Music News 

Ol’ Style Entertainment

Blake Shelton kicked off the construction for his “Ole Red” entertainment venue in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. To help start of the construction, he had Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, Ryman Hospitality Properties’ Colin Reed, and Tishomingo Mayor Tom Lokey. The 5,000-square-foot project will be in two adjacent buildings downtown and will include food, a bar, live music and a retail space. Before driving ceremonial nails into an old board to kick off the project, Reed and Shelton talked about the project before a gathering of about 100 people in a nearby event hall. Reed said Tishomingo’s “Ole Red” will be an extension of a much larger “Ole Red” the company is building in Nashville, Tennessee. But Reed said the Tishomingo project is special in a way the larger project can’t be, because it will expose its guests to a country lifestyle they’ll get from the surrounding community’s ambiance. Blake Shelton’s Tishomingo entertainment venue, Ole Red, should open later this year.  

And Then There Are Three

This year’s Country Music Hall of Fame inductees are, in the Veterans Era Artist category, Jerry Reed; in the Modern Era Artist Category, Alan Jackson; and in the Songwriter Category, Don Schlitz. The honorees will be celebrated at the annual invitation-only Medallion Ceremony later this October.

Extended Stay

Little Big Town have extended their upcoming Ryman Auditorium residency, “Little Big Town at the Mother Church”. The run includes July 28th & 29th, and November 27th. More dates will be added later in the year, with each show featuring different support acts. More info here. 

John Berry to Launch New National TV Show

John Berry will launch his own national television show this summer. “Songs And Stories with John Berry” will debut in July on Heartland TV, The Family Channel, The Country Network, the Angel Two Network, AMG TV, and the VTN Network. The 30-minute TV program will be taped this May at Nashville’s historic Douglas Corner, the same venue where Berry originally showcased to receive his first major record deal. The show will focus on the singer and the song— the music that changed his guests’ lives and inspired them to be the artists they have become.  The first season will feature Berry and special guests Billy Ray Cyrus, Craig Morgan, Clay Walker, Suzy Bogguss, Mo Pitney, Neal McCoy, Billy Dean, and more. 

Faith Partners with Scripps Greenlights for Lifestyle Talk Show

Scripps has greenlit the daytime lifestyle talk show created and Executive-Produced by Faith Hill, Hill’s manager, Sandbox Entertainment’s Pres./CEO Jason Owen, and Happy Street Entertainment Co-Founder/former executive producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show Lisa Erspamer. The Nashville-based show, whose name is yet announced, will be co-hosted by Kellie Pickler and New York City journalist Ben Aaron. Scripps will debut the show September 18th in 20 of its 24 TV markets, and Disney/ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution will syndicate nationally. More info here. 

West Bound For Symphonies

Emily West has created a lush, cinematic EP resembling, according to her, a “dark Disney record.” Symphonies at once pays tribute to the sadness-tinged yearnings of a torch singer while combining with West’s soaring aspiration, resulting in a collection that bursts with the grit and hope of Dorothy in Wizard of Oz and resides on the Hollywood 101. Recorded with producer and co-writer Daniel Tashian, Symphonies showcases West’s ability to remain both vocally powerful and delicate. West serves as a tour guide through landscapes as diverse as lonely French boulevards, smoky Tarantino saloons and wistful sunsets over the City of Angels. She slips seamlessly from vocal vamping in her James Bond inspired “Heaven and Back,” with its dark, stealthy fringes and lavish dramatic core, to a confused vulnerability in “Don’t Ever Go to Paris (When You’re Lonely),” with soaring, tender vocals and lyrics full of sarcastic contradictions. The title track, “Symphonies,” retreats into West’s personal reveries, from the intimate to the grandiose. Symphonies is a fairytale for the broken hearted sung in the lightest of pinks. It also combines tears and laughter, nostalgia and hope. The EP will be released on August 18th.

Words Have Meaning 

Sara Evans has announced that her highly-anticipated forthcoming album, “Words”, will be released on her own record label, Born To Fly Records, on July 21st. Fourteen separate female songwriters, including powerhouses Ashley Monroe, Caitlyn Smith, Hillary Lindsey, Hillary Scott, Liz Hengber, Sonya Isaacs and of course Sara herself, contribute their words to the stunning, upcoming record. Words marks a creative reunion for Evans, pairing her with frequent co-producer Mark Bright (2005’s Real Fine Place, 2014’s Slow Me Down) while Tracy Gershon provides A&R direction. Her daughter Olivia (14) even contributes background vocals to the record. 

Another High Honor In Oklahoma

Carrie Underwood is among the Class of 2017 Oklahoma Hall of Fame honorees. She’ll be inducted November 16th at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City. The ceremony will be emceed by past OKHoF inductees, MCA’s Vince Gill and Kristin Chenoweth. “I’ve always been proud to say I’m from Oklahoma,” says Underwood. “The people, culture, and environment molded me into the person I am today. It’s such an honor to be recognized among such great company by the Oklahoma Hall of Fame!” Previous inductees include Reba McEntire, Toby Keith and Blake Shelton. Complete Class of 2017 list here.

Getting Down On The Farm

Luke Bryan has announced the 9th annual “Bayer Presents Luke Bryan Farm Tour 2017” set to run September 28th to October 7th. Since the tour’s inception in 2009 Luke has awarded 50 college scholarships to a local student from a farming family within the communities the tour has played. A total of more than 100,000 fans have gathered on the farms each year. 2017 ACM New Male Vocalist Jon Pardi will support Luke at each stop with additional talent to be announced later.

Getting There…

Ray Wylie Hubbard will add to his legacy of bone-rattling grit and groove, and hymnals that speak to a weary soul torn between the battle of good and evil when he releases his latest record “Tell The Devil I’m Getting There As Fast As I Can” on his own Bordello Records via Thirty Tigers. The brand new 11 self-produced tracks will be brought out in the light on August 18th. The album was recorded at The Zone in Dripping Springs, Texas, with Hubbard’s son Lucas on lead guitar, touring drummer Kyle Schneider slapping skins, as well as Jeff Plankenhorn on dobro and mandolin, Bukka Allen on B3 organ, and studio owner Mike Morgan and engineer Pat Manskee on bass.

Track List:

  1. God Looked Around
  2. Dead Thumb King
  3. Spider Snaker and Little Sun
  4. Lucifer and the Fallen Angels
  5. Open G
  6. House of the White Rose Bouquet
  7. Tell The Devil I’m Gettin’ There As Fast As I Can
  8. The Rebellious Sons
  9. Old Wolf
  10. Prayer
  11. In Times of Cold

Time To “Hank’ It Up” Once Again!

Hank Williams Jr. is returning to the ESPN Monday Night Football opening with a new version of “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here On Monday Night” and his trademark opening, “Are you ready for some football?” Hear the debut September 11th before the New Orleans Saints play the Minnesota Vikings. More here.

Festive Occasion

Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini will host the “CMA Fest” on August 16th on ABC TV.  The three-hour show, which is executive-produced by Robert Deaton and has a rebranded title (previously called “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night To Rock”).

Tag Teaming

Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will return as co-hosts of The 51st Annual CMA Awards, which airs live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena November 8th on ABC-TV. Paisley and Underwood’s 10-year tenure as hosts is second only to Vince Gill’s 12-year run.

Signed And Sealed

Maddie & Tae have signed a record deal with UMG/Nashville. Additional information, including which imprint they’re on, is forthcoming.

Never Look at the Empty Seats

Few artists have left a more indelible mark on America’s musical landscape than Charlie Daniels. In his official memoir, “Never Look at the Empty Seats” , fans will learn about his rise from a post-Depression era childhood to becoming a Grammy award winner and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee by focusing on the positives in life. Spanning a career of nearly 60 years, Charlie will share inside stories, reflections, rare personal photographs plus make available lessons learned and sage advice to those seeking a career in the music business. The book releases October 24th in hardcover, eBook and audiobook and is available for pre-order now. For available retailers and more info, go here.

