CMT Roundup: New Music From Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Cole Swindell

The 2022 CMT Music Awards will air live from Nashville 8 p.m. (ET) Monday on CBS. So this week we took a look at new music from the award show’s nominees.

Carrie Underwood, the record holder for most wins at the 2022 CMT Music Awards, has a new song out as does the show’s co-host Kelsea Ballerini along with LeAnn Rimes, Cole Swindell and Caitlyn Smith.

Ballerini will host country music’s only fan-voted awards show with actor Anthony Mackie. It was revealed today that Kenny Chesney will close the show, and there are three hours of music between the curtains.

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Carrie Underwood, “Denim & Rhinestones“: CMT Music Awards’ most decorated vocalist, Carrie Underwood, recently revealed that her forthcoming album, “Denim & Rhinestones,” is on the horizon and will drop on June 10, 2022. Underwood released (April 8) the title track, “Denim & Rhinestones,” an up-tempo love song. The chart-topping artist penned the wine-night anthem alongside frequent collaborators David Garcia, Josh Kear, and Hillary Lindsey. Underwood gives a friendly nod to Dolly Parton, her southern mother, and the man she believes is her perfect match within the stadium-ready banger. “Denim & Rhinestones” follows her revenge-like track, “Ghost Story,” and multi-week No.1 smash hit, “If I Didn’t Love You” with Jason Aldean.

“We cover a lot of ground on this album. We have a lot of songs that have a bit of a ’throwback’ feel, but they sound super fresh. I grew up listening to so many different kinds of music, and that is extremely evident in this body of work. These are musical influences that are all in me and work their way out, and I just decided this time not to get in their way. I think this whole album ended up being a big reflection of me as a person and as an artist,” the eight-time GRAMMY winner mentioned in a statement. “The song ’Denim & Rhinestones’ is super fun, with a bit of a retro vibe – we just go together, like a sweet tea and a lemon, like denim and rhinestones. You have these things that are great on their own, and then you put them together, and they just fit. That’s how this album feels.”

Underwood is set to perform at the 2022 CMT Music Awards on Monday, April 11, at 8 p.m. ET. The powerhouse and Aldean are also nominated for Collaborative Video of the Year and Video of the Year.

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Kelsea Ballerini, “HEARTFIRST”: 2022 CMT Music Award co-host Kelsea Ballerini recently released (April 8) her new 90’s-country-inspired anthem “HEARTFIRST.” The ear-grabbing blend of the steady beat, faint guitar, and pitch-perfect piano – creates an electrifying melody ready for the summer.

The powerhouse vocalist penned the breezy bop alongside Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and seasoned songsmith Alysa Vanderheym. The singalong-worthy track serves as the follow-up to her No.1 hit, “half of my hometown,” featuring Kenny Chesney.

“I hope this song is just a feel-good for people,” the hitmaker told Audacy. “With my last single, ‘half of my hometown,’ I wanted to really tell a story. I got to dive into the songwriter in me. [With] this song, I just wanted like a new, clean-slate-feeling song. It’s a bop, put the windows down,” she gushed.

Ballerini is set to perform “HEARTFIRST” during The CMT Music Awards on CBS on Monday, April 11 at 8 p.m. ET. The singer-songwriter will be starting the party alongside critically acclaimed Hollywood actor Anthony Mackie. Ballerini is currently nominated for Collaborative Video of The Year and Video of The Year for chart-topping ballad, “half of my hometown.”

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LeAnn Rimes, “how much a heart can hold”: In honor of her 25th career anniversary, the country music star revealed that her 19th studio album, “god’s work,” will officially drop on September 16, 2022. To go along with the highly anticipated announcement – Rimes released “how much a heart can hold,” a soul-touching ballad that serves as a sneak peek into her forthcoming record. A classical piano beautifully backs Rimes’ impressive vocal range as she delivers the mesmerizing lyrics of the love song.

“Feels like you gave me the sun and moon | A new kind of love came pouring through | Oh, what a blessing to have so much room for two| You could let your heart close, fear it might break | Wouldn’t be the first to make that mistake| But love has a power to make its own place| Oh, how much a heart can hold,” the icon belts in the chill-provoking melody.

The empowering project will feature collaborations with notable names such as Mickey Guyton, Aloe Blacc, Ziggy Marley, Ben Harper, Ledisi, Sheila E., Robert Randolph, and more. On the heels of her new release, Rimes will join forces with other female trailblazers for a CMT Crossroads on April 14 at 8p/7c on CMT. CMT Crossroads: LeAnn Rimes & Friends will pay tribute to her groundbreaking career and memorable music. Leading up to the grand performance, the icon will appear at the 2022 CMT Music Awards and serve as a presenter.

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Cole Swindell, “She Had Me At Heads Carolina”: An ode to ‘90s country hit “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” this up-tempo, light-hearted toe-tapper is centered on a girl singing the Jo Dee Messina hit during karaoke. Swindell co-wrote the song with Thomas Rhett, Ashley Gorley and Jesse Frasure as a possible duet with Rhett. Then the men gave “Heads Carolina, Tails California” writers Mark D. Sanders, Tim Nichols credit on the song, too. The song is from Swindell’s new album “Stereotype” which is out today and marks the first time he’s incorporated a past hit into his new music.

“It just takes you back to my hometown and loving music in the ‘90s,” Swindell said. “I remember always loving that song, and God, just to think back to all the times you’ve ever been in a place that had karaoke, and some girl always gets up and sings. We just kind of put a twist on it.”

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Miranda Lambert, “Actin’ Up”: A mid-tempo, attitude-driven quintessential Lambert track, “Actin’ Up” details all the ways the singer “wants to have a little fun.”
The song’s lyrics include: I want a sunset ride| A velvet rodeo| A Colorado high| A California glow| I want to see the desert| From a painted palomino| Señorita need to have a little fun| I’m actin’ up
Lambert co-wrote the song with Luke Dick and Jon Randall, the same men with whom she co-produced her new album “Palomino” which will be available April 29.

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Caitlyn Smith, “Maybe In Another Life”: Written by Smith and Jennifer Erin Decilveo, “Maybe In Another Life” is a soaring, emotional, heartbreak ballad that begins acoustic and builds over the course of the song culminating with drums and a string section. The song is from Smith’s self-produced album that is available now.
Smith is nominated for Breakthrough Video of the Year for her Old Dominion duet “I Can’t.”

Listen to the full Roundup Playlist:

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