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Country Star Joe Diffie Dies From Coronavirus at Age 61

Grammy-Award winning country singer Joe Diffie died Sunday at the age of 61 from the coronavirus, USA Today reports. A rep for the singer confirmed the death, after he'd been hospitalized on Friday.


Diffie scored early '90s hits with songs like "Pickup Man," "Home," and albums like Honky Tonk Attitude, and Third Rock From The Sun. Diffie broke into Nashville first as a songwriter penning hits for artists like Ricky Van Shelton, Alabama and Holly Dunn, before signing a three-record deal with Epic.


He won a Grammy in 1998 for his collaboration with Marty Stuart called "Same Old Train." He was also an influence on many country stars who followed, including Jason Aldean and Chris Young.


Most recently he hosted a mid-day show on a Tulsa radio station starting last year. 

Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood to Perform Live Concert on CBS


Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood have scheduled an hour-long special concert to run on CBS this Wednesday at 9 p.m. ET, Page Six reports. 


Garth & Trisha Live! will feature the husband and wife country stars live in concert from the same home studio they use to broadcast Brooks' weekly Facebook Live show, Inside Studio G. CBS said the inspiration came after they heard that Brooks and Yearwood got 5.2 million fans to watch an at-home concert last Monday.


“We’re seeing how big things can be when we all do them as one,” Brooks and Yearwood said in a joint statement, adding that they and CBS “will donate $1 million to charities to be determined, combating the COVID-19 virus.”


Brooks said he plans to take requests for the show and will announce how fans can submit them on Monday. 

Kane Brown Notches 5th Consecutive #1 Single With "Homesick

Kane Brown's Experiment just keeps paying off. Nash Country Daily reports that the country crooner's 2018 studio album has just earned its fifth consecutive #1 single with "Homesick," which hit the top of the Billboard Country Airplay and Mediabase charts this week. 


“‘Homesick’ is just kinda personal because we’ve done so many shows in the last couple of years, and I’m never home,” Brown says in a statement. “I miss my dogs; I miss my family and my friends. I had it tattooed on me already, so it kinda made sense [as a single].”


The tune, co-written by Brown with Brock Berryhill, Matthew McGinn and Taylor Phillips, follows Experiment's previous #1 hits “Lose It,” “Heaven,” “What Ifs,” and “Good as You.”

Hot Country Knights Share New Track "Moose Knuckle Shuffle" Off Debut Album

The Hot Country Knights are ready to add a little heat to your country nights with their latest track, "Moose Knuckle Shuffle." The three-minute ditty, which dropped late Thursday, finds Dierks Bentley's alter ego (a.k.a. frontman Douglas "Doug" Douglasson) crooning about that time he got stranded in Moose Knuckle, Tennnesee, and wound up learning some new dance moves and meeting his future wife in the middle of a town party.


If the faux-'90s country band's new song sounds familiar, that's probably because it's basically a spoof of Tracy Byrd's 1994 hit ,"Watermelon Crawl." In fact, "Watermelon Crawl" writers Buddy Brock and Zach Turner both earn co-writing credits on "Moose Knuckle Shuffle." Meanwhile, the Hot Country Knights' debut album, The K Is Silent, will arrive on May 1.



Country Star Reactions and Personal Stories on the Nashville Tornadoes

The tornadoes that ripped through Nashville yesterday morning killed at least 25 people and caused massive devastation.  It'll be a while before officials can assess the full damage. 



Obviously, country stars were deeply affected.  They went on social media to share their thoughts, and some are already pledging to help in the recovery efforts.  A few had personal stories to tell.



DIERKS BENTLEY was flying into Nashville's John C. Tune Airport around 11:30 Monday night and he shot video of a nasty storm.  He posted the clip yesterday and said, quote, "Glad we landed when we did.  Wouldn't have been so good an hour later.  It was the cell that turned into the tornado.  Lot of people lost their homes, including our drummer, and a lot of people in need."  



He also included aerial photos of the airport that were shot after the tornado, and the destruction is everywhere.





CARRIE UNDERWOOD was on the "Today Show" yesterday to promote her new book but they wanted to know how the storm affected her.  She wasn't home, but her family was.  She said, quote, "I [was] asking my husband if everybody's good. 



"He said he had to go upstairs at like 2:00 A.M. and grab the boys and take them down to a little safe room in our house.  I was like, 'I bet everybody is crying.'  It's 2:00 A.M., freaking out, so it was scary."



DOLLY PARTON posted a video on Twitter, saying, quote, "I want all of you to know that we are all with you, and hope your family's okay, and your property's going to get mended soon, and [I] want you to know you're being thought of, and we love you."



KACEY MUSGRAVES has pledged to donate the proceeds from the sale of her stage clothes to the relief efforts.



The Boot put together a page of reactions from stars like Chris StapletonCadillac ThreeScotty McCreeryRyan HurdReba McEntireMartina McBrideMaren MorrisKelsea BalleriniJake OwenDan + ShayChris Janson, and Carly Pearce.



"The Tennesseanhas a massive gallery of photos showing the destruction.  It's heartbreaking. 



And Taste of Country has a page of different ways that you can help, both in person, and with donations.

The ACM Nominees Are Led by Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett, and Old Dominion

The ACM nominations were announced yesterday . . . and leading the pack are Maren MorrisThomas Rhett, and Old Dominion with five each.  Dan + ShayJustin Bieber, and Blake Shelton each picked up four.



Justin Bieber showed up because of his collaboration with Dan + Shay on "10,000 Hours".  That song also got Dan Smyers two additional nominations, as a songwriter and producer . . . and Shay Mooney an extra nod as songwriter.



Carrie Underwood has returned to the Entertainer of the Year category.  She's joined by Luke BryanEric ChurchLuke Combs, and Thomas Rhett.  Carrie won that award in 2008 and 2009.



Ashley McBryde has three nominations.  She's up for artist and songwriter for "Girl Goin' Nowhere" . . . and she's one of six singers sharing the Music Event of the Year nomination for "Fooled Around and Fell in Love"



Keith Urban is hosting the show for the first time.  He's taking over for Reba McEntire who did it 16 times.  (Here's Keith killing two birds with one stone by announcing his new song "God Whispered Your Name", and that he's hosting the ACMs.)



The "55th Academy of Country Music Awards" will air April 5th on CBS. 



(You can check out all the nominees, here.)

Luke Combs Is a Vegan for Three Months, Because He Lost a Bet

LUKE COMBS is a man of his word.  And when I tell you why, you'll agree.  You'll also feel SO very sorry for him.  Last fall he bet his keyboard player that the Carolina Panthers would beat the Atlanta Falcons.  But they lost.



The wager?  Luke had to be VEGAN for three months.  He talked about it in a recent interview.  Quote, "I am 11 days into my vegan adventure.  I mean I'm still alive I'll put it that way.  I eat a lot of protein bars, lot of veggies. 



"And, if you're not familiar with vegan, it's no animal products whatsoever.  No meat, no cheese, no milk, no butter, no anything good, [which] is pretty depressing to think about.  But, I will prevail through the end of this. 



"I'm looking forward to a good deer steak after this is all said and done."



In much happier Luke Combs news:  He posted a demo of an unreleased new song called "Love You Anyway".  It's a love song, and since he's marrying Nicole Hocking sometime this year, let's imagine it's dedicated to her.


Workin on some songs with @thebrothershunt and @rayfulchermusic

A post shared by Luke Combs ???? (@lukecombs) on

Shania Twain Grew Up So Poor and Dirty That Other Kids Didn't Want to Sit Near Her

SARA HAINES interviewed SHANIA TWAIN for an episode of "Strahan, Sara and Keke" . . . and she shared a few things that may surprise you.  When asked if she ever dreamed of having this huge career, she said no way. 



Quote, "I couldn't have ever imagined where I am today . . . from where I came from.  I grew up underprivileged.  I was always the dirty little kid at school or maybe somebody didn't want to sit behind me because I had greasy hair."



They talked about the iconic VH-1 "Divas Live" special in 1998.  That's when Shania shared the stage with Celine DionMariah CareyAretha Franklin, and Gloria Estefan



They imagined what a reboot with a new set of performers would look like.  Shania chose Jennifer LopezStevie NicksAriana Grande, and Lizzo.



There was a fan question segment, and someone asked her to name her "favorite glamorous outfit" that she's ever worn.  I was thinking the "leopard print head-to-toe with the hood" getup from her "That Don't Impress Me Much" video.  Nope.



She said, quote, "I think the favorite is my 'Man! I Feel Like a Woman' outfit.  I didn't realize that the world was going to get to this wonderful place where we're less concerned about whether we're a guy or a girl or whatever. 



"We're just so hung up sometimes on gender.  And I want to wear a tie and I want to wear a shirt, but I don't want to compromise and hide my femininity either.  It was a hybrid gender look almost."



Another fan asked what song was the "most therapeutic and healing" to write.  She went with "You're Still the One" because it's taken on different meanings to her throughout years . . . and it keeps evolving with her.



(You can check out the interview, here.  The growing up poor starts at 1:54 . . . the "Divas" reboot at 2:54 . . . "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" comes at 6:42 . . . and the most therapeutic song at 7:22.)

The Best Mainstream Country Albums of the Decade has a list of the 20 best "mainstream country albums" of the decade, from 2010 to 2019.  Here are the ones they picked for the Top 10.



1.  "100 Proof"Kellie Pickler, 2012


2.  "The Guitar Song"Jamey Johnson, 2010


3.  "Traveller"Chris Stapleton, 2015


4.  "Heartache Medication"Jon Pardi, 2019


5.  "Starfire"Caitlyn Smith, 2018


6.  "Interstate Gospel"The Pistol Annies, 2018


7.  "Stronger Than the Truth"Reba McEntire, 2019


8.  "The Weight of These Wings"Miranda Lambert, 2016


9.  "Vinyl"William Michael Morgan, 2016


10.  "Mr. Misunderstood"Eric Church, 2015



(You can find the whole list, here.)

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson Was Advised Not to Listen to Country . . . Because It's Too Negative?

Seattle Seahawks quarterback RUSSELL WILSON has a "mental conditioning coach," and he's told Russell NOT to listen to country music, because it's too negative.



His name is Trevor Moawad, and in an interview on Seattle radio, he said that anybody who wants to improve their mindset should avoid country.



He explained it like this:  Quote, "I was raised [with] my Dad [saying that] country music is great, but it's so negative that . . . we don't want to have that really dictating our 'internal ad campaign.'



"I'm really mindful of the music I'm listening to, because it has a powerful impact, and Russell is the same way . . .



"That doesn't mean you can't listen to it, but if you're going through a divorce or a tough challenge and you're listening to sad music, you're going to be influenced negatively.  It's going to be harder to move forward."  


So for example, if it's 2015, and you're sad because you lost a Super Bowl because you didn't give it to Beast Mode on the 1-yard-line, you should listen to "Uptown Funk" on the way home . . . and not "I See You"???

Kenny Chesney Named Humanitarian Of The Year

Kenny Chesney was honored with the Country Radio Broadcasters’ Humanitarian of the Year Award yesterday (Wednesday, Feb. 19th) during this year's annual Country Radio Seminar underway in Nashville.



He said, “I have to tell you, I have a lot of emotions standing up here. I am embarrassed and uncomfortable, but God has given me the gift of communicating with people through music and that’s given me a unique platform to help . . . "



Kenny has helped those in need through his own Spread the Love Foundation, which benefitted amputee survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing, as well as his Songs for the Saints album and the Love For Love City Fund which provided disaster relief to the U.S. Virgin Islands after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, in addition to aiding many other charities.


Amazon's New Kane Brown Documentary and EP Are Out Tomorrow

Amazon is releasing the new KANE BROWN mini-documentary tomorrow.  It's called "Velocity", and it's filled with behind-the-scenes stuff plus interviews, and concert footage. 



The trailer is out now and it focuses on how he exploded out of nowhere. 



It wasn't long ago that he was singing covers and putting them on Facebook hoping to get a few followers.  He got more than a few.  At one point he was pulling in 20,000 new social media followers a day.



That led to him packing clubs, amphitheaters . . . and then to his massive sold-out concert last month at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.  He's only the 11th country artist to do that.



There's also an accompanying EP featuring live songs from the Staples Center concert. 


Fire Destroyed Neal McCoy's Tour Bus on Saturday, but He Performed That Night

A fire broke out on NEAL MCCOY's tour bus Saturday morning on a highway near Mansfield, Louisiana.  He was able to get OFF the bus in time, and no one was hurt.  Unfortunately, the bus was totaled. 



He went live on Facebook around 6:30 A.M. while it was STILL up in flames.  You can tell he's shaken up, who wouldn't be.  He was mostly getting the word out that everyone was okay.  He also grieved a little for the bus, which he called "Old Glory."


Here's the live video ** Warning - there are profanities in the background chatter.


He posted a second video a little later and this time he did his famous daily Pledge of Allegiance.  He was joined by first responders and others.  It was his 1,493rd consecutive day of doing it.  That's four years and about a month.



Despite the chaos he still did his show on Saturday in Alexandria, Louisiana. 



Taste of Country put together a list of other country artists who've had tour bus fires or accidents.  It includes Trace AdkinsRandy HouserLee BriceJerrod NiemannJoe DiffieWillie Nelson, and Canaan Smith.

Justin Moore on Fans Thanking Him for "The Ones That Didn't Make It Back Home"

Some songs catch-on right out the box and become huge hits.  That didn't happen to JUSTIN MOORE's "The Ones That Didn't Make It Back Home".  It came out in the fall of 2018, and just recently topped the Country Airplay chart.



He talked about it at a "song celebration" this week in Nashville.  Quote, "At this point, I don't give a damn how long it takes.  [It's] great from an artist perspective to enjoy the success.  Your pay goes up a little bit.  And you get a little press."



There's another reason the song is so special to him.  It's always resonated with people who've lost love ones that were first responders or in the military.



Quote, "It's more than just a hit song when you hear from a police chief in a meet and greet, and he tells you about one of his guys he lost in an incident.  



"Or when men and women come up to me in the supermarket and share their stories and thank me for writing or recording this song.  It never gets old to hear those stories.  I feel proud to be a small part of this record."


Sam Hunt Announces a New Tour And, Finally, His Second Album

SAM HUNT has finally announced the release date of his second album.  It's called "Southside" and it'll be out April 3rd.  It's been almost six years since "Montevallo" debuted.  That was way back in October of 2014.



In his defense, "Montevallo" kept churning out Number One singles so why stop the momentum by rushing into the studio.  Plus, he's released non-album songs in the meantime . . . like "Downtown's Dead", and "Body Like a Back Road".



We don't know yet if those two will be on "Southside", but it will feature "Kinfolks" and "Sinning With You".



He'll be hitting the road to promote it.  The "Southside Summer Tour 2020" will kick-off May 28th in Charlotte, North Carolina, and run into late September. He makes his stop in Cincinnati to perform at Riverbend Music Center August 16th. Tickets go on sale Friday, February 14th.



The openers are Kip MooreTravis DenningErnest . . . and there will be a DJ set by Brandi Cyrus.  You'll find all the dates on his tour page at


Riley Green Didn't Mean to Be "Negative" in His Tweet about J-Lo and Shakira

It took less than a day for RILEY GREEN to come up with a response to those who were up-in-arms by his Tweet about Shakira and J-Lo's performance on Sunday.



In case you're not familiar, this is what he wrote:  "Great game, but can I get somebody to translate this Super Bowl halftime show so I know what they are singing about?"



He went back to Twitter yesterday to clarify what he meant. 



He said, "To my fans and those who know me THANK YOU for the support.


"To anyone offended by my Tweet saying I wanted to know what Shakira was singing about.  I'm a country songwriter and I listen for the story.  I said and meant nothing negative about anyone.  Both are very talented women."



And in less contentious Riley Green news: "Live at the Opry" has posted video of him performing "I Wish Grandpas Never Died" at a recent performance there.

Six More Super Bowl Commercials Are Online

1.  Facebook is making its Super Bowl commercial debut this year, with Chris Rock and Sylvester Stallone



2.  Secret's ad has football fans cheering after a kicker makes a kick . . . only to discover that it was a FEMALE player.  It's supposed to, quote, "spark a dialogue about the possibility of women playing [in] the NFL."  It stars U.S. soccer players Carli Lloyd and Crystal Dunn.



3.  SodaStream's ad features Bill Nye the Science Guy, and it has a man accidentally drinking water that was found on Mars.



4.  Comedian Rob Riggle is a Chiefs fan, and he's starring in the "first-ever interactive" Super Bowl ad.  It also stars Sofia Vergara and Busy Phillips.


It's a choose-you-own-adventure style commercial, where you can vote for how you'd like it to go at  Supposedly, they'll air the most popular choice.



5.  GMC is bringing the Hummer back!  As an ELECTRIC truck? 



6.  Polls show that people don't like mixing sports and politics . . . and they don't want to see political Super Bowl commercials.  But unfortunately, we'll have to sit through in-game ads from President Trump and Mike Bloomberg.


For what it's worth, Trump is the first sitting president to shell-out for a national ad during the Super Bowl.



Maren Morris Responds to Trolls Annoyed by Her Pregnancy Pics

MAREN MORRIS maintains a pretty good presence on social media.  She knows that's part of the job these days.  However, now that she's pregnant, some people wish she'd ease back on all the baby bump pics. 



Well, she had a few words to say about that last week on Twitter



And to drive that point home, she posted another belly pic on Sunday. 



This time she's standing on a deck next to what looks like a pond at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee.  Her hand is on her beautiful baby bump, and she captioned it, "Back at the farm.  #BabyMoon."


back at the farm. #babymoon ????

A post shared by Maren Morris (@marenmorris) on

The Country Community Reacts to the Death of Kobe Bryant


The tragic death of KOBE BRYANT was felt throughout the country community yesterday.  Artists paid tribute and shared their feelings on social media.


JASON ALDEAN posted a photo of an autographed Bryant jersey.  He wrote, "I am literally sick to my stomach.  One of the greatest of all time.  Sincere condolences to his wife and family.  I'll forever treasure this jersey he signed for me."



KANE BROWN Tweeted, "R.I.P. to the legend Kobe Bryant." 



KEITH URBAN wrote, "Our hearts break today for Kobe Bryant's family and friends and everyone he inspired.  I never knew him but somehow felt like I did.  Rare.  We wish peace and strength to all of you.



A post shared by Keith Urban (@keithurban) on


CHRIS YOUNG Tweeted, "I don't even know what to say.  Seeing news like this is so incredibly sad.  RIP Kobe."



And MITCHELL TENPENNY hit up Twitter to say, "I can't even put to words the loss for the Bryant Family.  This is an American tragedy and hard pill to swallow.  God has a plan even when it seems to make no sense.  Prayers."

Here Comes Dierks Bentley's '90s Cover Band, Hot Country Knights

Whether you asked for it or not, DIERKS BENTLEY's '90s cover band HOT COUNTRY KNIGHTS is here.  They were all over the place yesterday talking about their record deal, a new song, and an upcoming album.



In case you haven't been keeping track:  Dierks inhabits a character named Douglas "Doug" Douglason, who's the leader of the Knights.  Their music and style are stuck in the '90s . . . all the way down to their stone-washed jeans and mullet wigs.



They released their first single yesterday.  It's called "Pick Her Up" and it features TRAVIS TRITT.  As "Doug" says, quote, "If you want a hit, you gotta get Tritt." 



The video for that song is posted below.  It features TIFFANI THIESSEN bringing back Kelly Kapowski, her character from the '90s sitcom "Saved By The Bell".  Also, you can expect a tour and more music soon.


Carly Pearce Knew Michael Ray Was the One After Two Dates

Sometimes you just know.  Y'know?  It took CARLY PEARCE two dates to know she was going to marry MICHAEL RAY.  And those feelings came pouring out when she wrote the song, "Heart's Going Out of Its Mind".  


CARLY PEARCE had gone on two dates with MICHAEL RAY when she started writing, "Heart's Going Out of Its Mind".  And since she already knew she wanted to marry him, she let those feelings flow into the song. 




She talked about it in one of those "Story Behind the Song" videos.  Quote, "I went into the writer's room, and I hadn't told anybody.  It's kind of awkward.  You don't want to tell anybody when you're dating somebody new until it's official. 



