Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell support Red Cross through online meet-and-greet campaign

ABCLuke Bryan and Cole Swindell are lending their support to the American Red Cross. 

In a new partnership between the Red Cross and KP Entertainment, a Nashville-based artist development company, fans can make a donation to the Red Cross, which then enters them into a sweepstakes for the chance to win a one minute, virtual one-on-one meet-and-greet with one of the participating artists.

A different artist on the KP Entertainment roster will be featured each week, with Cole kicking the campaign off this week, inviting fans to donate through July 10 to win a meet-and-greet with the "Middle of a Memory" singer. Luke's contest runs from August 10-14. 

A $10 donation enters a fan's name into the sweepstakes 10 times, while a $50 donation accounts for 75 entries and a $100 donation is worth 200 entries. Fans can also donate a custom amount. A total of 50 winners will be selected for the virtual meet-and-greet sessions with Cole.  

The money raised will go towards the Red Cross' efforts to provide hospital patients in need of blood donations, offer food and shelter following a natural disaster, support military families and provide humanitarian aid worldwide. 

Jon LangstonDylan Scott and Whitney Duncan are also participating in the program taking place throughout July and August. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell support Red Cross through online meet-and-greet campaign

ABCLuke Bryan and Cole Swindell are lending their support to the American Red Cross. 

In a new partnership between the Red Cross and KP Entertainment, a Nashville-based artist development company, fans can make a donation to the Red Cross, which then enters them into a sweepstakes for the chance to win a one minute, virtual one-on-one meet-and-greet with one of the participating artists.

A different artist on the KP Entertainment roster will be featured each week, with Cole kicking the campaign off this week, inviting fans to donate through July 10 to win a meet-and-greet with the "Middle of a Memory" singer. Luke's contest runs from August 10-14. 

A $10 donation enters a fan's name into the sweepstakes 10 times, while a $50 donation accounts for 75 entries and a $100 donation is worth 200 entries. Fans can also donate a custom amount. A total of 50 winners will be selected for the virtual meet-and-greet sessions with Cole.  

The money raised will go towards the Red Cross' efforts to provide hospital patients in need of blood donations, offer food and shelter following a natural disaster, support military families and provide humanitarian aid worldwide. 

Jon LangstonDylan Scott and Whitney Duncan are also participating in the program taking place throughout July and August. 

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

“Homegrown”: Zac Brown Band raises more than $1 million for Camp Southern Ground

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMTZac Brown Band has raised more than $1.4 million for its charity, Camp Southern Ground. 

The expert instrumentalists hosted the virtual 4th With the Family event this weekend that featured performances by the band of such hits as "Chicken Fried," "Free" and "Homegrown," along with appearances by Today show host Hoda Kotb, Medal of Honor recipient Salvatore Giunta and others. 

While the livestream was free to view, the group was also accepting donations for Camp Southern Ground, based in the band's home state of Georgia, and its veteran programs Warrior Week and Warrior PATHH, raising north of $1 million.

Warrior Week is a 12-month program that helps veterans transitioning back to civilian life through holistic approaches, while Warrior PATHH is the first non-clinical program in the U.S. to aid in the post traumatic growth process for combat veterans living with PTSD, depression and anxiety. 

“I’m always in awe of the sacrifices and selflessness of our military, it’s really the special kind of people who choose to serve our country,” says ZBB lead singer and Camp Southern Ground Founder Zac Brown. “We are honored to do our part to support them in any way we can.”

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

“Homegrown”: Zac Brown Band raises more than $1 million for Camp Southern Ground

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for CMTZac Brown Band has raised more than $1.4 million for its charity, Camp Southern Ground. 

The expert instrumentalists hosted the virtual 4th With the Family event this weekend that featured performances by the band of such hits as "Chicken Fried," "Free" and "Homegrown," along with appearances by Today show host Hoda Kotb, Medal of Honor recipient Salvatore Giunta and others. 

While the livestream was free to view, the group was also accepting donations for Camp Southern Ground, based in the band's home state of Georgia, and its veteran programs Warrior Week and Warrior PATHH, raising north of $1 million.

Warrior Week is a 12-month program that helps veterans transitioning back to civilian life through holistic approaches, while Warrior PATHH is the first non-clinical program in the U.S. to aid in the post traumatic growth process for combat veterans living with PTSD, depression and anxiety. 

“I’m always in awe of the sacrifices and selflessness of our military, it’s really the special kind of people who choose to serve our country,” says ZBB lead singer and Camp Southern Ground Founder Zac Brown. “We are honored to do our part to support them in any way we can.”

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Country stars react to Charlie Daniels’ passing: “I’m so sad he’s gone”

Gary Miller/Getty ImagesLuke CombsLuke Bryan and Tim McGraw are among the many country stars paying tribute to Charlie Daniels in the wake of his passing.

The country legend passed away on Monday at the age of 83 in Hermitage, Tennessee after experiencing a hemorrhagic stroke. Not long after the news broke, many artists who admired Charlie turned to social media to share their condolences.

"Thank you for all your contributions on and off the stage. God bless you Charlie Daniels," Luke Bryan writes, calling him a "true patriot" and "country music icon." Jason Aldean stated that he is "heartbroken" over "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" singer's passing, citing him as "one of the nicest/kindest people I have ever met."

Tim echoed this sentiment, sharing how he grew up listening to Charlie's music and upon meeting the legendary star, "he was one of the most genuine, kind and thoughtful folks I've ever run across." 

Brad Paisley also reflected on his time with Charlie, sharing a collage of on stage and behind-the-scenes photos of him with the southern rock star. "I’m so sad he’s gone," Brad says. "We have so many memories together, and I am so blessed to have known him."

"The country music flag is flying at half mast today. RIP Charlie Daniels," Luke Combs commemorates on Twitter, with Chris Young noting that he is "absolutely gutted" over Charlie's death. "What a life lived, and what an incredible human being," he marveled in a Tweet

Jake Owen also referred to Charlie as the "nicest" country star he encountered and applauded the legacy he leaves behind. "It doesn’t get better than Charlie Daniels," Jake remarked. 

Here are other reactions from Charlie's peers and friends:

Travis Tritt: "Thank you for being such a friend, mentor and inspiration to me. I will always be grateful."   

Gretchen Wilson: "I never met a better man than @CharlieDaniels. He was so inspiring in so many ways."

Montgomery Gentry: "We just lost the greatest American hero I’ve ever known." 

Jamey Johnson: "Thank @CharlieDaniels you for teaching us all the difference between a violin and a fiddle. I hope you enjoy your new one made of gold." 

Ricky Skaggs: "One of my favorite people on this earth Charlie Daniels has gone on to his eternal reward today."

Walker Montgomery: "So sad to hear about the passing of a great man and an American Legend."

Parker McCollum: "RIP Charlie Daniels... wow... what an absolute legend."

Ray Stevens: "Such a huge loss. You will be missed, Charlie."

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Southern rock legend Charlie Daniels dies suddenly at the age of 83

Erick AndersonCountry Music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels died unexpectedly Monday morning, according to his publicist. The 83-year-old suffered a hemorrhagic stroke, according to doctors at Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, Tennessee.

Born in 1936 in Wilmington, North Carolina, the multi-instrumentalist was best known for his monster crossover hit from 1979, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." It made it to number three on the Billboard Hot 100, and won Daniels the Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance. The next year, it was included in the iconic John Travolta film, Urban Cowboy, with Charlie making an appearance onscreen as well.

The legend found his first success in 1964, writing the song "It Hurts Me," which was recorded by Elvis Presley, and was soon in demand as a session musician, working on projects by the likes of Bob Dylan and the Marshall Tucker Band.

Charlie released his first solo album in 1971, and by 1973, had taken the track "Uneasy Rider" to number 9 on Billboard's pop chart. In 1974, Charlie launched the first of what would become his legendary Volunteer Jam, a star-studded tradition that was still set to continue in February of next year.

Charlie's chart run continued into the '80s, as hits like "In America," "Drinkin' My Baby Goodbye," "Boogie Woogie Fiddle Country Blues" and "Simple Man" found a home on the country chart. "In America" also reached number 11 reached on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980, while "Still in Saigon" peaked at #22 in 1982.

Outspoken about his conservative political views, Daniels was also a passionate supporter of America's military. In 2014, he founded The Journey Home Project, and worked tirelessly to raise money for the nonprofit which helps veterans transition back into life at home.

Two of Charlie's biggest accolades came later in life. In 2008, he became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and in 2016, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Daniels continued to tour and raise money for his charitable causes even into his eighties. He's survived by his wife, Hazel, and their son, Charlie Daniels Jr. Funeral arrangements are expected to be announced in the coming days.

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Garth Brooks delays acoustic set due to potential COVID-19 exposure

ABC/Image Group LAGarth Brooks is postponing his acoustic concert tomorrow night due to possible exposure to COVID-19. 

In a statement released on Monday, it was announced that Garth and wife Trisha Yearwood are delaying the second installment of their online acoustic concert "out of an abundance of caution" due to the fact that members of their teams may have been exposed to COVID-19.

The show was supposed to take place on July 7. Garth is also cancelling the next two weeks of his Monday night Facebook Live show, Inside Studio G, to self-quarantine. 

"While Garth and Trisha are fine, the Garth/Trisha camp has possibly been exposed to the Covid-19 virus. To be smart about this, they are all quarantining for 2 weeks and thank everyone for their concern," representatives for the two singers say in a joint statement. 

Garth announced last week that he would be hosting the second installment of his virtual acoustic show and perform songs requested by fans on Facebook. He and Trisha hosted the first one in March that aired on CBS.

Garth recently reunited with his band to record a concert at a sound stage in Nashville sans audience that was later broadcast at drive-in theaters around the country on June 27.  

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Gabby Barrett making ‘Live with Kelly and Ryan’ debut on Thursday

Radio Disney/Image Group LAGabby Barrett will appear on Live with Kelly and Ryan this week. 

The American Idol finalist is set to perform her breakthrough hit, "I Hope," on Thursday, marking her debut on the long-running talk show that airs on ABC. 

"Being able to entertain people and play music is always joyful, and I hope we can bring some fun to everyone at home. See you Thursday!" the singer says in a statement. 

"I Hope" is Gabby's debut single that reached number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart earlier this year. It was the first time a debut single by a female country artist reached number one on the chart since 2017. 

It's also the lead single off her debut album Goldmine, which earned her the highest first-week streams for a debut album by a country act. Additionally, Gabby has released a remix of "I Hope" featuring pop star Charlie Puth.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Mike Fisher takes sons fishing: “I love watching these 2 grow up”

ABC/Image Group LAFourth of July weekend in Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher's household included some quality father-son bonding time. 

On Sunday, Mike shared a photo of his two sons, Isaiah and Jacob, fishing on a pond, but dad let Isaiah take the reins. The 5-year-old gleefully showed his 1-year-old brother how to fish, standing up in the rowboat as he proudly casts his bait into the water while Jacob watches.

"Isaiah showing Jacob the ropes. He’s a great big brother with a huge heart!!" Mike praises in the caption. "I Love watching these 2 grow up but sometimes you just want to press the pause button! All you can do is take it in and thank God for these little moments!" 

Carrie and Mike recently participated in the I Am Second online miniseries Mike and Carrie: God & Country, where they offered fans an honest look into their marriage and faith.

By Cillea Houghton
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Country star trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockOn this date in 2002, one of country’s biggest names reeled in a number-one hit with his tongue-in-cheek song “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin’ Song).” Can you name him? ANSWER: Brad Paisley.

By Carena Liptak
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.