Country News

52nd Annual ACM Awards set for April 2nd

52nd Annual ACM Awards

The Academy of Country Music has announced that the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Music’s Party of the Year, will broadcast live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 2nd at 8 pm ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. This will mark the first time the show will broadcast from T-Mobile Arena. The 52nd ACM Awards, honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in country music, will feature exciting performances, unprecedented collaborations, surprising moments and more to be announced in the coming months.

Details about The Week Vegas Goes Country, including information on the ACM Party for a Cause events, activities, and official ACM after parties, is forthcoming. Fans may sign up for the ACM A-List for free at ACM A-Listers will receive the ticket purchase pre-sale code and information on discounted room rates.


Professional Members of the ACM can purchase tickets beginning at 10 am (PT) Tuesday, January 24th by visiting


ACM A-List Members can purchase tickets in a special pre-sale beginning at 10 am (PT) Tuesday, January 24th by visiting The pre-sale code will be emailed to all A-List Members prior to the on-sale date.


Tickets will go on-sale to the general public at 10 am (PT) Thursday, January 26th at

The Academy also announced earlier this month that Pete Fisher was selected as the Academy of Country Music’s new Chief Executive Officer, effective Monday, January 30th. Fisher most recently served as the Vice President and General Manager of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN, and also served the ACM as an active and engaged Board member for 14 years.

John Schneider announces ‘Ruffled Skirts’ album

John Schneider

John Schneider has graced television screens, made an impact in the film community, and delighted the country music world for decades by eloquently delivering stories in a way no one has before. He landed his television debut in 1978 as Bo Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard, starred as Jonathan Kent on the hit TV series Smallville, and is now playing the role of Judge Jim Cryer in the smash Tyler Perry hit, The Haves and the Have Nots.

Schneider is gearing up for his triumphant return to the country music scene with Ruffled Skirts, a near and dear album to him after his community was devastated by flooding twice in one year. In a matter of six months, the floods ravaged his studio which took in four feet of water destroying much of his film/recording studio. Sitting in the recording studio with no furniture, Schneider began arranging songs like “How Do You Stop The Water,” “The Cajun Navy” and “Every Friday Night” before enlisting in songwriters Scott Innis, Phil Redrow, and Clifton Brown to help bring the songs to life.

Instead of sitting in songwriting sessions, Schneider and producing partner Alicia Allain sent photos and video to each songwriter of the devastation that Louisiana endured to eloquently capture the monstrosity of the flooding through music. The songs came to life when Schneider recorded each track in his bare studio creating a perfect space to take in the right sound. Schneider then enlisted in LeRoux’s keyboardist/vocalist Nelson Blanchard to mix and master the ten track album.

In addition to Blanchard, the album also features Louisiana’s royalty including LeRoux (‘New Orleans Lady’), Jo-El Sonnier, Doug Kershaw, David Hyde and Randy Carpenter. Ruffled Skirts, which Schneider so eloquently named in reference to the single-wide and double-wide trailers that came through after the flood, is expected to drop January 27th.

“This is the most raw, emotional and in your face music I have ever had the pleasure of singing,” Schneider says.

Outside of Schneider’s tumultuous acting career, he has swooned the country music world with hits like, “It’s Now or Never,” which still to do this day remains the top charting Elvis cover of all time, “I’ve Been Around Enough to Know,” “Country Girls,” “Last Thing I Needed Tonight” and “What’s A Memory Like You (Doing In A Love Like This)” which all charted number one on the US Country charts.

In addition, Schneider’s Memory Like You his first album to debut at number one on the US Country chart and still a classic to this day. His latest album, Home For Christmas released in 2010 features The Dukes of Hazzard co-star, Tom Wopat in an 18 track holiday album that mixes seasonal standards like “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Silver Bells” alongside humorous, left-field tracks like “Johnny, It’s Cold Outside,” a bromantic reinterpretation of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”


More stars added to Randy Travis tribute concert

Randy Travis

Joining the star-studded tribute to Randy Travis on February 8th will be Wynonna, Jeff Foxworthy, Alison Krauss, Ben Haggard, Neal McCoy and Phil Vassar. Tickets for the highly anticipated event are on sale now at all Ticketmaster locations and the Bridgestone Arena Box Office.

The event, titled 1 Night. 1 Place. 1 Time: A Heroes and Friends Tribute to Randy Travis, will also feature performances from Alabama, Rodney Atkins, Kane Brown, James Dupre, Montgomery Gentry, Chris Janson, Jamey Johnson, Scotty McCreery, Joe Nichols, Michael Ray, Collin Raye, Ricky Skaggs, Kenny Rogers, Michael W. Smith, The Bellamy Brothers, The Randy Travis Band, Ricky Traywick, Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, Josh Turner with more still to be announced.

A portion of the proceeds will go to the Randy Travis Foundation; a 501(c)3 non-profit that raises money for stroke research and rehabilitation.

“Randy and Mary Travis and I are extremely overwhelmed with the artists that are lending their talents for this special night. Once they found out that Randy needed help to fund the Randy Travis Foundation everyone started calling. Funds going into the foundation will help fund numerous stroke research and rehabilitation programs. This will only be one night, one time, and one place and will never happen again. Almost 30 artists have confirmed so far. They will perform with Randy’s band as well as join Randy in his first public performance since his life-altering stroke. We are prepared for there not to be a dry eye in the house,” said producer of the event and Travis’ manager, Tony Conway of Conway Entertainment Group/Ontourage Management.

In October, Randy Travis was officially inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame. The multi-platinum country giant suffered a massive stroke in 2013 and has since made miraculous strides towards recovery. He recently sang “Amazing Grace” at his Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony as well as the tagline to his iconic “Forever and Ever, Amen” at the 2016 CMA Awards in November alongside numerous country legends and stars.

1 Night. 1 Place. 1 Time: A Heroes and Friends Tribute to Randy Travis is produced by Mary Travis along with Tony Conway of Conway Entertainment Group/Ontourage Management, Mike Smardak of Outback Concerts of Tennessee, Inc. who is also the promoter of the event and Kirt Webster of Webster and Associates.

Jason Aldean announces They Don’t Know tour

Jason Aldean They Don't Know Touir

RIAA’s top digital country male artist of all time Jason Aldean makes plans to return to the road as he announces details for his Jason Aldean: They Don’t Know Tour, launching in Toledo, OH, on April 27th. Named after the only Country album to claim the top spot on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart in 2016 that’s “packed with stadium-size songs and arena-ready hooks” (The Boston Globe), the Multi-PLATINUM entertainer is sure to bring that same energy to the stage while boasting support from special guests Chris Young, Kane Brown and Dee Jay Silver.

Tickets for the first dates will be available beginning January 20th at 7:30 am CT on and Select cities are also part of Live Nation’s Country Megaticket which go on sale January 27th at Live Nation is the official promoter of the tour.

“It only takes a couple weeks off the road before I get that itch, and I’m already feeling it,” said Aldean. “We’re going to spend some time switching the production up to be bigger and louder than anything we’ve ever done. It’ll be cool to have Chris back out with us and Kane is the right guy to get the fans riled up.”

Tour Dates:

Toledo, OH
Ft Wayne, IN
Green Bay, WI
Charleston, WV
Cleveland, OH
Chicago, IL
Providence, RI
Uncasville, CT
Toronto, ON
Darien Center, NY
Wantagh, NY
Charlotte, NC
Indianapolis, IN
St. Louis, MO
Cincinnati, OH
Birmingham, AL
Jacksonville, FL
Tampa, FL
W.Palm Beach, FL
Philadelphia, PA
Washington, DC
Virginia Beach, VA
Raleigh, NC
Holmdel, NJ
Salt Lake City, UT
Denver, CO
Albuquerque, NM
Spokane, WA
Sacramento, CA
Mtn. View, CA
Los Angeles, CA
San Diego, CA
Anaheim, CA

In addition to the new tour, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has announced that a special exhibit honoring Aldean will open its doors on May 27th, commemorating his wide-open sound that has been one of the defining influences on today’s Country Music.

“Country music’s hard-rocking everyman” is “the mirror image of his fans” (Rolling Stone) as his recent album They Don’t Know follows on the heels of each album release earning PLATINUM certification or better, tallying more than 14 million total album sales and 18 No. one hits. The longevity of his career reached new heights as he debuted at the No. One position on Billboard’s all-genre Top 200 Album chart for the third consecutive time with his seventh studio album, which has already produced two consecutive chart-toppers.

The ACM Entertainer of the Year incorporates his traditional roots into his nostalgic single “Any Ol’ Barstool,” as it serves as “a throwback to the early music that helped catapult Aldean into the spotlight more than a decade ago” (Forbes).

Loretta Lynn celebrates 85th birthday with milestones

Loretta Lynn

2017 is already shaping up as a banner year in the life and career of American music icon Loretta Lynn, whose album, Full Circle, has received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album. As part of its 50th anniversary commemoration, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is mounting a major exhibition that is focused on the life, art and music of Loretta Lynn.

“I am so happy the Country Music Hall of Fame has asked me to be one of their main exhibits in 2017…gonna show off my 50 some odd years in country music!,” exclaimed Loretta on hearing news of the exhibition that opens August 25th. “They best have a big space…I have a lot of stuff! I’m so proud to share my life, and music with the Hall of Fame. Y’all come see us!”

With her 85th birthday coming up on April 14th, the fabled Ryman Auditorium in Nashville has slated two celebratory shows for April 14th and April 15th. Tickets range from $45 to $75 and are available via Ticketmaster.

PBS will be re-airing the acclaimed American Masters – Loretta Lynn: Still a Mountain Girl on January 27th at 10 pm. The documentary had its world premiere on March 4, 2016, on the same day as the release of her latest album, Full Circle.


Bobby Bones raises nearly $6 million for St Jude

Bobby Bones & Garth Brooks

Monday night (Jan 9th) saw Nashville’s mother church, The Ryman, welcome the second annual “The BIG 98 Presents: Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots’ Million Dollar Show For St. Jude.” The show, which sold-out almost immediately at on-sale, benefited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and marked an unforgettable celebration of the staggering fundraising efforts of Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots to date, which has resulted in $5.9 million being raised for St. Jude through radiothons, on-air fundraisers, charity concerts and more.

Black River Entertainment’s Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots, were joined by country music superstars and friends, including Craig Campbell, Lindsay Ell, Sam Hunt, Rascal Flatts, Caitlyn Smith and The Band Perry, throughout the full-throttle, and spirited evening. A night filled with impromptu moments, The Ryman’s roof was raised as special surprise guests Garth Brooks, Brothers Osborne and Thomas Rhett also took to the stage.

As the comedy group played fan-favorites “When I Grow Up,” “Starbucks!” and more from their highly successful projects, the night was a nonstop singalong with megastars Rascal Flatts offering a high-energy performance of “Life Is A Highway,” while The Band Perry induced foot-stomping with “DONE,” as the enamored audience enjoyed the lineup’s biggest hits. In keeping with the feel-good nature of the event, some of the stars also gave special performances of their favorite tracks. Highlights included Thomas Rhett’s take on DNCE’s “Cake By The Ocean,” Brothers Osborne’s rendition of Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee” and Sam Hunt’s version of Travis Tritt’s “It’s A Great Day To Be Alive.”

A night filled with impromptu moments, the evening came to a touching crescendo when Garth Brooks took to the stage to present St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with an astounding donation of $2 Million. The funds were raised after Brooks was inspired by a light-hearted phone call with Bobby Bones during the The Bobby Bones Show’s Radiothon broadcast. Upon hearing that the event raised over $1.3 million in just one day, Brooks was inspired by the generosity of the show’s listeners to help raise more money, and decided to donate proceeds from a portion of the sales of his Target exclusive boxed-set The Ultimate Collection. The memorable show came to a close with Brooks leading the crowd with a show-stopping singalong of “Friends In Low Places.”

“It’s hard to put into words how humbling nights like that are.”

“I’m still on a crazy high from everything that happened last night,” said Bobby Bones, host of iHeartMedia’s The Bobby Bones Show. “It’s hard to put into words how humbling nights like that are. The fact that so many superstars, that also happen to be really great people, took time out of their busy schedules to be a part of the event is not lost on me. It makes everything we do worthwhile, when we can all come together as a pretty unique community in that sense and benefit an important cause such as St. Jude. It’s one I’ll never forget.”

“We are incredibly humbled by the support of Bobby Bones, The Raging Idiots, Garth Brooks, Brothers Osborne, Thomas Rhett, The Band Perry, Rascal Flatts, Sam Hunt, Craig Campbell, Caitlyn Smith and the millions of country music fans that support our mission,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “The funds announced last night in support of our mission are staggering and are another example of the country music industry’s incredible support of St. Jude for more than 20 years. These funds are critically important in helping St. Jude doctors and scientists find cures and save the lives of children in every community who are battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

Hank Williams Jr sets initial 2017 tour dates

Hank Williams Jr

Hank Williams Jr. wants all his rowdy friends to join him in 2017 as the country music icon reveals his first round of U.S. tour dates. Kickin’ the party off at Peppermill Concert Hall in Nevada on February 3rd, the tour consists of medium and large scale venues including an appearance at the Washington State Fair.

Hank Jr. continues to promote his most recent album It’s About Time, which achieved the highest studio album debut of his career. The album skyrocketed to No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums and broke the Top 10 on Billboard’s Top 200, landing at No. 8.


As a touring artist, Hank Jr. was a pioneer in bringing arena rock production values to country music, and he remains one of the most consistent ticket sellers in music, period, as generation after generation gets turned on to one of the most dynamic live performers ever to take the stage.

Tour Dates

February 3 – Peppermill Concert Hall – West Wendover, NV
April 29 – Georgia World Congress Center – Atlanta, GA
May 27 – Daytona International Speedway – Daytona Beach, FL
May 28 – Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, LA
June 09 – Choctaw Grand Theater – Durant, OK
June 10 – Silver Star Hotel and Casino-Convention Center – Choctaw, MI
July 1 – Seneca Allegany Casino & Hotel – Salamanca, NY
July 2 – French Lick Resort Casino – French Lick, IN
September 15 – Northern Quest Resort & Casino – Pepsi Outdoor Amphitheater – Airway Heights, WA
September 16 – Washington State Fair – Puyallup, WA

‘2017 Grammy Nominees’ album detailed

2017 Grammy Nominees

The Recording Academy’s GRAMMY Recordings and Atlantic Records have revealed the track listing for the 2017 GRAMMY Nominees album. Set for release on January 20th in stores and via digital retailers, the latest installment of the best-selling series — now in its 23rd year — features a collection of GRAMMY-nominated music for the upcoming 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards. A portion of album proceeds benefit the year-round work of the GRAMMY Museum Foundation and MusiCares Foundation — The Recording Academy-affiliated charitable organizations focused on music education programs and critical assistance for music people in need.

The 2017 GRAMMY Nominees album is highlighted by 21 hits from the world’s biggest superstars and hottest emerging talent, including Album Of The Year nominees Adele, Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Drake, and Sturgill Simpson and Best New Artist nominees Kelsea Ballerini, The Chainsmokers, Maren Morris, and Anderson .Paak among others.

“The 2017 GRAMMY Nominees album provides a unique playlist, and showcases some of the greatest songs and talented artists that make up this year’s incredible nominees,” said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. “We are pleased to collaborate with Atlantic Records on this project, which provides support for the invaluable programs and initiatives our charities produce throughout the year.”

“It has been a fantastic year for music, and we’re very happy to partner with the Recording Academy once again to release a tremendous collection of GRAMMY-nominated artists and songs,” said Julie Greenwald, Chairman & COO of Atlantic Records. “It’s great to have all these amazing and diverse performances together on one album, especially when it supports the wonderful work done by The Recording Academy’s charities.”

Music fans can log on to or through January 19th to pre-order the 2017 GRAMMY Nominees album, and enter for a chance to win a trip for two to the 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards.

The 59th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be held on Sunday, February 12th at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, and will be broadcast live on CBS at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT.


“Don’t Hurt Yourself” Feat. Jack White
Album Of The Year

“Stressed Out”
Record Of The Year
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

3. SIA
“Cheap Thrills” Feat. Sean Paul
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Hotline Bling”
Album Of The Year

Record Of The Year
Album Of The Year
Best Pop Solo Performance
Best Pop Vocal Album

“Love Yourself”
Album Of The Year
Best Pop Solo Performance
Best Pop Vocal Album

“Closer” Feat. Halsey
Best New Artist
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Peter Pan”
Best New Artist

“My Church”
Best New Artist
Best Country Solo Performance
Best Country Song

“Brace For Impact (Live A Little)”
Album Of The Year

“Am I Wrong” Feat. ScHoolBoy Q
Best New Artist

Best Pop Vocal Album

“Dangerous Woman”
Best Pop Solo Performance
Best Pop Vocal Album

“Piece By Piece (Idol Version) ”
Best Pop Solo Performance

“7 Years”
Record Of The Year
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Church Bells”
Best Country Solo Performance

“Blue Ain’t Your Color”
Best Country Solo Performance
Best Country Song

“Love Can Go To Hell”
Best Country Solo Performance

“Die A Happy Man”
Best Country Song

Best Country Solo Performance
Best Country Song

“Humble And Kind”
Best Country Song

Zac Brown honored at Country Radio Seminar

Zac Brown

The Country Radio Broadcasters have announced Zac Brown as the recipient of the CRS 2017 Artist Humanitarian Award and former Chairman and CEO of Greater Media, Peter Smyth, as the recipient of the CRS 2017 Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award, to be presented during Country Radio Seminar 2017; following the Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday, February 22nd from 3:30-4 pm.

The CRB Artist Humanitarian Award was created in 1990 by the organization’s board to honor those country music artists who have exhibited exceptional humanitarian efforts during their career. Past recipients of the annual award have included Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Trace Adkins, Randy Owen, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Brooks & Dunn, Reba, Vince Gill, Garth Brooks and Charlie Daniels, among others.

Zac Brown is a strong supporter of multiple philanthropic causes including his own Camp Southern Ground which was inspired by his experiences as a camp counselor. The program at the Georgia-based state-of-the-art facility is an inclusive camp that combines children with neuro-developmental disorders with mainstream children. Its mission is to provide extraordinary experiences for these children to recognize and magnify the unique gifts within themselves and others in order to profoundly impact the world. Additional organizations that Brown is committed to include GRAMMYS on The Hill, GRAMMY U, MusiCares, Robin Hood Foundation and The USO.

Three-time GRAMMY winner and multi-platinum artist Zac Brown, of Zac Brown Band, is one of music’s most heralded acts. The latest platinum-certified album Jekyll + Hyde (Southern Ground Artists/John Varvatos Records/Big Machine Label Group/Republic Records) marks the band’s fourth consecutive No.1 debut on the Billboard 200 chart. Zac Brown Band has earned a historic series of fifteen No.1 hit radio singles and is only the second band to top both the country and active rock formats.

The Tom Rivers Humanitarian Award is given at the discretion of the Country Radio Broadcasters Board of Directors to recognize an individual in the Country Radio industry who has displayed a magnanimous spirit of caring and generosity in service to their community. This award is named in honor of CRB Board member Tom Rivers, who died in 2004 at age 38 of bronchial asthma. Rivers, known for his work at WQYK, Tampa/St. Petersburg and WUSN, Chicago, was highly regarded for his public service.

An active philanthropist, Smyth currently serves on the Board of Directors of New England Baptist Hospital and the One Hundred Club of Massachusetts, an organization dedicated to enhancing the welfare and safety of the families of public safety officers and firefighters. Additionally, he is an Advisory Board member of the Home Base Program of Boston, which provides clinical care, education, research and support services for military veterans and their families throughout New England.

Smyth is a past member of the Board of Trustees of Emerson College and is a member of the US Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management Advisory Board.

In May of 2007, Smyth received the “Humanitarian of the Year” Award from the Hundred Club of Massachusetts. He has also been recognized by Special Olympics of Massachusetts, The USS Constitution, Rogerson Communities (which provides low income housing for the elderly) and the Salvation Army of Greater Boston.

In response to the honor, Smyth commented saying, “I am incredibly honored and humbled to receive this distinguished award. I look forward to attending CRS in 2017.”

Registration for Country Radio Seminar 2017 increases to $699 on January 13th. Individuals that are interested in attending are encouraged to register early at the $599 rate, which is a $100 savings.


Rascal Flatts announce ‘Yours If You Want It’ single

Rascal Flatts

With 16 career No. One’s to their name, superstar vocal group Rascal Flatts are continuing their reputation for infectious anthems, as USA TODAY offered the exclusive first listen of their new single, “Yours If You Want It,” highlighting the “sure-fire smash” for “its intense verses, rousing choruses and upbeat message.” Co-written by Andrew Dorff and Jonathan Singleton, the immediate sing-along was produced by Rascal Flatts, and spotlights the trio’s flawless harmonies throughout the altruistic ode.

The track, which is available everywhere today (Jan 6th), premiered on iHeartCountry Radio Stations nationwide. As fans have fervently anticipated new music from the trio, the refreshing track is the lead single taken from the group’s much-awaited forthcoming studio album.

The track follows the success of their summer anthem and Platinum-certified No. 1 hit “I Like The Sound Of That,” from their ninth studio album Rewind (Big Machine Records) which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, making them one of only four acts during the SoundScan era to have eight consecutive studio albums debut in the top spot.

“We all felt like ‘Yours If You Want It’ was the perfect way to introduce our fans and radio to the new music we’ve been making,” said Jay DeMarcus. “We’ve been working really hard and we’re very proud of this track and what’s more, the late Andrew Dorff is a writer on it, and we are so honored to be a small part of making sure his legacy lives on. We have a special angel watching over it, for sure.”

Rascal Flatts is kicking off 2017 hot on the heels of the success of their first-ever Christmas album, The Greatest Gift Of All, that saw Chicago Sun Times declare that the group “put its signature stamp on a slew of Christmas classics” that “oozes rollicking holiday spirit.”