AP NEWS

Rising country music talent takes home early wins at ACM Awards

March 30, 2018

Lauren Alaina, Midland and Brett Young are all early winners at next month’s ACM Awards taking home New Female Vocalist, New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year, and New Male Vocalist of the Year, respectively. The winners received a surprise phone call from 53rd ACM Awards host Reba McEntire sharing the good news. Alaina, Midland and Young also have all been added as performers on the ACM Awards, which will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena at Las Vegas at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 15, on CBS. These awards mark the first-ever ACM Awards wins for Alaina, Midland and Young. Alaina also is nominated for Vocal Event of the Year for “What Ifs” with Kane Brown, and Midland is nominated for Vocal Group of the Year and Single Record of the Year for “Drinkin’ Problem.”

NO. 1 AGAIN: For the fourth time in his career, Scotty McCreery debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart with “Seasons Change.” The project sold more than 40,000 units in its release week. “It’s been quite a journey these last few years, and to learn that ‘Seasons Change’ has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums Chart is awesome and so gratifying,” McCreery said. “I’m glad everyone is enjoying the new music. I am so thankful to my fans, who have always been so supportive. With a No. 1 album, my first-ever No. 1 single, and my upcoming wedding to the love of my life, I just don’t see how 2018 can get any better!” Unlike his previous releases, “Seasons Change” showcases Mc-Creery’s songwriting talents on all 11 tracks, including his very first No. 1 hit, “Five More Minutes.”

FEELING SPACEY? Little Big Town’s version of “Rocket Man” — included on the new Elton John tribute album “Restoration” — features some interesting space sounds, which are from NASA’s Mission Juno to explore the planet Jupiter. The project unlocked some of the secrets of the planet, and the sounds from Juno’s Waves radio instrument were weaved throughout LBT’s harmonies on the song. Scott Bolton, the principal investigator for the Juno mission, assisted the band in working the Juno data into the music. “Rocket Man” is just one of the songs from the new album, “Restoration: Reimag-ining the Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin.” The compilation, available April 6, also includes songs from Chris Stapleton, Kacey Mus-graves. Brothers Osborne, Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and many more. Little Big Town will help honor John’s five decade-spanning career with a TV tribute — “Elton John: I’m Still Standing A Grammy Salute” — set to air at 9 p.m. April 10 on CBS.

Julie Reeves is the midday host on Big Buck Country 101.5. Also contributing is Bill Cornwell.