Kenny Chesney – Beer In Mexico

Kenny  Chesney

(born March 26, 1968) is an American country music singer. Chesney has recorded 15 albums, 14 of which have been certified gold or higher by the RIAA. He has also produced more than 30 Top Ten singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, 22 of which climbed to the top of the charts. Chesney has sold over 30 million albums worldwide.

Over the life of his career, Chesney has been honored with numerous awards from the Academy of Country Music (ACM), Country Music Association (CMA), American Music Awards (AMA), Country Music Television (CMT), Billboard Music Awards (BMA), People’s Choice Awards (PCA).

Chesney produced and co-directed a film for ESPN, The Boys Of Fall. Chesney has received six Academy of Country Music awards (including four consecutive Entertainer of the Year awards from 2005 to 2008), as well as six Country Music Association awards. He is one of the most popular touring acts in country music, regularly selling out the venues in which he performs. His 2007 Flip-Flop Summer Tour was the highest-grossing country road trip of the year.

The Country Music Association honored Kenny Chesney with the Entertainer of the Year award in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008. Other notable awards include the Academy of Country Music’s 1997 New Male Vocalist of the Year, 2002 Top Male Vocalist of the Year, and the Triple Crown Award in 2005. He was awarded his fourth consecutive Entertainer of the Year award from the Academy of Country Music on May 18, 2008.
Chesney was born on March 26, 1968, in Knoxville, Tennessee, at St. Mary’s Medical Center and was raised in Luttrell, and is of English and Irish descent. He is the son of David Chesney, a former elementary school teacher, and Karen Chandler, a hair stylist in the Knoxville area. Chesney has one sibling, a younger sister named Jennifer Chandler. In 1986 Chesney graduated from Gibbs High School where he played baseball and football. Chesney received his first guitar, “The Terminor,” for Christmas and began teaching himself to play. Chesney studied advertising at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN, where he was a member of the ETSU Bluegrass Program and the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. In 1989 Chesney recorded a self-released demo album at Classic Recording Studio in Bristol, Virginia. He sold 1,000 copies while performing at the local clubs in Johnson City and used the money from album sales to help buy a new guitar. Chesney graduated from East Tennessee State in December 1990 with a degree in advertising. After graduation he headed to Nashville and performed at several local clubs. He became the resident performer at The Turf, a honky tonk bar in the city’s historic district.
Career and awards
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See also: Kenny Chesney discography
Signing first publishing and record deals

In 1992, the head of writer relations at BMI, Clay Bradley, recommended Chesney to his friend at Opryland Music Group, Troy Tomlinson, by saying: “I met this kid today from East Tennessee. He’s a good singer, a good songwriter, and more than anything, I think you’re going to really like him as a person.” For the audition for Tomlinson, Chesney performed five songs. Tomlinson’s reaction was enthusiastic, later telling HitQuarters:

“First of all I was attracted to the songs, because I thought that he painted great pictures in his lyrics, particularly for someone who had not been around the typical Music Row co-writes. I thought that he sang very well too. But more than anything there was a kind of this ‘I-will-do-it’ look in his eyes – I was really drawn in by the fact that he was so set on being successful in this business.”

Chesney left the audition with a songwriter’s contract. An appearance at a songwriter’s showcase the following year led to a contract with Capricorn Records which had recently started a country division. He released his debut album In My Wildest Dreams in April 1994. When Capricorn closed its country music division in Nashville and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, Chesney signed with BNA Records.
In My Wildest Dreams (1994)
The cover of Chesney’s first charted single, “Whatever It Takes”

Chesney’s first album, In My Wildest Dreams, was released on the independent Capricorn Records label in 1994. The album’s lead-off singles, “Whatever It Takes” and “The Tin Man”, both reached the lower regions of the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. The album sold approximately 10,000 copies before Capricorn Records closed its country music division later that year.
All I Need to Know (1995)

After Capricorn’s closure, Chesney signed with BNA Records, which released his album All I Need to Know in 1995. The album produced three hit singles. “Fall in Love” and “All I Need to Know” both reached the Top Ten, while “Grandpa Told Me So” peaked at No. 23.] Also in 1995, Chesney co-wrote Confederate Railroad’s single “When He Was My Age”, from their album When and Where.
Me and You (1996-1997)

Released in 1996, Chesney’s second major-label album was Me and You. Although its lead-off single peaked just outside the Top 40 on the country charts, the album’s title track (which was reprised from All I Need to Know) and the single “When I Close My Eyes” (which was previously recorded by Larry Stewart on his 1993 debut album Down the Road) both peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard country charts. Me and You was also Chesney’s first gold-certified album. A cover of Mac McAnally’s 1990 single “Back Where I Come From” was also included on this album. Although Chesney’s version was never released as a single, it has become a regular song played during his concerts. In recognition of his successful year, Chesney (musician), was honored with the 1997 Academy of Country Music’s New Male Vocalist of the Year award.
I Will Stand (1997-1998)

I Will Stand, Chesney’s third album for BNA, was released in 1997. “She’s Got It All” was the album’s lead-off single, becoming Chesney’s first No. 1 single, spending three weeks at the top of the Billboard country charts. The album’s second single, “A Chance”, peaked just shy of the Top Ten. In 1998, “That’s Why I’m Here” went to No. 2 on Billboard and reached the top of the charts on Radio & Records, giving Chesney his third No. 1 single overall.
Everywhere We Go (1999)

Everywhere We Go, released in 1999, was Chesney’s fourth album for BNA. The album produced two consecutive No. 1 singles in “How Forever Feels” and “You Had Me from Hello” (the latter inspired by a line in the movie Jerry Maguire).[8] The album also produced two more hits, including “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” and “What I Need to Do”, which peaked at No. 11 and No. 8 on the country charts, respectively. Everywhere We Go was Chesney’s first platinum-selling album.
Greatest Hits (2000)

By 2000, Chesney released his Greatest Hits compilation album. It included four new tracks, as well as updated versions of “Fall in Love”, “The Tin Man”, and “Back Where I Come From”. The new version of “The Tin Man” was one of the disc’s three singles, along with two of the new tracks, “I Lost It” and “Don’t Happen Twice”.
No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems (2002-2003)

The album No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems was released in 2002. The lead-off single, “Young”, peaked at No. 2, while the follow-up “The Good Stuff” spent seven weeks at No. 1, becoming Billboard’s No. 1 country song of the year for 2002. The video for “Young” was honored by CMT with the Video of the Year and Male Video of the Year awards for 2002. In 2003, ACM honored Chesney as Top Male Vocalist of the Year, while “The Good Stuff” received the award for Single Record of the Year. The following year, CMT recognized the video produced for “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” as the Hottest Video of the Year.
All I Want for Christmas Is a Real Good Tan (2003)

In 2003, Chesney recorded All I Want for Christmas Is a Real Good Tan. The album’s title track peaked at No. 30 on the country charts from holiday airplay.
When the Sun Goes Down (2004-2005)

2004 saw the release of Chesney’s album When the Sun Goes Down. Its lead-off single, “There Goes My Life”, spent seven weeks at the top of the Billboard country charts. On April 21, 2004, the accompanying video was honored by CMT with the Male Video of the Year award. The album’s title track, “When the Sun Goes Down”, a duet with Uncle Kracker, was also a No. 1 single. The video from the third single from the album, “I Go Back”, was honored on April 11, 2005, with the Male Video of the Year by Country Music Television.

When the Sun Goes Down was honored with the 2004 CMA award for Album of the Year, while Chesney was honored as the Entertainer of the Year. He was also presented with the American Music Award’s 2004 Artist of the Year award.
Kenny Chesney performing in the East Room of the White House on May 16, 2006, at the official dinner for Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Mrs. Janette Howard
Be as You Are and The Road and the Radio (2005-2006)

In January 2005, Chesney released the album Be as You Are (Songs from an Old Blue Chair), supporting the album with his Somewhere in the Sun Tour.

In the spring of 2005, Chesney was honored with the prestigious Triple-Crown Award presented by the Academy of Country Music. This award was presented after Chesney’s 2004 Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year award was combined with 1997’s New Male Vocalist of the Year award and 2003’s Top Male Vocalist of the Year award. The following year, on May 23, 2006, Chesney was honored with his second Entertainer of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards.

Chesney released his second album of the year in November, The Road and the Radio, producing three No. 1 singles. “Living in Fast Forward”, “Summertime”, and “Beer in Mexico” all hit No. 1, while “Who You’d Be Today” and “You Save Me” broke the Top Five.
Live: Live Those Songs Again (2006)

Live: Live Those Songs Again is Chesney’s first live album. Released on September 19, 2006 on BNA Records, the album includes live renditions of 15 songs, including 11 singles. “Live Those Songs”, “Never Gonna Feel Like That Again”, “On the Coast of Somewhere Beautiful”, and “Back Where I Come From” were never released by Chesney as singles, while “Back Where I Come From” had been released as a single from Mac McAnally’s 1990 album Simple Life.

Kenny collaborated with one of his personal heroes, Jimmy Buffett, on a remake of Hank Williams’ ” Hey Good Lookin’ (with Clint Black, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and George Strait)(country music singers), and a second song,”License To Chill “. Both songs are on Buffett’s 2004 album, “License To Chill”.

Chesney, along with Tim McGraw, contributed to a version of Tracy Lawrence’s single “Find Out Who Your Friends Are”, which can be found on Lawrence’s album For the Love. The official single version, featuring only Lawrence’s vocals, was released in August 2006, but did not reach the Top 40 on the country charts until January 2007, when For the Love was released. After the album’s release, the version with McGraw and Chesney began receiving significant airplay, helping to boost the single to No. 1 on the country charts. The song became Lawrence’s first No. 1 single in 11 years, as well as the second-slowest climbing No. 1 single in the history of the Billboard music charts.

Chesney also co-wrote Rascal Flatts’ 2007 single along with Neil Thrasher and Wendell Mobley, “Take Me There”, which served as the lead-off single to their album Still Feels Good.[11]

Chesney also recorded a duet with Reba McEntire on her No. 1 2007 album, Reba: Duets. “Every Other Weekend” peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and No. 104 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart. The album has sold 2.1 million copies world-wide and is certified Platinum by the RIAA for sales of over 1 million. “Every Other Weekend” was the final single from the album.
Super Hits (2007)

On November 7, 2007, Chesney was named the CMA Entertainer of the Year for the third time in four years. The following week, on November 15, 2007, the compilation Super Hits album was released as part of Sony BMG’s Super Hits series.
Kenny Chesney in concert at the Madison Square Garden, New York City on August 30, 2007
Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates (2007-2008)

On September 11, 2007, Chesney released the album Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates. The album represented a move to a more gulf and western sound with a number of “breezy, steel-drum island songs.”Kanye West’s album Graduation, as well as 50 Cent’s album Curtis, were released on the same day. Kanye West and 50 Cent were in the midst of a competitive sales war, with 50 Cent claiming he would end his solo rap career if West sold more albums than he did (remarks he later retracted as terms with of contract conflicted with the promise). Kenny Chesney, however, decided he would give country music a place in the competition, claiming country artists were just as popular as rap artists. Chesney came in third place in the number of record sales between the three musical artists.

The album’s lead-off single, “Never Wanted Nothing More”, became Chesney’s 12th song to hit the top of the Billboard country charts. On the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart dated for the week ending September 15, 2007, Chesney’s single “Don’t Blink” debuted at No. 16, setting a new record for the highest debut on that chart since the inception of SoundScan electronic tabulation in 1990.[14] This record was broken one week later by Garth Brooks’ song “More Than a Memory”, which debuted at No. 1 on the same chart, making it the first song ever to do so. The third single from Just Who I Am album, “Shiftwork”, a duet with George Strait peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard country chart. During the week of June 28, 2008, the fourth single, “Better as a Memory”, became Chesney’s 14th single to hit the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
Kenny Chesney’s Poets and Pirates tour bus in 2008

Chesney started his Poets and Pirates Tour on April 26, 2008 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. During the introduction of his set, his boot was caught between a hydraulic lift and the lip of the stage surface, crushing his foot and causing a severe hematoma from the ankle down, with most of the damage centering in his toes. It took approximately 30 seconds to pry his foot loose as he squatted down on the stage while the band continued to play an extended introduction of the song. When Chesney finally freed himself, he stood up and kept holding his hand on his knee as he began to sing.

Chesney did not acknowledge the injury during the early part of his performance. However, he was visibly limping and seemed to rest near a drum riser while leaning over and holding his knee during the instrumental breaks of his hit songs. As he came offstage, a doctor from the University of South Carolina cut off Chesney’s cowboy boot and immediately began treating the foot injury. X-rays taken later revealed several crushed bones in his right foot.

The injury did not cause him to postpone any shows, saying “He (the doctor) told me it’s going to hurt – though nothing could hurt worse than Saturday, I don’t think – and they can give me something to deaden the pain when I get out there. I also have to have a doctor standing by should something give, but I’m going to tape it up, and I’m going to get out there.”

On May 19, 2008, just a day after being honored as the ACM Entertainer of the Year at the 43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, Chesney criticized the lack of choice in the producers’ awarding the honor based on fan votes. “The entertainer of the year trophy is supposed to represent heart and passion and an amazing amount of sacrifice, commitment and focus,” he said. “That’s the way Garth [Brooks] won it four times, that’s the way I won it, that’s the way [George] Strait won it, Reba [McEntire], Alabama all those years. That’s what it’s supposed to represent.”[16]
Lucky Old Sun (2008-2009)
Kenny Chesney during a performance in Jacksonville, Florida on August 30, 2008

On July 24, 2008, Chesney announced that he would be releasing a new single from an upcoming album entitled Lucky Old Sun. The song was titled “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven”, and for the chart week of August 16, 2008, it debuted at No. 22 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The album was released on October 14, 2008. “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” became a No. 1 hit. It was followed by a cover of Mac McAnally’s 1990 single “Down the Road”.

Chesney’s 2009 tour was titled the Sun City Carnival Tour and featured both small and large venues in order to keep his ticket prices down. The tour included a performance at Gillette Stadium again, marking the fifth year in a row that he played at the Foxboro, Massachusetts football field.
Greatest Hits II (2010)

On May 19, 2010, Greatest Hits II was released with two new tracks. In February, “Ain’t Back Yet” was sent to country music radio stations. The No. 1 hit “Out Last Night” was the lead single.
Hemingway’s Whiskey (2010-2011)

In July 2010, Chesney released “The Boys of Fall” as the lead-off single from his album Hemingway’s Whiskey, which was released in September 2010. The song hit No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart for the week of October 9, 2010, marking Chesney’s eighteenth number one hit.

He then appeared at the 44th Annual Country Music Awards on November 10, 2010.[20]

The second single from Hemingway’s Whiskey, “Somewhere with You”, was released in November 2010. The song debuted at No. 35 on the country chart for the week of November 6, 2010. Both it and its followup, “Live a Little”, went to number 1 on the country charts. The next single was “You and Tequila”, co-written and originally recorded by Deana Carter. Chesney’s rendition, which featured Grace Potter on backing vocals, went to number 3. After it, “Reality” also went to number 1.

Chesney produced and narrated a biographical film, The Color Orange, on his favorite football player growing up, University of Tennessee quarterback and Canadian Football League hall-of-fame Condredge Holloway. The film was produced for ESPN’s “Year of the Quarterback” series, and premiered on February 20, 2011.
Welcome to the Fishbowl (2012)

Chesney released his thirteenth studio album, Welcome to the Fishbowl, on June 19, 2012.[21] Its lead-off single, a Tim McGraw duet titled “Feel Like a Rock Star”, debuted at number 13 on the country charts, making it the second-highest debuting country song since the Billboard charts were first tabulated via Nielsen SoundScan, and the highest-debuting duet on that chart.[22] Despite its high debut, the song peaked at number 11 only six weeks later before falling.

BNA Records closed in June 2012. As a result, Chesney was transferred to Columbia Nashville.[23] His first release under Columbia was the album’s second single, “Come Over”, which went to number 1. The album’s third and final single was “El Cerrito Place”, which was written by Keith Gattis and originally recorded by Charlie Robison. Chesney’s rendition, which featured Grace Potter on backing vocals,[24] went to number 10 on the country charts.
Life on a Rock (2013)

Chesney released his fourteenth studio album, Life on a Rock, on April 30, 2013.[25] The first single from the album, “Pirate Flag”, was released to iTunes on February 5, 2013 and peaked at number 3 on the Country Airplay chart in May 2013. The album’s second single, “When I See This Bar”, was released to country radio on June 10, 2013.
Personal life

Chesney owns a 60′ Sea Ray yacht and has a home in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He also spends time in the Caribbean and includes island-themed songs in some of his work, such as those on his 2005 album Be As You Are.

On May 9, 2005, Chesney married actress Renée Zellweger in a ceremony on the island of St. John. They had met in January at a tsunami relief event. On September 15 of that same year, after only four months of marriage, they announced their plans for an annulment. Zellweger cited fraud as the reason in the related papers, leading to rumors that Chesney might be homosexual. After media scrutiny of her use of the word “fraud”, she qualified the use of the term, stating that it was “simply legal language and not a reflection of Kenny’s character” while Chesney denied the rumors, saying that he is straight.[26] Chesney later suggested the failure of his marriage was due to “panic” from the intense media scrutiny surrounding it.[27] In an interview by 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper, Chesney commented on the failed marriage. “The only fraud that was committed was me thinking that I knew what it was like…that I really understood what it was like to be married, and I really didn’t.”[28] The annulment was finalized in late December 2005. Chesney’s family still resides in east Tennessee.

Chesney’s most recent charity work includes working with the V Foundation, founded by North Carolina State Wolfpack basketball coach Jim Valvano to help to find a cure for cancer.

In 1998, Chesney recorded a limited-edition single titled “Touchdown Tennessee”. The single was a tribute to John Ward, a former broadcaster for the University of Tennessee Volunteers’ football team; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the John Ward Scholarship Fund.

Chesney is a regular performer at Farm Aid, the organization founded by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp to keep family farms from foreclosure. Chesney performed at Farm Aid in 2005, 2008, 2010 and 2012. Like all Farm Aid artists, he donates his talent, time and travel expenses for the cause.

Chesney has won the Billboard Touring Award for Top Package Tour five consecutive years between 2005 and 2009, and again in 2011

2001: Greatest Hits Tour(with Lee Ann Womack)
2002: No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems Tour (with Montgomery Gentry, Jamie O’Neal and Phil Vassar)
2003: Margaritas N’ Senorita’s Tour (with Deana Carter, Sara Evans and Keith Urban)
2004: Guitars, Tiki Bars and a Whole Lotta Love Tour (with Rascal Flatts, Dierks Bentley and Keith Urban)
2005: Somewhere in the Sun Tour (with Gretchen Wilson, Uncle Kracker, and Pat Green)
2006: The Road & The Radio Tour (with Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Carrie Underwood and Gretchen Wilson)
2007: Flip-Flop Summer Tour (with Brooks & Dunn, Sugarland, Sara Evans, Pat Green and Taylor Swift[30])
2008: The Poets & Pirates Tour (with Keith Urban, LeAnn Rimes, Gary Allan, Luke Bryan and Sammy Hagar)
2009: Sun City Carnival Tour (with Miranda Lambert, Sugarland, Lady Antebellum and Montgomery Gentry)
2010: 2010 With a Two Tour
2011: Goin’ Coastal Tour (with Zac Brown Band, Uncle Kracker and Billy Currington)
2012: Brothers of the Sun Tour (with Tim McGraw, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Jake Owen)
2013: No Shoes Nation Tour (with Eric Church, Eli Young Band and Kacey Musgraves)
kenny chesney

Darius Rucker – Wagon Wheel

Darius Rucker

(born May 13, 1966) is an American musician. He first gained fame as the lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the rock band Hootie & the Blowfish, which he founded in 1986 at the University of South Carolina along with Mark Bryan, Jim “Soni” Sonefeld and Dean Felber. The band has released five studio albums with him as a member, and charted six top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Rucker co-wrote the majority of the band’s songs with the other three members.

He released a solo R&B album, Back to Then, in 2002 on Hidden Beach Recordings but did not chart any singles from it. Six years later, Rucker signed to Capitol Records Nashville as a country music artist, releasing the album Learn to Live that year. Its first single, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It”, made him the first African American to chart a number one on the Hot Country Songs charts since Charley Pride in 1983. It was followed by two more number-one singles, “It Won’t Be Like This for Long” and “Alright” and the number three “History in the Making”. In 2009, he became the first African American to win the New Artist Award from the Country Music Association, and only the second African American to win any award from the association. A second Capitol album, Charleston, SC 1966, was released on October 12, 2010. The album includes the number-one singles “Come Back Song” and “This”.
Darius Rucker was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, where his family history goes back generations.[1] His single mother, Carolyn, a nurse, raised him with his three sisters and two brothers.[2] According to Rucker, his father was never around, and Rucker only saw him before church on Sundays.[3] His father was in a gospel band called The Rolling Stones.[3] Rucker has said that he had a typical Southern, African-American upbringing.[1] His family attended church every Sunday and was economically poor, and at one point, his mother, her two sisters, his grandmother, and 14 children were all living in a three-bedroom home.[1] But he says that he looks back on his childhood with very fond memories.[1] His sister, L’Corine, recalled that singing was always his dream.[1]
Hootie & the Blowfish

Rucker has been the lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish since its forma

  • darius rucker

tion in 1986. He met fellow band members, Mark Bryan, Jim “Soni” Sonefeld, and Dean Felber, while attending the University of South Carolina. Bryan heard Rucker singing in the shower, and the two became a duo, playing R.E.M. covers at a local venue.[4] They later recruited Felber and finally Sonefeld joined in 1989.[4] As a member of Hootie & the Blowfish, Rucker has recorded five studio albums: Cracked Rear View, Fairweather Johnson, Musical Chairs, Hootie & the Blowfish and Looking for Lucky, also charting within the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 six times.[5] All six albums feature songs that Rucker, Bryan and Felber wrote. As the frontman, Rucker began to be called simply “Hootie” in the media, though the band title combines the nicknames of his college friends.[2][6] Before his rise to fame, he lived in the basement of the Sigma Phi Epsilon house at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, attempting to launch his career through the college bar scene.


Rucker’s signature contribution to the band is his baritone voice which Rolling Stone has called “ingratiating,”[7] TIME has called “low, gruff, [and] charismatic,”[3] and Entertainment Weekly has characterized as a “barrelhouse growl.”[8] Rucker said they “flipped” the formula of the all black band with a white frontman, like Frank Sinatra performing with Count Basie.[6] Musically, he has sometimes been criticized or spoofed for not being “black enough”.[4] Saturday Night Live ran a sketch of Tim Meadows playing Rucker leading beer-drinking, white fraternity members in a counter-march to Louis Farrakhan’s Million Man March.[3][9] He also received death threats for singing the Hootie song “Drowning,” a protest song against the flying of the Confederate flag above the South Carolina statehouse.[3] The other band members were protective of Rucker in regards to the issue, and had a policy of generally ignoring racist comments.[4]

Shortly after gaining a measure of fame, Felber and Rucker (who consider themselves best friends) moved into an apartment in Columbia, South Carolina.[4] With Rucker’s recognition as the frontman of a successful band came increased opportunities. In October 1995, he was asked to sing the national anthem at the World Series.[9] Frank Sinatra invited him to sing at his 80th birthday party; he sang “The Lady Is a Tramp.”[10] That same week, he made a voice cameo in an episode of the sitcom Friends.[9] He also joined Nanci Griffith on the song “Gulf Coast Highway” for her 1997 album Blue Roses from the Moons,[11] and sang backing vocals on Radney Foster’s 1999 album See What You Want to See.[12] He encouraged Atlantic Records to agree to a deal with Edwin McCain and made a guest appearance on McCain’s debut album, Honor Among Thieves.[13]

In regards to the future of Hootie & the Blowfish, Rucker was quoted by CBS news as stating in late 2011 that “I don’t think we’ll ever break up totally. We’re Hootie & the Blowfish … We’ll make another record and do another tour someday. I don’t know when, but it will happen. There’s one more in us.”[14]
Solo career

In 2001, he made his solo R&B debut album, The Return of Mongo Slade, for Atlantic Records. Because of contractual changes, it was never released by the label.[15] Hidden Beach Recordings, an independent label, acquired the masters from Atlantic and released the album as Back to Then in July 2002.[15] The album included work from the production team of Jill Scott and she made an appearance on the track “Hold On.”[16]

Rucker appeared on a pop-star edition of the quiz show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in July 2001.[17] He also portrayed a singing cowboy in a television commercial for the fast food chain Burger King, promoting their TenderCrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch sandwich in 2005. In the commercial, he sang a jingle set to the tune of “Big Rock Candy Mountain.”[18] In 2006 Rucker lent his voice to the track “God’s Reasons” co-written by Dean Dinning for the film The Still Life.
Country music
2008–2009: Learn to Live (solo debut)

In early 2008, Rucker signed to Capitol Records Nashville as the beginning of a career in country music. His first solo single, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” (which he co-wrote with Clay Mills) debuted at number 51 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts for the week of May 3, 2008. It is the first single from his second album, Learn to Live. For this album, Rucker worked with Frank Rogers, a record producer who has also produced for Brad Paisley and Trace Adkins.[19] Rucker also made his Grand Ole Opry debut in July 2008.[20] “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” became the first top 20 hit for an African American on the country music charts since Charley Pride’s last Top 20 hit, which came in 1988.The single reached number one in September, making Rucker the first solo, African-American artist to chart a number one country hit since Pride’s “Night Games” in 1983.
Rucker sings to a crowd during an Operation Pacific Greetings tour concert.

Learn to Live was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on February 6, 2009 and received a platinum certification on August 7, 2009. The album’s second single, “It Won’t Be Like This for Long”, spent three weeks at the top of the country chart in mid-2009. Its follow-up, “Alright”, became Rucker’s third straight number one hit, making him the first singer to have his first three country singles reach number one since Wynonna in 1992. The album’s fourth single, “History in the Making” was released in September and peaked at number three. The singles also crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at 35, 36, 30, and 61.

“You see a lot of people doing a one-off, saying, ‘This is my country record.’ But this is a career I’m trying to build. The people that say that they don’t get it, I’ll let the music speak for itself. I plan to do a lot of country records.”
—Rucker, Billboard, 2008

Rucker’s entry into the country world was met with some intrigue, largely because of his history as a rock musician and because he is African-American. Billboard magazine said that “there’s a sense of purpose that makes Rucker feel like a member of the country family, rather than calculating interloper.” Rucker made visits to various country stations around the US, explaining that he was aware that he was the “new kid on the block.” Mike Culotta, the program director of the Tampa, Florida radio station WQYK-FM expected that Rucker would be “somebody who would have entitlement,” but instead said that “Darius engaged everybody.”] When Rucker found that “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” went to number one, he cried.On November 11, 2009, Rucker won the Country Music Association New Artist of the Year award (formerly known as the Horizon Award), making him the first African American to do so since the award was introduced in 1981. Only one other African American has won at the CMAs: Charley Pride, who won entertainer of the year in 1971 and male vocalist in 1971 and 1972.
2010–2011: Charleston, SC 1966

Rucker released his second country album, titled Charleston, SC 1966, on October 12, 2010. The title is inspired by Radney Foster’s solo debut album, Del Rio, TX 1959. Its first single was “Come Back Song,”which Rucker wrote with Chris Stapleton and Casey Beathard. It was his fourth country number one as well as a number 37 hit on the Hot 100.The album’s second single was “This”, which was released to radio in November 2010 and also reached number one in the country chart. Rucker wrote it with Rogers and Kara DioGuardi. “I Got Nothin'” was the album’s third single, peaking at number 18. Also included on the album is a duet with Brad Paisley titled “I Don’t Care”.Charleston, SC 1966 received a gold certification.
2012–present: True Believers

On December 14, 2011, reported that Rucker was working on a third country album with recording set to begin January 2012 followed by the release of the album early in the year. The album’s lead-off single, “True Believers”, made its chart debut in September. On October 12, 2012, Rucker told Broadway’s Electric Barnyard that his album would also be titled True Believers.”True Believers” peaked at number 18. Its second single is a cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel”, featuring backing vocals from Lady Antebellum. “Wagon Wheel” reached number one on the Country Airplay chart in May 2013. True Believers was released on May 21, 2013. The album’s third single, “Radio”, was released to country radio on July 22, 2013.

On October 2, 2012, Darius Rucker was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry. Halfway through his set at the Opry that night he answered questions from the audience which included a question from Brad Paisley. Paisley said: “I have two questions. One, are you still the worst poker player in the world? And two, would you like to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry?” Rucker accepted, and it became official on October 16.

Rucker (country music singer) was a featured performer at the C2C: Country to Country festival in London on March 17, 2013.

On May 11, 2013, Rucker was the speaker at the commencement ceremony for the University of South Carolina in Columbia. Before his speech, he received an honorary Doctorate of Music degree.

Rucker also sang the national anthem at the NBA finals on June 16, 2013.

On December 6, 2013, it was announced that Rucker’s version of Wagon Wheel earned him a nomination for Best Country Solo Performance for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
Personal life

Rucker is a Miami Dolphins fan as well as a South Carolina Gamecocks and Cincinnati Reds fan. He also likes the film Stir Crazy, which he has seen more than 100 times.

Darius Rucker‘s mother died in November 1992 of a sudden heart attack. His grief inspired two Hootie & the Blowfish songs: “I’m Goin’ Home” and “Not Even the Trees.” On April 21, 1995, his girlfriend gave birth to Rucker’s first child, Carolyn Pearl Phillips. His second daughter, Daniella Rose, was born to his wife Beth, on May 16, 2001. They had a son, Jack, in 2005. The Hootie song “Where Were You” is about Rucker’s strained relationship with his father, and was only released in Europe, where Rucker thought that his father would be unlikely to hear it. His country single “Alright” was inspired by his marriage.

Rucker (musician) is a friend of the golfer Tiger Woods, whom he met in a bar when Woods was 18. Rucker sang at the golfer’s wedding with Hootie & the Blowfish, and at his father’s funeral.

Lady Antebellum – Downtown

Lady Antebellum

is an American country pop music group formed in Nashville, Tennessee in 2006. The trio is composed of Hillary Scott (lead vocals), Charles Kelley (lead vocals) and Dave Haywood (background vocals, guitar, piano, mandolin).

The group made their debut in 2007 as guest vocalists on Jim Brickman’s single “Never Alone”, before signing to Capitol Records Nashville and releasing “Love Don’t Live Here”. The song peaked at No. 3 on the Hot Country Songs chart in May 2008, and served as the first single to the group’s self-titled debut album.

Certified platinum in the U.S., the album also includes the singles “Lookin’ for a Good Time” and “I Run to You”, the latter of which became the group’s first Number One in July 2009. “Need You Now” was released in August 2009 and was the first single from the band’s new album released in January 2010; it was also the group’s second number one single. “American Honey”, the second single from Need You Now, was released in January 2010, and became their 4th Top 10 single, as well as their third No. 1 hit. “Our Kind of Love”, the album’s third single, was released in May 2010, and became their fourth consecutive Number One on the Hot Country Songs chart. Their third album Own the Night was released in September 2011.

Lady Antebellum was awarded Top New Duo or Group by the Academy of Country Music and New Artist of the Year by the Country Music Association in 2008. They were nominated for two Grammy Awards at the 51st Grammy Awards; and two more at the 52nd Grammy Awards. Of these nominations, they took home the award for Best Country Performance by Duo or Group with Vocals for “I Run to You”. More recently on April 18, 2010, the group was awarded Top Vocal Group, Song of the Year (“Need You Now”), and Single of the Year (“Need You Now”) at the 44th ACM Awards. The group won five awards at the 53rd Grammy Awards, including Song of the Year and Record of the Year for “Need You Now”. Lady Antebellum was also awarded the “Best Country Album” award at the 54th Grammy Awards. By August 2013, the group has sold more than 12.5 million digital singles and 10 million albums in the United States.
Lady Antebellum was formed in 2006, in Nashville, Tennessee, by Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott. Scott is the daughter of country music singer Linda Davis, and Charles Kelley is the brother of pop and country artist Josh Kelley.[6] Hillary Scott attended Donelson Christian Academy in Donelson, Tennessee. Kelley moved to Nashville in mid-2005 from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he had been working construction with his brother John. Trying to become a successful solo country artist, Kelley convinced his old middle-school classmate, Haywood, to move to Nashville from Georgia in 2006 so they could write music together. Shortly thereafter, Scott recognized Kelley from MySpace, and they started to talk at a Nashville music club. Kelley invited Scott to join him and Haywood in the new group, which assumed the name  Lady Antebellum. On the BBC Radio 2 Drivetime Show August 9, 2010, the band explained to the host, Liza Tarbuck, that the name Antebellum comes from when the group were photographing “antebellum” homes. The antebellum architectural style describes the large plantation homes in the American South. The Latin word bellum means “war”; “antebellum” therefore means “before the war”. In America, Antebellum specifically commonly refers to the period before the Civil War. While photographing the houses one of the group said that there’s a great band name in there, and they adopted the Lady Antebellum name shortly after. The trio then began performing at local venues in Nashville before being signed in July 2007 to a recording contract with Capitol Records Nashville. In an interview with Sirius Satellite Radio, Scott claimed she was rejected from the hit show American Idol twice, not even making it past the first round.
Lady Antebellum performs in concert in 2008, showing Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott.

Shortly after the trio signed to the label, adult contemporary artist Jim Brickman chose Lady Antebellum to sing on his 2007 single “Never Alone,” which reached No. 14 on the Billboard adult contemporary charts. In mid-2007, Lady Antebellum also wrote a song for the MTV reality television series The Hills.


  • lady-antebellum-acm-awards- ...





    Their solo debut single “Love Don’t Live Here” was released in September 2007, with a music video for the song following in December.This song was the lead-off single to the band’s self-titled debut album. Released on April 15, 2008, Lady Antebellum was produced by Paul Worley along with Victoria Shaw, a Nashville songwriter and former solo artist. “Love Don’t Live Here” reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. The album itself was the first album by a new duo or group to debut at Number One on the Billboard Top Country Albums charts.

    A second single, “Lookin’ for a Good Time”, was released in June 2008 and peaked at No. 11 in December. In addition, Lady Antebellum was signed as an opening act on Martina McBride’s Waking Up Laughing Tour in 2008. Lady Antebellum also contributed the song “I Was Here” to the AT&T Team USA Soundtrack, a song which peaked at No. 24 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 based on downloads. In December 2008, their rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” peaked at No. 3 on the same chart. Their third official single, “I Run to You”, was released in January 2009. It eventually became the trio’s first Number One in July 2009.

    On October 7, 2009 their debut album was certified platinum by the RIAA for shipments of one million copies in the United States.

    Haywood and Kelley co-wrote labelmate Luke Bryan’s 2009 single “Do I”, on which Scott also sings backing vocals. This song is the first single from Bryan’s second studio album “Doin’ My Thing”, which was released on October 6, 2009.
    2009–2011: Need You Now

    In August 2009, the group released their fourth single, “Need You Now”, the lead-off single and title track to their second studio album. It debuted at No. 50 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and became their second Number One hit on the charts for the week of November 28, 2009. The song also reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and topped the Hot Adult Contemporary chart, making it a crossover hit. A second single, “American Honey”, was released to radio on January 11, 2010 and would become their third No. 1 hit. The third single from the album, “Our Kind of Love”, was released on May 31, 2010 and went No. 1 in September 2010. The song was notable for being written in collaboration with a non-Nashville songwriter in busbee, who at that point had previously written for Katy Perry, Timbaland and Katharine McPhee. Their fourth single from this album, “Hello World”, was officially released on October 4, 2010.

    The album was released on January 26, 2010 and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums charts for the week of February 2, 2010, selling 480,922 copies. Four weeks after the album’s release, it was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. On April 28, 2010, they performed on the results show of American Idol, performing “Need You Now”. On September 20, 2010, they launched their first headlining tour, “Need You Now 2010” in Orlando, Florida. On October 28, 2010, they performed the National Anthem before Game 2 at the 2010 World Series. Lady Antebellum appeared on the 44th Annual Country Music Awards on November 10, 2010.

    2011–2012: Own the Night and On This Winter’s Night.

    The week of January 9, 2011, the group ventured into the studio to begin recording for their third studio album. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Charles Kelley said, “We actually just went ahead and decided we’re gonna take two, two and a half months straight in the studio to create this thing and not have all this distraction. Hopefully that will be a good thing”.[18] He goes on to say that the group has around 50 songs which they plan to choose from along with songs from other songwriters. However, he singles out a song called “Dancing Away with my Heart” as one the band is particularly excited about, a song that the group co-wrote with Josh Kear, who previously wrote with the group on their hit “Need You Now.”

    On May 2, 2011, the group released the first single from their upcoming album, titled “Just a Kiss”. The group performed the single on stage on American Idol’s result show on May 5, 2011. On June 7, 2011, they announced the title of third album; called Own the Night, it was released on September 13, 2011.[19] The album cover and track listing was released on July 18, 2011.[20]

    Lady A released a “Lady Hazed” version of Jason Aldean’s song “Dirt Road Anthem” entitled “Country Club Anthem” on their installment of Webisode Wednesdays on August 10, 2011.[21] On October 1, 2011, the group performed as the musical guests on Saturday Night Live.[22]

    Lady Antebellum released their first Christmas album On This Winter’s Night on October 22, 2012.[23]
    2013–present: Golden

    On January 22, 2013, “Downtown,” the first single from a new album, was released to radio. It was made available on iTunes starting February 5, 2013 and reached number one on the Country Airplay chart in April 2013. The new album, Golden, was released on May 7, 2013.[24] The album’s second single, “Goodbye Town”, was released to country radio on May 13, 2013 and peaked at number 11 on the Country Airplay chart.

    They also sang backing vocals on Darius Rucker’s early 2013 single “Wagon Wheel”.[25]

    The third single from the Golden era, “Compass”, was released to iTunes October 1, 2013. It is one of the new recordings featured on the deluxe edition re-issue of Golden, which was released on November 12, 2013.

    Since January 2012, Lady Antebellum has been partnered with the “myLifespeaks” charity, to raise awareness of and provide facilities for disabled orphans in Haiti.
    Awards and nominations
    Lady Antebellum in April 2010

    Since Lady Antebellum (country music singer) won the Country Music Association Awards New Artist of the Year award in 2008, they have accumulated seven more awards, including their first Grammy in 2010 for Best Country Performance by Duo or Group with Vocals. At the 2009 CMA’s, the group ended Rascal Flatts’ six-year reign as Vocal Group of the Year. At the 2010 CMA’s, the group became the first artist in CMA Award history to receive the Single of the Year honor for two consecutive years.

    At the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards, the trio won the Song of the Year, beating “Love The Way You Lie” performed by Eminem and Rihanna. They won Top Vocal Group at the 2012 ACM Awards April 1, 2012.
    Grammy Awards
    Year Nominated Work Award Result
    2009 Lady Antebellum Best New Artist Nominated
    “Love Don’t Live Here” Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Nominated
    2010 “I Run to You” Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Won
    Best Country Song Nominated
    2011 Need You Now Album of the Year Nominated
    Best Country Album Won
    “Need You Now” Record of the Year Won
    Song of the Year Won
    Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Won
    Best Country Song Won
    2012 Own the Night Best Country Album Won
    Other awards
    Year Awards Award Outcome
    2008 Academy of Country Music Top New Duo or Group[31] Won
    Country Music Association Awards New Artist of the Year[32] Won
    2009 CMT Music Awards Video of the Year — “Lookin’ for a Good Time” Nominated
    Group Video of the Year — “Lookin’ for a Good Time”[33] Nominated
    USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year — “Lookin’ for a Good Time”[34] Nominated
    Country Music Association Awards Single of the Year — “I Run to You”[35] Won
    Vocal Group of the Year[35] Won
    2010 Academy of Country Music Top Vocal Group of the Year[36] Won
    Album of the Year — Lady Antebellum[37] Nominated
    Single Record of the Year — Need You Now[36] Won
    Song of the Year — “Need You Now”[36] Won
    Video of the Year — “Need You Now”[37] Nominated
    CMT Music Awards Video of the Year — “Need You Now”[38] Nominated
    Group Video of the Year — “American Honey”[38] Nominated
    Group Video of the Year — “Need You Now”[38] Won
    CMT Performance of the Year — “Lookin’ for a Good Time”[38] Nominated
    Teen Choice Awards Choice Music: Album Country — Need You Now[39] Nominated
    Choice Music: Country Song — “Need You Now”[39] Won
    Choice Music: Country Group — Lady Antebellum[39] Won
    Country Music Association Awards Entertainer of the Year[40] Nominated
    Vocal Group of the Year[41] Won
    Single of the Year — “Need You Now”[41] Won
    Album of the Year — Need You Now[40] Nominated
    Music Video of the Year — “Need You Now”[40] Nominated
    American Music Awards Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group[42] Won
    Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo or Group[42] Nominated
    Favorite Country Album — Need You Now[42] Nominated
    Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist[42] Nominated
    T-Mobile Breakthrough Artist[42] Nominated
    American Country Awards Artist of the Year[43] Nominated
    Duo/Group of the Year[43] Won
    Album of the Year — Need You Now[43] Nominated
    Single of the Year — “Need You Now”[43] Won
    Single by a Duo/Group — “Need You Now”[43] Won
    Music Video of the Year — “Need You Now”[43] Nominated
    Video by Duo/Group — “Need You Now”[43] Won
    2011 People’s Choice Awards Favorite Country Artist[44] Nominated
    Kids Choice Awards Favorite Music Group Nominated
    Billboard Music Awards Fan Favorite Nominated
    Top Billboard 200 Artist[45] Nominated
    Top Duo/Group[45] Nominated
    Top Country Artist[45] Nominated
    Top Country Album — Need You Now[45] Nominated
    Top Billboard 200 Album — Need You Now[45] Nominated
    Top Streaming Song (Audio) — “Need You Now”[45] Nominated
    Top Country Song — “Need You Now”[45] Won
    CMT Music Awards Video of the Year — “Hello World”[46] Nominated
    Group Video of the Year — “Hello World”[46] Won
    Best Web Video of the Year — “Stars Tonight”[46] Nominated
    Teen Choice Awards Choice Country Group Won
    Academy of Country Music Awards Top Vocal Group Won
    Album of the Year – “Need You Now” Won
    Country Music Association Awards Vocal Group of the Year Won
    American Music Awards Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group Won
    American Country Awards Artist of the Year Nominated
    Music Video by a Duo/Group/Collaboration — “Hello World” Nominated
    Duo/Group Artist of the Year Won
    2012 Peoples Choice Awards Favorite Album of the Year – Own the Night Nominated
    Favorite Country Artist Nominated
    BRIT Awards International Group[47] Nominated
    British Country Music Awards International Song of the Year – “We Owned The Night” Won
    Kids Choice Awards Favorite Music Group Nominated
    Academy of Country Music Awards Vocal Group of The Year Won
    Album of The Year – Own the Night Nominated
    Song of The Year – “Just a Kiss” Nominated
    Music Video of The Year – “Just a Kiss” Nominated
    Billboard Music Awards Top Duo/Group Nominated
    Top Country Artist Won
    Top Country Album – Own the Night Nominated
    CMT Music Awards Video of the Year — “We Owned The Night” Nominated
    Group Video of the Year — “We Owned The Night” Won
    CMT Performance of the Year – “Dancin’ Away with my Heart” Nominated
    Teen Choice Awards Country Group Won
    Music Group Nominated
    Canadian Country Music Award Top Selling International Album – “Own The Night” Won
    CMA Awards Vocal Group of the Year Nominated
    Album of the Year Nominated
    American Music Awards Favorite Band,Duo, or Group – Country Won
    American Country Awards Artist of the Year Nominated
    Duo/Group Artist of the Year Won
    Album of the Year Nominated
    Single by a Duo/Group – “We Owned the Night” Won
    Music Video by a Duo/Group/Collaboration – “Dancin’ Away with My Heart” Nominated
    Touring Artist of the Year Nominated
    CMA International Artist Achievement Award Won
    Billboard Touring Awards Breakthrough AwardWon
    2013 CMC Music Awards International Artist Nominated
    International Video – “Dancin’ Away With My Heart” Nominated
    Academy Of Country Music Awards Vocal Group Of The Year Nominated
    Jim Reeves International Award [50] Won
    CMT Music Awards Group Video of the Year – “Downtown” Won
    Teen Choice Awards Choice Country Group Won
    Country Music Association Awards Vocal Group Of The Year Nominated
    Video Of The Year – “Downtown” Nominated
    American Music Awards Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group Won
    American Country Awards Duo/Group Artist of the Year Won
    Single by a Duo/Group – “Downtown” Won
    Peoples Choice Awards Favorite Country Artist Pending

    Lady Antebellum.

    Blake Shelton – “Sure Be Cool If You Did” Live at the Grand Ole Opry

    Blake Tollison Shelton (born June 18, 1976)[1][2] is an American country music singer and television personality. In 2001, he made his debut with the single “Austin”. The lead-off single from his self-titled debut album, “Austin” spent five weeks at Number One on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The gold-certified debut album also produced two more Top 20 hits. Although the album was released on Giant Records Nashville, he was transferred to Warner Bros. Records Nashville after Giant closed in late 2001.

    His second and third albums, 2003’s The Dreamer and 2004’s Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill, were each certified gold as well. His fourth album, Pure BS (2007), was re-issued in 2008 with a cover of Michael Bublé’s pop hit “Home” as one of the bonus tracks. A fifth album, Startin’ Fires, was released in November 2008. It was followed by the extended plays Hillbilly Bone and All About Tonight in 2010, and the albums Red River Blue in 2011 and Based on a True Story… in 2013. Overall, Blake Shelton has charted 24 country singles, including 15 Number Ones. He has been nominated four times for a Grammy Award.

