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ABC/Image Group LA; Warner NashvilleBlake Shelton's top-ten hit, "God's Country," was co-written by "All on Me" hitmaker Devin Dawson and "Rednecker" singer HARDY

"God's Country" fuses HARDY's hardcore country leanings with Devin's love for heavy metal. Before his country career, Devin was in the metal band Shadow of the Colossus

Devin says "God's Country" is reminiscent of Johnny Cash's Nine Inch Nails cover, "Hurt."

"The last verse, he's like 'I don't care what my headstone reads or what kind of pinewood box I end up in. When it's my time, lay me six feet deep in God's country,'" Devin sings.

"It reminds me... of 'Hurt' -- Johnny Cash. And it's got an 'Ol' Red' feel to it," he adds, mentioning Blake's 2002 hit. 

"But I think HARDY and I are like polar opposites when it comes to artistry," Devin continues. "So I think that's why it works so well, you know. And I got to bring my metal vibes into it a little bit."

If you listen closely, you'll also hear Devin's vocals on "God's Country."

"I sing the harmony on the chorus and... that really high, kinda like 'yeah' part right before the second and third chorus," he explains, "which again, that's me reaching back into my metal days, because that's about the highest I possibly can sing."

The California native hopes this isn't the last time he gets to work with his label mate.

"I think people like this side of Blake," Devin tells ABC Radio, "and maybe we can get a chance to write one together or HARDY and I can just keep penning what he wants to cut."

"But I hope that in the future maybe you'll see us sing something together, you know. But we'll see." 

HARDY's also been doing his version of "God's Country" in his recent shows.

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Comstock/ThinkstockThough this 1999 inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum was born Harold Jenkins, he was better known by his stage name. Can you name the legend whose first number one was the pop hit "It's Only Make Believe?" ANSWER: Conway Twitty.

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ABC/Eric McCandlessThe votes are in, and our new American Idol is -- Laine Hardy.

This season came to a close with an epic three-hour finale Sunday night, complete with a real-time vote that whittled the finalists from three down to two, until finally the winner was crowned.

After the first round of solo performances, Madison VanDenberg was the first to go, leaving Laine and Alejandro Aranda facing off for the title. Despite Alejandro impressively performing all-original music the entire night -- and the judges hinting that he was their favorite -- America clearly wanted to party with Hardy, voting Laine as their American Idol. It was a second chance for the 18-year-old Louisiana native, after first having appeared on the show last season.


Laine delivered flawless and confident performances throughout the night, including songs that reflected his roots, like “Home” by Marc Broussard and “Jambalaya (on the Bayou)” by Hank Williams. Alejandro’s original tunes included tunes titled “Millennial Love,” “Tonight,” and his heartfelt audition song, “Out Loud.”

While Laine duetted with country singer Jon Pardi on two songs, Alejandro opted to perform an original composition called “10 Years,” backed by an orchestra wearing signature Alejandro beanies.

After Laine was announced the winner, he performed the winner's song, "Flame," to close the show.

The finalists weren’t the only ones who got stage time last night. Judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan also performed, along with a couple of American Idol alumni and various country, rock and pop acts.

Here are some of the highlights:

Lionel opened the show with his classic song "Dancing on the Ceiling" with the top 10. Katy performed her latest single, "Con Calma," with Latin star Daddy Yankee, and sang her hit "Unconditionally" with top-10 finalist Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon. Luke sang "Every Breath You Take" with Laci Kaye Booth, as well as his current single, "Knockin' Boots."



Madison returned to the stage after her elimination to sing "Speechless" with country duo Dan Shay.



American Idol season eight runner-up Adam Lambert, one of this season's mentors, sang his new single, "New Eyes," and also rocked out to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" with top-10 finalist Dimitrius GrahamAmerican Idol season four winner Carrie Underwood performed her latest hit, "Southbound."



In an unexpected emotional moment, this season’s blind contestant, Shayy, returned to sing a powerful rendition of “Rise Up” with Andra Day.

Other performances included a Kool & the Gang medley with the band and the top eight finalists, rock band Weezer and, in the most bizarre performance of the night, Montell Jordan performed “This Is How We Do It” backed by Katy Perry lookalikes doing the worm. During audition rounds, Katy infamously did the worm to that song.

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Alabama's Jeff Cook is one of the celebrities who'll play in Chris Young's 3rd Annual Th3 Legends Cast for a Cure Big Bass Tournament June 1 on Old Hickory Lake near Nashville. Legendary fishermen Bill Dance, Jimmy Houston and Roland Martin will also be there to help raise money for cancer research.

Newcomer Abby Anderson contributes the track "Fearless" to the soundtrack of the new movie, A Dog's Journey, which came out Friday.

The debut single from new Warner Nashville artist Trea Landon is called "Loved by a Country Boy."

You can check out Toby Keith's new lyric video for "That's Country Bro" on YouTube.

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ABC/Image Group LARascal Flatts kicked off their Summer Playlist Tour this weekend in Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Chicago. In the coming weeks, Billy CurringtonLee BriceLOCASHJordan DavisMorgan Evans, and Jimmie Allen will join them at different times on the trek.

Last summer, the trio took Dan Shay on tour. It's quite a successful partnership, since Shay Mooneywrote the Rascal Flatts #1, "I Like the Sound of That," as well as their latest hit, "Back to Life."

Gary LeVox recalls they told Shay they were releasing the new song while on tour.

"They were doing a soundcheck," Gary remembers. "They had just put 'Speechless' in their show... And then, we kinda went up and... we're like, 'Man, let's just go tell him.'"

"So we got to tell him and his wife and his little boy that he got the next single," he continues. "We just said, 'You know, the only thing is that the very first thing... with the first check is you have to buy each of us something.'"

"So we still haven't seen that yet, by the way," Gary jokes.

Jay DeMarcus says the band loved watching "Tequila" take Dan Shay to another level during the tour.

"They're really great guys, extraordinarily talented," Jay observes. "Shay is a world-class singer. And you know, when you see people like that that are really good and they're successful, like you chalk one up for the good guys..."

"It was fun to watch that happen throughout that summer for sure, and fun to watch he and Gary singing together. I mean, you get the two of them together in a room, man, and it's like a human jukebox."

Rascal Flatts continues their Summer Playlist trek Thursday night in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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Food NetworkOn Saturday, Trisha Yearwood will relive her recent twentieth anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry on the season 14 premiere of her cooking show on Food Network.

On the menu for the episode: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes, Chicken Pot Pie Burgers, Pepper Jack Cheese Straws, and Caramel Peanut Butter Sweet and Saltines. To find out how it’s all done, just tune in to Trisha’s Southern Kitchen at noon Eastern.

While that's airing on Saturday, Trisha will be in Pittsburgh, hosting her traditional Trisha’s Tailgate before husband Garth Brooks’ stadium show at Heinz Field.

Look for Trisha’s new country single, “Every Girl in This Town,” to arrive June 6.

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ABC/Image Group LADarius Rucker may be taking a little break from his country career these days to reunite with Hootie & the Blowfish, but next week, he’ll be back together with a couple of his comrades from Music City.

Darius is bound to bump into both Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift when he and The Blowfish perform next Tuesday on the season finale of The Voice.  The group will perform "Let Her Cry," from their best-selling debut album Cracked Rear View, which is marking its 25th anniversary this year.

Taylor, meanwhile, will sing her new smash, “ME!,” with Panic! at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie.

You can tune in to watch Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

Meanwhile, Darius hits the road with Hootie on the Group Therapy Tour May 30 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Look for the band’s first album of new music in a decade later this year as well.

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MonumentWalker Hayes has tackled a wide variety of topics in his songs. His breakthrough “You Broke Up with Me” dealt with his struggles in the music business. “Craig” was about a friend who helped him out when he needed it, and “90's Country” name checked his heroes and favorite tunes.

Now, with his new song “Don’t Let Her,” he considers what life would be like for his wife Laney if something happened to him.

“I’m honored to be sharing this powerful and massive song about Laney,” Walker says.

“I was touring in the U.K. missing her and my family terribly so I started texting myself specifics about Laney,” he recalls. “Things that if somebody were to hang out with her, what would they need to know about her."

“And then it kind of turned into a letter to whoever would take my place if something were to happen to me,” he explains. “That’s what this song is about and I hope you guys can relate in some way.”

Walker’s new single, “Don’t Let Her,” is available to stream or download now. You can also check out its new lyric video on YouTube, which traces Walker and Laney’s relationship through pictures.

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ABC/Image Group LAThomas Rhett and Jon Pardi team up to sing about the power of -- well, beer -- in the latest preview of TR’s forthcoming Center Point Road record. And yes, the uptempo pick-me-up “Beer Can’t Fix” seems tailor-made to one day be a commercial.

“Ain’t nothin’ that a beer can’t fix/Ain’t no pain it can’t wash away,” Thomas sings. “From the moment that it hits your lips/Makes those clouds look a little less gray.”

