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Walker Hayes lines up Triple Play Tour, together with Brandon Ratcliff and Teddy Robb

No Comments Country Music News

Monument RecordsWalker Hayes has big plans to hit the road in April. He’s headlining the newly-announced Triple Play Tour, flanked by his up-and-coming labelmates Brandon Ratcliff and Teddy Robb

Kicking off in Cincinnati on April 16, the 13-stop trek is a tip of the hat to another iconic Triple Play Tour, mounted in 1993 by then-new artists Toby KeithShania Twain and John Brannen. The run launched both Toby and Shania into the country mainstream. 

In their own dynamic lineup, Walker, Brandon and Teddy will share both a bus and a band as they move from city to city, including press, radio and college events as part of their tour. They’ll also each release new singles over the course of the trek. 

Walker is known for his quirky, hip-hop inflected musical style and sharp lyricism. His platinum single, “You Broke Up with Me,” was a top-10 hit in 2018, coming off his major-label debut album, boom.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 

Fab fellowship: 'LOTR' director Peter Jackson's Beatles doc debuts September 4

No Comments Entertainment News

Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images(LONDON) — Lord of the Rings series Oscar winner Peter Jackson’s much-anticipated Beatles documentary, called The Beatles: Get Back, will be released by The Walt Disney Studios on September 4.

The director’s movie promises an alternate look at the recording sessions for the group’s album Let It Be, showcasing the “warmth, camaraderie and humor” of that time, as well as an extended look at The Beatles’ legendary final performance on the rooftop of Apple’s Savile Row London offices. 

While the original Let It Be movie, released in 1970, seemed to hint at the tension that eventually led to the breakup of The Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr say the new film shows what really happened. 

McCartney says in a statement, “I am really happy that Peter has delved into our archives to make a film that shows the truth about The Beatles recording together. The friendship and love between us comes over and reminds me of what a crazily beautiful time we had.”

Ringo adds, “It was so cool looking at all this footage. There was hours and hours of us just laughing and playing music, not at all like the version that came out. There was a lot of joy and I think Peter will show that. I think this version will be a lot more peace and loving, like we really were.”

Jackson created the new documentary from 55 hours of unseen footage and 140 hours of mostly unheard audio recordings.  In a statement, he says, “Working on this project has been a joyous discovery. I’ve been privileged to be a fly on the wall while the greatest band of all time works, plays and creates masterpieces.”

The original Let It Be movie and album were created in January of 1969 but not released until May of 1970, three weeks after the band had broken up.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Upcoming Houston Rodeo shows will be canceled due to COVID-19 coronavirus

No Comments Country Music News

ABC/Image Group LAThe annual Houston Livestock & Rodeo Show is planning to end early due to concerns regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus. The news broke on Wednesday, just after the World Health Organization officially declared the outbreak a pandemic. 

ABC13 in Houston, Texas, reports that Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told council members that the Rodeo will shut down 11 days earlier than its originally planned March 22 wrap date. A press conference with more details is expected later in the day.

A number of country stars are among the artists scheduled to perform on the remaining days of the Houston Rodeo, including Cody JohnsonJon PardiDierks BentleyKeith UrbanChris StapletonBrad Paisley, and Luke Bryan

Kane Brown is slotted to play the Rodeo on Wednesday night, the same day that the cancellation was announced. It was not immediately clear whether Kane’s performance will go on as planned. 

The 2020 Rodeo launched on March 3, and several country stars have already performed. Notably, Maren Morris played a headlining set at the Rodeo while nine months pregnant, just two weeks before she expects to give birth to a baby boy.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. 

"It feels like magic" — Yeardley Smith guesses how 'The Simpsons' writers can predict the future

No Comments Entertainment News

THE SIMPSONS © 2020 by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.(NEW YORK) — If you’re on social media, you might have come across stories about how The Simpsons — in all of its 32-seasons since it began — has nailed some uncanny predictions.

Donald Trump descending the escalator at Trump Tower to announce he’s running for — and then winning — the White House? The Simpsons predicted that 19 years ago.

The super-secret, dragon flame-broiled series finale of Game of Thrones? Yep, they called that, too, in season 29, a year before the HBO show actually ended.

From semi-no brainers like Lady Gaga playing the Super Bowl halftime show — in an animated performance that was uncannily like her actual one, years later — to really obscure predictions, like MIT professor Bengt Holmström winning the Nobel Prize in economics in 2016, six years after The Simpsons showed him doing just that, the long-running animated series has an eerily impressive track record.

Yeardley [YARD-lee] Smith has voiced Lisa Simpson since The Simpsons was just a series of janky-looking animated shorts that ran on The Tracey Ullman show in 1987. She’s tickled by the predictions, and just as spooked out as the rest of us. “Maybe we’re sort of a modern day Nostradamuses, or Nostradami,” she laughs. “I’ve sort of joked that the writers have a crystal ball in the middle of their table in the writers’ room.”

She adds, “that’s sort of unexplainable…and…it feels like magic.”

However, Smith says with a laugh, “The other thing is that we’ve been on so long. Think of all the things that we’ve also predicted that haven’t come true.”

Oh, and for the record, a highly contagious flu-like virus imported from China? It was also shown on the show…back in 1993.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Harvey Weinstein sentenced to 23 years on sex crime convictions

No Comments National News

(Alec Tabak/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images(NEW YORK) –Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years on sex crime convictions in New York on Wednesday.

Harvey Weinstein was “despondent and dejected” as he prepared for sentencing after being convicted earlier this month of sexually assaulting two women, according to a spokesman.

“He’s not doing well,” Juda Engelmayer told ABC News on Tuesday evening. “He’s looking at the rest of his life and feeling dejected and despondent.”

Engelmayer said that numerous friends of Weinstein offered to write letters to the judge attesting to his character, but that every single person insisted on writing an anonymous letter to protect their own reputations.

“It shows you that even people who want to support you publicly would be vilified for doing so,” Engelmayer said.

Engelmayer declined to comment on a series of previously unpublished internal correspondences released on Monday between Weinstein and his colleagues and defense and public relations teams in the days following bombshell revelations about Weinstein’s past that first surfaced in The New York Times and The New Yorker in the fall of 2017.

‘I’m suicidal’

The documents were unsealed this week at the request of numerous media outlets, including the New York Daily News and The New York Times.

“I have lost my family,” Weinstein wrote in one draft statement dated Dec. 21, 2017, according to the New York Daily News. “I have daughters that will not talk to me. I have lost my wife. I have lost the respect of my ex-wife and generally almost all of my friends. I have no company. I’m alone. And I will be honest with you: I’m suicidal.”

In another internal email from November 2017 that was released Monday, Weinstein’s brother and business partner, Bob Weinstein, excoriated the Hollywood mogul.

“Just read u been abusing women, when u were in your twenties,” Bob Weinstein wrote to Harvey, according to the New York Daily News. “Numbers are up to 82. U are world class, in that area. U deserve a lifetime achievement award for the sheer savagery and immorality and inhumanness, for the acts u have perpetrated.”

“Now show some strength and don’t write back,” he continued. “If u do, it’s just your denial and disease having the power of the last word. If u actually say u are trying to get better, It’s just another lie amongst the millions. (Expletive) u Harvey Weinstein. I pray there is a real hell. That’s where u belong. I suppose being you, is its own hell, if u could feel it, but no chance. OJ didn’t kill Nicole Simpson and u had consensual sex with all those poor victimized women.”

‘A serious offense’

Earlier this month, Weinstein was convicted of two of five charges against him: criminal sexual assault for an attack in 2006 on former Project Runway production assistant Mimi Haley, and third-degree rape for a 2013 attack on aspiring actress Jessica Mann. Both women are expected to present victim-impact statements to the judge on Wednesday, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Weinstein, who declined at trial to take the stand in his own defense, will also be permitted to make a statement to the judge before he is sentenced.

Weinstein is facing a minimum of probation and a maximum of four years in prison on the rape conviction, and between five and 25 years on the criminal sexual assault conviction.

In a sentencing recommendation letter to the judge in the case, Manhattan prosecutors detailed 36 “prior bad acts” they said justified an extended prison sentence for Weinstein.

Prosecutors did not recommend a specific sentence in the letter, but contended that it is “totally appropriate” to show through the court’s sentence “that sexual assault, even if perpetrated upon an acquaintance or in a professional setting, is a serious offense worthy of a lengthy prison sentence.”

Defense attorneys are seeking a minimum sentence of five years.

“As an individual with no criminal history having spent no time previously incarcerated, his health concerns, his age, and as famous as he is, a custodial sentence will no doubt prove much more difficult for Mr. Weinstein than most other inmates, which further counsels in favor of a sentence of five years’ imprisonment,” defense attorneys Damon Chernois and Donna Rotunno said in their own letter to the judge. “With respect to deterrence, counsel will again note that Mr. Weinstein is a first-time offender.”

Engelmayer said Weinstein plans to appeal his New York convictions.

What’s next for Weinstein?

After sentencing, Weinstein will be sent to Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, New York, a maximum-security prison and inmate reception center where New York City inmates get a medical evaluation before being assigned to a state prison facility, according to state corrections officials.

While state corrections officials are responsible for determining where Weinstein will serve out his sentence, those officials can take recommendations from the judge about an inmate with medical problems like Weinstein.

Three of New York state’s 52 correctional facilities — in Fishkill, Bedford Hills and Coxsackie, New York — have residential medical units.

Weinstein is also preparing to defend himself against four felony sexual assault charges filed earlier this year by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. In that case, Weinstein is charged with attacking two women in separate incidents in February 2013 within a day of each other.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the impending trial in Los Angeles.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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