ABC/Image Group LA Dierks Bentley performs his latest #1, "Woman, Amen," Friday night on the annual WE Dayspecial on ABC.
The Arizona native admits he didn't have to do much for his song to become the anthem for this year's event that celebrates young people who are making a positive impact on the world.
"It's great to have a song that just opened doors for you. I didn't have to do anything to make that happen," Dierks says candidly. "It's such a great message, great song, great music. It's just out there opening new doors..."
"This is a special where all these young women through community service get a chance to win a trip to Los Angeles," he continues, "to be a part of this festival that really honors community service and involvement in your local community."
In all, sixteen-thousand students and educators gathered at The Forum in L.A. for the April event. Dierks' special guests were Jennifer and Sydnee Floyd, who put together packages of necessities for Nashville's homeless population.
"These two girls, Sydnee and Jennifer, who put together local supplies here for homeless, this song became tied in with their journey and brought us all out there," Dierks explains. "And I got a chance to perform this song on this stage in front of all these great young women."
Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Dan Shay's two-week #1, "Tequila," is the most-streamed country song released in 2018 so far.
Country stars Aaron Tippin and John Anderson have teamed up with officers from the Smithville, Tennessee Police department to create a Lip Sync Challenge video that's going viral. You can check out the clip that features the hits "There Ain't Nothin' Wrong with the Radio" and "Swingin'" on YouTube now.
Nineties hitmaker Joe Diffie is set to perform at the 12th Annual ACM Honors August 22 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.
If you missed Sugarland performing the title track of their new album Thursday on Live with Kelly and Ryan, you can watch the duo doing "Bigger" online now.
ABC/Lou RoccoChildhood literacy has long been one of the causes closest to Dolly Parton’s heart, and this August, she’s pitching in to help YouTube Kids with its Reading Month.
In addition to recording a new intro video for the video platform, the global superstar has also curated her own #ReadAlong playlist that includes lyric videos from her recent children's album, namely the title track, “I Believe in You,” and the re-recording of her classic, “Coat of Many Colors.”
The playlist features titles like The Little Engine That Could which are part of Dolly’s Imagination Library. The Tennessee native started the literacy program in 1995, and it’s gone on to send millions of free books to kids all over the world, from the time they’re born until they reach age five.
ABC/Image Group LA As Kane Brown continues work on his sophomore album, which comes out November 9, he’s just released a new video for the song “Weekend.”
The clip starts as Kane, his band, crew and friends pick up some party supplies at Walmart, before retiring to a lake house for some boating, barbecuing and trips down a homemade water slide. You’ll also spot Kane’s fiancee, Katelyn Jae, in the video.
Meanwhile, TIME magazine has named Kane of of its “31 People Who Are Changing the South,” for his “willingness to stretch genre boundaries and highly personal storytelling.”
"Lose It," the lead single from Kane's forthcoming album, is currently climbing the charts.
CurbFor the second summer in a row, Dylan Scott has a top ten hit on the country chart.
“Hooked” checks in at #9 this week, a little more than a year after “My Girl” peaked at #1. The Louisiana native’s breakthrough went on to become the seventh most-played song of 2017.
“It is a real honor to once again break into the Top 10 with my single ‘Hooked,’” Dylan says. “When ‘My Girl’ went #1 last summer, I didn’t think life could get much better. However, the current success of this song has reinforced the fact that I am truly living my dream, and I feel more blessed than ever before.”
“Hooked” happens to have been co-written by Morgan Evans, who also has a top five hit right now with “Kiss Somebody.” The idea for "Hooked" started out as a joke, because Morgan’s wife Kelsea Ballerini’s single at the time was “Peter Pan.”
Taylor Hill/Getty ImagesAretha Franklin was the Queen of Soul, but her appeal and influence was so universal it extended to nearly every other musical genre, including country.
Thursday morning, some of the biggest stars in the country format responded to the loss of the 76-year-old legend, who died from advanced pancreatic cancer at her home in Detroit.
Reba McEntire is the country artist with perhaps the most obvious connection to the Queen of Soul: her cover of Aretha’s signature song, "Respect," became a concert favorite, and in 1988, she recorded the tune on her Reba album.
“I’ve had so many influences in my life,” Reba tweeted on Thursday, “and one of them is the Queen of Soul. Rest In Peace, Aretha.”
“I’ll sing this one for you,” she added, along with a clip of her performing “Respect.”
Tim McGraw included a clip of Aretha singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at President Obama’s first inauguration along with his tribute.
“The queen of soul… There will never be another,” Tim offered. “So much love and respect from the McGraw family. A friend of mine told me once, ‘When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced, live your life so that when you’re gone, the world cries and you rejoice.’”
Tim's wife Faith Hillshared a treasured photo with the legend, showing her smiling as Aretha's outstretched hand reaches toward the camera's lens.
"The choir of angels now have the greatest voice of all time to lead, praise and join in to sing before Jesus," Faith said. "I wanted to share this photo because it shows just how soulful Aretha was without uttering a word. To say I was humbled to be in her presence would be an understatement."
Darius Rucker also envisioned Aretha singing on high: "We lost one of the most important all time greats today. My love goes out to her family. Love you Aretha. That band in Heaven just got a lot better!!"
“Aretha,” Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettlesstarted simply. “The Queen of Soul. As singers, we all aspire to her passion, authenticity, and power. Her talents, gifts and contributions changed hearts and touched lives. She was and remains a national treasure. Rest in Power Queen.”
Rascal Flattsechoed the sentiment: “Rest in Peace, sweet Aretha #QueenOfSoul. We loved you and your music oh so much. An absolute legend that can never be replaced!”
“One of my favorites,” Jon Pardichimed in. “Rest In Peace Queen of soul!” adding the hashtags #respect and #youbetterthink, referencing two of Aretha’s biggest hits.
American Idol winner Scotty McCreerysummed up Aretha's impact on all singers: "Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. A woman with an incredible God-given voice who shared it with the world, and we were lucky to have her while we did. She paved the way for every entertainer who came after her. May she rest in peace."
Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced in the coming days.
With his first #1, "Yours," already under his belt, and the follow-up single, "Blue Tacoma," rapidly approaching the top ten, Russell Dickerson's career is definitely on the rise. Add to that a high-profile opening spot on the Summer Plays On Tour with Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker, and the relative newcomer is dealing with a unique set of challenges.
Luckily, the graduate of Nashville's Belmont University has his pals Thomas Rhett and Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line to lean on -- and learn from.
"It's not like, 'Hey, sit down, let me give you some advice'..." Russell explains. "I just kinda watch them, and how they handle hiring people or firing people, or how they have learned to be as efficient as possible on the road."
"You know, like sleep schedules," he continues. "Do you get up at 11 a.m. or do you get up at 6 a.m.? When do you work out? When do you write songs? How do you do this? Because I'm having to figure a lot of that out."
A big task on Russell's plate right now is crafting his sophomore album.
"Writing album two -- like, how? I don't know," he admits. "And so, it's really cool to watch Tyler and them. They bring a whole bus out with writers, or TR will bring out writers just on his bus."
"Just kinda learning from that, and trying to figure out how to do this," Russell adds. "So yes, lots of valuable advice."
This week, Russell, Darius and Lady A take their Summer Plays On trek to Mountain View and Sacramento, California; Brownsville, Oregon; and Auburn, Washington.
Comstock/Thinkstock Eight years ago this week, Jerrod Niemann scored his only #1 so far on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with this song. Can you name the tune that was a remake of a 1992 hit by the band Sonia Dada? ANSWER: "You Don't Treat Me No Good," which was renamed "Lover, Lover" for its country release.
Aretha Franklin, the pastor's daughter who became the undisputed Queen of Soul over a career that spanned more than five decades, has died of advanced pancreatic cancer, ABC News has confirmed.
"It is with deep and profound sadness that we announce the passing of Aretha Louise Franklin, the Queen of Soul," read a statement from her rep.
"Franklin, 76 years old, passed away on Thursday morning, August 16 at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit, MI, surrounded by family and loved ones. Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advance pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s Oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, MI."
“In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds," the statement continued.
“We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.”
Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days.
Franklin's health had been a concern for the past few years, causing a spate of concert cancellations. In 2017, she appeared alarmingly thin but claimed it was a side effect of an unspecified medication. After announcing she was retiring from the road in 2017, Franklin still scheduled shows for 2018 but in March, she was ordered by her doctors to cancel all shows and rest for two months. Despite rumors of serious health problems, she's never publicly spoken about her ailments.
Merely saying that Franklin was one of the greatest vocalists of all time hardly seems adequate to describe her influence and impact -- her voice was officially declared a natural resource by her home state of Michigan. In 2015, President Barack Obama said of Franklin: "Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R&B, rock and roll -- the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope."
Franklin started her music career early, singing gospel music as a child at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit where her father, C.L. Franklin, was minister. In 1960, at the age of 18, she signed to Columbia Records and experienced some success, especially on the R&B charts. But it wasn't until 1967, when she signed to Atlantic Records, that her career really took off.
For Atlantic, Franklin recorded-now classics "Respect," "Chain of Fools," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," and "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)," which helped her cross over to the pop charts. She won her first Grammy in 1968, the same year she appeared on the cover of TIME magazine. She'd eventually go on to win a total of 20 Grammys, including special Grammys awarded outside of competition, and chart more than 73 songs on the Billboard Hot 100.
Franklin was also part of the civil rights movement of the sixties and has been called "the voice of Black America." Having met Martin Luther King Jr. through her father, himself a noted civil rights leader, she sang at events with Dr. King and her signature hit, "Respect," became a civil rights anthem. When King was assassinated in 1968, Franklin performed "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" at his funeral.
Aretha's hits continued through the '70s but she left Atlantic records in 1979, signing to Clive Davis' label, Arista, in 1980. That same year, she made her unforgettable appearance as a waitress in The Blues Brothers. Her 1982 album, Jump to It, returned her to the pop charts for the first time in six years. She remained with Arista for more than 20 years, racking up hits like "Who's Zoomin' Who," "Freeway of Love" and "Jumpin' Jack Flash." In 1987, she was the first female performer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
During this time, Aretha also started recording duets with younger artists, including Eurythmics, Whitney Houston, Michael McDonald, Mary J. Blige, Elton John and George Michael, the latter with whom she scored the 1987 #1 smash duet "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me."
In 1994, Franklin received the Kennedy Center Honors, at the time the youngest person to be so honored. That same year, she received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also the recipient of the National Medal of the Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among countless other awards.
While Franklin's musical output covered rock, soul, pop, R&B and gospel, in 1998 she proved she really could sing anything by belting out the operatic aria "Nessun Dorma" at the Grammy Awards, filling in for an ailing Luciano Pavarotti.
Over the past 15 years, Franklin performed at a number of high-profile events. In 2006, she sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XL in Detroit with Aaron Neville and Dr. John. She performed "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at President Barack Obama's inauguration, where her fanciful hat received nearly as much attention as her vocal performance.
Franklin continued to release albums throughout the 2000s, including a 2014 album that featured her singing songs by other female artists including Adele, Barbra Streisand and Alicia Keys. Her version of "Rolling in the Deep" gave her her 100th charted song on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
Recently, Franklin had spoken of an album she'd been working on with Stevie Wonder, and early in 2018, it was announced that Jennifer Hudson would portray her in a biopic.
After two weeks at the top of the country chart with "Tequila," Dan Shay are poised to follow Florida Georgia Line and Maren Morris with a hit on the pop chart.
But Dan Smyers is quick to point out the crossover success of "Tequila" won't signal any change of direction for the pair. In fact, he and Shay Mooney hope it will bring new fans over to the country side.
"First and foremost, we're country artists..." Dan points out. "We're making country music, that's what we grew up listening to. That's what we want to continue to do. But with a crossover hit, I feel like it's a really cool opportunity for us to spread country music to people who may not have listened to it before."
He continues: "There's gonna be somebody out there listening to a mainstream pop station [and think] 'I really like that song.' And they're gonna dig in on a country playlist...or tune in to their local country station and maybe fall in love with some older country music or some other stuff that's similar to us."
Dan Shay are particularly happy the pop success of "Tequila" just happened, without any changes or forethought from them.
"It's not like we alienated our sound to get that crossover..." Dan explains. "We just...made a Dan Shay record and we're so thankful that people outside of the format are taking it in..."
Even though the song's only been on the pop chart a few weeks, Dan Shay are already seeing new fans at their concerts.
"We've had people come out to shows already...and say, 'Man, I've never been to a country show, but everybody here is so happy...' So hopefully we can grow the format a little bit."
Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Sugarland is set to stop by Live with Kelly and Ryan on Thursday. You can watch for the duo following Good Morning America on most ABC stations.
Kenny Chesney surprised industry veteran Connie Bradley by presenting her with the CMA's Irving Waugh Award of Excellence earlier this week in Nashville.
Arista newcomer Carlton Anderson has signed with Morris Higham Management, the same firm that represents Kenny Chesney, Old Dominion and Michael Ray, among others. Carlton's debut single is called "Drop Everything."
If you missed Florida Georgia Line doing their hit, "Simple," on The Late Late Show with James Corden, you can watch their performance on YouTube.
Photo credit: Jeremy HarrisTen thousand fans crowded the street next to Warner Music on Nashville’s Music Row yesterday, as Dan Shay delivered a high-energy “Tequila Tuesday” concert celebrating their recent multi-week #1.
“This is one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen,” Shay Mooney said shortly after kicking off the free event. “This is my favorite show we’ve played in my career.”
Shay and Dan Smyers offered a 17-song set packed with hits and fan favorites like “19 You Me,” “Nothin’ Like You,” “From the Ground Up,” and “How Not To.” The pair returned for an encore that included their new single, “Speechless,” as well as “Tequila,” of course.
The evening benefited Musicians on Call, with Dan Shay and Warner donating $5000 to help the nonprofit with their mission of bringing music to the bedsides of patients all across the country.
This weekend, Dan Shay travel to Canada, Ohio and Michigan as they begin to wind down their stint on Rascal Flatts’ Back to Us Tour.
ABC/Randy HolmesEven though Charles Kelley’s son Ward isn’t even three yet, he’s already become quite the world traveler.
Charles estimates the boy's already been on more than one hundred flights and traveled to multiple continents, including Europe. The Lady Antebellum hitmaker brings Ward and his wife Cassie on tour as much as he can, because he doesn’t want to miss any of the big moments in his little boy’s life.
“My wife and I have such a strong relationship that it’s just so much better when they’re out with me,” Charles tells People. “Having them with me is so cozy. I also don’t want Ward to grow up [and] be like, ‘I never got to see my dad -- he was always traveling.'”
The Augusta, Georgia native says Ward was recently “enamored” by all the bikes he saw whizzing by in Amsterdam.
“I thought, ‘Buddy, you’ve seen more in 2½ years than I ever saw in my 24 years of existence until this band,” Charles recalls. “I still love the South, I love Georgia, but there’s just so much beauty in the world.”
You can read more about the travels of Charles, Cassie and Ward in the new issue of People, which comes out on Friday.
BMLGLess than a year since its release, Thomas Rhett’s latest album, LifeChanges, has already been certified platinum. The top-five title track has also gone gold as well.
TR got the news last weekend as he was opening Kenny Chesney’s Trip Around the Sun date in Music City.
“I found out Life Changes went platinum and the single was gold the same day I got to play Nissan Stadium at home in Nashville, so that was a really special moment for me.” Thomas says. “When you put out something so personal to you, you always wonder if other people will be able to relate.”
“I just write what I know,” he continues. “It turns out that we all know love, family and experience the ups and downs of life. The best thing about music is that it becomes such a unifying force -- we get to experience it all together."
This week, TR plays Des Moines, Iowa and Springfield, Illinois, before meeting up with Kenny at Metlife Stadium in Rutherford, New Jersey on Saturday.
ABC/Mark LevineIf you’d like to hear what Old Dominion sounded like back in the days when they were just a bunch of songwriters playing in a bar in downtown Nashville, all you need to do is check out their socials.
The reigning ACM Vocal Group of the Year shared a clip from nearly a decade ago, captured as they covered Garth Brooks’ 1993 #1, “That Summer.” A lone couple two-steps on the dance floor at Music City’s Wildhorse Saloon.
“This is us in 2010,” the band tweeted. “Jamming our favorite Garth Brooks tune to a crowd of 2 whole people at the Wildhorse Saloon. What a crazy ride we have been on…”
OD’s debut album, Meat & Candy, came out in 2015, and it spun off a string of chart-topping singles, starting with their first release, “Break Up with Him.” Since then, “Song for Another Time,” “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart,” and “Written in the Sand” have all gone to #1.
The band’s latest hit, “Hotel Key,” just broke into country’s top 10.
