Country

Harry Styles & Kacey Musgraves Team Up to Cover Shania Twain’s ‘Still the One’: Watch

What’s better than going to a Harry Styles and Kacey Musgraves show? Going to a Harry Styles and Kacey Musgraves show that has both talents joining forces on a gorgeous Shania Twain cover, without a doubt. On Friday night (June 22), the tour buddies surprised the crowd at Madison Square Garden with a swoon-worthy take on Twain’s 1997 hit, “Still the One.” Styles introduced the tune as one of his “personal favorites” and encouraged the arena to sing along, which they did as soon as Musgraves began the ballad. Musgraves has been supporting Styles on his American tour since the jaunt kicked off in Dallas on June 5. They’ll wrap this leg of the the tour on July 14 in Los Angeles. Watch Styles and Musgraves perform “Still the One” below. [em...

Frank Newsome Muses on Faith, Geography and the Past on His New Record, ‘Gone Away With a Friend’

Unlike many who release an album, stardom isn’t on Frank Newsome’s mind. The native of Haysi, Virginia spent many years in the coal mines of Appalachia, turning to a full-time career in the ministry in the mid-1970s. He currently serves as the pastor for six different churches of the Old Regular Baptist faith — alternating each week — in the mountain hills. One trait of the Churches that Newsome grew up in is that you won’t hear any instruments at the services. Instead, the congregation sings the hymns of the church in ancient lined-out tones — very similar to some of the classic Gospel music recorded by Ralph Stanley, who grew up around much of the same music. Newsome’s voice — and that great mountain tradition — comes to the forefront of Gone Away With A Fri...

The 13 Best Moments From CMA Fest 2018 Day 4

Another CMA Fest has come and gone, but not without some unforgettable moments. Day 4 of the 2018 fest saw the most surprises at Nissan Stadium — including Backstreet Boys joining Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan singing to Randy Travis — and several newcomers delivering impressive sets during the day on Sunday (June 10). Check out the best highlights Billboard saw throughout the CMA Fest 2018 finale below. Maddie & Tae’s Intimate Performance Less than two hours after finishing an early-morning set on the Riverfront Stage, Maddie & Tae treated a small group of fans to some fun new tracks as well as their hits “Girl in a Country Song” and “Fly” at the HGTV Lodge. The intimate setting allowed for both their voices and personalities to shin...

Ray Stevens Is Latest Country Star to Launch Own Venue With His CabaRay Showroom

Nestled in the West Nashville neighborhood of Bellevue, roughly 13 miles away from the throngs of young CMA Music Festival attendees spilling out of downtown’s rooftop bars this week, sits the Ray Stevens CabaRay Showroom. The 35,000-square-foot dinner theater was a passion project for the 79-year-old Stevens, an entertainment venue where the multi-Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter and comedian could perform onstage each week without straying too far from home. When Billboard visited CabaRay, the 725-seat capacity theater’s parking lot featured license plates from as far north as Maine, and a tour bus was occupying one of the six available spots for large groups from out of state. Walking through the front doors of the venue, one of the first things you are sure to notice is the...

Sugarland & Taylor Swift’s Glamorous ‘Babe’ Video Depicts a Retro Love Triangle

Country duo Sugarland dropped their anticipated sixth studio album Bigger on Friday (June 8), and they’ve followed it up one day later with the video for the single “Babe,” featuring an appearance from the song’s co-writer Taylor Swift. The band first teased the Mad Men-esque video on Wednesday (June 6) during the CMT Music Awards with a thrilling trailer. Decked out in furs, jewels and flawless blonde curls, Sugarland songstress Jennifer Nettles stars in the video as a wealthy 1960s housewife caught in a torrid love triangle opposite Brandon Routh and Taylor Swift. Routh is the philandering husband working late hours and hiding his true colors from his wife, while Swift plays the seductive colleague with whom Routh spends time when he’s away from home. The cinemati...

Mason Ramsey Performs the National Anthem at CMA Fest

Mason Ramsey, the 11-year-old boy perhaps best known for yodeling his way from Walmart to a record deal, performed the National Anthem at CMA Fest Friday (June 8). The young singer’s voice was clear and unwavering as he belted out the country’s anthem at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium. Ramsey just released a studio recording of “Lovesick Blues,” the Hank Williams song that he was heard singing in a video that went viral in April. He’s also dropped his own debut single, “Famous.” Listen to his rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” below. .@theMasonRamsey singing the National Anthem at Nissan Stadium tonight #CMAFEST pic.twitter.com/0ruVsdx9t7 — Megan Wilander (@MSW924) June 9, 2018

The 17 Best Moments From CMA Fest 2018 Day 2

Day 2 of CMA Fest brought even hotter temperatures and more fun from some of country’s rising artists, current favorites and superstars. The night capped off with an incredible performance from Carrie Underwood at Nissan Stadium, but there were plenty more captivating moments throughout the day on Friday (June 8). Take a look at the best moments Billboard caught on Day 2 of CMA Fest. Cam’s Shout-Out to Fireball The curly-haired singer shared a funny story about her track “Fireball Whiskey,” which entailed emailing fireballwhiskey@gmail.com upon writing the song to see if they’d be interested in using it. She did get a response, but not what she expected: “Ms. Cam, your song promotes irresponsible drinking.” So before starting the song, she reminded everyone to drink responsibly...

Mason Ramsey Officially Has a Studio Recording of Hank Williams’ ‘Lovesick Blues’: Listen

Just two months after Mason Ramsey skyrocketed into superstardom with a viral video of the 11-year-old yodeling at an Illinois Walmart, he’s taking it back to the song that started it all. Ramsey’s studio recording of Hank Williams’ “Lovesick Blues” was released Friday (June 9). Ramsey nails the vocals of the tune, as expected, as well as his characteristic yodels. The studio recording comes after signing with Atlantic Records and Big Loud in Nashville, prompting the release of his debut single “Famous.” Since his Walmart video, Ramsey went on to perform at Coachella, Stagecoach and the Grand Ole Opry. Listen to “Lovesick Blues” below. [embedded content]

2018 CMT Music Awards: All The Performances Ranked

The 2017 CMT Music Awards are now in the book, having kicked off in fine style with performances from many of the top stars in the format — plus a few from outside of it. Billboard has ranked the performances on the show. See if your opinion matches up with ours. 14. “Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset,” Luke Bryan:  Bryan has released more than his share of summer anthems over the years, and we’re sure this one — with its infectious melody — will join those other classics at the top of the list. 13. “Drowns The Whiskey,” Jason Aldean: On a night where the boundaries were pushed to the limit, one of country’s biggest male artists turned the pendulum back towards the traditional. The only glaring omission concerning the performance was the fact that Miranda Lambert, who sings harmon...

Midland Talk Honky-Tonk Bars and Texas Stereotypes at Billboard Country Power Players Event: Watch

Midland’s Mark Wystrach, Cameron Duddy and Jess Carson caught up with Billboard’s Taylor Weatherby at the Billboard Country Power Players event in Nashville on Tuesday (June 5) for a chat about honky-tonk bars and Texas stereotypes. Midland’s recent music video for “Burn Out,” which features the trio at a two-stepping bar, was inspired by them wanting to capture what a real Texas honky-tonk experience is about. “Billy Bob’s is the biggest [honky-tonk bar],” explained Wystrach, “and probably the most famous honky-tonk in all the world.” “We just actually sold it out on Saturday and it’s become like a second home for us,” he added, “so that was honestly just kind of capturing what the Texas honky-tonk experience is kind of like…We were just kind of trying to recreate that pure, raw, sweaty, ...

Shania Twain Shares Behind-the-Scenes Footage of ‘Epic’ NOW Tour Choreography: Exclusive Video

Shania Twain has always pulled out the stops with her live dancing and choreography ever since her commercial breakout in the mid-’90s. Now, we can see exactly how the magic happens in an intimate, backstage setting — all thanks to this exclusive in-depth video from Shania’s stage crew from the ongoing NOW Tour. The footage contains spots from Shania’s assistant choreographer KC Monnie, NOW tour dancers Asiel and Hayley and Twain herself, who speak candidly about what goes into the show and how they hope fans receive it. Monnie calls it a “choreography heavy” show, not just because Twain dances her way through every number, but also due to the awe-inspiring elements on the stage and the dancers that move along with her. “It’s pretty epic,” he says in the...

The Country Music Industry Is More Liberal Than It Lets On: Will More Start To Speak Up?

Not long after the Dixie Chicks were exiled from the country universe in 2003 following Natalie Maines’ declaration, onstage in London, that they were “ashamed the president of the United States [George W. Bush] is from Texas,” a group that dubbed itself Music Row Democrats formed in Nashville. At first comprising 20 executives and songwriters, it soon blossomed into the thousands. The goal of the organization was to help the town, known for its conservative base, elect left-leaning candidates and reveal Nashville for what it really is: a place where a surprising number of progressive liberals work in a musical genre that caters to a core conservative audience. Fifteen years later, this contrast has never been more apparent. The past year in Nashville — a city that consistently votes...