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ABC Country Music News

Luke Combs’ 'Growin’ Up' ends Morgan Wallen’s 63-week reign atop the 'Billboard' Top Country Albums chart


It took 63 weeks, but Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous has finally been unseated as the number-one album on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart.

The end of the Dangerous reign comes courtesy of Luke Combs, whose Growin’ Up album is at the top of the chart following its June 24th release.

Billboard reports that, according to Luminate data, Growin’ Up earned 74,000 equivalent album units during its debut week: 44,000 of those are streaming equivalent units, 28,000 are albums, and 2,000 are track equivalent albums.

Meanwhile, Morgan’s Dangerous -- a double album -- came out on January 8, 2021.

Growin’ Up marks the fourth time Luke has debuted at number one on the Top Country Albums chart. What You See is What You Get and This One’s For You and his 2019 EP, The Prequel, have all held the top spot.

Luke's song “The Kind of Love We Make” -- the second single to come off of Growin’ Up -- has also ascended to the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs, a chart that combines streaming and sales data with radio airplay. The album's lead single, "Doin' This," is Luke's most recent and 13th consecutive hit on country radio.

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Kelsea Ballerini shares another ethereal album tease, explains how “Heartfirst” sets the tone for the record

Blue skies, dreamy pastels and feel-good, breezy pop vibes: It’s all part of the world that Kelsea Ballerini is dreaming up for her next album.

The singer shared another clue about the forthcoming project on social media on Tuesday, posting a shot of herself standing on a diving board in the clouds, wearing a gauzy, light blue gown.

“Jump right in,” she wrote in the caption, a nod to one of the lyrics of her current single, “Heartfirst.”

On a recent visit to ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kelsea explained that it’s no accident that “Heartfirst” exemplifies so much of the album’s visual aesthetic. “First single off the next record is always kind of, I’m particular about it, because I want it to set the tone,” she says.

The album gets its up-tempo, catchy positivity from her love of ‘90s country, the singer goes on to say.

“So I was really heavily influenced the last few years by going back to ‘90s music, the music I grew up on,” Kelsea adds. “Whether it’s Shania [Twain] or Sheryl Crow, so I wanted this to feel breezy, warm and inviting, and with a little ‘90s flair. So it feels like the first step in the new situation, the new era.”



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Mickey Guyton recalls meeting her hero Dolly Parton: “I screamed, I cried”


Mickey Guyton’s country music heroes are women who have changed the landscape of the genre and left lasting impressions with their talent, and she’s been lucky enough to meet several of them.

For example, as a still-rising act in 2016, Mickey got the chance to meet Dolly Parton during an on-camera surprise orchestrated by broadcast journalist Gayle King on CBS This Morning. Looking back on that encounter now, Mickey says she didn’t even try to play it cool.

“I mean, I screamed, I cried -- it’s a whole thing,” Mickey jokingly recounts to People. “And she’s so little! Her waist is, like, that small. I’m not kidding. She made me feel really good about myself -- but my waist!”

Even more memorable than Dolly’s waist is her legacy of paving the way for fellow female artists, and now, Mickey says she’s doing her part to do the same.

“I think everyone, no matter where you’re from, just wants to feel like they have a safe space, and I want to create that safe space for artists when they’re coming up,” she reflects.

Then, there are other idols like LeAnn Rimes: Mickey often shares a story about how watching a 10-year-old LeAnn sing the national anthem inspired her, at eight years old, to start performing herself. Now that she’s met LeAnn in person, Mickey says she can confirm that the singer is a “chef’s kiss of a person.”

“LeAnn has become a friend of mine, which is crazy!” she recounts. “Because she inspired me so long ago. She’s been so instrumental in my career.”

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Luke Combs says today’s political climate is “frustrating”: “Everyone is just so hot about everything”


A self-described “people-pleaser” who doesn’t like to upset his fans, Luke Combs found himself in uncertain territory in 2021 when he released “The Great Divide” -- a duet with bluegrass artist Billy Strings -- and faced some backlash over the song.

Americana artist Margo Price, for example, pointed out that though Luke said he didn’t want to be political, a photo with him showed a Confederate flag decal on his guitar. Luke subsequently apologized for his past use of the flag, saying that he didn’t understand its harmful implications as a young person growing up in North Carolina.

“The Great Divide” speaks to the cavernous understanding gap between Americans on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but Luke says that the backlash to the song’s release underscores its point.

“Everything is so contentious and heated, and that’s always been super frustrating to me,” he said in an interview with The Independent. “I think what makes our country great is people’s ability to have their own opinions and have the ability to disagree.”

Without a bridge of understanding, though, he says it’s near-impossible for people to find common ground.

“Right now, everyone is just so hot about everything,” he adds. “And that adds to the tension that was going on.”

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Jackson Dean's 'Greenbroke' comes from a personal place: "It's my story"

Courtesy of Big Machine Records

There's a specific reason Jackson Dean titled his debut album Greenbroke. 

The singer explains the distinction between a broke horse, which is easily tamable, and a green broke horse, which is much harder to domesticate, consumed by a free spirit that's unpredictable. 

