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Curb RecordsIt’s been seven years since the release of Wynonna’s last album, Sing:  Chapter 1-- but that all changes this Friday, as the country legend unveils music from her new vehicle, Wynonna & the Big Noise.

The band, which includes Wy’s husband Cactus Moser, one of the founders of late eighties hitmakers Highway 101, will make its first national TV appearance this Wednesday on Late Night with Seth Myers. They’ll do “Ain’t No Thing” from their debut recording. You can catch their performance at 12:35 p.m. on NBC.

Thursday,  they’ll play their new music live at New York City’s City Winery, followed by an album-signing event on release day at Barnes & Noble on NYC’s Fifth Avenue. Wynonna & the Big Noise comes out this Friday on vinyl, as well as the usual digital formats.

You’ll also be able to catch the band performing two songs on CBS This Morning on Saturday, February 20.

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ABC/Image Group LAWith six weeks at number one on the country chart, a cover by rapper Nelly and some serious crossover potential on pop radio, Thomas Rhett's monster hit, “Die a Happy Man,” is about to get another round of major mainstream exposure.

He’ll perform the song, written about his wife Lauren, Tuesday on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC, and then he’ll get up early Wednesday morning to do it all over again on the Today show, starting at 7 a.m.

The career-defining track continues to sit atop Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart for the 13th week, having already been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Thomas is following up his fifth number one in a row with “T-Shirt,” from his Tangled Up album.

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Comstock/ThinkstockIn 1974, this "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" legend became the first country artist to sing the national anthem at the Super Bowl. Can you name him? ANSWER:  Charley Pride.

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Broken Bow RecordsFor the past two weekends, newcomer Chase Bryant has been unable to go on stage, and he’s not happy about it at all.

First, he missed his show with Kip Moore in Cincinnati on January 30, ending up in the emergency room just a few days later on Monday. By Thursday, he was ready to give it another shot, but by Friday, he had to admit he wasn’t well enough to continue, writing his fans a long, thoughtful letter of apology on Twitter. Now his doctors have placed him on partial vocal rest for the next week.    

While Chase may be sidelined, fans can enjoy the new video for his top-15 hit “Little Bit of You." Shot mainly at his concerts across the U.S., the new clip captures Chase’s eagerness to get back home to his girlfriend as his work takes him away.

“When I wrote this song I was dating a girl 3,000 miles away," he recalls. "I always had the feeling that I’d do anything in my power to get there. Making this video I think we establish that story but also captured this life I live in many different venues from the road. This is the real me.”

You can check out the new video for “Little Bit of You” on YouTube now.

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ABCDierks Bentley is teaming up with the cast of ABC’s Nashville to raise money for the African Children’s Choir, with a show at Music City’s historic Ryman Auditorium next Monday. Though the group of youngsters is not terribly well known, they’ve been nominated for a Grammy and their good work is even more impressive. The program has helped put more than 52,000 kids through school in the past three decades and has helped more than 100,000 struggling with poverty in Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa.

The list of performers reads like a cast list from the hit ABC show-- Connie Britton, Charles Esten, Jonathan Jackson, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio, Chaley Rose, Will Chase, Aubrey Peeples, Chris Carmack and Mark Collie. Perhaps some of their devotion to the cause is derived from the fact that the show’s star, Connie Britton, has an adopted son from Ethiopia. She’ll host the evening.

Tickets for the show, which range from about $40 to $120, are available online.

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Joseph LlanesPop and soul legend Lionel Richie will be honored on this year's Grammy telecast by an all-genre assortment of artists including Luke Bryan, pop stars Meghan Trainor and Demi Lovato, and R&B star John Legend.

Lionel is this year's MusiCares Person of the Year; a couple days before the Grammys, he'll be the guest of honor at an all-star tribute.  The segement on Monday night's Grammys will be a smaller version of that.  The songs Luke, Demi, Meghan and John will sing will span Lionel's career, from his time with the Commodores to his huge solo hits.  Lionel himself will also take the stage for a group version of one of his classics.

Luke's presence in the tribute isn't unusual, considering that Lionel's best-selling 2012 album Tuskegee featured him teaming with a slew of major country stars, including Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town, Blake Shelton, Shania Twain and Jason Aldean.

This will mark the first time Luke, Demi and Meghan will perform on the Grammy stage.  John already has nine Grammys under his belt and is up for four additional ones this year.

The Grammy Awards, hosted by LL Cool J, air Monday night on CBS starting at 8 p.m. ET.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockWilliam Michael Morgan sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" Monday at this week's gathering of radio professionals known as Country Radio Seminar at Nashville's Omni Hotel. CRS then named Keith Urban this year's Artist Humanitarian for his good work.

The 2016 City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game will be Tuesday, June 7 at Nashville's First Tennessee Park. The typically star-studded take on a traditional baseball game kicks off the events preceding this year's CMA Music Festival- - when it has typically been held.

Country's best contribution to the Super Bowl just may've come from "You Look Like I Need a Drink" hitmaker Justin Moore and his daughters. You can check out his commercial for Simmons Bank on YouTube.

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ABC/Image Group LAThough Little Big Town’s hit “Girl Crush” initially generated some controversy, lately all it’s been doing is bringing home awards. Last year, the song some mistakenly thought centered around a same-sex relationship took home CMA trophies for both Single and Song of the Year, and no doubt helped the band bring home another Vocal Group honor. Next week, it’s up for all-genre Song of the Year at the Grammys, in addition to vying for Best Country Song and Best Country Duo/Group Performance.

LBT is also a contender for Best Country Album for Pain Killer, and they’re beginning to turn their attention to its follow-up.

“We’re still kinda new into that part of the process, but we’re getting some amazing songs already,” Phillip Sweet says. “I think it’s just an incredible pool of amazing writers out there…I think the songs are gonna get better and more focused maybe -- more focused for Little Big Town.”

Karen Fairchild believes “Girl Crush” has also had another unintended consequence for the band -- one that just may show up on the next album. She says the groundbreaking track has made songwriters realize Little Big Town won’t shy away from cutting edgy material.

“They know now that we are not afraid to do things. We were writing this past weekend, and the guys we were writing with were just really inspired by the fact that there weren’t any boundaries really in the room. And that’s the way we’ve been trying to work for the last few years. It’s more satisfying for everyone.”

As Little Big Town works on their next record, they might want to go ahead and clear some shelf space for a few more trophies. “Girl Crush” is also nominated for Single Record and Video of the Year at April’s Academy of Country Music Awards.

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Streamsound RecordsKristian Bush is currently in the studio working on his debut album for Wheelhouse Records, having recently signed with BBR Music Group -- the home of Jason Aldean, Dustin Lynch, Randy Houser and more. From the sound of things, the male half of Sugarland couldn’t be more excited.

“As both a recording artist and a songwriter, I am honored to be a part of the… family,” he says. “I’m in love with making music, and I’m humbled every day that I get to do this job. My train runs on believers… There’s no telling what can happen when like-minded people get together, so to be surrounded by this team and given this opportunity makes me feel like a rocket sitting on a launchpad. I can’t wait to take off.”

In addition to recording, the “Trailer Hitch” hitmaker’s deal also includes publishing and an agreement to produce other artists. So far, we don’t know the timeline for the release of Kristian’s follow-up to his 2015 solo debut Southern Gravity.

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Webster PRBack in 2005, the guys in LOCASH got their first national TV exposure on Tanya Tucker’s TLC reality show Tuckerville. Now, thanks to their #2 hit “I Love This Life,” Chris Lucas and Preston Brust are booking even higher-profile TV gigs.

“Hard work is really starting to pay off for us,” Chris observes. “We have been seeing the response live. People are singing it back to us. It’s an amazing feeling, for sure.”

“Every day is so exciting,” Preston chimes in. “I know this sounds like a cliché, but dreams do come true. We have worked so hard to get to this point. It’s so surreal.”

In a couple weeks, the duo will make their network morning show debut on NBC’s Today show February 24, with a late-night appearance on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live to follow on March 16. They’ve also just released the follow-up to their breakthrough single. It’s called “I Know Somebody,” from their I Love This Life EP.

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ABC/Image Group LAIf imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Nelly is giving Thomas Rhett a giant pat on the back. The new single from the St. Louis rapper is a cover of Thomas’s six-week number one, “Die a Happy Man.”

Nelly is certainly no stranger to country music, having first collaborated with Tim McGraw on his hit “Over and Over,” which made it to number 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in 2004. More recently, he was featured on the remix of Florida Georgia Line’s 2013 smash, “Cruise.” Last October, he told Entertainment Weekly even more country collaborations could be in his future, stopping short of committing to a full project.

“I love country music. I respect it to the utmost,” he said. “But there’s nothing in the world that makes me think I can do a country album… I may do an EP that features more than one country artist, so it may have a different vibe, but not a country album.”

You check out Nelly's version of Thomas Rhett's hit on YouTube now. It's also available to download via the usual sources. Thomas Rhett's version competes for Single Record of the Year at the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards.

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Comstock/ThinkstockIn 1994, these four country acts played the Super Bowl halftime show. Can you name them? ANSWER: Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, and The JuddsWynonna and Naomi.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockMartina McBride is set to make “a very special announcement” Monday morning at 11 a.m. CT inside the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Ford Theater, according to a release from her label, Big Machine. It involves the Cancer Institute of Hospital Corporation of America, named for Sarah Cannon, the legendary comedienne who brought Minnie Pearl to life.

Former longtime Alabama drummer Mark Herndon has written his autobiography. The High Road: Memories from a Long Trip is set to come out April 1.

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Eric AdkinsScotty McCreery and five other American Idol winners return to the show that made them famous this Thursday, to mentor contestants during the farewell season. Though the identity of the two singers he worked with is top secret, the season-10 winner says he knows how valuable the three days he spent with them is.

“I remember how important it was to me during my time on Idol to meet and learn from all the great artists who visited the set and offered their advice. I was proud to be able to come back and offer whatever guidance I could to my two talented contestants. This is their season and their show. I was there to help them shine… and I believe they both did!” he brags.

While most people may not realize exactly how hard the Idol contenders work, the 22-year-old certainly does.

“That was honestly probably one of the most stressful times of my life,” he recalls. “I was just 17, so that's a time when you should be having fun -- and I was. I was having a blast! When you're looking from the outside in, you see the singing day and you see the elimination day, and it was seven days a week.”

On May 3, the 2011 champion will reveal even more when his memoir, Go Big or Go Home:  The Journey Toward the Dream comes out -- including more details about the kind of pressure the Idol contestants face.

“Stress and hard work and decisions -- having to stand up to the head of the biggest label in the country and just make decisions -- that's what I'm saying. In the book, you're going to really hear about a kid at 16, 17 that had to grow up in an adult world and make decisions.”

Just days ago, Scotty faced another very adult decision, as he and his record label parted ways. Though he’s been working on finishing the album to follow his single “Southern Belle,” so far there are no details about when it’s coming out or who will release it.

Tune in to see Scotty Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox, when he’ll also perform duets with two of the contestants in the top 24.

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ABC/Image Group LADierks Bentley will soon have his own place in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The new exhibit, Every Mile a Memory, opens March 4 and will showcase the singer’s stage clothes, guitars, song manuscripts and more.

The always-reverent country fan says he can hardly believe it.

“It’s crazy to be considered for something like this. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is home to the most revered and influential country artists of all time. Just being in the building as a visitor is humbling, but to actually be featured in one of the museum’s exhibits is something I never would have believed if you’d suggested it back when I started chasing this dream down on Broadway," he reflects. "I’m going to have to go down there and see it for myself to really make it sink in.”

The “Somewhere on a Beach” singer will, of course, have the chance to do just that. Dierks will make a special appearance in the Hall’s 800-seat CMA Theater on Saturday, March 12 at 2 p.m. You can access ticket information on the Hall of Fame’s website. If you can’t make it in person, you’ll also be able to watch the interview and performance online.

Dierks Bentley: Every Mile A Memory will run through September 6.

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Columbia Nashville/Dack Janiels RecordsChase Rice is re-teaming with the writers behind his hits “Ready Set Roll” and “Gonna Wanna Tonight” for “Whisper,” the lead single from his forthcoming album.

"Personally, I believe my writing has evolved since we put out the last album and it's been a hell of a ride so far, so this one will have a more mature sound to it,” the North Carolina native reveals. “‘Whisper’ is an example of that, having some of those different production elements that push the music beyond where we’ve been before.” 

