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Country Legend Don Williams Passes Away Today

The Country Music world mourns the loss of one of its’ most distinctive song stylists with the passing of Don Williams after a short illness. He was 78.

A native of Floydada, Texas, Williams was born May 27, 1939. He grew up in Portland, TX, graduating there in 1958. Music had always been a part of his upbringing, entering – and winning – a talent contest when he was just three years old. For his efforts, Williams received an alarm clock. He began playing guitar during his teen-age years, learning the songs that he heard on the radio during that period. He and his friends played in local bands around the area, and he wed wife Joy Bucher on April 10, 1960.

To support his family – which would grow to include two sons, Gary and Timmy – Williams worked at a number of odd jobs, including oil field work, and also as a bill collector. While living in Corpus Christi in 1964, he formed the folk-styled trio The Pozo Seco Singers with Lofton Cline and Susan Taylor. They stayed together for seven years, with their biggest hit being “Time.”

After the group disbanded in 1969, Williams soon found his way to Nashville. By 1971, he had a songwriting contract with the publishing company owned by Jack Clement. The next year would see Williams ink a recording deal with Clement’s JMI Records. He made his chart debut with “The Shelter of Your Eyes” in 1973, and was soon hitting the charts time and again with a much more laid-back sound than a lot of the music coming out of Nashville at the time. 1974 would see Williams top the charts for the first time with “I Wouldn’t Want To Live If You Didn’t Love Me.” From that point all the way through 1991, each Williams single would hit the Top-40 on the Billboard Country charts. His 1970s hits included such chart toppers as “Tulsa Time,” “She Never Knew Me,” and “It Must Be Love.” His career grew steadily through label shifts to ABC / Dot, MCA, Capitol, and finally RCA. Williams also gained a devoted following overseas in such unlikely spots as England, Ireland, and New Zealand , and even South Africa and Kenya – where he reached superstar status. He was named the Male Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1978. Though known for being very low-key and soft spoken, Williams did make two movie appearances – 1974’s W.W. and The Dixie Dancekings, and 1980’s Smokey and the Bandit II.

The 1980s saw no slow down in Williams’ recorded output, with the singer notching his biggest hit with 1981’s “I Believe In You,” which not only topped the Country charts, but crossed over to No. 24 on the Hot 100. By this time, he had earned the nickname “The Gentle Giant” for his trademark mellow sound, and the hits continued to pile up throughout the rest of the decade – “Stay Young,” “If Hollywood Don’t Need You,” and “One Good Well” being three of his biggest of the 1980s. His final top ten came in 1991, with “Lord Have Mercy On A Country Boy,” a song that Josh Turner – a Williams fan – would record in 2006.

Though the changing of the guard at radio slowed down Williams’ chart success, he continued to perform for sold-out crowds in America and abroad, playing a final tour in 2006. However, retirement was not in the cards for the singer, who returned to the road in 2010 – the same year that he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Williams’ return to the spotlight also included a pair of albums on Sugar Hill, 2012’s And So It Goes, and 2014’s Reflections, which included contributions from Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, and Keith Urban. It was a sign of his enduring appeal that both albums hit the Top-20 on the Billboard Country Albums charts – his biggest rank there in three decades.

In 2016, Williams decided that the time was right for his final performance, calling it a career after one of the most successful careers in the history of the Country Music business. “It’s time to hang my hat up and enjoy some quiet time at home. I’m so thankful for my fans, my friends and my family for their everlasting love and support,” the 76-year-old Williams said in a statement at the time. Last year also saw the final release of Williams’ career, a live CD and DVD recorded in Ireland. In 2017, the singer was the subject of a tribute album, Gentle Giants: The Songs of Don Williams, that included performances of his hits by artists such as Lady Antebellum and Garth Brooks.

Arrangements are pending.

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Troy Gentry, Half Of Montgomery Gentry, Tragically Killed Today

It is with great sadness that we confirm that Troy Gentry, half of the popular country duo, Montgomery Gentry, was tragically killed in a helicopter crash which took place at approximately 1:00pm today in Medford, New Jersey.  The duo was scheduled to perform tonight at the Flying W Airport & Resort in Medford. Troy Gentry was 50 years old.

Details of the crash are unknown.

Troy Gentry’s family wishes to acknowledge all of the kind thoughts and prayers, and asks for privacy at this time.

RIP Troy Gentry.  So sad to hear this.

