• NEWS AND NOTES: Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, Brothers Osborne, Sam Hunt, Little Big Town, Hillary Scott, Darius Rucker

    Eric Church and Chris Stapleton are among the artists paying tribute to the late John Lennon in a new AMC all-star special, Imagine: John Lennon 75th Birthday Concert, December 19th. The special, being recorded December 5th in New York City, will also include performances by Kris Kristofferson, Peter Frampton, Steven Tyler, Sheryl Crow, Train’s Pat Monahan and Aloe Blacc.

    Tim McGraw performed the song “Here Tonight” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon this week. TJ and John of Brothers Osborne wrote the song.

    Sam Hunt has been chosen as a curator for the fourth annual Grammy Amplifier program – an online music initiative that gives a platform to aspiring artists. Big Sean and Lzzy Hale have also been named curators for the program, which invites hopeful singers to upload their songs for consideration at www.grammyamplifier.com. Hunt, Big Sean and Hale will select three winners from the top 25 most popular submissions to win one-of-a-kind experiences that include an in-studio recording session with a Grammy Award-winning producer, an opening spot for a popular artist and/or a series of festival shows, and a music video with a notable director. “I’m honored to be part of a program where I can help elevate new and emerging talent,” Sam said in a prepared statement. “It wasn’t long ago I was an unknown artist, and I couldn’t be more grateful to the people who helped me with the tools I needed to start my career. I look forward to shining a light on these aspiring musicians.” The Grammy Amplifier program is open to submissions through December.

    Little Big Town will honor rock icon Gregg Allman during the second season premiere of Nashville-based performance webcast series Skyville Live on December 11th at 8pm ET.

    On Monday (November 16th), Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott will host Leadership Music’s Dale Franklin Awards honoring three music industry leaders in Nashville, including Reba.

    Darius Rucker recently presented a $1 million grant from the CMA Foundation to Metro Nashville Public Schools to provide instruments and music education for more than 85,000 local students. “A defining moment in my life was when my mother gave me my first guitar – I can honestly say it completely changed my life,” says Darius. “So to know that we, as artists with CMA, are helping kids get the option for that kind of discovery is really incredible.”

  • CHRIS STAPLETON’S MEMORIES HAVE ALWAYS INCLUDED MUSIC.

    Chris Stapleton has been receiving a lot of recognition ever since last week’s CMA Awards, where he picked up trophies for Male Vocalist, Album and New Artist of the Year. It sounds like he was born to be a vehicle for music, a conveyor of song…a singer…and that’s exactly what he’s always been, even as a small boy growing up in Kentucky.

    “I don’t remember ever not singing. I always sang. I sang with my brother. We would sing at home and sing at church and different things. I don’t ever remember not singing. I don’t have any memory of where I didn’t sing,” says Chris. “I found it out because I didn’t like anything else, and I found out a bunch of things that I was not.”

    He drove an ice truck, sold cars, went to college and had a handful of other jobs, but he always turned to music. “The thought of doing anything else just made me so miserable, I think that really [laughs] steered my path and for better or worse.”

    Chris is currently on the West Coast with sold-out shows, including Thursday night in Portland, Oregon, Friday in Chico, California, Sunday in San Francisco and Monday in Los Angeles. He’s also set to perform during Music City’s New Year’s Bash on Broadway, along with Kings of Leon, The Whigs and Kelsea Ballerini, among others.

    Audio / Chris Stapleton says he can’t remember not singing…ever.

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    Chris Stapleton (always sang) OC: …in that way. :41
    “I don’t remember ever not singing. I always sang. I sang with my brother. We would sing at home and sing at church and different things. I don’t ever remember not singing. I don’t have any memory of where I didn’t sing. I found it out because I didn’t like anything else, and I found out a bunch of things that I was not. I sold cars and drove an ice truck and went to college, did different [things] – not in that order, but you know. You find out who you’re not, and the thought of doing anything else just made me so miserable, I think that really [laughs] steered my path and for better or worse. Fortunately for me, it kind of worked out, but I’m pretty lucky in that way.”

  • CHRIS STAPLETON LANDS AT NO. 1.

    Mercury Nashville’s Chris Stapleton released his debut album, Traveller, to overwhelming critical acclaim in May and it is the best-selling first week album by a debut country artist in 2015. Last week 13.6 million viewers tuned in to the 49th Annual CMA Awards and saw the soulful singer in a remarkable on-stage collaboration with superstar and good friend Justin Timberlake. In addition to the performance that Entertainment Weekly called “an unapologetic display of abnormal levels of talent,” Stapleton took home awards for New Artist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year. This marks the first time in CMA Awards history for a New Artist of the Year winner to also collect Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year. Almost instantaneously, Traveller rocketed to the top of the album sales charts where it currently remains on both the Billboard 200 and country albums chart with 153,428 units sold and 177,199 equivalent album sales this week making it the fourth biggest sales week for any country album in 2015 and the first debut country album to hit the top of the Billboard 200 in four years. “Tennessee Whiskey” is the best-selling digital country song of the week with 131,206 downloads sold. Fans can purchase Traveller HERE.

