News And Notes

All posts in "Top Stories of 2010"

Dec 31

2010 Rewind: No. 1 — Nashville Floods, And Digs Out

Dierks Bentley photo courtesy of artist.

It rained. And rained. And rained some more.

Nashville took in over 13 inches of water in a 48-hour period in May, and some areas of the region were swamped with as much as 20 inches. It was more than the rivers and streams could handle, and by May 3, the drainage system was overflowing. The stage and much of the floor seating at the Grand Ole Opry House was covered, water seeped into one room at the Country Music Hall of Fame, LP Field — the site of the CMA Music Festival — became a swamp, and an instrument storage unit was drowned, destroying guitars and equipment owned by Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Toby Keith and Vince Gill, among others.

It took a while for people to notice outside of Middle Tennessee. The focus of the major news organizations at the time was on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. So Music City rolled up its sleeves and started digging out on its own.

The Nashville flood is No. 1 on the list as GAC concludes its countdown of the top country news stories of 2010.

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Posted at 5:10 am | Permalink
Dec 30

2010 Rewind: No. 2 — Taylor Swift Sells A Million

Taylor Swift photo by Joseph Anthony Baker, courtesy of Big Machine Records.

The recording industry has been in a tailspin for a decade as fans started buying digital singles instead of albums. In the middle of the business’ overall decline, Taylor Swift stepped in went on a one-woman incline, building a career in which she sells digital tracks and full albums by the millions.

So when she got ready to put out her third project, Speak Now, the pre-release debate in Los Angeles, New York and Nashville was not just about whether the album would be any good, but also about how many copies she might sell in the first week. Most guesstimates put it in the range of 750,000-800,000 units as many executives believed the days of the one-million debut were gone.

But Taylor did reach that plateau, selling 1.047 million copies the first week out. The accomplishment ranks No. 2 as GAC continues its countdown of the one dozen top stories in country music for 2010.

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Posted at 5:18 am | Permalink
Dec 29

2010 Rewind: No. 3 — Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Country’s “It” Couple

Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton on the Black Carpet at the 44th Annual CMA Awards on Nov. 10, 2010 in Nashville. Photo by Brian Kaplan Photography.

Next year is a decade since Blake Shelton released his first album, and there were years of grinding it out in Nashville even before that moment arrived.

This year was seven years since Miranda Lambert first popped on the national radar in the TV contest “Nashville Star,” and while she was able to work as a developing and mid-level artist with her first two albums, it seemed as if she might never meld her critical acclaim with a similar level of commercial appreciation.

All of that changed over the last 12 months for Blake and Miranda, who got engaged in May, then became the first couple in a decade to win Male and Female Vocalist of the Year in the same evening at the Country Music Association Awards in November.

Blake and Miranda’s arrival as country’s “it” couple makes them the No. 3 entry as GAC counts down the one dozen biggest stories in country music from 2010.

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Posted at 5:37 am | Permalink
Dec 28

2010 Rewind: No. 4 — Lady Antebellum Blows Up Big

Lady Antebellum photo courtesy of Capitol Nashville.

When Lady Antebellum wrote “Need You Now” in 2009, the band had no idea that the song was going to vault them into the same pop world inhabited by the other lady — Lady Gaga — in 2010.

In fact, a lot of songwriters in Nashville thought “Need You Now” was a bold song — it was built around a drunken booty call, and since country radio stations are very attuned to offering family-friendly material, many Music Row writers were a bit shocked when the song caught on. And it caught on very quickly. Not only was it a multi-week No. 1 single at the end of ‘09, it also got picked up by pop stations who played it frequently throughout 2010, aiding a jump for the oddly-named trio into music’s big leagues.

Lady Antebellum’s ascent ranks at No. 4 as GAC counts down the dozen biggest stories of country music from 2010.

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Posted at 6:34 am | Permalink
Dec 27

2010 Rewind: No. 5 — Brooks & Dunn Break Up

Brooks & Dunn photo courtesy of Sony Music Nashville.

When they first came to national attention with “Brand New Man” in 1991, Brooks & Dunn were an unlikely combo — a couple of guys who moved to Nashville with dreams of becoming solo performers who were sort of glued together by a Music Row executive.

By the time Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn wound it down with the Last Rodeo Tour in 2010, they had become the most commercially successful duo in country music history — better known than Country Music Hall of Famers the Louvin Brothers with more hits than Hall of Famers the Everly Brothers.

The Brooks & Dunn breakup ranks No. 5 as GAC counts down the dozen top stories of the past year.

