Country Music News

Lauren Alaina is 'Sitting Pretty' as she announces her new album, due out this fall

UMG Nashville

Lauren Alaina’s next full-length album is on its way. This week, the singer shared the news that a 15-song collection called Sitting Pretty on Top of the World will come out September 3.

“It’s about being a dreamer becoming an achiever. It’s being broken and ending up healed. It’s all of me,” the singer says of her new project. “The early chapters. The new beginnings. The hope for the future and total appreciation for the past. Taking the Road Less Traveled and ending up Sitting Pretty on Top of the World.”

To kick off her album roll-out, Lauren’s sharing the lead single “It Was Me” as an instant grat track for those who pre-order the album. Co-written by the singer with acclaimed co-writer Hillary Lindsey, “It Was Me” is a bare-all confessional that takes stock of all the insecurities that prevent a person from finding happiness. 

Lauren’s fans will likely recognize a few more songs on the album, too. The track list includes “Getting Over Him,” her duet with Jon Pardi. It also features a new version of Lauren's RIAA Gold-certified single, “Getting Good,” reimagined as a duet with Trisha Yearwood.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dolly Parton says she relates to what Britney Spears is going through

Bravo

Dolly Parton is weighing in on Britney Spears' conservatorship battle.

The country legend was asked about the situation while on Bravo's Watch What Happens Live on Thursday night. While she didn't get too specific on her feelings about the #FreeBritney movement, she did say she can relate to what Britney is going through.

"I try to not get involved in other people's business," Dolly said. "I think she's a wonderful artist, and I think she's a wonderful girl, and I only wish her the best."

She added, "I understand all those crazy things. I went through a lot of that myself through a big lawsuit in my early days with Porter Wagoner, trying to get out on my own. So I understand where she's coming from and how she feels. So I hope that it all turns out the way that it should."

Back in the '70s, Dolly announced an end to her partnership with Wagoner, a country singer who helped launch her career. He later sued her for $3 million, claiming breach of contract. They eventually settled out of court.

Dolly wrote her classic 1974 hit "I Will Always Love You" as a farewell to Wagoner.

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Miranda Lambert mourns the loss of her dog, Jessi, in an emotional social media tribute

Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Miranda Lambert’s beloved senior dog, Jessi, has crossed the rainbow bridge after 13 and a half years of companionship. 

The singer shared a tribute to her four-legged friend on social media this week, along with a slideshow of pictures of Jessi and the dog's brother, Waylon, who died in the fall of 2020.

Miranda found the two pups on the side of the road in Oklahoma back in 2008, in the middle of a sleet storm. The singer explains that she and her mom -- who were driving together when they encountered the siblings -- were listening to Jessie Colter’s I’m Jessi Colter album at the time, which is how the two puppies got their names.  Colter, of course, was Waylon's wife from 1969 until his death in 2002.

Up until canine Waylon’s death, Miranda continues, the two dogs had been inseparable their whole lives.

“...The truth is they belong together. They always have,” she writes. “I know she missed him terribly and we are so thankful to have had extra time. Today they are reunited at the rainbow bridge.”

Waylon and Jessi were two of the many dogs and other animals that call Miranda’s farm home. The singer and her mom also established their MuttNation Foundation in 2009 in support of shelter pets.

“I can’t put into words what a dog’s love does to your heart. But if you have one, you already know,” Miranda says in the conclusion of her tribute post. “...It’s so hard to let them go but the love is worth it.”

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Blake Shelton’s acoustic Amazon original of “Austin” celebrates the song’s 20th anniversary

Warner Music Nashville/Amazon Music

Exactly 20 years ago this weekend, Blake Shelton released his debut album, Austin, a project that would kick-start his career in country music stardom. 

To celebrate, Blake has shared a new Amazon Original acoustic version of the album’s title track, which was also his debut single and first-ever number-one hit. 

“Man -- 20 years may have passed, but sometimes I still feel like the kid from Oklahoma I was back then,” Blake tells People of the milestone.

“‘Austin’ is the first song we ever released from the album, and it is still a cornerstone of my live shows. I’m excited to share a new version of one of the most important songs of my career with an Amazon Original,” he continues, adding that he’s grateful the song’s message continues to resonate with fans, even its lyrics are a little outdated.

“I’m not sure how many people actually have an ‘answering machine’ anymore, but the song is still as powerful and special as the first time I ever sang it,” Blake adds. 

The 20th anniversary of his debut album’s release comes during an exciting moment in the singer’s personal life: Just under a month ago, he got married to his pop superstar girlfriend of five years, Gwen Stefani

Coming up, Blake will hit the road, resuming his Friends and Heroes Tour after over a year of pandemic-induced shutdowns. The 2021 dates kick off on August 18 in Omaha, Nebraska.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


“Remember Her Name”: Mickey Guyton spotlights courage, resilience in her just-released album title track

Capitol Records Nashville

Mickey Guyton turns the spotlight on another aspect of her story -- and champions her fans’ stories, too -- in “Remember Her Name,” the title track of her upcoming new album.

The track is a message of perseverance and strength. “Remember the fire / Remember her face / She felt the storm and danced out in the pouring rain,” Mickey sings in the soaring chorus. “Remember her laughing / Through all the pain / Remember the girl that didn’t let anything get in her way / Remember her name...”

“This song means so so much to me,” the singer wrote on social media. “I still remember the feeling of writing it, recording it, and now the excitement (and nervousness) that it is finally out into the world. Not only does the song represent my journey, but I hope the message reflects yours as well. This is our story.”

Earlier this summer, Mickey told CMT that "Remember Her Name" was also inspired by Breonna Taylor, the Louisville, Kentucky Black woman who was shot and killed by police officers in her home in March 2020 as she slept in her bed. 

“When I was thinking about...Breonna Taylor, and seeing inaction regarding her murder, I thought, ‘I need to bring justice to her life,’” Mickey explained. “...The frustration that I’ve felt as an African-American has been a part of my process for a while. So the song, and album, are dedicated to Breonna Taylor and giving her the justice that she deserves.”

“Remember Her Name” is one of 16 tracks on Mickey’s upcoming album, which is due out in full September 24. Also included on the track list are songs including “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” and “Black Like Me.” 

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Zac Brown Band drop their “Stubborn Pride” and head to “Paradise” with another double song reveal

Warner Music Nashville/Home Grown Music

Earlier this month, Zac Brown Band shared not one but two new songs -- “Out in the Middle” and “Old Love Song."

Now, the band’s got another two-pack of songs to share, and this time, both tunes are reflective and soulful twists on the kinds of songs that ZBB fans have come to know and love over the years.

One, “Stubborn Pride,” is a bluesy love song all about finding good love and making it last -- even if it means leaving your pride at the door. Americana-leaning up-and-comer Marcus King co-wrote the track, and also lends vocals to a verse. 

“Sometimes it takes people a long time to get everything right,” reflects frontman Zac Brown. “But with your stubborn pride, it’s hard to admit that you messed up a little bit and that you need a change. I tell people that are having a hard time that it’s never too late to get it right.”

Then there’s “Paradise Lost on Me,” a beachy song that will sound familiar to fans of ZBB classics like “Toes.” But unlike some of the band’s more carefree, tropical-leaning songs, if you listen closely, the track's about heartbreak.

“I love the second verse: ‘Without you it’s just waves trashing kids’ castles and it’s the salt in the wound all over again,’” notes Zac. “The guy found love there at this spot and never found anything like it again, so he comes back to that place again to be close to where it happened. In the song, we never give away what happened to her, but you know it was something he could never actually get over.”

ZBB kicks off their The Comeback Tour this summer. It’ll run through October. 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dan + Shay aren’t “Lying”: They’ve got more new music coming your way right now

Warner Music Nashville

Dan + Shay are continuing to roll out new music off their upcoming album, Good Things. The country duo dropped their new tune, “Lying,” this week, a bouncy, piano-driven heartbreak tune that puts lead singer Shay Mooney’s vocal prowess front and center. 

To go along with their new song, the pair dropped a music video that the two band mates meeting in the dive-y, Western-themed Cactus Club, nursing their broken hearts with tequila before they hop on stage to perform.

Speaking of hopping on stage, Dan + Shay are planning to celebrate the release of Good Things with a special show at The Great Lawn in Centennial Park in Nashville. It’ll be the first major concert event to happen there, and will take place August 13, the same day that Good Things comes out.

Good Things will be the band’s fourth album to date. It includes the chart-topping “I Should Probably Go to Bed,” as well as “10,000 Hours,” Dan + Shay's hit duet with Justin Bieber. When they announced their new album earlier this month, they also shared its title track.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Country star trivia

Comstock/Thinkstock

On this date in 1983, George Jones got “Lucky” with his ninth and final #1 hit, a song that was penned by Merle Haggard. Do you know what it was called? ANSWER: “I Always Get Lucky with You.”

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Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock

The Cadillac Three dropped their newest single, the fuzzy and fast-paced “Get After It,” along with an equally hard-rocking music video made in partnership with BMW Motorrad and Marshall Amplification. 

The new music video for Sam Williams’ “10-4” arrives today. A rising singer and the grandson of Hank Williams, and the son of Hank Williams Jr., Sam will release his debut album, Glasshouse Children, on August 20. 

Ricky Skaggs has announced the addition of two new members to his Kentucky Thunder band. They are Mike Rogers on tenor vocals and rhythm guitar, and Billy Contreras on fiddle. The lineup change comes as Paul Brewster retires and Mike Barnett continues to recover from a brain aneurysm he suffered last year.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Who is the 'Gold Chain Cowboy'? Parker McCollum explains the character behind his new album

UMG Nashville

Parker McCollum’s major-label full-length debut, Gold Chain Cowboy, arrives today, and the singer had a hand in writing all 10 of its songs.

The singer wears his heart on his sleeve from start to finish on the project, and he explains that he feels a strong connection to the titular character of the “gold chain cowboy.”

“I definitely like to flex on ‘em a little bit. I like a nice watch or gold chain,” the singer admits. “I would love to have a big house on my own ranch back in Texas in a couple years, with maybe a couple of whips in the driveway, and my big ol’ truck.”

But being a “gold chain cowboy” is about more than flash and pizazz. In fact, the singer says, there’s no point in style if you can’t have substance, too.

“I don’t think [those things] mean much if you’re not well-mannered and carry yourself the right way, and work really hard to earn every one of them,” Parker continues. “It’s kind of combining those two styles. And I was brought up that way, you know: Work very hard and try to go out and take care of yourself, and reward yourself for working hard, but carry yourself the right way. The more I thought about Gold Chain Cowboy, the more it just seemed to fit.”

For his part, Parker is quickly racking up accolades and accomplishments at country radio. Gold Chain Cowboy includes his first-ever number-one hit, “Pretty Heart.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Luke Bryan’s boys have impeccable manners, and the singer says he’s got his wife to thank

ABC/Eric McCandless

This December, Luke Bryan and his wife Caroline will celebrate 15 years of marriage. It's a feat they’ve accomplished by always having fun together, the star tells People in a new cover story interview.

“We just have a ball in life and have a ball with our kids,” Luke explains. 

That’s no surprise to fans who follow either Luke or Caroline on Instagram. Their household is filled with pranks, from their annual holiday tradition of “Pranksmas” to their newest routine, the “Summer of the Goose.”

But despite all the goofy family fun, Luke adds that it’s also important to the couple to set a positive example for the kids they’re raising, including their sons --13-year-old Bo and 10-year-old Tate -- and college-aged nephew, Til

“I can’t take my children anywhere where someone does not compliment them on their manners and behavior, and that is one thousand percent her art,” Luke explains. “...She’s always said, ‘My children are gonna know how to act and be respectful.’”

Part of what makes the couple’s relationship work so well is the fact that they know how best to support each other. For his wife, Luke says, that means letting her know that her hard work as a mom is noticed and appreciated.

“I try to let her know when those moments happen, because that’s a big thing,” he adds.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Parker McCollum has lived the stories he tells on his upcoming album, 'Gold Chain Cowboy'

Danielle Del Valle/Getty Images

Parker McCollum’s a happily engaged man these days, but his upcoming album, Gold Chain Cowboy, includes at least one song inspired by a more tumultuous time in his love life. 

That’s “To Be Loved by You,” Parker’s plaintive current single, a song that wonders why a relationship has to be so hard. Parker put out the song at the beginning of 2021, but he wrote it much earlier, during a rocky period of his relationship with his now fiancée, Hallie Ray Light.

“She did inspire the song,” Parker admits during a new interview with Apple Music's Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen

“Her and I were going at it at the time, and she was in Oklahoma and I was in Texas, and I would go on the road,” Parker continues. “I said out loud, ‘What does a man have to do to be loved by you?’ Out of frustration. And my buddy Lane, who I was with, was like, ‘I think you should write that down.’”

It’s an especially personal song on a track list full of personal songs. “I lived them all, for sure,” Parker notes.

Gold Chain Cowboy arrives on Friday. The 10-track collection also features Parker’s first-ever number-one hit, “Pretty Heart.”

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Garth Brooks’ Kansas City show will have an on-site COVID-19 vaccination clinic

Kevin Mazur/BBMA2020/Getty Images for dcp

If you’re planning on attending Garth Brooks’ Kansas City Stadium Tour show next month, you’ll have the opportunity to hear live music and get your shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, all in one night. 

People reports that the concert -- which will take place at Arrowhead Stadium, a venue Garth is playing for the very first time -- will feature on-site COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

Mark Donovan, the president of Kansas City Chiefs, further explains that having the clinic available is part of a larger plan to maximize vaccination rates in Missouri. Per the venue’s website, Arrowhead Stadium has an audience capacity of approximately 76,416. The show is sold out, with over 74,500 seats claimed, according to Garth’s tour calendar

That means that setting up a vaccination clinic for the concert will go a long way towards the organization’s goal, which “is to get as many people vaccinated as possible, on the business side as well as in the community,” Donovan says. “We’re going to continue to take advantage of every opportunity we can to create vaccination opportunities.”

Garth will head to Kansas City on August 7. 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


CMA Summer Jam sets ABC air date, adds performances by Eric Church, Darius Rucker + more

ABC/CMA

Just hours after wrapping its two-day CMA Summer Jam, the Country Music Association has announced a television air date for the event. A three-hour primetime special reliving all the highlights will air September 2 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, Luke Bryan and Miranda Lambert were just a few of the artists who took the stage during the two-day musical party, which took place at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater on July 27 and 28. 

Other performing acts who’ll be featured in the special include Thomas Rhett, Florida Georgia Line, Mickey Guyton, Carly Pearce, Luke Combs, Brothers Osborne, Dwight Yoakam, Gabby Barrett, Dierks Bentley, Cole Swindell and Lainey Wilson

But that’s not all. In addition to his Ascend Amphitheater appearance, Dierks will take the stage in a bonus performance with Hardy and Breland. Presumably, they’re playing their just-released new song, “Beers on Me”; the performance will come to viewers from Dierks’ Broadway bar, Whiskey Row

The TV special will also feature a performance from Eric Church, recorded on downtown Nashville’s John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, with a view of the Cumberland River. Meanwhile, Darius Rucker also hits the outdoor stage of Nashville’s newly-constructed Fifth & Broadway complex. 

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Dustin Lynch, Old Dominion + more will take the stage during Season 10 of “Front and Center”

Seiji Inouye

Live concert series “Front and Center” will return to public television for its 10th season this August, giving viewers a front-row seat to intimate shows from the likes of Lady A, Brantley Gilbert, Maddie & Tae and many more.

The season kicks off with a new twist on the show’s usual format, presenting an archival concert from the late Glen Campbell, which was recorded in 2008 at storied West Hollywood venue the Troubadour. This month, that show also came out as a live album titled Glen Campbell: Live from the Troubadour.

Next up, the series will spotlight exclusive performances from a wide variety of country hitmakers and acclaimed singer-songwriters, featuring Dustin Lynch, John Hiatt with special guests Jerry Douglas and Tommy Emmanuel, Old Dominion, and operatic vocalist Sangeeta Kaur with Jon Anderson and Jake Shimabukuro.

The performances took place at Analog at Hutton Hotel, an intimate Nashville venue, and were filmed either pre-pandemic or with COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

The series kicks off August 1 and runs through September 19. The episodes will be distributed nationally by American Public Television; you can also watch them on “Front and Center”’s YouTube channel

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Video of the Week


<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">An array of singers, including John Legend and Keith Urban, have performed “Imagine” at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TeamAustralia?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TeamAustralia</a> <a href="https://t.co/EtyjtykUEK">pic.twitter.com/EtyjtykUEK</a></p>&mdash; JOE ???????? (@Joeontheloose) <a href="https://twitter.com/Joeontheloose/status/1418576406997442565?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">July 23, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>


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