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Country Music News

ABCMorgan Wallen is setting chart records. 

This week, the Tennessee native becomes the first artist to have two songs debut in the top 10 at the same time on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, with "Somebody's Problem" and "Still Goin' Down" sitting at numbers three and eight, respectively.

With "Somebody's Problem," Morgan comes in behind his own record as the third highest debut on the chart this year, following his recent hit "7 Summers" and Luke Combs' "Forever After All," which both debuted at number one. 

Morgan and Luke also serve as the only two artists this year to have three songs on the Hot Country Songs chart top 10 simultaneously, as Morgan's hometown ode "More Than My Hometown" currently sits at #2.

"Somebody's Problem" and "Still Goin' Down" are featured on Morgan's upcoming double album, Dangerous, dropping on January 8.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Ian Gavan/Getty ImagesCountry stars are banding together this holiday season to give back to Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital. 

Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton, Lady A and Jon Pardi are among the many artists participating in the Jingle Challenge to send messages of hope and positivity to the patients, families and staff at the Nashville-based hospital that treats children who have cancer and other diseases. 

Dolly kicked off the challenge Wednesday by posting a photo of herself in a glamorous gown posing next to Santa and his sleigh in the Hannah Dennison Butterfly Garden at the hospital. The garden is named after Dolly's niece, who was a patient at the hospital when she was battling cancer as a child.  

Fans are encouraged to create and share their own customized photo with Dolly by downloading the virtual postcard from her holiday card line, along with an uplifting message, with the goal of sending 10,000 notes to the hospital.

“Knowing that kids at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt will get to see how many people across the world are thinking of them this holiday season makes my heart happy,” Dolly says.

Other participating artists include Rascal Flatts, Runaway June, Travis Denning, Sara Evans, Lauren Alaina, Abby Anderson and Jillian Jacqueline.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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UMG NashvilleCarrie Underwood, Maddie & Tae and Runaway June are starring in Cracker Barrel's Sounds of the Season holiday special. 

The country superstar is reuniting with the opening acts on her 2019 Cry Pretty Tour 360 for the festive event, which sees them performing tracks off their individual Christmas projects released this year. 

Carrie will present offerings from My Gift, while Runaway June and Maddie & Tae will perform songs from their EPs When I Think About Christmas and We Need Christmas, respectively. 

Viewers can also look forward to collaborative performances between the three acts. 

In a preview for the special, the singers are seen gathered around a cozy fire sitting in Cracker Barrel's famous rocking chairs and playing classic games found at the restaurant, including checkers and the peg game.

They also exchange gifts among one another, with Runaway June's Natalie Stovall opening a box of Cracker Barrel's corn muffin mix. 

"There's so much good about Christmas. It is a time when people come together. I love the family, I love the friends, I love the food," Carrie professes in the clip. 

Cracker Barrel Sounds of the Season airs on Cracker Barrel's YouTube and Facebook pages on December 16 at 8 p.m. ET.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Comstock/ThinkstockThis pop-country star called "Dibs" on husband Morgan Evans three years ago today when the couple tied the knot in Mexico. Can you name her? ANSWER: Kelsea Ballerini

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Catherine PowellDuring a year when the holiday season will likely look different for most people, Dan Shay are providing a bit of a respite with a pair of original songs. 

The duo of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney have offered up a double dose of Christmas cheer with "Take Me Home for Christmas" and "Christmas Isn't Christmas." The duo both had a hand in writing the tracks, with Shay admitting that it's a challenge creating an original holiday tune, seeing as many of the song ideas have already been used. 

"Doing original Christmas songs is just very hard to do because you go and you try to find a title and they're all taken already," Shay tells ABC Audio. "So you have a title idea and you're like 'Nah, that was a Bing Crosby hit back in the day.'"

But Dan Shay overcame the challenge and provided some much-needed positivity to their fans during the process. Shay adds that he and Dan got into the Christmas spirit early this year.   

"I feel like Christmas is the only thing that can save 2020 right now," he laughs. "We need it. We need it in a big way. And we've already started to decorate and Dan has his tree up already. We've been getting into the Christmas spirit."

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockSheryl Crow and Margo Price have joined the lineup for the inaugural Moon Crush next year. The music experience takes place in Miramar Beach, Florida from April 26-May 1 and also features performances by Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Grace Potter, The War and Treaty and more. 

