There’s no denying 2011 was a phenomenal year for country music, country music artists and country music fans. New births, new nuptials and new albums were just some of the news items of the year. “New”ly honored artists such as The Band Perry and Eric Church were just a few of the surprises that shot into the stratosphere awing all spectators. Toby Keith was named Artist of the Decade by the American Country Awards. He raised his “Red Solo Cup” off his new “Clancy’s Tavern” album and country music’s southern grown fans raised theirs. And the year ended with iTunes enumerating a phenomenal list including #1 Song of the Year Thompson Square “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”, #1 Album of the Year Jason Aldean “My Kinda Party” and #1 Breakthrough Country Artist, THE CHIEF, Eric Church – hear ye hear ye !!!
According to Nielsen SoundScan, the Top 75 country albums sold a total of 1,085,698 copies the final week of 2011, a jump of more than 300,000 copies over the week before.
And rolling into 2012, Billboard reports that the No. 1 album and song for the first week of 2012 are the same as they were for the last week of 2011: Lady Antebellum’s “Own the Night” (#1 album) and the Zac Brown Band’s “Keep Me in Mind.” (#1 song).
Wow ! I’d say country made its mark on the country in 2011. And I sure hope you were able to take your place in the festivities and enjoy all this genre brought to the music industry and fans. But not to worry, if you weren’t able to join the country music festivities and phenomena in 2011, the party’s just begun. In fact, in country music, the party never ends.
And 2012 is gearing up to deliver some over the top entertainment. Starting off on the right track, country music will release 10 new songs in January to country music radio and I’m sure listeners can look forward to the video accompaniment of each. Tour schedules are beginning to be released and concert tickets are already on sale for some artists. Be sure to check out this very brief but beginning list of the concert circuit for 2012 and be sure to get your tickets and be there . . .
- With a career spanning five decades, Bob Seger continues to perform and record today. Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. He’s been out on the road this past fall for the second leg to his 2011 North American Tour. There are still a few dates scheduled on that tour so be sure to get your Bob Seger tour tickets and enjoy this rockin’ music legend.
- Lady Antebellum owns more than the night. But that’s the title of their 11th career GRAMMY nominated album and the title of their tour. And if you want your chance to witness a legendary country music group that has taken the music industry by storm, be sure to get your Lady Antebellum tickets while they’re still available. “Lady A” truly is an outstanding act to see and joining them on their “Own the Night” Tour will be 43rd Annual CMA Awards Top New Artist Darius Rucker who also holds ACM, Teen Choice, and AMA Award nominations. And who Rolling Stone said, “On his Nashville debut, Rucker’s rich baritone, sentimental ballads and bright hooks made him the most successful African-American country singer since Charley Pride. Additional guests on “Lady A’s Own the Night” Tour will be first time GRAMMY nominated for Best Country Duo Performance and Best Country Song for “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”, the dynamic duo Thompson Square.
- Brad Paisley has announced the first leg of his highly anticipated Camobunga! 2012 World Tour, featuring Scotty McCreery and the Band Perry. The tour is set to kick off on January 12 in Grand Rapids, Mich., and will continue on into March with more dates coming soon. Season 10 American Idol winner Scotty McCreery released his first album “Clear As Day” on October 4, 2011. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 and Top Country Albums charts, making Scotty the youngest man in history to open at the top of the all-genre chart with a debut release. “Clear As Day” and its first single, “I Love You This Big,” have both been certified gold. And Scotty will be dazzling the country music crowds with all that country charm and his current single “The Trouble With Girls”. The Band Perry broke through 2011 as one of Country’s hottest new acts and are now celebrating a GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist and a newly certified Platinum album. Brad Paisley tickets are currently on sale for his Camobunga! 2012 World Tour so don’t hesitate to grab your seats.
- Meanwhile, The Band Perry is planning their individual pursuits for 2012. In addition to joining Brad Paisley’s Camobunga! 2012 World Tour in January, they will continue performing their own headlining dates – many of which broke attendance records at various venues this past summer – and also will continue writing and recording their second album. Their debut album, THE BAND PERRY, features the #1, triple-Platinum smash “If I Die Young;” Gold-certified single “You Lie,” their current ballad “All Your Life” and the recently performed “Independence.” With a GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist and a Platinum certified debut album, The Band Perry tickets are sure to be a hot item so be sure to grab yours fast !
- As Jason Aldean closed out the biggest year of his career (2011) with a double platinum album, three #1 singles, industry awards and over one million concert tickets sold, he shared, “This has been the best year of my career. I never want this year to end.” So while Jason can’t extend time, he can and will extend his My Kinda Party Tour into 2012 and bring along with him country music buddy Luke Bryan. In November 2011 Luke wrapped up his first major headlining tour and one of the most successful CMT Tours in ten-year history – the “CMT ON TOUR: Luke Bryan Tailgates & Tanlines” – performing in 22 cities with opening acts Lee Brice, Josh Thompson and CMT’s New Superstar winner Matt Mason. The 2011 tour has become one of the most successful to date. And the 2012 leg of Aldean’s tour will kick off on January 20 in Greenville, SC. But it’s been reported that the tour’s February 24 concert at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena sold out minutes after it was announced so be sure to check out the complete My Kinda Party Tour schedule and pick up your Jason Aldean concert tickets before they’re sold out and you miss out.
