Top 11 Country Music
News Stories of 2011 From The Boot
counts down the Top 11 news stories of 2011, from those that made us smile to
the stories that will likely still sadden us well into 2012.
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
11. Country Wedding
Pickler's private New Year's Day Caribbean wedding ceremony with songwriter
Kyle Jacobs was just one of many country nuptials that took place in 2011. Shania
Twain also chose Jan. 1, 2011 to say "I do." Sugarland's
Jennifer Nettles married her 'Want To' video
co-star, Justin Miller, at a chapel in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.
Openly gay country singer Chely Wright wed GLBT activist and author
Lauren Blitzer on Aug. 20 in Connecticut.
And on the opposite coast, LeAnn Rimes married actor Eddie Cibrian at a private
home in California
Other notable nuptials include Randy Houser and singer-songwriter Jessa
Lee Yantz, who exchanged vows on Sept. 2 in the Dominican Republic. Sunny
Sweeney and Jessica Andrews were both brides on
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images
10. Country Rules
Country music took center stage during this season of the wildly popular
reality competition series, crowning Scotty
McCreery and Lauren Alaina the winner and runner-up,
respectively, during the May 25 season finale. Both teenaged singers have been
warmly accepted into the country music industry, with Scotty celebrating the
gold certification of his debut album, 'Clear as Day,' and Lauren landing a
coveted opening act slot on Jason Aldean's 2012 My Kinda Party tour.
Scotty is currently climbing the charts with 'The Trouble With Girls,' with
Lauren not far behind with her second single, 'Georgia Peaches.'
Glenn Pinkerton, AP
Adkins' House Fire
Trace Adkins' three youngest daughters were home with a babysitter when their
home burned to the ground back in June.
Thankfully, Trace and wife Rhonda taught the girls an 'in case of fire' plan,
and they -- along with their dogs -- rushed outside to safety, unharmed.
"It's just stuff," the resilient Rhonda said just hours after the
devastating fire, concentrating on her elation that no one was hurt, rather
than on the loss of so many of her precious possessions. The fire was caused by
an overheated or loose electrical connection in a power strip in the singer's
garage. Nearly six months later, the Adkins family is finally in the process of
Twain's Triumphant Return
After seven years away from the spotlight to concentrate on her family and then
to weather a painful divorce, Shania resurfaced with the documentary TV series,
'Why Not? With Shania Twain,' which chronicled the superstar's apprehension at
returning to music. "I have lost my ability to express myself and my
ability to sing," the five-time Grammy-winning superstar told the Toronto Sun at the
time. "For some reason, I'm not comfortable singing in front of people
anymore." Shania eventually regained her confidence, announcing her
residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las
Vegas, which will begin on December 1, 2012.
A driving force behind her emergence is Shania's husband, Frédéric Thiébaud,
whom she married on New Year's Day 2011. "I'm in love!," Shania
shared with fans. "Frédéric Nicolas Thiébaud has been a true gift to me as
a compassionate, understanding friend and over time, an amazing love has
blossomed from this precious friendship."
Evan Agostini, AP
7. Rodney Atkins' Shocking Split
They seemed to have one of the happiest marriages in country music, but
something went terribly awry behind the closed doors of Rodney and Tammy Jo
Atkins' home on Nov. 21. Tammy called police early that morning, alleging that
her intoxicated husband had tried to smother her with a pillow, assaulted her
and threw her down a hallway. Rodney admits to a verbal dispute but denies all
allegations of domestic violence, and his lawyers are insisting Tammy lied to
police. The singer was arrested and released on $2,500 bail. He has since filed
for divorce. The couple have a 10-year-old son, Elijah. "Mr. Atkins wants
to thank his fans for standing by him," states the singer's attorney,
"as he is confident the truth will prevail."
Music City News Media
McCready Flees With Son
The already oft-beleaguered Mindy made news again in the past month, after
allegations she had kidnapped her five-year-old son, Zander, from the custody
of her mother, Gayle Inge. Claiming to be "too pregnant" with twins
to travel, Mindy missed a court-ordered deadline to return Zander to his
grandmother's custody. The singer and her son were eventually found by police
at her current boyfriend's home in Arkansas.
