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Country Music 411

Blake Shelton Defends Controversial New Single

Blake Shelton has released "Minimum Wage" as his new single. He first performed the show on NBC's New Year's Eve special where the song was met with some controversy. With lyrics like, “Girl, lookin’ at you lookin’ at me that way / Can make a man feel rich on minimum wage,” some called the song “tone deaf” as it comes during a time of high unemployment and financial struggle for so many during the current pandemic.

 

But Blake doesn't agree with that assessment. He told CMT.com, "These days, there are people out there who don’t want to know the truth. They just want to hear what they want to hear, and they want to pick a fight. No matter what your intention is, no matter what the truth is, they want it to be something that they can be upset about so that they can get on social media and try to grab a headline. With ‘Minimum Wage,’ at first I thought, ‘Wow, I guess I just I’ve missed something here.’ And the more I read into this, I realized this was really not real. Whatever this backlash is is just four or five people that probably don’t know anything about country music.”

 

Blake added that if people continue to be so adversarial when it comes to country music then he'll leave it behind. He said, “I have to say, if we have to start thinking like this, then I guess that’ll be where I have to bow out. Because that’s one of the longest-standing traditions in country music is lyrics about love. And if you’ve got love, then that’s all that matters. There won’t be much left to play or write about on country radio if this is something that we have to think twice about. So I’m going to put out the records that resonate with me and my life and not look back. As country artists and as an industry, we have to stay focused here and know that what’s right is right. And I believe this song is a great message and I’m proud of it.”

 

“Minimum Wage” follows back-to-back love songs with his fiance and fellow The Voice coach, Gwen Stefani. “Nobody But You” and most recently “Happy Anywhere” both reached No. 1 on the country airplay charts, giving them consecutive No. 1 singles together and bringing Blake his 28th career chart-topper.

 

 

Luke Combs Shares Stage Drinking Rituals with Steve Austin

Season 2 is off and running of "Straight Up Steve Austin" on USA Network. Luke Combs was a guest last week and what a wild ride it was!


It started off with Combs picking up Steve Austin on his tour bus in Nashville where the conversation began. 


One of the things discussed was Luke Combs drinking ritual before he hits the stage. We all know Luke Combs usually has that red solo cup with him.  


"No, I'm a before, during and after guy for sure," said Combs when Austin asked him if he drinks before before the show.


Luke also talked about how the "stage" drink is different and how he can't do beer because it makes him burp apparently. 


For the stage Combs pours a heavy Jack then diet no ice. He then shared, " a little known secret of the trade. Ice cools your vocal chords down and that gives you a higher chance of damaging your voice."


The full episode is worth a look if you missed it.  Catch it on Youtube.

 

 

Kip Moore Drops New Song "How High" Announces 'Wild World Deluxe' Show at The Ryman

Kip Moore will celebrate his new album at the Ryman Auditorium next month, while others can watch at home. The Feb. 12 show will also benefit ACM Lifting Lives.


Tickets for Wild World Deluxe: Live at the Ryman go on sale on Jan. 19 through the Ryman's website. A limited number of in-person tickets will be available, but most fans will watch via live stream.


The deluxe version of Moore's critically acclaimed Wild World album from 2020 will feature four new songs, including "How High," which Moore released on Friday (Jan. 15) also "Don't Go Changing," "Midnight Slow Dance" and "Man's Gotta Do."

 

 

Thomas Rhett Introduces Dos Primos Ultra-Premium Tequila

Thomas Rhett and his cousin, pecan magnate Jeff Worn , are behind a new ultra-premium tequila brand called, Dos Primos. Spanish for "Two Cousins"


Dos Primos is a blanco tequila made from hand-harvested 100% blue agave sourced from estates in Los Altos and the valley area of Jalisco, Mexico . The finished product is crystal-clear with earthy herbal notes on the front palate, followed by smooth floral and citrus hints.


