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The stars come out for Jimmie Allen's innovative 'Bettie James'

BBR Music Group When Jimmie Allen released “This Is Us” with Noah Cyrus — daughter of Billy Ray, sister of Miley — back in February, little did we know that it was only the tip of one very star-studded iceberg. 

“It was written by Noah, a few other writers, and my buddy Tyler Hubbard from FGL,” Jimmie tells ABC Audio. “I love the song, and just sound-wise, it just fits right in with what I do anyway, like a mix between, like country and pop and rock and with some R-and-B inflections.” 

Jimmie’s connection with Noah came through the music business, but it was just one of many more to come.

“That one happened because my manager actually does business with her record label head,” Jimmie explains. “They sent the song down and asked if I wanted to be a part of it.”

It turns out “This Is Us” is the lead single from Jimmie’s seven-track EP of celebrity collaborations, titled Bettie James, in honor of his beloved grandmother, Bettie Snead, and his dad, James Allen

It includes non-country stars like rapper Nelly, actress Rita Wilson, and worship leader Tauren Wells, alongside country icons Tim McGrawBrad Paisley, and The Oak Ridge Boys.

Even so, there are a couple tracks that are extra special.

“Has there ever been two Black country artists doing a duet?” Jimmie asks. “Has that ever been done?”  

It’s a feat Jimmie accomplishes by teaming up with Mickey Guyton on “Drunk and I Miss You,” and snagging both Darius Rucker and Charley Pride for “Why Things Happen.”

Bettie James is available to stream or download now, on the heels of Jimmie’s first two singles, “Best Shot” and “Make Me Want To,” which both topped the country chart.  

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockAXS TV has announced a special programming block of interviews and performances to honor Charlie Daniels, which is set to air this Sunday beginning at 11AM ET. The country legend died on July 6 at the age of 83. 

Ahead of his next album, Blue Eyes, the Harlot, the Queer, the Pusher & Me, Waylon Payne has shared a small handful of new tracks. One of them, “All the Trouble,” was co-penned by Lee Ann Womack, who also cut it for her 2017 album, The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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Reba McEntire, Vince Gill to step back into the Grand Ole Opry circle this month

ABC/Mark SeligerTwo of the Grand Ole Opry’s largest-looming members, Reba McEntire and Vince Gill, are on deck to share a bill on the famous stage this month. The pair will perform on Saturday, July 18.

Inducted in 1987 and 1991, respectively, Reba and Vince are both Oklahoma natives, and they’re also big mutual fans. “She is arguably one of the greatest singers that will ever draw a breath,” Vince says of his fellow artist and longtime friend.

The pair’s performance comes during a time when live audiences are paused at the Opry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The show will instead be aired as part of its Saturday night broadcast on Circle TV and WSMOnline.com. Still, it’s a special stage for any artist to step onto, especially for the genre’s most legendary performers.

“The Grand Ole Opry has always been very special to me and my family,” Reba reflects. “It’s part of my history, my heritage and my future, and I’m so excited to get to share the stage with Vince again. Just like Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Brother Oswald, Porter Wagoner and Loretta Lynn, Vince is an Opry legend.”

In today’s turbulent times, the Opry remains a bastion, continuing to offer consecutive broadcasts each week throughout the pandemic.

“Things might be a little different right now, but one thing stays the same — the Opry continues to bring great country music into the homes of the American people,” Reba adds.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Go Country 105

The Academy of Country Music sets a date for the 2021 ACM Awards

Academy of Country MusicThe 56th ACM Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

The Academy of Country Music unveiled the show’s date this week, adding that other details about the event, including its location, performers and host, will be announced at a later date.

It’s been an unusual year for the ACM Awards, which were postponed from their normal April date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 show was rescheduled for September, and in an unprecedented turn of events, it’s also taking place in Nashville for the first time in the ACM’s 55-year history.

For several years, the ACMs have taken place in Las Vegas. Prior to that, the ceremony has been held in Los Angeles and Dallas. It’s not yet been announced whether the event will return to Vegas in 2021.

Keith Urban will remain the host for the 2020 ACM Awards, which is set to air on September 16 at 8PM ET on CBS.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Go Country 105

The Chicks have wanted to drop “Dixie” for years: “We were…teenagers when we picked that stupid name”

M. Von Holden/FilmMagicLast month, The Chicks sent the country world reeling when they dropped the “Dixie” from their name, explaining that they wanted to “meet the moment” and separate themselves from the Confederate-era’s history of racism and slavery.

The change came in the wake of ongoing U.S. and worldwide protests against police brutality and racism. But it was more than that one moment that inspired their decision, the band reveals in a recent interview with The New York Times.

“We were literally teenagers when we picked that stupid name,” declares bandmate
Martie Maguire, who picked out their moniker with Emily Strayer in 1989, before frontwoman Natalie Maines joined the group.

“We wanted to change it years and years and years ago,” adds Natalie. They’d already cooled on the name by 2003, when the trio was violently ousted from country music’s good graces for publicly condemning the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

While the success they’d found under the name The Dixie Chicks made it difficult to rebrand, the Chicks ultimately made the big decision to do so. They underscored their point by releasing a fiery new protest anthem called “March March” on the same day they revealed their new name.

Earlier this week, the Chicks also revealed the full track list of their upcoming album, Gaslighter, which is due for release on July 17.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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Go Country 105

The Chicks have wanted to drop “Dixie” for years: “We were…teenagers when we picked that stupid name”

M. Von Holden/FilmMagicLast month, The Chicks sent the country world reeling when they dropped the “Dixie” from their name, explaining that they wanted to “meet the moment” and separate themselves from the Confederate-era’s history of racism and slavery.

The change came in the wake of ongoing U.S. and worldwide protests against police brutality and racism. But it was more than that one moment that inspired their decision, the band reveals in a recent interview with The New York Times.

“We were literally teenagers when we picked that stupid name,” declares bandmate
Martie Maguire, who picked out their moniker with Emily Strayer in 1989, before frontwoman Natalie Maines joined the group.

“We wanted to change it years and years and years ago,” adds Natalie. They’d already cooled on the name by 2003, when the trio was violently ousted from country music’s good graces for publicly condemning the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

While the success they’d found under the name The Dixie Chicks made it difficult to rebrand, the Chicks ultimately made the big decision to do so. They underscored their point by releasing a fiery new protest anthem called “March March” on the same day they revealed their new name.

Earlier this week, the Chicks also revealed the full track list of their upcoming album, Gaslighter, which is due for release on July 17.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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Go Country 105

It'll be a “Good Day”: Brett Eldredge to perform his new tune on Good Morning America

ABC/Ida Mae AstuteIn celebration of his new album’s release this Friday, Brett Eldredge will make a virtual stop at ABC’s Good Morning America next week to perform a new song, “Good Day.” His performance will take place during the 8AM ET hour on Monday, July 13.

“Good Day” is one of five tracks that Brett shared ahead of the arrival of the full project, Sunday Drive. He officially dropped the song in late May.

“In our society, everybody feels like we need to put on that perfect outer look. I got so tired of that. I didn’t want to do it anymore,” he explains of the song, which is a celebration of making the most out of every second.

“The song says, you know, [to] have the self-awareness…of being like, ‘I’m gonna make this a good day no matter what is thrown at me,’” Brett adds.

“Good Day” is the fifth track on an album that finds Brett looking inward, reflecting on himself as an artist and as a person and dialing in on the things in life that are the most important. To create Sunday Drive, Brett ditched his smart phone for a flip phone and a Polaroid camera, taking a much-needed break from social media in order to focus on his inner creativity.

“Gabrielle,” the leading single of Sunday Drive, cracked the top 30 at country radio.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


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Dolly Parton, Lil Nas X are among the stars set to appear at this year's virtual GLAAD Media Awards

ABC/Image Group LADolly Parton and Lil Nas X are representing the country contingent at the 2020 GLAAD Media Awards. The two superstars join a packed lineup of musicians, comedians, actors and other celebrities participating in the event, which is taking place virtually this year.

Both Dolly and Lil Nas have important connections to the LGBTQ community. Lil Nas came out as gay in 2019, addressing his sexuality in a song called “c7osure.” He released the song last June, which is Pride Month.

For her part, Dolly has long been an advocate for LGBTQ people and a close ally of GLAAD, even making an appearance at the Media Awards ceremony in 2011.

Hosted by comedians Fortune Feimster and Gina Yashere, the event will honor media members for fair and inclusive treatment of LGBTQ people and issues. The organization announced its 2020 nominees, which are comprised of over 175 people and organizations in 30 categories, in January.

The virtual event will stream on July 30 at 8PM ET via GLAAD’s Facebook and YouTube channels.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Go Country 105

Country star trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockThree years ago today, this “Girl” hit maker got engaged to this “Diamond or Twine” singer while visiting his family in his native Michigan. The two wed in 2018 and welcomed son Hayes Andrew in March 2020. Can you name the couple? ANSWER: Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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Travis Denning celebrates with a drive-by party as “After a Few” goes gold

ABC/Image Group LALess than a month after Travis Denning’s “After a Few” hit the top spot at country radio, the singer is celebrating another major milestone for his hit: The song recently achieved RIAA gold certification, topping 500,000 units of consumption since its release.

Though the pandemic prevented Travis and his team from celebrating the milestone up close and in person, they still found a special way to mark the song’s new certification. Travis was surprised by a drive-by parade of cars in Nashville.

“Definitely not the normal way to celebrate a gold record, but I was once again blown away by the love and support from my team,” Travis commented. “The drive-by congratulations was awesome and hilarious. So happy and thankful to be able to finally say, ‘After a Few’ is GOLD!”

While the festivities might have been unconventional, they were an appropriate way to cap off “After a Few”’s unusual rise to success. The song hit #1 at country radio after a record-setting, 65-week climb up the charts, making it the slowest ascent to the top in the history of Billboard’s Country Airplay.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.