Aug 05

Maddie & Tae tag team with Avenue Beat on soaring “Watermelon Sugar” cover

ABC/Image Group LAMaddie & Tae and Avenue Beat get a taste of “Watermelon Sugar” in a stellar Spotify Singles cover of pop star Harry Styles‘ hit. 

The duo of Maddie Marlow and Taylor Dye have teamed up with the breakthrough pop-country trio for a rendition of the summery song, made even sweeter by their pristine harmonies.

The two acts strip away the pop production and replace it with a gentle acoustic melody, the duo taking on the first verse and chorus before Avenue Beat joins in on the second verse, their soft voices capturing the calming vibe of a summer evening the song speaks of.

“Tastes like strawberries on a summer evening / And it sounds just like a song / I want your belly / And that summer feeling / I don’t know if I could ever go without / Watermelon sugar high,” Maddie & Tae sing with Avenue Beat providing serene harmonies in support.

Maddie & Tae were supposed to be on their Tourist in This Town Tour this year with Avenue Beat as an opening act, but plans were scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Avenue Beat currently has a breakout hit on their hands with “F2020,” which has gone viral with more than 14 million views on TikTok.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Aug 05

Taylor Swift’s “Betty” debuts on ‘Billboard’ Hot Country Songs chart

Beth GarrabrantTaylor Swift is back on the country charts. 

The megastar’s countrified hit, “Betty,” off her new album, folklore, debuts at number six on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart this week.

The song off the wildly popular album — which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 846,000 units — marks the highest debut on the chart since Luke Combs‘ “Beautiful Crazy” ascended to number six in 2018. 

“Betty” makes for Taylor’s highest entry on the chart since her duet with Tim McGraw on “Highway Don’t Care” peaked at number four in 2013.  

This is the superstar’s 22nd song to reach the top 10 on the Hot Country Songs chart, seven of which have hit number one. She appeared in the top 10 last year with her heartfelt collaboration with The Chicks on “Soon You’ll Get Better.” 

“Betty” also reached number one on the Billboard Country Streaming Songs chart, and the top 15 on the Country Digital Song Sales chart. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Aug 05

Laine Hardy to perform national anthem ahead of NASCAR Cup Series

ABC/Stewart CookLaine Hardy is heading to NASCAR this weekend.

The American Idol season 17 winner will deliver a virtual performance of the national anthem ahead of the annual NASCAR Cup Series Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The race begins at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday and will broadcast on NBCSN. 

“I can’t believe I’m getting to sing the national anthem before a NASCAR race,” Laine says in a statement. “Although I can’t be there in person during this time, I’m definitely looking forward to future races and watching the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.  It’s going to be a great race!”

Fellow country star Darius Rucker performed the national anthem before the NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway in May. 

Laine announced in June that he tested positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms, but he has since recovered.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Aug 05

Kane Brown lends support to veterans through “Homesick” remix

Jason Kempin/Getty ImagesKane Brown has released a philanthropic version of his song “Homesick,” featuring three of our nation’s veterans.

Titled “Homesick (Veterans Version),” the remix of Kane’s chart-topping song showcases the voices of JW Cortes, a former Marine Combat fighter who is now an actor and philanthropist; Sal Gonzalez, who joined the Marine Corps in the wake of 9/11; and Generald Wilson, a Navy veteran turned gospel singer.  

The new rendition is part of Kane’s partnership with the Crown Royal Purple Bag Project that provides care packages for veterans. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mission of the Purple Bag Project has also been extended to helping front-line workers.

For every stream of “Homesick (Veterans Version),” Crown Royal will donate one bag to Packages from Home that will then be delivered to healthcare workers and members of the military in accordance with Crown Royal’s goal of donating 1 million bags by the end of 2020.

Additionally, the Purple Bag Project will donate $1 for every stream of the song, with a cap of $100,000, to Minority Veterans of America.  

The original video for “Homesick” also pays homage to veterans by showing footage of Kane’s performance of the song for members of the California National Guard. 

“Homesick” became Kane’s fifth consecutive number-one song on the Billboard Country Airplay chart in March.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Aug 05

With The (Arena) Tour on hold for now, it’s dogs, babies and new homes for Dan + Shay

Warner Music NashvilleDan + Shay had barely set The (Arena) Tour in motion in March before the COVID-19 pandemic brought it to a halt.

While Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney desperately wanted to be on the road, they had plenty to occupy them at home. Shay’s second son, Ames, was born in February, and Dan and wife Abby had just bought a new home.

“We moved into that house literally the week our tour started,” Dan recalls, “so it was just absolute madness. And that week was crazy in Nashville. There was a tornado…”

“So a lot was going on…” he reflects. “Had this tour continued, we may[‘ve] still be[en] scrambling to get the house ready and [to] figure stuff out.”

Of course, Dan and Abby’s new digs are also home to their beloved rescue pups.

“I feel like every decision we make in our personal lives is motivated by the comfort of our dogs,” Dan tells ABC Audio. “And we moved to a place with a little bit bigger yard, just so they could run around.”

“And I guess if you have a yard that tires out the dogs a little bit more, that really helps us, too. A tired dog is a good dog,” he laughs. “So, yeah, we got them a little bit bigger space and it’s been nice.”

Especially now that their new single, “I Should Probably Go to Bed,” has come out, Dan + Shay are more anxious than ever to get back to work.

“There’s been silver linings to it all,” Dan says. “Unfortunately, we’re missing the road, missing the fans. And we had a good thing going there.”

“But, you know, we’re fingers crossed hoping that it’ll pick back up just like it was in 2021,” he adds. 

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

Aug 04

Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher are “fly” in fishing trip photos

ABC/Image Group LACarrie Underwood and husband Mike Fisher enjoyed a couples’ retreat this weekend with a fly fishing trip. 

The former Nashville Predators hockey player shared a photo on Instagram of the happy couple out on the water with their catches of the day. A split-shot photo shows Carrie proudly displaying a fish much larger fish than Mike’s — and apparently, it’s not the first time the powerhouse singer has outdone her husband. 

“This past weekend we were able to get away for some good quality time! One thing we love to do together is fly fish but the thing I don’t like about it is she catches bigger fish,” Fisher writes alongside the photos. 

Additionally, Carrie dropped the news today that her husband will be joining her fitness app, Fit52, as a new trainer and will have his own path, called Mike’s Path. The singer says that Mike has been doing workouts with her since she conceived the idea for the app, which launched in March. 

“I was super excited and surprised at how much he loved doing the app with me, so here we go,” Carrie says excitedly in a video posted for her 8.3 million Twitter followers.

Carrie created Fit52 with her personal trainer, Eve Overland.  The app offers a series of Carrie’s workouts and supports users on their individual wellness journeys.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Aug 04

Tim McGraw is getting more emotional with age: “I can cry at commercials”

ABC/Mark LevineTim McGraw is becoming more in touch with his emotions as time marches on. 

“At 53, I probably don’t self-examine as much as I should, but I think I’m learning that I’m getting more and more emotional...about everything,” he confesses in an interview with his label, Big Machine record Group. “And maybe I’ve been heading that direction for a while but maybe this time has really sped that process up.” 

Though Tim has admittedly been sentimental over his latest single “I Called Mama,” he also finds himself getting emotional over ordinary life moments. 

“I mean, I can cry at commercials now,” he adds. “It’s ridiculous.” 

Tim is set to release his first solo album in five years, Here on Earth, on August 21. He was scheduled to be on a tour of the same name this year, but the plans were cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I Called Mama” is currently in the top 15 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Aug 04

Kane Brown says that becoming a father has taught him patience

Jason Kempin/Getty ImagesKane Brown has learned a valuable life lesson since becoming a father to daughter Kingsley

In an interview with Extra correspondent and fellow country singer Jana Kramer, the “Homesick” singer reveals that patience is a quality that he didn’t know he had until becoming a father. 

“I’m kind of a carefree guy, I just live life — whatever happens, happens. But with [Kingsley], I’m constantly watching her, constantly telling her ‘no don’t grab that,'” Kane describes of how he’s evolved since he and wife Katelyn Jae welcomed Kingsley into the world in October 2019.  

Kane adds that quarantine has given him the opportunity to watch his 10-month-old daughter grow, from seeing her two bottom teeth come in to watching her personality change.

“When she smiles, it just melts my heart,” he reflects. “So it’s been awesome.”

Though Kane hasn’t been able to tour due to the pandemic, he has been actively working on new music. He recently released his single “Worldwide Beautiful,” along with “Cool Again” and “Be Like That” featuring Khalid and Swae Lee.

He also replied to a fan on Twitter revealing that his new EP will be released on August 14. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Aug 04

Kacey Musgraves releases ‘Golden Hour’-inspired self-care kits

ABC/Image Group LAKacey Musgraves has a new creative venture for all the “lonely” people.

The Grammy winning singer-songwriter has unveiled the Lonely Weekend Self-Care Kits that provide a series of relaxing activities fans can do as people remain apart during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

All of the items are connected to Kacey’s Grammy-winning album Golden Hour, with nods to such songs as “Lonely Weekend,” “Rainbow” and “Oh, What a World.” 

Items featured in the kits are a 500-piece rainbow puzzle made from recyclable materials and biodegradable ink, along with vibrant yellow “shooting star” bath balms with a bergamot and sea salt scent, which dissolve into rainbow hues when placed in water. 

There is also a tie dye kit that comes with a white T-shirt with the “Rainbow” lyric “it’ll all be alright” printed on the front, and a pair of white socks with the phrase “Lonely Weekend” written in multi-colored lettering. 

Kacey announced the new product with a series of Instagram posts accompanied by lyrics from the songs. The kits are priced at $99.99. 

Kacey ventured into the retail world earlier this year with the release of a candle called “Slow Burn” — also named after a song on Golden Hour — in partnership with Boy Smells, a non-binary-friendly candle-making company based in Los Angeles.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Aug 04

Luke Combs approves of Keith Urban’s cover of “Even Though I’m Leaving”

ABC/Image Group LAKeith Urban and Luke Combs showed some love to one another on social media alongside Keith’s cover of one of Luke’s hits. 

The 2018 CMA Entertainer of the Year took to Instagram to share a sweet acoustic rendition of Luke’s heart-tugging “Even Though I’m Leaving.” Perched in a sunny room with his guitar in hand, Keith delivers a thoughtful performance, singing, “Just ’cause I’m leavin’/It don’t mean that/ I won’t be right by your side.” 

“Hey Luke…. how much do ya MISS TOURING ?!!!” Keith beckoned in the caption, to which Luke himself replied with his approval of the cover. 

“Holy sh** that sounds great buddy and I miss it A. LOT,” Luke wrote. Morgan Wallen also chimed in, saying, “sounds damn good brother.” 

“Even Though I’m Leaving” is the second single off Luke’s wildly successful sophomore album, What You See Is What You Get. It became his seventh consecutive number-one hit when it topped the country charts in 2019.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.