Chart Action: Stapleton Most Added, Rhett Gains Spins

Chris Stapleton‘s latest single, “You Should Probably Leave,” is this week’s most added single on the country charts. Earning 44 new station adds on Mediabase and 9 on the  MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart, the single debuted at No. 63 on MusicRow. Stapleton co-wrote the song with Ashley Gorley and Chris DuBois. It appears on his latest album Starting Over, released via Mercury Records.

“Country Again” by Thomas Rhett continues to be the highest spin gainer on the MusicRow Chart for the fifth consecutive week. In just six weeks since its debut on the chart, Rhett has risen to No. 3 with a total of 1,644 spins this week from 63 stations.

For more chart data, read the latest edition of The MusicRow Weekly.

CMA Announces 2021 Awards Ballot Schedule

The Country Music Association has announced its ballot schedule for the 55th Annual CMA Awards, which will take place this November.

The eligibility period for the awards is July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. All voting for the CMA Awards will be conducted online.

The Nomination Ballot and instructions will be emailed Tuesday, July 6 to CMA members in good standing who are eligible to vote. Voting for the Nomination Ballot closes Thursday, July 15 (4:00 p.m. CT).

The Second Ballot will be emailed to CMA members Monday, Aug. 2. and voting will close on  Thursday, Aug. 12 (6:00 p.m. CT). The final nominees in each of the 12 categories will be announced later this summer.

Winners of The 55th Annual CMA Awards will be determined in a Final Round of voting by eligible voting CMA members. The third and Final Ballot will be emailed to CMA members Friday, Oct. 1. Voting for the CMA Awards Final Ballot ends Wednesday, Oct. 27 (6:00 p.m. CT). All balloting is officiated by the professional services firm Deloitte.

To vote in all three rounds of The 55th Annual CMA Awards, prospective CMA members must apply for membership by Tuesday, June 1. Visit CMAworld.com/membership to learn more.

Shepherd’s Men To Honor Late Charlie Daniels With 15-Mile Nashville Ruck March

The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project (TCDJHP) is teaming up with the Shepherd’s Men of the Atlanta-based Shepherd’s Center to honor its founder, the late Charlie Daniels, in Music City on May 27.

Each spring, the Shepherd’s Men organizes a multi-city event where participants run, march, and swim to bring awareness to veteran suicides. This year, during the Nashville stop, participants will strap on 83 pounds of weight, representing Daniels’ 83 years of life. The 15-mile ruck march will begin at 9 a.m. at Daniels’ grave in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, and will end at Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee. A free to the public reception featuring a live performance by Darryl Worley will immediately follow at Sammy B’s Restaurant, located inside the Castle Heights Military Academy.

“Veteran suicides were a critical concern to Charlie, and just a few weeks before he passed we agreed that this issue should become a major priority within our overall mission,” explains TCDJHP co-founder and Daniels’ longtime manager David Corlew. “He believed so much in the Sheperd’s Men’s work, so this is an epic way of honoring Charlie and continuing his mission of saving lives.”

“We run for our brothers and sisters who lost their lives, for our brothers and sisters who are still fighting long after leaving the battlefield and for our brothers and sisters who have not yet returned home,” says Travis Ellis, Shepherd’s Men co-founder. “We will not rest until the number of lives lost every day to suicide goes from 22 to zero. Our veterans deserve to live meaningful, gratifying lives with their families after their courageous service to our country.”

The Shepherd’s Men’s relationship with TCDJHP began several years ago when Daniels began partnering with the group for annual fundraising events benefiting veterans. To date, the two organizations have collectively raised significant funding for injured veterans across the nation.

Alan Jackson To Play ‘Where I Come From’ Benefit Show For Tornado Relief For His Hometown

Alan Jackson. Photo: Kristy Belcher

Alan Jackson is lending a helping hand to his hometown next month when he returns to Newnan, Georgia to headline a special concert benefiting tornado relief efforts.

