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Chris Young Announces Full Slate of International Dates for 2015

Image Courtesy Monarch PublicityChris Young has been a favorite of American audiences for years, but now he's taking his brand of country music around the world.

Chris kicks off a tour of Australia and Asia March 11 in Melbourne, Australia. He'll play military installations in South Korea and Japan on the trek, too.

In September, Chris heads over to Europe for a string of shows starting with a two-night stand in Gstaad, Switzerland.

Here are Chris's 2015 World Tour dates:

3/11 -- Melbourne, Australia
3/13 -- Sydney, Australia
3/14 - 3/15 -- Ipswich, Australia
3/17 -- Pohang, South Korea
3/19 -- Fuji, Japan
3/21 -- Okinawa, Japan
9/11 - 9/12 -- Gstaad, Switzerland
9/14 -- London, England
9/16 -- Glasgow, Scotland
9/17 -- Dublin, Ireland
9/19 -- Munich, Germany
9/20 -- Cologne, Germany
9/22 -- Berlin, Germany
9/24 -- Stockholm, Sweden

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Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox Shaving Heads for Charity This Weekend in Las Vegas

Image Courtesy Big Machine RecordsRascal Flatts lead singer Gary LeVox is trading in his microphone for a pair of clippers this weekend in Las Vegas. Gary joins The Voice winner Craig Wayne Boyd and Olivia Newton-John among the celebrities shaving volunteers' heads to raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation in their fight against children's cancers.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Gary and Craig will be shaving heads at Club Vinyl this Saturday. Olivia will be Rascal Flatts is currently performing their Vegas Riot! residency at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas.

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Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert and More Playing ACM Party for a Cause Festival

Image Courtesy Academy of Country MusicLuke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Sam Hunt, Miranda Lambert, Darius Rucker, Eli Young Band, and Florida Georgia Line are among the stars performing at the ACM Party for a Cause Festival April 17 and 18 at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX. They'll collaborate with country icons Alabama, Ronnie Milsap, Patty Loveless, Dwight Yoakam, and Clint Black. The performances will be taped for a new TV special, ACM Presents: Superstar Duets! The new special will air Friday, May 15 on CBS.

Tickets packages for the ACM Party for a Cause are now available at Ticketmaster. The festival leads up to the 50th Annual ACM Awards, taking place April 19 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The show broadcasts live on CBS starting at 8 p.m. ET.

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Zac Brown Band Releasing New Album, "Jekyll + Hyde," April 28; Major Tour to Follow

Southern Ground/Big Machine/John VarvatosZac Brown Band's new album, Jekyll Hyde, will be out April 28 featuring their latest hit, "Homegrown." They'll perform music from the album this weekend as they make their first appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live. The new project features collaborations with rocker Chris Cornell and pop star Sara Bareilles.

Zac Brown Band will launch a major tour in support of the new album on May 1 at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.

Here's the Jekyll Hyde track listing:

"Beautiful Drug"
"Loving You Easy"
"Remedy"
"Homegrown"
"Mango Tree" (Featuring Sara Bareilles)
"Heavy Is the Head" (featuring Chris Cornell)
"Bittersweet"
"Castaway"
"Tomorrow Never Comes"
"One Day"
"Dress Blues"
"Young and Wild"
"Junkyard"
"I'll Be Your Man (Song for a Daughter)"
"Wildfire"
"Tomorrow Never Comes"  (Acoustic Version)

Zac Brown Band 2015 Tour Dates:

5/1 -- Nashville, TN, Bridgestone Arena
5/7 -- Raleigh, NC, Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
5/8-5/9 -- Alpharetta, GA, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
5/16 -- Gulf Shores, AL, Hangout Music Festival
5/21 -- Maryland Heights, MO, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
5/22 -- Cincinnati, OH, PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center
5/23 -- Cuyahoga Falls, OH, Blossom Music Center
5/24 -- Burgettstown, PA, First Niagara Pavilion
6/4 -- Charlotte, NC, PNC Music Pavilion
6/5 -- Virginia Beach, VA, Farm Bureau Live at Virginia Beach
6/6 -- Hartford, CT, XFINITY Theatre
6/7 -- Bangor, ME, Darling's Waterfront Pavilion
6/13 -- Jacksonville, FL, Florida Country Superfest
6/27 -- Ozark, AR, Thunder on the Mountain Festival
6/28 -- Milwaukee, WI, Summerfest
7/3 -- Denver, CO, Coors Field
7/9 -- Salt Lake City, UT, USANA Amphitheatre
7/10 -- Boise, ID, Taco Bell Arena
7/11 -- George, WA, Gorge Amphitheatre
7/12 -- Ridgefield, WA, Amphitheater Northwest
8/6 -- Darien Center, NY, Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
8/7-8/8 -- Boston, MA, Fenway Park
8/14 -- Washington, DC, Nationals Park
8/15 -- Philadelphia, PA, Citizens Bank Park
8/21 -- Flushing, NY, Citi Field
8/23 -- Bethel, NY, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
9/6 -- Saratoga Springs, NY, Saratoga Performing Arts Center
9/11 -- Chicago, Il, Wrigley Field
9/12 -- Detroit, MI, Comerica Park
9/19 -- Del Mar, CA, Kaaboo Music & Arts Festival

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockRaeLynn is a featured vocalist on which one of Blake Shelton's #1 hits? ANSWER: "Boys Round Here."

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Lady Antebellum and Kris Kristofferson Performing on "Skyville Live" April 7

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum and Kris Kristofferson are among the next group of artists performing on Skyville Live next month. The online broadcast will air live from Nashville April 7 at 8 p.m. ET. Taking part in innovative projects like Skyville Live appeals to Lady A.

Group member Dave Haywood says, "Helping kickstart a new and unique event, especially alongside an idol like Kristofferson, is a really great way for us to reach our fans across the world. Hopefully it'll give us a chance to make a few new ones too!"

Skyville Live launched in January with a live online broadcast featuring Martina McBride along with R&B stars Gladys Knight and Estelle.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockRaeLynn will debut her new single, "For a Boy," on NBC's Today on Monday, March 9.

Hank Williams, Jr. will headline the fifth annual NRA Country Jam on Lower Broadway in Nashville on April 10. The show is free to the public and takes place as the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits go on at the Music City Center one block away.

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"Nashville" Recap: "That's the Way Love Goes"

Image Courtesy ABC/Bob D'AmicoCloseted country star Will Lexington wasn't happy when his new label boss, Luke Wheeler, set up in a writing appointment with Kevin Bicks -- a hit Nashville songwriter who just happens to be gay. Will was very uncomfortable with the writing session at first, but he and Kevin eventually bonded over their bad relationships with their dads. In the end, they managed to write a great song, too.

Will's ex-wife Layla Grant stood up for herself as an indie artist in her new deal with Rayna Jaymes' label, Highway 65. Her new manager, Jeff Fordham, even managed to get some traction on her single via iTunes, but it looks like Jeff and Layla's romantic relationship is staying on the down low for now.

Sadie Stone decided to use her interview on Good Morning America to expose her abusive ex-husband, Pete, who just took a big settlement to get out of her life. Pete was watching the segment, so we're guessing this storyline will continue in the coming weeks with another altercation.

Meanwhile at the Grand Ole Opry, Deacon Claybourne left quickly after he sang onstage with Rayna and her daughters, Maddie and Daphne. He'd been missing in action for the past few weeks, so Rayna tracked Deacon down to his cabin, where he finally told her he has liver cancer.

Keeping Deacon's illness a secret has taken a toll on his niece, Scarlett O'Conner, too. She went on a date with Deacon's oncologist, Caleb, but ended up talking about her uncle's disease the entire time. The evening went very badly, but Caleb accepted Scarlett's apology the next day. It looks like they'll be an item for at least the next few episodes.

Scarlett just happened to get a gig opening for Rascal Flatts in Nashville as one-third of a new trio with her two ex-boyfriends, Gunnar and Avery. She ended up taking Caleb as her date to the show, and he's the one who gave Avery and Gunnar the idea for their new band name -- The Triple Exes.

Scarlett, Avery and Gunnar debuted a brand-new song, "If I'm Still Dreaming," during their big debut. Clare Bowen, who plays Scarlett, is happy to see her character back onstage after suffering a nervous breakdown last year. Clare admits there are some similarities between her and Scarlett.

Clare tells ABC Radio, "She is a part of me. We're very different creatures. We both have that introvert quality about us. I think it's wonderful that now, like, later on in the show, she is starting to enjoy being out onstage."

Unlike Scarlett, Clare has always loved sharing her music with a live audience.

"Her happiness onstage is more merging with my own," Clare says. "I love it out there. I love giving that gift to people. You're giving them something to make them feel good. Make them feel something." 

"If I'm Still Dreaming" and all of the other songs featured on Nashville are available at iTunes. Of note, Nashville is taking a break for the next two weeks. The Nashville concert special, On the Record 2, airs March 25th on ABC, and a brand-new episode of Nashville will air on April 1st.

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Thomas Rhett Reveals Release Date and Possible Title for Follow-Up to "Make Me Wanna"

Image Courtesy CMAThomas Rhett just scored his third #1 hit with "Make Me Wanna," but fans won't have to wait long to hear his new single from his upcoming sophomore album. Thomas tells ABC Radio the new track is coming out in about three weeks, and he's got it narrowed down to two possible song choices.

"It's between two songs -- "Crash and Burn" and "T-Shirt," Thomas says. "And they're both kind of in the same vein."

Fans can expect Thomas to continue exploring the sound he introduced on "Make Me Wanna" on the new album, too.

He says, "I think "Make Me Wanna" was a great bridge for what you're gonna hear on the second album. Gonna explore the more funky, R&B, soul side of T.R.. It's gonna be a fun record, man. It's gonna be very diverse."

Thomas's debut album, It Goes Like This, was released in October 2013, but Thomas had been living with the music on his debut album for a few years before it got to the public.

"For the fans, I guess they can technically say they've only had the album in their hands for like a year-and-a-half, but I've been playing these songs for, like, three years," Thomas explains. "So, for me to get out there and play new music that's on the radio is a very exciting time for us."

Thomas has been performing "T-Shirt" during his opening set on Florida Georgia Line's Anything Goes tour in the past few weeks.

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Shania Twain Says Rock This Country Tour Will Let Her Feel the "Party Vibe" One Last Time

Sandbox EntertainmentShania Twain delighted -- and, possibly, saddened -- fans Wednesday with her announcement that she'll be going on tour for the first time in 11 years, but it'll be her last time on the road.  Shania says for her final live experience, she wanted to take her music directly to the fans.

"I thought, 'Well, I’m feeling the momentum of being on stage,'" she tells ABC Radio, explaining why she decided to launch a tour after SHANIA: Still the One wrapped up at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. "'It took me so long to get back up here. I wanna experience also getting back out on the road and touring with the show.' I didn’t want one room to be my last concert experience."

"I wanted to break that chain and say, 'If I’m gonna do this for the last time, I want it to be out on the road and taking it to the fans and feeling that whole excitement of the party vibe that you get when you’re on a concert stage.' So...it was just a natural succession."

Shania's tour doesn't start until June, but if you want to get a taste of her performing live, you can check out her new CD/DVD, SHANIA: Still the One Live from Vegas, which is currently available exclusively at Wal-Mart.  The show features her full Las Vegas production, as well as plenty of behind-the-scenes footage showing what went into its creation and execution.

