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

The Year in Country 2014 — Eric Church Rides His “Outsider” Status to Platinum Success

Image Courtesy CMAEric Church roared into 2014 with the release of his new album, The Outsiders, in February. The project sold 288,000 copies in its first week, giving Eric the best opening week of any country album in 2014. The Outsiders was certified platinum by year’s end and produced the #1 hit, “Give Me Back My Hometown.” Between that song and the full album, Eric picked up four Grammy nominations in December, including a Best Country Album nod. The trophies will be handed out February 8, 2015 in Los Angeles.

Eric did big business on the road with The Outsiders World Tour launching in September. The high-production show will return to the road in 2015 with a January 8 show in New Orleans.

On the home front, Eric and his wife, Katherine, are expecting their second child in the New Year. Their son, Boone, was born in 2011.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Kip Moore Spending the Rest of the Holiday Surfing in Hawaii and Costa Rica

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleKip Moore spent Christmas with his family in Georgia, but now he’s headed out for more exotic locations to indulge in his favorite pastime — surfing.

Kip tells ABC News Radio, “I go surfing in Costa Rica. I go surfing in Maui. So, I’ll take about three weeks off, and just surf.”

Kip spent a few months living in Hawaii before he made it big as a country star, so it makes sense he would head back there for some rest and relaxation. So, how did he decide on Costa Rica as his other destination?

“I just randomly picked a spot on the map one night,” Kip explains. “I heard it had good surfing, and I said, ‘OK, I’ll try this.’ I went there, and I didn’t like that place, but I got a ride to another place. Found that place, and I was like, ‘OK, this is where I’ll come back to.'”

This December trip is Kip’s second time surfing in Costa Rica this year. He’ll get back on the road January 27 with a show in Missoula, Montana.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Miranda Lambert and Luke Bryan Honored on “Us Weekly” Best of 2014 Lists

Image Courtesy RCA NashvilleMiranda Lambert got some love from Us Weekly‘s Best of 2014 list. Her latest project, Platinum is included among the year’s best albums along with offerings from Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift and Sam Smith, among others.

Luke Bryan also earned a mention among the Best Songs of the Year for “Play It Again.” Beyoncé, Jay Z, Nicki Minaj, Tove Lo and Sia were also singled out on that list.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockGeorge Strait‘s son often co-writes songs with him. What is the son’s name? ANSWER: Bubba Strait.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

George Strait’s Tour Is Second Only to One Direction, According to StubHub

Image Courtesy MCA NashvilleWhen it came to ticket sales on the secondary-market site StubHub, George Strait‘s The Cowboy Rides Away tour was eclipsed only by pop sensation One Direction‘s trek in 2014. The ticketing company revealed their year-end statistics to AdWeek, and Luke Bryan holds the #3 spot for the year when it comes to StubHub sales.

Of note, if you combine Luke’s StubHub sales this year with sales from the #4 tour, Justin Timberlake, they still don’t match George’s sales numbers. His final tour stop in Texas on June 7 was the #1-grossing country show of the year with more than $18 million in ticket sales, according to Billboard Boxscore.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Thomas Rhett Says “Make Me Wanna” Is a Taste of Upcoming Sophomore Album

Image Courtesy CMAThomas Rhett says his latest hit, “Make Me Wanna,” is a hint of what fans can expect on his upcoming sophomore album.

Thomas tells The Tennessean, “We have those songs that are just undeniable, make your heart smile. Then we have songs that make you want to party and dance.”

“Make Me Wanna” is the final single from Thomas’s debut album, It Goes Like This. He has most of the next album recorded for a likely 2015 release.

“It’s been a lot of fun to make,” Thomas says of the new project. “I just hope it translate to the fans.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Nashville Notes

Comstock/ThinkstockBrett Eldredge was on babysitting duty over the Christmas holiday with his infant cousin, Olivia. He posted an Instagram video of his conversation with the little one in “baby language.”

When it comes to holiday exchanges and returns, Martina McBride swears by online shoe retailer Zappos. She tweeted Christmas Eve, “I gotta tell ya…I love @zappos Best customer service hands down. Just the best.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Scotty McCreery Relies on Coffee for Early-Morning Flights

Image Courtesy Mercury NashvilleScotty McCreery isn’t a big coffee drinker, but he turns to the beverage when he finds himself at the airport in the early-morning hours.

Scotty tells ABC News Radio, “For some reason, when I have an early flight, I decide to stay up as late as possible, and then it just doesn’t work out. So, coffee is a savior for that.”

Since he doesn’t drink coffee that often, Scotty doesn’t have a preference on what kind of coffee beans are used to make his drink.

“Whatever it is, I do extra cream and extra sugar,” Scotty explains. “It all tastes the same once you sugar it down and all that.”

Scotty doesn’t expect to see the inside of an airport for the next few days. He’s spending holiday time laying low with his family and friends in North Carolina.

Says Scotty, “I was busy this year, so I didn’t get the chance to see them as much as I normally do.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio