Music News 

Not Going Gentle Into That Good Night

Country Music Hall of Fame member Don Williams announced his retirement from performing last year, concluding an impressive five-decade career that includes two CMA Awards, two ACM Awards and 17 No. 1 hits. In honor of his legendary career, Williams’ longtime producer and friend Garth Fundis has produced a tribute album, Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams, featuring an all-star lineup of artists. The 11-track album will be released on Slate Creek Records on Friday, May 26, in honor of Williams’ birthday the following day.

Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams Track Listing:
1. “Tulsa Time” – Pistol Annies
2. “I Believe in You” – Brandy Clark
3. “We’ve Got a Good Fire Goin'” – Lady Antebellum
4. “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend” – Dierks Bentley
5. “Amanda” – Chris Stapleton feat. Morgane Stapleton
6. “Till The Rivers All Run Dry” – Alison Krauss
7. “Love Is On A Roll” – John Prine feat. Roger Cook
8. “If I Needed You” – Jason Isbell & Amanda Shires
9. “Maggie’s Dream” – Trisha Yearwood
10. “Lord I Hope This Day is Good” – Keb’ Mo’
11. “Good Ole Boys Like Me” – Garth Brooks

On The Road Again!

Lady Antebellum will open the “You Look Good World Tour” presented by Nabisco May 26th in Bakersfield, CA. Kelsea Ballerini and Brett Young support the 65-date tour that will span six countries.

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.

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 year.

Guitar For Sale

Ray Scott will release his sixth studio disc, “Guitar For Sale”, on June 9, 2017, with distribution through The Holland Group / Sony/RED. 

Ray Scott / Guitar For Sale Track Listing:
1 – Livin’ This Way
2 – Put Down The Bottle
3 – The Fire
4 – Soberin’ Up
5 – Pray For The Fish
6 – Put Down That Gun
7 – Growin’ Old
8 – Worth Killin’ For
9 – Life Ain’t Long Enough
10 – Doin’ Me Wrong
11 – Guitar For Sale

2017 Billboard Music Awards

The 2017 Billboard Music Awards aired on Sunday, May 21st, at 7PM CDT on ABC TV. Winners in the Country categories include:

Top Country Artist – Blake Shelton

Top Country Tour – Kenny Chesney

Top Country Album – Chris Stapleton – “Traveller”

Top Country Song – Florida Georgia Line, “H.O.L.Y.”

Top Country Collaboration – Kenny Chesney Featuring Pink, “Setting The World On Fire”

Top Christian Song – Hillary Scott & The Family, “Thy Will”

Outlaws On The Move

The “Outlaw Music Festival Tour” kicks off July 1 in New Orleans with a lineup that includes Willie Nelson & Family, Sheryl Crow, and on select dates, Bob Dylan and His Band, Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit, Margo Price and others. Complete lineup, dates and cities here.

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. 

Two Peas In A Pod

Kelsea Ballerini and Valory’s Thomas Rhett will host the three-hour CMA Fest 2017, set to air on ABC-TV this summer. The special will be recorded during the June 8-11 CMA Music Festival in Nashville. 

Printing Fingers

Multi-Platinum-selling and chart-topping Eli Young Band will release “Fingerprints” on June 16th, marking their first album on The Valory Music Co. The 11-song collection is available for digital pre-order as select tracks are offered leading up to the summer release beginning with the infectious fan-favorite “Saltwater Gospel.” 

