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ABC/Image Group LASeattle blues singer Anita White, who has been performing under the name Lady A for two decades, has spoken out on the lawsuit filed by country group formerly known as Lady Antebellum.

Last month, the band announced that they were dropping the “Antebellum” from their name in acknowledgement of the word’s ties to slavery, moving forward simply as Lady A. But White spoke out against this decision, and despite “authentic conversations” between the two acts, any hopes of reaching a compromise were ultimately unsuccessful.

Now White tells Rolling Stone that the band’s decision to rebrand was ultimately counterproductive to its intended purpose of condemning racism.

“To do so by taking the name on which I, a black woman, have built my career in the music industry for over 20 years, is ironic,” Anita says. “...They claim to be allies and that they wanted to change their name out of the racist connotation, and then they sue a black woman for the new name.”

White also feels the group’s efforts towards compromise were ultimately more about optics than they were about genuinely working toward a solution.

“They wanted a story that showed us getting along,” she comments of the talks the two acts shared. “They wanted me to make them look good in the eyes of the public.”

Earlier in July, the former Lady Antebellum filed suit against Lady A, asking a court to affirm their right to use the name without paying the $10 million the singer and her team demanded. Anita tells Rolling Stone that she doesn't want to share the brand, and that the financial compensation she asked for would have been split between her efforts to rebrand, and donations to Black Lives Matter.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Sparrow Records/Capitol RecordsA slew of country A-listers are lending their voices to Christian artist Chris Tomlin’s new duets project, a star-studded, 13-track offering called Chris Tomlin & Friends that is due out on August 28.

Thomas Rhett, Russell Dickerson, Brett Young, Chris Lane, RaeLynn and Cassadee Pope are all among the stars set to appear. The album also includes multiple songs featuring Florida Georgia Line, who also executive produced the record.

Country trio Lady A also participate in the project with “Who You Are to Me,” a new single being released to Christian radio this week ahead of the full album’s release. The band also co-wrote and co-produced the track.

“When we got together to write we just shared who God was for us and how he is working from the inside out in our lives,” Lady A bandmate Dave Haywood explains. “We poured all of that into this song and we are grateful to be included in this project.”

Other featured artists on Chris Tomlin & Friends include singer-songwriter Blessing Offor, Christian group We the Kingdom, and Bear Reinhart of Christian rock act Needtobreathe.

Here’s the full track list of Chris’ upcoming collaborations album:

“Thank You Lord” (Intro)
“Thank You Lord” (feat. Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett)
“Reaching for You” (feat. We the Kingdom)
“Who You Are to Me” (feat. Lady A)
“God Who Listens” (feat. Thomas Rhett)
“Power” (feat. Bear Reinhart)
“Be the Moon” (feat. Brett Young and Cassadee Pope)
“Sing” (feat. Russell Dickerson and Florida Georgia Line)
“Chase Me Down” (feat. RaeLynn)
“Gifts From God” (feat. Chris Lane)
“Forever Home” (feat. Florida Georgia Line)
“Together” (feat. Russell Dickerson)
“Tin Roof” (feat. Blessing Offor)

By Carena Liptak
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ABC/Image Group LACarrie Underwood and Mike Fisher may look like a perfectly put-together couple today, but they haven’t always been quite so glamorous -- and Carrie’s got proof.

The country superstar marked the couple’s tenth anniversary this week by sharing a pair of photos of her and her husband as teenagers, long before they knew what an incredible ride the future had in store for them.

“Hey you two crazy kids,” Carrie captioned her post. “Believe it or not, some day you will both become (slightly) less awkward, you’ll grow up to have pretty cool jobs, you’ll meet backstage at some girl’s concert, fall in love, get married, have two amazing boys and live happily ever after!”

In the second image, Carrie showed how far the couple have come with a current-day snapshot of herself and Mike standing side by side.

“These past 10 years have been pretty incredible with you,” she wrote. “Here’s to many many more...without the bowl cuts!”

Most recently, the couple have shared an intimate glimpse into their life together in the I Am Second online miniseries Mike and Carrie: God & Country, where they discuss their marriage and faith.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Hey you two crazy kids. Believe it or not, some day you both will become (slightly) less awkward, you’ll grow up to have pretty cool jobs, you’ll meet backstage at some girl’s concert, fall in love, get married, have two amazing boys, and live happily... https://t.co/cpy7z7vmug pic.twitter.com/bOg0bGZnSZ

— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) July 10, 2020

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ABC/Jon LeMayDarius Rucker has a new tune coming to country radio, and he hopes it’ll be a ray of sunshine for fans during what's been a tumultuous year. The star teased his new tune, called “Beers and Sunshine,” during an appearance on NBC’s Today Friday morning.

“It’s certainly been a hard year so far with a lot of heaviness around us constantly,” Darius reflects. “Like it says in the song, I don’t know how we fix any of those big, real issues that we’re facing, but while we work through this time, I think it’s important that we find the silver lining where we can really enjoy the little moments and the simple joys of time spent together with friends and family."

“Beers and Sunshine” will hit country radio on August 6 and be available everywhere the following day. In the meantime, Darius is gearing up to perform a “Live at the Drive-In” at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium on Thursday, July 30.

Tickets for that show are available now, and proceeds benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

By Carena Liptak
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Erick AndersonFriends, family and fans gathered to lay Charlie Daniels to rest in a public memorial service Friday, which took place at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The service began with a reading of the Pledge of Allegiance, and was hosted by radio DJ Storme Warren. “I’m staring at this casket wondering how a man bigger than life can fit in there. I don’t see how,” Storme commented at the outset of the service.

Daniels' flag-adorned casket rested in front of the stage, along with a pair of cowboy boots.

Charlie was honored for his patriotism, his convictions, his unwavering faith and his rich musical legacy. Trace Adkins, Travis Tritt and Gretchen Wilson all performed, delivering personal tributes like Trace’s original, “Arlington,” as well as Travis’ rendition of the traditional spiritual “Amazing Grace.”

Vince Gill performed a short medley, beginning with his classic “Go Rest High on That Mountain” before transitioning into a rendition of “America the Beautiful.” Before his musical segment, he shared a story about meeting Charlie during his early days as a musician, and how his relationship with the older artist helped give him the confidence to strike out as a solo performer.

“When you’re a kid and somebody’s kind to you, somebody reaches out, you never forget it. That was Charlie,” Vince said from the stage. “Over the years we would always run into each other. He was one of those guys you were always grateful to see.”

Charlie died July 6 at the age of 83 of a hemorrhagic stroke. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that fans make a donation to The Journey Home Project, a non-profit co-founded by Charlie in 2014 that benefits war veterans.

By Carena Liptak
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Hollywood Records/Industrial MediaLaine Hardy delivers a heavy dose of nostalgia and small-town pride with his latest song, “Tiny Town.” The single tells a sentimental story about growing up in a tight-knit rural community, where neighbors quickly become friends.

That story line is a personal one for Laine, who grew up in the small town of Livingston, Louisiana before first finding success on American Idol. Now, the singer has gotten used to spending time away from home as a successful recording artist, but he still feels most at home in his “Tiny Town,” and the lyrics of the song reflect that nostalgia.

“What I wouldn’t give right about now / One of these days I’ll roll on out / Home to my tiny town,” he sings in the song’s chorus.

Meanwhile, the pandemic has hit Laine particularly hard: Last month, he announced his ownCOVID-19 diagnosis. Fortunately, the singer now says he has recovered from what was a mild case of the virus.

“What a crazy summer. I am lucky to be feeling better and want everyone to stay safe and healthy out there,” the 19-year-old says, emphasizing the importance of people in his age bracket doing their part to help quell the virus’ spread.

“It is more important than ever for younger people to step up,” he continues. “Thanks for all the well wishes from my own hometown community and beyond. I’m grateful to still be able to get music out over the summer, and hope you guys enjoy ‘Tiny Town.’”

In addition to sharing the studio version, Laine also released an acoustic take of "Tiny Town" this week.

By Carena Liptak
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Big Machine RecordsClose vocal harmony and an infectious hook shine on the newest offering from Rascal Flatts, a duet with up-and-comer Rachel Wammack called “Quick, Fast, in a Hurry.” It’s the latest track to be released off the trio’s forthcoming EP, How They Remember You.

Lead vocalist Gary LeVox trades flirty, breathless lines with Rachel in the song’s chorus, which tells the story of the kind of relationship worth dropping everything for.

“I can be there in thirty, thirty, thirty / Don’t worry if the lines get blurry / Just say, ‘Can you come over?’” the hook urges. “I been up all night checking my phone every other minute / Impatiently waiting for you to send the ‘Can you come over?’ / I don’t care if it’s only because you’re lonely / As long as you want me, girl / You got me any way you want me...”

