Florida Georgia Line Looking to Dig a Little Deeper on Upcoming Third Album

Republic NashvilleFlorida Georgia Line showed they have a deeper side with “Dirt,” the lead single from their sophomore album, Anything Goes. Since then, they’ve gone back to releasing three party anthems in a row — “Sun Daze,” “Sippin’ on Fire” and the title track, “Anything Goes.” Those singles follow the good-time anthem hits from their debut album, Here’s to the Good Times, including “Cruise,” “This Is How We Roll,” “Round Here,” and “Get Your Shine On.”

If you’re hoping to see the duo change things up content-wise on their next album, you may be in luck. It seems the pair, who are now both married men, realize they need to sing about more than just constant drinking and partying as they get older. They’re currently writing and recording for that third album, and FGL’s Brian Kelley tells Michigan’s The Daily Tribune, “I just think the songs are gonna be better and different. I think they’re gonna be deeper. I think there are points we haven’t touched on. I think people are gonna get to know us even more.”

Florida Georgia Line heads to Cincinnati for a stadium show with Luke Bryan Saturday night.

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Jason Aldean Not Planning a Duet with Wife, Brittany, Any Time Soon

Broken Bow RecordsJason Aldean‘s wife, Brittany Kerr, once competed as a contestant on American Idol, but you shouldn’t expect to hear a duet between the lovebirds on country radio any time soon.

“I don’t know if she wants any part of the music business anymore,” Jason tells The Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  “She’s a great singer and would probably do fairly well. She had a little taste of all of that stuff. She can sing in the car and in the shower and here in the house, but I don’t know if she cares to pursue it as a career.”

Jason plays two shows with Kenny Chesney at Target Field in Minneapolis this weekend.

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Cassadee Pope Taps into Her Inner Strength on New Single, “I Am Invincible”

Republic NashvilleCassadee Pope scored a top-10 country hit with her debut single, “Wasting All These Tears,” and the track eventually went platinum. Now she’s gearing up to release a brand-new single, “I Am Invincible,” as the first release from her upcoming sophomore album.

Though she’s had many high points in her career, including winning NBC’s The Voice, Cassadee admits there were several times she faced challenges that could have driven her to quit making music. “I Am Invincible” reminded her to be proud of herself for sticking to her true passion.

Cassadee says, “I have my fans to thank for that with their encouragement, support and really cheering me on at a time of uncertainty. Thinking about all of those emotions really takes this song to another level when I’m performing it and I hope ‘I Am Invincible’ gives others their confidence too.”

Look for “I Am Invincible” to hit digital retailers on July 24.

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Don Henley to Release Solo Country Album, “Cass County,” in September; Solo Tour to Follow

Capitol RecordsDon Henley‘s long-in-the-works country album, Cass County, will be released September 25, and the Eagles singer/drummer will support it with a North American tour that kicks off in October.  The record, which features guest appearances by Mick Jagger, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Martina McBride and others, will be available in a variety of configurations, including 12-track standard CD and digital versions, and 16-song deluxe CD, digital and two-disc vinyl editions.

A super deluxe version also will be sold exclusively via Henley’s online store, and features the deluxe CD and double-vinyl set, collectible postcards, and a 50-page booklet containing new photos.  In addition, a variety of limited-edition bundles featuring a Henley T-shirt and lithograph will be available.

If you pre-order digital versions of Cass County via iTunes, you’ll immediately be able to download two of the albums tracks — “All Songs Considered” and “Take a Picture of This” — for free.

Henley co-produced Cass County with ex-Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers drummer Stan Lynch, with whom he co-wrote 11 of the record’s songs.  The album, which is named for the northeastern Texas county where Henley grew up, was recorded mostly in Nashville and Dallas.

You can watch a promotional trailer featuring snippets of several songs and commentary by Henley at his official YouTube channel.

“This album is a reflection of the sounds and the textures and the images I’ve carried with me for 67 years,” says Henley in the clip.  “It’s rooted in the rural America I knew, and it’s a nod to my native turf in Texas.  The family, the friends, the neighbors and the country side.”

Henley’s solo tour will visit cities across North America, including in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto and Washington, D.C.  Dates will be announced soon.  Singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin will open all the shows.  If you purchase tickets to any of the concerts, you’ll receive a free copy of the deluxe Cass County CD.

Here’s the track list for the deluxe version of the album:

“Bramble Rose” (featuring Mick Jagger & Miranda Lambert)
“The Cost of Living” (featuring Merle Haggard)
“No, Thank You”
“Waiting Tables”
“Take a Picture of This”
“Too Far Gone”*
“That Old Flame” (featuring Martina McBride)
“The Brand New Tennessee Waltz”*
“Words Can Break Your Heart”
“When I Stop Dreaming” (featuring Dolly Parton)
“Praying for Rain”
“Too Much Pride”*
“She Sang Hymns Out of Tune”*
“Train in the Distance”
“A Younger Man”
“Where I Am Now”

* = not included on the standard version.

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Luke Bryan Connecting Directly with Fans Through New App Coming Out July 24

Dick Clark/ABCLuke Bryan is releasing his first fan app on July 24 through the iTunes App Store and Google Play. The app is designed to give you “in-the-moment” fan experiences with Luke as well as exclusive video and audio content and more.

Luke says, “I really see it as the perfect opportunity to connect with my fans in a very meaningful and direct way.” 

Luke’s app will be available with a monthly subscription fee or with a flat fee for the year. You can check it out for free for the first month.

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Toby Keith Releasing New Album, “35 mph Town,” October 9

Show Dog NashvilleToby Keith will release his new album, 35 mph Town, on October 9 featuring the title cut, which is his latest single, along with his previous single, “Drunk Americans.” Toby co-produced the project with his longtime collaborator, Bobby Pinson.

To reveal the album cover, Toby and his team had a visual artist paint the image on a concrete wall. You can check out the time lapse video of the painting on YouTube.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockAlan Jackson released his debut album in 1989. What was it titled? ANSWER: Here in the Real World.

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Little Big Town’s Jimi Westbrook Using Humor to Recover from Vocal Cord Surgery

Capitol NashvilleLittle Big Town‘s Jimi Westbrook is in great spirts as he recovers from his recent vocal cord surgery. In fact, he could just leave the band to start a comedy career according to his band mates.

LBT’s Phillip Sweet says, “He’s gotten very creative with his texting. He’s more hilarious now that he can’t talk.”

Kimberly Schlapman adds, “He’s always been funny, but he’s become a little comedian in his vocal silence.”

When Jimi started having vocal trouble, he talked with pal Keith Urban, who went through vocal cord surgery a few years back. Keith recommended the doctor that performed Jimi’s surgery and provided a lot of encouragement along the way, too.

Says Kimberly, “When you’re in that situation, you just want to talk to somebody who’s been there, and Keith had been there, and he came through it very successfully. He’s singing like never before. So, that was really good for Jimi to hear.”

Jimi should be back singing with Little Big Town very soon, but Kimberly has warned him to stick to his own vocal part.

She says, “He’s gonna be back at it, and I told him he better not come back and sing higher than me. I’m gonna be mad.”

Little Big Town will return to the stage July 31 with a show at the Delaware State Fair.

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Alan Jackson’s Mysterious Songwriting Talent Is in Full Effect on New Album, “Angels and Alcohol”

ACR/EMIAlan Jackson‘s first new studio album in three years, Angels and Alcohol, is out Friday featuring his latest single, “Jim and Jack and Hank,” and the title cut. Both of those songs deal with turning to the bottle to deal with heartache, and that’s a subject Alan has written about many times before.

He tells ABC Radio, “Somebody said I had a lot of drinking songs on there. I said, ‘Well, I pretty much always do have two or three on an album.'”

As for that title cut, Alan had that phrase “Angels and Alcohol” tucked away for several years.

He says, “It sounded like a song, and I hadn’t written it. It just kind of spilled out this time the way it did. It’s just one of my favorite cuts on the album.”

Of course, songs like “Angels and Alcohol” or country classics such as “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” and “Midnight in Montgomery” don’t just “spill out” of most people. We asked Alan where his songwriting talent comes from, and he admits he’s never analyzed it too much.

“I’ve never understood where it comes from with me,” Alan explains. “I never read much or didn’t study music and never had any training. I think it’s just something I was blessed with. It just comes out sometimes. I never have quite understood it, but I’m glad it’s working.”

Alan wrote seven of the 10 songs on Angels and Alcohol, and you’ll recognize some ongoing themes on the album if you’re a longtime fan. In fact, the opening track, “You Can Always Come Home,” could be the next chapter in the autobiographical story Alan started telling on his early hit, “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow,” and continued with “Drive (For Daddy Gene).” Just as he moved from Georgia to Nashville to chase his dream of country music stardom, Alan’s middle daughter, Ali, recently moved to California to find her calling in life. “You Can Always Come Home” is Alan’s way of passing on some advice his dad gave him when he left home.

Alan says, “Moving to Nashville was just a huge risk and scary event for me to move up there. I just remember my daddy, he didn’t know anything about the music business or anything. Neither did I, but he said, you know, ‘You can always come home. If it doesn’t work out, you can always come home.’ I always remembered that, and I wrote that in that song.”

Angels and Alcohol comes out just a little over 25 years after Alan’s debut album, Here in the Real World, hit stores in 1990.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockRosanne Cash and “Live Like You Were Dying” songwriter Craig Wiseman are going into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame this October.

Tim McGraw performs his Concert for Sandy Hook Promise Friday night at the XFinity Theatre in Hartford, Connecticut. Proceeds benefit Sandy Hook Promise, an organization founded in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut  that seeks to help protect children from gun violence.

Alan Jackson performs on NBC’s Today Friday morning in support of his new album, Angels and Alcohol.

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