When Eric Church and Little Big Town look back on their careers, 2012 will likely be a year circled in bright red. After years of hard work, dedication and believing in their dreams, both acts had breakthrough years, earning first career No. 1s, award show nominations and wins and headlining their own tours.
Eric Church started off the year by celebrating his very first No. 1 single, “Drink In My Hand.” The song topped the chart just days before he kicked off his first headlining arena tour, The Blood, Sweat and Beers Tour.
“It is truly the greatest example of belief, dedication, determination and plain old hard work that we have achieved this milestone,” Eric said at the time. “I can’t thank the EMI staff and country radio enough for making this happen and believing in the music, but the real gratitude must go to our fans. I’ve heard countless stories from hundreds of fans of how they have gone above and beyond to get our songs heard and demand that people pay attention to what’s going on in our world. I can’t think of a better way to kick off a tour!”
From there, Eric’s success in 2012 snowballed. He celebrated his second No. 1 with “Springsteen,” had one of the hottest country music tours of the year and received numerous award nominations, including the title of most nominated artist at the CMA Awards. He picked up his first CMA Award when his Chief record was named Album of the Year.
”I spent a lot of time trying to figure out where I fit in,” he said, fighting back emotions as he accepted his award. “Too country, too rock… I wanna thank you guys for giving me somewhere to hang my hat tonight.”
For Little Big Town, the success they found this year was more than a decade in the making. It took their hit “Pontoon,” which became a summertime sensation and their first-ever No. 1 single, to push their career to the next level. “We’ll be celebrating this for a while,” Karen Fairchild said when the song went to the top of the charts. “We can’t say thank you enough to country radio, the fans and our whole team for giving us our first number one!”
They’ve also found themselves up for several awards this year. At this year’s CMA Awards, the group picked up not only Single of the Year for “Pontoon” but Vocal Group of the Year, a prize they had been nominated for every year since 2006 but had never won.
“This has been a 13-year journey,” Kimberly Schlapman said while accepting Vocal Group of the Year. “We’re living proof that if you work really really hard and chase your dreams, all the good stuff happens and it follows you,” Karen Fairchild added.
Both Eric Church and Little Big Town will end 2012 with GRAMMY nominations to their credit. Little Big Town will launch their first headlining tour, The Tornado Tour, in early 2013 before joining Keith Urban on tour later this summer. Eric will hit the road with Kenny Chesney’s No Shoes Nation Tour this summer and will spend much of the year working on a new album.