"Our decision to create a new tequila brand grew out of just loving being with family," said Thomas Rhett . "Jeff and I wanted to create a tequila that was expertly crafted and could be enjoyed year-round – regardless of the season or activity – with the people we care about most. Dos Primos is all about who we are and what's important to us." 


Get your limes and lemons ready! Dos Primos is rolling out now for the new year.  Visit DosPrimosTequila.com for details!

Morgan Wallen Sets First Day Streaming Records With New Album

Morgan Wallen is making history with his brand new sophomore album, Dangerous: The Double Album, which was released on Friday (Jan. 8th). At Apple Music, he set the record for the biggest first day and biggest first week Country album of all-time on the platform.

 

The album currently sits at Number One on their Overall Albums charts in the US, Canada and Australia, while simultaneously staking its claim as the Number One Top Country Album in 62 countries worldwide.

 

Morgan also broke the global first day streaming record for a Country album debut at Amazon Music. Dangerous is now Spotify’s biggest all-time first day stream record for a Country album as Morgan reigns Number One globally and in the US on Spotify's Top Debut's charts.

 

He launched The Dangerous Sessions, an acoustic video series featuring all new cuts, starting with “Sand In My Boots,” “Wasted On You,” and “Still Goin Down.”

 

Last night (Tuesday, Jan. 12th), Morgan played his first-ever headline show at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium for Live At The Ryman, a full band, livestream concert.

 

 

Morgan Wallen's 'Dangerous: The Double Album' is Here!

Country's hot boy is starting off 2021 with a bang. 


Morgan Wallen's highly anticipated sophomore project, Dangerous: The Double Album has arrived!


"The 'double album' idea started off as just a joke between me and my manager because we had accumulated so many songs over the past couple of years,"  Wallen said in a statement announcing the record in November.


"Then quarantine hit, and we realized it might actually be possible to have enough time to make it happen. I also ended up writing quite a few more songs during the quarantine with some of my good buddies."


To celebrate the release, Wallen shared a live performance of album track "Sand In My Boots" on his YouTube channel, part of YouTube Originals’ "RELEASED" weekly music series on Thursday, Jan. 7th.


"Started with some keys, ended up with em too," Wallen wrote sharing the video of his stripped down performance of 'Sand in My Boots'.

 

 

Jake Owen Shares Teaser From His First Upcoming Movie

Jake Owen will be starring in the upcoming movie, Our Friend, and he shared a first look at his acting skills on his social media on Friday (Jan. 8th). He wrote in part, "I’ve never been in a 'movie' before so I won’t lie . . . sitting down in front of Dakota Johnson, Jason Segel, and Casey Affleck and acting like I knew what I was doing, was a bit of a challenge. I’ve always loved a good challenge . . ."

 

Our Friend is based on the true story of journalist Matthew Teague and his wife Nicole, whose good family friend, Dane, moves in to help Matthew take care of the couple's family after Nicole is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

 

Jake plays Aaron, a friend of the Teagues' and Dane's from college.

 

The move was shot in 2019 in Fairhope, AL where the Teagues lived during Nicole's cancer battle. It's due in theaters and on streaming services on Jan. 22nd.

 

 

Florida Georgia Line Releases New Song, "New Truck" (Lyric Video)

There's a good vibe on this new FGL song!


In a new interview Florida Georgia Line ahead of their new album Life Rolls On dropping next month, they talked about this new song.


Tyler Hubbard says “With ‘New Truck’ we were like, ‘Man, this feels good. I just want to ride around in my truck, listen to this, and have a song to jam to.’” Tyler adds, “When any of our buddies get a new truck now, we can send it to them and say, ‘Yo, bump this in the truck!’”


FGL’s Brian Kelley agrees, “It feels really different and fresh. It’s got a fun innocence about it too.”
Florida Georgia Line’s Life Rolls On is out February and includes “New Truck”, along with their current Top 20 single “Long Live” and their latest number-one (the 17th of their career) “I Love My Country.”