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Congratulations To Chris Young For Being Invited To Join The Grand Ole Opry

Photo credit: Chris Hollo

Grammy nominated vocalist Chris Young was surprised during his Grand Ole Opry performance this evening by Country Music Hall of Fame and Opry member Vince Gill with an invitation to become an official Opry member. The invite came just prior to Young’s performance of their chart-topping duet “Sober Saturday Night.” Growing up in nearby Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Young dreamt of one day taking the stage at the Opry, making his debut on June 15, 2006. Another dream came true for the 32-year-old singer with tonight’s Opry invitation. Young’s formal induction will take place Tuesday, October 17, just days before the release of his 7th album, Losing Sleep.

 

Joining Young on stage, Gill laughed that he’d never been paid for his work on the “Sober Saturday Night” session. “I’ll make you a deal,” Gill said. “I’ll forgive the session fees if you’ll be the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

Photo credit: Chris Hollo

Accepting the invitation to a standing ovation, Young answered Gill, saying, “You’re getting triple scale at this point!” Noting his surprise, he added, “Dang, you got me good! I love you guys. I love everybody here. I love this place.”

 

“As a friend and someone that’s been out here for 30 years, you will not believe the friendships, the relationships, and the heart that you will gain from being out here for the rest of your life,” Gill added. “It’s going to be really powerful to you, so congratulations.”

 

“Since making his Opry debut more than a decade ago, Chris Young has won legions of fans around the world and has earned the honest respect of his industry peers,” said Opry General Manager Sally Williams. “Both are evident every time Chris plays the Opry, as our audiences light up and his fellow artists watch from the wings. Chris has an incredible passion and love for the Opry; he lauds its past and is excited about its future. He continues to make significant contributions to country music and to his community, and we could not be more excited to officially welcome Chris to his musical home with his Opry induction in October.”

Photo credit: Chris Hollo

Earlier in the evening, BMI songwriters Young, Gill, Brad and Brett Warren, were surrounded by music industry friends and supporters inside Studio A at the Grand Ole Opry House to celebrate the chart-topping success of “Sober Saturday Night” from Young’s ACM Album of the Year nominated 5th record, I’m Comin’ Over. Written by Young with The Warren Brothers, “Sober Saturday Night” marks the ninth #1 for Young as an artist. RCA Records Nashville also presented Young with an award for R.I.A.A. Platinum certification of his acclaimed album Neon and plaques for R.I.A.A. certified singles “Think Of You” (Platinum) and “Sober Saturday Night” (Gold), bringing his total tally to 16 Gold and Platinum certifications.

 

About Chris Young: After earning multiple ACM, BBMA, CMA, CMT, Grammy and RDMA nominations and scoring three consecutive chart-topping singles – including his ninth No. 1 “Sober Saturday Night” with Vince Gill – from his “excellent” (New York Times) album I’m Comin’ Over, Chris Young continues to set the bar even higher with the release of his brand new single, “Losing Sleep,” which amassed more than 1.25 Million on-demand streams in its first week of release. With six albums to his credit, including 2016’s It Must Be Christmas and 2015’s Gold-certified studio album, I’m Comin’ Over, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums Chart, Chris continues to reach new heights with his hotly anticipated seventh album — Losing Sleep — due October 20, 2017. Named “one of his era’s finest traditionalists” by the Associated Press, the upcoming record will be the RCA Records artist’s third project in less than two years. An international ambassador for country music, Chris performs to packed houses around the world including his recent appearance at the sold-out C2C Festival in the UK. With a hit-packed set that highlights his nine chart-toppers — including “Gettin’ You Home,” “Voices,” “Tomorrow,” “I’m Comin’ Over” and “Think Of You,” — and sixteen Gold/Platinum certified projects, Chris has joined reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean as special guest on his They Don’t Know Tour through October before resuming his own headlining dates later this year. For a full list of tour dates and more information, visit chrisyoungcountry.com.

 

About The Grand Ole Opry:

The Grand Ole Opry® is presented by Humana®.  Opry performances are held every Friday and Saturday of the year, with Tuesday night shows through December 12 and Wednesday shows returning for a fall run September 13. To plan an Opry visit, call (800) SEE-OPRY or visit opry.com. The Opry presents the best in country music live every week from Nashville, Tenn.  Celebrating nine decades of entertainment, the Opry can be heard at opry.com and wsmonline.com, Opry and WSM mobile apps, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and its flagship home, 650 AM-WSM. The Grand Ole Opry is owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties (NYSE: RHP).  For more information, visit opry.com.

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Old Crow Medicine Show Sets DVD/BLU-ray Release For 50 YEARS OF BLONDE ON BLONDE THE CONCERT

Photo credit: Danny Clinch

Country Music Roots and GRAMMY Award-winning ensemble, Old Crow Medicine Show, set to release 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde THE CONCERT on September 15th; the DVD and BLU-ray performance of the band’s sixth album, 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde which released April 28th via Columbia Records Nashville.

 

In May 2016, to mark the 50th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde, Old Crow Medicine Show performed Dylan’s iconic album in its entirety at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.  The event coincided with an exhibit that explored Dylan’s time in Nashville – “Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City.”

 

The live concert, Lee Tucker directed film, includes 14 songs including “Just Like A Woman,” “I Want You” and “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” in the way the Old Crow Medicine Show knows how to do it, with high-octane, passion and excitement.

 

The 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde THE CONCERT film world premiere will be held at the legendary Belcourt Theater in Nashville, Tenn. during the 18th Annual Americana Music Festival and Conference on Tuesday, September 12th at 7:15pm. Immediately following the premiere will be a Q and A with band members of Old Crow Medicine Show.

Tickets for the world premiere go on sale now and can be purchased on the Belcourt Theater’s website.

 

To pre-order 50 Years of Blonde on Blonde THE CONCERT click HERE

To purchase 50 Years of Blonde On Blonde album click HERE

To stream 50 Years of Blonde On Blonde album click HERE

To see all Old Crow Medicine Show tour dates click HERE

 

 

About Old Crow Medicine Show

Old Crow Medicine Show is comprised of members Ketch Secor, Morgan Jahnig, Chance McCoy, Cory Younts, Kevin Hayes and Critter Fuqua. The Country Music Roots band and Grand Ole Opry members have six albums to their credit, O.C.M.S. (2004), Big Iron World (2006), Tennessee Pusher (2008), Carry Me Back (2012), Remedy (2014), 50 Years Of Blonde On Blonde (2017) and appeared on countless albums by other artists. They’ve established a global tour following, received the Americana Music Association Trailblazer Award and shared the stage with artists such as Willie Nelson, Brandi Carlile, Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers, John Prine and The Avett Brothers. The PLATINUM selling band are two-time GRAMMY-winners including Best Folk Album in 2014.

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Tracy Lawrence To Release GOOD OLE DAYS, Today’s Hitmakers Showcased On New Album

Tracy Lawrence has set November 10, 2017 as the release date for one of the most ambitious and significant albums of his career. GOOD OLE DAYS celebrates the country legend’s indelible mark on country traditionalism with an album of 11 duets pairing a selection of his most iconic hits with some of Country and Rock’s contemporary superstars and newcomers.  See some behind the scenes footage HERE.

“There’s such a hunger out there for the music from my era – I hear that from so many people, so I felt like this was a good time to kind of blend the old and the new,” said Tracy. “My first commitment was from my buddy Tim McGraw, who chose to sing ‘Time Marches On,’ on the new record.”

The collaborative collection also includes guest appearances by Jason Aldean, Big & Rich, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Easton Corbin, Dustin Lynch, Tim McGraw, Justin Moore, Kellie Pickler and Chris Young. 3 Doors Down leader Brad Arnold makes his Country music debut on the title track “Good Ole Days,” which is the second of the two original songs.

When asked about which of his songs is his all-time favorite, Tracy admits that choosing one is a lot like trying to single out a favorite child, it’s just not something that’s easy to do.

However, he does mention that “Sticks and Stones” comes to mind. “I’ve got favorite songs for different reasons, but none of them would have happened without the first one, so “Sticks and Stones” is very special.”

The collection in its entirety is equally special, and Lawrence is humbled by the excitement that his peers brought to the studio with their eagerness to keep each track as pure as the day it was first recorded, with only minor exceptions and a few added new nuances.  Lawrence is excited to offer the first instant grat track “Can’t Break It to My Heart,” the duet with country superstar Jason Aldean, as part of the album preorder which is available today HERE.

Craig Morgan lends his vocals and heartfelt raw emotion on “Finally Home,” one of the two new tracks and an ode to U.S. military members celebrating their enduring service to our country. Tracy and Craig debuted the song together in a performance on the hallowed stage of The Grand Ole Opry® on August 15.

