Since the debut of his first album in 2007, Luke has placed 16 singles at No. 1 and sold nearly eight million albums with 30 million digital tracks from his five studio albums. He has twice been named Entertainer of the Year by both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. His fifth studio album, Kill The Lights, debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard Top 200 (his third to do so) and Top Country Albums charts and closed 2015 with the best-selling country album of the year and the 10th biggest selling album on the all-genre Billboard Top 200 Year-End list. In Luke’s stellar 2015 year, he performed for 1.5 million fans in concert, had three albums on the Top 15 Year-End Country Albums list- Kill the Lights (#1), Spring Break…Checkin’ Out (#10) and Crash My Party (#15), was the most streamed artist of 2015, placed six songs in the Year-End Top Country Streaming Tracks list, had his own exhibit at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum (“Luke Bryan: Dirt Road Diary”), performed live during halftime at the Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving and wrapped up the year with a live Times Square performance on ABC’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.” Luke recently co-hosted the ACM Awards for a fourth consecutive year and is performing in venues and stadiums across the U.S. on his “Kill The Lights Tour” through this fall.
2015 and 2016 have been a remarkable series of years for Stapleton following the release of his certified RIAA Platinum debut solo album, Traveller. The breakthrough album has gone on to receive multiple Grammy, CMA and ACM awards and continues to consistently top the Billboard Country Albums chart—over a year since its May 2015 release on Mercury Records Nashville.
When Kenny Chesney decided to take 2014 off from touring, it wasn’t because he was tired, but because he instinctively knew there was more to his music. The only country performer in Billboard’s Top 10 Touring Acts of the past 25 years – staggering considering he didn’t truly headline until 2002 – the man The Wall Street Journal deemed “The King of the Road” was unplugging from what he often called “the best two hours of my life every day.”
But there’s more to life than staying where you are. Chesney, who rewrote the playbook of post-modern country with No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems and the CMA Album of the Year When The Sun Goes Down, realizes that. He’s evolved. His audience has evolved. Loss. Love. Life. Reality. Pressure. Obligation. It all adds up, sometimes obscuring the beliefs that keep us all moving forward.
“When I took a year off to make this record, I knew there was something special out there, but it was going to take time to find it… to write it… to bring it to life in the studio,” Chesney explains. “And I was the only one who could do that, who could make that commitment.
“I went to dirt floor church revivals with my grandma when I was a little kid; that power is electric. So hot, and the preacher punctuating every sentence with a ‘heh’ at the end. Scared me to death, but it showed me what it means to be alive! I think that sort of passion is how we shouldall live our lives, and it’s easy to lose touch with that. I went out to find it.”
Find it he did. The Big Revival is eleven songs that weigh the state of the human condition between the coasts without bogging down or losing hope. Whether it’s the stark philosophical Appalachia of “Don’t It,” featuring GRAMMY winners Alison Krauss and Dan Tyminski, the rousing invitation to live every last moment of “Til It’s Gone,” the picture postcards of a free spirit in “Wild Child,” with a yearning return from Grace Potter, or the percolating shower of words “American Kids,” the project’s lead track, this is an album about engaging, seeking something more, feeling more alive – wherever you may be in your life – than you ever have.
“With two hooks, three rhythm scans and some of the most ingenious word play I’ve ever heard, ‘American Kids’ is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. It’s exactly what it is to grow up in the little dot-on-the-map towns… every last little detail
American kids are so much more complicated, more joyous, more real – and this doesn’t reduce the experience, so much as distill it. In places like where I grew up, you make your own fun, you create your world… and they still do. Capture that, and you’ve captured something that matters.”
At a time when America is struggling, when two incomes aren’t always enough for many families, when getting by is harder than we admit, the notion of renewal, the torque of swinging for the fence, the idea where we are is plenty is an exhilarating truth. Chesney knows that, and celebrates his fans – the ones who come out in excess of a million strong every time he tours – right where they are, just how they live and exactly in the overlooked moments that matter.
Not the escape, but the being. Not how hard, but the resilience of being engaged where you are. Not the once-in-lifetime, but the reality that every second is precious if you’re paying attention. It’s easy to forget, but it’s always been the bedrock of the connection between the fans and the man The Los Angeles Times called “The People’s Superstar.”
“Rick Rubin told me years ago, there’s nothing like a great song to revive you. I laughed, and said, ‘Yeah, there’s nothing like a certain piece of music to inspire you. It can change everything.’ For me, for this, that was what I went looking for.”
