Nashville notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockJimmie Allen will stop by the 8:00 a.m. hour of NBC’s Today on Friday. He’ll perform “Why Things Happen” and “Freedom Was a Highway,” two of the tracks off his Bettie James EP.

Singer-songwriter Hayes Carll announced plans for a new acoustic album, Alone Together Sessions, out September 4.

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

“This is awful”: Blake Shelton steps up to help fans still waiting on refunds for cancelled shows

ABC/Image Group LAEmotionally, mentally and financially, 2020 has been a tough year for everybody. So when Blake Shelton heard that some of his fans were still waiting on their refunds for canceled concert dates, he began taking action to get them their money back.

The brouhaha began on Twitter on Wednesday morning, when a fan asked Blake to cancel -- not postpone -- his Chicago tour date, so that ticketholders could get refunds. If an artist postpones a date, fans are usually advised to hold on to their tickets.  If a show is canceled, refunds are available.

Blake, who was under the impression that he had cancelled his tour, thought the fan's inability to get a refund might be a fluke. But after multiple fans sent him screenshots, he realized that major money was being held up.

“Man...This is bad I agree,” the singer wrote. “We in NO WAY want to mislead or delay people getting their refunds. We absolutely CANCELLED the tour. NOOOO ticket money is being held up on our end. This is awful.”

Next, Blake put on his detective cap and started trying to get to the bottom of specifically where that money was. He updated fans that afternoon, explaining that it would take time to figure out how to resolve the issue, because so many vendors are involved.

“It’s a web for sure and I don’t think it’s any one person’s fault,” he added. “It’s been a nightmare and confusing year for everyone on every level.”

Even though the issue is a complicated one, and his team can’t always control third-party vendors, Blake said he's determined to get to the bottom of it.

“What’s right is right and that money belongs back in the buyers’ hands...especially in these times,” he tweeted. “The tour is cancelled.”

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

“I have never given up”: RaeLynn owns all the ups and downs along her road to success

ABC/Image Group LAThis Friday, RaeLynn drops her new EP Baytown. It’s her first since signing to Round Here Records, the label that's the brainchild of Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley.

Given the bias that women face in the music industry, RaeLynn admits that her journey in country music hasn’t always been easy, and notes that she’s had to fight to take creative control.  But as the former The Voice contestant points out in a new interview with People, she’s learned that there’s freedom in that struggle.

“It’s hard for women,” she explains. “So I’m at the point, like every other country girl, if it’s going to be hard for me no matter what, I might as well put out music I freaking love.”

The singer isn’t fazed by the business changes she’s had to make either. Before Round Here Records, she'd released music via two other record labels.

“Instead of being ashamed, like, ‘Oh, I’ve been on this many labels,’ I own it. I have never given up,” she says, noting that her former The Voice coach Blake Shelton had similar ups and downs.

“He was on a few labels too, and it took him [almost] 15 years to get a number-one -- he had a really crazy journey, then he took off,” the singer reflects.

Now, though, RaeLynn feels she's finally found the creative control she’s always wanted by being part of a label that's owned by fellow artists.

“[Tyler and Brian] let me be myself and ride ponies and wear all the glitter and cheetah print I want in my music videos. They’re not trying to change me,” she says.

RaeLynn has already started sharing music from her EP, including the uptempo anthem “Keep Up.”

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

Dolly Parton readies ‘A Holly Dolly Christmas’, her first holiday album in three decades

ABC/Image Group LABreak out the hot cocoa and deck the halls: Dolly Parton’s got a Christmas album coming.

The superstar singer unveiled all the details of her new project this week, which is called A Holly Dolly Christmas and will be available on October 2. It’ll be Dolly’s first Christmas album in 30 years.

The 12-track collection includes a mix of seasonal standards and original tunes.  The singer also recruited plenty of guest stars to help her get into the holiday spirit: Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, Willie Nelson, Michael Bublé and Jimmy Fallon all lend their voices to A Holly Dolly Christmas.

Of course, the holiday season is all about family, so Dolly enlisted her brother, Randy Parton, to join her for one track, “You Are My Christmas.”

“I thought, ‘I think I’ll call it A Holly Dolly Christmas because I love the song ‘A Holly Jolly Christmas’ with Burl Ives,’” Dolly explained to Billboard. “He used to be on all my Christmas specials all through the years. I think of him as Mr. Christmas.”

She went on to say that her selections from the project ranged from traditional, like her “Pretty Paper” duet with Willie Nelson, to modern, like her collaboration with Jimmy Fallon. That tune, a duet version of “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” came together after Jimmy asked her to sing it with him on his Tonight Show and she couldn’t because she didn’t know the song.

“I felt so bad. So I went and learned it and I was just going to put it on my album, and then I went, ‘I’ll ask Jimmy Fallon to sing it with me!’ And he said yes,” she added.

Here’s the full track list for A Holly Dolly Christmas:

“Holly Jolly Christmas”
“Christmas Is” (feat. Miley Cyrus)
“Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas” (duet with Michael Bublé)
“Christmas on the Square”
“Circle of Love”
“All I Want for Christmas Is You” (duet with Jimmy Fallon)
“Comin’ Home for Christmas”
“Pretty Paper” (duet with Willie Nelson)
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
“You Are My Christmas” (feat. Randy Parton)
“Mary, Did You Know?”

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

“What a mess, in the aftermath”: Luke Bryan offers his thoughts on Lady A’s name-change drama

ABCLuke Bryan has been friends with superstar trio Lady A for well over a decade, with the two acts even touring together back in 2012. But he struggled to find the right words when asked to weigh in on the band's recent name change during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen this week.

“Woo! You know, I don’t think they were anticipating the aftermath of being called Lady A,” the singer reflected.

Since they dropped the “Antebellum” from their name in acknowledgement of the term’s association with slavery, the band Lady A have found themselves embroiled in a legal dispute with Black soul singer Anita White, who’s performed under the moniker since 2006.

Luke went on to point out that the trio have been informally known as Lady A by their fans and friends for a long time.

“I can say that for years, everyone in the country music community has really referred to them as Lady A. Like, I would call and say, ‘Hey, get the Lady A guys on the phone,’ you know?” he offered.

Still, Luke admitted that he was at a loss as to how the band should best resolve the situation.

What the band hoped would be peaceable talks with White have since turned contentious, with White explaining that she felt the trio’s gestures toward a mutually beneficial solution were ultimately hollow and the band suing for the right to use the name.

“Who knows what they’ll have to figure out. But God, what a mess,” Luke added. “What a mess, in the aftermath of removing ‘Antebellum.’”

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

Devin Dawson’s “I’ve Got a Truck” is coming, and he’s dropping clues about the new song on social media

Brett Carlsen/Getty Images for YouTubeIt’s been quite a while since Devin Dawson fans got new music, but the “All on Me” hitmaker is about to change that: He’s planning to drop a new song, “I’ve Got a Truck,” on Friday.

Devin teased his new tune on social media earlier this week, posting a snippet of his new song.

“Everybody needs to be believed in at least once in their lives / Everybody needs a ‘come to Jesus’ moment in time / I could think up a couple reasons why this should be mine...” he sings.

He also gave fans a glimpse into what might be the song’s music video: In the clip, Devin spray-paints “I’ve Got a Truck” onto a large structure. While it’s unclear exactly what that structure is or where the clip takes place, the singer’s social media once again provides some clues.

In late July, he shared a picture of himself smiling in front of a backdrop that looks awfully similar to the music video. It’s captioned “‘Cadillac Ranch’...313 miles from Pueblo, Colorado,” along with the hashtag #IGotaTruck.

Early that month, he also used the hashtag for a post of himself leaning up against his old truck, which he said was getting towed away.

“Been sitting idle for a couple of years in my driveway. Gonna get it up and running again and use it for something dope coming up!!!” Devin hinted.

While Devin hasn’t released much of his own music lately, he’s been busy as a songwriter and featured guest. He lends his voice to Hardy’s current single, “One Beer,” alongside Lauren Alaina. He also co-wrote “God’s Country,” which was a massive, chart-topping hit for Blake Shelton last year.

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

Brothers Osborne plan free livestream benefit for ACM Lifting Lives’ COVID-19 Response Fund

ABC/Image Group LABrothers Osborne are going live for a good cause. The superstar brother duo will play a free livestream show on Friday, August 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET on YouTube.

Called Brothers Osborne: Let’s Play Live, the free event will encourage fans to donate to the ACM Lifting Lives’ COVID-19 Relief Fund, an organization supporting music industry professionals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The event is produced by Lightning Link.

The show will likely include a bit of new music: Brothers Osborne’s third studio album, Skeletons, is due for release on October 9, and they’ve already shared the lead single “All Night” and another tune, “Hatin’ Somebody,” off the project.

Brothers Osborne previously explained to ABC Radio that in fact, they made Skeletons specifically with live performance in mind.

“We thought, ‘Man, let’s have some songs that we can play to thousands of people and just kind of get the party going and have a good time,’” the group’s TJ Osborne says. “And we knew people would eat it up.”

But with the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of stopping anytime soon, the band has had to settle for a life off the road -- for now. In the meantime, the livestream show they’re planning will provide a little bit of the live experience, both for the band and for the fans that can’t wait to see them in concert again.

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

Country star trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockOn this day in 1989, this 90s country icon, known for such hits as "Blame It On Your Heart" and "Lonely Too Long," earned her first number-one single with "Timber, I'm Falling In Love." Can you guess who it is? ANSWER: Patty Loveless.

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

“It is the ultimate honor”: This year’s Country Music Hall of Famers react to their induction news

Courtesy of the Country Music Hall of Fame and MuseumThe Country Music Hall of Fame announced its 2020 class of inductees on Wednesday, and the three legends who made the cut are Hank Williams Jr., Marty Stuart and singer/songwriter Dean Dillon.

“Bocephus has been eyeing this one for a while. It’s a bright spot during a difficult year,” said Hank Jr., who’s going in as the Hall’s Veterans Era inductee this year. “I have been making Top 10 records for 56 years...I’ve got to thank all those rowdy friends who, year after year, still show up for me. It’s an honor to carry on this family tradition.”

“It is the ultimate honor in country music,” added Marty, who represents the Modern Era this year. “...To be officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame is beyond words. I’m not usually at a loss for words.”

For his part, Dean Dillon, who’s the 2020 Non-Performers category inductee, also struggled to find the right words to describe his reaction to the news.

“I was just speechless,” he recalled. “Trying to soak in the words I had just heard. My life flashed before my eyes. You could’ve knocked me over with a feather.”

Typically, the Hall of Fame inductees are announced each year in an in-person ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hall of Fame broke its news virtually this year. The formal induction event, called the Medallion Ceremony, usually takes place in October. It remains to be seen if that will be the case in 2020.

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

Hank Jr., Marty Stuart and Dean Dillon headed for the Country Music Hall of Fame

CMA/Country Music Hall of FameHank Williams Jr.Marty Stuart and singer/songwriter Dean Dillon will be the 2020 inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. 

Hank Jr., of course, is the son of country legend Hank Williams, and went on to develop a stellar career in his own right, charting hits like "Family Tradition," "Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound," "All My Rowdy Friends Are Comin' Over Tonight," "All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)," "A Country Boy Can Survive" and many more. He goes in as a Veterans Era Artist. 

Marty Stuart represents the Modern Era this year. After starting his career in the band of bluegrass legend Lester Flatt, he went on to win five Grammys on the strength of country singles like "This One's Gonna Hurt You (For a Long, Long Time)," "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'" and "Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best" -- all with Travis Tritt -- as well as "Hillbilly Rock" and "Tempted." Stuart's also an avid preservationist and collector of classic country memorabilia. His wife, Connie Smith, is a member of the Hall as well. 

Dean Dillon makes his way into country's most esteemed ranks in the Songwriter category, being best known for his long association with Hall of Fame member George Strait. "Unwound," "The Chair," "Marina Del Ray" and "Ocean Front Property" are just a few of the songs he penned for King George. Dillon's "Tennessee Whiskey" was a massive hit for another George -- George Jones -- as well as Chris Stapleton.

The inductees are typically announced in the spring but were delayed this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The formal induction evening, known as the Medallion Ceremony, typically takes place in October, though it's yet to be seen if that will be the case this year.

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