The BBC will be celebrating all things Country with programming on Radio 2 and BBC Four to celebrate the forthcoming 51st Country Music Association Awards 2017.
The awards, which are the biggest night of the year in country music, take place in Nashville on 8 November and are hosted by Country artists Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley for the 10th year running.
Bob Shennan, Director of BBC Radio and Music, says: “Each November, the Country music world congregates in Nashville to celebrate country music, so I’m delighted to give BBC listeners and viewers exclusive access to the awards show and hear from some of the genre’s most acclaimed stars.”
Legendary country music presenter Bob Harris will present programmes for both Radio 2 and BBC Four.
Bob Harris says: "The CMAs is the jewel in the country music crown, and once again, I’m excited to be visiting Tennessee to bring the best of Nashville to both Radio 2 listeners and BBC Four viewers."
BBC Radio 2
Steve Wright in the Afternoon Wednesday 8 November, 2-5pm
Steve Wright and co-presenter Tim Smith will broadcast live from Music Row in Nashville for the build up to the CMAs which take place later that evening at the Bridgestone Arena. Steve will be chatting to legendary artists Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, who have announced they’re bringing their highly acclaimed Soul2Soul tour to the UK as part of the 2018 Country to Country Festival.
They’ll be chatting to Kelsea Ballerini, a rising star in US country music who became the first female country artist to go to number 1 with her first three singles and is nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year at the CMAs. They’ll be joined by Scott Borchetta, CEO of Big Machine Label Group and the man who discovered Taylor Swift.
There’s live music in the studio from duo Dan + Shay, who’ve toured America alongside Darius Rucker and Blake Shelton, and are now set for a UK tour later this year.
Steve and Tim will also be heading into downtown Nashville, to discover what exactly a honky tonk is, why the bars are so full of music and what makes the city the home of country. They’ll also be getting the lowdown on the “Nashville look” from the stars of the hit TV show of the same name, and taking a trip to Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack to find out how their legendary fried chicken is made.
CMA Awards Highlights 2017, presented by Bob Harris Saturday 11 November, 6-8pm
In addition to his weekly country music show Bob Harris Country each Thursday night from 7-8pm, Bob Harris will broadcasting live from Music Row in Nashville, presenting highlights from the CMAs.
The two hour show sees Bob present a round-up of the winners along with the live performances from the awards show from artists including reigning Entertainer of the Year and country superstar Garth Brooks, plus nominees Brothers Osborne, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Old Dominion, Jon Pardi, Chris Stapleton and Thomas Rhett. There will also be an appearance from Country Music Hall of Fame inductee and 16-time CMA Awards winner Alan Jackson.
This year’s nominations are dominated by six-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year winner Miranda Lambert, who has five nominations. Vocal group Little Big Town and country rock favourite Keith Urban also feature strongly with four nominations each.
The Radio 2 programming was commissioned by Robert Gallacher, Commissioning Editor, Radio 2 and 6 Music. The Steve Wright and Bob Harris programme editor is Al Booth.
For the first time in 10 years, Bob Harris presents highlights from the CMAs to be broadcast later in November. In a 1x60' programme produced by BBC Studios, Bob will introduce the hottest performances of the night, including some of the biggest names in Nashville, including Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and Shania Twain, who performed in the UK for the first time in 13 years at Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park this year.
Jan Younghusband, Head of TV Commissioning, BBC Music says: "Music on BBC television is currently thriving, from Sounds Like Friday Night launching on BBC One next week, to Harry Styles at the BBC and Sam Smith at the BBC airing on BBC One next month. Every Friday night on BBC Four is a treasure trove of music programming, and it’s thrilling to welcome the CMAs back to BBC television after 10 years."
The BBC Four programming was commissioned by Jan Younghusband, Head of TV Commissioning, BBC Music and Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor, BBC Four. The executive producer is Mark Cooper, Head of Music, BBC Studios.