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Posted at 4:50 am | Permalink
Dec 26

2010 Rewind: No. 6 — Carrie Underwood Gets Married

Carrie Underwood and fiance Mike Fisher at the 52nd Grammy Awards Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA January 31, 2010 © RD / Kirkland / Retna Digital.

Carrie Underwood’s mix of stunning vocal power and well-conceived production made her concert tour one of the best of 2010.

Added to her history as an “American Idol” winner and a consistent hitmaker, it’s little wonder that country music’s all-American girl is also one of the genre’s most-intriguing personalities off the stage, too.

Thus, her marriage this summer to hockey player Mike Fisher was one of the most-celebrated nuptials of the entire year, coming in at No. 6 on the GAC countdown of the one dozen top stories in country during 2010.

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Posted at 5:20 am | Permalink
Dec 25

2010 Rewind: No. 7 — Tim McGraw, Ryan Bingham Lead Country At The Movies

Gwyneth Paltrow & Tim McGraw from the upcoming movie, Country Strong, in theaters January 7, 2011. Photo by Scott Garfield, courtesy of Sony Pictures USA & Monarch Publicity.

From Crazy Heart to Country Strong, Hollywood and Nashville were tightly linked in 2010.

Tim McGraw, Julianne Hough, Trace Adkins and Carrie Underwood all went in front of the cameras. And artists as diverse as Ryan Bingham, Billy Currington, Taylor Swift and Kenny Chesney got their music on the big screen in one way or another.

Country’s role in a large number of movies ranks No. 7 in GAC’s countdown of the dozen top stories of 2010.

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Posted at 5:47 am | Permalink
Dec 24

2010 Rewind: No. 8 — Jimmy Wayne’s Long Walk For Homeless Teens

Jimmy Wayne says this picture was taken "somewhere in nowhere New Mexico, on US 60 West." Photo courtesy of artist.

At this time a year ago, Jimmy Wayne was putting in a bit of lat-minute training as he made plans for a journey that had all kinds of potential pitfalls he could not completely anticipate. He announced just before Christmas 2009 that he intended to walk halfway across America — from Nashville to Phoenix — to raise awareness for the issue of homeless teens.

Jimmy did indeed set off on his Meet Me Halfway walk on New Year’s Day with Middle Tennessee windchills appropriately in… the teens, and his excursion became one of the most unusual pursuits of 2010. It stands at No. 8 as GAC counts down the one dozen top country news stories of the past 12 months.

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Posted at 11:02 am | Permalink
Dec 23

2010 Rewind: No. 9 — Chely Wright Comes Out

Chely Wright's 2010 CD, Lifted Off The Ground. Photo courtesy of Vanguard Records.

There were plenty of skeptics when Chely Wright became the first star with a commercially successful history in country music to publicly announce she was gay.

“She’s doing it to sell a book,” some said. “She’s doing it to sell an album.” “She’s trying to revive her career.”

Her associates did, in fact, persuade Chely to wait until she had a product to hawk before she came out. But that didn’t change the fact that her decision to reveal her sexuality was a huge moment in country music and a huge personal moment for her.

Chely’s public confession is the No. 9 entry in GAC’s countdown of country music’s dozen biggest stories of 2010.

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Posted at 1:14 pm | Permalink
Dec 22

2010 Rewind: No. 10 — Loretta Lynn’s 50th Leads Legends

Loretta Lynn photo courtesy of Sony Music Nashville.

It was quite a year for the Coal Miner’s Daughter — 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of Loretta Lynn’s emergence as a national star, and she was honored in a slew of ways, including parties, awards and a tribute album by some of today’s top artists.

Loretta was joined by several other legends as 2010 honorees, including Merle Haggard, Jimmy Dean and now Dolly Parton. The recognition paid to the genre’s pioneering acts represents the No. 10 entry in our countdown of country music’s dozen top stories of the year.

Loretta’s first single, “I’m A Honky Tonk Girl,” came out in 1960, and it seemed like every few months during 2010, the music business found some way to pay homage to her impact. Early in the year, she was accorded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, though she was unable to attend the Los Angeles ceremony. “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was added to the National Recording Registry, she was saluted with an anniversary party at her Tennessee home, she was celebrated with a Reba McEntire-hosted Recording Academy Salute at the Ryman Auditorium, and a bunch of her classics were remade in the album Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn.

That latter project brought Loretta the opportunity to sing the title track with Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow on the Country Music Association Awards. The album also features Lee Ann Womack, Kid Rock, the White Stripes, Alan Jackson and Carrie Underwood, among others. Loretta hand-picked all of the contributors — appropriate, because she’s not one of those veteran stars who dislikes newer versions of country music.

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Posted at 12:51 pm | Permalink