Asleep At The Wheel Celebrates 50th Anniversary With New ‘Better Times’ EP

Asleep at the Wheel is releasing new music to kick off the celebration of their 50th anniversary this year. On May 28, the band will release a three-song EP, Better Times, produced by band leader Ray Benson via Bismeaux Records.

Benson sings lead vocals on the title track, a hopeful original penned while riding out the pandemic. Asleep at the Wheel vocalist and fiddler Katie Shore offers vocals on “All I’m Asking,” a rousing request to get back together, written by Band of Heathens’ Ed Jurdi and Gordi Quist, while Benson and Shore harmonize together on “Columbus Stockade Blues,” a traditional tune arranged in the spirit of Willie Nelson and Shirley Collie’s 1960s version.

Following the new EP’s release, Asleep at the Wheel will be hitting the road to celebrate with a run of shows that will take them from Texas’ legendary Gruene Hall on May 29, through Texas and Missouri, back down to College Station on June 20.

Asleep at the Wheel Tour Dates:
May 29 – Gruene Hall – Gruene, Texas
June 3 – Birdsong Amphitheater – Stephenville, Texas
June 5 – Starlight Ranch Event Center – Amarillo, Texas
June 6 – Cactus Theater – Lubbock, Texas
June 10 – Rose Music Hall – Columbia, Missouri
June 11 – The Sheldon – St. Louis, Missouri
June 19 – Buck’s Backyard – Buda, Texas
June 20 – Rudder Auditorium – College Station, Texas

Maverick City Music, for King & Country, TobyMac, Zach Williams Lead K-LOVE Fan Awards Noms

Nominees have been announced for the upcoming 2021 K-LOVE Fan Awards on May 30.

Newcomers Maverick City Music lead the pack with four nods, including Group of the Year, Artist of the Year, Breakout Single of the Year and Worship Song of the Year. for KING & COUNTRY, TobyMac and Zach Williams follow close behind with three nominations each.

Vying for Artist of the Year honors will be Elevation Worship, for KING & COUNTRY, Lauren Daigle, Maverick City Music, TobyMac, and Zach Williams. Female Artist Of The Year nominees include Lauren Daigle, Kari Jobe, Leanna Crawford, Mandisa, Natalie Grant, and Riley Clemmons, while Male Artist Of The Year nominees are Crowder, Danny Gokey, Matthew West, Tauren Wells, TobyMac, and Zach Williams.

Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House will once again welcome the fan awards show, with Matthew West hosting, and airing on TBN at 7 p.m. CST on June 4. The awards caps off a weekend of celebration including a kick-off concert, the first in Nashville since March 2020, followed by a songwriter’s showcase, worship service and more.

Voting for this year’s K-LOVE Fan Awards is open now at

Full List of 2021 K-LOVE Fan Awards Nominees:
Male Artist of the Year      
Danny Gokey
Matthew West
Tauren Wells
Zach Williams
Female Artist of the Year
Kari Jobe
Lauren Daigle
Leanna Crawford
Natalie Grant
Riley Clemmons
Group of the Year
Casting Crowns
Elevation Worship
Maverick City Music
We The Kingdom
Breakout Single
Andrew Ripp “Jericho”
CAIN “Rise Up”
Evvie McKinney “Look No Further”
Maverick City Music “Man Of Your Word”
We The Kingdom “Child of Love” (feat. Bear Rinehart of NEEDTOBREATHE)
Worship Song of the Year
Chris Tomlin feat. Lady A “Who You Are To Me”
Cory Asbury “The Father’s House”
Maverick City Music “Man of Your Word”
Michael W. Smith “Waymaker”
Phil Wickham “Battle Belongs”
Tauren Wells feat. Jenn Johnson “Famous For (I Believe)”
Song of the Year
Crowder “Good God Almighty”
Elevation Worship & Brandon Lake “Graves Into Gardens”
for KING & COUNTRY, Tori Kelly & Kirk Franklin “Together”
Kari Jobe “The Blessing” (feat. Cody Carnes)
TobyMac “Help Is On The Way (Maybe Midnight)”
Zach Williams & Dolly Parton “There Was Jesus”
Artist of the Year
Elevation Worship
Lauren Daigle
Maverick City Music
Zach Williams
Film & Television Impact
A Week Away
Church People
The Chosen
I Am Patrick
I Still BelieveBook Impact
Annie F.Downs “That Sounds Fun”
Bob Goff “Dream Big”
John L. Cooper “Awake & Alive To Truth”
Lecrae “I Am Restored”

Scotty McCreery Announces Headlining You Time Tour For This Summer

Scotty McCreery. Photo: John Shearer

Delivering more than 130 online performances for fans, country radio, charitable events, and media outlets, Scotty McCreery has announced his headlining You Time Tour which will begin on June 18.

