Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockLast Friday, CMT shared its “Listen Up” list for 2020, rounding up the new artists the organization is most excited about this year. Among them are Hot Country KnightsBlanco BrownHailey Whitters and Gabby Barrett

Kassi Ashton dropped her new song, “Hopeless,” last Thursday. The up-and-comer was out on the road last year with Maren Morris

The War and Treaty shared two new tunes late last week, “Jealousy” and “Hustlin,’” off their upcoming Rounder Records debut. The reigning Americana Awards Emerging Act of the Year put out the new music just before performing as part of an all-star tribute at the 2020 Grammy Awards on Sunday.

Americana stalwart Nathaniel Rateliff also shared a new tune, “What a Drag,” off his forthcoming album And It’s Still Alright. The full-length project is due out on Valentine’s Day. 

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“Lonely If You Are”: Chase Rice is ‘Bachelor’-bound tonight on ABC

ABC/Image Group LA"Lonely If You Are" just might be the perfect song for The Bachelor. And tonight, Chase Rice performs his latest hit on the ABC dating show.

Friday, Chase surprised fans with his seven-song EP titled The Album: Part I, with Part II set to follow later this year. That comes on the heels of an unforgettable 2019, when the North Carolina notched his first number one with "Eyes on You."

"It's been the best year of my career, for sure. And that's even going back to 'Ready Set Roll,'" the singer says, mentioning the song that was previously his biggest hit. "That was when it all started to blow up."

"It's been a huge, long course. for real..." Chase tells ABC Audio. "Between band, crew, we've all worked so hard. We all deserved it. And thank God it happened. And now we've got to do it again."

Now, Chase has his eyes on "Lonely If You Are."

"It's like 'What's gonna happen?' It's the first thing off the next album," he explains. "Nobody's heard it yet. Drop it, send it to radio. Immediately, it's doing really well streaming. But the last three or four weeks, something is happening where it's like, 'Oh, this is starting to look like "Eyes on You,"' man."

As usual, Chase sees his die-hard fans gravitating toward the song, even before it really catches on at radio.

"That's the way it's always been for us..." he reflects. "The biggest thing for me is, I'd rather have THAT than ten number ones that people are like, 'Oh, that's a good song.' I'd rather have passion behind the music. And that's what we have with our fans."  

Tune in to watch Chase on The Bachelor tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Tyler Farr’s new single, ‘Only Truck in Town,’ is the first taste of his Jason Aldean-produced album

BBR Music Group

Tyler Farr returned on Friday with his new single, “Only Truck in Town.” A high-octane anthem of small-town love, the song fits perfectly into a catalogue of hits including 2013’s “Redneck Crazy” and 2014’s “A Guy Walks Into a Bar.”

This time around, though, there’s something extra special about the new song: It was produced by Jason Aldean.  He and Tyler are good friends, and they’ve been in the studio for quite a while working on Tyler’s next batch of songs. 

“Everyone knows Tyler’s voice but they haven’t heard him like this before,” says Jason. “We all had such a blast working on this and I’m excited for fans to crank this one up.”

More information about Tyler’s next album is expected to come out in the weeks ahead. It’s not Jason and Tyler’s first time working together; Jason has previously brought Tyler on the road as an opening act. Outside of country music, Jason was also the best man for Tyler’s wedding in 2016.

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Hot Country Knights drop some dating advice in their star-studded ‘Pick Her Up’ music video

UMG NashvilleAfter releasing their debut single, a duet with Travis Tritt called “Pick Her Up,” on Thursday, the Hot Country Knights are upping the ante with an action-packed new music video for the song, brimming with ‘90s references. 

The storyline follows the band as they encounter a guy who’s just scored a date with the girl of his dreams and proceed to give him a makeover -- Knights style. By the end of the song, he’s ready to go in high-waisted jeans, a mullet wig and, of course, a massive pickup truck. 

Travis makes an appearance in the song’s music video, too, as does Tiffani Thiessen, the star of ‘90s sitcom Saved by the Bell. Frontman Douglas “Doug” Douglason, the goofy alter-ego of country star Dierks Bentley, says both guest stars were dream collaborators for the group.

“Travis Tritt is our longtime spirit animal and we have spent many a long night in the back of the van dreaming of working with or maybe even FOR Tiffani,” he explains. “When UMG finally came around and signed us...they were two of our demands for the music video.”

The oddball group also revealed this week that they’re at work on a full-length album of original material. 

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Scotty McCreery’s new EP, ‘The Soundcheck Sessions’, puts acoustic spin on hits like ‘Five More Minutes’

Essential Broadcast MediaScotty McCreery revisits his career-changing 2017 single, “Five More Minutes,” in a new, digital-only EP called The Soundcheck Sessions. The project includes an acoustic recording of the single, which was Scotty's first-ever chart-topping hit at country radio. 

“It’s no secret that ‘Five More Minutes’ is my favorite song I’ve ever written,” the singer says. “I announced that on Twitter that very day, and I’ve stated it frequently. That song was inspired by my grandfather and we wrote it two weeks after he passed away. It was fitting that it became my first #1 hit.”

The Soundcheck Sessions also includes acoustic versions of three more of Scotty’s best-loved songs, including his latest single, “In Between,” and “This is It,” a romantic ballad he wrote for his now-wife, Gabi Dugal. The last track on the EP is a fan favorite, “Still,” which he included thanks to fan demand.

Scotty is also sharing a new music video for his acoustic rendition of “Five More Minutes,” which he filmed onstage at the Cascade Theatre in Redding, CA.

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Kelsea Ballerini drops introspective ‘la,’ off forthcoming new album

ABC/Image Group LAKelsea Ballerini lays her insecurities bare on “la,” the latest new song to be shared off her forthcoming third studio album, kelsea. The song comes clean about Kelsea’s nerves over being part of the glitz and glamor of Los Angeles, while admitting that sometimes, California can be a lot of fun. 

It’s part of a larger theme of vulnerability on the songs she’s already shared off kelsea: Lead single “homecoming queen?,” which is currently a top-twenty hit, is all about admitting that things aren’t always perfect, even if they may look that way from the outside. 

“As I grow up, as a woman and an artist, I’ve felt myself changing my perspective, from my view on love and life, to how love and life make me feel,” the singer explains of her next record. “Naturally, that turns more personal, more therapeutic, and more rewarding. This album is honest, it’s country, it’s experimental, it’s fun, it’s introspective, and it’s 100% me. It’s the album that’s puts us on a first name basis.”

Kelsea announced her new record on Wednesday, just two days before dropping “la.” She shared the album cover for the new project and also revealed the release date, March 20. 

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Mitchell Tenpenny drops brooding new break-up tune, ‘Can’t Go to Church’

Schmidt PRMitchell Tenpenny returns with a brooding, atmospheric new track called “Can’t Go to Church.” Despite the title, the singer says that the song’s subject matter comes from a real story -- but it’s not about a loss of religious faith.

A Nashville native, Mitchell grew up going to a Christian school, and he says that he saw his school friends when he went to church, too. That became a problem once he went through a high school breakup.

“The girlfriend I had at the time broke up with me and the first thing you do at that age is try to avoid them. And I knew if I went to church, I would see her,” the singer says in a press release. “So I wrote this song, not because I didn’t believe in God and didn’t want to fellowship, I just didn’t want to see her. I said a prayer to God that ‘I will praise you, I just can’t walk in there anymore.’” 

“Can’t Go to Church” follows singles like 2018’s “Drunk Me,” which was Mitchell’s first-ever #1 hit, and “Anything She Says,” a duet with Australian duo Seaforth. Mitchell wrote the new song with co-writers Jordan Schmidt and Matt Rogers.

Speaking of Seaforth, Mitchell just hit the road with the down-under duo for the second leg of his Anything She Says Tour, which also features opening act Adam Doleac.

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Chase Rice treats fans to surprise seven-song project, ‘The Album Part I’

BBR Music GroupIt’s been over two years since Chase Rice released his last album, but now the singer is back with a project that he says his best work to date. On Friday, the singer surprise-released a seven-track project called The Album Part I, which includes his current single, “Lonely if You Are.”

“I chose to call this The Album because it’s the first thing I would encourage someone to listen to if they want to know who I am as an artist,” Chase explains. “My career has been such a roller coaster journey, but it’s all led to this moment and these songs. So much of what I’ve learned, so much of what I’ve fought through -- it’s all reflected in this music.”

The 34-year-old has led quite an eventful life. Before concentrating solely on music, he was a college football linebacker at the University of North Carolina, and later, a NASCAR pit crew member. Chase has also done a stint on reality television, appearing on Survivor: Nicaragua. 

He scored his first #1 hit on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart with “Eyes on You” in the spring of last year, building plenty of momentum leading up to the release of his new album. 

Here’s the track list for The Album Part I, complete with songwriter information:

“American Nights” (Kevin Griffin, Martin Johnson; produced by Martin Johnson)
“Lonely If You Are” (Chase Rice, Lindsay Rimes, Hunter Phelps; produced by Chris DeStefano and Chase Rice)
“Everywhere” (Chase Rice, Zachary Kale, James McNair; produced by Zachary Kale)
“Best Night Ever” (Chase Rice, Chris DeStefano, Matt Jenkins; produced by Chris DeStefano)
“Messy” (Seth Ennis, Kylie Sackley; produced by Chris DeStefano)
“In the Car” (Chase Rice, Jesse Rice, Hunter Phelps, Mark Holman; produced by Chris DeStefano)
“Forever to Go” (Jordan Minton, Casey Brown, Geoffrey Warburton; produced by Casey Brown)

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Dan + Shay are “Speechless” to be able to represent Music City at the Grammys

Catherine PowellIt's not a bad week to be Dan + Shay. They're currently at the top of the country airplay chart with "10,000 Hours" with Justin Bieber, and on Sunday, they could claim their second Grammy.

So far, Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney have a perfect record when it comes to the respected show. Last year was their first nomination, and they took home the Best Country Duo/Group Performance trophy for their career-changing crossover smash, "Tequila."  This year, they nabbed their second nomination in that same category for "Speechless," their subsequent hit that also made a home for itself on the pop chart. 

They could also win Best Country Song for "Speechless" as writers as well. 

Ultimately, the ever-humble duo's just thankful to be able to represent country music during a night that showcases all formats.

"The Grammys are such a huge deal," Dan reflects. "It's an iconic award and it's an all-genre award[s show], which is really cool for us to be recognized in the country music genre."

"And to be able to go out there and represent Nashville," he continues, "We're so proud of what's going on in Nashville and on Music Row. We moved to Nashville to write songs and the fact that people are digging those songs [is gratifying]."

It also means a lot to the duo to be honored by their fellow musicians.

"It's I guess like an industry-voted award," Dan says. "You know, to be acknowledged by our peers like that is really special."

"So we work hard for it," he adds. "[We're] thankful for the support of the fans. And, you know, to be supported by the industry is special as well."  

Find out if Dan + Shay can preserve their flawless Grammy record Sunday night starting at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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Country star trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockToday, the comedic country star who is best known for hits like “The Streak” and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2019 is celebrating his 84th birthday. Do you know who he is? ANSWER: Ray Stevens.

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