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ABC

Dan + Shay have won ACM Duo of the Year for two years running, and they’ve got a chance to pick up a third trophy in the category this year.

But competition is tight: They’re up against Florida Georgia Line, Brothers Osborne and Brooks & Dunn -- all three of whom have been named Duo of the Year at least once -- as well as Maddie & Tae, who are coming off a banner year with the success of their “Die from a Broken Heart.”

Ahead of this year’s show, the band’s Dan Smyers admits that even though they’re huge fans of every act nominated in the category, they’re hoping to win.

“Man -- I don’t know, we love winning awards,” he says. “Anybody who says they don’t, I think they’d be lying. We’re all super competitive, to get to this point in our careers where we’re even nominated. Everybody works hard.”

Though Dan + Shay may be on a hot streak at awards shows these days, they know what it feels like to lose.

“If you don’t win, it’s not a testament that you were lesser than somebody. It’s just the way the cookie crumbled that day. But it hurts, man,” Dan reflects. “...I remember sitting at a couple of awards shows when ‘Tequila’ was happening...You get your hopes up...And then you lose and you’re like, ‘Does the song suck?’”

But ultimately, awards shows win and nominations are just one aspect of a career that they’re lucky to have.

“You take a step back and you’re just grateful to be doing music and that people are willing to listen,” Dan notes.

Dan + Shay are also performing their new song, “Glad You Exist,” at the ACMs. The show airs this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.
 

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Black River Entertainment

Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney pay homage to their shared hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee on “half of my hometown,” a plaintive, mid-tempo ballad that originally appeared on Kelsea’s self-titled third album, which she put out in March of 2020.

The new single finds the two stars looking back at their roots. “Besides being a dream collaboration with Kenny, which I still can’t believe happened, this is really a love letter to home,” Kelsea reflects.

“It can be about wherever you’re from,” she adds, “and the people who love you, support you, drove you crazy, made you cry and made you who you are.”

For his part, Kenny says the nostalgia -- and the inherent sadness of leaving such a familiar place behind -- is what first drew him to “half of my hometown.”

“There’s a real tug of who you are and who you were in the place where you grow up, and that never leaves you,” he points out. “When Kelsea sent me 'half of my hometown,' it was everything that leaving is: The tug of what you’re leaving, the need to chase your dreams, the truth of all the good things and the hunger to see the rest of the world.”

The pair will come together for the first time to perform the song at the 2021 ACM Awards, which airs this Sunday at 9:00p.m. ET on CBS.

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Today, a Kentucky native known for his powerful, distinctive voice -- and his equally distinctive beard -- turns 43 years old. He got an early birthday present this week, earning a chart-topping hit at country radio with “Starting Over.” Can you name him? ANSWER: Chris Stapleton

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Cole Swindell has partnered with Four Corners Motorcycle Rally Quaid Harley-Davidson for a fundraising sweepstakes to benefit The Warrior Built Foundation, a nonprofit that supports veterans. Participants can enter for a chance to win a VIP, all-inclusive trip to see Cole in concert, plus a custom motorcycle.

Jimmie Allen’s headed to ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! next week. He and Brad Paisley will perform their new duet, “Freedom Was a Highway,” on the show on April 20.

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Trisha Yearwood Pet Collection

Trisha Yearwood's already built a reputation as the Martha Stewart of country music, with her best-selling cookbooks, long-running Food Network show, furniture line, and products in Williams-Sonoma. Now, the lifestyle guru's adding to her empire with her own line of pet products.

To test the Trisha Yearwood Pet Collection, the avid animal lover turned to her two beloved rescue dogs.

"Emmy's all about the crunchy treats," Trisha tells ABC Audio. "Millie's all about the pumpkin chews."

With everything from waterproof collars to dog wipes, Trisha took a hands-on approach to designing her canine collection.

"The biggest things are the dog beds," she points out. "Like I have a round bed for Emmy. That's the way she sleeps. Millie lays flat out, so she's got a big flat bed."

"And my dogs are active dogs. They're chewers. Well, the little one is," she explains. "And so I want things to be sturdy."

"And then really, they're outside a lot," Trisha continues. "They run a lot. I want the beds to go in the washing machine. So I really approached it from a practical standpoint."

It was also important to Trisha that the beds, as well as her travel backpacks, be good-looking.

"You would never know it's a dog backpack," she insists, "but it's got compartments for treats and food, collapsible water and food bowls..."

"I sent one to Mickey Guyton, and I was like, 'I know you just had a baby, but I'm telling you, this could be a diaper bag because it's so beautiful and it's really cool,'" Trisha adds.  

