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ABC/Image Group LAKelsea Ballerini is up for Female Vocalist of the Year at Wednesday's CMA Awards, but she's convinced that she has no chance of winning...because she's practical.

"I feel like hopefully there will be a year where I feel like maybe it might be this year, but it's not this year," she tells ABC Radio. "It's not time for me yet. Every year, things seem to grow in a positive direction, so we'll see."

O.K. so if Kelsea doesn't think she's going to win, who does she think will take home the trophy?  The co-host of the CMA telecast, Carrie Underwood.

"I think it's Carrie's," predicts Kelsea. "She put out a beautiful album, she's working her tail off, she's about to have a baby and she's still working her tail off!  And if you're actually going on vocalists, she's just the queen. I think it's her year!"

And even if Kelsea doesn't win, she's got plenty to be proud of: 2018's been quite a year for her.

"I started the year with a headlining tour, which is just something that feels really special to me, to have people in the room that connect with an album enough to sit there with you for two hours," she tells ABC Radio. "That was amazing." 

"And then opening for Keith Urban...and learning from him," Kelsea continues, "And then doing the coaching on The Voice, and doing a single with the Chainsmokers and releasing my third single off my record...it's just been crazy!"

Tune in Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC to see if Kelsea's prediction of a Carrie Underwood victory comes true.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

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ABC/Image Group LALady Antebellum are up for Vocal Group of the Year at Wednesday's CMA Awards.  They've been attending the show for about a decade now and Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott say there are certain things they look forward to seeing on the show each year.

"Seeing these new artists, I think...'cause this is what these shows are, to me -- to break new artists, and to show people, 'This is the new crop,'" Charles tells ABC Radio.  "And also, you're always excited to see Keith Urban and our buddy Luke [Bryan] and see what they do...there's so many [things] to look forward to!"

Hillary Scott adds that personally, she's excited to attend the CMA Awards so she can spend time with their fellow artists, who they rarely get to see.

"We all tour kinda at the same time, we're never in the same place at the same time except on nights like this," she explains. "So to be able to hug a lot of my best girlfriends and say hi, it's really special."

One of those girlfriends Hillary's looking forward to seeing is Kelsea Ballerini.  Lady A brought her out on tour with them when she was up-and-coming, and now she's nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year.

"I'm so unbelievably proud for her and everything that's going on...her poise, and her record," gushes Hillary. "And obviously she's like a baby sister to me, so I'm rooting for her for sure!" 

Tune in Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on ABC. to see if Lady A can beat out young upstarts Old Dominion, LANCO and Midland to capture the Vocal Group of the Year trophy for a fourth time.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LABrett Young married his longtime girlfriend Taylor Mills earlier this month in California, but he's returned from his honeymoon in enough time to attend the CMA Awards on Wednesday, where he's up for New Artist of the Year.  He tells ABC Radio his wedding couldn't have gone better -- thanks to Taylor.

"She did such a good job planning the wedding...I'm glad I stayed out of it as much as I did, 'cause it was a lot of fun surprises for me throughout the day," he laughs. 

The wedding day, which featured 81 degree weather, sunshine and a waterfall, was "just literally fairy-tale and perfect," says Brett.

Adding to the festivities were performances by Luke Combs, Lee Brice and Gavin DeGraw.  Brett sang too, but he admits, "I got super-emotional and forgot lyrics and screwed up the song...it was just a nightmare!"  Luckily, everyone was still talking about how great Luke, Lee and Gavin were so, he says, nobody really noticed.

The couple's honeymoon was almost a nightmare, too -- until they made a bold move.

"We went to the Virgin Islands and it rained for three days straight!" Brett tells ABC Radio.  "We finally went, 'O.K., we just gotta go somewhere where it's sunny.' So I found a non-stop flight from St. Croix to Miami...and we ended up having three amazing days on the beach...it was fantastic!"

Also fantastic? Brett's nomination, which he says has given him "a sense of validation."

But, he notes, "When you're up against so much talent, it's one of those things where if you actually do sneak away with [the award], it feels like you stole one, a little bit!"

Tune in to see if Brett steals the award Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LALauren Alaina is the only female artist nominated in the Best New Artist category at this Wednesday night's CMA Awards.  While she'd like to win, she thinks she doesn't have much chance, especially against one particular nominee in her category.

"I got to tour all summer with Luke Combs and the force that is Luke Combs is unstoppable," Lauren tells ABC Radio. "And I just got to witness what he's done first-hand every night.  I would obviously love to win but I'm really proud to represent the ladies, and just to be nominated at all.  It's been a really amazing year."

And what are some of the things Lauren's done that have made this year amazing?

"I was able to go out on the road and feel the difference, to see it first-hand with the fans, and to feel the impact that we've had. And I got engaged!" she laughs. "It's just been a lot of pinch-me moments.  And then winning the ACM and now to be nominated as [CMA] Best New Artist, I'm just really proud. It's been really crazy."

But while Lauren's thrilled to be nominated there's something she says she'd like to see next year.  "How amazing would it if next year, in the [New Artist] category, there's one male and four females?" she asks.

Even if she doesn't win Wednesday night, Lauren's got a few more things to celebrate: Her duet with Kane Brown, "What Ifs," has just gone quadruple platinum, and Kane recorded a song she co-wrote for his new album, Experiment.

"That's a big moment for me!" she laughs. 

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LAScotty McCreery's successful 2018 continues with recognition for his song "Barefootin.'"

Penned by Scotty, David Lee Murphy and Frank Rogers, "Barefootin'" was named National Song of the Year at the 2018 Carolina Beach Music Awards this past weekend.

"Barefootin'" is featured on Scotty's latest album, Seasons Change, released in March. The song hit number one on the Beach Music Top 40 Chart in September.

“I was raised on beach music, so to be honored by the Carolina Beach Music Awards for National Song of the Year is really special,” Scotty said in a statement. “I had a lot of fun writing ‘Barefootin’ with David Lee and Frank, and I’m so happy that people are enjoying it. My wife and I have talked about taking shag dancing lessons. It could be fun to eventually shag dance to my own song.”   

Scotty's current single, "This Is It," remains in the top 25 on the country charts. It was inspired by his proposal to now-wife, Gabi Dugal McCreery.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LALANCO is nominated for Vocal Group of the Year at Wednesday's CMA Awards, and lead singer Brandon Lancaster says he can barely handle the fact that they're nominated, let alone imagine actually winning.

"It does sound cliche but really, we're new to the scene. Last year, going to the CMAs, we were just happy to be there and this year, to have a nomination and to be in the category we're in and to see the other artists that are in there, it's incredible," he tells ABC Radio.  "We're honored."

"Winning it? I don't even know...my mind, it goes there sometimes, [but] I almost push it off," he laughs. "I'll clear some room in my trophy case.  I don't have a trophy case! I would GET a trophy case!"

But if the "Born to Love You" hitmakers don't go home with the Vocal Group of the Year Award, Brandon says he'd be O.K. if a certain other nominee in the category wins instead.

"I probably have the closest personal ties to Old Dominion," he tells ABC Radio. "We've played bars with them and watched them kinda go on the same journey that we have and [we've] written with those guys." 

"They've worked so hard and really, they deserve it," he adds. "The hard work has just paid off so I would like to see them get it, for sure."

To see if either LANCO or Old Dominion take home the trophy, tune in to the CMA Awards this Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Gary Miller/Getty ImagesToby Keith celebrates the 25th anniversary of his debut single, "Should've Been a Cowboy," this year with a brand-new music video. The five-minute clip includes concert footage from Toby's USO Tours over the years.

"I feel the need to get western on, y'all," Toby says from the stage at the clip's start. "We're gonna do you a little campfire song here."

The video features dozens of live performances from Toby at various operating bases he's visited throughout his 11 USO Tours. The singer has performed at more than 285 USO events and sang for nearly 256,000 troops and military families.

The video itself is available ahead of Toby Keith -- Should've Been a Cowboy [25th Anniversary Edition], an expanded re-release of Toby's April, 1993 self-titled debut. The album will be available November 30 and includes three vault tracks: "Tossin' and Turnin'," "I'll Still Call You Baby," and "Daddy Mac."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Randy HolmesKacey Musgraves is nominated for Album of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year going into Wednesday's CMA Awards.  Kacey's album Golden Hour has been one of the most universally acclaimed releases of the year, but it's not exactly what you'd call a "country" album. That's why Kacey says she's so honored to have been nominated.

"For my version of country music to be recognized is really meaningful to me because I love where the genre came from," Kacey tells ABC Radio. "And to be able to be someone that's recognized in modern country, I mean, that's a goal for me. Y'know, I love country music. So it's really cool."

Kacey says that Golden Hour is different from her other releases because it's her "most personal record yet."

"I don't think I've really let people in on an emotional scale this way very much," she explains. "I've never really talked much about my feelings, and falling in love, and meeting the right person, and talking about my flaws, and being lonely, coming off the road and missing my mom...I've never had songs like that. And it was really nice."

As for the Female Vocalist category, Kacey hates to think that that she's competing with Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Carrie Underwood and Kelsea Ballerini to find out who's "better."

"Awards shows are silly because no one's 'better' than the other," she says. "That's not what music is about. Art is very subjective...everyone's different and that's what's cool about it...everyone's obviously winning and doing her own thing!"

That being said, Kacey admits that she doesn't actually consider herself to be "much of a vocalist" -- so, she says, "To be in a category with some really great singers is a big compliment."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LAWalker Hayes will embark on a 2019 tour beginning January 31 in Houston, TX. The Dream On It Tour borrows its name from a fan submission posted to Walker's social channels earlier this year and was selected by the singer himself.

“I’m so jacked to announce my Dream On It Tour and get back on the road," Walker said in a statement. "Thank you to my fans for working so hard to help me pick the perfect tour name. Y’all have been involved since the beginning, so it only seemed fitting to have y’all be part of it."

Tickets for the Dream On It tour are available for purchase on November 16 at 10 a.m. CT via Walker's website

Here’s the complete itinerary for Walker Hayes's 2019 World Tour: 

1/31 -- Houston, TX, House of Blues Houston
2/1 -- Dallas, TX, House of Blues Dallas
2/2 -- Baton Rouge, LA, Texas Club
2/8 -- Lake Buena Vista, FL, The Block
2/22 -- Rosemont, IL, Joe’s Live
2/23 -- Grand Rapids, MI, Elevation at The Intersection
2/28 -- Ashwaubenon, WI, Green Bay Distillery
3/1 -- Madison, WI, Majestic Theatre
3/2 -- Des Moines, IA, Wooly’s
3/5 -- Nashville, TN, Mercy Lounge
3/7 -- Atlanta, GA, Buckhead Theatre
3/8 -- Birmingham, AL, Iron City
3/14 -- Rocky Mount, VA, Harvester Performance Center
3/15 -- North Myrtle Beach, SC, House of Blues Myrtle Beach
3/21 -- Silver Spring, MD, The Fillmore
3/22 -- Philadelphia, PA, The TLA
3/23 -- Boston, MA, House of Blues Boston
4/11 -- Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall
4/12 -- Knoxville, TN, The Mill & Mine
4/13 -- Greensboro, NC, Cone Denim Entertainment Center
4/26 -- Denver, CO, Grizzly Rose
4/27 -- Salt Lake City, UT, The Depot
4/29 -- San Martin, CA, Clos La Chance Winery
4/30 -- Sacramento, CA, Ace of Spades
5/2 -- Seattle, WA, Showbox
5/3 -- Spokane, WA, The Knitting Factory
5/4 -- Boise, ID, Knitting Factory Concert House

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/CMA When you tune in for the 52nd CMA Awards Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC, you can expect three hours of unforgettable performances, plenty of comedy from hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood -- and there are some trophies to pass out, too.

Having won their share of CMAs themselves, Brad and Carrie know there'll be some nervous celebrities in the audience.

"I know I was, back in the day when I was really needing to win something," Brad reveals. "You feel it. It's a big night for people."

"That's why we have to be really respectful of them..." he adds." "You don't want to belittle somebody who's expecting a life-changing evening."

These days, Carrie -- who's up for Female Vocalist -- admits she's more focused on hosting than winning awards.

"If we're ever nominated, I know that kind of takes a backseat to the hosting, sometimes," she explains. "It'll be like, we have to be here for this thing, and then it's like, 'Oh yeah, now I have to go have my award up next.'"

"And then right after it's over," she continues, "no matter what happens, you're back to hosting. So then you don't really get to reflect on anything until after it's all said and done."

Carrie says it's worth remembering this is an evening that will go down in country music history.

"It's a big deal," the Oklahoma native reflects. "I mean this is country music's biggest night, and those awards do mean something."

"And everybody is a family and very supportive of each other," she points out, "but I think a lot of people in our genre are very competitive too. And of course you want to win."

"So, yeah, just best of luck!" she smiles. "May the odds ever be in your favor." 

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Taylor Hill/FilmMagicMaddie & Tae are nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year going into this Wednesday's CMA Awards, and if they win, they'll each have a matched pair: They won the Video of the Year trophy in 2015 for "Girl in a Country Song."  But if you went to their houses, you wouldn't see those trophies on display in an obvious spot.

"It's sitting next to my Keurig in my kitchen...I didn't wanna put it front-and-center 'cause I just feel weird about that," Tae tells ABC Radio about where her CMA trophy lives in her house. "We're thankful, but..."

"You don't wanna be annoying about it," Maddie finishes.  She keeps hers on a shelf in a little office/music room in her house.

But another CMA win would require some redecorating, say the girls.  "That would go on my mantle and that would be annoying," laughs Maddy.

"Yeah, 'cause you gotta have that even look," Tae adds. "I would put it on my bookshelf, I think."

Maddy vows, "If we ever win Vocal Duo of the Year, that one's gonna be, like, front-and-center of the house, for sure." 

Tune in to the CMA Awards Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC to see if Maddie & Tae win, and also to catch a glimpse of their red carpet outfits, which they describe as "ethereal old Hollywood glam."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LAGoing into Wednesday's CMA Awards, Old Dominion is nominated for Vocal Group of the Year for the second year in a row.  The group's Trevor Rosen says actually winning this time around would mean a lot to them.

"It would be very satisfying," he tells ABC Radio. "It's something that we've watched since we were young, y'know, so to be up there accepting one -- I mean, you can't really describe it, y'know?  It's very validating...it's a lot of things."

Going to the CMAs each year isn't just exciting for the group, though: Trevor says their wives can't wait to get glammed up and hit the red carpet with them.

"It's really their Super Bowl," he laughs. "They only get a couple weeks a year to kinda walk on this side of it and see what we do, so they get very excited."

Geoff Sprung cracks, "Yeah, it's like their Stanley Cup!"

But in addition to anticipating their first CMA Award, O.D. is also gearing up for the release of their third album sometime next year.  So far, we've heard the first single, "Make It Sweet," which lead singer Matthew Ramsey say is "a good launching point for the album." 

"It sets the tone for the album," he adds. "We're all very excited about this music, for sure."


Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LALOCASH rose to fame after years of perseverance and saw radio success with their infectious singles “I Love This Life” and "I Know Somebody." As the duo has witnessed the country genre change musical directions over the years, they're grateful that fans have embraced their sound.

“People are really starting to be way more open-minded with music and letting it in,” Chris Lucas tells People. “It’s not the same country that your grandparents listened to. There’s the roots from it, of course, but millennials are open-minded to all types of music.”

“Every generation has that music that sits right on the edge,” Preston Brust adds. “Willie Nelson was considered progressive [in the '70s].”

The duo promises to bring more "monster hits" to their next album, which will be released in January. The project includes several songs produced by Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard.

“It’s going to have a cool edge to it with some new sonic influences,” Preston says. “It’s not too different, but we freshened up the album a little for the new label.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LAMidland has three CMA nominations going into Wednesday night's awards show: New Artist, Vocal Group of the Year and Single of the Year, for "Drinking Problem."  Group member Cameron Duddy says that while it'd be "an honor" to get any of them, he knows which category he'd prefer to win.

"You don't practice being a new artist, but you do practice being a vocal group," Cameron tells ABC Radio. "That's something that we've been working diligently for the better part of four or five years."

While Midland has been attending the CMA Awards for a few years now, this is the first year that they're both nominated and performing on the telecast.  As a result, frontman Mark Wystrach says they're going to have to slow things down a bit.

"Yeah, the last couple of years, we were just partying our tails off, having a good ol' time, open bar -- the stories were abundant and ludicrous...this year we're in bed 10:30, 11 o'clock, trying to protect our voices and being responsible," he explains. "This is Midland growing up!"

Tune into the 52nd Annual CMA Awards Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC to see the grown-up Midland perform, and maybe take home a trophy or three.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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BMLGFlorida Georgia Line traveled to Los Angeles to shoot the new video for their latest single, "Talk You Out of It." The clip was directed by Justin Clough and stars the duo's wives, Brittney Kelley and Hayley Hubbard.

The track was penned by HARDYHunter PhelpsJameson Rodgers and Alysa Vanderheym. With sultry R&B rhythms, slowed singing style and delicate banjo accompaniment, "Talk You Out of It" is a new sound for the country duo.

FGL are set to perform on Wednesday at the CMA Awards with Bebe Rexha -- the three collaborators will sing their Billboard Hot Country Songs number-one hit, "Meant to Be." Florida Georgia Line is also nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year, as well as Single of the Year and Musical Event of the Year, for "Meant to Be."

 

 

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LAThe performance schedule for the 52nd Annual CMA Awards is getting even bigger. Today, Eric Church has been announced as a performer. The Chief will take the stage on Wednesday during Country Music's Biggest Night and will bring his memorable live show to the Bridgestone Arena.

The three-time CMA Awards winner joins a stacked performance lineup. In addition to Eric taking the stage tomorrow night, so will Lauren AlainaJason Aldean with Miranda LambertKelsea BalleriniDierks Bentley with Brothers OsborneGarth BrooksLuke Bryan, and Kenny Chesney.

Also scheduled to perform are Luke CombsDan ShayFlorida Georgia Line with Bebe RexhaMidlandKacey MusgravesOld DominionBrad PaisleyPistol AnniesThomas RhettRicky SkaggsChris Stapleton with Maren Morris and Mavis StaplesCarrie UnderwoodKeith Urban, and Brett Young.

The CMA Awards air on ABC Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Comstock/ThinkstockCan you recall which year CMA Awards co-host Brad Paisley was crowned CMA Entertainer of the Year? ANSWER: 2010.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Image Group LAThroughout a decade of hosting the CMA Awards, Carrie Underwood's become famous for her numerous, memorable wardrobe changes. But since she's expecting a baby this year, Carrie admits she's not exactly sure how it's gonna go.

"Those quick changes might be slow changes this year," she jokes. "But yeah, I'd say wardrobe has got their work cut out for them this year."

Carrie agrees there's some possibility she may not wear quite as many dresses as she has in years past.

"I'm not sure," she tells ABC Radio. "I've kinda done my initial round [of fittings], and it's basically whatever I can zip up. So we'll see."

The Oklahoma native hosted once before when she was pregnant, leading up to the birth of her son Isaiah nearly four years ago.

Just as before, Carrie's co-host, Brad Paisley, has already given her notice that baby humor is definitely on the table.

So is there any possibility Brad might go too far?

"There's always a big chance!" Carrie laughs.

"Yeah, those are Vegas odds you wanna take right there!" Brad agrees.

"The thing about us," Carrie says, turning serious, "I feel like... we can laugh at ourselves and definitely make fun of ourselves, first and foremost. But we don't ever want to offend anybody, you know."

"Just ourselves," Brad adds, before offering an example of how he might go too far.

"We should just change out bumper stickers on it..." he suggests, referring to Carrie's baby bump. "We could sell that space."

"Ad space..." Carrie says, getting on board with the joke. "Put this kid through college!" 

You can tune in to witness Brad's antics and Carrie's costume changes Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, as the 52nd Annual CMA Awards air live from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on ABC.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockKane Brown continues to break records with his latest release, Experiment. His sophomore album, which dropped November 9, broke the U.S. record on Apple Music for the largest debut of a country album, with 2.5 million streams in the first 24 hours of its release.

Luke Combs reigns at number one with "She Got the Best of Me." It remains at the top of Billboard's Country Airplay chart for the fourth straight week. It's the only country song to achieve this feat in 2018.

Next month, Amy Grant headlines Amy Grant’s Tennessee Christmas – Presented by Hallmark Channel. The one-hour special will air on December 10 at 8 p.m. ET/PT as part of Hallmark Channel's Countdown To Christmas. In addition to Amy, her husband Vince Gill, as well as Kellie Pickler and Michael W. Smith, will perform on the special.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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ABC/Paula LoboGoing into Wednesday's CMA Awards, Luke Bryan's got a lot to celebrate, with an Entertainer of the Year nomination.  But things haven't been going so well for his mom, LeClaire: Her house in Mexico Beach, FL was destroyed in Hurricane Michael, the strongest storm on record in the Florida Panhandle.  The hurricane took the lives of 45 Americans and caused $14.58 billion in damages. 

"My mother, I mean, to deal with losing children -- she's lost two children -- and now she's lost her home.  It's been very emotional for her," he tells ABC Radio. "So now, you hope that we can return Mexico Beach just the way it was."

But Luke says his mother will pull through -- she's already busy helping others.

"She's tough," he says. "She's down there cooking meals for people, and every time I call her it sounds like she's the foreman of a job site!"  

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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