Despite the scandal, Mindy revealed that she may have caught a break. "I
can't talk about it, but I'll tell y'all, I'm a happy girl," she said
after leaving an Arkansas
courtroom (quote via ABC News). "I
love Judge (Lee) Harrod, I'll tell you that. I love that man. He's a good
man." The custody case is still pending.
Gabriel Bouys, AFP/Getty Images
Antebellum Are 2011 Grammy Darlings
The talented trio scored big at this year's Grammy Awards ceremony, taking home
five trophies on the strength of their massive crossover hit, 'Need You Now.'
Aside from sweeping the country categories, Lady Antebellum won Song and Record
of the Year honors, beating out music heavyweights Eminem,
Keys. "We really wanted to make Nashville and the country music community
proud tonight, and I hope that they feel that way," Lady A's Hillary Scott
said in the Grammy press room after the show. "It just shows that country
music is relevant and relatable. I just hope they think we're flying the flag
Campbell Reveals Alzheimer's Battle
Appearing on a 'World News With Diane Sawyer' segment earlier this year, the
legendary entertainer disclosed he was in the early stages of Alzheimer's
disease. The 'Rhinestone Cowboy' singer capped his successful 50-plus-year
career with the Aug. 30 release of 'Ghosts on the Canvas,' and mounted a
"goodbye" tour set to run through March 2012. "I have been
blessed, I really have," the 75-year-old told ABC's Terry Moran.
"I figured it out that I'm not that bright, but God gave me a break."
The Country Music Hall of Fame member has sold more than 45 million records and
has earned nine No. 1 country singles. Click here to purchase tickets for the
remaining dates on the tour.
Swift's Awards Sweep
To say Taylor
had a good year would be the understatement of the ... year. The 'Ours' singer
collected a trifecta of top honors for 2011: CMA and ACM Entertainer of the
Year as well as the AMA trophy for Artist of the Year. "I just am so
shocked and stunned and absolutely out-of-my-mind happy about this," said
the superstar following her sweep at the AMA Awards ceremony. "The fact
that the fans have been there for me more and more each year -- it just blows
In total, Taylor
took home 11 major industry awards in 2011, and we're betting she'll add a
couple more to her trophy case at February's Grammy awards. The superstar
outdid herself yet again, wrapping the North American leg of her extravagant
Speak Now wold tour just before accepting Billboard's 2011 honor as Woman of
Ed Rode, Getty Images
Shelton & Miranda Lambert Tie the Knot!
"I'm married to my best friend!" Miranda told US Weekly following
the May 14 ceremony, for which she donned her mother's wedding dress.
"Looking forward to a lifetime of laughter." Country music's newest
power couple tied the knot in Texas,
in front of family and a number of their famous friends, making their union
official after five years of dating. "I wanted to be married to Miranda
the day I proposed," says Blake. "Finally, it's official!"
The two superstars' careers have skyrocketed since their mid-2011 nuptials,
with both singers winning respective Male and Female Vocalist of the Year
honors at the CMAs. Blake and Miranda both have headlining tours scheduled in
2012, and Blake will resume his duties as celebrity judge for the second season
of NBC's singing competition, 'The Voice.'
Evan Agostini, AP
1. Sugarland's Stage Collapses in Indiana
In what can only be described as a horrific accident, the Aug. 13 stage
collapse occurred shortly before Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush were due
onstage at the Indiana State Fair. Wind gusts upwards of 60 miles per hour
swept through the Indianapolis
fairgrounds, toppling the stage's scaffolding and sending the heavy equipment
plummeting into the crowd. "We are praying for our fans and the people of Indianapolis. We hope
you'll join us. They need your strength," said the duo immediately
following the tragedy.
Despite their Oct. 28 free concert in Indianapolis that raised more
than $1 million for victims' relief, 44 survivors and family members of four of
the seven people who passed in the accident are suing the band, the show's
producers and stage crew for an undisclosed amount.