Noted filmmaker Ken Burns traces the history of Country Music -- along with the history of America -- in his new sixteen-hour documentary that premieres Sunday on PBS.
For Nashville-based rocker Sheryl Crow, it's a connection that's easy to see.
"I think the journey of country artists and the journey of American musicians at large paints an incredible picture of who we were at our best and who we were at our worst, and how we overcame a lot," she says.
"With regard to country music and blues...I think there is an overlap there -- and mountain music -- you can really get a clear picture of what it means to overcome," Crow adds. "And we need more of that."
Burns' thoughtful evaluation of events profiles how music brought the U.S. together during some of its most troubled times. Sheryl believes that's a message that's more important now than ever.
"Oh my goodness!" she reacts. "Listen, I am a tried and true proponent of introducing young people to our history."
Sheryl goes on: "I think at this moment, we need to understand who we were before now, and how far we've gotten away from it, and what it means to fight for the things you believe in. And what it means to hear each other, and what it means to disagree and still live together peacefully and respectfully."
Sheryl's new collaborative album, Threads, weaves together contributions from country artists like Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton, Vince Gill, and Willie Nelson alongside other greats like Stevie Nicks, Sting, James Taylor and Mavis Staples.
The first installment of Country Music, titled "The Rub" (Beginnings - 1933), premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on PBS, with "Hard Times" (1933-1945) following on Monday. The series continues on subsequent nights before wrapping up on September 25.
Broken BowIf you haven’t heard Jason Aldean’s new song, “We Back,” chances are if you watch college football, you will.
The SEC on CBS has picked the lead single from Jason’s forthcoming album as their song for the season. You can listen for “We Back” this weekend when the first football Saturday in the Southeastern Conference takes place in Columbia, SC, with the Gamecocks taking on the Crimson Tide.
You can tune in to watch South Carolina play Alabama starting at 3:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
Meanwhile, the ACM Entertainer of the Decade will likely be watching from Burgettstown, Pennsylvania, where his Ride All Night Tour will be Saturday night.
This happens to be the first road trip for his infant daughter, who was born February 4.
“Navy’s first time on tour this week,” he tweeted, along with pictures of himself with the smiling, laughing little one. “This is the happiest baby I have ever seen.”
Jason’s newest baby -- his ninth album titled 9 -- arrives November 22.
Vanner Records/RCA NashvilleOnce you check out Miranda Lambert’s new version of “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” with her Roadside Bars & Pink Guitars tour mates, you probably won’t mind if the entire show is one big sing-along.
Miranda starts the cover of the pop hit by guitarist Elvin Bishop, before Ashley McBryde continues the first verse. Maren Morris joins on the chorus, with rocker Elle King throwing in some soulful ad libs. Newcomers Tenille Townes and Caylee Hammack get their chance to shine on the second verse.
In an interesting choice, Miranda and the gang don’t change the pronouns from the original version. In other words, they sing “I must’ve been through about a million girls, I love ‘em and I leave ‘em alone” -- just like Starship’s Mickey Thomas did on the 1976 original.
“The girls on the Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars Tour can sing their a**** off,” Miranda brags. “There’s something crazy about seeing these artists with a new fire in their eyes.”
“It reignites your own flame. I’m so excited to watch them every night on tour,” she adds.
The trek kicks off tonight with a two-night stand at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
You can stream or download “Fooled Around in Fell in Love” now, plus there’s a music video of the women recording the song in the studio.
It’s a bonus cut from Miranda -- one that won’t be included on her new Wildcard album, which comes out November 1.
RCA Nashville The last time we heard from Old Dominion, they announced “My heart is a bar and I’m closing it down.” But now, the CMA and ACM Vocal Group of the Year is up for a “Midnight Mess Around.”
The sexy new song is the fifth preview track from OD’s upcoming album, following “My Heart Is a Bar,” “Some People Do,” their current hit “One Man Band,” and their most recent number one, “Make It Sweet.”
It turns out the new track is one the group has had for awhile.
"'Midnight Mess Around' is a song we wrote years ago with our old friend, the late, great Andrew Dorff," Matthew Ramsey reveals. "It’s been a favorite of ours for a long time, but we never got around to recording it.”
“The old-school Ronnie Milsap/Rolling Stones' vibe is a sound we’ve never attempted before,” he adds. “But as we got deeper into the recording of this album, it seemed like we were missing that sexy country feel. So we messed around a little.”
You can check out the new lyric video for “Midnight Mess Around” on YouTube, which follows OD as they record the song in the studio.
Look for Old Dominion’s self-titled third effort to arrive in full on October 25.
BBR Music GroupIt's a big day for "The Git Up" artist Blanco Brown.
The singer, who calls his brand of music, "TrailerTrap," has debuted the official video for "The Git Up" and also announced that his debut album Honeysuckle & Lightning Bugs, will be out October 11.
The album was inspired by Blanco's experiences of growing up partly in Atlanta, and partly in rural Georgia, where his two biggest musical influences were Johnny Cash and Outkast.
“This album represents everything I stand for and all of the different entities of my life," Blanco says in a statement. "For a long time, I was anxious about releasing my own music. I often wondered what the outcome would be and if people would accept my sound, culture, music and the TrailerTrap lifestyle, but I’m finally ready to be my own narrator.”
As for the video, it's currently available to watch on YouTube. It shows Blanco getting up, putting a pair of spurs on his sneakers, and heading out, where he does the dance down the street with a group of people, with some firemen, with some senior citizens, and then with a huge crowd of people in a field.
Some of the folks in the video are the same ones who made their own videos of themselves doing "The Git Up" and posted them online.
Here's the album's track listing:
“Temporary Insanity” “HeadNod” “Funky Tonk” “CountryTime” “Georgia Power” “Gemini (Damn Right)” “Ghett Ol Memories” “Don’t Love Her” “Tn Whiskey” “The Git Up”
What's even more surprising is that it's fluctuating between one and two on the all-genre ranking as well.
Craig wrote the emotional song after the loss of his 19-year-old son Jerry three years ago in a tubing accident.
On Monday, Blake started a campaign on Twitter to get the single to #1 on the iTunes country chart, enlisting big names like girlfriend Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, Ellen DeGeneres, Hoda Kotb, and Carson Daly to help him.
By Thursday, Craig’s single had hit #1 on both the country and all-genre iTunes singles charts -- and he reached out to say thank you.
“WOW! I’m so completely humbled by all the support the world has shown this song,” Craig tweeted. “Blake... you are an awesome friend and champion for country music. We love ya, and I cannot thank you enough.”
“The support the entire entertainment community and music fans have shown is a testament to the love that country music embodies,” he added. “This song is a God thing. My hope is that it reaches all who need to hear it.”
“My son Jerry’s work on earth did not end with his passing,” Craig closed.
Blake continues to urge country radio to play the single as well.
“This song might go to #1 on country radio before this is over!!!” Blake tweeted. “Scratch that. I believe it WILL go #1 at radio. So deserving...”
“Not only does ‘The Father, My Son and The Holy Ghost’ put life in this insane world back in perspective,” he added, “it could also put country music back in its lane.”
The new documentary, Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, looks at the life and career of the celebrated singer before Parkinson's disease forced her retirement.
It features new interviews with Ronstadt herself and her famous friends and collaborators Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, and more.
Co-directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, it profiles the woman who was not only a huge rock star, but also a force in country music.
"The film really tells the story of her musical journey, which spanned decades," Epstein tells ABC Radio. "And she conquered rock and folk and country, and then moved on to ballads...standards...opera, Broadway, mariachi."
Friedman notes, "A large part of the story we tell is her venturing into new genres, and her record companies and her management urging her not to do that, telling her it's gonna ruin her career."
That includes two Grammy-winning Trio albums with Dolly and Emmylou.
As for what Freidman hopes the film accomplishes, he tells ABC Radio, "I hope viewers will…see a successful pop star who did not care about celebrity or fame or…even success. This was a woman who really cared about art and her music making something beautiful."
The doc includes a dramatic scene showing Ronstadt, her voice in a weakened state, singing a Mexican folk song with family members. Epstein notes that Linda was OK with the segment because she felt it "would be a way to acknowledge that she does have Parkinson's and what her limitations are, but that she is still very engaged and living a full life, and still pursuing all of her passions, which includes music and, most especially, family."
Comstock/ThinkstockOnce known as the "King of Country Music," in 1948, this Grand Ole Opry star ran unsuccessfully on the Republican ticket for governor of Tennessee. Can you name the Country Music Hall of Famer, known for songs like "Wabash Cannonball" and "Great Speckled Bird?" ANSWER: Roy Acuff.
Right now, HARDY's enjoying his first top twenty-five hit as an artist with "Rednecker," while also savoring his CMA nomination for writing "God's Country" for Blake Shelton.
