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Courtesy Blackbird PresentsWillie Nelson is partnering with Merle Haggard’s family to put on an all-star tribute to his late friend and fellow legend.

"Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard" will come to life April 6 on the stage of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. The date is significant because it’s not only the one-year anniversary of the Hag’s passing, it also would have been his 80th birthday.

Willie, Dierks BentleyKenny ChesneyMiranda Lambert and John Mellencamp lead the stellar lineup. Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams Jr., Alison KraussRonnie DunnJamey JohnsonKacey MusgravesLynyrd SkynyrdLucinda WilliamsJohn AndersonConnie Smith and Bobby Bare also are on board. Expect more announcements about talent as the date approaches.

Tickets go on sale Friday at 11 a.m. CT. The evening will also be filmed and recorded for distribution as both a special and an album.

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Photo Courtesy of The Valory Music Co.The devil won’t be getting any rest, if Brantley Gilbert has anything to say about it.

The “Weekend” hitmaker is adding a summer leg to his tour, named for his number one-selling album The Devil Don’t Sleep. Once the current tour run wraps April 29 in Duluth, Minnesota, Brantley will turn his attention to festivals, fairs and amphitheaters.  

“There are so many different ways to do this come warm weather,”  he says, “And I like ’em all. Festivals are just a party with a whole lotta music…There’s not much more real -- or more like where I come from -- than a fair…”

“Those amphitheater shows,” he adds, “well, that’s where the BG Nation comes together to throw it down. You know, it’s why when we take it outside, it’s just good, and we have the party of the summer everywhere we go.”

Tyler Farr and Luke Combs join Brantley for the 26-date summer run, which kicks off June 2 in Tampa, Florida. You can check out the complete itinerary at BrantleyGilbert.com.

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ABC/Image Group LAThey’re only two shows in, but Little Big Town is already adding more dates to their year-long residency at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.

On the heels of two-sold out performances during which they sang their new album, The Breaker, in its entirety, the band announced they’ll play July 30 as well, extending their Little Big Town at the Mother Church residency to at least ten dates.

The foursome is promising once-in-a-lifetime performances during their run celebrating the 125th anniversary of the venue. Judging by the first two nights, they aim to deliver.

Sam Hunt and Chris Stapleton took the stage during the first set, while R&B phenomenon Andra Day and Ashley Monroe joined them on Saturday.

In a nod to the building’s beginnings as a gospel tabernacle, LBT backed up Ashley as she sang her father’s favorite hymn, “In the Garden.” The four vocalists also married their considerable talents with Andra’s on her breakout hit, “Rise Up,” before seguing into a stellar take on the Willie-Nelson-penned Patsy-Cline-classic, “Crazy.”

To wrap things up, Little Big Town abandoned their microphones and walked out to the edge of the stage to deliver a spine-tingling a capella version of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.”

You next chance to see LBT at the Ryman comes the weekend of May 19 and 20.

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ABC/Image Group LAIf we needed a reminder of why Garth Brooks is CMA Entertainer of the Year, we got a big one this weekend during his latest sold-out stop in Edmonton, Alberta.

Trisha Yearwood interrupted her set to alert her husband that he’d just marked a very significant milestone on their world tour. Garth and Trisha have now sold more than five million tickets across 60 cities on their ongoing trek. By comparison, it took 100 cities for the superstar to accomplish the same feat on his 1996-1998 tour.

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky congratulated Garth via video, and a banner was revealed that will hang in the venue alongside championship ones from the Edmonton Oilers and the Edmonton Oil Kings.

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David Lachapelle/NBCBlake Shelton might be known as one of country’s biggest jokesters, but when it comes to NBC’s popular TV talent search The Voice, which returns for a 12th season Monday night, Blake takes his competitive streak very seriously.

“It’s so competitive, and it gets pretty rough sometimes. I mean things are said that you go, 'Whoa! I can’t believe you just said that,' but that’s The Voice, it’s a competition,” Blake notes.

And Blake ought to know, he’s been the winning coach five times. In one of those instances he poached the final winner from his now girlfriend Gwen Stefanie, who he says is gearing up for a major win this year.

“You know, this is Gwen’s third season as a coach on this show she knows what it takes to win, she’s seen it happen, she’s been close. She had a winner on her team her first season and I was lucky enough to steal that artist from her and go on to win the show. And so, she’s had a little bit of a taste of it and I think she’s also got a score to settle with me and with all the coaches, honestly,” Blake guffaws.

The premiere of The Voice is Monday, February 27 at 8 p.m. Eastern on NBC

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Comstock/ThinkstockIn honor of last night’s Academy Awards: Two actors, Sissy Spacek and Reese Witherspoon, have won an Oscar for their portrayals of iconic female country stars. Can you name them? ANSWER: Loretta Lynn and June Carter Cash.

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BBRFor decades, the New Faces show at Country Radio Seminar in Nashville has dared to predict who’ll be the biggest stars of tomorrow. But in 2017, the act who made the biggest impression of the night wasn’t even on the bill.

Drake White started his set with a comic video that pointed out he’s not the mega-superstar also named Drake. The energetic performer pummeled through his four-song set that included both his breakthrough hit “Livin’ the Dream” and his soulful current single, “Makin’ Me Look Good Again."

Neo-traditionalist William Michael Morgan managed to squeeze in the most songs of the night -- five -- while keeping  the chat to a minimum and delivering his Sam-Hunt-penned #1, “I Met a Girl,” as well as his latest release, “Missing.”

Then things really got interesting when Granger Smith took the stage. “If the Boot Fits” led into his cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’,” which morphed into his chart-topper, “Backroad Song.”

Then Granger disappeared-- and his alter ego appeared.  William Michael Morgan returned in a video clip to explain that a song from Granger’s alter ego, Earl Dibbles, Jr., was essential.  Earl eventually emerged onstage, wearing only overalls and and a biceps-baring tank top. After performing his tune, he shotgunned two beers and autographed his shirt, before ripping it off and tossing it into the audience. As a bare-chested Granger Smith let both straps of his overalls hang to his knees, it was apparent he’d worked harder than anyone on the stage.

Jon Pardi had the unenviable task of following Granger’s revealing set, but he had the distinction of being the only artist of the night who has one #1 under his belt who is about to have another. His song list included both “Head Over Boots” and “Dirt on My Boots.”

Grammy nominee Maren Morris closed out the night, revealing that “I Could Use a Love Song” is her new single -- and that “My Church” is an anthem that embraces both the history of country music and its genre-melding future.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLeAnn Rimes has crossed genres once again with her second #1 single on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart with a groove called “Long Live Love.” The track, a soulful pop tune in its original form, was powered into clubland via remixes from DJ’s Dave Aude, Ivan Gomez and DJ Deville.

Dierks Bentley discovers that gold is the new black as his latest album Black has just been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The title track of Dierks’ eighth studio album is making its way up the Billboard Country Airplay Chart as he continues his 2017 What The Hell World Tour with special guests Cole Swindell and Jon Pardi.

Following last Thursday’s jaw-dropping episode of CMT’s hit TV show Nashville, the cast is picking up the pieces and looking ahead to new storylines and songs. THE MUSIC OF NASHVILLE, SEASON 5 VOLUME 1 album will be available at digital retailers worldwide Friday, March 10 on Big Machine Records. The collection features the wide array of the music heard throughout the current season. Nashville airs Thursdays at 9 Eastern on CMT.

Big Machine Label Group, General Mills and Feeding America have chosen Thomas Rhett as the spokesperson for the Outnumber Hunger Campaign, a nationwide effort aimed at fighting hunger in local communities across America. Thomas will be featured on the front of specially-marked packages of nearly 60 General Mills brands, including Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Nature Valley and Totino’s. Beginning March 1, individuals can purchase specially marked products, enter the code found on the packaging along with their zip code at Outnumberhunger.com to help Feeding America secure five meals on behalf of their local member food bank.

