Darius Rucker’s readying a “personal record” that will honor his mom

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Darius Rucker hasn’t put out a full-length album since 2017’s When Was the Last Time. So what’s the holdup on the follow-up that’s been more than five years in the making? 

“You know, [hit songwriter] Ross Copperman produced a bunch of tracks and now [longtime producer] Frank Rogers is finishing it up,” Darius reveals. “We’re doing some stuff, so it’s gonna be [coming out in] early ’23. I’m really excited for this record.”

Darius’ seventh album will be named after his beloved mother.

“We’re gonna name it Carolyn’s Boy, and it’s just a record that — it’s a personal record. It means a lot to me, and I think that’s one of the reasons I’m taking so much time with it is because I want the right songs to be on it,” he says. 

So far, Darius has put out the new tracks “Same Beer Different Problem” and “Ol’ Church Hymn” with Chapel Hart.

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Nashville notes: Jordan’s “Next Thing” + Trace is Somewhere in America

Parker McCollum kicked off his 2023 tour this weekend with sold-out shows in Detroit and Cincinnati. 

Jordan Davis‘ follow-up to his most recent #1, “What My World Spins Around,” is the new track “Next Thing You Know.” It will be included on his upcoming Bluebird Days album, which arrives February 17.

Trace Adkins will set his Somewhere in America 2023 Tour in motion February 10 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with the trek set to run through the fall. 

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Die a Happy Fan? TR’s offering the chance to get up close and personal

ABC

Thomas Rhett‘s planning something pretty special for a group of lucky fans. 

One grand prize winner and three friends will get to see TR’s rehearsals for the Home Team Tour 23 in Nashville. It includes roundtrip airfare, two nights at a hotel and meals. The trip will take place in late April. You can find out more at HomeTeamSweeps.com

Five second-place winners will get two tickets to a show and some free merch. 

TR’s trek kicks off May 4 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa. 

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Mitchell Tenpenny debuts new music as he sells out two nights at the Ryman

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This weekend, Mitchell Tenpenny got to experience something many artists only dream of: selling out two nights in a row at Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium.

“I’ve been able to check a lot of things off my bucket list because you’ve streamed the music and supported me, like selling out back-to-back nights at the Ryman,” the Nashville native told the hometown crowd. “You helped us get back on country radio and have changed our lives forever.”

Mitchell’s label surprised him with a plaque marking the fact that his latest #1, “Truth About You,” has gone Platinum. 

The “Drunk Me” hitmaker also took advantage of the chance to welcome some special guests and debut some new music. Christian icon Steven Curtis Chapman joined him onstage to debut a new version of his hit “Don’t Lose Heart,” a song that’s special to Mitchell because his mother is currently battling breast cancer. You’ll be able to stream the new duet version February 17. 

Mitchell and his wife, Meghan Patrick, teamed up to do “Long As You Let Me,” while Alana Springsteen did her “goodbye looks good on you” collaboration with Mitchell, which will be on her debut album.

Newcomer Tyler Braden and Mitchell continue on the This is the Heavy Tour through the end of the month, which already boasts eight sold-out shows.

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Grand Ole Opry rolls out first major change in more than 20 years

© Grand Ole Opry LLC. Chris Hollo, photographer

Country music’s most famous stage unveiled its new look this weekend, as Jon PardiRicky Skaggs and many more played the Grand Ole Opry. 

While the show made its typical January move to the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville, the Opry House got busy putting $4 million worth of updates into place. 

Though it is the first major set change in more than two decades, the new version still preserves the classic look that’s built around a huge barn. The updated barn adds new lighting elements and capabilities, plus there’s now a high resolution video wall upstage of it. 

You might also notice some new lighting elements in the audience, plus a striking new “halo” effect on the Opry stage’s legendary circle of wood, taken from its former home at the Ryman.

Chris Janson, newcomer Shane Profitt, Connie Smith and many more are set to walk onto the new stage Tuesday, February 7. 

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Ashley & Carly grab a Grammy first with “Never Wanted to Be That Girl”

Stewart Cook/CBS

Ashley McBryde‘s still getting used to the reality that she and Carly Pearce won their first Grammys Sunday night. 

“@carlypearce remember that time we wrote us a song because we really really wanted to sing together?” she tweeted on Monday. “And then it sent us on all kinds of adventures? And then we won a freaking GRAMMY?! GAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!”

Ashley and Carly won Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Never Wanted to Be That Girl,” marking the first time a collaboration between two women has won in that category.  

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Kacey was playing Loretta’s guitar at the Grammys

Francis Specker/CBS

When Kacey Musgraves paid tribute to Loretta Lynn during Sunday’s Grammys, she was playing the icon’s prized guitar. 

“10 year old me singing Loretta’s songs would never have imagined I’d be putting my hands right where she made magic for decades,” she tweeted after her performance of “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” 

“(Her 1963 Epiphone was a dream to play.)” Kacey added. “Thank you to @LorettaLynn’s daughters for trusting me with this moment of honor tonight. She paved my path.”

Loretta’s family was feeling the love Sunday night, as well.

“Thank you, @KaceyMusgraves, for this beautiful tribute,” they shared from Loretta’s account. “The love all of you have shown us for our mom is beyond words.”

The country icon passed away last October at the age of 90. 