He spent the summer on Florida Georgia Line's Can't Say I Ain't Country Tour, and somehow found time to make his superstar-packed Hixtape Vol. 1,featuring Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett, Cole Swindell, Dustin Lynch, Jake Owen, Morgan Wallen, Mitchell Tenpenny, Trace Adkins, Joe Diffie, Tracy Lawrence, Lauren Alaina, Devin Dawson and more.
HARDY also wrote Blake and Trace's hit, "Hell Right," as well as Morgan and FGL's number one, "Up Down."
So when you're an in-demand singer/songwriter, how do you decide which tunes to keep and which to give away? HARDY admits it's harder when he's in the studio.
"It's funny, because once I start cutting songs, I kind of think differently," he tells ABC Radio, "because now I just want to write really, really, really cool stuff for me."
"But it's nice to get in the room with another artist," he adds, "and just try to say what they would say, and just kind of turn just the old-school songwriter brain back on."
HARDY reveals the pull to keep songs for himself is always there, but deciding who actually ends up with a new tune is more instinctual.
"Sometimes after we'll write a really cool song, and I'll listen to it awhile and then be like, 'This could be for me,'" he confesses.
"But for me it's more free and what comes natural, as opposed to really thinking about you know the artist and who I'm working with," he says.
Here's the complete track listing for HARDY's Hixtape Vol. 1, which is new today:
"Boy from the South" -- featuring Cole Swindell and Dustin Lynch "He Went to Jared" -- featuring Morgan Wallen "Redneck Tendencies" -- featuring Trace Adkins and Joe Diffie "Nothin' Out Here" -- featuring Thomas Rhett "My Kinda Livin'" -- featuring Hunter Phelps and Jameson Rodgers "No Place Like Hometown" -- featuring Keith Urban and Hillary Lindsey "Something a Lil' Stronger" -- featuring Mitchell Tenpenny and Jon Langston "What They Make Backroads For" -- featuring Tracy Lawrence and Jake Owen "Turn You Down" -- featuring Morgan Wallen and Zakk Wylde "One Beer" -- featuring Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockFlorida Georgia Line, Riley Green, and Ryan Hurd are all joining the lineup for Monday's Hope 4 Hope Town benefit at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker, LOCASH, Devin Dawson and more are already set to play the fundraiser, which will raise money for parts of the Bahamas hard hit by Hurricane Dorian. Tickets are on sale now.
Morgan Wallen's set to sing his current single, "Chasin' You," and his recent number one, "Whiskey Glasses," Tuesday, September 24 on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. You can tune in to watch starting at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.
You can check out Kip Moore's playful new music video for his latest single, "She's Mine," on YouTubenow.
If you didn't see Little Big Town performing their new single, "Over Drinking," Thursday on the Todayshow, you can watch their performance online.
ABC/Mark LevineMiranda Lambert not only kicks off her all-girl, all-star Roadside Bars & Pink Guitars Tour on Friday -- she’s also put together a little something extra for her fans.
On Friday, September 13, she’ll release a new cover of the 1976 pop hit “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” that also features her tour mates Maren Morris, Elle King, Ashley McBryde, Tenille Townes, and Caylee Hammack.
Earlier this week, all the artists teased the new song on their socials, sharing a twenty-second instrumental clip that shows them in the studio singing the song by Elvin Bishop, which reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. Fun fact: the vocals on the song were provided by Mickey Thomas, who went on to become the lead singer of Jefferson Starship.
Miranda’s tour starts this weekend with two shows at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut on Friday and Saturday and continues through November. Check Miranda’s website to see which artists will be on each show.
Edgar Evan Moore IVYou've followed the instructions. You've done the dance. But now, the official video for Blanco Brown's viral hit "The Git Up" premieres Friday at 6 a.m. on MTV, CMT, BET, and on a billboard in New York's Times Square. Not bad for a track that Blanco says he created just to make people smile.
"I just feel like my energy on the song was so great and inviting, that it was easy to follow directions from someone with so much joy and positivity," Blanco tells ABC Radio about "The Git Up" dance. "The world needs something to smile at and to be joyful about."
As Blanco explains, "The Git Up" dance incorporates traditional country line dancing steps like the "cowboy boogie" with his own flavor.
"I'd be out here lyin' if I told you where the 'whoo hoo hoo' came from," he laughs. "I just felt that at that moment. I don't know what got me to do the heels and the hands at the same time. It just happened!"
He goes on: "I was practicing the steps as I was writing ...when I got finished writing...I ended up dancing through the whole song. And I almost passed out!"
While the song's title doesn't appear in the lyrics, Blanco says "The Git Up" was inspired by his grandmother.
