Country Music News

“It’s a song about triumph”: Lainey Wilson shares message behind new single, “Heart Like a Truck”


Lainey Wilson tells a story of resilience in her new single, “Heart Like a Truck,” with lyrics that reflect on the tough times that help shape a person into who they’re supposed to be.

“‘Heart Like a Truck’ is a song about finding freedom and strength, and not being scared of the scars and the dents and the bumps along the way,” she says. “At the end of the day, that’s what builds character.”

Lainey knows firsthand how hard times help build strength. When she first moved to Nashville, she spent three years living in a camper and struggling to make ends meet as she chased her dream. Of course, those lean times paid off: Lainey is now a bona fide country star, with two #1 country singles to her name.

But she tells a different side of that story in the music video for her song. Instead of being centered around a country music hopeful in Nashville, the clip takes Lainey to a ranch, where she plays the role of a young woman struggling to find her way as a horse handler.

“It’s telling a story about a ranch girl who’s got a lot to prove to herself and everybody else,” the singer details. “And in the end, she does it. It’s a song about triumph. It’s a video about triumph.”

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Nashville notes: Chris Stapleton’s Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit + more

Chris Stapleton’s Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit, called Chris Stapleton: Since 1978, opens Friday. The exhibit chronicles Chris’ career from a songwriter into country superstardom.

Dustin Lynch has a new song out Friday called “Fish in the Sea.”

Morgan Evans has been teasing that he’s at work on a new album. Called The Country & the Coast Side B, it’ll follow Side A of that project, which Morgan put out in late 2021.

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Luke Bryan explains what it means to "Country On"


Luke Bryan’s new summer anthem, “Country On,” is officially here, and the singer -- who’s no stranger to warm-weather party hits -- is elaborating on exactly what he means when he tells fans to “country on.”

“For me to keep country on, I think it’s ‘Hey Luke, keep smiling, keep smiling, keep shining,’” Luke tells Apple Music’s Today’s Country Radio With Kelleigh Bannen. “For me to keep doing what I do and staying true to what I do, and keep waking up every day, hopefully spreading a lot of happiness and love and positivity and fun and being me.”

At this point in his career, Luke has run the gamut from love songs to uptempo bangers, but he says that “Country On” represents a step in a new direction.

“I’ve never heard me sing on something in that baritone deal,” he points out. “...This is a little different sound for me, and that’s what you have to start trying to look for and attempt.”

“Country On” is the first taste of new music to come: Luke says that he’s about halfway done with a new album.

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Reba McEntire reunites with Melissa Peterman for Lifetime's 'The Hammer', also starring her boyfriend Rex

Mike Moore/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night

Reba McEntire is starring in a new Lifetime movie called The HammerDeadline reports, and it’s sure to be a party onset: Her co-stars are two actors the country superstar already knows very well.

One of them is Melissa Peterman, who co-starred in the hit 2000s sitcom Reba. Since then, Reba and Melissa have stayed in touch, and they’re even co-hosts of the Living & Learning With Reba McEntire podcast.

Another co-star in The Hammer is none other than Rex Linn, Reba’s real-life boyfriend. Rex is best known for his work in CSI: Miami as well as his ongoing role in Better Call Saul. He and Reba have worked on the same set before, as they both played recurring roles in Young Sheldon, the hit Big Bang Theory prequel.

Based on the life of traveling circuit judge Kim Wanker -- played by Reba -- The Hammer will unravel a number of mysterious deaths and murky investigations.

It’s Reba’s second Lifetime movie; she starred in Reba McEntire’s Christmas in Tune last year.

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“Trouble with a Heartbreak”: Jason Aldean goes acoustic for CMT 'Campfire Sessions'


Jason Aldean is the latest country star to showcase his songs in a different light for CMT Campfire Sessions, a series that recasts big hits in a stripped-down, acoustic fireside setting.

In the clip, premiered by People, Jason strums a black acoustic guitar while surrounded by his bandmates, offering a less hard-rocking -- but still just as emotional -- version of his single “Trouble With a Heartbreak,” which spent three weeks at the top of the country radio charts last month.

“Trouble with a Heartbreak” is the second single -- and the second number-one hit -- to come from Jason’s double album Macon, Georgia. It follows “If I Didn’t Love You,” his duet with Carrie Underwood, which came off the first batch of the two-side collection, Macon.

Meanwhile, “Trouble with a Heartbreak” can be found on the track list of Georgia, the second half of the project, which dropped in April, five months after Macon came out.

Jason is one of a number of country stars starring in CMT Campfire Sessions this summer. Old Dominion, Jon Pardi and Little Big Town are just a few of the artists who will get the spotlight in upcoming episodes.

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Little Big Town finds romance on the water in the sun-kissed “All Summer”

Capitol Records Nashville

Little Big Town shared another new song off their upcoming 10th studio album Friday, a warm-weather anthem called “All Summer.

Set to a tropical beat, the song describes a summer fling that kicks off with two people “makin’ eyes across the pool,” and soon leads to a love affair that may not be for a long time, but it’s definitely for a good time.

“Here I am getting tan / Drinkin’ wine on the water / And it’s easy and it’s fun / If you want it if I want / I’ll be your dream, in between / In your meantime lover / All summer,” the band sings in the song’s chorus.

The new song follows “Hell Yeah,” LBT’s current single. Both songs will be featured on the group’s next album. Though they haven’t shared many details about what that album will be called or when it’s due out, the band is starting to build a bigger picture on their next chapter with the release of each new song.

Fans will have plenty of opportunities to hear “All Summer” live in the months ahead. Little Big Town has several festival, casino and amphitheater dates on the books in June, July and August, and they’re joining Wynonna Judd and an all-star cast of musical women on the final The Judds Tour this fall.

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Smoked meat, fireworks and family: Country stars share their favorite July Fourth pastimes

ABC/Gavin Bond

Everybody’s got their own Fourth of July traditions, but there are some staples that make the holiday what it is. If you ask these country stars, it’s all about the right food, getting a great view of the fireworks show and family.

“Fourth of July was always based on how poor we were,” jokes Luke Bryan, explaining that if the family’s bank account allowed, they'd go waterskiing. “And then some years we had it in our swimming pool in the backyard, and we would pop fireworks off.”

No matter where the festivities took place, the most important component was some well-cooked meat. “As long as there’s some form of smoking of pork, that’s a big thing,” he adds.

Chris Young agrees that great food is key to a great Fourth of July party. “If you’re asking me what I bring to a barbecue, it’s ribs,” he states. “They take a long time, but I do my own rub from scratch that I’ve adjusted over the years. Literally, I have to go get all the ingredients and blend them together. And I’ve got a whole process with how I make ribs.”

But for others, like Jordan Davis, locale is #1. Jordan grew up in Louisiana, spending the Fourth of July on a boat watching a fireworks show.

Now that the singer and his wife, Kristen, have a boat, he’s hoping to recreate the experience for their two kids, 2-year-old Eloise and 10-month-old Locklan.

“I think they’re still a little too young for that. But the second Kristen gives me the OK to take Locklan and Eloise out, I would love to go watch that show from the river,” he continues. “I think that’d be cool.”


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Nashville notes: Jon Pardi, Ryan Hurd + Maren Morris and more

Jon Pardi just dropped the music video for his song “Fill ‘Er Up.” That track comes off Mr. Saturday Night, the singer’s fourth album, which will be out in September.

Ryan Hurd’s new video for “Pass it On” is out now. The song, off his Pelago album, features backing vocals from his country star wife, Maren Morris, who also co-stars in the music video.

In case you missed it, hot country newcomer Jelly Roll made his national television debut on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! this week. He performed “Son of a Sinner,” his new single, which is currently inside country radio’s Top 30 and climbing.

Willie Nelson has a new book coming out about his relationship with his longtime drummer and good friend Paul English, who died in 2020 at age 87. Called Me & Paul: Untold Tales of a Fabled Friendship, the book will be out on September 20.

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Kelsea Ballerini’s next album is done, and fans will be able to hear it “so soon”


After posting several teases for her next album, Kelsea Ballerini has an exciting update to share: She’s finished with her next musical chapter. The singer shared a handful of beachy, West coast snapshots of herself on social media this week along with some reflections.

“Drove the PCH and listened to the final mixes of my album today,” she wrote. “And now I am going to eat copious amounts of sushi and drown in gratitude for this new little chapter we get to share together so soon.”

Kelsea offered the first taste of her album with “Heartfirst,” her latest single, which is currently climbing up the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

So far, the beach and the water seem to be themes for Kelsea’s new music. Previous teases have often featured beachscapes as well as shots of Kelsea dipping her feet in a pool and soaking in a hot tub.

For now, fans can catch Kelsea’s appearance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! -- she’s performing “Heartfirst” on the show on Thursday, June 30.

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Luke Bryan says he’s got about “half” of his next album finished


Luke Bryan is working hard on his next musical chapter, and he’s making headway. The singer says he’s “got probably half of the project done.”

In an interview with SiriusXM, Luke provides an album update but cautions fans not to expect the full project too soon. “We’re working hard in the studio, and then go in and cut some more songs,” he elaborates. “We’ve got several songs right now that we feel like can be singles.”

In the meantime, he’s gearing up for the release of a new song called “Country On,” which will be out on Friday. For now, Luke hopes that will tide over eager fans as he continues to add to his album’s track list.

“Hopefully as ‘Country On’ is rising up the charts, [I] will spend a couple more months writing a lot of music,” he says.

Coming just in time for the 4th of July, “Country On” promises a huge dose of tempo and fun, creating what Luke hopes will be a perfect summer anthem.

“When you’re having a bad day, you know you can drink a beer and country on,” he continues. “I love what the song says. I love that it uplifts the hardworking American people out there. It brings a lot of unity, this song brings a lot of unity in. It’s got feel-good vibes all around it.”

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Maren Morris spoofs 'Stranger Things' with a clip from her cameo in Ryan Hurd’s “Pass It On” video


Like the rest of the world, it seems that Maren Morris is watching the new season of Stranger Things.

