Hunter Hayes’ single “21” has garnered more than 11 million streams since its release a few weeks ago. And the Louisiana native also landed a nomination for Choice Country Song for “21” at Teen Choice 2015, which airs live on FOX at 8 p.m. Aug. 16. He’s also up for Choice Country Artist among fellow nominees Luke Bryan, FGL, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood.
– – –
Four months after country music icon Ray Price passed away in December 2013 at the age of 87 his final album was released, “Beauty Is … The Final Sessions.” The title of the new single from the album is “It Always Will Be,” a song written by Willie Nelson. Price gave Nelson one of his first jobs in Nashville, as a member of his Cherokee Cowboys. Nelson returned the favor by penning several songs for his boss, including “Night Life,” according to a press release. As each continued on his own career, the two collaborated multiple times on projects over the years.
Merle Haggard calls Price country music’s “first outlaw.” Haggard says Price was “out there fighting for what he believed and doing it his way, and being criticized and all that. I remember when he laid the guitar down and started hiring violin players and all that, and everybody thought he was crazy. Crazy like a fox. He knew what he was doing.”
“Beauty Is …” highlights his signature string and Shuffle sounds and features duets with Vince Gill and Martina McBride. The album is available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations as well as Walmart and online retailers.
– – –
Dolly Parton gave young actress Alyvia Lind a huge surprise recently when she told Alyvia that she will play Dolly as a child in the upcoming original movie “Coat of Many Colors,” named after Parton’s song. The movie will be based on Parton’s upbringing, and the superstar will serve as executive producer. Parton has a deal with NBC which includes a series of standalone TV movies based on her songs, stories and life. They will contain music but won’t be musicals, with Parton possibly appearing in some.
– – –
Christmas in July! Sort of … with the announcement that Kenny Rogers will release his first new holiday album in 17 years on Warner Music Nashville/Warner Bros. Titled “Once Again It’s Christmas,” the festive set will feature special guests Allison Krauss, Jennifer Nettles, Home Free, Jim Brickman and Winfield’s Locket.
“I can’t tell you how much fun it was recording a Christmas record again,” Rogers said in a news release. “I’m excited for people to hear it. I feel like this is a special group of songs — both old and new — and I was particularly lucky to be joined by many talented guest artists and musicians who each have something unique to say.”
Rogers’ “Once Again It’s Christmas Tour” featuring Linda Davis will tour the U.S. and Canada. The final schedule of dates will be announced soon.
– – –
Miranda Lambert isn’t the only country artist with vocal woes. Little Big Town also was forced to cancel a string of concerts due to vocal cord surgery for Jimi Westbrook. TheBoot.com reports recovery is progressing for Westbrook who can’t speak for a month following the surgery. LBT has been together 17 years and this is the first time they’ve had to take time off during the summer.
– – –
Kenny Chesney has a new record and you had to be there to be part of it. Kenny has played Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field eight times and the eighth time was a charm as he broke his own record for a single night country music show, selling 55,131 tickets to his Big Revival 2015 Tour.
“Someone said we could’ve sold 15,000 more tickets easy, which seems crazy,” Chesney said in a news release.
– – –
Add this to your concert options: Clint Black at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Woodstock, Va., 7:30 p.m. Sept. 3. Tickets are $62 to $67.
– – –
Old Dominion released the video to their single “Break Up With Him.” The video was shot in Nashville during the annual CMA Music Festival in June. Old Dominion is currently in the studio putting the finishing touches on their debut album set to release via RCA Records Nashville late 2015. The band includes singer Matt Ramsey, Brad Tursi, Trevor Rosen, Geoff Sprung and Whit Sellers. Each has penned songs for other artists, including Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, The Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Tyler Farr’s “A Guy Walks Into a Bar” and Sam Hunt’s “Ex to See.”
“We came up with the idea for the ‘Back to the Future’ video when we had a long ride from West Virginia all the way to San Francisco,” Ramsey told Country Weekly. “It was a long ride, and on our stops we knew we had a video coming up and we wanted to talk about it, so we were sitting by the pool coming up with all these crazy ideas, and somebody said something like, ‘I don’t know if people are gonna get that,’ and one guy goes, ‘Your kids are gonna love it.’ Which is a catchphrase from the movie, and that just sparked us down this road.”
– – –
Justin Moore recently took a break from Brad Paisley’s “Crushin’ It World Tour” to try his hand at a new kind of hit making: participating in the MLB All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game on July 12 at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cole Swindell and Justin represented the country genre on the long list of celebs, which also included Snoop Dogg, Jordin Sparks, Josh Hutcherson, and many others.
Moore said baseball is his favorite sport and has played it his whole life. “I may be a little rusty, but it’s just like riding a bike,” he said in a news release. “Should be fun to get back on the diamond with all the other folks playing.” In between innings, he will host CMT’s “Hot 20 Countdown,” capturing one-on-one interviews with some of the celebrity participants. The episode will premiere at 9 a.m. July 18 and re-air July 19. Between “Crushin’ It” tour dates, he is in the studio recurring new music.
– – –
Notorious rule-breakers Big & Rich show their softer side on their latest hit “Run Away With You,” which is moving up the charts. From their fifth studio album, “Gravity,” the music video for “Run Away With You” debuted on countryoutfitter.com recently.
The song was co-written by John Rich and Michael Ray.
– – –
Janie Fricke, a two-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, past Grammy nominee and a voice of some of the most recognizable advertising jingles, has another passion: textiles and fabrics.
The Janie Fricke Collection is a line of fine home accents, whose fabrics are personally selected and cut by Janie herself to create one-of-a-kind designs. She has turned her life-long knowledge of fabric and sewing skills, a family tradition, into the collection which includes pillows, throws, table runners, seasonal items as well as a line of customized “bling” items that she terms as ranch chic.
Items are available in specialty boutiques around the country and at janiefricke.com for retail and wholesale buyers.