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Forever and Ever: Randy Travis Through the Years [Pictures]

Randy Travis is one of the most important country music artists of his generation, and we're celebrating his life and career with this gallery featuring pictures of Randy Travis through the years.

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16 Most Iconic CMA Awards Wins Ever

There are some CMA Award wins you see coming from a mile away, when an artist is a shoo-in to take home that glass trophy, but occasionally one will surprise audiences, or even make history.

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Shania Twain to Receive Icon Award at Billboard's 2016 Women in Music Event

Shania Twain is an icon in country music, and this winter, she'll earn her official medal. Twain will be honored with Billboard's Icon Award at the 2016 Billboard Women in Music ceremony on Dec. 9 in New York.

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Dierks Bentley to Play Free Pre-2016 CMA Awards Concert

Dierks Bentley will perform outside Nashville's Bridgestone Arena the morning of the 2016 CMA Awards.

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Eric Paslay Brings 'Angels in This Town' to 'Today' [Watch]

Eric Paslay stopped by the Today Show on Wednesday (Oct. 26) to perform his powerful new single, "Angels in This Town." Wanting to know more about the song, Kathy Gifford asked him, "what kind of angels are we talking about?" Continue reading…

Grand Ole Opry is going north to NYC with new venue

The Grand Ole Opry is going north. The famous venue for country music is branching out of Tennessee for the first time its 91-year history with a new restaurant and venue in Times Square.

Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc., which owns the Opry House and the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, on Thursday announced plans to open the Opry City Stage around April 2017, which will feature retail space, a listening room and private event space, a bar and a restaurant.

Colin Reed, chairman and CEO, said Ryman hopes to expand the country music-themed concept to other tourist-heavy cities, but they wanted to start in New York.

"There are about a 100 million consumers who love country music all across the country," Reed said. "Times Square happens to be the place where between 40 and 50 million tourists go through that market. So we thought we'd start in a place as big and dominant as Times Square."

Promoters of country music have been trying to plant a permanent flag in New York for decades with mixed success. A country music festival called Farmborough was cancelled after just one year in 2015, but a country radio station returned to the city's airwaves in 2013 for the first time since 1996.

Vince Gill, a longtime Grand Ole Opry member and unofficial ambassador of the genre, said New York is a strong market for country music.

"Garth Brooks played there at Central Park one time and had about 88 million people there, I think," Gill said. "So yeah, they love country music up there."

Visitors will be able to watch live performances at the Opry City Stage, or watch Grand Ole Opry performances from Nashville via screens. The Bluebird Cafe, the songwriter venue in Nashville, and the Nashville Songwriters Association International, will also help curate performances in the venue.

Garth Brooks' Favorite Halloween Costume? It's Obvious!

Garth Brooks admits that he's not the biggest Halloween fan in his family, but there is a costume he pulled off one year that's timeless. For years, the holiday was just a day to celebrate with his daughters.

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Forever Country: Tegan Marie Covers Faith Hill's Iconic 'This Kiss' [Watch]

Rising country star Tegan Marie covered Faith Hill's mega-hit, "This Kiss," as part of the Forever Country Cover Series that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the CMA Awards in 2016. Continue reading…

Review: Tove Lo finds herself high at the club but not happy

Pop singer Tove Lo warns us at the very top of her strong sophomore album that maybe we shouldn't always believe her. "You know I'm under the influence/So don't trust every word I say," she sings.

And, after that warning, we're off on a deliciously murky trip into dark club music led by a Swede who clearly likes to get high, be real and swear effortlessly. "Lady Wood" is as close to a punk EDM album as possible.

Lo has been making a name for herself for her chill synth pop and honest lyrics. Her 2014 debut, "Queen of the Clouds," gave us the hits "Habits (Stay High)" and "Talking Body." She also gained attention as the co-writer of Ellie Goulding's "Love Me Like You Do," earning herself Grammy and Golden Globe nominations.

Her new CD, which she co-wrote, is broken into two, five-track songs that start at the party and end in a hangover.

The album kicks off with the Britney Spears-sounding "Influence," which gets a welcome assist from Wiz Khalifa, and then it's all about glow sticks and doomed hookups, including the title song that embraces her libido and the hypnotic "Cool Girl."

The crash comes with the last five songs, all more mature and weary. Being high hasn't necessarily made Lo any happier — and reality is worse. "Know you're loving the highs you get in between the lines of a life you don't need," she sings on "Don't Talk About It."

The album might be the worst advertisement ever for drugs, but it's the best for a singer we have to watch.


Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

Music Review: Alejandro Escovedo rocks out on 'Burn'

Alejandro Escovedo may not be a household name, but he should be.

The 65-year-old singer-songwriter emerged in the 1970s as a punk rocker, gained acclaim as a soulful Texas-based alt-country star and has been holding down the roots rock mantle for years. The styles all co-exist wonderfully on his new release "Burn Something Beautiful," his first in four years.

Escovedo co-wrote the 13 songs and produced it with former R.E.M. member Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey of The Minus 5.

The record comes as Escovedo has battled hepatitis-C and survived a hurricane while on his honeymoon in Mexico. That experience left him with post-traumatic stress disorder.

So maybe it's no surprise on "Burn Something Beautiful" he sings of loss, the healing power of love and his own mortality.

But it's no maudlin affair.

Guitars wail on the opener, "Horizontal," setting the tone for what's to come. He may be 65, but Escovedo seems determined to prove advancing age isn't an inhibitor to showing the youngsters how to rock.

Still, musings on the inevitable end are never far away, like on "I Don't Want to Play Guitar Anymore."

"When there's no stories left to sing," Escovedo sings, "say goodbye to everything."

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