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Warner Music NashvilleNot only does William Michael Morgan have his first top-five hit with his debut single, the Mississippi native also has a real shot at number one with his version of Sam Hunt’s “I Met a Girl.” While Sam is an innovator who uses elements of rap and rhythm and blues into his music, William Michael is as traditional as they come.

He says the blend of both artists' talents on his breakthrough hit is just proof there’s room for everybody in country music.

“When we heard it, it was a whole total different production on it,” he recalls. “I think it was his mixtape demo. But man, we just loved that song, and we love everything that Sam is doing, and you've got the Sam Hunts, the Luke Bryans, the Jason Aldeans in this lane, going this fast, and you've got, you know, the Easton Corbins and the Chris Youngs and [me] over here doing this thing, you know. And it's all one big highway, we're all going to the same place. We're all trying to get the same message across, we're just doing it different.” 

You can find Sam’s version of “I Met a Girl” on his Between the Pines:  Acoustic Mixtape project. William Michael’s appears on his debut full-length album, Vinyl, which comes out on Friday.  

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Capitol NashvilleWith a booty like Luke Bryan’s, it’s bound to get grabbed. The hip-shaking CMA Entertainer of the Year discussed his fans’ propensity to get a little handsy Wednesday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

It’s gotten to be such an issue, in fact, that Luke’s had to institute a “no butt-touching” rule at his meet-and-greets. “They’ll sneak one in on you,” he joked.

When pressed if it really is that big a problem, Luke confessed, “It still happens,” adding, “We’ve learned to understand it.”

After Ellen inquired if all country stars have this issue or if it’s just Luke, he promised to so some research. “I’ll run it by Blake [Shelton] and see what he says,” he quipped.

Luke went on to demonstrate why he has such an in-demand derriere, performing his latest hit “Move.” You can check out both the interview and Luke’s song online.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Randy HouserKellie Pickler and Chuck Wicks will join Darryl Worley for his 15th Annual Tennessee River Run Saturday, October 8 in his hometown of Savannah. It’s part of a weekend full of events to raise money for the “Awful, Beautiful Life” singer’s foundation.

The Life & Songs of Emmylou Harris:  An All-Star Concert Celebration comes out November 11 on Blu-ray, DVD and CD. Lee Ann WomackMary Chapin CarpenterMartina McBrideAlison Krauss and Sheryl Crow are just a few of the artists featured on the show taped last January in Washington, D.C.

Randy Travis will be honored by the Nashville Association of Talent Directors November 9 during a gala at Music City’s Hermitage Hotel.

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Photo by Mike Windle, Getty Images for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Tuesday night in Los Angeles, Vince Gill hosted his ninth on-the-road version of All for the Hall, a concept he pioneered to raise money for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.  

“These shows are a gift to me because I get to invite artists I’m crazy about to come and play and sing music,” Vince confessed. “This night is one of the best we’ve been able to accomplish, because every one of these artists has had a huge impact on my life. It’s not just people who have come before you who have an impact on you,” he said, referring to icon James Taylor and the Eagles’ Joe Walsh, who both joined him for the L.A. guitar pull. “It’s also people who come after you and impact your life, too,” he offered, tipping his hat to Chris Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves, who were also on the bill.

The money raised from the two-hour show at The Novo will go to Hall’s music education programs.

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Warner Music NashvilleWednesday night, Dan Shay are set to do their new single, “How Not To,” in their first-ever performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! You can catch the show at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.

You can also get a preview of the duo’s new song in the Instant Grat YouTube video that was released in May, previewing their sophomore album, Obsessed.

Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney set out on their headlining tour of the same name next month, kicking off the trek November 10 in Denver, Colorado.

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Warner Music NashvilleIt’ll be an early morning this Friday in New York City for Brett Eldredge. The Illinois hitmaker is booked to end the week by performing his latest top-25 single in the 8 a.m. hour of the Today show.  

“’Wanna Be That Song’ is everything I want to say about love and about what I’m trying to be,” Brett explains. “I want to be that part of your life, that song that means so much to you, the one that takes you back to that special place. The song that makes you laugh, the song that makes you cry when you need to cry and you dance when you need to dance,” he says.

If that’s not enough Brett for you, he’ll also stick around to sing again in the 10 a.m. hour of the NBC morning talker, and to chat with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb.

Brett’s very first holiday album, Glow, is on the way October 28.

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CMAFrom the very beginning, “Forever Country” was billed as the biggest single and video in the history of country music -- and now, it’s officially lived up to its name. This week, the CMA-commissioned mashup of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” and Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” debuts at number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

The new rendition sung by 30 CMA winners is only the third song in history ever to accomplish that feat. The recording also moved an impressive 93,000 units in its first week.

And just in case you’re worried you’re the only one who’s been watching the impressive music video over and over again -- you’re not alone. The clip has been streamed more than 31 million times since it debuted last Tuesday night on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.

