Lionel Richie’s 2012 CD, Tuskegee. Photo courtesy of UMG Nashville.
Lionel Richie went a little bit country in 2012 with the release of Tuskegee, a collection of 13 of his hit songs recorded as duets with some of the biggest names in country music including Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, Shania Twain, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson and more. Lionel returned to his roots on the album, paying tribute to his hometown of Tuskegee, Alabama.
Read our review of Lionel Richie’s Tuskegee >>
“Tuskegee is where it all began, the place where I felt that everything was available and possible,” he said. “It’s where I learned about life and love and the power of music, and the place I built a musical foundation that knows no genres or boundaries.” Continue Reading
Taylor Swift’s 2012 CD, Red. Photo courtesy of Big Machine Records.
When Taylor Swift announced the release date of her Red album and debuted the project’s lead single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” during a live chat in August, there was no doubt that the album would be a big seller. The single itself shattered sales records, topping iTunes charts in under an hour and setting the record for the biggest digital sales week ever for a song by a female artist.
Following Red’s official October 22 release, Taylor had more than a million reasons to smile. The project moved 1.208 million copies in its first week to reach platinum status, making it music’s highest weekly sales number since Eminem’s The Eminem Show in 2002. Taylor is the only female artist – and the fourth artist ever – to sell more than one million albums in first week sales twice. Continue Reading
Garth Brooks photo by Mark Tucker, courtesy of Pearl Records.
Nashville is still ground zero for country music, but a few of the genre’s biggest stars have headed to Las Vegas. Garth Brooks wrapped his three-year run of one man shows at Encore Theater in the Wynn in November. Wife Trisha Yearwood was on hand for the emotional final performance, which Garth later told the Las Vegas Sun wasn’t his greatest performance of all time.
“It wasn’t the best show over the three years because I was too emotional,” he said. “I was getting ready to go out there and kick some ass, and then Steve [Wynn] did an introduction, and I was toast after that.”
Garth’s final show lasted nearly two hours. He sang hits by some of his favorite artists as well as his own hits and was joined by Trisha for two duets and again as the curtain came down. Garth hopes to return to the Wynn to tape the show for a television special. Rumors are also flying that he will resume touring in 2014. Continue Reading
INDIO, CA – APRIL 25: Musician Earl Scruggs performs onstage during day one of California’s Stagecoach Country Music Festival held at the Empire Polo Club on April 25, 2009 in Indio, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images)
Country Music Hall of Famer Earl Scruggs passed away at a Nashville hospital on March 28. He popularized a three-fingered style of playing banjo that transformed the instrument and inspired countless musicians. He was 88.
Born in Shelby, North Carolina and raised on a farm in the Flint Hill area, Earl started playing banjo at age four after his father George, also a banjo player, died in 1928 following an illness. He and his musical partner, Lester Flatt, were the face of bluegrass in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Before that, he was a member of bluegrass creator Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. Continue Reading
Justin Moore photo courtesy of Big Machine Label Group.
When disaster strikes, country music stars are always among the first to answer the call for help. After Hurricane Sandy devastated much of the Northeast in October, several artists came forward to offer their assistance. Throughout the CMA Awards, dedicated to hurricane victims by opening performer Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood encouraged viewers to give through the Red Cross, providing ways to do so.
For Justin Moore, the hurricane was personal. His publicist Carly Caramanna and her family lost their home and business along the Jersey Shore. Just two days later, her father died from a heart attack. To aid her and other Jersey Shore residents, Justin hosted a benefit concert at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Joined by Jake Owen, Randy Houser and Thomas Rhett, more than $20,000 was raised. Continue Reading
NASHVILLE, TN – SEPTEMBER 26: Country Superstar George Strait announces The Cowboy Rides Away 2012-2014 final tour on September 26, 2012 at The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum/Ford Theater in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for George Strait)
Two of the biggest tour announcements of 2012 came from country music icons. Both George Strait and George Jones announced their final tours. They have each decided to spend more time with their families. George Strait’s The Cowboy Rides Away Tour launches in January 2013 and will continue through 2014.
“I’ve had great fans,” George said when he announced the final stretch of dates at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “They’ve been so loyal over the years. I’ll see fans that have been coming out [to the shows] since the ’80s and that is so special to me.” Continue Reading
Eric Church accepts the award for Album of the Year during the 46th annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on November 1, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)
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!” Continue Reading
Randy Travis photo courtesy of Webster & Associates.
2012 was a challenging year for Randy Travis. The legendary artist celebrated 25 years in the music business by launching The 25th Anniversary Celebration Tour and releasing his Anniversary Celebration duets album which featured Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney, Kris Kristofferson, Carrie Underwood, George Jones, Zac Brown Band, Lorrie Morgan, Jamey Johnson and more. He also saw his fair share of legal troubles.
Randy was arrested in Sanger, Texas in the early morning hours of February 6 on a charge of suspicion of public intoxication. He was spotted in front the First Baptist Church in Sanger with an open bottle of wine, police said. Randy was taken to Denton where he was booked into the county jail and released a few hours later. Randy issued a public apology following the incident. Continue Reading
Tim McGraw photo courtesy of The GreenRoom.
In May, Tim McGraw announced he had signed a new record deal with Big Machine Records. The new deal is just a part of the legal saga that Tim has been involved with concerning former label Curb Records since late 2011 when he sought permission from a Nashville court to record his next album with another label. Curb claims Tim breached his 1997 contract by providing an album too soon. That album, Emotional Traffic, has since been released.
Tim’s attorney argued that Crub Records was trying to put his career on hold with the lawsuit and that he should be free to record while the lawsuit continued. Lawyers for Curb Records argued the label lost two years of recordings that should have been on his fifth album with Curb. The courts ruled Tim to no longer be a Curb recording artist, freeing him to later sign with Big Machine Records. Continue Reading
The cast of ABC’s Nashville, (l-r): Hayden Panettiere, Charles Esten and Connie Britton. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/NashvilleABC.
In May, The Hollywood Reporter reported that ABC had picked up the pilot of the music industry drama series Nashville. Largely filmed in Nashville, the primetime show stars Hayden Panettiere as breakout country star Juliette Barnes and Connie Britton as Rayna James, 40-year-old superstar and mother of two who is forced to tour with Juliette Barnes to save her career.
The premiere episode of Nashville opened with scenes filmed on location at the Grand Ole Opry with cameos from Little Jimmy Dickens, Eric Paslay and the Del McCoury Band. The show has since showcased places rich in country music history such as the Bluebird Café and the Ryman Auditorium. Continue Reading