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 year.

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. 

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. 

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.

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 Winners

The 2017 CMT Music Awards aired on CMT TV (6/7). The winners were:

  • Video of the Year – Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color”
  • Female Video of the Year – Carrie Underwood, “Church Bells”
  • Male Video of the Year – Keith Urban, “Blue Ain’t Your Color”
  • Duo Video of the Year – Florida Georgia Line, “H.O.L.Y.”
  • Group Video of the Year – Little Big Town, “Better Man”
  • Breakthrough Video of the Year – Lauren Alaina, “Road Less Traveled”
  • Collaborative Video of the Year – Keith Urban feat. Carrie Underwood, “The Fighter”
  • CMT Performance of the Year – Jason Derulo and Luke Bryan, “Want to Want Me (from CMT Crossroads)”
  • Social Superstar – Keith Urban

Bridges Yet To Cross

A Thousand Horses announced that their highly-anticipated sophomore effort, “Bridges” on BMLG Records, is available for pre-order. 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.

And then there were three

Brantley Gilbert and his wife Amber revealed (6/6) the gender of their baby with a little smoke (kind of like the Pope) – the blue smoke met the couple was going to have a baby boy!

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.

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.

The Eagles are about to fly again without a musician widely viewed as its leader and chief musical architect.

Surviving members have turned to one family member and one longtime friend to help it through this transition: Deacon Frey, the 24-year-old son of Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, who died last year, and country music star Vince Gill. The quintessential Southern California country rock ensemble is set to headline a two-pronged, bicoastal festival: “Classic West and Classic East”, alongside Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan, Earth Wind & Fire, the Doobie Brothers and Journey. Deacon Frey and Gill will divvy up lead vocals on the songs Glenn Frey sang with the Eagles. “In my mind, I always thought I’d have made a good Eagle,” said a smiling Gill, whose 21 Grammy Awards make him the most awarded male country artist in Grammy history. Sitting in the same backstage dressing room next to Henley and Deacon Frey, he continued, “But in a million years, I never would have seen this coming. It’s pretty surreal. I turned 60 recently, and to get to be a part of this amazing legacy of songs, that’s the greatest part of all this for me” The idea of Gill came up when he was at the Kennedy Center Honors program in December saluting the Eagles. Read more 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 

What An Honor It Is!

The Recording Academy will honor country music legend Charley Pride at its 2017 Special Merit Awards with an awards ceremony and live tribute concert on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, at The Beacon Theatre in New York City. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award honorees also include Shirley Caesar, Ahmad Jamal, Jimmie Rodgers, Nina Simone, Sly Stone, and the Velvet Underground. Led by GRAMMY-winning industry icon Paul Shaffer as musical director, the tribute concert will feature rare performances by honorees and never-seen renditions by those they’ve inspired. Currently scheduled to appear are past GRAMMY nominee Andra Day, who will be honoring Simone; 12-time GRAMMY winner Kirk Franklin, who will pay tribute to Caesar; six-time GRAMMY winner Randy Newman, who will honor Ostin; and two-time GRAMMY winner Dwight Yoakam, who will salute Rodgers. Additional performers will be announced shortly. Tickets for the event will be on sale via Ticketmaster beginning Monday, June 5, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EST.  

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

Baby Boom!

Lee Brice and wife Sara welcomed daughter Trulee Nanette Friday (6/2). “We are so blessed and beyond overjoyed to bring our precious baby girl into the world,” posted Brice on Instagram. “She’s beautiful, happy and healthy, we could not ask for anything more.”

The Best Of The Best

A huge congratulations goes to The Calamity Janes for winning the Best New Duo/Group Category at Texas Regional Music Awards Show recently (6/3).

Fixin’ To Release

Chris Janson will release his “Fix A Drink” EP on Friday (6/9) featuring five new songs including the title track single, “Name On It,” “Everybody,” “Little Bit of Both” and “Redneck Life.” 

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”).

It’s A Boy!

Justin Moore is a proud father of his first son, Thomas South Moore, born Sunday, June 11 in Little Rock, Arkansas. South said hello to his family and weighed in at a healthy 7lb. 14oz., measuring 20 inches long. Justin shared, “Kate and I already felt like the most blessed people in the world, with our three beautiful daughters. But, we feel even more blessed to have a healthy baby BOY now to add to our family. God has given us another wonderful gift, in him, June 11th. His name is Thomas South Moore, named after my late grandfather. We will call him South. His sisters are already obsessed with him, as we are all of them. Thanks for all the well wishes and congratulations. Very much appreciated.”

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.

Charlie Daniels has recorded a stirring version of the Johnny Cash standard “Ragged Old Flag.”

Few musical performers epitomize the American spirit with more passion and fervor than Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie Daniels. The singer, who has sung of his unabashed patriotism time in and time out during his career, is showcasing his love of the Red, White, and Blue once again in his latest recording that will be available for sale digitally on July 4th via iTunes, Amazon, Google Play among other digital platforms.

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 labelmates Jason Aldean and Dustin Lynch.