"She'd come in in the morning and look us in the eyes and say, 'Git up!'" he recalls. "That just meant being productive, one with the world, being vertical and going to find something to do."
"Now mind you, I was only five, and I had to take all this in," he laughs. "Thank you, Grandma!"
Look for Blanco to perform "The Git Up" during Thursday Night Football halftime tonight.
CMT Sheryl Crow’s collaborative Threads record is a perfect set up for a new edition of CMT Crossroads, and on September 27, that’s exactly what will happen.
The country-friendly rocker shot the new episode of the CMT series even before Threads came out late last month. Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell join her in her home studio in Music City, while Emmylou Harris’ part was shot at the West Nashville venue Clementine.
Look for Bonnie Raitt, the Eagles’ Joe Walsh, Americana favorite Jason Isbell, and pop band Lucius to perform with Sheryl on the special as well.
CMT Crossroads: Sheryl Crow & Friends premieres September 27 at 10 p.m. ET on CMT.
You can watch Sheryl and Stapleton performing “Tell Me When It’s Over” on YouTube now.
Here are some of the Threads tracks included on Crossroads:
“Everything Is Broken” featuring Jason Isbell “Tell Me When It’s Over” featuring Chris Stapleton “Nobody’s Perfect” featuring Emmylou Harris “Still the Good Old Days” featuring Joe Walsh “Don’t” featuring Lucius “Live Wire” featuring Bonnie Raitt
River House Artists/Columbia NashvilleYou can expect more of Luke Combs’ plain-spoken, everyman appeal on his sophomore album, judging from its title: It's called What You See Is What You Get.
While Luke hasn’t revealed the track listing for the album, which arrives November 8, we do know it’ll have seventeen tracks, including all five songs from his The Prequel EP.
One of the new tracks is “1, 2 Many,” a new song featuring Brooks & Dunn that’s available to stream or download now. It was Luke’s reverence for the duo that set their REBOOT album in motion, and they’re now nominated for Musical Event of the Year at November’s CMA Awards for their re-recording of “Brand New Man.”
With this album, Luke will also continue his tradition of avoiding appearing directly on the cover. This One's forYou featured a stained-glass mock-up of the singer. The new one has a photo taken by David Bergman, which was then painted over by Nashville artist Rob Hendon. The result is what looks like a graffiti portrait of the North Carolina native.
Meanwhile, This One's For You is currently spending its 47th week atop Billboard’s country albums chart, the most ever for a male artist. If he can last three more weeks, Luke will tie Shania Twain’s Come On Over for the all-time record.
“Even Though I’m Leaving,” the new single from What You See Is What You Get, is climbing the chart now. You can check out the track's new concert video on YouTube now.
ABC/Image Group LACarly Pearce’s new single is a duet with Lee Brice, and she co-wrote it with hitmaker Luke Combs.
Carly played a snippet of “I Hope You’re Happy Now” in a Facebook Live session with fans on Thursday.
"It’s all on me/It’s my mistake/I said ‘I don’t love you’ a little too late," she sings. "But I guess there ain’t ever a right time/And I don’t know why I saw the goodbye."
"Go run my name into the ground," the breakup tune continues, "Tell everyone you know just how/How I slammed the door on forever/But I promise you it’s for the better."
She also confessed that "I Hope You're Happy Now" is “straight out of my life” and “something that I lived.”
“I am so excited to share such a personal part of my story with one of the best male vocalists in our format,” Carly says. “Lee has the kind of gruff yet vulnerable quality to his sound that I envisioned for this duet and am grateful he agreed to join me.”
“This song is raw and real,” she continues, “truly something I think many people around the world will relate to.”
You’ll be able to hear the full version of “I Hope You’re Happy Now” on September 27.
“It was an absolute pleasure working with Carly on this track,” Lee adds. “She has such a beautiful and powerful voice and definitely has a huge career ahead of her. Hope everyone loves this song as much as we did recording it!”
“I Hope You’re Happy Now” follows “Closer to You,” and is the second single from Carly’s sophomore album, expected sometime in 2020.
The soon-to-be Mrs. Michael Ray is competing for New Artist of the Year at November’s CMA Awards.
ABC/Mark LevineIt’s mission accomplished for Blake Shelton: As of Thursday morning, he’s not only managed to propel Craig Morgan’s new song to the top of the country iTunes chart, but to the top of the all-genre ranking as well.