“Fingerprints” Track List:

  1. “Saltwater Gospel” | Ross Copperman, Nicolle Galyon, Ashley Gorley
  2. “Fingerprints” | Mike Eli, James Young, Ross Copperman, Josh Osborne
  3. “Never Again” | Ryan Hurd, Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz
  4. “Old Songs” | Mike Eli, Andrew DeRoberts, Adam Hambrick, Jason Nix
  5. “Drive” | Mike Eli, Ross Copperman, Tom Douglas, Ashley Gorley
  6. “Skin & Bones” | Mike Eli, Phil Barton, Lori McKenna
  7. “A Heart Needs A Break” | Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
  8. “Once” | Mike Eli, James Young, Josh Osborne, Laura Veltz
  9. “Never Land” | Mike Eli, James Young, Ross Copperman, Jon Nite
  10. “God Love The Rain” | Mike Eli, Erik Dylan, Jason Nix
  11. “The Days I Feel Alone” | Mike Eli, Andrew DeRoberts, Adam Hambrick, Jason Nix

Life’s About to Get Good

Shania Twain revealed new music news when making an appearance on NBC’s “The Voice”. While Shania served as a first-time-ever fifth judge on the hit show and a key advisor to the contestants, fans learned Shania’s “Life’s About to Get Good” is scheduled to hit country airwaves this June and her first album in 15 years is due out this September. When writing “Life’s About to Get Good,” Shania explains, “I was at home looking out at the ocean and I said to myself, ‘Here I am stuck in this past of negativity, but it’s so beautiful out. I’m not in the mood to write a ‘feeling-sorry-for-myself’ song.” The songwriter recognized that with all of the negative in life also comes the positive. “You can’t have the good without the bad. And that’s what the song ended up being about.” For more information, please visit www.ShaniaTwain.com.

John Berry to Launch New National TV Show

Grammy Award-winning country music star 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. Admission to the live show tapings is free and first-come, first-serve.  Seating is limited.  For ticket requests, fans are encouraged to call: 615-513-1388.  See below for full taping schedule.  Food and drink will be available for purchase, as well as souvenir merchandise. Douglas Corner is located in Nashville at 2106 8th Avenue South.

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.

Who Wouldn’t Want To Be Him?

The RIAA has issued platinum certification for Keith Urban’s Ripcord, his ninth consecutive RIAA-certified platinum album. Ripcord was also certified platinum in Australia and gold in Canada.

Wind In His Sails

The RIAA has issued gold certification for Luke Combs’ “Hurricane,” the River House/Columbia artist’s debut single.

A Night Out

Lorrie Morgan revealed her 2017 tour dates and a schedule that includes shows with Joe Diffie, Mark Chesnutt, son Jesse Keith Whitley, and Pam Tillis (Grits & Glamour Tour). Cities and dates here.

Charley Pride Makes Triumphant Return With Upcoming Album

Country music icon Charley Pride is pleased to announce his upcoming album, “Music In My Heart”, set for release July 7th. The project is the first new studio release in more than six years, and features 13 all-new recordings, produced by traditional singer-songwriter Billy Yates. Music In My Heart will be released in the United States via Music City Records, and available at physical and digital retailers nationwide. Working on the Music In My Heart album has also clearly reignited Pride’s inner muse. “The other good news for my fans is that they probably won’t have to wait quite as long for the next album” says Pride. “We’ve actually been working on a second project at the same time, which I hope to release sometime next year.”

“Music In My Heart” Track Listing:

  1. New Patches
  2. Make Me One More Memory
  3. Natural Feeling For You
  4. All By My Lonesome
  5. It Wasn’t That Funny
  6. The Same Eyes That Always Drove Me Crazy
  7. I Learned A Lot
  8. You’re Still In These Crazy Arms Of Mine
  9. The Way It Was In ‘51
  10. I Just Can’t Stop Missing You
  11. You Lied To Me
  12. Standing In My Way
  13. Music In My Heart 

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.

Loretta Lynn Admitted to Hospital After Suffering Stroke

American country music legend Loretta Lynn was admitted into a hospital in Nashville on May 4th after she suffered a stroke at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. She is currently under medical care and is responsive and expected to make a full recovery. Loretta, who just celebrated her 85th birthday, has been advised by her doctors to stay off the road while she is recuperating. Regrettably, upcoming scheduled shows will be postponed. 