James Robert Webb has released the video for "Good Time Waitin' to Happen," the fifth single off his self-titled album.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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BMLG RecordsWhen Lady A was curating the track list for the deluxe edition of On This Winter's Night, they were intentional in selecting Christmas songs that aren't typically covered. 

In addition to the original number "Christmas Through Your Eyes," which Dave Haywood describes as a "really fun write," the trio also recorded their own renditions of Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime," "Little St. Nick" by the Beach Boys, and the little-known Ray Charles tune, "Spirit of Christmas." 

"There’s a lot of very familiar Christmas songs, and we wanted to find a couple that were familiar, but there hasn’t been a ton of covers of," Charles Kelley describes of the song selection process. "And there really hasn’t been that many covers of ‘Little St. Nick’ or Paul McCartney’s much at all, and so we thought that’d be kind of different and unique."

Charles also points to a humorous scene in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation when Chevy Chase's character is trapped in the attic and finds an old-fashioned song reel, selecting Ray's "Spirit of Christmas," a song that Charles Kelley notes is hard to come by.

"But it’s such an amazing song and Ray Charles is just one of my idols.  And so I said, 'man, I’ve always wanted to try this,'" Charles continues. "So those are the four new songs.” 

On This Winter's Night Deluxe was released in October. Upon the original edition's release in 2012, it hit number one on the Billboard Top Holiday Albums chart and number two on the Top Country Albums chart.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Joey Tortuga Kane Brown has shared the footage from his stadium-worthy halftime performance at the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game.

Last week, Kane led the annual tradition from the AT&T Stadium in Dallas where the Washington Football Team defeated the Cowboys, with Kane utilizing the stadium as his stage. 

Accompanied by a socially distanced orchestra with the musicians wearing masks while spaced out on the field, Kane opened his set with a cinematic rendition of his hit single, "Heaven," followed by the unifying "Worldwide Beautiful."

The spectacle continued with an appearance by the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders who performed a routine as Kane sang "Be Like That," his pop hit featuring Khalid and Swae Lee, which led into the rollicking "Lose It." 

After holding his own on a drum solo, Kane was joined by duet partner Lauren Alaina for "What Ifs" before bringing the show to a close with an energetic performance of "One Thing Right," complete with an EDM breakdown, pyro and fireworks that lit up the night sky. Kane stood on a scaffold stage over the parking lot where mask-wearing fans were parked drive-in style, enjoying the display. 

Kane's performance was also part of an effort to encourage viewers to donate to The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Ian Gavan/Getty ImagesThough Dolly Parton is a master of many crafts ranging from acting to music, she'll always be a songwriter at heart.

In an expansive feature in The New York Times Style MagazineDolly opens up about her songwriting process, revealing that while songs have a way of naturally coming to mind, she's constantly tweaking them until she feels they're ready to share. 

"I'm always editing as I go, and I go over and over and over it, and I've got a thousand papers wadded up on the floor," she explains, adding that she's often "rewriting all the way to the mastering lab." 

While Dolly's songs have been revered across generations, her work was catapulted into the global spotlight with Whitney Houston's famous rendition of "I Will Always Love You." "Any dummy could have written that," Dolly says of the simple stanzas. 

The icon also offers insight into how she maintains humility as her star power continues to grow, using perseverance as a motivating factor. 

"I love having to rise to an occasion, and being able to do something that I hope might impress somebody. So I just pray about it, and I just reach out there and do it," she says.  "It may not be great, but, I can write any kind of music, any style. The more I accomplish, the more humble I become, because I realize how [few] people are able to say that they’ve seen their dreams come true."

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABCIn an essay penned for Guideposts magazine, Carrie Underwood opens up about the fear she had to overcome on her American Idol journey.

Carrie admits that auditioning for the show in 2005 was initially "out of the question" after learning that the closest audition site was in St. Louis, a far drive from her hometown of Checotah, Oklahoma -- until her mother offered to take her.  

"It would be easy to say the rest is history, that it was meant to be. But it didn’t feel like that at the time," Carrie writes. "Going through a slew of auditions in St. Louis, getting the 'golden ticket' to Hollywood, every contestant’s dream, I was terrified. Every time I had to sing in front of the judges, I’d get nervous the way I did in church that first time."

The country superstar recalls time when she almost let the nerves get the best of her while driving to the airport to fly to L.A. for the Hollywood week round. On the way, they stopped at the store to buy lip liner and broke down in tears in the car, faced with a crossroads. 

