Cole Swindell Releasing Five New Songs on “Down Home Sessions EP”

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleCole Swindell's debut album just came out in February, but his fans will be happy to know he's got a brand-new, five-song EP coming out this week. It's called the Down Home Sessions, and Cole says his fans have been waiting for some of these songs for a while now.

He explains, "There were a couple [songs] that I saw fans, that they'd heard me play live, and just wondering, you know, 'Why didn't that make the album?'  Hey, you can only pick so many."

The Down Home Sessions EP coincides with Cole's just-launched Down Home club tour, which is a far cry from the stadiums and arenas he's played on Luke Bryan's That's My Kind of Night tour all year long.  Cole hopes the Down Home EP and tour will become a longstanding tradition.

He says, "I just want to hopefully be able to do that every year -- give the fans new music and then go out and play the clubs, which I started playing in."

Here's the Down Home Sessions EP track listing:

"Ready"
"The Way You're Lovin' Me Now"
"Kiss"
"Workin' on Me"
"Boomerang"

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Trisha Yearwood Feeling Like a Champion with New Album, “PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit”

Image Courtesy Sony/Gwendolyn RecordsTrisha Yearwood's new album, PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit, is out this week, and she recruited her friend, Kelly Clarkson, to sing on the title track. Trisha sang on Kelly's Christmas album, Wrapped in Red, last year, and they were eager to get back in the studio together.

"We're both like, 'Oh, my God! I'm singing with Kelly Clarkson!" She's like, 'Oh, my God! I'm singing with Trisha Yearwood!'" Trisha tells ABC News Radio. "You should just slap us because we're just ridiculous. We really do both genuinely admire each other, and so we have so much fun."

For the album cover photo, Trisha put on boxing gloves and a form-fitting white dress to strike a victorious pose. It's a departure from the normal headshots she usually puts on album covers, but Trisha felt the PrizeFighter title called for a bold photograph.

She says, "Usually I do a photo shoot, and I don't know what the album title's gonna be. I'm just trying to look pretty. This time knowing it, it's like, let's go be fierce and own it. Let's go do something really strong that matches the strength of the song."

Another standout song on PrizeFighter is "I Remember You," which serves as a tribute to her late mother, Gwen. As a surprise for Trisha's 50th birthday, her husband, Garth Brooks, secretly flew her sister, Beth, up to Nashville to record a harmony part on the song. Since Beth only sings in the church choir back home in Georgia, Trisha was stunned when she heard her sister singing on the track.

"When I go into listen to the mix, I'm like, I immediately know it's her, but it can't be her," Trisha says. "Like, how is that possible? And the song's emotional for her, too. The most amazing gift my husband could have ever given me, and it takes the song to yet another level 'cause she has a really angelic voice."

PrizeFighter: Hit After Hit features six brand-new songs plus Trisha's greatest hits, including "How Do I Live," "She's in Love with the Boy" and "Walkaway Joe."  Look for Trisha to perform on ABC's Good Morning America Tuesday.

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Hunter Hayes Says His Heart’s in Country Music

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes' music has a pop sensibility to it, but he won't be leaving the country format for the pop world any time soon.

Hunter tells Iowa's Quad-City Times, "My heart's in country music.  I grew up listening to country music and I'm very proud of that. I'm proud of the family that I get to be a part of, and I take the opportunity to be a part of this family incredibly seriously."

Hunter hopes his live show on the Tattoo (Your Name) tour reflects that commitment to country music.

"I don't take it for granted for one minute," Hunter explains, "and I want to make sure every minute of our show conveys that as well."

Hunter is on the road through a December 13 date in London, Ontario, Canada.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Hunter Hayes Says His Heart’s in Country Music

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes' music has a pop sensibility to it, but he won't be leaving the country format for the pop world any time soon.

Hunter tells Iowa's Quad-City Times, "My heart's in country music.  I grew up listening to country music and I'm very proud of that. I'm proud of the family that I get to be a part of, and I take the opportunity to be a part of this family incredibly seriously."

Hunter hopes his live show on the Tattoo (Your Name) tour reflects that commitment to country music.

"I don't take it for granted for one minute," Hunter explains, "and I want to make sure every minute of our show conveys that as well."

Hunter is on the road through a December 13 date in London, Ontario, Canada.

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Country Stars Are Just Fine with Taylor Swift’s Move to Pop

Image Courtesy ABC/Ida Mae AstuteTaylor Swift has made it very clear her latest album, 1989, is a pop project, and that's just fine with the country stars in Nashville. Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum points out Taylor's strong songwriting skills are still in effect with the new music.

Hillary tells Billboard, "You can tell she takes so much pride in that and that's what I respect."

New duo Maddie & Tae also support Taylor's move to pop, saying, "She's killing it over at pop, and we're just really happy for her."

In going full-on pop, Taylor hasn't closed the door to making a country album at some point in the future either.  Dustin Lynch says, "You know what she's setting herself up for? A huge comeback. Three years down the road, she's gonna come back and make a stone-cold country album, and it's gonna be amazing too."

Tickets are now on sale for Taylor's 1989 tour, launching in the U.S. May 20 in Bossier City, LA.

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