Country Music

Female country artists have highest percentage of number-one hits on Country Airplay chart in 14 years

ABC/Image Group LAWomen have seen an uptick in airplay on country radio lately.

Published this week, a new study by Billboard shows that five female artists have had number-one singles on the Billboard Country Airplay chart so far this year, the most in a four-year span. 

Additionally, women have accounted for 21% of number-one songs on the chart in 2020, the highest percentage since 2006, when women made up 23% of the chart-toppers. 

Miranda LambertMaren Morris and Gabby Barrett are among the artists who have topped the charts this year -- Miranda with "Bluebird," her first solo number-one since 2014, and Maren and Gabby scoring multi-week hits with "The Bones" and "I Hope," respectively. 

Gwen Stefani and Carly Pearce also found themselves at the top with duet partners Blake Shelton and Lee Brice. Gwen and her longtime boyfriend Blake hit number one with "Nobody but You" while Carly and Lee reached the top with "I Hope You're Happy Now" earlier this year.  

The last time that five or more female singers had number-one hits on the Country Airplay chart was in 2016, when Carrie Underwood reigned with "Church Bells" and "Heartbeat," while Kelsea Ballerini scored with "Dibs" and "Peter Pan." 

Karen FairchildCassadee Pope and pop star Pink also made it to the top of the country charts alongside their male collaborators in 2016. 

The data comes in the wake of multi-year conversations surrounding the lack of airplay for female artists on country radio. 

Women saw a record high of airplay in 1998 when they accounted for 52% of number-one singles on the charts. Overall, women have accounted for 17% of all number-one singles on the Country Airplay chart since it launched in 1990.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Keith Urban debuts 'Speed of Now Part 1' track list

ABC/Image Group LAKeith Urban has unveiled the track list for his upcoming album, Speed of Now Part 1. 

Keith shared the news via social media Wednesday, debuting a photo of the album cover that shows the singer with his eyes closed and hands lightly touching his face over a neon yellow backdrop with the album's title written in purple lettering. 

Speed of Now Part 1 will feature 16 tracks and three surprise guests. The album's opening numbers "Out of the Cage" and "One Too Many" both feature collaborators, but their names are obscored in yellow, rendering the identities a mystery for now. The former song includes two singers, while the latter is a duet. 

Speed of Now Part 1 includes lead single "We Were" and a version that features its co-writer Eric Church, along with the other previously released songs "God Whispered Your Name," "Polaroid" and "Superman." Other titles are "Soul Food," "Ain't It Like a Woman," "Better Than I Am," and more.

Urban's 11th studio project was nearly completed before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown earlier this year, but in a recent interview with VarietyKeith says that his time in solitude allowed for more time to write and make changes to the project

Speed of Now Part 1 will be released on September 18.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

This is THE SPEED OF NOW. pic.twitter.com/YZ1eGhX0Mq

— Keith Urban (@KeithUrban) August 5, 2020


Trailer released for Rascal Flatts' star Jay DeMarcus' new reality show 'DeMarcus Family Rules'

NetflixJay DeMarcus and family are offering a preview of their upcoming Netflix show, DeMarcus Family Rules.

Described as an "unfiltered" look at the lives of the Rascal Flatts star and his family, the format of the show features Jay, his wife Allison and their two children -- nine-year-old Madeline and eight-year-old Dylan -- doing sit-down interviews in front of the cameras in between clips of the family's hectic lives. 

In a trailer released today, the singer describes himself and his wife as the "ultimate odd couple," noting that Alison is a stickler for rules, while he's more free-wheeling.

"My philosophy is kids grow up way too fast, you've got to create lifelong, lasting memories for them," he says,  over clips of camping trips, extravagant birthday parties and basketball games.

Jay's sense of humor is also on full display, as we see some of his antics, like dressing in a hazmat suit to deep fry a Thanksgiving turkey and scaring his loved ones sitting around a campfire with a chainsaw.   

“It was fun to have the cameras follow us around for awhile - our family is crazy, I didn’t realize just HOW crazy we were,” Jay reflects in a statement. 

"I’m excited for everyone to see what life is REALLY like once someone like me, who has spent most of their adult life on the road, comes home and is back in the mix, trying to fit in and follow all the RULES!!”

DeMarcus Family Rules is available on Netflix on August 19. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Maddie & Tae tag team with Avenue Beat on soaring "Watermelon Sugar" cover

ABC/Image Group LAMaddie & Tae and Avenue Beat get a taste of "Watermelon Sugar" in a stellar Spotify Singles cover of pop star Harry Styles' hit. 

The duo of Maddie Marlow and Taylor Dye have teamed up with the breakthrough pop-country trio for a rendition of the summery song, made even sweeter by their pristine harmonies.

The two acts strip away the pop production and replace it with a gentle acoustic melody, the duo taking on the first verse and chorus before Avenue Beat joins in on the second verse, their soft voices capturing the calming vibe of a summer evening the song speaks of.

"Tastes like strawberries on a summer evening / And it sounds just like a song / I want your belly / And that summer feeling / I don't know if I could ever go without / Watermelon sugar high," Maddie & Tae sing with Avenue Beat providing serene harmonies in support.

Maddie & Tae were supposed to be on their Tourist in This Town Tour this year with Avenue Beat as an opening act, but plans were scrapped due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Avenue Beat currently has a breakout hit on their hands with "F2020," which has gone viral with more than 14 million views on TikTok.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Taylor Swift's "Betty" debuts on 'Billboard' Hot Country Songs chart

Beth GarrabrantTaylor Swift is back on the country charts. 

The megastar's countrified hit, "Betty," off her new album, folklore, debuts at number six on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart this week.

The song off the wildly popular album -- which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 846,000 units -- marks the highest debut on the chart since Luke Combs' "Beautiful Crazy" ascended to number six in 2018. 

"Betty" makes for Taylor's highest entry on the chart since her duet with Tim McGraw on "Highway Don't Care" peaked at number four in 2013.  

This is the superstar's 22nd song to reach the top 10 on the Hot Country Songs chart, seven of which have hit number one. She appeared in the top 10 last year with her heartfelt collaboration with The Chicks on "Soon You'll Get Better." 

"Betty" also reached number one on the Billboard Country Streaming Songs chart, and the top 15 on the Country Digital Song Sales chart. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Laine Hardy to perform national anthem ahead of NASCAR Cup Series

ABC/Stewart CookLaine Hardy is heading to NASCAR this weekend.

The American Idol season 17 winner will deliver a virtual performance of the national anthem ahead of the annual NASCAR Cup Series Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway. The race begins at 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday and will broadcast on NBCSN. 

“I can’t believe I’m getting to sing the national anthem before a NASCAR race,” Laine says in a statement. “Although I can’t be there in person during this time, I’m definitely looking forward to future races and watching the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway.  It’s going to be a great race!”

Fellow country star Darius Rucker performed the national anthem before the NASCAR Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway in May. 

Laine announced in June that he tested positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms, but he has since recovered.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kane Brown lends support to veterans through "Homesick" remix

Jason Kempin/Getty ImagesKane Brown has released a philanthropic version of his song "Homesick," featuring three of our nation's veterans.

Titled "Homesick (Veterans Version)," the remix of Kane's chart-topping song showcases the voices of JW Cortes, a former Marine Combat fighter who is now an actor and philanthropist; Sal Gonzalez, who joined the Marine Corps in the wake of 9/11; and Generald Wilson, a Navy veteran turned gospel singer.  

The new rendition is part of Kane's partnership with the Crown Royal Purple Bag Project that provides care packages for veterans. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the mission of the Purple Bag Project has also been extended to helping front-line workers.

For every stream of "Homesick (Veterans Version)," Crown Royal will donate one bag to Packages from Home that will then be delivered to healthcare workers and members of the military in accordance with Crown Royal's goal of donating 1 million bags by the end of 2020.

Additionally, the Purple Bag Project will donate $1 for every stream of the song, with a cap of $100,000, to Minority Veterans of America.  

