Apr 08

Chris Stapleton, George Strait + more salute Jerry Lee Lewis in an upcoming Skyville Live CMT broadcast

ABCChris Stapleton, Toby Keith, Lee Ann Womack, George Strait and Kris Kristofferson will all take the stage in an upcoming Skyville Live broadcast paying tribute to Jerry Lee Lewis. The one-hour event airs next Tuesday, April 13 on CMT.

It’s part of a series of Skyville Live specials, with CMT premiering the broadcast version of the ten-concert series that took place at Nashville venue Skyville Live. All performances were filmed in front of a studio audience prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After next week’s tribute to Lewis, Skyville Live will return in May for an event spotlighting pop icon Cyndi Lauper. Performing during that event will be Kelsea Ballerini and Ingrid Michaelson.

Previous specials have paid tribute to Emmylou Harris, Graham Nash and other artists.

To watch the next Skyville Live special, tune in to CMT next Tuesday at 10:00 p.m. ET.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Apr 08

Luke Bryan gave Katy Perry’s baby a BB gun: “It just seemed to be the right gift”

ABC/Eric McCandlessKaty Perry and her fiancé Orlando Bloom welcomed their daughter, Daisy Dove, last August, and she got quite a welcome-to-the-world present from her superstar mom’s American Idol co-star, Luke Bryan.

During an appearance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Luke explained that he picked his unlikely baby gift — a Daisy-brand BB gun — in honor of the newborn’s name.

“It just seemed to be the right gift,” Luke told show host Jimmy Kimmel with a grin.

Back in February, Katy spoke about the BB gun, and other baby gifts she’d received, during a Jimmy Kimmel Live! appearance of her own. At the time, the singer tactfully commented that Luke’s gift had been very thoughtful, and on-brand for who he is.

“Us judges, we stay true to who we are,” she joked.

But Luke knows that the superstar couple are unlikely to ever let baby Daisy handle the BB gun herself, even when she gets older. “That’ll never see the light of day,” he said during his recent appearance.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Apr 08

Florida Georgia Line will perform “Long Live” on ‘GMA’ to celebrate their newest number-one hit

ABCAfter securing their 18th career chart-topper earlier this week, Florida Georgia Line has announced an upcoming stop on ABC’s Good Morning America.

The superstar duo will perform their latest country radio hit, “Long Live,” as well as sit down for a live interview on the show next Wednesday. FGL has no shortage of things to talk about, both independently and as a duo. For starters, they’re nominated for Duo of the Year at the upcoming ACM Awards.

The band mates have also been venturing into separate musical pursuits this year, with Brian Kelley set to release his solo Wave Pack EP next week. Meanwhile, Tyler Hubbard’s “Undivided” duet with Tim McGraw continues to heat up country radio.

When “Long Live” hit the top spot, Tyler and BK said that the song channeled their early days as a band.

“‘Long Live’ was just a really, really special song that we wrote, I don’t know, now probably a couple of years ago,” Tyler explains. “I remember being on the road, and we felt like the whole time that we were channeling that 2012 Florida Georgia Line and just some of that real feel-good, nostalgic party music.”

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Apr 08

Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation kicks off “Love Harder” campaign for dogs less frequently adopted

Westin HeflinIn 2021, Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation will focus on supporting the shelter dogs who don’talways get easily adopted, including senior dogs, black dogs, pit mixes and dogs with disabilities.

“The truth is, these dogs are the easiest to love, maybe because they need us the most,” the singer reflects. “But with so many misperceptions, people sometimes shy away from adopting them. I want people to see the strong bonds and special love that can be shared with these harder to get adopted dogs.”

The campaign, called “Love Harder,” aims to bust myths about these special pets. MuttNation is currently accepting story submissions from fans about their “harder to adopt” shelter pets, offering each pet owner who shares their story the chance to win an Epiphone guitar signed by Miranda.

The singer, who has two senior dogs of her own, is also kicking off the “Love Harder” campaign by sitting down with Emmylou Harris and her senior pup, Jeter.