- George Strait will take his GRAMMY nominated Best Country Album Here For a Good Time and Martina McBride on tour in 2012. Here For a Good Time is Strait’s 39th studio album. It received rave reviews and is his eighth consecutive studio album to debut at #1 on the Top Country Album chart and his 24th overall #1 album. His CD also debuted at #3 on The Billboard 200 (behind Lil Wayne and Adele). The “Here For A Good Time” title track written by Strait, his son Bubba and songwriter Dean Dillon, is his 58th number one single. It also marks George’s first number one as a songwriter (an accomplishment he proudly shares with his son). Martina McBride celebrates her 2012 Grammy Nomination for “I’m Gonna Love You Through It” in the Best Country Solo Performance category from her eleventh studio album “Eleven” and will re-join George and head out on a tour that will be quite memorable for sure. The tour kicks off on January 27 in Lafayette, LA so be sure to get your George Strait tickets today.
- 21-year-old superstar Taylor Swift – amidst being named CMA Entertainer of the Year for the second time, a whirlwind, World Wide Speak Now Tour placing second overall on concert trade Pollstar‘s list of top North American tours raking in a whopping gross of $97.7 million (Swift placed second only to U2) and numerous other industry accolades – wrapped up 2011 being honored as Billboard Magazine’s Woman of the Year. The annual award celebrates the achievements of a trailblazing female recording artist during the past 12 months and acknowledges her overall success and leadership in the music business. Taylor’s third album, Speak Now, holds two 2012 GRAMMY nominations for Best Country Album and its single, “Mean”, has been nominated for Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance. Yet this Fearless wonder heads back out in March of 2012 to wrap up her Speak Now Tour in Perth, Australia then onto New Zealand. Be sure to grab your Taylor Swift tour tickets before they’re gone.
- Blake Shelton, is yet another artist that has had a phenomenal year in 2011. Billboard has named Blake one of their top country artists of 2011. And this reigning “Male Vocalist of the Year” and five-time CMA nominee including a nod for “Entertainer of the Year” is heading out on his “Well Lit & Amplified Tour 2012.” Shelton will kick-off his 27 city arena tour in January in Toledo, OH and end in March at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay. Justin Moore and NBC’s “The Voice” finalist, Dia Frampton will be joining Blake on the road. Justin joins Blake with his 2011 released “Outlaws Like Me” album and the hope that his voice holds up. “I think last year we played two hundred shows or two ten. It was something really crazy,” he says. “And this year, I think we will end up doing about one fifty which is still a lot of shows. Hopefully we don’t have to play near as much. (Laughs) My voice ain’t gonna hold up I don’t think…” Dia Frampton is “The Voice” finalist and quite unique. “Broken Ones” is a beautiful compilation musically, vocally and in its video complement. And while Frampton’s is described as “Indie folk with a lemony twist”, her vocals sound a bit reminicent of “Dido” in “Broken Ones”. But I’m sure this dynamite voice has only begun to be heard. Be sure to grab your Blake Shelton tickets as “Well Lit & Amplified Tour 2012” sounds like one for the record books.
- And if there’s any truth to “save the best for last” then I’m sure Zac Brown Band can honorably fill that bill. ZBB received a 2012 GRAMMY nomination for Best Song Written for Visual Media for “Where The River Goes” (from Footloose). The band rang in 2012 at the Phillips Arena New Year Eve rocking the evening with Southern Ground Records artists Blackberry Smoke, Nic Cowan, Dugas, Sonia Leigh, Levi Lowrey, The Wheeler Boys and The Wood Brothers. Zac Brown Band ended 2011 celebrating their 9th consecutive #1 single “Keep Me in Mind” and entered 2012 in that same #1 spot. ZBB will be bringing along special guests Sonia Leigh and Nic Cowan. “Georgia-bred singer-songwriter Sonia Leigh left home at 17 to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. She soon impressed country-rock sales phenom Zac Brown, who released her national album debut, “1978 December”, on his label Southern Ground Records.” Sonia spent a month being highlighted as CMTs Artist of the Month, her “1978 December” title track charted #42 on Nashville Sounds Top 100 Songs of 2011 List. But mostly, Sonia Leigh hits and retains the #1 spot with all her fans, their hearts. Nic Cowan is named “Singer Songwriter of 2011” in the December issue of “Best of Atlanta” edition of Atlanta Magazine. “His Southern Ground debut, Hard Headed, is winsomely crowd pleasing but unclassifiable—neatly mixing southern rock, country, soul and R&B without being hewing to any single style. Cowan’s gritty, soulful voice—redolent of whiskey, cigarettes and dues paid—completes the package, announcing the arrival of an artist ready for bigger stages.” And Nic co-wrote ZBB’s 9th consecutive hit “Keep Me in Mind”. Sounds to me like you should run – not walk – to get your Zac Brown Band tour tickets because from what I’ve heard, there isn’t a Southern Ground Records artist you’d want to miss out on.
But before we let you go, we also want to remind you to check out the “Brothers of the Sun Tour” where headliners Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw reunite for 19 tour dates bringing along special guests Jake Owen and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Additionally, rising country music phenomena Eric Church hits the headlining concert circuit with his “Blood Sweat & Beers” Tour bringing along special guest Brantley Gilbert. Tickets have already been on sale for some of these tours so here’s hoping we’ve given you all the information you need to grab yours before they’re sold out.
Have an awesome 2012 Country Music concert season! And don’t forget to come back and share with all the Country Music Pride fans which concerts you attended and all the excitement you experienced !