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Joe Diffie Dies Fron The Corona Virus

News Just in Joe Diffie has Died Country Music Loses A Legend

Joe Diffie Tests Positive For Corona Virus

Country legend Joe Diffie is the latest celebrity to test positive for coronavirus. The singer released a statement about his condition on Friday afternoon (3/27).

“I am under the care of medical professionals and currently receiving treatment. My family and I are asking for privacy at this time,” he said in a press release. We want to remind the public and all my fans to be vigilant, cautious and careful during this pandemic.”

“I just want to say to all the fans, the show cancellations are not my idea of a good time,” he wrote. “Promoters, venues, etc are postponing these events, as expected with everything going on. These shows that are postponed are affecting all of us musicians and our bands, crews, drivers, etc. Please pray for all of us and hope we can get America back on track and back to normal. We definitely will miss all of the fans and we plan on rescheduling any shows postponed! Thanks for being the greatest fans ever! Stay well and see you out there soon!!”

Diffie joins others including Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks, Idris Elba, Prince Charles and others who have all tested positive for the virus and are currently in recovery.

Billy Bob’s Texas Receives 2020 ACM Nomination

Billy Bob’s Texas Receives ACM Nomination for Club Of The Year

A portion of proceeds from Midland’s sold-out shows go to ACM Lifting Lives

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Dolly Shine (03/06)FORT WORTH, Texas – With multiple sold-out shows this weekend, the colossal Billy Bob’s Texas is not slowing down anytime soon! The legendary, one-of-a-kind honky-tonk in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, has earned an impressive 10 ACM Nightclub of the Year Awards with 18 nominations.

The Academy of Country Music nominated Billy Bob’s for Club of the Year 2020!

“We are honored to be nominated again for ACM Club of the Year. Our entire team works passionately to promote the past, present and future stars of Country Music and to make Billy Bob’s Texas a place where memories are made by both fans and artists.

Read Southall Band (03/13)A portion of the proceeds from this weekend’s Midland shows will go to ACM Lifting Lives. The charity is committed to improving lives through the power of music. They fund medical and general hardships of those involved in the music community with help from large industry partnerships. Artist and fan donations have been funding various music-based health programs for children’s hospitals, veterans, and those struggling with mental illness through the charity for the past 50 years. 

Billy Bob’s will celebrate a big milestone in 2021 — 40 years of entertaining fans from around the world,” says Billy Minick, CEO of Billy Bob’s Texas.

Circle now airing Live At Billy Bob’s Texas!

Justin Moore (03/14)Launched in January of 2020, Circle Media is dedicated to celebrating the Country lifestyle and putting fans inside the circle of everything country. Circle offers entertainment news, documentaries, movies, archival, new and licensed programming, Grand Ole Opry performances, and more.

Now Circle network is carrying Live At Billy Bob’s Texas! Based in Nashville, Circle includes a linear network as well as a companion over-the-top (OTT) premium entertainment service which is expected to launch in spring 2020.  Circle is a joint venture between Opry Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of Ryman Hospitality Properties, and Gray TV.

Colter Wall (03/20)“We are so excited to be sharing Live At Billy Bob’s performances with a broader audience on Circle, says Pam Minick, VP of Marketing of Billy Bob’s Texas. “It’s a great opportunity to introduce the “World’s Largest Honky Tonk” to new fans across the US.”

Live at Billy Bob’s Texas gives the listener a front-row seat to concerts at the World’s Largest Honky Tonk. The music series has compiled powerful performances featuring hits from legendary country music artists like Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels, Eddy Raven, Gary Stewart, Asleep at the Wheel, Janie Fricke and more.

In a partnership that started over 20 years ago, Smith Music Group has gathered a collection of their favorite cuts – including icons Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson with newer artists like Shooter Jennings – and put them into a TV show! You’ll see exclusive interviews, one-offs from up-and-comers and intimate backstage acoustic performances.

Billy Bob’s March Lineup

Easton Corbin (03/21)

Their March lineup doesn’t disappoint, with some of the biggest names in music taking the iconic Texas stage! It all begins with Dolly Shine (3/6), followed by classic country acts Read Southall Band (3/13), Justin Moore (3/14), Colter Wall (3/20), Easton Corbin (3/21), Cory Morrow (3/27) and bringing us home with an unforgettable show on March 28th, is none other than country legend Sammy Kershaw.

Cory Morrow (03/27)An Evening with Barry Switzer & Friends, a new event at Billy Bob’s Texas, allows the audience to interact live with former football coach/player for the University of Oklahoma and the Dallas Cowboys, Barry Switzer, and other former players.

Ticket sales for the March 22nd event will benefit Sooners Helping Sooners Inc.; a non-profit assisting with finances and educational development of student-athletes burdened with life-altering events.

This is a lineup you can’t miss and memories you’ll take with you for a lifetime!

March Concert Lineup:
MAR 06 – Dolly Shine (Ticket Info)
MAR 13 – Read Southall Band (Ticket Info)
MAR 14 – Justin Moore (Ticket Info)
MAR 20 – Colter Wall (Ticket Info)
MAR 21 – Easton Corbin (Ticket Info)
MAR 22 – An Evening With Barry Switzer & Friends (Ticket Info) benefiting Sooners Helping Sooners,Inc
MAR 27 – Cory Morrow (Ticket Info)
MAR 28 – Sammy Kershaw (Ticket Info)

New Concerts Announced & On Sale NOW!
More new shows have just been announced to the Billy Bob’s concert calendar. Tickets are on sale NOW for the following concerts:

APR 03 – Roger Creager (Ticket Info)
APR 04 – Lonestar – (Ticket Info)
APR 05 – The Cleverlys (Ticket Info)
APR 11 – Robert Earl Keen (Ticket Info)
APR 17 – Blues Travelers (Ticket Info)
MAY 01 – Tracy Byrd (Ticket Info)
MAY 23 – Gary Allan (Ticket Info)

Tickets On Sale This Friday at 10AM!
APR 10 – Shane Smith & The Saints  (Ticket Info)
APR 18 – Flatland Cavalry  (Ticket Info)
APR 24 – Josh Ward (Ticket Info)

For the full concert calendar, special event and visitor information, please go to www.billybobstexas.com Billy Bob’s Texas Location Historic Fort Worth Stock Yards 2520 Rodeo Plaza Fort Worth, Texas 76164 (817) 624-7117 DIRECTIONS

Sammy Kershaw (03/28)About Billy Bob’s Texas:
Located in the heart of the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, the 100,000 square foot cattle barn became Billy Bob’s Texas in 1981. Since then more than 17 million visitors have enjoyed live entertainment and real bull riding at “The World’s Largest Honky Tonk”. The facility can hold 6,000 rowdy patrons on a given night and has been host to hundreds of musical acts, from Alan Jackson to ZZ Top.

On Fridays and Saturdays, the venue also features live bull riding – a step up from the mechanical variety. It seems like an unlikely source for a series that has sold millions of albums.

Billy Bob’s has been named the Country Music Club of the Year 10 times by the Academy of Country Music. March 28th, is none other than country legend Sammy Kershaw.

Below watch Midland’s video for “Burn Out” The video was filmed in one continuous take, in the center of the dance floor at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, Texas.

Midland's video for "Burn Out" was filmed at Billy Bob's in Fort Worth, Texas.

Luke Bryan releases Born Here, Live Here, Die Here

Luke Bryan releases Born Here, Live Here, Die Here

Luke Bryan revealed details of his seventh studio album, setting April 24 for the release

Produced by longtime collaborators Jeff and Jody Stevens, the new set features 10 tracks including Bryan’s last chart topper, “Knockin’ Boots,” and his current Top 10 single, the steamy “What She Wants Tonight.”

Meanwhile, the superstar has also released the album’s reflective title track, a country-pride anthem written by Jake Mitchell, Jameson Rodgers and Josh Thompson which Bryan describes as the catalyst for the whole album. With a patient rhythm, organic sound built on acoustic and steel guitars and lyrics about why he’ll never leave the land he calls home, the track feels in some ways like a grown-up sequel to early-career favorites like “We Rode in Trucks,” with Bryan finding beauty in the consistency of rural life.

“Born here, live here, die here / From the roots, to the boots, to the lay me down suit / Yeah, I’m gonna be proud to be right here / Just like my daddy and his daddy did, too / Ride the same roads, work the same dirt / Go to the same church and drink the same beer / Born here, live here, die here,” goes the chorus.

“The second I heard the song ‘Born Here, Live Here, Die Here’ it related to me, how I grew up, how I have so many roots and so many ties to my hometown,” Bryan says. “Being tied to your hometown is very important in country music. I fell in love with the song right away and now we have an album and a tour derived from this song. It’s pretty amazing. I’m proud of this new music and I’m really excited to get it out!”

Luke Bryan has revealed the details of his seventh studio album, setting April 24 for the release of Born Here, Live Here, Die Here. Produced by longtime collaborators Jeff and Jody Stevens, the new set features 10 tracks including Bryan’s last chart topper, “Knockin’ Boots,” and his current Top 10 single, the steamy “What She Wants Tonight.”

Meanwhile, the superstar has also released the album’s reflective title track, a country-pride anthem written by Jake Mitchell, Jameson Rodgers and Josh Thompson which Bryan describes as the catalyst for the whole album. With a patient rhythm, organic sound built on acoustic and steel guitars and lyrics about why he’ll never leave the land he calls home, the track feels in some ways like a grown-up sequel to early-career favorites like “We Rode in Trucks,” with Bryan finding beauty in the consistency of rural life.

“Born here, live here, die here / From the roots, to the boots, to the lay me down suit / Yeah, I’m gonna be proud to be right here / Just like my daddy and his daddy did, too / Ride the same roads, work the same dirt / Go to the same church and drink the same beer / Born here, live here, die here,” goes the chorus.