Kris Kristofferson, Trace Adkins, Luke Hemsworth and Bruce Dern Saddle Up in New Movie “Hickok”

In the hopes of escaping his past as a notorious outlaw, “Wild Bill” Hickok seeks redemption as a small town lawman.  Unfortunately, as the titular gunslinger discovers, the past has a way of catching up with you in HICKOK, a frontier thriller starring Luke Hemsworth (“Westworld”) in his first leading role in a feature film; the period Western from Cinedigm and Status Media also stars Trace Adkins (Stagecoach, Traded, Deepwater Horizon), Country Music Hall of Famer and Golden Globe®-winner Kris Kristofferson (Traded, A Star is Born, Blade, Billy the Kid) and Oscar®-nominee Bruce Dern (The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained, Nebraska).  On July 7, HICKOK opens theatrically in ten markets including Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, Seattle, Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Kansas City; and, day-and-date, it will also be available on demand and Digital HD.

Another Member To The Family

Josh Abbott and girlfriend Taylor Parnell welcomed daughter Emery Farryn Abbott today (5/5). “The name Emery Farryn means ‘brave adventure,’ says Abbott. “The word ‘brave’ is a word I used to describe Taylor in a song I wrote for her, ‘I’m Your Only Flaw,’ on the new album coming out this year.”

Broken, but not deterred…

Jennifer Nettles broke a rib recently (5/4) after tripping over a lighting fixture just before a performance in New York at a Time, Inc. event at the Hammerstein Ballroom, reports the New York Post. “First time in all my 20+ years of performing to fall off a stage!” Nettles tweeted. “First time for everything!” She also added, “Broken rib and banged up, but grateful. Maybe slowly moving for a bit. But I’ll rally.” 

Willie is No. 1!

Willie Nelson debuted at No. 1 on the country albums chart with “God’s Problem Child”. The album sold more than 34,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen Soundscan.

Bridesmaids meets Steel Magnolias

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.

2017 CMT Music Awards Nominees

CMT announced nominations for the 2017  CMT Music Awards  on Tuesday (May 9). The CMT Music Awards show will be broadcast live from Nashville on June 7 at 7PM CT on CMT TV.

Video of the Year

Artists of Then, Now & Forever, “Forever Country”
Brad Paisley, “Today”
Brett Eldredge, “Wanna Be That Song”
Carrie Underwood, “Church Bells”
Cole Swindell, “Middle of a Memory”
Dierks Bentley and Elle King, “Different for Girls”
Florida Georgia Line, “H.O.L.Y.”
Jon Pardi, “Dirt on My Boots”
Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color”
Kelsea Ballerini, “Peter Pan”
Little Big Town, “Better Man”
Luke Bryan, “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day”
Miranda Lambert, “Vice”
Thomas Rhett, “Star of the Show”

Female Video of the Year

Carrie Underwood, “Church Bells”
Kelsea Ballerini, “Peter Pan”
Lauren Alaina, “Road Less Traveled”
Maren Morris, “’80s Mercedes”
Miranda Lambert, “Vice”
Reba McEntire, “Back to God”

Male Video of the Year

Blake Shelton, “Came Here to Forget”
Eric Church, “Record Year”
Jason Aldean, “Lights Come On”
Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color”
Luke Bryan, “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day”
Thomas Rhett, “Star of the Show”

Duo Video of the Year

Big & Rich feat. Tim McGraw, “Lovin’ Lately”
Brothers Osborne, “21 Summer”
Dan + Shay, “How Not To”
Florida Georgia Line, “H.O.L.Y.”
LoCash, “I Know Somebody”

Group Video of the Year

Eli Young Band, “Saltwater Gospel”
Lady Antebellum, “You Look Good”
Little Big Town, “Better Man”
Midland, “Drinkin’ Problem”
Old Dominion, “Song for Another Time”

