The Year in Country 2014 — Blake and Miranda Continue Reign as Country’s King & Queen

Image Courtesy CMABlake Shelton and Miranda Lambert continued their reign as the King and Queen of Country this year. Blake’s continued exposure on NBC’s The Voice kept him in America’s living room two nights a week, and led to big endorsement deals with Pepsi and Pizza Hut. On the music front, Blake extended his streak of consecutive #1 hits to 13, with “Doin’ What She Likes,” “My Eyes” and “Neon Light” all topping the chart this year. “Neon Light” is the lead single from Blake’s latest album, Bringing Back the Sunshine, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in September.

Blake took his hits on the road with the highly-successful Ten Times Crazier tour this year. He also won his fifth consecutive CMA Male Vocalist trophy, tying him with Vince Gill and George Strait for most wins in that category. Blake was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in November, too.

Blake’s wife Miranda was the biggest female act in country this year, thanks to her brand-new album, Platinum. The project debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart when it came out in June and went on to win CMA Album of the Year in November. Miranda also won her fifth consecutive CMA Female Vocalist trophy, which means she surpassed Reba and Martina McBride as the person with the most wins ever in that category.Miranda also took CMA Single of the Year for the lead single from Platinum, “Automatic.” 

Platinum also earned Miranda nominations in all four country categories at the Grammy Awards coming up in February 2015. The project ended up on multiple Best of 2014 critics’ lists and produced the hit duet with Carrie Underwood, “Something Bad,” too.

Miranda celebrated a few other big events in 2014, including the opening of her own exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame in May. She also opened her own bed and breakfast, The Ladysmith, in her hometown of Tishomingo, OK, and served as a mentor for Team Shakira on NBC’s The Voice in the spring.

Miranda’s Platinum tour wrapped up in September as she played her first show in Hawaii, which means she has now performed in all 50 states. Look for Miranda to launch her Certified Platinum tour in the New Year.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Miranda Lambert Shares Her Love of Music and Shelter Pets with New Pinterest Account

Image Courtesy Becky FlukeMiranda Lambert has just joined Pinterest with the username Miranda 1506. As you might guess, the singer’s boards revolve mostly around music and rescue animals. Inspired by her recently opened Redemption Ranch no-kill animal shelter in Oklahoma, Miranda has created the Make a Furry Friend Feel at Home Pinterest board with do-it-yourself projects and ideas for dogs.

Miranda and husband Blake Shelton are parents to six rescue dogs. She says, “Every animal has a special place in my heart. Especially my dogs — some of them go everywhere with me. They are like my kids, with their own unique personalities.”

Miranda’s Pinterest boards also feature a ton of content about her music. Her brand-new single, “Little Red Wagon,” is now climbing the country chart.

Copyright 2015 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockThe Band Perry‘s Kimberly Perry won CMA Song of the Year for writing which one of the band’s hits? ANSWER: “If I Die Young.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Brantley Gilbert Proud to Represent Country on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”

Image Courtesy Valory Music Co.Brantley Gilbert is performing on ABC’s Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest Wednesday night. It’s his first performance ever on a multi-genre show, and he’s looking forward to seeing how it all works out.

Brantley tells ABC News Radio, “I’m really excited to see the performances and the interaction between people in other genres as opposed to country, you know, ’cause we’re a really close family. I’m just excited about the whole night. I think it’s gonna be a great experience.”

This isn’t Brantley’s first time performing on New Year’s Eve, though. He’s played a big hometown show in Georgia to ring in New Year’s past. Thanks to his fiancée, Amber, this New Year’s Eve could be Brantley’s best yet.

“I’m gonna go ahead and set the bar high just for a million different reasons,” Brantley says of his New Year’s Eve expectations. “You know, I want a shootin’ star. If I got a choice, and I can make sure this year is the best, I’m gonna make this one the best.”

Look for Florida Georgia Line, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Elton John, One Direction and many more stars to perform on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest starting at 8 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockGarth Brooks will appear during all four hours of NBC’s Today on Thursday, January 8.

Cole Swindell is headlining a New Year’s Eve show at Wild Bill’s near Atlanta, Georgia Wednesday night with special guest Kelleigh Bannen.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Luke Bryan Spending New Year’s Eve with His Birthday Girl, Wife Caroline

Image Courtesy CMAAs Luke Bryan closes the door on his most successful year ever, he’s focusing in just one thing — his beautiful wife, Caroline.

Luke tells ABC News Radio, “My wife’s birthday is always New Year’s Eve. So, I always forgo work to celebrate her birthday.”

Luke and Carolina tied the knot in 2006. They have two young sons named Bo and Tate. Caroline makes an appearance in Luke’ s video for “Crash My Party,” which has racked up more than 24 million views on YouTube.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Keith Urban Had a “Life-Changing” 2014 Thanks to His Hit Album, “Fuse”

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleKeith Urban‘s latest album, Fuse, has produced multiple #1 hits and helped him secure a CMA Entertainer of the Year nomination in 2014. More than a decade into his career, Keith says this latest project has been “life-changing.”

Urban tells ET Canada, “As an artist, you know, you’re always wondering what people are going to make of your music. But I made the record that I had in my head and I was very happy with that…But this one’s done amazing things.”

Before Keith release Fuse to the public, he ran every note by his wife, Nicole Kidman.

“Nic’s always the first person I play everything to and I want to get her reaction,” Keith explains. “Particularly because she’s not a musician…professionally speaking…. she loves music! So, her reaction to something is really important to me.”

Keith returns to his American Idol judging duties when the show’s 14th season premieres January 7 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Luke Bryan Has the Top Country Tour of 2014

Image Courtesy Capitol NashvilleTouring publication Pollstar has released their list of 2014’s top 20 tours, and three country stars made the list.

Luke Bryan had the biggest country tour bringing in $62.8 million for a #17 finish. George Strait‘s The Cowboy Rides Away tour is next at #18, with $61.8 million coming in this year. Jason Aldean closed out the list at #20, with $52.5 million.

Pop boy band One Direction tops the list with a staggering $282.2 million gross for the year. They sold more than 3.4 million tickets in 2014.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWho was Rascal Flatts‘ duet partner on the hit single “Easy?” ANSWER: Natasha Bedingfield.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Carrie Underwood Ranked Among Best-Mannered Celebrities of the Past 25 Years

Image Courtesy Jeremy Cowart/Arista NashvilleCarrie Underwood is always kind to her fans, and now she’s getting formal recognition for those good manners.

The National League of Junior Cotillions releases their list of the Best-Mannered Celebrities at the end of each year. Now, in celebration of the organization’s 25th anniversary, it’s announced the 25 Best-Mannered People of the Past 25 Years, and Carrie Underwood is placed at #13 — just behind Mother Theresa and Tom Hanks.

Jimmy Fallon tops the countdown for his courteous nature hosting NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey and Peyton Manning are among the other celebrities listed.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio