Keith Urban Can't Wait to Pull the Ripcord, Previews New Tour in Nashville

ABC RadioA week before he kicks off his Ripcord World Tour next Thursday in Kansas City, Keith Urban gave a select audience a preview of his two-hour-plus-show Wednesday afternoon at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

Clad all in grey, from jean jacket to T-shirt to torn jeans, the Aussie superstar blazed through a mini-version of his set, starting just as his album Ripcord does, playing ganjo on “Gone Tomorrow (Here Today).” He plans to do nine songs from the chart-topping record, including his duet with Carrie Underwood, “Fighter,” and his collaboration with Pitbull on “Sun Don’t Let Me Down.” The American Idol winner will join him via videotape, except during his December trek “Down Under,” where she’ll be with him in person. Keith wasn’t quite ready to reveal how the Miami rapper will materialize.

An eye-catching motion lights package makes way for a super-widescreen display at the back of the stage, where images like the ones from the “Wasted Time” video can fill the space. Keith’s set also features a second smaller stage, where he revealed tourmate Brett Eldredge will join him for a song. Newcomer Maren Morris will sing the Miranda Lambert part on “We Were Us” each night.  

“I can remember lyrics from songs I haven’t sung in a decade, but I lose my car keys like that!” he joked after delivering an impromptu request for the song “Homespun Love,” recorded by his band The Ranch back in 1997.

While that tune may not often make the list, Keith offered up a blistering version of “Where the Blacktop Ends” as an example of how he’s tweaked the sound of some of his biggest hits to match the energy of the new material.  Given the fact that he has 36 top tens to choose from and many of his fans attend more than one show, he plans to swap out his hits from night to night.

Keith officially pulls the Ripcord June 2 in Kansas City, Missouri, before continuing on to St. Louis and Indianapolis on his opening weekend.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

"Nashville" Recap: "Maybe You'll Appreciate Me Someday"

ABC Wednesday night on the series finale of NashvilleLayla Grant finally pushed it too far. Avery Barkley realized his new girlfriend had lied to him, all the while manipulating circumstances to torture his ex-wife Juliette Barnes over the death of her manager Jeff Fordham.

Avery broke it off with Layla. Juliette came clean to the world about Jeff’s demise — he’d fallen to his death while keeping her from committing suicide. Avery immediately reached out to comfort Juliette, making a reconciliation between the two seem imminent.

Determined to finally speak out against the conservative pundit who’d been bad-mouthing him, Will Lexington joined forces with his ex-boyfriend Kevin Bicks to stage a rally outside the studio where she taped her show. When a hate group seemed to be drowning them out, Luke Wheeler delivered a pop-up stage complete with a sound system and Will and the gang started to play. After the TV commentator finally invited him on her show, Will stated his position eloquently, standing up for the gay community as a whole. Having triumphed over his fear, Will learned that Kevin was single again.

Scarlett O’Connor found the courage to once again tell Gunnar Scott she loved him, but it seemed to come too late, as Autumn Chase flaunted their newfound romance. But this time Scarlett wouldn’t be deterred, restating her point with Gunnar, who eventually kissed her onstage. The Exes were instantly fired from the Autumn Chase tour.

While in New York City for a benefit, Rayna Jaymes was horrified to learn her daughter Maddie was working with the same producer who’d tried to take advantage of her years earlier. With no other way to get in touch with her estranged daughter even though they were in the same city, Rayna wrote an open letter to the teen about the dangerous situation she was in, which The Huffington Post agreed to publish. Maddie read it just as the creep was advancing toward her. Her father Deacon Claybourne rushed in to whisk her away just in time.

In the end, all was restored for Rayna, Deacon, Maddie and Daphne. The family marched arm-in-arm, headed for the plane to fly home to Nashville.

But the same couldn’t be said for Juliette Barnes. In the final scene of ABC’s Nashville, Avery and Cadence are left waiting at the airport. Juliette’s plane has disappeared from the radar and can’t be found.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Lady A Meets Matchbox 20 as Charles Kelley Pairs Up with Rob Thomas for "CMT Crossroads"

CMTCharles Kelley and Rob Thomas sing both their solo tunes as well as their group hits, as the two front men team up for a new episode of CMT Crossroads.

The two pair up and trade vocals on everything from Lady Antebellum’s “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” and “We Owned the Night” to Matchbox 20’s “3 AM,”  from Charles’ latest single “Lonely Girl” to Rob’s “Lonely No More” and “This Is How a Heart Breaks.”

CMT Crossroads:  Rob Thomas and Charles Kelley premieres Friday, July 1 at 10 p.m. ET. You can preview the pair’s collaboration on “Lonely No More” online now.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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"Nashville"'s Charles Esten Suits Up for Team Opry

ABC/Mark LevineNashville’s Charles Esten is definitely team Opry. The actor-turned-fictional country singer was presented with his official jersey for this year’s City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game last weekend during his performance on the Grand Ole Opry.

His co-star Jonathan JacksonVince GillLauren AlainaChris LaneLOCASHScotty McCreeryDavid NailJake Owen, and Bret Michaels are just some of the folks who’ll be his teammates and adversaries during the June 7 game. The matchup at Nashville’s First Tennessee Park raises money to fight cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

Nashville wraps up its run on ABC Wednesday night at 10 p.m. ET, with the episode titled “Maybe You’ll Appreciate Me Someday.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

"Then. Now. Forever Country.": 50th Annual CMA Awards Set for November 2

Bob D’Amico/ABCIt’s a celebration half a century in the making. This fall, the Country Music Association marks a milestone as it passes out its yearly trophies November 2 in Nashville. The 50th Annual CMA Awards will air live from Bridgestone Arena the first Wednesday in November starting at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Tuesday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Brad Paisley announced he and Carrie Underwood will return as the hosts for Country Music’s Biggest Night for the ninth year in a row.

