Contemporary Country News: Lockdown Edition

A round up of the latest country music news featuring Ashley McBryde, Scotty McCreery, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Brothers Osborne, Lee Brice, Jimmie Allen, Kip Moore and many more!

With everything going on in 2020, you may have missed some of the developments in country music while touring’s been on hold. Or you might just need a break! Sit back and take in these recent releases and dates to look forward to.

Ashley McBryde plans to stick to her tour plans
The Shires and Eric Paslay will be joining forces for a huge UK tour
Scotty McCreery will be back!
Brothers Osborne want to keep you up All Night next January!
Eric Church stuck that in his country song
Tyler Farr is back with an EP produced by Jason Aldean
Jason Aldean‘s family helped him make a socially distanced video
Jimmie Allen announced a star-studded EP
Welcome to Kip Moore‘s Wild World
Olivia Lane launched a single and a podcast
Chris Lane takes us back to Take Back Home Girl
Introducing Tim Dugger
Lee Brice wants you to meet One of Them Girls
Dustin Lynch gets fiery
Can you keep up with RaeLynn?
Hot Country Knights (The K is Silent) and Dierks Bentley (the K is Not Silent)
Morgan Wallen can’t make it to your hometown but you can learn about his
Runaway June reminisce about home
G.F. Patrick moves One Town Over
Matt Stell‘s wry take on heartache
Dylan Scott goes Gold and Double Platinum
Ruthie Collins and her alter-ego head to Joshua Tree

Ashley McBryde plans to stick to her tour plans

The year seems to be barreling by at a rate of knots and we’re still no closer to knowing quite how and when live music will return in the era of COVID-19. Staying optimistic, Reigning ACM New Female Artist of the Year, CMA New Artist of the Year and CMT Breakout Artist of the Year Ashley McBryde still plans to come on over to the UK and Ireland in September 2020.

September 1, 2020: Limelight, Belfast
September 2, 2020: Academy, Dublin
September 4, 2020: Roundhouse, London
September 5, 2020: Chalk, Brighton
September 6, 2020: SWX, Brighton
September 8, 2020: Stylus, Leeds
September 10, 2020: Barrowland, Glasgow
September 11, 2020: O2 Ritz, Manchester

McBryde’s second album, Never Will, came out on April 3 during the lockdown. It’s the hotly anticipated follow up to Girl Going Nowhere, which was the biggest selling debut solo country record in 2018. The first three singles from the new record tell a three part story:

The Shires and Eric Paslay will be joining forces for a huge UK tour

The UK’s best selling country act, The Shires, were set to be the first UK act to perform on the C2C main stage, replacing Old Dominion. The the full extent of the COVID-19 became clear and the festival got cancelled, followed shortly by The Shires’ nationwide tour.

Safe to say that they’re eager to get out in October and November 2020 to play tracks from their latest album, Good Years.

Joining them will be Eric Paslay, who wrote Jake Owen’s hit Barefoot Blue Jean Night which was the number one song on Country Aircheck’s DECADE chart!

He’ll also be playing recent single Heartbeat Higher, co-written with and featuring Sarah Buxton.

October 21, 2020: Corn Exchange, Bedford
October 26, 2020: Academy, Bristol
October 27, 2020: Princess Theatre, Torquay
October 29, 2020: Brighton Dome, Brighton
October 30, 2020: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
November 1, 2020: Barbican, York
November 2, 2020: Symphony Hall, Birmingham
November 3, 2020: Sands Centre, Carlisle
November 4, 2020: Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
November 6, 2020: St David’s Hall, Cardiff, Wales
November 9, 2020: Regent Theatre, Ipswich
November 10, 2020: Aberyswyth Arts Centre, Aberyswyth
November 12, 2020: Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone
November 13, 2020: Royal Centre, Nottingham
November 15, 2020: The Palladium, London
November 16, 2020: Pavilion, Weymouth
November 17, 2020: The Anvil, Basingstoke
November 19, 2020: Engine Shed, Lincoln
November 21, 2020: G Live, Guildford
November 24, 2020: New Theatre, Oxford
November 25, 2020: Victoria Hall, Stoke
November 30, 2020: Sage, Gateshead
December 1, 2020: Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen
December 2, 2020: Liquid Room, Edinburgh
December 7, 2020: Corn Exchange, Cambridge

All tickets for the original tour dates remain valid for the respective rescheduled date.

Scotty McCreery will be back!

