Blackbird PresentsChris Stapleton, Eric Church, Jimmy Buffett and Emmylou Harris are the latest performers now set to sing the songs of Willie Nelson at the all-star tribute Saturday, January 12 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
George Strait, John Mellencamp, Kris Kristofferson, Vince Gill, Sheryl Crow, Alison Krauss, Lee Ann Womack and many more are already set to take the stage, along with Willie himself.
The final block of tickets available for the concert has just been released and are on sale now.
Willie: Life & Songs of an American Outlaw will air on A&E as a special sometime in 2019.
ABC/Image Group LA Old Dominion finishes 2018 having played for more than one-and-a-half million fans during 136 shows over the past twelve months.
In addition to sold-out European and Canadian dates on their Happy Endings World Tour, the band also opened Kenny Chesney’s Trip Around the Sun summer trek -- the only country outing to make Pollstar’s ranking of 2018’s Top 10 North American Tours.
Along the way, OD also picked up Vocal Group of the Year honors from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.
“2018 has been such an incredible year for Old Dominion,” lead singer Matthew Ramsey reflects. “There were so many monumental moments for us as a band between CMA and ACM awards, touring the globe and so much more.”
“We’re looking forward to the new music and what’s to come in the new year,” he adds.
Old Dominion’s current single, “Make It Sweet,” just broke into country’s top twenty. Their new album -- the follow-up to 2017’s Happy Endings -- is set to arrive in 2019.
ABC/Lou RoccoGarth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood are joining the lineup for the 2019 MusiCares tribute to Dolly Parton, along with pop stars Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry, who’ve both performed with the icon in the past. Dolly is also Miley Cyrus' godmother.
Dolly will be honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year during Grammy Week in Los Angeles on Friday, February 8, with Chris Stapleton, Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Don Henley, Kacey Musgraves, Norah Jones, P!nk, Mavis Staples and more already set to perform. Dolly herself will close out the evening.
The annual fundraiser benefits MusiCares, the charitable arm of the Recording Academy. Over the last year, the charity has handed out more than $6.5 million to members of the music community in need.
Comstock/Thinkstock The 1984 album Christmas at Our House by this Country Music Hall of Famer introduced the holiday favorite, "It Must Have Been the Mistletoe (Our First Christmas)." Can you name the now-retired artist who also happens to have been born on December 25? ANSWER: Barbara Mandrell.
ABC/Image Group LA Scotty McCreery tied the knot with wife Gabi last June, and that means this December 25, he'll be spending the holiday away from his native North Carolina for the first time ever.
"Every even year, the Dugals -- which is my wife's family -- they do a Dugal Christmas," he explains. "So we're gonna be traveling this Christmas, over to Missouri. They've got family out in the Midwest. So it'll be my first Christmas away from home, but I'll still be with my wife and her family, and it'll be awesome."
Still, Gabi made sure Scotty's beloved Tar Heel State is still a big part of their holiday.
"My wife's all about, too, driving to the mountains of North Carolina, picking out a tree, cutting it down ourselves, and taking it back home," he says. "So, a lot of new traditions I think will be started this year."
Last summer, Scotty's grandmother Paquita stole the show as the clan played Celebrity Family Feud on ABC. Even though he won't be with her this Christmas Day, the "Five More Minutes" hitmaker will be remembering the traditions they've built together through the years.
"We always switch off my grandparents either Thanksgiving and Christmas," Scotty says. "But Grandma Paquita, she'll always make those Puerto Rican dishes, you know the beans and rice, or just, you name it, she's awesome at it."
"And they always have a train at their house," he reminisces. "There's pictures of me growing up my whole life, just around the train at Grandma Paquita's house."
"Yeah, but she's become a little celebrity," Scotty adds. "She's been signing autographs and everything since Family Feud, so she's loving life," he smiles.
This week, the song Scotty wrote about proposing to Gabi, "This Is It," becomes his second top ten hit in a row.
ABC/Image Group LA This Christmas, Morgan Evans and Kelsea Ballerini will spend part of their holiday in the Northern Hemisphere and the rest Down Under.
Morgan says the couple -- who celebrated their first anniversary earlier this month -- will split their time between the U.S. and Australia.
"Newcastle is where I'm from, a couple hours north of Sydney," he explains. "But it's all about family, to Kelsea and for me, Christmas. So we're definitely gonna have time to head out to Knoxville and see some of her family there..."
"And then, I think, maybe on Christmas Day even," Morgan continues, "maybe we'll leave that evening to go back to Australia and spend a few days with my family there -- which is a lot of travel for a time that's supposed to be a holiday, but it doesn't feel right to not see everyone, you know."
The "Day Drunk" hitmaker points out the holidays are very different, between the two countries.
"It's funny, like all of my family wants to come to the U.S. to have a white Christmas," Morgan tells ABC Radio. "They're like, 'Maybe next year?', you know?"