“The second I heard the song ‘Born Here, Live Here, Die Here’ it related to me, how I grew up, how I have so many roots and so many ties to my hometown,” Bryan says. “Being tied to your hometown is very important in country music. I fell in love with the song right away and now we have an album and a tour derived from this song. It’s pretty amazing. I’m proud of this new music and I’m really excited to get it out!”

Bryan will return to ABC’s American Idol with Katy Perry and Lionel Richie this Sunday (February 16) at 8 p.m. ET. His Proud to Be Right Here Tour kicks off May 28 in Cincinnati, Ohio, with Morgan Wallen and Caylee Hammack.

Is Mo Pitney One Of 2020’s Traditional Country Stars?

Is Mo Pitney one of 2020’s Traditional Country Stars

Getting To Know Country Singer Mo Pitney On AirplayExpress

When Mo Pitney sings “let me tell you about country” in his debut single, he’s doing more than telling. He’s showing. Appropriately titled, the song “Country” is as much positioning statement as introduction. In three minutes and 16 seconds, it is almost precisely who he is in word and deed. The vocal delivery, storytelling, musicianship and reflections of his outdoor lifestyle – as well as faith, family and patriotism – offer a spot-on portrayal. Joined by early fan favorites “Clean Up On Aisle Five” and “Come Do A Little Life,” the song carves an unmistakably country yet completely fresh groove for the genre. In short, it sounds like nothing else, but absolutely belongs.

To paraphrase the song, a life in music isn’t a place on a map; it’s a place in Mo Pitney’s heart. “I just love music,” Pitney says, exhibiting atypical maturity for someone still in their early twenties. “It has never been about praise. Playing the Grand Ole Opry was an amazing experience, but I have just as much fun sitting on my bed playing along to an old record. It’s always been that way.”

That music-centered outlook is already generating the unsought acclaim of which he speaks. Perhaps the best example is the aforementioned Opry performance. “Everybody asked me if I was nervous, but I don’t think I was,” he says. “I definitely thought about it a lot more than I normally do. My respect for that stage and the circle is great.

For his first song, he selected “Clean Up On Aisle Five” and eyed one goal: to sing his heart out. “I didn’t feel like anybody was sucked into the song at all, but when it was over I stepped back from the microphone and people erupted,” he says. A standing ovation approaching a full minute ensued. “After about 30 seconds, I stepped forward to say something because I thought I heard them dying down, but they just got louder. I lost it. It took me about a week to come off that feeling.”

That pivotal moment capped a journey that started in the red brick town of Cherry Valley, IL, where Mo grew up loving the outdoors. “Right out my back door was a lake about a mile away,” he says. “I’d ride my bike there with a fishing pole on each handlebar, like two tridents sticking out in front of me.”

Music was a family affair, and Pitney picked up the drums at six and guitar at 12. “I learned how to play with a cast on my arm by laying a rag over my dad’s guitar so it wouldn’t get scratched,” he says. “Johnny Cash At San Quentin was my introduction to playing music. I learned the whole album.”

Two weeks later, he played two Cash songs at an open mic night – his first public performance. “After I played, I saw a guy backstage playing a banjo, so I picked that up for a couple of years. By age 15, I grabbed the guitar again playing lead acoustic, my brother played bass and we had a friend who played mandolin.” His affection for bluegrass led him to Keith Whitley. “When I heard him sing it helped me bridge over into country music. I started hearing great country songs, songwriters and singers … and I just fell in love.”

Encouraged to move to Nashville by a songwriting friend, Pitney was the uncommon arrival who receives early interest from record labels. He signed with Curb and began working on bringing his songs and sound into alignment with his musical vision. One of the lynchpins was connecting with his producer, Tony Brown (George Strait).

“Instead of trying to put some songs together to come out of my mouth and create an artist with my face, Tony said, ‘I want to find out who you are, pull it out of you and put it on tape.’ It wasn’t just the way he said it, it was in everything he did. Realizing I can create a record the way I want to and use the musicians I want was an eye-opening experience. We recorded my vocals while I was sitting on a stool and playing guitar at the same time, so it’s a live record in a lot of ways. My hands were untied.”

As music lovers become exposed to his music, rousing receptions may be something he’ll become accustomed to seeing. But they won’t change Mo’s core motivation. “Even if this thing doesn’t go huge, I believe that I can make a decent living playing music,” he says. “And I always knew that I could do that. When I was younger, my plan was bluegrass. I used to buy and sell cars, I did body work and I trained bird dogs. I figured I would just kind of piddle around, doing different things around the music.

“People who have done this for a long time think there’s a place for my music, and I hope that’s the case. My eyes are set on being successful, but success is not number one for me. If I can make a comfortable living and have a career making music and keep my head on straight, that’s my goal. And I think that I have a great opportunity to do that if I don’t get ahead of myself.”

And that kind of seasoned perspective isn’t often heard from someone of his generation. “I’m a God-fearing man,” he says. “I love simple things. I love simplicity in songs because I love simplicity in life. But I’m also very deep, which is weird. I’m a thinker. And I go so deep, a lot of times I just confuse myself and get frustrated, but when I come home and my dog runs and jumps up on my lap, that does something to my spirit. I love to hunt and fish. I love the outdoors. I love my family. I try to live pretty morally square. Pretty clean guy. I’ve got my problems, but I try to stay pretty straight.”

