ABC/Image Group LA If you listen closely to Keith Urban’s top-15 hit, “Female,” you’ll find it’s actually his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, who’s contributing some of the background vocals. The Aussie superstar may have started a trend, because now Nicole isn't the only spouse who’s adding BGVs to a current tune.
Dan Shay’s Dan Smyers revealed to Billboard that it’s not his musical partner Shay Mooney who’s harmonizing with him on the background parts on “Tequila” -- it’s actually his wife, Abby Law. Even more incredible, Dan says the recording is his bride’s first time in front of a microphone.
In addition to writing and singing on the song, Dan also co-produced “Tequila,” mixing in some other nearly-hidden sounds for effect -- namely the sound of a drop of water to represent tequila, and a scratched vinyl sound for nostalgia.
“Tequila” is the lead single from Dan Shay’s forthcoming third album. Warner Nashville believed in it so much they scrapped plans to release another uptempo track first, opting instead for the ballad.
ABC/Image Group LA Maren Morris starred in fiancé Ryan Hurd’s music video for his debut single, “Love in a Bar,” and it looks like he may now be returning the favor.
“‘Rich’ video is coming along nicely,” Maren shared on social media on Friday, along with a photo of her significant other dressed in costume, in what appears to be a western town. Maren titled the picture Westworld, an apparent reference to the popular HBO show that centers around a Wild West-themed amusement park. She also Instagramed a short video of herself dressed in similar attire.
Both are in keeping with the details Maren already revealed to ABC Radio: “We're shooting it in New Mexico, so yeah, it's happening,” she said.
“And I was like, 'If we're doing a video for 'Rich,' we need to go all out.' Because it's a pretty bombastic, sassy song. It needs a video that compliments that perfectly.”
With lyrics like “Vegas at the Mandarin/high-roller gamblin’,” it would’ve been easy to imagine a scenario set in Sin City. But Maren said that’s not the case.
“I will say about the video treatment,” she explained, “there's nothing Vegas-y about it. I was like, 'Everyone's gonna think we're gonna do a Vegas video.’ But it's actually, like, quite opposite. So I'm excited for us to shoot it and for people to see it.”
“Rich” is the fourth and final single from Maren’s debut album, Hero.
ABC/Image Group LA As of Friday, Walker Hayes’ debut album has been streamed more than 100 million times since its release December 8. It’s a number the “You Broke Up with Me” hitmaker can’t quite comprehend.
“Wow! I cannot believe we have already reached 100 million streams on boom.,” he says. “The album is so personal to me, I still can’t really wrap my head around the fact that fans from all over are connecting with my songs and my story. I’m so pumped to look into the crowd each night and know that everyone has been listening and enjoying.”
Walker’s already sold-out five shows on his Good as Gold Tour, and when he’s not headlining his own concerts, he’s opening for Kelsea Ballerini on her Unapologetically trek.
Meanwhile, Walker’s first top-ten hit, “You Broke Up with Me,” has also been certified gold.
Sony LegacyWillie Nelson may have been forced to take January and February off to recover from the flu, but that’s not affecting his studio output. His new album, Last Man Standing, is set to be released April 27, just two days before his 85th birthday.
The all-new collection is made up of eleven tracks Willie co-wrote with his longtime collaborator and producer, Buddy Cannon, who’s also well-known for his work with Kenny Chesney.
The first single is the record’s title track, “Last Man Standing.” Much as he did on his 2017 album, Willie continues to deal with his own mortality, singing “I don’t want to be the last man standing -- but wait a minute, maybe I do.”
The tune also references the passing of his friends Waylon Jennings, Ray Price, Merle Haggard and writer/producer Norro Wilson. You can check out “Last Man Standing” via a new music video shot in the recording studio.
Last Man Standing is the follow-up to last year’s God’s Problem Child, which debuted at #1 on the country albums chart. Here’s the complete track listing for the new project:
“Last Man Standing” “Don’t Tell Noah” “Bad Breath” “Me and You” “Something You Get Through” “Ready to Roar” “Heaven Is Closed” “I Ain’t Got Nothin’” “She Made My Day” “I’ll Try to Do Better Next Time” “Very Far to Crawl”
ABC/Paula LoboThe Nashville Ballet has joined forces with John Carter Cash and several local musicians to honor the late Johnny Cash during the 2018 Ballet Ball.
Musicians set to take part in the production include Sheryl Crow, Ronnie Dunn, Jamey Johnson, Bill Miller, and Devin Dawson. Dancers will perform portions of Under the Lights, a production that debuted in 2014 and features the country legend's songs, as each musician puts his or her unique rendition on Cash's material.
The ball will be held at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center on March 3. While the ball is invitation only, fans can purchase a ticket to the Ballet Ball Late Party for $175 for a seat to the show. For more information, visit nashvilleballet.com.
Comstock/ThinkstockOn this day in 2002, this artist made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry in over two decades to honor the late Waylon Jennings. He joined Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart to perform on the famed radio show broadcast from Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Can you name him? ANSWER: Hank Williams Jr.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockTrace Adkins is the new voice of Farmer Boys. The country singer will lend his distinct baritone to the restaurant chain's latest TV commercials under the slogan, Farm Food Ain't Fast Food.
Beloved Grand Ole Opry staples and Grammy-winning band Riders in the Sky will celebrate 40 years together this year with the release of their 41st album. The country outfit will unveil 40 Years the Cowboy Way on April 13.
Carly Pearce performed her new single, “Hide the Wine,” on Live with Kelly & Ryan Thursday morning, February 15. The sultry new single highlights her smoky vocals and her engaging performance captivated the studio audience. "Hide the Wine" is the second single off her major label debut released last year and follows her number-one hit, "Every Little Thing."
ABC/Kelsey McNealFlorida Georgia line are riding high with their latest country/pop crossover hit, "Meant to Be," which has topped Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart for 11 weeks. The duo's been so successful with their genre-hopping tracks that Tyler Hubbard says you can definitely expect more in the future.
"We do love to collaborate. We love making new friends, writing with people outside of our genre and just kind of seeing where it goes," he says.
FGL's signature hit "Cruise" blew up six years ago, thanks to a remix featuring rapper Nelly. Since then, they've worked with The Backstreet Boys, dance music duo The Chainsmokers and, most recently, pop stars Bebe Rexha and Hailee Steinfeld on the songs "Meant to Be" and "Let Me Go," respectively.
"We’ve been really fortunate, obviously with ‘Meant to Be’ and ‘Let Me Go,’ just to be on big songs with big artists and, you know, big opportunities for us, so, it’s awesome," says Tyler.
Tyler and B.K. are currently working on their fourth album, which they says will probably include yet another collaboration, but there's no word yet on who it might be.
Credit: Gregory HarrisBrothers Osborne are the faces of Frye's new Hometown Pride campaign. The American footwear company celebrates its 155th anniversary this year and aims to highlight local talent through the new campaign, which will include candid images of the country duo.
“Frye is a company deeply rooted in our country's history. Not to mention the undeniable style and quality,” Brothers Osborne say in a statement.
The new partnership will include special sweepstakes where fans can win a trip to New York City to meet the band and attend their Mountain High tour with Dierks Bentley. There will also be in-store events, including a first listen of the band's forthcoming new album, Port Saint Joe. Vinyl copies of the album will be sold at a selection of Frye stores beginning on April 20, the day the project arrives.
John and TJ Osborne co-wrote every track on Port Saint Joe, and the title is a nod to the small town on the Florida coast where the siblings recorded the project.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images via ABCShania Twain is the subject of a new docudrama set to air on the REELZ Channel this Sunday, February 18. Part of The Price of Fame series, the hour-long show will give viewers an intimate perspective on the country singer's rags-to-riches story. Ashla Taylor portrays Shania in the show, and tells Billboardthat the singer has been a constant inspiration throughout her life.
“When I was eight years old, my grandmother took me to see Shania," she tells the publication. "It was my first concert. I saw her in her glory, and I remember thinking – even then – that was exactly the kind of woman I wanted to be. The light just turned on for me, and I began to study everything about her – her music, her writing, her voice."
The Price of Fame: Shania Twain, focuses on the singer's journey, including her highs and lows. Ashla adds that it was natural for her to fall into Shania's character.
"I have been studying Shania for a long time. She has been my personal and my musical influence in life. Needless to say, I didn’t have to do a lot of character study,” she explains. "There were a lot of things that I could relate to, and she really inspired me as a woman."
"It started as a musical thing, and when I got to really know her story, it became personal," she adds. "I kept telling myself over the years that if Shania can overcome, then I can too. I really hope to meet her one of these days, and tell her that it was because of her that I could do this.”
The Price of Fame: Shania Twain, airs Sunday, February 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on REELZ.
ABC/Randy HolmesCole Swindell launches his Reason To Drink Tour tonight in Pennsylvania. In addition to the tour, which runs through April, the country singer says new music is on the way.
“I have spent four years touring with and having a front row seat learning from the very best entertainers in country music, including three multi-year Entertainers of the Year!” Cole says in a statement. “I am so excited to have new music coming VERY soon and launching my first headlining tour tonight."