On March 26, an EF-4 tornado ripped across Newnan, the city where Jackson and his wife Denise were born, raised, met and married. At least 70 homes were completely destroyed, many others suffered major damage, and over 1,700 structures were impacted and compromised.

“After the tornadoes came through Newnan I knew that I wanted to do what I could to help my hometown. I started working on an idea to do some kind of benefit in Nashville to help those affected in Newnan, but then heard from a group of leaders in Newnan,” Jackson says. “I’m glad we came up with a way to bring this show to my hometown… and I’m happy to be helping the people who need it most.”

The Where I Come From show is set for June 26 at Newnan’s Coweta County Fairgrounds, where he will be joined by Chris Young, Caylee Hammack, Adam Wright and Brian Wright.

Tickets for the event go on sale this Friday, May 21 at 9 a.m. CST at AlanJacksonBenefit.com. Proceeds will benefit the Coweta Community Foundation, which is managing charitable efforts to help the people of Newnan in the wake of the storm. Donations to the Foundation’s relief efforts can be made via their website.

Jason Aldean Earns 15th No. 1 Song On MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart

Jason Aldean earns his fifteenth No. 1 on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart this week with “Blame It On You.” Written by Kurt Allison, John Edwards, Tully Kennedy, Michael Tyler, and Brian White, the single appears on Aldean’s latest album, 9, released via Macon Music and Broken Bow Records. 

While performing his first live show since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic at the Bonnaroo Farm last weekend, Aldean announced his Back in the Saddle Tour will kick off on Aug. 5. Hardy and Lainey Wilson will serve as opening acts.

“It’s been emotional being back on stage with my band for the first time in a year this weekend,” says Aldean of the Bonnaroo shows. “It’s made us all even more ready to get back to life as we all know it. Being on the road makes all of us – the band, the crew, and me – happy and I haven’t felt this excited about going on tour in 15 years.”

Click here or above to view the latest edition of The MusicRow Weekly.

Chase Rice: ‘I’m Finally Not Chasing Anything. I’m Just Being Me’ [Interview]

Country singer-songwriter Chase Rice will deliver the final installment of his three part, 15-track project, The Albumon May 28 through Broken Bow Records.

With more than 2 million albums sold and over 1.7 billion total streams to date, Rice has established himself as a powerful force in Nashville and beyond over the past eight years. Since The Album, Part 1’s release in January of 2020, the “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” singer will finally bring the project to a close with the addition of the album’s last four tracks.

Rice recently spoke with MusicRow about the new full-length album, how he grew in the last year, and future plans for his music.

MusicRow: What has the last year been like for you?

It’s been interesting. I’ve taken a lot of time off. I didn’t travel a lot last year and had a good group of friends that all hung out together at my farm or their house… I’ve been able to live life for the first time in eight years, so that’s really how The Album, Part 3 came together and that’s how I’m moving towards the next record which is going to be really special.

What gave you the idea to do a graduated release and put out the album in parts?

I wanted each song to have its time. I wanted to release less music, but more often. That’s why I was going to do Part 1 through 4, but Part 4 got derailed because of COVID.

I had this group of songs that were older songs that didn’t have a place yet. “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” was on its own. “If I Didn’t Have You” was three or four years old, but I always wanted to put it out. “The Nights” was one I knew I wanted to finish up what was Part 4–or now, Part 3–with, and “Bedroom” was written during the middle of COVID. I took all of these songs from different places and thought this was a perfect way to end the album.

Chase Rice. Photo: Jason Myers

What was the songwriting process like for this album?

Completely different [than what I’m used to]. The beginning of Part 1 and 2 was showing up at 11:00 a.m., writing with people, and being done by 3:00 p.m. or 4:00 when people have to go get their kids. That was the traditional way of writing songs for me for the last eight years. However, Part 3 came along and completely said ‘no’ to all of that.

