Welcome to Feel-Good Friday, a weekly roundup of heartwarming stories, lighthearted videos, and inspiring country news that reminds us all there is still good in the world.
Braison Cyrus covers “This Land Is Your Land” to raise awareness for America’s public lands
Cyrus put his own rendition on Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” which is featured in Patagonia’s Public Trust: The Fight For America’s Public Lands, a new documentary that aims to raise awareness for America’s public lands and the fight to protect them.
“When we were in the studio recording ‘This Land,’ we felt a great deal of responsibility to Woody Guthrie and what this song meant to him at the time, but also give it the ominous feeling of what this documentary is trying to portray so people feel a sense of responsibility and urgency,” Cyrus, who also released the video for his new single “Heart Is Gold” this week, says. “We didn’t want just for people to feel scared and hopeless, we wanted people to feel inspired and take responsibility for the lands that we all love.”
Powerhouse vocalist Caitlyn Smith enlists the help of Old Dominion on her striking new duet “I Can’t.” Featured on Smith’s new edition of her sophomore album Supernova (Deluxe) out today on Monument Records, the emotive ballad marks the first collaboration for Old Dominion.
“I moved to Nashville 10 years ago, and both the city and I are completely different now,” Smith tells Sounds Like Nashville. “The idea for ‘I Can’t’ came to me when I was driving by downtown to a session, and noticed more new skyscrapers going up and dozens of cranes changing the skyline and couldn’t help but feel like a stranger in my own town. There’s beauty in change, in watching a city progress, but sometimes personal change can feel impossible. It’s comforting to know you’re not alone, so the song has always felt like a duet to me, and adding Old Dominion to the track really makes it magic.”
Adds Old Dominion’s Matthew Ramsey, “We were fans of Caitlyn before we knew she was a fan of our music. We are so honored she asked us to be a part of this project. It was a great way for us to expand into a different style than we usually play. We can’t wait to show it off.”
Carrie Underwood announces HBO Max Christmas special
On the heels of releasing her debut Christmas album My Gift, out today, Underwood has revealed a holiday special to air on HBO Max. The country singer will perform songs off her new album with a live orchestra and choir. The holiday event is scheduled to be filmed this fall with an air date TBD.
“The journey of writing and recording this album started last year when I finished my tour and we could have never anticipated the circumstances we would be in this year,” Underwood says in a statement. “Creating this album has been good for my heart, and I’m thrilled to get to share it with the world and to bring it to life with Playtone and HBO Max.”
Dolly Parton to release new book Songteller: My Life in Lyrics
An international icon and revered songwriter, Parton will unveil a new book next month that focuses on her songs. Songteller: My Life in Lyrics will be available Nov. 17 and highlights over 60 years of Parton’s songwriting career including 175 songs, rare photos and memorabilia. It is currently available for pre-order.
“This is my first-ever book of lyrics and features previously unreleased stories and pictures,” Parton says of the release, which will also include an audiobook.
Luke Bryan models new merch for a good cause
Bryan and his wife, Caroline, serve as the models for new merch supporting The Brett Boyer Foundation, a non-profit created to raise awareness for children born with a Congenital Heart Defect and those with Down Syndrome.
“New merch out now supporting @brightforbrett. We need more treatment options for babies born with a Congenital Heart Defect like my niece Brett. Grab a hoodie and help us fund research!” Bryan urges.
The Grand Ole Opry welcomes back an audience
In celebration of its 95th anniversary next week, the Grand Ole Opry will welcome back a limited audience beginning Oct. 3. The evening will feature performances by Opry members Dierks Bentley, Terri Clark, Vince Gill and Lorrie Morgan. Additionally, Bentley will be celebrating his 15th Opry anniversary after being inducted into the Opry family on October 1, 2005.
The in-venue audience will be capped at 500 guests. The limited audience will include fans who had previously held tickets for each night’s show. In opening its doors to the public for the first time since March, the Grand Ole Opry will comply with operating plans developed in partnership with the Nashville Public Health Department and Vanderbilt Health that include socially distanced seating and mandatory masks for all guests and staff.
“With gratitude to the artists who have visited the Opry since March, staff members and partners who have ensured the Opry went on every Saturday, and a worldwide audience for tuning in over the past six months, we are so excited as we plan to welcome fans back to the Opry House,” says Dan Rogers, Opry vice president and executive producer. “So many loyal fans make plans early to be a part of our birthday weekend every year, and I am especially excited that many of those devoted familiar faces will be in the first in-house audience since late last winter.”