Kelsea Ballerini Is The First Female To Headline ‘CMT Storytellers’

Ballerini will share songs and stories throughout the one-hour show.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 16, 2023


3:21 pm

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Kelsea Ballerini; Photo Courtesy CMT

Kelsea Ballerini is set to headline the third installment of the famed music series CMT Storytellers, which premieres on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 10/9c on CMT.

The multi-platinum country superstar will share songs and stories with fans and take them on a journey from her 2015 debut album, to her latest full-length release, Subject To Change.

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“Songwriting is my therapy, my haven, my best friend, and my exhale,” Ballerini shared in a press release. “It’s the purest part of what I do, and I am grateful to join a lineup of storytellers I’ve learned from as I tell mine.”

Filmed at World Wide Stages in Spring Hill, Tennessee, Ballerini is joined by a very intimate studio audience for the CMT Storytellers performance.

The chart-topping hitmaker will perform tracks such as “Peter Pan,” “Homecoming Queen?,” “Half of My Hometown,” “Doin’ My Best” and “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too).”


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♬ original sound – CMT – CMT

Ballerini, who is the first female to headline CMT Storytellers, will also give fans a taste of her just-released project, Rolling Up The Welcome Mat, with a performance of the personal track, “Leave Me Again.”

“For a while the shoe fit / But then I outgrew it / And staying only made me get real good at pretending / So, I hope I never leave me again,” Ballerini sings on the chorus.

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Kelsea Ballerini’s CMT Storytellers will reair on Sunday, February 19th at 11a/10c (CMT) Friday, February 24th at 8p/7c (CMT Music) and Saturday, February 25th at 10a/9c and 6p/5c (CMT Music). 

Additionally, Ballerini is also set to host the upcoming 2023 CMT Music Awards, which will take place in Austin, Texas at the Moody Center on April 2.

The country star flew to Austin to make the announcement in November when she made a surprise appearance at Carrie Underwood’s Denim & Rhinestones concert at the Moody Center. 

While on stage, Ballerini presented Underwood with a special CMT Music Awards belt buckle, recognizing her as the winningest artist in CMT history, with a total of 25 trophies.

Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini; Photo by Rick Kern, Getty Images for CMT
Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini; Photo by Rick Kern, Getty Images for CMT

2023 is shaping up to be a busy year for Ballerini. She will bring her Heartfirst Tour to the United Kingdom beginning Feb. 23. The four-date run will visit Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, and London.

The hitmaker will then embark on the second leg of her HEARTFIRST Tour, which will kick off on March 6 at History in Toronto, ON. The nine-show intimate outing is scheduled to continue through March 18, where the trek will wrap up in Pittsburgh, PA at Stage AE.

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Both of Ballerini’s upcoming stints are in support of her fourth studio album, Subject To Change, which arrived on September 23, 2022. The project features 15 tracks, including her current single “If You Go Down (I’m Goin’ Down Too),” fan-favorite tunes “HEARTFIRST,” “What I Have,” “Doin’ My Best,” “Love Is A Cowboy,” as well as her collaboration with Kelly Clarkson and Carly Pearce, “You’re Drunk, Go Home.”

“HEARTFIRST,” the lead single of Subject To Change, was recently nominated for a 2023 GRAMMY Awards in the category of Best Country Solo Performance.

Later this year, Ballerini will hit the road with her longtime friend and musical hero, and “Half Of My Hometown” collaborator, Kenny Chesney, on the I Go Back Tour. The trek will visit 21 cities and will kick off on March 25 in State College, PA.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.