“The Nights” was the only song that was written in a normal way, but it’s two or three years old and I knew the day I wrote that song that I wanted that in the final piece. “If I Didn’t Have You” was written in Oklahoma at a hunting camp. “Bedroom” was a Zoom write–one of the only Zoom writes I’ve ever done. Then “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” was written on the back of my tour bus on the last day of tour in 2019. This group of songs are a special group because they were all written differently–they all didn’t have a place. Bringing them together on Part 3 to finalize the album was perfect.

How has COVID changed the way you approach songwriting?

I’m going to take a lot of what I learned last year and apply it, like to stop doing the 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. thing. I’m probably not going to do that very much anymore. I’m going to do writing retreats with no schedules. Let’s go fish. Let’s figure it out and talk about songs. If we don’t get a song that day, who cares? Most of the time when you have that mindset, your creativity finally gets to the front as opposed to your schedule.

That’s what I’m going to take moving forward for the back half of my next record. I’m going to take a lot of the negatives from last year and turn them into positives.

Chase Rice. Photo: Cody Cannon

What songs/performances are you most looking forward to sharing with fans?

I’m excited to see how people respond to “Forever To Go” because that one’s been somewhat of an underground hit all of a sudden. I’ve also never gotten to play “American Nights” live, which is awful because it was supposed to be the opener of the whole show.

I played “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” at the Ryman a couple of weeks ago and it was mind blowing! Everybody stood up and came to the front–I don’t know if that was allowed or not– but we didn’t care. It was a special moment and I haven’t seen a reaction like that since “Ready Set Roll,” to be honest. Even “Eyes On You” didn’t get a reaction like that live. I feel like finally have a party song that’s going to become a hit for the first time since “Ready Set Roll,” which I think is going to be one of the coolest moments during shows.

What do you hope fans walk away with from this project?

I hope they see that I’m finally not chasing anything. I moved to Nashville in 2010 when I had just learned to play guitar and write songs. I was clueless from “Ready Set Roll” and “Gonna Wanna Tonight” through “Eyes On You,” and I’ll be really honest about that. I think “Eyes On You” was really the beginning of my career, so I hope they can see now that I’m not chasing anything. I’m not trying to be anybody else, and I’m just being me.

I hope they can finally grasp through this record who I am a little bit more and I hope they hold onto that because what’s coming next is who I really am. I finally got to really live for a year because I wasn’t touring. I lived an entire year which allowed me to piece The Album, Part 3 together, and that’s also going to allow me to piece my next record together.

Faren Rachels Signs With Combustion Music

Pictured (L-R, front row): Blake Duncan (Combustion Music Creative Director), Faren Rachels, Chris Farren (Combustion Music President); (L-R, back row): Kelly Lyons (Combustion Music), Chris Van Belkom (Combustion Music Vice President), Dustin Kovacic (Keller, Turner, Andrews & Ghanem, PLLC)

Faren Rachels has signed an exclusive publishing deal with Combustion Music.

Originally from Sparta, Georgia, Rachels grew up inspired by the sounds of Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, and Lee Ann Womack. She sang in church for years while growing up and performed cover gigs with a band she put together while attending The University of Georgia in Athens. Rachels eventually made the move to Nashville in 2012 to pursue her dreams, and has had cuts with Lainey Wilson, Chrissy Metz, Ashland Craft, and more.

“Faren is the first writer that Blake brought in since his short time here, and I was immediately blown away. The honesty in Faren’s writing and the passion she has for country music, not to mention her name, made it impossible not to jump in. Can’t wait to see what we do next together,” says Combustion President Chris Farren.

“Never thought I’d be working with another Farren but here we are, ha! Since my first meeting with Blake & Falcon at Combustion, it just felt like home,” says Rachels. “I’m so grateful for their belief in me as a songwriter and excited to be joining such a well-respected and forward-thinking company.”

Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, Luke Combs, More To Perform At CMT Music Awards

CMT unveiled the first round of performers for the 2021 CMT Music Awards airing Wednesday, June 9 at 7 p.m. CST on CMT, MTV, MTV2, Logo, Paramount Network and TV Land.

