1. In 'The Last Songwriter,' Garth Brooks and Fellow Writers Sound Alarm About Future of Quality Songs

    April 20, 2017 11:50 AM EDT Writing a song is, says Garth Brooks , “the most important step in music.” And yet the advent of the digital age has demolished the profession, cutting the number of full-time songwriters in Nashville by 80 percent, according to the Nashville Songwriters Association International. The Last…

  2. How Sunny Sweeney Learned to Stop Worrying About Radio on New Album 'Trophy'

    March 16, 2017 11:17 AM EDT As the country singer/songwriter Sunny Sweeney started to work on her fourth album, Trophy , last year, she found herself in an unusual and potentially dangerous predicament: She was composing love songs which she describes as "too stereotypical." "The biggest fear being a…

  3. It's a Social Media World, Music Journalists and Publicists Just Live In It

    January 18, 2017 2:17 PM EST President-elect  Donald Trump  is already shaking things up in Washington, D.C., by eschewing more traditional forms of communicating his message, preferring instead to speak directly through Twitter to his 19 million-plus followers. As a result, the political press frequently finds itself in…

  4. Dierks Bentley Sets Kobalt Publishing Deal

    December 14, 2016 8:46 AM EST The wide-ranging agreement includes the sale of the country star's back catalog. Independent publishing services firm Kobalt Music has signed Dierks Bentley in a deal that includes the acquisition of his back catalog by Kobalt Music Copyrights, Billboard  has exclusively learned. The…

  5. P!nk & Taylor Swift Collaborator Butch Walker Talks Ditching Booze, Going Healthy Ahead of New Album

    August 26, 2016 10:00 AM EDT Butch Walker juggles tour prep, songwriting for the stars, an avid motorcycle habit, and a challenging new diet as he prepares for the release of a new album, Stay Gold , which he answers a few questions about below. One week with Butch Walker: Thursday: My family was still out of town…

  6. Kree Harrison, Kalie Shorr Among Women Making Inroads In Post-Bro-Country Era

    April 22, 2016 8:30 AM EDT When singer/songwriter Jamie Floyd went shopping for a label deal around 2013, the responses were invariably the same: “We’re not signing girls right now, but keep going.” She could have — probably should have — gotten demoralized. Instead, she figuratively rolled up her sleeves. “That just…

  7. Takeover Tuesday: Miranda Lambert's 'Keeper of the Flame' Tour Playlist

    April 12, 2016 4:38 PM EDT Welcome back to  Takeover Tuesday , where each week  Billboard  taps charting artists and tastemakers to compile their very own playlist exclusive to Billboard 's Spotify account . We give the artists free reign to base the list on whatever subject they want and add whatever tracks they…

  8. Grammys 2016 Preview: The Inside Scoop on the Best Country Song and Country Album Nominees

    February 13, 2016 9:00 AM EST Best Country Album Montevallo Sam Hunt Label MCA Nashville Hunt may have confirmed the end of country's "hat act" era, eschewing not just Stetsons but also the ball caps of bro-country for his own suave style. That goes for his sound, too, with a romantic hip-hop influence that…

  9. Billboard.com's 10 Best Country Albums of 2015: Critics' Picks

    December 16, 2015 11:20 AM EST In an era where some people bemoaned the lack of great music in the country format, 2015 really seemed to feature a resurgence of quality -- with the top four albums on this list feeling like obvious choices on anyone’s list. But it's not just the critical darlings you expect that ranked…

  10. Set Your Secrets Ablaze With Ashley Monroe in Her New 'Bombshell' Video

    November 17, 2015 4:52 PM EST Hurry up and listen to Ashley Monroe’s The Blade . It’s sure to show up on plenty of best-of-2015 lists, and we think it’s one of the best country albums we’ve heard this year. On Tuesday (Nov. 17), Monroe shared a touching music video for “Bombshell,” a lush, sentimental ballad from the…

  11. Ashley Monroe Kicks Off 'The Blade' Tour In New York City: Live Review

    October 28, 2015 8:08 PM EDT The country singer Ashley Monroe offered a caveat near the beginning of her show Tuesday night at the Bowery Ballroom. “I usually write a lot of sad, depressing records,” she declared. But the performance, the first stop on a tour in support of a new album titled The Blade , was undeniably…

  12. Watch Don Henley Perform 'Praying for Rain' on 'Austin City Limits': Exclusive

    October 23, 2015 4:34 PM EDT His episode premieres Saturday. Don Henley released his fifth solo album, Cass County , in September. The Eagles singer's first-ever country album hit No. 1 on Billboard 's Top Country Albums and Top Album Sales charts.  Going with this new Southern theme, Henley stopped by the PBS…

  13. Alan Jackson Tops Country Albums Chart for a 14th Time; Critical Darling Ashley Monroe at No. 2

    August 04, 2015 12:58 PM EDT Alan Jackson achieves his 14th No. 1 on Billboard 's Top Country Albums chart (dated Aug. 15) with Angels and Alcohol . The album rises 2-1 despite a 59 percent second-week drop to 18,000 units in the week ending July 30, according to Nielsen Music. The set missed debuting in the top…

  14. Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert Trade Tweets

    July 24, 2015 4:19 PM EDT Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert may be getting divorced, but they're keeping it positive, tweeting back and forth with each other Friday afternoon (July 24) -- first to promote Ashley Monroe 's new album and then to laugh off all the rumors circulating in the tabloids about them.…

  15. Miranda Lambert Performs at Small Club Two Days After Announcing Divorce

    July 23, 2015 12:06 AM EDT Country star Miranda Lambert jumped on stage and sang at a small club in Nashville, Tennessee, two days after announcing her divorce from husband Blake Shelton . The Grammy-winning singer was all smiles on Wednesday night as she joined her friend and singer Ashley Monroe in singing, "…

  16. Country Singer Ashley Monroe Goes Adult Contemporary With ‘The Blade’: Album Review

    July 21, 2015 1:00 PM EDT No song has endeared Ashley Monroe more to critics -- especially those with a disdain for contemporary country -- than "Weed Instead of Roses," an irreverent honky-tonk about chemically enhancing a stale sex life. Songs like this have led many to champion her as an Authentic Country…

  17. Ashley Monroe Streams New Album 'The Blade' One Week Early: Listen

    July 16, 2015 9:28 PM EDT Ashley Monroe has given fans a chance to hear her full album a full week early on NPR's First Listen . The country singer's second album,  The Blade , will be released on July 24 and features first single "On to Something Good." Monroe told  Billboard  that it's often…

  18. Blake Shelton Tops Billboard's Country Airplay Chart for the 20th Time

    June 30, 2015 10:36 AM EDT Blake Shelton steps to the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Country Airplay chart (dated July 11) as "Sangria" (Warner Bros./Warner Music Nashville) rises 2-1. The coronation marks Shelton's record-extending 15th consecutive No. 1 on the chart (counting only non-seasonal,…

  19. CMT Music Awards 2015: See the Full Winners List

    June 10, 2015 10:35 PM EDT Carrie Underwood was the big winner at Wednesday night's CMT Music Awards, walking away with honors for Video of the Year, Female Video of the Year and Collaborative Video of the Year.  Inside the 2015 CMT Awards: Carrie Underwood's First Post-Baby Appearance and More Surprises in…

  20. What Happened to Women In Country? An Investigation Using Year-End Billboard Charts

    June 08, 2015 4:15 PM EDT New York Magazine , Entertainment Weekly , and Rolling Stone Country called it "Country Music's Women Problem." The New York Times used more incendiary language -- "Country's war on women." At this point, it's a common refrain: there is a serious gender…

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