    Shelton is also known for his role as a judge on the televised singing competitions Nashville Star, Clash of the Choirs, and The Voice. He has been on The Voice since its inception, and three out of the five seasons (2–4) his teams have won. He is the husband of country singer Miranda Lambert.
    Shelton was born in Ada, Oklahoma, to father Richard, a used car dealer, and mother Dorothy, a beauty salon owner. He began singing at an early age and by age 12 had learned to play guitar. By age 15, Shelton had written his first song. By age 16, Shelton had received a Denbo Diamond Award in his home state.[1] On November 13, 1990, his older brother Richie, who was 24 at the time, died in a car accident. He has an older sister, Endy. At age 17, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in pursuit of a singing career.
    Musical career
    Shelton performing at the Crawford County Fair, Meadville, PA, in August 2005
    2001–2006: Beginnings

    After several years in Nashville, he signed to Giant Records in 2001. In 2001, he was slated to release a song entitled “I Wanna Talk About Me” as a single. Staff at the label considered the song unsuitable for a lead-off single, however, and the song was eventually recorded by Toby Keith, whose version was a number 1 single.[3]

    Instead, Giant released “Austin” as Shelton’s debut single. Shortly after its release, Giant Records was closed, and Shelton was transferred to parent company Warner Bros. Records. “Austin” went on to spend five weeks at Number One on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) charts. Warner released his self-titled debut album, which was produced by songwriter Bobby Braddock. It also produced the top 20 hits “All Over Me”, which Shelton co-wrote with Earl Thomas Conley and Mike Pyle, and “Ol’ Red”. Although Shelton’s rendition of “Ol’ Red” was not a major radio hit, he considers it his signature song, and it has become popular in concert.[4] Blake Shelton received a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of 500,000 copies.[1]

    Blake Shelton received a positive review from Maria Konicki Dinoia of Allmusic, who called “Austin” “tremendously imaginative” and praised Shelton for including songs written by Braddock and Conley.[5] Country Standard Time was less favorable, with Scott Homewood saying that it “album just smacks of being assembled with the intent on capturing the burgeoning alternative country market”.[6]

    Shelton’s second album, The Dreamer, was first released on February 4, 2003, on Warner Bros. Records. Its lead-off single, “The Baby”, reached Number One on the country charts, holding that position for three weeks. Although the second and third singles (“Heavy Liftin'” and “Playboys of the Southwestern World”, respectively) only reached No.32 and No. 24, The Dreamer earned gold certification as well. He, along with Andy Griggs and Montgomery Gentry, sang guest vocals on Tracy Byrd’s mid-2003 single “The Truth About Men”. Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill was the title of Shelton’s third studio album, released in 2004.[1] Its lead-off single, the Harley Allen co-write “When Somebody Knows You That Well”, peaked at No.37 on the country charts, while the follow-up “Some Beach” became his third No.1 hit, holding that position for four weeks. It was followed by a cover of Conway Twitty’s 1988 single “Goodbye Time”.[7] Both this cover and its followup, “Nobody but Me”, reached Top Ten for Shelton as well. As with his first two albums, Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill was certified gold. Accompanying the album’s release was a video collection entitled Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill: A Video Collection.[1]

    On December 18, 2005, several of Shelton’s songs, including “Nobody but Me”, appeared on the TV movie The Christmas Blessing, starring Neil Patrick Harris, Rebecca Gayheart, Angus T. Jones, and Rob Lowe. Shelton had a small role at the end of the movie, playing himself at a benefit concert, singing “Nobody but Me”.
    2006–2011: Pure BS and Startin’ Fires

    Shelton issued his fourth studio album, Pure BS, in early 2007.[1] Unlike with his first three albums, which were produced entirely by Bobby Braddock, Shelton worked with Braddock, Brent Rowan, and Paul Worley as producers for this album. Its first two singles—”Don’t Make Me” and “The More I Drink”—were both Top 20 hits on the country charts, respectively reaching No.12 and No. 19. Also in late 2007, Shelton made appearances on television shows: first as a judge on the talent competition Nashville Star, and later on Clash of the Choirs.

    Pure BS was re-released in 2008 with three bonus tracks, including a cover of Michael Bublé’s hit single “Home”. This cover, released in early 2008 as the album’s third single, became his fourth No.1 hit in July.[8]

    “Home” was followed in August 2008 by the single “She Wouldn’t Be Gone”, his 14th chart entry and his fifth No. 1 hit. It was the first time in his career that he had two consecutive Number Ones. “She Wouldn’t Be Gone” is the lead-off to Shelton’s fifth studio album, Startin’ Fires, which has also produced the single “I’ll Just Hold On.” This album also includes “Bare Skin Rug,” a duet with Lambert.[9] It was produced by Scott Hendricks, except for one track which was produced by Brent Rowan, and another (“I Don’t Care”, which carried over from Pure BS) was produced by Braddock.[10] After “I’ll Just Hold On” fell off the chart in October 2009, Blake Shelton released a duet with Trace Adkins titled “Hillbilly Bone”. It was the lead-off single on Shelton’s EP, Hillbilly Bone, released on March 2, 2010 through Reprise Records Nashville. After “Hillbilly Bone” reached No.1 in February, came the August release of “All About Tonight”, the lead-off single to his EP of the same name. In September, he released the second single from All About Tonight, “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking”, his 18th single release. He released his first greatest hits album, Loaded: The Best of Blake Shelton in November 2010.

    Shelton was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry during the September 28, 2010 “Country Comes Home” concert celebrating reopening of the Grand Ole Opry House after the Cumberland River flooded the Opry House in May 2010. The formal invitation was extended on his Twitter account and was announced by Opry star Trace Adkins.[11] He was formally inducted by Adkins at the Saturday, October 23, 2010 Opry performance. Shelton recorded the title track for the remake of Footloose released on October 14, 2011. Shelton appeared on the 44th Annual Country Music Awards on November 10, 2010 where he performed “All About Tonight” and won Male Vocalist of the Year.[12]

    In 2011, Shelton started working as a judge/coach to singers on the NBC reality television series The Voice.[13]
    2011–2012: Red River Blue and Cheers, It’s Christmas

    Blake Shelton released the album Red River Blue on July 12, 2011, led by the single, “Honey Bee”. The song received 138,000 downloads in its first week and was certified gold in its seventh week, setting a new record for the fastest gold certification by a male country singer.[14] On June 13, 2011, in its tenth chart week, “Honey Bee” went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, becoming his ninth No. 1 and his fastest-climbing. The album was expected to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with around 110,000 copies sold.[15] “God Gave Me You”, a cover of a Dave Barnes song, was the album’s second single; it also reached No. 1. “Drink On It”, the fifth song on the album, hit No. 1 in April 2012, giving him his 11th No. 1 song. On April 30, 2012, Blake performed “Over” on the Semi-finals of the second season of The Voice. “Over” became Shelton’s seventh consecutive No. 1. and his 12th No. 1 hit to date.

    Blake Shelton is a coach on the NBC show The Voice. In season 1, his finalist Dia Frampton came in second. Frampton recorded a track with Shelton titled “I Will” on her album Red, released December 6, 2011. Shelton returned for a second season of the show with his finalist Jermaine Paul as the champion.[16] In season three of The Voice, Shelton’s team member, Cassadee Pope, was declared the winner with other Team Blake contestant Terry McDermott finishing as runner-up.

    Blake Shelton took the stage with Miranda Lambert at Super Bowl XLVI in February 2012 to open the event by singing a duet version of “America the Beautiful”. It marked their first TV performance since their headlining nuptials in May 2011.

    In October 2012, Shelton released his first Christmas album, Cheers, It’s Christmas, which peaked at no. 1 and no. 2 respectively on Billboard’s Top Holiday Albums and Top Country Albums charts.

    Blake Shelton appears on fellow “Voice” coach Christina Aguilera’s album Lotus on the song “Just a Fool”.
    2013: Based on a True Story…

    At 12:02 a.m. on New Year’s Day 2013, Shelton premiered a new single entitled “Sure Be Cool If You Did”,[17] which was released to iTunes on January 8[18] and reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay chart in 2013. His eighth studio album, Based on a True Story…, was released on March 26, 2013 and debuted at No. 1 on the country chart and No. 3 on the all-genre chart by selling a career best nearly 200,000 copies.[19][20] The album’s second single, “Boys ‘Round Here” released to country radio in 2013 and also reached number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. The album’s third single, “Mine Would Be You”, was released to country radio on July 22, 2013 and reached number one on the Country Airplay chart in November 2013. “Mine Would Be You” became Shelton’s 10th consecutive number one single, tying him with the record set by Brad Paisley in 2009.

    Blake Shelton received the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award for his role as a coach on The Voice at the 48th Academy of Country Music Awards in 2013.

    Shelton will support Based on a True Story… on his Ten Times Crazier Tour which began on July 19, 2013 and will end on October 5, 2013.[21]

    On season four of The Voice, he became the winning coach for the third consecutive time with team members Danielle Bradbery as the winner and The Swon Brothers in third place.
    Healing in the Heartland
    Question book-new.svg
    This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2013)

    Blake Shelton and NBC put together the “Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert,” which aired on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 that included some of Oklahoma’s superstar talent, to raise money for the victims of the tornado of May 20, 2013. Shelton was joined on stage by Usher, one of his fellow judges on The Voice, to perform the song “Home”, asking the audience, “Man, is there anyone in the world cooler than Usher?” and a list of performers: Oklahoma country music stars Miranda Lambert, Shelton’s wife; Reba McEntire; Vince Gill; Luke Bryan; Joe Don Rooney, a Picher native with Rascal Flatts; and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic. After the massive storm ripped through the Moore, Oklahoma area on May 20, killing 24 people and leaving thousands of homes damaged, Shelton decided to use his voice—and his Rolodex of A-list music stars—to help raise money for relief and recovery efforts. The one-hour concert was aired live on NBC from Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. All proceeds benefit the United Way of Central Oklahoma’s tornado relief fund. Healing in the Heartland raised over 6 million dollars for a local Oklahoma City chapter of the United Way.
    Personal life

    Shelton married long time girlfriend Kaynette Gern on November 17, 2003.[22] They divorced in 2006.

    In 2005, Shelton met fellow country singer Miranda Lambert at the CMT’s 100 Greatest Duets Concert.[23] Lambert also sang background vocals on his cover of Michael Bublé’s song, “Home”, which became a Number 1 single on the Hot Country Songs chart. On May 9, 2010, after dating for four years,[24] Shelton proposed to Miranda, after seeking (and receiving) her father’s blessing.[24][25]

    Shelton and Lambert were married on May 14, 2011, at Don Strange Ranch in Boerne, Texas.[24] 550 people were in attendance, including many celebrities, such as Reba McEntire, Cee Lo Green, Martina McBride, Kelly Clarkson, Dierks Bentley, Charles Kelley, and the Bellamy Brothers. After the wedding, Shelton expressed his joy stating, “I wanted to be married to Miranda the day I proposed. Finally, it’s official!”[26] Blake and Miranda reside in the small town of Tishomingo, Oklahoma, which is located in the Texoma area.

    On January 17, 2012, Shelton’s father, Dick, 71, died in Oklahoma, following a period of declining health.[27][28] Shelton’s brother, Richie, died in 1990 when Blake was 14 years old. Blake and Lambert wrote about Richie in Lambert’s song, “Over You.” The song was named CMA Song of the Year for 2012. It was also named Single Record and Song of the Year at the 2013 Academy of Country Music awards.

    Toby Keith Surprises Woman with Her Military Husband Home from Afghanistan

    Courtesy of

    On September 8th, country music star Toby Keith performed in Houston, Texas. During the show, he surprised a young lady by bringing her up on stage before singing his hit song, “American Soldier.” Near the end of the song, the woman’s husband surprises her by walking out on stage after coming home early from Afghanistan.

    Toby Keith Covel (born July 8, 1961), best known as Toby Keith, is an American country music singer-songwriter, record producer, and actor. Keith released his first four studio albums—1993’s Toby Keith, 1994’s Boomtown, 1996’s Blue Moon and 1997’s Dream Walkin’, plus a Greatest Hits package for various divisions of Mercury Records before leaving Mercury in 1998. These albums all earned gold or higher certification, and produced several chart singles, including his debut “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”, which topped the country charts and was the most played country song of the 1990s. The song has received three million spins since its release, according to Broadcast Music Incorporated.[2]

    Signed to DreamWorks Records Nashville in 1998, Keith released his breakthrough single “How Do You Like Me Now?!” that year. This song, the title track to his 1999 album of the same name, was the Number One country song of 2000, and one of several chart-toppers during his tenure on DreamWorks Nashville. His next three albums, Pull My Chain, Unleashed, and Shock’n Y’all, produced three more Number Ones each, and all of the albums were certified multi-platinum. A second Greatest Hits package followed in 2004, and after that, he released Honkytonk University.

    When DreamWorks closed in 2005, Keith founded the label Show Dog Nashville, which merged with Universal South Records to become Show Dog-Universal Music in December 2009. He has released seven studio albums through Show Dog/Show Dog-Universal: 2006’s White Trash with Money, 2007’s Big Dog Daddy, 2008’s That Don’t Make Me a Bad Guy, 2009’s American Ride, 2010’s Bullets in the Gun, 2011’s Clancy’s Tavern, 2012’s Hope on the Rocks, and 2013’s Drinks After Work, as well as the compilation 35 Biggest Hits in 2008. Keith also made his acting debut in 2006, starring in the film Broken Bridges and co-starred with comedian Rodney Carrington in the 2008 film Beer for My Horses.

    Overall, Keith has released sixteen studio albums, two Christmas albums, and three compilation albums. He has also charted more than forty singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including nineteen Number One hits and sixteen additional Top Ten hits. His longest-lasting Number One hits are “Beer for My Horses” (a 2003 duet with Willie Nelson) and “As Good as I Once Was” (2005), at six weeks each. He has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide.
    Keith was born in Clinton, Oklahoma, the son of Carolyn Joan (née Ross) and Hubert K. Covel, Jr.[3][4] He has a sister and a brother. The family lived in Fort Smith, Arkansas, for a few years when Keith was in grade school, but moved to Moore, Oklahoma (a suburb of Oklahoma City) when he was still young.[1][4] Before the family moved to Moore, he visited his grandmother in Fort Smith during the summers. His grandmother owned Billie Garner’s Supper Club in Fort Smith,[1] where Keith became interested in the musicians who came there to play.[4] He did odd jobs around the supper club and started getting up on the bandstand to play with the band. He got his first guitar at the age of eight.[4] After the family moved to Moore, Keith attended Highland West Junior High and Moore High School, where he played defensive end on the football team.[1]

    Keith graduated from Moore High School and worked as a derrick hand in the oil fields. He worked his way up to become an operation manager. At the age of 20, he and his friends Scott Webb, Keith Cory, David “Yogi” Vowell and Danny Smith, with a few others, formed the Easy Money Band, which played at local bars as he continued to work in the oil industry. At times, he would have to leave in the middle of a concert if he was paged to work in the oil field.

    Toby Keith played defensive end for the 1980 Oklahoma Sooners but never saw the field before dropping out to play semi-professional football in OKC.

    In 1982, the oil industry in Oklahoma began a rapid decline and Keith soon found himself unemployed. He fell back on his football training and played defensive end with the semi-pro Oklahoma City Drillers while continuing to perform with his band. (The Drillers were an unofficial farm club of the United States Football League’s Oklahoma Outlaws; Keith tried out for the Outlaws but did not make the team.) He then returned to focus once again on music. His family and friends were doubtful he would succeed, but, in 1984, Easy Money (various other band members included Mike Barnes, T.A. Brauer and David Saylors) began playing the honky tonk circuit in Oklahoma and Texas.
    Musical career

    In the early 1990s, Keith went to Nashville, Tennessee, where he hung out and busked on Music Row and at a place called Houndogs. He distributed copies of a demo tape the band had made to the many record companies in the city. There was no interest by any of the record labels, and Keith returned home feeling depressed. He had promised himself and God to have a recording contract by the time he was 30 years old or give up on music as a career. A flight attendant and fan of his gave a copy of Keith’s demo tape to Harold Shedd, a Mercury Records executive, while he was traveling on a flight she was working. Shedd enjoyed what he heard, went to see Keith perform live and then signed him to a recording contract with Mercury.
    1993-95: Toby Keith and Boomtown

    His debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”, went to number 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1993, in addition to reaching number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100.[5] This song led off his self-titled debut album. By the end of the decade, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” received more than three million spins at radio, thus making it the most-played country song of the 1990s.[6] Certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipments of one million copies, the album produced three more Top 5 hits on the country charts: “He Ain’t Worth Missing” at number 5, followed by “A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action” (originally the B-side of “Should’ve Been a Cowboy”) and “Wish I Didn’t Know Now” both at number 2.[5] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic wrote of the album, “It is given a production that’s a bit too big, clean, glossy and cavernous for Keith’s good — it fits the outsized sound of early-’90s radio, but not his outsized talent — but beneath that sheen the songs are very strong.” He also thought that it showed the signs of the style that Keith would develop on subsequent albums[7] The album’s success led to Keith touring with then-labelmates Shania Twain and John Brannen.[8]

    Keith was moved to Polydor Records Nashville and released his next album, Boomtown, in September 1994. Also certified platinum, this album was led off by the number 1 single “Who’s That Man”. After it, “Upstairs Downtown” and “You Ain’t Much Fun” both made Top 10, while “Big Ol’ Truck” peaked at number 15. At the end of 1995, he released his first Christmas album, Christmas to Christmas, via Mercury. The album, composed entirely of original songs, produced one chart entry in “Santa I’m Right Here”, which reached as high as number 50 based on Christmas airplay.[5]
    1996-98: Blue Moon, Dream Walkin ’​, and Greatest Hits Volume One

    Keith was moved to the short-lived Nashville division of A&M Records to release Blue Moon in April 1996. His third album to achieve a platinum certification, it also included three singles. The first was “Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine on You”, written by Keith in 1987,[9][10] which reached number 2. Following it were “A Woman’s Touch” at number 6, and his third number 1 hit, “Me Too”, which peaked in March 1997.[5] Keith also appeared on The Beach Boys’ now out-of-print 1996 album Stars and Stripes Vol. 1 performing a cover of their 1963 hit “Be True to Your School” with the Beach Boys themselves providing the harmonies and backing vocals.

    Following a corporate merger, Keith returned to Mercury in 1997. His fourth studio album, Dream Walkin’, was also his first produced by James Stroud, who would also serve as Keith’s co-producer until 2005.[1] It produced two consecutive number 2 hits in “We Were in Love” and a cover of Sting’s 1996 single “I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying”. Sting also sang duet vocals and played bass guitar on it,[11] and the two also performed the song at the 1997 Country Music Association awards.[12] After this song, the album’s title track made number 5, while “Double Wide Paradise” peaked at number 40.[5]

    Keith’s last Mercury release was Greatest Hits Volume One in October 1998. The album included twelve of his prior singles and two new songs: the country rap “Getcha Some”[13] and “If a Man Answers”. Both were released as singles, with “Getcha Some” reaching Top 20, but “If a Man Answers” became his first single to miss Top 40.[5] According to Keith, these two songs were originally to be put on a studio album, but Mercury executives, dissatisfied with the album that Keith had made, chose to put those two songs on a greatest hits package, and asked him to “go work on another album”. After he recorded two more songs which the label also rejected, he asked to terminate his contract with the label.[8] After exiting Mercury, Keith co-wrote Shane Minor’s debut single “Slave to the Habit” with Chuck Cannon and Kostas.
    Toby Keith playing guitar
    1999-2002: How Do You Like Me Now?! and Pull My Chain

    In 1999, Keith moved to DreamWorks Records’ Nashville division, of which Stroud served as president.[14] His first release for the label was “When Love Fades”, which also failed to make Top 40.[5] Upon seeing the single’s poor performance, Keith requested that it be withdrawn and replaced with “How Do You Like Me Now?!”, a song that he wrote with Chuck Cannon, and which had previously been turned down by Mercury.[8] It also served as the title track to his first DreamWorks album, How Do You Like Me Now?! The song spent five weeks at number 1 on the country charts, and became his first Top 40 pop hit, with a number 31 peak on the Hot 100.[5] It was also the top country song of 2000 according to the Billboard Year-End chart.[15] The album, which was certified platinum, produced a Top 5 hit in “Country Comes to Town” and another number 1 in “You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This”. It was also his first album to feature songs co-written by Scotty Emerick, who would be a frequent collaborator of Keith’s for the next several albums. Steve Huey wrote that this album “had a rough, brash attitude that helped give Keith a stronger identity as a performer.”[1] In 2001, Keith won the Academy of Country Music’s Top Male Vocalist and Album of the Year awards.[1]

    Following this album was Pull My Chain, released in August 2001. The album’s three singles — “I’m Just Talkin’ About Tonight”, “I Wanna Talk About Me”, and “My List” — all went to number 1 on the country charts, with the latter two both holding that position for five weeks.[5] “I Wanna Talk About Me”, written by Bobby Braddock, also displayed a country rap influence with its spoken-word lyrics.[13] The Country Music Association named “My List” as Single of the Year in 2002.[5] Of Pull My Chain, Erlewine wrote that “this is a bigger, better record than its predecessor, possessing a richer musicality and a more confident sense of humor”.[16]
    2002-2004: Unleashed and Shock’n Y’all

    In 2002, he released the Unleashed album which included four singles. First was “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American)”, which Keith wrote in 20 minutes as a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The song references Keith’s father, a United States Army veteran who died that March in a car accident.[17] Both this song and “Who’s Your Daddy?” were number 1 hits, with “Rock You Baby” reaching number 13. The last single was “Beer for My Horses”, a duet with Willie Nelson which six weeks at the top of the country charts. At the time, it was also Keith’s highest entry on the Hot 100, at number 22.[5] In July 2003, Keith made a guest appearance on Scotty Emerick’s debut single “I Can’t Take You Anywhere”, which was previously recorded by Keith on Pull My Chain. Emerick’s version of the song was his only Top 40 country hit, at number 27.[5]

    Shock’n Y’all, his eighth studio album, was released in November 2003. The album’s title is a pun on the military term “shock and awe”.[17] It became his second album from which all singles went to number 1: “I Love This Bar”, “American Soldier”, and “Whiskey Girl”.[5] Also included on the disc were “The Taliban Song” and “Weed with Willie”, two live songs recorded with Emerick. The album was followed in late 2004 by Greatest Hits 2, which included three new songs: “Stays in Mexico”, “Go with Her”, and a cover of Inez and Charlie Foxx’s “Mockingbird”, recorded as a duet with his daughter, Krystal Keith. “Stays in Mexico” was a number 3 hit on the country charts, while “Mockingbird” peaked at number 27.

    Keith’s final DreamWorks album was Honkytonk University in early 2005. Lead-off single “Honkytonk U” peaked at number 8, followed by “As Good as I Once Was”, which spent six weeks at number 1, and “Big Blue Note” at number 5.[5] After the release of the latter, DreamWorks Records ceased operations.
    2005-present: After DreamWorks
    Keith in 2014

    On August 31, 2005, Keith founded a new label, Show Dog Nashville. Its first release was his 2006 album White Trash with Money, followed by the soundtrack to Broken Bridges. He also abandoned Stroud as co-producer in favor of Cannon’s wife, Lari White. The album included three singles: “Get Drunk and Be Somebody”, “A Little Too Late”, and “Crash Here Tonight”. Big Dog Daddy followed in 2007, with Keith serving as sole producer. Its singles were “High Maintenance Woman”, “Love Me If You Can”, and “Get My Drink On”. “Love Me If You Can” became Keith’s first number 1 hit since “As Good as I Once Was” more than two years prior.[5] A two-disc Christmas album, A Classic Christmas, followed later in 2007.[1] In 2008, Keith completed his Biggest and Baddest Tour. On May 6, 2008, he released 35 Biggest Hits, a two-disc compilation featuring most of his singles to date,[18] as well as the new song “She’s a Hottie”, which peaked at number 13.

    Keith released “She Never Cried in Front of Me”, which went to number 1 in 2008. Its corresponding album, That Don’t Make Me a Bad Guy, followed on October 28, 2008. It was followed by “God Love Her”, also a number 1 hit, and “Lost You Anyway”. American Ride, in 2009, produced another number 1 in its title track. It was followed by the Top 10 hit “Cryin’ for Me (Wayman’s Song)”, a tribute to basketball player and jazz bassist Wayman Tisdale, a friend of Keith’s who died in May 2009.[19] The album’s final single was “Every Dog Has Its Day”.

    Bullets in the Gun was released on October 5, 2010.[20] This was Keith’s first album not to produce a Top 10 hit, with “Trailerhood” reaching number 19, followed by the title track and “Somewhere Else” both at number 12. Keith produced the album with session guitarist Kenny Greenberg and Mills Logan.

    On October 23, 2011, Clancy’s Tavern was released. The album included the single “Made in America”, written by Keith along with Bobby Pinson and Scott Reeves, which went to number 1. Following it was “Red Solo Cup”, which had previously been made into a music video which became viral. Upon release as a single, “Red Solo Cup” became Keith’s best-peaking crossover, reaching number 15 on the Hot 100. The album’s final single was “Beers Ago” at number 6 in 2012. In December 2011, Keith was named “Artist of the Decade” by the American Country Awards.[21]

    Keith’s sixteenth album, Hope on the Rocks, was released in late 2012. It produced only two singles, both of which are top 20 hits: “I Like Girls That Drink Beer” reached at number 17 and the title track peaked at number 18.

    In mid-2013, he entered the charts with “Drinks After Work”, the first single from his seventeenth album, also titled Drinks After Work.[22] The album’s second single is “Shut Up and Hold On”.

    In October 2014, Keith released “Drunk Americans”, the lead single from his eighteenth studio album, 35 MPH Town.[23]
    Acting career
    Television appearances

    Keith performed on a series of television advertisements for Telecom USA for that company’s discount long distance telephone service 10-10-220. He also starred in Ford commercials, singing original songs such as “Ford Truck Man” and “Field Trip (Look Again)” while driving Ford trucks.

    Keith made an appearance at the first Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (then NWA-TNA) weekly pay-per-view on June 19, 2002, where his playing of “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” was interrupted by Jeff Jarrett. He would later enter the Gauntlet for the Gold main event, suplexing Jarrett and eliminating him from the match. A short video of the suplex is seen in the clip package when he goes onstage. He appeared the next week, on June 26, and helped Scott Hall defeat Jarrett in singles action.

    In 2009, Keith participated in the Comedy Central Roast of Larry the Cable Guy, which aired on March 14, 2009.

    Keith received the “Colbert Bump” when he appeared on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report. He holds the distinction of being the only musical artist to have received a five star rating from Stephen Colbert on iTunes. Keith furthered this connection when he appeared in Colbert’s 2008 Christmas special as a hunter. Keith also made an appearance as a musical guest on the October 27, 2011 episode of the Colbert Report.

    On October 29, 2011, Keith appeared on Fox Channel’s Huckabee with former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. He played “Bullets in the Gun” and he joined with Huckabee ’​s house band to play a song at the end of the show.

    In the Autumn of 2005, he filmed Broken Bridges, written by Cherie Bennett and Jeff Gottesfeld, and directed by Steven Goldmann. This feature film from Paramount/CMT Films was released on September 8, 2006. In this contemporary story set in small-town Tennessee, Keith plays Bo Price, a washed-up country musician. The movie also stars Kelly Preston, Burt Reynolds, Tess Harper, and Lindsey Haun.

    Keith wrote and starred in the 2008 movie Beer for My Horses, which is based on the 2003 hit song of the same name recorded by Keith and Willie Nelson.[24]
    Business ventures

    In 2005, Keith opened Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, as well as Syracuse, New York and Tulsa, Oklahoma, and now also has restaurants in Thackerville, Oklahoma; Auburn Hills, Michigan; Kansas City; Las Vegas; Mesa, Arizona; Peoria, Arizona; St. Louis Park, Minnesota; Foxborough, Massachusetts; Cincinnati, Ohio; Newport News, Virginia; and Denver, Colorado. Keith does not actually own the new restaurants; the new restaurant is the first in a franchise under Scottsdale, Arizona-based Capri Restaurant Group Enterprises LLC, which purchased the master license agreement to build more Toby Keith restaurants nationwide. Capri Restaurant Group is owned by Frank Capri, who opened the restaurant in Mesa in the shopping center known as Mesa Riverview and is planning on opening multiple locations across the country.[25]
    Logo for Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill

    In 2009, Capri Restaurant Group announced that it will open another I Love this Bar & Grill location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s South Side Works shopping and entertainment district.[26]

    February 2010 marked the opening of the Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill in the Winstar World Casino, exit 1 on Interstate 35 in Oklahoma. Other locations opened in 2010 by the Capri Restaurant Group included those in Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills, Michigan and in the Shops at West End in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.[27]

    In early 2009, Keith also established a line of clothing, TK Steelman.[28]

    Keith supports Ally’s House, a non-profit organization in Oklahoma designed to aid children with cancer. Of the charity, Keith said:

    This is a special charity to me. I saw firsthand how a child’s cancer diagnosis can devastate a family. Please join me in supporting these kids through Ally’s House. We’re gonna make it better for the kids.[29]

    In 2011, Keith introduced a new drink named “Wild Shot”. At first it was only available in Mexico, but now is sold and served in America. It is a featured drink in his restaurant chain, I Love this Bar and Grill.

    Keith’s music career and his various other business ventures have made him one of the wealthiest celebrities in the United States. The July 15. 2013, edition of Forbes magazine features Keith on the cover with the caption “Country Music’s $500 million man”.[30] The article titled “Cowboy Capitalist” by Zack O’Malley Greenburg also contains information regarding Keith’s earnings as a musician over the course of his career, such as earning $65 million in the past 12 months, which surpasses the earnings of even more well known musicians such as Jay-Z and Beyoncé and that he hasn’t earned less than $48 million a year over the past 5 years. Keith has written at least one #1 country single over the past 20 years and the partnership between his own label, Show Dog-Universal, and Big Machine Records, which Keith also helped found in 2005.[31]

    Billy Joel feat. Garth Brooks – Shameless (Live at Shea)

    William Martin “Billy” Joel (born May 9, 1949) is an American pianist, singer-songwriter, and composer. Since releasing his first hit song, “Piano Man,” in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best selling recording artist and the third-best-selling solo artist in the United States.[4] His compilation album Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2 is the third-best-selling album in the United States by discs shipped.[5]

    Joel had Top 40 hits in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, achieving 33 Top 40 hits in the United States, all of which he wrote himself. He is also a six-time Grammy Award winner who has been nominated for 23 Grammy Awards throughout his career. He has sold over 150 million records worldwide.[6]

    Joel was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1992), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1999), and the Long Island Music Hall of Fame (2006). In 2001, Joel received the Johnny Mercer Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2013, Joel received the Kennedy Center Honors, the nation’s highest honor, for influencing American culture through the arts.