Scotty McCreery won Season 10 of American Idol in 2011 playing covers but he’s certainly amassed enough Platinum hits of his own in the years since. He has sold over 3 million records to date and all four of his albums have debuted at number one on the Billboard Albums chart.

After a short run of UK shows for Country Music Week 2019, McCreery was due back in May 2020. Lockdown changes those plans. Lock down permitting, the rescheduled dates are set for October.

“I’ve really been looking forward to coming over this Spring, but my first priority is the health and safety of my fans, venue owners and staff, and my band and crew. It may be a few months later than we had originally planned, but I can’t wait to come over to the UK and Ireland in October and see everyone. We will all get through this together.” 

Scotty McCreety

October 1, 2020: O2 Ritz, Manchester
October 3, 2020: O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
October 5, 2020: Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow
October 6, 2020: The Limelight, Belfast
October 7, 2020: Academy, Dublin

Original tickets remain valid other than those for the Bristol show. Bristol ticket holders should apply to the vendor for a refund as, unfortunately, it was not possible to reschedule that show. McCreery apologised, saying I’m so sorry, Bristol. I am very disappointed that I’m not able to perform in your city on the rescheduled tour. I hope to be there on a future UK tour, and I hope some of you are able to come to our London show since it is now on a Saturday.” 

Brothers Osborne want to keep you up All Night next January

Church’s Snakefarm Records labelmates Brothers Osborne have released All Night as a taster of their third album that’s currently in the works, lockdown permitting. It’s due out later this year.

They’re hoping to perform tracks from the album to UK fans in January 2020. Tickets for the original May 2020 dates remain valid.

January 11, 2020: Junction, Cambridge
January 12, 2020: O2 Institute, Birmingham
January 14, 2020: Roundhouse, London
January 15, 2020: O2 Academy, Leeds (upgraded venue)
January 16, 2020: Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh
January 17, 2020: Albert Hall, Manchester

In the meantime, their Live At The Ryman record is available. The LP version comes as a 2 disc coloured vinyl set with red and yellow records designed to mirror the hallowed Nashville venue’s stained glass windows.

Eric Church stuck that in his country song

Grammy nominated CMA and ACM award winner Eric Church has just released a rallying cry single, Stick That In Your Country Song. It was premiered in the UK by ‘Whispering Bob’ Harris on Radio 2. Every artist talks up their latest song, of course, but Church is unequivocal about his: “I believe it’s the best we’ve ever been in our career.”

Church thrived in the live scene, innovating with events like the Double Down tour where he played two nights in a row in each location, giving fans six hours of songs. On that tour, he broke attendance records at Nissan Stadium in Nashville with 56,521 fans.

That’s not to say he’s been at a loose end in lockdown. After all, he wrote his latest single in a rural spot in North Carolina where he wrote and recorded 28 songs in 28 days, so he was already used to being sequestered for long stretches!

The new single comes hots on the heels of the re-release of The Outsiders on Snakefarm Records. It was the most successful country album of 2014 and went double platinum. The new version comes on CD, double gatefold vinyl and digital, with special packaging and extra tracks, including a bonus live CD.

Tyler Farr is back with an EP produced by Jason Aldean

Tyler Farr’s been fairly quiet since the release of his album five years ago, so it’s kind of ironic that he’s returned to the scene just as things are getting hectic for his family: his wife is a critical care nurse working on a COVID-19 ward.

The opera-trained singer was tipped as a breakthrough artist, starred in his own reality show A Little Too Farr, and he was the only solo male country artist to have his first two studio albums debut in the Top 5 on the Billboard 200 Chart. He also toured with the likes of Florida Georgia Line, Luke Combs, and Jason Aldean. In fact, Aldean was so impressed that they become friends. Aldean produced this new EP, and it was the first release on his new record label.

There was obviously pent up demand for his return because the EP’s eponymous single, Only Truck In Town, has already been streamed over 2 million times! He was celebrated as Facebook’s Artist of the Day on its June 6 release.

With a back catalogue of number ones like Redneck Crazy, Whiskey in My Water and A Guy Walks Into A Bar you know that if you like your contemporary country peppered with trucks, drinks, and blue jeans, this is the guy for you! The EP is out now digitally on Night Train Records.

Jason Aldean’s family helped him make a socially distanced video

Speaking of Aldean, his latest record 9 is his sixth consecutive number 1 selling album. Overall, he’s earned 15 billion streams and sold 18 million albums. He spent time in lockdown celebrating music and family by working with his wife and young children to make an adorable promo for his latest single, Got What I Got.

“We’d been down at the beach during quarantine and have had a lot of time to appreciate each other. With a skeleton video crew and social distancing, it was an all-hands-on-deck shoot that made for a little twist at the end.”

Jason Aldean

Jimmie Allen announced a star-studded EP

Jimmie Allen is the first black artist to earn two consecutive number one singles on country radio in the U.S. He knew he wanted to honour his grandmother, Bettie Snead, and his father, James Allen. For a family of country music lovers, releasing an EP named Bettie James featuring collaborations with Tim McGray, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Noah Cyrus and many more artists is quite a way to celebrate the legacy of two important people in Allen’s life.

“Each artist has touched the life of my dad, my grandmother and me through their music. I’m proud of this body of music and thankful to every writer that helped me create Bettie James.”

Jimmie Allen

Allen’s Bettie James EP comes out on July 10, 2020.

Welcome to Kip Moore’s Wild World

Kip Moore’s fourth studio album, Wild World, is out now. He co-wrote 12 of the 13 tracks, and co-produced the record. It was recorded live with a full band to capture that heartland-rock sound.

“We wanted it to be more in-your-face. More earthy, more analogue…I know it’s an unsettling time for a lot of people right now, and so my hope is that this music can bring even just one person some peaceLife is one crazy, wild ride. But it can be so simple if we look for the right things”

Kip Moore

Olivia Lane launched a single and a podcast

Olivia Lane’s been making waves on the country pop scene since 2015, gaining early attention from Billboard and Rolling Stone. Since then success has manifested in tours, TV appearances, her own publishing company and even a studio on Nashville’s world-famous Music Row!

All the touring took its toll on her voice and wellbeing, however, so Lane quite sensibly took some time out for reflection and therapy. That insight has reinvigorated her physically, mentally and creatively and now Lane is back with a new single, Living Instead.

The release of Living Instead coincided with the launch of Lane’ new podcast of the same name, which you can check out here, covering topics like peacefulness and fitness.

Chris Lane takes us back to Take Back Home Girl

Recognising that it could be a while before we’re back out into the live scene, Chris Lane has released a live version of his smash hit Take Back Home. The original single has been streamed over 422 million times with 52 million views (and counting) for the official video featuring Tori Kelly, so he’s hoping you enjoy this live version dueting with MacKenzie Porter just as much.

This follows soon after Lane’s surprise collab with melodic EDM artist Gryffin. This is sure to add to his overall listener stats, which have recently passed 1.5 BILLION streams!!

Introducing Tim Dugger

Alabama native Tim Dugger, has made a name for himself in the NASCAR scene, playing nearly every race track in the U.S. He was hoping his career would take off just as fast with the release of his new EP Signs of a Good Time, but then the pandemic hit. He grew up influenced by the Gospel singing of his faith, bluegrass and traditional country music, so why not check out if his music is for you?

Lee Brice wants you to meet One of Them Girls

Meanwhile, Dugger’s label mate, multi-platinum selling ACM and CMA winner Lee Brice has finally released a song that he was inspired to co-write after a moment of reflection on Father’s Day last year. The video was filed before the pandemic but just happens to celebrate a first responder; a firefighter who is also a single mother.

Dustin Lynch gets fiery

Brice’s firefighting hero should get down to Dustin Lynch’s hometown stat because Momma’s House, shot in Lafayette, Tennessee, is ablaze!

The award winning Grand Ole Opry member, who’s earned over 1.7 BILLION total career streams, explained the inspiration behind the song and video:

“All the love stories that were successful in my life happened in high school in that small town kind of setting, and that’s who you married and that’s who you had a family with, so Momma’s House really takes me back to those times. I’ve been that guy before where I’ve just wanted to rip everything apart, but you know what I realized…is that lyrics to songs mean a whole lot more once you’ve been broken up with… All the sudden that John Mayer record means a little something different…I look at it differently because my world was crushed.”

Can you keep up with RaeLynn?

“I want women to take away from Keep Up that they can be just as rowdy as the guys can! This is the country girl anthem we need.”

RaeLynn

RaeLynn co-wrote Keep Up with Corey Crowder, Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard and Steven Lee Olsen. That’s no surprise; he’s signed to Round Here Records/AWAL – the newly formed label created by Hubbard and Brian Kelley – and her forthcoming EP is produced by Crowder.

If the name (or the personality!) seems familiar, you might have caught her at C2C Festival in 2019 or on tour with Maren Morris.