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Parker McCollum’s got a handle on hits, even if it’s hard for him to admit it

MCA Nashville

The day Parker McCollum wrote “Handle On You” was just an ordinary session with songwriter Monty Criswell

“I had been tossing some melodies around but didn’t really have anything that I was too over the top about or over the moon about when Monty came over that day,” Parker says. “And he was like, ‘Man, I’ve got this idea for this song. It’s called “Finally Got a Handle on You.”‘”

As Monty sang his idea for the first line, Parker answered with the next.

“I just literally just kept singing it out. And he was writing it down,” he recalls. “And I’d sing it out and he’d write it down, and he’d sing something out and I’d write it down. And it just fell out so quickly … 90% of the time, it does not go like that.”

Still, in his typically humble manner, Parker didn’t really think too much of it.

“A couple weeks later, Monty had a demo tracked up and wanted to know if I wanted to come over and stop by and sing vocals on it,” Parker continues. “And I sang it and he was like, ‘Dude, that’s a hit.’ He’s like, ‘That’s a hit, dude.'”

“And I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m weird. I don’t ever even say that,'” he reveals. “I’m like, just write the song, record it. If they want to put it at radio, good. I don’t ever want to jinx anything or think too highly of anything that I do.”

“And man, I think he was right,” Parker finally acquiesces.

“Handle On You” is the lead single from Parker’s follow-up to 2021’s Gold Chain Cowboy and appears on track to be his third #1 in a row.

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Grammys 2023: Scenes from backstage and the red carpet

CBS/The Recording Academy

Backstage and on the red carpet at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, artists were grateful for the recognition, though some had a hard time believing that they’d actually won.

Harry Styles’ Harry’s House beat out albums by Adele and Beyonce to win the Album of the Year trophy. Backstage, the pop superstar told reporters, “It’s obviously incredibly nice to receive this. I don’t think is the reason that any of us in the room do it. I’m so, so grateful that they thought the album was worthy of it…and I think more than anything, it just kind of feels like validation that you’re on the right path.

But nobody was more shocked than Bonnie Raitt, whose song “Just Like That” beat out number ones by Harry, Adele, Beyonce, Lizzo and more to win Song of the Year.  Backstage, she said it reminded her of when she swept the Grammys in 1990.  “I can’t believe this. I just can’t,” she squealed. “It’s like when I won for Nick of Time. I just could not believe that they called my name…get the hell outta of Dodge, yknow?”

Kim Petras became the first transgender woman to win in the Best Pop Vocal Duo/Group Performance category for her duet with Sam Smith, “Unholy.” Backstage, she said, “I never, ever thought I would get this kind of recognition for my music. So it’s really special. And I’ve got to get really, really drunk to process it!”  She then joked, “I want to find out if you can do a shot out of a Grammy, so wish me luck!”

Ozzy Osbourne, who recently announced his retirement from touring, won two Grammys for his album Patient Number 9. Andrew Watt, who co-wrote and produced the album and accepted it on Ozzy’s behalf, said on the red carpet that the metal legend is “so overjoyed to be recognized,” adding, “He’s such a humble, amazing guy. And the smile on his face…was just amazing.”

Country solo stars Ashley McBryde and Carly Pearce became the first women ever to win the Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for their hit “Never Wanted to Be That Girl.” Backstage, Ashley said if she could talk to her 16-year-old self, she’d tell her, “‘I want to tell you what happens, but it’s so cool…You’re going to get a text from Reba [McEntire], but I’m not going to tell you why.’ Which is what happened to me today!

Singer/songwriter Muni Long, who won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance for her song “Hrs & Hrs,” told reporters backstage that she hoped her win means that, finally, she won’t be ignored any longer.  “Hopefully this means that people will just listen to me the first time when I say something and I don’t have to continue to fight to get my vision across,” she said. “For me, it means that maybe I might know a little bit!”

A highlight of the Grammy telecast was a special 50th anniversary salute to hip-hop featured dozens of notable rap performers, including the man who started it all back in 1973: Grandmaster Flash. On the red carpet, he said he’s most proud of the fact that  “people who don’t speak the English language, gravitated to this thing…this thing is not just an American art form. This is a global art form!” 

 

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Grammys 2023: Willie Nelson nabs two, Kacey Musgraves pays tribute to Loretta Lynn & more

Photo: Sonja Flemming/CBS

The 65th annual Grammy Awards went down in Los Angeles Sunday Night with Willie Nelson walking away the big country winner, with two trophies.  The 89-year-old legend won Best Country Album for A Beautiful Time, and Best Country Solo Performance for “Live Forever,” bringing his total career Grammy wins to 12.

The night’s other big country winners included Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde, who each took home their first Grammy, winning Best Country Duo/Group performance for “Never Wanted to Be That Girl.” Best Country song went to Cody Johnson’s track ‘Til You Can’t,” which was written by Matt Rogers and Ben Stennis.

Brandi Carlile also took home awards but not in country categories. She won Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for “Broken Horses,” and Best Americana album for In These Silent Days.

Grammy night also featured two special country performances. Luke Combs made his Grammy performance debut with “Going Going Gone,” while Kacey Musgraves helped the Grammys pay tribute to the legendary Loretta Lynn, who passed away in October, with a performance of Lynn’s signature song “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” During the performance, Naomi Judd was also remembered with a photo projected on the screen.

And that’s not all. Chris Stapleton also helped bring the house down, teaming with Stevie Wonder for a performance of Wonder’s classic “Higher Ground,” to help celebrate this year’s MusiCares Persons of the Year, Smokey Robinson and Berry Gordy.

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