A portion of the proceeds from “Finally Home” will be donated to Operation FINALLY HOME, a national, non-profit organization providing mortgage-free, custom-built homes to wounded, ill and injured veterans or widows of the fallen, thanks to their unique network of experienced builders, suppliers, and supporters dedicated to honoring heroes with homes.

Whether it is celebrating his iconic hits with fresh new tracks or writing material for his next studio record, Lawrence knows if he stopped today he’d already have cemented his place in the pantheon of country-music greats.

“To realize that I’m older now and being looked at by younger kids in the same light as I looked at guys like Strait and Haggard, it’s very flattering,” he notes. “To know that I’ve made music that’s had that kind of impact on people, well, it’s pretty cool.”

“Time Marches On” Featuring Tim McGraw

Originally released March 1996 on his Time Marches On album.

Peaked at #1

 

“Sticks And Stones” Featuring Luke Bryan

Originally released November 1991 on his Sticks and Stones album.

Peaked at #1

 

“Alibis” Featuring Justin Moore

Originally released February 1993 on his Alibis album.

Peaked at #1

 

“Can’t Break It To My Heart” Featuring Jason Aldean

Originally released June 1993 on his Alibis album.

Peaked at #1

 

“Good Ole Days” Featuring Brad Arnold And Big & Rich

 

“If The World Had A Front Porch” Featuring Luke Combs

Originally released September 1995 on his I See It Now album.

Peaked at #2

 

“Texas Tornado” Featuring Dustin Lynch

Originally released April 1995 on his I See It Now album.

Peaked at #1

 

“Stars Over Texas” Featuring Kellie Pickler

Originally released July 1996 on his Time Marches On album.

Peaked at #2

 

”If The Good Die Young” Featuring Chris Young

Originally released January 1994 on his Alibis album.

Peaked at #1

 

”Paint Me A Birmingham” Featuring Easton Corbin

Originally released October 2003 on his Strong album.

Peaked at #4

“Finally Home” Featuring Craig Morgan

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Kid Rock Releases New Song, “Tennessee Mountain Top”

Photo credit: Clay Patrick McBride

At one minute past midnight Kid Rock unveiled his latest song “Tennessee Mountain Top” on streaming and sales platforms. “Tennessee Mountain Top” is impacting at Country Radio October 2. The track brings out a Country infused southern rock spirit that has drawn Country fans to Kid Rock for almost two decades since he released the CMA, ACM nominated “Picture.” Both “Picture” and his massive summer anthem “All Summer Long” continue to be fan favorites at Country Radio.

A five time Grammy nominee with over 26 million albums sold to date, Kid Rock has consistently blazed his own trail. His career intersected early with Country audiences and created a connection that has continued to grow each year. He has been twice nominated for CMA Awards, “Picture” with Sheryl Crow (2003) and “Can’t You See” with Zac Brown Band (2010). This October 6th and 7th he will host Kid Rock’s Third Annual Fish Fry in Nashville, yet another sign of his close ties to Nashville and Country Music.
Since the spontaneous release of his two most recent tracks in July, “Po-Dunk” and “Greatest Show On Earth” and their accompanying videos, Kid Rock has been at the center of media coverage speculation as to his musical and personal ambitions.
While others speculate, the artist known for his slew of American anthems and his explosive live shows has been busy touring and preparing for an epic series of concerts opening Detroit’s new Little Caesars Arena.  Not only is he the maiden act for the venue, he recently announced that the venue will play host to his own Made in Detroit restaurant to open on the Woodward Avenue side of Little Caesars Arena.
Purchase/Stream “Tennessee Mountain Top” here.
For more information visit: www.kidrock.com
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Dustin Lynch Lights Up TODAY SHOW With Grooving “Small Town Boy”

Photo Credit: Daniel Vorlet

Long-awaited New Album CURRENT MOOD Arrives Tomorrow (9/8)

Broken Bow Records star Dustin Lynch brought his show-stopping charisma to the Big Apple this morning during an appearance on NBC’s TODAY to perform his latest smash “Small Town Boy” and officially kick off the launch of his hotly-anticipated third album CURRENT MOOD (releasing tomorrow, 9/8).

The “seductive” track is the second GOLD-certified single from CURRENT MOOD following #1 hit “Seein’ Red,” marking Lynch’s fifth PLATINUM or GOLD certification.