“Carrie and I have certainly hit our stride in terms of balancing humor and a genuine respect for the nominees and winners,” he reflects. “This year the stakes are higher than ever as we honor the legacy and traditions of the past 50 years. We will give it everything we’ve got.”

“Of course we have fun up there,” Carrie adds, “but we take the responsibility of honoring the best artists in the format and shining a positive light on country music very seriously. And this year, the bar will be even higher as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary… I can’t wait.”

Vince Gill still holds the record for the longest streak as CMA host, helming the show for a dozen years from 1992 to 2003. You can check out a highlight reel from half a century of CMA Awards on YouTube now.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Don't Be "Jealous"– Your Chance to See Thomas Rhett with Nick Jonas Is Coming

CMTThe electric energy that kept fans on their feet during a recent Friday evening taping in Nashville will make its way to the small screen next month, as the episode of Crossroads that pairs Thomas Rhett with Nick Jonas airs on CMT.

The dynamic duo powers through TR’s hits “T-Shirt,” “Die a Happy Man,” “Crash and Burn” and “Make Me Wanna,” while also taking on “Chains,” “Jealous,” “Close” and “Chainsaw” from Nick’s catalog. John Oates makes it a trio, joining the pair for a new version of the Hall & Oates classic “Rich Girl.”

CMT Crossroads:  Nick Jonas and Thomas Rhett premieres Friday, June 24 at 10 p.m. ET on CMT. You can check out a clip of the two performing “Jealous” online now.

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On "Kimmel," Brad Paisley Performs with Demi Lovato, Reveals He'll Host CMAs with Carrie Again

Mark Horton/WireImageBrad Paisley made some news on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Tuesday night.

First, he give Kimmel a full-throated endorsement of the chat show host’s run for Vice President of the United States — even wearing a campaign t-shirt to prove his loyalty. 

Paisley also sang a song poking fun of the North Carolina bathroom controversy set to Tammy Wynette‘s classic “Stand By Your Man.” Sample: “Sit by your man/Why is this such a big deal/Just hike up your dress and take a stand!”

Paisley confirmed that he and Carrie Underwood will host November’s Country Music Awards, which would bring their total number of team-ups to 11 — two shy of Vince Gill‘s hosting record of 13. “Vince Gill is going to be furious at this news,” Kimmel quipped. 

Finally, Brad closed out the show by performing “Without a Fight,” his new duet with Demi Lovato. The country star said Demi cut her teeth “singing Billy Gilman at a rodeo in Texas,” and it took just “four days” from the time they spoke about collaborating, to the song being cut.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Blake Shelton Set to Rub Noses with Julia Roberts and Elton John

NBC/David LaChapelleNot only will Blake Shelton be rubbing elbows with some majors stars, he’ll also be rubbing noses — red noses, that is- – for NBC’s The Red Nose Day Special this Thursday. Blake and legend Elton John will provide the music for the event, along with David Letterman’s longtime bandleader Paul Shaffer.

Red Nose Day was created a quarter-century ago in the United Kingdom, to raise money and awareness for kids in need both at home and around the world. More than 65 celebrities are set to take part in the show, including Julie Roberts, Celine Dion, Connie Britton, Ashton Kutcher, Ellen DeGeneres and Kobe Bryant, just to name a few. You’ll also be able to see the cast of The Walking Dead in a whole new light, as they star in a comedy sketch.

The two-hour special kicks off Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Newcomer Clare Dunn Gets All Dressed Up for "Now That's What I Call Country 9"

UMG NashvilleNewcomer Clare Dunn has the unique distinction of having the sole new song on the latest edition of Now That’s What I Call Country. The ninth country-themed collection in the series features number-ones by veterans like Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Luke Bryan, alongside the first chart toppers by breakthrough artists Cam, Granger Smith, Chris Janson, Maddie & Tae, Brothers Osborne, Old Dominion and more.

If you pre-order the digital version now, you’ll be able to download Clare’s “Tuxedo” instantly. Here’s the complete track listing for the 19-cut Now That’s What I Call Country 9, which comes out June 10:

“Strip It Down” — Luke Bryan
“Take Your Time” — Sam Hunt
“Smoke Break” — Carrie Underwood
“Burning House” — Cam
“Girl Crush” — Little Big Town
“I’m Comin’ Over” — Chris Young
“Save It for a Rainy Day” — Kenny Chesney
“Country Nation” — Brad Paisley
“Drunk on a Plane” — Dierks Bentley
“Backroad Song” — Granger Smith
“Buy Me a Boat” — Chris Janson
“Girl in a Country Song” — Maddie & Tae
“Dibs” — Kelsea Ballerini
“I Got the Boy” — Jana Kramer
“Stay a Little Longer” — Brothers Osborne
“Don’t It” — Billy Currington
“Break Up with Him” — Old Dominion
“I Like the Sound of That” — Rascal Flatts
“Tuxedo” — Clare Dunn

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Chris Young Gets CMA Music Festival 2016 Rollin' on the Riverfront

RCA NashvilleChris Young will get the party started officially for CMA Music Festival 2016 with a free performance at Music City’s new Ascend Amphitheatre on the banks of the Cumberland River. Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and the Fisk Jubilee Singers will join the “Think of You” hitmaker on the newly christened Skyview Stage for the opening ceremonies.

All the money raised from the festival formerly known as Fan Fair goes to fund music education in schools. Some of the students who’ve benefited from those programs will also get the chance to show off what they’ve learned. Gates open an hour ahead of time for the 11 a.m. CT kickoff on Wednesday, June 8.  

This week, Chris revealed his third single from his I’m Comin’ Over album will be “Sober Saturday Night,” which features Vince Gill on guitar and vocals.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.