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Country Music News
Interscope Records

Sam Smith and Summer Walker add a heartfelt touch to "You Will Be Found" for the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack. 

Sam's signature falsetto voice shines on the uplifting lyrics, while Summer provides gentle harmonies. The chorus proclaims, "So let the sun come streaming in/'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again/Lift your head and look around/You will be found." 

The beloved song comes at the end of Act I of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, which has been adapted into a film starring Ben Platt, reprising his role as the titular character. It also stars Julianne Moore, Amy Adams and others.

Dear Evan Hansen is set for release on September 24, the same day as its soundtrack.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Robby Klein

Gabby Barrett just released the official video for "Footprints on the Moon." The song, from her freshman Goldmine album, was written by Gabby, along with Zach Kale and Jon Nite.

"A lot of people were very negative through school, anywhere and everywhere that I went, and it was difficult," Gabby explains to CMT of the inspiration for the song. "I wish I had a song to listen to at the time that I was going through that, and so for anybody else that is going through it, I wanted to release it for them to help them in any way.”

Gabby and her husband, Cade Foehner, who met while both competing on Season 16 of American Idol, both appear in the video. They welcomed their first child, daughter Baylah May, in January.

Gabby was recently named one of the five 2021 CMT Artists of the Year. The ceremony will be held on Wednesday, October 13.

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Patrick Tracy

Dan + Shay are back on their The (Arena) Tour, which included a show on Thursday night (September 16) at Madison Square Garden. The duo, made up of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooneyshared a video of the sold-out crowd singing "I Should Probably Go to Bed," reflecting on the importance of the moment.

"When the world shut down last year, we didn’t see each other in person for a few months," Dan said. "It was our first time being apart for more than a few days since we met in 2012. When we finally got back together at my house, the first thing we did was sit down at the piano and sing. We finished a song called 'I Should Probably Go to Bed,' and recorded it in a guest bedroom that very same day."

Dan + Shay could have never imagined how it would feel to someday hear that song sung back to them at Madison Square Garden.

"This song is incredibly special to us for so many reasons, and there is no greater feeling than hearing y’all sing it back to us on The (Arena) Tour," Dan said.

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Andrew Eccles

Brett Eldredge loves everything about Christmas, including the music. The Illinois native just announced his new album, Mr. Christmas, due out on October 22. The record will feature both holiday classics and original songs, including the title track.

Mr. Christmas is something that I’ve been planning out for quite a while,” Brett says. “This album is so much fun and full of joy and magic. From the album cover, you can find the magic of Mr. Christmas standing in the window front, looking out just like the old stores on the Rockefeller Plaza in New York City and people passing by in the window."

Brett, who previously released the Christmas album Glow in 2016, wanted to return to the holiday feeling with Mr. Christmas.

"We captured that nostalgic, classic feel that Christmas brings and mixed it with the soulful side of my music influences," Brett says. "It’s got a lot of heart and magic -- it’s a special one for people to hear.”

Brett will headline his own Glow Live Christmas Tour, kicking off on November 13. You can pre-order Mr. Christmas now from all of the usual outlets.

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Ryan Slattery

Loretta Lynn was the force behind the star-studded Hometown Rising concert, held at the Grand Ole Opry on September 14, to raise money for those impacted by the devastating floods that struck Middle Tennessee in August.

Proceeds from the show, which drew country music superstars like Garth BrooksTrisha Yearwood, Luke CombsLuke BryanKeith Urban and more, went directly to the United Way of Humphreys County, with the concert netting nearly one million dollars for the worthwhile cause.

“I’ve heard from so many friends that the show Monday night that my friends put together for our community not only raised money, but it also raised spirits after a long few weeks of loss and heartbreak,” Loretta says. “I loved the performances and the stories.

"While we shared some heartbreaking images and footage from our hometown, what I saw in those moments was the resilience people have shown amid so much loss," she continues. "We’ll all be okay as long as we continue to help one another."

Donations can still be made by texting TNFLOODRELIEF to 44321.

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On this day in 1977, a then-rising star made her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, although it definitely didn't go as planned. The guard didn't see her name on the list of performers and refused to allow her entrance until she was able to call her booking agent from a pay phone. And, her performance was cut down from two songs to one to make room for a surprise guest, Dolly Parton. She became a member in 1986. ANSWER: Reba McEntire

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Warner Music Nashville/Home Grown Music

The Zac Brown Band just dropped a new song, "Fun Having Fun," from their upcoming The Comeback album, out on October 15. The song was written by lead singer Zac Brown, along with Kenny HabulKurt Thomas and Ben Simonetti, and inspired by reminiscing about their own respective carefree childhoods.

“‘Fun Having Fun’ is about all the dumb stuff you do when you’re a kid. One of my co-writers on the track is actually my buddy Kurt, who I went to high school with in Dahlonega," Zac says of his Georgia upbringing. "He and I made a demo tape when we were kids called KZ, for Kurt & Zac, and he was the first guy I ever sat down with and thought, ‘We’re gonna be big.’"

Zac is now the proud parent of five children, which is why he felt so drawn to "Fun Having Fun."

"It was fun to circle back to that time in my life and remember some of the things that we did together, especially with the perspective of now being a parent," Zac adds.

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Allister Ann

It's a big day for Carly Pearce! The Grand Ole Opry member has released her autobiographical 29: Written in Stone album, and also announced her own headlining The 29 Tour. 

29: Written in Stone is the follow-up to Carly's telling 29 EP, adding eight new songs to the original project.

“Once I started writing, I thought I’d gotten it all out of my system,” Carly said of the new record. “But the songs just kept on coming, and I realized to truly understand how you come out the other side, not just a quick snapshot, this full project needed to happen. Now people can see how you thrive and shine even in the lowest moments.”

Carly will kick off her headlining tour on November 4 in Des Moines, Iowa. Andrew Jannakos will serve as her opening act. Dates and her new album are available at CarlyPearce.com.

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Jeff Ray

More than ten years after winning the tenth season of American IdolScotty McCreery arrives with his fifth studio album, driving the Same Truck he won on the popular singing competition. 

The 27-year-old wrote ten of the record's twelve tracks, including his top five hit, "You Time." In fact, he believed he was almost done with the follow-up to 2018's Seasons Change -- and then 2020 happened.

"You know, I thought I had this album pretty much ready to go a couple of years ago," Scotty reveals. "But then after COVID hit, suddenly [I] had a lot of extra time on my hands. So I started writing new songs and before I knew it, we'd come up with almost a whole new album."

For Scotty, Same Truck has both a literal and a much deeper meaning.

"Can you believe I'm actually driving the same truck I won 10 years ago as part of my American Idol title?" he asks. "The truck's name is Loretta after one of my favorites, Loretta Lynn."

Amid divisive times, Scotty believes we're more alike than different, i.e. we're all in the same boat -- or "Same Truck," if you're from North Carolina. 

"[It] was one of those songs that got started by a conversation talking about how I drive the same truck..." he tells ABC Audio. "But it morphed into something a lot more important than that, just talking about how, 'Hey, guys, we're all on the same team here. Let's build each other up instead of tear each other down.'"

"And it's just a message I think we all need to hear right now," he adds.  

Same Truck is new today, and features Scotty's nod to King George"Damn Strait," which he's set to sing Tuesday on NBC's Today show. 

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Alan Jackson and his daughter, Mattie Selecman, wrote a song together, "Racing the Dark." The song is available as a download as part of Mattie's upcoming book, Lemons on Friday, which details her journey of grief following the loss of her husband, Ben Selecman, after 11 months of marriage.

Miranda LambertNatalie Hemby and Luke Dick won Song of the Year at the Nashville Songwriters Association International's (NSAI) annual Nashville Songwriter Awards, for "Bluebird." Luke Combs won Songwriter-Artist of the Year. See the entire list of winners here.

Hailey Whitters released the official video for "How Far Can It Go," featuring Trisha Yearwood. The song is from Hailey's deluxe album, Living the Dream. Watch the video at Whitters' official YouTube channel.

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Art Streiber/NBC

Blake Shelton is opening another one of his Ole Red venues in Music City, this time at the Nashville International Airport. Blake announced the good news in a video posted on social media.

"Guaranteed, some of you people are going to be missing your flights," Blake joked.

Blake, who owns all of the Ole Red locations in conjunction with Ryman Hospitality Properties, is eager to bring Ole Red food and drinks to those traveling in and out of Nashville.

“Folks from around the world come to Nashville lookin’ to have a good time and hear some of the best live music around, and now you can make it double with the Nashville airport venue!" says the singer. "I’m excited to give visitors the best fun, food and music like only Ole Red can provide while they wait for their flight.”

Blake will return next week for Season 21 of The Voice. The season will premiere on Monday, September 20 at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

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Capitol Nashville

Keith Urban's father passed away in 2015, but his influence still permeates almost everything Keith does. It was his father who instilled in him a love of country music, and his father whose approval he still seeks today, even though he has been gone for six years.

"I think that fire has burned in me forever, and probably still does," Keith tells Billboard. "I think I got my dad's approval long before I thought I had it…but it's a strong driving force for me to impress my dad. Still, to this day."

Urban mentions his father in the opening lines of his current single, "Wild Hearts," which says, "Saw the man in black / Spotlight in the air / Heard a thousand screams / Saw my daddy stare."

"When you're five years old and you see your father mesmerized by something -- in a way that I don't think I had seen that gaze come to me -- I'm like, 'I'm going to do that,'" he says.

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CMT

We now know which five artists will be named the 2021 CMT Artists of the Year. Chris StapletonGabby BarrettKane BrownKelsea Ballerini and Luke Combs will all be honored at a special ceremony that will be held at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Wednesday, October 13.

"We are honored to recognize these five incredible artists who have entertained and inspired millions through their music this past year," says CMT executive Margaret Comeaux. "We look forward to returning to the Schermerhorn with a live show as we celebrate the accomplishments of Chris, Kane, Kelsea, Gabby and Luke."

After last year's event celebrated the sacrifices of those working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's 90-minute special promises both performances and collaborations, as well congratulatory moments from several other celebrities.

More information, including collaborations, special guests and additional honorees, as well as performers and presenters, will be announced in the near future.

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Chris Hollo

Lady A never imagined they would be forced to spend more than a year off the road because of a pandemic, nor did they picture themselves being involved in a contentious lawsuit over their decision to change their name from Lady Antebellum.

Amid all of the heartache, a silver lining appeared when the trio, made up of Charles KelleyHillary Scott and Dave Haywood, were invited to become members of the Grand Ole Opry.

"After a tough year of feeling like you've been a little bit misinterpreted, it was like, OK, our community, everybody knows our hearts here in this town," Charles tells AZ Central. "They know the legacy that hopefully we've made, but that we're gonna make."

The invitation was even more sweet because it came from their good friend, and former tour partner, Darius Rucker.

"I grew up listening to Hootie and the Blowfish," Charles says. "When I was in cover bands, that was some of the first stuff we learned how to play. So that was kind of just a crazy full-circle moment."

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Allister Ann

When Carly Pearce had the idea to tell her truth in the song, "29," she had no idea that it would become the launching pad for her next album. Carly wrote the song with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, even though at the time she wasn't sure if anyone would ever hear it.

"I remember when that song was written, being almost fearful that there was no way anybody would ever let me put that song out," Carly says in an interview held at the Grammy Museum. "And I remember when people first heard it, even some of my band members, when I first played it for them, there was kind of like [a gasp]."

It's the opening line of the chorus, which calls 29 as the age that she got married and divorced, that became the pivotal moment of the song.

"There's kind of like that pause," Pearce says. "All these things that were my reality of owning my story. And I feel like I'm the most proud of that song because that song opened my heart wide open to create the rest."

29: Written in Stone is out on Friday.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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