Dierks Bentley is honored he was asked to take part on “The Driver,” the first single from Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley’s upcoming album of the same title, due February 5th. The song, which also features co-writer Eric Paslay, is nominated for a Grammy Award.

    “‘The Driver’ is a really great song. I mean, there’s great songs and then there’s really great songs. It’s probably possible that it’s a career type of song for Charles as a songwriter and Eric Paslay, as well, as a songwriter on that record. What a great, great song. It’s kind of like a ‘Turn the Page,’” says Dierks. “It kind of sums up the life of a road musician, but also gets the fans in there and the bus drivers in there, obviously the singers, and it just kind of sums up that life so well that obviously we know and our fans know too. I was truly honored that they asked me to be the third wheel on the song, and I’m just really proud that Charles had the guts to put it out and Capitol Records had the guts to put it out, and it’s so cool that it’s honored for a Grammy [nomination].”

    • Dierks just announced the title of his new studio album, Black, which will be released in the coming months.
    • Dierks is set to co-host the 51st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards with Luke Bryan April 3rd.


    Video / The Driver video


    Today, “one of the most-talked-about releases of 2016” (Billboard) receives a release date as Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum announces his first-ever solo album THE DRIVER (Capitol Records Nashville) will be available February 5th. The nine-track disc has already received a GRAMMY nomination for its lead single/title track, which fans will now receive as an instant download alongside an additional track each Friday leading into release with an iTunes pre-order purchase. 
    Stepping outside of Lady Antebellum, one of the world’s most popular groups, Kelley explores new territory with a raw sound that pushes his vocals into a lower, grittier key. Born in a ratty studio in the back of producer Paul Worley’s offices, the initial batch of songs gave Kelley a sense that he was going to be diving into some new territory, with a real sense of range as “Lonely Girl” and “Your Love” have a Hall and Oates-style, while his cover of Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents” (featuring Stevie Nicks) has a stark and melancholy feel. 
    “At first, it was really weird to go in the booth and be like, ‘Where’s Hillary? Where’s Dave?’ But it was very exciting to be the leader in there and go, ‘This is it, I’m doing this,’” Kelley shared. “It was the most fun I’ve had in the studio, because everything felt new again. It took me out of my comfort zone.”
    Thrilled with the first studio go-round, Kelley and Worley made plans to reconvene a few months later, where they came out with “Dancing Around It,” adding a shot of sexiness into the mix. The second session also included “Leaving Nashville,” an emotional powerhouse of a song about the ups and downs, heartaches and disappointments, of life as a songwriter.  Three final songs were cut later in the year, which added to the album’s moody feel and personal focus. “Round in Circles,” marks the first time that Charles and his brother, Josh Kelley, recorded together since Josh’s early work. THE DRIVER also benefits from an appearance by Miranda Lambert on the textured “I Wish You Were Here” and the very last song recorded, “The Only One Who Gets Me,” which is the fist time Kelley has written a song specifically for and about his wife, Cassie. 
    “While so many of these songs are something I specifically can relate to, it really is all of our story,” added Kelley. “It is a pure musical left turn, to take myself out of my own head and bring in a fresh perspective when we go back in to make the next Lady Antebellum record.”
    1.    Your Love
    (Abe Stoklasa, Ashley Ray)
    2.    The Driver feat. Dierks Bentley & Eric Paslay
    (Charles Kelley, Eric Paslay, Abe Stoklasa)
    3.    Dancing Around It
    (Charles Kelley, Abe Stoklasa, Daniel Tashian)
    4.    Southern Accents feat. Stevie Nicks
    (Tom Petty)
    5.    Lonely Girl
    (Chris Stapleton, Jesse Frasure)
    6.    The Only One Who Gets Me 
    (Charles Kelley, Nathan Chapman)
    7.    Round In Circles 
    (Charles Kelley, Josh Kelley)
    8.    I Wish You Were Here feat. Miranda Lambert
    (Jedd Hughes)
    9.    Leaving Nashville 
    (Abe Stoklasa, Donovan Woods)
    For a preview of the upcoming album click here.
    In addition to his upcoming solo project and success as part of seven-time GRAMMY award-winning trio Lady Antebellum, Kelley has also penned No. one hits recorded by Luke Bryan and Darius Rucker. For more information on new music, visitwww.charleskelley.com

    Audio / Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum says the first single from his new solo album, The Driver, is when it clicked he could have a solo project outside of the band.


    Charles Kelley (The Driver) 2 OC: …can work. :25
    “You know, it’s our first single and it’s a trio. [laughs] It’s Eric Paslay and Dierks Bentley singing with me, but it had that kind of feel. I wanted to capture a little bit of that kind of California country feel to it, and I’m just really proud of it. If I was ever anxious, it was when I was playing the project for the label. A few of the songs just really lit up, especially with ‘The Driver,’ and that was when I was like, ‘Okay, this can work.’”

    Video / Charles Kelley The Driver video with Eric Paslay and Dierks Bentley


    Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum was recently joined by Kelsea Ballerini to surprise his audience by performing the huge hit “Need You Now” at his show in West Palm Beach. Kelsea was apparently on vacation in Florida when she decided to drop by his show. Check out the video below.


    Video / Charles Kelley & Kelsea Ballerini perform Need You Now


    The members of Lady Antebellum all have families of their own, and they’re all excited to pass on their own traditions to the next generation. Charles, Dave and Hillary share their memories, traditions and favorites of the yuletide season below.

    Audio / Lady Antebellum discuss real or fake trees for Christmas.


    Lady A (fake tree vs real tree) OC: (Charles) …the lights up. :47
    DAVE/HILLARY: “Fake tree!”

    CHARLES: “I would love to have a real tree, and we used to have it and I always wondered why I couldn’t breathe. [LAUGHS] Dave and I share, we’re allergic to everything in this world, so we have to have fake trees.”

    HILLARY: “There not as messy. [CHARLES: “And who wants their house to burn down accidentally?”] They still kinda shed anyway like a real tree, but I don’t know, I just feel like the sap and everything, it gets on my floor.”

    DAVE: “Which some people love! Most people … the cleanup and the smell, but for me it’s just a little too much maintenance at Christmas time. I’d rather focus on [HILLARY: “The family.”] presents, family, food [CHARLES: “And drinking.”], so then the tree just pops in the attic for good.”

    HILLARY: [LAUGHS] “Pre-lit tree.”

    CHARLES: “Omigosh, you’re going super laziness.”

    DAVE: “You at least need to put some lights on.”

    CHARLES: “At least string the lights up.”

    Audio / Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott recalls some of her mom’s ornaments she thought was tacky when she was a child, but insists now that they hang on the tree.


    Lady A (Hillary—tackiest ornaments) OC: …this year? [laughs] :20
    “My mom, I gave her such a hard time when I was a little girl, because she went to some store and got these, it’s like snowmen with an icicle hanging down from the bottom, so I thought they were so gawdy. But you know what? Now that I’m older, I love ‘em. And if they’re not on the tree, I’m like, ‘Mama, where are they? Where are the snowmen icicle lights this year?” [laughs]

    Audio / Lady A’s Charles Kelley says he has some of his own childhood handmade ornaments on his tree…much to his wife’s chagrin.


    Lady A (Charles trimming the tree) OC: …she relented. :25
    “My mom actually sent me some of our old ornaments that we had made and stuff. We always had the cheesiest tree (HILLARY: “Homemade…”), but I miss it. It was always so very colorful. And with my wife, she’s very stylish and chic, and so she wanted this really chic tree, and so she wanted this really chic tree, and I said, ‘Baby, I’m sorry. We’ve got to put a little color in this.’ So, I put some of my cheesy little stuff on there, and I think that’s part of Christmas. I think you have to have that, so she relented.”

    Audio / Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley says he is a last minute Christmas shopper.


    LADY A (Charles-last minute shopper) OC: …last-minuter. :08
    “I’m probably a last-minute shopper for sure. Hillary says she’s already been doing her Christmas shopping really early, but I would have to say I’m a last-minuter.”