"A green broke horse, there ain't no telling when it'll stop being friendly. You can ride it for a little while, but [it always has] one eye on the door. It's untamable," Jackson explains. "It's never truly going to be broken. It will never lose its wild." 

For this reason, the rising country star was inclined to name his debut project after the wild beast. Greenbroke comes from the heart, particularly the title track, which expresses his desire to be a free thinker and live life on his own terms. 

"The reason I called the record Greenbroke is because there's no two songs the same, and it's pretty out there," Jackson continues, describing the album as "wild." "It's so many things wrapped into one. The song itself, 'Greenbroke,' is the telling of my story all the way up to this point, not in [an] external sense, but just in here. And it's my story." 

The Maryland native's current single, "Don't Come Lookin,'" is in the top 20 on country radio. 

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Nashville notes: Luke Bryan, Mickey Guyton & more

Mickey Guyton performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" and her original songs "All American" and "I Still Pray" on CBS' A Capitol Fourth MondayJake Owen also performed his hits "Down to the Honkytonk" and "American Country Love Song." 

Members of Luke Bryan's fan club now have priority access to his Raised Up Right Tour, which includes exclusive access to pit tickets, the merch booth and more. 

Kylie Morgan has released her debut single, "If He Wanted to He Would." It'll hit radio airwaves on July 25. 

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"Happy trails y’all!": Miranda Lambert & friends embark on journey out west


Miranda Lambert is embarking on a glamping trip across the country. 

After completing her co-headlining tour with Little Big Town on the Bandwagon Tour, the singer is using some of her downtime this summer to venture across the U.S. with her husband, Brendan McLoughlin, and best friend Gwen Sebastian and her husband, drummer Louis Newman, on a nearly three-week excursion. 

Miranda and Brendan are in their Airstream, known as "The Sheriff," while Gwen and Louis are traveling in their camper, called "Toodle Lou." Their trek began in Colorado, with the singer sharing a photo of her and Gwen sitting in front of a mountainside lake with beers in hand. The trip also includes hiking and mountain biking. 

"Time off touring means it’s time to hit the dusty trail! There is no better way to spend summer than glamping with your best pals," Miranda says in an Instagram post. "We’re out on a 20 day run of adventures out west. We kicked it off in beautiful Colorado. Stay tuned for more tales from the road. Happy trails y’all!" 

Miranda and Brendan previously ventured out in a cross-country road trip in their Airstream in 2020, covering four states in six days. 

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'Growin' Up': Luke Combs debuts at #2 on Billboard 200

Sony Music Nashville

Luke Combs is making an impression on the charts with his new album, Growin' Up. 

The singer's third studio album has debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 following its June 24 release, marking the highest debut for a country album so far this year. It also serves as the highest debut of the week. The 12-track project sold 74,000 equivalent album units in its first week. 

Growin' Up is the North Carolina native's fourth consecutive album to reach the top five on the all-genre chart. His wildly successful sophomore album, What You See Is What You Get, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 in 2019, while both his debut album, This One's For You, and EP The Prequel both hit #4 in 2018 and 2019, respectively. 

On the country charts, the current single off Growin' Up, "The Kind of Love We Make," is climbing up the top 20. Luke recently acquired his 14th #1 hit with the previously released "Doin' This," which served as the lead single off his new album.   

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"So magical": Kenny Chesney breaks own record in Kansas City

Warner Music Nashville

Kenny Chesney has surpassed his own personal best. 

Over the 4th of July weekend, the country superstar, who is on his Here and Now Tour, made his grand return to Kansas' Arrowhead Stadium and performed for a crowd of 57,852 people -- surpassing his previous record at the stadium by about 300 people during his 2018 Trip Around the Sun Tour.

"Thank you, Kansas City. So much of what has happened to us on the road started here. And it still feels the same," Kenny expressed in an Instagram post that included a gallery of photos of him entertaining the massive crowd and holding up a Kansas City Chiefs helmet. "So connected because you care about this music and the experience of it all. Arrowhead, last night was so magical and I thank you." 

Kenny also set a record in May when 57,111 people showed up at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, marking the highest attendance record for a single-day concert at the venue. 

The "Everyone She Knows" hitmaker continues on the Here and Now Tour through the end of the summer when it wraps with a two-night stay at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA on August 26 and 27. 

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"How did I get so lucky?": Carrie Underwood performs with Guns N' Roses in London


Dreams do come true, and Carrie Underwood is living proof, as she performed with Guns N' Roses for the second time. 

While over in London, the country superstar made a surprise appearance during the legendary rock band's performance at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. She rocked out to "Sweet Child 'O Mine" and "Paradise City," trading vocals with frontman Axl Rose, while Slash slayed on guitar.   

In April, Axl Rose joined Carrie on stage during her headlining set at Stagecoach Festival to perform the classic hits; Carrie later referred to it as "the greatest night of my life." She reiterated that sentiment in a series of Instagram posts from her night in London with one of her favorite bands.

"Together again…but this time in London and with a few more friends! Thanks, @gunsnroses and your crew for welcoming me into your world like family," she praised alongside a photo of her and Axl Rose on stage. "I am but a fan who somehow managed to find her way on stage to have a moment of magic with her heroes! How did I get so lucky?" 