The country star recently co-starred in fellow artist Ryan Hurd’s “Pass It On” music video, which just so happened to have some aesthetic overlap with season four of the beloved Netflix show. It was filmed at a roller rink with throwback vibes that might remind fans of the Stranger Things episode where main character Eleven and her boyfriend Mike and pal Will go roller skating.

So, Maren took some scenes from the “Pass it On” music video and set it to Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God),” a 1985 hit that’s currently experiencing a major resurgence thanks to its prominent feature in the new Stranger Things season.

“Had to...” Maren wrote on Twitter alongside her Stranger Things/“Pass it On” mashup.

When Ryan’s video premiered on Wednesday, Maren also shared some snapshots from filming day.

“Slushie girl at your service,” she wrote. “Thanks for having me in your video [Ryan Hurd.] Glad we didn’t break any bones before we go on tour.”

Maren and Ryan are no strangers to musical collaboration. Not only did they first meet as Nashville songwriters, but they scored a hit in 2021 with their duet, "Chasing After You."

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Jake Owen joins the lineup for PBS' 'A Capitol Fourth'

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Jake Owen is the newest addition to the bill for the upcoming PBS 4th of July special, A Capitol Fourth.

“I can’t wait to celebrate the Fourth in D.C. this year,” the singer says. “It’s exciting to be a part of a great American tradition, and to sing a couple songs while I’m at it. See you Monday night!”

The country star will perform two of his number-one country hits: “American Country Love Song” and “Down to the Honky Tonk.” The former is a nostalgic and quintessentially American feel-good hit from 2016, while the latter is a more recent release, coming off his 2019 album, Greetings From...Jake.

Airing live from Washington, D.C., the 42nd iteration of A Capitol Fourth will feature an all-genre lineup, including the National Symphony Orchestra, who will accompany Jake during his performance.

Mickey Guyton is hosting the show. Other performers taking the stage include Cynthia Erivo, Gloria Gaynor and Andy Grammer.

A Capitol Fourth will air on PBS on Monday, July 4 at 8 p.m. ET.

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“She Had Me at Heads Carolina”: Cole Swindell’s new single updates a Jo Dee Messina classic

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

It’s Cole Swindell’s birthday today, and he’s celebrating with a new ‘90s-inspired single.

She Had Me at Heads Carolina” is a fun and flirty dance-a-long track following a guy who walks into karaoke night at a bar and is immediately transfixed by the girl singing a ‘90s country classic into the mic.

The song’s lyrics and melody heavily reference “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” Jo Dee Messina’s country hit from 1996, and Cole says the throwback makes the song feel familiar, even to fans who haven’t heard his new single before.

“We’ve played it live a few times, and obviously, people think they know it when it gets to that chorus,” he explains. “I mean, they’re screaming this song, because it’s such a big hit from the ‘90s, but when it gets to that line about south Georgia, it kind of throws them off.”

That part of the chorus -- where Cole sings “Heads Carolina, tails California / Maybe she’d fall for a boy from south Georgia” -- is where his version’s lyrics depart from the original. Still, the melody continues to hearken back to Jo Dee’s song, and Cole says he’d like to incorporate the ‘90s hitmaker into more aspects of the new song.

“I hope somebody I get to sing it -- whether I do something, I want her to be involved, because we wouldn’t have the song without the writers and without her making it what it is,” he says.

“She Had Me at Heads Carolina” comes off Cole’s newest album, Stereotype.


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Nashville notes: Carly Pearce, Brett Eldredge + more

Carly Pearce and Brett Eldredge are on deck to perform during NBC’s Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks for Independence Day. They’re joining an all-genre bill featuring acts like 5 Seconds of Summer, Jaoquina Kalukango, Pitbull and rising country act Filmore.

Speaking of Pitbull and Filmore, the two artists are about to release a new duet called “USA.” The track is due out Friday, just in time for the Fourth of July next week.

Just weeks after revealing his stomach cancer diagnosis, Toby Keith and his team are telling fans to be aware of imposter social media accounts issuing "falsified updates" about the singer's health. They issued a statement reminding fans to be watchful of fake accounts, especially any account requesting money.

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Mickey Guyton says son has been “huge motivation” to speak out about inequality


Mickey Guyton is known for releasing music that addresses racial inequality and gender gaps in country music and beyond.

With songs like “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” and “Black Like Me,” she delivers powerful messages calling for change in the genre, and she’s continued to use her platform at every step of her career.

The singer says that she was inspired to speak up in response to the “disparities in my particular industry against women and women of color,” but adds that the birth of her son, Grayson, gave her a push toward using her voice.

“And then once I became pregnant, it was like, ‘How could I not say something?’” Mickey tells ET Online. “Like, I don’t want my son when he grows up to look back and know that I said nothing. He’s been a huge motivation for that.”

Another big motivator, the singer says, is knowing that there’s a new crop of Black and minority artists waiting to break into country music and wanting to do her part to make sure it’s possible for them to do so.

“It will never be OK for me, and that’s something where I can sleep at night knowing that I’m seeing so many incredible artists of color coming up in this industry,” she continues. “That is the most important.”

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