    Audio / Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum talks about some of his favorite or more memorable Christmases.


    Charles Kelley (Christmas memory-bike) OC: …Christmas Eve. :27
    “My favorite Christmas memory – the one I remember the most is when I wrecked my bike. I had just gotten a bike for Christmas, and it had rained and I slid out and the bike handle hit me in the eye, and I got a big ole black eye. But, what I remember most more than anything, is just growing up with all of my family and waking up in the morning. Josh, my brother Josh and I were about a year and a half apart, so we were like twins growing up. We could never stay still on Christmas Eve.”


    Audio / Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum talks about his favorite Christmas albums.


    Charles Kelley (Christmas albums) OC: …Vince Gill Christmas. :20
    “I love anything Vince Gill and Martina McBride. For some reason, my wife, she’s a giant, Martina McBride is what she grew up listening to Christmas. So, at our house it’s always that. My generation, I think, it was all Martina McBride and Vince Gill Christmas.”

    Audio / Charles Kelley recalls a favorite Christmas tradition in his family.


    Charles Kelley (apple cider tradition) OC: …and apples. [Hillary laughs] :18
    “You know one thing that I honestly always associate Christmas with is apple cider. Hot apple cider. My mom always made it and she put in all these spices, and it always reminds me of Christmas. My mom used to also make baked apples too, which I don’t know what our obsession is with apples, but apparently we’re Christmas and apples.” [Hillary laughs]

    Audio / Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum recalls one of his favorite Christmas gifts.


    Lady A (favorite Christmas gift) OC: (Charles) …album cover, too. :15
    “My favorite Christmas gift was probably my very first guitar from my Grandpa about 15 years ago. And more recently, I got a red Gibson about 5 or 6 years ago. That red one we use on stage was given to me by my Dad for Christmas years ago.” CHARLES: “It was on our first album cover, too.”

    Audio / The members of Lady A talk about their favorite Christmas movies.


    LADY A (Christmas movies) OC: (Hillary) …Christmas Vacation. :14
    CHARLES: “Favorite Christmas movie would have to be A Christmas Story! I never get tired out of it – ‘shoot your eye out’ is my favorite line.” DAVE: “National Lampoon’s…” HILLARY: “Yes! My favorite Christmas movie is – it’s close between It’s a Wonderful Life and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

    Audio / Lady A reveal their favorite Christmas songs.


    LADY A (Christmas songs) OC: (Hillary) …His Child.’ :15
    CHARLES: “Favorite Christmas song for me would have to be ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.’ How ‘bout you guys?” DAVE: “My favorite Christmas song would have to be ‘We Three Kings.’” HILLARY: “One of my favorite all-time Christmas songs is one that Trisha Yearwood recorded called ‘It Wasn’t His Child.’”

    Audio / Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood talks about his favorite Christmas tradition that he wants to carry on with his own family, which includes his wife Kelli and son Cash.


    Lady A (Dave-Christmas tradition) OC: …it along. :23
    “I think the tradition that I would love to carry on is kind of a funny one. My dad on Christmas Eve, he would actually read the Christmas Story. Very predictable, I know, but after the Christmas Story, he would always give his famous Christmas test. He would have this long test, and he would ask us about the Wise Men and the shepherds and the entire Christmas Story. I’m gonna have to get the copy of it from him, because he never gives us the full answers. But, I’d love to get that test from him and be able to pass it along.”

  • GRAMMY AWARDS NOMINATIONS 2015: Chris Stapleton, LBT, Sam, Charles, Keith, Kacey and more.

    The nominations for the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards were announced Monday morning (December 7th) and country music is well-represented.

    Chris Stapleton, Little Big Town and Sam Hunt led the list of country nominees, with Chris and LBT each picking up four, while Sam earned two.

    Little Big Town are nominated for overall Song of the Year for “Girl Crush,” as well as Best Country Duo/Group Performance, Best Country Album for Pain Killer and Best Country Song. The group tweeted, “WOW! 4 nominations? We are thrilled to be representing country music w/ @TheGRAMMYs, esp. ‘Song Of The Year.’”

    Chris, who picked up three CMA Awards last month, is nominated in four categories at the Grammy Awards, including overall/all-genre Album of the Year. He says that he hopes fans enjoy his album, Traveller, as a whole. “Music to me is meant to be enjoyed in that way and you’re really supposed to dive into it. And I hope some folks can find it in their hearts to do that with this record, because I think it’s how it was meant to be used. And somewhere in there if they’re compelled to come and watch me live, that’d be great.” Chris is also nominated for Best Country Album, Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song.

    Sam Hunt has a pair of nods, including the overall Best New Artist, as well as Best Country Album for his debut album, Montevallo, which has spawned three No. 1 hits, and another song making its way up the country charts. “I am beyond humbled with these nominations,” says Sam. “I am so grateful to the fans, the Nashville music community and the Recording Academy for their appreciation and recognition. This has been just the most amazing year.”

    John and TJ Osborne, aka Brothers Osborne, are excited to earn their very first Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for their Top 10 single, “Stay a Little Longer.” The two were asleep when news of their nomination was announced. ““My wife woke me up, just like screaming, ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ I woke up in a panic. I thought the damn house was on fire,” laughs John. “But, yeah, we hear most big news while we’re asleep.”

    Charles Kelley earned his first-ever GRAMMY nomination as a solo artist in the Best Country Duo/Group Performance category for his “soaring new single” (Entertainment Weekly) “The Driver” featuring Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay. This year’s recognition serves as Kelley’s 12th career nomination from The Recording Academy. “I’m still in shock from waking up this morning to a GRAMMY nomination for ‘The Driver,” says Charles. “I feel like I’m just getting started on this journey, so to get honored in this way and share it with Dierks and Eric is incredible. I’m so thankful to my producer Paul Worley who encouraged me to chase this record down.”

    Keith Urban has a nomination for Best Country Solo Performance for his recent chart-topping hit, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” while Kacey Musgraves picks up a nod for Best Country Album for Pageant Material.

    The 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be handed out February 15th.


    Sound & Color – Alabama Shakes

    To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

    Traveller – Chris Stapleton

    1989 – Taylor Swift

    Beauty Behind The Madness – The Weeknd



    “Alright” – Kendrick Duckworth, Mark Anthony Spears, Pharrell Williams (Kendrick Lamar)

    “Blank Space” – Max Martin, Shellback, Taylor Swift (Taylor Swift)

    “Girl Crush” – Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose (Little Big Town)

    “See You Again” – Andrew Cedar, Justin Franks, Charles Puth, Cameron Thomaz (Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth)



    Courtney Barnett

    James Bay

    Sam Hunt

    Tori Kelly

    Meghan Trainor



    “Burning House” – Cam

    “Traveller” – Chris Stapleton

    “Little Toy Guns” – Carrie Underwood

    “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” – Keith Urban

    “Chances Are” – Lee Ann Womack



    “Stay A Little Longer” – Brothers Osborne

    “If I Needed You” – Joey+Rory

    “The Driver” – Charles Kelley, Dierks Bentley, Eric Paslay

    “Girl Crush” – Little Big Town

    “Lonely Tonight” – Blake Shelton featuring Ashley Monroe



    “Chances Are” – Hayes Carll (Lee Ann Womack)

    “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” – Barry Dean, Luke Laird, Jonathan Singleton (Tim McGraw)

    “Girl Crush” – Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose (Little Big Town)

    “Hold My Hand” – Brandy Clark, Mark Stephen Jones (Brandy Clark)

    “Traveller” – Chris Stapleton (Chris Stapleton)



    Montevallo – Sam Hunt

    Pain Killer – Little Big Town

    The Blade – Ashley Monroe

    Pageant Material – Kacey Musgraves

    Traveller – Chris Stapleton

    Audio / Chris Stapleton talks about what he hopes for folks and fans to go away with when they listen to his album.


    Chris Stapleton (album) OC: …that’d be great. :47
    “I grew up on records as a piece of work. I didn’t grow up in an age where we necessarily bought singles or just one piece of an album. I grew up on things that were albums. I hope that people go ahead and get the whole album and listen to it, take the time to listen it, and not as a passive thing, as like I’m watching television or Youtube, all these things that we have as distractions. Music to me is meant to be enjoyed in that way and you’re really supposed to dive into it. And I hope some folks can find it in their hearts to do that with this record, because I think it’s how it was meant to be used. And somewhere in there if they’re compelled to come and watch me live, that’d be great.”

    Audio / John & TJ Osborne of Brothers Osborne reveal how they found out they were nominated for a Grammy.


    Brothers Osborne (Grammys) OC: (John) …we’re asleep. [laughs] :28
    TJ: “We found out that we were nominated almost the same exact way we found out we were nominated for an ACM. I woke up to like 60 text messages, and I was like, ‘Who the hell is texting me at this time of the day.’ And I looked at the phone, and everyone’s like, ‘Wake up! You were nominated for the Grammys.’” JOHN: “My wife woke me up, just like screaming, ‘Wake up! Wake up!’ I woke up in a panic. I thought the damn house was on fire. But, yeah, we hear most big news while we’re asleep.” [laughs]

    Audio / Brothers Osborne talk about their Grammy nomination.


    Brothers Osborne (Grammys) 2 OC: (John) …by our peers. :39
    TJ: “I mean, it’s crazy to be nominated for a Grammy, For the rest of our lives, we’ll always be Grammy nominated artists, you know. And hopefully, we win the category, but just simply being nominated, it’s something that a lot of musicians and songwriters and entertainers never, ever get to achieve, and so it’s, to say it’s an honor is an understatement.” JOHN: “Yeah, we’ve always taken kind of a different approach when it comes to music. And our music is not necessarily 100% conventional all the time, so the mountain for us has been a bit steeper, and this is an amazing achievement because we’re nominated and we’re being acknowledged by our peers.”

    Audio / Keith Urban explains that while he and producer Dann Huff changed up the song’s production from the demo, it didn’t detract from “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16.”


    Keith Urban (J3 #1 party) OC: …does everything. :30
    “For me, it was just a great song. It kinda didn’t matter how it was done, it was a great song. It was solid, great melody. Even from a singer’s standpoint, there’s certain things about rhythmic qualities of consonants and vowels and where they fall in a melody and where they fall in the rhythm that matter to me; maybe not even just matter, but they resonate with me that way. So, you can have a song that’s really well-written lyrically, but it’s not great to sing. It doesn’t sing well. It reads well, but it doesn’t sing well, and this is one of those songs that does everything.”

    Audio / Charles Kelley talks about his Grammy nomination for “The Driver.”


    Charles Kelley (Grammys) OC: …this record. :57
    “I actually found out about the nominations this morning. My wife woke me up. I had a whole bunch of text messages from friends and family congratulating me. I, of course, like most musicians, don’t wake up before nine o’clock. But just honestly, I have not been able to get this smile off my face today. I’m so fired up. I’m so ready for fans to hear this project. ‘The Driver’ is a song, it’s probably one of the most honest songs I’ve written in a long time, and to be able to share this moment with my buddies Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay, means the world to me. Every time I go on social media and see the reaction and fans specifically talking about this song and how it’s speaking to them, that reminds me of why I wanted to pursue this project. I don’t know. It just means the world to me, and it means the world to me that Hillary and Dave are so supportive. They were one of my first texts this morning congratulating me. And I cannot wait for everybody to hear the rest of this record.”

    Audio / Kacey Musgraves talks about her Grammy nominated album, Pageant Material.


    Kacey Musgraves (Pageant Material) OC: …for the record. :55
    “For this record, Pageant Material, it’s funny how that was one of the later songs we wrote, and I don’t go into a record, or I haven’t yet, with a theme in mind. I just like let the songs come, and somewhere along the way, they take shape on their own. That’s kind of what happened here. We gotten ‘Pageant Material,’ and at that point, I think that was the last one we wrote, that one or ‘Dime Store [Cowgirl].’ So, we had most of the songs in the batch, and I hadn’t really, I was kind of feeling a little weird ‘cause I was like I didn’t really know what it was going to be called. Same thing happened with Same Trailer…, it just kind of popped out of nowhere and late in the game. So, I was just messing around with the titles, and I just thought, ‘Pageant Material – that would be an awesome statement for the record, I think.’ It’s just kind of saying, ‘I’m not pageant material. I’m not a robot. I kind of am what I am.’ And it also has a humorous touch to it too, which I really like. And of course, I love big hair and retro styles, so I thought it was a good fit for the record.”


    Charles Kelley, Darius Rucker, David Nail and Mickey Guyton are among the artists performing some of your old favorites and new favorite Christmas songs during the CMA Country Christmas special. They’ll also be sharing some of their holiday memories and gifts, as well. They’ll be joined by Martina McBride, Jewel, Brett Eldredge, Dan + Shay, LeAnn Rimes, Thomas Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini, Michael W. Smith, Pentatonix and Brian Setzer, among others.

    The CMA Country Christmas was taped at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House and will air Thursday night (December 3rd) at 9pm ET on ABC.

    Audio / During the taping of the ABC special, CMA Country Christmas, a couple of weeks ago, Charles Kelley talked about his performance as a solo artist on the show.


    Charles Kelley (CMA Christmas special) OC: …pretty fun. :32
    “It’s a song that’s actually off of our Christmas album. The funny thing is that Hillary is here tonight with her little sister and Mom. It’s funny — she came backstage and I was like, ‘Omigosh! You need to come up and sing with me on this.’ Her little sister, they really want to see Pentatonix as well, and I don’t know, Hillary is so supportive of what I’m doing right now. I think it’s just so cool. But yeah, this will be the first time, other than Jimmy Fallon the other night, this will be kind of the first TV performance as a solo artist, but it’s a song I know pretty well, so it should be pretty fun.”

    Audio / Expectant father Charles Kelley says he’s looking forward to future Christmases with his new son.


    Charles Kelley (Christmas-baby) OC: …my family. :47
    “This will be my first kid. We found out we’re having a little boy, so really excited. My wife [laughs] my wife was already asking if we should get him a stocking. He doesn’t come until February, and I was like, ‘You are truly nesting on a different level right now, if you want to give the baby a stocking that isn’t here.’ I’m not sure what she decided, but I can’t wait, honestly. It’s funny, in my mind I always pictured having a little girl. I don’t know why, and now that I know it’s a boy, I’m trying to think of all the little things I can teach him and it’s gonna be interesting to see if he’s more like me or more like Cassie. It’ll be fun to see. But, definitely, Christmases for a musician are the time that you probably get the most time off and you’re at home, so that’s gonna be a time I’m sure that I cherish most with my family.”

    Audio / Darius Rucker talks about what he’s performing during Thursday night’s CMA Country Christmas TV special.


    Darius Rucker (CMA Christmas special) OC: …this year. :26
    “Tonight we’re doing ‘Winter Wonderland’ and we’re doing ‘What God Wants for Christmas.’ On these shows, you want to do one of the old standards that you do, and ‘Winter Wonderland’ is such a rockin’ song. It’s perfect, and ‘What God Wants for Christmas,’ I just love that song so much. I’m so proud to be part of writing that song and part of the whole thing. Last year it was funny ‘cause we really wanted to do the Christmas show, and I think I was going to Europe or something, and I couldn’t do it. I’m really excited that I get to do that song this year.”

    Audio / David Nail talks about “This Christmas,” a song he’s performing during the CMA Country Christmas special.


    David Nail (CMA Christmas special) OC: …old-timers. :22
    “You know this song I’m singing tonight, I’ve listened to about 43-hundred times, so right now it’s my favorite. ‘This Christmas,’ the Donny Hathaway version. But, I’m a sucker for the old-timey ones, you know, Bing Crosby [etc.]. It’s just anything old-fashioned, so I’m getting up there in age, so I’m a sucker for the old-timers.”

    Audio / Mickey Guyton talks about performing ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman,’ a song from the animated Frozen soundtrack.


    Mickey Guyton (CMA Christmas special) OC: …be Elsa. :09
    “I’m singing ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman, and I just said I wanted to look like a snow princess, and I wanted to wear my hair in a braid and be Elsa.”

    Audio / Mickey Guyton says she just loves the song, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman,” as well as the movie itself, Frozen.


    Mickey Guyton (CMA Christmas special) 2 OC: …really, really do. :27
    “It’s just really exciting. I love this song, and it’s an emotional song. It’s a story about a love between two sisters, and I just think it’s really cool that I get to sing this song. I told my sister I was doing it, and I sent her a copy and all of her kids. She’s a teacher, so all of her kids  just love this song. And everybody, as I was walked through the hall, they’re like, ‘FROZEN!,’ and I’m like, ‘That’s right.’ I love that movie. I really, really do.”


    Video / CMA Country Christmas 1


    Charles Kelley has hit the airwaves with his solo single, “The Driver,” which also features Eric Paslay and Dierks Bentley. The song, which was written by Charles, Eric and Abe Stoklasa, is an idea Charles had for over a year.

    It’s kind of about the touring experience, and it’s about the driver, the actual bus driver and these truck drivers, but they also represent the crew and everything else that it takes to put on the show,” says Charles. “Then the second verse, Eric Paslay sings and it’s about the audience, you know, the dreamers, the believers. And then the third verse is Dierks’ verse, and it’s about the singer.”

    As soon as he got Dierks to sing on it, he felt the power of the song. “I played it for Dierks, and I said, ‘Man, I’d just always had you in mind with this thing.’ The way his voice sounds, it sounds like a grizzled singer, you know? He heard it and fell in love with it and put his vocal on it, and it was just like, there was the magic right there.”

    The Driver Tour is set to begin at November 28th in Cleveland, Ohio, and is set to wrap up in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 28th.

    Audio / Charles Kelley talks about his solo single, The Driver.


    Charles Kelley (The Driver) OC: …right there. :54
    “‘The Driver’ is a song I wrote with Eric Paslay and a guy named Abe Stoklasa, and ‘The Driver,’ it was an idea I had, I’ve held onto for about a year. It’s kind of about the touring experience, and it’s about the driver, the actual bus driver and these truck drivers, but they also represent the crew and everything else that it takes to put on the show. And then the second verse, Eric Paslay sings and it’s about the audience, you know, the dreamers, the believers. And then the third verse is Dierks’ verse, and it’s about the singer. So, I’d written the song, and I’d sang the last verse just as a place holder, always wanting to find the right person to sing the third verse. And I played it for Dierks, and I said, ‘Man, I’d just always had you in mind with this thing.’ The way his voice sounds, it sounds like a grizzled singer, you know? He heard it and fell in love with it and put his vocal on it, and it was just like, there was the magic right there.”

    Audio / LINER Charles Kelley (The Driver intro)




    Video / The Driver video


    A trumpet on a school shelf sits silent without a teacher showing a student how to play.

    Early in the creation of the CMA Foundation the focus was on purchasing instruments, primarily in Metro Nashville Public Schools, which hadn’t received new instruments in decades. Five years and thousands of instruments later, the CMA Foundation Board has made the strategic shift to focusing not only on providing instruments, but expanding efforts to support sustainable, quality music education through partnerships with in-school and after-school programs nationwide.

    Tuesday night at the annual conference of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), which represents 60,000 music teachers across the country, the CMA Foundation and Country star Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum announced a $150,000 grant from the CMA Foundation to the Give a Note Foundation, which was created by NAfME in 2011 to nurture, grow, and strengthen music education opportunities through grants, scholarships, and research. The research grant will bring the CMA’s music education funding in 2016 to a record $2.6 million.

