ABC/Image Group LASeason four winner Carrie Underwood is staying on top of the new season of American Idol, and she's rooting for a contestant from her Oklahoma hometown.
"Finally getting to catch up on this week's American Idol!!!" she tweeted late Wednesday night. "Love to see some more [love] for Checotah with [Kenedee Rittenhouse]," she added. "Good luck in Hollywood, girl!!!"
The 19-year-old sang the Randy Travis classic Carrie also covered, "I Told You So," on Tuesday, and clinched her golden ticket by performing judge Katy Perry's hit, "Firework."
The final round of auditions picks up Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, with Carrie's label mate Luke Bryan behind the judge's table, along with the legendary Lionel Richie.
Sony Music NashvilleDolly Parton created one of the most sung-about love triangles in modern musical history, as she begged the fictional “Jolene,” “please don’t take my man.”
Now, with her latest single, Cam imagines that “Jolene” didn’t know she was dealing with a married man, and goes to his wife, whom she calls “Diane,” to clear the air.
“The song is the other woman coming forward,” Cam explains, “reaching out to the wife, saying 'The guy I've been seeing, I didn't realize he was married, but it's your husband. And you deserve to know.' So it's promoting this open communication: honesty, integrity in a hard situation -- not making it harder.”
It turns out Dolly herself is a fan of Cam’s continuation of her story, even though she’s holding on to another “Jolene” chapter of her own.
“It's an amazing song!” she tells ABC Radio about Cam’s single. “And I was happy that somebody was touched enough to want to do that.”
“I actually have a version of my own,” Dolly continues. "You know, the 'Jolene'-the-other-woman song. Someday I had planned to do that as a duet. But she did a really good job on that and I'm real proud of her. She's really one of my favorite new artists in the business.”
Just as she did in “Jolene,” Dolly admits to being jealous -- of Cam’s look.
“Don't you love that curly [hair]? That's the hair I prayed for, and the Lord didn't answer that prayer,” she laughs. “Maybe in another life.”
“I can go buy me one!” she continues. “But it won't be the same as that curly hair growing right out of your head! I think she's a beauty!”
Comstock/ThinkstockThirteen years ago this week, Craig Morgan spent the first of four weeks atop the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with this laid-back tune about the weekend. Can you name it? ANSWER: "That's What I Love About Sunday."
BBR Music GroupIf Jason Aldean's social media profile has expanded lately, the two-time ACM Entertainer of the Year admits he's probably not the one who can take the credit for it. It seems the credit should go to Jason's nearly-four-month-old son Memphis, who by most accounts is the singer's "mini-me.”
“Man, it's crazy, the people that, you know, sort of follow us to keep up with him," Jason tells ABC Radio. "He's cool. I think he's kinda won a lot of people over since he's been here.”
While the “You Make It Easy” hitmaker is a willing participant, he says it’s his wife Brittany who's the brains behind their social media presence.
“My wife's really great at that stuff,” Jason explains. “She's way better...than I am. You know, she does a really good job of sort of keeping people updated on what's going on with not only her and I, but him, and just in our family in general. So, I give her a lot of credit for sort of showing everybody that side of our life.”
From time to time, the new mom also shares products that have been particularly helpful to her. Take for example, a recent post showcasing a pillow that swaddles Memphis when you lay him down.
“I tried to get in it too,” Jason laughs. “And it's a little small. But that thing's a life saver. I don't even know what it's called. I just know he loves that thing.”
Jason’s new album, Rearview Town, comes out April 13. Two days later, he vies for his third consecutive Entertainer of the Year trophy at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards.
Burke/Triole Productions/ThinkstockThe 12th Annual ACM Honors returns to Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium for the ninth year in a row, on Wednesday, August 22.
Sony Music Nashville and Christian publisher Thomas Nelson are partnering to place copies of Dolly Parton's children's album, I Believe in You, alongside the devotional Jesus Calling product line in select Kroger stores.
If you missed Blake Shelton doing "I'll Name the Dogs" Tuesday on Late Night with Seth Meyers, you can catch up online.
Country Music Association When CMA Fest takes over downtown Nashville June 7-10, it'll bring with it four nights of the biggest names in country music, onstage at Nissan Stadium. You'll need to buy a ticket for those concerts -- which feature everyone from Luke Bryan to Carrie Underwood to Chris Stapleton -- but if it’s free entertainment you’re looking for, there’s plenty of that as well.
In addition to superstars at Nissan Stadium, CMA Fest also boasts hundreds of artists playing eleven stages all around Music City, and most of those won't cost you a dime.
For example, Jordan Davis, Devin Dawson, Russell Dickerson, Walker Hayes, High Valley, LANCO, Chris Lane, LOCASH, Scotty McCreery, Michael Ray, Granger Smith, Morgan Wallen, Aaron Watson and many more will play the Riverfront stage on the Cumberland during the day.
Meanwhile, newcomers like Ashley McBryde and American Idol winner Trent Harmon will grace the Breakout Stage in Walk of Fame Park across from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
You’ll also be able to see heritage artists like Tracy Lawrence, Lorrie Morgan, and Restless Heart on the Budweiser Forever Country Stage.
Look for more CMA Fest announcements in the coming weeks. This is the 47th year for the festival overall, and the 15th year that it'll be recorded for an ABC-TV special.
ABC/Image Group LA Kelsea Ballerini only planned one international stop on her headlining Unapologetically Tour, but it was a sell-out: She played Sydney’s Metro Theatre Tuesday in Australia.
Kelsea’s Australian-born husband, Morgan Evans, was by her side for the trip, as she unveiled her new single, “I Hate Love Songs,” on Australia's 2018 CMC Music Awards. The pair met exactly two years ago, as they hosted the show together. Last December, they tied the knot in Mexico.
The trip Down Under was the continuation of a trek that started with London's Country to Country festival, and then took the “Legends” hitmaker from England to Glasgow, Scotland and Dublin, Ireland. Along the way, her performances propelled both her Unapologetically album and “I Hate Love Songs” to #1 on the iTunes country charts in the United Kingdom.
The ACM Female Vocalist of the Year nominee should have some time to get over her jet lag, before she resumes her Unapologetically trek April 3 in Columbus, Ohio.
Ole Red/Ryman Hospitality PropertiesBlake Shelton’s Ole Red empire continues to expand.
The star of The Voice announced Wednesday that he and his partners, Ryman Hospitality Properties, will open a new Ole Red location in the mountain retreat of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The $9 million, 16 thousand square-foot, two-story bar and restaurant should be ready by the spring of 2019.
“Gatlinburg is one of my all-time favorite places,” Blake says. “This part of the country is full of people who love good food, great music, family and, most importantly, a good time. That’s what Ole Red is all about, and I can’t wait to give my fans another place to have fun in Gatlinburg.”
The Nashville location is set to open next month, while the one in Blake’s hometown of Tishomingo, Oklahoma has been operating since September of 2017.
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.