The Year in Country 2014 — Carrie Underwood Prepares for Motherhood

Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleCarrie Underwood nearly broke the Internet with her pregnancy announcement via Twitter, which was appropriately made on Labor Day. She posted a photograph of herself with her dogs, Ace and Penny, wearing “I’m going to be a big brother” and “I’m going to be a big sister” shirts. Carrie kept news of the baby’s sex a secret until the CMA Awards, where she let her co-host Brad Paisley reveal she’s having a boy.

Carrie continued her hot streak on country radio with the Miranda Lambert duet, “Something Bad.” She scored a hit toward the end of the year with “Something in the Water,” the lead single from her first-ever compilation, Greatest Hits: Decade #1, released in December. The album marks the 10th anniversary of Carrie’s American Idol audition in 2004. She went on to win the Idol crown in 2005.

Carrie made several high-profile concert appearances in 2014, including the Global Citizens Festival in Manhattan along with Beyoncé, Jay Z, Sting, No Doubt, and Alicia Keys. She also performed at World AIDS Day in New York City on December 1 on a bill with Bruce Springsteen, Kanye West, and Coldplay‘s Chris Martin. All members of U2 were there too, except for Bono, who was recovering from injuries he suffered in a bike accident.

Carrie capped off the year by announcing her new line of women’s active wear, CALIA by Carrie Underwood, coming to Dick’s Sporting Goods in March 2015.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert Place Second on Most Desirable Celebrity Neighbors Survey

Image Courtesy CMAYou might see a real estate boom in Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton‘s hometown of Tishomingo, Oklahoma in the next year. The country couple came in second only to Jimmy Fallon on real estate site Zillow’s eighth annual Celebrity Neighbor Survey.

Blake and Miranda got nine percent of the votes next to Jimmy’s 10 percent. Breaking it down by sex, 12 percent of women surveyed wanted to go live next door to Blake and Miranda, while only six percent of men chose the couple.

Justin Bieber easily won Worst Neighbor honors, with 34 percent of the vote. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West got 22 percent on the Worst Neighbor survey for a second-place finish.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockEric Church named his sophomore album Carolina. What is the name of Eric’s hometown in North Carolina? ANSWER: Granite Falls.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood Headlining Big Barrel Country Music Festival

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleMiranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood are headlining the first Big Barrel Country Music Festival, June 26 through 28, 2015. The event takes place at the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway in Delaware, and tickets are now on sale at

Jake Owen, Chris Young, Gary Allan, Kacey Musgraves and Eric Paslay also are on the bill along with Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard and The Oak Ridge Boys. The Big Barrel Country Music Festival is produced by the same company that created the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, California.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Keith Urban Wishes His Rolling Stones Guest Performance Had Lasted Longer

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleKeith Urban got the chance to perform with The Rolling Stones in Los Angeles last year, but he didn’t get as long onstage with the rock legends as he would have liked. The song Stones frontman Mick Jagger picked for Keith to play with them, “Respectable,” was less than three minutes long.

Keith tells The Canadian Press, “It’s like, bummer, I wish we could have chosen ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ or something that’s a little bit longer.”

No matter how long the performance ended up being, Keith will always treasure the memory of playing with one of the most iconic bands in music history.

“It was really fun playing with him,” Keith says. “I just loved it.”

Keith will ring in 2015 with a New Year’s Eve performance at Niagara Falls for Canadian television.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Hunter Hayes Unplugs from the Road to Make New Music This Holiday Break

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleHunter Hayes is trying to keep his calendar clear as possible this holiday season, but he is making a little music during his break from the road.

“I just wanna chill,” Hunter tells ABC News Radio. “I just got a little bit of time to be creative in my little studio at home. Got some writers that are coming out to hang.”

Staying in one place takes some effort on Hunter’s part since he is used to the rhythm of being on tour.

He explains with a laugh, “I’m always wanting to be on the road, so for me to be away from that for a minute, make me miss it even more, is probably a good thing even though I don’t want to admit that.”

Hunter plays the first of two fundraiser shows for Nashville’s Alive Hospice Friday, January 2 at the Bluebird Café.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Josh Turner Invites Fans to “Lay Low” Wherever They Are

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleThe days after Christmas are a great time to kick back and relax, and Josh Turner‘s brand-new single, “Lay Low,” is a perfect soundtrack for those lazy days leading up to 2015. Josh has been playing the song in his concerts for a few months now, and he’s been getting a great response from fans.

Josh has pictured his fans incorporating “Lay Low” into their own lives ever since he recorded it.

He tells ABC News Radio, “If I had to guess, I would probably say that they would definitely be using that riding down the road just kind of thinking about getting away and turning the phone off and doing what the song says, you know.”

At its heart, “Lay Low” is a love song and can be used to set a romantic mood no matter where you are.

“Even if you just stay home sometimes, honestly, with the one you love, I think you can lay low doing that, too,” Josh says. “You don’t have to go to the proverbial cabin in the woods.”

“Lay Low” is the lead single from Josh’s new studio album, due out in 2015.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Lady Antebellum Bringing Nashville to ABC’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” Wednesday Night

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleLady Antebellum is excited to cap off their 2014 with a big New Year’s Eve performance at Nashville’s Bash on Broadway Wednesday night. Portions of Lady A’s performance will air on ABC’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, and fans can expect some surprises from the trio.

Lady A’s Hillary Scott tells The Tennessean, “We’ve got a couple of new things we’re going to try on ‘Freestyle.’ We’re just going to celebrate the year.”

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend the big New Year’s Eve concert in downtown Nashville.  It will be one of the largest crowds Lady Antebellum has performed for in their career.

Says Hillary, “It’s such a way to celebrate the end of what was one of the greatest years of our career. It’s fun — rewarding in every sense of the word.”

Gavin DeGraw and Nashville‘s Charles Esten will also appear on the Music City portion of ABC’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve starting Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. Florida Georgia Line and Brantley Gilbert are also appearing on the broadcast from New York City.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Little Jimmy Dickens in Critical Care in Nashville-Area Hospital

Photo By: Chris HolloGrand Ole Opry star Little Jimmy Dickens is battling an undisclosed illness in a Nashville-area hospital, and is in critical care.

An announcement from the Grand Ole Opry states that Dickens, who turned 94 earlier this month, was admitted to the hospital on Christmas Day. He last performed at the Opry on December 20 as part of a birthday celebration.

Dickens’ wife, family and the Opry are requesting prayers from friends and fans. Fans may send cards for Dickens to the Grand Ole Opry House at the address listed on its website.

Dickens, known for his humor and diminutive frame, became a Grand Ole Opry member in 1948. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983.

Dickens recorded such hit novelty songs as “Take an Old Cold Tater (And Wait),” “I’m Little But I’m Loud,” “Country Boy,” and “A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

The Year in Country 2014 — Jason, Dierks & Other Newsmakers

Image Courtesy CMAJason Aldean scored another platinum album with his latest release, Old Boots, New Dirt, which produced the sexy hit single, “Burnin’ It Down,” co-written by Florida Georgia Line. Jason continued playing for huge crowds on the road and announced his engagement to girlfriend Brittany Kerr in September.

Dierks Bentley had his biggest year ever on the road with the Riser tour. He headlined arenas and amphitheaters on a large scale for the first time thanks to his monster hit, “Drunk on a Plane.” Dierks’ album, Riser, also produced the #1 single, “I Hold On,” and earned him CMA and Grammy honors in the respective country album categories.

Newcomers Maddie & Tae became the first female duo to score a #1 hit in eight years this year with “Girl in a Country Song.” The anthem took country’s male acts to task for casting women in a silent, nameless, supporting roles in their hit songs.

Newcomer Sam Hunt burst onto the scene with his hip-hop influenced debut album, Montevallo. Led by the #1 hit, “Leave the Night On,” the project bowed at #1 on Billboard‘s Country Album chart and #3 on the overall Billboard 200 tally. He’s currently headlining his Lipstick Graffiti tour.

The Band Perry’s Kimberly Perry married professional baseball player J.P. Arencibia on June 12 in a ceremony in her hometown of Greenville, TN. Carrie Underwood was on hand for the ceremony.

Dustin Lynch was hit in the face by a beer bottle thrown by a fan in the audience at a show in Florida in November. The fan wasn’t apprehended, and Dustin got stitches for the injury. He now has a small scar on his right cheekbone.

Brantley Gilbert’s new album, Just as I Am, came out in May and quickly went gold. More than 200,000 fans bought the album in its first week, thanks in large part to the #1 hit, “Bottoms Up.” Brantley also headlined arenas and amphitheaters on the Let It Ride tour. Brantley will tie the knot with fiancée Amber Cochran in June 2015. He’s also set to play several stadiums with Kenny Chesney on The Big Revival tour in the New Year.

Brooks & Dunn reunited in December to announce the launch of their new residency at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with Reba, starting in June 2015. The reunion comes four years after the duo split up following The Last Rodeo tour. Reba also announced plans to release a new single, “Going Out Like That,” in January 2015, with a full album to follow.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio