CMAThe lineup is out for this year’s CMA Fest, with the June 7-10 gathering in downtown Nashville promising to be one country fans won’t want to miss. The Country Music Association has lined up hundreds of artists who’ll play eleven different stages all around Music City.
Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Dan Shay, Old Dominion, Jon Pardi, Carly Pearce, and Brett Young will all make their debuts playing full sets at the nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium. Bebe Rexha will come to town to play her hit, “Meant to Be,” with Florida Georgia Line, while Lauren Alaina is set to make a special cameo as well.
Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Charles Esten and friends, Dustin Lynch, Charley Pride, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Ricky Skaggs, Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and Lee Ann Womack all return to the main stage this year as well.
You need a ticket to see the big nightly show at Nissan Stadium, and some four-day passes are still available. You can find out more at CMAfest.com/tickets or by calling 1-800-CMA-FEST.
Perry Farrell/WME Entertainment/C3 PresentsJust like his number-one song says, “When It Rains It Pours.” Wednesday, we learned Luke Combs will not only play the main stage at CMA Music Fest this summer, he’s also the sole country act booked for Chicago’s prestigious Lollapalooza festival.
The annual four-day gathering in the Windy City typically focuses on rock, pop, urban and alternative genres, boasting artists like Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Jack White and LL Cool J.
This year, there are also a handful of acts who have a strong country connection, namely Bebe Rexha and Zedd, both of whom currently have top-ten pop hits featuring country artists. So it’s not beyond the realm of imagination that Florida GeorgiaLine or Maren Morris could make a festival cameo to sing “Meant to Be” or “The Middle.”
Americana artist Anderson East -- who’s been best-known to country fans as Miranda Lambert’s boyfriend -- is also on the bill.
Lollapalooza takes over Chicago’s Grant Park August 2-5. Tickets are on sale now.
ABC/Image Group LA Miranda Lambert will release “Keeper of the Flame” as the fourth single from her sixth studio album next month. Shortly after she put out The Weight of These Wings in 2016, she also named her tour after the tune.
When it initially came out, the double album was available with a deluxe, hardbound book, although only a few hundred copies were printed. Now, Miranda’s making a virtual version of the behind-the-scenes look at the project's creation available online.
Triple TigersScotty McCreery recently made his very first trip to the top of the country singles chart, and now he’s getting the heavy metal to match.
“Received my GOLD certification plaque for my #1 hit ‘Five More Minutes’ the other night,” the American Idol winner tweeted, along with a photo taken backstage at his Monday show at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre.
Seasons Change, Scotty’s new album, came out last Friday. It features his new song, “This Is It,” which was inspired by his engagement and upcoming marriage to longtime girlfriend Gabi Dugal.
Comstock/Thinkstock Fifty years ago this week, Tammy Wynette recorded one of her classic songs at Columbia Recording Studios in Nashville. Can you name the signature tune that spells its way to splitsville? ANSWER: "D-I-V-O-R-C-E."
ABC/Image Group LA After spending a weekend on tour with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill last summer, Devin Dawson proclaimed it the highlight of his entire year. So you can imagine his excitement at the news he'll be one of the permanent openers on the 2018 incarnation of the couple's Soul2Soul trek.
"I got to play my hometown in Sacramento, in this brand new arena that I'd never been to," the California native says of his first outing with Tim and Faith. "[I] got to have my whole family and all my best friends from middle school that I used to play guitar with [there], and it was a huge full circle moment."
"That's a bucket list artist checked-box right there, going back to your hometown and playing a show like that."
For the initial run of the Soul2Soul tour, Tim and Faith typically changed opening performers every week. Now, newcomer Caitlyn Smith will do the first half of the tour, with Devin coming on to finish it out.
"They have done an amazing job, allowing people to come out to open with them," Devin says of his new bosses. "And they treat everybody with the utmost hospitality. Everybody is taken care of like family."
"And for me, I'd never played an arena before," he tells ABC Radio, "so it was a huge learning experience. And then getting to see two people that I grew up listening to and taking notes from that, it was really cool."
Devin's first 2018 date with Tim and Faith will be July 22 in Bossier City, Louisiana. His breakthrough hit, "All on Me," is currently in the top five and climbing.
Keith Urban and Merle Haggard at the 2014 CMT Artists of the Year; Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CMTYou’ll soon be hearing Merle Haggard’s 1968 hit, “Mama Tried” -- or at least a piece of it -- on country radio a lot, if Keith Urban has his way.
The Australian superstar samples the country classic on his new song, “Coming Home,” with the blessing of both the Hag’s widow Theresa and his son, Ben. In return for the use of the distinctive starting lick from “Mama Tried,” Merle gets a co-writing credit on the tune.
“Hearing that rolling Haggard guitar lick sparked memories of my childhood and my dream to come to America,” Keith says. “I knew right then the story [of the song] was about the struggles of being in a city where your dreams have brought you, but far from your home -- wherever, whomever and whatever that is for each of us.”
Pop singer/songwriter Julia Michaels helped Keith finish the track, and sings on it as well.
“Coming Home” is available to stream or download now, and you can also check out its new lyric video on YouTube. It’s the latest release from Keith’s forthcoming Graffiti U album, which he’s busy finishing.
ABC/Image Group LA The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year turned out Tuesday night to induct the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. But at the news conference a couple hours earlier, Chris Janson didn’t know Garth Brooks was waiting in the wings -- he was more focused on his family.
“My daughter thinks this is where she can put on her new dress and her lipstick -- at six years old,” Chris laughed. “‘And we're going to hang out with dad and his singing friends.’”
The “Fix a Drink” hitmaker’s four kids and his wife Kelly were all on hand for the biggest night in his career so far -- all dressed appropriately, of course.
“My youngest, he's all about custom cowboy boots…” Chris went on. “If they've got something, like a bullhead on them or something, he's like, 'I want those.' So he likes to wear his cowboy boots here.”
Even before his induction, Chris was already outlining his Opry goals -- and he’d done his homework.
“I think I'm the youngest living member of the Opry now at this point…” he explained. “I want to be that young Opry member who's hosting and introducing people and inviting people and telling the stories because I can tell 'em like nobody else does, I can promise you, because I study this stuff. Like, I watched every single invitation and induction video on YouTube preparing for this. I watched 'em all last night.”
Both Chris and the entire sold-out Opry crowd were blown away when Garth made a surprise appearance to do the honors.
“I will tell you this,” Garth said, as he presented Chris with his Opry member trophy, “this will be, no matter how many times you look back on it, the greatest night in your music career…”
“All I know to do is just pass it down,” Garth added, “What Johnny Russell said to me -- he put his arm around me, as I was sitting here crying in this circle of wood, and he said, 'Enjoy it son.'”
Chris called his family out as he accepted -- and there was no doubt they were all enjoying it.
“How do you not cry during this?” he said tearfully. “… Thank you to my wife Kelly for sticking by me in every single minute of the way. For just having my back even in times where I didn't have my own. And my kids, for having my back, and just not even caring what I do for a living, just thinking 'Whatever, dad. Let's fish,’” he quipped, as the audience laughed.
Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Steve Wariner is just one of the guitarists who’ll honor legendary picker Merle Travis during a celebration April 18 at Nashville’s City Winery. Tickets for the Merle Travis 100th Birthday Celebration Concert are on sale now.
The Country Music Association recently presented Little Big Town with its International Artist Achievement Award before their performance at the Country to Country festival in London. So far, the reigning CMA Vocal Group of the year is the only act to play the annual event three times.
ABC/Image Group LA Brad Paisley is pitching in to help those affected by the recent wildfires and mudslides in California.
The "Today" hitmaker is organizing a May 12 benefit at the Santa Barbara Bowl, with proceeds going to the community through local organizations. He’s calling it “The 2nd Responders,” as a tip of the hat to those who were on the front lines. Ellen DeGeneres will be his special guest, and he’s enlisting other friends to join him as well.
Brad and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, have a special connection to the area. “Kim and I fell in love with Santa Barbara and the Montecito area on our honeymoon,” Brad explains. “It feels like small-town America by the sea.”
“With this concert I hope to raise awareness, spirits and money for the region that’s recovering from the devastating mudslides and fires,” he continues. “I hope people come out and actually make it an experience with us and visit some of the local shops, restaurants, bars and coffee shops.”
Tickets will be available to local residents this Friday before going on sale to the general public on Saturday.
ABC/Image Group LA It looks like Wednesday will bring new music from Keith Urban.
“There’s nothin’ in the world that feels like coming home…” the Australian superstar tweeted on Monday, along with Wednesday’s date, 3.21.
The post also includes a fifteen-second snippet of a song, attached to what appears to be its artwork. The new tune “Coming Home” will feature Grammy-nominated pop singer/songwriter Julia Michaels, who scored a huge hit last year with “Issues."
“Coming Home” is the follow-up to Keith’s top-ten “Female,” the lead single from his forthcoming Graffiti U album. He’s also released the track “Parallel Line” in his native Australia.
Academy of Country MusicThe list of stars you’ll see on this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards keeps growing.
Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum are now set to sing on the show. They join Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line with Bebe Rexha, Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, and Thomas Rhett, who previously joined the performance roster.
We’re also getting our first look at this year’s presenters. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Entertainment Tonight’s Nancy O’Dell, actress Rebecca Romijn, and Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn are all on the board.
You can tune in for all the action Sunday, April 15, when the 53rd ACM Awards air live from Las Vegas on CBS, starting at 8 p.m. ET.
ABC Radio Garth Brooks is voicing his support for Saturday’s student-organized March for Our Lives.
During Monday night’s episode of Inside Studio G on Facebook, the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year read a letter he’d received from Parkland, Florida shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez.
“I believe the young people in this country can change the world. And wouldn’t that be something?” the Stoneman Douglas High School student said.
“It’s yours!” Garth responded, encouraging Emma and her peers to “take it and shape it.”
“Be tolerant. Be loving. And don’t let hate win,” he added.
Garth went on to perform an unrecorded song he’d written with Tony Arata, who helped him craft his classic, “The Dance.” The song contains the line, “to matter then, it must matter now,” which Garth says reminds him of the students who’ll be marching Saturday.
Seventeen people were killed during the Valentine’s Day shooting at the Florida school. Supporters from all across the country will join the Parkland students on Saturday as they march on Washington to call for improved gun control and school safety measures.
You can check out the latest weekly edition of Inside Studio G on Garth’s Facebook page now.
ABC/Mark LevineAfter the premiere of American Idol last week, some viewers were in an uproar over the fact that judge Katy Perry kissed contestant Ben Glaze on the lips after he said he'd never been smooched. Now, fellow judge Luke Bryan is defending Katy, saying she's just trying to "make fun TV."
Glaze told several media outlets that Katy's kiss made him uncomfortable because he didn't know her, and he was disappointed that his "first kiss" was the special moment he'd always dreamed it would be.
But when viewers began accusing Katy of harassment, Glaze, who didn't make it through to Hollywood, took to Instagram to say, "I do not think I was sexually harassed by Katy Perry...I was uncomfortable in a sense of how I have never been kissed before and was not expecting it."
While touring in Australia this week, Luke appeared on the Australian talk show The Morning Show and said he was surprised that the whole moment became such a big deal.
"It's unfortunate that stuff like that turns into a story that big," Luke told the interviewer. "I watched an actual interview where Ben, the kid that was involved, he said he was cool with everything. And I gotta back Katy on that, y'know? She's in there working hard and making fun TV."
"You know, we're gonna get it right sometimes and we're gonna get it wrong sometimes," Luke continued. "We're in there critiquing people and I may say something one day that everybody's not gonna like. That's just what you sign up for."
But, Luke points out, "At the end of the day, me and Lionel [Richie] and Katy and Ryan [Seacrest]...our hearts are in the right place."
American Idol continues this Sunday with the final round of auditions.
ABC/Image Group LATim McGraw’s intense workouts and his travel schedule may have gotten the best of him last week, but the superstar still has a sense of humor about it.
The “Humble and Kind” hitmaker briefly collapsed onstage in Ireland during the Country to Country festival. Tim’s wife, Faith Hill, later returned to explain the fitness buff had been fighting dehydration and she’d made the decision he wouldn’t be coming back to finish his set.
Fast-forward to Tim’s socials on Monday night, where he posted a photo of himself underwater, dressed in a wetsuit, with the simple caption, “Hydrating!”
Tim will have plenty of time to make sure he’s 100%. He and Faith don’t hit the road for the latest leg of their Soul2Soul trek until May 31 in Richmond, Virginia.
ABC/Image Group LA Carly Pearce wrapped her tour with Blake Shelton this weekend, just in time to celebrate her first #1, “Every Little Thing,” with a party Monday at CMA headquarters in Nashville.
The Country Music Freaks Tour boasted a cast of characters that included Blake, Trace Adkins and Brett Eldredge, and Carly says the trek certainly lived up to its name.
“I don't know how to explain how much fun that tour was,” the Kentucky native says. “Blake is as down to earth -- I'm sure everybody knows. Trace is hilarious in his own right. Their friendship is really cute. They eat lunch every day together and hang out, and that's really fun.”
Carly confesses things got a little wackier with Brett.
“Edgar, Brett's dog, gets into everything, and became a buddy of all of ours. And on any given day, you might see Brett flying down the hallway past your dressing room on a remote-controlled suitcase. So it was kinda weird,” she laughs.
Carly’s second single, “Hide the Wine,” is now making its way up the chart. She heads out on tour with Rascal Flatts, Luke Bryan and Thomas Rhett later this year.
Comstock/ThinkstockReba McEntire's brother scored a #3 country hit in 1986 with "Savin' My Love for You," following it up that same year with the #12 hit "Bad Love." Can you recall the name of Reba's older sibling? ANSWER: Pake McEntire.
ABC RadioChris Janson officially becomes the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry Tuesday night. The induction ceremony will take place in the circle of wood on the venue's stage that was famously transported from the Opry's longtime home at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.
Appropriately, it was at Chris' sold-out show at the Ryman in February where Keith Urban invited him to become an Opry member. The Missouri native admits it caught him totally off guard.
"We did ['Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)'], [the] John Michael Montgomery song," Chris recalls of that night. "And it was great and the crowd went wild. And then in typical Keith fashion, and in my personal fashion -- you know, we've done duet stuff over the years together -- so I'm just totally assuming, as naturally we would, do another song. Right?"
"So I'm motioning for a guitar," he continues, "and he's talking and I'm totally in tune with it. And then all of the sudden, he just comes out with, 'Do you want to be a member of the Opry?' And I was like, 'Oh my God.' I lost it. I screamed "Holy s**t!" Chris laughs.
It wasn't long before the congratulations started rolling in.
"To put in perspective of how big of a deal it is to me and to other artists," Chris explains, "the first phone call I got the next morning at eight o'clock was Luke Bryan."
"He was home with his kids, doing the dad thing. And he called and said, 'Buddy, do you know how big that is?' And I said, 'Yes I do. I totally get it.' That says a lot for not only Luke, but it says a lot for the Grand Ole Opry, and, you know, that means a lot."
Chris adds, "The second call was Dustin Lynch, third call Craig Morgan, fourth call John Conlee. I will never forget those type of things."
Chris's latest single, "Drunk Girl," is currently in country's top 40. It's the follow-up to his #1 hit, "Fix a Drink."
Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock You can catch Blake Shelton on both the Today show and Late Night with Seth Meyers on Tuesday. The NBC shows start at 7 a.m. and 12:35 a.m. ET, respectively.
Newcomer Jillian Jacqueline and her boyfriend Bryan Brown got engaged over the weekend in Paris, France.
Dan Shay's new single, "Tequila," has been added to Spotify's Today's Top Hits playlist. They're one of only three country artists with songs on the list, alongside Chris Stapleton, who's on Justin Timberlake's "Say Something," and Maren Morris, who's on Zedd's "The Middle."
The debut single from newcomer Travis Denning is called "David Ashley Parker from Powder Springs." You can check out the new Mercury Nashville artist via his lyric video on YouTube.
ABC/Image Group LABoth Maren Morris and Florida Georgia Line are enjoying some major momentum on the pop charts these days.
This week, FGL matches the crossover success of their debut smash, “Cruise,” as “Meant to Be” rises to #4 on the BillboardHot 100. “Cruise,” which featured rapper Nelly, also made it to #4.
And thanks to the duo, their "Meant to Be" duet partner Bebe Rexha now has the biggest hit of her career to date.
But Maren isn’t far behind. "The Middle," her song with producer/deejay Zedd and electronic duo Grey, rises to #6 on the Hot 100, and tops Billboard's Hot Dance/Electronic Songs for a seventh week. This is Maren’s first pop hit.
“Meant to Be” is also a top ten hit on the country chart, while “The Middle” hasn’t made its way to country radio.