You can check out Trisha's initial products at TrishaYearwoodPetCollection.com, as the hit-making entrepreneur eyes expansion as a way to shine a light on rescues and "try to help save a lot of animals."

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ABC

Ashley McBryde is set to make her debut on CBS’ The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Friday, and she’s planning to perform a powerful ballad for the very first time on live television.

That song is “Sparrow,” a stirring and intimate album cut off of Ashley’s 2020 record, Never Will. The song is a reflection on the trade-offs a person makes when they decide to pursue music for a living.

Being away from family and friends so much is a hard price to pay for success, the singer admitted to the Tennesseean last year.

She explained, "What nobody warned me about was that I’d be sitting in a plane, having been alone for weeks, just getting on planes and visiting radio stations...I thought, ‘Man, I’m higher, success-wise, than I’ve ever been, and I’m the loneliest I have ever been.’”

Ashley continued, “It’s a trade, and thank God nobody warns you, because you might not do it if they told you what the trade-off is.”

Ashley’s Colbert stop comes just two days before the 2021 ACM Awards, where she’ll be performing her current single, “Martha Divine.” She’s also nominated for three trophies that night, including Album of the Year for Never Will.

Catch Ashley on Colbert this Friday, April 16 at 11:35 PM ET on CBS. 

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John Shearer/Getty Images for Academy of Country Music

After staying at home for a year, Chris Janson is among the country artists who will be heading back out on the road in 2021. The singer announced his Back At It Tour on social media this week, revealing 30 dates, with the promise of more to be added.

Kicking off on April 16 in Mississippi, the run will extend through early December, concluding in Detroit. A full list of dates and details is available on the singer’s tour calendar.

Like many other country artists, Chris has largely had to halt touring since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020. In April of that year, he debuted an unreleased song called “Put Me Back to Work,” which spoke to the plight of the millions of Americans who'd lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

He’s now among the first major country artists to announce new tour dates. Eric Church and Kane Brown are two more performers who’ve got tours on the books for this fall. 

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ABC

Chris Stapleton has had to postpone another round of tour dates on his All American Road Show, due to continuing concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tour’s start date has moved from June to July, with a large swath of shows now moved to 2022. The singer shared the rescheduled dates with his fans on social media, also letting them know that tickets will be honored on the new dates, and refunds for those unable to attend will be available for 30 days at the point of purchase.

The current iteration of Chris’ All American Road Show was first scheduled for 2020, but shifted to 2021 when COVID-19 shutdowns began. The tour was then planned to begin in April, but last month he postponed its first dates.

In addition to the rescheduled shows, one stop -- in Atlantic City, New Jersey -- has been cancelled.

As of the singer’s current tour calendar, the 2021 All American Road Show is expected to kick off in July in Milwaukee.

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ABC

Reba McEntire is moving a string of 2021 dates, which were scheduled to begin in July, to early 2022 due to continuing concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tour will now kick off on January 13, 2022 in Evansville, Indiana, according to a social media update from the star.

“We’ve waited as long as we possibly could to make a decision, but unfortunately we’re not going to be able to play our 2021 Reba: Live in Concert dates,” Reba explained. “As much as I wish we could get back out on the road, it’s just not possible yet. However, don’t worry...we are going to reschedule the dates for 2022.”

Reba added that tickets previously purchased will remain good for the new dates in 2022. The arena dates have already been rescheduled once; they were originally set for summer of 2020 before the outbreak of the virus.

Unfortunately, one date Reba had on the books for 2021 wasn’t able to be rescheduled: That's the July 16, 2021 stop she’d planned for St. Paul, Minnesota. Tickets purchased for that show will be refunded.

Despite the disappointment of the postponed tour, Reba did tease something exciting in the months to come.

“I’ve got some big news coming later this year that I hope will be worth the wait for all of us!” she added. “Stay tuned for some exciting announcements on tour, music and more coming soon.”

While she didn’t share any additional details about the forthcoming news, her socials do offer a possible clue. Earlier this week, Reba posted a recent video from the studio of herself singing “Can’t Even Get the Blues,” her first-ever chart-topping country hit, which she originally released in 1982.  It remains to be seen what that means.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Reba (@reba)

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Jason Kempin/CMT2020/Getty Images for CMT

Kane Brown is an early 2021 ACM winner. During a CBS This Morning appearance Wednesday, Kane was surprised live on air with the news that he's won ACM Video of the Year for “Worldwide Beautiful.”

Kane released the song in June of 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s death, amid a summer where protests across the United States were calling for racial equality and an end to police brutality against Black people. “Worldwide Beautiful” shares a poignant message of unity, but Kane says he actually created the song long before releasing it.

“The crazy thing is I wrote this a year before George Floyd,” he pointed out during his interview. “I lived it growing up, so this was just me saying [that] everybody should just love everybody. All this hatred and everything should just stop.”

Upon its release, both the song and music video benefited the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, a national organization that advocates for after-school programs for young people across the country.

The “Worldwide Beautiful” video enforces the song’s powerful message that unity can overcome violence and hate. It features a number of children, including the singer’s own daughter, Kingsley Rose.

Kane is the first solo Black artist to win the ACM Video of the Year category. He’s also nominated for Album of the Year at the ACMs, and he’ll also perform during the Sunday telecast, which begins at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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ABC

The three-part release of Eric Church’s triple album, Heart & Soul, begins this Friday, and the singer will celebrate with a special livestream show.

Next Tuesday, Eric will give a performance and live Q&A exclusively from Amazon Music. The event will feature brand-new music from Eric’s upcoming 24-song collection, including the track “Rock and Roll Found Me,” from his Soul album.

The show comes on the heels of a busy week for Eric, who's set to perform “Bunch of Nothing” -- one of the tracks off of Heart & Soul -- at the 2021 ACM Awards this Sunday. Also during the show, an Ad Council PSA for the COVID-19 vaccine will debut featuring Eric, as well as Ashley McBryde and Darius Rucker.

Eric also recently appeared on the cover of Billboard receiving his dose of the shot. He’s hoping that widespread vaccination will lead to the speedy return of large-scale, in-person concerts.

This spring, the singer was among the first country acts to announce a major tour for fall 2021. He’s booked a slew of dates for his Gather Again Tour, which kicks off in September and stretches through next May.

Catch Eric’s Amazon Music exclusive livestream on the platform’s app or its Twitch channel, beginning at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, April 20.

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Born in 1932 in Butcher Holler, Kentucky, this "Coal Miner's Daughter" and country icon is celebrating her 89th birthday today. Can you name her? ANSWER: Loretta Lynn. 

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ABC

Morgan Wallen took to Instagram on Tuesday to announce he won't be touring this summer, saying he needs "a little more" time to work on himself.

"I wanted to let you guys know that I’ve taken a couple months away and feel like I’ve really worked on myself. I’m proud of the work I’ve put in, and in many ways thankful to have had the time to do it," the 27-year-old "Dangerous" singer shared in a handwritten message.

"I will always strive to be better," he added.  "Not only has this time revealed to me the ways in which I want to improve, but it’s also reminded me that I am still very proud of who I am and the man I am becoming."

Wallen went on to say that, while his time away has been "very valuable," he needs "a little more of it, and therefore will not be performing tour dates this summer."

He will also not be playing festivals, or joining Luke Bryan's tour as scheduled.

Wallen became embroiled in a controversy after being caught on video using a racial slur, leading to multiple stations across the country to remove his music from their playlists.

Additionally, his label, Big Loud Records, suspended his recording contract indefinitely and he was dropped by talent agency, WME.  The Academy of Country Music also deemed Morgan and Dangerous ineligible for nominations at the 2021 ACM Awards.

Wallen has since apologized for his language, promising "to do better."

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Dustin Haney

"Prayed for You" will forever be the song that put Matt Stell on the map, and now, the Arkansas native's debut single has turned him into a bit of a pop star.

This week, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers named the 2019 release one of its Most Performed Songs during its virtual ASCAP Pop Music Awards 2021, alongside tunes by the likes of Post MaloneThe WeekndBillie Eilish, and more.

Looking back, Matt says there's no overestimating the effect "Prayed for You" had on his life.

"I knew that when we wrote the song, that that song was good," he reflects, "but I didn't know that it was gonna be what it was."

"So it surprised even me with what it did and how it changed my life and how busy I got to [be] living the dream," he continues. "You know, I went from a guy in a... van and trailer playing anywhere that I could to now being able to tour around a bunch and be as busy as we are."

Ironically, even though "Prayed for You" is about finding lasting love, it complicated Matt's own personal life.

"At the same time, there was also... I guess sort of downside to it a little bit," he tells ABC Audio, "because from all the demands that it made of me... there was a price to pay personally, just from a relationship standpoint."

"I think things worked out the way they were supposed to, but that doesn't mean it was easy," he adds. 

Matt's currently on the Everywhere But Home Tour, named for his second number one, "Everywhere But On," as his followup single, "That Ain't Me No More," makes its way up the chart. 

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Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock

Lily Rose is telling her story in the introductory video "This Is Lily Rose." After releasing "Villian" on TikTok last year, the song went viral and was shipped to country radio as her debut single in March. 

Alyssa Trahan has shared a behind-the-scenes video from the photoshoot for her debut album, Baby Blues & Stilettos, that was released last month.

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JET

2007-2009

"Always in our Heart! "