Nashville Music Line: Maddie & Tae Christmas CD, Keith Urban

Keith Urban’s 10th studio album, The Speed of Now Part 1, dropped two days after he hosted the ACM Awards.  The 16-track project includes collaborations with Eric Church, Nile Rodgers and Breland, as well as the previously-released “One Too Many,” a duet with Pink that he performed during the ACW Awards show.  Ahead of the album’s release, Urban said his goal is to find the ‘third thing.’ The first two things are what he does and what his collaborator (such as the producer, the songwriters or his duet partner) does. The third thing, he said, is “the sum of the parts” where the result is even more that what he had envisioned.  Speed of Now Part 1 is the follow-up to his previous album, Graffiti U (2018). See the trailer for the album and more at

A couple of ‘firsts’ at this year’s ACM Awards. The first first: The Awards show aired from Nashville. Hard to believe that the show has never previously taken place in Nashville.  The producers divided the segments between three iconic Nashville locations: The Ryman Auditorium, The Bluebird café and The Grand Ole Opry House.

The second first: The was a tie for Entertainer of the Year. The top award was shared by Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett. Both Underwood and Rhett received exactly the same number of votes in this category from the 5,000 voting members. There have been ties in past in minor ACM Award categories (radio station of the year, for example) but never in a major category.

According to an article in Billboard, ACM CEO Damon Whiteside – and only Damon Whiteside – knew in advance the results supplied by independent accounting firm Deloitte.  This allowed Whiteside to contact artists’ management and “strongly encourage them” to be onsite (and in compliance with Covid-19 safety protocols), but did not reveal specific win information.

ACM Award voting can often be very close, and in the past acts have won by only two votes.

Among the other winners: Female Artist of the Year: Maren Morris; Male Artist of the Year: Luke Combs; Duo of the Year: Dan + Shay; Group of the Year: Old Dominion; New Female Artist of the Year: Tenille Townes; New Male Artist of the Year: Riley Green; Songwriter of the Year: Hillary Lindsey; and Single of the Year: “God’s Country” (Blake Shelton). The Music Event of the Year Award (previously announced) went to Miranda Lambert’s “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” her collaboration with featured artists: Caylee Hammack, Elle King, Ashley McBryde, Maren Morris & Tenille Townes.


“I Know Country” Q&A from 

QUESTION: Can you name the group that took “Take Me There” to the top of the Country singles charts in September 2007?  And for bonus points, which country superstar was one of the song’s writers?


Maddie & Tae will release a 6-song holiday project titled We Need Christmas, slated to drop Oct 23. The album includes four popular holiday songs, plus two originals, including the title song. The two singer-songwriters said of the album: “Making We Need Christmas was such a bright spot for us this year and we hope this project brings a little joy and peace to our fans during this difficult year.”

Making the year a little less difficult for Maddie & Tae: news that their chart-topping “Die From a Broken Heart” has now been officially certified Platinum by RIAA.

We Need Christmas Track Listing (Songwriter credits in parentheses):

  1. This Christmas (Donny Hathaway, Nadine McKinnor)
    2. Holly Jolly Christmas (Johnny Marks)
    3. O Come All Ye Faithful (Traditional)
    4. Merry Married Christmas (Maddie Font, Taylor Kerr, Josh Kerr)
    5. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector)
    6. We Need Christmas (Maddie Font, Taylor Kerr, Matthew West, AJ Pruis)

Follow Maddie & Tae at

  • Other upcoming Christmas albums include Carrie Underwood’s My Gift (release date Sept 25) and Runaway June’s When I Think About Christmas (Oct 16). Coincidentally, both Maddie & Tae and Runaway June were opening acts on Carrie Underwood’s 2019 Cry Pretty Tour.
  • Terri Clark also has a Yuletide album: It’s Christmas… Cheers! (Sept 25)
  • And possible the season’s most anticipated Christmas offering: Dolly Parton releases her first holiday album in 30 years, A Holly Dolly Christmas (Oct 2).

Alabama got to play their first and only 2020 gig on September 15. Recognized as the most successful group in the history of country music, Alabama has graced the stage in stadiums and arenas across America and around the world, but, like other big-league acts, they have had to sit out 2020 away from the spotlights. However, their Sept. 15 appearance was not in a stadium but on Camping World®’s FREE virtual weekly concert series, Taking the Highways Across America.

“We are happy that we get to play our music live where you can watch for free in the safety of your home, camper or motorhome,” says ALABAMA frontman Randy Owen. “Thanks to our friends at Camping World for making this possible. We hope and pray that everyone is staying healthy and following the safety rules for the pandemic.”

