Dierks Bentley Postpones Annual New Year’s Day Polar Plunge, Breaks New Year’s Resolution

Image Courtesy Nino Munoz/Capitol NashvilleDierks Bentley usually takes a “Polar Plunge” in freezing water on New Year’s Day, but he’s postponed the plunge this year. Dierks tweeted Thursday, “Don’t worry it will be the biggest one yet!”

Dierks has already broken one of his New Year’s resolutions while sitting by the beach. He posted a picture of the ocean on Twitter Thursday with the caption, “Already broken my first new year’s resolution for a sober January. Hard with this view. Oh well, there’s always 2016!”

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Little Jimmy Dickens’ Health Reportedly Improving

Image Courtesy Chris Hollo/Grand Ole OpryGood news about Grand Ole Opry legend Little Jimmy Dickens. According to The Tennessean, Opry general manager Pete Fisher posted a message on his private Facebook page earlier this week saying Dickens’ health is improving.

The message reads, “Each day brings noticeable improvements, and his doctors seem very pleased with the progress he is making. I, along with his family, are grateful to all for your thoughts and prayers.”

Little Jimmy Dickens, who turned 94 two weeks ago, was admitted to a Nashville-area hospital Christmas Day with an undisclosed illness. He was listed in critical condition earlier this week. He last performed on the Opry December 20, in celebration of his birthday.

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Country Star Trivia

Comstock/ThinkstockWhat is Miranda Lambert‘s middle name? ANSWER: Leigh.

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Darius Rucker Hoping to Be Happy and Healthy in 2015

Image Courtesy Grand Ole Opry/Chris HolloDarius Rucker will release a brand-new album this year featuring his latest single, “Homegrown Honey.” Beyond giving his fans new music, Darius is keeping his plans for 2015 pretty simple.

“I always do the, ‘I’m gonna get in better shape,’ that happens so rarely, but I always say it,” Darius admits. Mostly he just wants to see himself and his family stay in a good place this year.

Says Darius, “The big thing goes back to my kids being happy and my family being happy and helping other people. But I just want to be a happy guy, I want to have a happy family, and I want to have another great year.”

Darius certainly helped make several people happy with his “Homegrown Holiday” campaign. He gave gift cards, televisions and several other items to families in need just before Christmas.

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Jake Owen Makes Surprise Appearance at Hometown Restaurant in Florida

Image Courtesy Sony Music NashvilleJake Owen caused quite a stir when he made an unannounced appearance onstage at the Riverside Café in his hometown of Vero Beach, FL on Monday. According to the Treasure Coast Newspapers, Jake sat in with the band to perform Hank Williams, Jr.‘s “Family Tradition,” “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash and Jake’s own hit, “Beachin’.”

Jake has been in Vero Beach for a while visiting family for the holidays. He went bass fishing on Monday at Blue Cypress Lake before ending up at Riverside Café, where he tipped $140 on a $260 tab.

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Nashville Notes

Burke/Triolo Productions/ThinkstockThe 25th anniversary of the release of Garth Brooks‘ album, No Fences, will happen in August 2015. The project produced Garth’s monster hit, “Friends in Low Places.”

Loretta Lynn‘s upcoming studio album with producer John Carter Cash is among The Hollywood Reporter‘s 30 most-anticipated music releases of 2015.

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Carrie Underwood Planning New Album and Possible Tour for 2015

Image Courtesy Arista Nashville/Jeremy CowartCarrie Underwood just released her first Greatest Hits album featuring the brand-new single, “Something in the Water” and another new song, “Little Toy Guns.” Still, Carrie hasn’t released a full album of new music since Blown Away came out in May 2012. Her fans won’t have to wait too much longer, though.

Says Carrie, “I’m currently working, even still, on new music, as I’ll continue to do in 2015, and go from there. I mean, there should definitely be a proper album full of new music out soon.”

While she has a few festival dates on the books for 2015, Carrie expects to launch a full-fledged tour once the album is released.

“I’ve already signed on for some things for next year as far as shows go,” Carrie explains. “But as far as a proper ‘tour tour,’ that’ll happen after I have lots of new music.”

Of course, Carrie will take a few months off once she welcomes her first child this year. While hosting the CMA Awards last November she revealed she’s expecting a baby boy.

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Tim McGraw Looks to the Future This New Year’s

Image Courtesy Big Machine RecordsTim McGraw and his wife, Faith Hill, prefer celebrating the dawn of a New Year quietly with their three daughters.

Tim says, “I like to be low-key and hang out with my family and be a little bit contemplative and think about the year that lies ahead. I’m not much about the past.”

Though he’s looking towards the future, Tim won’t be making any New Year’s resolutions.

“I try to accomplish my goals throughout the year and they float and change,” says Tim. “But, I don’t make resolutions because I don’t wanna set myself up for failure.”

Tim will indulge in one tradition as 2015 begins. He plans to eat his black-eyed peas and greens on New Year’s Day for good luck throughout the year.


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The Year in Country 2014 — Luke Bryan Entertains 1.7 Million Fans on the Road

Image Courtesy Dick Clark Productions/AMANo country star had a bigger year on the road than Luke Bryan, who played for more than 1.7 million fans with his That’s My Kind of Night tour, plus other one-off dates and side tours. Luke tackled stadium dates for the first time this year with sellouts at Soldier Field in Chicago, Gillette Stadium near Boston, Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, and Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. His Spring Break concerts in Panama City Beach, FL and his Farm Tour dates in small, rural communities helped round out that huge attendance number.  The tour brought in nearly $62 million to come in as the #1 country tour of the year, according to Billboard Boxscore.

Luke dominated the airwaves with four #1 hits in 2014 — “Drink a Beer,” “Play It Again,” “Roller Coaster,” and “This Is How We Roll.” He took Entertainer of the Year at the CMA Awards in November and co-hosted the ACM Awards again with Blake Shelton in April. They’ll return to host the show again on Sunday, April 19, 2015 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Luke also made a cameo on ABC’s Nashville in October alongside the show’s star, Connie Britton. He was named People Country‘s Sexiest Man for 2014 this year, too.

Tragedy struck Luke’s family at the end of the year with the loss of his brother-in-law, Lee, on November 29. Lee was married to Luke’s late sister, Kelly, who died in 2007.

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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.

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