1. Maddie & Tae's Trend-Bucking Debut Praised By Lee Ann Womack, Scott Borchetta

    August 26, 2015 10:56 AM EDT The first line in Maddie & Tae 's debut album, "Rain, you ain't gonna slow me down," speaks volumes about what listeners will hear in the course of its 11 songs. Lead singer Maddie Marlow and her harmony-singing cohort, lef ...

  2. Frankie Ballard Lands His Third Straight No. 1 Hit; Elvis Presley Album Has Big Debut

    August 26, 2015 9:31 AM EDT Frankie Ballard might have just set a new bar for having a good day. On Dec. 4, 2012 Ballard recorded "Helluva Life," "Sunshine & Whiskey" and "Young & Crazy" at the House of Blues studio in Nashville's B ...

  3. Jeff Walker, Nashville Business Leader, Dies at 65

    August 25, 2015 8:10 PM EDT The Nashville music industry is mourning the loss of one of its most beloved figures, Jeff Walker, who passed away suddenly on Monday. He was believed to have been 65.  Walker suffered from a heart attack at Nashville International Airport. He di ...

  4. Luke Bryan 'Lights' Up Country Albums Chart; Zac Brown Band Is Tops at Radio

    August 18, 2015 12:28 PM EDT Luke Bryan 's Kill the Lights launches at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts (dated Aug. 29). Bryan notches his third No. 1 on the former list and his sixth on the latter. The set opens with 320,000 in pure album sales i ...

  5. Country Music's Changing of the Guard: Why Young Guns Like Frankie Ballard, Dustin Lynch & Sam Hunt Are Rising Faster These Days

    August 11, 2015 2:20 PM EDT When Frankie Ballard sings "Young & Crazy," the song is meant as a celebration of youthful romantic exuberance. But the title, which is No. 3 on Country Airplay, could serve as an anthem for the country format in general. Led by Mich ...

  6. Michael Ray's Debut Single Rises at Radio; Sam Hunt Tops Country Songs Chart (Again)

    August 11, 2015 1:17 PM EDT Michael Ray 's debut single, "Kiss You in the Morning," reaches the top of Billboard 's Country Airplay chart (dated Aug. 22), rising 2-1 in its 26th week with 49 million audience impressions (up 5 percent), according to Nielse ...

  7. Nashville Notes: Cassadee Pope Readies 'Invincible' Single; Moves at Round Hill Music

    July 21, 2015 1:30 PM EDT Here is your weekly roundup of goings on -- staffing moves, good news and more -- in the wide world of country music. NEWS & NOTES Cassadee Pope will perform her new single, "I Am Invincible," during the opening ceremony for the Spec ...

  8. Wayne Carson, 'Always On My Mind' Songwriter, Dead at 72

    July 20, 2015 6:33 PM EDT As one of three composers of "Always On My Mind," Wayne Carson waited for nearly a decade before the song before Elvis Presley  made it a top 20 hit on the Hot 100 in 1972. But, with Willie Nelson 's recording of the song, his name ...

  9. Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town's 'Smokin' Began Life as a Kid Rock-Like Summer Jam

    July 10, 2015 10:55 AM EDT "I can always take a happy song and make it sound sad." Miranda Lambert 's evaluation of "Smokin' and Drinkin'," a duet with  Little Big Town that was released to radio on June 8, practically tells the story of i ...

  10. Darius Rucker, Clay Walker & More Bulk Up CMA Benefits

    June 04, 2015 9:19 PM EDT Less than a week before the benefits take place, Darius Rucker and Clay Walker have unveiled the guest list for their annual fundraising shows -- both to be held in the days leading up to the CMA Music Festival.  The Darius Rucker & Friends co ...

  11. Jake Owen Gets Real Creative on New Single 'Real Life': The Story Behind the Song

    June 04, 2015 8:55 PM EDT When Jake Owen began working for the first time with producers Shane McAnally and Ross Copperman on his new album, he started feeding them lists of songs and artists that he liked. One of those acts is '90s rock band Sublime , which invariabl ...

  12. Nashville Briefs: Warner/Chappell Snags 'Drink to That All Night' Songwriter; Cumulus Radio Launches New Country Countdown Show

    April 22, 2015 1:30 PM EDT Billboard's Tom Roland rounds-up all the big moves and shakes happening in Nashville and the wide world of country music radio. Songwriter Lance Miller signed a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell Music . His credits include Jerrod Niemann & ...