“Oh, you could be lonely or heartbroken/Or hungover from the night before,” he continues. “Turn that frown into a smile real quick/There ain’t nothin’ that a beer can’t fix.”

Pardi isn’t TR’s only all-star contributor to this song: Ryan Tedder from the band OneRepublic co-wrote the tune.   

Next Friday, Thomas Rhett will release his collaboration with Kelsea Ballerini, which is the album’s title track. The full Center Point Road album arrives a week later on May 31.

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Amazon MusicCountry’s fascination with the music of the nineties continues, as Maddie & Tae cover Diamond Rio’s classic, “Meet in the Middle.”

The original came out in February of 1991 as Diamond Rio’s very first single, and made it all the way to the top of the chart. It also made the band the first in country music history to have their debut single hit #1.

“We have always loved this song and had such a blast putting our own spin on it,” Maddie Marlow says.

Maddie & Tae’s “Meet in the Middle” cover is available exclusively on Amazon Music. If you’re not a subscriber, you can sample a snippet on the duo’s socials.

This weekend, the two play Oakland and Bakersfield, California on Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty Tour with Runaway June.

Maddie & Tae’s latest single is “Die from a Broken Heart” from their new One Heart to Another EP.

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Big Machine Lady Antebellum is back with their first new music since they changed record labels, and if their new song, “What If I Never Get Over You,” reminds you of their 2009 smash, “Need You Now,” they say that’s just fine with them.

"We hit this place of wanting to go back to where we came from," Hillary Scott explains. "This single is a great example of that.”

“We've got 13 years of life together, of work together, of ups and downs in our personal lives,” she adds. “All of that kind of encompasses one same feeling: 'We're here, we're loving it, and we're turning over a new leaf -- one that feels really familiar and authentic to ourselves as a band.'"

Dave Haywood echoes Hillary’s thoughts: "I feel like 'What If I Never Get Over You' is a turn back to our beginning, both in the sound and the core of who we are,” he says.

"We love being able to put out those big questions about lost love,” Dave continues, “like 'What if time doesn't do what it's supposed to do?' or 'What if I never move on from this relationship?’"

“It's been a bit of our magic from day one,” Charles Kelley says of the new song.

After recording for Capitol since the start of their career in 2007, the trio left to sign with Big Machine last year.

Today at 1 p.m. ET, Lady A is set to premiere the new video for “What If I Never Get over You” on YouTube. Then at  7:30 p.m. ET, they’ll do a Facebook Live event where they’ll perform the song and take questions from fans.

Tonight, they continue their Our Kind of Vegas residency at the Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms Casino Resort.

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Tonight in St. Louis, Missouri, Jimmie Allen opens for Rascal Flatts on their Summer Playlist Tour.

Fans can be sure they'll hear his breakthrough, multi-week #1 hit, "Best Shot." The crowd's reaction is also likely to match every other time Jimmie's played the song recently.

"I didn't realize how many people knew the song..." he tells ABC Radio. "I don't even have to start the song, you know, start singing."

"As soon as I play the first chords," Jimmie says, imitating the intro, "people start screaming."

"And the first time it happened, I stopped playing and was just like..." he stops, recreating his silence. "And they just took the song and started singing the whole song. I was like, 'This is crazy!'"Saturday night, Jimmie, Billy Currington, and the Flatts guys continue on to Chicago. Look for Jimmie's second single, "Make Me Want To," to be a staple of his set as well.

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Comstock/ThinkstockIn the history of Luke Bryan's career, only his second single failed to crack country's top ten. Can you name the sophomore release from the I'll Stay Me record? ANSWER: "We Rode in Trucks."

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Songwriter Glenn Martin passed away on Sunday at the age of 86. He wrote classics like Charley Pride's "Is Anybody Going to San Antone" and Merle Haggard's "If We're Not Back in Love by Monday" and "It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)," among others.

Montgomery Gentry's new EP, Outskirts, will be released on June 14. It was recorded before the passing of Troy Gentry in a helicopter crash in September of 2017.

"All on Me" hitmaker Devin Dawson plays two shows at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on Saturday.

You can check out Danielle Bradbery's new video for "Shallow" on YouTube now. She teams up with newcomer Parker McCollum to recreate the Academy-Award-winning tune from A Star Is Born by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

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With the finale of American Idol on the way Sunday, ABC has already confirmed a third season in 2020. But Luke Bryan clarifies that he, Lionel Richie, and Katy Perry are still in talks about their return.

"They have agreed to pay me $180 million..." Luke jokes. "We like that number... it's in the ballpark."

"But, no..." he adds in a more serious tone. "I'm obviously excited about the potential of a season three. We're in the business portion of it where we're working [the contract] out -- I pray to God that me and Lionel and Katie are the ones that can come back."

Luke will sing his latest hit, "Knockin' Boots," on Sunday. But regardless of what happens, he says American Idol made him better. 

"I could not be prouder of what we have put on TV..." he asserts. "I can tangibly hold my head high... It's something that I enjoy doing. It's something that I work hard at."

"My learning curve from last year to this year -- I just got a lot better..." Luke admits. "Now I hop in a cab and a lot of people don't know now my music... they just know me from American Idol."

But the Georgia native doesn't foresee any cause for worry.

"All things feel positive that me and Lionel and Katy and Ryan [Seacrest] will be back," Luke says candidly.

Luke confesses he has a dollar figure in mind.

"I always like to find out what Blake's making on The Voice, and just do one dollar more than him..." he deadpans. "I'm gonna get him all liquored up, and he's gonna tell me his salary, and then I can come back and tell Idol what I want."

The American Idol season two finale starts Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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ABC/Mark LevineThe stars will be shining brighter than ever before for Second Harvest in 2019: During CMA Fest this year, CMA and ACM Entertainer Keith Urban will headline Nashville's annual benefit to feed Tennessee’s hungry.

The 2019 Stars for Second Harvest show will be Tuesday, June 4 at Music City’s historic Ryman Auditorium. Singer/songwriter HARDY, viral sensation Mason Ramsey and others are also set to take the stage.

This is the 15th year that hit songwriter Craig Wiseman -- who helped craft Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying” -- has produced and emceed the event. Tickets are on sale now.

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CID PresentsNext year’s incarnation of Luke Bryan’s Crash My Playa getaway vacation will feature both a new home base and a superstar who’s never been there before.

As usual, Luke will headline two nights of the January 22-25 event. It’ll now be headquartered at the Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort in Riviera Cancun, Mexico.

For the first time ever, ACM Entertainer of the Decade Jason Aldean will close out one of the nights, with the other headliner and other special guests still to be announced.

“I’m so appreciative that the fans have shown up and supported this destination concert weekend,” Luke says. “To have one of my best friends, Jason, join us this year means it’s about to be epic!”

So far, for the past five years in a row, Crash My Playa’s been a sell-out every time.

Pre-sales for 2020’s version start on Monday, with packages becoming available to the general public on Wednesday. You can find out more at CrashMyPlaya.com.

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Atlantic/CurbMichael Ray will headline Rodney Atkins’ 9th Annual Music City Gives Back Concert the week of CMA Fest in Nashville.

The Monday, June 3 event will take place in Ascend Park on the Riverfront in Music City. Rodney will host the evening, while Michael will close the show. Look for more artists to be announced in the coming weeks.

The Music City Gives Back show benefits the W.O. Smith Music School, which provides music lessons to the children of Nashville.

Rodney’s top twenty hit, “Caught Up in the Country,” has just been certified gold. Michael’s also just put out a new stripped-down version of his latest single, “Her World or Mine.” You can check it out on YouTube.

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AtlanticTonight in St. Louis, Brett Eldredge is playing his stop on the Bud Light Dive Bar Tour.

Since dive bars by definition are typically small and often crowded, the location is being kept top secret to everyone except those lucky enough to score a ticket.

If you keep your eye on Brett’s socials, however, he’s hinting you’re likely to be able to see at least part of his concert on Instagram. We do know the doors for the show open at 7:30 CT.

Meanwhile, Brett’s latest single, “Love Someone,” is currently climbing in country’s top ten. It’s the third single from his self-titled album from 2017, and his biggest hit since “The Long Way” made it to #2 in April of last year.

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The Valory Music Co.Thomas Rhett’s fourth album, Center Point Road, won’t be out for two more weeks. But the “Look What God Gave Her” hitmaker revealed there’s still plenty of new music coming as fans wait for its arrival.

This Friday, TR will release his collaboration with Jon Pardi called “Beer Can’t Fix.” Ryan Tedder, frontman for pop group OneRepublic, is one of Thomas Rhett’s co-writers on the song.  

Then next Friday, we’ll be able to hear the title track, which features Kelsea Ballerini. The full Center Point Road record arrives May 31.

The new tunes join a handful of tracks from the record that are already available: “That Old Truck,” “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time” with Little Big Town, and the top ten lead single, “Look What God Gave Her.”

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