Carrie Underwood's latest top-ten hit, "Cry Pretty," is much more than just the title track from her debut album for Capitol Nashville that's coming next month: The American Idol superstar sees the song she co-wrote as part therapy -- and part mystery.
"I want people to be drawn into ‘Cry Pretty’ from the get-go," she explains. "The first words of it are ‘I’m sorry,’ and I feel like those are words that are powerful."
"They’re two little words," Carrie continues, "but they kind of suck you in and I want people to be like, ‘Well, why are you sorry?’ and then kind of follow the rest of the musical journey that we go on."
The expectant mother also hopes "Cry Pretty" can help her fans with whatever they're facing in their lives.
"I want them to relate to it," Carrie says. "I want them to be like, ‘Oh my gosh! This is me. Whatever I’m going through, I can relate to this.’ And then by the end of it, I want people to feel...that release."
Carrie goes on: "I mean, the song just keeps getting bigger and bigger and it’s pretty rocking by the end. So I want people to listen to it and by the end, just feel like they’ve kind of gotten a little bit of an emotional release just by listening to the song."
It'll be a busy few months ahead for the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, who most recently hit #1 with Keith Urban and "The Fighter." Her Cry Pretty album drops September 14, before she returns to co-host the CMA Awards for the 11th time on November 14 with Brad Paisley. At some point, she'll also deliver a younger sibling for her 3-year-old son, Isaiah.
CMTBrett Young’s fall tour will take its name from his new single, “Here Tonight,” the lead release from his forthcoming sophomore album. Newcomers Tyler Rich and Rachel Wammack will open the CMT on Tour: Here Tonight trek.
“This tour has got me pumped already,” Brett says. “We teamed up with CMT to name it after a new song I’ve been working on. It’s all about losing track of time because you’re so wrapped up in the moment. That’s what I want it to be all about out with the fans each night, and Rachel and Tyler are going to be a great way to get it started."
Here’s a look at the complete itinerary for Brett Young’s CMT on Tour: Here Tonight run, with the first tickets going on sale on Friday:
11/16 -- Royal Oak, MI, Royal Oak Theatre 11/17 -- Northfield, OH, Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park - Hard Rock Live 11/18 -- St. Louis, MO, The Pageant 11/29 -- Charlotte, NC, The Fillmore Charlotte 11/30 -- Columbia, SC, Township Auditorium 12/1 -- North Myrtle Beach, SC, House of Blues 12/2 -- Lake Buena Vista, FL, House of Blues 12/6 -- Albany, NY, Palace Theatre 12/9 -- New York, NY, Playstation Theatre 12/14 -- Atlanta, GA, Coca Cola Roxy Theatre 12/16 -- Kansas City, MO, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland
Broken Bow Miranda Lambert currently has her biggest hit since 2013's "We Were Us" with Keith Urban, this time teaming up with Jason Aldean on "Drowns the Whiskey."
The three-time ACM Entertainer of the Year and the reigning CMA and ACM Female Vocalist go way back.
"Miranda and I have known each other for a long time," Jason tells ABC Radio. "I tell people all the time we sort of started off in this business together. We sort of came up in the business together and toured a lot together back when we were first getting started. And I think her and I have always kinda had a mutual respect for each other and the types of music that we do."
"And I worked with her on a song on my second album called 'Grown Woman,'" he adds, "that I always thought was really cool, and just kinda wanted to do something else with her."
Even though Jason and Miranda were eager to record together again, he admits Miranda wasn't crazy about the first song he picked.
"I had an idea for a song on this album," he explains, "and I sent her the song and she wasn't blown away by the song. She was kinda iffy on the song that I sent. And I told her, 'Listen, if you don't like it, if you're not loving the song, let's find something else to do. We'll find something cool.'"
"And so I sent her another song that I had that I thought was really cool that would work. And it was 'Drowns the Whiskey' and she loved that song."
The track from Jason's Rearview Town album is now at #2, on track to become the latest #1 for the two superstars.
Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Thomas Rhett, Old Dominion, Brothers Osborne and Brantley Gilbert are set to perform at NSAI's Nashville Songwriter Awards September 19 at Music City's historic Ryman Auditorium.
You can watch Scotty McCreery's interview and his performance of his latest single, "This Is It," from Friday's Fox & Friends online.
Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Brad Paisley, Diamond Rio, Pam Tillis, Steve Wariner and others will play the September 25 Music for Mike benefit at Nashville's War Memorial Auditorium. Money raised will help former Arista promotions executive Mike Owens, who's dealing with end-stage renal disease.
If you missed Cole Swindell doing his hits "Break Up End the End," "Let Me See You Girl," and "Ain't Worth the Whiskey" on the Today show, you can check out his performances online.