Perhaps the best expression of how Mo Pitney has created his own definition of country music success is found in “Behind This Guitar,” a song by Don Sampson and Phil O’Donnell that may not even make the album. “People tell me I can’t cut it because the chorus says, ‘Behind this guitar there’s just a boy who had a dream in his heart, behind this guitar there’s just a guy that can’t believe he got this far.’ And they point out that I haven’t gotten anywhere yet, so save it for the second album. But I remember sitting on my bed with the dream of just making music the rest of my life. It wasn’t that I had to be on radio or even make a living doing it. I just loved music. Now I’m on the Opry. I have a record deal. And I’m loving the music that I’m making. I can’t believe I got this far! “I’m probably just going to cut the song.”

http://www.mopitney.com

Loretta Needs To Listen To Independent Country

Loretta Needs To Listen To Independent Country

Hall of Fame Icon Loretta Lynn Has Pronounced Country Music “Dead,”

We all love Loretta but for her to say that Country Music is dead, it is like making a statement in a Box. “I’m not happy at all,” she explained. “I think that they’re completely losing it. And I think that’s a sad situation because we should never let country music die. I think that every type of music should be saved, and country is one of the greatest. It’s been around, as far as I’m concerned, longer than any of it.” Loretta said.

With all respect to our Hall Of Fame Icon, Loretta Lynn, she needs to listen to Independent Country. The Independent Country artists have been keeping the Traditional Country and real Country candle burning for longer than we care to remember. While artists like Taylor Swift and so many others, not even worth mentioning have deserted Country to expand their fan or should I say money base, the Independent Artists have been working harder than ever to keep Country music alive.  The Independent Artists have been putting their money where their mouths are, by spending their hard-earned money to record their real Country music in expensive studios with top class musicians and producers. Some have even spent thousands of hard-earned dollars promoting themselves, with little or no return on their investment.

Loretta Lynn herself has wondered away from Country from time to time so she is no angel when it comes to adding a few nails in Country’s coffin. However, it seems she has realized that something must be said and done about Country and especially about Traditional Country before its too late in her opinion.

It is my opinion and an opinion that I believe to be true that Country is being kept alive by the Independent Country Artists. If it were not for Independent Artists worldwide Country would truly have died a long time ago.

I know there are so many Independent Artists, I could fill a book with their names. However, here are just a few we are familiar with and please forgive me if I have left someone out as it would not have been intentional. It is also to be noted that these artists don’t always stick to Pure Country either but they all support Traditional and Country music and their songs and songwriting mostly prove that point.

Below are a few of the Brave artists/songwriters fighting for Country Music, who deserve to be named for truly keeping Country Music alive in 2020, with their songs and songwriting:

Allen Karl, Donna Cunningham, Larry M Clark, Kent Gill, Dave Caley, Jack Blanchard, Misty Morgan, Rose Angelica, Richard Lynch, Rita Faye, Annemarie Picerno, Luanne Hunt, Keith Bradford, Pat Garrett, Bobby G. Rice, Barbara Blevins, Audre Belt, Mike Contoni, Marty Denton, Marge Miller, Dan Schafer, Wendy, Steve Zuwala, Donny Richmond, Marty Dunn, Terry Crabtree, Eddie Cunningham, Todd Barrow, Terry Lawrence, Dan Kouba, Connie Cassell Tuck, Mandy Barnett, Frank Howell, Jackson Nickels, Crazy Joe,  Shane Bates, James Marvell, Michael Parker, Brad Tucker, Suzy Dalton, Vic Holdroyd, Billy Mac, Steve Hunt, Ricky Johnson, Preston A Starks, Lajay Dailey, Paul Arman, Timothy Bennington, Richard Lynch, Bob McGilpin, Mick McMains, Anna Watkins Anawalt, Tattoo Billy, Pappy Jack Stracker, Tim Fogarty, Dennis DiChiaro,  Caleb Twidwell, Tammy Kendrick, Cowboy Lone,  Chris Loid, Ed Dailey, Dean Holman, Todd Souhrada, John McCabe, Wayne Jacobs, Fraser Newcombe, Steven K, and the Bounty Hunters.

Country music may really have died a long time ago if it were not for the dedication and loyalty of the artists and songwriters mentioned above. “We at AirplayExpress salute you and thank you for everything you do, and hope you will never stop our ongoing Crusade to save the music we all love so much, Country Music.” Frans Maritz

If Loretta gets to read this article let it be known that Independent Country will never let the mainstream artists or major radio stations kill Country music. It will always be alive on Independent Country and Independent Country Radio. Long live Country Music as we know it.

 – AirplayExpress 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Country Albums Turning 40 In 2020

Ten Country Albums Turning 40 In 2020

Despite the polarizing crossover success of 1980’s Urban Cowboy film and soundtrack, legends and old souls stood tall throughout the first year of a new decade.