In case you missed it, watch Lynch’s rocking performance here.

 

After beginning the week with a Labor Day (9/4) appearance on Good Morning America, Lynch stopped by WNSH-FM Wednesday for an hour-long, drive time interview and album preview with on-air personality Jesse Addy, as well as a group of lucky listeners who experienced it all from inside the studio with the Country heavyweight.

The CURRENT MOOD takeover continues tonight during a LIVE performance and Q&A session hosted by iHeartCountry personality Bobby Bones from the iHeartRadio Theater in New York City. The listening event will be broadcast across iHeartRadio’s mainstream Country stations, and also live-streamed on the iHeartRadio YouTube channel and iHeartRadio app.

Showing no signs of slowing down, the coast-hopping hitmaker will head to Dallas, Texas Tuesday (9/12) for a Hurricane Harvey benefit concert at Cowboys Red River. Tickets are available now with all proceeds supporting American Red Cross storm relief efforts in Houston and surrounding areas. Lynch will cap two whirlwind weeks of media and partner visits with an outdoor stage performance on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! Thursday (9/14). 

For more information, visit DustinLynchMusic.com, and reach out to him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

ABOUT DUSTIN LYNCH:

Since releasing his PLATINUM debut single, “Cowboys and Angels,” Lynch has been on a steady path toward superstardom with four consecutive #1s, two Top 5 albums, PLATINUM-level certifications and tours with the biggest names in Country music (Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, and Brad Paisley). Racking up over 113 million views on YouTube/VEVO, scoring 245 million-plus streams on Spotify, soaring to #1 on the MTV Music Meter, and selling 3 million digital tracks, he brings a fresh combination of traditional influence and edgy intensity to the genre. Following his sophomore album, WHERE IT’S AT (Broken Bow Records) – which debuted at #1 on the iTunes Country Albums Chart and has tallied over 1 million tracks sold to date – Lynch’s hotly-anticipated follow up, CURRENT MOOD, will arrive on September 8. Produced by Brent Anderson, Mickey Jack Cones, Ross Copperman, Zach Crowell, and Will Weatherly, the boldly adventurous project features the GOLD-certified singles “Seein’ Red” and “Small Town Boy,” and aims to push the envelope of Country music even further. Realizing his longtime dream of creating a fashion line, Lynch has also branched out to launch Stay Country. The line of accessibly-priced men’s and women’s shirts, hats, and accessories, all emblazoned with the distinctive Stay Country logo, can be found online at www.staycountryclothing.com.

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Kip Moore & Tony Hawk’s “Music City Skate Jam” Will Raise Funds For Hurricane Relief, Free & Open To The Public Now

Both known for their compassionate nature, Multi-PLATINUM singer/songwriter Kip Moore and international skateboarding champion Tony Hawk have announced today that their upcoming “MUSIC CITY SKATE JAM PRESENTED BY HARLEY-DAVIDSON,” will also help hurricane-affected communities, in light of recent events.  Set to take place at Music City Walk Of Fame Park in Nashville, TN on 9/10, entry to the event will now be free with the aim to encourage attendees to donate. Through Moore’s “Kip’s Kids Fund” and Hawk’s “Tony Hawk Foundation,” fans can help support skatepark communities and those affected by the recent disasters. The event will offer a skate demo by Hawk as well as performances by Jordan Davis, Dee Jay Silver and will close out with a set by Moore. For more information and to donate visit here.

About Kip Moore And “Kip’s Kids Fund:”
Multi-PLATINUM singer/songwriter Kip Moore is gearing up for the release of his “thoroughly vital” (NPR) third studio album on MCA Nashville, SLOWHEART, available this Friday 9/8. Co-written by Moore, his current Top 10 single and the lead track “More Girls Like You,” is the fastest rising single of his career so far and is receiving praise from critics such as Entertainment Weekly declaring he “has made a name for himself weaving vignettes of Southern, blue-collar life and love into rollicking country anthems.” The release of “More Girls Like You” follows the acclaim that surrounded his sophomore album WILD ONES heralded as “an impressively singular release from Music Row” by The Guardian. Moore first turned heads with his debut album UP ALL NIGHT which was certified GOLD by the RIAA and spawned three No. One hit singles including GOLD certified “Beer Money,” PLATINUM certified “Hey Pretty Girl,” and the DOUBLE PLATINUM breakout hit “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck.” Moore’s “Comeback Kid Skatepark Project” raising funds for “Kip’s Kids Fund” was born as a passion project, with the goal of finding an outlet to showcase Moore’s love for the alternative sports lifestyle, and his desire to help inner city children. Phase one cities of the project included building and developing skateparks in Nashville, TN; Boston, MA; San Marcos, TX; Cincinnati, OH and Annapolis, MD. The “Comeback Kid Skatepark Project” is the first initiative of “Kip’s Kids Fund,” a donor-advised fund through The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT) focused on youth and teens. As a result, the “Kip’s Kid Fund” provides alternative outlets for youth to engage in healthy habits and physical activities like skateboarding, in addition to the traditional sports offerings where they live. For more information visit: kipmoore.net.

About Tony Hawk Foundation:
A charitable, non-profit organization, the Tony Hawk Foundation was established in 2002 by its namesake, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk. THF promotes and provides technical assistance and funds for high-quality public skateparks in low-income areas throughout the United States that promote healthy, active lifestyles, and to International programs that enrich the lives of youth through skateboarding. Domestically, the foundation’s Skatepark Grant program has awarded over $5.7 million to 588 communities in all 50 states. The foundation focuses on working with local officials and grassroots, community-based organizations that plan to hire designers and contractors with strong experience designing and building skateparks. The foundation’s International Program has provided financial and technical support to assist youth through the Skateistan educational programs in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa (www.skateistan.org). The Tony Hawk Foundation was established by a gift from Tony Hawk. Its directors raise additional funds through events, industry donations, and continuing contributions from Tony and other entities. For more information or to make a donation, visit the foundation’s website at www.tonyhawkfoundation.org. You can also visit THF on facebook and Instagram @tonyhawkfoundation, and on Twitter @THF.

“MUSIC CITY SKATE JAM PRESENTED BY HARLEY-DAVIDSON” is sponsored by Red Light Management, CAA, Universal Music Group Nashville, Academy of Country Music, Bustin’ Boards, American Ramp Company.

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“CMT Artists Of The Year” Honors Country’s Top Artists, Spirit Of Hurricane Harvey Victims And Courageous Volunteers

CMT today revealed it will honor Chris Stapleton, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban and Luke Bryan as the premiere country artists of 2017 celebrated at the eighth-annual “CMT ARTISTS OF THE YEAR” special live from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Wednesday, October 18 at 8pm ET/PT.

This year, the special will extend beyond music to honor the unwavering spirit of those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and champion the many volunteers contributing to the ongoing rescue and recovery efforts. In addition, throughout the event, country’s biggest stars will encourage fans to continue supporting the extensive recovery over the next year. More information will be announced at a later date.

“Working with our honorees and the entertainment community, we’ll take advantage of one of our biggest nights of the year to honor the resilience of those impacted by this disaster and applaud the fearless efforts of those on the front lines,” said Frank Tanki, General Manager of CMT and TV Land. “CMT is committed to providing our fans with the tools and resources needed to contribute to this massive recovery effort as well as connecting those affected to the support services they need.”

“CMT Artists of the Year” is the only awards special where music’s biggest stars toast one another with never-before-seen performances and hilarious and emotional moments during the 90-minute special. The five “Artists of the Year” collectively dominated the last 12 months in country music, ruling CMT’s platforms and country radio, scoring chart-topping albums and singles, and selling out arenas across the country.

The announcement comes on the heels of strong year for CMT, which has posted nine consecutive months of year-over-year ratings growth with Adults 18-49.  Quarter-to-date, CMT is up +15% from year ago with Adults 18-49 and up +18% with Women 18-49. (L+SD, CMT Total Day).

With this year’s honors, Jason Aldean andLuke Bryan extend their lead as the artists with the most wins with six each, while Bryan earns the distinction as the artist with the longest winning streak to date (2012-present). This marks both Jason Aldean and Keith Urban’s first returns to the list since 2014, while Chris Stapletonand Florida Georgia Line notch their second and fifth consecutive wins, respectively.

Last year’s annual special honoring Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, Florida Georgia Line, Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Shania Twain and Thomas Rhett fueled growth across the board with L+3 ratings climbing +21% from last year’s telecast among A18-49, attracting nearly 2 million total viewers on premiere night and nearly 4 million total viewers throughout six telecasts throughout the weekend on CMT.  In fact, this year’s telecast marked the highest rated “Artists of the Year” special ever with M18-49. Socially, the special ranked as the #2 show of the night and #7 for the week among Nielsen’s Social Content Ratings.

