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.

On Wednesday (Jan. 10), Sam Hunt, Blake Shelton, Thomas Rhett, Lauren Alaina, Luke Combs and more country stars were announced as nominees for the 2018 iHeart Radio Music Awards. Three country-exclusive awards — Country Artist of the Year, Country Song of the Year and Best New Country Artist — will be handed out at the annual awards show; a complete list of categories is available on the show's official website. Hunt is nominated in both the Song of the Year and Artist of the Year categories, as is Thomas Rhett; in the Best New Artist category, Brett Young, Alaina, Kane Brown, Combs and Jon Pardi are all up for the trophy. Scheduled for March 11, the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards will be broadcast from the "Fabulous" Forum in Los Angeles, Calif., at 8PM ET on TBS, TNT and truTV.

While vacationing in Cancun, High Valley's Brad Rempel found himself in the middle of a massive earthquake. The quake, which hit off the coast of Honduras on Tuesday (Jan. 9), was a 7.6 on the Richter scale, which meant that Rempel felt the quake all the way in Mexico. "Amazing trip to Cancun ended last night with our condo shaking like crazy as a result of an earthquake," Rempel writes on the band's Twitter account. "Thankful to be safe and sound back on American soil."

Americana Music Association Honors & Awards Show 2017
Getty Images for Americana Music

Starting on Jan. 16, the country's Americana charts are getting a serious upgrade. The Americana Music Association has partnered with CDX Nashville to debut the Americana Radio Airplay Albums Chart, along with a chart that will track the airplay of Americana singles. "We hope to bring our Americana radio charts to another level where we can continue to justly serve our artists in the community and their music being played across the country," says Americana Music Association president Jed Hilly in a statement. According to CDX Nashville's Joe Kelly, the new charts will allow Americana artists and their labels to "more accurately measure success and optimize their marketing and promotion efforts."

Mitchell Tenpenny interview 2017
Photo by Dallas Wilson, courtesy of Shore Fire Media

On Wednesday (Jan. 10), Sony Music Nashville and Riser House announced that songwriter Mitchell Tenpenny has signed a deal with Riser House / Columbia Nashville. According to a press release, Tenpenny will release his debut single on the label later this spring and will work on a forthcoming album that is "destined to be a rich, soul-infused collection of material that is current, gritty and tethered in themes intrinsic to the South." As a songwriter, Tenpenny scored a Top 5 hit with Granger Smith's "If The Boot Fits," and he's played alongside artists including Jake Owen, Brett Young, Dustin Lynch and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

An Evening with Scott Hamilton & Friends
Rick Diamond, Getty Images for Scott Hamilton

Alabama, Sara Evans, Chris Young and Travis Tritt have been added to the lineup of 2018's Volunteer Jam. Now in its 20th year, the annual show, which takes place in Nashville, will serve as a tribute to Charlie Daniels, who spearheads the event and will be performing at it with the Charlie Daniels Band. Blackberry Smoke, Chris Janson, Alison Krauss and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons round out the lineup thus far, and Montgomery Gentry's Eddie Montgomery is expected to perform solo. The 2018 Volunteer Jam is set for March 7.

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