“This last year I was glad to get more ‘you time’ with my wife Gabi than ever before, as well as a lot of ‘you time’ with some of my favorite songwriters via zoom as we created new songs for the upcoming album,” reflects McCreery. “And now that we’re able to tour again, I cannot wait to get back on the road and have some ‘you time’ with fans this summer. This song’s message and timing really hit home for me and I hope we keep a few things like the intention of the time we spent with others this last year as we look ahead. I, for one, will never take going to a show or playing music live for fans for granted after this last year without it.”

The North Carolina native released “You Time” last September as the first single from his upcoming album which he plans to put out later this fall. Written by McCreery, Frank Rogers and Aaron Eshuis, the song is rising steadily, currently sitting at No. 23 on the Mediabase/Country Aircheck Country Singles Chart.

McCreery will also join Old Dominion as direct support on select Live At The Ballpark Tour dates this summer and early fall. “I’m excited to reunite with Old Dominion for their Live At The Ballpark Tour,” says McCreery, who last toured with the band in 2019. “These guys are not only amazing performers but great people, and this tour will be a blast. Plus, having been a pitcher on my high school baseball team, performing in these ball parks will be like coming home.”

More 2021 dates will be announced soon.

Old Dominion Unveils Dates For Ballpark Tour Kicking Off In July

Old Dominion. Photo: Mason Allen

Grammy-nominated band Old Dominion will return to the road in 2021 for a Ballpark Tour across North America. Teaming up with Indigo Road Entertainment, the group’s first full-scale headline run since 2019 will kick off July 17 at The Ballpark at Jackson in Jackson, Tennessee.

The group will also share the stage with Scotty McCreery, Randy Houser, Matt Stell, Blanco Brown, Caitlyn Smith, and Walker County as supporting acts. Tickets for most show dates go on sale Friday, May 21 at 10 a.m. local time.

“This is literally the moment we’ve all been waiting for! We’ve all gone through it the last year. Now, it’s time to get back together, forget everything for a few hours, and have a great time,” the band shares.

In addition to the tour announcement, Old Dominion will release a new single, “I Was On A Boat That Day,” this Friday (May 21). Each band member—Matthew Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, Brad Tursi, Whit Sellers, and Geoff Sprung—notably participated in the songwriting alongside Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne.

Recently, the guys took home the Vocal Group of the Year award at the 2021 Academy of Country Music Awards for the fourth consecutive time since 2018, and garnered their first Grammy nomination.

We Are Old Dominion: Live At The Ballpark Tour Dates:
July 17 – The Ballpark at Jackson Jackson, TN (with SM, MS, & WC)
August 22 – Chukchansi Park Fresno, CA (with BB, & WC)
September 17 – Turtle Creek Stadium Traverse City, MI (with RH, MS, & CS)
September 18 – Peoples Natural Gas Field Altoona, PA (with RH, MS, & CS)
September 24 – Melaleuca Field Idaho Falls, ID (with SM, MS, & CS)
October 1 – Riverfront Stadium Wichita, KS (with SM, BB, & WC)
October 2 – Werner Park Omaha, NE (with SM, MS, & WC)

SM – Scotty McCreery | RH – Randy Houser | MS – Matt Stell
BB – Blanco Brown | CS – Caitlyn Smith | WC – Walker County

Ty Herndon, Cody Alan To Host 6th Annual Concert For Love & Acceptance

Country music artist and philanthropist Ty Herndon, in partnership with CMT, has announced that the 2021 Concert for Love and Acceptance will take place on Wednesday, June 30 at 7 p.m. CST and will be live-streamed exclusively on CMT’s Facebook and YouTube channels, and on the Foundation’s website.

Produced by Herndon’s charitable foundation, The Foundation for Love & Acceptance, the event will return as a star-studded online event, co-hosted by Herndon and CMT’s Cody Alan for the fifth consecutive year. GLAAD, MusiCares, and Nashville’s Oasis Center will also be the beneficiaries of the event proceeds.

