Country music offers new tunes, a helping hand

April 11, 2019

NEW ALBUM: George Strait’s new 30th studio album, Honky Tonk Time Machine, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, selling 51,000 equivalent album units in its first week, according to Nielsen Music. Honky Tonk Time Machine extends George’s record to 27 No. 1 albums on the chart. Both Garth Brooks and Willie Nelson are a distant second on the list with 17 No. 1 albums apiece. Honky Tonk Time Machine also debuted at No. 4 on the allgenre Billboard 200 chart. The new album features 13 songs, including 12 originals and a cover of Johnny Paycheck’s “Old Violin.” George co-penned eight of the tracks, including a duet with Willie Nelson, “Sing One With Willie.” Longtime collaboration Dean Dillon co-penned seven songs, while George’s son, Bubba, co-penned 10 tracks.

EXPECTING: Brett Young and wife Taylor Mills announced via Instagram that they are expecting their first child. “And then we were 3,” said Brett, in part. “Taylor and I are absolutely over the moon to be expecting a new little angel into our family. Absolutely blessed to be starting this new chapter with my baby and our baby.” After getting engaged in February 2018, Brett and Taylor married in Palm Springs, Calif., in November 2018. They have known each other for more than 10 years.

FREE GROCERY STORE OPENS: Brad Paisley and wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley have teamed with Belmont University and Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to open “The Store”—a free grocery store— in Nashville. On Wednesday, April 3, Brad and Kimberly helped break ground on the non-profit project. Brad even got behind the controls of a backhoe to do some digging. The Store will operate as a year-round free grocery store that allows people to shop for their basic needs. Clients will be given the opportunity to come to The Store for a one-year period. There is no charge to those referred or to the people and agencies that send them. They may shop for food to supplement their income during times of crisis and as they work toward self-sufficiency. Brad and Kimberly were inspired to get involved in the Nashville project after volunteering at a similar organization, Unity Shoppe, in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Store, which is located at 2005 12th Ave. S. next to Belmont University’s Ministry Center, hopes to serve 3,000 people per year.

NEW SINGLE: Little Big Town released a thought-provoking new single, “The Daughters,” on Friday, April 5. Written by Sean McConnell, Ashley Ray and LBT’s Karen Fairchild— who also provides lead vocals—“The Daughters” is the lead single from the band’s upcoming ninth studio album. LBT also released a poignant video for “The Daughters,” which features dancers showcasing choreography from Andrew Winghart in a 1948 gym in Portland, Tenn. The clip was directed by Dano Cerny, who has helmed videos for The Chainsmokers, Elle King, Pentatonix, The Roots and more.

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