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Bug Country Celebrates 20 Years in 2015!
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BMICountry Music Hall of Fame member Billy Sherrill died Tuesday morning following a short illness.  He was 78 years old.

Sherrill is best known for producing country standards such as Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors," George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man," which he co-wrote with Tammy. He is credited with bringing a lush, orchestrated sound to country music.

Born in Phil Campbell, Alabama on November 5, 1936, Sherrill got his break in 1962 when Sun Records' Sam Phillips hired him as a producer and engineer in Nashville. He went on to Epic Records and wrote and produced David Houston's 1966 #1 country hit, "Almost Persuaded." That song went on to win three Grammy Awards.

Sherrill is the man who signed Tammy Wynette to Epic Records. He went on to work with artists ranging from Johnny Paycheck, Tanya Tucker, Barbara Mandrell and Shelby Lynne to Elvis Costello and Ray Charles. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010.

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Stoney CreekCongratulations to Thompson Square's Keifer and Shawna Thompson on the impending arrival of their first baby. The couple made the announcement via Instagram drinking out of Diet Coke cans with "Share a Diet Coke with Mom" and "Dad" printed on the side.

The caption reads, "WELL….WE HAVE DECIDED NOT TO BE A DUO ANYMORE!!!!" #Jan2016 #WeDidIt #BabyOnBoard."

The couple adds in a statement, "We are overjoyed to announce that after 16 years of marriage, we are finally starting a family and are excited beyond words to begin this new journey into parenthood!"

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WELL……WE HAVE DECIDED NOT TO BE A DUO ANYMORE!!!!!!! #Jan2016 #T3 #WeDidIt #BabyOnBoard

A photo posted by thompson square (@thompsonsquare) on Aug 4, 2015 at 9:58am PDT

 

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McGraw MusicTim McGraw debuted his brand-new single, "Top of the World," in a truly astronomical way. An exclusive 15-second clip of the song was sent to NASA and the International Space Station via Twitter on Monday. The crew of the International Space Station wrote back, "Thanks, @TheTimMcgraw! You’re on #TopOfTheWorld…we orbit around it."

Tim replied, "Maybe you’ll fly over my next concert. We love what you’re doing up there, pushing humanity forward. Keep up the great work!"

The track is now available at all digital retailers. "Top of the World" is the lead single from Tim's upcoming 14th studio album, due out this fall.

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Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the name of Reba's most recent album, released earlier this year? ANSWER: Love Somebody.

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Warner Music NashvilleChris Janson celebrated the top 10 success of his single "Buy Me a Boat" by purchasing a few kayaks for his family. Chris and his wife and kids took the kayaks out on the Harpeth River near their home in Middle Tennessee last week.

He says, "We had the afternoon off and wanted to get on the river and this was the fastest way to do it. The river is close to the house and it’s a great way to spend the afternoon with the family. We’re not home much this summer but we will get back out there every chance we get.”

Chris is currently on the road with Toby Keith's Good Times & Pick Up Lines tour.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockKathy Mattea and Sheryl Crow are performing at the Lean on Him tribute concert for Bill Withers coming up Thursday, October 1 at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The concert celebrates Bill Withers' induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The Band Perry will release their new single, "Live Forever," on August 14.

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CMALittle Big Town returns for a third turn as hosts of ABC's CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock, airing Tuesday night at 8 ET. The group taped the special in early June during CMA Music Festival in Nashville, and LBT's Jimi Westbrook says they've come a long way since they first hosted the show.

"We were a little shaky and nervous the first year, but now we feel really comfortable, and it's been a blast," Jimi says. "It's such a cool thing 'cause we're here for the entire thing. We get to see everybody that's here and hang out with them and listen to them play. It's just a great experience."

For Jason Aldean, taking part in CMA Music Festival gives him a chance to interact with his fans in an intimate setting. You can see a bit of what he's talking about on the ABC special.

Jason says, "[We] get a chance to let them experience something they don't get a chance to experience on a tour stop or something, where they get a chance to sit in a room with you that's this big and sit down and sort of have one-on-one conversation time with you."

Jason also realizes attending CMA Music Festival doubles as a summer vacation for some fans. Knowing they spent that money to come to Nashville is definitely on Jason's mind when he plays the stadium shows at CMA Music Festival.

He adds, "We want to go out and give 'em the best show we can -- make it worth their trip."

Dierks Bentley echoes Jason's thoughts and says you can feel the excitement from the CMA Music Fest crowd. That makes Dierks and his fellow country stars want to give the audience something to talk about when they go back home.

