Country Music News

Nashville notes: George Strait’s Vaqueros del Mar returns, Elle King cancels shows + more

George Strait’s 12th annual Vaqueros del Mar charity golf event took place once again this year, raising a record-setting $2.4 million for the Feherty’s Troops First Foundation. George performed at a benefit concert during the event, as did Randy Houser, Randy Rogers, Asleep at the Wheel and more artists.

Elle King had to cancel radio shows in Tampa, Detroit and Seattle this week after she slipped and fell down the stairs, sustaining a concussion. You can read her full statement on Twitter.

The War and Treaty, Bailey Zimmerman and Jackson Dean are among the 20 rising stars who have been named to CMT’s CMT Listen Up artists-to-watch list for 2023. Visit CMT to see the full list.

Fox’s country-centric drama series, Monarch, has been canceled after one season, according to Hollywood Reporter. Trace Adkins, Susan Sarandon and more star in the show.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Luke Bryan celebrates his 16th wedding anniversary with wife Caroline: “Here’s to 100 more”

ABC

Luke Bryan and his wife, Caroline, have a lot to celebrate in the month of December: Not only is it the holiday season, the month also brings their wedding anniversary.

2022 marks 16 years of wedded bliss for the couple, and Luke marked the milestone with an anniversary message that was somewhat uncharacteristically sweet — he and Caroline are typically jokesters who don’t get too sappy.

“It is so amazing sharing this life with you,” the singer wrote. “Thank you for putting up with all my craziness I throw your way. I’ve loved you since the second I saw you. It’s truly remarkable what we’ve done together.”

He added, “I love you to the moon and back and here’s to 100 more.”

For Luke and Caroline, no anniversary tribute is complete without a dose of silliness, and he rounded out the post with a shot of the two of them together in full ‘80s garb — complete with a visor, aviator sunglasses and a mullet wig.

Over on her Instagram, Caroline also celebrated the Big 16, writing, “16 years ago we had zero clue what we were stepping into. The good, the bad, silly moments and stupid arguments. It’s been worth it all and I love you more every year!”

December is usually Pranksmas month in the Bryan household, but they’ve had to keep the festivities relatively tame this year: Caroline is currently recovering from hip surgery.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


“Da Ruba Girl”: Kenny Chesney remembers his late rescue dog Ruby with a song benefiting strays

Blue Chair Records/Warner Music Nashville

Kenny Chesney is currently mourning the loss of his rescue pit bull mix, Ruby — aka Da Ruba Girl — but he has found a way to make her memory larger than life.

The singer announced this week that he’s releasing an official version of “Da Ruba Girl,” a song he routinely aired on his SiriusXM channel, No Shoes Radio. Fans have long been asking for Kenny to make the song officially available to download or stream on demand; on Friday, “Da Ruba Girl” will be out on iTunes and all streaming platforms.

“No one had a bigger, bolder heart than Da Ruba Girl, whose name was Ruby,” the singer says. “She was a rescue my friend Mary brought into our lives, and she was the most loving, gentle soul. It’s why she inspired the song, and truly how she showed us better ways to be human.”

But Kenny’s new song will do more than just honor Ruby’s memory — it will also help other dogs find homes.

All proceeds from “Da Ruba Girl” will benefit Stray Rescue of St. Louis, which finds homes for dogs who have a harder time being adopted, such as pit mixes, older dogs and bigger dogs.

“While she was a rescue, she truly rescued every single person who came in contact with her,” Kenny continues. “To honor her life, I wanted that love and her ability to rescue people to continue. I wanted to do something that embodied what she was, and that would also help people know these dogs can save you.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


'Billy the Kid Makes it Big': Dolly Parton announces a new children’s book

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Dolly Parton’s third children’s book is officially in the works.

The country legend announced the news to People this week, explaining that the book, Billy the Kid Makes it Big, stars her goddog, Billy the Kid. Billy’s got big dreams of country stardom, and when he finds himself the target of bullies at the Battle of the Bow-wows, he must rely on music to restore his self-confidence.

“I am so proud to bring this book and the message it conveys to life,” Dolly tells People. “Years back I wrote a song called ‘Makin’ Fun Ain’t Funny' for my children’s album I Believe in You. I wanted kids to understand how harmful bullying can be to someone.”

Dolly has worked with her goddog once before: Billy the Kid is featured in the promotional images for her new line of pet apparel and accessories, Doggy Parton.

“Since he’s a big star now, I knew a story with him at the center of it could help drive home important messages in a unique way,” the singer says. “I hope this is the first of many books with Billy.”

Dolly’s new book will be published by Penguin Workshop and is intended for children ages 4 to 7. Billy the Kid Makes it Big is due out April 25, 2023.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Blake Shelton says he’s “at a crossroads” with what’s next for his music, but he’ll never retire

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

As he prepares to step down from his longtime coaching gig on NBC’s The Voice, Blake Shelton says he’s looking forward to putting more of his attention into his next musical chapter.

The singer’s not quite sure yet what that looks like, he tells People in a new cover story.

“I’m really at a crossroads right now. The country music lane is changing so rapidly, and there’s some really good stuff out there,” Blake notes. “These young kids coming up, it’s amazing to see the music that they’re making and how creative they are.”

He goes on to say that he’s “excited” to delve back in to the music-making process and figure out what his role is in today’s country music.

“...I’m excited to get some time back away from The Voice and concentrate more on, ‘What kind of record do I want to make? Is it going to fit in? Do I care? Do I not care?’ I got a lot to figure out,” he continues.

But one thing’s for sure: Retirement is not on the table.

“Walking away from music, you might as well just poison me or something,” Blake continues. “That’s not something I can go without. I can’t help it.”

Blake’s most recent single is “No Body,” which has some throwback elements to his early days of cutting his teeth on small Nashville stages in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. He even brought back his signature early-career mullet -- albeit in wig form -- for the song’s music video.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


With a holiday record in her sights, Carly Pearce wishes you a merry 'CMA Country Christmas'

ABC/Larry McCormack

Thursday night, Carly Pearce returns to host the annual CMA Country Christmas special for the second year in a row. She's flying solo for 2022, since her partner from last year, Gabby Barrett, is home taking care of her second baby. 

"I was so excited to get to host," Carly tells ABC Audio. "I get to host it by myself, which feels really, really awesome, and I feel really lucky to get to do that."

"We had such a good time," she continues. "I feel like country fans are just going to get to learn a little bit more about me and my family and our loves of Christmas."

In addition to welcoming guests like Maren MorrisOld DominionDan + Shay and Scotty McCreery, Carly will step up to the mic. 

"I get to sing a lot of songs," she reveals. "I think the one that I was the most excited about, I do kind of a Lee Ann Womack-esque version — her version — of 'Man with the Bag.'"

The "What He Didn't Do" hitmaker also performs "Here Comes Santa Claus" and helps out bluegrass sensation Molly Tuttle on a medley of five holiday favorites. 

If you're waiting for a full-on yuletide effort from last year's CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, you can rest assured it's coming.

"Eventually I'll do a Christmas record, I promise," Carly vows.  

Tune in Thursday at 9 p.m. ET to watch CMA Country Christmas on ABC. You'll be able to catch it Friday on both Hulu and Disney+.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Nashville notes: Reba McEntire’s Superstar episode, Ashley McBryde’s late-night stop + more

Tune into ABC on Thursday to watch the latest installment of ABC News’ Superstar series, spotlighting Reba McEntire. The show will trace Reba’s career from her childhood in Oklahoma to her status as one of the biggest country stars today. Superstar airs at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.

In case you missed it, Ashley McBryde brought Brothers Osborne’s John Osborne to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Tuesday night for a performance of “Gospel Night at the Strip Club.” The song comes off her new album, Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville.

Another TV highlight Tuesday was Carly Pearce’s appearance on The Voice. She sang her current single, “What He Didn’t Do.” If you didn’t catch her live performance, you can watch it now.

Jimmie Allen and his wife, Alexis, posted a video message this week in hopes of raising awareness of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, sharing the story of their daughter Zara being diagnosed with RSV at six weeks old. The virus, which is more common in the winter months, can lead to serious lung ailments in babies; visit KnowingRSV.com to learn more.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kane Brown, Breland join the lineup of 'The Voice' season 22 finale

ABC/Randy Holmes

Country music will be well represented on the stage of The Voice during the show’s season 22 finale. Kane Brown, Blake Shelton and Breland are among the stars performing during the two-hour event.

Kane will join Blake, who is also a coach on the show, for a rendition of “Different Man,” their latest duet. It’s the title track on Kane’s most recent album.

Meanwhile, Breland will make his debut on the Voice stage with a performance of “For What it’s Worth,” which is his current single at country radio and comes off the track list of his full-length studio debut, Cross Country.

It’ll be a multigeneral musical spread on the finale of The Voice, with performances from stars like Maluma, OneRepublic, Adam Lambert, Kelly Clarkson and Girl Named Tom. All four coaches — Blake, John Legend, Gwen Stefani and Camila Cabello — will perform with the contestants on their respective teams.

Five finalists remain going into next week’s live finale. Bryce Leatherwood, Bodie, Omar Jose Cardona, Brayden Lape and Morgan Myles are all in the running to win The Voice this season.

The event will air on NBC next Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Carrie Underwood thanks “the most incredible fans” as she claims her PCA Country Artist of 2022 trophy

ABC

Carrie Underwood got the party started at the 2022 People’s Choice Awards on Tuesday night, bringing home an early win for Country Artist of the Year.

Holding her shiny new trophy onstage, Carrie joked that she “will not be giving a three-hour-long speech” and added, “No pressure on setting the tone for the rest of the night!”

On a more serious note, Carrie told the crowd that she owed her award to her fans. “This whole night is all about the fans, and I certainly have just the most incredible fans. You guys have supported me for many years, especially out on the road this year,” she said.

Carrie’s had the chance to spend quite a bit of quality time with her fans in late 2022 after launching her Denim & Rhinestones Tour — a trek that continues well into 2023 — in October.

“Thank you guys so much for all the love. Thank you for this. What a wonderful early Christmas present,” Carrie said as she wrapped up her speech.

Carrie was one of a number of country superstars nominated for the trophy at the 2022 People’s Choice Awards. Kane Brown, Miranda Lambert, Morgan Wallen, Thomas Rhett, Luke Combs, Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris were also nominated in the category.

Additionally, Shania Twain was there repping country music: She received the Music Icon Award this year and gave a medley performance of some of her biggest hits.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Shania Twain wishes her mom could have seen her accept PCA's Music Icon Award

Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Shania Twain received the Music Icon Award onstage at the 2022 People’s Choice Awards on Tuesday night, a recognition of her historic, four-decade-long career as the best-selling female country-pop artist of all time.

As she accepted her trophy, Shania reflected on her gratitude, her family and her fans.

“I always miss my mother at these moments [in] my life,” the singer said, according to People. “She would have loved watching her little girl living this moment right now.”

Shania’s mother, Sharon Morrison, died in a car accident along with the singer’s stepfather, Jerry Twain, in 1987. In the decades since, Shania’s career has risen to astronomic, genre-crossing heights. The singer also acknowledged those who have been with her throughout those big years in her career.

“But my fans, my friends, my team — you are the ones who really fill that space ... not my mother’s space. But you’re here with me, you’re celebrating, we’re celebrating together,” she continued. “And you’ve made me feel loved and special my whole working life. I’ll always be grateful for that.”

In addition to be feted with the Music Icon Award, Shania performed a medley of hits at the People’s Choice Awards, including classics like “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” as well as her current single, “Waking Up Dreaming.”

Shania has a new album due out next year, called Queen of Me. She will tour extensively throughout 2023 to support the release.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Blake Shelton takes his role as a stepdad to Gwen Stefani’s kids “very seriously”

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When Blake Shelton married Gwen Stefani in the summer of 2021, he married into a whole family: Gwen has three sons whom she shares with ex-husband Gavin Rossdale.

And although the kids -- 16-year-old Kingston, 14-year-old Zuma and eight-year-old Apollo -- already have a dad, Blake is a big figure in their lives, and the country star knows just how important it is to foster those relationships.

“If I walked away from my career at this time, the only thing that I run the risk of is having regrets that I’m missing out on some more important things in life. For now, that’s our kids,” he tells People in a new cover story. “This isn’t about me anymore and never will be again.”

During this stage of his life, Blake continues, family time comes before anything else.

“Even though I’m a stepparent, I take that job very seriously,” the singer emphasizes. “...[When they ask], ‘Why isn’t Blake here?’ I take that stuff to heart. I’ve made plenty of money, but you can’t buy time back. I don’t want any regrets.”

To that end, he says, it’s time to trade in some of his work commitments “and let more family and personal life in.”

Blake announced this fall that he’s leaving The Voice, a show where he’s been a coach since the very first season. The show is currently in his 22nd season, and the next season -- season 23, airing in the spring of 2023 -- will be his last.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Newcomer Bailey Zimmerman takes two songs and turns them into his first #1

ABC/Connie Chornuk

This week, newcomer Bailey Zimmerman made it all the way to the top of the country chart with his debut single, "Fall in Love." 

In the beginning, Bailey's breakthrough was actually two different tunes written by one of his co-writers.

"That was last year, 2021," Bailey tells ABC Audio. "And I don't even really know when. It was before winter of 2021. So it was kind of just like one day we just mashed two songs that Gavin [Lucas] had wrote together and made 'em one song."

Incredibly, "Fall in Love" marks what Bailey considers the real beginning of his career as a songwriter.

"That's honestly when I kind of started, like, really trying to figure out songwriting," he reflects, "because beforehand I was just writing songs for no reason."

"I was just writing them," he continues, "and, like, they had feelings towards them, you know? But after writing 'Fall in Love,' it was like, 'OK, I've got a meaning towards this. I think I understand how I think I want to write my songs.'" 

Bailey's follow-up to his first number one is "Rock and a Hard Place," which has already been certified Platinum. He's set to make his TV debut December 27 on ABC's Good Morning America. He heads out on tour with Morgan Wallen in 2023.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Nashville notes: Kelsea Ballerini takes Heartfirst abroad, Scotty McCreery drops a music video + more

Kelsea Ballerini will resume her Heartfirst Tour in 2023, this time with a United Kingdom leg. She’s got four overseas shows on the books for February.

Scotty McCreery just shared a music video for his song “On It.” The track comes off the deluxe version of his Same Truck album.

Speaking of Scotty, the singer’s wife, Gabi, shared a sweet carousel of photos on social media this week celebrating the couple’s first month and a half with their newborn son, Avery.

The late Loretta Lynn’s family shared a heartfelt video message with fans following her memorial service. You can see it now on her social accounts.

Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Zach Bryan and roots mainstay Tyler Childers are headlining Railbird Music Festival 2023. The event is set for June 2023 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Shania Twain extends her 2023 Queen of Me Tour through mid-November

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Shania Twain has added another string of shows to her tour calendar for next year.

Due to fan demand, the superstar put another month of shows on the books, launching in mid-October 2023 in San Antonio, Texas, and wrapping on November 14 in Vancouver. In between those dates, she’ll hit cities across the U.S. and Canada.

Named for her upcoming Queen of Me album — her first since 2017 — Shania’s 2023 tour will begin in late April in Spokane, Washington. After tickets for the first leg of shows went on sale, they quickly began selling out, prompting her to add more dates.

"I'll be kissing my horses goodbye in April because mamma's going on the road for the entirety of 2023!" the singer said on social media. "And I'm playing even more shows that we've just announced!"

Tickets for the next round of shows go on sale December 16. For details about grabbing your seats — and a number of specialized presales -- visit LiveNation.com.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Carly Pearce explains why she “might throw up” from nerves when she performs on 'The Voice' this week

ABC

Carly Pearce will return to the stage of The Voice this week, performing her current single, “What He Didn’t Do,” during the semifinal results episode of the show.

Carly has performed on The Voice before -- she hit the stage in late 2021 to perform the title track of her 29 album -- but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have jitters this time around.

“This show makes me very nervous because I have to sing in front of people like Camila Cabello and John Legend and Gwen Stefani and my tourmate, Blake Shelton. So, I might throw up,” the singer tells her record label ahead of her performance.

The singer is joining Blake on his Back to the Honky Tonk arena tour in 2023, along with newcomer Jackson Dean. He’s a big hero of hers, both musically and in terms of his work on the show, Carly says.

“I think about what he has done for country music by being on that show, his humor, his talent, his awareness of what artists need to go from that show to becoming superstars,” she explains. “I just think he’s everybody’s best friend, and I think he was always that, but The Voice made everybody in America and beyond aware of that.”

The episode featuring Carly will air live tonight on NBC. Blake will also take the stage to perform his single “No Body,” and John will sing “Nervous,” off his new album, Legend.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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