  13. Billy Bob Thornton Helps Proclaim 'Year of the Louisiana Hayride,' Famed Country Show's Return

    April 15, 2015 6:54 PM EDT "I wouldn’t be surprised if Hank Williams doesn’t tap us on the shoulder today," Billy Bob Thornton told Billboard glancing around Shreveport's historic Municipal Auditorium where Williams, as well as  Elvis Presley , Johnny Cash an ...

  14. Willie Nelson Launching New Marijuana Brand, Shops Called Willie's Reserve

    March 27, 2015 9:24 PM EDT Willie Nelson 's well known for toking up, but now he's making plans to help others do so too. And in the process, he stands to make a buck.  Nelson and his family are at work on a new brand of marijuana and stores called Willie's R ...

  15. Chris Janson's 'Boat' Launches on Hot Country Songs, With Pushes From Bobby Bones & Toby Keith

    March 26, 2015 6:23 PM EDT Independent singer/songwriter Chris Janson makes a splash on Billboard 's Hot Country Songs chart, as "Buy Me a Boat" sets sail at No. 33, thanks to a pair of high-profile key supporters. The song starts with almost all its points f ...

  16. Country Radio Goes Pop: How Formats Shift When Genres Cross

    March 23, 2015 10:21 PM EDT It's not often that radio stations do something distinctive enough to get other radio people talking, but at least two reached out to me within a few minutes of each other on Monday and all it took was the addition of a few pop titles to two ...

  17. Music Row Bids Farewell to Billboard's Wade Jessen: 'He Loved This Community So Much'

    March 10, 2015 10:25 AM EDT He was an exacting chart manager, a devoted family man and a deeply spiritual soul with a quick humor pocked by farm-boy references. That's how Billboard senior chart director Wade Jessen was remembered during a March 9 memorial in Nashville ...

  18. The U.K. Is Poised for a Country Takeover -- But Will the Bands Come?

    March 06, 2015 3:00 PM EST On  its 2014 debut single, british country duo The Shires sing, "We can build our own Nashville underneath these gray skies." The lyric may prove prophetic as the United Kingdom develops its own vibrant country music scene. According to ...

  19. From Bro to Blah: Is Country Radio's Shift in Younger Listeners a Crisis or a Driver?

    March 03, 2015 9:10 AM EST There was a significant moment at the "State of the Music" panel at last week's Country Radio Seminar when WXTU Philadelphia PD Shelly Easton declared that she was not ready for country radio's 18-34 success of recent years to ...

  20. Bobby Emmons, Country Studio Musician & Songwriter, Dead at 72

    February 24, 2015 7:59 PM EST County musician and songwriter Bobby Emmons, who wrote hits for Waylon Jennings and George Strait and played on more than 100 chart hits as a session musician, has died. Emmons passed away Monday in a Nashville hospital, while being treated for an ...

  21. Goldenvoice Promotes Stacy Vee to Festival Talent Buyer

    February 18, 2015 1:17 PM EST Goldenvoice, producers of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and Stagecoach Country Music Festival, has promoted longtime Goldenvoice staffer  Stacy Vee to talent buyer, where she will oversee all booking and talent buying for both Sta ...

  22. Carrie Underwood and K. Michelle Heading for Top 10 on Billboard 200 Chart

    December 12, 2014 10:13 PM EST Country diva Carrie Underwood and R&B singer K. Michelle are both heading for the top 10 of the Billboard 200 albums chart next week. Industry sources suggest Underwood's new best-of album, Greatest Hits: Decade #1 , may sell around 85, ...

  23. Country Music Hall of Fame Warmly Welcomes Ronnie Milsap, Mac Wiseman & Hank Cochran

    October 27, 2014 7:39 PM EDT Sunday night's Medallion Ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame saw three very diverse musical legends inducted into one of music's most exclusive clubs, as Mac Wiseman , Hank Cochran  and Ronnie Milsap were each celebrated for the ...

  24. Glen Campbell to Receive Lifetime Honor at Hollywood Music in Media Awards

    October 24, 2014 8:30 PM EDT Glen Campbell is being honored with the lifetime achievement award at the 5th Annual Hollywood Music in Media Awards, set for Nov. 4 at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Glen Campbell Notches Highest Rank on Hot ...

  25. Reba McEntire Becomes Nash Icon Music Label's Inaugural Signing

    October 21, 2014 9:48 PM EDT Reba McEntire is about to hit the comeback trail. The Country Music Hall of Fame member signed a new recording pact earlier this morning with Nash Icon Music, a joint venture between Big Machine Label Group and Cumulus Media -- for which the pro ...