    Troyal Garth Brooks (born February 7, 1962) is an American country music singer and songwriter. His eponymous first album was released in 1989 and peaked at Number 2 in the US country album chart while climbing to number 13 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Brooks’ integration of rock elements into his recordings and live performances earned him immense popularity. This progressive approach allowed him to dominate the country single and album charts while crossing over into the mainstream pop arena.[1]

    Brooks broke records for both sales and concert attendance throughout the 1990s. As of 2013, his recordings continue to sell well and, according to Nielsen Soundscan, his albums sales through May 2013 are 68,630,000,[2] which makes him the best-selling albums artist in the United States in the SoundScan era (since 1991), a title held since 1991, well over 5 million ahead of his nearest rival, The Beatles.[3] According to RIAA he is the second best-selling solo albums artist in the United States of all time behind Elvis Presley (overall third to the Beatles and Elvis Presley) with 128 million units sold.[4] Brooks has released six albums that achieved diamond status in the United States, those being: Garth Brooks (10× platinum), No Fences (17× platinum), Ropin’ the Wind (14× platinum), The Hits (10× platinum), Sevens (10× platinum) and Double Live (21× platinum).[5] Since 1989, Brooks has released 19 records in all, which include; 10 studio albums, 1 live album, 3 compilation albums, 3 Christmas albums and 3 box sets, along with 77 singles. He won several important awards in his career, including 2 Grammy Awards, 17 American Music Awards (including the “Artist of the ’90s”) and the RIAA Award as Best selling solo albums artist of the Century in the United States.

    Troubled by conflicts between career and family, Brooks officially retired from recording and performing from 2001 until 2009.[1] During this time, he sold millions of albums through an exclusive distribution deal with Walmart and sporadically released new singles.[6][7] In 2005, Brooks started a partial comeback, and has since given several performances and released two compilation albums.

    On October 15, 2009, Garth Brooks announced the end of his retirement. In December 2009, he began a five-year concert deal with the Encore Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.[8]

    Brooks was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on October 21, 2012.[9]

    Emmylou Harris : Tulsa Queen – Live

    Emmylou Harris (born April 2, 1947) is an American singer and songwriter. She has released many popular albums and singles over the course of her career, and has won 12 Grammys and numerous other awards.

    Her work and recordings include work as a solo artist, bandleader, an interpreter of other composers’ works and as a singer-songwriter, and a backing vocalist and duet partner. She has worked with numerous leading artists including Gram Parsons, John Denver, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, The Band, Mark Knopfler, Guy Clark, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Rodney Crowell, Neil Young and Steve Earle.
    Harris is from a career military family. Her father, Walter Harris, was a military officer and her mother Eugenia was a wartime military wife. Her father, a member of the Marine Corps, was reported missing in action in Korea in 1952 and spent ten months as a prisoner of war. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Harris spent her childhood in North Carolina and Woodbridge, Virginia, where she graduated from Gar-Field Senior High School as class valedictorian. She won a drama scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she began to study music seriously, learning to play the songs of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez on guitar. She dropped out of college to pursue her musical aspirations, and moved to New York, working as a waitress to support herself while performing folk songs in Greenwich Village coffeehouses during the folkie boom.[1] She married fellow songwriter Tom Slocum in 1969 and recorded her first album, Gliding Bird. Harris and Slocum soon divorced, and Harris and her newborn daughter Hallie moved in with her parents in the Maryland suburbs near Washington, D.C.[1][2]
    With Gram Parsons
    This section of a biographical article needs additional citations for verification. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately, especially if potentially libelous or harmful. (December 2012)

    Harris soon returned to performing as part of a trio with Gerry Mule and Tom Guidera. In 1971, members of the country rock group The Flying Burrito Brothers saw her perform; former Byrds member Chris Hillman had taken over the band after the departure of founder Gram Parsons, was impressed by Harris, and briefly considered asking her to join the Flying Burrito Brothers. Instead, Hillman recommended her to Parsons, who was looking for a female vocalist to collaborate with on his first solo album, GP. Harris toured as a member of Parsons’ band, The Fallen Angels in 1973, and the two of them shone during vocal harmonies and duets. Later that year, Parsons and Harris worked on a studio album, Grievous Angel. Parsons died in his motel room near what is now Joshua Tree National Park on September 19, 1973 from an accidental overdose of drugs and alcohol. Parsons’ Grievous Angel was released posthumously in 1974, and three more tracks from his sessions with Harris were included on another posthumous Parsons album, Sleepless Nights, in 1976. There was one more album of recorded material from that period that was packaged with the name, Live 1973, but was not released until 1982.[citation needed]

    The working relationship between Harris and Parsons is significant in country and country-rock music history:[why?] Parsons offered Harris a study in country music, introducing her to The Louvin Brothers, and provided her with a musical identity. Harris’ harmony and duet vocals, on the other hand, were lauded by those who heard them, and helped inspire Parsons’ performances. His death left her devastated at an emotional and musical crossroads. She eventually carried on with her own version of Parsons’ musical vision, and was instrumental in bringing attention to his achievements. Harris’ earliest signature song, “Boulder to Birmingham”, written shortly after Parsons’ death, showed the depth of her shock and pain at losing Parsons. It was, according to best friend Linda Ronstadt, the beginning of a “lifetime effort to process what had happened”, and was the first of many songs written and/or performed by Harris about her life with (and without) Parsons.[citation needed]
    The Hot Band
    Hot Band member James Burton

    Warner Brothers A&R representative Mary Martin introduced Harris to Canadian producer Brian Ahern, who produced her major label debut album, Pieces of the Sky, released in 1975 on Reprise Records. The album was surprisingly eclectic, especially by Nashville standards, including cover versions of The Beatles’ “For No One”, Merle Haggard’s “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down” and The Louvin Brothers’ “If I Could Only Win Your Love”. It also featured “Bluebird Wine”, a composition by young Texas songwriter Rodney Crowell, who was the first in a long line of songwriters whose talents Harris has championed. The record was one of the most expensive country records produced at the time, featuring the talents of James Burton, Glen Hardin, Ron Tutt, Ray Pohlman, and Bill Payne, as well as two tracks (“Before Believing” and “Queen of the Silver Dollar”) that were cut with the Angel Band. Two singles were released: “Too Far Gone”, which initially charted at No. 73 (a 1979 reissue hit No. 13), and Harris’s first big hit, “If I Could Only Win Your Love”, a duet with Herb Pedersen (later a founding member of The Desert Rose Band), which peaked at No. 4.

    Executives of Warner Bros. Records (Reprise Records’s parent company) told Harris they would agree to record her if she would “get a hot band”. Harris did so, enlisting guitarist James Burton and pianist Glen Hardin, both of whom had played with Elvis Presley as well as Parsons. Burton was a renowned guitarist, starting in Ricky Nelson’s band in the 1950s, and Hardin had been a member of The Crickets. Other Hot Band members were drummer John Ware, pedal steel guitarist Hank DeVito, and bassist Emory Gordy, Jr., with whom Harris had worked while performing with Parsons. Singer-songwriter Crowell was enlisted as a rhythm guitarist and duet partner.[3] Harris’s first tour schedule originally dovetailed around Presley’s, owing to Burton and Hardin’s continuing commitments to Presley’s band. The Hot Band lived up to its name, with most of the members moving on with fresh talent replacing them as they continued on to solo careers of their own.

    Elite Hotel, released in December 1975, established that the buzz created by Pieces of the Sky was well-founded. Unusual for country albums at the time, which largely revolved around a hit single, Harris’s albums borrowed their approach from the album-oriented rock market. In terms of quality and artistic merit, tracks like “Sin City”, “Wheels”, and “Till I Gain Control Again”, which weren’t singles, easily stood against tracks like “Together Again”, “Sweet Dreams”, and “One of These Days”, which were. While Elite Hotel was a No. 1 country album, the album did sufficiently well as a crossover success with the rock audience. Harris appealed to those who normally disapproved of the country market’s pull toward crossover pop singles (“Together Again” and “Sweet Dreams” both topped the country charts). Elite Hotel won a Grammy in 1976 for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female.

    Harris’ reputation for guest work continued. Aside from contributing to albums by Linda Ronstadt, Guy Clark and Neil Young, Harris was tapped by Bob Dylan to perform on his Desire album, but entirely uncredited. Harris also filmed one of the studio sequences, owing to her touring schedule, in The Band’s The Last Waltz, singing “Evangeline”.

    Burton left the Hot Band in 1976, choosing to remain with Elvis Presley’s band, and was replaced by English guitarist Albert Lee. Harris’s commercial apex was Luxury Liner, released in 1977, which remains one of her definitive records. On Luxury Liner, Harris’s mix of songs from Chuck Berry (“(You Never Can Tell) C’est La Vie”), Gram Parsons (the title track and “She”), The Carter Family (“Hello Stranger”) and Kitty Wells (“Making Believe”) illustrate a continuity and artistic merit to country music often overlooked at the time. Despite Top Ten singles with “C’est La Vie” and “Making Believe”, the album’s best known track is the first recorded cover of Townes Van Zandt’s classic “Pancho & Lefty”, which would be a No. 1 hit for Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard in 1983. At the end of 1977, Crowell left the Hot Band to pursue a solo career; his replacement was bluegrass multi-instrumentalist and singer Ricky Skaggs.

    Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town signaled a slight change of direction from Harris’s previous three albums. Rather than mixing classic and contemporary, the album is made up largely of recently written songs, though from a wide variety of writers. “Two More Bottles of Wine”, written by Delbert McClinton, became Harris’s third No. 1 single, “To Daddy”, written by Dolly Parton, went to No. 3, and a third single, “Easy From Now On”, went Top Twenty. The album included two songs apiece from Crowell (“I Ain’t Living Long Like This” and “Leaving Louisiana In The Broad Daylight”) and songwriter Jesse Winchester (“Defying Gravity” and “My Songbird”), and Utah Phillips’ “Green Rolling Hills”.
    The Roots Records

    In 1977 (January), Harris married Brian Ahern.[1] Their (Harris’s second and also Ahern’s second) daughter, Meghann, was born in 1979. During this period, Harris recorded and released three studio albums that reflected a shift toward traditional country (during a time that the industry was beginning to embrace a more polished Urban Cowboy sound). The roots direction was prominent in her Grammy Award-winning 1979 album Blue Kentucky Girl. Apart from a cover of The Drifters’ “Save The Last Dance For Me”, the album was largely made up of classic-styled country material in the vein of Loretta Lynn and Kitty Wells. One of her best-loved albums, it includes songs from The Louvin Brothers’ “Everytime You Leave”, Willie Nelson’s “Sister’s Coming Home” and Gram Parson’s signature “Hickory Wind”. Wesley Rose took special interest in Harris’ recording of “Beneath Still Waters”, which became a No. 1 hit.[citation needed]

    A Christmas album, Light of the Stable, was released in 1979; its title track featured backing vocals by Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young, all three of whom Harris had worked with sporadically since the mid-1970s, and with whom she continued to collaborate with through the 2000s. (Harris, Parton and Ronstadt began working on a trio album during this time, though it remained unfinished for nearly a decade; a few of the tracks recorded for the project were released on the women’s respective solo albums in the interim.) The album is largely acoustic, featuring readings of traditional fare such as “Silent Night”, “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “The First Noel”.[citation needed]

    In the 1980s, Harris explored country music’s history further with the bluegrass-oriented recording of Roses in the Snow, featuring Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, Albert Lee, Emory Gordy Jr. and Jerry Douglas. Harris’s versions of the traditional “Wayfaring Stranger” and Paul Simon’s “The Boxer” were strong singles.[citation needed]

    In 1980, Harris recorded “That Lovin’ You Feelin’ Again” with Roy Orbison. The duet’s recordings was a Top-10 hit on both the Country and Adult Contemporary charts. They were awarded a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. She was featured on Paul Kennerley’s concept album The Legend of Jesse James, which also featured Levon Helm of The Band and Johnny Cash.[citation needed]
    Pop-chart success, songwriting

    In 1981, Harris’s recordings reached the Top 40 on the Billboard pop chart with a cover of “Mister Sandman”—again Top 10 Country as well as Adult Contemporary—from her Evangeline album. (The album version of the song was a track from the Trio sessions with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt, but neither Parton’s nor Ronstadt’s record companies would allow their artists’ vocals to be used on the single, so Harris re-recorded the song, singing all three parts for the single release of the song.)[citation needed]

    Harris moved to Nashville in 1982. White Shoes in 1983 included an eclectic pairing of the rockish reading of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” with a remake of the Donna Summer hit “On the Radio”, as well as tracks from a diverse group of songwriters including Hot Band member Crowell, Sandy Denny and T-Bone Burnett. It was her last album produced by Brian Ahern until All I Intended to Be in 2008.[citation needed]

    Harris’s major-label releases thus far included few of her own songs, but in 1985 her songwriting skills were prominent with the release of a concept album The Ballad of Sally Rose, for which she co-wrote all of the songs. The album was semi-autobiographical, based loosely on her relationship with Parsons. Harris described it as a “country opera”, and a “huge commercial disaster”.[4] Her co-writer and producer on the album, English songwriter and musician Paul Kennerley, the writer of the hit singles “Born to Run” (on Harris’s 1981 Cimarron album) and “In My Dreams” (on White Shoes). Kennerley also produced her next album, Thirteen. They married in 1985 and divorced in 1993.[citation needed]

    In 1987, nearly a full decade after their first attempt, Harris teamed up with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt for a long-promised and long-anticipated Trio disc. The album was the biggest commercial success of Harris’s career, spending five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart (also quickly reaching the Top 10 on the Pop Albums chart). It sold several million copies and produced four Top 10 Country hits, including “To Know Him Is To Love Him”, which hit No. 1. The recording was nominated for the coveted Album Of The Year Grammy award (given to U2 that year for The Joshua Tree) and the three women won the statuette for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal; the album’s Linda Thompson-penned track “Telling Me Lies” reached No. 3 Country, No. 25 Adult Contemporary, and was nominated for a Grammy as 1987’s Best Country Song.[citation needed]

    Harris also released a solo album in 1987, Angel Band, featuring traditional gospel songs, on which she worked with then rising country star Vince Gill, and others. In 1989, she recorded two songs with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on their album, Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume II. In a snippet of studio chatter included on one of the tracks, she talked during the recording session about her beginnings and how music had changed:[citation needed]

    Years ago I had the experience of sitting around in a living room with a bunch of people and singing and playing, and it was like a spiritual experience, it was wonderful. And I decided then that was what I was going to do with my life was play music, do music. In the making of records, I think over the years we’ve all gotten a little too technical, a little too hung up on getting things perfect. We’ve lost the living room. The living room has gone out of the music, but today I feel like we got it back.

    1989’s Bluebird album, which featured contributions from Marty Stuart, Bonnie Raitt, and Kate and Anna McGarrigle, included the singles “Heartbreak Hill”, which reached No. 8 on the U.S. country singles chart, and “Heaven Only Knows”, which reached No. 16, the most recent top-twenty chart singles of Harris’ career. The following year’s Brand New Dance album received favorable reviews, but marked the beginning of a chart and airplay decline for Harris.[citation needed]

    Around 1991, she dissolved The Hot Band and formed a new band of acoustic musicians—Sam Bush on fiddle, mandolin and vocals, Roy Huskey, Jr. on bass and vocals, Larry Atamanuik on drums, Al Perkins on banjo, guitar, Dobro guitar and vocals, and Jon Randall on guitar, mandolin and vocals—which she named The Nash Ramblers. They recorded a Grammy Award-winning live album in 1992 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, which led to the $8 million restoration of the facility into a premium concert and event venue. It was her last album with Reprise Records. She has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1992.[5][6]
    New directions

    By the 1990s, Harris started receiving less airplay as mainstream country stations began shifting their focus to the youth-oriented “new country” format. As with Brand New Dance, 1993’s Cowgirl’s Prayer—Harris’ first studio album after her switch to Elektra Records—was critically praised but received very little airplay,[7] and its lead single, “High Powered Love” charted very low, peaking at No. 63, prompting her to shift her career in a new direction.

