Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Kelsea Ballerini, Kenny Chesney, Dan + Shay and Old Dominion have been announced as the first round of performers for this year’s CMA Awards, which are being hosted for the 11th time by Carrie and Brad Paisley.

    Luke is a two-time Entertainer of the Year winner (2014, 2015) and 16-time CMA Awards nominee. He’s set to return this year to vie for his third win in the category. Luke has just released his brand-new song, “What Makes You Country,” to radio and is wrapping up his What Makes You Country Tour next week.

    Carrie, a four-time CMA Awards Female Vocalist of the Year winner, receives her 13th nomination in the category this year. She has garnered 30 CMA Awards nominations since 2006. She is making her way up the country charts with her latest release, “Love Wins,” from her No. 1 album, Cry Pretty.

    This year marks Keith’s 14th nomination for Male Vocalist of the Year, 11th nomination in the Entertainer of the Year category, and his sixth nomination in the Album of the Year category, bringing his career nominations to 45 with 11 total wins. Keith, who is on the road with his Graffiti U World Tour, is scaling the country charts with “Never Coming Down.”

    The 52nd Annual CMA Awards will broadcast live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena November 14th at 8pm ET/PT on ABC.


    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.

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    Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban and Little Big Town’s Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet have been added to the list of stars appearing at the CMT Artists of the Year special on Wednesday night (October 17th).

    Dierks, along with Sheryl Crow and Martina McBride, will join together for a special tribute to honor Loretta Lynn who is receiving the 2018 Artist of a Lifetime Award.

    Keith Urban, Elle King, Smokey Robinson, LBT’s Jimi and Phillip, Trisha Yearwood, Oscar winner Sissy Spacek, Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood will present.

    Performances include honoree Carrie Underwood with Maddie & Tae and Runaway June, honorees Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman with Gladys Knight. Miranda Lambert and Pistol Annies, Kelsea Ballerini with Alison Krauss, Hillary Scott with Tori Kelley and Kirk Franklin and Maren Morris with Brandi Carlile.

    This year’s CMT Artists of the Year – celebrating all females – will air live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center Wednesday (October 17th) at 8pm ET/PT.

  • NEWS AND NOTES: Keith, AJ, Carrie, Luke, Shania

    You can catch Keith Urban on NBC’s The Voice the next two weeks. He will serve as an adviser for Blake Shelton’s team beginning tonight (October 15th) through October 23rd. Catch Keith and Blake, as well as the rest of the celebrity coaches, on the singing competition show beginning at 8pm ET on NBC.

    Set your DVR: Alan Jackson will be the subject of a new documentary, Small Town Southern Man on AXS-TV Tuesday night (October 16th) at 10pm ET.


    Carrie Underwood and her husband Mike Fisher hosted a benefit earlier this month for Danita’s Children, a cause near and dear to both of their hearts. The event, which featured performances by Carrie and friend Brad Paisley, raised nearly $600,000 for the organization to help provide medical care, food and education to orphaned and impoverished children in Haiti.

    Luke Bryan takes a break during auditions for American Idol to play a little on the piano and sing Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind.” The cameras caught him in action.

    Shania Twain will be joined by Jake Owen and Travis Tritt for the new competition show, Real Country, which debuts November 13th at 10pm ET on the USA Network.

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    Audio / LINER Adam Hambrick (Halloween)


    “Hey! This is Adam Hambrick. Happy Halloween.”


    Audio / LINER Billy Currington (Trick or Treat)


    “Trick or Treat, baby.”

    Audio / LINER Brandon Lay (Halloween)


    “Hey everybody! This is Brandon Lay, wishing you a Happy Halloween.”

    Audio / LINER Brothers Osborne (Halloween)


    “Hey! This is TJ, and I’m John, and we are Brothers Osborne. Happy Halloween.”

    Audio / LINER Carrie Underwood (Halloween)


    “Hi! I’m Carrie Underwood, wishing you a Happy Halloween.”

    Audio / LINER Clare Dunn (Halloween)


    “Hey! This is Clare Dunn, wishing you a very Happy Halloween.”


    Audio / LINER Darius Rucker (Halloween)


    “Hey! What’s up, y’all? This is Darius Rucker, wishing you a very Happy Halloween.”

    Audio / LINER Dierks Bentley (Halloween)


    “Hey! It’s Dierks Bentley, wishing you a Happy Halloween.”

    Audio / LINER Eric Church (Halloween)


    “Hey! This is Eric Church, wishing you a very Happy Halloween.”

    Audio / LINER Jon Langston (Halloween)


    “Hey y’all! I’m Jon Langston. Happy Halloween.”

    Audio / LINER Jordan Davis (Halloween)


    “Hey! I’m Jordan Davis, wishing you a Happy Halloween.”

    Audio / LINER Josh Turner (Halloween)


    “Hey y’all, I’m Josh Turner, wishing you a Happy Halloween.”

    Audio / LINER Kacey Musgraves (Halloween)


    “Hey! It’s Kacey Musgraves, and I hope you have a Happy Halloween.”


    Audio / LINER Luke Bryan (Halloween)


    “Hey! What’s up, y’all? I’m Luke Bryan, wishing you a very Happy Halloween. Boo!”


    Audio / LINER Maddie & Tae (Halloween)


    “Hi! We’re Maddie & Tae. Happy Halloween.”

    Audio / LINER Sam Hunt (Happy Halloween)


    “Hey everybody! This is Sam Hunt. Happy Halloween!”


    Carrie Underwood took control of the stage at the American Music Awards this week to perform a stark and emotional performance of “Spinning Bottles,” which she co-wrote with Hillary Lindsey and David Garcia for her new album, Cry Pretty.

    The superstar also picked up the award for Favorite Female Country Artist (her 13th AMA). She directed the majority of her acceptance speech to her fans. “Oh my goodness. Thank you, God, first and foremost. I have an incredible team of people that make my universe go ‘round, so thank you so much. But tonight is all about the fans. Thank you so much. You have shown so much love and support for me for the past few months of my life — well my whole career, honestly — but especially these past few months. I feel it…You guys mean the world to all of us. Just thank you so much.”

    She continued to thank everyone later in the evening on Instagram. “Such a wonderful night! I am honored and humbled by the love I received from you all tonight. I made absolutely no sense in my speech and didn’t say half of what I should’ve, but I want you all to know that your support means everything to me! Also, I am beyond honored to be in the company of such talented ladies like @marenmorris and @kelseaballerini to represent the women of Country Music tonight. That said, I’m off to peel this dress off and cuddle up to my little man! I shall go to bed with a full and happy heart! And, of course, thank you #AMAs for having me and for letting the fans call the shots!”


    Carrie is currently making her way up the country charts with her latest song, “Love Wins” from her No. 1 album, Cry Pretty.

    Video / Carrie Underwood acceptance speech at the 2018 AMAs

  • NEWS AND NOTES: Kacey, Dierks, Carrie, Kassi

    Kacey Musgraves will perform on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday (October 8th).

    Dierks Bentley unveils the video for his song, “Burning Man,” with Brothers Osborne on Monday (October 8th).



    Carrie Underwood will perform on the American Music Awards on Tuesday (October 9th).

    Kassi Ashton is set for the CMA’s Country Music Songwriters Series show at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on October 22nd. She’ll be joined by tunesmiths Chris DeStefano, Ashley Campbell and Tenille Townes.



    Multi-platinum-selling global superstar Carrie Underwood has spent the last month sharing her critically-acclaimed album Cry Pretty with the world. From coast-to-coast U.S. promotion including an emotional profile with CBS Sunday Morning, impromptu karaoke with Jimmy Fallon and The Ellen Show, Underwood has also traveled to the Netherlands, Germany and Australia.

    In this photo released by Warner Bros., talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is seen during a taping of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, Calif. (Photo by Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.)

    In the Netherlands, she promoted the album in Amsterdam, as well as, performing at the 3rd annual Tuckerville Festival in Enschede, which was attended by fans from all over Europe. The trip to Holland was followed by a round of promotion in Berlin, Germany before U.S. appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and The Ellen Show, as well as, stellar album reviews from Rolling Stone, NPR and Consequence of Sound.  Additionally, Carrie introduced a new song and show open for her sixth season as the voice of Sunday Night Football, primetime television’s No.1 weekly program.

    (Photo Credit: Cameron Premo)

    Before heading to Australia for more international promotion, Underwood was joined by family and friends for her star ceremony and induction into the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as well as, a performance at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas, NV.

    (Photo Credit: Cameron Premo)

    In Australia, she performed in front of a live audience on The AFL Footy Show’s Grand Final Edition from Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena and headlined the iconic Deni Ute Muster’s 20th Anniversary Festival in Deniliquin, New South Wales, for a crowd of nearly 18,000 people.  In addition to appearances on ABC News Breakfast and her third on Australia’s nightly news and entertainment program, The Project, she performed an outdoor concert live from Melbourne’s Federation Square on Sunrise, the No. 1 breakfast show, as part of their annual Grand Final Brekky Party, leading up to the country-wide AFL Grand Final weekend celebrations.

    The UK’s Music Week says, “While it is with a reasonable degree of certainty that artists will typically herald their latest album as their most personal to date, in Underwood’s case that claim has authenticity…Underwood’s career stands as an exemplar of how to do everything right.”

    In the coming weeks Underwood will have several performances including the 2018 American Music Awards airing on ABC, where she is also nominated as Favorite Female Artist – Country. Her performance on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! will air on October 9 following the AMA broadcast.  She is also being honored and will perform live at the 2018 CMT Artists of the Year special on October 17, which is dedicated to the women of Country music – past, present and future.  The following week she will join with the Grand Ole Opry in the fight against breast cancer on October 26, performing two shows for the special 10th Annual “Opry Goes Pink.”  On November 14, she and Brad Paisley will co-host the CMA Awards for the 11th consecutive year.  Later that week, she will be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

    Cry Pretty debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Album Charts, making Underwood the only woman in history to land four country albums at the top of the all-genre Billboard 200 chart, as well as the first female country act to top the Billboard Artist 100 Chart. The critically-acclaimed album is the best-selling Country album debut of 2018. Cry Pretty’s debut week also marks the most first week streams by any female in Country music. This is Underwood’s seventh consecutive album to debut at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart, representing all of her first seven albums including her Greatest Hits: Decade #1.

    The album is Underwood’s first release on Capitol Records Nashville and her first time co-producing alongside David Garcia.  She co-wrote nine of the songs on the album including her current single, “Love Wins,” with David Garcia and Brett James.

    *She recently released the official music video for “Love Wins,” which was directed by Shane Drake. View HERE.

    As previously announced, Underwood will launch a new arena tour, The Cry Pretty Tour 360 in Spring 2019.  Sponsored by CALIA, the new tour will kick off on May 1 in Greensboro, NC, and will play 55 arenas across the U.S. and Canada and be promoted by AEG Presents.  She will be joined on tour by special guests Maddie & Tae and Runaway June.

    Links to Download Individual Collage Images Below:

    The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon – New York City, New York (Photo Credit: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC)

    The Ellen Show (Performance) – Los Angeles, California (Photo Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Brothers)

    The Ellen Show (Interview) – Los Angeles, California (Photo Credit: Michael Rozman/Warner Brothers)

    3rd Annual Tuckerville Festival – Enschede, Netherlands (Photo Credit: Raymond van Olphen)

    3rd Annual Tuckerville Festival (Collage) – Enschede, Netherlands (Photo Credit: Cameron Premo)

    RBB Radio – Berlin, Germany (Photo Credit: Cameron Premo)

    Hollywood Walk of Fame – Los Angeles, California (Photo Credit: Cameron Premo)

    iHeart Radio Music Festival – Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo Credit: Cameron Premo)

    The AFL Footy Show’s Grand Final Edition – Melbourne, Australia (Photo Credit: Cameron Premo)

    Deni Ute Muster’s 20th Anniversary Festival – Deniliquin, New South Wales, Australia (Photo Credit: Cameron Premo)

    The Project – Melbourne, Australia (Photo Credit: The Project)

    Sunrise’s Grand Final Brekky Party – Melbourne, Australia (Photo Credit: Sunrise)


    To continue this year’s celebration of women, CMT has added seven new powerhouse performances to the “2018 CMT Artists of the Year” lineup: Carrie Underwood with CMT Next Women of Country and tour mates Maddie & Tae and Runaway June; Miranda Lambert and Pistol Annies; Kelsea Ballerini with Alison Krauss; Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman with soul legend Gladys Knight; and Hillary Scott with singer-songwriter Tori Kelly and Grammy-award winning gospel artist Kirk Franklin. In addition, honoree Maren Morris will join forces with Brandi Carlile for a powerful tribute to late icon Aretha Franklin. The 9th annual special premieres LIVE from Nashville on Wednesday, October 17th at 8pm ET/PT, only on CMT.

    In recognition of the undeniable influence and impact of female artists in country music, the “2018 CMT Artists of the Year” special is dedicated to the women of country music—past, present and future. This year’s all-female “Artists of the Year” are CarrieUnderwood, Miranda Lambert, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman and Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott. The coveted “Artist of a Lifetime” award presented by Ram Trucks will be given to country music icon Loretta Lynn.

    In addition to the “2018 CMT Artists of the Year” live special, CMT will further its commitment to female artists through a day-long “Women of Country Music” takeover across all CMT platforms where music lives including music hours on CMT, the 24/7 digital channel CMT Music and CMT Radio’s widely-syndicated shows “CMT Radio LIVE” and “CMT After Midnite” to encourage and inspire increased female airplay on October 17.

    A staunch advocate for country music’s female artists, CMT launched its dedicated “Next Women of Country” campaign in 2013 as a way to give female artists voice and airplay across all CMT platforms. The franchise has received critical acclaim, and in five years since launch CMT has expanded to include tours, digital programming and more. Ballerini and Morris are both alumnae of the “Next Women” franchise.

    Last year’s special notched its highest ratings to date and ranked as the most watched in the event’s eight-year history. More than 1.1 million fans tuned in to the premiere telecast and the encore. Socially, #CMTAOTY trended nationally on Twitter during the show and the special ranked as the #1 Most Social Entertainment Program in Primetime on Cable.

    Previous “CMT Artists of the Year” performances have included Adele and Darius Rucker performing Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now;” Meghan Trainor, Jill Scott and Kelsea Ballerini honoring Shania Twain with a medley of her biggest hits; Jason Aldean, Keith Urban and Chris Stapleton in a moving Tom Petty tribute with “I Won’t Back Down;” Adam Lambert and Leona Lewis paying tribute to Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush;” and Maroon 5 covering Taylor Swift’s “Mine.” The show has featured appearances by Ellen DeGeneres, Matthew McConaughey, Selena Gomez, Billy Bob Thornton, Roger Clemens, Morgan Freeman, the cast of Nashville and more.

    Former “CMT Artists of the Year” honorees include Blake Shelton (2015), Brad Paisley (2011), Carrie Underwood (2010, 2012, 2016), Cast of “Nashville” (2015), Chris Stapleton (2015, 2016, 2017), Eric Church (2012), Florida Georgia Line (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), Hunter Hayes (2013), Jason Aldean (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), Keith Urban (2017), Kelsea Ballerini (2016), Kenny Chesney (2011, 2012), Kenny Rogers (2015), Lady Antebellum (2010, 2011), Little Big Town (2015), Luke Bryan (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), Merle Haggard (2014), Miranda Lambert (2012, 2014), Sam Hunt (2015, 2017), Shania Twain (2016), Taylor Swift (2010, 2011), Thomas Rhett (2016), Tim McGraw (2013) and Toby Keith (2012.)


    Throughout the entire month of October, ABC, Freeform and Disney Channel will roll out a series of customized public service announcements (PSAs) with fan favorite stars that call on audiences to end negativity, celebrate their differences, support love and, ultimately, choose kindness. Serving as the primary ambassadors for the campaign are award-winning radio and television personality Ryan Seacrest and seven-time GRAMMY® Award winner, multi-platinum selling, global superstar Carrie Underwood.

    Underwood lends her new single “Love Wins,” from her latest album “Cry Pretty,” as an anthem of solidarity throughout Disney|ABC’s month-long campaign. “Cry Pretty,” which Underwood co-produced, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and Top Country Album Charts, and is her first album released on Capitol Records Nashville. “Love Wins” was written by Underwood, David Garcia and Brett James.  A custom PSA, produced by Radio Disney Country and featuring Underwood, has debuted on the Disney Channel and across Radio Disney and Radio Disney Country’s social media platforms and YouTube channels.  Underwood recently received the Hero Award at the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards recognizing her humanitarian efforts and support of a myriad of charities.

    Stars across Disney|ABC Television are rallying behind National Bullying Prevention Month and encouraging viewers to #ChooseKindness through personal testimonials and videos that reinforce the importance of being kind. Along with nonprofit partners GLSEN, GLAAD, PACER, ESPN’s “Shred Hate” campaign, No Bully, and Common Sense Media, the multi-platform and cross-network initiative, now in its sixth year, focuses on inspiring kids, families and change-makers around the country to put an end to bullying in their communities and online.

    “The Choose Kindness campaign is incredibly important to our identity as Disney|ABC Television, with storytelling across our series and networks that celebrate inclusion, respect and love,” said David Ambroz, executive director, Corporate Citizenship & Internal Communications. “We’re thrilled that for the sixth year, our talent has stepped up to deliver heartfelt and honest messages that encourage our viewers to accept the challenge of choosing kindness, and that our ongoing partnerships with these nonprofit changemakers continue to make a difference in our communities.”

    “We are extremely proud to once again partner with Disney|ABC Television on this year’s #ChooseKindness campaign for National Bullying Prevention Month,” said Eliza Byard, GLSEN executive director. “Their invaluable dedication to this cause within its programming, through its talent and more continues to be an inspiring example for young viewers everywhere. As a national education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ youth, GLSEN has seen firsthand what happens when students stand up against bullying – as happened just last week in thousands of schools nationwide during GLSEN’s Ally Week. When young people are encouraged to choose kindness, respect and taught how to be allies for one another, school becomes a safer and more welcoming environment in which all students can fully reach their academic potential.”

    In addition to the PSAs, several stars offered honest testimonials of their personal experiences with bullying. From being called names to being teased about their weight to being judged by the color of their skin, these heartfelt videos offer audiences a glimpse into an epidemic that their favorite stars are not immune to, as well as uplifting messages on how to take a stand for those being bullied around them.

    Among the stars featured in the videos and photos throughout the month are Kelly Ripa (“Live With Kelly and Ryan”); Taran Killam (“Single Parents”); Leighton Meester (“Single Parents”); James Roday (“A Million Little Things”); Ron Livingston (“A Million Little Things”); Randall Park (“Fresh Off The Boat”); Nathan Fillion (“The Rookie”); Raven-Symoné (“Raven’s Home”); Issac Ryan Brown (“Raven’s Home,” “Kim Possible”);  Sasha Pieterse (“Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists”); Janel Parrish (“Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists”) and many more.

    In partnership with GLAAD and PACER, Disney|ABC will also celebrate two key dates in October that call on audiences to show their support and stand against bullying. On Thursday, Oct. 18, GLAAD encourages supporters to wear purple for “Spirit Day” to stand against bullying and demonstrate support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) youth. On Wednesday, Oct. 24, viewers are encouraged to celebrate PACER’s Unity Day. Wear and share orange to show unity against bullying and band together to celebrate for kindness, acceptance and inclusion.

    Additional campaigns being celebrated throughout the month of October include GLSEN’s “Ally Week” and ESPN’s “Shred Hate,” a bullying prevention program from ESPN, MLB and X Games which seeks to eliminate bullying by encouraging kids to choose kindness. As part of “Shred Hate,” No Bully, a nonprofit organization that ignites student compassion to eradicate bullying and cyberbullying, is partnering with local school districts and training them how to implement the award-winning No Bully System. To date, more than 25,791 students have been impacted by the program in schools across the country and an additional 60,000 students will be reached in the 2018-2019 school year.

    Carrie is set to perform on the American Music Awards which airs on Tuesday (October 9th) beginning at 8pm ET on ABC.

    Carrie will also co-host the CMA Awards with pal Brad Paisley live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on November 14th at 8pm ET on ABC.

    Video / ABC Stars #CHOOSEKINDNESS video