Feel-Good Friday: Uplifting Country News From Eli Young Band, Luke Bryan & Tim McGraw

These stories will make your week!

Written by Annie Reuter
Feel-Good Friday: Uplifting Country News From Eli Young Band, Luke Bryan & Tim McGraw
Tim McGraw; Cover art courtesy of Big Machine Label Group

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.

Eli Young Band duet with Jimmy Buffett on “Saltwater Gospel (Fins Up Version)”

Eli Young Band make waves with the new version of their 2016 recording “Saltwater Gospel.” The ode to finding peace by the water, the revamped track enlists the help of Jimmy Buffett and will hit radio beginning Aug. 30.

“We’d always known from the early days of playing ‘Saltwater Gospel’ live that it was special,” frontman Mike Eli says in a statement. “Crowds would sing along as if it was already a huge hit. Our team noticed a massive swell of streaming recently and some radio stations began playing it again. With signs there was more life to this song, the idea of re-releasing a fresh version was really exciting for us to explore.

“We aimed high thinking how cool it would be to have Jimmy Buffett, but finding out he was interested, we were pumped!” Eli continues. “He’s an icon who’s made a huge impact on the world with fans completely devoted to his persona and laidback party environment. Plus, he likes a drink now and then, and so do we.”

Eric Paslay enlists the help of several country stars for “Nice Guy” video

Paslay pokes fun at celebrity culture throughout the humorous new music video for “Nice Guy,” which happens to include an A-list roster of country stars. Filmed in Nashville by director Timothy Hiele, the clip has cameos by Brad Paisley, Bobby Bones, Cassadee Pope, Charles Esten, Craig Wiseman, Hunter Hayes, Jamey Johnson, and Maddie & Tae. 

Penned with Wiseman, Paslay previously told Sounds Like Nashville that the two songwriters were discussing how often celebrities do terrible things and then are glorified for it. “I don’t want to do bad things. I’m not searching to chase that down, but it’s puzzling to me,” he says. “And that’s what the song is about. Why are bad people glorified? Let’s write a song about it. It’s a tongue-in-cheek way of saying it.”

Luke Bryan launches Amazon storefront for outdoor enthusiasts

On the heels of the release of his seventh studio album Born Here Live Here Die Here, Bryan has unveiled his own Amazon storefront. The new line will cater to outdoor enthusiasts like Bryan with a curated collection of over 50 of his favorite outdoor, fishing and hunting-focused products. The shop includes the singer’s go-to camping apparel, fishing and hunting gear, campfire tools, and more.

“Being outdoors is about spending quality time with my family and friends and appreciating the simple things in life,” Bryan says in a statement. “Since I’m always on the road, Amazon makes it easy to shop all the necessities needed to hunt and fish. When I get back, I can immediately get outdoors and spend time doing what I love. Amazon has everything you need for a perfect summer day for hunting and fishing to items you need to keep you warm in the rain and cold.”

Reese Witherspoon announces country competition series My Kind of Country

Witherspoon will be sharing her country roots with a new musical competition series called My Kind of Country. The actress’ female-focused production company Hello Sunshine has partnered with Apple for the new venture that aims to search for “extraordinary country music talent.”

“Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, country music has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Witherspoon captions the announcement. “The history of songwriting and recording, the artistry of matching lyrics and chords, the true expression of what is happening to humanity right now… not to mention the dazzling stage performances that bring you to your feet!

“There are so many remarkably talented people whose voices are being heard right now, but there are many more who have different experiences and remarkable stories that still need to be told in the genre,” she continues. “I’ve been incredibly inspired by all artists who continue to blaze bold new trails and our hope is to discover musicians who are revolutionizing country music and help amplify their voices and bring the JOY of country music to everyone around the world!”

Tim McGraw takes his album release party virtual

While album releases are entirely different during Covid-19, McGraw isn’t halting the celebration. Here On Earth, out today, is McGraw’s first solo album in five years and the singer will mark the occasion with a unique livestream experience. Tickets for the event are $15 and available through the singer’s website.

McGraw will be joined by Midland and Ingrid Andress tonight at 7:30 p.m. CT for a special pre-show event before he joins in at 8 p.m. to bring fans inside the making of his 16th studio album Here On Earth. The evening will include cameos by the songwriters behind some of the tracks on the project who will be sharing the stories behind the album’s songs. Additionally, the intimate livestream will boast a five-piece acoustic band for a performance of the new songs as well as older fan favorites.