  26. Kelly Clarkson Gathers Famous Friends for Holiday Benefit Concert

    October 14, 2014 12:16 AM EDT Kelly Clarkson announced on her website that she'll be hosting her first annual benefit concert, Miracle on Broadway , on Dec. 20. The show, which will be held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, features a star-studded lineup, including Reba ...

  27. Rock Exhibit Coming to Country Hall of Fame

    October 13, 2014 5:53 PM EDT While country music has long been synonymous with Nashville, rock and folk musicians in the late '60s and early '70s made the Southern city the new hip spot to record. The city's talented session musicians helped create some of th ...

  28. Inside Garth Brooks' Master Plan To Launch the Biggest Tour of All Time

    October 10, 2014 10:00 AM EDT Garth Brooks has long been the biggest-selling act of the Nielsen SoundScan era, with 69.6 million albums sold in the United States alone since 1991. And insiders say that for the recently launched tour in support of his new album, Man Against ...

  29. Willie Nelson's Braids Sell for $37,000 at Auction

    October 07, 2014 9:28 PM EDT Willie Nelson 's signature braids sold for $37,000 at an auction in Phoenix on Sunday, included in the roughly 2,000 items sold off that belonged to the late outlaw country singer Waylon Jennings .  Waylon Jennings' Items Up For Auctio ...

  30. Americana Awards: Jason Isbell Sweeps, Sturgill Simpson Wins New Artist Honors

    September 18, 2014 11:52 AM EDT Singer-songwriter Jason Isbell swept the major awards Wednesday night at the Americana Honors & Awards, creating another special moment with his wife, Amanda Shires . Isbell won artist, album and song of the year during the 13th annual award ...

  31. CMA Noms Lift Miranda Lambert's 'Platinum' Back to No. 1

    September 11, 2014 5:45 PM EDT Leading all acts with nine nominations for the 2014 CMA Awards (announced Sept. 3), Miranda Lambert flies 7-1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart with Platinum . With Greatest Gainer honors, the set scores a sixth week at No. 1 with a 94 ...

  32. Vince Gill to Receive BMI Icon Award

    September 10, 2014 9:18 PM EDT Vince Gill will receive an all-star tribute this November at the 62nd annual BMI Country Awards. Vince Gill, Paul Franklin Return to 'Bakersfield' With Expanded Edition The Nov. 4 event at BMI's Nashville headquarters will include a ...

  33. Garth Brooks' 'People' Poised for Strong Country Airplay Chart Debut

    September 04, 2014 5:45 PM EDT Garth Brooks prepares to make a head-turning debut on Billboard's Nielsen BDS-fueled Country Airplay chart with "People Loving People," his first proper radio single in six years. The country/rock track previews his first studio alb ...

  34. Slim Dusty’s ‘Best Of’ Hits Chart Milestone Down Under

    August 25, 2014 12:58 AM EDT The late Australian country great Slim Dusty  has established a new chart milestone with his best-of compilation which appears on the ARIA Top 40 Country Music chart for an 800th week. First released in November 1998, The Very Best Of Slim Dusty i ...

  35. Tickets Selling Fast for Willie Nelson & Neil Young's Pipeline Protest Concert

    August 21, 2014 11:16 PM EDT Organizers say nearly all the $50 tickets for a Willie Nelson and Neil Young concert organized by opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have been sold. The group Bold Nebraska said in a statement Thursday more than 6,500 of the 7,000 tick ...

  36. Sam Hunt Scores Highest Debut on Top Country Albums With 'X2C'

    August 21, 2014 4:22 PM EDT Former college football quarterback Sam Hunt snares Hot Shot Debut honors at No. 5 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart with X2C , his four-song, digital EP which arrives with 8,000 sold in the week ending Aug. 17, according to Nielsen Sou ...

  37. Taylor Swift Turns Radio On With 'Shake It Off'

    August 19, 2014 5:35 PM EDT As expected, Taylor Swift soared onto radio airwaves with her highly anticipated new single "Shake It Off." Swift released the high-energy, anti-haters pop anthem Tuesday during her Yahoo! live stream shortly after 5 p.m. ET. The song ...

