Maren Morris Wins Female Artist Of The Year At The ACMs, Selena Gomez Stumps For Vaccinations, Mr. Lucci Drops First Album Since His Prison Release & More!

America hit a turning point in its fight against COVID-19 Sunday: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came out and said that over half of all eligible Americans have now received at least one dose of their COVID vaccines.

Of course — as with the modern standard of a nationalized electric grid — Texas falls behind on those numbers, checking in at right around 35 percent of people with their first dose and 25 percent of people fully vaccinated.

Look: We know you’re tired of hearing about The ‘Rona. And the White Noise is supposed to be a haven for music news in Dallas-Fort Worth. So, what gives?

Well, as it turns out, the press to get more people up and vaccinated may now fall on the shoulders of Grand Prairie’s Own Selena Gomez — with the help of some others, of course. Gomez and other big names — Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder and the Foo Fighters, to name a few — will be hosting a pre-taped concert event called Vax Live: The Concert To Reunite The World on May 8 that will air across ABC, CBS and FOX, as well as iHeart Media radio stations worldwide. The goal? To help encourage vaccinations among the more skeptical audiences out there.

Gomez expressed her feelings on the matter as follows: “I’m honored to be hosting Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World. This is a historic moment to encourage people around the world to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, call on world leaders to share vaccine doses equitably and to bring people together for a night of music in a way that hasn’t felt possible in the past year. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

As for us? We can’t wait to see it.

Speaking of big music events: The 56th Annual ACM Awards aired live from Nashville on Sunday, with segments filmed at three separate venues in an attempt at social distancing. It was a night marked with progress too, as Arlington-sprung “Black Like Me” singer Mickey Guyton served as the first Black woman to host the event.

The night also featured a performance of “Hold On” by Guyton — a song was originally included on the soundtrack of the 2019 movie, Breakthrough. Before performing it, Guyton said the following: “I wrote this next song as a prayer when faced with pain and uncertainty. I hope it inspires you to hold on.” Check the performance out below:

Guyton was also nominated for “New Female Artist of The Year” at the event. All in all, it adds up to a lot excitement on the red carpet this year for Guyton. So it can be easy to miss that the singer — along with her husband Grant Savoy — also welcomed their son Grayson to the world back in February. Hats off to the proud mama and papa!

Hats off, too, to the also-Arlington-sprung Maren Morris, who won the night’s “Song Of The Year” and “Female Artist Of The Year” categories alike. As for the former, the honors came for her song “Bones” — a song that since it’s original release in 2019, has since gone on to become the first solo female multi-week No. 1 at country radio since Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away” in 2012. Pretty impressive!

Upon accepting her first award, Maren expressed disappointment that the other writers involved in crafting “Bones” couldn’t be present, but thanked the ACMs for following safety protocols. She also performed a duet of “Chasing After You” with her husband Ryan Hurd — the couple’s first official duet together — in which they find each other amidst a golden scenery that did its best to replicate a wide-open Texas field.

The pair will also be performing the song May 5 on Late Night with Seth Myers — y’know, just in case you missed the last effort, or if you’re just a stan like us.

As for other area-tied performances from Sunday night? Well, there were three from Lindale’s Miranda Lambert, who came up emptyhanded as far as awards go, but was still able to hold on to her title as the most-awarded person in ACM history. Honestly, no one else is really close.

Over the course of the night, Lambert performed songs from three of her collaborations this year — including a performance that sparked off the night of “I’m Drunk (and I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” with Elle King that brought a little taste of rock ‘n’ roll (King’s backing band included members of Denton’s Midlake) to the country joint. I, for one, would also like to know if the nifty guitar case she’s sporting is available in black.

Later, she sang a duet with “Album of The Year” winner Chris Stapleton.

And, lastly, she performed “In His Arms” off her The Marfa Tapes collaboration with SMU alum Jack Ingram and fellow North Texas-based performer Jon Randall.

Moving on down the country line — but not too far — let’s stop off for some Americana chatter. Or is it Ameri-kinda? Either way, the Vandoliers boys put out a new video on Friday via The Next Waltz that finds them group hitting those country roots pretty hard and fretting over lovelorn fears of loss in their latest Bruce Robison-produced heart-string fiddler called “Waiting on a Train.” Robison, who has composed No. 1 country chart-topping singles for Dallas’ own The Chicks as well as Tim McGraw and Faith Hill also lays down a harp whistle that echoes the doppler effect of a passing train as time passes while being stuck at the tracks.

The band’s frontman Joshua Fleming described the affair: “We had the honor of working with Bruce Robison in the fall of 2020 down at his studio outside Austin. I had been sharing demos with Bruce over the summer, and he ended up liking ‘Waiting on a Train’ a lot.”

As for the song itself: “At its core, ‘Waiting on a Train’ is about losing love. It’s a powerful fear that I connect with in this small-town Texas tragedy type of way. The fear of losing someone is powerful, it is a burden on the mind, wreaks havoc on the soul, and derails your life. It’s even worse when there is nothing you can do to stop it.”

Kind of like a hauling freighter, eh?

There’s other forces to be reckoned with raising their heads of late around the Metroplex too. Erica Banks, the Warner Bros.-signed artist responsible for TikTok “Buss It” challenge, dropped a suggestive new video for her “Flow Queen” single. If you’re thirsty, rest assured because Bank’s is here to help you hydrate.

Sticking to hip-hop news, the legendary Mr. Lucci — who we recently reported is back on his game since his 2019 release from prison after serving time over charges related to conspiracy — just announced he’s dropping a new album called Diamond in The Rough. Expect that new fire from the “I’m So Dallas” rapper to arrive this Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Erykah Badu’s Badu World Market is dropping yet another clothing line. The new limited line — available here — features designs by Samborghini that are inspired by and featuring lyrics from Badu’s award-winning song “Tyrone.”

“After our first release sold out within hours, we knew we had to follow up with something just as cool,” the Badu team said in a release. Already, four of the new items have sold out — so if you’re interested, I’d get a jump on it.

In other merchandising news, new St. Vincent merch for her much-anticipated sixth studio album Daddy’s Home hit the artists web store recently. You can peruse that gear here.

But if you, like us, are vehement on wearing the same old tired rags repeatedly and just buffering them with a patch or two from your collection, then you may be interested in this Texas/California collaboration from Open Heart Records that was filmed right in Denton band Beaver’s backyard. The video features several Texas bands — plus some L.A. bands and the Austin-based-with-Dallas-ties band Stuck on 45 — and finds Beaver performing “Pink and Blue/I Sharted” right around the 13:45 mark if you’d like to watch:

Speaking of punks and skins, The Franché-Comte-based DIY hardcore punk label Offside Records just announced a vinyl pre-order for Dallas’ street punk/oi band Lethal Dose’s recently digitally released EP, Blood On The Streets.

That album just begs for a circle pit. You can jam the whole thing here:

Lastly, and in a sad note that puts the whole vaccination thing we started with in full perspective, the crazed-rockers Ween announced on Tuesday that their twice-rescheduled Texas stay has officially been cancelled. Dammit!

If only we could cancel this God-awful pandemic!

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