May 15

Early graduation on par with student from Parkston

Graduating senior Jordan Bormann, a biology major from Parkston, South Dakota, will miss Commencement on Saturday because she’ll be competing in the NCAA DII National Golf Championship in Findlay, Ohio.

So, AU officials and faculty and staff from the biology department organized a mini commencement for her on Monday inside the Froiland Science Complex.

President Rob Oliver and Registrar Joni Krueger were on hand as well to present Bormann with her diploma before members of her family and coaches from the Augustana women’s golf team.

Bormann is bound for the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota this summer. 


Augustana University

May 15

Best Week Ever: How Chris Stapleton's “From A Room” beat “Traveller”'s record

Mercury NashvilleThis week, Chris Stapleton’s sophomore album, From A Room:  Volume 1, is #1 on both Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart and on its country albums tally.

Chris’ album moved 219,000 units, making it the biggest sales week of his career, which is no small feat. Previously, his best week came after the 2015 CMA Awards, when his album Traveller skyrocketed to #1, selling 153,000 copies.

The “Either Way” singer narrowly missed claiming the top spot on the all-genre Billboard 200, with rapper Logic coming out ahead with 247,000 album equivalent units.   

If you need more proof of Stapleton’s A-list status, consider this:  The last time a country album sold this well in its first seven days was when Luke Bryan released Kill the Lights in August of 2015.

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May 15

Kip Moore plans a return trek to the UK with Drake White

MCA NashvilleKip Moore is heading back to the United Kingdom for another series of headlining shows in the fall, and this time, he’ll be taking Drake White along as his opening act.

“Our crowds in Australia, all over Europe, and Canada are some of our most passionate,” Kip tells Conde Nast Traveler. “And that is a special thing.”

He adds, “It’s a downright euphoric feeling on stage watching all these different walks of life and ethnicities singing your songs and [being] super passionate about what you’re doing. It’s a beautiful thing.”

In August, Kip will also play a couple of shows in Ireland, as part of the Harvest 2017 festival. 

His current single, “More Girls Like You,” just broke into the top-25.

Here’s the itinerary for Kip Moore’s fall 2017 tour of the UK, with tickets going on sale this Friday:

10/2 — Birmingham, England, Birmingham O2 Institute
10/3 — Manchester, England, Manchester O2 Ritz
10/4 — Glasgow, Scotland, Glasgow O2 ABC
10/6 — London, England, London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

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May 15

Newcomer Luke Combs travels to Key West as “Hurricane” storms to #1

River House Artists/Columbia NashvilleNewcomer Luke Combs was performing at BMI’s Key West Songwriters Festival this weekend, when he found out his debut single, “Hurricane,” had hit the top of the charts.

“It’s surreal to celebrate my first #1 down here…surrounded by my very own songwriting heroes and friends,” the North Carolina native said.

“Much like the stories of many artists before me, I gambled it all in the name of these songs,” he went on, “dropping out of college to write, playing those songs in three-hour acoustic sets at an empty bar… Songs carried me here and today is a wild dream come true.”

“Hurricane” has already been certified gold, having sold half-a-million copies, and is also up for Breakthrough Video of the Year at the 2017 CMT Awards.

Luke’s debut album, This One’s for You, comes out June 2.

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May 15

Dan + Shay's Dan Smyers ties the knot this weekend in Nashville

ABC/Image Group LA Dan + Shay’s Dan Smyers tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend Abby Law this weekend in Nashville, according to People.

While details are few, we know the Saturday wedding was set to include the avid animal advocates’ three rescue dogs, ChiefJoy, and Ghost, dressed in matching tuxes and a dress. Since Dan and Abby are both non-meat-eaters, there were also plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu.

Though we’ve yet to see a photo of the newlyweds, Abby’s social media accounts already reflect her new married name, Abby Law Smyers.

Dan’s musical partner Shay Mooney is also planning a wedding with his fiancée, Hannah Billingsley, who’s also the mother of his little one, Asher James. Shay predicts a fall wedding for the couple, since they currently have their hands full with a soon-to-be four-month-old.

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May 15

Hold the “Hurricane” parties, Luke Combs is content to just be #1

River House Artists/Columbia NashvilleWhen newcomer Luke Combs first set out on Brantley Gilbert’s The Devil Don’t Sleep Tour earlier this year, his debut single was just beginning to get noticed. Fast forward several months, and “Hurricane” is practically guaranteed a turn at #1.

“It has been cool to watch it go up,” Luke reflects. “When we started the Brantley tour, the song was probably in the forties…Being the debut and stuff is obviously so cool, and I’m just thankful that the first one has worked as well as it has.”

