ABC/Image Group LA Kelsea Ballerini's now two shows into her gig as the opening act for Keith Urban’s Graffiti U World Tour. It’s a gig that’s especially meaningful for Kelsea, because it was one of Keith’s songs that first piqued her interest in country music.
“Keith Urban, he's in my bio, y'all!” she told a group of reporters in Nashville. “I remember being like 13-years-old and 'Stupid Boy' was on my friend's MySpace page, and that was the song that like broke open the gates of country music to me.”
This summer, Kelsea’s determined to pick up all she can from the Australian superstar.
“Just to watch him every night,” she reveals, “and learn how he somehow reinvents himself with every record, but stays the same. I have so much to learn from him. I'm really excited.”
Kelsea’s latest single from her Unapologetically album, “I Hate Love Songs,” is nearing country’s top-30. It’s the follow-up to her most recent #1, “Legends.”
Comstock/Thinkstock In April of 1970, Loretta Lynn became the first country female ever to be awarded a gold record for one of her albums. Can you guess which LP it was? ANSWER: Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind).
Capitol NashvilleKeith Urban kicked off his Graffiti U World Tour this weekend, with stops in St. Louis, Missouri and Indianapolis, Indiana. But before he even started rehearsals, the Australian superstar made it a point to find out which songs off his new Graffiti U record his fans were anxious to hear.
“I reached out to the fans to ask 'em what songs off the album they're liking,” Keith explains, “and 'Never Comin' Down' was a big favorite, 'Horses' was another one.”
“There was a few there,” he continues, “which was really cool. 'My Wave' was on there. It's been good because it's been a good eclectic mix of very unexpected songs, so I'm glad they're responding to it.”
In fact, Keith even changed his opening number based on the feedback from fans.
“It's funny,” he admits. “We have a song called 'Never Comin' Down' on the record that seemed like a no-brainer as an opener. But I was very adamant that it should be 'Coming Home.'”
“And we had that in place,” Keith reveals, “probably all the way up until the end of our tour rehearsals and then flipped it. And it was so screamingly obvious that it should be 'Never Comin' Down,' so that change got made.”
“Coming Home,” of course, is Keith’s latest top-ten hit. This week, he and opener Kelsea Ballerinibring the Graffiti U tour to Clarkston, Michigan and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
ABC/Randy HolmesCole Swindell is such a fan of “Reason to Drink” that he made it the name of his headlining trek earlier this year. Now, the Georgia native is releasing the track as the latest preview of his third album, All of It, which comes out August 17.
“Somebody somewhere’s getting married today/Somebody’s home team, they just won State/Some ole boy’s girl just left him/If that’s you, raise your hand, I got your next one,” Cole sings.
Cole also put out a live video of “Reason to Drink,” which was shot on tour. You can check it out on YouTube now.
The lead single from All of It, “Break Up in the End,” is currently top-25 and climbing.
ABC/Image Group LA A week before their self-titled third album comes out, Dan Shay are releasing one of the most anticipated tracks from the record: “Keeping Score,” their collaboration with Kelly Clarkson.
Shay Mooney proves he can hold his own with Kelly’s powerhouse vocals on the emotional ballad, co-written by Dan Smyers.
“It is such an honor for us to sing this duet with Kelly,” Dan says. “Not only is she one of the most incredible vocalists of our generation, she is one of the most genuine, kind-hearted people we have ever met. We’re glad this song resonated with her as much as it did with us.”
This is the fifth preview track the duo has put out from Dan Shay, which is set to arrive June 22. Its lead single, “Tequila,” is currently in the top five.
It’s worth noting that Kelly already has a pretty impressive history on the country chart. She and Jason Aldean went to #1 with “Don’t You Wanna Stay” in 2011, following a #2 duet version of “Because of You” with her mother-in-law Reba McEntire in 2007.
“Keeping Score” is available to stream or download now, or you can check out its “Icon” video on YouTube.
Broken BowIf you’re an Apple Music subscriber, you can get an early look at Jason Aldean’s new video for “Drowns the Whiskey” with Miranda Lambert. The clip premieres on Apple Music today; it becomes widely available on Saturday.
Jason and Miranda shot “Drowns the Whiskey” at Nashville's Springwater Supperclub and Lounge, a frequent music video location that also claims to be the oldest bar in the state of Tennessee.
“Cutting this song for the album has always been a no-brainer for me,” Jason says. “I wanted to keep the video simple and really let the heartbreak and loneliness come through.”
The cover for Jason’s Rearview Town album was also shot at Springwater.
You can check out a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the “Drowns the Whiskey” video on YouTube now.
ABC/Image Group LA Just in time for Father’s Day, Walker Hayes is launching his “Be a Craig Fund.”
The project takes its name from Walker’s latest single, “Craig,” which tells the story of a friend who surprised Walker, his wife, and their six kids by giving them a van when they desperately needed it.
“I want to be a ‘Craig,’” Walker says. “I want to be more selfless and look outward. I want to give back and this fund allows us to do so, together.”
To participate, you can go to BeACraig.org and make a donation, buy a t-shirt, or share the story of someone you’d like to help.
“Craig” is the follow-up to Walker’s debut hit, “You Broke Up with Me.”
Sadly, Walker and his wife Laney lost their seventh child a little more than a week ago.
ABC/Image Group LA There's no doubt Darius Rucker is a superstar in the world of music, having found success as the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish, before collecting a string of number ones during his solo country career.
But his daughters Carolyn Pearl and Daniella Rose and his son, Jack, don't seem to be terribly impressed by what their father does for a living.
"Not in the least. Not in the least," Darius says. "They're proud of me..." he adds.
He did manage to score a few points though, when he played last year's Hand in Hand telethon to help the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
"When we did the hurricane relief thing, all my daughter said was, 'Oh, look at Daddy up there blowin' it with Demi Lovato,'" he laughs. "Demi was onstage next to me, so she liked that."
"But, no. I'm just Dad to them," he concludes.
Hopefully this Sunday, Darius will be able to carve out some time to celebrate Father's Day with his kids. Next month, he heads out on the Summer Plays On tour with Lady Antebellum.
Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock "Singles You Up" hitmaker Jordan Davis will release the lyric video for his new song, "Take It From Me," on Monday. You can watch a sneak peek of the clip on his socials.
Hunter Hayes performs on Disney's Fairytale Weddings on Monday. You can watch for him starting at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.
Dan Shay will release their collaboration with Kelly Clarkson, titled "Keeping Score," Friday at midnight. It's from their forthcoming self-titled album, which arrives June 22.
If you missed Dierks Bentley doing his new single, "Burning Man," on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, you can watch his performance online now.
ABC/Craig SjodinLuke Bryan hasn't decided exactly how he'll celebrate Father's Day on Sunday. But he has a pretty strong idea what he WON'T be doing, after his plans went south last year.
"[My wife] Caroline was perfect in asking me what did I want for Father's Day," he recalls, "and I said, 'I want to go camping with the boys on a little trout stream thing.' And I knew a buddy that had a camper."
But almost immediately, things started to go wrong.
"[I] get the camper hooked up, get to the campsite. It's 98 degrees," Luke explains. "I had loaded a lawn mower in the back of my truck. By the time I got done mowing an acre of four-foot-tall grass for the campsite, [there were] mosquitoes."
"You know, the camper never works like you want [it] to," he goes on. "So, I made a last-minute call and got my tour bus driver. I said, 'Just bring the tour bus so we can sleep in some air conditioning.'"
This year, the Georgia native admits he doesn't much care how he spends Father's Day, as long as he's with his sons Bo and Tate.
"It may just be a day around the pool at the Bryan house," Luke says. "I'm always about making it... let's just be around each other, first and foremost."
"So I haven't really put my mind together for what I want for Father's Day. But I will not be mowing an acre of grass for the RV moment!" he laughs.
FoxVoting is now underway for the 2018 Teen Choice awards, with plenty of country acts showing up in non-country categories.
Both Maren Morris and Florida Georgia Line are up for Choice Collaboration for their hits "The Middle" and "Meant to Be," while FGL also scored a nod for Choice Music Group. They're competing against the likes of pop stars Maroon 5 and Fifth Harmony for the honor.
Chris Stapleton even has a shot at Choice Song, for his duet with Justin Timberlake on his single, "Say Something."
Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris and Thomas Rhett are all competing in the one official country category, Choice Country Artist.
You can cast your vote now through June 19 at TeenChoice.com. We'll find out who wins on Sunday, August 12, when the show airs live on Fox.
Big Loud Chris Lane's sophomore album is set to arrive July 13, and will be called Laps Around the Sun.
The North Carolina native recorded the project with a live band, and believes it reflects his growth since Girl Problems came out in 2016.
“I’ve learned a lot," Chris tells Billboard. "With my first record, I was trying to figure out exactly what kind of sound I wanted to have, and now I know. I know what I truly love and what kind of artist I want to be."
"My goal was to make sure anyone who hears this album finds a song they can relate to," he adds. "I hope I accomplished that.”
In addition to the lead single, "Take Back Home Girl," which features pop star Tori Kelly, Chris also duets with Danielle Bradbery on the record.
Courtesy of Billboard, here's a look at the complete track listing for Laps Around the Sun -- it includes the intriguing song title, "New Phone, Who's This":
"Take Back Home Girl" (featuring Tori Kelly) "Fishin'" "Drunk People" "I Don't Know About You" "Laps Around The Sun" "Bad Girl" "New Phone, Who's This" "All The Right Problems" "Life Goes On" "Sun Kiss You" "Number One" "Old Flame" "Without You (feat. Danielle Bradbery)" "Hero"
ABC/Image Group LA Tim McGraw and Faith Hill checked out Bruce Springsteen's ongoing New York City residency Wednesday night, with Tim giving it a rave review.
"Faith & I went to see this last night..." he tweeted on Thursday, along with a photo of the Springsteen on Broadway marquee at the Walter Kerr Theatre.
"Most incredible thing I’ve ever seen," Tim continued. "Masterfully done, every artist who sees this will be truly inspired to be better, to give more & to live up to the gifts & responsibility we've been given. Watching the Boss & [his wife] Patti [Scialfa] together was magic."
Bruce's five-shows-a-week residency, which won him a special Tony Award last weekend, is set to continue through December 15 of this year.
Meanwhile, Tim & Faith bring their Soul2Soul Tour to Uniondale, New York on Thursday, before playing Uncasville, Connecticut and Manchester, New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday.
ABC/Randy HolmesIt looks like Jennifer Nettles and crooner Josh Groban are up to something.
The "You Raise Me Up" hitmaker shared a picture of the two together in the studio on Thursday, adding "Me. Nettles. Oh my goodness my ears and voice are happy. Stay tuned."
Jennifer tweeted the photo as well, saying simply "Oh hi!"
Josh is currently working on a new album for release this fall, so it's possible their collaboration is for that. As we wait for more details, Jennifer's currently on Sugarland's Still the Same Tour with Kristian Bush.
The duo released their reunion album, Bigger, last week, as their collaboration with Taylor Swift, "Babe," climbs the chart.
Cody Villalobos / @codyvillalobosJustin Moore is teaming up with David Lee Murphy for two dates in the Southeast this fall, and they're hinting there's likely more to come.
David Lee will open for Justin in Southaven, Mississippi and Owensboro, Kentucky on September 27 and 28. The two have also been collaborating on some new material for Justin's next album, which should arrive later this year.
The title track of Justin's current record, "Kinda Don't Care," is currently in country's top-25, while David Lee's duet with Kenny Chesney, "Everything's Gonna Be Alright," is approaching #1.
ABC/Image Group LA Friday night, Keith Urban sets his Graffiti U World Tour in motion in St. Louis, Missouri.
Fans can expect lots of material from the album the tour is named for, as well as “some reworking of older songs,” Keith tells Billboard, making sure to add, “without tinkering too much, because people want to sing along,”
His wife Nicole Kidman and their two daughters will join him some of the time on the road.
"What I try to do is go to the shows and come home," Keith explains, "but if I’m out for any length of time they always come out."
You can get a short preview of Keith's new show in a rehearsal video now posted on YouTube.
Kelsea Ballerini will open the Graffiti U dates. After opening night in St. Louis, the tour continues on to Indianapolis on Saturday.
Comstock/Thinkstock Thirty-three years ago this week, soon-to-be Country Music Hall of Famer Ricky Skaggs topped the chart with this song, which was the title track of his 1984 album. Can you name it? ANSWER: "Country Boy."