Allister AnnKenny Chesney set a new sales record Saturday night at MetLife Stadium on the outskirts of New York City. The “Get Along” hitmaker packed the venue with 58,642 fans, beating his own best number. He also outsold Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift by 10,000 tickets if you add up the attendance in the same number of appearances.
Even though the show started 45 minutes late after an evacuation and a storm delay, that couldn’t dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm.
“When they told me, I couldn’t really get my head around it,” Kenny says of his record. “Those are big numbers. But you know, to me, when we hit that stage, and I saw all those people, soaking wet, who’d hung through the evacuation and had come for the music; to me, that was the greatest sight in the world -- and it’s why we come back year after year. They rock us harder than we rock them!”
This was the final night of the Trip Around the Sun Tour for both Thomas Rhett and Old Dominion. Next week, Kenny carries on with Dierks Bentley and Brothers Osborne opening at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
ABC/Image Group LA Not only did Tyler Hubbard co-write RaeLynn’s new single, “Tailgate,” he recently called her onstage to sing it during Florida Georgia Line’s Sunday night headlining set at the Faster Horses Festival. RaeLynn had previously taken the stage on Friday during the three-night event last month in Brooklyn, Michigan.
Fellow artist Canaan Smith helped write "Tailgate," RaeLynn’s follow-up to “Queens Don’t.” It's her first new music since the release of her #1 album, WildHorse. Both Canaan and RaeLynn write for Tyler and Brian Kelley’s Tree Vibez publishing company.
You can check out the video of RaeLynn both performing “Tailgate” and exploring the festival on YouTube now.
Big Loud RecordsKeith Urban plays guitar and sings on the latest track from newcomer Jillian Jacqueline.
“If I Were You” is the first taste of the singer/songwriter's forthcoming EP, which will be called Side B.
“I couldn’t wait to share this song,” Jillian says. “I wrote it… about meeting and falling for someone new very soon after a heartbreak and feeling unprepared to love again.”
“The song was very real to me when I wrote it,” she explains, “and is now one of the most special songs of my career because Keith is part of it with me. His voice and guitar playing took this song to the next level, and I am so proud of it."
“If I Were You” is available to stream or download now, or you can check out the new vertical video for the song on Spotify.
So far, we don’t know the release date for Side B, which, appropriately, is the follow-up to Jillian’s Side A project from last year.
Next month, Jillian hits the road with Kip Moore on his After the Sunburn Tour.
ABC/Image Group LA Eric Church continues to preview new tunes from his Desperate Man album, but this time, he’s offering something new.
As he’s done with the tracks “Some of It” and “Hangin’ Around,” Eric played “Heart Like a Wheel” for his Church Choir fan club members before sharing it with the rest of the world.
“Heart Like a Wheel,” however, also has its own lyric video, and is the first cut since “Desperate Man” that’s available to stream or download in its entirety. So far, Eric’s only shared clips of “Some of It” and “Hangin’ Around.”
Stay tuned to see what surprises Eric has in store before Desperate Man comes out October 5. The title track continues its meteoric rise on the country chart, approaching the top 15 after only being out a little more than a month.
BBR Music Group Newcomer Lindsay Ell is pouring some “Champagne” as the follow-up to "Criminal," her first top-20 hit in the U.S.
In her native Canada, “Criminal” went all the way to #1, making Lindsay the first female to top the charts in the past decade. She’s up for both Female Artist of the Year and Album of the Year for The Project at the Canadian Country Music Awards next month.
Meanwhile, Lindsay’s funky new single happens to namecheck the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who passed away on Thursday. In the tune, Lindsay sings about getting the A-list treatment in a relationship: "So naturally diva, just call me Aretha, for real/You make me feel like I’m the champagne."
“Champagne” is available to stream or download now, or you can check out a stripped-down performance by the impressive guitarist on YouTube.
Cole Swindell's third album, All of It, arrives on Friday as its debut single, "Break Up in the End," nears country's top ten.
While the Georgia native put painstaking detail into making his follow-up to You Should Be Here, he reveals the title track almost didn't make the record.
"Cool story about this song," Cole explains. "I was actually done recording my album. This song caught my attention. Somebody played it for me just randomly on my bus and I flipped out. I was like 'This is what the album is missing. I need this song.'"
"So, I had never done that before," he continues. "I went back in the studio, recorded this song and it was just the missing piece."
Cole believes "All of It" is a track both his male and female fans will relate to.
"It's a love song, but it's not just the good, it's the bad, it's everything," he says. "It's a relationship that you want her bad days, you want the good days, you want the happy tears, the sad tears, you want all of it."
