Jan 20

Maddie & Tae band mate Taylor Kerr’s baby girl arrives early: “She decided to be a Capricorn like her daddy”

ABC

On Thursday, Maddie & Tae’s Taylor Kerr announced the birth of her daughter, Leighton Grace.

The baby girl is Taylor’s first child with her husband, Josh Kerr, and she arrived significantly early, but fortunately, Leighton is doing well. “She’s beautiful, strong and everything we have ever dreamed of,” Taylor wrote on Maddie & Tae’s socials. “She decided to be a Capricorn like her daddy. Already can’t wait for the day we get to finally take her home.”

The singer also shared a few pictures of the new arrival. Though her face doesn’t make an appearance, fans can see a closeup snapshot of Leighton’s tiny foot, plus her name on the side of her isolette, along with her weight at birth: two pounds, five ounces.

When she announced her pregnancy, Taylor said her due date was in spring 2022, but the universe had other plans. She was hospitalized in mid-December, 24 weeks into her pregnancy, and remained on bedrest until Leighton was born.

Taylor’s pregnancy complications caused Maddie & Tae to postpone their 2022 tour plans. However, there’s no shortage of new music from the duo. Their next EP, Through the Madness Vol. 1, arrives January 28.

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Jan 20

Ryan Hurd wonders “What Are You Drinking” in his moody new video

ABC

Ryan Hurd is following up his chart-topping Maren Morris duet, “Chasing After You,” with another new track off his Pelago album called “What Are You Drinking.”

The singer shared the music video for the song this week, setting its introspective lyrics against shadowy footage of himself playing piano in a dark basement. As the song plays out, the basement starts to flood, the light coming narrowly through windows as the song hits its emotional peak.

“Are you raisin’ up champagne? Is there a tear in your Tanqueray?” Ryan sings in the chorus of his new song. “Are you heartbroke? Are you doin’ fine? / I wanna know, what are you drinking tonight?”

You can hear “What Are You Drinking” live at a show near you: Ryan just kicked off his headlining Tour de Pelago. Earlier this month, the singer also stopped by ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! to perform another track off the album, “Pass it On.”

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Jan 20

Kelsea Ballerini nabs a Gold certification for her self-titled third studio album

ABC

Kelsea Ballerini continues to find success with her third album, kelsea: The project has officially notched RIAA Gold certification, with over 500,000 units sold.

She put out that project, and its introspective, reimagined version, ballerini, in 2020. The track list includes her current single, a duet with Kenny Chesney called “half of my hometown,” which is currently approaching country radio’s Top 5.

Meanwhile, it’s been a year of new experiences and ventures for the singer. She put out her first-ever book of poetry, Feel Your Way Through, in late 2021.

Next up, she’s staying in the literary world for a while, as she co-stars in the audio book of Dolly Parton’s upcoming novel, Run Rose Run. She plays the role of protagonist AnnieLee Keyes. You can hear Kelsea’s voice when the audio book — as well as its written component — arrives on March 7.

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Jan 20

“Midnight Rider’s Prayer” is Brothers Osborne’s answer to a Willie Nelson classic

ABC

The deluxe version of Brothers Osborne’s Skeletons arrives on Friday, bumping up the original track list to 15 with three new songs.

Fans have already heard one of those, “Younger Me,” and the other two are called “Headstone” and “Midnight Rider’s Prayer.” The latter is a tip-of-the-hat to Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” which it even samples.

The idea came after band mate John Osborne was looking for a chorus with the same feel and style as “On the Road Again,” and his brother TJ Osborne suggested simply using it.

“TJ just goes, ‘Well, why don’t we use that chorus?’ I’m like, ‘Because it’s already been written,’” John remembers. “He’s like, no, no, no…they do that a lot in pop songs and stuff.’ This has never really been done in country before.”

They sent the demo to the legend himself, and got a response that was even better than they could have dreamed.

“He liked it enough that he played it for Kris Kristofferson,” John continues.

But while the song pays homage — literally — to “On the Road Again,” “Midnight Rider’s Prayer” isn’t quite as carefree as the original. “At the time when we wrote that song, John and I were still in the phase of riding around in 12-passenger vans and getting beat up by the road,” TJ remembers.

“There’s a spot in the song John and I both really love,” he continues. “‘When your night is ending, ours is just beginning, on the road again.’ And that’s how it is.”

Look for Brothers Osborne on an upcoming episode of ABC’s Nightline. The show airs weeknights at 12:35AM ET.

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Jan 19

Nashville notes

Lauren Alaina has been announced as the celebrity brand ambassador for women’s clothing line Maurices. She’s the first-ever celebrity ambassador for the brand, and will be styled in Maurices clothing during her 2022 headlining tour.

Shenandoah has plans for a sprawling 35th anniversary tour for 2022. They announced the first 35 dates on the trek this week.

The Cadillac Three vocalist Jaren Johnston is mourning the loss of his dad, Jerry Ray Johnston, a former Grand Ole Opry staff drummer who died of complications of COVID-19. On social media, Jaren shared a remembrance of his dad and urged fans to get vaccinated; the band subsequently halted their Hillbilly Hypnotized Tour in order to take “some personal time.”

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Jan 19

Dierks Bentley, Connie Smith + more are getting their own stars on the Music City Walk of Fame

ABC

Dierks Bentley is one of four stars, all hailing from diverse corners of country music, to be inducted into the Music City Walk of Fame in 2022.

Also in the 2022 incoming class are outlaw singer-songwriter Bobby Bare, Grand Ole Opry mainstay Connie Smith and Grammy-winning blues act Keb’ Mo’. An induction ceremony will take place on April 5 at 2 p.m. CT in Nashville, at Music City Walk of Fame Park.

All four honorees will be on hand for the event. They’re claiming the 90th, 91st, 92nd and 93rd stars on the walk.

Meanwhile, Dierks has been hard at work on his next musical endeavor. After releasing his latest number-one hit, “Gone,” last year, he followed it up with “Beers on Me” — a duet with Hardy and Breland, and, most recently, a fan club exclusive track called “Tell ‘Em Right Now.” Look out for new music from the singer in the months ahead, as he’s been teasing a new album.

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Jan 19

Maren Morris re-lives a favorite Dolly Parton memory on the country legend’s 76th birthday

ABC

Maren Morris is wishing a happy birthday to Dolly Parton with a special memory the two country artists shared together.

The singer posted a video to her social media on Wednesday, showing a behind-the-scenes moment that happened backstage at the 2019 Newport Folk Festival. That day, Dolly took the stage with Maren and the rest of her band, The Highwomen, which also includes Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby.

The video shows the group of women backstage, singing Dolly’s 1991 single, “Eagle When She Flies.” In one particularly sweet moment, Dolly pulls Maren into the circle, inviting her to sing with the rest of the performers.

“Happy birthday [Dolly Parton],” Maren writes. “Thank you for forever pulling me into your unbroken circle.”

Other stars also lined up to post good wishes to Dolly on her birthday, including Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson.

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Jan 19

Kenny Chesney sells 80 percent of his recording royalties to Hipgnosis Song Management

Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Kenny Chesney is parting ways with 80 percent of his recorded music royalties, across albums that span a period of over two decades.

Hipgnosis Song Management acquired the rights to the catalog, following a $1 billion partnership the company made with investment firm Blackstone last October, Billboard reports. The purpose of the partnership was to invest in music assets.

The portion of Kenny’s catalog in question comes from his Sony Music days, beginning with his 1994 debut album, In My Wildest Dreams, through his 2017 live project, Live in No Shoes Nation.

Not included are the albums Kenny’s put out since switching to Warner Music Nashville in 2018: His 2018 release, Songs for the Saints, and 2020’s Here and Now.

In a statement, Kenny shared his thoughts, saying “To know that this music has a home that views the work as a collective body, something that builds on itself and captures the heart of No Shoes Nation, was important to me.”

Catalog sales have been something of a theme for artists of all genres over the past couple years; Rolling Stone’s recent report of highest-paid musicians in 2021 includes several artists who made a chunk of their money through such sales.

Among them was Blake Shelton. Blake earned $50 million last year from a previously unreported catalog sale. He was the only country star to hit the Top 10 musicians in terms of earnings, raking in $83 million overall.

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Jan 19

‘Blue in the Sky’: Dustin Lynch drops details on his next album

ABC/Randy Holmes

After a string of standalone song releases throughout 2021, Dustin Lynch is finally ready to share some details about his next album.

The singer announced that project, Blue in the Sky, in a conversation with Good Morning America’s Michael Strahan on Wednesday. During his stop at the show, Dustin also performed “Thinking ‘Bout You,” his six-week-long chart-topping duet with MacKenzie Porter.

“Thinking ‘Bout You” appears on the new album, along with 11 more songs, many of which are already familiar. Two other previously-released duets are on the track list: “Huntin’ Land” with Riley Green and “Tequila on a Boat” with Chris Lane.

Listeners may also recognize the titles “Pasadena” and “Not Every Cowboy,” which Dustin dropped as a two-pack last July.

During his GMA interview, the singer also hinted at some big concert news coming soon. “We’re gonna be announcing a big tour behind [the album] as well pretty soon,” he noted.

Blue in the Sky drops February 11. It’s available for pre-order now, and you can also check out the cover art — a sun-kissed portrait of the singer set against a sky-blue backdrop — on his socials.

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Jan 19

Take two: Garth Brooks re-books a Massachusetts show originally scrapped due to COVID-19

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Garth Brooks has a Stadium Tour show on the books for Foxborough, Massachusetts’ Gillette Stadium — again.

The star announced his plans to hit Gillette Stadium on Wednesday. The show will take place Saturday, May 21, marking Garth’s only Stadium Tour stop in New England and the first time he’s played the venue.

Garth originally planned a show for Foxborough that was supposed to take place last October, but it was one of five dates he had to cancel when he halted the Stadium Tour in 2021 due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

Now that the tour is resuming, it’s no surprise that Foxborough is a stop that Garth wants to re-book: When he first announced the show, he shared that it was a special concert for him because it’s the home of the New England Patriots, a team owned by billionaire businessman Robert Kraft. Kraft — who also owns Gillette Stadium — was one of the earliest supporters of Garth’s move into bigger venues.

“The Krafts were the first stadium — and the first family — to come to us and say, ‘Hey, man — you can play stadiums, and you should play stadiums.’ It was very sweet,” Garth previously explained. “They believed in us years and years ago. Now it’s neat that it’s finally coming to fruition and the circle is kind of being complete.”

Tickets go on sale Friday, January 28.

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