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

Carrie Underwood Keeps It Classic When It Comes to Christmas Music

Image Courtesy Arista NashvilleCarrie Underwood hasn’t made a full-length Christmas album yet, but she’d probably choose to record classic Christmas songs on any holiday project.

Carrie explains, “I am such a sucker for standard Christmas music. I love the church Christmas music. The ‘O Holy Night,’ and you learn ‘Silent Night’ when you’re three years old.”

Carrie has recorded a few Christmas songs over the years, including “Do You Hear What I Hear” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Her newest holiday offering is a duet with Christian artist Michael W. Smith on the song “All Is Well.” Though the song is about 25 years old, Carrie thinks “All Is Well” fits in with those timeless Christmas songs she loves so much.

“It just feels like I’ve known it my whole life,” Carrie says. “So, that’s definitely the kinds of things I go for — the standard-sounding things.”

“All Is Well” is included on Michael W. Smith’s new album, The Spirit of Christmas, which also features collaborations with Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Jennifer Nettles and more.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

Cole Swindell Has Some Explaining to Do to His Family This Christmas

Image Courtesy Warner Music NashvilleCole Swindell looks forward to relaxing with his family back home in his tiny hometown near Albany, Georgia, this Christmas, but he’s also prepared to do some explaining to his family members about the crazy year he’s had as a rising country star. The highlights include playing arenas and stadiums with Luke Bryan, scoring #1 hits and performing on the CMA Awards, which is pretty heady stuff for a boy from a town with a population of 225.

Cole says, “We’re from a very small town. This is beyond my wildest dreams, but especially them. It’s so cool to get to share that with ‘em and see how proud they are. They raised me, and to be around family, I just love doing that.”

Cole’s mother’s birthday is close to Christmas, so getting home to Georgia for the holidays is very important.

“I have lost my dad over the past year and a half, and now I regret things — me not being able to be home for that,” Cole explains. “There are some things that are more important, so family is definitely one of ‘em.”

Cole is bringing home a lot of presents for his young nephews and cousins, too.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio