Welcome to The Boot's News Roundup, a morning rundown of the news country music fans need to know. Read on to learn more about the latest goings-on in the country, Americana, bluegrass and folk genres.

Keith Urban will ring in 2018 at Nashville's New Year's Eve Celebration, along with Carly Pearce, Maren Morris, Cheap Trick and more artists. It will be Urban's second year headlining the event, which takes place at Nashville's Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and is free to the public. Gates for the event will open at 4PM on Dec. 31, and the show will kick off at 6PM. According to a press release, Nashville's New Year's Eve celebration will also be featured on CNN's New Year's Eve Live With Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen TV special. -- AM

Southern Ground 2016 pictures
Photo by Southern Reel, courtesy of Shore Fire Media

Demand has soared for tickets to Country Rising, a concert that will benefit victims of Hurricanes Irma, Jose, Harvey and Maria, as well as victims of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting, and organizers of the massive country show have expanded the goings-on to a second event at Nashville's Ascend Amphitheater. In addition to the sold-out main event at Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 12, Country Rising: Downtown Jam will feature performances from Tucker Beathard, Carly Pearce, Jon Pardi, Drake White and more country up-and-comers. Tickets for the newly announced Downtown Jam are scheduled to go on sale on Oct. 26 via Ticketmaster at 10AM CT. -- AM

Eric Church Live Photo Gallery
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Now that he's announced and started releasing his 61 Days in Church live tracks collection, Eric Church has plans to turn that project into a seriously epic physical library of his music. On Oct. 27, a 15-LP box set, complete with a commemorative tour book and housed in a "custom road case," will be available for pre-order. When orders ship on Dec. 15, fans will receive the road case, book and first three LPs, featuring performances from Church's 2017 Holdin' My Own Tour. According to a press release, the rest of the set will be shipped out once a month starting in January of 2018. Fans can purchase the set, priced at $445, at 61DaysInChurch.com. -- AM

Rhiannon Giddens Nashville
Jason Merritt, Getty Images for NARAS

Congratulations are in order for Rhiannon Giddens: The artist has been named a MacArthur Fellow in recognition of her wide range of creative work. The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist will receive a $625,000 grant, awarded over five years; the prize is given to “individuals who show exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for still more in the future,” according to the foundation. Giddens tells the News & Observer that the prize will “let me live a little bit. I’ll be able to pursue some things while not having to stay on the road so much to keep the lights on. This will let me tour a little less and work on larger projects I believe need to be done.” -- CC

2017 CMT Music Awards
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is bringing Kelsea Ballerini home to Knoxville to perform a free concert at her alma mater, Central High School, in celebration of the release of her new album, Unapologetically. “Central High is such a special place for me." Ballerini says in a press release. "I was in the glee club and got to perform in musicals on the same stage where I sang a song I wrote for the very first time.” Ballerini’s hometown show will take place on Oct. 28. -- LS

WE Fest pictures
CJ Berzin

When the SpongeBob SquarePants musical washes over Broadway this fall, Lady Antebellum will be riding the wave: The country trio composed an original song, “Chop to the Top," for the show. The song is for a scene that features SpongeBob SquarePants and his squirrel friend Sandy climbing a mountain. In addition to Lady A, Steven Tyler, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend and Sara Bareilles have all composed original music for the musical. Visit SpongeBobBroadway.com to learn more. -- LS

Tim McGraw Faith Hill 2017 Soul2Soul Tour photos
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Kacey Musgraves, Little Big Town and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill will headline the 2018 C2C: Country to Country Festival in Europe. Other artists slated to perform during the sixth annual festival, which brings popular American country artists to Europe, include Kelsea Ballerini, Luke CombsEmmylou HarrisLindsay EllMidlandKip Moore and Margo Price. Shows will take place at the O2 Arena in London, England; Glasgow, Scotland’s SSE Hydro; and the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland, from March 9-11. -- CC

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