"All at once, it was just too much. Going out to Los Angeles by myself, competing with all those other people who were so talented. I burst into tears," Carrie explains. "My dad turned to me in the backseat. 'Carrie,' he said, 'we can go home right now, and we don’t ever have to talk about it again.' I took a deep breath. 'No,' I said at last. 'I’ll go.'" 

Carrie's decision certainly paid off: she was crowned champion of season four and has released seven chart-topping studio albums since. Her Christmas special on HBO Max begins streaming on December 3.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABCJake Owen is an engaged man. 

The "Down to the Honky Tonk" singer proposed to now-fiancée Erica Hartlein, sharing the evidence on his Instagram Stories Monday night.

In the photos, Erica is seen flashing her glistening diamond ring to the camera while holding the couple's one-year-old daughter, Paris. Erica beams while Jake wears an elated expression on his face.   

The hitmaker shared another photo showing off his right knee covered in dirt after kneeling to pop the question, captioning the photo "Dat durrrrty knee.”

The couple began dating in 2017 and welcomed Paris in 2019. Jake was married to Lacey Buchanan from 2012-2015; they share eight-year-old daughter, Olive.

Jake's fiancée and daughters star in the video for his latest single, "Made for You," which follows his number-one hit, "Homemade."

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Tanner Gallagher Hardy only needed "One Beer" to launch his artist career. 

The hit songwriter is celebrating his first number one as an artist, as "One Beer," his collaboration with Devin Dawson and Lauren Alaina, reaches the top of the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

This also marks Hardy's eighth hit as a songwriter. He's also appeared at the top of the charts as a co-writer on Morgan Wallen's "More Than My Hometown," Blake Shelton's "God's Country," "Simple" by Florida Georgia Line and more.

"I am so thankful for the writers and my label for helping me take this song all the way to #1," Hardy shares. "My first #1 as an artist means so much to me and it's a feeling I'll never forget." 

"One Beer" is also Devin's first number one and Lauren's third, following "Road Less Traveled" and her duet with Kane Brown on "What Ifs."  

"One Beer" is featured on Hardy's 2020 debut album, A Rock.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Comstock/ThinkstockThis "David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs" singer is celebrating his 28th birthday today. Born in Georgia in 1992, he topped the country charts this year with "After a Few." Can you guess who it is? ANSWER: Travis Denning.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Robby KleinFrom Gabby Barrett's perspective, the Christmas season has arrived when she sees cartons of eggnog filling  grocery store aisles. 

The American Idol season 16 finalist admits that during her frequent trips to the supermarket, she knows the holiday season is in full swing by the sight of the creamy beverage. 

"When I see eggnog, that's what does it for me every single time, because I go grocery shopping so often that when you see the eggnog all stacked up [then you know it's Christmas]," Gabby says. 

But the singer admits that she's never been a fan of the seasonal drink, unlike her husband and fellow AI contestant Cade Foehner. However, Gabby is open to the idea of it becoming a potential new pregnancy craving. 

"Where do I stand on eggnog, I don't like it. Sadly, I don't. My husband loves it. I don't like it," she shares. "I remember not liking it at a young age. Maybe I need to try it again now that I'm pregnant because I might end up liking it. So we'll see." 

Gabby and Cade are expecting their first child, a girl, early next year.

In the meantime, Gabby has been dominating the charts with the remix of her hit "I Hope," featuring Charlie Puth, reaching number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and topping the Adult Top 40 chart. The original version of the song also hit number one on the Billboard Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts. 

To get in the holiday spirit, Gabby has released a rendition of "The First Noel."

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockHusband and wife duo of Holly and Stewart Halcomb, known as The Springs, have released an original holiday song, "Falling for You." Both are from Alabama and met during a performance at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.  

Up-and-coming singer Bryan Lanning has teamed up with actress Jen Lilley for a 2020-themed rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside," with the lyrics updated to reflect pandemic times with references to mask-wearing and social distancing.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Butterfly Records, LLCDolly Parton is taking over CMT. 

On December 5, CMT is devoting a day's worth of programming to the iconic star, which will include several of her classic music videos, a holiday movie marathon and reflections from Dolly herself.

The marathon begins at 9 a.m. ET with a Dolly takeover on CMT Hot Country Countdown, followed by an airing of Coat of Many Colors, the 2015 movie named after Dolly's hit song that stars Jennifer Nettles, at 12 p.m. ET.  That's followed by its 2016 sequel, Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. 

Fans can also tune in to the beloved 1989 flick Steel Magnolias that features Dolly as beauty shop owner Truvy Jones, alongside leading ladies Julia Roberts and Sally Field

In between screenings, viewers will be treated to surprises from Dolly, ranging from her favorite holiday memories to a preview of her upcoming CBS special, A Holly Dolly Christmas, named after her new Christmas album.   

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABCDarius Rucker has teamed up with Lindsey Stirling for a mystical rendition of "What Child Is This?

Acclaimed instrumentalist Lindsey provides the haunting violin as Darius sings the Christmas classic that dates back to 1865, accompanied by a twinkling piano and steady drums.

The pair will perform their rendition of the song on CMA Country Christmas tonight at 9 p.m. ET on ABC. 

“I was so honored when the CMA asked me to perform ‘What Child Is This?’ and to be getting to do it with an amazing musician like Lindsey is just awesome,” Darius says.

“I was so excited to be a part of ‘CMA Country Christmas’ again this year. Every year, they give me an amazing chance to sparkle in their spectacular show," adds Lindsey, who also covered the song on her 2017 album, Warmer in the Winter.

She adds, "This year was extra special since I got to collaborate with the amazing Darius Rucker. Hope everyone loves it as much as we do!”

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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HBO MaxThe trailer for Carrie Underwood's HBO Max special is giving fans a preview of what will be a truly festive holiday event. 

My Gift: A Christmas Special From Carrie Underwood finds the superstar singer performing a myriad of Christmas classics and original songs from her album My Gift. 

Poised on an elaborately decorated stage adorned with elegant Christmas trees, Carrie is seen in the trailer crooning "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," followed by a jubilant performance of "Let There Be Peace" supported by a socially-distanced choir. 

In between a pitch-perfect duet with John Legend on "Hallelujah," Carrie can be seen belting out "O Holy Night" and offering the festive "Favorite Time of Year." 

"More than anything, I wanted to make this album full of so much love and so much heart and we wanted to bring it to life in a visual way," Carrie says in the clip, as she reflects on the meaning of Christmas growing up.  

The special also offers an inside look at the recording process of "Little Drummer Boy," which features vocals by Carrie's five-year-old son, Isaiah

My Gift: A Christmas Special debuts on HBO Max on December 3. 

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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BMLG Records Lady A walks down memory lane in the video for their original song, "Christmas Through Your Eyes." 

The trio of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood share a compilation of Christmases past with vintage clips of their childhood memories, including snowball fights, pictures on Santa's lap and Charles opening a guitar on Christmas morning.

But the Grammy-winning trio now see Christmas through their own children's eyes. They include Hillary's eldest daughter, Eisele, and twin girls Betsy and Emory posing with Santa, to Charles passing on his love of music to his son Ward, who can be seen playing his own toy guitar before his dad teaches him how to play his mini drum set. A sweet snap also shows Dave teaching his daughter, Lillie, how to play guitar.

Other precious memories featured include the trio and their kids dressed in their finest matching holiday pajamas for a special performance for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital before the video ends with a young Hillary singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

"Christmas Through Your Eyes" is featured on the recently released deluxe edition of Lady A's 2012 album, On This Winter's Night. 

The group will perform two songs tonight on CMA Country Christmas, airing at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Mark Horton/WireImageBrad Paisley is getting into the Christmas spirit with Elf on the Shelf. 

The singer has partnered with The Lumistella Company, the creators of Elf on the Shelf, to kick off the holiday season by reciting "The Elf on the Shelf's Night Before Christmas Storytime." 

The original story follows a Scout Elf's journey to salvage Christmas Eve after it's almost ruined before Santa steps in and saves Christmas.

Brad is a longtime fan of the Elf on the Shelf phenomenon and is known to share photos and videos on social media of his Scout Elves, Snowflake and Pinocchio, getting into mischief. 

"Around our house, the Christmas season is full of family time and fun traditions. One of my favorites is waking up every morning to discover what kind of happiness and hoopla The Elf on the Shelf Scout Elves got in to while we were asleep," Brad says. "Our Scout Elves, Snowflake and Pinocchio, know how to make the holidays a time of joy, celebration and craziness."

Brad's "Storytime" session will stream on the Elf on the Shelf YouTube channel on December 2.

By Cillea Houghton 
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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