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Warner Music NashvilleChris Janson's name may be new to you if you're just hearing his breakthrough hit, "Buy Me a Boat," on the radio. If you've been to a show at the Grand Ole Opry in the past few years, there's a good chance you've seen Chris perform on the show. He's already played the Opry more than 100 times and is now considered an Opry regular.

Performing on that stage gave Chris a leg up on building a fan base. He tells the Hartford Courant, "The Grand Ole Opry is definitely attributed to putting a platform of fans in front of me at the same time, from all different places around the globe. And it's pretty cool because it's like a tour in one room."

Thanks to the success of "Buy Me a Boat," Chris has landed a spot on Toby Keith's latest tour. Go to ChrisJanson.com for a list of tour dates.

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Black River EntertainmentKelsea Ballerini has answered a few questions you submitted for Vevo's Ask: Reply session, and she's shared quite a few fun facts about herself in the video. Here's a roundup of our favorite Kelsea revelations:

--How she celebrated her first #1 hit, "Love Me Like You Mean It": Bought beautiful, pink high heels and new perfume.

--Food she can't live without: Chicken tenders and honey mustard.

--Favorite throwback country song: Shania Twain's "Any Man of Mine," which she's been performing with Lady Antebellum when she's on the road with them.

--Favorite places to shop: Nordstrom for shoes. Posh boutique in Nashville for stage clothes.

--Dream venue she'd like to play: Tennessee Theater in her hometown of Knoxville, and Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

--On becoming friends with Taylor Swift: "She is even more awesome in person than she is as an artist, and that's hard to believe."

Kelsea is following up her #1 hit, "Love Me Like You Mean It," with the new single, "Dibs." Both tracks are included on Kelsea's debut album, The First Time, out now.

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Capitol NashvilleLuke Bryan's new album, Kill the Lights, is due out August 7 featuring six tracks co-written by Luke himself. There are 13 songs total on the project, but if you buy the Target exclusive version, you'll get three bonus cuts all co-written by Luke. One song on the album, "Home Alone Tonight," features Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild on guest vocals.

Luke's latest hit, "Kick the Dust Up," is the lead track on Kill the Lights. Look for him to perform that song on ABC's Good Morning America on the album's release date, Friday, August 7.

Here's the Kill the Lights track listing:

"Kick the Dust Up"
"Kill the Lights"
"Strip It Down"
"Home Alone Tonight" (featuring Karen Fairchild)
"Razor Blade"
"Fast"
"Move"
"Just Over"
"Love It Gone"
"Way Way Back"
"To the Moon and Back"
"Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day"
"Scarecrows"

Target Bonus Tracks:
"Corner Booth"
"Little Boys Grow Up and Dogs Get Old"
"Buddies"

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John Russell/CMANow that Carrie Underwood has taken “Little Toy Guns” to the top of the country charts, that means her next single will be from her as-yet-unreleased new album. The new mother says taking time off to have a baby may actually translate into more writing credits for her on the new project.

“Well, I had a lot more time to write,” she reflects. “The whole pregnancy was kind of like, ‘Well, I can't exactly be out on tour and things like that like I would normally be.’  So, I definitely filled my time working in other ways. Yeah, I spent a lot more time writing,” she says.

Now that her son Isaiah just passed the four-month mark, Carrie says she actually feels like she’s had some of the material for quite a long time.

“It's interesting because there's some songs that I feel like we've been listening to, or we have been listening to for over a year,” she reflects. “And you know if you still love them even though you've heard them a gazillion times,” she laughs, ”you know you're on the right track, and I feel like that's where we are right now.”

Overall, Carrie says she’s “in a really good place” when it comes to progress on the new album. So far, there’s no word on how long we’ll have to wait for the first single or when the American Idol winner’s fifth studio album may be released.

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Comstock/ThinkstockWhat was Dolly Parton’s last #1 duet on the Billboard country chart? ANSWER:  “Rockin’ Years” with Ricky Van Shelton in 1991.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockDolly Parton’s August 1 benefit for the Opry Trust Fund at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium sold out Thursday in less than 25 minutes. She added the second concert after seats for her July 31 date went in a matter of minutes a couple weeks earlier.

Kip Moore played a special concert for NASCAR fans before Sunday’s race at Daytona International Speedway.

Cole Swindell has signed on to play in Major League Baseball’s Legends & Celebrity Softball Game July 12 at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

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Greenroom PR/Russ HarringtonHaving just finished the first leg of her Las Vegas residency this past weekend, Reba gives the entire experience high marks, adding it’s actually quite ideal for a performer.

“You know where you're gonna be. You've got the same hotel room, dressing room. It's kind of like doing the TV show,” she says, recalling her hit sitcom. “Everything's consistent. So, you don't have to worry about your surroundings. You're comfortable, and that comfort level really does help when you're trying to be creative and give all you've got. You don't have to worry about where you're gonna step. Is the stage uneven? None of that kind of stuff. You just go and have fun.”

But just because she feels at home, don’t expect Reba to “hole up” in her room. “I don't like to stay in a hotel room anytime except to sleep and eat and get on out,” she confesses. “I love to get out. I like to even go out to Mt. Charleston. I like to go to Hoover Dam. I like to go eat at the restaurants. Outside of Vegas. In Vegas. No, I'm a get-out-and-see-what's-around-me person!” she asserts.

And when she does venture out, one of the places you might find the Country Music Hall of Famer is in the casinos. But Reba says she’s actually pretty conservative when it comes to gambling.

“Two-hundred dollars is my limit, and then I start begging for money from other people, and they give it to me, and then I spend their money,” she jokes. “I'll sit there and play $25 chips at poker… I do gamble when it's a group. I wouldn't go down there and play by myself at all," Reba reveals.

The "Going Out Like That" singer says her stepson Brandon Blackstock and his wife Kelly Clarkson have helped educate her about some of the new gambling attractions she wasn’t aware of before.  And if Reba really does run out of money, she says she knows where to turn. “Kelly. Yeah, she's rich. She's rich. And Janine Dunn. She's rich,” she laughs, referring to Ronnie’s wife.

Reba and Brooks & Dunn pick up their Together in Vegas residency at Caesars Palace in December.

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Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes says shooting his new video for “21” was simply “the most fun I've ever had on set.” In the clip, the multi-instrumentalist and other revelers dance in silhouette against a green screen, all the while partying “like we just turned 21.” The greyhound Hunter recently adopted, Cole, even makes a cameo appearance at the end.

So far, “21” is only available for streaming or download, with no plans to release a physical copy for the time being. This summer, Hunter’s on the Wheels Up 2015 Tour with Lady Antebellum and Sam Hunt.

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CMAThis Independence Day, Dierks Bentley marks an item off his bucket list, as he’s set to perform on Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.

“I've watched it many times and seen all the acts on there,” he recalls. “You know, I've had a chance to perform at the Capitol building, which is amazing, in front of the steps of the Capitol for the 4th of July, but I've never had a chance to do it in New York City.  So, this is a big deal and a huge honor to be part of it. It's going to be great.” 

When it comes to which songs he’ll sing, Dierks believes a couple tunes from his latest CD are only fitting. 

“You know, we'll probably do a little 'Drunk on a Plane' 'cause you know 4th of July around here, people are having a few drinks. And probably do ‘Riser.’ Yeah, the song, being in New York, the backdrop, I've heard is -- the city skyline is the backdrop. Think about all the city's been through in the past 15 years,” he reflects. “Yeah, it should be pretty powerful.”  

Brad PaisleyKelly Clarkson and Meghan Trainor are also set to appear on the show, which includes a 25-minute fireworks display complete with 50,000 pieces of pyrotechnics. You can catch the show live Saturday at 8 p.m. Eastern on NBC.

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Image Courtesy RCA/GwendolynHaving written three best-selling cookbooks and hosting a hit show on the Food Network, it’s no surprise that Independence Day at Trisha Yearwood’s house sounds like it lives up to her culinary reputation. But the Peach State native says she tends to stick to family traditions, like her mother’s coleslaw. 

“4th of July at my house is one of my favorite holidays just because it's all of my favorite summer foods,” she muses. “My dad was the grill master, and he used to make barbecue chicken for the whole town of Monticello, Georgia. We don't make it for the whole town, but we do these ribs now that were a favorite of my mom that have kind of a thick, sweet sauce, and they're part oven and part grill, and they say 4th of July to me.”