"It's a song that I think the girls are gonna dig and the guys too," Cole adds. "I'm excited to have it on the album and I'm excited for it to be the title track..."
Cole plays NBC's Today show Friday morning before performing a sold-out stop on his All of It Tour later tonight in St. Louis, Missouri.
Comstock/Thinkstock Fifteen years ago this month, Capitol Nashville released the self-titled debut album from this Arizona-born hitmaker. Can you name the artist whose debut single was "What Was I Thinkin'?" ANSWER: Dierks Bentley.
Triple Tigers RecordsScotty McCreery will kick off his Seasons Change Tour in late fall, hitting the road the week after Thanksgiving on a trek that will stretch into January of 2019.
Newcomer Jimmie Allen, who has his first top-30 hit right now with “Best Shot,” will open the shows, along with singer/songwriter Heather Morgan. Heather’s already co-written the number ones “Lose My Mind” and “Beat of the Music” for Brett Eldredge.
The tour takes its name from Scotty’s new Seasons Change album, which includes his #1 hit, “Five More Minutes,” as well as the current single, “This Is It.”
Pre-sales start on Monday, with tickets becoming available to the general public on Friday, August 24.
Here’s a look at the complete itinerary for Scotty McCreery’s Season Change Tour:
11/29 -- Dallas, TX, House of Blues 11/30 -- San Antonio, TX Aztec Theatre 12/1 -- Houston, TX, House of Blues 12/7 -- St. Paul, MN, Myth Live 12/8 -- Indianapolis, IN, Egyptian Room 12/9 -- Chicago, IL, House of Blues 12/13 -- Cincinnati, OH, Bogart’s 12/15 -- Grand Rapids, MI, 20 Monroe Live 1/17 -- Atlanta, GA, Buckhead Theatre 1/18 -- Charlotte, NC, Fillmore 1/19 -- Raleigh, NC, The Ritz 1/25 -- Boston, MA, House of Blues 1/26 -- Westbury, NY, NYCB Theatre at Westbury
ABC/Image Group LA Dierks Bentley performs his latest #1, "Woman, Amen," Friday night on the annual WE Dayspecial on ABC.
The Arizona native admits he didn't have to do much for his song to become the anthem for this year's event that celebrates young people who are making a positive impact on the world.
"It's great to have a song that just opened doors for you. I didn't have to do anything to make that happen," Dierks says candidly. "It's such a great message, great song, great music. It's just out there opening new doors..."
"This is a special where all these young women through community service get a chance to win a trip to Los Angeles," he continues, "to be a part of this festival that really honors community service and involvement in your local community."
In all, sixteen-thousand students and educators gathered at The Forum in L.A. for the April event. Dierks' special guests were Jennifer and Sydnee Floyd, who put together packages of necessities for Nashville's homeless population.
"These two girls, Sydnee and Jennifer, who put together local supplies here for homeless, this song became tied in with their journey and brought us all out there," Dierks explains. "And I got a chance to perform this song on this stage in front of all these great young women."
Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Dan Shay's two-week #1, "Tequila," is the most-streamed country song released in 2018 so far.
Country stars Aaron Tippin and John Anderson have teamed up with officers from the Smithville, Tennessee Police department to create a Lip Sync Challenge video that's going viral. You can check out the clip that features the hits "There Ain't Nothin' Wrong with the Radio" and "Swingin'" on YouTube now.
Nineties hitmaker Joe Diffie is set to perform at the 12th Annual ACM Honors August 22 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.
If you missed Sugarland performing the title track of their new album Thursday on Live with Kelly and Ryan, you can watch the duo doing "Bigger" online now.
ABC/Lou RoccoChildhood literacy has long been one of the causes closest to Dolly Parton’s heart, and this August, she’s pitching in to help YouTube Kids with its Reading Month.
In addition to recording a new intro video for the video platform, the global superstar has also curated her own #ReadAlong playlist that includes lyric videos from her recent children's album, namely the title track, “I Believe in You,” and the re-recording of her classic, “Coat of Many Colors.”
The playlist features titles like The Little Engine That Could which are part of Dolly’s Imagination Library. The Tennessee native started the literacy program in 1995, and it’s gone on to send millions of free books to kids all over the world, from the time they’re born until they reach age five.
ABC/Image Group LA As Kane Brown continues work on his sophomore album, which comes out November 9, he’s just released a new video for the song “Weekend.”
The clip starts as Kane, his band, crew and friends pick up some party supplies at Walmart, before retiring to a lake house for some boating, barbecuing and trips down a homemade water slide. You’ll also spot Kane’s fiancee, Katelyn Jae, in the video.
Meanwhile, TIME magazine has named Kane of of its “31 People Who Are Changing the South,” for his “willingness to stretch genre boundaries and highly personal storytelling.”