The first slate of performers at this year’s show include, Brothers Osborne and Dierks Bentley; Chris Stapleton; Luke Combs; Maren Morris and JP Saxe; Mickey Guyton and Gladys Knight; and Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, and Jon Randall. Additional performers and presenters will be announced in the coming weeks.

The nominees for this year’s CMT Music Awards were previously unveiled, with female powerhouses Morris and Lambert competing for the most accolades with four nods each. Hosts Kelsea Ballerini and Kane Brown join Little Big Town and Guyton with three nominations.

This year, 13 artists received first-time nominations including Guyton, Dylan Scott, Hailey Whitters, HARDY, Lainey Wilson, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff, Niko Moon, Noah Cyrus, Parmalee, Ryan Hurd, Tyler Hubbard and Willie Jones.

Carrie Underwood remains the most decorated artist in CMT history with a total of 22 wins and will compete for two trophies, nominated for her collaboration with John Legend.

Fan voting is now open and continues until Tuesday, June 1.

Needtobreathe Announce New Album, Release Carrie Underwood Collab

Needtobreathe and Carrie Underwood. Photo: Jacq Justice

Needtobreathe has teamed up with Carrie Underwood on their nostalgic new single “I Wanna Remember.” Underwood also appears alongside Needtobreathe in a new video for the track, which exclusively premiered on CMT, MTV, and ViacomCBS’ Times Square billboard.

“‘I Wanna Remember’ is a nostalgic track and takes you back to the moments you never want to forget. We all came from small towns, and those roots have cemented into the fabric of the band and our music,” Needtobreathe shares. “Bear worked with Carrie on some of her recent projects, and we felt like her small town roots and humble beginnings were the perfect addition to this song. As soon as we got into the studio, we felt a connection with her as if she was a long time member of the band. Having someone with her talent and spirit sing on the song is an absolute honor for us.”

“I have been a huge fan of Needtobreathe forever and I was so honored when the stars aligned and Bear agreed to lend his incredible vocals to a song on my recent gospel album,” says Underwood. “Needless to say, I was thrilled when he and the band invited me to be a part of their new project. I love the song and have had the best time getting to know and sing with these amazingly talented guys.”

The track appears on the band’s upcoming new album, Into The Mystery, set for release July 30 via Elektra Records and available to pre-order now. Along with Underwood, the project features collaborations with Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and Natalie Hemby of The Highwomen.

The recording of the new project happened over three weeks when the band decamped to a historic house-turned-recording studio in Columbia, Tennessee to begin working on the new music. They resided under one roof, explored their surroundings, and recorded with co-producer and engineer Konrad Snyder. The groups experience was captured for an upcoming documentary which shares the same name as the upcoming album.

The band also announced that they will embark on their Into The Mystery Tour this fall with support from Switchfoot and The New Respects. The 38-city trek will visit venues including Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre and L.A.’s Greek Theatre, and includes their first-ever headlining show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. The Into The Mystery Tour kicks off September 7 in St. Louis and wraps up on October 30 in Atlanta. For full concert dates and to purchase tickets, click here.

Kings Of Leon Announce 2021 When You See Yourself Tour

Kings Of Leon. Photo: Matthew Followill

Kings Of Leon are among the growing list of artists heading back out on the road this fall, launching their When You See Yourself Tour on August 3 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Special guests Cold War Kids will join them as support, and the tour will make stops at outdoor venues in over 20 cities in North America, including two hometown shows at Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater, a stop at the Forum in L.A, and many more. Tickets for the tour will be available to the general public beginning Friday, May 21 at 10 a.m. local time.

Earlier this year, Kings of Leon released their eighth studio album When You See Yourself which was recorded at Nashville’s famed Blackbird Studios and produced by Grammy Award-winning Markus Dravs. This album release also marked the first time that a new album was released as an NFT. In a first of it’s kind launch, the innovative album release quickly became one of the most successful wide-scale uses of NFTs within the music industry to date.