“It’s a privilege to return as co-host of the annual Concert For Love & Acceptance, whose mission is as important today as when it launched six years ago. With dangerous and discriminatory legislation pending in our home state of Tennessee, the vocal support of the country music community is immeasurable in changing hearts and minds. I’m eager to again partner with Ty Herndon, CMT, GLAAD, and our new beneficiaries at MusiCares and Nashville’s Oasis Center to highlight the critical work to move LGBTQ+ rights forward,” says Alan.

The event will include appearances and performances by Brothers Osborne, Kristin Chenoweth, Terri Clark, Brooke Eden, Harper Grae, Chris Housman, LOCASH, Kathy Mattea, Rissi Palmer, Gretchen Peters, Tenille Townes, Walker County, and Chase Wright. Additional talent will be announced in the coming weeks.

GLAAD and Herndon created the first Concert for Love and Acceptance in 2015 shortly after Herndon became the first major male country artist to come out as gay. Herndon serves as executive producer of the 2021 Concert for Love & Acceptance, alongside returning executive producer Zeke Stokes, who has been in that role since the Concert began in 2015. Stokes is President of ZS STRATEGIES and a former Vice President of GLAAD.

“I’m thrilled to be partnering with the dynamic team at CMT once again to bring the Concert for Love & Acceptance to a broad audience as musicians, actors, comedians, and more demonstrate their support for LGBTQ youth and artists in the country music community and beyond,” shares Herndon. “This event comes from my heart, and I hope it continues to resonate with people all around the world as we spread a message of acceptance for all people and work toward a world where only love remains.”

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Shannon Shryne at [email protected]. For more information and ongoing updates, as well as to RSVP for the live online event, visit the Foundation for Love and Acceptance at

SmithField Kicks Off New Chapter With Upcoming EP ‘New Town’

Smithfield. Photo: Jason Myers

SmithField is set to release their upcoming new EP, New Town, on June 16.

The six-track EP is symbolic as a new chapter for SmithField’s Jennifer Fielder and Trey Smith, with each song making Nashville feel like a fresh new town for the duo as they fall more in love with the city. The project features three unreleased tracks in addition to their three previously-released tracks, “We’ll Figure It Out,” “Sunday Best” and “Something Sexy.”

“We have been a duo for a decade and truly feel this new music, the stories we tell, the harmony, the heart, and uniqueness of our vocal blend we bring to the table with it will be a game changer for us,” says SmithField. “We have never put out music that has felt more genuine to who SmithField is and what we are all about than this. You can’t listen to one song on here and not know it’s a SmithField song. We are ready to break the glass ceiling that has been absent in our genre for quite some time and we are so excited to finally have it out in the world. This is just the beginning.”

The EP news comes fresh on the heels of their “Something Sexy” CMT video premiere and the announcement of their headlining show at Nashville’s 3rd and Lindsley on June 17. The duo also made its radio debut with “Something Sexy” over the weekend after being selected for the iHeart Women of Country playlist.

Jacob Durrett Inks Co-Pub Deal With Big Loud And Warner Chappell

Pictured (L-R): Austen Adams (Big Loud), Kimberly Gleason (Big Loud), Spencer Nohe (Warner Chappell), Seth England (Big Loud), Jacob Durrett, T.d.ruth (Serling Rooks Hunter Mckoy Worob & Averill Llp), Ben Vaughn (Warner Chappell), Michael Giangreco (Big Loud), Joey Moi (Big Loud). Photo: Chris Hornbuckle

Jacob Durrett has signed a co-venture publishing deal with Big Loud Publishing and Warner Chappell Music.

Durrett has racked up a long list of cuts from a wide range of notable artists including Zayn, Diplo, Bren Joy, Nelly, Tyler Rich, ERNEST, Mackenzie Porter and Devin Dawson and has been making his mark on Music City since inking his first publishing deal in 2015 as a student at Belmont University. The Orangevale, California native co-wrote Chris Lane’s No. 1 hit “Big, Big Plans,” and he also co-wrote and co-produced several tracks on Morgan Wallen’s record-breaking album, Dangerous: The Double Album.

“Jacob is a real talent,” said Big Loud Publishing’s Mike Giangreco. “He has proven his ability to write and produce big records across multiple genres, and we are beyond excited to have his metal energy in the building!”

“It’s been thrilling to see Jacob’s growth as a writer and producer,” said Warner Chappell’s Ben Vaughn. “Everyone is excited for Jacob’s present and future, as he is absolutely one of the biggest up-and-coming talents in Nashville.”

“Warner Chappell have been my champions for five years now, and I couldn’t think of a better addition to my camp than the amazing people at Big Loud,” Durrett said. “These two together are truly a dream team.”

Industry Ink: Ryan Hurd, Brandi Carlile, Whelan Stone, 8 Pound Gorilla Records

Ryan Hurd Makes Grand Ole Opry Debut Alongside Maren Morris, Lady A

Ryan Hurd at the Grand Ole Opry. Photo: Chris Hollo

Arista Nashville’s Ryan Hurd made his Grand Ole Opry debut on Saturday evening, May 15, which also marked the first Opry show in over a year to welcome a full capacity audience.

Following the performance of his Platinum-certified hit “To A T,” his wife Maren Morris made a surprise appearance and joined Hurd on “Chasing After You,” their first official duet. During Lady A’s set, Hurd joined the trio to perform their hit “You Look Good,” which he co-wrote.

Currently No. 31 and ascending on Country Aircheck/Mediabase airplay charts, Hurd and Morris’ “Chasing After You” became country radio’s most-added song during its impact week in March and has amassed over 41 million streams to date. Recently, Hurd scored his first CMT Music Awards nominations. Directed by TK McKamy, the “Chasing After You” music video received two 2021 nods for Music Video of the Year and Collaborative Video of the Year.


Brandi Carlile’s Benefit Concert Raises $100,000 For Rainey Day Fund

Brandi Carlile’s live-streamed benefit concert, held at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Sunday, March 28, raised over $100,000 for Kelly McCartney’s Rainey Day Fund, Rissi Palmer’s Color Me Country Fund and Fanny’s School of Music.

McCartney’s Rainey Day Fund provides assistance to BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled artists and others who add to the rich fabric of roots music. Its first offshoot initiative, Palmer’s Color Me Country Fund, supports the underrepresented voices of BIPOC artists in country music that have lived outside the spotlight and off the airwaves.

The Rainey Day Fund has announced another partnership with the new Rosetta Fund, which provides support to journalists and other creators with marginalized identities working within the roots and country music space. The Rainey Day Fund has announced its board of directors, which include Palmer (artist and Color Me Country founder), McCartney (co-founder), Blair Clark (Brooklyn Basement Records), Donald Cohen (co-founder), Marissa R. Moss (music journalist), and Doug Williams.


Country Duo Whelan Stone Signs With New Lost City Records

Whelan Stone

Duo Whelan Stone has signed with New Lost City Records. Comprised of songwriters Joe Whelan and Andrew Stone, their debut single, “Whiskey In A Wine Glass,” is available now on all streaming platforms.

“The energy that Whelan Stone’s music brings makes you want to drink a beer and sing along!” says Mike Whelan, creative director of MV2, home label of New Lost City Records. “We can’t wait to be a part of their 25-city southeast tour this summer. It’s going to be an incredible journey.

“I’m beyond excited to get the opportunity to work with Whelan Stone,” says Ben Strain, MV2’s creative director. “Talented, driven, competitive — Whelan Stone will soon be a major force in the country music world.”

The duo is currently in the studio with producer Aaron Chmielewski working on an EP, with new music coming in late May.


8 Pound Gorilla Adds Three To Artist Roster

SaulPaul, Elliott Park, and the Imagination Movers have signed to the Nashville-based children’s music label 8 Pound Gorilla Records.

An inspirational “kid hop” artist based in Austin, SaulPaul received much recognition and praise with his 2020 self-released album Be The Change. He is active with the Recording Academy and works tirelessly to uplift other BIPOC artists with organizations like Family Music Forward, Kakuza Fest and the Children’s Music Network. His first recording with 8 Pound Gorilla Records, Okay To Be Different, an EP of 7 original and inspirational hip hop songs for kids, will be released Friday, May 14.