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ABC/Image Group LAThis Sunday, Lady Antebellum will help get those engine’s revving as the headlining entertainment prior to the start of the 59th Annual Daytona 500. The race is the official kick-off the NASCAR season and airs on FOX beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern.

The following night, the trio will return to Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC and join the highly influential R&B group Bell Biv Devoe, for a one-time-only Mashup Monday performance as Lady AnteBell Biv Devoe.

There’s no stopping Lady A’s current single either, as “You Look Good” has just entered the top 30 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, only four weeks after its release. “You Look Good” is the lead single from their forthcoming sixth studio album Heart Break, scheduled to be released June 9.

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AtlanticThe bouncy new single from Brett Eldredge, "Somethin' I'm Good At," is total reflection of his personality. 

“I can’t even explain the anticipation and excitement I’ve been feeling about putting out new music,” says Brett. “It’s exciting to write and record a song that captures this side of me and this song is full of life and excitement. I hope everyone feels the way I do about it and I hope it puts a smile on your face when you hear it as you’re driving down the road or unloading the dishwasher or whatever you’re doing, I just hope it makes you happy.”

Brett is coming off six consecutive #1 singles. “Somethin’ I’m Good At” is the first single from his forthcoming album due out this summer.  An official video for the new single is due Monday.

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Atlantic RecordsThe soundtrack to The Shack, the new movie starring Tim McGraw, is out today, one week ahead of the movie’s premiere on March 3, featuring new music from some of country's biggest stars.

As previously reported, Dan Shay, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Brett Eldredge, and of course Tim and Faith Hill, have all recorded new music for the film. This marks the first time Tim and Faith have both written and recorded a song together.

Dan Shay’s track, “When I Pray for You,” will be out as a single next Friday. Lady Antebellum contributes “Lay Our Flowers Down,” Dierks Bentley does “Days of Dark” and Brett Eldredge sings “Phone Call to God.” The soundtrack also includes Kelly Clarkson’s duet with Aloe Blacc called “Love Goes On.”

Tim McGraw stars in the movie based on the inspirational best-seller, playing both the main character’s best friend and narrating the film.

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ABC/Image Group LAJon Pardi is hoping to boost his “Dirt on My Boots” single to the top of the charts with the release of a sexy video.

The clip, streaming on YouTube, intercuts shots of Jon performing the song before an adoring crowd and a woman returning from an afternoon of horseback riding and getting dolled up before turning up at the show to meet Jon in the wings as he exits the stage.

The tune currently sits at #5 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and is the latest single from Jon’s California Sunrise album.

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ABC/Image Group LAIf you don't want to watch the Academy Awards this Sunday night because no country stars are involved, it turns out you're wrong...sort of. Chris Stapleton contributed the song “Outlaw State of Mind” to the soundtrack of Best Picture Nominee Hell or High Water.

In the film, two brothers, played by Chris Pine and Ben Foster, rob branches of a West Texas bank to obtain enough money to prevent foreclosure of their family ranch. A crafty Texas Ranger, played by Jeff Bridges, is soon on the case -- his last before he retires -- and as he zeroes in on them, the brothers attempt one last score.

Hell or High Water received a total of four Academy Award nominations, including one for Jeff Bridges as Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the crusty lawman.

The 89th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday night, beginning 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC. The network's red carpet coverage gets under way at 7 p.m. ET.

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ABC/Image Group LAGrammy and CMA Award winner Darius Rucker will get to showcase another talent tonight as he makes a guest appearance on the hit TV show Hawaii Five-0.

In the role of Desmond Abati, a terrorist bomb maker and notorious criminal, Darius will get the chance to show off the dramatic side of his acting skills. Many remember his appearances in the 2001 comedy Shallow Hal and, more recently, in the tongue-in-cheek role of Jesus in an episode of CMT’s Still the King starring another country hitmaker Billy Ray Cyrus.

Darius Rucker’s episode of Hawaii Five-0 debuts tonight, February 24, at 9 pm Eastern on CBS.

