ABC/Heidi GutmanIf you missed two of the biggest Christmas events in country music this year, never fear. Both will be coming around again, just in time for the holiday.
NBC plans to re-air Dolly Parton’s sequel to last year’s successful Coat of Many Colors TV movie. You can catch Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, December 23.
The Country Music Association will also cue up this year’s CMA Country Christmas special again, this time on Christmas Eve. You can see host Jennifer Nettles along with Brett Eldredge, Rascal Flatts, Loretta Lynn, Trisha Yearwood, Chris Young, Kacey Musgraves and many more starting at 9 p.m. ET.
ABC/Image Group LAMaren Morris has been caught up in quite a whirlwind lately. First, she took home the New Artist trophy at the CMAs. Then, the “My Church” hitmaker found out she’s the most-nominated country artist at this year’s Grammys.
“Utter shock, honestly!” the relative newcomer says of her reaction to the news. “That's happened a few times this year where I just am speechless. Yeah, that morning I found out I was up for four… one of 'em being Best New Artist.”
These days, the accolades just keep on coming for Maren, and on Friday, Billboard gave her its Breakthrough Star honor at the annual Women in Music gala, alongside the likes of Madonna and Shania Twain.
“Standing in this room today as a representation of country music is so cool, because this is such a diverse group of women musically,” Maren reflects. “But at the end of the day, it's like we're all experiencing the same things and the same emotions. And it's just so cool to be in the room with women that really speak their mind and are incredible songwriters and you can't box 'em in.”
Even as Billboard proclaimed Shania this year’s Icon, the Canadian superstar admitted for her, there’s no greater honor than having the respect of someone like Maren.
“All these young artists who were children when I was really climbing, who y'know admired me or looked up to me and to them, I'm an icon, you know, that sorta thing, to me that is the highlight of my career,” Shania says.
You can watch the Billboard Women in Music special on Monday, as it airs at 9 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
ABC/Image Group LAMiranda Lambert continues making the rounds to promote her new #1 album, The Weight of These Wings, and next up, she’ll stop by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
This time, she’ll perform the track “Highway Vagabond,” which also happens to be name of her upcoming headlining tour that kicks off January 26 with Old Dominion and Aubrie Sellers. You can catch the show Monday at 11:35 p.m. ET on CBS.
The Texas native just released the second single from the record, “We Should Be Friends,” just as its lead release, “Vice,” was nominated for two Grammys.
ABC/Image Group LA Kenny Chesney and the Country Music Association are teaming up to donate half a million dollars to help victims of the recent wildfires that ravaged Sevier County, Tennessee, leaving 14 dead and more than 2,400 homes and businesses damaged or destroyed.
“Growing up in East Tennessee, the only thing greater than the beauty of the region is the heart of the people who live there,” Kenny says. “It is devastating to think of what’s been lost in terms of the fire, but overwhelming for the families facing rebuilding their lives, in many cases from scratch. I’m appreciative the CMA shares my hope that these families can feel our love at a time of such tragedy.”
Kenny and the CMA will each contribute $250,000, giving a total of $500,000 to the effort. Part of the money is earmarked to help Dolly Parton’s My People Fund, which is giving $1,000 a month for six months to anyone who lost their primary residence in the fire.
Dolly’s Smoky Mountains Rise telethon also will raise money for the fund. It airs next Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Great American Country, AXS TV, RFD and The Heartland Network, and also will be simulcast on many radio stations.
ABC/Image Group LAA little more than a year after its release, Old Dominion’s debut album has officially been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for selling half-a-million copies.
“When we made Meat and Candy, we had no way of knowing if it would go over well or not," lead singer Matthew Ramsey says. “Hearing that it is now certified gold really shows us that it is resonating with people in much bigger ways than we could have ever expected. We are extremely proud and grateful,” he adds.
Though this is their first gold album, OD has already amassed quite a pile of precious metal. Their debut chart-topping single, “Break Up with Him” has already been certified platinum, moving a million copies, while their second single, “Snapback,” has gone gold as well.
Old Dominion’s latest single, “Song for Another Time,” currently sits at number two, with an eye on the top spot. The five members of the band have ten more dates left on the fall leg of the Meat and Candy Tour, counting Thursday’s stop in San Francisco, before they pack it in for the holidays.
Comstock/Thinkstock With the exception of its hit title track, every song on this Randy Travis album from 1990 is a duet with a who’s-who of country legends. Can you recall the title of the Country Music Hall of Famer’s sixth record, which topped the Billboard country chart? ANSWER: Heroes & Friends.
Gwendolyn/Pearl Records, Inc.If you know someone who just can’t get enough Christmas music during the holidays -- well, Trisha Yearwood confesses she’s that girl.
“Every Christmas album I have is on shuffle at Christmas time because I love it, and I find those radio stations that just go Christmas you know, the minute, the day after Thanksgiving, and that's all I play, so I am the perfect consumer for this music,” she tells ABC Radio.
So it’s only appropriate that of all the new yuletide collections this season, Trisha and husband Garth Brooks happen to have the most successful one so far. And when it comes to Christmas Together, Trisha admits she's breaking one of her own longstanding rules.
“You know, I don't sit around and listen to Trisha Yearwood records, cause it's a little embarrassing,” she says. “I love the songs and I love the music or I wouldn't record it, but then you feel like, 'Is it a little egotistical to sit around and listen to your own music?' But for Christmas I feel like it's OK. It's like, we recorded a lot of classic songs that really I just can't wait to play this record at our home for Christmas, because they're songs that we really love.”
Trisha needn’t worry about listening to her own project, because Brett Eldredge readily volunteers that he’s planning to do exactly the same thing with his new big-band holiday offering, Glow.
“It's been a dream of mine to make this album for so long,” Brett beams. “It's so weird that it's here and now I get to play this album as we're decorating the Christmas tree. I've waited my whole life to play my own Christmas album with my family decorating the tree, so I'm excited!”
Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Garth Brooks plans to donate $20 from every copy of The Ultimate Collection sold through Christmas to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. That’s a pretty impressive feat, considering the 10-disc Target-exclusive set retails for less than $30.
Hit singer/songwriter Radney Foster has signed a new publishing deal with BBR Music Group. In addition to his own hits like “Nobody Wins,” the Texas native wrote “I’m In” for Keith Urban and “A Real Fine Place to Start” for Sara Evans.
Miranda Lambert joins Jason Aldean and Sam Hunt as one of the headliners for the Taste of Country Music Festival June 9-11 in Hunter, New York.
BMLGNewcomer Drake White isn’t up for a Grammy this year, but he still has a shot at participating in the festivities. The “Livin’ the Dream” hitmaker was nominated by recent tourmates Zac BrownBand to be CBS.com’s Artist of Tomorrow.
The Alabama native is one of three finalists, including singer/songwriter Bailey Bryan, who is endorsed by Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, and Farina, who’s supported by rapper Wyclef Jean.
You can check out videos of all three contenders and the Grammy-winning artists who champion them before voting for your favorite at CBS.com. The winner will perform during the official pre-show online leading up to the 59th Grammys on CBS February 12.
ABC/Brett OronzioThe list of celebrities pitching in to help Dolly Parton with her Smoky Mountains Rise telethon next week is growing. Chris Stapleton, Chris Young, Big & Rich, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, LOCASH, Chris Janson and Montgomery Gentry join the roster of talent that already includes Reba, Kenny Rogers and Alison Krauss.
The three-hour effort will raise money for Dolly’s My People Fund, which is giving $1,000 per month to anyone who lost a primary residence in the raging wildfires early last week.
“I’m truly honored that these artists are giving their time and energy to help us raise money for everyone affected,” Dolly says. “I’ve got so many great friends in the industry, and I’m so proud that they were so ready to step up and help me help my people in the Smoky Mountains through this telethon…”
It's also gaining more national TV exposure, with AXS TV, RFD and The Heartland Network now joining Great American Country in airing the fundraiser. USAToday.com also will livestream the event.
Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund starts Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET, and also will be simulcast on many radio stations.
ABC/Image Group LANewcomer Tucker Beathard may have just wrapped his second successful European tour this year, but the “Rock On” hitmaker is already looking forward to 2017.
“When I played in Europe a few months ago, it definitely felt like something clicked, but I definitely didn’t know just how much. The connection I felt with the fans over there this time was pretty intense,” he says of his return as a headliner.
“They had done their research since I’d played last time and it showed," he adds. "The songs they were asking me for, singing along to -- it was insane and fired me up to keep going until they kicked us all out of there!”
You can expect to hear Tucker’s new single, “Momma and Jesus” January 14, when he makes his Grand Ole Opry debut at the historic Ryman Auditorium. On February 2, he heads out on The Devil Don’t Sleep Tour with Brantley Gilbert.
ABC/Image Group LAA host of country stars will come together February 8 to honor new Country Music Hall of Famer Randy Travis.
Alabama, Kenny Rogers, Rodney Atkins, Chris Janson, Jamey Johnson, Montgomery Gentry, Michael Ray, Ricky Skaggs, Tanya Tucker, and Josh Turner are just the first group of stars set to take part in 1 Night. 1 Place. 1 Time: A Heroes & Friends Tribute to Randy Travis at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
Seen as one of the leaders of country music's New Traditionalist movement of the '80s, Randy has battled back from personal problems and a massive stroke in 2013 that made it difficult for him to walk and left him largely unable to speak. Part of the proceeds from the event will go to the Randy Travis Foundation, which works to fund both stroke research and rehabilitation.
Tickets go on sale Friday at 11 a.m. CT via Ticketmaster, with more stars to be added to the lineup as the event nears.
ABC/Image Group LAIf you happen to be driving around Chris Young’s hometown of Murfreesboro, Tennessee and you spot an outrageously decked-out yard, there’s a good chance it might belong to his parents -- and Chris freely admits he’s the culprit.
“It's my favorite holiday, I mean it just is… I love putting gigantic inflatable Christmas stuff in my parents' yard since I don't have one. It's a little bit overkill. I probably need to stop, but it's funny!” he laughs.
This season, Chris translated his love for the holiday into his new yuletide project, It Must Be Christmas. And come December 16, the latest leg of his I’m Comin’ Over Tour wraps in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Chris confesses that’s no accident, either.
“That's pretty much the only time of the year that I've always made sure to be home is Christmas…” he says. “I like being around my family. I've always been real close to them, extended family included, not just my mom, my dad, my sister… It's funny, every year everybody starts, 'Well, we could go probably two weeks into December,' and then the next year, they're like… ‘Then we're going to add this other thing,' and I'll start having to be like, 'No...' That's the only time that I'll put my foot down about not booking stuff is around Christmas time.”
So far, Chris’s December is shaping up to be a good one. He just got a Grammy nomination for his collaboration with Cassadee Pope on “Think of You,” and his latest single, “Sober Saturday Night,” just cracked the top 15.
Hatchette Book GroupFans and even Entertainer of the Year Garth Brooks noticed the absence of nine-time CMA winners The Judds at last month's 50th anniversary awards show. In a new interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts, Naomi Judd opened up about some of the likely reasons the country legends weren’t able to be there for the celebration.
While discussing her own ongoing battles with anxiety and severe depression, Naomi revealed that she and daughter Wynonna are “a little estranged from each other.”
She went on to explain, “From the day I knew she existed, it was the two of us against the world. And then through the decades we kind of grew up together, ‘cause it was really just the two of us. And I’m always tellin’ her, ‘If I’d know better, I would have done better.’”
Naomi says her relationship with daughter Ashley Judd is a bit better, recalling how at her worst times, she’d often walk the mile from her house to the actresses' for a hug, to help make her feel better.
You can read more about Naomi’s struggles in her new book, River of Time: My Descent into Depression and How I Emerged with Hope, which is out now.
Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Kelsea Ballerini gifted Nashville Public Schools with a $1 million grant from the CMA Foundation, during a visit with Oliver Middle School's wind ensemble. The money for music education is just part of what was raised at this year's CMA Music Festival.
Billy Currington marked the success of his two-week number-one hit "It Don't Hurt Like It Used To" Tuesday afternoon at a party at South near Music Row in Nashville. Even his grandmother made the trip to Music City to help him celebrate.
All-female band Farewell Angelina will sing the national anthem Thursday before the Chiefs take on the Oakland Raiders in Kansas City. You can catch the game starting at 8:25 p.m. ET on NBC.
Shenandoah will kick off their 30th Anniversary Tour January 22 in Annapolis, Maryland. 2017 will mark three decades since the "Two Dozen Roses" hitmakers released their debut album.
Atlantic/Warner NashvilleBrett Eldredge will bring his own cold front to Live with Kelly on Friday, as he performs “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” from his new holiday album, Glow. Earlier in the day, he’ll also do “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” on Good Morning America.
You can catch GMA starting at 7 a.m. on ABC. The syndicated Live with Kelly typically airs after GMA on most ABC stations.
While Brett may be focusing on his big-band Christmas tunes right now, his straight-ahead country ones certainly aren’t suffering. His latest single, “Wanna Be That Song,” currently sits at number three on the chart, on its way to number one.
Webster Public RelationsReba, Kenny Rogers and Alison Krauss are the first stars confirmed to join Dolly Parton for Smoky Mountains Rise: A Benefit for the My People Fund. The three-hour telethon will air next Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on Great American Country, and will be simulcast on radio as well.
“My home in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee is some place special,” Dolly says. “Wildfires have affected many of the people -- my people -- who live in those beautiful mountains. We want to provide a hand up to those families who have lost everything in the fires. I know it has been a trying time for my people and this assistance will help get them back on their feet.”
Dolly’s My People Fund is providing $1,000 per month to families in Sevier County, where she was born, who lost their primary residences in the fires last week. During the telethon, viewers will be able to call 1-866-CARE-MOREto donate to the cause.
Expect more announcements about more of Dolly’s celebrity friends who’ll be joining her as next Tuesday’s fundraiser approaches.
ABC/Randy HolmesIf you’ve checked out Keith Urban’s Ripcord World Tour, you know there’s typically a time in the show where he picks one lucky audience member to come on stage and chat. That’s resulted in many memorable moments since he hit the road last June, and his first night in his native Australia was certainly no exception.
“Do you bring a guitar to every concert?” Keith asked, as he welcomed flummoxed fan Amy Jennifer to the stage, with her axe in tow.
“No just yours,” she replied, giggling, “I’m sorry. You’re so beautiful!” somewhere along the way.
“I’ve become a bloody guitar tech!” Keith quipped, as he got the young girl situated.
“What can’t he do, ladies and gentleman?” she countered, before delivering her original song called “Closing That Door.”
You can relive the moment in Adelaide, Australia via YouTube. Keith continues his string of dates Down Under with Carrie Underwood with two shows in Melbourne Thursday and Friday.