang after Patsy was nearly killed in a car accident. At the time, the two singers didn’t know each other, but Patsy heard Loretta’s radio performance and arranged for them to meet while she was recovering.

The pair quickly became good friends, with Patsy offering the younger Loretta insight into life as a country superstar. Less than two years later, Patsy died in a plane crash at just 30 years old, and Loretta included “I Fall to Pieces” on her 1977 tribute LP, I Remember Patsy

Loretta recorded her new version of  “I Fall to Pieces” at the Cash Cabin Studio outside of Nashville. The song was produced by her daughter, Patsy Lynn Russell, and John Carter Cash, who is the son of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash

Me & Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust, written by Loretta along with her daughter, is a portrait of Loretta and Patsy’s brief but immensely meaningful friendship. The book is due out on April 7.

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ABC/Image Group LAOld Dominion teamed up with Jason Schneidman, a celebrity groomer who also cuts hair for the homeless, for the music video for their latest single, “Some People Do.” 

Jason’s connection to helping those in need is personal: He was previously homeless, and overcame drug addiction after a stint in rehab. Now, he spends his spare time paying his recovery forward, providing free haircuts and funding scholarships to rehab centers.

In early February of 2020, Old Dominion joined forces with Jason to help those in need. Armed with pizza and all the makings of a field hair salon, they hit the streets of Los Angeles to prove that a little effort and kindness can go a long way toward enacting positive change. 

Together with Jason and his talented team of hairdressers, the band mates share smiles and a meal with anyone who shows up. At the end, we see “before” and “after” photos, showcasing the difference a good haircut can make. 

“Some People Do,” the latest single off of Old Dominion’s self-titled third studio album, just cracked the Top 40 at country radio. It follows the chart-topping hit, “One Man Band.”

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Comstock/ThinkstockOn this date in 1971, two of country music’s best-loved duet partners hit #1 on the charts with their song, “After the Fire is Gone.” Can you name them? ANSWER: Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty.

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