"At the end of [the] Vegas [show], I started to feel a little bit sad to see it coming to an end," Shania tells ABC Radio, explaining why she wanted to release a film of the show. "So I wanted to document that specific production. I put so much into the production itself, it was really a huge experience in that regard, and I was saying, 'Well, the only way to really make it last is to document it, get it filmed.' So I have that, now, forever. That’s, I guess, mine...forever, even though I’m not there live."  

Shania's Rock This Country tour starts June 5 in Seattle.  The ticket sales to the general public for most North American shows begin Friday, March 13; there's a pre-sale at ShaniaTwain.com on March 10.

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Gloriana's Tom Gossin Opens Up About Vocal Cord Surgery that Nearly Derailed the Band

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleGloriana is back with a brand-new single titled "Trouble," but it looked like the band might be over following group member Tom Gossin's 2012 vocal cord surgery. He had the procedure done just as their single, "(Kissed You) Good Night," was peaking at country radio. The surgery went fine, but Tom had some problems getting his voice back afterwards.

He says, "I’m like, 'Am I ever going to be able to sing again now that I’ve had a hit?'”

Thankfully, Tom's voice returned and Gloriana is back on track with "Trouble" now climbing the country chart. A full-length album is expected from the trio later this year.

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Little Big Town to Perform at Can Do Awards Dinner to Raise Money for Food Bank for New York City

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town has signed on as the entertainment for the 13th Annual Can Do Awards Dinner in New York City coming up April 21. The gala takes place at Cipriani Wall Street to raise money for the Food Bank for New York City. Several individuals and organizations will be honored for their work on behalf of the Food Bank.

For ticket information, go to FoodBankNYC.org.

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2015 ACM Awards ZinePak to Be Released Exclusively at Walmart March 24

Image Courtesy ACMIn celebration of the upcoming 50th Annual ACM Awards, the Academy of Country Music is releasing a 2015 ACM Awards ZinePak exclusively at Walmart on March 24.

The project includes a magazine with 25 exclusive interviews and memories from the first 49 ACM Awards shows. There's also a two-CD collection geaturing hits from this year's nominees, including Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line, as well as songs from country's hottest new acts.

Only 50,000 copies of the 2015 ACM Awards ZinePak will be produced. It's now available for pre-order at Walmart.com.

The 50th Annual ACM Awards broadcast live on CBS from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, April 19.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWho is the reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year? ANSWER: George Strait.

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Lineup Revealed for 2015 CMA Music Festival Concerts at Nashville's LP Field

Image Courtesy Broken Bow RecordsThe lineup for the 2015 CMA Music Festival concerts at Nashville's LP Field has been announced. The performers include Jason Aldean, Sam Hunt, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Zac Brown Band, Eric Church, Brett Eldredge, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Wynonna, Cole Swindell, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Thomas Rhett, Little Big Town, The Band Perry, and many more.

The CMA Music Festival runs June 11 through 14 in Nashville. It is sold out.

Proceeds from the CMA Music Festival go to the CMA Foundation's efforts to fund music education programs. Thomas Rhett was on hand for a performance of the Nashville Children's Theatre's production of the musical, Jack's Tale. After introducing the play and interacting with some of the students in the audience, Thomas reflected on his experience playing Scrooge in his school's production of A Christmas Carol. That early exposure to live performance gave him a taste of what it's like to connect with a crowd through music.

Thomas tells ABC Radio, "I remember from the time I was four-years-old, dad was always filming me singing 'Achy Breaky Heart' and 'Boot Scootin' Boogie,' and so when it got to a point where I could actually be in front of a lot of people doing anything that had any sort of entertainment value to it -- I tried out for the "Scrooge" part."

He adds, "It definitely opened me up to what that rush felt like to getting out in front of people and kinda just pursuing your talents."

It means a lot for Thomas to be able to help raise money for kids to be exposed to the arts at a young age.

"One of those kids I talked to today may have just been slightly inspired and maybe wanted to sing country music or maybe wanted to sing rock music or pop music," Thomas says. "Watching these guys up on stage doing this play today, maybe it'll inspire them to want to start writing songs or get into acting themselves."

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Shania Twain to Launch First Tour in 11 Years; Says It'll Be Her Last

Ethan Miller/Getty Images via ABCAfter spending the last couple of years doing a residency in Las Vegas, Shania Twain is taking her act on the road.  The Grammy-winning singer is launching her first tour in 11 years -- and she says it'll be her final one.

The Rock This Country tour -- named after a track on Shania's 1997 album, Come On Over -- kicks off in Seattle on June 5 and will visit 50 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, wrapping up in August.  When it's over, there'll be no more touring, but Shania isn't retiring. She also doesn't plan for the tour to serve as a tearful farewell to her fans: quite the opposite, in fact.

In a statement, Shania says, "This is a celebration tour. It's party time. It's a celebration that after all these years, I can still do it! The Rock This Country Tour will have a different spirit than my past tours."

She adds, "It's the momentum of confidence. The Vegas show was so intense and nerve-wracking because of not being onstage for all those years. So now that I got that out of my system, this tour is all about having fun, letting go and enjoying the new-found attitude." 

To that point, Shania promises a more upbeat show than her Vegas extravaganza.  "There's a lot more punch. It's dynamic and reflects the rockier edge of things, because I have so many electric guitars in my music," she explains. "I'm looking forward to rocking out."

The tour will visit  Boston, Miami, Atlanta, New York City, Nashville and Washington, D.C., among other dates, as well as Shania's native Canada.  She promises fans "a Shania they've never seen before," adding, "A lot of years have gone by and I've got a lot more to share. It's all about looking back together. It's that unified community spirit of 'I remember where I was when I first heard that song.'"

Shania's opening acts include Wes Mack from June 5 through June 28, and then Gavin DeGraw from June 30 through August 23.

Here are Shania's tour dates:

6/5 -- Seattle, WA, KeyArena at Seattle Center
6/7 -- Vancouver, BC, Pepsi Live! At Rogers Arena
6/9 -- Vancouver, BC, Pepsi Live! At Rogers Arena
6/11 -- Edmonton, AB, Rexall Place
6/12 -- Edmonton, AB, Rexall Place
6/14 -- Saskatoon, SK,  SaskTel Centre
6/15 -- Winnipeg, MB, MTS Centre
6/19 -- London, ON, Budweiser Gardens
6/20 -- London, ON, Budweiser Gardens
6/22 -- Hamilton, ON, FirstOntario Centre
6/24 -- Toronto, ON, Air Canada Centre
6/25 -- Toronto, ON, Air Canada Centre
6/27 -- Ottawa, ON, Wesley Clover Parks
6/28 -- Montreal, QC, Bell Centre
6/30 -- New York, NY,  Madison Square Garden
7/1 -- Long Island, NY,  Nassau Coliseum
7/3 -- Uncasville, CT,  Mohegan Sun Arena
7/7 -- Newark, NJ, Prudential Center
7/8 -- Boston, MA, TD, Garden
7/10 -- Pittsburgh, PA, CONSOL Energy Center
7/11 -- Grand Rapids, MI, Van Andel Arena
7/13 -- Indianapolis, IN, Bankers Life Fieldhouse
7/15 -- Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
7/16 -- Miami, FL, AmericanAirlines Arena
7/18 -- Greenville, SC, Bon Secours Wellness Arena
7/19 -- Charlotte, NC, Time Warner Cable Arena
7/21 -- Washington, DC, Verizon Center
7/22 -- Philadelphia, PA, Wells Fargo Center
7/25 -- Auburn Hills, MI, Palace of Auburn Hills
7/26 -- Moline, IL, iWireless Center
7/28 -- Minneapolis, MN, Target Center
7/29 -- Rosemont, IL, Allstate Arena
7/31 -- Nashville, TN, Bridgestone Arena
8/1 -- Atlanta, GA, Philips Arena
8/3 -- Louisville, KY, KFC Yum! Center
8/4 -- St. Louis, MO, Scottrade Center
8/6 -- Des Moines, IA, Wells Fargo Arena
8/7 -- Kansas City, MO, Sprint Center
8/9 -- Austin, TX, Frank Erwin Center
8/10 -- Dallas, TX, American Airlines Center
8/12 -- Oklahoma City, OK, Chesapeake Energy Arena
8/14 -- Denver, CO, Pepsi Center
8/15 -- Salt Lake City, UT, EnergySolutions Arena
8/17 -- San Jose, CA, SAP Center at San Jose
8/19 -- Anaheim, CA, Honda Center
8/20 -- Los Angeles, CA, STAPLES Center
8/22 -- San Diego, CA, Valley View Casino Center
8/23 -- Fresno, CA, Save Mart Center

