ABC/Image Group LAFour-time nominee Chris Stapleton is the latest country artist now set to perform on the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. He’ll team up with Bonnie Raitt and Gary Clark Jr. to pay tribute to blues legend B.B. King, who passed away last May.
Chris’s debut solo effort Traveller is up for both the all-genre Album of the Year as well as Country Album, while its title track competes for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song.
He joins fellow nominees Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt, who are already set to represent the country genre at the prestigious show. You can watch it live from Los Angeles Monday, February 15 on CBS.
Columbia Nashville/Dack JanielsThese days, there's more than one current country singer who once had a promising career in college football. Sam Hunt was the quarterback for the University of Alabama at Birmingham, while Chase Rice was a linebacker at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Even though he's a native Tar Heel, Chase says it's still not easy picking a side when it comes to Super Bowl 50.
"Yeah, the Super Bowl’s tough for me this year," he admits. "I’m a huge Peyton Manning fan. Love who he is as a person, love his character, and love his passion for the game of football, ’cause I’m a huge football guy. Grew up playin’ football, played in college, almost played in the NFL. And seein’ Peyton Manning’s love for the game is awesome. But, it’s hard to pull against the Carolina Panthers."
Chase says a friendship he made after college makes it even harder.
"I’m from Asheville -- Fairview, North Carolina -- right outside of Asheville, I lived in Charlotte for about a year and a half, two years when I worked in NASCAR. Actually, one of my roommates when I was workin’ in NASCAR was Hilee Taylor, who played for the Panthers for a couple years. So, it’s really hard for me to pull against the Panthers, but lucky for me, I get a win-win situation Super Bowl Sunday, ’cause if the Broncos win, I’m very, very happy for Peyton, and if the Panthers win, then we finally brought a Super Bowl home to Carolina."
While Chase may have a hard time deciding whether he wants the Carolina Panthers or the Denver Broncos to win Sunday's game, there's one thing he does know for sure- - he doesn't want to host the party!
"The first Super Bowl party I’ve ever thrown was last year, and I actually hated it...I’m a huge football guy. I love watchin’, breakin’ down the game. So havin’ all those people around, everybody cheerin’, everybody screamin’, everybody talkin’ ’bout maybe even things other than the Super Bowl, I wanted to tell ’em, ‘Get outta here! I’m watchin’ the game!’ So it was tough for me to throw a party. I’d rather go to someone else’s party and not have all the stress of havin’ people over and all that and havin’ food made and all that. I’d rather just kinda sit there and watch the game."
While the lead single from Chase's sophomore album was likely not inspired by the advice he'd like to give at Super Bowl parties, it is appropriately titled -- "Whisper" is due out Friday.
Comstock/ThinkstockThis Pennsylvania native spent five seasons playing for the Cincinnati Bengals before hitting number one on the Billboard Country Singles chart in 1990 with "Walk on Faith." Can you name him? ANSWER: Mike Reid.
ABC/Image Group LASam Hunt and Peyton Manning are both set to take the field this Sunday for Super Bowl 50. Sam will be performing as part of the pregame festivities, while Peyton, of course, will be playing quarterback as the Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers. Since Sam himself is a longtime 'baller, having played QB for the University of Alabama at Birmingham in his college days, it turns out he has a little bit of history with the five-time MVP.
"When I was in high school, I went to a camp called the Manning Academy," he recalls. "It’s a quarterback camp down in Louisiana. And I got to spend some time with Peyton and Eli, and they have another brother. I’ve followed his career for a long time."
Several years later, Sam the country singer came face to face with his football hero.
"Actually, a couple of years ago, I was at a concert of Kenny Chesney’s in Denver, and I was standing there side stage and Jake Owen was there. He had opened up for him, and I’ve been a friend of his for a little while, and he turned and introduced me to the guy behind us, who I wasn’t aware of at the time, but it turned out to be Peyton Manning. He was just a really nice guy, and it was just pretty cool to be on the stage with two people who inspired me in two different arenas, with Peyton with football and Kenny with music," Sam remembers.
So when it comes to this Sunday's matchup, it's no surprise who he'll be rooting for- - even though he does have a bit of a conflict.
"First off, I’d like to see a really good game. I’m a big Peyton Manning fan, and I always have been. But I have a good friend that I played ball with in college; he’s playing with the Panthers, and their season’s been unbelievable. Just to watch the energy of that team grow throughout the year made it hard not to pull for ‘em, but I guess when it comes down to it, I’m gonna have to go with Peyton, because it could be his last go at it. He deserves it more than anybody. He’s one of the best that’s ever played."
The "Break Up in a Small Town" hitmaker plays the Super Bowl 50 Tailgate Party Sunday at Levi's Stadium in San Francisco. You can catch his performance on The Super Bowl Today, starting at 2 p.m. ET on CBS.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockCountry Music Hall of Famer Merle Haggard has cancelled all his February dates, as he continues to recover from double pneumonia. He hopes to be back on the road by spring.
Mary Chapin Carpenter's new album, The Things That We Are Made Of, will be released May 6.
Garth Brooks continues to be a hot ticket as his world tour expands to Canada. So far, fans have snapped up more than 60,000 tickets to his shows at Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre April 1-3, selling out 3 of the 4 concerts.
ABC/Image Group LAKeith Urban is adding three new dates to his ripCORD World Tour. He’ll play Bozeman, Montana on August 4 and Sioux City, Iowa on October 7, both places he hasn’t visited in more than a decade. On August 5, he’ll make his first stop ever in Pocatello, Idaho.
Brett Eldredge and newcomer Maren Morris will be along for all the shows, which kick off June 2 in Kansas City, Missouri. Keith's eighth studio album, also called Ripcord, is due sometime before the tour starts. Its second single, “Break on Me,” recently became the Aussie superstar’s 35th top-10 hit.
This week, Keith was nominated for the Academy of Country Music’s Vocal Event of the Year trophy for “Raise ‘Em Up” with Eric Church.
Image Group LA/ABCWith 17 semi-trucks and eight buses, Carrie Underwood’s Storyteller tour is her biggest production to date. Since the trek is titled Stories in the Round, the “Heartbeat” hitmaker made sure she built a stage that lives up to the name.
The platform measures 150 feet across the arena floor, with a 48-foot center stage that rotates 360 degrees. It also boasts seven elevator lifts, including a center one that can raise the ACM Female Vocalist nominee 18 feet in the air.
A Carrie Underwood show also wouldn’t be complete without multiple costume changes. The American Idol winner changes no less than five times during her 100-minute-plus set, with new spotlight technology following her, aided by special beacons built into her wardrobe.
Having already sold out her first two shows in Jacksonville, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia, Carrie -- along with Easton Corbin and the Swon Brothers -- swing through Louisville, Kentucky Friday night.
Capitol NashvilleThese days, Charles Kelley is a busy man. He’s expecting his first child any day now, and he’s prepping for the release of his debut album The Driver this Friday. But he’s not so busy he couldn’t find time to fake his own disappearance.
It all starts with a fictional clip of Ron Burgundy-esque Nashville newsman Bob Mueller reading a story from the news desk about the disappearance of the Lady Antebellum singer. Off camera, the anchorman then utters, “Who the f*** is Charles Kelley?,” the title of a clever teaser clip for the album.
The video goes on to show a caricature of a Music City detective interrogating a who’s who of stars on the whereabouts of Mr. Kelley. Darius Rucker, Eric Paslay, Hunter Hayes, and Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook all show up as suspects in the case.
In the end, the clip answers the question it poses -- Charles Kelley is the tall guy from Lady Antebellum.
ABC/Image Group LAFormer college football quarterback Sam Hunt will now be playing the Super Bowl -- he'll just do it from a stage instead of from the line of scrimmage. Lady Gaga, Coldplay and Beyonce won't be the only ones getting some national TV time on the biggest sporting event of the year, either. You'll be able to watch Sam's performance from the comfort of your living room, too.
The "Break Up in a Small Town" hitmaker will headline the Super Bowl 50 NFL Tailgate Party at Levi's Stadium in San Francisco on Sunday, along with pop superstar Seal. It'll be televised as part of CBS's pregame show The Super Bowl Today, right before the Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers.
If you're wondering who Sam's pulling for -- he's said he's a big Peyton Manning fan, so he's rooting for the Broncos, even though one of his former teammates is a Panther. The pregame festivities start at 2 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS.
Big Machine Label GroupThis summer, Justin Moore heads out on Brantley Gilbert's Take It Outside Tour, and while the "You Look Like I Need a Drink" singer says there's no doubt he loves what he does, he says it's even better when you get to do it with one of your best friends.
"It's fun to go out and tour on a tour bus and play music for a living, but it's magnified when you do it with people who you're genuinely friends with outside of music. Brantley and I, I think we get along so well because we grew up a lot alike, he in Georgia and me in Arkansas. And I think we have a lot of the same philosophies on life and people and how to treat 'em and respect them."
Justin recalls that one of the reasons he feels so bonded to Brantley is because he was there during one of the toughest times of his life.
"The first time we ever met, I don't even know if he had a record deal at the time. The first time we met, we played a show together in Georgia and it was the day that my grandpa had passed away, and I played the show anyway, 'cause I was there," he remembers. "So there's always been something there between us. I always remembered that and I told him years later when we reconnected."
Through the years, Justin says his connection with Brantley has only deepened.
"Then we became label mates and saw each other at different functions and just became better and better and better friends over the years. And then we played a lot of the same shows together and then we had a big hit record together last year with 'Small Town Throwdown.' He's a great guy. Really, really there's not a better person in this business or on this planet than Brantley."