Dierks says, "You walk out onstage already on a 12, just pumped up. You know everyone's just having a great time. They're hearing their favorite acts sing their top-five biggest songs."

Kenny Chesney thinks viewers of the CMA Music Festival special will get a taste of why the country format is different than any other genre of music.

He says, "There are a lot of festivals out there. There's a lot of things people can go to, but this is very much about just a love letter to the fans, in my opinion, and saying thank you."

Little Big Town, Jason, Dierks and Kenny are all appearing on the CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock special Tuesday night at 8 ET on ABC. Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line, Eric Church, Thomas Rhett, Lady Antebellum and Keith Urban are among the other stars performing on the three-hour broadcast.

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CMAJennifer Nettles has parted ways with her record label, Universal Music Group, just days after releasing "Sugar," which was to have been the lead single from her upcoming sophomore solo album.

The Sugarland singer tells Billboard, "I want to thank Universal Nashville for 11 wonderful years. This change is the first step on a path I've been wanting to take. I am so excited about the next part of my journey and I invite my fans to stay tuned."

Jennifer released her solo debut album, That Girl, in January 2014. Universal Music Group still holds the rights to any future Sugarland projects.

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CMAJason Aldean is going for a fourth #1 hit from his latest album, Old Boots, New Dirt, with his brand-new single, "Gonna Know We Were Here." That title seems appropriate as Jason continues to break attendance records at his stadium shows this summer with pal Kenny Chesney.

Jason says of the new track, "In the grand scheme of things, we’re here for a short period of time. By the time I leave, I'm gonna make some noise and I know my fans can relate. I see them out there every night living it up right there with me!"

Jason and Kenny head to Denver this Saturday for a show at Sports Authority Field.

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Christopher Polk/Getty Images for dcpIt's the second major split for a country star in a month.  Reba McEntire is ending her marriage to Narvel Blackstock, her manager and husband of 26 years.

In a joint statement, the couple announce that they have been separated for the past few months, after 26 years of marriage, adding, "Despite this being the end of their marriage, they continue to support each other. They have worked together for 35 years and will continue to do so. They have asked that you respect their privacy during this time."

Blackstock, Reba's former steel guitar player, is the star's second husband; her first marriage, to Charlie Battles, ended in divorce in 1987.  Battles passed away in 2013. 

Blackstock and Reba had one child together, son Shelby, who was born in 1990.  She also has three stepchildren from Blackstock's previous marriage, including Brandon Blackstock, who is married to Kelly Clarkson.

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CMALuke Bryan has scored another #1 hit with his latest single, "Kick the Dust Up." It's the lead single from his new album, Kill the Lights, due out this Friday. Look for Luke to debut his brand-new single, "Strip It Down," this Friday on ABC's Good Morning America. He'll perform the song again Monday, August 10 on NBC's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Luke co-wrote six of the 13 tracks on Kill the Lights, including the title cut.

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Broken Bow RecordsDustin Lynch will kick off his first-ever headlining trek starting November 14 in Richmond, Virginia. The Hell of a Night tour will hit more than 35 cities, including New York City, Boston, Houston and New Orleans.

Dustin says, "Touring with Luke Bryan and Keith Urban, I’ve learned from the best and now to headline my first tour is a dream come true. The first night can’t get here fast enough and I’m excited for fans to see what we have in store!"

Newcomer Chris Lane is the special guest on Dustin's Hell of a Night tour. Look for more dates to be added soon.

Here are Dustin's announced headlining tour dates for 2015 and 2016:

11/14 -- Richmond, VA, The National Theater
11/15 -- Norfolk, VA, The NorVA Theatre
11/19 -- Kansas City, MO, Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland
11/20 -- Denver, CO, Fillmore Auditorium
11/22 -- Boise, ID, Knitting Factory
11/27 -- Indianapolis, IN, Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
11/28 -- Memphis, TN, New Daisy Theatre
12/3 -- Lake Buena Vista, FL, House of Blues
12/6 -- Greensboro, NC, Cone Denim Entertainment Center
12/10 -- Wallingford, CT, The Dome at Oakdale Theatre
12/11 -- Huntington, NY, The Paramount
12/12 -- New York, NY, Irving Plaza
12/13 -- Clifton Park, NY, Upstate Concert Hall
12/18 -- Grand Rapids, MI, The Intersection
2/4 -- New Orleans, LA, House of Blues
2/5 -- Houston, TX, House of Blues
2/11 -- Boston, MA, House of Blues
2/13 -- Silver Spring, MD, The Fillmore
2/20 -- Cincinnati, OH, Bogart's

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Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes sent a video serenade of his song "Invisible" to fan from Maryland just one day before she passed away from cancer. In the clipd he called her "a rock star" and one of the most inspiring human beings he has ever come across.

Her name was Erin Catterton, and she lost her battle to uterine cancer on July 29 at age 22. Before her passing, Erin's brother, Robert, reached out to Hunter's camp to try to fulfill her wish to meet her favorite singer. Hunter responded by sending Erin a heartfelt video performance of "Invisible" filmed in his hotel room in Los Angeles. According to Hunter's camp, Erin was able to watch the video on repeat with her family before she passed away. Hunter had hoped to meet Erin in person, and she was able to attend several of his shows over the years. Robert wanted the world to see the video to honor his sister and thank Hunter.


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Erin had battled cancer for much of her life. According to Robert, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was just four-years-old. Just a few weeks ago, doctors found a tumor in Erin's uterus. She was surrounded by her family when she died last week and was laid to rest on Monday.

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Valory Music Co.Thomas Rhett has revealed more details of his genre-bending new album, Tangled Up, due out September 25. The project features his R&B-inspired hit, "Crash and Burn," as well as collaborations with pop/R&B stars Jordin Sparks and Lunch Money Lewis.

"I didn't grow up listening to just one style of music," Thomas says of his varied musical influences. "So, I don't know how to write just one style of music. Whether these songs have more of a pop influence or more of a hip-hop influence or a completely country influence, they all -- in some crazy way -- cohesively sound like a me song."

Thomas is a co-writer on seven of the 13 tracks on Tangled Up.

Here is the Tangled Up track listing:

"Anthem"
"Crash and Burn"
"South Side"
"Die a Happy Man"
"Vacation"
"Like It's the Last Time"
"T-Shirt"
"Single Girl"
"The Day You Stop Looking Back"
"Tangled Up"
"Playing with Fire" (featuring Jordin Sparks)
"I Feel Good" (featuring Lunch Money Lewis)
"Learned It from the Radio"

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Joseph Llanes/UMGKip Moore will launch his 2015 Wild Ones Tour October 8 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in support of his new album, Wild Ones, due out August 21. If you've caught Kip's show in the last few months, then you've probably already heard a good chunk of his new project.

Kip says, "We've been playing so many of these new songs in the live show because we road-tested them night after night before recording what became the final album.   They were a huge part in helping me formulate what Wild Ones became."

Kip's new tour will play New York City's Terminal Five and Boston's House of Blues. Newcomer Michael Ray is the special guest on all dates with Chris Cavanaugh, Joey Hyde and DeeJay Silver joining the tour for select shows.

Look for Kip to perform his latest single, "I'm to Blame," on ABC's CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock special Tuesday night at 8 ET.

Here are Kip's 2015 Wild Ones tour dates:

10/8 -- Bethlehem, PA
10/9 -- Pittsburgh, PA
10/16 -- London, ON (CAN)
10/17 -- Toronto, ON (CAN)
10/22 - 10/23 -- Chicago, IL
10/30 -- Boston, MA
10/31 -- Baltimore ,MD
11/5 -- Knoxville, TN
11/7 -- Cleveland, OH
11/13 -- Orlando, FL
11/14 -- Ft. Myers, FL
11/19 -- Nacogdoches, TX
11/27 -- N. Myrtle Beach, SC
11/28 -- Charlotte, NC
12/3 -- New York, NY
12/4 -- Sayreville, NJ
12/5 -- Richmond, VA

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ABC RadioFlorida Georgia Line is just one of the superstar acts you'll see performing on ABC's CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock Tuesday night at 8 ET. The three-hour special was shot last month on location in Nashville during the four-day CMA Music Festival. The event attracts fans from around the world because it offers the public a chance to interact with their favorite country stars on top of seeing them perform live.

While taping a segment for the ABC special during CMA Music Festival, FGL's Tyler Hubbard said, "CMA Fest in Nashville, Tennessee is where all the most passionate and most loyal fans join forces for a whole week, from all over the world. Europe, Canada. We've met people from everywhere. The energy here is insane."

Meeting their fans during CMA Music Festival week gives Florida Georgia Line a chance to really spend time with the people who buy their music and concert tickets.

"It's cool to hear their stories, how they've connected with our music," says FGl's Brian Kelley. "How it's touching them and their friends and how they like Cole Swindell now because of us, or they like so and so. It's really cool."

He adds, "Our fans are very loyal. The connection is what country music is all about."

A lot of those behind-the-scenes moments will be featured on ABC's CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock special Tuesday night. The show will feature performances and interviews with Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Thomas Rhett, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church and many more country stars. Little Big Town hosts the special for the third year in a row.

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Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is the name of the clothing and lifestyle brand Florida Georgia Line's Brian Kelley runs with his wife, Brittney? ANSWER: Tribe Kelley.

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Warner Music NashvilleBrett Eldredge has a really rough gig coming up. He's signed on as a celebrity judge for the 95th annual Miss America Competition airing this Sunday, September 13 on ABC.

Brett says, "I get to judge Miss America. Are you kidding me?! Talk about a dream come true! I can't wait to be a part of this."

The Miss America Competition will broadcast live from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Fifty-two women representing their home states and territories will compete to be named Miss America and win scholarship money.

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Webster PRDolly Parton played two sold-out benefit concerts at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium Friday and Saturday night. The shows marked the first time Dolly had headlined a concert in Nashville since her 2002 concert at the Ryman, which was the home of the Grand Ole Opry when Dolly became a member in 1969.

Dolly admits she usually likes to just stay home when she's in Nashville, but the Ryman is always her first choice when she plays Music City.

She says of the historic venue, "I just wanted this to be the place I played because I felt safe there. It's so intimate and wonderful."

Proceeds from Dolly's concerts, titled Dolly Parton: Pure and Simple, went to benefit the Dustin Wells Foundation's work with Nashville's W.O. Smith Music School and the Opry Trust Fund. Tickets for the concerts sold out in a matter of minutes, which was a shock for Dolly.

"I guess I just felt like that many people didn't really want to see me in Nashville," Dolly explains. "I felt like they knew me, but the tickets sold out real fast, but I think a lot of that was also for the worthy causes that we're doing."

As for the concerts, Dolly performed more than 20 songs each night, including a show-stopping a capella delivery of her song "Little Sparrow." Hits such as "Coat of Many Colors," "Jolene," "Here You Come Again" and "9 to 5" dotted the set list along with more obscure selections like "Tennessee Mountain Home, "PMS Blues" and "Smoky Mountain Memories." As always, Dolly closed out the show with "I Will Always Love You."

Some major stars were spotted in the audience for both of Dolly's shows. Naomi and Ashley Judd and John Rich from Big & Rich were there Friday. Nashville's Connie Britton, Reba and Little Big Town's Jimi Westbrook and Karen Fairchild were spotted in the crowd Saturday night.

Of note, Dolly remembered the late Lynn Anderson during a press conference prior to the Friday-night show. She remembers seeing Lynn backstage at awards shows and concerts over the years.

Dolly says, "I just loved her to death. I was really sorry to hear that 'cause she was a good gal. So, we'll miss her. She's blooming in God's rose garden now."

Best known for her hit, "Rose Garden," Lynn Anderson died Thursday night at age 67. She will be remembered at a funeral this Wednesday in Nashville.

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Sony Music NashvilleMiranda Lambert was in the audience for Shania Twain's concert in Nashville Friday night. The two connected backstage after the show and hugged for a photograph posted on Shania's Instagram account. During the show, Miranda posted an Instagram picture of Shania riding a fringe saddle on the end of a crane that took her out over the audience. The caption reads, "Shania Twain. Fringe Saddle. That's All. #nashville #girlsnight #rockthiscountry #bada** #musicismedicine."

 

Girls night, love seeing you! #RockThisCountry

A photo posted by Shania Twain (@shaniatwain) on Aug 1, 2015 at 4:54pm PDT

Shania Twain. Fringe Saddle. That's All. #nashville #girlsnight #rockthiscountry #badass #musicismedicine

A photo posted by Miranda Lambert (@mirandalambert) on Aug 1, 2015 at 11:06am PDT

 

Kip Moore was also spotted in the audience at the Shania show.

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Dave Silvers
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There are MANY GREAT regional concerts throughout the year--who would you LOVE to see?
MONTGOMERY GENTRY!
Lady Antebellum
Dierks Bentley
Florida Georgia Line
Zac Brown Band
Luke Bryan
Kenny Chesney
Brantley Gilbert
Eric Church
Toby Keith
Brad Paisley
Other
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