Country Music AssociationIf you can’t get enough of the “Forever Country” phenomenon, you’re not alone -- and luckily, there’s a follow-up to the superstar single the Country Music Association commissioned to celebrate the golden anniversary of the CMA Awards.
Co-hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood lead the way, in a new series of spots that expand on the “Forever Country” mashup of “On the Road Again,” “I Will Always Love You” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” In their collaboration, Brad and Carrie trade lines of John Denver’s West-Virginia themed hit and Dolly Parton’s signature song.
ABC/Image Group LAKeith Urban sang a bit of both Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” and Chic’s “Le Freak” Thursday night at L.A.’s Staples Center, on the Los Angeles stop of his Ripcord World Tour. The Aussie superstar hadn’t caught disco fever, but was simply explaining that the man behind those two songs, as well as David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” was about to join him on stage.
As legendary musician Nile Rodgers strapped on his guitar, he had some kind words for Keith as well. “I don’t want to break up the groove, but I just want to say one thing about this man. He is the brother I have never had! He is the greatest gentleman in all of music! It’s true,” the iconic producer added.
The two went on to play their collaboration from Ripcord, “Sun Don’t Let Me Down,” doing some extremely funky guitar dueling as the song wound down.
You can relive the entire mutual admiration session on YouTube.
Photo Credit: Kristin Barlowe, Courtesy of Black River EntertainmentIt’s been an emotional week for Kelsea Ballerini. On Wednesday, she acknowledged the passing of her paternal grandfather as she accepted the Breakout honor at CMT’s Artists of the Year gala. Then on Friday, she lost her grandmother as well.
“Grandma joined granddad in Heaven this morning. Married 62 years and only lived without each other 39 hours. That’s the kind of love we can all only pray to find and keep,” Kelsea reflected on Instagram.
“Bittersweet few days losing them both, but smiling knowing they are together continuing their love story. Again, thank you for the thoughts and prayers to my family, especially my daddy,” the multiple-CMA nominee concluded.
Attached to the post was a youthful black-and-white photo of the two with their arms around each other. Earlier in the week, Kelsea shared a photo of her grandfather and herself when she was little, looking remarkably like a young Reese Witherspoon.
BMLGBrantley Gilbert’s new album will be out after the first of the year, and the Georgia native has given it an ominous title. The Devil Don’t Sleep will follow 2014’s Just As I Am, which yielded two number-one hits, “Bottoms Up” and “One Hell of an Amen.”
The 16-track collection will come in both a red and a blue version, each boasting a different bonus disc that includes rare demos and unreleased material from Brantley’s career. You can pre-order the project now, in advance of its January 13, 2017 release date.
Capitol NashvilleThe Little Big Town we all know and love is back!
After their surprise collaboration in June with R&B and pop hitmaker Pharrell Williams on Wanderlust, the CMA Vocal Group of the Year returns to their roots with their new single, “Better Man.” You can download the lead track from their forthcoming eighth studio album at the usual digital outlets now.
Meanwhile, four of the best singers in the business continue to feed the “Forever Country” fire. You can check out their collaboration with CMA Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan on a mashup of Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” and Alabama’s “Mountain Music” in a new YouTube video.
The video is just one of a new series of promos driving fans to the 50th Annual CMA Awards broadcast, airing November 2 on ABC, live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
Comstock/Thinkstock One is a Country Music Hall of Famer, while the other is a superstar from East Tennessee. Can you name the two CMA Entertainers of the Year, who are tied for the most wins in the category, at four apiece? ANSWER: Garth Brooks and Kenny Chesney.
Courtesy CMTShania Twain is hard at work on her fifth studio album, and she’s been keeping fans in the know this summer by tweeting photos of her progress in the studio via social media. This week on the CMT Artists of the Year red carpet, the Canadian superstar gave the most significant update about her new music so far.
“This album is more diverse than any other album I've ever done. Not that I've done a ton of albums, but it's the most diverse of the albums I've done. There's a lot of variety there,” the first woman ever honored as CMT’s Artist of a Lifetime said. “… What I've learned about myself is, as the songwriter of all the songs, the emotion and the voice ties it all together as one artist,” she added.
Shania even alluded to the challenge of making a record without her ex-husband, her longtime producer Mutt Lange.
“I've had to learn a lot about independence on this album,” she laughed, “and it's been a lot of hard work, but the most fun hard work I think I've ever done so far!”
Earlier this month, all four of Shania’s previous albums were released on vinyl for the first time. So far, there's no word on when album number five may be coming.
Pearl Records, Inc.Garth Brooks performs his latest hit, “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance,” Friday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but that’s not the only country connection on the week-ending edition of Ellen’s talk show.
Robin Roberts also sits down with the popular comedian, just as the GMA anchor prepares to host her annual pre-CMA special. All Access Nashville: Celebrating the CMA Awards with Robin Roberts airs Monday, October 31 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.
Check your local listings to find out when you can see Ellen in your area.
Courtesy CMTA packed-house witnessed the triumphant return of Shania Twain during the 2016 Artists of the Year ceremony this week at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Dressed to kill in a black cleavage-baring catsuit, the Canadian superstar left no doubt why CMT was honoring her as its very first female Artist of a Lifetime, even though she never sang a note.
Florida Georgia Line kicked off the night with their latest single, “May We All,” before accepting their trophy from Nashville’s Charles Esten, who recalled performing with the duo on an episode of the show, whose new season kicks off January 5 on CMT.
Chris Stapleton stepped out alone, for an electric-guitar-fueled rendition of the Traveller track “Whiskey and You.” Accepting his award from Luke Bryan, he recalled his first major television exposure on this very show, where he filled in for the CMA Entertainer of the Year when a death in the family left him unable to perform the Stapleton-penned “Drink a Beer.”
If you watched closely, you noticed Shania singing every word to “Peter Pan,” as Kelsea Ballerini floated her latest number-one. “I love you for coming to Nashville for me,” Kelsea told her Greatest Hits co-host Arsenio Hall, who gave her the Breakout award. “My granddad passed away this afternoon, so this is for him,” she finished.
After Luke Bryan and Karen Fairchild served a road-tested take on “Home Alone Tonight,” Karen and her Little Big Town band mates brought their tourmate a kid’s bike with training wheels, suggesting Luke’s lack of skill may have contributed to his recent clavicle-breaking accident. “They do party more than me,” he countered while accepting his honor. “They’ve taught me how to beat hangovers this year!”
Olympians Aly Raisman and Madison Kocian introduced Carrie Underwood’s version of the Storyteller track “Like I’ll Never Love You Again,” accompanied by The Love Junkies, the formidable female songwriters who crafted the tune. “Ah, man! I don’t know why I’m getting teary-eyed,” the CMA Entertainer of the Year nominee said as she tried to compose herself.
Thomas Rhett thanked pop sensation Zara Larsson for flying all the way to Music City from Sweden to do a mashup of “Die a Happy Man” alongside her hit “Never Forget You,” noting she was next bound for Australia.
Carrie Underwood led the grand finale, bringing on Best New Artist Grammy winner Meghan Trainor to kick off a Shania medley with “You’re Still the One.” Kelsea Ballerini’s “Any Man of Mine” merged into R&B diva Jill Scott’s soulful take on “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.”
“Music has always been my best friend. I love dogs, but…” Shania joked as she grasped her award. “I just feel like I don’t want to get off the stage right now because I’m loving this moment.”
BMLGEpic end-of-tour pranks have become as much a part of country music as the CMA Awards, and country rapper Colt Ford recently staged a memorable one as he wrapped up his time on the Take It Outside trek with Brantley Gilbert.
Each night on tour, Colt came out during Brantley’s set to sing “Dirt Road Anthem,” the hit the two wrote together for Jason Aldean. For the final night of their shows together, Colt decided it would be appropriate to descend from the rafters dressed as Batman.
You can experience the moment for yourself via a video now posted on YouTube. It documents both the challenges of raising a rather sizeable man high into the air, as well as Brantley doubled over in laughter after he realizes what’s happening.
ABC/Randy HolmesEntertainment icon Bette Midler is a huge fan of the Possum. The 70-year-old made the revelation in a new Entertainment Weekly interview about the re-release of her debut album from 1972, The Divine Miss M, which comes out this Friday.
“I listen to old-school country like George Jones,” the actress and singer told EW when asked which other singers she admires. “I didn’t know what to do when he passed away!” she told the magazine. “Life does come to an end, my dear.”
This season, Bette is rubbing elbows with another country icon, as she appears with Blake Shelton as a mentor on NBC’s The Voice.
RCA NashvilleThis December, Florida native Jake Owen will continue his decade-long tradition of giving back to the community that raised him. He’ll play his annual benefit show Friday, December 9 at the Vero Beach High School Performing Arts Center, to raise money for his foundation.
“To think that we have been doing this concert for ten years and raised $1.25 million to date for local charities and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital means so much to me and my dad, Steve Owen, who is a huge part of this event,” the “American Country Love Song” hitmaker says.
Tickets for the show go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. ET online.
Arista NashvilleIt looks like there’s another album and another baby in Carrie Underwood’s future -- but the CMA Entertainer of the Year nominee says only heaven knows which will come first.
“It’s all on God’s timing and we just kind of realize we’re not in control and just take things as they come,” she tells Entertainment Tonight, addressing when she and husband Mike Fisher might give soon-to-be two-year-old Isaiah a sibling.
As for the follow-up to Storyteller, Carrie expects that will be number one on her agenda as soon as she comes off the road.
“I haven’t started writing or anything for it, but I would imagine as soon as the tour wraps up, that will be the next thing on my mind,” she says.
This weekend, The Storyteller Tour -- Stories in the Round rolls through Charlottesville, Virginia and Charlotte, North Carolina, on its way to New York City’s Madison Square Garden next week.
CMTBy this time tomorrow, lots of folks will likely be thinking that Jill Scott needs to record an entire album of Shania Twain covers. The R&B diva stole the show Wednesday night at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, performing “Man, I Feel Like a Woman!” as part of CMT’s Artist of a Lifetime tribute to the Canadian superstar.
Best New Artist Grammy winner Meghan Trainor started the medley with “You’re Still the One,” seguing into Kelsea Ballerini singing “Any Man of Mine.”
For Shania herself, the lifetime achievement accolade got her doing some math.
“It's an honor -- nothing short of the greatest honor!” Shania said beforehand on the red carpet. “And it's made me reflect on my life and my career in my life. Because, the funny thing is that it's basically been my entire life. This is what I ended up working out, because I've been doing this professionally for 44 years. That is the majority of my life! I would never have stopped and calculated that otherwise, if it hadn't been for this lifetime award… It feels really great and I'm humbled by it, really.”
You can catch the entire 90-minute Artists of the Year special tonight at 9 p.m. ET on CMT.
Comstock/Thinkstock Ten years ago this week, this "Indian Outlaw" got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at the time in front of the Virgin Records store. Can you name him? ANSWER: Tim McGraw.
ABC/Image Group LA Thomas Rhett performed a mashup of his smash “Die a Happy Man” Wednesday night at CMT’s Artists of the Year taping in Nashville, with Swedish pop sensation Zara Larsson joining in with her hit, “Never Forget You.”
While this is TR’s first time as one of the night’s main honorees, he’s actually sung on the show before.
“I was here last year, actually,” he recalls, “because Tyler [Hubbard] from Florida Georgia Line got really sick, and I came and got to sing 'Dirt' in honor of Florida Georgia Line. And I remember being like, 'Dang, I'd love to be here as an Artist of the Year.' And here we are one year later as one of those people, so I'm just floored that I was picked to be one of the five, and just very honored to be a part of tonight's festivities.”
The “Star of the Show” singer says the CMT honor is just the icing on the cake after an incredible year.
“I don't even know what to think!” Thomas Rhett confesses. “I just hope I'm prepared for all these adventures that we're about to set out on. This year's been amazing. It's one for the books. You know, when I look back in 20 or 30 years, I know that this year will be very memorable to me. So to be here tonight, man, is crazy!”
You can experience the Artists of the Year special yourself, when it airs Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET on CMT.
BMLGAfter wrapping up their summer Rhythm and Roots dates earlier this month, it looked like Rascal Flatts was pretty well done with their shows for 2016. But, it turns out you have at least one more chance to see the CMA-nominated supergroup before the end of the year.
The trio will do one more intimate, one-night-only performance November 14 at the Theater at New York City's Madison Square Garden to promote their new Christmas album, which comes out this Friday. Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney will perform highlights from The Greatest Gift of All, as well as the Rascal Flatts classics fans have come to expect.
BMLGTuckerBeathard’s follow-up to his #2 debut single, “Rock On,” is a tribute to his momma.
“I pray for all my kids every day, but sometimes I have to send an extra one up for Tucker,” Susan Beathard says of her offspring who inspired his father, Casey Beathard, to write the hit “Homeboy” for Eric Church. You can meet Tucker’s mom in a new video now posted on YouTube.
“In a lot of ways I was a typical teenager, getting into trouble and doing thing I shouldn’t, and I definitely pushed things a little too far a time or two,” Tucker confesses. “My mom raised and is still raising five kids, and it takes a strong woman to steer us all in the right direction. I have so much respect for the job she’s done. I know at some point she probably wanted to ship me off to military school or something, but she stuck with me!”
“Momma and Jesus” is the second single from the newcomer’s Fight Like Hell EP.
Arista NashvilleThe seize-the-moment message of Brad Paisley’s new single is resonating with fans so much, they’re flooding his Facebook page with wedding proposals, baby announcements, first dances at weddings and loved ones returning from serving in the armed forces.
“I have seen and read the posts and I’m thrilled that the song and video is touching a chord with so many,” Brad says. “‘Today’ means a lot to me and I’m glad it’s a favorite of so many so soon.”
The second single from Brad’s 11th album is already a hit on the charts at well. Currently sitting at #1 on Billboard’s Country Digital Sales tally, it’s also at number 12 on the magazine’s Hot Country Songs ranking.