    In 1995, Harris released one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the decade, Wrecking Ball, produced by Daniel Lanois, best known for his work with U2, Peter Gabriel and Bob Dylan. An experimental album for Harris, the record included Harris’s rendition of the Neil Young-penned title track (Young himself provided guest vocals on two of the album’s songs), Steve Earle’s “Goodbye”, Julie Miller’s “All My Tears”, Jimi Hendrix’s “May This Be Love”, Kate and Anna McGarrigle’s “Goin’ Back to Harlan” and Gillian Welch’s “Orphan Girl”. U2’s Larry Mullen, Jr. showed up to play drums for the project. The album received virtually no country airplay whatsoever, but did bring Harris to the attention of alternative rock listeners, many of whom had never listened to her music before.

    Harris then took her Wrecking Ball material on the road, releasing the live Spyboy in 1998, backed with a power trio comprising Nashville producer, songwriter and guitarist Buddy Miller and New Orleans musicians, drummer Brady Blade and bassist-vocalist-percussionist Daryl Johnson. In addition to performing songs from Wrecking Ball, the album updated many of Harris’s career hits, including “Boulder to Birmingham”.

    Also in 1998, she appeared prominently on Willie Nelson’s moody, instrumentally sparse Teatro album, produced by Wrecking Ball producer Lanois.[8]

    During the summer of 1997 and 1998, Harris joined Sarah McLachlan’s all-woman musical touring festival, the Lilith Fair, where new artists like Patty Griffin could share new experiences and ideas with seasoned musicians like Harris and Bonnie Raitt.

    In January 1999, Harris released Trio 2 with Parton and Ronstadt. Much of the album had actually been recorded in 1994, but remained unreleased for nearly five years because of record label and personnel disputes, conflicting schedules, and career priorities of the three artists. Trio 2 was much more contemporary-sounding than its predecessor and was certified Gold. It included their version of Neil Young’s classic “After The Gold Rush”, which became a popular music video and won another Grammy—this one for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. Harris and Ronstadt then released a duet album, Western Wall: The Tucson Sessions, later the same year. The two superstars toured together during the fall months in support of the disc. Both albums made the Top 10 of Billboard’s Country Albums chart and did well on the pop side as well.

    Also in 1999, Harris paid tribute to her former singing partner Gram Parsons by co-executive producing Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons, an album that gathered together more than a dozen artists. Harris performed duets with Beck, Sheryl Crow and The Pretenders on this album’s tracks.

    In 2000, Harris released her solo follow-up to Wrecking Ball, Red Dirt Girl, produced by Lanois protégé Malcolm Burn. For the first time since The Ballad of Sally Rose, the album contained a number of Harris’s own compositions. Like Wrecking Ball, the album’s sound leaned more toward alternative rock than country. Nevertheless it reached No. 5 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart as well as a healthy No. 54 on the pop side. It also won Harris another of her 12 Grammy awards, in the category of Best Contemporary Folk Album.

    Harris also accompanied on alternative country singer Ryan Adams’ solo debut Heartbreaker and on Tracy Chapman’s fifth album Telling Stories.

    Also in 2000, Harris joined an all-star group of traditional country, folk and blues artists for the T-Bone Burnett-produced soundtrack to the Coen Brothers film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? The soundtrack won multiple CMA, ACM and Grammy awards. A documentary/concert film, Down from the Mountain, featured the artists performing music from the film and other songs at the Ryman Auditorium. Harris and many of the same artists took their show on the road for the Down from the Mountain Tour in 2002. In 2003, Harris supplied the finishing touches in harmonizing with the Dixie Chicks on a song they were recording in the studio, “Godspeed”.
    Recent work

    Harris released Stumble into Grace, her follow-up to Red Dirt Girl, in 2003. Like its predecessor, it contained mostly self-penned material. In 2004, Harris led the Sweet Harmony Traveling Revue tour with Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Buddy Miller and Patty Griffin. They performed singly and together and swapped instruments.

    On September 9, 2005, Harris participated in “Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast”, a series of concerts simulcast by most American television stations to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. She performed with Beth Neilsen Chapman and the Dixie Chicks, harmonizing on Patty Griffin’s song, “Mary”.
    Harris playing in Rotterdam, Netherlands (2006)

    In 2005, Harris worked with Conor Oberst on Bright Eyes’ release, I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning, performing backup vocals on three tracks. In July, she joined Elvis Costello on several dates of his US tour, performing alongside Costello and his band on several numbers each night. Harris and Costello recorded a version of Costello’s song, “The Scarlet Tide”, from the soundtrack of the movie Cold Mountain. July also saw the release of The Very Best of Emmylou Harris: Heartaches & Highways, a single-disc retrospective of Harris’s career, on the Rhino Entertainment label. This same year, Harris appeared as a guest vocalist on Neil Young’s widely acclaimed Prairie Wind. She also appeared in the Jonathan Demme documentary-concert film Neil Young: Heart of Gold, released in 2006.
    Harris performing with Mark Knopfler, in the Netherlands

    All the Roadrunning, an album of collaborations with former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler, was released in April 2006 and supported by a tour of Europe and the US. The album was a commercial success, reaching No. 8 in the UK and No. 17 in the US. Selections recorded during the All the Roadrunning tour performance at the Gibson Amphitheatre were released as a CD/DVD package titled Real Live Roadrunning in November 2006. In addition to several of the compositions that Harris and Knopfler recorded together in the studio, Real Live Roadrunning features solo hits from both members of the duo, as well as a few classic tracks from Knopfler’s days with Dire Straits.

    Harris is featured on A Tribute To Joni Mitchell, released on April 24, 2007. Harris covered the song “The Magdalene Laundries” (originally on Mitchell’s 1994 album, Turbulent Indigo). She sang “Another Pot O’ Tea” with Anne Murray on Murray’s album Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends, released November 13, 2007, in Canada and January 15, 2008, in the U.S.

    Harris wrote a song called “In Rodanthe” for the 2008 film Nights In Rodanthe.

    A solo album, All I Intended to Be, was released on June 10, 2008, to critical acclaim. It reached Top Five of Billboard’s Country Albums chart and the Top 20 of the Pop Albums chart. Contributors include Buddy Miller, the McGarrigle sisters, Vince Gill, Phil Madeira, and her ‘Trio’ sister Dolly Parton. She toured with an ensemble she dubbed the Red Dirt Boys, featuring Phil Madeira on accordion, guitar, and keyboards, Colin Linden on guitar and banjo, Rickie Simpkins on mandolin and fiddle, Chris Donohue on bass, and Bryan Owings on drums.[9] It did not include Miller, who was touring with Robert Plant, Alison Krauss and T Bone Burnett at the time. In 2009, Harris toured with Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, and Miller as “Three Girls and Their Buddy”. Madeira, Simpkins, and Donohue performed with her in late 2008, and in 2009, appearing on “A Prairie Home Companion” and at MerleFest and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. In September 2009, Owings rejoined the Red Dirt Boys with Miller for the remainder of 2009.

    In April 2009 Harris became a grandmother. Her daughter gave birth to a daughter, Prudence.[10]

    In 2010, Harris regrouped with the latest version of the Red Dirt Boys—Madeira, Owings, Donohue, and Simpkins—for Lilith Fair summer dates and a scheduled US autumn tour.

    According to an interview with Bonnie Tyler by Digital Spy, Emmylou Harris will be teaming up with her on Tyler’s upcoming album. Harris will do backing vocals on a song, written and produced by Wayne Warner. A recent solo album, Hard Bargain, was released on the Nonesuch label on April 26, 2011. It reached #3 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart – Emmy’s highest charting album since 1980 – and the Top 20 of the Pop Albums chart.

    PBS host Tavis Smiley interviewed Harris in a program that aired on April 20, 2011. In the interview Harris spoke of being a straight-A student in high school, which led her to being selected as valedictorian, and recounted learning to play guitar by memorizing three chords.[11]

    The 2012 single “Emmylou” by Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit on their album The Lion’s Roar is, in part, a tribute to Harris, with its lyrics referring to her relationship to Gram Parsons.

    In September 2012, she will be featured in a campaign called “30 Songs/30 Days” to support Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a multi-platform media project inspired by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book.[12]

    Old Yellow Moon, an album of duets featuring Harris and former Hot Band member Rodney Crowell, was released on February 26, 2013.[13] It was another Billboard Top 10 Country album for Harris and has been nominated for a 2014 Grammy Award.

    In 1997 and 1998, Harris performed in Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair, promoting feminism in music. Since 1999, Harris has been organizing an annual benefit tour called Concerts for a Landmine Free World. All proceeds from the tours support the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation’s (VVAF) efforts to assist innocent victims of conflicts around the world. The tour also benefits the VVAF’s work to raise America’s awareness of the global landmine problem. Artists that have joined Harris on the road for these dates include Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bruce Cockburn, Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, Joan Baez, Patty Griffin, Nanci Griffith, Willie Nelson, and Lucinda Williams. Harris is a supporter of animal rights and an active member of PETA.[14] She founded, and in her spare time assists at, an animal shelter in Nashville.[15]

    She became a member of the newly formed Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2011.[16][17]
    Awards and other honors
    Grammy Awards

    2005 Best Female Country Vocal Performance (“The Connection”)

    2001 Album of the Year (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)

    2000 Best Contemporary Folk Album (Red Dirt Girl)

    1999 Best Country Collaboration with Vocals (“After The Gold Rush”, with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt)

    1998 Best Country Collaboration with Vocals (“Same Old Train”, with Alison Krauss, Clint Black, Dwight Yoakam, Earl Scruggs, Joe Diffie, Marty Stuart, Merle Haggard, Pam Tillis, Patty Loveless, Randy Travis, Ricky Skaggs & Travis Tritt)

    1995 Best Contemporary Folk Album (Wrecking Ball)

    1992 Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (Emmylou Harris & The Nash Ramblers At the Ryman, as Emmylou Harris & The Nash Ramblers)

    1987 Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (Trio, with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt)

    1984 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female (“In My Dreams”)

    1980 Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group (“That Lovin’ You Feelin’ Again”, with Roy Orbison)

    1979 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female (Blue Kentucky Girl)

    1976 Best Country Vocal Performance, Female (Elite Hotel)[18]
    Country Music Association Awards

    2001 Album of the Year (O Brother, Where Art Thou?)

    1980 Female Vocalist Of The Year

    1988 Vocal Event of the Year (Trio, with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt)[19]
    Other honors

    VH1’s 100 Most Influential Women in Rock and Roll (1998) – Number 22 out of 100
    Billboard’s Century Award recipient (1999)[20] – inducted by Sarah McLachlan
    CMT’s 40 Greatest Women of Country Music – No. 5 ranking (2002)
    Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on February 12, 2008[21]
    Inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009.
    Awarded an honorary doctorate of music from Berklee College of Music in 2009.[22]

    Patsy Cline – I’ve Loved And Lost Again – live

    Virginia Patterson Hensley (September 8, 1932 – March 5, 1963), known professionally as Patsy Cline, was an American country music singer. Part of the early 1960s Nashville sound, Cline successfully “crossed over” to pop music. She died at age 30 at the height of her career in a private plane crash. She was one of the most influential, successful and acclaimed female vocalists of the 20th century.[1][2]

    Cline was best known for her rich tone, emotionally expressive and bold contralto voice[3] and her role as a country music industry pioneer. Along with Kitty Wells,[4] she helped pave the way for women as headline performers in the genre. Cline was cited as an inspiration by singers in several genres.[5] Books, movies, documentaries, articles and stage plays document her life and career.

    Her hits began in 1957 with Donn Hecht’s “Walkin’ After Midnight”, Harlan Howard’s “I Fall to Pieces”, Hank Cochran’s “She’s Got You”, Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” and ended in 1963 with Don Gibson’s “Sweet Dreams”.

    Millions of her records have sold since her death. She won awards and accolades, leading some fans to view her as an icon at the level of Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Ten years after her death, in 1973, she became the first female solo artist inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 1999, she was voted number 11 on VH1’s special, The 100 Greatest Women in Rock and Roll, by members and artists of the rock industry.[6] In 2002, country music artists and industry members voted her Number One on CMT’s The 40 Greatest Women of Country Music and ranked 46th in the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” issue of Rolling Stone magazine. According to her 1973 Country Music Hall of Fame plaque, “Her heritage of timeless recordings is testimony to her artistic capacity.”
    Cline was born Virginia Patterson Hensley in 1932, in Winchester, Virginia, to Hilda Patterson Hensley, a 16-year-old seamstress, and Sam Hensley, a 43-year-old blacksmith. Patsy soon had a younger brother and sister, Samuel and Sylvia; the siblings were called Ginny, John, and Sis. The family moved often before settling in Winchester when Patsy was 8. She grew up “on the wrong side of the tracks”. Sam deserted his family in 1947, but the Hensley home was reportedly quite happy.[7]
    Cline’s home in Winchester, Virginia. She lived here from age 16 to 21.

    Cline was introduced to music at an early age, singing in church with her mother. She admired stars such as Kay Starr, Jo Stafford, Hank Williams, Judy Garland, and Shirley Temple. She had perfect pitch. She was self-taught and could not read music.

    When she was thirteen, she was hospitalized with a throat infection and rheumatic fever. “The fever affected my throat and when I recovered I had this booming voice like Kate Smith”.[8]
    Teen years

    To help support her family after her father abandoned them, she dropped out of high school and worked various jobs, often performing as a soda jerk and waitress by day at The Triangle Diner[9] across the street from her school, John Handley High.

    After several weeks of watching performers through the window at her local radio station, she asked WINC-AM disc jockey and talent co-ordinator Jimmy McCoy if she could sing on his show. Her first performance on radio in 1947 was so well received that she was asked back. This led to performances at local nightclubs, wearing fringed Western stage outfits that her mother made from Patsy’s designs.

    Cline performed in variety and talent showcases in and around the Winchester and Tri-State areas. Coupled with increasing appearances on local radio, she attracted a large following. In 1954 Jimmy Dean, a young country star in his own right, learned of her and she became a regular with Dean on Connie B. Gay’s Town and Country Jamboree radio show, airing weekday afternoons live on WARL-AM in Arlington, Virginia
    Personal life
    First marriage

    She married contractor Gerald Cline on September 19, 1953 and divorced him on July 4, 1957. The dissolution of that marriage was blamed on their considerable age difference and on the conflict between her desire to sing professionally and his desire that she adopt the conventional role of a housewife. This marriage produced no children.
    Second marriage

    She married linotype operator Charlie Dick on September 15, 1957. Their marriage produced two children: Julie Dick (August 25, 1958) and Randy Dick (February 28, 1961).
    Recording career
    Four Star Records

    Bill Peer, her second manager, gave her the name Patsy, from her middle name and her mother’s maiden name, Patterson. In 1955 he got her a contract at Four Star Records, the label with which he was then affiliated. Four Star was under contract to the Coral subsidiary of Decca Records. Patsy signed with Decca at her first opportunity three years later.

    Her first contract allowed her to record compositions only by Four Star writers, which Cline found limiting. Later, she expressed regret over signing with the label, but thinking that nobody else would have her, she took the deal. Her first record for Four Star was “A Church, A Courtroom & Then Good-Bye”, which attracted little attention, although it led to appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. As these performances were not “records” per se, they were not governed by her contract, and she could sing what she wanted, within reason. This somewhat eased her “stifled” feeling.