Elliott Park is perhaps best known for his 2006 song “I Loved Her First,” which hit No. 1 on Billboard chart. Since moving from west Texas to Nashville, his songwriting has explored other genres and styles beyond country music. Park’s memorable songs regularly top on the SiriusXM Kids Place Live charts, including his pandemic-era single “Love Will See Us Through,” featuring Lilah Benjamin, which spent 16 weeks on the chart. Park’s first recording with 8 Pound Gorilla Records is The Mouth, due for release on May 28.

One of the longest-standing and most-watched internationally touring family entertainers, the New Orleans based Imagination Movers are planning a new release, tentatively titled Happy To Be Here, with 8 Pound Gorilla Records slated for this summer.

8 Pound Gorilla launched in November 2020. This venture is the kids’ division of comedy label 800 Pound Gorilla Records, which is continually finding new ways to celebrate and promote a diverse roster of comedic talent, including Marc Maron, George Lopez, Kathleen Madigan, Affion Crockett and Kevin Hart’s LOL Records.

Jeremy McComb Signs With Reliant Talent Agency

Jeremy McComb has signed with Nashville-based Reliant Talent Agency for booking.

“Jeremy’s musical passion—coupled with his sincere desire and talent to perform—is a welcome discipline for success,” says Reliant agent Frank Wing, who will be representing McComb along with Chris Gaulke. “We’re jazzed to be working with him.”

The Average Joes singer-songwriter has explored nearly every facet of the entertainment industry on his own terms throughout his career, from radio programming and tour managing Larry the Cable Guy, to releasing four albums and hitting the Billboard charts. He’s also penned songs for projects selling over six million copies including the Grammy-nominated soundtrack, Blue Collar Comedy Tour – One for the Road. McComb has also recently announced the first leg of his summer Frontier Rock Tour, with more dates to be added.

“When I see people doing things their own way with the same type of grind and energy I’ve built my life on, I’m drawn to it,” McComb explains. “Seeing the hustle and the work ethic of the team that Steve Lassiter and everyone at Reliant has assembled, I wanted to be part of that energy unapologetically doing what we each do in our way. I love that, I’m proud to be over here.”

Frontier Rock Tour Dates:
5/13 Grand Junction, CO –  Warehouse 2565 – w/ Matt Stell
5/14 Grand Junction, CO – Warehouse 2565
5/15 Grand Junction, CO –  Warehouse 2565 – w/ Jerrod Neimann
5/18 Clinton, WI – The “Room” At Boxcars
5/19 Clinton, WI – The “Room” At Boxcars
5/21 Glenwood, MN – Lakeside Ballroom
5/25 Beloit, WI – Shopiere Town Hall
5/27 Orange Beach, AL – The Port at The Wharf – w/ Muscadine Bloodline
5/28 Ladson, SC – Honky Tonk Saloon – w/ Colt Ford
5/29 Morganton, NC – Bootleggers Bash 2021 – w/ Colt Ford
6/03 Nacogdoches, TX – Banita Creek Hall – w/Muscadine Bloodline
6/17 Huntington, WV – iHeart Radio Presents: Live at Pullman Square
7/23 Lassen Co. Fair – Susanville CA – w/Mark Chesnutt

Ashley Gorley Claims No. 1 Position On MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart

With seven songs on the country charts, Ashley Gorley moves up to the No. 1 spot on the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart. Among the songs that fuel his rise are Thomas Rhett’s “Country Again” and “What’s Your Country Song,” HARDY’s “Give Heaven Some Hell,” Cole Swindell’s “Single Saturday Night,” Chris Stapleton’s “You Should Probably Leave,” and Morgan Wallen’s “Sand In My Boots” and “Warning.”

Jesse Frasure shifts down one spot to No. 2, with Jordan Davis’ “Almost Maybes,” Blake Shelton’s “Minimum Wage,” Thomas Rhett’s “What’s Your Country Song,” and Michael Ray’s “Whiskey And Rain.”

Corey Crowder moves up the top three on the MusicRow Songwriter Chart, with Chris Young and Kane Brown’s “Famous Friends,” Blake Shelton’s “Minimum Wage,” and Chase Rice’s “Drinkin’ Beer. Talkin’ God. Amen.” with Florida Georgia Line.

The weekly MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart uses algorithms based upon song activity according to airplay, digital download track sales and streams. This unique and exclusive addition to the MusicRow portfolio is the only songwriter chart of its kind.

Click here to view the full MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart.