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ABC/Image Group LA Reba McEntire’s stint as Colonel Sanders in those KFC TV commercials is coming to a close, as she’s replaced by the famously tan Hollywood actor George Hamilton.

The 78-year-old will reprise his role as the “Extra Crispy Colonel” in a new series of ads for KFC, but he has high praise for Reba’s turn as the first female to portray the chicken chain’s founder.

"I think that so many women were happy with [Reba in the commercials]," he tells Billboard. "It’s all positive. I didn’t see anything negative to it. I have no clue why they brought me back.”

In fact, Hamilton’s even in favor of a Reba return.

“Why not just let her be the Colonel for a while?” he asks. “They’ll probably call her tomorrow and tell her ‘we’ve had enough of George, we want Reba back.'”

The new “Extra Crispy Colonel” ads start airing this Monday.

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ABC RadioJake Owen has his fastest-rising single so far with "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)," his reinterpretation of John Mellencamp's classic hit from 1982.

Though Jake was less than a year old when the original was released, he says "Jack & Diane" has long been a touchstone for him.

"When they said 'What kind of songs do you feel like you want to do on this new record?'," he explains, "I said, 'Jack & Diane. I need a bunch of 'Jack and Dianes.' And they were like, 'What do you mean?'"

"And I said, 'Well...think about the songs in my career that have been hits, [like] "The One That Got Away," which I wrote about growing up, the girl that came to town that summer and left and never came back again.'"

"It's that nostalgic feeling of where did that go?" Jake continues. "And 'Barefoot Blue Jean Night.' Lines in that song: We're never gonna grow up. We're never gonna slow down.'"

Jake drives that message home, in a cinematic new ten-minute mini-movie set to "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)."

"It's the songs that allow you, for three minutes, to relive a part of your life, and go 'Man, I wish I could go back,'" he goes on. "The fact is, you can't go back. But with music and songs like 'Jack & Diane,' with a melody and lyrics, they can take you back to that moment instantly."

At 36, even Jake admits to waxing sentimental sometimes. 

"That's what I do these days in my own life," he confesses. "I'll sometimes sit there and close my eyes and start laughing about something that happened way back in the day. And I've not found a song up unto this point... that exemplified those kind of feelings."

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Comstock/Thinkstock The Academy of Country Music proclaimed this artist the Most Promising Male Vocalist of 1975, based on his monster hits "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" and "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights." Can you name him? ANSWER: Freddy Fender.

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ABC/Fred LeeCountry music superstar Shania Twain rankled part of her fan base by saying she would have voted for Donald Trump if she were American.

Twain, who's Canadian, was asked by the UK newspaper The Guardian if she would've voted for Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. She responded, "I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest. Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both."

She added, "If I were voting, I just don’t want bull****. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?”

Following online backlash from a portion of her fans, Twain explained her comments and apologized.

"I would like to apologise to anybody I have offended in a recent interview with the Guardian relating to the American President,” she tweeted. “The question caught me off guard. As a Canadian, I regret answering this unexpected question without giving my response more context.”

She went on, “I am passionately against discrimination of any kind and hope it’s clear from the choices I have made, and the people I stand with, that I do not hold any common moral beliefs with the current President.”

Shania continued, “I was trying to explain, in response to a question about the election, that my limited understanding was that the President talked to a portion of America like an accessible person they could relate to, as he was NOT a politician.”

In closing, she wrote, "My answer was awkward, but certainly should not be taken as representative of my values nor does it mean I endorse him.  I make music to bring people together. My path will always be one of inclusivity, as my history shows."

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ABC/Paula LoboOn Monday, Luke Bryan enters a new realm in his American Idol career, as the first live show of the season premieres tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. The top 14 will perform, and eventually be narrowed down to ten finalists.

Luke is painfully aware of how brutal the competition can be. Take, for example Bebe Rexha, who has a #1 country hit with Florida Georgia Line right now, "Meant to Be," but didn't make it very far on the show.

"We had [pop stars] Colbie Caillat and Bebe Rexha on the [show] other day..." Luke tells ABC Radio. "They went through the Idol process and got sent home in the early rounds. And look at them."

"So, I think the Idol situation is a great platform to push kids out of their comfort zone and get them going in the entertainment business. Now, how much it pans out for 'em still has a lot to do with their work effort, and what they do with this exposure."

The "Most People Are Good" singer points to fellow country hitmakers Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina, as artists who've taken their Idol experiences and turned them into careers...even though it didn't happen instantly.

"I think they were first and second, right?" Luke asks. "And now they're making their names be known. So once you get the exposure from Idol, you still have to get out there and work it. And Scotty and Lauren have been workin' it ever since, and finally, it's starting to pay off."  

Scotty won season 10 of American Idol in 2011, and Lauren was the runner-up. Scotty recently scored his first #1 with "Five More Minutes," while Lauren had two numbers ones in the past year, with "Road Less Traveled" and "What Ifs" with Kane Brown.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Big KennyKix BrooksChase BryantJordan DavisLindsay EllMorgan EvansMartina McBrideMichael RayOld DominionReba and Chris Young are just some of the stars taking part in the 19th Annual Nashville Best Cellars Dinner Monday night. The event takes place at BMI in Nashville, and raises money for cancer research through the T.J. Martell Foundation.

Brothers Osborne visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Monday night to promote their just-released sophomore album, Port Saint Joe. You can watch for the CMA and ACM Vocal Duo of the Year starting at 11:35 p.m. ET on CBS.

The new album from The Wild Feathers is titled Greetings from the Neon Frontier, and will be released June 29 on Warner Music Nashville.

If you missed Carly Pearce singing "Hide the Wine" last week on Pickler & Ben, you can catch her performance on YouTube.

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Broken BowA week ago, Jason Aldean picked up his third consecutive Entertainer of the Year trophy at the Academy of Country Music Awards, and now he has a #1 album to match.

Jason’s new disc, Rearview Town, debuts at #1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 this week. The album moved 183,000 equivalent album units in its first week, with 162,000 of those being traditional album sales.

This is Jason’s fourth album in a row to top the all-genre chart. It’s also the first country record to reach the pinnacle since Luke Bryan’s What Makes You Country went to #1 on the chart dated December 30, 2017.

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Big Machine RecordsTrent Harmon’s new video for “You Got ‘Em All” is every bit as heart-wrenching as the emotional single itself.

The storyline draws on the real-life inspiration for the ballad, which Trent wrote in less than an hour after getting some devastating news.

“My girlfriend just told me over the phone that she was moving to Thailand with two days notice to fulfill her dream of teaching overseas,” Trent reveals. “I was so happy for her but at the same time was so heartbroken that she was literally going to be across the world from me for an indefinite amount of time.”

In the video, Trent’s love interest leaves to pursue her dream to become a ballerina.

“You Got ‘Em All” is the title track from Trent’s debut album, which comes out May 18. The Mississippi native co-wrote eight of the record’s eleven tunes, including the previous single, “There’s a Girl.” Chris Stapleton contributes the track, “Hold On,” while there’s a remix of the Keith-Urban-penned “Falling.”

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ABC RadioLess than a day after Jake Owen premiered his new video for “I Was Jack (You Were Diane)” at an exclusive event at the CMA Theater in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the mini-movie is now available to view online.

Jake followed Thursday's video’s unveiling with a chat with director Justin Clough and  the video's stars, Nashville’s Jake Etheridge and MacKenzie Porter of the Netflix show, Travelers. The new clip follows an '80s-era high school couple as they navigate the challenges of love, baseball, college and their home town. In addition to doing some singing, Jake also plays a waiter.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about a music video,” he says, noting that "this isn’t your typical country music video."  He adds, "I think it could be considered a short film. I really appreciate the attention to detail and hard work that everyone put into making it. I’m anxious to hear what people think.”

Jake finished the evening at the Hall of Fame by performing the song, which was inspired by John Mellencamp’s hit, “Jack & Diane.”  He also sang Hank Williams Jr.'s “The Blues Man,” and the new tunes “Made for You” and “Down to the Honkytonk.”

He kicks off his Life’s Whatcha Make It Tour next month with Chris Janson and Jordan Davis.

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ABC/Randy HolmesDierks Bentley started the week by performing his top ten hit, “Woman, Amen,” on the 53rd ACM Awards, and things only got busier from there.