She shared another snap of her and the entire Guns N' Roses band standing with their arms wrapped around each other while taking a final bow. 

"Never in a million years did I think I would get to spend not one but TWO nights of my life on stage with @gunsnroses ! Thanks, again, to the band and crew and, of course, to the fantastic crowd!" Carrie captions the picture of her beaming alongside her idols, noting that the crowd's energy was electric. "Until next time…" 

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“It’s a song about triumph”: Lainey Wilson shares message behind new single, “Heart Like a Truck”


Lainey Wilson tells a story of resilience in her new single, “Heart Like a Truck,” with lyrics that reflect on the tough times that help shape a person into who they’re supposed to be.

“‘Heart Like a Truck’ is a song about finding freedom and strength, and not being scared of the scars and the dents and the bumps along the way,” she says. “At the end of the day, that’s what builds character.”

Lainey knows firsthand how hard times help build strength. When she first moved to Nashville, she spent three years living in a camper and struggling to make ends meet as she chased her dream. Of course, those lean times paid off: Lainey is now a bona fide country star, with two #1 country singles to her name.

But she tells a different side of that story in the music video for her song. Instead of being centered around a country music hopeful in Nashville, the clip takes Lainey to a ranch, where she plays the role of a young woman struggling to find her way as a horse handler.

“It’s telling a story about a ranch girl who’s got a lot to prove to herself and everybody else,” the singer details. “And in the end, she does it. It’s a song about triumph. It’s a video about triumph.”

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Nashville notes: Chris Stapleton’s Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit + more

Chris Stapleton’s Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit, called Chris Stapleton: Since 1978, opens Friday. The exhibit chronicles Chris’ career from a songwriter into country superstardom.

Dustin Lynch has a new song out Friday called “Fish in the Sea.”

Morgan Evans has been teasing that he’s at work on a new album. Called The Country & the Coast Side B, it’ll follow Side A of that project, which Morgan put out in late 2021.

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Luke Bryan explains what it means to "Country On"


Luke Bryan’s new summer anthem, “Country On,” is officially here, and the singer -- who’s no stranger to warm-weather party hits -- is elaborating on exactly what he means when he tells fans to “country on.”

“For me to keep country on, I think it’s ‘Hey Luke, keep smiling, keep smiling, keep shining,’” Luke tells Apple Music’s Today’s Country Radio With Kelleigh Bannen. “For me to keep doing what I do and staying true to what I do, and keep waking up every day, hopefully spreading a lot of happiness and love and positivity and fun and being me.”

At this point in his career, Luke has run the gamut from love songs to uptempo bangers, but he says that “Country On” represents a step in a new direction.

“I’ve never heard me sing on something in that baritone deal,” he points out. “...This is a little different sound for me, and that’s what you have to start trying to look for and attempt.”

“Country On” is the first taste of new music to come: Luke says that he’s about halfway done with a new album.

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Reba McEntire reunites with Melissa Peterman for Lifetime's 'The Hammer', also starring her boyfriend Rex

Mike Moore/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night

Reba McEntire is starring in a new Lifetime movie called The HammerDeadline reports, and it’s sure to be a party onset: Her co-stars are two actors the country superstar already knows very well.

One of them is Melissa Peterman, who co-starred in the hit 2000s sitcom Reba. Since then, Reba and Melissa have stayed in touch, and they’ve even co-hosted the Living & Learning With Reba McEntire podcast.

Another co-star in The Hammer is none other than Rex Linn, Reba’s real-life boyfriend. Rex is best known for his work in CSI: Miami as well as his ongoing role in Better Call Saul. He and Reba have worked on the same set before, as they both played recurring roles in Young Sheldon, the hit Big Bang Theory prequel.

Based on the life of traveling circuit judge Kim Wanker -- played by Reba -- The Hammer will unravel a number of mysterious deaths and murky investigations.

It’s Reba’s second Lifetime movie; she starred in Reba McEntire’s Christmas in Tune last year.

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“Trouble with a Heartbreak”: Jason Aldean goes acoustic for CMT 'Campfire Sessions'


Jason Aldean is the latest country star to showcase his songs in a different light for CMT Campfire Sessions, a series that recasts big hits in a stripped-down, acoustic fireside setting.

In the clip, premiered by People, Jason strums a black acoustic guitar while surrounded by his bandmates, offering a less hard-rocking -- but still just as emotional -- version of his single “Trouble With a Heartbreak,” which spent three weeks at the top of the country radio charts last month.

“Trouble with a Heartbreak” is the second single -- and the second number-one hit -- to come from Jason’s double album Macon, Georgia. It follows “If I Didn’t Love You,” his duet with Carrie Underwood, which came off the first batch of the two-side collection, Macon.

Meanwhile, “Trouble with a Heartbreak” can be found on the track list of Georgia, the second half of the project, which dropped in April, five months after Macon came out.

Jason is one of a number of country stars starring in CMT Campfire Sessions this summer. Old Dominion, Jon Pardi and Little Big Town are just a few of the artists who will get the spotlight in upcoming episodes.

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Will the St. Louis Cardinals make the playoffs this year?