"Ex's and Oh's" singer Elle King is five months pregnant, but that's not stopping her from opening the Academy of Country Music Awards Sunday night with her pal Miranda Lambert: They'll be singing their current duet, "Drunk (And I Don't Wanna Go Home)." But Elle says it's ironic that she'll be singing about getting drunk when her current condition keeps her from doing just that.
"Am I like, 'FOMO,' really hard right now? Yes. Am I still having fun? Yes!" she tells ABC Audio. "Is it for the best that I'm not living up to this song's full potential? For the best for sure, yeah! Because I mean, you know, I can light a match, y'know what I'm sayin'?"
But other than the fact that she and Miranda won't be popping bottles on Sunday night, Elle says she has no complaints about her pregnancy -- or her life, for that matter.
"I'm, like, in a really awesome place. What can I say?" Elle declares. "You know, I've got a song is doing well. I'm about to open a massive awards show with my friend. I've got a little baby that I worked really hard for. [My fiancé and I] just bought our dream house."
"Like, I feel like I'm bragging," she goes on. "But after this wild, very long, long year-plus, I feel like I have so much to be grateful for that, y'know, a little nausea here and there can't get me down!"
The Academy of Country Music Awards airs Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. Other stars who'll be appearing include John Legend, Dan + Shay, Maren Morris, Gabby Barrett, Kane Brown, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, and Lady A.
Two more early ACM Awards winners have been announced ahead of Sunday night’s show: Carly Pearce and Lee Brice were surprised with their trophies for Music Event of the Year, thanks to their duet, “I Hope You’re Happy Now.”
The pair got the big news during what they thought was a pre-ACMs interview, which quickly became a giddy celebration when they were handed their trophies.
“I mean, just to think about how hard I and my team fought to get this song right, and how much your voice lent exactly what I always wanted for it...” Carly told Lee, adding, “Wow! I can’t believe it.”
“Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this,” Lee added. “Thank y’all so much for letting us be in this category, and now, wow!”
It’s Carly’s first-ever ACM award, and Lee’s fourth. Also, it’s the second time that “I Hope You’re Happy Now” was earned the pair a trophy: The song won in the same category at last November’s CMA Awards.
The two artists will also be performing “I Hope You’re Happy Now” during the show on Sunday. They'd planned to perform it during the CMAs, but Lee had to sit out the show at the last minute due to a positive COVID-19 test, and Carly performed it instead with Lady A's Charles Kelley.
Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney will perform their new duet, “half of my hometown,” at the upcoming ACM Awards, something Kelsea is expecting to be an emotional experience.
“It’s a full circle [moment],” the singer says. “We haven’t performed it together, but we were in the studio together. And for some reason, I think this song really just pulls at both of our heart strings.”
The song, which is the newest single off of Kelsea’s self-titled third studio album, is a reflection on roots and home. Kenny is an especially meaningful duet partner, as he and Kelsea share a hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee.
“It’ll be a miracle I don’t cry. Everybody knows I cry at everything,” she adds with a laugh. “I’ll probably cry.”
That’s why Kelsea’s planning a “no bells and whistles” outfit for her performance: “We want the song to be about the song. So I think we’re just going to keep it very casual."
Of course, Kelsea’s a nominee as well as a performer: She’s up for ACM Female Artist of the Year. But the singer says she hasn’t thought all that much about what she’ll do if she wins.
“I don’t think about it. I really don’t,” she says. “I think if that ever happens for me, I’ll be so genuinely shocked and excited that I would want that to be a pure moment that I don’t overthink -- because I overthink a lot in my life!”
Now, she’s trying to save her overthinking for the time she spends performing on stage.
“That’s what I’m in control of,” Kelsea reasons. “So that’s where I’ll be in my head.”
The 2021 ACM Awards air on Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.
Niko Moon and reggae star Shaggy have released an animated music video to go along with their remix of “Good Time,” Niko’s chart-topping country hit.
Lindsay Ell, Cassadee Pope, Mitchell Tenpenny and more will perform during ACM Lifting Lives’ ACM Pre-Party for a Cause, ahead of Sunday’s ACM Awards show. The event will simulcast across the ACM’s YouTube and Facebook pages on Saturday at 7PM ET, and will remain up for the 24 hours leading up to the telecast.
Eric Church begins the roll-out of his Heart & Soul triple album on Friday, starting with the release of the first collection, Heart.
But before it drops, members of Eric’s Church Choir fan club will have the chance to listen to the collection early: The singer’s offering an advance listen of Heart in its entirety exclusively to fan club members.
The singer is known for making sure his fans are always the first to get news or hear music from him. In fact, one of Heart & Soul’s three collections -- the middle album, & -- is going to remain a fan club-exclusive vinyl record.
