Country Music

ABC/Mark LevineThe conflict between country trio Lady A and Seattle-based soul singer Anita "Lady A" White may be far from over. 

It all started almost a month ago, when Lady A decided to drop the word Antebellum from their name, out of sensitivity over the fact that it's connected to slavery. Shortly after, they learned of White, who says she's been performing as Lady A for more than two decades. 

After a subsequent meeting via Zoom, it seemed all was well between the two acts. But on Wednesday, Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood revealed that's no longer so.

“Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended," the three said in a statement.

"She and her team have demanded a $10 million payment, so reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that we need to ask a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A, a trademark we have held for many years."

The suit seeks no money from White, but simply asks the courts to reiterate that the country trio is lawfully using the name.

The court filings allege that Lady Antebellum was using Lady A interchangeably as far back as 2006-2007, and applied to register the name in 2010, which was approved the next year. 

"We never even entertained the idea that she shouldn’t also be able to use the name Lady A," the trio's statement continues, "and never will – today’s action doesn’t change that."

The "What If I Never Get Over You" hitmakers reveal they'd also been working on a song with White, and they've also taken steps to "prioritize racial equality as a key pillar of the work of LadyAID," their charity.

So far, White hasn't released a public response. 

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LAA group of Nashville's top songwriters are participating in a new series that highlights the first number-one songs from artists like Russell Dickerson and Scotty McCreery

Publishing company BMI is teaming up with Taylor Guitars and audio equipment company Shure for an online video series called My #1 Moment that features a rotating cast of country artists and songwriters performing their first number-one song from the comfort of their homes. 

Hit songwriter and "Rednecker" singer Michael Hardy will kick off the series today with a performance of "Up Down," a number-one hit he co-wrote for Morgan Wallen.

In later episodes, Russell will perform his chart-topping debut "Yours," and Scotty will share the reflective "Five More Minutes." Devin Dawson will perform his rendition of "God's Country," the smash hit he co-wrote with Hardy that Blake Shelton took to the top of the charts in 2019.

Songwriter Derrick Southerland will deliver his take on Ingrid Andress' poignant "More Hearts than Mine," while two of Luke Combs' hits -- "Beer Never Broke My Heart" and "One Number Away" -- will be cast in the spotlight with performances by writers Randy Montana and Rob Williford, respectively. 

New episodes of My #1 Moment air every Wednesday on Taylor Guitar's Instagram.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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BBR Music GroupJimmie Allen has pulled back the curtain on the track list for his EP, Bettie James. 

The seven songs see Jimmie pairing up with a variety of cross-genre acts, NellyTim McGraw and Mickey Guyton among them. Jimmie also provided insight into each song in a series of TikTok videos. 

The EP's first track is "Let the Good Times Roll," a collaboration between Jimmie and Nelly that Jimmie describes as a "fun song" with a "summer vibe." It's followed by his collaboration with Mickey on "Drunk and I Miss You" that Jimmie cites as one of his favorites. 

He then teams up with Tim McGraw for "Days Made for These," and with Brad Paisley on "Freedom Was a Highway." 

Jimmie rounds out the project with a pair of all-star collaborations, uniting with Charley Pride and Darius Rucker on "Why Things Happen," which he wrote the day after Kobe Bryant died, while The Oak Ridge BoysRita Wilson and Christian pop-rock singer Tauren Wells perform with him on "When This Is Over."

The EP closes with the Noah Cyrus duet "This Is Us," released in March.

“I am a fan of every artist on this project and humbled to have each one of them be a part of it,” Jimmie says of the project that honors his late father, James, and grandmother Bettie

Here's the full track listing for Bettie James, set for release on July 10:

“Good Times Roll” -- Jimmie Allen, Nelly
“Drunk and I Miss You” -- Jimmie Allen, Mickey Guyton
“Days Made for These” -- Jimmie Allen, Tim McGraw
“Freedom Was a Highway” -- Jimmie Allen, Brad Paisley  
“Why Things Happen” -- Jimmie Allen, Charley Pride, Darius Rucker
“When This Is Over” -- Jimmie Allen, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tauren Wells, Rita Wilson
“This Is Us” -- Jimmie Allen, Noah Cyrus

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LACarly Pearce says she is "getting better" following her divorce from Michael Ray

"I am grateful for quarantine," Carly said during an appearance on friend Lindsay Ell's weekly online series Living wELL on Tuesday, saying it provided her with much-needed clarity. 

Carly explained that the whirlwind of life as an artist can sometimes be a distraction for how you're truly feeling, and that being in isolation brought important revelations to light. 

"Quarantine was good to me. It showed me a lot," she said. "I had to make some really big decisions for my own life and I feel like this is another time in my life where maybe I thought I had it all figured out and it very abruptly switched on me and I'm left going 'well, what does this mean now, why did this happen to me?'" 

Carly also shared that she's getting back in touch with the person she was before her breakthrough single, "Every Little Thing," catapulted her to the top of the charts in 2017. 

"'You knew what you had to do, you did it, and now you're left going 'what is coming?'" she reflected on her internal conversations. "In my life, it has proven to me when I do what I know I need to do and I don't give up and I love myself more, I see why. I am hopeful and excited for what the next chapter holds for me."

Carly and Michael wed in Nashville in October 2019. Carly filed for divorce in June.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LAAshley McBryde will do three songs from her new album, Never Will, on morning TV this Saturday.

The socially distanced performances were filmed at the Ryman Auditorium alongside two of her band mates, an experience the CMA New Artist of the Year describes as a joyful one. 

"The thing about this time, in life and in music, is that connection matters even more when we can’t be together,” Ashley says in a statement. "I hope our joy in performing these songs for you comes through and helps lighten your mood this weekend like it did ours.”

The breakthrough star delivered a stirring take on "Amazing Grace" on the Ryman stage in April in honor of the lives lost during the pandemic.

You can catch her new performances on CBS This Morning on July 11. Check your local listings to see when it airs in your area.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Columbia RecordsThe Chicks have unveiled the titles of the dozen songs on their highly anticipated album, Gaslighter. 

In addition to the already released "Julianna Calm Down," "March March" and lead single title track, Gaslighter boasts titles including "Everybody Loves You" and "For Her," along with the cleverly phrased "My Best Friend's Weddings" and "Tights on My Boat." 

The 12-song collection ends with "Hope It's Something Good" and "Set Me Free." The Grammy-winning group co-wrote nearly all of the album's songs alongside co-producer Jack Antonoff and popular songwriters Julia MichaelsJustin Tranter and Teddy Geiger

The Chicks revealed in a tweet that they'll share some song lyrics soon. 

Formerly known as the Dixie Chicks, the trio dropped the "dixie" from their name in June, due to its negative association with the former Confederate states, in the wake of the deaths of George FloydBreonna Taylor and many other Black people at the hands of police.   

Originally supposed to be released on May 1, Gaslighter was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It'll now be released on July 17.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LABlake Shelton is hosting a drive-in concert later this month. 

Following in Garth Brooks' footsteps, Blake is the next artist to participate in the Encore Drive-In Nights concert series in partnership with production company Encore Live, which produced Garth's drive-in concert on June 27.

Blake will also perform in a one-night-only, pre-recorded event that will broadcast at several drive-in theaters across North America on July 25.

Blake's girlfriend and fellow The Voice coach Gwen Stefani, and longtime friend and collaborator Trace Adkins, will also appear. In addition to performing beloved hits, the show will include interviews and story shares from the artists, with Blake hinting that he may also perform new songs. 

“This is such a great way to enjoy music with your family and friends and stay safe,” Blake says in a statement. “I’m excited we’re getting the chance to perform a concert for fans, and we’re going to go back and play old hits like ‘Austin,’ newer songs like ‘God’s Country’ and we might even introduce something brand new!”

Tickets go on sale July 14. Prices are $114.99 per vehicle. Drive-in venues will be following local and state guidelines in relation to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Credit: Erick Anderson Charlie Daniels will be laid to rest on Friday.

According to the Tennesean, a funeral service for the country and Southern rock icon will be held at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on Friday at 11 a.m. CT, preceded by an open visitation at Sellars Funeral Home in his hometown of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT. 

Fans will also be able to pay their respects with a special memorial service tonight at 6:30 p.m. CT outside of Sellars Funeral Home. The event will feature appearances by Charlie's country music peers and friends Trace Adkins, Darryl Worley and Tracy Lawrence, along with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. There will also be a military flyover and 21-gun salute. 

In lieu of flowers, Daniels' family has asked that fans make a donation to The Journey Home Project, a nonprofit co-founded by Charlie in 2014 that supports veterans returning from war and connects donors to various veteran organizations. 

Charlie passed away on July 6 at the age of 83 from a hemorrhagic stroke.  

The trailblazing star became a Southern rock pioneer when he formed the Charlie Daniels Band in 1972. The band is known for such hits as the Grammy-winning "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," "In America," "Simple Man" and "Long Haired Country Boy."  He's a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Comstock/ThinkstockTen years ago today, this signature hit by Miranda Lambert was certified gold by the RIAA. The heartfelt song about returning to one's childhood home hit number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and earned Miranda the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 2011. Can you name the song? ANSWER: "The House That Built Me."  

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Mark LevineTim McGraw currently has his biggest hit since 2016's "How I'll Always Be," as "I Called Mama" approaches country's top ten. 

The emotional song about reaching out to your mom for comfort is the first taste of Tim's forthcoming sixteenth studio album, titled Here on Earth. And the title track seems likely to be equally as moving. 

"That song, it just tells a story, I mean, which I love more than anything," Tim explains. "And what's great about country music anyway is telling great stories."

"It tells a story from start to finish," he continues, "and it sort of tells it in a lyrical way, about meeting for the first time and, you know, having kids and what life's like and what the meaning of life is, Here on Earth. You know, it talks about what all that means and how important it is. And that's what being here really means."

"That's what the theme of the whole album is, in a lot of ways," Tim adds. "It's just vignettes of life."

Here on Earth is the follow-up to 2017's The Rest of Our Life, Tim's first duet album with his wife, Faith Hill

So far, we don't know exactly when Tim's next record will arrive, though he's hinted it should be Here on Earth by fall. 

By Stephen Hubbard
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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockKalie ShorrMaggie RoseHannah EllisLillie Mae and Paulina Jayne are teaming up with Real Music TV for a livestream show, The Live SessionsThe show will tape at Nashville's famed club, 3rd & Lindsley, on July 14 and stream on Real Music TV on July 15 at 8 p.m. ET. It will be available to view for 24 hours.

Songwriter Kendell Marvel has released a cover of Lee Hazlewood's "Houston." Kendell is the co-writer of Chris Stapleton's Grammy-winning single, "Either Way."   

Newly formed duo Exit 216 is releasing the new single, "Brother," on July 17. The duo is comprised of songwriters Steven Battey and Cole Burkett, the former of whom has co-written a range of songs from Luke Combs' "One Number Away" to Justin Bieber's "Eenie Meenie."

By Cillea Houghton
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Dustin HaneyAhead of the release of his upcoming collaborations EP, Jimmie Allen has shared a snippet of a new song called "Right Now."  

In an Instagram post on Monday, Jimmie played a teaser of the track that was written the same day. Co-written by the singer, Jordan Schmidt and Matt Rogers, the pop-leaning track finds Jimmie looking back on the one that got away and longing to right his wrongs. 

"If I had you back right now/I wouldn't ever let you let go/I need you so bad right now/And I ain't afraid to say so," he croons in the chorus, his voice soaring alongside a computerized melody.

"You’re on fire!!!! So good!!!" Rita Wilson applauds in the comment section, with fans also sharing their approval, calling the song "amazing" while another refers to Jimmie as an "inspiration."

The "Best Shot" hit maker is set to release the EP Bettie James on Friday comprised of seven new songs with a range of collaborators including Darius RuckerMickey GuytonBrad PaisleyNelly and more. The EP is named after his grandmother Bettie and his father, James.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LAIn a new episode of The Justin Moore PodcastJustin Moore shares his personal connection with Charlie Daniels, one day after he passed away from a hemorrhagic stroke at the age of 83. 

Justin reveals that Charlie became a mentor figure to him over the years, meeting soon after Justin's grandfather passed away.

"He genuinely became kind of a mentor in my life from the spiritual side of things to an artist. And I think the fact that he and I got to know each other a little bit right around the time of my grandfather's death, he became kind of like an additional grandpa to me," Justin explains, referring to Daniels him as "Uncle Charlie." 

"It hit me a little harder than I anticipated and it was because he was so good to me," Justin remarks on Charlie's death. 

Justin also reveals that the legendary star was supposed to be a guest on the podcast sometime this year before his untimely passing.

Keeping his spirit alive, the "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" singer performed a cover of the Charlie Daniels Band's 1989 hit, "Simple Man," which includes an audio clip of Charlie saying "You’re doing good son. I’m proud of you. Love you. God bless you." 

The Justin Moore Podcast debuted in May. The 15-episode series airs on Tuesdays.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Warner Music NashvilleBrett Eldredge captures his hometown of Paris, Illinois in the nostalgic video for his song, "Gabrielle." 

Setting up shop in the gymnasium of his alma mater, Paris High School, Brett and his band perform the song between clips of 'Gabrielle,' a mysterious woman who flashes across Brett's mind throughout the video. 

She later joins the singer, unbeknownst to him, watching over him from the stands in the gym and sitting at a distance from him on the bleachers at the outdoor field as he pours his heart out through song.  

"Was it your heart or mine/Was it just the wrong time/Gabrielle," he ponders over a piano melody.

“’Gabrielle’ is about a love that didn’t quite work out and you always wonder what it could have been," Brett explains.  "It could’ve ended up being something amazing and you wonder what they’re doing in their life right now and go back to those feelings when you hear the song."  

"Gabrielle" is the lead single off Brett's fifth studio album, Sunday Drive, which will be released on Friday.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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BBR Music GroupLindsay Ell bravely tells her story as a survivor of sexual assault in her new song, "make you." 

In an interview with PeopleLindsay shares that the song is inspired by her experience of being raped by a man at her church in her native Calgary, Canada when she was 13.  She says she was sexually assaulted again when she was 21.

After visiting with a group of teen girls at Youth For Tomorrow in 2017, an organization in Virginia that supports young women who've experienced sexual abuse, Lindsay felt compelled to tell her story to the girls and knew then it was time to share it publicly. 

Co-written by Lindsay and Brandy Clark, "make you" explores the pain that Lindsay felt in the wake of the traumatic event, sharing in the lyrics that she felt "dirty" and built up walls that closed her off from others.  Lindsay also shows how the effect of that experience followed her throughout her life and felt like a "new scar" years later. 

"You'll feel angry/You'll feel sad/Once you see it's not your fault/And that canyon in your chest/Is the little girl you lost," she sings. 

"Part of me talking about it now is liberating the little 13-year-old Lindsay and the 21-year-old Lindsay. Pain is something we can let control us if we don't deal with it, but the minute you put a voice to your story the shame has no power," Lindsay says.  

"Make you" is featured on Lindsay's upcoming album, heart theory, that's set for release on August 14. 

Coinciding with the song, Lindsay is also launching the Make You Movement, a charitable fund to aid organizations supporting at-risk youth who are domestic abuse and sexual violence survivors.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

 

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ABC/Stewart CookLuke Bryan has found himself in a familiar spot: at the top of the charts. 

The superstar is raising a glass to his latest single, "One Margarita," which has reached number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart this week, marking Luke's 25th number-one single. 

"When I first heard 'One Margarita' I really thought it was the perfect summer song," Luke says. "It's catchy and fun and right now people just need a moment to let go." 

"One Margarita" is the lead single off Luke's Born Here Live Here Die Here album, set for release on August 7. It's the third consecutive single off the soon-to-be released project that's hit number one on the charts, following "Knockin' Boots" and "What She Wants Tonight." 

Luke has postponed his Proud to Be Right Here Tour to 2021 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally slated to start in May 2020, the tour will now begin on May 30, 2021 in Youngstown, Ohio and continue through October. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Comstock/ThinkstockOn this day in 1956, this "I Walk the Line" legend made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman Auditorium and met his future wife June Carter Cash backstage. Can you guess who it is? ANSWER: Johnny Cash. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Eric GebhartWhen Luke Bryan hosts CMA Best of Fest Monday on ABC, it'll showcase superstar performances from the last sixteen years. It'll also feature never-before-seen moments, like Eric Church's non-stop half-hour hits medley from last year.

Less than a month earlier, Eric set a new attendance record at Nashville's Nissan Stadium, and was determined to top that.

"I was having a bit of a brain thing..." he admits. "We'd set the record, and in my opinion, [put on] the best show of our career. And then I’m back three weeks later, and I’ve gotta figure out how to do something that’s gonna be memorable again."

Earlier that day, Eric hit on the idea of taking the stage alone, recreating a popular concert moment. Typically, he weaves cover tunes into "Mistress Named Music." But this time, he'd fill it with his own hits.

"That had taken on its own form during the tour," Eric explains. "People knew about it, it’d become popular."

"They probably thought I was gonna do 'Piano Man' and all these things," he continues. "And to go in and cover myself for those seventeen songs, I thought... would be a really neat thing."

Practicing alone on his bus with a timer, Eric recalls how much fun it was to try to make it work. But still he was unsure.

"My fallback is I’m just gonna play five songs," he remembers. "I’d go back, and I'd work on it again."

"And finally I thought, 'Okay, I can do this. It’s gonna be something. It’s gonna be ballsy, if nothing else,'" he laughs.

An hour before, Eric sent his band home to force himself to follow through. 

You can preview the results on YouTube, ahead of CMA Best of Fest Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockNew country trio Leaving Austin has unveiled the music video for their song with Cassadee Pope, "American Avenue." The two acts performed the song live last week on the Today show. 

Niko Moon has released a cover of Travis Tritt's hit, "It's a Great Day to be Alive," through Amazon Music. In a statement about the cover song, Niko shares that he was raised 15 minutes up the street from Travis and calls it "one of the greatest country songs of all time!”

Grand Ole Opry star Jeannie Seely, who celebrated her 80th birthday yesterday, has announced she is releasing her new album An American Classic on August 14. The album features a collaboration with Willie Nelson, who sings and plays guitar on "Not a Dry Eye in the House."

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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ABCLuke Bryan and Cole Swindell are lending their support to the American Red Cross. 

In a new partnership between the Red Cross and KP Entertainment, a Nashville-based artist development company, fans can make a donation to the Red Cross, which then enters them into a sweepstakes for the chance to win a one minute, virtual one-on-one meet-and-greet with one of the participating artists.

A different artist on the KP Entertainment roster will be featured each week, with Cole kicking the campaign off this week, inviting fans to donate through July 10 to win a meet-and-greet with the "Middle of a Memory" singer. Luke's contest runs from August 10-14. 

A $10 donation enters a fan's name into the sweepstakes 10 times, while a $50 donation accounts for 75 entries and a $100 donation is worth 200 entries. Fans can also donate a custom amount. A total of 50 winners will be selected for the virtual meet-and-greet sessions with Cole.  

The money raised will go towards the Red Cross' efforts to provide hospital patients in need of blood donations, offer food and shelter following a natural disaster, support military families and provide humanitarian aid worldwide. 

Jon LangstonDylan Scott and Whitney Duncan are also participating in the program taking place throughout July and August. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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