'American Idol' Contestant Brings Luke Bryan To Tears In New Sneak Peek

American Idol is set to return to ABC on Valentine’s Day and the network is giving fans a sneak peek!


In a just released trailer, Luke Bryan is moved during an audition over a contestant’s voice. This marks a first for the country superstar, who admits, “nothing is more exciting than just a raw talent.”


Bryan is holding back tears as an unnamed contestant belts out  Aretha Franklin’s 1967 classic, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” 


“This is the first time that just someone singing made me cry,” the “Down To One” singer confesses. 

 

Blake Shelton Responds After Backlash Over 'Tone Deaf' New Song, "Bring it On"

Blake Shelton got some backlash over his new song "Minimum Wage", that he debuted on New Year’s Eve during NBC’s year-end special.


Some called the song “tone deaf,” while others noted the financial difficulties facing many Americans during the pandemic.


The country singer and “The Voice” coach said his new song is inspired by his love for fiancée Gwen Stefani.


Blake tweeted on what seems to be a response to the haters.
"When your fans, @RonnieDunn and @sammyhagar have your back it’s gonna be a good year. Bring it on 2021."


Can we just stop being offended by every little thing in 2021?!

Tim McGraw Teases New Music With Tyler Hubbard

The news just hit that Florida Georgia Line is taking a break to pursue solo projects. The boys claim they're not breaking up, just giving each other space to creatively do new things.


It didn't take long to find out that one of those projects for Hubbard is teaming up with Tim McGraw.


Tim McGraw shared a behind the scenes black and white photo of the two on Instagram. 


He wrote, "Can’t wait to show you what @tylerhubbard and I have been workin on #undivided"
Not the first time these two have been in the studio together. McGraw worked with Hubbard and his partner Brian Kelly on “May We All.”

Tyler Rich Discovers Dead Man's Body on New Year's Eve Run

Tyler Rich is opening up about the horrific experience of coming across a dead man's body while out on a run in a wooded area.


On Friday Tyler took to twitter to share the shocking story.  Rich said he was 2.5 miles into his run at Chicopee State Park in Massachusetts when he "ran across a dam" and was "looking for a way to cut up the hill back to the path."


"I then saw what I thought was a young homeless man sleeping. He was on his stomach and had a bag tied around his foot and was faced down. ... After running around him, I felt bad for him, he was sleeping facedown and just looked like he was in a bad place," Rich wrote.


He then realized the man wasn't breathing. Tyler says cops came and they found a gun in the guy's hand, under his body, concluding "it potentially could have been a suicide."


Tyler went on to call the next 24 hours afterward "rough."


"Not the way I planned on closing out 2020. This will be an image & moment I’ll never forget. I need to shoutout first responders & our military that look death in the eye every day, and are able to continue to live their everyday lives," he tweeted.


The country star went on to reveal that he's since spoken to the mother of the victim and was torn over the similarities he had with him.


"I don't think anyone in the area could have found him that understood him quite like me. II really feel this was meant to be. I wish I got to meet him, have a beer with him, and talk about what was hurting him so much. I'm broken over this and I didn't even know him," 
Rich wrote."Hug your loved ones as tight as you can today."

Blake Shelton Getting Heat Over "Tone Deaf" New Song "Minimum Wage"

Blake Shelton is catching some heat after debuting his new song “Minimum Wage” on NBC's New Year's Eve televised event.


Folks on Twitter called the new tune “tone deaf,” especially amid the pandemic which has left millions unemployed and without work. Not to mention, Blake is a multimillionaire.


Shelton's song is apparently about his love for his fiancée, Gwen Stefani, and includes a line in the chorus that goes: 


 “Girl, your love can make a man feel rich on minimum wage.”


"Does anyone else find Blake Shelton’s “Minimum Wage” song to be incredibly tone deaf to our country’s current state?"


"Not sure if Blake realizes that minimum wage is $7.25 people can’t pay rent on that let alone take care of a family. Let him try and see if it still makes him feel like a millionaire."


"A mega millionaire romanticizing minimum wage is peak 2020."

New Year's Eve 2020: Eric Church, Jon Pardi and Brothers Osborne Weigh In

2020 is almost done, and these country stars have some thoughts on the new year.

 

Eric Church had this to say: “I think, for me, the thing I’m looking forward to most next year is getting around the corner from this virus and getting some kind of normalcy. I’m confident that next year is when we’ll finally put this in the rearview at some point in time."


Jon Pardi wants to get back to the honky tonk bars!
“For next year – 2021 – I’m looking forward to some kind of medication/vaccine to help people, to make people immune to this virus that is ruining EVERYTHING! So, I look forward to that and hopefully we’ll get that going and then we’ll be back to concerts and full capacity sports games and bars and honky tonks and…it looks like 2019. Remember 2019? That was awesome.”


Brothers Osborne talked about the struggle with diets:

TJ: “I love how everyone starts the year off with diets and then we end the year with like excessive amounts of food. And then you get to the end of the year, you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m going to start a diet on the 1st, so I’m going to eat everything that’s in front of me.’ I love it.”


JOHN: “And come February 1st, ‘what diet?’” TJ: “What diet? I’ll start it next month.”
 

Brad Paisley Replaces Taylor Swift On Famous Nashville Mural

Brad Paisley has replaced Taylor Swift on a mural of country music legends in downtown Nashville. Taylor, who was formerly depicted sitting perched on a barstool between Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash has been painted over. Now, it’s Brad sitting on the same stool.

 

USA Today noted, the decision to replace her came about (at least in part) because of the disapproval of the country fans who hang out in downtown Nashville.

 

Tim Davis, the artist of the mural who painted it said, “I have heard many complaints here in Nashville about Taylor being on the wall with country legends since she is currently focused mainly on pop.” He went on to say, “By and large, the people of Nashville love her, as do I."

Davis adds that it was the bar owner’s decision, not his. He is currently raising money via a Go Fund Me page to paint a mural dedicated exclusively to Taylor Swift.

 

Country music legends on the mural include Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw, and several others.

 

The mural is located on the outside wall of a Nashville bar.

Russell Dickerson Surprises Disabled Utah Teen With Special SUV

Russell Dickerson recently helped to surprise a fan with a special early Christmas gift, new handicap-accessible SUV.

 

Seventeen-year-old Sarah Frei was paralyzed from the waist down and had to have her legs amputated after being a passenger in a car that was hit head-on by a drunk driver back in July.

 

Despite the tragedy, Sarah was determined to push through and continue being a cheerleader for her local high school. She documented her road to recovery on her Instagram account via her #sarahstrong campaign.

 

One of her posts was her in her hospital bed doing the arm portion of a cheer to Russell's hit "Home Sweet." He was tagged in the post and it caught his attention.

 

Russell learned about Sarah's story and heard that the first question she asked after surgery was “Will I ever be able to drive again?”

 

The singer teamed up with Chevy to present the 2021 Chevrolet Traverse via a Zoom call where Sarah thought she was going to be interviewed by a magazine about her story.

 

Russell joined the call, during which he and Sarah both got emotional.

 

Check it Out

 

Peyton Manning, Morgan Wallen Party With Kenny Chesney's All-Star Christmas Country Crew

Kenny Chesney had an all star Christmas party on Saturday night in Tennessee. The legendary quarterback Peyton Manning popped up in the photo's along side Morgan Wallen with Kenny Chesney.


"Hold up. Are @MorganWallen, @kennychesney, AND Peyton all in Knoxville right now? Is this Saloon 16? I need answers ????????."


Pictures were all over social media.  This star studded holiday get together had a lot of talent in the mix.


Cole Swindell also shared a group photo that featured Peyton, Luke Combs, Drew Holcomb, Kenny Chesney, Morgan Wallen, and himself.  Fans were envious of this Tennessee party!
"Dudeeeeee..so jealous...what a crew ????????," one excited fan wrote, while another said, "Dang. Wish I had an invite to that party!"

Brantley Gilbert Celebrates Nine Years of Sobriety

Brantley Gilbert is celebrating a huge milestone as he continues to defeat his past addiction to alcohol. 


On Friday, (Dec. 18) BG revealed in a heartwarming family photo on Instagram that he has successfully remained sober for nine years!


He captioned his post, "9 years drink-free today, and couldn't have done it without my family, my brothers, my road family and the #bgnation ... If y'all pop a top today, drink one for ya boy.... Much love, and lookin forward to playin the livestream show for y’all on Dec. 30 ... Link in bio to grab your tickets today."


These days, Gilbert is enjoying his life with his family. The married couple are parents to son Barrett, 3, and daughter Braylen, 15 months. 


Be sure to get your tickets to Gilbert's upcoming livestream event on Dec. 30th.

Lauren Alaina, Kelsea Ballerini and Lady A, SHINE on the Opry Stage!

Live music does still exist in Nashville and a limited number of fans got to be there for this star studded night at the Opry. The rest of us can watch the magic in the circle via live-stream.


Saturday night's show (Dec. 19) was FIRE with Kelsea Ballerini, Lady A and Lauren Alaina who performed their hits and some Christmas classics.  Fans couldn't get enough!


"I soooo miss live music!!!!!! thank goodness for @opry @CircleAllAccess for streaming live for us at home!!!! Merry Christmas all and cheers to a healthier 2021!!! ????????????"
"Tuning in from UK ???? Amazing show ????????????— ?~Merry Halliday~?"


For Kelsea it was her first show in front of a live audience since March.  The country signer didn't miss a beat! 


Lauren Alaina belted out a smokey, beautiful version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and DANG that girl can sing!


Lady A as flawless as ever!


You can still watch the livestream event on YouTube!

 

Maren Morris Cancels 2021 RSVP Tour

Like every other artist on the planet, Maren Morris postponed her RSVP tour this year because of the pandemic and moved it to 2021. On Friday (Dec. 18) she made the difficult decision to cancel the North American stint altogether.


"Hi, darlings," she tweeted, "There is so much hope with this vaccine being distributed in 2021, but we are still unsure of when we will be able to do the tour next year."


"With the prospect of, yet again, rescheduling half of the dates already becoming a reality, I have decided to cancel the RSVP tour," she continued, adding that ticket holders will receive a full refund.


"I truly appreciate your patience on this," she concluded. "I am in the midst of working on my third record, so I hope we can all come together an enjoy live shows safely again soon."
Closing it out with: "I love you so much - M"


Will her peers be canceling their tours too? Hard to imagine another year with no concerts especially with so many in the concert industry out of work and struggling. 


At least we have a thrid album to look forward to from Maren Morris in 2021. 

Morgan Wallen To Stream Free Album-Release Concert Live From The Ryman Auditorium

On Tuesday (Dec.15) Morgan Wallen tweeted out that he's doing a FREE livestream concert event to celebrate the release of his double album dropping Jan. 8th.


"MORGAN WALLEN LIVE FROM THE RYMAN — join the global livestream event to celebrate Dangerous: The Double Album on January 12, 2021 @ 9PM ET / 8PM CST Team MW"


The FREE concert will air January 12th, and will be available to stream on both YouTube and Facebook.


The 30-song double album has already broken Luke Combs’ record for pre-sales, and features a duet with Chris Stapleton as well a new Eric Church-penned tune called “Quittin’ Time.”

 

Wallen's been releasing songs like “Livin’ The Dream,” and fans can't get enough. He just dropped “Still Goin Down” and “Somebody’s Problem,” both of which debuted in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country chart… another country record.


2021 is about to be the year of Morgan Wallen! 