    “We couldn’t think of a better platform to talk about the importance of supporting sustainable music education programs than sharing this expanded strategy with the teachers who are on the front line of this important issue every day,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer.

    The grant will fund a national study on access to music education that can be analyzed and made available to organizations who wish to make informed decisions for philanthropic gifts in music education – where the need exists, and where the infrastructure exists to make gifts sustainable and impactful.

    “It has become clear as we review hundreds of grant applications each year that being able to identify those regions and cities with the greatest need would be very beneficial – not just to the CMA Foundation, but to many other grant-making organizations,” said Ron Samuels, Chairman of the CMA Foundation Board of Directors. “The need for music education programs is clear. Determining where the need is the greatest will help us better focus our resources.”

    The research grant was made on behalf of CMA’s artist community.

    “The CMA continuing their mission to support music education is something all of us artists are proud to be part of,” said Kelley. “But, what really takes it to the next level for me is that they continue to reevaluate where the money is going so that the resources can be used where they are most valuable. I think that evolution of giving makes an even bigger impact on these kids.”

    Kelley recently released his first solo single, “The Driver,” as Lady Antebellum wraps their successful “Wheels Up” tour. “The Driver,” which features Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay, is the lead song ahead of an EP set for release in early 2016.

    The research will be a statistically valid national survey of school districts. The initial survey research will take place over several months. In addition to the national sample, the Give a Note Foundation will select six communities to conduct additional studies to better understand best practices in music education in underserved areas. 

    “On behalf of the Give a Note Foundation board and staff, we are deeply grateful to the CMA Foundation for their support and partnership in our work to equip all students to be successful by strengthening music programs across the U.S.,” added Give a Note Foundation President and Board Chair Beth Slusher. “This grant will make a big difference in how we reach students, teachers, and communities with the help they need for their music programs to thrive.”

    With the research funding, Kelley announced that the CMA Foundation’s charitable giving in 2016 is poised to exceed $2.6 million – bringing the organization’s total contributions to $13.6 million. The CMA Foundation will announce 2016 grant recipients in the coming months.

    CMA created the nonprofit (501C3) CMA Foundation in 2011 as the charitable giving arm of CMA. Funds for the Foundation are provided by CMA on behalf of the hundreds of artists who perform and make appearances during CMA Music Festival for free.

    “Our artist community is embracing this program like never before,” said Trahern. “Their participation in the Festival makes these donations possible, but they are also stepping up to be ambassadors for music education across the country by visiting programs, including student musicians in their performances, and creating a national dialogue about the importance of music education in media interviews and TV appearances.”

    Studies show students who participate in the arts are more likely to graduate, have better attendance rates, and higher GPAs than students not enrolled in arts classes. The CMA Foundation recognizes the importance of music education in keeping kids engaged and in school as well as providing access to higher education through scholarships.

    Guided by the generosity of the Country Music community, the CMA Foundation focuses on improving and sustaining music education programs everywhere while supporting worthwhile causes important to the Country Music Association.

    Since 2011, Give a Note Foundation has conducted national awareness campaigns and raised funds to support and strengthen music education programs across the U.S. The programs have reached millions of parents and students and provided more than $1 million in direct grants to schools. Learn more about Give a Note Foundation at www.giveanote.org. Help give the gift of music! Text “MusicEd GAN” to 20222 to donate $10! Message & Data Rates May Apply. Details: http://www.giveanote.org/contribute/. You can follow Give a Note on Twitter www.twitter.com/giveanote, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/giveanote.


    The video for Charles Kelley‘s single, “The Driver,” premiered on Friday (October 23rd). The clip features Eric Paslay (who also co-wrote the song) and Dierks Bentley.

    Video / The Driver video


    Charles Kelley appeard on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon this week to perform his new solo single, “The Driver,” with Eric Paslay and Dierks Bentley. Backstage, he chatted about the inspiration behind the song which he wrote with Paslay and Abe Stoklasa.

    Video / Charles Kelley -- How I Wrote That Song - The Driver