He adds, "It’s definitely an amazing time in my career. I can honestly say I have the best fans in the world. They have supported me, bought my records, called radio request lines for my songs and their support has helped create this moment for me – on the verge of releasing new music AND headlining my own tour. I am looking forward to giving them 110% every single night. We are going to have a blast!”
Cole has amassed seven number-one singles throughout his career as an artist and 10 chart toppers as a songwriter. His latest #1 hit, "Flatliner," features Dierks Bentley.
ABC/Image Group LAKelsea Ballerini enjoyed her first Valentine's Day as a married woman: She spent it with her husband, Morgan Evans, by her side as they performed together at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.
It was her first time headlining the famed stage, and the Tennesseanreports that Kelsea was battling the flu. That didn't stop her show, though, and she brought her Australian hubby out to join her as she accompanied him on a song called "Dance with Me," which he wrote about her shortly after they met.
Earlier in the day, Kelsea hinted at their collaboration by posting an image of the two together during soundcheck on Instagram.
"First time singing on stage together. At the Ryman. On Valentine’s Day. Hey @morganevansmusic, will you dance with me?" she captioned the picture.
The following day, Morgan shared a photo of their embrace during their performance. "She danced with me," he wrote. Kelsea's concert at the Ryman was part of her current 2018 Unapologetically Tour, which kicked off last week.
Dan MacMedan/WireImageWhile Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott is at home with her newborn twins, bandmates Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood were itching to get back on the stage. The guys joined forces without her for a memorable one-off evening of music at Nashville's 3rd and Lindsley on Valentine's Day.
During the evening, Kelley and Haywood assumed their roles in their cover band, Dick Fantastic and the Fabulous Four Skins, where they performed a nearly two-hour set of songs. The energy never wavered throughout the show, which featured a bubble machine, smoke effects and heart-shaped candies, which they threw out into the crowd.
Kelley took the lead in his guise as Richard Wonderful, aka Dick Fantastic. Donning a hot pink suit with the initials "DF" emblazoned in silver lettering, a blonde mullet wig, and plenty of "guy liner," Kelley impressed as the beloved and hilarious frontman.
Blazing through a series of pop classics including Toto's "Africa," Michael Bolton's "Soul Provider" and Daryl Hall & John Oates' "Maneater," the show was off to a mesmerizing start.
At one point, saxophonist and songwriter Abe Stoklasa joined Kelley in the sold-out crowd, and serenaded concertgoers with the instrumental break of "Maneaster" while standing on a chair in the middle of the venue.
Additional highlights included Haywood's jaw-dropping rap skills on Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise," Kelley's emotional, albeit laughter-inducing, performance of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," and versions of New Kids On the Block's "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" -- complete with the boy band's choreographed dance moves -- and Ginuwine's "Pony."
No word on when Dick Fantastic will host their next show. Kelley and Haywood last performed together as Dick Fantastic in 2013 when Hillary welcomed her first daughter, Eisele.
John Shearer/Getty Images via ABCBlake Shelton kicks off his Country Music Freaks tour tonight in Oklahoma, so he wasn't able to be with his girl, Gwen Stefani, for Valentine's Day yesterday. That doesn't mean he forgot about romance, though.
Gwen took to social media to show off a beautiful bouquet that Blake sent her, along with a sweet card. On Snapchat, she said, "I just got the most incredible flowers...I've never got flowers like that, I'm freaking out!" She also gave us a peek at her card, which read, "Have a great Valentine's Day, I love you, Blake."
Gwen also posted the massive red and pink bouquet on her Instagram story, which she captioned "Luckiest Girl in the World," and added "Love u for real."
"Somebody loves me!" she shouts. "Oh my God! I've never seen anything like that!"
Comstock/Thinkstock Thirteen years ago this week, Rascal Flatts made it to #1 with this career-defining ballad first recorded by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Can you name it? ANSWER: "Bless the Broken Road."
ABC/Image Group LA Carly Pearce’s second single is called “Hide the Wine,” but the “Every Little Thing” hitmaker is prepared to do some drinking, as she heads out on tour with Blake Shelton.
“I hear my liver's in trouble, so I'm ready for that,” she tells ABC Radio. “And we haven't met yet, but… I keep seeing interviews where he calls me a freak, because he named his tour Country Music Freaks. So, I feel like somebody who already calls you a freak before they've ever met you, I'm in for it.”
Considering she left high school to sing in a show at Dollywood, Carly has no qualms about identifying as a Country Music Freak.
“Oh gosh, I mean I'm from Kentucky,” she laughs, “so there's definitely a redneck side to me. Grew up with family members that are interesting, and loving country music, true and true, grew up on bluegrass.”
“I mean, there's definitely some country music freak-ness to me, even though maybe I come off as a little bit more classy. But it's in my roots. It's in that Pearce name!”
Carly begins a month-long stint with Blake, Brett Eldredge and Trace Adkins, tonight in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock High Valley performs their top-15 hit “She’s with Me” on Live with Kelly and Ryan on Tuesday, February 27. You can catch the show following Good Morning America on most ABC stations.
Newcomer Jillian Jacqueline made her Grand Ole Opry debut on Tuesday, performing her new single “Reasons,” the track “God Bless This Mess” from her Side A EP and her cover of Patsy Cline’s "Crazy." She followed Opry star Lorrie Morgan, who happens to have been her very first concert.
Just in time for what would’ve been Johnny Cash’s 85th birthday, the Rockabye Baby! series is paying tribute to the Man in Black. Lullaby Renditions of Johnny Cash comes out February 23 and features infant-sized versions of “A Boy Named Sue,” “Ring of Fire” and “Folsom Prison Blues,” among others.
ABC/Image Group LA When Brett Eldredge kicks off Blake Shelton’s Country Music Freaks Tour tonight in Oklahoma, it’ll mark a personal milestone for him: It’s his last outing as an opening act, before he embarks on his own headlining The Long Way Tour in April.
It’s a full-circle moment for Brett, since once of the very first shows he ever opened was for Blake.
“I'm excited that Blake is my last, like before I go jump into that,” Brett says, “because I just have such a comfort with that guy. For one, he knows who he is and he's always been so real to me.”
“He's no different from when I had nothing going on. I think [when] I opened the show for him, my record deal wasn't done yet. But we hung out after the show like we were best buds… and I love that about him… He's just an Oklahoma boy that is not only a huge artist and amazing singer, but star now, but he doesn't act like that at all.”
Brett’s looking forward to experiencing what Blake’s tour is like behind-the-scenes.
“I've seen him a couple times live,” he admits, “but I've never got to really spend time backstage and stuff with him, and kinda seeing how his day's going. I love those moments of building up to the show too, and hanging out, and of course, the moments after. I'm sure there'll be some late hangs.”
Carly Pearce and Trace Adkins join Brett and Blake for the first show of the Country Music Freaks trek at BOK Center tonight in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Reviver RecordsFrom their hit, “I Love This Life,” to their latest single, “Don’t Get Better Than That,” the guys in LOCASH have made it clear they’re just fine with being country’s foremost purveyors of positivity. Now, Chris Lucas and Preston Brust are working to turn “Don’t Get Better Than That” into a movement.
“It’s a lifestyle, a choice to find the best things in life,” Chris shared on Instagram, along with a photo of him modeling one of the duo’s new “Don’t Get Better Than That” t-shirts. The one he’s wearing features a retro van under a sunny sky.
There’s also a patriotic design with stars and stripes and an eagle, as well as another with a large glass of wine, all with the “Don’t Get Better Than That” motto. They’ll run you $25 bucks for a short-sleeved one or $30 for long sleeves. Preston and Chris are paying it forward by giving part of their profits to children’s charities.
You can find the tees at BetterThanThat.com. “Don’t Get Better Than That” is the lead single from the CMA-nominated duo’s new album, due sometime this year.
Big Machine Records Carly Pearce’s new single may be titled “Hide the Wine,” but the Kentucky native might need to get that bottle back out after the day she has planned on Thursday.
She’ll start by performing the latest release from her Every Little Thing album on Live with Kelly and Ryan, before flying to Tulsa, Oklahoma for a concert the same night. You can catch the syndicated talk show following Good Morning America on most ABC stations.
Carly’s already spent several days in the Big Apple this week, hanging out with students at PS 169 in the Bronx on Monday. She helped the school’s fifth graders with their original tune, “We Are the Song,” as part of the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Words & Music program. Then on Tuesday, the kids got to perform it with Carly at the All for the Hall NYC concert.
Provided the skies are friendly, the “Every Little Thing” hitmaker should make it to the BOK Center in plenty of time to kick off Blake Shelton’s Country Music Freaks Tour Thursday night.
Carly's schedule doesn't show any sign of letting up for the rest of the year, either. After her run with Blake, she’ll head out with Thomas Rhett on the Life Changes trek, join Rascal Flatts for the Back to Us Tour, and play stadiums with Luke Bryan on the What Makes You Country dates.