No, it’s not a “House Party”: Sam Hunt’s headed to Vegas to celebrate his new album with his “Kinfolks”

MCA NashvilleSam Hunt is gearing up to drop his first album in six years, and the superstar has plans to party in style. He's set an album release party and show for April 3, the same day his new project, Southside, comes out.

Taking place at Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas, the show will feature multiple surprise guests. Tickets go on sale next Friday, March 6. It’ll be a preview of Sam’s upcoming Southside Summer Tour 2020, which kicks off this May and includes supporting acts Kip MooreTravis Denning and Ernest

Sam has already shared a handful of the tracks off of Southside, including “Sinning with You,” “Hard to Forget” and the current chart-topping single, “Kinfolks.” The 12-song project also features some tunes fans already know and love, such as Sam's 2017 smash hit, “Body Like a Back Road.”

At the 2020 Country Radio Seminar, the singer also debuted another heartbreak ballad, called “2016.” That song is the first track on Southside.

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Kelsea Ballerini finds a “hole in the bottle” with new tune; drops full album track list

John Shearer/Getty Images for Amazon MusicKelsea Ballerini is counting down the days until her third studio album, kelsea, drops on March 20. She says the project is “my favorite body of music yet,” and to celebrate, she's shared another song off the collection with her fans.

Called “hole in the bottle,” the new tune is all about enjoying the occasional glass (or bottle) of wine in the name of erasing the memory of heartbreak. 

“There’s a hole in the bottle, leakin’ all this wine / It’s already empty, it ain’t even suppertime,” Kelsea sings in the song’s chorus. “No, I don’t miss him, in fact it slipped my mind / There’s a hole in the bottle of wine...”

Just before dropping her new tune, Kelsea unveiled the full, 13-song album track list on Instagram. “Here are the 13 pieces of me that I get to share with you March 20,” she wrote. “What are you most excited about?!”

Fans had lots to choose from in response to that question: kelsea’s track list includes a couple of exciting, high-profile duets. One song, “The Other Girl,” is a duet with pop superstar Halsey, with whom Kelsea also recently teamed for a forthcoming episode of CMT’s Crossroads

Kelsea’s not neglecting her country roots, though. Another of the new album’s songs, “half of my hometown,” features vocal contributions from none other than Kenny Chesney. Other tracks on kelsea include the previously shared “club” and “la,” as well as its lead single, “homecoming queen?,” which cracked the top twenty at country radio last month.

Here’s the full track list for kelsea

“homecoming queen?”
“the other girl” (with Halsey)
“love me like a girl”
“love and hate”
“hole in the bottle”
“half of my hometown” (feat. Kenny Chesney)
“the way I used to”
“a country song”

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What makes an American Idol? Luke Bryan says you can’t discount “hard work” and the “aw shucks factor”

ABC/Gavin BondThis Sunday, the auditions continue on season three of American Idol on ABC, and during his time on the show, Luke Bryan's come to believe potential superstars basically fall into two categories.

"Most of the time, the real talent, from the first note they sing, you can feel the emotion," Luke explains. "You get chill bumps all over your body."

"But occasionally, too," he continues, "there's that hard-working kid out there that America just falls in love with. They fall in love with the personality, who they are, their background. It becomes that star quality, and once they get a little confidence on their side, the ball starts rolling."

Ultimately, Luke believes it comes down to a contestant's God-given abilities. But he says there are two kinds of those as well.

"We have a lot of kids that God has just given them the talent," he reflects. "But then we have a lot of kids where God has given them the work ethic and humbleness and the 'aw shucks' factor. And America falls in love with that."

Luke, Lionel Richie, and Katy Perry continue narrowing the field of contestants Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, when the latest episode of American Idol premieres on ABC. 

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Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockPerennial bluegrass favorites Jim Lauderdale and Rhonda Vincent will host a new PBS special, Bluegrass Now!, premiering tomorrow evening. Filmed live at the Bluegrass Hall of Fame & Museum in Kentucky, the showcase features acts like Molly Tuttle and Dan Tyminski

John Prine has been added to the lineup for the 2020 Pickathon. The Oregon festival is set to take place July 30-August 2.

Reckless Kelly has shared their latest single, “North American Jackpot.” The band is set to drop not one but two albums on May 22. Their new song is the title track for one of those projects; the other is called American Girls.

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Maren Morris gets real about baby weight and lower back pain during her eighth month of pregnancy

ABC/Image Group LAEight months into her pregnancy, Maren Morris is serving up some “real talk” for her fans. On her Instagram stories, the singer shared a snapshot of herself working out with help from celebrity trainer Erin Oprea, who’s also known for coaching the likes of Kelsea Ballerini and Carrie Underwood

Underneath the image, Maren offered an unfiltered look into what life in the last trimester of pregnancy has been like.

“I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy journey and have worked out with Erin Oprea and tried to eat relatively clean throughout,” she wrote. “I’m 5’1 and have gained 40 lbs, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

The singer added that overall, being pregnant has been a great experience for her.

“Even with the lower back pain and my anemia-prone BS, I have really enjoyed being pregnant,” she explained. “I hope this little boy is as kind to me on the outside as he’s been on the inside, because I will miss his kicks.”

Still, Maren admitted that she’s excited to move on to the next stage of her motherhood journey.  “But really, this is his eviction notice,” she joked.

Maren’s baby boy, who's due in March, is her first child with her husband, fellow country artist Ryan Hurd.

Maren  singer recently announced a string of upcoming tour dates beginning in June, and the run will be a family affair: Ryan’s opening for her during the tour, by which time the couple will have welcomed their son.

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Luke Combs celebrates “this crazy ride we’re on” with three ACM nominations

ABC/Todd WawrychukLast year, Luke Combs won an ACM Award for New Male Artist of the Year. This year, he’s made a massive jump up the ranks, and might even take home the title of Entertainer of the Year.

On social media, Luke celebrated his three ACM nods after the full list of nominees was announced on Thursday morning. “Thanks to my stellar team, the fans, my family, friends, country radio and the ACM Awards for this crazy ride we’re on,” he wrote.

Luke is also nominated in the categories of Male Artist of the Year, as well as Album of the Year for his sophomore outing, What You See is What You Get. That album, as well as his freshman project, This One’s for You, have broken a wide range of records on the album charts and at country radio.

If he wins in this year’s Entertainer category, Luke will have yet another record to hang his hat on: He’ll have made the jump from New Male Artist to Entertainer in the span of a single year, a feat that no other nominee has accomplished before. The record for making that jump the fastest is currently held by Mickey Gilley and the Dixie Chicks, both of whom rose from New Artist Awards to the ACM’s highest honor over the course of two years.

Luke shares his spot in the Entertainer category nominees with Luke BryanCarrie UnderwoodEric Church and Thomas Rhett. Like Luke, Thomas is a first-time nominee for the Entertainer of the Year title.

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Caylee Hammack “cried in an airport bathroom” when she found out about her first-ever ACM nomination

Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesRising artist Caylee Hammack is among the up-and-comers nominated for New Female Artist of the Year at the 2020 ACM Awards. When she learned the news, Caylee says she had a rather emotional moment -- in a pretty public place.

“Yes, I just cried in an airport bathroom over this,” the singer wrote on social media. “Sorry if you were waiting to pee, I needed a moment.”

Caylee went on to celebrate her fellow nominees in the category, shouting out Gabby BarrettIngrid AndressLindsay Ell and Tenille Townes. In addition to their New Female Artist mentions, Caylee and Tenille share a nomination in another category, too: They’re both up for Music Event of the Year for their participation in the Miranda Lambert-helmed cover of Elvin Bishop's “Fooled Around and Fell in Love.”

“You don’t know how validating it feels to be included in such an amazing group of hard-working female artists,” Caylee continued. “We all have been through the grind and still grinding, while rocking heels and lashes on top of it all. It is an honor to know y’all and watch all of you shine in your own way.”

It’s been a big year for Caylee, who toured with Miranda in 2019 and also released her debut single, “Family Tree,” to radio.

The 2020 ACM Awards will take place on April 5,  broadcast live on CBS from Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena.

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Riley Green reacts to his first-ever ACM nomination: “It doesn’t seem real”

Ryan SmithRiley Green woke up to his first-ever nomination for an ACM award this morning, and not surprisingly, the rising country singer is still pinching himself. 

“It is such an honor to be nominated. The country music community has been so accepting of me as a new artist, and this for me is validation that all of our hard work is paying off,” Riley reflected. “It doesn’t seem real to have my name included with all the other great nominees but I sure appreciate it.”

Riley is nominated in the New Male Artist of the Year category. He’s up against Jordan DavisRussell DickersonCody Johnson and Morgan Wallen

The singer enjoyed a breakout year in 2019, notching his first chart-topping radio hit with “There Was This Girl.” He stayed busy on the road last year, opening for the likes of Brad Paisley and Jon Pardi, as well as helming his own headlining Get That Man a Beer Tour. He’s currently on the road opening for Jason Aldean.

The 2020 ACM Awards are set to take place in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 5. Riley’s got plans after the big event, too: He’ll host his own Riley Green & Friends show at 10PM that night, with help from additional, soon-to-be-announced special guests.

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“God Whispered Your Name”: Keith’s Urban’s new song is the first of “a whole bunch” of new music

Getty Images for Country Music Hall of Fame and MuseumFans got big news from Keith Urban Thursday morning.  The singer not only announced that he's hosting the 2020 ACM Awards, he also has a new single out, with even more music on the horizon. 

The new song, called “God Whispered Your Name,” is Keith’s first release of 2020. It’s an R&B-inflected love song all about life-changing love. Just days before officially dropping the new single, Keith debuted it live at the 2020 Country Radio Seminar in Nashville.

When he announced the song on social media, Keith teased that it’s not the only new song he’s got lined up for release this year. In fact, he hinted, he just might have a new album on the way.

“We have brand new music finally,” he told his fans in an Instagram post, adding that the tune is “part of a whole bunch of new music that is coming out very soon.”

In the meantime, Keith is headed to Las Vegas for the 2020 ACM Awards April 5. It’s his first time hosting the event, and he’s also nominated in the category of Male Artist of the Year. The ACM Awards will broadcast live on CBS from Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena.

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Country star trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockOn this day in 2002, this country singer was at the top of the country album chart with his 10th studio album, Drive. The project included hits like “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).” Do you know who it is? ANSWER: Alan Jackson.

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