Allister AnnEvery album Kenny Chesney ever released on his former record label, Sony Nashville, has now been certified gold or platinum. In all, that encompasses twenty projects, ranging from 1995’s All I Need to Know to 2017’s Live in No Shoes Nation.
Five of Kenny’s albums are multi-platinum, ten are platinum, and five are gold.
“It always amazes me how deep into the catalogue No Shoes Nation goes,” Kenny says, referring to his fans. “People talk to me about songs from Me and You; they talk to me about Hemingway’s Whiskey, Be As You Are and even All I Want for Christmas.”
“But you never sit down and think about the fact they must have all made those albums a part of their life,” he continues. “So to hear every record I’ve made is platinum -- or gold -- that kind of makes me pause a little.”
Kenny closed the Sony Nashville chapter of his career last year, leaving his longtime label home to sign with Warner Bros. Nashville. Songs for the Saints, his Warner debut, came out last month.
BMLGIf you wonder how Florida Georgia Line's latest top ten hit came to be, the answer is "Simple," just like the title of the song. It's one of the many hits that have been born out of the duo's tradition of bringing a bus filled with songwriters on tour, sponsored by their publishing company, Tree Vibez Music.
"It started on the Tree Vibez bus," Tyler Hubbard explains, "which is a bus that we bring out on tour with us, with all our writers, about a year ago actually. We wrote that song a little over a year ago."
Tyler says "Simple" came out of his and Brian Kelley's desire to reconnect with who they are at their core.
"It's just been a special song," Tyler reflects. "I think that day we were just trying to remind ourselves to get back to the basics of life a little bit, and keep things simple. You know, keep our priorities in line, and make sure we're staying present and all that type of stuff."
"Simple" serves as an important reminder for Tyler, since he became a father for the first time back in December, when his daughter Olivia was born.
"I just think it's perfect timing for us," he says, "and it feels like it couldn't be more us right now."
"I feel like the fans have really connected with it," Tyler adds.
"Simple" is the lead release from FGL's forthcoming follow-up to Dig Your Roots. So far, we don't know when exactly the full album will be released.
Comstock/Thinkstock Eleven years ago this week, Luke Bryan's first album was released. Can you recall the name of the debut record from the man who would go on to be a four-time Entertainer of the Year? ANSWER: I'll Stay Me.
ABC/Image Group LA As Lady Antebellum continues their Summer Plays On trek with pal Darius Rucker, there's no denying things have changed drastically since last year's You Look Good Tour.
Both Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott have new babies. In fact, Hillary has two: twins Betsy Mack and Emory JoAnn, who were born in January.
In December, Dave and wife Kelli welcomed daughter Lillie Renee -- she joined older brother Cash, who'll be four next month. Dave admits it takes a lot more planning to hit the road these days.
"It's a lot of logistics now with the kids..." he explains. "There's a lot of, 'Okay, kids are coming here, kids are flying there, riding on the bus.'"
"But we love the tour bus," Dave continues. "We're out there ridin' through the night, and it's a lot of...making sure you've got everything you need."
Hillary undoubtedly has the fullest plate of all. In addition to the twins, she's also mom to big sister Eisele, who turned five in July. For now, the twins are staying home with their dad, Chris Tyrell, who usually tours with Lady A as their drummer.
Hillary says for her, the key is taking it day by day.
"I learned that with my personality, I can make some big future plans, and then once they're made, I kind of have to take it three to four days at a time," she laughs, "and then just focus on the immediate, the present. And just know that adrenaline's always gonna kick in, no matter how jet-lagged you are."
Meanwhile, Charles Kelley and wife Cassie are busy keeping up with two-year-old Ward, who's loving life on the road so far.
This week, Lady A works the West Coast, as their latest single, "Heart Break," nears country's top-ten.
Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Three-time ACM Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean is the first headliner revealed for next year's Tortuga Music Festival. Look for more information about the April 12-14 festival in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in the coming months.
Thomas Rhett's current album, Life Changes, has been certified platinum, while his current hit, which is also the title cut, has just gone gold.
Pistol Annies' Angaleena Presley announced she's expecting her second child in January. She revealed the news during a surprise appearance with bandmates Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe this past weekend.
You can check out Ashley Monroe's new music video for "Wild Love" on YouTube now. It's the latest release from her current album, Sparrow.