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Country Music News

ABCMiranda Lambert got fans talking earlier this week when she responded to one follower’s suggestion that it would “save 2021” if she released a Texas red dirt album with a winking smiley face emoji.

In that post the singer also tagged two fellow Texans, Jon Randall and Jack Ingram, who she’s worked with quite a bit in the past: The trio co-wrote Miranda’s 2018 ACM Song of the Year-winning “Tin Man” and, more recently, “Tequila Does.”

After a few more days of dropping hints -- posting another cryptic photo, along with the caption, "We don't know what we're doing, but we know we're supposed to be doing it" -- Miranda is officially ready to share details.

“Every time I need an escape, I go to Marfa, Texas,” she tweeted on Wednesday. “[Jack Ingram] and [Jon Randall] come. We recharge. We get inspired by its beauty. We write songs. ‘Tin Man’ was the first we shared with you. ‘Tequila Does,’ the second.”

But those two tracks weren’t the last songs to emerge from her musical retreats in Marfa, Miranda continued: “In between, we’ve written 13 more. It’s about time to share them w/ y’all.”

So far, there’s no official word on when fans can expect the new music.

It’s been a busy few weeks for Miranda, who also released a new collaboration with rocker Elle King, “Drunk (and I Don’t Wanna Go Home),” late last month.

Every time I need an escape, I go to Marfa TX. @JackIngram & @jonrandallmusic come. We recharge. We get inspired by its beauty. We write songs. Tin Man was the 1st we shared with you. Tequila Does, the 2nd. In between, we’ve written 13 more. It’s about time to share them w/ y’all pic.twitter.com/krh1NUeIli

— Miranda Lambert (@mirandalambert) March 3, 2021

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

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Big Machine RecordsThe country trio known as Midland -- made up of Mark Wystrach, Cameron Duddy and Jess Carson -- are taking fans behind the scenes of their early days with a new documentary, called Midland: The Sonic Ranch.

In the film, the three performers will share their earliest bonds and what led them to form a band together. It all started when acquaintances Mark and Jess reconnected during Cameron’s wedding, initially bonding over their mutual love of throwback, vintage country. In the midst of an era where “bro country” reigned on the radio, it was a style that seemed to be dying out.

While it was Mark and Jess who initially decided to book some time together at Sonic Ranch, a studio located in the middle of an operating pecan orchard in Tornillo, Texas, Cameron ultimately tagged along and organically became the third member of the group.

“We weren’t 100% when we walked in the door, beyond Mark and Jess were going to record these songs and see what this sound really was,” Cameron remembers. “By the time we walked out, all three of us knew this was a sound that didn’t exist, and it was a kind of country music we really loved.”

The 12 songs they recorded at Sonic Ranch that day will be released as the soundtrack to the documentary. Before the documentary premieres, the band are previewing the soundtrack with one track, “Cowgirl Blues.”

Midland: The Sonic Ranch will premiere on CMT on March 19. You can pre-order the soundtrack now.

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

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ABCChris Stapleton has teamed up with Buffalo Trace Distillery to celebrate good whiskey for a good cause.

In honor of the anniversary of the Bottled in Bond Act -- which passed on March 3, 1897 and gives whiskey bottles a mark of authenticity -- Buffalo Trace created a limited-edition line of E.H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel bourbon, named for the Colonel who spearheaded the passage of the act.

As it turns out, that particular brand has an important place in Chris’ own musical history.

“The first glass of E.H. Taylor, Jr. I ever had was in the studio. Vance Powell, engineer of both music & good times, brought a bottle to the session for inspiration,” the singer recounts. “That week we recorded an entire album, and that album was Traveller. We’ve made it a point to keep a bottle around ever since.”

For the new, limited edition release, the distillery partnered with Outlaw State of Kind, the charity helmed by Chris and his wife, Morgane Stapleton. The first five bottles, which are personally autographed by Chris, are up for auction right now. Each one is valued at approximately $5,000.

All proceeds from the auction will support disaster relief in Texas and Kentucky. Bottles of the limited-edition E.H. Taylor, Jr. Single Barrel bourbon will continue to be auctioned throughout the year.

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

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ABCDierks Bentley is gearing up for new music. The singer posted a smiling studio selfie on his social media this week, against a backdrop of recording equipment and instruments. 

“Back in the studio with the band working on some new tunes. Album number 10...here we go!” the singer wrote alongside his post.

Dierks tagged himself as being in Nashville, so presumably he’s returned to Music City to make his record this time around. He wrote and recorded the bulk of his last album, 2018’s The Mountain, in Telluride, Colorado, the state where he and his family have also been hunkered down for much of the pandemic.

Most recently, Dierks also broke ground on a fourth location of his Whiskey Row bar and eatery in Denver.

But despite his love for the mountains, the singer has always made it clear that he planned to return to Nashville at some point.

“I am sure I will move back to Nashville because it’s the country music capital of the world and a great place to work out of,” he admitted to People last October.

Dierks has already shared the first taste of his next musical chapter with “Gone,” his current single, which is inside country radio’s Top 30.

That song -- an uptempo ode to being out of touch in the wake of a breakup -- has some metaphorical resonance with the pandemic era: Lots of people feel like they’ve been “gone” from everyday life, even if they haven’t left the couch.

“Gone” also earned Dierks a nomination at the upcoming ACM Awards ceremony for Video of the Year. He’s nominated for Male Artist of the Year at the show as well.

Back in the studio with the band working on some new tunes. Album number 10...here we go! pic.twitter.com/lZWOE97ATo

— Dierks Bentley (@DierksBentley) March 2, 2021

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

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Constellation BrandsBack in early 2020, Luke Bryan officially announced a signature beer in partnership with the high-end beer, wine and spirits company Constellation Brands -- and now he's expanding the brand.

Called Two Lane American Golden Lager, Luke’s original beer was named for the hometown back roads that so often make an appearance in his songs. During the pandemic, Luke paused production on his Two Lane lager, but now, it’s back in stores across the southeast.

Plus, there’s a new addition to the Two Lane line: Fans in Luke’s home state of Georgia were the first to try his new Two Lane Hard Seltzer.

Available in four warm-weather flavors -- Cherry Limeade, Peach Tea, Blueberry Lemonade and Watermelon Punch -- Luke’s hard seltzer line has now expanded out of Georgia, and thirsty fans can pick it up in a variety of locations.

From the seltzer flavors to the Two Lane name itself, Luke’s new beverage line speaks to the southern values closest to his heart, and the singer says that’s no accident.

“It’s no secret that I love a good time, and I’m also deeply connected to my roots,” he says. “Two Lane has found the perfect balance, combining my celebratory approach to life and my connection to home.”

For more information on the beverages and where to find them, visit Two Lane’s website.

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

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ABC/Image Group LAIt seems that Thomas Rhett’s got something new up his sleeve, but he’s not sharing many details...yet.

The singer took to social media this week to share the cryptic image of a sepia-toned square, with “March 5” written and underlined in the middle. Thomas didn’t explain the meaning behind the date, except to say in the caption, “That’s a Friday, y’all.”

He also linked to his website, where fans can find a countdown clock which counts down to -- you guessed it -- midnight on this Friday, March 5.

Though there’s no telling for sure what exactly Thomas is planning for Friday, fans were quick to speculate in the comments section, and many are hoping for new music. Either a new single or a new album from the singer is certainly plausible: He hasn’t released a new album since May of 2019, when his fourth project, Center Point Road, arrived.

Plus, the “Beer Can’t Fix” star has been sharing new music lately. His latest single, “What’s Your Country Song,” is the lead single from an as-yet-unannounced new album; that song is currently a Top 5 hit at country radio. 

