Countdown to “Country Music”: Dierks, Vince, Dwight, Skaggs and more star in PBS Ryman special

PBSThe countdown to filmmaker Ken Burns’ eight-part, sixteen-hour PBS documentary Country Music begins Sunday, September 8 with a special live concert recorded at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.

The two-hour music special features both songs and performers that figure prominently in the epic re-tracing of country music’s history.

Dierks Bentley sings Waylon Jennings’ “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way,” and also teams up with Dwight Yoakam to perform “Streets of Bakersfield,” which Dwight previously recorded with Buck Owens.

Ricky Skaggs offers “Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’,” as well as a duet with Marty Stuart on his hit version of Bill Monroe's “Uncle Pen.”

Look for Vince GillRosanne CashKathy MatteaRodney Crowell and more on the special as well.

Country Music: Live at the Ryman, A Concert Celebrating the Film by Ken Burns premieres Sunday, September 8 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS. The first installment of the documentary airs a week later at the same time.

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Trisha Yearwood is “Every Girl” in “FarmVille” as she goes on a “Country Escape”

Gwendolyn RecordsTrisha Yearwood’s already a best-selling author, a two-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, a Food Network star, and of course, wife of Garth Brooks. But now you can add one more thing to the list: resident of FarmVille.

In the coming months, fans will start to see Trisha in the new version of the popular game, called FarmVille 2: Country Escape. Trisha’s avatar will be a “down-to-earth farmhand” and her new song “Every Girl in This Town” will play as she helps fans with their imaginary farms.

On Monday, Trisha visited the headquarters of the company behind the app, Zynga, and took part in a discussion about gender equality.   

"As someone who plays FarmVille, and having grown up on a farm in Georgia, the game ties back to my roots," she says. "With women also being the central characters in all the FarmVille games, it shows that farming -- like music, tech, politics, science and entrepreneurship -- should be accessible to anyone."

You can get a sneak peak at Trisha’s FarmVille character in a new YouTube video. Her new album, Every Girl, arrives on August 30.

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After 13 years together, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman couldn’t be “Happier”

ABC/Image Group LA Thirteen years ago, Keith Urban and actress Nicole Kidman tied the knot during a ceremony in Manly, Australia. Today, the Aussie singer wished the Big Little Lies star a happy anniversary on social media.

“Thirteen years of magic, music, romance, wild adventures, and the ongoing discovery of pure love,” he captioned a photo that showed him playing the piano as Nicole danced behind him.

“Happy Anniversary Babygirl. xxxx,” he added.

A short time later, Keith's original post disappeared, replaced by a more recent photo of the two laughing and embracing on the beach. In the new picture, you can also spot an elaborate "Nicole" tattoo on Keith's bicep.

Just last Thursday, Keith serenaded his bride on his socials on her 52nd birthday, playing an impressive one-handed version of “Happy Birthday” on the keyboard.

Meanwhile, Keith just released a concert video of the Graffiti U track, “Drop Top,” which features newcomer Kassi Ashton.

Fans can also pick up a special seven-inch version of his latest hit, “We Were,” backed with his cover of the Marshmello/Bastille pop hit, “Happier.” You can choose from red, orange, blue or clear vinyl.

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“Her World [and] Mine”: Michael Ray & Carly Pearce party at the Palace on first anniversary

ABC/Image Group LA Michael Ray and Carly Pearce spent their first anniversary where their romance began: across the street from the Grand Ole Opry at the Nashville Palace, in the part of town known as Music Valley.

“We have 5 hours together this week,” Michael shared on his socials, along with a picture of the couple in the bar. “So we celebrated our 1 year anniversary at the place where she stole my heart, listening to traditional country music."

“Carly you’re my foundation in life and I can’t wait for 99 more years with you,” the soon-be-married singer added. “Thank you for choosing me, you’re the gift I’ll never know how I deserved. I love you forever and a day.”

Michael and Carly got engaged over the Christmas holidays, and though they haven’t revealed their exact wedding date, they’ve hinted it may be in the fall.

Carly shared the same anniversary photo as Michael, adding “I wish I could go back in time and tell that girl sitting at the bar listening to old school country music with that boy, hoping he’d keep his arm around her, that this was going to be the night that changed her life forever.”

Meanwhile, Michael’s planning a tour of the United Kingdom in October. Here’s the itinerary, with tickets going on sale Friday:

10/22 -- London, England, Bush Hall
10/23 -- Birmingham, England, O2 Institute 3
10/24 -- Liverpool, England, Arts Club the Loft
10/25 -- Manchester, England, Night & Day
10/27 -- Glasgow, Scotland, Stereo

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Miranda Lambert heads in a “different direction” for new album, is ready for new music “to be out yesterday”

ABC/Image Group LA Miranda Lambert hopes to have new music out before she sets her all-girl Roadside Bars & Pink Guitars Tour in motion this fall.

She tells Rolling Stone that she recently delivered the follow-up to 2016’s The Weight of These Wings to her record label.  She switched producers, working with Jay Joyce, known for collaborating with Eric Church and Little Big Town, among others.

“It was a change,” Miranda admits, “but I wanted to go in a different direction for this one than I have in the past because I feel like I was in a new place.”

“Jay and I had some new chemistry,” she adds. “Sometimes you have to change it up.”

Miranda teases that the new music has “a little rock vibe to it,” as evidenced by the new tune “Locomotive,” which she debuted earlier this month at CMA Fest.

“I think that everything in my life in the last year has weaved itself in," she says of her next album.

“I have been spending time in New York and I got married and I’m happy, and working with Jay, that all brought a really new phase and sound.”

The Texas native didn’t reveal exactly when fans can expect the first taste of the new record, but says she’s “ready for a single to be out yesterday.”

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Country star trivia

Comstock/Thinkstock Country Music Hall of Famer Roger Miller won the 1985 Tony Award for Best Original Score for this musical based on Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn. Can you name it? ANSWER: Big River.

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Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton “Dive” into the top twenty with new duet

Pearl RecordsGarth Brooks and Blake Shelton’s “Dive Bar” is already a top twenty hit, even though it’s only been out a week.

The new duet debuts at #16 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, giving it the best first chart week of any song since Luke Combs’ “Beer Never Broke My Heart” started at #15 back in May.

“Dive Bar” also gives Blake the highest debut of his career so far. Garth can’t say the same, since he already has a more impressive feat under his belt: “More Than a Memory” became the only song ever to debut at #1, back in 2007.

Right now, you can only hear “Dive Bar” on country radio. It’ll be available to stream or download on Amazon Music on Prime Day, which starts at midnight on Monday, July 15.

Garth and Blake will perform it for the first time live the following Friday, during Garth’s sold-out stop on his Stadium Tour in Boise, Idaho.  

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Why “Prayed for You” hitmaker Matt Stell stands head and shoulders above the rest

RECORDS/Arista Nashville

Newcomer Matt Stell is on the verge of having his first top-thirty hit, as his debut single, "Prayed for You," makes it to #31 on the country chart this week.

At six-foot-seven, the Arkansas native easily qualifies as one of the tallest men in country music, alongside Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley, Brett Young, and Trace Adkins.

Of course, that works out well if you play basketball in college, as Matt did, but there are some downsides, particularly if you need to travel: Bunks on tour buses weren't really made for guys that tall.

"Neither are seats in 737s," Matt continues. "That kinda sucks..."

"I wear hats a lot," he adds, "and if I have the bill forward -- you don't think about peripheral vision being [vertical]. But man I hit my head all the damn time. I really do..." he laughs.

"It's hard to find pants. Pants are tough, shoes are tough. But, you know, that's about all the complaints that I have."

Then the Everywhere But On singer thinks of one more.

"Oh, you know something else that sucks? Counter height," he explains. "You wouldn't think about that. But if the counter's too tall, you get a box and you stand on an apple crate or something."

"It's like you can't put the apple crate on the sink to cut things up, you know, or to wash dishes. So that's a little bit painful. But yeah, I'm not gonna complain too much," he smiles.

Savannah Chrisley from the reality show Chrisley Knows Best stars in the "Prayed for You" video, along with her boyfriend, the Anaheim Ducks' Nic Kerdiles. You can check it out on YouTube.

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Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock NBC's Today show shot a feature with Luke Bryan this past Friday during his sold-out show at Gillette Stadium in the Boston area. It's set to air on Tuesday, July 2. 

Eli Young Band will follow-up their latest #1, "Love Ain't," with the new track, "Break It In." You can check out the song's lyric video on YouTube now.

Country Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels will both speak and perform at The Grove at Williamson Place in Murfreesboro, Tennessee this Thursday evening. The Veteran Impact Celebration is a fundraiser for Daniels Center on the campus of nearby Middle Tennessee State University.

Newcomer Brandon Lancaster just shot the new music video for his debut single, "Rules of Breaking Up." You can watch it on YouTube now.

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Everything’s coming up “Blue Roses” for Runaway June

BBR Runaway June can't wait until their debut album, Blue Roses, comes out on Friday. But in the meantime, the trio has plenty to celebrate.

On Sunday night, they broke out the champagne as they marked the end of the first leg of Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty Tour. They’ll be busy working their own dates this summer, before rejoining Carrie and Maddie & Tae for the fall leg, which kicks off September 10 in San Diego, California.

Next up, Hannah MulhollandJennifer Wayne, and Naomi Cooke will play Fox & Friends’ All-American Summer Concert Series on Friday, July 12 in New York City.

This week, Runaway June’s latest single, “Buy My Own Drinks,” continues to be their biggest hit so far, rising to #16 on the country chart.

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