Happy New Year, everyone! As we start 2012, I want to take a few minutes and remind you of some of the memorable moments in country music during 2011. More specific, engagements, marriages, divorces, new babies, awards, and first No. 1 for several of our favorite artists.
Country artists taking a walk down the aisle this year included Shania Twain and Frederic Thiebaud, tying the knot on Jan. 1. Also on Jan. 1, 2011, Kellie Pickler became Mrs. Kyle Jacobs. More weddings, LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian, Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton, Randy Houser and Jessa Yantz, Jennifer Nettles and Justin Miller, Chely Wright also married her partner, Lauren Blitzer.
Marriages we can look forward to next year include Danny Gokey, who recently announced his engagement to Leyicet Peralta; Wynonna Judd who also announced her engagement during the Christmas holidays to Cactus Moser, and Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum announced his engagement to Kelli Cashiola, and Hillary Scott to Chris Tyrell, drummer for Eden’s Edge; and Eden’s Edge singer Hannah Blaylock announced her engagement to boyfriend of three years, Justin.
Unfortunately, with engagements and marriages, there sometimes comes divorce. That was the case for Rodney Adkins, who recently filed for divorce from his wife of 13 years; and Eddie Montgomery. Near the end of 2010, Billy Ray Cyrus and Randy Travis also ended their marriages.
On a happier note! New babies! A few of our country couples who increased the size of their family this year are Justin and Kate, welcomed new daughter Kennedy Faye Photo at right: (Kristin Hollensworth Photography / Big Machine Records), Eric Church and Katherine announced the birth of Boone McCoy Church in October; it was a boy for Jewel and husband Ty, Kase Townes Murray; for Zac Brown and wife Shelley, it was a fourth daughter, Joni Mason Brown; Blane and Sammi Larsen’ second child was born in April, Noble Blaine Larsen. John and Joan Rich announced the birth of Cash Rich, via Twitter, in October.
Country artists we lost in 2011: Marshall Grant, back up for Johnny Cash; Joel ‘Taz’ DiGregorio, keybard player, and Tommy Crain, guitar player, for Charlie Daniels; singers Liz Anderson and Mel McDaniel; Ryan “Troop” Jones, awesome fiddle player who played with LoCash Cowboys from 2005 to 2011.
Artists who achieved their first No. 1 single this year include Jake Owen, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night;” The Band Perry, “If I Die Young,” and Eli Young Band, “Crazy Girl.”
ACM and CMA Entertainer of the Year: Taylor Swift; Top Grossing Country Tour: Taylor Swift.
Artists to keep your eye on next year: Frankie Ballard, Hunter Hayes, Nick Nicholson; Jon Mark Luckett, Aaron Owens Band, Crawford and James,
I believe the saddest memory for all country music fans this year is the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair. I hope no artists and no fans ever have to experience something like that again.
Did I miss much? Oh, yes. A lot has happened this past year. But this will fill you in on a few of the things you may have forgotten about, or maybe never heard about at the time they happened.