That’s a Friday y’all https://t.co/e8bZktau1j pic.twitter.com/WxE8D4zFfd

— Thomas Rhett (@ThomasRhett) March 3, 2021

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

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Comstock/Thinkstock On this day in 1990, this "Livin' on Love" singer made his Grand Ole Opry debut where he performed his first top 10 hit, "Here In The Real World." Can you guess who it is? ANSWER: Alan Jackson. 

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

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Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Kalie Shorr has debuted an acoustic video for her latest single, "Amy." The track will be featured on her EP coming out later this year. 

Danielle Bradbery is on the cover of the spring edition of People Health where she discusses her struggles with migraines, how she maintains her health during the COVID-19 pandemic and more. She is set to release new music this year. 

Jeannie Seely is releasing her new single "If You Could Call it That" to country radio. It's inspired by a song that Jeannie's friend Dottie West had started writing in 1991. The song is featured on Jeannie's 2020 album, An American Classic. 

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

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Riker Brothers

When it comes to his top ten hit, "Lady," Brett Young admits he was pulling a bit of double-duty, playing both doting father to his daughter Presley and adoring husband to his wife Taylor

"We didn't do it on purpose this way," the California native explains, "but I knew once the song was written that I was gonna get credit for this song in two different stages."

"I knew that I was gonna immediately get credit from my wife for a love song," he continues. "And then years down the road, when my daughter was old enough to understand, I'd get credit for that one, too."

So how did Taylor respond to Brett's emotional lyrics like "Look at her, baby girl, and you'll learn to be a lady?"

"I got a text back with all the emojis of her bawling her eyes out," Brett reveals. "You know, you never really wanna make a woman cry, but in a situation like that, I think it's okay."

There are likely many more happy tears on the way for Brett and Taylor, as they're expecting their second child this summer. 

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

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ABCEric Church continues to share songs with fans off his upcoming three-part album, Heart & Soul. 

The singer announced on Twitter on Tuesday that "Do Side" is the latest song to become available exclusively to the members of his fan club, known as the Church Choir. It's one of six songs featured on the middle album, &, and joins previously released track, "Lone Wolf." 

A statement from Church's website says that no more songs from & will be released to the public. The album also boasts "Through My Ray Bans" and "Doing Life With Me."  

Studio videos for "Do Side" and "Lynyrd Skynyrd Jones" off the Soul album are also available for the Church Choir to view. 

The release of Heart & Soul will be spread out through April, with Heart arriving on April 16, the fan club exclusive on April 20, and Soul concluding the trilogy on April 23. 

Current single "Hell of a View" is inside the top 20 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. 

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

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Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesDolly Parton has received her first round of the COVID-19 vaccine.

On Tuesday, the superstar shared an Instagram video from Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville that she was "so excited" to be getting the vaccine.

"I've been waiting a while. I'm old enough to get it, and I'm smart enough to get it," she quipped. She even offered an updated version of her hit "Jolene" to encourage others to get vaccinated by singing, "Vaccine/Vaccine/I'm begging of you please don't hesitate." 

"I just wanted to encourage everybody because the sooner we get to feeling better, the sooner we are going to get back to being normal," she advised. 

Dolly donated $1 million to VUMC last year in honor of her friend Dr. Naji Abumrad, reports later showing that her donation help fund research for the Moderna vaccine, which she received a dose of administered by Dr. Abumrad.  

Leave it to Dolly to make getting a vaccine look fun, joking about needing to "look good" for the doctor and playfully remarking that "it didn't take this long to film 9 to 5" as the doctor prepared the vaccination. 

The singer didn't even flinch when the needle pierced her arm, remaining still throughout the process. "I did it, I did it!" she squealed with excitement after the shot was complete.  

Dolly gets a dose of her own medicine. @VUMChealth pic.twitter.com/38kJrDzLqC

— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) March 2, 2021

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

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Time Life Generations of country music artists are coming together for Austin City Limits. 

Time Life has compiled five decades of performances from the long running Texas-based music show into a 10-DVD set, Austin City Limits Country.

The collection features performances pulled from the archives of Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," "Whoever's in New England" by Reba McEntireTim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying" and much more, along with performances by modern country acts including Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Kacey Musgraves and Chris Stapleton.  

Charley Pride, Garth Brooks and Dolly Parton are also featured, in addition to many collaborative performances such as Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson's duet of "Crazy" from the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame 2014 event and Sheryl Crow and Kris Kristofferson singing “Me And Bobby McGee” during ACL's 40th anniversary special in 2014. 

Austin City Limits Country is available now. 

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

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Todd Williamson/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesGarth Brooks has postponed his show at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

On Monday, it was announced on Garth's website that the sold-out show has been postponed from April 10 to September 25.

This is the fourth time the show's date has been changed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Originally scheduled for May 2, 2020, the show was then moved to dates in June and October. Tickets purchased for the previous dates will be honored at the September show. 

When tickets went on sale in 2019, 74,000 tickets were sold in the span of an hour and a half, marking the biggest paid crowd in the stadium's history. A statement on the website says this is the only venue Garth will perform at in North Carolina and South Carolina on The Stadium Tour. 

Garth announced last week that he and wife Trisha Yearwood have been quarantining after she tested positive for COVID-19. "Officially, she's diagnosed as 'on her way out of the tunnel' now, though, which I'm extremely thankful for," Brooks said in a statement. "Anyone who knows me knows my world begins and ends with Miss Yearwood, so she and I will ride through this together." 

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

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Country Music Association CMA Fest 2021 has been canceled. 

The Country Music Association announced on Tuesday that the festival will not be taking place for the second consecutive year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"After thoughtful deliberation, we are saddened to share that CMA Fest will not take place in 2021. We know our fans near and far have hoped that the festival could safely return this summer, and while we are encouraged to see COVID-19 vaccines becoming more widely available, we still face several challenges that prevent us from bringing our fans around the world the CMA Fest experience they have come to expect," CMA says in a statement. 

As of now, CMA Fest 2022 is scheduled to take place June 9-12 in Nashville in what CMA refers to as "the most EPIC celebration of country music." 

Four-day passes purchased for 2020 CMA Fest that were part of the rollover option will be honored at the 2022 festival. Fans who purchased tickets through the box office or Ticketmaster will receive an update within the next couple of days. 

"We appreciate your patience, understanding and ongoing support of CMA Fest and Country Music as we look forward to the days when we can come together again," CMA adds.

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

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Jeremy Cowart Lindsay Ell is kicking off Music In Our Schools Month in a heartwarming way. 

The "wAnt me back" singer joined forces with the CMA Foundation to lead a virtual songwriting workshop for a fourth grade class at Mt. View Elementary School just outside of Nashville. 

The singer instructed the young students that the first step in the songwriting process is to select a topic. The children decided to focus on the trials of 2020, Lindsay singing, "2020 got deep/Millions of people were crying."

But the song also offers a sense of hope, with one student suggesting the lyric "we can still get through this." Some of the students played along to the song on their pianos at home, including Jesiah as he sang "we won't give up/Let's keep on trying."

"Having music in my school has had an impact on my life by helping me find my inner self and helping me know that I do have talent," remarked fellow student Joyce about the power of music education. 

"The kids had such beautiful ideas and we wrote a song together. And some of the lyric ideas were like, 'Wow, you're in grade four and this is what you guys are thinking? You guys are brilliant,'" Lindsay praised. "I have such a newfound respect for what teachers have been through this past year. I just thank you for doing such a great, great job because it is a difficult one." 

Lindsay is an artist ambassador for the CMA Foundation. 

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

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Trae Patton/NBCBlake Shelton got quite the surprise during Monday night's season premiere of The Voice. 

When Pete Mroz took the stage for the blind auditions during the episode, performing Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home,"  both Blake and John Legend hit their buzzers. But when Blake turned around, he was met with a face from the past. 

"I think I'm the old guy here," the 45-year-old hopeful said, prompting Blake and his fellow coaches to state that he, in fact, is the resident "old guy." "I'm gonna get to you," Pete said pointing at Blake.

"It sounds like there's some history there, and that's normally not a good thing with me," the country star joked. 

Pete shared how he got his start in Nashville as a songwriter and musician, using the name Pete Mitchell. Upon hearing that name, Blake immediately recalled how he used to be in a band with Pete called the Young Riders, and revealed that they hadn't seen each other in 25 years. 

"You stole my bass player," Pete said.

"No, I gave your bass player a job," Blake retorted, laughing. "Obviously we would have a blast if we got to work together again. No joke, I would love it."

Blake clearly made a compelling argument: Pete did choose the "Minimum Wage" star as his coach.    

The Voice airs on Monday and Tuesday nights on NBC at 8 p.m. ET. 

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

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Michael Loccisano/Getty ImagesThe National Music Council and the National Federation of State High School Associations have tapped several country artists to voice their support for music education and how it's impacted their lives, including Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood

The superstar couple opens the video, with Garth sending a "big hello and a big thank you and a big 'keep it going' to the music teachers that are teaching music in schools today during the pandemic."  He cites music as "the most powerful sword for communication," adding, "Everybody loves music, everybody should, it's within us all." 

Trisha shares that she has a "special place" in her heart for teachers, since her late mother was a schoolteacher. "We all know how important music is in our lives to keep us sane, especially during this time. So thank you for what you're doing," she added.

John Rich of Big & Rich, CMT Next Women of Country inductees Chapel Hart and Rosanne Cash also appear in the video, with John crediting music education with teaching him "discipline" and "opening up my mind in many areas."  

"So you stay strong, and you keep those kids apart, but bring them together through the glorious gift of music. We love you guys," Garth says, in closing. 

The video serves as the launch of Music In Our Schools Month, a campaign that encourages schools to understand the value of music education. 

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

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Comstock/Thinkstock On this day in 1990, this country superstar known for hits including "Hurricane," "When it Rains it Pours" and "Beautiful Crazy" was born in North Carolina. Today, he celebrates his 31st birthday. Can you guess who it is? ANSWER: Luke Combs. 

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

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Arista NashvilleIf you're anxiously awaiting the third album from Maren Morris, the hitmaker behind "The Bones" and "My Church" promises it's well on its way. 

"I am still writing," Maren explains. "I've recorded a bulk of the songs, but I'm kind of giving myself this time to just see if I get any other songs in the mix."

"I feel like I have a really strong batch of songs that I've already recorded with Greg Kurstin, my producer, and I love the sound direction that it's heading in," she adds, mentioning the Grammy-winner who also worked on 2019's Girl.

You'll have to admit Maren certainly hasn't wasted much time, especially since she gave birth to her first child with Ryan Hurd, their son Hayes, just a year ago. 

"It's imminent, but there's no date on it yet," she clarifies. "But I'm really enjoying just kind of finding the footing of where it's going."

"This is like the best part before anyone hears it," she reflects. "You just get to, like, figure it out yourself. Like, what is the sound like? What's the theme? What am I saying? And I'm in the thick of that right now, so I'll probably have a better answer in a couple months."

Sonically, Maren says the record "feels very back to my roots," while adding she wrote a "handful" of the songs with Ryan during quarantine. 

"It's really awesome!" he interjects, as Maren laughs. "From the non-objective husband sitting right here, it's a really cool next step."

Meanwhile, Ryan and Maren have released their duet, "Chasing After You," as we wait for more new music.

Tonight, she performs her collaboration with JP Saxe"Line by Line," on The Late Late Show with James Corden on CBS. 

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

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Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Maren Morris and JP Saxe are performing their collaboration "Line by Line" on The Late Late Show With James Corden tonight. The show airs at 12:35 a.m. ET on CBS. 

Rachel Reinert, former member of Gloriana, is expecting a baby boy in August with her husband, Caleb Crosby.  

Doug Stone is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his 1991 hit "Jukebox with a Country Song" with a multi-city tour that kicks off on March 26 in Texas.  

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

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