Loretta Lynn’s Ranch Announces New Motorcycle and Music Event

Loretta Lynn Ranch will be hosting the Tennessee Motorcycle and Music Revival on September 28 – October 1. The event will host motorcycle riders of all makes, models and years at one of the most storied and beautiful ranches in the great state of Tennessee. Not associated with other previous events in the area, Loretta Lynn’s Tennessee Motorcycle and Music Revival will feature live music at multiple locations, a variety of entertainment, specialty food trucks, premium and primitive camping sites, vendors and plenty of riding on some of the most beautiful roads in America. Loretta Lynn and family have hosted the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Amateur National Championship for nearly 40 years and decided to host their own event to cater to the motorcycle-riding community at large. This special event benefits from the gracious hospitality of country music legend, Loretta Lynn. More information here.

He’s A Joiner

Chase Rice has quickly gained a reputation as a bit of an outsider with a wide independent streak in the country music world. Now, he’s joining with BBR Music Group/BMG, and that means new music for fans soon. Rice has been assigned to the Broken Bow Records imprint, where he joins label mates Jason Aldean and Dustin Lynch.  

And The Noms are in

The Teen Choice Awards will air on Sunday, August 13, on Fox TV. The Choice Country Artist category includes:

  • Blake Shelton
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Kelsea Ballerini
  • Luke Bryan
  • Sam Hunt

Comedic Attempt

Brad Paisley announced that his Netflix one-hour comedy special, “Brad Paisley’s Comedy Rodeo”, will debut on August 15. The hilarious show includes special guests and fellow comedians Nate Bargatze, John Heffron, Jon Reep, Sarah Tiana and Mike E. Winfield. Actor David Hasselhoff and multi-talented Reba McEntire make special appearances. The show was filmed earlier this year when Paisley hosted two comedy shows at Zanies Comedy Club in Nashville as part of the Wild West Comedy Festival. View Paisley’s post here.

Making Another Addition

Rodney Atkins recently announced that he and his wife are expecting a baby later this year. He tweeted “Happy 4th of July! We are thrilled to announce baby Atkins will arrive in December & we know Elijah is going to be the best big brother.” See the tweet here.

Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd Announce Their Engagement

Miranda Lambert will be the executive music producer for the upcoming Bridesmaids meets Steel Magnolias comedy “Something In The Water”, co-written and directed by Trey Fanjoy. Lambert will oversee music curation and write an original song for the film, which is about five women in the south who challenge their men to a bass fishing competition. Fanjoy has directed more than 150 music videos, including Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” and “The House That Built Me.” More info here.

She’s Got It Covered!

Miranda Lambert will grace the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine’s August 2017 issue. She posted in a tweet “Thanks so much @Cosmopolitan for having me! Such a fun shoot and I got to talk about Glamping!” See the cover here.

Sixth and Platinum

Miranda Lambert’s sixth studio album “The Weight of These Wings” is now certified Platinum by the RIAA. 

Cashin In

Forbes magazine has released their list of the Highest Paid Country Artists. Garth Brooks topped the list for the third year in a row, raking in a mere $60 Million followed by Kenny Chesney and Luke Bryan earning $42 Million. The Top 11 are:

1: Garth Brooks, $60 million
2: Kenny Chesney, $42.5 million
3: Luke Bryan, $42 million
4: Dolly Parton, $37 million
5: Toby Keith, $34.5 million
6: Florida Georgia Line, $34.5 million
7: Jason Aldean, $32.5 million
8: Blake Shelton, $31.5 million
9: Keith Urban, $30 million
10. Eric Church, $25 million
11: Zac Brown Band, $25 million

Looking For A Good Time?

Alan Jackson is the latest country singer to open his own bar on lower Broadway in Nashville. The singer’s new establishment has four floors and is located steps away from Ryman Auditorium. Called AJ’s Good Time Bar, the atmosphere Jackson hopes to create is one that evokes the bar’s song namesake — “all the conditions are right for a good time.” AJ’s Good Time Bar is true to the city’s famed honky tonks, with stages on each floors, offering real country music throughout. Additionally, each level of the bar has its own distinct personality and showcases the interests of the famous owner. The ground floor is straight country, while the second story boasts sports on various TVs and live acoustic music, so it’s a big quieter. The third floor, known as the Hullbilly Bar, offers karaoke, while the rooftop, AJ’s Star Bar, gives patrons a picturesque view of the city. The drink menu also includes Alan’s go-to drink: Jack and water.