Mar 31

Keith Urban teases “God Whispered Your Name” video

ABC/Image Group LAKeith Urban is gearing up to release the video for his latest single, “God Whispered Your Name,” and he’s giving fans a sneak peek. 

The country superstar has released a pair of clips that offer fans a taste of what to expect from the video. The first shows Keith walking amongst a serene landscape in solitude, the camera panning a gorgeous mountain view at sunset with the moon glimmering overhead.  

The second clip is a little more mysterious, with a shot of Keith in the dark as snow falls around him. He then roams through a dark, abandoned space where the only source of light comes from an industrial fan built into the wall. An upward shot of him walking alongside a black chain link fence completes the preview.

Keith released “God Whispered Your Name” in February as the first single off an upcoming album. He co-produced the song with Dan McCarroll

The video will drop in full on Thursday.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mar 31

CMA Fest 2020 cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

Country Music Association CMA Fest has been cancelled in the wake of COVID-19. 

The Country Music Association announced today that it’s following the guidelines from local, state and national authorities and has decided to cancel the country festival out of concern for patrons’ safety. It was scheduled to take place in Nashville June 4-7.  

“Whether you planned to attend CMA Fest for the first time, or you have attended many times throughout the last 48 years, we know how special this festival is for Country Music fans around the globe and that many will be disappointed by this decision,” the organization states.

“As the world is still greatly affected by the spread of COVID-19, we cannot in good conscience risk the health and wellbeing of our fans, artists, staff and Country Music community.” 

The annual festival takes place in Music City each summer, drawing thousands of fans to the four-day event that includes a series of free daytime shows, along with ticketed shows at Nissan Stadium. 

Though the 2020 event has been cancelled, CMA is still planning for it to occur next year. Four-day passes purchased for the 2020 festival will be honored at the 2021 event, scheduled to run June 10-13.

CMA is offering full refunds to ticket holders who purchased through Ticketmaster or the CMA Fest box office upon request. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

To our loyal #CMAfest fans

— CMA Country Music (@CountryMusic) March 31, 2020

Mar 31

“Homecoming Queen”: Kelsea Ballerini debuts at number two with “kelsea”

Black River RecordsKelsea Ballerini has achieved a chart best with her new album, kelsea. 

The pop-country star debuts at number two on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.  Released March 20, her third studio project sold 28,000 units in its first week, marking her highest debut on the chart.   

Each of Kelsea’s albums has debuted one slot higher than the previous. Her sophomore installment, Unapologetically, debuted and peaked at number three on the Top Country Albums chart in 2017, while her debut album, The First Time, hit number four in 2015. 

Meanwhile, kelsea‘s first single, “Homecoming Queen?,” sits in the number 14 slot on the Hot Country Songs chart and is in the top 20 on the Country Airplay chart. Its follow-up single “The Other Girl,” which officially drops in April, has debuted at number 19. The song is a collaboration with pop star Halsey, making her debut on the Country Airplay chart.

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Mar 31

Thomas Rhett on new song “Be a Light”: “It’s always been one of my favorites”

The Valory Music Co.Thomas Rhett brought joy to fans through their TV screens this morning with a brief performance of his new song, “Be a Light,” on the Today show

Joining hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie via FaceTime from his house, the singer offered a little insight into how he wrote the encouraging song, which features appearances by Keith Urban,Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott and Chris Tomlin. 

Thomas says he wrote the song last year, trying to think of what to say about the world during a time when it seemed so dark: “How to be a light in a dark place, how to spread light in a place where it seems like you can’t.” 

Though he’s had “Be a Light” in his back pocket for a year, TR felt that now was the “perfect time” to release it, as the world faces uncertainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic and all that entails.  

Thomas also delivered a snippet of the song on acoustic guitar, singing the first verse and chorus.  “It’s always been one of my favorites,” he shares of the track.    

All proceeds from sales of “Be a Light” will be given to the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, which benefits people in the music industry who have lost jobs due to the pandemic.

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Mar 31

“ACM Presents: Our Country” adds host, Kenny Rogers tribute

Academy of Country MusicACM Presents: Our Country has added more star power to the event. 

CBS News journalist Gayle King has been announced as the host for the upcoming special that features several country stars performing from their homes on what would have been the night of the ACM Awards, which had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alongside acoustic performances, Gayle will lead personal conversations with the stars, in addition to highlights from previous ACM Awards. 

Keith UrbanLuke CombsDierks BentleyEric ChurchCarrie UnderwoodLady AntebellumMiranda LambertFlorida Georgia LineKelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett are among the many acts confirmed to participate in the two-hour virtual event. 

You can also look forward to seeing a pair of duets, with Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani delivering their top-10 country hit, “Nobody but You,” while Kane Brown teams up with John Legend for a performance of their new collaboration, “Last Time I Saw Sorry.” 

Additionally, in light of the passing of Kenny Rogers, there will also be a tribute to the music legend with special performances by Luke BryanBrad Paisley and Darius Rucker

Brandi CarlileShania TwainSheryl CrowTim McGrawLittle Big Town and Old Dominion round out the list of performers. 

ACM Presents: Our Country will air on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. The official ACM Awards will now take place on September 16, with Keith still set to serve as host.

 Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mar 31

Elton John, Mariah Carey, Billie Eilish and others raise nearly $8 million on Fox’s ‘Living Room Concert for America’


Elton John, Mariah Carey, Billie Eilish and other major music stars gathered together for the Fox Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America on Sunday, and raised nearly $8 million to help fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and salute the strength and resilience of the U.S. people during the health crisis.