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Comstock/Thinkstock In 2000, this then-11-year-old became the youngest artist ever to chart a top-20 country hit with “One Voice.” Can you name this current contestant on The Voice? ANSWER:  Billy Gilman.  

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Courtesy The Valory Music Co.With the kind of year Thomas Rhett's had, it's hard to believe he's never done a headlining tour -- until now.

TR will kick off his 2017 Home Team Tour in Saginaw, MI February 23.  Joining the lineup is Kelsea Ballerini, as well as newcomers Russell Dickerson and Ryan Hurd. 

In a statement, Thomas say, "This is really the first time we’ve been able to totally build our own stage and really plan for our show with all our fans,. There has been this undeniable energy out on the road this year, and I know having Kelsea out there is going to amp things up even more."

He adds, "Having my own tour also gives me the opportunity to introduce some people I think are going to explode in the next couple of years and help give them a platform to reach the fans, like how Blake, Toby and Jason did for me. I’m a huge fan of both Ryan and Russell and I can't wait for my fans to get to know them too."

Russell's EP, Yours, has done well on iTunes and on streaming services, while Ryan has written songs for Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line and many others.  He also wrote "Lonely Tonight," the #1 Blake/Ashley Monroe duet. His debut single "We Do Us" is out now.

The Home Team Tour will wrap in TR's hometown of Nashville.  Pre-sale tickets go on sale October 4; the general public can grab them starting October 7.

Here are the cities on the tour, with dates to be announced later:

Saginaw, MI, Dow Event Center*
Erie, PA, Erie Insurance Arena*
Peoria, IL, Peoria Civic Center*
Ft. Wayne, IN, Allen County War Memorial Coliseum
DeKalb, IL, NIU Convocation Center*
Duluth, MN, AMSOIL Arena
Wilkes-Barre, PA, Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza*
Baltimore, MD, Royal Farms Arena
Dayton, OH, Wright State University Nutter Center*
Huntington, WV, Big Sandy Superstore Arena*
Winston-Salem, NC, Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum*
Knoxville, TN, Knoxville Civic Coliseum
Southaven, MS, Landers Center
Norman, OK, Lloyd Noble Center
Nashville, TN, Ascend Amphitheater*
 
*Tickets on sale 10/7.

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Capitol NashvilleAfter three sold-out shows on his Kill the Lights tour this past weekend -- one in Phoenix and two in Los Angeles -- Luke Bryan is staying on the “Move.” The CMA Entertainer of the Year will play his latest top-ten hit Wednesday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, before cranking things up to do it all again.

Luke does two dates in Salt Lake City this Friday and Saturday, and then squeezes in his eight-stop Farm Tour, before wrapping up his 2016 trek with Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch in late October.

Check your local listings to find out when you can see Luke’s mid-week visit with Ellen.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Country Music Hall of Famer Brenda Lee will accept the Casino Entertainment Legend Award Wednesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. She’s the first woman to take home the honor, following in the footsteps of Jerry Lewis and Wayne Newton.

Dan Shay stay up late Wednesday night to play Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.

Chris Lane will be up even later, checking in with Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:35 a.m. ET on NBC.

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Reviver RecordsAfter a decade of struggling to make it, this week LOCASH celebrates their second top-ten country hit in a row. Through the years, Preston Brust and Chris Lucas admit they’ve learned a thing or two about perseverance.

“This is ten years in the making, this is real LOCASH, this is what we've always wanted to put out, starting with the title track [of our album], ‘The Fighters,’” Chris says. “I mean, I don't think anything explains LOCASH more than that song right there…Everyone's been through a fight, from someone being sick, very sick like cancer, or someone that's a farmer that hasn't got rain…You don't give up the fight and that's what this album is about, man. That's exactly it. It's LOCASH!”

On the heels of their breakthrough “I Love This Life,” Chris had no doubt what the next release should be.

“When 'I Know Somebody'…was pitched to us -- it's one we didn't write -- and we heard it…I was like 'I can hear this on the radio right now!'” he recalls.  

“I Know Somebody” currently sits at number eight on the charts, as the duo prepares to kick off their headlining gig on Live Nation’s Ones to Watch tour in November.

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Capitol NashvilleDierks Bentley was so hyped up on the first night of his sold-out, two-night stint at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Monday, he just couldn’t stop playing, eventually extending his set so long he went past the iconic venue’s curfew.

“This is my fifth time… but it gets more crazy and crazy every time,” he told the crowd. “It’s not every night you get to play here, so I texted a friend to see if she could be part of tonight. She’s got one of the best voices in country music and came all the way from Boston to be here…” he said, before bringing on Maren Morris to perform “I’ll Be the Moon,” the duet she wrote for his album Black.

The two then harmonized on Maren’s breakthrough, “My Church,” before Randy Houser joined them for “Bad Angel,” originally a collaboration between Dierks, Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson.

The “Different for Girls” hitmaker clocks one more show at Red Rocks, before kicking off the fall leg of his Somewhere on a Beach tour October 13 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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Photo by Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryFuneral services for Country Music Hall of Famer Jean Shepard will be Friday at 1 p.m. CT in her hometown of Hendersonville, Tennessee, with visitation beginning at noon on Thursday at Hendersonville Funeral Home. Friends, family and fans also will be able to pay their respects starting at 11 a.m. on Friday. The public is invited to the remembrances.

The Opry also will pay tribute to its longest-standing female member during its shows this weekend. Shepard passed away Sunday in hospice care at the age of 82, after six decades as a member of the cast of the world’s longest-running radio show.   

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Mercury NashvilleKacey Musgraves will mark the release of A Very Kacey Christmas by mounting a headlining tour with the same name. The eight-date trek kicks off November 26 in Windsor, Ontario, before making its way to Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium on the 28th.

The Grammy winner’s first holiday set comes out October 28, with a vinyl version following on November 18.

Here are the dates for Kacey’s yuletide tour, with most of the shows going on sale this Friday:

11/26 -- Windsor, ON, The Colosseum at Caesars Windsor
11/28 -- Nashville, TN, The Ryman Auditorium
12/8 -- New York, NY, The Town Hall
12/9 -- Wilkes-Barre, PA, FM Kirby Center for the Performing Arts
12/10 -- Washington, DC, National Theater
12/15 -- Joliet, IL, Rialto Square Theater
12/16 -- Knoxville, TN, Tennessee Theater
12/17 -- Evansville, IN, Victory Theater

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Comstock/Thinkstock Twenty-five years ago this week, this Garth Brooks album debuted atop the Billboard country albums ranking, where it would stay for 33 of the next 36 weeks. Can you name the "Rodeo"-themed record? ANSWER:  Ropin' the Wind.

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ABC RadioKeith Urban is set to play the Australian equivalent of the Super Bowl this Sunday. He’ll take the stage at ANZ Stadium in Sydney, as close to 100,000 fans turn out to watch the National Rugby League Telstra Premiership Grand Final.

This won’t be the New Zealand-born, Aussie-raised superstar’s only foray into his homeland in the coming months. He’ll return in December with Carrie Underwood, as the two take the Ripcord World Tour Down Under.

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Blue Chair Bay/Columbia NashvilleKenny Chesney will be honored with the President’s Award November 1 at the 64th Annual BMI Country Awards in Music City. The precursor to the next night’s 50th Annual CMA Awards takes place at the Nashville headquarters of the respected performance rights organization.

The East Tennessee native joins the ranks of icons like Willie Nelson and Brooks & Dunn, who’ve also received the accolade. His current “Setting the World on Fire” duet partner, Pink, has been a recipient as well.

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BMLGThe main character in Justin Moore’s “You Look Like I Need a Drink” is about to imbibe based on the impending breakup of his relationship. But Justin himself can raise a glass for an entirely different reason. This week, the lead single from his album Kinda Don’t Care becomes his sixth number one.

The Arkansas native confesses that the way he usually marks such an occasion is in keeping with the theme of the song.

“Absolutely! I drink quite a bit, typically!” he laughs. “I mean, we don't have like a ritual that we always go do this or we go do that, but I definitely have a good time in celebration,” he tells ABC Radio.

For the father of three little girls, the success of his latest single is especially sweet, having taken a little time off.

“It's good to be back, woo-hoo!” he shouts. “It's exciting to have another hit record. We took eight months off, or something, from putting out new music, and so you always have reservations about doing that… It's somewhat scary to step away. I needed to do so in order to make sure I brought country radio the best music I could bring 'em. You never take 'em for granted. Big hits are great and I've had a lot of 'em, but you certainly enjoy 'em while you're having 'em, because you never know when it's going to be your last one, you know?”  

Justin’s next shot at number-one comes with his new single, “Somebody Else Will.” Next January, he sets out on the American Made Tour with Lee BriceWilliam Michael Morgan and Brett Young.

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Burke/Triolo Productions/Thinkstock Aaron Lewis’ new project Sinner debuts at number-one on both the Billboard 200 album chart and the country tally as well this week.  

Country Music Hall of Famers the Oak Ridge Boys are rolling out their own brand of pickled peppers at Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores. You can buy the Southern Style Bread & Butter Jalapenos now.

American Idol winner Trent Harmon sang the national anthem this weekend in his home state of Mississippi, before the Rebels took on the Georgia Bulldogs.

Dolly Parton remembers her longtime friend and fellow Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry member, Jean Shepard, in a touching video the icon shared on social media. The 82-year-old passed away Sunday in Nashville.

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