Where did the year go? It seems like only yesterday we were
ringing in 2012, and now it’s 2013 already. It’s been a big year for country
music, with plenty of awards, tours, albums and scandals that set social media
alight with gossip and chatter. But 12 months is a long time, and I suspect
there’s a lot we’ve all forgotten, so here’s my summary of some of the biggest
news of 2012 in country music.
Where do I begin? Country stars were getting domestic this
year, with engagements, marriages and new country heirs being born left, right
and center. Jake Owen was pretty busy as he did all three in 2012, getting
engaged to and marrying Lacey Buchannan in the spring/summer and welcoming
Olive Pearl on Thanksgiving. Jennifer Nettles also gave birth in early
December, to Magnus Hamilton, and her high-profile pregnancy was even made a
joke of at the CMAs. In addition, Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum announced
her pregnancy towards the end of the year, due sometime next summer.
Aside from that, Hillary also got married this year, as well
as her band member Dave Haywood, and a whole host of other country stars such
as Thomas Rhett, Angaleena Presley of Pistol Annies and Hannah Blaylock of
Eden’s Edge, and on the list of engagements, there were Lee Brice, Tom Gossin
of Gloriana, Ashley Monroe of Pistol Annies and Kelly Clarkson.
We also had a few deaths this year sadly, and these included
the late Earl Scruggs, Andy Griffith and Kitty Wells, who will all be sorely
missed and remembered.
As for award shows, Eric Church won big this year with his
critically acclaimed 2011 album ‘Chief’ and the accompanying singles ‘Homeboy’,
‘Drink In My Hand’, ‘Creepin’’, and the smash hit ‘Springsteen’, which has now
been nominated for a 2013 Grammy. Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert were pretty
much the couple of the year when they cleaned up at the Country Music
Association Awards, including Blake taking the highest accolade of Entertainer,
and Luke Bryan surprised everyone when he took home every award he was
nominated for at the recent American Country Awards, totalling 7. Carrie
Underwood released her fourth album, ‘Blown Away’ in May 2012, which was
recently certified platinum and has hit number ones all around the world.
There have been tours galore with Kenny Chesney and Tim
McGraw’s combined tour reaching 7th on the biggest tours of 2012
across all genres, garnering an impressive $96,458,890 gross income with
1,085,382 attendees at a mere 23 shows. Jason Aldean and Lady Antebellum
took 13th and 14th respectively with Brad Paisley on 16th
(all high above pop superstars like Justin Bieber I might add), and Taylor
Swift and Rascal Flatts were 24th and 25th.
Meanwhile country stars have been popping up in the news
constantly, with Kellie Pickler shaving her head for breast cancer after
finding out her best friend’s diagnosis; Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’ breaking records
endlessly; George Strait announcing his final tour of 2013/14 ‘The Cowboy Rides
Away’; and Randy Travis’ sad but quite amusing drunk shenanigans that seemed to
occur every few months. He’s apparently now got himself cleaned up so we look
forward to new music and a marriage from him next year. There were many other
‘OMG’ moments, when Jo Dee Messina slammed Chris Young on Twitter after bumping
into him at country radio, and when Eric Church blasted Blake Shelton and TV
talent shows in Rolling Stone Magazine, resulting in an online commotion, a
public apology and angry tweets from Blake and Miranda Lambert.
Meanwhile Luke Bryan found himself in the midst of a
mini-scandal after he was caught with lyrics to ‘Star Spangled Banner’ written
on his hand, when singing it at the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, and Taylor Swift’s
many relationship dramas and the release of her new album provided a stream of
news and debates all over the internet. They even made a joke out of it at the
CMAs (although it is claimed she didn’t find it amusing). Meanwhile Carrie
Underwood was seen to give a 12-year-old boy his first kiss at a Louisville
show, and Emmylou Harris has recently been investigated for a hit-and-run.
Blake Shelton continued his run as a coach on ‘The Voice’,
while Keith Urban joined the judging panel on ‘American Idol’, providing some
sanity between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. In addition, a small feud occurred
between Blake and Simon Cowell over the clash of ‘The Voice’ and Simon’s
similar show ‘The X Factor’, although it never really came to anything apart
from a few snide comments. A new TV show ‘Nashville’ debuted in the Fall
season, to rave reviews and fantastic ratings, in its drama-filled depiction of
the city of Nashville and the country music industry that inhabits it.
Billboard announced a new way of compiling its charts this
year, and was the subject for much debate after it was revealed the drop in
importance of country radio and the addition of digital sales to its data. This
resulted in Taylor Swift dominating the country charts with some tracks that
hadn’t even been released as singles, and this news was reached with a lot of
hostility amongst country fans, who argued that Taylor is now a pop singer.
Kelly Clarkson did the opposite and appeared to ‘go country’, making small
inroads and being rewarded with a nomination for Female Artist at the CMAs. She
ended the year with a well-received duet with Vince Gill called ‘Don’t Rush’.
A new country festival was announced in December, to take
place in London in March 2013, and is the first major festival with major
artists to grace UK shores. Meanwhile, several country artists completed USO
tours in 2012, including Kellie Pickler, who had a busy year after the release
of her album ‘100 Proof’ that was critically praised but commercially flopped,
and being dropped from her label before signing with a new one, Black River
I put a plea out on social media for people to contribute
with their personal country music highlights of 2012, and here are some of
bryan & jason aldean tour!!!!”
“ CMA Fest, Carrie Underwood at
Royal Albert Hall, Lady A in Manchester and The Band Perry at KoKo. Amazing
“@carrieunderwood at Royal Albert Hall, @ladyantebellum at Hammersmith, seeing @thebandperry twice in London & interviewing them!! Plus joining @officialUKCM of course!… When Neil Perry said 'yes ma'am' to me when I was about to ask him
an interview question… and having a conversation on twitter with Chris Cagle
about cruises & him telling me a joke. Surreal moment!”
highlight for me was working security at Wrigley Field for the Brad
Paisley/Miranda Lambert concert. Such a good show!”
Also thanks to musicsfan1 and udder-madness for their
contributions to my list of general country music events of 2012.
So, it’s been a busy year, as you can see, with plenty of
other stuff that I haven’t mentioned. I’d just like to say I started writing
about country music this year and it’s been amazing and rewarding and really fun,
and I love anyone who has ever read any of my articles on here, and even more
if you shared them or talked about them, or it made you think, even if you
didn’t agree. 2012 has been my favorite year for country music because of this
and I hope it was yours too.
So, is there anything you think I should have included in my
list of country music highlights/dramas and didn’t? What were your personal
country music highlights of 2012? Was 2012 your favorite year in country music?
What are you most looking forward to in country music in 2013? Let me know in
[PS: I had a lot of sources and couldn't be bothered linking them all in, so if you're wondering where I got something, email me or comment]