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Go Country 105

B.J. Thomas, “Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head” singer, dead at 78

Five-time Grammy winner B.J. Thomas, best known for his hit “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” has died from complications due to stage four lung cancer.  He was 78.

Born in Oklahoma and raised in Texas, Thomas scored his first hit with a 1966 cover of Hank Williams‘ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” In 1968, he had a top five hit with “Hooked on a Feeling,” and in 1970, he topped the charts with “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head.” Penned by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, it won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

In his career, Thomas sold over 70 million records and racked up 25 top 10 singles, including “I Just Can’t Help Believing,” “(Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” and “Rock and Roll Lullaby.” 

He segued to country music in the early ’80s, scoring hits like “New Looks from an Old Lover” and “Whatever Happened to Old Fashioned Love.”  Thomas also had success in gospel music; his 1976 gospel album Home Where I Belong was a million-seller.

Thomas sang the memorable theme song for the sitcom Growing Pains, “As Long as We’ve Got Each Other.” He was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014.

Thomas is survived by Gloria, his wife of 53 years, their three daughters, and four grandchildren.  His funeral will be private; donations in his memory will be accepted by Mission Arlington, Tarrant Area Food Bank, and the SPCA of Texas.

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Go Country 105

Ashley McBryde celebrates 'Never Will: Live from a Distance' with a Friday night livestream release show

Ashley McBryde's new live EP, Never Will: Live from a Distance, is available everywhere now, and the singer's got big plans to celebrate.

On Friday at 7 p.m. CT, she'll livestream a special release show on YouTube, featuring a full performance of the six-song collection as well as some behind-the-scenes insights into how the project was created.

The Live from a Distance project puts a concert spin on Never Will, an album Ashley dropped in April 2020 — just a month after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down touring. As a result, she never got to tour the album, so Live from a Distance is a selection of the project's songs, performed live with her band, Deadhorse.

“Getting together to rehearse and record these live versions safely was our way of giving the fans a taste of what they would have seen had the world not changed so much,” the singer explained.

Of course, fans won't have to wait too much longer to see Ashley live and in-person. Tickets for her This Town Talks Tour, which launches June 12 in Roanoke, Virginia, are on sale now.

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Go Country 105

Garth Brooks mourns late “Friends in Low Places” songwriter Dewayne Blackwell

Out of all of Garth Brooks' beloved country hits, perhaps none is quite as recognizable as “Friends in Low Places.” The song was co-written in 1989 by Earl Bud Lee and Dewayne Blackwell, the latter of whom died last weekend.

To honor Blackwell's memory, Garth thought back to his first experiences with “Friends in Low Places,” recounting to Billboard how he ended up recording the song, as well as the profound effect it had on his career.

“I [sang] the demo for that,” Garth says, revealing that the song was actually being pitched to an already legendary country star — and one of Garth’s heroes.

“They were pitching it to [George] Strait, and all I know was I did demos sometimes five, nine times a day and this was the one I couldn't get out of my head for months,” he continues. “…I never [could] believe that me as an artist would take that song on. And now I can't imagine being the artist I've got to be without that song.”

“Friends in Low Places” ultimately landed on Garth's second album, No Fences. It was his third number-one radio hit, following “The Dance” and “If Tomorrow Never Comes.”

“What we lost when we lost Dewayne Blackwell was someone who truly was a craftsman, not a settler. He would not settle,” adds Garth. “He was not one of those guys that would let anything pass. He did it for the sake of the song and for the sake of entertainment. He understood that.”

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Go Country 105

Shania Twain would start a band with Blake Shelton + Gwen Stefani: “When I think of [them] I think trio vocals”

Talk about a supergroup! As Shania Twain gears up to return to her Las Vegas residency and starts to work on new music, she says that she wouldn't mind forming a group with fellow superstars Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani.

“My goal is to do a trio with them,” Shania explains to ET Online. “When I think of Blake and Gwen, I think trio vocals.” 

Of course, Gwen and Blake aren't just partners on hit duets like “Happy Anywhere” and “Nobody But You” — they're also engaged, with a fast-approaching wedding date. Shania goes on to say that picking a wedding gift for the star couple will require navigating their very different personalities.

“I have to send something very crossover, because…like, she's glam, and he's plaid and jeans,” Shania says.

As for her own year ahead, Shania's Let's Go! Las Vegas shows resume in December, and she hinted during a recent episode of her Apple Music Home Now radio show that she'd like to release a new album around then, too.

“I do plan on releasing this album before Christmas. Wouldn't it be super fun to have this out for Christmas? I would love that so much. So that is my goal,” Shania explained, but cautioned fans to “be patient” as she works hard to perfect the music.

“I want to give you guys something that you can really be proud of as a Shania fan,” she points out. “…I'm definitely on a mission to make the best album I've ever made.”

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Go Country 105

Justin Moore, Riley Green + other stars join Big Machine Music City Grand Prix lineup

Justin Moore, Riley Green, Danielle Bradbery and Callista Clark have all joined the lineup for an Opry show that's taking place as part of the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix.

The event, a three-day festival in downtown Nashville, will celebrate both music and racing and take place on a temporary 2.17-mile grand prix circuit that crosses the Cumberland River.

In addition to the newly-announced performers, the Opry show features Alan Jackson, a longtime racing enthusiast, who recently put out his first album in six years, Where Have You Gone.

For his part, Justin also recently released new music: His Straight Outta the Country collection arrived in April. He's scheduled to return to the road this summer and fall, including some dates with Tracy Lawrence, who was his touring partner before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.

Fans will have lots of chances to catch Riley on the road this year, too: he and Parker McCollum are the opening acts on Dierks Bentley's 2021 Beers on Me Tour.

The Big Machine Music City Grand Prix Opry show takes place August 8. Ticketing options, including three-day packages to the entire festival, are on sale now.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Go Country 105

Jimmie Allen marries Alexis Gale, his fiancée of nearly two years

Jimmie Allen is a married man. The “Best Shot” singer wed Alexis Gale, his fellow Delaware native and fiancée since July 2019, in an intimate, mid-week ceremony on Thursday, People reports.

The couple had originally set a wedding date for 2020, but pushed it back amid COVID-19 shutdowns. They are parents to a 14-month-old daughter, Naomi Bettie, and Jimmie also has a 7-year-old son named Aadyn from a previous relationship.

Fellow country musicians such as Darius Rucker, Chuck Wicks and Tyler Rich were in attendance to celebrate the happy couple. An Instagram Stories post from Tyler’s wife, Sabina Gadecki, shows a photo of the superstar guests toasting Jimmie and Alex, with a wedding-themed border reading “The Allens” and “May 27th 2021.”

Jimmie and Alexis began dating in the spring of 2019 and got engaged later that same year. At the time, the singer said it was her compassion for his son that won him over, and the fact that she was from his hometown was a huge perk, too.  “It is like always having a piece of home with me. We had an immediate connection. It was like we'd always known each other,” Jimmie shared with People.

“Her smile melts me, her pure heart challenges me to love better, the way she motivates and supports me is unlike anything I've ever seen, the way she loves me and my son is unlike anything I've ever experienced,” Jimmie  gushes. “It feels incredible to find the type of love I've been writing songs about all these years!”

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Go Country 105

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood give love advice as the guest hosts on Ellen

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood are trying out their TV talk show hosting skills this week, taking the reins on Friday’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

To kick things off, the country superstar couple, who recently celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary, share some of their secrets to a happy marriage, even giving advice to the (virtual) members of the audience. Whether those burning questions have to do with dealing with a significant other's annoying habits or even keeping things fresh in the bedroom, no topic is off limits.

“I think you gotta treat it like a duet, right?” Garth says of the right way to approach a long-lasting marriage. “You gotta harmonize. You gotta make your partner feel like they're a star. And if not, you're gonna turn into a solo act pretty damn quick.”

Also on the episode, Garth and Trisha chat with show guest Matthew McConaughey over Zoom, and Trisha cooks up a couple of recipes from her upcoming cookbook, Trisha's Kitchen: Easy Comfort Food for Friends and Family.

Check local listings to find out when to catch Garth and Trisha on Ellen today.

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Go Country 105

Country star trivia

Here's hoping that this star's birthday is “Just Another Day in Paradise.” This in-demand singer-songwriter, who turns 59 today, has penned tunes for the likes of Reba McEntire and Tim McGraw, and has scored his own hits as an artist. Can you name him? ANSWER: Phil Vassar.

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News Daypop

Florida sued by tech companies over law to ban social media content blocking

On Thursday, two groups representing online companies such as Twitter and Facebook sued the state of Florida over a new law that seeks to punish large social media platforms if they remove content or ban politicians.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday that will allow the state to fine large social media sites if they inactivate a statewide politician’s account and will let any Floridian sue those companies if they feel like they’ve been treated unfairly. NetChoice, a lobbying firm that represents Twitter, Facebook and other online companies, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association sued, saying the law violates First Amendment rights.

The law, which goes into effect July 1, calls for a $250,000 a day fine if a statewide political candidate’s account is inactivated, and $25,000 a day if they remove an account of someone running for a local office. The law also gives Florida’s attorney general authority to sue companies under the state’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and allows individual Floridians to sue social media companies for up to $100,000 if they feel they’ve been treated unfairly.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/tech-trade-groups-sue-florida-over-social-media-law/ar-AAKsxYW

Editorial credit: Hunter Crenian / Shutterstock.com

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News Daypop

Senate Republicans make infrastructure counteroffer to Biden of $928 billion

 

Senate Republicans announced Thursday their revised counteroffer of a $928 billion infrastructure spending plan. President Biden had reduced his initial infrastructure proposal by $600 billion — down from $1.7 trillion — in his latest compromise to Republicans. The president said he wanted at least $1 trillion in an infrastructure plan over an eight-year period. Biden said Thursday that he plans to meet next week about the counteroffer with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W. Va., who’s leading the Senate GOP’s negotiating team.

Republicans said their plan will not require a tax increase, adding that they oppose Biden’s support for raising corporate taxes that is part of the White House proposal. The GOP plan proposes $506 billion for roads, $98 billion for public transit, $46 billion for passenger and freight rail and more than $72 billion for water infrastructure. The plan also calls for spending $65 billion for broadband, $56 billion for airports and $22 billion for ports and waterways.

At a press conference earlier Thursday, Senator Capito said the plan delivers on what Biden had asked for in earlier talks on a compromise proposal. She said the GOP proposal sticks to “core infrastructure” spending, a Republican priority to stick to traditional infrastructure such as roads and bridges. “Senate Republicans continue to negotiate in good faith,” Capito said at the press conference.

Editorial credit: mark reinstein / Shutterstock.com