Scotty McCreery has attained his third consecutive No. 1 single with “In Between.” The song reached the top spot on both the Mediabase and Billboard Country Airplay charts earlier this week. On top of that, “In Between” also made Billboard Country Airplay chart history with a jump from No. 8 all the way to No. 1, the greatest move to the top spot since 1991 when Ricky Van Sheltonrose from No. 9 to No. 1 with “Keep It Between the Lines. This feat marks the second-greatest move in the chart’s history.
“Earning a No.1 record on ‘In Between,’ which is a song that defines me, is amazing. I loved writing this song with Frank, Jessi and Jonathan and telling my story,” McCreery said in a press statement. “Earning three No.1 songs in a row is the perfect way to celebrate Seasons Change and how that album changed my life. I want to thank country radio for supporting my music, my fans for believing in me from day one, and both my management team Triple 8 Management and my record label Triple Tigers Records for always having my back and working side by side with me every day.”
McCreery’s latest accomplishment follows two other recent No. 1’s:— the stirring, career-changing hit “Five More Minutes,” and “This Is It,” which the singer co-wrote two weeks before proposing to his wife Gabby. All three songs are from his 2018 album, Seasons Change.
“Hitting No. 1 is never easy, but our Triple Tigers team is excited and proud every day to get up and give 110% to an artist like Scotty who always does the same to support us, our radio partners and his fans,” shared Kevin Herring, Senior Vice President of Promotion at Triple Tiger Records.
McCreery co-wrote “In Between” (with Frank Rogers, Jessi Alexander, and Jonathan Singleton) about “really finding that balance and being happy with it.” “Everyone’s not all one thing or all the other. We all have many facets to our lives and the different things we enjoy. It’s about knowing who you are and finding what’s right for you,” the North Carolina native added. He is currently hard at work on his follow-up fifth studio album.
Congratulations Scotty and everyone involved in making the song a hit!
Lauren Alaina has enlisted ’90s country favorite Trisha Yearwood for a duet version of her latest single, “Getting Good,” making the most of a positivity-soaked anthem. All about loving the life you’ve got, the gracious track was first released last year and was also featured on a pre-pandemic EP of the same name, but it takes on a new tone with Yearwood joining in. Lending her tried-and-true vocal to the song’s second verse and then melding voices with Alaina in song’s contented chorus, the new version adds an element of first-hand experience that just comes naturally to a star like Yearwood.
“I just love the sentiment of this song,” Yearwood explains. “We all have these dreams. What you learn, is it’s not the goals that you reach that are the things you’re really going to remember, it’s the journey all along the way. So that lyric – ‘Once I learn to grow right where I’m planted, maybe that’s when life starts getting good’ – that’s the truth. That’s the life lesson.”
“I’m so thankful that I get to share such an important message with one of the most important and impactful voices in my life,” says Alaina, a longtime fan and fellow Georgia native. “Trisha is a beautiful person inside and out. I’m honored she said yes to this song and to me. I’m learning to grow right where I’m planted, and I’m realizing, life’s already good.”
The pair announced their news earlier this week (June 23) in a series of cute social media, inspired to remake the song after Alaina appeared on an episode of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen.
In a Facebook Live on Wednesday afternoon (6/17), Josh Turner revealed the plans for his upcoming album, Country State of Mind. Set for release on August 21 via MCA Nashville, the 12 song project finds the booming baritone honoring a selection of classic country icons including his “Mount Rushmore” of country artists: Randy Travis, John Anderson, Johnny Cash, Vern Gosdin, and Hank Williams.
“I’ve always said that any song you hear coming from my voice, you’re going to hear bits and pieces of those five guys,” shared the singer in a press release. “They taught me how to be Josh Turner.”
The project is not only a celebration of some of country music’s most iconic voices, but also one that highlights the brightest budding ones in the genre. Maddie & Tae, Runaway June, Chris Janson and Allison Moorer all join Turner on different songs featured on Country State of Mind. But the classic voices also make an appearance with John Anderson, Kris Kristofferson and even Randy Travis lending their vocals to the project. Travis’ appearance marks his first recording session following his debilitating stroke in 2013.
“Randy has always been my hero. He was the reason I wanted to become a country singer,” explained Turner. “He’s an inspiring figure, not just to me but to a lot of people, so to have him sing on this record is pretty special.”
Pre-order Josh Turner’s Country State of Mind now.