"And I'm like, 'Well, I'd love to be in summer again for Christmas,'" he laughs. "So, yeah, it's very different. But it's fun to kind of be able to get both."
Morgan and Kelsea finish 2018 as country's most successful couple on the charts: They each scored separate numbers ones, with "Kiss Somebody" and "Legends," respectively.
Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Kenny Chesney is the only country act on Pollstar's ranking of 2018's Top 10 North American Tours. Kenny's trek grossed more than $114 million, selling nearly 1.3 million tickets.
Country Music Hall of Famers Alabama will kick off their 50th Anniversary Tour January 10 in Detroit, with Chris Janson, The Charlie Daniels Band, Tracy Lawrence, and others joining them on select shows.
Trace Adkins and Exile will perform "I'll Be Home for Christmas" together in the 9 a.m. hour of the Today show Tuesday on NBC.
NBC's Today show caught up with Rascal Flatts as they read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" for kids at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital in Nashville. If you missed the feature, you can watch it online.
ABC/Image Group LA The sophomore album from Brett Young, Ticket to L.A., debuts at #1 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart this week. It’s the follow-up to the California native’s platinum-selling debut, which delivered an impressive four consecutive #1 singles.
This past weekend, Brett wrapped up his Here Tonight Tour, named for his current top-25 hit. Next year, he’ll hit the road with Kelsea Ballerini on her Miss Me More trek.
On December 31, you can watch Brett’s performance at Nashville’s Music City Midnight celebration live on NBC’s New Year’s Eve.
ABC/Image Group LAPlenty of Blake Shelton’s friends from the country music world will be showing up for the two-night season fifteen finale of The Voice this week. They won’t all be pitching in to help Team Blake, however.
Rascal Flatts will turn out to support Blake’s contestant Kirk Jay, who originally auditioned by singing their hit, “Bless the Broken Road.” Jay and the trio will team up to do their latest single, “Back to Life,” which was co-written by Dan Shay’s Shay Mooney.
The “Tequila” hitmakers will be on The Voice finale as well, but Blake’s Warner Brothers label mates will be helping out his rival, Kelly Clarkson. Dan Shay will do their current #1, “Speechless,” with Team Kelly’s Chevel Shepherd, according to Billboard.
The duo’s current album features a duet with Kelly on a tune called “Keeping Score.”
Blake’s other contestant, Chris Kroeze, will perform with the Doobie Brothers, while Jennifer Hudson’s finalist, Kennedy Holmes, will be paired with Kelly Rowland from Destiny’s Child.
You can tune in Monday at 8 p.m. ET for the first night of The Voice finale on NBC. Then starting Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET, we’ll find out who wins during a live, two-hour show where Dierks Bentley is set to sing his current hit, “Burning Man.”
ABC/Image Group LAThis week, Carrie Underwood’s second single from her Cry Pretty album, “Love Wins,” makes its way into country’s top twenty. The American Idol superstar is marking the occasion by challenging her fans to live the message of the song.
“Today, let’s be positive,” Carrie tweeted on Monday. “Let’s be NICE to each other. Let’s do something nice FOR someone else. Smile at a stranger.”
“It’s the start of a new week!” she continued. “Today is precious! Don’t waste it! Sending love and cheer to you all!!!”
Carrie’s dose of positivity came shortly after she responded to a negative tweet about “how much we hate the new Carrie Underwood song” that opens NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
“Hey, I know my music isn’t for everyone,” the Oklahoma native said to the female critic, “but I love what I do and I love being a part of Sunday Night Football!"
"I also love women who build other women up...just saying..." she added, along with the thumbs-up emoji.
Carrie's currently awaiting the birth of her second child -- a boy -- with husband Mike Fisher. So far, she hasn't revealed exactly when the baby is due.
ABC RadioGarth Brooks is adding a second show at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis this spring, at the request of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.
Dayton reached out on Friday, after the initial show on Saturday, May 4 sold out in about an hour, leaving more than 50,000 fans still waiting to buy tickets. Garth agreed to the governor’s request Monday during a conference call.
The added concert will take place on Friday, May 3. Tickets go on sale this Thursday at 10 a.m. CT.
ABC/Image Group LAAaron Watson's been a fixture on the Texas music scene for years, even before his chart-topping albums and his top ten hit, "Outta Style."
But in the summer of 2018, he got to do something pretty special: record An Aaron Watson Family Christmas with his wife Kimberly and their kids, 11 and 12-year-old Jack and Jake, and Jolee Kate, who's eight.
Aaron admits it didn't exactly feel like Christmas at the time.
"We recorded it in July, 105 outside in Texas, and we recorded all the vocals in my wife's closet," he reveals. "But it was so much fun."
"Of all the records I've ever made," he adds, "this Christmas record with my family and my kids, it is so special to me. It's almost like I captured their lives right now in a little time capsule. It's adorable, and I'm allowed to say that I think it's one of the best Christmas records ever, because my babies sang on it."
In addition to eight familiar holiday tunes, the album also features two new songs.
"My buddy Drew Womack, who is an amazing songwriter," Aaron explains, "wrote one called 'She Stared at Him All Night,' and it's just about Mother Mary. It's one of the sweetest songs ever."
"I wrote a song called 'Lonely Lonestar Christmas,'" he continues. "It's kinda got that Dean Martin, [Frank] Sinatra flair. And then I sang some classics, and then some old school songs that people may not have ever heard of."
An Aaron Watson Family Christmas is available to stream or download now.
On January 24, Aaron returns to Nashville to host his second annual A Night of Texas at the historic Ryman Auditorium.
Comstock/ThinkstockFor her 1966 Country Christmas album, this American music icon composed the title track, as well as the cuts "It Won't Seem Like Christmas," "To Heck with Ole Santa Claus," and "I Won't Decorate Your Christmas Tree." Can you name her? ANSWER: Loretta Lynn.
ABC/Image Group LAIn 2018, "Tequila" was the song that took the already-successful Dan Shay to another level.
"It feels incredible," Shay Mooney reflects. "We're so thankful. You know, 'Tequila' is such a big song for us, and definitely our biggest hit to date, and kind of a career-changing song."
Shortly after "Tequila" topped the country chart in July, the duo released "Speechless" as their follow-up. Even though it was instantly successful, the second single from their self-titled album still lingered in the background, as "Tequila" began to cross over and be nominated for awards.
That's all about to change, however, as "Speechless" prepares to finish the year as one of the final number ones of 2018.
"There's a lot of songs on this record that we really love," Shay points out, "and 'Speechless' is one of those fan favorites."
"And it's really cool now to see it about to top the charts," he tells ABC Radio. "And you can kinda see it's having its own little moment right now. So, we're very thankful that our fans love both of those songs, and it's really cool to see 'Speechless' about to do its thing."
"Speechless" was inspired by the moment Shay and Dan Smyers first saw their wives in their wedding dresses. In fact, Dan jokes it even got him out of buying an anniversary present.
"We got to use actual footage from our weddings for that music video..." Dan explains. "It was perfect timing for me, because we comped together our wedding footage, and... I got the first cut of that video on the morning of my first wedding anniversary."
"So I played it for my wife," he smiles, "and I was like, 'I got you this,' so it got me out of gettin' a present."
RCA NashvilleOf all the incarnations of Dolly Parton's classic "Jolene" -- and there have been quite a few -- this may very well be the most outrageous.
Netflix has created a new video of Dolly's #1 hit from 1973 to promote the new Jennifer Aniston film, Dumplin'. In it, a troupe of female impersonators from RuPaul's Drag Race lip sync to a new amped-up version of "Jolene," all while riding a mechanical bull and bashing a banjo, among other things.
The music video starts as one queen comes face-to-face with the iconic Dolly statue on the town square in Sevierville, Tennessee. Along the way, you also catch a glimpse of a house that resembles the "Tennessee Mountain Home" where Dolly was raised that also inspired another staple in her catalogue.
The drag queens play a central role in the Dumplin' film, as the lead character takes inspiration from Dolly's music as she rebels against the beauty pageant culture of her mother, who's played by Aniston.
Dolly recorded a "New String Version" of "Jolene" for the Dumplin' soundtrack, but that's not the one that's featured here. The new dance-influenced "Dumplin' Remix" is only available to stream, as of now.
You can check out the new drag queen "Jolene" music video on YouTube now.
ABC/Image Group LADierks Bentley will deliver his final TV performance of the year Tuesday night on the season finale of The Voice.
He’ll do his current top ten single that features Brothers Osborne, “Burning Man.” Tune in at 8 p.m. ET on December 18 to see Dierks sing.
“Burning Man” is the second single from Dierks’ The Mountain album, which is one of only three country records to make Billboard’s all-genre critics’ ranking of the “50 Best Albums of 2018.” Interstate Gospel by Pistol Annies and Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour are the other two.
Dierks will start 2019 by kicking off his Burning Man Tour January 17 in Hamilton, Ontario with Jon Pardi, Tenille Townes, and his nineties cover band, Hot Country Knights.
“Can’t wait for y’all to see this season,” Luke Bryan added as he shared the video with his fans.
The one minute clip recaps the 12,901 miles the Idol bus traveled for auditions, including stops in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Louisville, Kentucky; New York City and Los Angeles.
In Denver, Luke, Lionel Richie, and Katy Perry don flight suits as they visit an airplane hangar and meet with members of the military. Somewhere along the way, Luke also gives one cowgirl a ride on his shoulders as she shows off her skill with a lasso.
The judges are currently busy filming the middle rounds of the show. The second season of American Idol premieres Sunday, March 3 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.