Appearing on Taking the Highways Across America later this month: Martina McBride on Sept. 22, and Chris Young on Sept. 29. Concerts stream live at 9:00 pm ET / 8:00 pm CT.

The free concerts will be streamed at and on the company’s social media pages. Acts scheduled in October & November include Ricky Skaggs & Steven Cutis Chapman, Sugarland, Zac Brown Band, Little Big Town, Amy Grant & Vince Gill. See Camping World’s website for website for details.

Looks like a biopic miniseries about the lives of George Jones and Tammy Wynette could be on the way soon. Titled George & Tammy, the miniseries is adapted from a feature film screenplay based on the book The Three of Us: Growing Up with Tammy and George, penned by the couple’s daughter, Georgette Jones. Wynette will be played by Jessica Chastain who also is attached as an executive producer. Josh Brolin, also an executive producer, was originally on board to play Jones, but a final decision will be announced. The project has been optioned by Spectrum Originals and the Paramount Network.  Current plans call for George & Tammy to play for Spectrum subscribers followed after nine months by availability on the forthcoming ViacomCBS streaming service and Paramount network.

There will soon be a permanent outdoor stage at the Ryman Auditorium. The new stage, which could be particularly beneficial if social distancing limitations continue into next year, should be completed by the end of 2020 and will be called PNC Plaza.  The stage is part of a multi-year agreement between the Ryman and PNC Bank, the official banking sponsor for the historic venue.  The stage will be located outside Café Lula, on the Fourth Avenue North side of the Ryman.  PNC Bank announced that they will become presenting sponsor of ‘Ryman Community Day,’ that will welcome Tennessee residents to enjoy the Ryman daytime tour at no charge. Scheduled show dates and more info at 

This week in Country Music

Sept 20, 1982  Jerry Reed topped the Billboard Country Singles chart with “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft), written by Tim DuBois.

Sept 21, 1954  On this day, Gordon Persons, Governor of Alabama, declared Sept 21, 1954 to be Hank Williams Day.

Sept 24, 1962  Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs recorded “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” with vocals by Jerry Scoggins. It was the theme music for the TV series The Beverly Hillbillies.

Sept 25, 1993 The US Postal Service issued a series of 29c (first class) stamps featuring portraits of country music artists Hank Williams, The Carter family, Bob Wills and Patsy Cline.

This week’s country music birthdays

Sept 21            Faith Hill, 1967

Sept 22            Debby Boone (“You Light Up My Life”; daughter of Pat Boone) 1956

Sept 26            Marty Robbins, 1925

Lynn Anderson, 1947 (died July 30, 2015)

Olivia Newton-John, 1948

Doug Supernaw (“I Don’t Call Him Daddy”), 1960


“I Know Country” Q&A ANSWER: The group was Rascal Flatts. “Take Me There” was written by Kenny Chesney, along with Neil Thrasher and Wendell Mobley.


This week’s Billboard Country Airplay Top 5

  1. (1) “Lovin’ On You” Luke Combs
  2. (2) “One of Them Girls” Lee Brice
  3. (3) “Cool Again” Kane Brown
  4. (4) “Got What I Got” Jason Aldean
  5. (6) “Some Girls” Jameson Rodgers

“Some Girls” is Jameson Rodgers first-ever top ten on the Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs chart. The song was written by Hardy, Jake Mitchell and C. J. Solar.  Jameson is yet another country artist who first aspired to a career in baseball before focusing on music.

He is also an artist who has a successful career as a songwriter for other artists, including: Florida Georgia Line (“Talk You Out of It”). Chris Lane (“I Don’t Know About You”), Jason Aldean (“Camouflage Hat”), Luke Bryan (“Born Here, Live Here, Die Here”), etc.

Hardy, Jake Mitchell and C. J. Solar conceived “Some Girls” as simply a demo before any of them achieved success as songwriters. It was pitched to various artists without success. Rodgers, a friend of the three writers, had released a version of the song on a self-titled indie EP in 2018.  After signing a record deal with Columbia Records Nashville, he re-recorded the song for River House/Columbia and it was released in June 2020.

“It’s funny because I moved here [to Nashville] writing songs and, you know, it’s kind of ironic that my first [hit] song is one I didn’t write,” Jameson told ABC Radio.

Preshias Harris is a music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Visit for more details.   Follow her blog at

Harris is also the author of “I Know Country” with 366 daily country music questions and answers. You can buy and instantly download your e-book copy at