Eric Church Teaming Up with Hank Williams, Jr. to Kick Off Next Month’s CMA Awards Broadcast

CMAEric Church is teaming up with Hank Williams, Jr. to open up the 49th Annual CMA Awards next month on ABC. The two will sing a duet of Neil Young's "Are You Ready for the Country," which was also a hit for Waylon Jennings. The performance is the first taste of Hank Jr's upcoming studio album.

Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley return as hosts of the CMA Awards Wednesday, November 4 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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Pistol Annies Reunite at Miranda Lambert’s Weekend Tour Stops

Sony Music NashvillePistol Annies reunited during Miranda Lambert's weekend concerts in Augusta, Georgia and Fayetteville, North Carolina. The group, made up of Miranda with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley, haven't performed together as a trio in several years.

Miranda posted a picture of the first Annies performance on Instagram Saturday, saying, "The Pistol Annie’s raised a ruckus last night in Augusta GA when we surprised the crowd!" She added, "The GIRLS are back in town!"

Miranda's weekend shows are part of her Roadside Bars and Pink Guitars tour. She'll get her star on the Music City Walk of Fame Tuesday in Nashville.

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Charles Kelley Explains What His Solo Project, “The Driver,” Means for Lady Antebellum’s Future

Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum's Charles Kelley is stepping out from the group for his upcoming solo EP, The Driver. The lead single from the project is the title cut, which also features Charles' buddies Eric Paslay and Dierks Bentley. All three vocalists deliver a verse on the song to give three different perspectives of what it's like for a touring musician on the road.

As for why he chose those two guests for "The Driver," Charles tells ABC Radio, " I definitely wanted Eric Paslay on there because he co-wrote it, and he's just one of the best singers we have in the genre."

Charles continues, "When we wrote the song, I kept picturing someone's voice like Dierks Bentley. He just sounds like that gravelly singer that you believe. When I played it for him, he was like, 'Man, I’m on board. Let's do it.'"

The release of Charles' solo EP shouldn't be seen as the beginning of the end for Lady Antebellum. Charles only decided to go forward with this album after having a heart-to-heart with his Lady A bandmates Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood about halfway through their just-wrapped Wheels Up tour. It all started when Hillary brought up the fact she hasn't had a break since Lady A formed nine years ago.

Charles says, "When she had her baby, we got to take a break, Dave and I, but she, of course, was nursing a newborn and having that whole craziness going on. So, she's never really had one."

That's when Charles brought up his idea of doing a solo side project that eventually became The Driver EP.  He explains, "When she said that, I said, 'Well, guys, I've always wanted to just do this on the side for fun. I've got some songs I want to do that don't fit us anyways.' You know, I wanted their blessing. They were hugely supportive."

In addition to releasing his EP, Charles is also planning a run of club shows this fall and winter. He hopes taking a left turn with the new solo project will also give Lady Antebellum a creative boost when they return to the studio for their next album: "Hopefully it just mixes us up a little bit, throws us off a little bit, that it'll kind of make us maybe have to really go in and fight for a great record," he says.

As for the club tour, Charles' business manager has already warned him he's not going to make the kind of money he's used to bringing in with Lady A's arena shows.

Charles tells us, "I said, 'I'm not doing this for the money. I'm doing this for the soul.'"

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhich role did Carrie Underwood play in NBC's live production of The Sound of Music? ANSWER: Maria von Trapp. Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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