Darius Rucker was named an official ambassador for South Carolina for 2020.

The country singer and frontman for Hootie & the Blowfish will work with the state’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism.

Rucker is a native of Charleston. He will share his music and name recognition to help strengthen the state’s tourism. Rucker also will make appearances at major tourism events statewide and will be featured on advertising for the state’s DiSCover campaign.

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks posted a series of teaser pics over the weekend from what appears to be the video shoot for a new song entitled "Gaslighter." The pics on the Chicks' Instagram show Maines along with bandmates Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer drinking wine through a straw along with the hashtags #gaslighter and #dcx2020, suggesting that a new album is coming this year.

Maines shared the same images as well, with the additional tags #verysoon and #musicvideo. 

Back in September, Maines told the Spiritualgasm podcast that she had "a lot to say" on the long-awaited follow-up to 2006's "Taking the Long Way".

Daniel Lee Martin, a country singer in the 2000s, died by an apparent suicide on Friday. The 54-year-old was under investigation for child sex abuse crimes in both Florida and Tennessee.

A Pasco County, Fla., Sheriff SWAT team discovered Martin's body at a home in New Port Richey, Fla., on Friday afternoon, after entering the house in order to take Martin into custody. Martin had threatened to harm both himself and others, and was found with what is believed to be a fatal self-inflicted gunshot wound.
 
Martin was arrested in Pasco County in late January and charged with a felony for lewd and lascivious exhibition because a minor female reported that he had performed a lewd act in her presence. The alleged victim claimed that Martin exposed himself to her while the two were seated on a sofa together, and that he fondled himself and shared pornographic images. Martin was released on $15,000 bail within three hours after that arrest.

In September of 2018, a grand jury in Williamson County, Tenn., indicted Martin on four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, two counts of aggravated sexual battery, two counts of solicitation of a minor to commit rape of a child, two counts of indecent exposure and one count of solicitation of a minor. These incidents reportedly took place between May of 2014 and January of 2018 and involved three children ranging in age from 9 years old to 12 years old.

Martin had turned himself into police in Spring Hill, Tenn., in October of 2018 in relation to those charges. A trial was set for March, but Pasco County officers were trying to serve a warrant related to those charges when they found Martin's body on Friday.

Radney Foster suffered a fall recently that resulted in trauma to his vocal cords.

A post to Foster's Facebook page on Friday (February 14th) informed fans of his fall and asked for their assistance in speeding his recovery.

"Please send healing thoughts," the post reads. "Radney fell while fly fishing and hit his head and shoulders. He will be fine, but the fall caused vocal cord bruising."
 
"He is on voice rest for 10 days but is expected to make a full recovery, and should be good for the shows in March.  Thanks for all the good wishes."

Foster got his start as a member of Foster & Lloyd, who placed nine singles on the country charts between 1986 and 1990 including "Crazy Over You," "Sure Thing," "What Do You Want From Me This Time" and more. Foster has gone on to a well-respected solo career, and he's written a long string of songs for other artists including Keith Urban, Sara Evans, Hootie & the Blowfish, Gary Allan and more.

Maren Morris appeared on on "Sesame Street" for an episode titled "Let's Draw" that aired Saturday (February 15th), and she performed a special song to encourage young viewers not to give up when the going seems tough.

Morris and the cast of Sesame Street sand a song called “Oops! Whoops! Wait, Ah ha!”, which the writers of the iconic children's show composed to encourage their young viewers to keep at it when they're having trouble mastering a new skill.

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives and Steve Miller Band will join forces for a co-headlining tour this summer.

The Americana Tour will kick off on June 13 in Austin, with additional stops in Nashville, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, St. Louis and more. Gary Mule Deer will serve as support. The new tour follows a 34-date co-headlining tour in 2019.
https://martystuart.net/events/

Orville Peck, Lucinda Williams, and Margo Price will join Willie Nelson at the 2020 Luck Reunion, a daylong festival held on Nelson’s Luck Ranch outside of Austin.

Slated for March 19th, the Luck Reunion will also feature the Haden Triplets, Sierra Ferrell, Early James, S.G. Goodman, the Still Tide, Shooks, Ian Ferguson, Jeremie Albino, and Jonathan Wilson.

Nelson will close the event on the World Headquarters Stage, which features a daylong lineup of Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Shooter Jennings, Particle Kid, Angel Olsen, Parquet Courts, Paul Cauthen, and Devon Gilfillian.

Lucinda Williams, Orville Peck, Amanda Shires, Colter Wall, the Black Lips, Ian Noe, Terry Allen, the Mastersons, Katie Pruitt, and Margo Price & Friends featuring Jeremy Ivey are also scheduled to play the other stages scattered across the property.

As in years past, the Luck Reunion takes place during the SXSW Music Festival, which runs March 16th through 22nd in Austin.

Darius Rucker was surprised with a plaque celebrating the RIAA's recent 8x-Platinum certification of his hit song "Wagon Wheel" during a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum Wednesday.

Since topping the charts for back-to-back weeks in 2013, "Wagon Wheel" has now become one of the top five best-selling country songs of all time. Rucker is now the only solo male country act to achieve the honor of an 8x-plus multi-Platinum song in RIAA's history.

Chris Stapleton says news songs are written, and he's now in the studio.

Stapleton also told Rolling Stone that some of the songs were created with legendary Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, his "favorite guitar player of all time". 

Stapleton has also been working with country-rock super-producer Dave Cobb though he can't firmly commit to new material coming out in 2020. He added, "I don’t want to make any promises, but there is probably some new music on the way."

Thomas Rhett and his wife Lauren Akins have welcomed their third baby girl, Lennon Love Akins. He shared the news on social media with a sweet tribute to his daughter and their family.

Lennon joins their daughters Willa Gray, now 4, and Ada James, age 2.