“They bring so much into your life,” Emmylou says of the experience of owning an older dog. “Maybe it’s because I’m an old dog myself, that I appreciate old age and that maybe we need a little bit more comfort and care.”

Emmylou has her own rescue organization, called Bonaparte’s Retreat, which is dedicated to providing for dogs who have been neglected or forgotten due to age, size or disability.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Apr 08

Carrie Underwood’s Easter Sunday ‘My Savior’ livestream show raised over $112,000 for charity

Cameron Premo/Courtesy of Carrie UnderwoodCarrie Underwood celebrated Easter Sunday by bringing her newly-released gospel project, My Savior, to the stage of Nashville’s Ryman auditorium.

The free live event, called My Savior: Live from the Ryman, was available to livestream on Carrie’s Facebook page, drawing almost 2.5 million viewers from all across the world.

During the event itself, as well as in the subsequent 48 hours when the concert was still available to view, the virtual audience was invited to donate to Save the Children, a fund benefiting the lives of children through education, health care, disaster relief, policy changes and more.

Overall, Carrie’s show raised $112,000 for the cause. The singer is a longtime supporter of Save the Children; in 2010, she donated a portion of each ticket purchased to her tour to the organization.

Joining the country superstar for her show was gospel legend CeCe Winans as well as Needtobreathe frontman Bear Rinehart, both of whom also lent their voices to My Savior. CeCe joined Carrie “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” while Bear appeared on “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.”

My Savior, Carrie’s first full gospel project, arrived on March 26. The 13-track collection is full of songs that she grew up singing in church.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Apr 08

Kane Brown announces his massive 2021 Blessed & Free arena tour, kicking off this fall

Matthew BerinatoKane Brown is returning to the road in 2021. The country superstar just announced his Blessed & Free Tour, a 35-stop trek that launches in Sacramento, California on October 1.

Jordan Davis and Chase Rice will join Kane on the tour, as will up-and-coming act Restless Road. Kane’s a mentor for the young trio, and signed them to his newly-formed 1021 Entertainment label earlier this year.

The Blessed & Free Tour is more than a celebration of Kane’s return to music: It’s also a celebration of his love of basketball. The tour route includes stops at all 29 NBA arenas, making Kane the first-ever country star to hit each one with a headlining tour.

Including stops at venues like Madison Square Garden and Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center, the run will wrap on February 4, 2022 in Las Vegas.

Tickets go on sale to the general public on April 16, but fans can register for Kane’s pre-sale beginning this Thursday at 10:00 a.m. CT.


By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Apr 08

Gabby Barrett, Jimmie Allen named ACM’s New Female and Male Artists of the Year

Academy of Country MusicAhead of the 2021 ACM Awards later this month, the show has revealed two early winners: Jimmie Allen and Gabby Barrett have won New Male and Female Artist of the Year, respectively.

Both winners received the exciting news courtesy of a surprise video message from Keith Urban, who’s this year’s show host.

Gabby learned of her award at home with her husband, fellow artist Cade Foehner, and their infant daughter, Baylah May, who was born earlier this year.

“Yay! I’m so happy, oh my gosh,” Gabby exclaimed after watching her congratulations video from Keith. “…I don’t really know what to say. This is unbelievable. Ever since I came into the country music community, everybody’s been unbelievable to me. So thank you so much. It’s more than I deserve…it’s made the whole year for me.”

Meanwhile, Jimmie got his video message while in the studio, and the singer was stunned speechless by the news.

“Oh my God. I just…wow,” the singer said, cracking up. “Do I give my acceptance speech now? Like, what do I do?”

For starters, he can get to work on rehearsals: Jimmie and Gabby’s ACM wins mean they’ll also be performing during the show.

The 2021 ACM Awards will air on April 18 at 8:00 p.m. ET on CBS.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Apr 08

Eric Church unearths ‘Heart & Soul’ at a fancy restaurant in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Joe Pugliese

Eric Church decided to shake things up when he set out to record the follow-up to 2018’s Desperate Man.

The North Carolina native took a totally revolutionary approach, sequestering producer Jay Joyce and his musicians in the Blue Ridge Mountains of his home state in January of 2020.

But Eric didn’t take them to a studio. Instead, he picked an unexpected location: Artisanal restaurant in Banner Elk, NC. A favorite dining spot for the Chief, he’d long admired the acoustics of the building, which was built out of reclaimed barn wood, he tells Entertainment Weekly

From there, the three-part Heart & Soul started to take shape.

“You know what I found is [that] there’s something about doing something different — that there’s a belief there,” the CMA Entertainer of the Year explains. “Every night we would eat together. Every morning we would be together… The players, the songwriters, they all respected what I was trying to do.”

“I was honest with them,” he continues. “I said ‘Hey, I may bring in a song, this song may suck. But I wrote it today. I’ve not slept. Give me a break.'”

Eric’s honesty paved the way for his team’s dedication.

“I think at some point in time, they committed themselves to what we were trying to do and they gave a hundred and ten percent of that,” he reflects. “They knew, ‘This dude has been up all night. This dude is trying and we’re gonna try, too.'”

“And I think that there’s something to that overall — pulling on the rope the same way — that made the project what it is,” he asserts.

Eric unveils the collection titled Heart on Friday, April 16, followed by the fan-club-exclusive & set the following Tuesday, before wrapping with Soul on the 23rd.

By Stephen Hubbard 
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Apr 07

With “one foot in traditional country,” Blake Shelton’s hoping to break new ground with ‘Body Language’

Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesIt’s been an exciting couple of weeks for Blake Shelton, who announced his 12th studio album, Body Language, just days after sharing that he’ll release a commemorative vinyl version of his debut single, “Austin,” to celebrate the song’s 20th anniversary.

In fact, at the upcoming ACM Awards this month, Blake will perform a mash-up of “Austin” and his newest single, “Minimum Wage.”

In a new interview in People, Blake shares that when he thinks back on the young up-and-comer who released “Austin,” he wishes he’d taken a little bit more time to sit back and relax.

“I would’ve told myself to get more rest back then. When I started I was 24 and lived life to the max back then,” the singer says. “It’s probably why I ran out of battery so soon.”

Now, however, the singer is fully charged — an improvement that he attributes to living life at a more laid-back pace. “These days I’m just kind of a slow slug,” Blake jokes.

Still, he continues to push himself to learn and grow with every release. The title track of Body Language was written by the Swon Brothers, he notes, a duo that he once mentored as coach on The Voice.

“It’s such a different sounding song,” the singer notes. “I’m to the point in my career where I always want to reinvent myself. I keep one foot in traditional country, but at the same time…find new sounds and new music.”

Body Language is due out May 21. Meanwhile, “Minimum Wage” is a top-30 hit and climbing.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Apr 07

Dolly Parton mourns the death of her uncle Bill Owens: “I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t been there”

ABC/Image Group LADolly Parton is mourning the loss of a beloved family member who also worked tirelessly to further her musical career. The singer shared on Wednesday that her uncle Bill Owens has died.

“I’ll start this eulogy by saying that I wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t been there,” the country legend wrote on Facebook. “He was there…in my young years to encourage me to keep playing my guitar, to keep writing my songs, to keep practicing my singing.”

Owens’ impact on his future superstar niece wasn’t limited to those early days, either. He also helped her get her first music industry jobs in Nashville, and wrote a number of songs with Dolly throughout her career, including “Put it Off Until Tomorrow.” That song was included on the singer’s 1967 studio debut, Hello, I’m Dolly, and was named BMI Song of the Year.

In her eulogy, Dolly also noted that Owens had an impressive songwriting career of his own, penning songs for Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Ricky Skaggs, Kris Kristofferson and others.

She also pointed to his involvement with her Dollywood theme park, and offered her sympathies to her uncle’s friends and fans, as well as his wife, children, grandkids and great-grandkids.

“It’s really hard to say or to know for sure what all you owe somebody for your success,” Dolly reflected. “But I can tell you for sure I owe Uncle Billy an awful lot.”

“The greatest thing he ever did for me was to help me see my dreams come true and for that I will be forever grateful,” she writes. “Rest in peace, Uncle Bill.”

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.