    Within hours of Stapleton’s impressive showing, all of his remaining tour dates sold out. As the  New York Times points out, “His victories at the awards … were a collective acknowledgement by the industry of the superlative talent of one of its own. With that voice, he does a thing many of his colleagues simply cannot.”

    Since his May album debut, Stapleton has performed on The View, Late Show with David Letterman, Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Late Night with Seth Meyers and CBS This Morning Saturday Sessions.

    Recorded at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A by Vance Powell and co-produced by Dave Cobb and Stapleton, Traveller had already been named “Best of 2015” by Rolling Stone, NPR Music, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Stereogum and more.

  • CHRIS STAPLETON ‘TRAVELS’ TO NO. 1 ON THE ALBUM CHART!

    Chris Stapleton’s Traveller album climbs to the top of both the Billboard Top 200 and Country Album charts this week. The collection of songs, including his latest single “Nobody to Blame,” “Tennessee Whiskey,” “Traveller” and “Fire Away,” sold more than 177,000 total albums, 153,000 of which were pure album sales. The rest came from the multiple downloads of the single “Tennessee Whiskey,” which he performed during the ceremony, as well as other Traveller singles that have now found renewed interest.

    According to Billboard, Traveller, which was just named the CMA Album of the Year, returns to the list after being absent from the chart since September, and initially debuting and peaking at No. 14 in May (It was released on May 5th through Mercury Records). It bounds back in at No. 1 with 177,199 equivalent album units earned in the week ending November 5th (up 6,109 percent from about 3,000 units) according to Nielsen Music. Of the new week’s total unit sum, 153,000 were pure album sales (up 6,412 percent from 2,000).

    The lift is most likely due to his stellar performance with superstar Justin Timberlake on last week’s CMA Awards, where they traded vocals on Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey” and JT’s “Drink You Away.” Chris picked up three CMA Awards, including Album, Male Vocalist and New Artist of the Year.

    “Tennessee Whiskey” ranks as the second-largest selling digital song of the week (a No. 2 debut on the Digital Songs chart) with 131,000 downloads sold. “ Traveller’s title track also enters at No. 40 with 25,000. Traveller is also the first debut country album to hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in over four years. The last was Clear As Day, by 2011 American Idol winner Scotty McCreery, which debuted atop the list in 2011.

    Carrie Underwood’s Storyteller came in at No. 2, followed by Eric Church’s surprise release, Mr. Misunderstood, which sold more than 76,000 copies in less than two days.

    Audio / Chris Stapleton talks about his CMA Album of the Year, Traveller.

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    Chris Stapleton (Traveller album) OC: …journey, I think. :22
    “It’s a collection of songs that’s as old as my songwriting career is, so it’s probably 12 or 13 years worth of songs. The song Traveller itself came when I was driving through the desert in an old jeep, and I was thinking a lot about life and how we’re all just kind of passing through it. It’s more about that than an actual physical journey, I think.”

    Video / Chris Stapleton with Justin Timberlake at CMA Awards

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  • CMA AWARDS 2015: Stapleton, Luke, Keith, Church, LBT

    Chris Stapleton was the big winner during Wednesday night’s CMA Awards, as he swept all three awards in which he was nominated. He was named Male Vocalist and New Artist of the Year, while his album, Traveller, was named Album of the Year. Chris also received a second trophy as a producer for the project, which he co-produced with Dave Cobb. This marks the first time a New Artist winner also won for Album of the Year and are his first CMA Awards. Chris also had THE performance of the evening with his collaboration with pop superstar Justin Timberlake on the mashup of “Tennessee Whiskey” and “Drink You Away.”

    Of the wins, Chris said, “It’s surreal. Very unbelievable. I don’t have enough kind of adjectives to get there, but it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s a lot of love. I feel a lot of love. I feel very loved. It’s a short answer, but it’s a real one.”

    Luke Bryan, who performed his recent two-week No. 1 hit “Strip It Down,” picked up his second consecutive award for Entertainer of the Year. “I don’t think I’ve ever sang or performed better on the road than this year,” said Luke. “I’ve really enjoyed every night, and for this to happen tonight is such a blessing.”

    Keith Urban and Eric Church picked up the award for Musical Event of the Year for “Raise ‘Em Up.” The win marks Keith’s fourth trophy in the category, tying him with Vince Gill, Tim McGraw and Brad Paisley as top winners. He’s also the only artist to win three years in a row.

    Little Big Town picked up a couple of awards including their fourth consecutive Vocal Group of the Year for the fourth consecutive time. Their smash hit, “Girl Crush,” was named Single and Song of the Year. Songwriters Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna and Liz Rose are first-time winners for penning the song. “We knew when we heard this song that it was incredibly special. It literally took my breath. I gasped when I realized what the song was actually about,” said LBT’s Kimberly Schlapman. “These three women poured their heart and soul into an incredibly special, once-in-a-lifetime song, and the fact that we were able to cut it is an incredible special. We’ll always be thankful to them for letting us do it.”

    Audio / Backstage at this year’s CMA Awards, Chris Stapleton had a hard time putting into words what all of his CMA wins means to him.

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    Chris Stapleton (feeling of being embraced) OC: …a real one, you know? :17
    “It’s surreal. Very unbelievable. I don’t have enough kind of adjectives to get there, but it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s a lot of love. I feel a lot of love. I feel very loved. It’s a short answer, but it’s a real one, you know.”

    Audio / Backstage at Wednesday night’s CMA Awards, Chris Stapleton talks about performing with Justin Timberlake, in what turned out to be THE performance of the night.

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    Chris Stapleton (performing with JT) OC: …crazy thing, man. :24
    “All those guys and my guys too brought it. They’re all pros and then some. It elevates you  in a way that maybe it cannot happen on your own – all those guys and my wife and my bass player, JT Cure, on the bass over there. I’ve played music with him for 20 years almost. To get to do this tonight in a way we did it, it’s a crazy thing, man.”

    Audio / Backstage at this year’s CMA Awards, Luke Bryan talks about winning his second consecutive CMA Entertainer of the Year award.

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    Luke Bryan (winning CMA entertainer) OC: …amazing. :40
    “I got to tell you, it just felt unsurmountable this year a little more, and it’s just been an amazing year for me on the road. It’s been the most enjoyable year on the road. From A to Z, I don’t think I’ve ever sang or performed better on the road than this year. I’ve really enjoyed every night, and for this to happen tonight is such a blessing. That’s all you can say. When it’s the CMA, in the hands of the CMA voters, people that come out and they pay attention to what you’re doing and for them to do this for me is truly amazing.”

    Audio / Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman talks about being able to record a once-in-a-lifetime song with “Girl Crush.”

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    Little Big Town (cutting Girl Crush) OC: …us do it. (laughs) :25
    “We knew when we heard this song that it was incredibly special. It literally took my breath. I gasped when I realized what the song was actually about. These three women poured their heart and soul into an incredibly special, once-in-a-lifetime song, and the fact that we were able to cut it is an incredible special. We’ll always be thankful to them for letting us do it.” (laughs)

  • CHRIS STAPLETON STEALS THE SHOW WITH AWARDS AND A PERFORMANCE.

    Chris Stapleton has already earned a pair of CMA awards – New Artist and Album of the Year for his debut, Traveller. He also had the biggest and most talked about performance all night – his collaboration with one of today’s hottest artists, Justin Timberlake. The pair traded vocals and licks on Chris’ “Tennessee Whiskey” before launching into the pop star’s country-blues song, “Drink You Away.”

    The album, Traveller, was a labor of love and reflection for the singer-songwriter and powerhouse vocalist. “It seemed like a natural thing to call it, because a lot of, certainly the inspiration for this record came from a series of events,” says Chris. “It can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It’s about a journey in a musical sense and in a physical sense and in a spiritual sense. In every way that you can have a journey, this record is kind of that for me, and hopefully for some other folks too.”

    He just released his brand new single, “Nobody to Blame,” from his CMA Award-winning album.

    Audio / Chris Stapleton explains why he named his album Traveller.

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    Chris Stapleton (title of Traveller) OC: …folks too. :43
    “The song ‘Traveller’ and how it ended up being the title of the record, it seemed like a natural thing to call it, because a lot of, certainly the inspiration for this record came from a series of events. It’s kind of the only song that was written inside of, well, there might’ve been one other song written inside of knowing I was going to make this record in this way. The rest of the songs came from outside of that time period. So, that’s one reason to name it that. The other reason is that it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It’s about a journey in a musical sense and in a physical sense and in a spiritual sense. In every way that you can have a journey, this record is kind of that for me, and hopefully for some other folks too.”

  • CHRIS STAPLETON READY TO HIT THE CMA STAGE WITH JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE.

    Chris Stapleton’s special guest during his performance on Wednesday night’s CMA Awards will be pop superstar Justin Timberlake, as announced on ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday (November 2nd). The two have apparently been talking about a collaboration for some time.

    “We’ve always talked about finding a reason to do something together,” Chris Stapleton tells Rolling Stone Country. “”[Timberlake] is obviously one of the greatest musical talents in the world, maybe ever, that we have,” Stapleton says.. “I called him up with no thought of him agreeing to it, and he was ready to start planning it right then. I said, ‘Well, I think maybe we should wait, and if we get nominated they’ll let me have [a slot].’ He was so gracious and kind to want to do it and was so excited about it, and I’m excited about it. It’ll be something I’ve never done before for sure.”

    Chris, who just released his new single “Nobody to Blame,” is nominated for Male Vocalist, New Artist and Album of the Year for Traveller.

    The 49th Annual CMA Awards will be broadcast live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Wednesday (November 4th) at 8pm ET on ABC.

    Audio / Chris Stapleton explains why he named his album Traveller.

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    Chris Stapleton (title of Traveller) OC: …folks too. :43
    “The song ‘Traveller’ and how it ended up being the title of the record, it seemed like a natural thing to call it, because a lot of, certainly the inspiration for this record came from a series of events. It’s kind of the only song that was written inside of, well, there might’ve been one other song written inside of knowing I was going to make this record in this way. The rest of the songs came from outside of that time period. So, that’s one reason to name it that. The other reason is that it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It’s about a journey in a musical sense and in a physical sense and in a spiritual sense. In every way that you can have a journey, this record is kind of that for me, and hopefully for some other folks too.”

    Justin posted a photo of him and Chris during their CMA rehearsals on Sunday. “Finishing up rehearsals… Honored to share the stage with this BADASS. Wednesday night. Memphis x Nashville. Chris Stapleton #CMAawards

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  • CHRIS STAPLETON ADDED TO LIST OF PERFORMERS AT THIS YEAR’S CMA AWARDS.

    Chris Stapleton – with a very special guest – has joined the list of performers at next week’s CMA Awards. The powerhouse vocalist and songwriter received his first nominations this year, which includes Male Vocalist, New Artist and Album of the Year for Traveller. He joins previously announced performers including Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves, Dierks Bentley with Lindsey Stirling, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Florida Georgia Line, Zac Brown Band, Maddie & Tae, Kelsea Ballerini, Eric Church with Hank Williams Jr., Keith Urban with John Mellencamp, Reba with Brooks & Dunn and Thomas Rhett with Fallout Boy.

    Also, the list of presenters have been announced: Charles Kelley, Darius Rucker, Reba, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, actor Kiefer Sutherland (24), Lee Ann Womack, Cole Swindell, Jennifer Nettles, ABC’s Wicked City actress Erika Christensen, ESPN’s Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit, Sports Illustrated cover model Hannah Davis, Heather O’Reilly and Megan Rapinoe of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team and A Capella sensations Pentatonix.

    The 49th Annual CMA Awards will be broadcast live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Wednesday (November 4th) at 8pm ET on ABC.

  • NEWS AND NOTES: Luke, Eric, Sam, Chris, Lauren, Lady A, Keith

    Luke Bryan and Eric Church, along with Carrie Underwood have been announced as headliners for the 2016 Stagecoach Country Music Festival April 29th and 30th and May 1st. The three-day event in Indio, California, will also include performances by Sam Hunt, Eric Paslay, Little Big Town, Chris Stapleton, Chris Young, The Band Perry, Dustin Lynch, A Thousand Horses and Old Dominion.

    Lauren Alaina was chosen as this year’s hottest bachelorette by Nash Country Weekly readers. Lauren’s self-titled EP is available now, and it includes her single “Next Boyfriend.”

    Keith Urban joined Taylor Swift during her sold-out 1989 Tour stop in Toronto, to perform with the pop superstar. The pair collaborated on his 2002 No. 1 hit “Somebody Like You,” along with his most recent chart-topper, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16.”

    Lady Antebellum will perform at the NASH Presents Hearts Unsung – a special evening of music benefiting Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals. The event will take place November 9th at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center and will be part of the full-length feature film, Hearts Unsung in theaters nationwide January 21st.

  • NEWS AND NOTES: Kip, Kacey, Chris

    Prior to heading out on his Wild Ones Tour on October 8th in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Kip Moore has enjoyed a little R&R the past few days with a surfing trip in Costa Rica.

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    During a hometown show in Mineola, Texas over the weekend, Kacey Musgraves was surprised by the classic car club. Kacey took to social media to announce the surprise. “I cannot believe what just happened – as a thank you for doing my Hometown Hang benefit…the Lake Country Classic Car Club and the City of Mineola, TX SURPRISED me and fixed up my old ’67 Mustang…shined it up and got it runnin’ again…It was a high school project my Dad and I worked on and I haven’t been able to drive it for about 7 years. THANK YOU SO MUCH!” She also received a key to the city of Mineola, Texas.

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    Speaking of Kacey, she’s set to ring in 2016 with Willie Nelson at his annual New Year’s Eve shows in Austin, Texas.

    Chris Stapleton has been announced as one of the performers during the Jack Daniel’s Bash on Broadway show on New Year’s Eve in Nashville. The free show will also feature performances by Kings of Leon, Wild Cub and Kelsea Ballerini.