The original video for "Homesick" also pays homage to veterans by showing footage of Kane's performance of the song for members of the California National Guard. 

"Homesick" became Kane's fifth consecutive number-one song on the Billboard Country Airplay chart in March.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Country star trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockToday marks the 52nd birthday of this 90s country star, known for such hits as "Better Things to Do," "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" and "When Boy Meets Girl." Can you name her? ANSWER: Terri Clark.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


With The (Arena) Tour on hold for now, it's dogs, babies and new homes for Dan + Shay

Warner Music NashvilleDan Shay had barely set The (Arena) Tour in motion in March before the COVID-19 pandemic brought it to a halt.

While Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney desperately wanted to be on the road, they had plenty to occupy them at home. Shay's second son, Ames, was born in February, and Dan and wife Abby had just bought a new home.

"We moved into that house literally the week our tour started," Dan recalls, "so it was just absolute madness. And that week was crazy in Nashville. There was a tornado..."

"So a lot was going on..." he reflects. "Had this tour continued, we may['ve] still be[en] scrambling to get the house ready and [to] figure stuff out."

Of course, Dan and Abby's new digs are also home to their beloved rescue pups.

"I feel like every decision we make in our personal lives is motivated by the comfort of our dogs," Dan tells ABC Audio. "And we moved to a place with a little bit bigger yard, just so they could run around."

"And I guess if you have a yard that tires out the dogs a little bit more, that really helps us, too. A tired dog is a good dog," he laughs. "So, yeah, we got them a little bit bigger space and it's been nice."

Especially now that their new single, "I Should Probably Go to Bed," has come out, Dan Shay are more anxious than ever to get back to work.

"There's been silver linings to it all," Dan says. "Unfortunately, we're missing the road, missing the fans. And we had a good thing going there."

"But, you know, we're fingers crossed hoping that it'll pick back up just like it was in 2021," he adds. 

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Priductions/ThinkstockAubrie Sellers is releasing her three-song EP, World On Fire, on Friday. It features covers of Dwight Yoakam's "A Thousand Miles From Nowhere," "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak, and "Somebody Was Watching" by Brenda Burns

Roy Clark's Greatest Hits album will be released on September 18. It includes such signature tracks as "Come Live With Me," "Yesterday When I Was Young," "Thank God and Greyhound" and many more.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher are "fly" in fishing trip photos

ABC/Image Group LACarrie Underwood and husband Mike Fisher enjoyed a couples' retreat this weekend with a fly fishing trip. 

The former Nashville Predators hockey player shared a photo on Instagram of the happy couple out on the water with their catches of the day. A split-shot photo shows Carrie proudly displaying a fish much larger fish than Mike's -- and apparently, it's not the first time the powerhouse singer has outdone her husband. 

"This past weekend we were able to get away for some good quality time! One thing we love to do together is fly fish but the thing I don’t like about it is she catches bigger fish," Fisher writes alongside the photos. 

Additionally, Carrie dropped the news today that her husband will be joining her fitness app, Fit52, as a new trainer and will have his own path, called Mike's Path. The singer says that Mike has been doing workouts with her since she conceived the idea for the app, which launched in March. 

"I was super excited and surprised at how much he loved doing the app with me, so here we go," Carrie says excitedly in a video posted for her 8.3 million Twitter followers.

Carrie created Fit52 with her personal trainer, Eve Overland.  The app offers a series of Carrie's workouts and supports users on their individual wellness journeys.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Tim McGraw is getting more emotional with age: "I can cry at commercials"

ABC/Mark LevineTim McGraw is becoming more in touch with his emotions as time marches on. 

"At 53, I probably don’t self-examine as much as I should, but I think I’m learning that I’m getting more and more emotional...about everything," he confesses in an interview with his label, Big Machine record Group. "And maybe I’ve been heading that direction for a while but maybe this time has really sped that process up." 

Though Tim has admittedly been sentimental over his latest single "I Called Mama," he also finds himself getting emotional over ordinary life moments. 

"I mean, I can cry at commercials now," he adds. "It’s ridiculous.” 

Tim is set to release his first solo album in five years, Here on Earth, on August 21. He was scheduled to be on a tour of the same name this year, but the plans were cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I Called Mama" is currently in the top 15 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kane Brown says that becoming a father has taught him patience

Jason Kempin/Getty ImagesKane Brown has learned a valuable life lesson since becoming a father to daughter Kingsley

In an interview with Extra correspondent and fellow country singer Jana Kramer, the "Homesick" singer reveals that patience is a quality that he didn't know he had until becoming a father. 

"I'm kind of a carefree guy, I just live life -- whatever happens, happens. But with [Kingsley], I'm constantly watching her, constantly telling her 'no don't grab that,'" Kane describes of how he's evolved since he and wife Katelyn Jae welcomed Kingsley into the world in October 2019.  

Kane adds that quarantine has given him the opportunity to watch his 10-month-old daughter grow, from seeing her two bottom teeth come in to watching her personality change.

"When she smiles, it just melts my heart," he reflects. "So it's been awesome."

Though Kane hasn't been able to tour due to the pandemic, he has been actively working on new music. He recently released his single "Worldwide Beautiful," along with "Cool Again" and "Be Like That" featuring Khalid and Swae Lee.

He also replied to a fan on Twitter revealing that his new EP will be released on August 14. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Kacey Musgraves releases 'Golden Hour'-inspired self-care kits

ABC/Image Group LAKacey Musgraves has a new creative venture for all the "lonely" people.

The Grammy winning singer-songwriter has unveiled the Lonely Weekend Self-Care Kits that provide a series of relaxing activities fans can do as people remain apart during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

All of the items are connected to Kacey's Grammy-winning album Golden Hour, with nods to such songs as "Lonely Weekend," "Rainbow" and "Oh, What a World." 

Items featured in the kits are a 500-piece rainbow puzzle made from recyclable materials and biodegradable ink, along with vibrant yellow "shooting star" bath balms with a bergamot and sea salt scent, which dissolve into rainbow hues when placed in water. 

There is also a tie dye kit that comes with a white T-shirt with the "Rainbow" lyric "it'll all be alright" printed on the front, and a pair of white socks with the phrase "Lonely Weekend" written in multi-colored lettering. 

Kacey announced the new product with a series of Instagram posts accompanied by lyrics from the songs. The kits are priced at $99.99. 

Kacey ventured into the retail world earlier this year with the release of a candle called "Slow Burn" -- also named after a song on Golden Hour -- in partnership with Boy Smells, a non-binary-friendly candle-making company based in Los Angeles.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Luke Combs approves of Keith Urban's cover of "Even Though I'm Leaving"

ABC/Image Group LAKeith Urban and Luke Combs showed some love to one another on social media alongside Keith's cover of one of Luke's hits. 

The 2018 CMA Entertainer of the Year took to Instagram to share a sweet acoustic rendition of Luke's heart-tugging "Even Though I'm Leaving." Perched in a sunny room with his guitar in hand, Keith delivers a thoughtful performance, singing, "Just 'cause I'm leavin'/It don't mean that/ I won't be right by your side." 

"Hey Luke.... how much do ya MISS TOURING ?!!!" Keith beckoned in the caption, to which Luke himself replied with his approval of the cover. 

"Holy sh** that sounds great buddy and I miss it A. LOT," Luke wrote. Morgan Wallen also chimed in, saying, "sounds damn good brother." 

"Even Though I'm Leaving" is the second single off Luke's wildly successful sophomore album, What You See Is What You Get. It became his seventh consecutive number-one hit when it topped the country charts in 2019.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Grand Ole Opry's Circle Network to air special honoring Luke Bryan

ABCCircle TV is planning a special celebration for Luke Bryan's new album. 

The Grand Ole Opry network will present a series of programs in honor of the superstar titled Luke Bryan Lives Here on August 19. 

The three-show series begins at 8:30 p.m. ET with Circle Sessions: Luke Bryan that sees the singer reflecting on his career and performing a handful of his 25 number-one hits.

Circle Sessions will be followed by a re-broadcast of Luke's upcoming August 15 show on the Opry with Darius Rucker

The programming concludes with a re-airing of the "One Margarita" singer's appearance at the annual Opry Goes Pink event in 2019, where he ceremonially flipped the switch to turn the Opry backdrop pink in support of breast cancer awareness. 

"I thought it could be a really fun night for me to come and perform some songs from some of my heroes who have influenced me along the way. I couldn't think of a better place to do that than at the Opry," Luke shares in a statement. 

The hitmaker's seventh studio album Born Here Live Here Die Here is set for release on August 7.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Country star trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockNine years ago today, "Remind Me," a hit duet between these two country superstars, was certified gold by the RIAA. The song also reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and was named Collaborative Video of the Year at the 2012 CMT Music Awards. Can you name the singers? ANSWER: Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.  

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Rascal Flatts marks twenty years at the top with 'How They Remember You'

Big MachineAs Rascal Flatts celebrates two decades as a band this year, the trio's latest hit, "How They Remember You," couldn't be more appropriate, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic happening at the same time.

"We felt the timing was perfect, the message was perfect at this time in this crazy madness," Gary LeVox says. "You know, it really leaves the question with, you know, over a hundred-thousand people dying of the coronavirus and all of that, you know, it's what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?"

"And that's kind of what the song is about," he continues. "And so I think timing-wise, it just, everything kind of lined up."

Even though their farewell tour is on hold for now, the guys have inevitably done some thinking about their own legacy.

"I would hope that when we do lay it down," Joe Don Rooney reflects, "that the fans remember us for for being true to ourselves and making music that is hopefully impactful music that will live out way longer than what we can ever tour for or be a part of anymore when we're older."

"Most importantly, though," he adds, "is the charitable aspect of what Rascal Flatts has been able to do. We've been so blessed beyond belief. And to be able to give back to our main charity, the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville, is the real legacy piece for us."

The trio's new seven-song EP, also titled How They Remember You, is out now.

Jay DeMarcus' new reality show, DeMarcus Family Rules, also premieres August 19 on Netflix. 

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Priductions/ThinkstockStephanie Quayle is appearing on The Kelly Clarkson Show today where she'll perform her song "Whatcha Drinkin' 'Bout" from her North Carolina property, Summerfield Farms. It marks Stephanie's first national daytime talk show appearance. 

Songwriter Ashley Gorley has made history as the first songwriter of any genre to have 50 number one hits to his name as LoCash's "One Big Country Song" tops the country charts. Ashley has co-written other hits such as Luke Bryan's "Crash My Party," "Marry Me" by Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood's "Good Girl." 

BBR Music Group, label home to Jason Aldean, Jimmie Allen and Lindsay Ell, has signed new act Tim Montana. Tim broke through the music scene earlier this year with his and Mat Best's star-studded viral video, "Quarantine," featuring Michael RayLee Brice, actor Charlie Sheen and others. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


"Done": Chris Janson's "special" song hits number one

ABC/Image Group LAChris Janson has topped the country charts with his current single, "Done." 

Co-written with Mitch OglesbyJamie Paulin and Matt Roy, the song is inspired by Chris' love-at-first-sight reaction to his wife Kelly, sharing in a statement that the moment he first saw her, he knew he was "done." 

“This song is about knowing right then and there that I’d work for the rest of my life to make her happy. It’s just the truth. That’s why it’s so special," the singer says. 

The couple wed in 2010 and share two children, in addition to Kelly's two other children from a previous marriage that Chris calls his "bonus kids." 

The song's success comes weeks after Chris' performance at Hwy 30 Fest at the end of June in Idaho came under fire, as it appeared that the crowd of fans gathered at the show were not wearing masks or social distancing.  

"Done" follows Chris' previous chart-toppers "Fix a Drink," "Good Vibes" and his 2015 breakthrough, "Buy Me a Boat." 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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