Tanya Tucker, Dan + Shay the big country winners at Sunday’s Grammy Awards

Timothy Kuratek /CBSCountry didn't have a huge presence at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards Sunday night, but there were some notable wins for one veteran performer.

Tanya Tucker won the very first Grammys of her career Sunday night. She'd been nominated for her very first one back in 1973, and prior to this year, had received 10 nods in all.  Going into the Grammys, she had four nominations; she ended up with two. In the pre-telecast ceremony, Tanya won Best Country Album for her latest, While I'm Livin', and Best Country Song for "Bring My Flowers Now," which she co-wrote.

Tanya performed the latter song on the telecast with her musical collaborator and co-writer Brandi Carlile...and then randomly gave out the Grammy for Best Comedy Album.

Willie Nelson, meanwhile, won the Best Country Solo Performance Grammy for "Ride Me Back Home," the title track of his 2019 album.  It was Willie's ninth career Grammy.

Dan + Shay won the Best Country Duo/Group Performance category for "Speechless." On the podium, Dan Smyers thanked his wife Abby for inspiring the song and called the win "one of the coolest moments ever."  Shay Mooney thanked his wife Hannah, who's expecting their second child; he also shouted out the couple's son, Asher.  The two men embraced before leaving the stage.

Blake Shelton and his girlfriend Gwen Stefani had one of the first numbers of the night, singing their new duet "Nobody But You."  They sweetly held each other's hands through the performance.

Little Big Town didn't win for their song "The Daughters," but at the podium while presenting Song of the Year, they got to harmonize with Motown legend Smokey Robinson...so there's that.

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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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Little Big Town’s already enjoying a “sweet victory” for “The Daughters” ahead of Sunday’s Grammys

Capitol NashvilleSunday night in Los Angeles, Little Big Town could take home their fourth Grammy, as they're nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "The Daughters."

The recognition is particularly gratifying, since the Nightfall track about the struggle for female equality wasn't released as a traditional single.

"It was a sweet victory for that song," Phillip Sweet says, "and that message being recognized not only just by the Grammys, but the world stage. And that is a sweet victory."

"It's such a beautiful message about those double standards we still seem to be putting on the daughters," he continues. "And hopefully this message just keeps reminding us that we need to shake that off for the next generation, [so] that they won't have to have this tired conversation anymore."

Karen Fairchild co-wrote "The Daughters," and believes the fact that it resonated with Grammy voters means we still have a ways to go.

"It just proves that there's still work to be done -- equal play, equal pay, just the treatment for the daughters," she explains. "See, now that's why [the idea] was proposed [as] kind of a question or a commentary on society."

Still, Karen says she won't have to walk away with a trophy to know "The Daughters" is doing its job.

"It's incredible that this song is taking us to the Grammys," she reflects. "I could have only hoped that when we wrote it. It's nice just to see feedback from people."

"And even in the shows you just see girls," Karen adds, "they feel so understood when that's sung, and that's the whole intention of it."

You can watch the 62nd Annual Grammys Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.

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Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockIn case you missed it, Tenille Arts made her Today with Hoda & Jenna Show debut this week, performing her current single, “Somebody Like That.” It’s not the singer’s first time bringing the song to the small screen: earlier this month, she also performed it on The Bachelor

Brandi Carlile wrapped a six-night, sold-out residency at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Tuesday. Next up, she’s headed to the 2020 Grammy Awards, where she’ll serve as presenter, as well as perform with Tanya Tucker

Mary GauthierNicole AtkinsErin Rae and more mainstays of Nashville’s music community are on deck to perform at an upcoming benefit to support Australian bushfire relief efforts. Set for Feb. 1, the event will take place at Nashville’s Mercy Lounge.

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Midland re-opens a long-defunct, iconic honky tonk in their new video for ‘Cheatin’ Songs’

ABC/Image Group LAMidland channel their unmistakable live energy in the music video for “Cheatin’ Songs,” the new single off their 2019 album, Let it Roll. The trio filmed the clip at North Hollywood’s Palomino Club, an iconic but long-defunct honky tonk that they re-opened for one night only, just for the video.

The throwback theme fits seamlessly into the message of “Cheatin’ Songs,” which tells the classic story of love gone bad. In the songs on Let it Roll, the band delves even further into their signature vintage style.

“There are certain songs that are very traditional country. But if you actually listen to our arrangements, there’s also stuff that’s unconventional that really pulls it into the modern age,” frontman Mark Wystrach mused in an interview with Flaunt magazine. “We’re interested, personally, in believing in the music. The greatest curse is going to play music that doesn’t compel you.”

“Cheatin’ Songs” follows Midland’s previous single, “Mr. Lonely.”

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