Breakthrough Video of the Year

Brett Young, “In Case You Didn’t Know”
Jon Pardi, “Dirt on My Boots”
Kane Brown, “Used to Love You Sober”
Lauren Alaina, “Road Less Traveled”
Luke Combs, “Hurricane”
RaeLynn, “Love Triangle”

Collaborative Video of the Year

Artists Then, Now & Forever, “Forever Country”
Chris Young feat. Vince Gill, “Sober Saturday Night”
Dierks Bentley and Elle King, “Different for Girls”
Florida Georgia Line feat. Tim McGraw, “May We All”
Keith Urban feat. Carrie Underwood, “The Fighter”
Kenny Chesney feat. Pink, “Setting the World on Fire”

CMT Performance of the Year

Jason Aldean, “Hicktown (from CMT Concert of the Summer)”
Jason Derulo and Luke Bryan, “Want to Want Me (from CMT Crossroads)”
John Mellencamp and Darius Rucker, “Pink Houses (from CMT Crossroads)”
Alicia Keys and Maren Morris, “’80s Mercedes (from CMT Crossroads)”
Meghan Trainor, Jill Scott and Kelsea Ballerini, “You’re Still the One / Any Man of Mine / Man! I Feel Like a Woman! (from CMT Artists of the Year)”
Nick Jonas and Thomas Rhett, “Close (from CMT Crossroads)”

Social Superstar

Brett Eldredge
Jake Owen
Keith Urban
Kelsea Ballerini
Lauren Alaina
Thomas Rhett

Bridges Yet To Cross

A Thousand Horses announced that their highly-anticipated sophomore effort, “Bridges” on BMLG Records, will be available for pre-order on May 26th. The 13-song project will be released digitally June 2nd and features their current chart-rising single “Preachin’ to the Choir” as well as an acoustic version of the track. This album has work from some of the best writers in country music including The Cadillac Three’s Jaren Johnston, Ryan Hurd, Morgan Wallen, Ross Copperman and Josh Osborne.

Baby Fever

Congrats to Randy Rogers and wife Chelsea, who welcomed daughter Rainey Ryan Rogers on Monday, May 15th at 4:32p (CT) in Austin, TX. Baby Rainey weighed in at 7lb 6oz and measured 20.5 inches in length. Rainey joins big sisters Isabel and River, who are seven and three, respectively. “Little girl is healthy, and Mom and Dad are both so happy,” said Rogers. “Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.”

And then there were three

Brantley Gilbert and his wife Amber are expecting a miracle baby this winter.  The couple have been trying to conceive since their 2015 wedding, and doctors told them it would be nearly impossible. According to People, Brantley is excited and ready for this new stage in his life. This December 18th will be five years without drinking for me,” he says. “I got a long way away from the things that I was raised to prioritize: being a husband and a good father. Coming back to that and this happening, especially unexpectedly … My heart just feels full.” Amber surprised Brantley with the unexpected and happy news. “She handed me a box and there were three pregnancy tests in there and all of them were positive,” Gilbert says. “I think I stared at it for at least two minutes without saying anything because I was literally in shock. We’d been told it was just not in the cards, and I’m staring at this answer to many, many, many prayers.” Congrats to the happy couple! 

Shot Down?

Reba‘s new television series, Red Blooded, will not be moving forward on ABC. According to Deadline.com, the pilot is being shopped around to other networks including CMT and Lifetime.  In the show, Reba plays a small town Sherrif who  has to join forces with the FBI to uncover a terrorist event.

A Man Of Great Honor

The Texas State Legislature honored George Strait (5/18) with their top honor as 2017’s “State Musician” in Austin. The general public nominates candidates, and then recipients are selected from those nominees by the Texas Commission on the Arts through several committee processes. “It’s a great honor for me to be selected as Texas State Musician of 2017 and join this very prestigious list of other honorees,” says Strait. “I’m a very proud Texan and love to sing the praises of our great state every chance I get. Thank you very, very much.”

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.