It’s hard now to imagine the legacies of Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton without their biggest songs of 1980. Meanwhile, Alabama, John Anderson, Emmylou Harris and Hank Williams Jr. found commercial success while honoring country music’s past.

As for the other end of the spectrum, Eddie Rabbitt and Johnny Lee did ’80s pop-country first, and few over the coming years did it better.

Read on to rediscover 10 definitive country music albums released in 1980.

 

RCA Records

Alabama’s ‘My Home’s in Alabama’

Alabama’s ownership of the charts throughout the ‘80s began with two hits: the Southern rock-inspired fiddle tune “Tennessee River” and the lovelorn “Why Lady Why.” Toss in the autobiographical title track, and you’ve got the first great Alabama album.

Warner Bros. Records

John Anderson’s ‘John Anderson’

John Anderson’s big-label debut lacked the commercial success of other albums on this list, but it deserves a mention for featuring songs of the caliber of “1959” and teasing the future rise of more traditional-sounding options in a pop-saturated marketplace.

MCA Records

Merle Haggard’s ‘Back to the Barrooms’

“The Hag” kicked off the ‘80s by rolling the clock back to his ‘60s honky-tonk output. Forty years later, it’s hard to imagine Haggard’s catalog — or his sons’ covers-heavy live sets — without “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.”

Warner Bros. Records

Emmylou Harris’ ‘Roses in the Snow’

Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, Tony Rice, the Whites, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt eased Emmylou Harris’ transition to the bluegrass-inspired sound heard on covers of the Louvin Brothers (“You’re Learning”), the Stanley Brothers (“Darkest Hour is Just Before Dawn”) and Paul Simon (“The Boxer”).

Epic Records

George Jones’ ‘I Am What I Am’

The opening track “He Stopped Loving Her Today” would be enough justification to list this album here; it is, after all, one of the greatest country songs ever. Beyond that, though, Jones covers Tom T. Hall (“I’m Not Ready Yet”) and Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson (“Good Hearted Woman”) on this project.

Columbia Records

Willie Nelson & Family’s ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ Soundtrack

The other impactful country music soundtrack of 1980 featured film star Willie Nelson and a few of his famous friends, including Jeannie Seely, Hank Cochran and Johnny Gimble. Its legacy, though, has got to be one of Nelson’s trademark hits, “On the Road Again.”

RCA Records

Dolly Parton’s ‘9 to 5 and Odd Jobs’

“9 to 5” still gets talked about more than any Dolly Parton song, aside from perhaps “Jolene.” Likewise, the film it’s from earns more praise than anything else Parton’s done outside of country music, philanthropy and the theme park business. Plus, there’s covers of folk and country classics by Woody Guthrie (“Deportee (Plane Wreck of Los Gatos)”) and Merle Travis (“Dark as a Dungeon”) on this album.

Elektra Records

Eddie Rabbitt’s ‘Horizon’

Eddie Rabbitt was a great country music songwriter with pop sensibilities, as heard a decade earlier when Elvis Presley struck gold with the Rabbitt co-write “Kentucky Rain.” Rabbitt continued a run of solo dominance in 1980 with crossover hits such as “Drivin’ My Life Away” and “I Love a Rainy Night.”

Full Moon/Asylum Records

Various Artists’ ‘Urban Cowboy’ Soundtrack

Whether they view it as a source of boundless nostalgia or an ugly blight in between the reigns of outlaw country singers and neo-traditionalists, fans of a certain age feel strongly about the film Urban Cowboy and its impact on the careers of Mickey Gilley and Johnny Lee.

Elektra/Curb Records

Hank Williams Jr.’s ‘Old Habits and New’

When he wasn’t griping about Donna Summer during “Dinosaur,” Bocephus cut some of his better tributes to his father, including a cover of ol’ (and older) Hank’s “Kaw-Liga” and Kris Kristofferson’s “If You Don’t Like Hank Williams.”

 – The Boot

Brooks & Dunn Announce Reboot 2020 Tour

Brooks & Dunn Announce Official Reunion For Reboot 2020 Tour

Iconic duo end “retirement” for a first nationwide tour in 10 years

Following their recent induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Brooks & Dunn are getting back in the saddle and returning to stages across the nation for their first tour in ten years.

Kicking off May 15 in St. Louis, Missouri, the Brooks & Dunn Reboot 2020 Tour will find Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn reuniting for 18 headlining dates from Texas to Massachusetts, wrapping up September 19 in Chicago. The now-legendary hitmakers stepped away from large-scale touring in 2010 following a highly publicized farewell run, but have since found it hard to retire for good. They soon embarked on a popular Las Vegas residency with Reba McEntire, and in 2019 released the Number One selling Reboot collaborations album.

“So much for ‘we quit,’ huh?” Dunn jokes in an official statement. “That horse that we were afraid of riding into the ground apparently didn’t share our sentiment … he gotta fire in his belly raring to go another round or two. I like the ring of it … ‘Brooks & Dunn ride again!’”