Highlights included Demi Lovato performing her hit “Skyscaper”; Eilish and her brother Finneas teaming up for an acoustic rendition of “bad guy”; Camilla Cabello and Shawn Mendes joining forces for her song “My Oh My”; and Mariah belting out her hit, “Always Be My Baby.”

Elton, who hosted the event from his home, closed out the evening with a special performance of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”

Other performers included Backstreet Boys, Dave Grohl, Green Day‘s Billie Joe Armstrong, Alicia Keys and Tim McGraw.

The hour-long special drew more than 8.7 million viewers across multiple networks, who were encouraged to donate to two of the many charitable organizations that are helping COVID-19 victims and front line workers, such as health care professionals: Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.

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Mar 31

Jennifer Nettles reminds America of its resilience with emotional rendition of “Tomorrow” from ‘Annie’

ABC/Image Group LACountry star Jennifer Nettles is reminding America of its superpower: staying strong in the face of tragedy.  As the nation grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, Nettles on Friday released a special performance of “Tomorrow” from the musical Annie.

Originally, the song features an upbeat melody and swells with hope.  However, Nettles’ version is slower and more serious, featuring just a piano and her voice.

However, it’s the music video that carries the Sugarland singer’s message, which features the country braving is numerous unspeakable tragedies, from 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina and beyond. 

The tone of the footage then changes to that of Americans banding together to help one another, a reminder that the country has always been full of compassion and hope for a better future.

And, with a better future in mind, the footage changes again to remind everyone what life is all about: celebrating major milestones like a baby’s first steps, blowing out birthday candles and spending time with your loved ones.

“These times are uncertain and anxiety-laden. We are worried for our health, for our loved ones, for our finances and for our futures, all the while practicing social distancing, which can be hard on the human psyche and soul,” Jennifer openly explained in the video’s caption.

“But, as the song sings of hope, the collage video also shows reasons we have hope: We have been through challenging times together as a country before. We have made sacrifices on the fire, we have seen movements and leaders rise from those ashes and we have found ourselves forged by those fires within our communities and families.”

She recorded “Tomorrow” on March 12, the same day Broadway went dark to prevent further spread of the virus.  It’ll be included in a future album full of theater songs.

 Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mar 31

Luke Bryan brings home his 24th #1 with “What She Wants Tonight”

Capitol NashvilleLuke Bryan locks in the twenty-fourth number one of his career so far this week, as “What She Wants Tonight” ascends to the top of the country chart. 

It’s a track the Georgia native co-wrote at his Nashville-area farm.

“‘What She Wants Tonight’ is a song that I wrote at my house with Jon NiteRoss Copperman and Hillary Lindsey,” Luke explains, “and I’ve been wanting to get together and write with all of them for some time now.”

“Ross came in,” he continues, “and he had the track and that drum loop in the front kind of dialed in, and the second I heard it, it was just really, really infectious. And then we were able to really just put a really great lyric with a high energy track.”

It didn’t take long for Luke to realize they’d hit on an idea his female fans would love.

“When we came up with the hook, ‘She gets what she wants, and I get to be what she wants tonight,'” he recalls, “I was just, it just felt like something that could be played on the radio and it felt like something like that’s what women want to hear.”

“They want to have a confident guy kind of singing to them in that way,” Luke adds, “and I hadn’t been this excited about a song in some time.”

“What She Wants Tonight” is one of the tracks from Luke’s new album, Born Here, Live Here, Die Here, which is set to arrive later this year. 

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mar 30

Thomas Rhett calls on Keith Urban, Reba McEntire + more to “Be A Light”

The Valory Music Co.Via an uplifting new song, Thomas Rhett and friends are aiming to “Be A Light.

The superstar singer shared a special surprise with fans during his Instagram Live stream today:  He unveiled a new song, “Be A Light,” which features all-star friends Reba McEntireKeith UrbanHillary Scott of Lady Antebellum and Christian singer Chris Tomlin

Thomas co-wrote the song with Josh ThompsonJosh Miller and Matt Dragstrem, and it boasts a positive message encouraging us all to find light in the darkness.

Each of the performers sings a portion of the track. Thomas opens the song by calling for peace amidst war; in the second verse, Keith asks us to practice the art of listening, while Chris urges others to make a difference in the world.

Reba and Hillary trade vocals on the chorus, singing in harmony, “In a world full of hate/Be a light/When you do somebody wrong/Make it right/Don’t hide in the dark/You were born to shine/In a world full of hate/Be a light.”

Thomas wrote “Be A Light” in 2019 “as a way to process negativity and sadness I was seeing in the world,” he says. But he feels the song’s message is particularly poignant in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, and in the wake of the tornado that hit his home city of Nashville in early March.

“Among the wreckage, I see us come together in ways I never dreamed possible. I knew in my heart this was the time to share this message with the world and our community,” he explains.

“The voices who join me on this track are some of the brightest lights I know. I hope this song serves as a reminder that we are all in this together.”

Thomas and his collaborators are donating proceeds from “Be A Light” to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund.   

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mar 30

Kane Brown and Morgan Wallen join Post Malone’s virtual beer pong tournament

ABC/Image Group LAKane Brown and Morgan Wallen are two of the celebrity participants in rapper Post Malone‘s upcoming online beer pong tournament. 

Dubbed The Ballina Cup, Post Malone and fellow rapper MIKE have called on a group of friends to engage in a virtual game of beer pong that is set to take place over the course of eight days, TMZreports. The participants are divided into 16 teams, with two games taking place per night starting the week of April 6.

Former New England Patriots player Rob Gronkowski will play, along with Sports Illustrated model Camille Kostek, rapper Machine Gun Kelly and more.  

Each participant will also donate money that will be donated to COVID-19 relief funds. Fans can stream the action live on Instagram.

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