Along the way, he cut songs he knows will be hits. “But it was all stuff we’d done before, and there were some great songs.” He kept looking, listening and writing. And as is often the case, there was a moment that unlocked everything else.
“I was writing ‘Wild Child’ with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, and it just clicked. Certain songs start a creative landslide, and that was it. The idea of writing about a girl who is so hungry to see the world, she’s scared she won’t taste it all before she’s done. who loves so hard, but can’t be tied down.
That led me down a bunch of roads. I heard ‘American Kids,’ then David Lee Murphy sent me a few songs. We wrote ‘Flora-Bama.’ I had ‘If This Bus Could Talk’ and ‘Don’t It’ already. And then there was ‘The Big Revival,’ that hit so hard and kinda knocked the wind out of you in a good way.”
For a man who didn’t want to lose the essence of who he was, but was determined not to repeat himself, the creative gates opened. Looking back at how he was raised inspired “Beer Can Chicken.” The notion that sometimes “music can get you through the night and you can figure it out tomorrow” gave “Rock Bottom” its charge, while offering “Save It For A Rainy Day” its inspiration.
For the man who’s won four Country Music Association and four consecutive Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year Awards, it starts with the songs. Arriving in town with not much more than a notion, he parked cars, played the Turf on Lower Broad when “seedy” was a generous assessment of it and tried to write with anyone who would co-write with the East Tennessee kid.
Amassing seven or eight songs he was proud of, he landed at Acuff-Rose, the legendary publishing house founded by Roy Acuff and Fred Rose where Hank Williams, Sr. was a writer. He didn’t know that then, only “I was lucky enough to get to go to lunch with people like Whitey Shaffer, Dean Dillon, Don Sampson, Skip Ewing, Donnie Keys…I was as green as anybody could be in every way, but I wanted to learn the craft so bad, to know how they put all that living into three minutes. I did a lot of holding the notebook, if you know what I mean, but I soaked it all in – and I never forgot. Because if you’ve got the songs, you have everything.”
Chesney didn’t sell out arenas on song quality alone. He brought a spark to the music, pushed boundaries through collaborations beyond the format with Uncle Kracker (“When The Sun Goes Down”), Dave Matthews (“I’m Alive”), the Wailers Band (“Spread the Love”) and Grace Potter (“You & Tequila”) – and created a real dialogue with the fans.
“This record humanizes my relationship with the fans,” he explains. “It’s always been a two-way relationship. They need me and inspire me, push me. But this time, I knew I needed to inspire them! I needed to find songs that shoved me into my life in new ways, to inspire the guys playing to create something more, because if we couldn’t inspire ourselves, how could we expect anyone else to care? How can we take people who have busy lives and say, ‘This matters… Your life matters…’when we don’t sound that way?”
“These songs almost mandated how hard we came at them. Even the quiet ones demanded real presence. The way Chad Cromwell hits the snare, there’s nowhere to hide; he’ll topple all your walls. The music and players led me to this place. That’s what you need. If you listen to the energy, the raw, honest energy, especially on the tempo tracks, you can hear the shift, actually feel the passion and the energy. It’s palpable – and I like that. It’s what’s needed to really drive it.
“There’ a lot of fast and loud songs, because I like those. But for me, I wanted more than fast and loud, I wanted passionate and truthful. Just because a song makes you feel good, that doesn’t mean it can’t say something. I think those are the ones that really get inside.”
It’s hard to deny the thrust of “Drink It Up,” the pump of “The Big Revival,” the impossible groove that lifts the paean to “Flora-Bama” or even the string of life that is “If This Bus Could Talk.” There is an investment here, a willingness not to just look, but to see the world his fans – and in many ways, he – lives in.
“I couldn’t believe a bank would lend me the money to buy a bus,” he concedes. “I didn’t own a thing in the world, but a little pick-up. It was an older Silver Eagle, but I knew if I had a bus, I could chase my dream until I made it come true. I had no idea what that really meant, but I kept going.
I think that’s how my fans live their lives, too. They keep going, they get through, they laugh a lot. Sometimes, though, you need to pause and reflect. A lot of life has happened to me since 2001 – and you move so fast, you don’t take it in. That’s part of what makes you rich, and that is why I wanted to spend the time on this record that I did. Bring it all, offer it up and once again, see how far, how different we could take it.”
He pauses when he says this. He may play 19 NFL Stadiums a summer, sell multiple millions of records, top the charts and win awards; but in the end, it comes down to the way he connects and what he believes about music.
“I grew up, like a lot of kids, laying out in the backyard, staring into the sky, wondering if there was more to life than that,” Chesney confesses. “I had no idea where this would take me. But I can tell you, when people sing those songs back the way they do, they push you. You want to give them something more, something better – and that’s hard.
We built this on authenticity. and energy. ‘Young’ spoke to people, ‘I Go Back,’ ‘There Goes My Life,’ ‘Keg In The Closet.’ That’s how the fans and I found each other, and it’s the most powerful way to connect. But you need to go forward, to grow; music may reflect your past, but it’s about your present: who you are, what you want out of life, how to inspire people to get there when they’re not sure how.”
After all of it, Chesney wasn’t sure how he was going to get here, either. So he slowed down, started listening, dug in and thought about where he’d come from. He also thought about what he liked, records that made him turn the volume up and play again.
“If you’re always on fire, where’s that energy gonna come from? You may be burning, but suddenly, you’re a puff of smoke, and gone. Easy to forget, especially with momentum. When you work hard, play harder, you have to also stop and consider. You know where you’ve been, so enjoy where the moment and then think about what you really want. That’s how you find the truth… how you write songs that hit people in the heart.
In the end, that’s how I got here. As a songwriter, an artist, a performer. It’s what fires me up, inspires me when there’s nothing else. And that’s the kinda revival we all need.”
The man from rural Newnan, GA, who claims he is just a “singer of simple songs,” has sold nearly 60-million albums worldwide, ranks as one of the 10 best-selling male vocalists of all-time in all genres, and was recently listed as one of the Top 10 Country Artists of All-Time by Billboard. He has released more than 60 singles – registering 50 Top Ten hits and 35 #1s (including 26 Billboard chart-toppers). He has earned more than 150 music industry awards – including 18 Academy of Country Music Awards, 16 Country Music Association Awards, a pair of Grammys and ASCAP’s Founders and Golden Note Awards. Jackson received the first-ever ASCAP Heritage Award in 2014 having earned the title of most-performed country music songwriter-artist of ASCAP’s first 100 years. He is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry.
Rucker first attained multi-platinum status in the music industry as former lead singer and rhythm guitarist of GRAMMY award-winning Hootie & the Blowfish. Since re-introducing himself to the world as a country artist, he has released four consecutive albums to top the Billboard Country albums chart and earned a whole new legion of fans. In 2014, Rucker won his third career GRAMMY award for Best Solo Country Performance for his triple platinum selling cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” off his album, True Believers. Rucker’s first two country albums, Learn To Live and Charleston, SC 1966 produced five No. 1 singles including “Come Back Song,” “This,” “Alright,” “It Won’t Be Like This For Long” and “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.” Southern Style, his fourth studio country album, features his latest No. 1 single “Homegrown Honey,” co-written by Rucker, label mate Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum and Nathan Chapman. Rucker recently released his heartfelt new single, “If I Told You” to country radio and is currently headlining his Good for a Good Time Tour.
For the 2014 CMA New Artist of the Year Brett Eldredge, work began on his second album the day his first one went on sale.
“That was over two years ago,” remembers the tall, handsome Midwesterner, relaxing between takes in a Nashville studio. “That night, I took a long walk around New York City. I was thinking, ‘This is great but I’ve got to start preparing for the next album. I’ve played all these stages and put out an album you can be proud of. But now you’ve got to release another album that’s even better and bigger.’”
Eldredge was determined to build upon the success of BRING YOU BACK, which yielded three No. 1 hits – “Don’t Ya,” “Mean to Me” and the Billboard No. 1 song on Country Airplay for 2014, “Beat of the Music.”
With the release of his sophomore album Illinois, the momentum continues. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart and #3 on the all genre Billboard 200 Album Chart. Illinois has already produced two #1 singles with “Lose My Mind” and most recently “Drunk On Your Love.” Now with five consecutive #1 singles, Eldredge recently earned his first ever Male Vocalist of the Year nomination for the 2016 ACM Awards.
“I wanted to give this album an identity,” he says of Illinois. “I wanted it to be me even if you didn’t read my name on the cover. I talk a lot about my home. So I needed the album to be Illinois because that is so much of who I am.”
Illinois is a starting point for several different journeys — back to the small-town values that Eldredge cherishes, out toward further-flung vistas of expression and at the same time deep into the bedrock of country music.
We might begin with the title track, whose creation was so important to Eldredge that he took extraordinary steps to prepare his co-writer for their collaboration. “I’m on a bus, coming home from a trip, when I call Tom Douglas. ‘We’re gonna pass close to my hometown,’ I tell him. ‘This might sound crazy, but can you meet me in Paris, Illinois, tomorrow?’ Twenty minutes later he calls me back and says, ‘I’ll be there.’
“So we meet in Paris the next morning and I show him around. He took pictures next to the tall cornfield. I took pictures at the town square and waved at the same people I waved to as a kid growing up. We went to the same restaurants I used to know, all to show him the heartland, where I come from. We didn’t write at the time. But when we got together later with Brad Crisler, we wrote ‘Illinois’ and it describes to a T what it’s like to grow up in the Midwest. I’ve traveled hundreds of thousands of miles since leaving Paris, but I’ll never forget it. Family, hard work and values are part of who I am, and while some people find these things in Alabama or Maine or Washington or wherever they come from, for me it’s Illinois.”
You can almost see the breeze-blown crops in the rippling piano introduction to that track. But that’s just one of many pictures painted on Illinois. Fans have already responded to the pumping groove and R&B-tinged vocals of “Lose My Mind,” his fastest-rising single to date; his jump from midrange into an electrifying upper register recall the effortless intensity of a young Steve Winwood. Taste of Country took immediate notice, hailing it as “a brilliant mix of old and new,” while USA Today named it the Song of the Week upon release.
The rest of Illinois offers more examples of Eldredge’s multifaceted talent. After the seductive up-tempo opener “Fire,” a funk guitar lick straight out of the James Brown bag kicks into a retro dance beat that doesn’t let up. The fun continues with “You Can’t Stop Me” and later with the frenzied, “Shadow” with its staccato jabs on piano, the stop-start beat, and wall of amped-up guitars.
Eldredge welcomes the opportunity to take chance with his music. “I’ve got to be me,” he says, with a shrug. “I’m not afraid to push the boundaries. That’s all you can do: be yourself and make your music.”
Illinois also makes it clear where Eldredge’s roots are planted. His romanticism, sweetened by steel on “Wanna Be That Song,” the third single from the album and bathed in deep washes of regret on “Lose It All.” The songs conjure fresh approaches to arrangement and production but slip neatly into the emotional and lyrical envelope of modern country.
“Drunk On Your Love,” was one of the last songs recorded for the album and received a late push from fans to ensure its inclusion. Eldredge wrote the song years ago and was a favorite of those who had heard it including Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line and his wife. They asked Eldredge if they could use the demo of the song for their wedding video which was posted on People.com and fans reacted immediately after they heard the song.
No matter where they fall on the stylistic grid, each song on Illinois provides a platform for Eldredge’s singing to shine as never before. And that’s no accident.
“That was the plan,” he reveals, with a grin. “There’s nothing I love more than to sing something that makes someone get a little excited or even a little uncomfortable, raising the hair on their skin. And on Illinois I wanted to use everything I’ve got as raw as I could, just go into the studio and belt it out. Whether I hit a high note that makes you want to party or just get goosebumps on your arm, that’s my job in life. That’s what I live for.”
How, then, should country traditionalists, fans of edgy pop, lovers of retro soul and anyone else approach Illinois? What if it gives them something they didn’t expect from Brett Eldredge?
“That’s great,” he answers. “I want you to be surprised. I don’t want you to expect this will be something you’ve heard from me before. Listen to it as if you were taking a vacation. I know that when I can’t get away, I’ll put on some great music and go on vacation for an hour. So if you put on Illinois with no preconceived thought, you’ll hear 100 percent who I am — and we can go on vacation together!”
The stats don’t lie. With three consecutive No. 1s, two Top 5 albums, platinum-level sales and back-to- back summers on one of the biggest tours in country music, Dustin Lynch has been on a steady path toward superstardom. But now with the release of “Seein’ Red,” the Broken Bow recording artist is shifting into high gear.
The first single from Lynch’s soon-to-be-announced third album, “Seein’ Red” is a fist-pumping blast of intensity full of flirtatious heat and tangled-up passion, and the next step in the Tennessee native’s evolution. He’s already been to the top of the charts with traditional country (“Cowboys and Angels”), party-rockers (“Where It’s At (Yep, Yep),” “Hell of a Night”) and simmering romance (“Mind Reader”), now he’s adding raw, animal attraction to the mix.
“It has a really cool vibe,” Lynch says about the Mickey Jack Cones-produced track, co-written by Tully Kennedy, Kurt Allison, Steve Bogard and Jason Sever. “There’s no way around it, it’s a super sexy song, it’s uptempo and great for the live show, and those are rare.”
Full of muscular guitars, pounding drums and desperate, breathless vocals, Lynch loses himself completely in lyrics about white-hot make-out sessions and irresistible red dresses. He says he knew the song was something special from the moment he first heard it – and also that his career would never be the same.
“It’s infectious,” Lynch admits. “I didn’t listen to it once, I listened to it five times in a row.”
“Seein’ Red” signals an exciting new chapter for the hit maker – one where unbridled fun and sizzling sex appeal are the name of the game. It’s the first glimpse of an artist ascending into the creative stratosphere, and a tantalizing preview of his “dangerous” third album.
“We’ve been lucky enough to have success over such a broad spectrum already,” he says. “From ‘Cowboys and Angels’ to ‘Hell of a Night,’ and now ‘Seein’ Red,’ there’s a lot of diversity there. … That’s what’s fun about making albums and being an artist – the evolution. Anybody who’s been around for a while has done that, and I think my fans need that. They want to see it. They don’t want another album one or two, they already have that.”
Now on his second tour in a row with master showman Luke Bryan, Lynch says he’s learning from the best and gunning for country’s top spot. He’s got to be willing to take chances in order to do that, so fans are in for a wild ride. Still, though, he’s got no intention of forgetting where he’s from.
“I would say it’s a great introduction to what’s to come,” he says about the new single. “There’s gonna be some hot songs on this album … but there will always be a thread in my music that’s ‘90s country, there’s no getting away from it. That’s what I grew up with and love. Even ‘Seein’ Red,’ it’s got a lot of pop guitar lines and tricks on it, but the main thing you hear in the chorus is steel guitar.”
Instead, Lynch is building on what he knows and keeping his eyes on the ultimate prize. If “Seein’ Red” is any indication, he won’t have to wait long.
“I want to be a headliner,” he says. “I want to be the ACM and CMA entertainer of the year. … For me now, it’s all about trying to outdo myself.”
Slightly Stoopid, the Ocean Beach, California based group led by co-founders and multi-instrumentalists Kyle McDonald and Miles Doughty, along with drummer Ryan “Rymo” Moran; percussionist Oguer “OG” Ocon; saxophonist Daniel “Dela” Delacruz; keyboardist Paul Wolstencroft; trumpet and trombone player Andy Geib; plus special guest and “unofficial 8th member” Karl Denson (The Rolling Stones/Greyboy Allstars) on saxophone unveiled their latest musical experiment Meanwhile… Back at the Lab through the band’s own Stoopid Records on June 30th.
The sessions for Meanwhile… Back at the Lab began in late 2013, shortly following the band’s seventh studio release Top Of The World. The forthcoming album was recorded at the band’s studio, as well as at Platinum Sound, NYC; Rivas Studios, L.A.; Mixdown Town LBC, Long Beach, CA; and was self-produced by the band along with The Lab’s in-house audio engineering maestro James Wisner with the help of Jerry Wonda (The Fugees, Wyclef Jean) engineered an impromptu late night/early morning session at Platinum Sound, yielding the collaborative “Come Around.” Back home, Kyle and Miles also called on their long-time friends and Southern California music icons, Michael “Miguel” Happoldt and Marshall “Ras MG” Goodman, to produce standout tracks “Life Rolls On” and “The Prophet.”
“We’re a touring act, and we’ve been on the road pretty much non-stop over the last decade,” explains Doughty, offering that the band’s own local recording studio and rehearsal clubhouse “The Lab at Stoopid Studios” (within the warehouse district of Mission Valley just inland of Ocean Beach), is a key ingredient of what keeps the band’s sound fresh. In fact, the title and album cover reference the band’s collective escape from touring where they have been working on numerous creative and collaborative projects.
