Oct 23

Gabby Barrett highlights her faith and the magic of Christmas in first-ever holiday song

Warner Music NashvilleGabby Barrett is sharing her very first Christmas release this week, dropping her take on the timeless classic “The First Noel.”

It’s an especially powerful musical message for the rising star, whose faith is an important part of her artistic identity and her life.

“Christmas is one of my absolute favorite days of the year,” Gabby explains, “and my faith is the cornerstone of my life, so being able to share both with ‘The First Noel’ is a gift. I feel so blessed to do what I do every day, and I hope that this song adds something special to your holidays.”

The singer’s holiday release follows her massive, breakthrough debut album, Goldmine, which came out earlier this year. That project features the smash single “I Hope,” which was the first single Gabby sent to country radio and subsequently became her first chart-topping hit.

But that’s not all that the star has to celebrate this holiday season: She claimed her first awards show victory at the 2020 CMT Music Awards this week, winning the Breakthrough Video of the Year trophy for “I Hope”’s music video.

It’s an exciting time in Gabby’s personal life, too, as she and her husband, fellow American Idol alum Cade Foehner, are currently expecting their first child. Gabby will give birth to a baby girl in early 2021.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Oct 23

Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus is joining a new, cross-genre supergroup called The Rise Above

Courtesy of Glass Onyon PRWhen country superstar trio Rascal Flatts announced earlier this year that they planned to call it quits after their 20th anniversary celebration, they hinted that all three band mates were looking toward pursuing their own projects.

Now, bassist Jay DeMarcus is offering more details about what’s in store. Jay is a member of a new supergroup called The Rise Above, a cross-genre outfit that also includes Journey’s Deen Castronovo and Chicago’s Jason Sheff. Chris Rodriguez and Tom Yankton round out the quintet.

The star-studded band will make their debut next week with a show at Nashville’s Marathon Music Works. Proceeds from the performance will benefit the ACM Lifting Lives COVID-19 Response Fund. Tickets are available now.

A glimpse into the planned set list reveals that though the band may be new, the hits will be familiar. The Rise Above will perform Rascal Flatts classics such as “These Days,” “Bless the Broken Road,” “What Hurts the Most” and “Life is a Highway.”

Additionally, fans will be able to sing along to plenty of their favorite Journey and Chicago songs, including “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Any Way You Want It,” “Stay the Night” and “Will You Still Love Me.”

The Rise Above’s mission is to bring back the glitz and glamor of ‘80s rock to life, and they’ve been in the studio cooking up an album for release next year.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Oct 23

Reba Mcentire, Gabby Barrett and more are pitching in for CMT’s “Hometown Vote-a-Thon”

ABC/Image Group LATo commemorate Vote Early Day this Saturday, CMT is helping Nashville get out the vote, and they’ve got some serious star power in their corner.

Reba McEntire, Mickey Guyton, Gabby Barrett, Ingrid Andress and The Band Perry are just a few of the participants in CMT’s upcoming “Hometown Vote-a-Thon,” a digital event that will feature stars sharing their personal stories about how voting has impacted their hometowns.

Also chiming in with their experiences are Hailey Whitters, Midland, Lainey Wilson, Russell Dickerson, Runaway June, Ray Wylie Hubbard and many more country artists. The “Hometown Vote-a-Thon” is a partnership with Ingrid Andress, a rising star who scored her first chart-topping hit this year with “More Hearts Than Mine.”

The virtual event is also tied to Vote for Your Life, an early voting and get-out-the-vote campaign aimed at providing voters with the tools they need to participate in elections.

You can tune into the “Hometown Vote-A-Thon” on CMT’s YouTube page on Saturday between 8AM CT and 8PM CT.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Oct 23

Miranda Lambert’s dog, Waylon, has crossed the rainbow bridge after nearly 13 years with her

ABC/Image Group LAMiranda Lambert is mourning the loss of one of her beloved four-legged friends.

The dog-loving singer shared an emotional post to social media this week, letting fans in on the sad news that her dog, Waylon, has died. His death comes after nearly 13 years of friendship with the country superstar. 

Miranda shared the story of how she first met her dog and his sister, Jessi.

“I found him and his sister on the side of the road in Oklahoma in January 2008,” the singer wote. “They were abandoned, starving and freezing nearly to death. I was listening to Jessi Colter and Waylon Jennings at the time me and mom saw them and pulled over to pick them up.”

At that time, Miranda recounts, Waylon’s chances of survival were slim because of his selfless love for his sister.

“I took them straight to the vet and she told me that the little boy was not doing too well (malnourished and dehydrated) because whatever they had found to eat while they were homeless, he always let her eat first,” she continues.

“She said he probably wouldn’t make it but he did. For almost 13 years,” Miranda adds.

Miranda’s love of dogs is well documented: Waylon was one of several rescue dogs that call the superstar’s farm home. She also established her MuttNation Foundation in 2009 to help rescued animals find homes.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Oct 23

Johnny Cash’s ‘Forever Words’ album gets the deluxe, extended reissue treatment

Legacy RecordingsFans of Johnny Cash will get the chance to revisit the country superstar’s Forever Words album, as a deluxe version of the project is being released.

Forever Words originally came out in 2018, as a collaborative album that featured the legendary singer’s poetry and lyrics set to music for the first time. Acts like Kris Kristofferson, Kacey Musgraves and Ruston Kelly, Elvis Costello and Brad Paisley signed on to record the songs.

The 16 original tracks will be included in the new version of Forever Words, but the project will more than double, with 18 new songs being included in the deluxe version. Sixteen of those 18 songs are as-yet unreleased.

The new album will be released digitally in four installments, the first of which comes out on Friday. The first wave of new music includes performances from Ana Christina Cash, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Hard Working Americans and Shawn Camp, all with words penned by the Man in Black himself.

Included in that collection are “Big Hearted Girl” and “I’m Comin’ Honey,” two Cash songs that have never been heard before.

Much of the new material was recorded at The Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee. John Carter Cash, the only child of Johnny and June Carter, produced the album.

The second installment of the deluxe edition of Forever Words will appear on December 11.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Oct 23

Mitchell Tenpenny is wishing you a ‘Neon Christmas’ with festive new seven-track EP

Sony Music NashvilleMitchell Tenpenny is embracing the Christmas spirit.

The “Drunk Me” singer drops his Neon Christmas EP on Friday, a seven-track set of tunes that mix cozy Christmas favorites with a few seasonal originals.

Mitchell offers up his spin on classics like “Joy to the World,” “Let it Snow,” “O Holy Night” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” — the latter of which the singer says is his favorite.

“It just makes me feel like sitting in front of a fire or watching an old Christmas movie at my family’s house,” Mitchell explains of the song. “I knew I could take and make that song more of my own, too, which can be hard with Christmas songs.”

Speaking of making the music his own, Mitchell literally included some of his own contributions on Neon Christmas, adding three original tracks into the mix. Those songs are “Snow Angels,” “Naughty List,” and the project’s title track.

Here’s the full track list of Neon Christmas:

“O Holy Night”
“Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow”
“Snow Angels”
“Neon Christmas”
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
“Joy to the World”
“The Naughty List”

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Oct 23

Darius Rucker brings country flair to the “Wrong Side of Love” on Young Bombs’ new single

Kelia Anne/Universal Music GroupCanadian EDM duo Young Bombs enlisted some country royalty in the form of Darius Rucker to give an extra boost to their new single, “Wrong Side of Love.”

Placing Darius’ crooning vocals front and center, the song is a brooding ode to a doomed love story, set to a catchy and dance-able beat.

“Wrong Side of Love” comes off of Young Bombs’ debut EP, The Young Bombs Show.

The tune represents a new direction for the rising EDM duo, and is their first foray into twang-tinged country sounds and vocals. But for Darius, genre-blending styling is nothing new, of course — he enjoyed a successful career as the frontman of pop-rock outfit Hootie & the Blowfish before making his move into country music. 

Most recently in his solo career, Darius released a sunny new single called “Beers and Sunshine.”

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Oct 23

Florida Georgia Line, Nelly have a “Lil Bit” more duet fun with new country and hip-hop crossover

Columbia RecordsRapper Nelly is no stranger to going country.  He of course famously teamed up with Florida George Line in 2012 for a remix of the country duo’s “Cruise,” which appears on their Here’s to the Good Times album.

Since then, Nelly and FGL have shared stages and tours together.  Now they’re joining forces once again for the release of the rapper’s new banjo-inflected banger, “Lil Bit.”

Speaking to Billboard, Nelly calls the decision to return to work with the guys of FGL a “no brainer,” adding that this song may not be the last fans see of the two acts together in the near future.

“My relationship with them is super tight,” he says. “We’ve done two tours together, we have a bunch of other tours planned, and things that we want to do…they’re family.”

The country-meets-hip-hop tune is a fun and flirty ode to new romance. The song’s lyrics even appear to name-check modern country-rap star Lil Nas X, nodding to his 2019 megahit “Old Town Road” with a line referencing a “new town road.”

Nelly also recently made another country cameo when he sang a verse on Kane Brown‘s “Cool Again” earlier this year.

“Lil Bit” comes off of Nelly’s upcoming EP, Heartland.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Oct 23

“If Only”: Ashley McBryde joins Shenandoah for a wistful look back towards simpler times

Foundry RecordsAshley McBryde is the newest guest star to appear alongside ‘90s hitmaking duo Shenandoah in song, with the release of “If Only.”

It’s a slice of down-home, harmony-laden nostalgia that reaches back toward a simpler past, wondering why things can’t always be that easy. In gentle, easy-going harmony, the three singers reminisce about memories filled with sweet tea, family and simple joys, back when the world seemed to spin a little slower.

Ashley says that this duet marked a chance for her to collaborate with two long-held heroes.

“‘Would you like to sing with Shenandoah on their new record?’ It didn’t even take a whole second for me to say yes,” the “One Night Standards” star recalls. “I’m a true fan of the band and Mr. [Marty] Raybon’s bluegrass stuff, too. I jumped at the chance to sing with him. I love this song…the message is so relevant and needed right now.”

Ashley’s one of a slew of guest stars to sign on for Shenandoah’s new duets album, Every Road. The project also boasts appearances from Blake Shelton, Carly Pearce, Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley and many more.

“If Only” follows two previously released cuts on Every Road: A duet with Zac Brown Band called “I’d Take Another One of Those,” and another with Lady A, titled “Every Time I Look at You.”

Every Road is due out in full on November 13.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Oct 23

‘What You See Ain’t Always What You Get’: If Luke Combs is involved, it’s probably better

River House Artists/Columbia NashvilleJust as Luke Combs‘ debut album, This One’s for You, evolved into This One’s for You Too, today his sophomore effort, What You See Is What You Get, expands to become What You See Ain’t Always What You Get.  

If you suspect Luke had a plan all along — you’re right.

“Yeah, actually, I did…” he tells ABC Audio. “Once it came time for the second album, I kind of had an idea what I wanted to do. And I wanted to keep that kind of juxtaposing theme of the two albums and being similar, but also being different.”

In fact, it’s part of Luke’s vision to raise the quality of deluxe albums overall.

“I’ve always felt like personally that sometimes a deluxe edition of an album is just songs that…weren’t good enough to make the record,” he confesses. “I would get excited about, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to hear this deluxe edition.’ And then the songs wouldn’t be very good, in my opinion.”

So Luke’s made it his business to change that.

“Why can’t we take the deluxe edition and make it better?” he asks. “Why can’t we write new songs, go in, put the work in…and try to make them even better than the last album?”

It’s one leg of the CMA nominee’s journey toward hopefully one day claiming the Entertainer of the Year trophy.

“I always want to be moving forward, whether that’s musically or as a performer or songwriter or a singer. And so I’m always trying to get better…” Luke explains.

“I think that’s what we’ve done…” he adds. “There’s five songs on there: a couple that I’ve teased to folks, a couple that I’ve played live, and then a couple that nobody has ever heard. So I’m real stoked about it.”  

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.