Country State of Mind Track Listing:
The novel coronavirus pandemic doesn’t seem to be letting up, but as state restrictions begin to loosen, country legend George Strait wants to remind everyone to be extra careful. In the PSA, titled “Write This Down, Take a Little Note” — a play on a hit song from the country legend — Strait targets Texans with suggested safety measures are rather simple, from washing your hands to wearing a face mask to staying six feet apart if at all possible.
“We all know that being Texan means being friendly,” Strait says in a public service announcement recently released on Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s YouTube page. “And as we open Texas back up, it’s important that we stay extra friendly by thinking about all our fellow Texans. So, go on, write this down, take a little note, to remind you of these friendly things you can do to help defeat COVID-19.”
But Strait’s face mask would cover his new facial hair! For the first time in a long time (ever?), the King of Country Music is sporting some scruff. It’s very unexpected but has us feeling some kind of way.
Of course, the ongoing pandemic has caused Strait and nearly all of his country music counterparts to postpone touring this summer, and he’s bummed about it.
“I took almost two years off after the Cowboy Rides Away Tour [ended in 2014],” Strait remarked in a recent interview with Billboard magazine. “I did that on purpose. I wasn’t ready for this. I was really enjoying playing again at a pace I could handle. To have this horrible thing come up and slap us all right in the face really sucks. I can’t wait to play with my band again in front of thousands of people. I’m addicted to that.”
Don’t worry about Gabby Barrett being a one-hit wonder. The “I Hope” singer’s new single “The Good Ones” promises to make a greater impact than her debut chart-topper.
The personal love song celebrates the men you hope to marry. The 19-year-old’s celebration of what’s good fits like a glass slipper at a time when there are so many reasons to frown. Perhaps the only thing about this new song from the upcoming Goldmine album that will turn your lips upside-down is a tear-jerking music video that — well, actually, just watch it. It’s better than any words we can use to describe it.
Zach Kale, Emily Landis and Jim McCormick helped Barrett write “The Good Ones,” and together they crafted the sort of song 19-year-olds aren’t supposed to be able to write yet. Lyrically, this nuanced ballad never takes away from a melody that finds Barrett’s sweet spot. The chorus is all-time good in a way that often leads to a song becoming a forever song for newlyweds.
So often we talk about singers sprung from reality television being unable to sustain commercial success and we blame the show, the temporary nature of the fandom, a record label, etc … Having great songs to lean on is what has propelled Barrett’s career thus far. She’s still raw in many ways, but if someone was selling stock in Gabby Barrett, you’d be wise to purchase.
Lee Ann Womack boldly announced herself in 1997 with a self-titled debut album that incited plenty of industry buzz and pointed to a promising career. Released when Womack was in the neighborhood of 30, the album showcased Womack’s rich, traditional country voice, which could wrap tightly around aching ballads like “Never Again, Again” and “The Fool,” one of the finest singles to emerge from the late 1990s. The promise continued with her 1998 follow-up record Some Things I Know, featuring the hit singles “A Little Past Little Rock” and “I’ll Think of a Reason Later,” a highly amusing number that Womack delivered with a delightful air of humor. Both songs peaked at No. 2, indicating that Womack was clearly on her way. On the heels of those first two albums, Womack scored 1998 CMA award nominations for Female Vocalist of the Year and the Horizon Award (now called New Artist of the Year).
With the dissolution of Decca Records, for which Womack had previously recorded, she was moved over to the MCA Nashville label roster in 1998. Her first album for MCA, and third career overall, I Hope You Dance, proved the transitional record that would launch her into the country stratosphere. I Hope You Dance, featuring the crossover mega-hit title tune, was released May 23, 2000, to critical praise literally across the board. Now, 20 years later, the album holds its own as a sterling example of modern country done right, with a sparkling collection of story-songs that proffered powerful and deep-rooted messages.
Songs didn’t come much more potent than the title track, an inspirational piece of life-affirming advice written by Tia Sillers and Mark D. Sanders. Womack has often asserted that she thought of her daughters when she recorded it, noting certain lines that indicated what she wanted for their futures, for example, I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean/Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens. With solid vocal support from Sons of the Desert, Womack drove it all home in uplifting fashion. Raved Billboard, “Her sweet, vulnerable voice perfectly captures the tender sentiment of the lyrics.”
The “I Hope You Dance” single achieved every conceivable honor and accolade available. It hit No. 1 in July of 2000 and had crossover success on the pop charts, ringing in at No. 14. Later in the year, the tune danced away with CMA awards for both Single and Song of the Year. “I Hope You Dance” also copped a Grammy for Best Country Song. Womack later commented that the single propelled her career to a new level, taking her places that she never dreamed possible.
Produced by Mark Wright and Frank Liddell, the I Hope You Dance album enlisted some of the most gifted writers in and outside of the genre’s mainstream. Americana favorites Buddy and Julie Miller teamed for the fourth single from the album, “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger,” which deserved a better fate than its No. 23 peak. “Why They Call It Falling,” which ends with a memorable (if not exactly happy) payoff, came from the pens of Don Schlitz and Roxie Dean.
For the second single from the album, the team selected a cover of Rodney Crowell’s “Ashes by Now,” given an appropriately fiery rendering by Womack. Her version clocked in just inside the Top 5.
Like most standout albums, all the tracks on I Hope You Dance were solid, quality tunes. You won’t find any fillers here. Best among the deep cuts, “I Know Why the River Runs,” written by Julie Miller, featured a Womack performance that would have done Dolly Parton proud. The tune contained wonderful, poetic lines, like, There’s a silence that I don’t want to hear/There’s a hole now where my heart used to be.
Bobbie Cryner, a fine writer and one-time solo artist, contributed “Stronger Than I Am,” surely one of the more unique takes on separation and divorce. For a somewhat ironic touch, Womack and her ex-husband Jason Sellers shared a co-write with Wynn Varble on the track, “I Feel Like I’m Forgetting Something.” The album ended nicely with a rendition of Don Williams’ chart-topping hit, “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good.”
I Hope You Dance was Womack’s best overall album to date, sending a career that was already soaring to even greater heights. It helped Womack secure her second CMA Female Vocalist of the Year award nomination, while the record itself was nominated for Album of the Year, eventually losing to Fly by the Dixie Chicks. By 2001, Womack was riding the crest of a career momentum and took home the 2001 CMA award for Female Vocalist of the Year.
Garth Brooks is doing his part to make the lockdown experience a little more Fun, dropping two more tracks from his upcoming studio album of the same name.
Releasing the new tunes on a whim during his weekly Inside Studio G Facebook chat, Brooks was responding to a viewer named Jack who asked when fans would hear more of Brooks long-awaited project. The Country Hall of Famer has been teasing the album for over a year now, and with a new duo of tracks titled “Party Gras (the Mardi Gras Song)” and “That’s What Cowboys Do,” seven tracks from the full record are now available for Amazon Music users.
All about the “let-the-good-times-roll” spirit of New Orleans’ most famous tradition, “Party Gras (the Mardi Gras Song)” stands as an uptempo Cajun-country anthem, filled with fiddles, ragtime piano, and celebratory lyrics. Meanwhile, “That’s What Cowboys Do” takes a different approach, loping in like a classic Western ballad. With dramatic sweeps of steel guitar and the swell of two hearts on diverging paths, Brooks sings of a love that has trouble staying in the saddle, so to speak.
The new tracks join five previously released songs from Brooks Fun album, “Courage of Love,” “The Road I’m On,” “All Day Long,” “Stronger Than Me” and his hit collaboration “Dive Bar” with Blake Shelton. No word on when the full project will arrive.
Below is the news behind Garth’s new album not part of press release above
Jesse Keith Whitley has found the perfect way to honor his father, the late country legend Keith Whitley. He’s dedicating his new single “Try to Change My Ways” to his dad and releasing it on May 9th, the 31st anniversary of Keith Whitley’s shocking and untimely death. Whitley was pronounced dead of alcohol poisoning May 9th, 1989, at age 33, just as his career was ablaze with No. 1 hits like “Don’t Close Your Eyes” and “When You Say Nothing at All,” along with widespread industry acclaim. At the time, he was married to fellow singer Lorrie Morgan, and the two epitomized the ideal of a Nashville glam couple.
“Try to Change My Ways” isn’t about a guy who’s bent on reform. On the contrary, it’s a defiant statement with a clear challenge in the opening line: Just let ‘em try to change my ways. You can practically see Whitley’s fists shake as he sings to a fiery mix of bluegrass banjo and searing guitars that might conjure up shades of Steve Earle or other outlaw acts. Whitley was not quite two years old when his father died, but he’s informed and assured enough to tell Sounds Like Nashville, “I think it embodies the spirit of my dad and what he stood for.” One particular lyric truly hits home for Whitley as he reflects on his father, who was born in Sandy Hook, Kentucky. “There is a line that says, My blood runs through these Kentucky hills, and that reminds me of my father,” says young Whitley. “Every time I drive through Kentucky, I think about him and just the Whitley family in general.”
A few years back, Whitley co-wrote the song “Shadows” about his father’s country music legacy. When listening to “Try to Change My Ways,” it would obviously be surmised that Whitley wrote that as well. But it was actually penned by Kirk Roth and Robert Kemp, who came up with such a relatable scenario that Whitley could practically claim it as his own. “I did not write that song,” he notes for clarity, “but I loved it at the first listen. What I liked is that it doesn’t just talk about one class of people. Like the part about standing up for the USA, well, that’s everybody. I think we’re all together on that. This song is a little different for me,” he adds with a slight laugh. “I’m wanting to find out who I am as an artist.” The aggressive-sounding anthem, replete with such proclamations as I’m gonna hunt and I’m gonna pray, would hardly fit Keith Whitley’s style, but Jesse Keith believes that dad would have been on board. “I had no idea that this would be a single,” Whitley says. “I had a couple of other ideas but this won out. I decided later that I would dedicate the song to my father.”
“Try to Change My Ways” marks the first single from an upcoming album project, due this year. But, as is the case with his musical contemporaries, the tour portion of Whitley’s career lies in limbo due to uncertainties about the coronavirus spread. “We have had to cancel a lot of dates,” Whitley says with a certain air of resignation. “Really, I should be out on the road right now, but we all know that’s not happening. We have been able to move some dates to the fall and winter, so that’s good.”
More than 30 years after his death, Keith Whitley still exacts a tangible influence on today’s country. Whitley left behind a rich musical catalog that includes posthumous No. 1 hits “I Wonder Do You Think of Me” and “It Ain’t Nothin’.” He established himself with a versatile, smooth baritone voice that was raised on bluegrass – he became the lead singer for Ralph Stanley’s band in 1974 while still in his teens – but proved equally at home in mainstream country.
“Guys like Chris Young and Dylan Scott were influenced by my dad, and I hear it in their music,” Whitley points out. “There is a cool video you can find on YouTube with Tracy Lawrence, Jason Aldean, and Luke Bryan doing [Whitley’s 1990 hit] ‘I’m Over You.’ Tracy was a big fan of my dad’s and he was on the tribute album that came out many years ago.” That 1994 record, Keith Whitley: A Tribute Album, also featured Alan Jackson, Joe Diffie, and Alison Krauss and Union Station, among many others. “One day, we’ll look at doing another tribute album,” Whitley says. “There is also a big push to get my dad into the Country Music Hall of Fame and I think he deserves that. Right now, I’m just proud to honor him with this single.”
Just when you thought you had country legend Dolly Parton figured out, news of a remarkable secret she’s kept hidden for years has been revealed. It turns out the iconic artist was a secret producer on the trailblazing fantasy drama, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. According to a recent report in Independent, Parton had a behind-the-scenes role in developing the popular series which many never knew about. It might have been a hands-off sort of arrangement, but looking back, her influence can still be seen.
Here’s the connection: In 1986 Parton and her friend Sandy Gallin founded the company Sandollar Entertainment, and the firm has gone on to make scores of TV shows and films ever since. Some titles you might recognize include 1991’s Father of the Bride (co-starring Brad Paisley’s wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley), 1996’s Fly Away Home, and Parton’s recent Netflix series, Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings. But in 1992, it also produced the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, and although that film wasn’t a box office smash, it showed enough promise to move over to TV, eventually evolving into the show beloved by so many today.
Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series debuted in 1997 and ran through 2003, leaving a sizable cult following and a spinoff series in its wake (Angel). Parton was not listed as an official executive producer in the show’s credits, Independent reports, but her influence can be seen elsewhere. As a case in point, Buffy Summers’ birthday on the show is January 19 — and that just so happens to be Parton’s as well. What a coincidence!
While the revelation is certainly tantalizing, it’s also not so surprising when you think about it. Parton has become an icon, and Buffy featured a teenage girl holding her own against a hostile world filled with monsters and villains. Sound familiar? Parton famously broke into the country industry in the 1960s, and had to repeatedly dispel the myth that she was just a “dumb blonde” — even leaving The Porter Wagoner Show when she was denied a bigger role on the popular program, which famously inspired her enduring hit, “I Will Always Love You.”
Of course, we all know her today as a cultural icon with millions of fans around the world — and a living legend even more beloved than the TV show she secretly helped create.
Interviews and media sessions are an essential part of promoting your music … unless you’re George Strait. The Country Music Hall of Famer all but quit doing interviews more than 30 years ago, and it’s hard to argue he’s worse for it.
Nobody has more No. 1 hits than King George, and few have consistently sold as many concert tickets as the Texan. His laid-back approach to country music hasn’t been duplicated. These days, you’re taught to “make the rounds” early and often to forge relationships with key programmers and entertainment personnel. Those who buck the trend gain a bad reputation that haunts them later.
Yet here’s Strait, a 67-year-old country recording artist and live entertainer who’s as likely to sit down for an interview this year as you are to find $100 on the sidewalk. He admittedly quit talking decades ago for a very personal reason. A 2017 piece in the New Yorker outlined his reasons and provided key insights to what drives Strait today. Still, he’s very much an enigma, even among his own team.
Strait’s career caught fire in 1981 when “Unwound” became a Top 10 hit. That song was worthy of its own episode of the Secret History of Country Music. Even real George Strait fans probably don’t know all the details about the lucky break (and other artist’s misfortune) that cleared a path for his success.
Live Like a King: George Strait Through the Years
George Strait, 1981: King George Strait launched his career with the single “Unwound” in 1981. The track was featured on his debut album, Strait Country.
George Strait, 1986: Strait snagged two ACM Awards in 1986. He was named Top Male Vocalist for the second consecutive year, and his album Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind also brought home the ACM prize for Album of the Year (again)
George Strait, 1987: In 1987, George Strait released his seventh studio album Ocean Front Property and it was groundbreaking for not just country, but music in general. The album was the first ever to debut at No. 1 on the charts
George Strait, 1989: 1989 was a big year for George Strait, as it was the first year he was named the CMAs Entertainer of the Year — an award he would win two more times.
George Strait, 1992: In 1992, Strait added ‘actor’ to his resume. The singer played the lead in the film Pure Country in addition to contributing to the soundtrack with “Heartland” and “I Cross My Heart.”
George Strait, 1995: In 1995, King George released his highest certified album. Strait Out of the Box sold two million copies! He also took home an ACM Award for “Check Yes or No” that year.
George Strait, 1996:1996 was a huge one for Strait at the CMA Awards. He took home three pretty big awards that year: Single of the Year, Album of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year.
George Strait, 1997: Strait began to headline the George Strait Country Music Festival in 1997, and the event lasted for several years. Once again, he also racked up awards at several esteemed events.
George Strait, 2002: In 2002, George Strait performed at the 37th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. He also played himself in the movie Grand Champion.
George Strait, 2004: Strait reached 51 No. 1 hits in 2004 with his song “I Hate Everything.” That year, he also released his 50 No. 1 songs on one epic greatest hits album.
George Strait, 2006: This was an important year for King George, as he was officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He performed “Give It Away” before accepting the huge honor.
George Strait, 2007: In 2007, Strait earned his 55th No. 1 hit with “Wrapped.” He also spent a good portion of the year touring alongside Ronnie Milsap and a young Taylor Swift.
George Strait, 2009: George Strait was given the ACM Artist of the Decade award in 2009. Another country icon, Garth Brooks, presented Strait with the trophy after an all-star tribute concert.
George Strait, 2010: In 2010, Strait was given a huge honor by Billboard magazine when they named him the Top Country Artist of the Past 25 Years.
George Strait, 2012: In 2012, Strait shocked fans by announcing his plans to retire from the road. The legend’s Cowboy Rides Away tour would be the last time fans could catch him on a lengthy headlining tour.
George Strait, 2013: At a press conference in the fall of 2013, Strait revealed the dates for his final tour. He let fans know that after his dates in 2014 ended, he’d be absent from stadiums, but that he would continue to record music and play live as he felt the need.
George Strait, 2014: In 2014, Strait performed on tour for the last time. His slew of tour dates included other huge artists there to support him, including Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Miranda Lambert and several more. His final date was on June 7 and had over 104,000 fans in attendance.