“The memories of playing live are what has kept the fire burning for us,” Brooks adds. “Performers who have had the kind of nights like we’ve had with our fans, can never really let that go. Live is where we’re most at home, and it’s gonna feel good to be back in the saddle, let’s rodeo! We’ll see y’all out there on the trail.”

Tickets for the Reboot 2020 Tour will first be available as part of the Live Nation Country Megaticket, with more information coming soon.

Maddie & Tae Set Dates For ‘Tourist In This Town’ Tour

Maddie & Tae Set Dates For Headlining Tourist In This Town Tour

Country duo Maddie & Tae will embark on a headlining concert run this spring, announcing the dates and cities for their Tourist In This Town Tour. Kicking off April 15 in Baltimore, Maryland, the trek marks Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye’s first headlining tour in five years and follows a whirlwind 2019 spent in support of Carrie Underwood’s lengthy Cry Pretty 360 Tour. The duo’s eight-city run will give them a chance to present new material bound for an upcoming full album release, and they’ll be joined by newcomers Avenue Beat.“Feels so surreal to be going out on a headlining tour, especially with our new record,” said Dye in the Tour’s official announcement. “These songs are our raw unfiltered stories, and we can’t wait to tell them live.”

“We’ve waited five years to go back out on a headlining tour. We are so excited to see our beautiful fans singing all of this new music,” added Marlow.

Tickets for Maddie & Tae’s Tourist In This Town Tour go on sale Friday (January 17) at 10 a.m. local time, and the “Die From a Broken Heart” duo will also hit the road with Lady Antebellum this summer on the Ocean 2020 Tour.

Rascal Flatts Say Farewell With Life Is a Highway Tour

Rascal Flatts to Say Farewell With 2020 Life Is a Highway Tour

Greatest feeling ever is being told our music has been the soundtrack to their lives

After 20 years of country stardom, Rascal Flatts will ride off into the sunset this year, announcing their Rascal Flatts Farewell: Life Is a Highway Tour. Marking the end of a transformative era in the format, the hit-making trio revealed their surprise decision on CBS This Morning Tuesday (June 7), saying it was time for one last “thank you” to their fans. “I know, it hurts us, too,” said frontman Gary LeVox as he broke the news.

“When we started out 20 years ago, we could not imagine all of the people, places, and gifts we would encounter,” LeVox (49) followed up in a statement and said this,

“The greatest feeling ever is being told that our music has been the soundtrack to their lives.” LeVox

What greater gift can an artist receive than to be told ‘I got married to “Bless The Broken Road,”’ or ‘We played “My Wish” at my graduation.’ That ‘“What Hurts The Most” is the song that made me love country music for the first time,’ or ‘“I’m Movin’ On” helped me get sober’ or even that ‘“Changed” made me call my family again after not talking to them for years.’ That’s why we create music and the reason we can’t wait to celebrate this incredible 20-year journey all year, with our fans who we love dearly. I don’t know what God has in store for the future, but I am excited to see what He has planned!”

“We’re really looking forward to getting to spend this entire year loving on our fans, and thanking them for allowing us to have the most amazing career over the last 20 years,” added the band’s, Jay DeMarcus. “While it is, of course, bittersweet, it is so important to us to celebrate what our music has meant to their lives, as well as what the fans have meant to us.

There is no sadness here, just new chapters, new journeys, and new beginnings. Rascal Flatts’ music will live on forever, because of our fans, and this year is all about them!”

“Dreams do come true … and we are three walking examples of this truth,” guitarist Joe Don Rooney said.

“I’m most proud of the fact that we’ve pursued our dreams together and with courage, hard work, and dedication we’ve been able to cultivate our dreams into reality; it’s simply incredible! There’s no doubt we have been blessed way beyond belief and we can’t wait to spend the rest of 2020 expressing our love and appreciation to all of our devoted fans, music industry friends and our families for believing in us and playing a major role in our path to here, said Joe.

“I personally can’t wait to shine a light on my brothers Jay and Gary this year, and make another mountain of new memories with them.” Joe Don Rooney

The group — which holds the title of the most-awarded country act of the last decade — began their journey in 2000, mixing solid country themes and musicianship with the crossover pop of the Y2K boy-band era. They went on to score 17 No.1 singles, and in 2006 was the best-selling musical act on the planet (of all genres).

Kicking off on June 11 in Indianapolis, the trio’s farewell tour will visit 25 cities across the U.S., wrapping with an emotional show in West Palm Beach, Florida, October 17. Tickets will be available first as part of the Live Nation Country Megaticket, with more information coming soon.

The 12 Best Country Christmas Albums Of All Time

The 12 Best Country Christmas Albums Of All Time

Do you have one of these albums playing all winter long?

From decking the halls and decorating festive cookies to waking up and opening presents on Christmas morning, music is the soundtrack of the holidays. For Country fans, there’s no shortage of albums celebrating the season. From the genre’s biggest names to its newest stars, the story of Christmas is woven into the fabric of Country music.

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, there’s sure to be a record or two that will strike your fancy. So pour some cocoa, sit by the fire and drop the needle on these 12 iconic Country Christmas albums…

Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers; Cover art courtesy of SMG
Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers; Cover art courtesy of SMG

Once Upon A ChristmasKenny Rogers & Dolly Parton (1984)

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…a holiday album from Kenny and Dolly! A year after recording their iconic Bee Gees duet, “Islands In The Stream,” Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton reunited for a seasonal offering that quickly became a classic. In support of the project, on December 2, 1984, CBS even aired a television special called Kenny & Dolly: A Christmas To Remember. The album has since been certified Double Platinum and was re-released in 1997 with a slightly different track listing, making room for a version of Dolly’s beloved “Hard Candy Christmas.” While Kenny and Dolly each released Christmas albums respectively, Once Upon A Christmas goes down in holiday history as an essential addition to every music collection thanks to the magic that only happens when these two Country legends collaborate.

Vince Gill; Cover art courtesy of MCA Nashville
Vince Gill; Cover art courtesy of MCA Nashville

Let There Be Peace On EarthVince Gill (1993)

Vince Gill has released multiple Christmas albums, but 1993’s Let There Be Peace On Earth—his first seasonal effort—is by far his best. His soft acoustic arrangements of traditional holiday fare like “Do You Hear What I Hear?” “What Child Is This?” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” are as warm and tender as the singer himself. The album’s four originals are now considered classics, including the title track, which features a version with his daughter, Jenny; and “It Won’t Be The Same This Year,” penned in honor of his brother, who tragically passed away following a car accident. Gill and his wife, Amy Grant, have since become synonymous with Christmas; and their annual holiday residency at the historic Ryman Auditorium reminds us why.

Lorrie Morgan; Cover art courtesy of Legacy
Lorrie Morgan; Cover art courtesy of Legacy

Merry Christmas From LondonLorrie Morgan (1997)

Lorrie Morgan headed across the pond for her celebrated late-’90s Christmas album. Merry Christmas From London was given the royal treatment with an orchestral and vocal assist from the New World Philharmonic and Choir. The “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” singer keeps it classic for a holiday outing that also features vocalists who put the ‘C’ in Christmas. Tammy Wynette joins Morgan on a medley of favorites titled “A Christmas Festival.” Meanwhile, Andy Williams’ familiar voice makes an appearance on “Little Snow Girl,” and Johnny Mathis joins Morgan on “Blue Snowfall.” As for Morgan, she puts her stamp on Christmas with the whimsical and rarely recorded “Toyland” and the festive Rodgers & Hammerstein classic “My Favorite Things.”

Martina McBride; Cover art courtesy of RCA Records
Martina McBride; Cover art courtesy of RCA Records

White ChristmasMartina McBride (1998)

Martina McBride had already become Country music’s sweetheart when she released her fifth album and first Christmas record in 1998. And just like that, with White Christmas, she also became the voice we never knew we needed to usher in the holiday season year after year. Although the multi-Platinum selling effort has been re-released and repackaged several times over, the original with the closeup of McBride in winter white, is the only one to listen to. With 10 traditional selections that rarely veer from the original arrangements, McBride effortlessly lends her powerful voice to songs we already know and love, making White Christmas utter perfection. Although she served up a second volume of holiday hits with 2018’s It’s The Holiday Season, a throwback to the big band era, White Christmas remains her quintessential seasonal release.

SHeDAISY; Cover art courtesy of Lyric Street
SHeDAISY; Cover art courtesy of Lyric Street

Brand New YearSHeDAISY (2000)

SHeDAISY might be MIA today, but the trio of sisters left a lasting imprint on Country music from 1999-2006. When the girls bowed Brand New Year, they seemingly headlined every Christmas special in the year 2000. From the serious to the sassy, the album is a grab bag filled with everything from a Tiffany’s engagement ring to a white elephant gift. “Deck The Halls” gets a makeover in three-part harmony, while album closer “How Can I Keep From Singing” finds the ladies in a reverent, hymn-like moment. But it’s songs like the cheeky “Santa’s Got A Brand New Bag,” the clever “Tinsel Town” and the quirky “Twist of the Magi” (featuring Rascal Flatts) that puts an unconventional, imaginative spin on an otherwise serious holiday.

Faith Hill; Cover art courtesy of Warner Bros.
Faith Hill; Cover art courtesy of Warner Bros.

Joy To The WorldFaith Hill (2008)

With a short blond bob and a stunning strapless pink gown accented in gold, Faith Hill smiles on the cover of her sole Christmas album, Joy To The World. And oh what joy she brings to 11 incredible versions of both sacred and secular carols. Faithful to the old renditions, Hill lends her strong, confident voice to holly, jolly favorites like “Little Drummer Boy,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “O Holy Night” and more. The game changer comes at the conclusion with the collection’s lone original, “A Baby Changes Everything.” An instant classic, the song changed our perspective on the Christmas story. Noticeably absent is the soaring track, “Where Are You Christmas?” which Hill recorded for How The Grinch Stole Christmas movie in 2000.

Lady Antebellum; Cover art courtesy of Capitol Nashville
Lady Antebellum; Cover art courtesy of Capitol Nashville

On This Winter’s NightLady Antebellum (2012)

Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott add their signature vocal blend to a dozen Christmas selections that feel tailor-made for their voices as they ring in December with On This Winter’s Night. Lady Antebellum joins classic R&B artists like The Temptations, Gladys Knight & The Pips and Patti LaBelle in recording Donny Hathaway’s soulful “This Christmas.” Moreover, the award-winning trio slows Mariah Carey’s iconic “All I Want For Christmas Is You” down to a ballad and lends some Country twang to a cover of Elvis’ “Blue Christmas.” Lady A even writes their own nostalgic classic with the title track and adds a worshipful bridge for a standout moment on “Silent Night (Lord of My Life).”

Michael W. Smith; Cover art courtesy of Michael W. Smith
Michael W. Smith; Cover art courtesy of Michael W. Smith

The Spirit of Christmas, Michael W. Smith & Friends (2014)

Michael W. Smith gets by with a little help from his friends on 2014’s The Spirit of Christmas, which finds the Christian music legend collaborating with Country’s finest. Little Big Town lends their lush four-part harmony to an angelic version of “Silent Night.” Jennifer Nettles duets with Smith on the triumphant “Christmas Day,” and Bono even makes a cameo on a reading titled “The Darkest Midnight.” Smith also sprinkles in some personal moments with a feature from his granddaughter, Audrey, and an appearance by his longtime friend and tour mate Amy Grant. But it’s the Smith-penned “All Is Well,” featuring a flawless performance by Carrie Underwood, that stands above the rest. With an unmatched vocal range, Underwood silences the room as her soaring pipes promise peace on earth and good will toward men.

Chris Young; Cover art courtesy of Sony Music Nashville
Chris Young; Cover art courtesy of Sony Music Nashville

It Must Be ChristmasChris Young (2016)

Chris Young’s warm baritone welcomes listeners home for the holidays on It Must Be Christmas. Like the timeless sound he’s become known for, Young perfects his mix of both traditional and modern cuts across 10 tracks that celebrate chestnuts roasting over an open fire, cold winter nights and sacred moments of reflection. He also gets some high-profile assists from artists like his Country predecessor Brad Paisley on “The First Noel” and even ’90s R&B sensation Boyz II Men. However, it’s his duet with Alan Jackson on “There’s a New Kid In Town” that transforms this Christmas offering from a one-time release to a yearly tradition.

Kacey Musgraves; Cover art courtesy of Mercury Nashville
Kacey Musgraves; Cover art courtesy of Mercury Nashville

A Very Kacey ChristmasKacey Musgraves (2016)

Kacey Musgraves’ inaugural holiday LP is everything you’d expect from one of Country music’s most progressive acts. Slightly irreverent, completely unorthodox and perfectly nostalgic, A Very Kacey Christmas finds Spacey Kacey adding her own tinsel to the tree. With unique collaborations from Leon Bridges, The Quebe Sisters and Willie Nelson, Musgraves proves she’s the life of every holiday party. Her light, fragile vocal dances across selections seemingly made for the Texas darling, like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” and the original “Christmas Makes Me Cry.” With a dash of vintage charm, a hint of Latin flair and a quirky western vibe, her debut Christmas effort is everything we love about Musgraves wrapped up in a pink rhinestone-studded bow—“very Kacey” indeed.

Cover art courtesy Warner Music Nashville
Cover art courtesy Warner Music Nashville

GlowBrett Eldredge (2016)

Soulful Country crooner Brett Eldredge pays tribute to his lifelong hero Frank Sinatra on his brightly lit Christmas record, Glow. With a classic big band vibe full of effortless swagger, Eldredge delivers a heaven-sent collection that crowns him the king of Christmas. Like a Gatsby-inspired soundtrack plucked straight from the Golden Era, it’s easy to imagine Eldredge as a sixth member of the Rat Pack. His duet with pop princess Meghan Trainor on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and the original title track, though modern, still maintain a retro vibe. His annual Christmas shows have become something of a tradition, so much so that he’s bringing Glow to life on stage in 10 cities this December.

Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood; Cover art courtesy of Pearl Records
Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood; Cover art courtesy of Pearl Records

Christmas TogetherGarth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood (2016)

Who would have guessed that Garth and Trisha’s first duets album would come in the form of a holiday record? The two Country icons gifted fans this 11-track Christmas collection back in 2016. This Amazon-exclusive finds the couple exchanging vocals on a mix of classics and originals. They poke fun at tradition with “Ugly Christmas Sweater” and wax poetic with “Merry Christmas Means I Love You.” In a nod to Dolly, Trisha takes the lead on “Hard Candy Christmas” before joining her husband on their version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” The power couple end on a note of gratitude with help from James Taylor on “What I’m Thankful For (The Thanksgiving Song).” Here’s hoping we’ll unwrap a second duets album from Brooks and Yearwood under our tree in the future.

 

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