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockWynonna will give an interview and performance at the South by Southwest Music Conference coming up Friday, March 20 in Austin, TX.

Eli Young Band is giving fans a preview of their new single, "Turn It On," at Vevo.

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Darius Rucker Feels Kelly Clarkson's Pain When It Comes to Finding Collaborators

Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryDarius Rucker is always open to collaborate with other artists, but music business politics often get in the way of making those collaborations actually happen. This subject has got a lot of attention in the past few weeks since Kelly Clarkson admitted in an interview other artists often turn her down when she approaches them about collaborating. According to Darius, those artists might not even know Kelly asked to sing with them in the first place.

He says, "A lot of times management's not even letting it get to the artist to where the artist can say yes or no. I've had some shocking moments over the last few years and stuff where I was turned down from where I was shocked, but, you know, that's just the nature of the business."

A lot of times artists will get together at an event like next month's ACM Awards and come up with an idea for a collaboration. Darius says it's getting harder and harder to take those song ideas from the drawing board to the recording studio.

He explains, "When it happens like that, it's cool. But as soon as you call up somebody's management company, you know, they mess up the coolness of that stuff, 'cause that's a cool thing."

For the record, Darius says he would sing with Kelly Clarkson "in a heartbeat" if she ever asked. As for his dream duet partner, Darius says, "It would be Paul McCartney. I would go and bark on a Paul McCartney record if that's what he wanted me to do. Ruff, ruff! I'm down!"

Darius's new single, "Homegrown Honey," is the lead release from his new album, Southern Style, due out March 31.

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Billy Currington Swears There's No Love Affair Going on with His "Don't It" Video Co-Star

Image Courtesy Mercury NashvilleIf you've caught Billy Currington's new video, "Don't It," then you're probably wondering how well Billy knows his beautiful, brunette co-star. The two get very cozy in the romantic clip, but Billy had never seen her before they shot the video in Nashville.

He tells ABC Radio, "I didn't know the girl. I still don't know her. I'll probably never see her again. But for that moment, that day, we had good chemistry. It was easy to do that."

Billy adds, "Hopefully, I made you feel like she's real, and the love was real. It was a good time."

The clip was shot at an old theater in downtown Nashville, but the space isn't used for plays or concerts anymore.

"They actually record music in there sometimes," Billy explains, "but they kind of emptied it out a little bit for us to make that video."

"Don't It" is the lead single from Billy's new studio album, due out later this year.

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Willie Nelson to Headline Fourth Annual Heartbreaker Banquet at His Luck, Texas Ranch

Image Courtesy Shock InkWillie Nelson will perform at the fourth annual Heartbreaker Banquet at his Luck, Texas ranch near Austin. The event takes place March 19, and tickets are now on sale at HeartbreakerBanquet.com.

The Heartbreaker Banquet showcases artists in the roots music community and is timed to coincide with the South by Southwest conference each year. Willie's son, Lukas Nelson, is also on the bill with his band, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.

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