"Especially if it's an artist everybody knows.  So I tried to keep it hush-hush, but when I got in the room that day I started gushing and told them and said 'I have no idea how I'm saying this to you, but I know I'm going to marry this person.'"



That explains the lyrics.  For the sound she wanted something memorable.  Quote, "I wanted to write that fun, anthemic feeling of, 'I feel crazy, but in a great way.'" 



"Heart's Going Out of Its Mind" is one of the tracks on her self-titled second album, which drops February 14th. 


Luke Bryan Announced a New Album and Tour

LUKE BRYAN did a Facebook Live yesterday to announce a new album and tour.  The album is called "Born Here, Live Here, Die Here" and it'll be out April 24th.


As for the tour.  It's called "Proud To Be Right Here," and he talked about how he came up with that.  He said, quote, "We felt like when I'm on stage performing, I'm going to be pretty damn proud to be right here playing my music for you guys."




MORGAN WALLEN is the "special guest" on the tour . . . and the other openers are CAYLEE HAMMACK on the first half, with RUNAWAY JUNE on the last half.  Dates are being added but we know it'll kick-off May 28th in Cincinnati, Ohio.



(Watch Luke's Facebook Live announcement, above.  The sound kicks in around 29:07 and he reveals the tour and album.  At 32:18 he sings a little of "What She Wants Tonight", and at 33:44 he teases the album's title track.)

Pneumonia Will Not Stop Ronnie Dunn from Doing His Job

Remember this the next time you're thinking of calling out sick because your tummy hurts.  BROOKS & DUNN performed at the Million Dollar Show fundraiser the other night, even though RONNIE DUNN had pneumonia. 



And he didn't sleepwalk through it either.  Just the opposite.  Somebody posted a clip of him doing a sing-along of "Neon Moon" with the crowd. 



When that was done, he told them, quote "I'm suffering from pneumonia.  I got a cold and a headache.  I had a couple drinks.  This is where it goes south."



But it didn't go south.  He launched into an a cappella verse of "Neon Moon" and blew the roof off the place.  The crowd gave him a standing ovation. 



(Somebody posted the video on Twitter.  Skip to 0:58 for Ronnie's "pneumonia-be-damned" performance.)

Why Is Miranda Lambert Smiling on the Cover of Her "Wildcard" Album?

MIRANDA LAMBERT was talking to "Billboard" about her album, "Wildcard" . . . and one of the things that came up really surprised me. 



A friend told her "Wildcard" is the first album cover of hers where she looks happy in the photo.  It's the one that looks like an old school pinup.  She's wearing lingerie, fishnet tights, and she has a sly smile on her face.  Well, here's the reason for that grin. 


She and Brendan McLoughlin had just gotten married, and that put her in a very good place. Quote, "That smile may just be the wildcard I pulled out of my sleeve this time because of where I've gotten in my life.  The title just fit."  



Here's another interesting fact:  "Wildcard" is the fourth album of hers that has a "one-word title" . . . and that's kind of her lucky charm. 



Quote, "My one-word titles have been special records, a little more special than the others for some reason or another . . . so I wanted it to be right."  The other one-word titles are "Kerosene""Revolution", and "Platinum".   - BillBoard Music Reported

The Internet Hated Tim McGraw's Performance

I'm guessing TIM MCGRAW was thinking today would be a two-fisted celebration of his pre-game performance at last night's college football championship game, coupled with the announcement of his summer tour dates.



Unfortunately, the pre-game is dominating the news, and NOT in a good way.  Tim and SHY CARTER did their song of "Way Down" and the Internet torched it.



They made fun of his voice, the performance . . . and the billion times they sang "Way down." 



(Here's a post from someone who nailed that call.)



Other comments included, "the worst song I've ever heard" . . . "LSU deserved to lose because the song was so awful" . . . and one person said they like Tim, but it was a "terrible song choice and performance."





Meanwhile, Tim's Here on Earth Tour will kick off July 10th in Syracuse, New York . . . and run through September 26th in Chicago.  MIDLAND and INGRID ANDRESS are the openers.



There are TWO stadium shows and LUKE COMBS will join them for those.  We're talking September 4th at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles . . . and September 12th at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Hit up for details.

Kicks Country WEATHER