COUNTRY CHART Weekend of March 25-26:
1 BRAD PAISLEY Today
2 JON PARDI Dirt On My Boots
3 MICHAEL RAY Think A Little Less
4 LUKE BRYAN Fast *
5 LAUREN ALAINA Road Less Traveled
6 CHRIS YOUNG Sober Saturday Night
7 JASON ALDEAN Any Ol’ Barstool
8 ERIC CHURCH Kill A Word
9 LITTLE BIG TOWN Better Man
10 KELSEA BALLERINI Yeah Boy
11 BRANTLEY GILBERT The Weekend
12 JOSH TURNER Hometown Girl
13 SAM HUNT Body Like a Back Road
14 KENNY CHESNEY Bar At The End of the World
15 DIERKS BENTLEY Black
16 LUKE COMBS Hurricane
17 HIGH VALLEY Make You Mine
18 DAN & SHAY How Not To
19 DARIUS RUCKER If I Told You
20 TRENT HARMON There’s A Girl
A Spring Wedding Is Sam Hunt’s No. 1 Priority
Guests on an All-New CMT Hot 20 Countdown March 25 and 26
Sam Hunt felt right at home when CMT Hot 20 Countdown caught up with him at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. That night, Hunt’s headlining set at the NRG Stadium attracted 70,263 fans — a far cry from the smaller outdoor stage he first played at the Houston Rodeo three years ago.
But that wasn’t Hunt’s first rodeo. When he was a kid growing up in Georgia, he had legitimate aspirations of one day becoming a competitive bull rider.
“When I was really young, my babysitters had horses and I started riding them,” he told Hot 20‘s Cody Alan. “I got a horse when I was eight or 10 years old. And dad used to take me to the rodeo back home. I got into it big time. I wanted to be a bull rider when I grew up. We had goats, and I’d be out there in the pasture, roping the goats.”
Alan also got Hunt to talk about his runaway smash “Body Like a Back Road” and the spring wedding he’s planning with his fiancée Hannah Lee Fowler.
“I am working on new music and new songs,” he revealed. “I’ll continue to do that throughout the spring and summer. But that will be priority No. 2 behind planning a wedding and hanging with my fiancée, who will be my wife. Instead of waiting to have a full record done to put out new music, I’d like to be able to put out new music as I continue to work on it as we go.”
Family is playing a big part in helping the couple plan their wedding. “Fortunately her sister works in that business, but we’re low key,” he said. “We’re low maintenance – keep it small and quaint and quiet. So it’s not been too much of a burden.
“She’s a good girl,” he added of his fiancée. “Made to be.”
Hot 20 will also go behind the scenes with Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley as they get ready to host the 52nd annual ACM Awards in Las Vegas, reveal the secrets behind Miranda Lambert’s “We Should Be Friends” video and host the world premiere of Trace Adkins’ new video for “Watered Down.” The all-new episode airs Saturday (March 25) and Sunday (March 26) at 9 a.m. ET/PT.
Hunt’s 15 in a 30 Tour starts June 1 in Cleveland with Maren Morris, Chris Janson and Ryan Follesé.
Why RaeLynn Is OK with Husband’s Decision
How She Made Peace with It
RaeLynn might be a little bummed that her brand new husband Josh Davis isn’t home. But then she remembers why, and everything is fine.
“How can you get upset at something that’s so honorable? Serving your country is the most selfless, amazing thing you could ever do,” she told CMT.com of Davis’ decision to enlist in the military.
Although RaeLynn said that he didn’t tell her about it until just before the wedding.
“I was like, ‘Well, that’s a great time to drop a bomb like that.’ But anyway, it was right about the time we were about to get married and he was telling me that it was on his heart to do,” she recalled.
After pushing for a specific contract in the military, Davis thought that if he were to get it, he’d know that God wanted him to do it.
But when RaeLynn said her prayers, she wasn’t sure exactly what she was praying for. For him to go, or for him to stay.
“We were praying about it,” she said, “and my selfish part of me was like, ‘I don’t want you to go. I want you to be with me.’
“But I honestly, I had a peace about it. I didn’t want to tell him that I had a peace about it, but I did. And at the end of the day, it’s his dream to do this, and he got the contract that he wanted. It was his dream. And he supports me in everything that I do and lets me go on the road. At the end of the day, I’m doing what I love.
“Knowing that he’s doing what he loves,” she said, “is awesome.”
Darius Rucker Takes Over CMT
From Sun Records to Crossroads and Hometown Heroes
Starting this Thursday (March 23), the “Wagon Wheel” singer will be taking over the airwaves.
First, you can spot him crooning in black and white stripes while portraying Johnny Bragg of the The Prisonaires on the new episode of Sun Records, which airs Thursday at 10p.m. ET/PT.
Check out a sneak peek of Rucker as Bragg, singing “That Chick’s Too Young To Fry.”
Next, you can kick off your weekend with Rucker and John Mellencamp on their rockin’ CMT Crossroads. Their mashup airs airs Friday (March 24) at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
But that’s not all! You can get even more of the Charleston native next week on CMT Hometown Heroes, airing Friday (March 31) at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
On the special, Rucker returns home to South Carolina to remodel and redecorate the teen room at the MUSC Children’s Hospital. The Grammy winner’s mother was a nurse at the hospital, so Rucker spent much of his childhood there.
Rucker is joined by Chris Stapleton and Brett Eldredge on CMT Hometown Heroes, who will also return to their respective hometowns to give back in a big way.
Need more Darius in the meantime? We’d recommend checking out some of his amazing videos, or perhaps revisiting his hilarious cameo on Season 1 of Still The King.
See John Mellencamp and Darius Rucker Rock “Pink Houses”
CMT Crossroads Concert Airs March 24
In case you haven’t heard, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member John Mellencamp and Darius Rucker recently taped a CMT Crossroads special together and, yes, the pairing was pretty much perfect.
We have a sneak peek of them performing one of Mellencamp’s classic hits, “Pink Houses.” Rucker nails his part on the politically-charged, patriotic slice of Americana, and Mellencamp is at the top of his game.
Mellencamp first appeared on CMT Crossroads back in 2003 with Kenny Chesney, and he has now teamed up with Martina McBride for “Grandview,” a duet from his new album Sad Clowns & Hillbillies, set for release on April 28.
There are plenty more incredible moments from CMT Crossroads: John Mellencamp and Darius Rucker premiering March 24 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. I can’t spill all the beans about the performances, but you can enjoy the preview while you wait.
Who Will Follow in Kris Kristofferson’s Footsteps?
Still Selling Out Shows at 80
Editor’s note: Kris Kristofferson will perform on CMT’s all-star concert special Outlaw: Celebrating the Music of Waylon Jennings, airing April 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Can you picture Luke Bryan on stage in 2056? Is it possible that Miranda Lambert will sell out shows in 2063? Could Sam Hunt still be performing in 2064?
After seeing Kris Kristofferson on Wednesday night (March 22) at a sold-out show at Chicago’s City Winery, I think so. I think anything is possible.
Kristofferson will be 81 this summer, which is a fact that is at once remarkable and irrelevant.
Because while a singer may age, great songs rarely do.
That’s the power of music. The good stuff can be so timeless.
Evidence of that came from Kristofferson’s set list full of tunes off his first two albums from 1970 and 1971. So he was singing songs that were almost 50 years old to some fans who were half that old.
He opened his one-man show, with a harmonica and a guitar, with “Shipwrecked in the Eighties” then quickly moved into “Darby’s Castle,” off his debut album.
And then without any long-winded introduction or humble brags, Kristofferson started to sing one of his most well-known tunes, “Me and Bobby McGee.”
The song was made most famous by Janis Joplin, but the oft-covered song’s fame grew steadily as country artists like Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton and LeAnn Rimes recorded their own versions.
After having a little harmonica trouble on the song, Kristofferson told the crowd, “That was horrible.”
While his playing and singing were far from flawless, the roughly 300 fans packed tight into the intimate room seemed more interested in his self-deprecating remarks than the in some kind of unattainable perfection.
The singer/songwriter/actor’s 90-minute set included “Here Comes That Rainbow Again,” “Best of all Possible Worlds,” “Nobody Wins,” “Broken Freedom Song,” “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” “Why Me,” “The Pilgrim: Chapter 33,” “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends” and more.
When it came time for “Help Me Make It Through The Night,” Kristofferson tossed a one-word joke into the lyrics, singing, “Help me make it through tonight.”
One of the newest songs in his set was “Feeling Mortal,” from his 2013 album of the same name. And nestled in the chorus was a lyric that felt like Kristofferson could’ve written it just for the night.
I thank my lucky stars
From here to eternity
For the artist that you are
And the man you made of me
From here to eternity
For the artist that you are
And the man you made of me
Soul Assembly: A Musical Fellowship That Can’t Be Repeated
Luther Dickinson Talks Tour with JJ Grey, Marc Broussard and Anders Osborne
Marc Broussard, Luther Dickinson, JJ Grey and Anders Osborne each front raucous rock ‘n’ roll bands, but when the four musicians tour as Soul Assembly, their American Southern roots take center stage. The tour debuted in 2014 and returned in 2017 for a rare month-long trek that wraps Sunday (March 26) in Indianapolis.
“JJ’s team came up with the idea,” Dickinson told CMT.com over a call from the road. “And it’s a dream team. Each one of us were so excited to do something like this. It shows another side to what we do.”
As the son of Louisiana Music Hall of Famer Ted Broussard, Broussard’s music is steeped in the Louisiana music tradition. Dickinson is life-long student of Mississippi hill country blues and the son of the late Memphis producer and musician Jim Dickinson.
All of Grey’s blues, funk and soul reflects the East Coast Florida region that raised him, while Osborne’s music walks the line between confessional and his observations about living in New Orleans.
Every Soul Assembly performance is set up as a stripped down acoustic guitar pull, offering the intimacy of a front porch jam and the spirit of a delta tent revival. No set is the same, and they back each other on vocals and guitar in an exchange of musical expression that can’t be replicated.
At Soul Assembly’s Nashville show earlier this month, Broussard made the room bounce when he lit into a blues shuffle about his son, and then Osborne made it go still with “Peace,” a song about watching miracles come to life while still searching for spiritual solace.
Then Dickinson would lay into a funky blues about playing guitar better than mowing the lawn. Fans in hushed voices sang along to Grey’s “This River,” a powerful soul anthem about finding a sense of purpose.
It’s true musical fellowship live – except their music is greasier than most.
“Every night is different, and we can’t predict it,” Dickinson added. “It’s like an adventure. Even if we have an idea of what we want to play, sometimes the other singers will sing something that completely changes the mood. You can have an idea or a frame work, but it’s really a fluid thing.”
Dickinson and his brother Cody Dickinson celebrate 20 years with their band, the North Mississippi Allstars. Co-produced with Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, the band’s next album Prayer For Peace (available June 2) is a half hill country blues repertoire and half new originals. All of the material was recorded live in different studios on tour in St. Louis, Kansas City, New Orleans, Brooklyn, Austin and at home at the family’s Zebra Ranch studio in Mississippi.
“It’s a wild rock ‘n’ roll record,” Dickinson says of the new Allstars music. “It’s kind of hard to capture the live spirit of a band like that, but this record comes close. That song is a really unique number — funny mixture of dance music, hill country, blues. I wrote it last year pre-elections, but it has been pretty violent for the last two years. That song is about two steps forward, one step back, in a social sense. I’m not overtly political, but what I always say is the music is the prayer for peace. That’s my intention.”
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw Call New Song Lesson for Young Men
Reveals Details about "Speak to a Girl"
By Thursday evening (March 23), everyone will know what Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s brand new song “Speak To A Girl” is all about.
But until then, here is what I know.
It’s about honesty. And teaching men how to speak to women, while they are young.
I know that because of what McGraw and Hill said in a recent radio interview about the message of the song.
“It’s important that young women hear that message from the men in their lives and from the other women in their lives,” McGraw said. “It’s important that the young men hear this message so they know how to speak to a girl.”
Hill added that, “It’s important that we be honest with one another as people. I connected to it lyrically, melodically, everything.”
“Speak To A Girl” is the first song from a duets album the couple will release later this year.
And they’ll perform it together at the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards on April 2.
It’s Up to Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley to Create a Vegas Vibe
No Pressure, Though
There are only 10 days left until the Academy of Country Music Awards broadcast live from Las Vegas.
And co-hosts Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley know exactly how important that setting is for the show.
“I think the Vegas factor is always very important for the whole vibe of the show. The fans are coming out here, and you can just feel it in the room that everybody is excited to be in Vegas,” Bryan said in an interview in the ACM’s Tempo magazine.
“It feels like a party, and I think it’s kind of up to Dierks and me to create that vibe on stage — create it for the artists in the room and certainly for the fans in the room at home,” he said.
Bentley must agree, because he agreed to this gig with Bryan for the second year in a row.
One of the reasons he said yes again was because, he explains, it is something totally different for him.
“I think that’s why I kind of took on the challenge of doing this with Luke–that it is a challenge,” Bentley said. “It makes you respect everyone who’s ever done it before.”
The ACM Awards air live on April 2.