Rap artists, women take center stage at Grammys

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rap artists and women have felt shunned by the Grammy Awards in recent years. But this year, they both took center stage.

Country star Dustin Lynch to headline Champaign County Fair

URBANA — Country music fans can get their fix at this year's Champaign County Fair, as it was announced on Wednesday that country star Dustin Lynch will headline the fair on July 26.

Dylan Scott will open the show.

Lynch, known for such hits as "Small Town Boy," Good Girl" and "Seein' Red," was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in September 2018.

Returning to C-U: Country star and his 'No Shoes Nation'

Country superstar Kenny Chesney announced the first set of dates for his 2019 "Songs For The Saints" Tour, and State Farm Center tops the list. While no date has been set yet, we asked The News-Gazette's J.J. Lockwood for three reasons you can't miss this concert:

Country star to play Pesotum

Country superstar Luke Bryan, who has been performing in farm fields across the Midwest since 2009, is coming to Pesotum this fall.

The "Bayer Presents Luke Bryan Farm Tour 2018" will make a stop at Atkins Farm on Sept. 28. Tickets go on sale June 6.

Top of the Morning, March 7, 2018

The clever Illinois Top 200 project allows voters to choose 10 favorites in 20 different categories leading up to the state's 200th birthday on Dec. 3. Head over to to participate.

The first results — best movies in state history — were released this week. The Top 10:

Paris-native Brett Eldredge to play state fair

Paris native and country-music star Brett Eldredge will play the Illinois State Fair on Aug. 17 in Springfield.

“We are proud to have an Illinois native on the grandstand stage, especially in 2018, Illinois’ bicentennial year,” said Luke Sailer, acting state fair manager.

Rodney Atkins, Mark Chesnutt to play Mahomet Music Festival

Organizers of the Mahomet Music Festival, formerly called the Sangamon River Music Festival, announced Friday that country stars Rodney Atkins and Mark Chesnutt will headline this summer's event, Aug. 24-25 in downtown Mahomet.

Atkins will perform Friday night, and Chesnutt will take the stage Saturday evening. The free shows are open to all ages.

'Fifty Shades Freed' commands $38.8 million at box office

LOS ANGELES — Newcomers like "Fifty Shades Freed," "Peter Rabbit" and "The 15:17 to Paris" breathed some fresh life into a marketplace that has for weeks been dominated by "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle," ''The Greatest Showman" and various Oscar contenders. But it's all just setting the stage for "Black Panther," which opens next week.

Martina McBride: 'It was a special time'

With country star MARTINA McBRIDE in town Thursday night at the Virginia Theatre, staff writer Paul Wood asked her five questions:

What's a favorite song from the Joy of Christmas Tour? Will it end up on your new album?

Notes-Worthy: Brandon Hayes

C.U. Bands and Fans' Terry Brown chats with BRANDON HAYES, a seasoned musician in C-U who currently plays with 3 Gun Whiskey, a band from the Bement area.