Craig wrote the track after the death of his 19-year-old son Jerry in a tubing accident three years ago. It’s now ahead of huge country radio hits like “Knockin’ Boots” by Luke Bryan and “Beer Never Broke My Heart” by Luke Combs on iTunes as well.
On Monday, Blake started a Twitter campaign to run Craig’s emotional song up the sales chart, enlisting his girlfriend Gwen Stefani, fellow Voice coach Kelly Clarkson, Cole Swindell and more to help along the way.
By Wednesday, even Ellen DeGeneres had joined the retweet campaign, and by Thursday, it had gone places Blake never even dreamed.
“Ladies and gentleman one of the hardest things to ever achieve in music is having a #1 selling song of ALL music ALL genres,” Blake reacted. “You can’t fake it. The song has to touch people. Congratulations Craig Morgan. This one’s for Jerry.”
Blake challenged country radio to give the song a spin, too. It’ll be early next week when the airplay charts come out before we’ll find out if that worked as well.
ABC/Image Group LAIt's been almost a year since Jimmie Allen scored his first number one last November with his debut, "Best Shot." But the Delaware native's now enjoying the top-25 success of his follow-up single.
"'Make Me Want To' is really just about a song about someone having feelings, catching 'em fast and not being ashamed to say [so]," Jimmie explains. "I think being being vulnerable is cool."
"And, you know, when you have feelings for someone else, or when you want to be with them, tell 'em..." he adds. "That's really what the song is."
As grateful as Jimmie is for the success of "Best Shot," he's happy to pick up the pace a bit with "Make Me Want To."
"I'm excited to have an uptempo [single], because that's more of a representation of my live show," he tells ABC Radio. "Because [of] 'Best Shot,' people would come to a show and say, 'I didn't expect that,'" he laughs. "Because you hear 'Best Shot,' it's such a ballad."
"But at my shows, you might get two slow songs, maybe," Jimmie says. "Everything else, I'm like jumping off of stuff, flipping off of stuff, you know, running around in the crowd, trying to keep it up." (AUDIO IS ABC 1-ON-1)
Jimmie's keeping the energy up with two performances Thursday at one of his favorite places: Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. He's playing the Eat to the Beat series during Epcot's Food and Wine Festival.
Comstock/Thinkstock Forty-nine years ago this week, CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Lynn Anderson recorded what would become her signature song at Columbia Recording Studios in Nashville. Can you name this #1 country hit, that also made it to #3 on the pop chart? ANSWER: "Rose Garden."
PBSWith their retro sound and throwback looks, it's no surprise Midland is plenty excited about Sunday's premiere of the much-anticipated Country Music documentary by noted filmmaker Ken Burns.
"I think the first person that we heard about it from was Garth Brooks," Jess Carson recalls. "We went over and did a thing with him in his studio and he was talking about it."
"I remember [thinking] 'Ken Burns and Country Music!'" he continues. "Because we watch all the Ken Burns documentaries as it is. So the idea of pairing Ken Burns with Country Music is just like sci-fi. It's like too good to be true."
Even if you're a country music history buff, Jess believes you'll discover something new.
"I can't wait... Anyone I think is gonna learn about new people," he explains. "You might know [Country Music Hall of Famer] Jimmie Rodgers. But who influenced Jimmie Rodgers? ... Or who did he like at that time?"
"So it's like you learn so much," Jess adds, "you get a new playlist, and it's Ken Burns, so he's gonna be able to find all of the footage that you've never seen... And it's gonna be great."
Jess and his band mates Mark Wystrach and Cameron Duddy currently have a top-25 country hit with "Mr. Lonely," the lead single from their #1 country album, Let It Roll.
The first installment of Ken Burns' sixteen-hour Country Music epic premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on PBS.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThe Grammy Museum in L.A. will host a special conversation and performance with country legend Tanya Tucker, along with Brandi Carlile and Scooter Jennings, who produced her new While I'm Livin' album. Tickets for the Thursday, October 3 event go on sale Thursday, September 19.
Tuesday night's second Charlie Daniels Patriot Award Dinner at The Palm Restaurant in Nashville raised more than $200,000 for the Country Music Hall of Famer's veterans' non-profit The Journey Home Project. Chris Young made a surprise appearance, while both Darryl Worley and Daniels sang.
Kacey Musgraves is featured on one of four special covers celebrating Marie Claire's 25th anniversary, along with an article titled "She Is the Future Starring Kacey Musgraves: The New Queen of Country."
If you missed Trisha Yearwood doing her hit "Every Girl on This Town" Wednesday on Live with Kelly and Ryan, you can check out her performance online.