Her debut album, WILDHORSE, debuted at No 1 on Billboard’s Country Album Chart and made top 10 on Billboard’s All-Genre Albums Sales Chart. She’s already earned 450 MILLION total career streams.

Hot Country Knights (The K is Silent) and Dierks Bentley (the K is Not Silent)

If you’ve been missing the acid washed denim, platinum blonde teased mullet early 90s era of country, you’re in luck as Hot Country Knights are here to save you. Their debut album, The K is Silent, was released on May 1. It was produced and partly co-written by Dierks Bentley.

“We were out on the road singing a lot of other people’s hits, and we called them greatest hits because by us singing them, it actually made them great…[our new music] is all original material, and it’s the best stuff to come out of Nashville from a man band in several decades

Doug Douglason (who happens to bear a resemblance to Bentley himself…)

So, yes, the tongue is firmly in cheek here (see also track titles like Mull It Over, Wrangler Dangler and The USA Begins With Us) but who can blame you for wanting a bit of parody fun right now?

Morgan Wallen can’t make it to your hometown but you can learn about his

Morgan Wallen has had 2.5 billion career streams. He was hoping to play his Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum hits to UK audiences for the first time, but his tour had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.

“I’m sorry, y’all. I wish there was some way around it, but this is our only option right now. I was looking forward to coming over there so much, I’ve never been to the UK before. I’ll be back. Y’all take care and stay safe during this weird time.”

Morgan Wallen

Instead, we’ll have to make do with his latest single, More Than My Hometown, and ode to love and authenticity. ‘Whispering Bob’ Harris gave the song its world-exclusive first play on BBC Radio 2.

Runaway June reminisce about home

ACM’s Next Women of Country, Runaway June, bonded over their will to ‘runaway’ to chase their music dreams. Take singer and guitarist Jennifer Wayne, for example. John Wayne’s granddaughter left California and a pro-tennis career to become a songwriter in Nashville before joining the trio.

However, their latest single draws more on the love they have for their homes and families; the June part of the name comes from two band members both having relatives names June, after all.

G. F. Patrick moves One Town Over

G. F. Patrick, formerly of Black Horse Motel, tells the stories of those with much less happy memories of their hometowns and early lives, let alone their downtrodden current situations.

Anger of Magdalene could be a down home line-dancing We Didn’t Start The Fire until you tune into the humiliation, abuse and violence underpinning the narrative. These aren’t the blue jean, free wheelin’, happy ending stories you hear on country radio, and that makes the perspective particularly interesting.

Matt Stell’s wry take on heartache

Matt Stell’s newest single, If I Was A Bar, is a witty take on heartbreak and loneliness, with a tongue-in-cheek video to match.

He’s barely had a chance to rest from his starring role in that promo. He just managed to fit in He joined Lindsay Ell to showcase a song he wrote that week for Instagram live series Penned IP. He was also the first artists to receive a virtual plaque from RIAA for his Platinum debut single, Prayed For You. It was the only debut single to top the Billboard Country Airplay chart in 2019 and has been streamed over 182 million times.

The 6 foot 7 Arkansas native gave up the change to study pre-med as part of a Harvard program to instead follow his dreams to Nashville. He focused his desire to help on launching a philanthropic initiative, the Give A Damn Foundation, raising funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Doctors Without Borders, the Humane Society, and more.

Dylan Scott goes Gold and Double Platinum

As if being the number 40 most played song of the decade according to Mediabase wasn’t enough, Dylan Scott’s 2017 single My Girl has now been certified Double Platinum. It’s a double celebration for Scott has his self-titled debut album us also RIAA certified Gold, with 730 million streams since 2016.

He’s back with his latest single, Nobody, accompanied by a video featuring his young family.

Ruthie Collins and her alter-ego head to Joshua Tree

Dylan Scott’s Curb Records label mate Ruthie Collins is back with a single about the polar opposite to a happy family life.

A while back I started falling for a guy who was very much taken. I’d never cross those lines, but I remember stepping back and looking at the situation and thinking, ‘Man, I wish just for a second I could not have a conscience and see what would happen.’ When the chorus kicks in, though, I remind myself that I’m not a bad woman, that I’m a good girl and I’ll be just fine without him.

Ruthie Collins

Collins couldn’t make it to her first planned UK show in May so until that’s rescheduled, check out her alter-ego’s travels around Joshua Tree in the video for Cold Comfort.

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