The band explains that when they first heard “Quick, Fast in a Hurry,” they were immediately drawn to the song’s irresistible beat and sense of urgency.

“The chorus is so hooky, and we instantly fell in love with it,” Jay DeMarcus says. “And I just love how Gary and Rachel’s voices sound together on it. We’re excited for people to hear this one.”

“Quick, Fast, in a Hurry” is one of seven tunes included on the How They Remember You EP, which Rascal Flatts plans to drop in full on July 31. Other songs on the project include the title track and new single, as well the trio’s take on Kenny Rogers’ “Through the Years.”

By Carena Liptak
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Sony Music/RCA RecordsKane Brown’s newest single is a fun, bouncy collaboration with two musical friends. Pop and R&B star Khalid and rapper Swae Lee offer their voices to the tune "Be Like That," which is all about shrugging off the ups and downs of a tumultuous, but ultimately addictive, love story.

“I might be better on my own / I hate you blowing up my phone / I wish I never met your a** / Sometimes it be like that,” Kane sings in the chorus, before admitting that despite all the drama, he still can’t let go.

“I’m not myself the nights you’re gone / There ain’t no way I’m moving on / I’m not afraid to need you bad / Sometimes it be like that,” he continues.

All three artists had a hand in penning the tune, the melody of which is just as intoxicating as the relationship in the song.

“It’s about all the different feelings you can have in a relationship,” Kane explains of his new tune. “And trying not to overthink it. When it gets tough, you want to be on your own, but then you miss the person a second later. I think it’s something everyone goes through.”

“Be Like That” follows Kane’s latest release, the poignant and powerful “Worldwide Beautiful.”

By Carena Liptak
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Comstock/ThinkstockThe powerhouse lead vocalist of country trio Rascal Flatts is celebrating his 50th birthday today. This Columbus, Ohio native has also been teasing a potential solo career lately. Can you name him? ANSWER: Gary LeVox.

By Carena Liptak
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Big Machine Label GroupIt’s been five years since Tim McGraw fans got a new album from the country superstar, but that’s all about to change. This week, he officially announced that his next 16th studio project, Here on Earth, will arrive on August 21.

To celebrate the news, he shared the dazzling title track with fans, along with a music video that underscores his album’s focus on the things that bring people from all walks of life together, instead of on the differences that drive them apart. 

The song takes a birds-eye view on different kinds of people, from young couples welcoming their first child to alcoholics getting sober. No matter the situation, over the course of their journeys, they all find a new reason to be “here on earth.”

Previously, Tim described the album’s track list as being full of “vignettes of life.” Another of those vignettes is “I Called Mama,” which is Here on Earth’s lead single and the 13th of 16 tracks on the album.

The singer shared the complete list of song titles, too, and it looks like many of Here on Earth’s tunes are entirely brand-new and unheard by fans. When it’s released in August, Tim hints that he’s planning a one-of-a-kind livestream experience to celebrate his album.

Here’s the full track list of Here on Earth:

“L.A.”
“Chevy Spaceship”
“Here on Earth”

“Damn Sure Do”
“Hallelujahville”
“Good Taste in Women”
“Hard to Stay Mad At”
“Sheryl Crow”
“Not from California”

“Hold You Tonight”
“7500 OBO”
“If I Was a Cowboy”
“I Called Mama”
“Gravy”
“War of Art”
“Doggone”

By Carena Liptak
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BBR Music Group When Jimmie Allen released "This Is Us" with Noah Cyrus -- daughter of Billy Ray, sister of Miley -- back in February, little did we know that it was only the tip of one very star-studded iceberg. 

"It was written by Noah, a few other writers, and my buddy Tyler Hubbard from FGL," Jimmie tells ABC Audio. "I love the song, and just sound-wise, it just fits right in with what I do anyway, like a mix between, like country and pop and rock and with some R-and-B inflections." 

Jimmie's connection with Noah came through the music business, but it was just one of many more to come.

"That one happened because my manager actually does business with her record label head," Jimmie explains. "They sent the song down and asked if I wanted to be a part of it."

It turns out "This Is Us" is the lead single from Jimmie's seven-track EP of celebrity collaborations, titled Bettie James, in honor of his beloved grandmother, Bettie Snead, and his dad, James Allen

It includes non-country stars like rapper Nelly, actress Rita Wilson, and worship leader Tauren Wells, alongside country icons Tim McGrawBrad Paisley, and The Oak Ridge Boys.

Even so, there are a couple tracks that are extra special.

"Has there ever been two Black country artists doing a duet?" Jimmie asks. "Has that ever been done?"  

It's a feat Jimmie accomplishes by teaming up with Mickey Guyton on "Drunk and I Miss You," and snagging both Darius Rucker and Charley Pride for "Why Things Happen."

Bettie James is available to stream or download now, on the heels of Jimmie's first two singles, "Best Shot" and "Make Me Want To," which both topped the country chart.  

By Stephen Hubbard
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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockAXS TV has announced a special programming block of interviews and performances to honor Charlie Daniels, which is set to air this Sunday beginning at 11AM ET. The country legend died on July 6 at the age of 83. 

Ahead of his next album, Blue Eyes, the Harlot, the Queer, the Pusher & Me, Waylon Payne has shared a small handful of new tracks. One of them, “All the Trouble,” was co-penned by Lee Ann Womack, who also cut it for her 2017 album, The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone.

By Carena Liptak
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Radio Disney/Image Group LAAs a lifelong country fan and a performer from a very young age, Gabby Barrett not only grew up watching awards shows -- she also grew up dreaming of the day when she’d be among the nominees.

Now, that dream has come true. Gabby is up for the title of New Female Artist of the Year at the 2020 ACM Awards, and in a new interview with ABC’s Live With Kelly and Ryan, the singer recalls the “surreal” moment when she got the big news.

“Oh my gosh, it was insane. I was actually in New York,” Gabby remembers. “I was getting my hair and makeup done for some press days, and I looked down at my phone, and my manager and everybody’s just blowing me up, like, ‘Congratulations!’”

While she can’t wait for the ACMs to take place this September, the singer knows that this year’s ceremony will be far from a typical show. The ACM Awards were originally planned to take place in April in Las Vegas, but in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event had to be rescheduled.

Now, the ACMs are set to take place in September, and are headed to Nashville for the first time in the event’s 55-year history. The ACM Awards are set to air on CBS on September 16th at 8PM ET.

By Carena Liptak
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ABC/Image Group LAOver six decades into her musical career, Dolly Parton is still achieving firsts. The country superstar gained her first Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs and Christian Airplay charts this week, thanks to her duet with Christian rock artist Zach Williams.

The pair’s collaborative single, “There Was Jesus,” slid into the Top 10 on both charts for the week dated July 11, hitting No. 7 on Hot Christian Songs and No. 8 on Christian Airplay. In addition to success at radio, the song netted 1.1 million U.S. streams and 3,000 downloads this week.

Though it’s the first time she’s made it this far up either chart, it’s not quite the first time Dolly has had a song on the Christian Airplay charts. Her duet version of For King & Country’s “God Only Knows" broke the Top 50 last year.

Of course, while Christian radio is relatively new territory for Dolly, she’s no stranger to radio hits overall. Over the course of her impressive country career, she has scored 55 Top 10s and 25 chart-topping singles on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

By Carena Liptak
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ABC/Image Group LALess than a month after Travis Denning’s “After a Few” hit the top spot at country radio, the singer is celebrating another major milestone for his hit: The song recently achieved RIAA gold certification, topping 500,000 units of consumption since its release.

Though the pandemic prevented Travis and his team from celebrating the milestone up close and in person, they still found a special way to mark the song’s new certification. Travis was surprised by a drive-by parade of cars in Nashville.

“Definitely not the normal way to celebrate a gold record, but I was once again blown away by the love and support from my team,” Travis commented. “The drive-by congratulations was awesome and hilarious. So happy and thankful to be able to finally say, ‘After a Few’ is GOLD!”

While the festivities might have been unconventional, they were an appropriate way to cap off “After a Few”’s unusual rise to success. The song hit #1 at country radio after a record-setting, 65-week climb up the charts, making it the slowest ascent to the top in the history of Billboard’s Country Airplay.

By Carena Liptak
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ABC/Mark SeligerTwo of the Grand Ole Opry’s largest-looming members, Reba McEntire and Vince Gill, are on deck to share a bill on the famous stage this month. The pair will perform on Saturday, July 18.

Inducted in 1987 and 1991, respectively, Reba and Vince are both Oklahoma natives, and they’re also big mutual fans. “She is arguably one of the greatest singers that will ever draw a breath,” Vince says of his fellow artist and longtime friend.

The pair’s performance comes during a time when live audiences are paused at the Opry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The show will instead be aired as part of its Saturday night broadcast on Circle TV and WSMOnline.com. Still, it’s a special stage for any artist to step onto, especially for the genre’s most legendary performers.

“The Grand Ole Opry has always been very special to me and my family,” Reba reflects. “It’s part of my history, my heritage and my future, and I’m so excited to get to share the stage with Vince again. Just like Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Brother Oswald, Porter Wagoner and Loretta Lynn, Vince is an Opry legend."

In today’s turbulent times, the Opry remains a bastion, continuing to offer consecutive broadcasts each week throughout the pandemic.

“Things might be a little different right now, but one thing stays the same -- the Opry continues to bring great country music into the homes of the American people,” Reba adds.

By Carena Liptak
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Academy of Country MusicThe 56th ACM Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

The Academy of Country Music unveiled the show’s date this week, adding that other details about the event, including its location, performers and host, will be announced at a later date.

It’s been an unusual year for the ACM Awards, which were postponed from their normal April date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 show was rescheduled for September, and in an unprecedented turn of events, it’s also taking place in Nashville for the first time in the ACM’s 55-year history.

For several years, the ACMs have taken place in Las Vegas. Prior to that, the ceremony has been held in Los Angeles and Dallas. It's not yet been announced whether the event will return to Vegas in 2021.

Keith Urban will remain the host for the 2020 ACM Awards, which is set to air on September 16 at 8PM ET on CBS.

By Carena Liptak
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M. Von Holden/FilmMagicLast month, The Chicks sent the country world reeling when they dropped the “Dixie” from their name, explaining that they wanted to “meet the moment” and separate themselves from the Confederate-era’s history of racism and slavery.

The change came in the wake of ongoing U.S. and worldwide protests against police brutality and racism. But it was more than that one moment that inspired their decision, the band reveals in a recent interview with The New York Times.

“We were literally teenagers when we picked that stupid name,” declares bandmate
Martie Maguire, who picked out their moniker with Emily Strayer in 1989, before frontwoman Natalie Maines joined the group.

“We wanted to change it years and years and years ago,” adds Natalie. They’d already cooled on the name by 2003, when the trio was violently ousted from country music’s good graces for publicly condemning the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

While the success they’d found under the name The Dixie Chicks made it difficult to rebrand, the Chicks ultimately made the big decision to do so. They underscored their point by releasing a fiery new protest anthem called “March March” on the same day they revealed their new name.

Earlier this week, the Chicks also revealed the full track list of their upcoming album, Gaslighter, which is due for release on July 17.

By Carena Liptak
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ABC/Ida Mae AstuteIn celebration of his new album’s release this Friday, Brett Eldredge will make a virtual stop at ABC's Good Morning America next week to perform a new song, “Good Day.” His performance will take place during the 8AM ET hour on Monday, July 13.

“Good Day” is one of five tracks that Brett shared ahead of the arrival of the full project, Sunday Drive. He officially dropped the song in late May.

“In our society, everybody feels like we need to put on that perfect outer look. I got so tired of that. I didn’t want to do it anymore,” he explains of the song, which is a celebration of making the most out of every second.

“The song says, you know, [to] have the self-awareness...of being like, ‘I’m gonna make this a good day no matter what is thrown at me,’” Brett adds.

"Good Day" is the fifth track on an album that finds Brett looking inward, reflecting on himself as an artist and as a person and dialing in on the things in life that are the most important. To create Sunday Drive, Brett ditched his smart phone for a flip phone and a Polaroid camera, taking a much-needed break from social media in order to focus on his inner creativity.

“Gabrielle,” the leading single of Sunday Drive, cracked the top 30 at country radio.

By Carena Liptak
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ABC/Image Group LADolly Parton and Lil Nas X are representing the country contingent at the 2020 GLAAD Media Awards. The two superstars join a packed lineup of musicians, comedians, actors and other celebrities participating in the event, which is taking place virtually this year.

Both Dolly and Lil Nas have important connections to the LGBTQ community. Lil Nas came out as gay in 2019, addressing his sexuality in a song called “c7osure.” He released the song last June, which is Pride Month.

For her part, Dolly has long been an advocate for LGBTQ people and a close ally of GLAAD, even making an appearance at the Media Awards ceremony in 2011.

Hosted by comedians Fortune Feimster and Gina Yashere, the event will honor media members for fair and inclusive treatment of LGBTQ people and issues. The organization announced its 2020 nominees, which are comprised of over 175 people and organizations in 30 categories, in January.

The virtual event will stream on July 30 at 8PM ET via GLAAD’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

By Carena Liptak
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