For dessert, Trisha tries to “go for something red, white and blue,” but often serves strawberry shortcake with whipped cream. In the afternoon, she’s a fan of the swimming pool, ahead of the evening’s pyrotechnics.

“My favorite part is watching the fireworks. Since marrying Garth (Brooks), we shoot off our own fireworks, which makes me a little bit nervous,” she admits. “But we also watch the whole town. You can see downtown fireworks in cities surrounding from our back porch. So, it's pretty cool to just sit out and watch all the fireworks.”  

This Friday, the exhibit honoring Trisha, called “The Song Remembers When,” opens at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

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Capitol NashvilleWith the release of their new song “Something Better” with EDM producer Audien, Lady Antebellum becomes the latest country band to join the Electronic Dance Music movement. 

“I wanted to push boundaries,” the progressive house/trance artist told Entertainment Weekly. “The song lends itself perfectly to call and response vocals and anthemic harmonies. Lady Antebellum aren’t just some of the best voices in country music, but in overall music. It was a shot in the dark, but fortunately they felt as passionately about the song’s uplifting theme as I did. The result is simply my favorite thing I’ve ever done,” he says.

Clearly, Lady A’s Charles Kelley agrees. “The first time we heard the song we knew we wanted to be part of it. We were immediately drawn to its great melody and powerful lyric,” he recalls. “Working with someone like Audien puts us a little outside of our comfort zone, but as a band, we’ve always been up for trying different things.”

You might recall that the vocal trio did just that at last month’s CMT Music Awards, performing a mash-up of songs with EDM superstar Zedd. Earlier this week, Swedish DJ/producer Avicii also leaked a new track featuring Zac Brown Band.

 

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Big Machine RecordsEven though superstars Rascal Flatts will be working this 4th of July as an opening act, the guys in the band couldn’t be more excited about it, namely because they’re opening for the legendary Rolling Stones on their Zip Code tour. 

“That was one you put on the bucket list and go, ‘OK, last resort.’ It’s a blessing. So, it's gonna be incredible,” Gary LeVox says of the performance this Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Jay DeMarcus admits getting the phone call from Mick Jagger was pretty surreal. “I’m gonna tell you what. They're wrong. You can get some satisfaction,” he jokes, referring to the band’s iconic song.  “We're all huge Stones fans. So, it's a dream that you shoot for, but you never know that it would ever become a reality. So, to get that phone call was just like, ‘Are you kidding me?' Of course!"

“How did Mick sound on the phone when he called you? Was it like ‘Hey, Jay? Any chance you got the 4th of July off this year?’” Joe Don Rooney jokes, lapsing into a British accent. “No. My son is named Jagger, so I love the Stones,” he adds. 

 Rascal Flatts isn’t the only country act to take the stage with the Stones this year. Brad Paisley opened their Nashville date on the tour last month.

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Comstock/ThinkstockName Keith Urban's first hit on the Billboard Country Singles chart. ANSWER:  "It's A Love Thing" climbed to #18 in 1999.

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RCA NashvilleOn the 4th of July, remembering the soldiers who’ve fought for America’s freedom is especially important to Chris Young, having played quite a few shows for the troops overseas and also having several close relatives in the armed forces.

“You know, I've got a lot of connection to the military in my family,” he says. “My brother-in-law is still in the Marine Corps. My sister was a Marine. So, it's important to me, and it's something that for sure, I, one, take a lot of pride in trying to do that as much as possible. But two, it's something that is always fun for me to be able to go over there and play and just say thanks.”

So far, Chris has taken his music to Iraq, Germany, Kuwait, Japan and South Korea, bringing “a piece of home to military,” wherever they may be stationed.

While the “I’m Comin’ Over” hitmaker strives to lighten the load of the men and women in uniform, he finds they’re one of the most giving audiences he’s ever experienced.

 “People are just so gracious. It's like, ‘No, no, we're over here to thank you guys.’ And it's probably the most gracious crowd that you'll ever be in front of,” he observes.

Chris Young’s as-yet-untitled fifth album is expected later this year.