“That at least will give me an opportunity to get another [single] out,” he goes on. “And hopefully if that one does well, I’ll definitely get to record another album. So I’m just really thankful for it.”

You’d think a new artist with his very first single at the top of the charts would be planning a major celebration, but the North Carolina native says that’s just not his personality.

“I’ve never been big on that kind of stuff…” he admits. “I think there’s kind of a quiet satisfaction about what we’re doing and there’s not gonna be a ton of time for me to go on a vacation or anything like that, which is okay with me.”

He adds, “I like to just keep my head down… it almost just seems too perfect, you know?”

Luke’s debut album, This One’s for You, comes out June 2.

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May 14

Thomas Rhett and wife Lauren welcome a new “Star of the Show,” as Willa Gray Akins arrives

Valory Music CompanyMother’s Day 2017 is certainly one Thomas Rhett and his wife, Lauren, will never forget.

On Thursday, Lauren’s parents brought the 18-month-old the family has nicknamed “Blessing” home to Nashville from Uganda.

“Meet Willa Gray Akins!” Thomas Rhett shared on Friday, along with a photo of the new parents with their little one. “I can’t believe our daughter is finally home. Thank you to everyone who prayed every single day for this sweet girl.”

Lauren first met Willa last year on a mission trip to Africa with the organization 147 Million Orphans. In all, Lauren and TR have made a dozen trips overseas to complete the adoption in the past 12 months. The new mother was unable to make the journey to bring Willa home, however, because she’s expecting the couple’s first biological child — another little girl — in early August.

“I’ve dreamed of us all being on the same continent for so long,” Lauren told People. “It finally feels like everyone is where they’re supposed to be.”

Thomas Rhett couldn’t agree more. On Saturday, he tweeted an adorable picture of Willa in her stroller, complete with crooked sunglasses. “First walk was a success,” he added.

By Sunday, the Mother’s Day celebration was in full swing.

“Babe… I love you so much and happy 1st Mother’s Day,” TR shared, adding a photo of Lauren and Willa checking out some flowers. “You already are a rock star at being a mom. You + me + Willa,” he added.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Meet Willa Gray Akins! I can’t believe our daughter is finally home?? Thank you to everyone who prayed every single day for this sweet girl

— Thomas Rhett (@ThomasRhett) May 12, 2017

First walk was a success?

— Thomas Rhett (@ThomasRhett) May 14, 2017

Babe…. I love you so much and happy 1st Mother’s Day. You already are a rock star at being a mom. You + me+ Willa

— Thomas Rhett (@ThomasRhett) May 14, 2017


May 12

“Blessed”: Martina McBride celebrates 25 years of country music by getting back to work

ABC/Image Group LAMartina McBride is heading back into the studio to work on new music, but today, she’s also celebrating the 25th anniversary of her country music career.

The Time Has Come, the debut album by the four-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, was released a quarter-century ago today, on May 12, 1992.

“Most artists hope for a good solid ten years in this business,” Martina reflects. “To think I have been doing what I love for 25 years and still get to do it is more than I dreamed and a great testament to my fans. They are what has enabled me to be around this long and I’m very grateful.”

The Kansas native’s most recent album, Reckless, came out in April of last year.  There’s no timetable for her next project.

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May 12

Music for the impatient: Why Brett Eldredge fans won't have to take “The Long Way” to new music

Atlantic/Warner Music Nashville“I don’t like to wait and I don’t like my fans to wait!” Brett Eldredge says, and in that spirit, he’s releasing a new track from his forthcoming third album.

“The Long Way,” which Brett co-wrote, is now available to stream or download.

“It’s about that big moment when you finally meet the person you’ve been waiting to meet,” Brett explains, “and you want to know everything about them. You don’t just want a quick breeze through their hometown and life: you want to take the long way. It’s a beautiful sentiment about love.”

“The Long Way” is only the second song we’ve gotten to hear from Brett’s self-titled album, which is due August 4. The lead single, “Somethin’ I’m Good At,” is nearing country’s top-25.

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May 12

Wanted: Tyler Hubbard and Bryan Kelley lookalikes to star in FGL flashback video

Courtesy of Big Machine Label GroupIf you’re a dead ringer for Tyler Hubbard or Bryan Kelley, you could find yourself starring in Florida Georgia Line’s next video.

For their follow-up to “God, Your Mama and Me,” the duo is searching for lookalikes — specifically ones who can mimic their style from 2012, when they broke through with “Cruise.”

To throw your hat in the ring for the flashback video, all you need to do is submit up to three photos or videos of yourself. You can find out all the details on FGL’s casting website.  

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