The Arizona native stayed on the West Coast for a Wednesday appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, where he again cued up “Women, Amen,” as well as “The Mountain,” for the Los Angeles audience. If you missed Dierks’ set, you can catch up online.

Thursday night, he stopped by the Grammy Museum in L.A. for an in-depth discussion about his new album, also called The Mountain, which comes out June 8. You can check out that conversation thanks to a live stream now posted on Facebook.

Dierks kicks off his Mountain High Tour May 18 in Columbia, Maryland with Brothers Osborne and LANCO.

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BMLGBrett Young will start the week begging for a little “Mercy.”

The Academy of Country Music’s New Male Vocalist of the Year will perform his latest single Monday on Good Morning America. The show starts at 7 a.m. on ABC, with Brett’s performance to set to come up in the 8 a.m. hour.

The California native is currently in the running for both Top Country Album for his self-titled debut and Top Country Song for “In Case You Didn’t Know” at next month’s Billboard Music Awards. This spring, he's part of Thomas Rhett's Life Changes Tour.

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Atlantic Michael Ray stands in the foreground on the cover of his new album, Amos, with a framed picture of his grandfather -- who inspired the album's title -- behind him. The photo sits on a chest of drawers, along with what appears to be a bible, a watch, an ashtray and a coffee cup.

The Florida native named his sophomore effort after the man who led his family’s band and helped inspire his love for country music. Amos died a couple of months before Michael made his Grand Ole Opry debut.

The 11-track album includes tunes written by members of Old Dominion and newcomer Travis Denning, as well as Michael’s current  top-20 hit, “Get to You.”

The first track on the record, “Fan Girl,” is available to stream or download now.

“For months we have been playing these songs on the road and we start most every show with 'Fan Girl,'” Michael explains, “so it was time to put this song in their hands.”

“The lyrics, ‘You give me that front row feeling/Screaming with my hands up/Walk in the room and everybody stands up,’ create such a powerful visual,” he goes on. “That -- equated to how you feel about a girl -- is a perspective I had not heard before, yet I know exactly what that feeling is.”

Here’s the complete track listing for Amos, which arrives June 1:

“Fan Girl”
“One That Got Away”
“Summer Water”
“Get to You”
“Forget About It”
“Her World or Mine”
“You’re On”
“I’m Gonna Miss You”
“Dancing Forever”
“Girl from Spring Break”
“Drink One for Me”

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Nick Walker"The Middle," Maren Morris' pop hit with DJ/producer Zedd, sounds like a typical upbeat dance song about love, but Maren feels that it's also a reflection of what our society needs at this moment in time.

"I related to it so much, not so much like the vocal, but the meaning behind the song and especially at such a crazy time right now," she tells ABC Radio. "Just politically, the world is just, it feels very divisive."

"I feel like the song 'The Middle,' like, 'Why don't you just meet me in the middle?' is such a great message for right now and I think that's what people want so desperately," she adds.

Maren's also happy that "The Middle" can be enjoyed on more than one level.

She explains, "I loved that the song could pertain to a relationship and also, like, how we feel, just as people, right now in America." 

"The Middle" is currently #6 on the pop chart, while Maren's new single, "Rich," just broke into country's top 40. 

Maren can also be heard on Restoration, one of two recently released albums of Elton John cover songs, performing his classic tune "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters."  On June 1, she'll kick off four months of dates as a special guest on One Direction member Niall Horan's solo tour.

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Comstock/ThinkstockK.T. Oslin's second #1 hit featured the line "There's a wooden wonder from way Down Under they call a boomerang." Can you name this song, which topped the Billboard chart thirty years ago this week? ANSWER: "I'll Always Come Back."

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Big Machine RecordsSugarland has shared another track from their upcoming album Bigger, and it's probably the one everybody's most excited to hear.

Titled "Babe," the song features vocals by Taylor Swift, who co-wrote the song with Pat Monahan of the band Train.  Taylor offered the breakup song to the duo last year.

"We’ve never put someone else’s song on a Sugarland record, but we were immediately interested in ‘Babe’ the first time we heard it!” Jennifer Nettles says in a statement. "This one really felt like it belonged so we saved it for the final afternoon of our recording session; a special time for us.” 