Colt Ford, who co-wrote Jason Aldean's hit, "Dirt Road Anthem," with Brantley, will also be along for the trek. The Take It Outside Tour starts June 2 in Mansfield, Massachusetts, and wraps up October 14 and 15 with two dates at Colorado's legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockVince Gill, Charley Pride, The Oak Ridge Boys, Brenda Lee, Tanya Tucker and others will perform on the 2017 Country Music Cruise. The voyage from Key West, Florida, to Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, starts on January 27 of next year and goes through February 3.
Chris Young and the Eagles' Joe Walsh will perform at the 8th Annual T.J. Martell Honors Gala in Music City. They join Nashville's Charles Esten, Don Henley and Ronnie Milsap, who were already on the bill for the February 29 gathering at the Omni. Kenny Rogers is one of the honorees.
Just as the Inside the Outsider exhibit prepares to end its run at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the prestigious venue will host Writers' Round: The Songs of Eric Church. The February 20 show will feature Casey Beathard, Jeff Hyde, Luke Laird and Jeremy Spillman, singing tunes they wrote for Eric and sharing the stories behind them. The concert in the Hall's Ford Theater comes one day before the exhibit dedicated to "Mr. Misunderstood" closes.
Eric AdkinsEven though Scotty McCreery has recently been working on finishing his new album, we now know it won’t be on his longtime label. The American Idol winner announced in a statement Wednesday he’s come to the end of the line with Mercury Nashville/Interscope.
"I enjoyed being on Mercury Nashville/Interscope, and I appreciate all the great people who worked hard on my behalf while I was there. I am excited about what the future holds and the opportunities being presented to me,” he said.
Scotty put out three albums for the label -- Clear as Day, Christmas with Scotty McCreery, and See You Tonight -- with the first making him the youngest male artist ever to have his debut record bow at the top of the Billboard 200 all-genre chart.
Last year, Scotty released the lead single and video from what was supposed to be his next project for the imprint, titled “Southern Belle.” Forbes also ranked him the fifth-most lucrative Idol winner in 2015, raking in $4 million last year. His memoir, Go Big or Go Home: The Journey Toward the Dream is due May 3.
ABC/Image Group LAThough we most often hear from Blake Shelton when he’s hanging out in L.A. shooting The Voice or on his 1,200-acre ranch outside Tishomingo, Oklahoma, it looks like he and rock star girlfriend Gwen Stefani could soon be spending more time in Music City. According to Variety, Blake recently dropped $3.4 million on a 400-acre spread about an hour south of Nashville.
The Primm Springs, Tennessee compound boasts three houses -- two of them rustic but luxuriously appointed cabins -- as well as many more amenities, including a six-bay garage. There’s a wooden bridge leading over a babbling brook, plus a multi-acre lake, complete with a boathouse. If Blake feels like doing a little riding, there’s a two-stall horse barn and 75 acres of fenced pastureland. If Gwen wants to do an impromptu show, the 60-seat creekside stage and pavilion awaits.
You can check out Blake’s rural retreat for yourself in a slideshow provided by the realtor on Variety’s website.
Mark TuckerFor the first time in almost two decades, Garth Brooks is coming back to Louisville, Kentucky. He and wife Trisha Yearwood will play the KFC Yum! Center Saturday, April 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets for Garth’s first show in the Derby City in 18 years go on sale Friday, February 12 at 10 a.m. ET via Ticketmaster.
This week, Garth and Trisha have a rare weekend off from their World Tour, with their next stop set for North Charleston, South Carolina on Valentine’s Day weekend. Trisha is currently preparing for her role as Mary the mother of Jesus in Fox’s live The Passion, airing March 20 at 8 p.m. ET.
Capitol NashvilleThough his first child isn't officially due until later this month, Charles Kelley tells ABC Radio he and his wife Cassie believed they were becoming parents on Tuesday, just hours before his Wednesday morning appearance on Good Morning America.
"I'll go ahead and reveal that we thought it might be happening yesterday, before we were coming here," he revealed backstage at GMA. "My wife went in for an appointment, and they were like 'Uh-oh! I might be having contractions, I don't know. It might just be...' What are these things called? Braxton Hicks or whatever. It's like fake contractions or whatever. But she was in a lot of pain and so, we go and they said 'No, you know, go home. You're all right.' So Cassie gave me the go-ahead to come fly to New York and we definitely have a plane on standby if we need it, cause I am not missing the birth of this first baby."
Since Charles' song "The Driver" is up for a Grammy, Cassie had previously insisted that the father-to-be attend the ceremony in Los Angeles, even though the February 15 ceremony is just days before her due date. But now, that's all changed.
"That is off the table now. She did tell me that -- this was about a month ago. She was like, 'I really want you to go. This is a big moment.' You know, having my first solo single nominated. She said, 'I don't want you to miss this.' And then last week, she goes 'I just don't think I'm going to be able to handle it.'"
Even though Lady Antebellum is currently on hiatus, Charles was set to reunite with band mates Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood to pay tribute to Lionel Richie at the MusiCares event the Saturday before the Grammys. Now, that's off the table as well, mainly because Charles is thinking he'll already be changing diapers and rocking his newborn son by then.
"I have a gut feeling that she's going to be having this baby within the week," he predicts. "And so...I don't want to take any chances. And we didn't want to get so far down the line too where I would have to cancel the day of or before. And so I think they appreciated the heads up. But it broke my heart. I actually need to send a note to Lionel and just tell him what it meant to me to even be asked."
Charles went on to reveal Lady A had planned to do "Endless Love" at the tribute, adding "It would've been epic!"
As the soon-to-be first-time dad turns his attention to other epic events in his life, his debut solo album is also on the way. While we don't know exactly when baby Kelley will arrive, we do know The Driver will be here on Friday.
ABC/Image Group LAThomas Rhett is hoping you’ll try on his “T-Shirt,” as he releases the follow-up to “Die a Happy Man,” the monster hit that spent six weeks at number one. The new single is a song Thomas has quite a history with, and one he says is already a hit on tour.
“I have wanted to put [“T-Shirt”] out since my first record,” he reveals. “Everyone has been in that fun ‘honeymoon’ phase of dating, which is what this song is all about. It’s already a staple in our set each night -- the fans got into it as soon as we added it and it’s just one of those I let loose on and have a good time.”
These days, Thomas is having a good time on Jason Aldean’s We Were Her Tour. Thursday, the boys play Southaven, Mississippi, before continuing on to Oklahoma City and Columbia, Missouri on Friday and Saturday.
“T-Shirt” is the third single from Thomas’s ACM-nominated album, Tangled Up. He’s up for Single Record of the Year for his fifth number-one in a row, “Die a Happy Man.” He also has a shot at taking home the New Male Vocalist trophy at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards April 3 in Las Vegas.
You can check out the "Instant Grat" video Thomas Rhett shot for "T-Shirt" last year before his album's release on YouTube now.
Comstock/ThinkstockWho holds the record for the most wins as the Academy of Country Music's Entertainer of the Year? ANSWER: Garth Brooks, who won every year from 1990-1993 and then again in 1997 and 1998.
Arista Nashville/RCA RecordsHow do you follow up one of the most-talked-about songs of the year that's already been nominated for a Grammy and an ACM Award? Thanks to feedback from her fans, Cam says it was much easier deciding on the successor to her breakthrough hit, "Burning House."
"["Mayday"] is a lot of people's favorite song, actually. It's got a really cool drum beat to it, which I programmed in the beginning," she says proudly. "But now it's real drums on it."
Cam's new single has its roots in a period of time when she moved to the Northwest, and was actually started by her co-writer, Tyler Johnson.
"I moved to Portland for about six months with my best friends before I started on this whole journey," she recalls. "Because I was like, 'I know I need to work on my chops and write, but I know I can hang out with my friends in the meantime.' Tyler started that song about an old relationship and then handed it to me, and in the verses you'll hear kind of this run-on sentence," she says, breaking into song. "'You are overbearing, I'm not in love, but I don't want to tell you.' And it's like these different ideas, and it really is like this internal monologue because Tyler thought some of these things, and then I added on."
The 31-year-old says like many of the songs on her debut album Untamed, "Mayday" was inspired by things she's learned in the past decade.
"It's just sort of this back and forth in your mind about, 'Why are you still in this relationship?' And you kind of are playing the victim, calling out 'Mayday,' but really it takes two people to be in this relationship. You have to learn how to not be afraid of being alone, and these are all things that I learned in my twenties."
So far, Cam's life lessons are reaping big dividends. Just this week, she was nominated for four trophies at this year's Academy of Country Music Awards. Three of those are for "Burning House"-- Video of the Year, and nods as both producer and artist in the Single Record of the Year category. She's also in the running for New Female Vocalist.
You can watch Cam's live performance of her new single "Mayday" at The Year in Vevo online now.
Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockEven though Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz has used his song "Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly" during his campaign, Aaron Tippin says he's not endorsing any candidate, but he's "proud that my song still resonates so loudly in America."
Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams is postponing his 2016 tour, due to unexpected hip replacement surgery. Ticketholders should check back with the point of purchase for refunds.
Kelsea Ballerini, Jon Pardi and Kristian Bush are now set to play Rock the Ocean's Tortuga Music Festival in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, April 15-17. Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley were previously announced as headliners.
The Mavericks will perform during the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony on Monday, February 15. You can watch live from 12:30-3:30 p.m. PT online, prior to the start of the 58th Annual Grammy Awards on CBS.