The nominee for ACM New Male Vocalist of the Year also considered feedback from his fans as his crafted the follow-up to his current album.

Ignite the Night was great for us, and it opened a lot of doors both creatively and professionally. This new album is still going to have some of those songs, songs that make people want to get up and dance and party at a show, but it also takes fans on our journey with us and has a lot more depth musically because of what I see our fans craving online and at our shows," he says.

Chase’s new single “Whisper” is available now via all the usual digital outlets.  

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Warner NashvilleDan Shay are back with their follow-up to their first number one. Just two months after “Nothin’ Like You” topped the charts, they’re releasing  the lead single from their sophomore album, as well as its accompanying video.

“‘From the Ground Up’ is a song that started with a conversation about our grandparents and the love that they shared for the 65-plus years that they were married,” Dan Smyers shares. “It tells the story of the life that they built through their power and dedication to each other, and the perseverance to endure whatever would come their way.” 

“We put our hearts and souls into every word and every note of this song,” Shay Mooney says of the composition the two wrote together. “We just hope that it’s as special to our fans as it is to us.”

You can check out the romantic video for “From the Ground Up,” shot just outside Nashville, on YouTube now.

Currently up for the Academy of Country Music’s Vocal Duo of the Year award for the third year in a row, Dan Shay head back out on tour next month, before joining Darius Rucker on his Good for a Good Time trek this summer.

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ABC/Image Group LAFour-time nominee Chris Stapleton is the latest country artist now set to perform on the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. He’ll team up with Bonnie Raitt and Gary Clark Jr. to pay tribute to blues legend B.B. King, who passed away last May.

Chris’s debut solo effort Traveller is up for both the all-genre Album of the Year as well as Country Album, while its title track competes for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song.

He joins fellow nominees Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt, who are already set to represent the country genre at the prestigious show. You can watch it live from Los Angeles Monday, February 15 on CBS.

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Comstock/ThinkstockThis Pennsylvania native spent five seasons playing for the Cincinnati Bengals before hitting number one on the Billboard Country Singles chart in 1990 with "Walk on Faith." Can you name him? ANSWER:  Mike Reid.

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Columbia Nashville/Dack JanielsThese days, there's more than one current country singer who once had a promising career in college football. Sam Hunt was the quarterback for the University of Alabama at Birmingham, while Chase Rice was a linebacker at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Even though he's a native Tar Heel, Chase says it's still not easy picking a side when it comes to Super Bowl 50.

"Yeah, the Super Bowl’s tough for me this year," he admits. "I’m a huge Peyton Manning fan. Love who he is as a person, love his character, and love his passion for the game of football, ’cause I’m a huge football guy. Grew up playin’ football, played in college, almost played in the NFL. And seein’ Peyton Manning’s love for the game is awesome. But, it’s hard to pull against the Carolina Panthers."

Chase says a friendship he made after college makes it even harder.

"I’m from Asheville -- Fairview, North Carolina -- right outside of Asheville, I lived in Charlotte for about a year and a half, two years when I worked in NASCAR. Actually, one of my roommates when I was workin’ in NASCAR was Hilee Taylor, who played for the Panthers for a couple years. So, it’s really hard for me to pull against the Panthers, but lucky for me, I get a win-win situation Super Bowl Sunday, ’cause if the Broncos win, I’m very, very happy for Peyton, and if the Panthers win, then we finally brought a Super Bowl home to Carolina."

While Chase may have a hard time deciding whether he wants the Carolina Panthers or the Denver Broncos to win Sunday's game, there's one thing he does know for sure- - he doesn't want to host the party!

"The first Super Bowl party I’ve ever thrown was last year, and I actually hated it...I’m a huge football guy. I love watchin’, breakin’ down the game. So havin’ all those people around, everybody cheerin’, everybody screamin’, everybody talkin’ ’bout maybe even things other than the Super Bowl, I wanted to tell ’em, ‘Get outta here! I’m watchin’ the game!’ So it was tough for me to throw a party. I’d rather go to someone else’s party and not have all the stress of havin’ people over and all that and havin’ food made and all that. I’d rather just kinda sit there and watch the game."

While the lead single from Chase's sophomore album was likely not inspired by the advice he'd like to give at Super Bowl parties, it is appropriately titled -- "Whisper" is due out Friday. 

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