As we head into another New Year I thought it was probably appropriate to take a general look back over the last twelve month relating to the country music world.
There were some great releases from some stompin’ new artists and memorable offerings from some well established names.
Prolific releases on the Humphead record label gave us new names like Jack Ingram, Justin Moore, Eric Church and Luke Bryan and offerings from ex Hootie and the Blowfish singer Darius Rucker who made his mark in the country music world by winning the New Artist of The Year accolade from the Country Music Association. Taylor Swift releases gave her four credit in the same Awards show as Female Vocalist, Music Video,Best Album of the Year and Entertainer Of The Year.
There was also great modern contemporary releases from CMAs’ Vocal Duo of the Year ‘Sugarland’, and Lady Antebellum not only scored Number One hits during the year but also became Vocal Group Of The Year and took on the accolade of Single Of The Year with the very catchy ‘I Run To You’.
On our Television screens many one hour specials were featured on the Bio and Sky Channels which featured artists like Johnny Cash,(who also featured right through Christmas), Kenny Rogers, Tammy Wynette, Waylon Jennings, Women Of Country, Buddy Holly and a host of others.Unfortunately Aunty Beeb missed out on televising the Country Music Awards Show from Nashville for the last two years however the Film 24 channel took it on board this year with great aplomb and for me it was one of the best to watch.
When it came to visiting artists we were treated to a mixed cornucopia of sounds and acts from the weekend Tyne Fest at the Sage, to the Great North Country and Western Festival to Newcastle City Hall treating us to Billie Jo Spears and Dolly Partons sister Stella. Steve Earle, Kathy Mattea, Toby Keith, The Eagles, Tom Russell, Jimmy Webb and the Webb Brothers also appeared in England.
Suzy Bogguss, Gretchen Peters,and Matraca Berg also appeared on their Wine, Women and Song tour , and along with a host of other guests to numerous to mention it was a plentiful year for awareness of country and crossover sounds.
Disappointed along with many other country appreciators in the North East region when Smooth Radio decided to replace my country show with an injection of seventies/eighties music featuring Pete Waterman, however as you know The American Connection show can now be heard here on euVue every Saturday morning.
I have found it a very difficult year to decide upon a personal album of the year as there were many great releases from an across the board range of acts, however there was one that impressed me musically, harmony personified and song writing attributes in the shape of Little Big Town and their album,’A Place To Land’.
When it came to video releases the best of the bunch had to be the fascinating ‘Jim Reeves Anthology DVD’ which for me was a real insight into the welcoming world of ‘Gentleman Jim Reeves’,where both the footage, live performances and historical facts have to be seen to be believed.
I cannot however finish the last column of the year without relating to my favourite song of the year which to me had every ingredient that a country song should have….a good story, a catchy tune, great musicianship and a good chanter fronting it.
With that in mind it had to be one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long while,..’People Are Crazy’ by Billy Currington. It is one of those songs that I will never ever get sick of hearing.
It’s was a great year for country music and I’m sure 2010 will bring lots more of the same.
Here’s wishing you all the best for this New Year.