Watch Kacey Musgraves play with puppies while answering fan questions during an interview with Buzzfeed.
Kacey, who released her latest album Golden Hour, earlier this year, is currently overseas on her Oh, What a World: Tour. She’s set to play Leuven, Belgium, as well as Amsterdam, Manchester, Liverpool, London and Glasgow, before wrapping the U.K. leg on November 6th in Dublin, Ireland.
The Texas native is nominated for a pair of CMA Awards, including Female Vocalist and Album of the Year for Golden Hour. The 52nd Annual CMA Awards will broadcast live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena November 14th at 8pm ET/PT on ABC.
Luke Bryan celebrated his 10th year anniversary of his Farm Tour this year, and with the money raised, he’s been able to give away 56 scholarships. The two-time CMA Entertainer of the Year (he’s also nominated this year) takes fans behind-the-scenes of the annual trek.
Luke just released his brand new single, “What Makes You Country,” the title track of his latest album.
The Country Music Association has selected rising stars Kassi Ashton, Travis Denning and Jameson Rodgers as recipients of the first-ever CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship. Throughout the next year, CMA and its staff will provide support for the three artists, helping connect each with professionals within the industry as well as providing unique opportunities to participate in CMA-related events during CMA Fest, CMA Awards and C2C: Country 2 Country festival in the U.K. Get to know the artists through introduction videos at CMAworld.com/KixStart.
The scholarship program is the brainchild of artist managers and 2017 CMA Board Artist Relations Committee Chair Marion Kraft (ShopKeeper Management) and Vice Chair Mary Hilliard Harrington (Red Light Management). The program saw more than 100 interested artists through the application process, with 48 eligible finalists vying for a spot.
“The CMA board is continually looking for ways to grow our format and help support our artist community. The idea behind KixStart was to focus on emerging artists who are already out there working hard but could use a boost that these extra resources might provide. And I think we found out from the high number of artists who applied for the scholarship program that CMA has identified a real need,” said Harrington. Adds Kraft, “Our goal is to give artists an opportunity to learn best practices in an industry that has no structure on teaching someone how to become a successful working artist. We are excited that the CMA KixStart scholarship is highlighting three talented and unique artists like Kassi, Travis and Jameson.”
On Tuesday evening, Denning and Rodgers performed for CMA board members during a private dinner held at BMI, while Ashton is currently overseas, participating in the CMA Songwriters Series U.K. tour.
Kassi Ashton is one of Nashville’s most compelling rising stars. Signed to UMG Nashville in conjunction with Interscope Records, the California, Missouri singer/songwriter has been making a name for herself on the music scene thanks to her authentic songwriting and soulful, rich voice. The Tennessean recognizes “her distinct husky, powerful voice and self-assured take-me-or-leave-me attitude put her in her own lane in country music” while Huffington Post gives Ashton “mad props for her songwriting and stage presence” and CMT calls Ashton “fearless” and notes “her point of view is inspired and her storytelling knows no bounds.” Ashton released her auto-biographical song “California, Missouri,” where she paints an unconventional portrait of life growing up in her small town. Named “Who to Watch” by Huffington Post, The Tennessean and radio personality Bobby Bones’ Class of 2018, Ashton also caught the attention of Country superstar Keith Urban. Describing her as “such a unique, original creature,” Urban featured Ashton on his song “Drop Top” for his latest album Graffiti U. Ashton brings a certain swagger and take-no-prisoners attitude to her music, especially with her latest, “Taxidermy” – available HERE. Read more at KassiAshton.com.
A native of Warner Robins, Georgia, Mercury Nashville’s Travis Denning vividly remembers the moment he realized he wanted to pursue music for a living. He was seven years old sitting in his Dad’s truck and heard AC/DC for the first time. From then on, he was hooked and devoured all types of music from Country, pop, rock and heavy metal. Denning started playing local bars at the age of 16 and built a solid following from his distinctive songs and raucous guitar licks. He moved to Nashville in 2014 and within a year signed a publishing deal with Jeremy Stover’s RED Creative Group. After securing outside cuts by Jason Aldean, Justin Moore, Michael Ray and Chase Rice he caught the attention of Universal Music Group where he eventually signed a record deal in 2017. Denning just released his debut single “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs,” an upbeat coming-of-age song that paints a picture of a young man reminiscing on his carefree college memories. The singer/songwriter has previously opened shows for Cole Swindell, Alan Jackson, Moore and Rice and is set to hit the road with LANCO on the “Hallelujah Nights” tour this fall. When Denning is not touring, he is in the studio working on his debut album. Read more at TravisDenning.com.
Raised in Batesville, Mississippi, singer-songwriter Jameson Rodgers brings together electrified rock & roll and Country songwriting on his new self-titled EP, released in January of 2018, with songs featured on Spotify’s New Boots and Wild Country playlists as well as Sirius XM’s On The Horizon. This year, Rodgers also received the AIMP (Association of Independent Music Publishers) Nashville Rising Artist-Writer of the Year nomination for the third annual AIMP Nashville Awards. The former college baseball player, who landed a publishing deal with Combustion Music in 2014, scored his first songwriting cuts with Florida Georgia Line’s “Wish You Were On It” and “Talk You Out Of It” in addition to co-writing Chris Lane’s new single “I Don’t Know About You.” His debut EP, released in 2016, features the streaming hit “Midnight Daydream.” In addition to opening shows for Sam Hunt and Old Dominion, Rodgers has been selling out clubs throughout the south and Midwest this year. He will join Luke Combs’ “Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour,” kicking off in January. Read more at JamesonRodgers.com.
The CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship is named after former CMA Board Chairman and long-serving board member Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn. An artist advocate, Brooks drove the creation of the CMA Board of Directors’ Artist Relations Committee in 2006.
Budweiser has announced an all-female lineup for their Budweiser Country Club, which will take place on Sunday, November 11th at Nashville’s Exit / In – just a few days before the CMA Awards (November 14th). Clare Dunn, Kassi Ashton, Lindsey Ell and The Sisterhood are scheduled to perform during the event. Kassi is thrilled to be a part of the showcase – which shines the light on some of country’s most exciting female artists.
“The Country Club does a lot with bridging current country music with traditional and making sure that everyone knows that Budweiser loves all country music and accepts all fans,” says Kassi. “I’ve worked with them before, both at Stagecoach and CMA Fest, and it is always a blast. Everyone in the Country Club is always ready to have fun. Everyone always has a smile on their face. And, the fact that I get to do it all again with them, plus incorporate the CMA really gets me stoked.”
“I’m absolutely honored to be a part of the Budweiser CMA showcase,” says Clare. “I’ve been working with Budweiser for the past couple years and I’m so grateful to be working with a brand that supports artists on the way up and who also support our veterans through Folds of Honor. So for me, having been a volunteer once upon a time for the CMA Awards, it’s pretty full circle moment to be able to play a show with Budweiser around one of the legacy award shows in our genre.”
Clare is making her way up the country charts with her single, “More,” while Kassi has released a couple of songs digitally — “Taxidermy” and “California, Missouri.”
Fans of Travis Denning can now purchase “Red, White and Blue,” one of their favorite songs he performs live in concert. Since people are consuming music at an exponential rate, artists are making more music available to them, even before they release an album.
Travis, who hits the road with LANCO next week, is currently making his way up the country charts with his song “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs.”
This has been one of my biggest live songs of the past couple years. Pumped to finally say #RedWhiteAndBlue is available now wherever you get music. Check it out here: https://t.co/6J6fmrHZCv pic.twitter.com/pnsyD2uWu4
— Travis Denning (@Travis_Denning) October 18, 2018
There is no mistaking that Luke Bryan is a country boy. There are so many things that make the entertainer from Leesburg, Georgia country and what makes him proud to be country.
“I guess the fact that I’ve navigated so many aspects of this career and held onto being country in a lot of ways. I wake up, I get to go take my boys out and do country things. I’ve gotten to follow all my dreams and still kind of remain true to who I am as a person,” says Luke. “I feel like my lifestyle hopefully has inspired some people to be positive and have fun and not take yourself too seriously. I think people understand me to just that and not be too serious all the time. Life is serious enough and so when I’m on stage I just try to – I just try to be as country as I can and let people see that and let people have fun with that.”
Luke Bryan wraps his What Makes You Country Tour next weekend (October 25th and 26th) with shows in Rochester, New York and his XL Stadium tour at Ford Field in Detroit.
Luke is nominated for Entertainer of the Year at this year’s CMA Awards. The 52nd Annual CMA Awards, hosted by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, will air live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena November 14th at 8pm ET/PT on ABC.
Luke Bryan (proud to be country) OC: …fun with that. :48
“What makes me proud to be country, that’s a tough question what makes me proud? I mean I guess the fact that I’ve navigated so many aspects of this career and held onto being country in a lot of ways. I wake up, I get to go take my boys out and do country things. I’ve gotten to follow all my dreams and still – I’ve gotten to follow all my dreams and still kind of remain true to who I am as a person. So yeah, that’s what makes me proud to be country. And I feel like my lifestyle hopefully has inspired some people to be positive and have fun and not take yourself too seriously. I think people understand me to just that and not be too serious all the time. Life is serious enough and so when I’m on stage I just try to – I just try to be as country as I can and let people see that and let people have fun with that.”
Josh Turner has wanted to record a gospel collection for a long time, and to have it actually come to fruition means so much to him.
“My fans have been asking for this for a long time and this has been something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” says the country singer. “I’ve always wanted to do a gospel record and I never really thought about the circumstances of what that would look like. But to do it on MCA, which has been my home since 2001, it just means a lot to me and it’s appropriate for who I am and what I’ve been called to do. And so, to be able to give my fans this project, it means a lot to me.”
In addition to the new album, I Serve a Savior, Josh will also release a live performance DVD in partnership with Gaither Studios. Josh performs songs from his debut gospel album, including “I Saw the Light,” “Without Him,” ‘How Great Thou Art” and many more. The DVD, which features a performance by the entire Turner family including Josh’s wife Jennifer and their four children, will also be edited to air as a one-hour television special hosted by the gospel legend, Bill Gaither to air this fall on several networks across the U.S. and Canada.
Josh Turner (always wanted to do a gospel record) OC: …a lot to me. :32
“My fans have been asking for this for a long time and this has been something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ve always wanted to do a gospel record and I never really thought about the circumstances of what that would look like, but to do it on MCA, which has been my home since 2001, it just means a lot to me and it’s appropriate for who I am and what I’ve been called to do. And so, to be able to give my fans this project, it means a lot to me.”
Newcomer Jon Langston is working hard playing shows, recording his debut album and making his way up the charts with his first single, “When It Comes to Loving You.” However, he’s not too busy to catch his beloved Georgia Bulldogs in action.
“I grew up 30 minutes from Athens, Georgia, so I’ve always been a big Georgia Bulldogs fan and growing up and going to games with my family and stuff,” says Jon. “So, I try to go to as many games as I can if I’m not playing shows and stuff. So, yeah, go Dawgs.”
He even has a prediction, and it could come true since the Dawgs are currently ranked 1st in the SEC (tied with Florida).
“My prediction this year for the Georgia Bulldogs will win the National Championship!”
Jon just wrapped up opening for his pal Luke Bryan on his annual Farm Tour, and is currently on his own Prob’ly At a Bar Tour, which makes a stop in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on Thursday (October 18th), followed by a show on Friday (October 19th) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Check jonlangston.com for more tour dates.
Jon Langston (Georgia Bulldog fan) OC: …go Dawgs. :14
“I grew up 30 minutes from Athens, Georgia, so I’ve always been a big Georgia Bulldogs fan and growing up and going to games with my family and stuff. So, I try to go to as many games as I can if I’m not playing shows and stuff. So, yeah, go Dawgs.”
Jon Langston (Georgia Bulldog prediction) OC: …that look. :07
“My prediction this year for the Georgia Bulldogs will win the National Championship…don’t you give me that look.” [laughs]
We have put together :30, :60 and :90 vignettes of Eric Church’s latest song, “Desperate Man.”
Several of country music’s top female artists were honored during CMT’s Artists of the Year live special on Wednesday night (October 17th), including Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman, as well as Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris, Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott and the Artist of a Lifetime recipient Loretta Lynn.
LBT’s Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook honored their bandmates Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman. The two ladies then were joined by the legendary Gladys Knight for “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night.”
Keith Urban celebrated his friend and “The Fighter” duet partner Carrie Underwood, before she hit the stage with her 2019 Cry Pretty Tour 360 opening acts Maddie & Tae and Runaway June with an all-woman medley hailing those who paved the way. The songs they performed include Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5,” The Judds’ “Rockin’ with the Rhythm of the Rain,” Martina McBride’s “Independence Day,” Faith Hill’s “Wild One,” Reba’s “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” and Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” before launching into her recent smash hit, “Cry Pretty.”
Carrie thanked all of the women in the country music industry she called “the backbone of this music” as she accepted her trophy, as well as praised all of the women artists. “To all of the incredible, amazing, talented women that have been on this stage tonight, you are not here because you are women. You are here because you are dang good. And it is an honor to get to share tonight with you.”
Little Big Town’s Kimberly and Karen were overwhelmed in accepting their award and helped shine a light on all of the newer female artists who “are available” to be played on the radio by reading out all of their names during their speech.
Dierks Bentley, along with Sheryl Crow, performed “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” in tribute to Loretta Lynn.
One of the coolest moments of the night was when Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spacek, who portrayed Loretta Lynn in the iconic film Coal Miner’s Daughter, accepted the Artist of a Lifetime award for the Country Music Hall of Famer who was at home feeling under the weather. She praised their decades-long friendship and was visibly emotional when she talked about her “sister.”
The CMT special will re-air multiple times beginning Friday (October 19th) at 1:30am ET and 7:30am ET, as well as various times over the weekend.