Previous “CMT Artist of the Year” performances have included Adele and Darius Rucker performing Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” Meghan Trainor, Jill Scott and Kelsea Ballerini honoring Shania Twain with a medley of her biggest hits, Adam Lambert and Leona Lewis paying tribute to Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush,” and Maroon 5 covering Taylor Swift’s “Mine.” The show has featured appearances by Ellen DeGeneres, Matthew McConaughey, Selena Gomez, Billy Bob Thornton, Roger Clemens, Morgan Freeman, the cast of Nashville and more.

Former “CMT Artists of the Year” honorees include Kenny Chesney (2011, 2012), Eric Church (2012), Hunter Hayes (2013), Toby Keith (2012), Lady Antebellum (2010, 2011), Little Big Town (2015), Miranda Lambert(2012, 2014), Tim McGraw (2013), Brad Paisley (2011), Thomas Rhett (2016), Blake Shelton (2015), Taylor Swift (2010, 2011), Sam Hunt (2015), Carrie Underwood (2010, 2012, 2016), Thomas Rhett (2016) and Zac Brown Band (2010).

About CMT
CMT is the leading authority on country music and lifestyle, offering a mix of original series, music events and specials. CMT is everywhere its fans are including two cable channels (CMT and the 24-hour music channel, CMT Music), radio (CMT Radio), digital (CMT App, CMT.com) and social (CMT on Facebook, CMT on Instagram and CMT on Twitter). CMT is a unit of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB). For more information, please visit CMT Press.

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Lodge Cast Iron And The BEEFoundation Present SEASONED & SEARED Dinner Event September 24

Beef lovers celebrate! Lodge Cast Iron®, made in Tennessee since 1896, is partnering with the BEEFoundation to host a unique culinary dinner experience, Seasoned & Seared on Sept. 24 at Green Door Gourmet’s Grand Barn in Nashville. The dinner celebrates beef, one of Tennessee’s top agricultural commodities, while using the iconic cookware from South Pittsburg, Tennessee, known worldwide as the gold standard of seasoned cast iron.

Chefs Steven Chandler of Kayne Prime, Jay Mitchell of Tennessee Brew Works, Eric Zizka of Oak Steakhouse, Andrew Whitney of Virago and Richard Jones of Green Door Gourmet will be cooking Certified Angus Beef® courses using Lodge Cast Iron.

The Certified Angus Beef ® brand is the best Angus brand available. It’s a cut above USDA Prime, Choice and Select. Ten quality standards — including abundant marbling, ensure every bite is exceptionally flavorful, incredibly tender and naturally juicy.

“Seasoned & Seared celebrates our state’s beef industry of proud ranchers and farmers and our growing line of quality made cookware at Lodge Cast Iron,” said Mark Kelly, Lodge Manufacturing.

“We have such talented chefs, Steven, Jay, Eric, Andrew and Richard, who will share their creative spirit in their dishes at this event. I am excited to taste their beef courses using Lodge Cast Iron.”

Seasoned & Seared benefits the BEEFoundation, a non-profit organization which was founded to preserve the heritage of the cattle industry and plan for its future.

“By providing educational opportunities for cattle farmers that promote innovation and sustainability on our farms and sharing on-farm experiences with our Tennessee friends and neighbors, we build consumer expectations for beef that ensure farming’s future for generations to come,” said Valerie Bass, BEEFoundation. “We are so excited to partner with Lodge Cast Iron to celebrate beef and can’t wait to taste what these fantastic local chefs create.”

Seasoned & Seared dinner will be held at Green Door Gourmet’s Grand Barn on Sunday, Sept. 24 from 5pm to 8pm. Green Door Gourmet is located at 7007 River Road Pike, Nashville, TN 37209. Tickets are $150 each and can be purchased on at http://bit.ly/2wW7oV5.

Tickets include hors devours featuring fresh organic produce from Green Door Gourmet and beef cooked on Lodge Cast Iron’s Sportsman’s Grills from Green Door’s Chef Richard Jones, and a four-course Certified Angus Beef® dinner served with Tennessee Brew Works craft beers. Guests will also receive one 5-inch Lodge Cast Iron Skillet and famous Cornbread Festival Cookbook to take home.

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