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UMG NashvilleFor newcomer Canaan Smith, Independence Day resonates with him in a special way, having grown up in a pivotal city in the Old Dominion.

“Williamsburg, Virginia's a spectacular place for 4th of July 'cause it's the birthplace of our nation,” he asserts. “Really started there.  So, when we celebrate our independence, that's a big place to do it and a great place to do it.” 

The “Love You Like That” hitmaker says the city also lives up to its historic reputation when it comes to marking America’s birthday. 

“We would do fireworks. They have a massive fireworks display. We set up a blanket on the lawn out in front of the governor's palace in downtown Colonial Williamsburg,” he recalls. “Just a lot of fun just taking in and celebrating our freedom.”

Canaan carries on with Dierks Bentley’s Sounds of Summer 2015 Tour close to home, playing Virginia Beach, Virginia on July 9. His debut CD Bronco is in stores now.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockDan Shay recently joined Keith Urban for a rendition of his hit “Tonight I Wanna Cry” on tour. You can check out their rehearsal and performance on the duo’s YouTube channel.

You can now watch Lee Brice’s new video for “That Don’t Sound Like You” on YouTube.

 

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Mercury NashvilleAs a kid growing up in Florida, Easton Corbin recalls it being impossible to get “the good fireworks” in his hometown. But he had a relative who always managed to solve that problem for him.

“Tallahassee's near the Alabama border right there, so my uncle would go over to Alabama to get fireworks, and we'd all gather up at my grandma's. And he'd bring all that stuff to my grandma's and we'd horse around all day,” he remembers fondly.

But Easton’s quick to point out firework safety was always a major concern. “Of course, we didn't blow off any limbs or anything, which is good,” he laughs. “But we always had a lot of fun.”

In addition to celebrating America’s independence this week, Easton’s marking the release of his third album About to Get Real, which is new this week. It features his current hit “Baby Be My Love Song.”

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Michael Buckner/ACM2015/Getty Images for dcpFlorida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard commemorated a special anniversary Wednesday by getting married.

He married Hayley Strommel Wednesday night at Trail Creek Cabin in Sun Valley, Idaho, he tells People magazine.

The couple tied the knot on the two-year anniversary of their first kiss.

Hubbard comments, "There's something about being able to call Hayley my wife and say that it's official!"

"Marriage is forever and we're just so happy to share our love forever," he adds.

Hubbard's band mate, Brian Kelley, served as his best man. He remarked, "We've kind of built a family, Hayley and myself and BK and his wife Brittney. It's a special day for all of us to celebrate."

The newlyweds will enjoy a honeymoon in Turks and Caicos before Florida Georgia Line resumes touring next week.

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Warner Music NashvilleThis Independence Day, Cole Swindell is headed for the town that inspired the hit he co-wrote for Luke Bryan, “Roller Coaster.” 

“I think I have a few days blocked off to go down to Panama City, maybe, and just relax with some friends,” Cole says. The summer hit was inspired by PCB’s Miracle Strip Amusement Park, and mentions one of the city’s main drags, Thomas Drive.

But after his trip to Florida’s Gulf Coast, Cole is looking forward to getting back to work. “Then it's busy. Back out with [Jason] Aldean and Kenny Chesney, man. This is a big opportunity and while things are hot, I want to get out there for the fans and play music as long as I can,” he reflects.

Look for Cole to perform his latest hit “Let Me See Ya Girl” as he puts his nose back to the grindstone with a solo date in Louisville, Kentucky on July 10, before playing Target Field in Minneapolis with Jason, Kenny, Brantley Gilbert and Old Dominion on July 18.

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Mercury NashvilleKacey Musgraves officially claims the crown, topping Billboard’s Country Albums chart, as her second album, Pageant Material, debuts at number one. Her sophomore effort sold close to 55,000 copies during its first week, besting the 43,000 her debut moved in 2013, according to BillboardSame Trailer Different Park bowed at number 2 on the Country Albums ranking.

The new 14-song set also emerges in third place on the all-genre album chart, outpacing Taylor Swift’s 1989, which comes in at #4. Kacey kicks off her Country & Western Rhinestone Revue August 27 in Atlanta.

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