"Lose It," the lead single from Kane's forthcoming album, is currently climbing the charts.
CurbFor the second summer in a row, Dylan Scott has a top ten hit on the country chart.
“Hooked” checks in at #9 this week, a little more than a year after “My Girl” peaked at #1. The Louisiana native’s breakthrough went on to become the seventh most-played song of 2017.
“It is a real honor to once again break into the Top 10 with my single ‘Hooked,’” Dylan says. “When ‘My Girl’ went #1 last summer, I didn’t think life could get much better. However, the current success of this song has reinforced the fact that I am truly living my dream, and I feel more blessed than ever before.”
“Hooked” happens to have been co-written by Morgan Evans, who also has a top five hit right now with “Kiss Somebody.” The idea for "Hooked" started out as a joke, because Morgan’s wife Kelsea Ballerini’s single at the time was “Peter Pan.”
Taylor Hill/Getty ImagesAretha Franklin was the Queen of Soul, but her appeal and influence was so universal it extended to nearly every other musical genre, including country.
Thursday morning, some of the biggest stars in the country format responded to the loss of the 76-year-old legend, who died from advanced pancreatic cancer at her home in Detroit.
Reba McEntire is the country artist with perhaps the most obvious connection to the Queen of Soul: her cover of Aretha’s signature song, "Respect," became a concert favorite, and in 1988, she recorded the tune on her Reba album.
“I’ve had so many influences in my life,” Reba tweeted on Thursday, “and one of them is the Queen of Soul. Rest In Peace, Aretha.”
“I’ll sing this one for you,” she added, along with a clip of her performing “Respect.”
Tim McGraw included a clip of Aretha singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at President Obama’s first inauguration along with his tribute.
“The queen of soul… There will never be another,” Tim offered. “So much love and respect from the McGraw family. A friend of mine told me once, ‘When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced, live your life so that when you’re gone, the world cries and you rejoice.’”
Tim's wife Faith Hillshared a treasured photo with the legend, showing her smiling as Aretha's outstretched hand reaches toward the camera's lens.
"The choir of angels now have the greatest voice of all time to lead, praise and join in to sing before Jesus," Faith said. "I wanted to share this photo because it shows just how soulful Aretha was without uttering a word. To say I was humbled to be in her presence would be an understatement."
Darius Rucker also envisioned Aretha singing on high: "We lost one of the most important all time greats today. My love goes out to her family. Love you Aretha. That band in Heaven just got a lot better!!"
“Aretha,” Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettlesstarted simply. “The Queen of Soul. As singers, we all aspire to her passion, authenticity, and power. Her talents, gifts and contributions changed hearts and touched lives. She was and remains a national treasure. Rest in Power Queen.”
Rascal Flattsechoed the sentiment: “Rest in Peace, sweet Aretha #QueenOfSoul. We loved you and your music oh so much. An absolute legend that can never be replaced!”
“One of my favorites,” Jon Pardichimed in. “Rest In Peace Queen of soul!” adding the hashtags #respect and #youbetterthink, referencing two of Aretha’s biggest hits.
American Idol winner Scotty McCreerysummed up Aretha's impact on all singers: "Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul. A woman with an incredible God-given voice who shared it with the world, and we were lucky to have her while we did. She paved the way for every entertainer who came after her. May she rest in peace."
Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced in the coming days.
With his first #1, "Yours," already under his belt, and the follow-up single, "Blue Tacoma," rapidly approaching the top ten, Russell Dickerson's career is definitely on the rise. Add to that a high-profile opening spot on the Summer Plays On Tour with Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker, and the relative newcomer is dealing with a unique set of challenges.
Luckily, the graduate of Nashville's Belmont University has his pals Thomas Rhett and Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line to lean on -- and learn from.
"It's not like, 'Hey, sit down, let me give you some advice'..." Russell explains. "I just kinda watch them, and how they handle hiring people or firing people, or how they have learned to be as efficient as possible on the road."
"You know, like sleep schedules," he continues. "Do you get up at 11 a.m. or do you get up at 6 a.m.? When do you work out? When do you write songs? How do you do this? Because I'm having to figure a lot of that out."
A big task on Russell's plate right now is crafting his sophomore album.
"Writing album two -- like, how? I don't know," he admits. "And so, it's really cool to watch Tyler and them. They bring a whole bus out with writers, or TR will bring out writers just on his bus."
"Just kinda learning from that, and trying to figure out how to do this," Russell adds. "So yes, lots of valuable advice."
This week, Russell, Darius and Lady A take their Summer Plays On trek to Mountain View and Sacramento, California; Brownsville, Oregon; and Auburn, Washington.