FGL's Tyler Hubbard Joins Nelly for 'Lil Bit' on 'The Voice'

Nelly and Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard brought the heat with a high-energy performance of their latest collab “Lil Bit” to The Voice finale on Tuesday night. (Dec. 15)


Fans were wondering where FGL’s Brian Kelly was. His absence had nothing to do with the rumors of them breaking up over politics. All is well with the duo (or is it).

 

Kelly was unable to make the trip to California when they taped the performance because he was in the middle of moving.


Other 2020 finale performances included Keith Urban, Dan + Shay, JP Saxe with Julia Michaels, Lauren Daigle, Jason Derulo, Lewis Capaldi and 24kGoldn as well as the superstar coaches!

Morgan Wallen Shines on SNL' Stage as Musical Guest

Morgan Wallen made his 'Saturday Night Live' debut on Saturday night (Dec. 5), performing "7 Summers" and "Still Goin' Down" as the episode's musical guest.


Early in the day Wallen asked fans what songs should he perform and 7 Summers was one highly requested.


Which songs y’all think I’m singing tomorrow night??— morgan wallen (@MorganWallen) 
"Still Goin' Down," is an album cut from the singer's forthcoming sophomore album, Dangerous The Double Album dropping Jan. 8th.

 

 

'SNL' Pokes Fun at Morgan Wallen Controversy in Christmas-Filled Episode

 

The episode poked fun at Morgan Wallen’s controversy from earlier in the season, when he was kicked off the show after photos leaked of him partying and not following the show’s strict COVID-19 safety rules. 


Wallen was invited back and appeared as himself in a hilarious sketch. It begins with Wallen in a bar wearing the same outfit he was in real life at the Alabama game and the after-parties. 

 

 

 

Chris Stapleton Has a Few Recording Studio Superstitions

Chris Stapleton just released his fourth album, 'Starting Over' a project recorded in some of the most hallowed studios that Music City (and beyond) has to offer.


The song "Cold," was recorded in the hit-making town of Muscle Shoals, Ala., where everyone from Aretha Franklin and Etta James to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Shenandoah have recorded.


Stapleton also cut part of his album at Compass Sound Studio (a.k.a., Hillbilly Central), a famous recording hangout of Waylon Jennings and the haunting RCA Studio A in Nashville. 


If if the pressure of recording where legends have wasn't enough, some artist claim you can feel the weight of the musical ghosts in the walls at one Nashville studio.


Supergroup Pistol Annies swear they were haunted by the ghost of Guy Clark, and Dillon Carmichael remembers tales of Jennings' spirit slamming doors from his time recording in RCA Studio A.


Stapleton swears he's not superstitious about it -- well, not that superstitious, anyway.
"If not shaving or combing your hair is superstitious, then I've been superstitious for years." 
Stapleton acknowledges a few superstitions that do find their way into his recording process: He's got a lucky guitar -- a Fender Jazzmaster -- and a pocket knife he always carries with him, which belonged to his late father. Also there's an old dining room chair from his parents' house, which he likes to sit in when he records. 

Sam Hunt Drops New Music Video "Breaking Up Was Easy in The 90's

Sam Hunt's new music video for "Breaking Up Was Easy in The 90's" is here! 


Directed by Justin Clough, the music video for “Breaking Up Was Easy In The ’90s” follows the bittersweet story of a man who was just released from prison and finds himself haunted by the past, while trying to get his life back on track.


The lyrics and matching visuals speak to the challenge of breakups in the age of social media, as you can see all the details and photos of your ex moving on.


“Tired of seein’ pictures I don’t wanna see / Girl you’re everywhere, everywhere but behind me/ I bet breakin’ up was easy in the ‘90s,” sings Hunt in the mid-tempo track.


The new breakup song, “Breaking Up Was Easy In The ’90s” marks the latest single off Hunt’s sophomore album Southside.

Richmond, IN WEATHER

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