“Over the last several years we started our own studio and invested into innovations and equipment, upgrades in a quest to capture and progress our ideal signature sound. Having our own studio really enables us to make records at our own pace and to make the right records, hopefully (with a grin) at various stages of our career,” Doughty continues. “What’s nice about having our own environment to record in, and analyze the music, is it really lets us keep an organic feel. For Slightly Stoopid, I feel like it’s a step into the next level, as far as understanding the process of recording, understanding the process of songwriting. We took everything that we’ve learned over the years and really put it into this place and into our music.” The property also houses the creative loft space that has become the official offices Stoopid Records, which issued the band’s third album in 2000, Acoustic Roots, and has continued to be their preferred method of distributing the band’s recorded material.
“We started Stoopid Records around 1999,” Doughty clarifies. “At that time, we were in transition as far as what we were doing with our records, and we thought it would be good to have our own independent label—like Sublime showed us back in the day with Skunk Records. What’s nice is we’ve had a following with the fans, where people understand that Stoopid Records is Slightly Stoopid, as well as other bands we want to help break out.”
“For us, it was a big turning point as far as having complete creative control over everything we do. That’s something big for this band—we want to make the music for ourselves and for our fans. We don’t really make music for someone in an office that tells us something needs to be there. We’ve always had a very organic, do-it-yourself attitude. I think it’s paid off in dividends.”
Nearly two decades into their artistry, Slightly Stoopid continues to progress into new musical territory, defining their signature sound while creating a contagious feel-good vibe that has its own lifestyle and subculture… and it’s been done entirely on their own terms.
Proving that they are not your average country band, Old Dominion blends old-fashioned country charm, lyrical wit and rock n’ roll grit into radio-friendly, hook-heavy pop nuggets. Old Dominion has emerged as one of the hottest breaking bands in country music, fusing clever lyrics and an infectious sound. The band released their first full length album Meat and Candy, which was recently named RIAA-certified GOLD and called “deceptively smart, occasionally cheeky, stellar debut,” by Entertainment Weekly. Old Dominion released their PLATINUM two-week No.1 “Break Up With Him” and RIAA-certified GOLD hit “Snapback” prior to their third single “Song For Another Time,” which hit No. 1 on Billboard and MediaBase on Dec. 12, 2016. They spent their summer on Kenny Chesney’s Spread The Love Tour and just wrapped their headlining Meat and Candy Fall Tour in December 2016. Fifteen of the dates were tapped as Stagecoach Spotlight: Old Dominion Meat and Candy Tour; the first-ever tour produced by the award-winning Stagecoach Music Festival. This spring, Old Dominion will join Miranda Lambert on her Highway Vagabond Tour. In 2016, the band was named ACM New Group of the Year, ACCA Breakthrough Group of the Year, AIMP Songwriter Artist of the Year and Music Row Breakthrough Artist of the Year. Old Dominion consists of lead singer Matthew Ramsey, lead guitarist Brad Tursi, multi-instrumentalist Trevor Rosen, bassist Geoff Sprung and drummer Whit Sellers.
26 Year-old Columbia Nashville singer/songwriter Maren Morris has quickly established herself with vocal styling’s that reflect her country, soul and pop influences. Armed with sheer talent, honest lyrics and a completely magnetic presence, Morris has entered the Country music genre like a lioness. The Arlington, Texas native was named as one of CMT’s Next Women of Country as well as a CMT Listen Up Artist of 2016, a VEVO Discover Artist, a SiriusXM “Artist To Watch in 2016,” one of Rolling Stone Country’s “10 New Country Artists You Need To Know,” Spotify’s “Spotlight on Country 2016” Artists and many 2016 Watch Lists including USA Today, Billboard, Huffington Post and the Boston Globe to name a few. Morris’ label-debut album, HERO, released via Columbia Nashville on June 3 and one week after it was available HERO entered the Billboard Country Albums chart at No. 1 and No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart, which spans across all genres. With this, Morris became the first artist in the history of Columbia Nashville to open at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Charts with a debut album in the Soundscan era. Morris’ debut single from HERO, “My Church,” set a record at Country radio by having the most chart reporting stations to play a debut single by a country artist with 107 stations the week it hit the airwaves in addition to being certified PLATINUM by the RIAA. Her current single at radio is the fan favorite “80s Mercedes” a song that Billboard says “will set the mood for summertime” and was written by Morris and busbee, who also co-wrote “My Church.” Morris has appeared on Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, CBS Sunday Morning, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Sprout’s Sunny Side Up, Late Night with Seth Meyers and currently on tour on the Keith Urban RipCORD World Tour 2016 in addition to her own headlining dates.