Kristian Bush adds, "Our last hours in the studio have always been good luck. 'All I Want to Do’ was from a final session, so was ‘Stuck Like Glue.’ The biggest compliment was when [Taylor] heard our take on the track and emailed us to say she wanted to be a part of it!” 

Jennifer adds that the collaboration is "the perfect combination of mutual admiration for each other and mutual admiration for great songs," noting, "As artists, we really see the world through a similar lens.”

Bigger, Sugarland's first album in six years, is due June 8.  The duo will perform on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! on May 2.  Their Still the Same 2018 tour kicks off May 25.

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EMI Records NashvillePort Saint Joe, the sophomore record from Brothers Osborne, arrives on 4/20, and it's not exactly a coincidence that Friday's date is also considered the unofficial holiday of pot smokers. After all, the project features a song called "Weed, Whiskey and Willie."  On Saturday, a special Record Store Day edition of the album is released on colored vinyl that reinforces that theme.

"We love supporting independent record stores," TJ says. "And we made a...vinyl release that's unique for Record Store Day that will be green. Tip of the hat to it being right around 4/20 when it comes out!"

While the majority of fans may experience the record digitally, TJ says Port Saint Joe was made for the turntable. The first four songs -- "Slow Your Roll," the single "Shoot Me Straight," "I Don't Remember Me (Before You)" and "Weed..." -- flow seamlessly into each other.

"The way we made this record, I think, is perfect for vinyl, in the sense that the songs kind of just go one to the other,"  TJ tells ABC Radio.

"We wanted to make a record that you would want to listen to from front to back," he explains, "and the first four songs are one, non-stop stream of music. There's not a 'And, done. And start the next one.'...We wanted that to be something you'd put on from track #1 and play all the way to track #10."

Port Saint Joe is named for the Florida town where it was recorded, and while it's certainly not a beach record, the disc will give you a little taste of the ocean sonically.

"The A side starts with waves and ends with waves," John says. 

"Yeah, which is kinda cool," TJ agrees. "Like, waves that we actually tracked there at Port Saint Joe." 

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Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Brad Paisley is extending his relationship with Sony Music Nashville, re-signing a long-term recording contract with Arista. The "Today" hitmaker has been at the label since launching his career in 1999.

"Get Down South" will be the second single from Montgomery Gentry's Here's to You album, which was finished shortly before Troy Gentry's death in a helicopter crash last year.

If you missed Dierks Bentley performing his latest hit "Woman, Amen" Wednesday on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, you can catch his performance online.

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ABC/Image Group LA Kelsea Ballerini’s sweat session last Saturday morning in Las Vegas raised $5,000 for ACM Lifting Lives.

The “I Hate Love Songs” hitmaker hosted the first-ever ACM Workout for a Cause last weekend, with celebrity trainer Erin Oprea leading fans through some of her signature exercises. In addition to Kelsea, Oprea also trains Carrie Underwood and Kacey Musgraves.  

ACM Lifting Lives is the charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music.

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John Shearer/Getty ImagesIf you could use a little pick-me-up, all you need to do is check out Tyler Hubbard’s Instagram.

“Somebody thinks I’m funny,” the Florida Georgia Line singer shared, along with an adorable video of himself making his baby daughter, Olivia Rose, giggle endlessly.

Olivia was born December 23. Earlier this month, she attended her first FGL show, as Tyler and Brian Kelley played the free Tradition Evolved concert for the Tennessee Titans in downtown Nashville.

FGL’s currently readying their fourth studio album, as their hit, “Meant to Be” with Bebe Rexha, continues to be a smash on both the country and pop charts.

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EMI Records NashvilleThe wait is almost over for the sophomore album from Brothers Osborne, Port Saint Joe, which arrives on Friday. And if you're wondering if the record’s release date, 4/20, is a coincidence, just consider the title of the latest advance track from the project: “Weed, Whiskey and Willie.”

“I’ve got bottles and vinyl stacked to the ceiling/I get stoned for survival, it helps with the healing,” TJ and John sing. “When it all goes to hell, the only thing I believe in is weed, whiskey, and Willie.”

If you check the length of the song, the numbers synonymous with pot come up again. “Weed, Whiskey and Willie” clocks in at exactly 4:20.

You can stream or download the track now, in advance of Port Saint Joe’s Friday release. You can also check out the tune’s lyric video on YouTube.

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