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Comstock/ThinkstockLittle Big Town’s album, The Breaker, is out today. But do you remember the group’s break-out hit from 2005 that was their first platinum-selling single? ANSWER: “Boondocks”

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CMTOn Thursday’s new episode of Nashville on CMT, the entire premise of the series changed.

Rayna Jaymes was determined to finish a new song on her concept album with Deacon Claybourne, even though she was fighting for her life after being blindsided by a truck while riding in a police car.

Gunnar Scott tried to rescue his relationship with Scarlett O’Connor, despite the fact she was transfixed by the video director who had frustrated her earlier.

Pain in Juliette Barnes' leg made her wonder if she’d ever be able to fully recover from the plane crash that almost took her life.

A delusional Rayna also received a visit from her late mother, as she lay on her deathbed.  Torn between staying by her mother’s side and going to her choral concert, Rayna’s daughter Daphne serenaded her with “To Make You Feel My Love.”

As Rayna slipped away, both her former nemesis Juliette and her daughter Maddie Conrad made it to her side to say their goodbyes, with only moments to spare.

Find out how Nashville continues without one of its main characters, next week at 9 p.m. ET on CMT.

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Capitol NashvilleEarlier this week Little Big Town took their Taylor Swift-penned power ballad "Better Man" to the top of the charts.

To end the week the group will find themselves launching their 7th studio album The Breaker with a sold-out and highly anticipated concert at the Ryman Auditorium, part of a recurring residency for the group at the venue.

It will be one of the few chances they've had to perform "Better Man" for a live crowd so far. But, Karen Fairchild of the group says, if the fan response is as strong in person as it's been on the radio, they can't wait to hear what happens.

LBT's Ryman residency is the first of it's kind for the iconic music venue. Tonight is the first of six shows for 2017, planned perfectly to coincide with the same date as the release of The Breaker. Their other concert dates at the Ryman include February 25; May 19 & 20 and September 15 & 16.



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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLuke Bryan might have over indulged just enough to get himself in trouble after singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl recently. Luke met legendary Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps during the game and said that after “a few beers,” he apparently presented a challenge to Phelps. “The next morning Caroline let me know that I had challenged Michael Phelps to a swim off at my house,” Luke revealed this to a packed house of radio execs during this week’s annual Country Radio Seminar in Nashville.

The Country Music Association recognized a group of Music City’s tunesmiths during the 8th Annual CMA Songwriter’s Triple Play Awards on Wednesday. The honor is presented to songwriters who pen three #1 songs within a 12-month period. Several of the winners were major country stars like Luke Bryan, Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell and Shay Mooney of Dan Shay. They accept their award as both writer and performer.

In other Cole Swindell news: In just under a year’s time his sophomore album You Should Be Here has been certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The project contains two of Cole’s #1 singles, “You Should Be Here” and “Middle of a Memory,” as well as his current single “Flatliner” which features his friend, mentor and current tour mate Dierks Bentley.

Tonight in a Nashville rehearsal hall Darius Rucker and rocker John Mellencamp will join forces for a taping of CMT’s Crossroads to air at a future date.



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ABC/ Image Group LAJustin Moore has scored six number-one songs on the country airplay charts. He’s had Gold-level album sales. Three of those discs have debuted at #1 on the Billboard Country Album Chart. Yet, Justin won’t make his official late-night TV debut until March 7 when he is scheduled to be a guest performer on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC.

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BMLG RecordsFebruary has brought a bunch of firsts for rising artist Brett Young.

On February 10, Brett released his self-titled debut album, and tonight, he joins his first major tour as he heads out on superstar Luke Bryan’s Kill The Lights trek. Brett will be showcased on eight of the tour dates, including a stop in New York City next week for a sold-out show in Madison Square Garden.

Not only is Brett stoked about the big crowds, he’s also hoping Luke will show him the ropes out on the road.

“He called me a few months ago when we found out I would be joining him on the road. He was so nice and offered some advice, which meant a whole lot to me.” Brett said.

Meanwhile, Brett’s latest single “In Case You Didn’t Know” is No. 1 for the second week in a row on Vevo’s Top Country Chart.

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