Country News

The Grand Ole Opry kicks off a busy CMA Music Festival week with two shows on Tuesday, June 6 starring Carrie Underwood, Dustin Lynch and more. Parmalee will crank up the festivities that afternoon with an Opry Plaza Party.

William Michael Morgan will perform and sign autographs starting at 11:30 a.m. CT on Thursday, June 8 in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Ford Theatre.  This is just one of the Hall’s full slate of events during CMA Music Festival 2017.

As Eric Church rolls into Music City to wrap up his Holdin’ My Own Tour this weekend with two sold-out shows at Bridgestone Arena, he’ll also re-open his popular storefront in East Nashville. No matter where you live, you can preview the pop-up shop Thursday on Facebook Live starting at 11 a.m. CT. The store at 218 South 11th Street will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Customers will be able to check out Eric’s signature Gibson Hummingbird Dark guitar and custom Jack Daniels barrels, as well as exclusive merch not available anywhere else. At this weekend’s shows, Eric will also unveil the new Chattanooga Lucy design in his These Boots by Lucchese line. You’ll be able to take home a pair when the pop-up shop reopens from Thursday, June 8 through Sunday, June 11 during CMA Music Festival. This is the third year in a row for the “Round Here Buzz” singer’s temporary store. Part of the proceeds go to his Chief Cares charity.

Garth Brooks will play Oklahoma City for the first time in 20 years, doing a concert with wife Trisha Yearwood on Saturday, July 15. Tickets for the show at Chesapeake Energy Arena go on sale Friday, June 2.

Jason Aldean already has two girls, and soon he’ll have a baby boy. On Monday, the ACM Entertainer of the Year and his wife Brittany Kerr shared their gender reveal on Instagram. “Today is the day….. what’s it gonna be? Boy or girl!” Jason posted, along with a photo of the couple holding “It’s a girl!” and “It’s a boy!” balloons. He followed up with a video of his whole family popping balloons filled with blue confetti, unveiling the answer. His daughters, 14-year-old Keely and 9-year-old Kendyl, both jumped up and down and squealed with delight, hugging their stepmom and dad. Jason and Brittany announced their pregnancy earlier this month. So far, we don’t know exactly when the baby boy is due.

If things go as planned, Martina McBride fans will be listening to a new holiday album from the four-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year this Christmas. Martina heads to Los Angeles to work on the project this Thursday and Friday. “I’m making kind of a big band, swing kind of Christmas album, kind of classic-sounding [with] legendary arranger Patrick Williams,” she tells Billboard. Martina’s 1998 holiday record, White Christmas, has been certified Platinum.

If you can’t wait until next month to hear Shania Twain’s new single, well, it turns out you don’t have to. “It’s been a longggg 15 years but the day has finally arrived!!” the Canadian superstar posted on her socials. “Incredibly excited to share a preview of my new single, ‘Life’s About to Get Good…’” Shania included a one-minute clip of the lead single from her new album, which is due in September. The snippet of “Life’s About to Get Good” is part of a promo for the 2018 Winter Olympics on NBC.  As she mentioned, the fall release will be Shania’s first since Up! came out in November of 2002. It’ll also be her first without her longtime producer and ex-husband Mutt Lange.

Garth Brooks will play four shows at the Forum in Los Angeles starting July 21. He and wife Trisha Yearwood will do Friday and Saturday concerts during the last two weekends of July.  

Billy Ray Cyrus continues to celebrate the 25th anniversary of “Achy Breaky Heart” with an appearance on NBC’s Today show next Thursday. You can also download a new reggae take on the song that features Latin star Jencarlos Canela.

Martina McBride will be honored with the 2017 CRB Artist Career Achievement Award Wednesday, June 21 at the Country Radio Hall of Fame Dinner and Awards in Nashville.
Miranda Lambert
is so passionate about her pups, she’s organizing a march -- and she’s hoping you’ll join her. On Thursday, June 8, the “Tin Man” singer and her beloved rescue dogs will march from Music City’s Nissan Stadium across the Cumberland River to downtown via the Nashville Pedestrian Bridge. Both fans and four-legged friends are invited. All you need to do is register at MuttNationFoundation.com. The MuttNation March will kick off Miranda’s pet adoption drive at CMA’s Fan Fair X inside Music City Center.  If you can’t make it to Nashville, the Texas native is still offering a shot at some one-on-one time while working for her favorite cause. Grand prize in the MuttNation Shelter Day Sweepstakes is a day with Miranda, to be spent making over an animal shelter. You can enter the contest on the foundation's website as well.

George Strait will be honored by the Texas State Legislature as 2017’s State Musician Thursday in Austin.

Craig Morgan, The Swon Brothers, Jessie James and Eric Decker, Jackie Lee, Property BrothersDrew Scott and Todd, Savannah and Chase Chrisley from Chrisley Knows Best are the latest additions to this year’s City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game. It takes place Saturday, June 10 at First Tennessee Park in Nashville. Brenda Lee, Lee Greenwood and Jeannie Seely are set to do play-by-play.

Craig Campbell and Parmalee star in the new Outside Tracks special, which premieres next Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Outdoor Channel.

After a huge response to its six-city run this summer, the Outlaw Music Festival Tour will be hitting the road again in the fall. The touring version of the festival that started last year in Scranton, Pennsylvania includes superstars like Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow and Eric Church, as well as Americana favorites like The Avett Brothers, Margo Price and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, plus many more. “We had such a blast launching and playing last year’s Outlaw Music Festival… we had to take it out on the road,” Willie says. The fall leg kicks off September 8 in Holmdel, New Jersey, and wraps up September 17 in Camden, New Jersey, with additional cities and dates to be added. You can find the full details at OutlawMusicFest.com.
Garth Brooks
is on track to quadruple his sales record for Lafayette, Louisiana, which he set in 1992 at the Cajundome. He’ll return for five shows there with Trisha Yearwood starting June 23.

Billy Currington has joined the lineup for next Tuesday’s “Georgia on My Mind” benefit at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Lauren Alaina, Chris Janson, Kip Moore, Michael Ray and more are also on the bill for the show, which will help raise money for the Georgia Music Foundation.

Martina McBride is heading back into the studio to work on new music, but today, she's also celebrating the 25th anniversary of her country music career. The Time Has Come, the debut album by the four-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, was released a quarter-century ago today, on May 12, 1992. “Most artists hope for a good solid ten years in this business,” Martina reflects. “To think I have been doing what I love for 25 years and still get to do it is more than I dreamed and a great testament to my fans. They are what has enabled me to be around this long and I’m very grateful." The Kansas native’s most recent album, Reckless, came out in April of last year.  There's no timetable for her next project.

While it’s easy to see that Chris Stapleton’s wife, Morgane, is an integral part of his sound, what many may not realize is that in the middle of touring together, the two are also raising two little ones, a son and a daughter. When it comes to motherhood, Chris gives Morgane high marks, although he points out she’s no pushover. “She's a great mother. Just like she is with all people, she's kind and generous with her time…” he says. “She'll make you toe the line, too,” he adds. “But all great moms are that way.” As for the part Morgane plays in his success, Chris says he’s not kidding himself. “I'm thoroughly convinced that sixty to seventy-five percent of the people would not come to the show if they didn't think that she was gonna be up there with me,” he laughs. Chris’s sophomore album, From A Room:  Volume 1, which prominently features Morgane, was just released last Friday.

Sara Evans will host an album preview party for fans, in advance of the release of Words on July 21. Tickets for the June 7 event at Nashville’s City Winery are on sale now.

Jennifer Nettles joins with Band Against Cancer later this month to raise awareness for the cause through a new concert special on AXS TV. Taped at the Country Music Hall of Fame’s CMA Theater, the performance finds Jennifer delivering her Sugarland mainstays “Baby Girl” and “Want To,” as well as her hit with Bon Jovi, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home.” The Georgia native also offers “Hey Heartbreak” and “Salvation Works” from her latest solo album, Playing with Fire.   Sarah Cannon, the cancer treatment arm of HCA named for the comedian who brought Minnie Pearl to life, started the Band Against Cancer movement to help educate the public about resources and treatment. It’s also currently sponsoring Brad Paisley’s Weekend Warrior Tour. Jennifer Nettles Live -- Band Against Cancer premieres Sunday, May 28 at 8 p.m. ET on AXS TV.

“Asphalt Cowboy” is now more than just a song on Jason Aldean’s self-titled debut album from 2005: It’s the title of his upcoming exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “Jason Aldean:  Asphalt Cowboy” will open May 26 and run through November 5, and it promises plenty of rare memorabilia from the two-time ACM Entertainer of the Year. Items in the exhibit trace Jason’s life from his childhood rocking horse to his first guitar, given to him by his father. Continuing on, it offers a glimpse of his high school band, the Young Guns, and features a poster commemorating one of his first big milestones: opening for fellow Georgia native Trisha Yearwood in the late nineties. “To look around the space and see my personal heroes and artists who helped shape country music is a surreal feeling,” Jason says of the Hall of Fame. “To be a part of a legacy like this really is a dream come true.” Jason is also continuing his legacy in other ways. Just this week, he announced he and his wife Brittany Kerr are expecting their first baby together.

For the first time in 21 years, Garth Brooks will play the Forum in Los Angeles. Tickets for the Saturday, July 29 concert with Trisha Yearwood go on sale Friday, May 19.  

Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill helped Metro Nashville Mayor Megan Barry proclaim May 10 as Ryman Auditorium Day Wednesday morning at the historic venue. This year, the former church celebrates its 125th anniversary.

Miranda Lambert is dipping her toe into the movie business. She’s set to write an original song and be the executive music producer for the new comedy Something in the Water, which is expected to shoot in Nashville later this year. The movie centers around a group of women who challenge the men in their lives to a bass fishing competition. Miranda’s longtime music video collaborator, Trey Fanjoy, co-wrote the script and will direct as well.  The film's being described as Bridesmaids meets Steel Magnolias. Fanjoy directed Miranda’s very first music video and many others, including the CMA-winning “The House that Built Me.” “Strong, amazing women are at the heart of this story and they’re also at the center of this film creatively…” Fanjoy tells Deadline.com. So far there’s no word on when Something in the Water will make it to the big screen.

The Grand Ole Opry will honor the veterans of Desert Storm on Tuesday, May 23. Chris Young, Trace Adkins, Terri Clark, the Charlie Daniels Band and more will participate in the annual Salute the Troops Opry performance.

Don Williams in Ireland: The Gentle Giant in Concert will be released as a limited edition CD and DVD package this Friday.

In 2018, the Grammy Awards will be held in New York City for the first time in 15 years. Normally, the awards show is held in L.A., but since this is the Grammys' 60th Anniversary, something special was called for.  The show will be broadcast live on both coasts from New York's Madison Square Garden on Sunday, January 28 at 7:30 pm. ET/4:30 p.m. PT  on CBS.

Keep a good thought for Loretta Lynn.  The 85-year-old country music legend is recovering from a stroke she suffered Thursday. A statement on Lynn's official website declares, "American country music legend Loretta Lynn was admitted into a hospital in Nashville last night after she suffered a stroke at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. She is currently under medical care and is responsive and expected to make a full recovery." The statement goes on to say Lynn "has been advised by her doctors to stay off the road while she is recuperating. Regrettably, upcoming scheduled shows will be postponed." Lynn was the first woman ever to win the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year award, in 1972, and remains the most awarded female artist in country music history.  She's a member of the Country Music, Gospel Music and Songwriters Halls of Fame, and President Barack Obama awarded Lynn the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. 

This week, close to 900 victims of last November’s East Tennessee wildfires were set to receive their final check from Dolly Parton’s My People Fund. But instead of delivering the $1000 they were expecting, Dolly surprised each of the Sevier County families with a check for $5000. The entertainment icon acknowledges she was only able to be so generous thanks to the overwhelming support of her Smoky Mountains Rise telethon in December. “I want to thank… the thousands of people from all over the country who opened both their pocketbooks and their hearts to help us,” Dolly says. Starting last December, the Dollywood Foundation issued checks for $1000 a month to victims whose primary residences were destroyed by the wildfires. “I know $10,000 can’t solve everything,” Dolly adds, “but I do hope the money will help them to dream again.” Now, the remaining money from the My People Fund will transition to the new Mountain Tough Recovery Team, which will continue to help Sevier County wildfire victims. The Dollywood Foundation plans to give at least $3 million to the effort, which starts June 1 and will be in place for three years. You can find out more or make a donation at MountainTough.org.

After selling out four June concerts at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetroPark in Billings, Montana, Garth Brooks plans to add one more show. Look for the details to be released on Monday. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will spotlight Ricky Skaggs’ more-than-half-century career Saturday, May 13 with a special interview and performance in the Ford Theater. You’ll be able to stream the 3 p.m. ET event on the Hall’s website.

Both Trace Adkins and Country-Music-Hall-of-Famer Kris Kristofferson star in this summer’s new feature film Hickok, based on the life of “Wild BillHickok. In the western, Kristofferson plays the mayor of Abilene, Kansas, who makes the notorious outlaw the town marshal in an effort to restore order. Trace is a saloon owner who leads a band of renegades and also puts a bounty on Hickok’s head. Westworld’s Luke Hemsworth stars as Hickok. The movie will be released simultaneously July 7 in theaters and on-demand. You can check out the trailer for Hickok on YouTube.

Country Music Hall-of-Famer Vince Gill is featured on a new version of Bette Midler’s hit “The Rose,” with its composer, singer/songwriter Amanda McBroom.

Garth Brooks will play Lafayette, Louisiana for the first time in a quarter-century on Saturday, June 24. Tickets for the show at the Cajundome with Trisha Yearwood go on sale Friday, May 12.

Friday may be Cinco de Mayo, but for Dolly Parton, the focus will be on mountains instead of margaritas. The entertainment icon from East Tennessee returns to her beloved hometown this weekend to help kick off the first tourist season since the area was devastated by wildfires last winter. Starting at 11 a.m., Dolly will greet guests at the grand opening of her new Smoky Mountain Adventures dinner attraction and show. You can tune in to watch the festivities on Facebook. Then, on Friday night at 6 p.m., Dolly will once again be Grand Marshall for the 32nd Annual Homecoming Parade given in her honor. Fifty thousand people typically line the parade route each year to catch a glimpse of the music legend.

You can experience the moment when Dierks Bentley reunites two sons with their dad, thanks to a new video just posted to YouTube. The emotional reunion took place Saturday backstage during Dierks’ meet-and-greet before his show in Fresno, California. The “Black” hitmaker was visiting with the boys, when their dad, Sgt. Steven Mendez, appeared from around the corner. Mendez had been stationed overseas for nearly a year. “I can’t begin to imagine the sacrifice of being away from your family for sometimes years,” Dierks admits. Later during the concert, Dierks invited the Mendez family onstage as he sang his hit “Home.” The crowd’s chants of “U-S-A” echoed throughout the arena. “I love the fact that country music fans hold our military and their families in such high regard and always jump at the chance to say thank you,” Dierks says. “It was a really cool moment in the show, and a really special thing for me to be part of.”

Next Monday night, Blake Shelton will remind both his competitors and his allies why he’s the winningest coach in the history of NBC’s The Voice. Blake will perform the fourth single from If I’m Honest, his current top-20 hit, “Every Time I Hear That Song.” You can catch Monday’s two-hour edition of the show starting at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. The following night, hot country phenom Maren Morris will stop by to sing her latest release, “I Could Use a Love Song.” Tuesday’s one-hour installment of The Voice starts at 8 p.m. ET as well.

Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins, Tracy Lawrence and the Oak Ridge Boys are set to play a special Thursday night edition of the Grand Ole Opry during CMA Music Festival. Tickets for the June 8 performance go on sale this Friday.  

If you’ve ever wanted to hear “Achy Breaky Heart” in Spanish, now is your chance. To commemorate both the song’s 25th anniversary and Cinco de Mayo, Billy Ray Cyrus has re-recorded the tune with Mexican band Caballo Dorado. The new version is available digitally now.

Now that Justin Moore and Lee Brice have completed 31 shows on their American Made tour, played for more than 120,000 fans, and helped introduce thousands to hot newcomers Brett Young and William Michael Morgan, they can turn their attention to more pressing concerns: the babies both singers' wives are expecting. Lee, his wife Sara and his sons Takoda and Ryker will welcome a little girl sometime this summer.  Justin and his wife Kate have three daughters --  Ella, Kennedy and Rebecca -- and they’re opting to let the sex of their new arrival be a surprise, with baby #4 due sometime in June.

Chris Young will debut his new single, “Losing Sleep,” on May 12. It’s the lead release from his follow-up to 2015’s I’m Comin’ Over.

Billy Ray Cyrus is celebrating the 25th anniversary of “Achy Breaky Heart” by releasing a new version of his signature song that features Country Music Hall of Famer Ronnie Milsap on piano.

It was Martina McBride who had a huge hit with “This One’s for the Girls,” but that’s also very much the theme of the new album from Sara Evans. Sara’s debut project on her own Born to Fly Records will be called Words, and will feature cuts from 14 different female songwriters, including Ashley Monroe, Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, Sara herself, and many more. It’s worth noting that Hillary had a hand in writing Sara’s most recent #1, 2010’s “A Little Bit Stronger.” “Not only is ‘Words’ the title to one of the songs…” Sara says, “but… I was always looking for lyrics that moved me and expressed a powerful range of emotions. Women are natural storytellers and I’m proud to have so many amazing female songwriters represented on this record.” The Missouri native’s 14-year-old daughter, Olivia, also contributes background vocals on the album. Words is set to be released July 21.

Brad Paisley and Rock-and-Roll Hall-of-Famer John Fogerty recently shot the music video for their new song “Love and War” aboard the USS Midway aircraft carrier in San Diego, California. The West Virginia native teamed up with the former Creedence Clearwater Revival lead singer to make a statement about how the U.S. treats its servicemen and women. "I think the message is, really, 'We can do better,'” Brad tells Entertainment Tonight. “We can do a lot better when it comes to taking care of veterans. I don't think there's anyone who would disagree with that…It feels like we should be giving these people the moon! They should be getting anything they need from us." Brad felt like Fogerty was the perfect collaborator for the song, since he served in the Army Reserve in the '60s. "I wasn't shipped to Vietnam, but… I had my eye on that all the way through," the rock legend says. "We send people off do this great service for us and possibly die, but when they come home, we don't treat them very well,” he adds. “That's what we wanted to express in the song -- we need to do something about that." The duet is the title track on Brad’s new album, Love and War, which was just released on Friday.

Charlie Worsham’s sophomore recording, Beginning of Things, is available now. The video for the album’s first single, “Cut Your Groove,” premiered on CMT this weekend.

The new album from Statler Brothers’ tenor Jimmy Fortune is now available nationally at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores. Jimmy Fortune: Sings the Classics features a guest appearance by Ricky Skaggs.

Chris Stapleton paid tribute to George Jones on his multi-platinum Traveller album by covering his classic “Tennessee Whiskey,” and now on his sophomore effort, he’s tipping his hat to Willie Nelson. Willie went to #2 in 1982 with “Last Thing I Needed First Thing This Morning,” and Stapleton offers his take on the tune on his new album, From A Room:  Volume 1, which comes out May 5. You can listen to Chris’s version in an audio-only clip on YouTube, or you can instantly download the track if you pre-order the album.

Both Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs will be on hand next Tuesday for the grand opening of the Gallery of Iconic Guitars on the campus of Nashville’s Belmont University. The museum is made up of mainly 20th century American-made guitars and mandolins, and will be open to the public inside the Lila D. Bunch Library.

Johnny Lee, who scored a #1 hit in 1980 with the Urban Cowboy tune, “Lookin’ for Love,” has just published his autobiography, appropriately titled Still Lookin’ for Love.

Chris Stapleton first premiered his new song, “Broken Halos,” last December on Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountains Rise telethon to help victims of the East Tennessee wildfires. Now, it’s also the first studio track you can hear from the Kentucky native’s forthcoming sophomore album. You can check out an audio-only version of the opening song on From A Room: Volume 1 on YouTube, or you can instantly download the track by pre-ordering the follow-up to Traveller. The new album is due May 5, with a second set also recorded at historic RCA Studio A following later in 2017. Look for the project’s lead single, “Either Way,” in the coming weeks.

Brad Paisley shot the video for the new song, “Heaven South,” Saturday in Franklin. It’s one of the tunes on his Love and War album, which comes out on Friday.

Both Martina McBride and Crystal Gayle joined Loretta Lynn on stage Friday night, as the Country Music Hall of Famer celebrated her 85th birthday with a concert at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.

Thursday evening in Music City, Trisha Yearwood became the final celebrity to come face-to-face with her double, before the opening of Madame Tussauds Nashville. Dressed almost identically to her wax likeness, the two-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year inspected her carefully crafted facsimile before wielding a pair of giant scissors to open Nashville’s newest tourist attraction. “This is my first ribbon-cutting ever!” Trisha exclaimed after performing her duties. The first Madame Tussauds to ever focus solely on music, the Nashville location includes legends you might expect like Hank Williams Sr., Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash, as well as non-country celebs like Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen and Beyonce. Modern-day hitmakers like Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood also are represented. Notably absent from the figures are entertainment icon Dolly Parton, as well as Trisha’s Entertainer-of-the-Year husband, Garth Brooks. Madame Tussauds Nashville will officially welcome its first paying customers on Friday.

Now that the battle rounds of The Voice -- which feature each coach receiving help from a mentor -- are over, get ready for the "super mentor."  For the last few seasons, The Voice has brought in a superstar to work with the Top 12 as a "key adviser," and this year, it's Shania Twain. Shania will appear on the April 24th episode of The Voice to work with the Top 12 during the final live-show phase of the competition.  Next week's show will feature the remaining contestants competing to actually make it into the Top 12. Past "key advisers" have included Taylor Swift, Coldplay's Chris Martin, Miley Cyrus, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Pink, Rihanna, and Dolly Parton.

Loretta Lynn celebrates her 85th birthday this weekend with two sold-out shows at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.  And as further proof she has no plans to slow down, the Country Music Hall of Famer is also readying a brand new album for release this summer. Wouldn’t It Be Great will be the third in a series of recordings Loretta's made at Cash Cabin and it's produced by the Man in Black’s son John Carter Cash, as well as Loretta’s daughter Patsy Lynn Russell. The living legend wrote or co-wrote 12 of the project’s songs, and arranged the remaining track: the traditional “Lulie Vars.” The set includes new compositions like “Ruby’s Stool,” “Ain’t No Time to Go,” and “I’m Dying for Someone to Live For,” as well as new recordings of trademark hits like “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “Don’t Come Home A’ Drinkin’.” Loretta previously recorded the title track on her 1993 Honky Tonk Angels album with Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette.

Zac Brown Band’s Jimmy De Martini and his wife Stacey welcomed their fourth child on Tuesday, their first daughter, named Jonelle. She joins big brothers James, Joseph and Jackson.

Ty Herndon will put on his second Concert for Love & Acceptance Thursday, June 8 at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. CMT’s Cody Alan will emcee the benefit for at-risk youth.

Toby Keith will host his 14th Annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic June 2-3 at Belmar Golf Club and Riverwood Casino in Norman, Oklahoma. Last year, the event raised more than a million dollars for Toby’s foundation, which helps fund Oklahoma City's OK Kids Korral, a free home-away-from-home for kids who are undergoing treatment, as well as their families.

Charlie Worsham will celebrate the release of his new album beginning of things Monday, April 24, with an invitation-only party at Nashville’s Station Inn. Worsham’s sophomore effort is due April 21.

For CMA Music Festival 2017, the Country Music Association is adding a new, free daytime stage to the schedule of events that'll take over downtown Nashville from June 8-11. The new venue will be located in the greenspace on the Riverfront near Ascend Amphitheater. It will be called the “Forever Country” Park Stage, in a nod to the CMA’s history-making video that recently won an ACM award. The “Forever Country” stage will focus on country hitmakers from the past few decades like The Bellamy Brothers, Mark Chesnutt, Exile, Ty Herndon, Tracy Lawrence, Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers, Lonestar, Restless Heart, Shenandoah, Mark Wills, and Darryl Worley, among others. Performances will kick off at 11 a.m. daily, wrapping up with the final one at 4:45, to give fans time to make it across the Cumberland for the nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium.

Reba McEntire is set to headline the 20th anniversary fundraiser for Nashville’s Thistle Farms. Titled “Love Letters,” the May 3 event at Music City’s Ryman Auditorium will support the two-decade-old organization that works to heal, empower and employ women who are survivors of trafficking, prostitution and addiction. Jason Isbell and Nashville legend John Prine are on the bill as well.  Tickets are on sale now at ThistleFarms.org.

Chris Lane, Frankie Ballard, RaeLynn and William Michael Morgan all will be featured in upcoming concert specials on AT&T’s AUDIENCE Network. While the exact airdates have yet to be announced, the shows will air Fridays at 9 p.m. ET.

Willie Nelson will headline this summer’s Outlaw Music Festival, with Bob Dylan, The Avett Brothers, Sheryl Crow, and many others joining him for the first leg of shows, which kick off July 1 in New Orleans.

Country Music Hall of Famer Jeff Cook will come off the road with Alabama at the end of the month, after revealing that he’s been battling Parkinson’s disease for the past four years. “This disease robs you of your coordination, your balance, and causes tremors,” the original member of the legendary band told USA Today. “For me, it has made it extremely frustrating to try and play guitar, fiddle or sing… I’m not calling it quits but sometimes our bodies dictate what we have to do, and mine is telling me it’s time to take a break and heal.” Cook first noticed a problem when he had trouble accurately casting his fishing line, and then his struggle progressed to playing the guitar. Even though Jeff will be coming off the road, he’s insisted that his cousins continue. “He wants us to go on,” lead singer Randy Owen says. “We want the music to go on. I’m going to be very honest. I don’t know if I have the fire. The only way I do, is knowing that Jeff is totally, ‘Go get it.’” Cook will play a fan event, as well as a May 27 show in Orange Beach, Alabama. Beyond that, he plans to drop in on the band’s shows as he’s able. Both Owen and Teddy Gentry hold out hope he’ll someday be able to return to regular performances with Alabama.

Eric Church is the latest in a long line of country stars to come face-to-face with their doubles, thanks to the opening of the new Madame Tussauds in Nashville. Eric met his lookalike wax figure backstage at his recent sold-out show at L.A.’s Staples Center. “I’ve seen figures before so I knew it would be realistic but the details are unbelievable, even the veins match,” Eric observed. “To see yourself like that is crazy -- I’m speechless.” Eric’s wax figure will take its place alongside remarkable likenesses of Jason Aldean, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and more, when Madam Tussauds Nashville opens at Opry Mills on April 14.

The Music Business Association will give Reba McEntire its Chairman’s Award for Sustained Creative Achievement May 18 at its luncheon in Nashville. Maren Morris will be honored as its Breakthrough Artist.

Jason Aldean, Thomas Rhett and Lady Antebellum are set to headline the 41st Jamboree in the Hills festival July 11-13 in Belmont County, Ohio.

Josh Turner’s 2010 album Haywire was certified Gold by the RIAA in March.

Chris Stapleton’s follow-up to Traveller will be called From A Room: Volume 1, and will be out May 5, exactly two years since his breakthrough album was released. The record’s title references legendary RCA Studio A, where it was recorded.  What's more, a second volume from the sessions this winter will be released later this year. The collection features eight new songs co-written by Stapleton, many of which avid fans may recognize. Chris debuted the set’s opening track, “Broken Halos,” on Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountains Rise telethon last December. The second cut is the album’s only non-original song, a cover of Willie Nelson’s hit, “The Last Thing I Needed, the First Thing This Morning.” Chris unveiled “Second One to Know” on this Sunday’s ACM Awards, while the project’s first single, “Either Way,” dates back even farther. It was originally on Lee Ann Womack’s Grammy-nominated 2008 album, Call Me Crazy, on which Chris himself provided background vocals.

Sunday night in Las Vegas, the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards make their debut in their new home, Sin City's T-Mobile Arena. While the venue may be new, the hosts aren't -- Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley are old pros by now. Luke's hosted three times before with Blake Shelton, and this will be his second run with Dierks. Going into the night, Keith Urban stands to take home the most statuettes, as he's nominated for seven awards. Miranda Lambert and Maren Morris are close behind, with six nods. Maren, however, has already come out on top in one of her categories, taking home the previously announced New Female Vocalist trophy. Jon Pardi and Brothers Osborne head into the night as the New Male and New Vocal Duo or Group winners, respectively. Just like any other awards show worth its time on TV, the ACMs will be jam-packed with one-of-a-kind performances. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will perform “Speak to a Girl” for the first time, while Thomas Rhett will debut his single featuring Maren Morris, “Craving You.” Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood will do “The Fighter,” as road buddies Cole Swindell and Dierks Bentley deliver “Flatliner.” Christian artist Lauren Daigle joins Reba McEntire for a new version of “Back to God.” Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Sam Hunt, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Jon Pardi, Rascal Flatts, Chris Stapleton, Brett Eldredge and Old Dominion are set to sing as well. The action starts at 8 p.m. ET, live on CBS.

Trace Adkins co-hosts the third hour of NBC’s Today show on Friday. He’ll also perform his latest single, “Watered Down.” 

The Rolling StonesKeith Richards and rocker Sheryl Crow have joined the lineup of Sing Me Back Home. The tribute to Merle Haggard takes place April 6 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

Dolly Parton’s NBC-TV movie Christmas of Many Colors:  Circle of Love is one of the winners of the 68th Annual Christopher Awards, which will be handed out in May. 

Chris Stapleton’s follow-up to his blockbuster Traveller album is ready, and we’ll get our first preview of his new music during the Academy of Country Music Awards. The reigning ACM Male Vocalist of the year will debut new music from his sophomore album, which is due May 5, on Sunday’s live ACM show on CBS. In addition to defending his Male Vocalist title, Stapleton is also up for Song and Video of the Year at the 52nd annual awards. In addition, the Kentucky native is adding new dates to his All-American Road Show this fall. Tickets for those concerts go on sale to the public Friday, April 7. You can find all the details at ChrisStapleton.com.

Chris Stapleton duets with Bobby Bare on a new version of the Country Music Hall-of-Famer’s signature hit, “Detroit City.” Their collaboration will be included on Bare’s new studio album, Things Change, which comes out May 26. The song, which is alternately known as “I Wanna Go Home,” was co-written by fellow Hall of Famer Mel Tillis. It became Bare’s first top-ten hit in 1963 and went on to win the Grammy for Best Country/Western Recording the next year. Stapleton’s as-yet-untitled sophomore album is set to come out May 5, several weeks before his “Detroit City” duet is due.

Marty Robbins’ pivotal 1959 album, Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, is one of only 25 recordings chosen to be preserved as part of the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress this year. Recorded entirely in one eight-hour session on April 7, 1959, the Grammy-winning LP includes the Country Music Hall of Famer’s self-penned signature song, “El Paso." The registry chooses recordings each year based on their "cultural, artistic and historical importance to American society and the nation’s audio heritage," according to the Library of Congress. Also of note among this year’s honorees are the Eagles’ 1976 compilation, Their Greatest Hits, as well as the Chuck Wagon Gang’s 1948 recording of “I’ll Fly Away.” The country/gospel group was the first to record the now-classic southern hymn by Albert E. Brumley.

UMG Nashville will commemorate the 20th anniversary of Deana Carter’s breakthrough album Did I Shave My Legs for This? by releasing it on vinyl for the very first time. The LP will be available March 31.

Watch for Zac Brown Band Wednesday on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. You can catch it at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.

Hank Williams Jr. will co-headline a handful of shows this summer with Lynyrd Skynyrd as part of his 2017 tour.

For the first time in more than 50 years, Patsy Cline is on a tour -- of sorts -- of Nashville. Madame Tussauds will reveal its new wax figure of the late country icon April 7 at the opening of the new Patsy Cline Museum in downtown Nashville. The new museum boasts the largest collection of Cline artifacts in the world, and features a new film about Patsy’s career, hosted by actress Beverly D’Angelo, who played her in the Academy Award-winning film, Coal Miner’s Daughter. Cline's likeness will be on display through April 9 at the new tourist attraction on Third Avenue South, which is adjacent to the popular Johnny Cash Museum. The wax figure’s permanent home will be at the new Madame Tussauds Nashville in Opry Mills, which opens April 14.

Ever since Jason Aldean lost a close friend to breast cancer just as he was enjoying his first taste of success, he’s been an avid supporter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation charity. So it’s no surprise the ACM Entertainer of the Year will continue that tradition when he launches the They Don’t Know Tour next month in Toledo, Ohio. “As long as I’m doing what I’m doing, I will do what I can to fight breast cancer and celebrate its survivors,” he says. “We all know someone whose life has been changed by this terrible disease, so we’re going to treat as many survivors as we can this year with a night out to take their minds off everything else.” The survivors will be Jason's "honorary roadies," and will receive concert tickets, VIP backstage access, and private meet-and-greets at many of his shows. You can nominate someone you know for the gig at Komen.org/JasonAldean.  Jason will also continue to give a portion of each ticket sold to Susan G. Komen. So far, he’s raised more than $3 million for the cause.  

Not only did Zac Brown Band play the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo this weekend, but Zac also bought himself a pretty impressive souvenir. Zac and his wife Shelly were one of three couples who chipped in to buy the Junior Market Reserve Grand Champion Steer. Raised by 16-year-old Stock Martin of Hereford, Texas, the prize steer went for a cool $330,000. ZBB’s new single, “My Old Man,” is currently in the top-25. The Houston Rodeo cranks up again next year from February 27 - March 18.

The father of 90’s hitmaker Neal McCoy, “PeteMcGaughey, passed away on Saturday. He was 86.

You can check out Clint Black’s new episode of The Big Interview with Dan Rather on Tuesday: it premieres at 8 p.m. ET on AXS-TV.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will mark its 50th anniversary on April 1 by rolling back ticket prices to $1.50. That’s what it cost to get into the Hall when it opened in 1967. The first 5000 patrons will also get a commemorative Hatch Show Print.

Country music's most famous redhead, Reba McEntire, has been selected to kick-off the 27th annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game set for Saturday, Jun 10 during the CMA Music Festival, by singing the national anthem. The game brings together country music’s brightest stars and draws thousands of its biggest fans with the intent to strike out cancer with City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and cancer and diabetes treatment center. Proceeds from the game go to support the organization. The game is often cited by fans as one of the highlights of the CMA Music Festival. This year it will once again take place at Nashville's First Tennessee Park. More celebrity players will be announced in the next few weeks.

Jon Pardi will perform “Dirt On My Boots” on ABC’s Good Morning America Wednesday. The single sits at #1 for the second week in a row on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.

Ryman Auditorium officials have asked Emmylou Harris to play a key role in a year-long slate of special events marking this year’s 125th anniversary of the building -- commonly referred to as “The Mother Church of Country Music.” Emmylou and her then all-acoustic band The Nash Ramblers are often credited with saving the famed venue due to the success of a live album recorded there in 1991.

Superstar Brad Paisley returns to Nashville's Wild West Comedy Festival to host a pair of stand-up comedy shows at Zanies Comedy Club on Tuesday, April 18 at 6:30 p.m and 8:45 p.m. This is Brad's third stint hosting a night of surprises and laughter during the comedy festival. The shows will be filmed for an upcoming comedy special. Any featured stand-up comedians that night weren't revealed. Tickets for the shows to be hosted by Brad go on sale today at 10 am at Nashville.zanies.com.

Glen Campbell, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2011, can no longer play the guitar, his wife Kim Campbell revealed. The "Rhinestone Cowboy" was moved to a full-time care facility in March 2014, but his wife of 34 years said in a recent interview with The Tennessean that she still visits him at the Nashville facility daily with some exceptions. Kim Campbell added that her husband still plays "air guitar," but because he's in the late stages of the disease he cannot play the actual instrument. Campbell, 80, also attempts to sing at times. "Doctors say that because Glen continued to do music it probably helped him plateau in the early and middle stages," Kim Campbell said. Still, the "Galveston" singer has lost his speech and can't comprehend language. His wife did reveal that he can still utter "automated" responses such as "I love you" and "How are you doing?" "But he still has his essence," Kim Campbell added. Kim Campbell said she's speaking out in hopes of encouraging others who may be living with a family member with Alzheimer's. "I want to let people know that there's hope out there. There's help out there. They don't have to do this alone," Campbell told the newspaper. "They can’t do it alone. It will take you down."

A few tickets still remain for CMA Music Festival’s nightly shows at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium, and if you don’t have yours yet, this year’s lineup should be motivation to hurry. The Country Music Association revealed the full roster Friday on ABC’s Good Morning America, with Country Music Hall of Famer Kenny Rogers set to kick off the big concerts at 8 p.m. CT on Thursday, June 8. Brett Eldredge, Cole Swindell, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, and Luke Bryan will keep the stadium rockin’ the rest of the night. Friday, Trace Adkins leads the way, with Rascal Flatts, Sam Hunt, Kelsea Ballerini, Eric Church, and Blake Shelton also set to play. Country legend John Anderson is up first on Saturday. Maren Morris, Chris Young, Lady Antebellum, Thomas Rhett, and Florida Georgia Line round out that night’s lineup. For the final night at Nissan Stadium, Tracy Lawrence is in first position, with Darius Rucker, Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town, Keith Urban, and Brad Paisley bringing the 2017 entertainment to a close. As usual, the shows will be recorded for a mammoth ABC special to air later in the summer. So far, we don’t know who’ll host this year. Little Big Town, Thomas Rhett and Brett Eldredge have all done it in the past.

Brad Paisley's new Love and War album won't be out until April 21, but if you pre-order the project, you can download his #1 hit, "Today," and the track "Heaven South" now.

Toby Keith, Alabama and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons have been added to Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard. The all-star concert celebration will take place April 6 at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.

Brad Paisley headlined three sold-out shows in London, Dublin and Glasgow this weekend as part of Europe’s C2C Festival. Former tourmate Chris Young joined him on stage each night to perform “Still a Guy.”

Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels will release his autobiography, Never Look at the Empty Seats, on October 24.

Dolly Parton’s longtime friend and business partner, Don Warden, died Sunday in Nashville at the age of 87. The two originally met when they both worked for Porter Wagoner, for whom Warden played the steel guitar. When Porter and Dolly parted ways, Warden followed the hot new female vocalist, serving as her manager. The man Dolly called “Mr. Everything” will be memorialized at a funeral Thursday at Christ Church Nashville.

The 52nd ACM Awards are still more than two weeks away, but the Academy of Country Music is already passing out trophies. Tuesday, the Academy revealed the winners in its new artist categories, with Jon Pardi taking home New Male Vocalist, Maren Morris locking up New Female and Brothers Osborne securing the New Vocal Duo or Group honors. In addition to taking home some heavy metal, the three winners are also guaranteed performance slots on the show. For the second year in a row, Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley will host, as the Academy of Country Music Awards take over Las Vegas Sunday, April 2. You can watch live on CBS starting at 8 p.m. ET.

There’s new music on the way this week from breakout country star Maren Morris. The Texas native will release a digital-only expanded edition of her debut album Hero this Friday, complete with three songs that were not included when the record came out last June. Hero Deluxe adds “Company You Keep,” which was previously available on Maren’s self-titled EP, as well as “Bummin’ Cigarettes” and “Space.” The trio of songs has been a staple on Maren’s headlining Hero trek, which will set out for the United Kingdom and Ireland later this year. Tickets for the overseas leg of the tour go on sale Friday. Maren’s significant other, Ryan Hurd, will continue to open the dates.

Darius Rucker teams up with rock legend John Mellencamp for the latest installment of CMT Crossroads, which premieres Friday, March 24 at 10 p.m. ET. It’s the latest of Mellencamp’s many forays into country music: he collaborated with Keith Urban for a performance of “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” on the CMA Awards and sits on the Farm Aid board with Willie Nelson. Mellencamp’s latest single, “Grandview,” features Martina McBride. Expect to hear Darius trading lines with Mellencamp on hits like “Pink Houses” and “Cherry Bomb,” as well as the Hootie and the Blowfish frontman’s own hits “Hold My Hand,” “Wagon Wheel” and “Alright.” Darius also does his latest top-20, “If I Told You.” CMT Crossroads:  John Mellencamp and Darius Rucker was taped February 24 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

Dan Rather visits with Clint Black in his Nashville home, in a new episode of The Big Interview, set to air March 28 on AXS-TV.

If you're in the mood to see your favorite stars on national TV, Tuesday is your day. Josh Turner kicks things off with an appearance on NBC's Today show, while Little Big Town stops by The Talk on CBS. Jon Pardi wraps up the day by making his late-night-TV debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC.

Multi-award winning artist and country music hit-maker Travis Tritt continues to check off boxes in his illustrious career. Following the release of his live 2-disc CD and DVD, titled A Man and His Guitar – Live from the Franklin Theatre, the concert event is scheduled to air as special programming on PBS stations across the country Filmed and recorded in an intimate setting at the historic Franklin Theatre in Franklin, Tennessee, Travis Tritt: A Man and His Guitar spotlights Tritt’s distinctively soulful voice, his exceptional guitar prowess, and features Tritt at his best, performing a fresh take on some of his biggest hits, including “Help Me Hold On,” “Anymore,” and “Best of Intentions,” in a stripped down, pure form. Previously unreleased renditions of “Come and Go Blues” and “Pickin’ At It” are also included in the program. This presentation of Tritt’s performance features television hosts Nan Kelley and Brian Mansfield along with special in-concert guests Marty Stuart and James Otto.