  38. Brad Paisley Helps Launch My Country Nation Digital Channel

    August 18, 2014 12:38 PM EDT Brad Paisley has partnered with a pair of content producers and a talent agency to launch a digital channel this month designed for country music fans. More on Paisley Brad Paisley Q&A: Country Star Talks 'Moonshine,' 'Accidenta ...

  39. Maddie & Tae's 'Girl' Jumps Into Top 20 on Hot Country Songs

    August 07, 2014 9:30 PM EDT Rookie duo Maddie & Tae make a notable jump on Hot Country Songs with their counterculture anthem "Girl In a Country Song," which leaps 26-16 with both Digital Gainer and Streaming Gainer honors. The track jumps 28-12 on Country Digi ...

  40. Billboard 200 Chart Moves: Jack White’s Vinyl Sales Still Sizzle, Adele’s ‘21’ Nears 11 Million Sales & More

    August 03, 2014 4:29 PM EDT This week on the Billboard 200 albums chart, 5 Seconds of Summer saw its self-titled debut full-length album arrive atop the list , selling 259,000 copies in the week ending July 27, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That sum is not only the third-b ...

  41. Shania Twain to End Vegas Run in December

    July 21, 2014 2:30 PM EDT Country superstar Shania Twain says she'll end her residency in Las Vegas with a final show Dec. 13, two years after she began performing at Caesars Palace. Twain announced 16 "Shania: Still the One" shows in October and December, i ...

  42. Chart Moves: Neil Diamond's 52nd Hit Album Debuts, 16-Year-Old Jacob Whitesides Makes Top 40 Bow

    July 19, 2014 9:00 AM EDT This week on the Billboard 200 albums chart, singer/songwriter Sia claimed her first No. 1 album , as "1000 Forms of Fear" debuted in the top slot. It sold 52,000 copies in the week ending July 13, according to Nielsen SoundScan -- Sia&# ...

  43. Live Nation, MGM Resorts Team for New Country Festival in Las Vegas

    July 17, 2014 12:13 PM EDT A country music extravaganza featuring some of the biggest names in the genre will descend on Las Vegas this fall, taking a cue from the massive rock, pop, electronic dance music and indie festivals that have recently made Sin City home. Concert p ...

  44. Florida Georgia Line's 'Dirt' Plows To No. 1 On Hot Country Songs

    July 16, 2014 6:00 PM EDT Florida Georgia Line cleans up with its highly-anticipated new single, "Dirt," the new No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. The song rockets from No. 40 to No. 1 following its first full week of availability. "Dirt&quo ...

  45. Garth Brooks Taps Chicago for Start of Tour

    July 15, 2014 10:33 AM EDT Garth Brooks announced the first date this morning for his upcoming world tour: Sept. 4 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., near Chicago, a market Brooks hasn't played in 17 years. There is no word on when the rest of the tour will be an ...

  46. Billboard Artist 100 Chart Launches; Trey Songz Leads First List

    July 10, 2014 10:03 AM EDT Sam Smith, Ariana Grande, MAGIC! and Luke Bryan among others in the top 10 of Billboard's exclusive new ranking of each week's top acts Today (June 10), Billboard proudly unveils the Artist 100 , the first-ever weekly ranking dedicated t ...

  47. Garth Brooks Calls Off Retirement for New Album, Massive Tour

    July 10, 2014 6:39 AM EDT 7 2.586 k 32 2 Garth Brooks, arguably the biggest country star of the 1990s, is scheduled to make a major announcement at a Nashville press conference this afternoon: that he’s coming out of retirement and looking to reclaim the top dog title for the curr ...

  48. What Taylor Swift Failed to Mention In Her Poptimist Op-Ed

    July 09, 2014 1:47 PM EDT It's not every day a music superstar pens an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal and covers a variety of topics in nearly 1,200 words. At a time many artists fret the industry is crumbling, Swift's piece brims with optimism. Taylor Swift ...

  49. Taylor Swift Shares Optimistic View of the Music Industry In Wall Street Journal Op-Ed

    July 07, 2014 10:14 PM EDT Taylor Swift believes there’s still hope for the music industry. In fact, she’s “one of the few living souls in the music industry who still believes that the music industry is not dying…it's just coming alive,” the superstar wrote in an op-e ...

  50. For Actors Who Want To Sing, Country Airplay Is Difficult To Obtain

    June 29, 2014 10:46 AM EDT The country format has seen an influx in recent years of artists who gained fame for their acting work, then turned their attention to a music career. With one notable exception, they’ve largely found the doors at country radio closed tight, despi ...

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