But even fans who aren’t members of the Church Choir will have plenty of exciting opportunities to see Eric in the days ahead. He’s performing at Sunday’s ACM Awards show, and next Tuesday, he’ll sing some of his new material during an Amazon Music livestream event.
Eric also recently announced plans to return to the road: His Gather Again Tour launches this September and stretches through next May. Meanwhile, his current single, “Hell of a View,” is inside country radio’s top 15.
Keith Urban is a featured guest on two “From the Vault” songs on Taylor Swift’s re-recorded Fearless album, duetting with the superstar on “That’s When” and also lending some harmonies to “We Were Happy.”
But the singer wasn’t in a fancy recording studio or on a private jet the first time he heard the two unreleased songs from Taylor: On the contrary, he was running some pre-Christmas errands.
During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Keith tells the story of how he got the tracks from Taylor. “We were in Australia. I was doing some Christmas shopping at a shopping mall in December...and I get a text from Taylor,” he remembers.
After asking if he was interested in singing on the tracks, Taylor sent over the two songs, and Keith found a convenient place to sit down and listen to them.
“I’m sitting in the food court at the shopping center, listening to these two unreleased Taylor Swift songs,” he adds with a laugh. “It was, uh, and unusual place to be hearing unreleased Taylor Swift music! But I loved the songs, and luckily got to put a vocal on both of those.”
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) arrived on April 9. In addition to Keith’s guest spots, it also includes backing vocals from Maren Morris on another “From the Vault” track, “You All Over Me.”
Little Big Town will perform “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” from Nashville’s Lower Broadway during the ACM Awards on Sunday, but they’ll be down a member: One-fourth of the group, Phillip Sweet, has tested positive for COVID-19.
“Phillip came down with [COVID],” band mate Jimi Westbrook reveals ahead of the show. “Unfortunately, he’s not going to be able to be on the show with us, or any of that. But he’s hanging in there with it.”
“We talk to him every day,” adds Karen Fairchild. “And Kimberly [Schlapman] made him chicken and dumplings, and left it on the porch yesterday. So he should be healed by now.”
All three of Phillip’s band mates agree that it’ll be “weird” performing without him. “Like, ‘Who’s gonna drop down and sing Phillip’s part?’ Figuring all that out,” Karen adds with a laugh.
“But we’re going to do the best we can, because it’s such an incredible opportunity to be on the ACM show. And hopefully, the energy will be fun, I think,” she adds. “We’re going to be performing in downtown Nashville.”
Plus, the band is hoping to find a way to involve Phillip virtually, providing he’s well enough.
“If he’s up to it, he’ll make a Zoom appearance,” Karen hints.
Little Big Town are nominated for Group of the Year at the ACMs. The show airs live from Nashville on Sunday at 9PM ET on CBS.
Brothers Osborne are the next major country act to plan their return to the road. The sibling duo just announced their We’re Not for Everyone Tour, a massive amphitheater run that includes almost 50 stops across the U.S.
Launching on July 29 in Philadelphia, the tour will extend through the fall and wrap on November 20. Tickets go on sale April 23, but the duo’s “The Family” fan club members will have access to a special pre-sale beginning April 20.
Opening acts for the We’re Not for Everyone Tour are Tenille Townes and Travis Denning, who will appear at alternating shows.
Ahead of the tour’s kick-off, the Brothers Osborne will release an autobiographical new song called “Younger Me” this Friday. Penned by the duo’s TJ Osborne, “Younger Me” is a response to the support TJ received after coming out as gay in TIME magazine earlier this spring. TJ is now the first mainstream country artist signed to one of the genre’s major labels to be openly gay.
It’ll be a big few days for the duo, as they’re headed to the 2021 ACM Awards just 48 hours after dropping their new song.
The Brothers Osborne are nominated for Duo of the Year at the ACMs, and are also up for Album of the Year thanks to their third studio project, Skeletons. At the show, they’ll perform two tracks off that album: Their new single, “I’m Not for Everyone,” and hard-rocking album cut “Deadman’s Curve.”
Dan + Shay have won ACM Duo of the Year for two years running, and they’ve got a chance to pick up a third trophy in the category this year.
But competition is tight: They’re up against Florida Georgia Line, Brothers Osborne and Brooks & Dunn -- all three of whom have been named Duo of the Year at least once -- as well as Maddie & Tae, who are coming off a banner year with the success of their “Die from a Broken Heart.”
Ahead of this year’s show, the band’s Dan Smyers admits that even though they’re huge fans of every act nominated in the category, they’re hoping to win.
“Man -- I don’t know, we love winning awards,” he says. “Anybody who says they don’t, I think they’d be lying. We’re all super competitive, to get to this point in our careers where we’re even nominated. Everybody works hard.”
Though Dan + Shay may be on a hot streak at awards shows these days, they know what it feels like to lose.
“If you don’t win, it’s not a testament that you were lesser than somebody. It’s just the way the cookie crumbled that day. But it hurts, man,” Dan reflects. “...I remember sitting at a couple of awards shows when ‘Tequila’ was happening...You get your hopes up...And then you lose and you’re like, ‘Does the song suck?’”
But ultimately, awards shows win and nominations are just one aspect of a career that they’re lucky to have.
“You take a step back and you’re just grateful to be doing music and that people are willing to listen,” Dan notes.
Dan + Shay are also performing their new song, “Glad You Exist,” at the ACMs. The show airs this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.
Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney pay homage to their shared hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee on “half of my hometown,” a plaintive, mid-tempo ballad that originally appeared on Kelsea’s self-titled third album, which she put out in March of 2020.
The new single finds the two stars looking back at their roots. “Besides being a dream collaboration with Kenny, which I still can’t believe happened, this is really a love letter to home,” Kelsea reflects.
“It can be about wherever you’re from,” she adds, “and the people who love you, support you, drove you crazy, made you cry and made you who you are.”
For his part, Kenny says the nostalgia -- and the inherent sadness of leaving such a familiar place behind -- is what first drew him to “half of my hometown.”
“There’s a real tug of who you are and who you were in the place where you grow up, and that never leaves you,” he points out. “When Kelsea sent me 'half of my hometown,' it was everything that leaving is: The tug of what you’re leaving, the need to chase your dreams, the truth of all the good things and the hunger to see the rest of the world.”
The pair will come together for the first time to perform the song at the 2021 ACM Awards, which airs this Sunday at 9:00p.m. ET on CBS.
Today, a Kentucky native known for his powerful, distinctive voice -- and his equally distinctive beard -- turns 43 years old. He got an early birthday present this week, earning a chart-topping hit at country radio with “Starting Over.” Can you name him? ANSWER: Chris Stapleton.
Cole Swindell has partnered with Four Corners Motorcycle Rally Quaid Harley-Davidson for a fundraising sweepstakes to benefit The Warrior Built Foundation, a nonprofit that supports veterans. Participants can enter for a chance to win a VIP, all-inclusive trip to see Cole in concert, plus a custom motorcycle.
Jimmie Allen’s headed to ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! next week. He and Brad Paisley will perform their new duet, “Freedom Was a Highway,” on the show on April 20.
Trisha Yearwood's already built a reputation as the Martha Stewart of country music, with her best-selling cookbooks, long-running Food Network show, furniture line, and products in Williams-Sonoma. Now, the lifestyle guru's adding to her empire with her own line of pet products.
To test the Trisha Yearwood Pet Collection, the avid animal lover turned to her two beloved rescue dogs.
"Emmy's all about the crunchy treats," Trisha tells ABC Audio. "Millie's all about the pumpkin chews."
With everything from waterproof collars to dog wipes, Trisha took a hands-on approach to designing her canine collection.
"The biggest things are the dog beds," she points out. "Like I have a round bed for Emmy. That's the way she sleeps. Millie lays flat out, so she's got a big flat bed."
"And my dogs are active dogs. They're chewers. Well, the little one is," she explains. "And so I want things to be sturdy."
"And then really, they're outside a lot," Trisha continues. "They run a lot. I want the beds to go in the washing machine. So I really approached it from a practical standpoint."
It was also important to Trisha that the beds, as well as her travel backpacks, be good-looking.
"You would never know it's a dog backpack," she insists, "but it's got compartments for treats and food, collapsible water and food bowls..."
"I sent one to Mickey Guyton, and I was like, 'I know you just had a baby, but I'm telling you, this could be a diaper bag because it's so beautiful and it's really cool,'" Trisha adds.
You can check out Trisha's initial products at TrishaYearwoodPetCollection.com, as the hit-making entrepreneur eyes expansion as a way to shine a light on rescues and "try to help save a lot of animals."
Ashley McBryde is set to make her debut on CBS’ The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Friday, and she’s planning to perform a powerful ballad for the very first time on live television.
That song is “Sparrow,” a stirring and intimate album cut off of Ashley’s 2020 record, Never Will. The song is a reflection on the trade-offs a person makes when they decide to pursue music for a living.
Being away from family and friends so much is a hard price to pay for success, the singer admitted to the Tennesseean last year.
She explained, "What nobody warned me about was that I’d be sitting in a plane, having been alone for weeks, just getting on planes and visiting radio stations...I thought, ‘Man, I’m higher, success-wise, than I’ve ever been, and I’m the loneliest I have ever been.’”
Ashley continued, “It’s a trade, and thank God nobody warns you, because you might not do it if they told you what the trade-off is.”
Ashley’s Colbert stop comes just two days before the 2021 ACM Awards, where she’ll be performing her current single, “Martha Divine.” She’s also nominated for three trophies that night, including Album of the Year for Never Will.
Catch Ashley on Colbert this Friday, April 16 at 11:35 PM ET on CBS.