    Between 1955 and 1957, Cline recorded honky tonk material, with songs like “Fingerprints”, “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down”, “Don’t Ever Leave Me Again”, and “A Stranger In My Arms”. Cline cowrote the latter two. None of these songs gained notable success. She experimented with rockabilly.

    According to Decca Records producer Owen Bradley, the Four Star compositions only hinted at Patsy’s potential. Bradley thought that her voice was best-suited for pop music, but Cline sided with Peer and the other Four Star producers, insisting that she could only record country songs, as her contract also stated. Every time Bradley tried to get her to sing the torch songs that would become her signature, she would panic, missing her familiar banjo and steel guitar. She recorded 51 songs with Four Star.
    Arthur Godfrey and “Walkin’ After Midnight”

    On July 1, 1955 Cline made her network television debut on the short-lived television version of the Grand Ole Opry on ABC-TV. This was followed by an appearance on the network’s Ozark Jubilee later that month,[10]:p.80 before returning to the show in April.[clarification needed]

    Later that year, while looking for material for her first album, Patsy Cline, “Walkin’ After Midnight” appeared, written by Donn Hecht and Alan Block. Cline initially did not like the song because it was, according to her, “just a little old pop song.” However, the song’s writers and record label insisted that she record it.

    In the late fall of 1956, she auditioned for Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts in New York City, and was accepted to sing on the CBS-TV show on January 21, 1957. Godfrey’s “discovery” of Cline was typical. Her scout, actually her mother, presented Patsy who initially was supposed to sing “A Poor Man’s Roses (Or a Rich Man’s Gold)”, but the show’s producers insisted she sing “Walkin’ After Midnight” instead. Though heralded as a country song, recorded in Nashville, Godfrey’s staff insisted that Cline appear in a cocktail dress rather than in one of her mother’s hand-crafted cowgirl outfits.

    The audience’s enthusiastic ovations pushed the applause meter to its apex, winning the competition for her. After the Godfrey show, listeners began calling their local radio stations to request the song, so she released it as a single. Although Cline had been performing for almost a decade and had appeared on national TV three times, it took Godfrey to make her a star. For a couple of months thereafter, Cline appeared regularly on Godfrey’s radio program. Disagreements over creative control caused her to move on.

    “Walkin’ After Midnight” reached No. 2 on the country chart and No. 16 on the pop chart, making Cline one of the first country singers to have a crossover pop hit. The single drove her success for the next year or so. She stayed visible by making personal appearances and performing regularly on Godfrey’s show, as well as performing for several years on Ozark Jubilee (later Jubilee USA). She had no other hits with Four Star.[11]

    Cline composed and recorded “A Stranger in My Arms” and “Don’t Ever Leave Me Again” in 1957 under her birth name, Virginia Hensley.

    A month after her recording session, she met Charlie Dick, a good-looking ladies man who frequented the local club circuit Cline played on weekends. His charisma and admiration of Cline’s talents captured her attention, and their relationship resulted in a marriage that lasted until her death. Though their love affair was publicized as controversial, Cline regarded Dick as “the love of her life”. After the birth of their daughter, Julie, in 1958, they moved to Nashville, Tennessee.
    1961 comeback – “I Fall to Pieces”

    In 1959 Cline met Randy Hughes, a session guitarist and promotion man. Hughes became her manager and helped her change labels. When her Four Star contract expired in 1960, she signed with Decca Records-Nashville, directly under the direction of legendary female-singer country music producer Owen Bradley. He was responsible for much of Cline’s success and positively influenced the careers of both Brenda Lee and Loretta Lynn.

    Even though she was still scared of the lush Nashville Sound arrangements, Bradley considered Cline’s voice best-suited for country pop-crossover songs. Bradley’s direction and arrangements helped smooth her voice into the silky, torch song style for which she won fame.
    Cline promotional photograph shortly before her 1961 life-threatening car accident

    Cline’s first release for Decca was the country pop ballad “I Fall to Pieces” (1961), written by Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard. The song was promoted and won success on both country and pop music stations. On the country charts, the song slowly climbed to the top, garnering her first Number One ranking. In a major feat for country singers at the time, the song hit No. 12 on the pop and No. 6 on the adult contemporary charts, making her a household name and demonstrating that women could achieve as much crossover success as men.
    Grand Ole Opry and Nashville scene

    In 1960, Cline realized a lifelong dream when the Grand Ole Opry accepted her request to join the cast, making her the only person to achieve membership in such a fashion. She became one of the Opry’s biggest stars.

    Even before that time, believing that there was “room enough for everybody”, and confident of her abilities and appeal, Cline befriended and encouraged women starting out in the country music field at that time, including Loretta Lynn, Dottie West, Jan Howard, sixteen-year-old Brenda Lee and a thirteen-year-old steel-guitar player named Barbara Mandrell with whom Cline once toured, all of whom cited her as a major influence.

    According to both Lynn and West, Cline always gave of herself to friends, buying them groceries and furniture and even hiring them as wardrobe assistants. On occasion, she paid their rent, enabling them to stay in Nashville and continue pursuing their dreams. Honky-tonk pianist and Opry star Del Wood said, “Even when she didn’t have it, she’d spend it—and not always on herself. She’d give anyone the skirt off her backside if they needed it.”[10]
    The Cline

    She cultivated a brash and gruff exterior that allowed her to be considered “one of the boys”. This allowed her to befriend male artists as well, including Roger Miller, Hank Cochran, Faron Young, Ferlin Husky, Harlan Howard and Carl Perkins, with all of whom she socialized at famed Nashville establishment Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, next door to the Opry. In the 1986 documentary The Real Patsy Cline, singer George Riddle said of her, “It wasn’t unusual for her to sit down and have a beer and tell a joke, and she’d never be offended at the guys’ jokes either, because most of the time she’d tell a joke dirtier than you! Patsy was full of life, as I remember.”

    Cline used the term of endearment “Hoss” to refer to her friends, both male as well as female, and referred to herself as “The Cline”. Patsy met Elvis Presley in 1962 at a fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and they exchanged phone numbers.[10] Having seen him perform during a rare Grand Ole Opry appearance, she admired his music, called him The Big Hoss, and often recorded with his backup group, The Jordanaires.

    By this time, Cline controlled her own career, making it clear to all involved that she could stand up to any man, verbally and professionally, and was ready to challenge their rules if they interfered with her. In a time when concert promoters often cheated stars by promising to pay them after the show but skipping out with the money before the concert ended, Cline demanded her money before she took the stage by proclaiming: “No dough, no show”, a practice that became the rule.[citation needed] According to friend Roy Drusky in the The Real Patsy Cline: “Before one concert, we hadn’t been paid. And we were talking about who was going to tell the audience that we couldn’t perform without pay. Patsy said, ‘I’ll tell ’em!’ And she did!” Friend Dottie West stated in amazement some 25 years later in an interview that “It was common knowledge around town that you didn’t mess with ‘The Cline!'”
    Car crash

    Cline bore a son, Randy in 1961. On June 14, she and her brother Sam were involved in a head-on collision on Old Hickory Boulevard in Nashville, the second and more serious of two crashes during her lifetime. The impact threw Cline into the windshield, nearly killing her. Upon arriving at the scene, Dottie West picked glass from Cline’s hair, and went with her in the ambulance.

    When help arrived, Cline insisted that the other car’s driver be treated first. (West witnessed this, and the impression left upon her may have contributed to an unfortunate decision she made some three decades later. In 1991, West was seriously injured in a car accident, and like Cline, she too insisted that her driver be treated first. West died from her injuries, possibly because she had declined to be treated immediately.[12]) Cline later stated that she saw the female driver of the other car die before her eyes.[12] Cline spent a month in the hospital, suffering from a jagged cut across her forehead that required stitches, a broken wrist and a dislocated hip. Both Nassour and friend Billy Walker (who died in a vehicle accident in 2006) reported that Cline rededicated her life to Christianity while in the hospital, where she received thousands of cards and flowers from fans.[10] When she left the hospital, her forehead was visibly scarred. For the remainder of her career, she wore wigs and makeup to hide the scars, along with headbands to relieve the forehead pressure that caused headaches if left unattended. Six weeks later, she returned to the road on crutches with a new appreciation for life.

    A series of recordings titled Patsy Cline: Live at the Cimarron Ballroom from her first concert after the crash were released in 1997 and feature dialogue of Cline interacting with the audience, reviewing her live performances. Recorded in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a sound check, these archives were found in the attic by a later owner of one of Cline’s residences and were given to the family.

    Unable to capitalize upon the success of “I Fall to Pieces” due to her hospital stay, Cline sought another recording to re-establish herself. When introduced to “Crazy”, a song written by Willie Nelson, Cline expressed a vehement dislike for the composition and the inaugural recording session was unsuccessful.[13][14]

    Undertaken in the Quonset Hut (where the original Bradley’s Barn Studio was located before moving to Opryland), the singer tried from the outset to record “Crazy” like Nelson’s demo recording, which featured his idiosyncratic style. Cline claimed that the song was too difficult for her; not only because of the demo style, but also because her ribs, injured in the crash, made it difficult for her to reach the high notes. The problems during the session created conflict with Bradley. In an era where it had become a standard to record four songs in a three-hour period, those present at the Quonset Hut “Crazy” session had to cope with a four-hour session for a single song. It was eventually decided that Cline would overdub her vocals over the best instrumental recording of the track. This came a week later when the singer’s ribs had further healed. Upon returning to the studio, Cline could reach the high notes and recorded her part in a single take.[15]

    The popular appeal of the final version of the recording was attributed to Bradley’s management of Cline’s fear of the Nashville Sound, because he convinced her to imbue the recording with her unique persona. The song became an intimate representation of Cline and is perceived to be completely unlike Nelson’s version. Now considered a classic, “Crazy” ultimately became Cline’s signature song.

    By late 1961, “Crazy” was a crossover success, straddling the country and pop genres, and reached the Top 10 on the charts. It became Cline’s biggest pop hit.[13][16] The song subsequently reached No. 9 on the US Hot 100 and No. 2 on both the Hot Country Songs and the Adult Contemporary lists. An album released in November 1961, entitled Patsy Cline Showcase, featured both of Cline’s hits of that year.[citation needed] Loretta Lynn later reported on her album, I Remember Patsy, that on the night Cline premiered “Crazy” at the Grand Ole Opry, she received three standing ovations.

    In the Simpsons episode Stark Raving Dad when Marge phones the mental institution, she is put on hold to Crazy.
    At the top

    Cline was the first female country music star to headline her own show and receive billing above the male stars with whom she toured.

    While bands typically backed up the female singer, Cline led the band through the concert instead.[clarification needed] She was so respected by men in the industry that rather than being introduced to audiences as “Pretty Miss Patsy Cline” as her female contemporaries often were, she was given a more stately introduction such as that given by Johnny Cash on their 1962 tour: “Ladies and Gentlemen, The One and Only – Patsy Cline.” As an artist, she held her fan base in extremely high regard, many of whom became friends, staying for hours after concerts to chat and sign autographs.

    Cline was the first woman in country music to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall, sharing the bill with fellow Opry members. The performance garnered sharp disapproval from gossip columnist Dorothy Kilgallen in the process—at whom Cline eloquently fired back. She headlined the famous Hollywood Bowl with Cash. Later in 1962, she became the first woman in country music to headline her own show in Las Vegas at the Mint Casino, the sign from which can still be seen at its new home on Pico Boulevard near La Brea in Los Angeles.

    This success enabled Cline to buy her dream home in the Goodlettsville suburb of Nashville, decorating it in her own style. It featured gold dust sprinkled in the bathroom tiles and a music room with the finest sound equipment. In The Real Patsy Cline, Lynn stated: “She called me into the front yard and said, ‘Isn’t this pretty? Now I’ll never be happy until I have my Mama one just like it.'” Cline called it “the house that Vegas built” since the money from the Mint covered its cost. After her death in 1963, Cline’s home was sold to singer Wilma Burgess who told Nassour that “strange occurrences” happened during her years there.[10]
    Original cover of the 1961 studio album, Patsy Cline Showcase, which featured her hits from that year, “I Fall to Pieces” and “Crazy”. The cover (and name) were changed following Cline’s death to the more-familiar version seen today.

    With this new demand for Cline came higher earnings. Reportedly she was paid at least $1000 for appearances towards the end of her life—a then an unheard-of sum for country music women, whose average fee was less than $200. Her penultimate concert, held in Birmingham, Alabama, grossed $3000.[verification needed]

    To match her new sophisticated sound, Cline also reinvented her personal style, shedding her trademark Western cowgirl outfits for more elegant gowns, cocktail dresses, spiked heels, and gold lame pants. In the days before Tanya’s skintight leather pants and Reba’s famous red dress shocked the country music establishment out of complacency, Patsy’s new image was considered riskier and sexier than anything that anybody had ever seen. Country music industry personnel in those more conservative times were more accustomed to girls in gingham and calico dresses. Like her sound, Cline’s style in fashion was mocked at first, then copied. She also loved dangly earrings, ruby-red lipstick and her favorite perfume was Wind Song.

    During her five-and-a-half year career, Cline received a dozen awards for her achievements, and three more following her death from the Music Reporter, Billboard Awards and Cashbox.

    Cline wrote of her success in a letter to friend Anne Armstrong: “It’s wonderful—but what do I do for ’63? It’s getting so even Cline can’t follow Cline!”[17]
    Sentimentally Yours

    In the fall of 1961, Cline was back in the studio again to record songs for an upcoming album released in early 1962. One of the first songs[18] was “She’s Got You”, written by Hank Cochran. Cochran pitched the song over the phone to Cline and she fell in love with it at first listen. It became one of the few songs that she enjoyed recording. The song was released as a single in January 1962, and soon crossed over, reaching No. 14 on the pop charts, No. 3 on the adult contemporary charts (originally called “Easy Listening”), and as her second and final chart-topper, No. 1 on the country chart. She would never again enter the pop charts during her lifetime.

    “She’s Got You” was also Cline’s first entry in the United Kingdom singles chart, reaching No. 43. The cover by Alma Cogan, one of Britain’s most popular female artists of the 1960s, performed notably as well. The biggest Hit Parade UK record sales entry before her death was her version of the standard Heartaches reaching the Top 30 in late 1962.[19]

    Following this success, Cline released a string of smaller country hits, including the Top 10 “When I Get Thru’ With You”, “Imagine That”, “So Wrong”, and “Heartaches”. These were not big crossover hits, but still reached the Top 20 and Top 10.

    In late 1962, Cline appeared on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and released her third album, Sentimentally Yours in August of that year. When asked in a WSM-AM interview about her vocal stylings, Cline stated, “Oh, I just sing like I hurt inside.”

    Life on the road was beginning to wear on Cline. She longed to spend more time raising her children, Julie and Randy, and was starting to talk about a hiatus. But Randy, her manager insisted that they had to strike while the iron was hot.

    A month before her death, Cline was back in the Quonset Hut to record her fourth album, originally entitled Faded Love. Recording a mix of country standards and such vintage pop classics as Irving Berlin’s “Always” and “Does Your Heart Beat for Me”, these sessions proved to be the most contemporary-sounding of her career. The sessions featured a full string section without any conventional country music instruments. Before her death, as Owen Bradley told Patsy author Margaret Jones, he and Cline had talked of doing an album of show tunes and standards, including Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man, since Cline was such a fan of Helen Morgan, who had recorded the song back in 1927.

    Cline got so involved with the stories in the songs’ lyrics, she reportedly cried through most of her final sessions. The raw emotion can be plainly heard on such tracks as “Sweet Dreams” and at the end of “Faded Love”. At the playback party, according to singer Jan Howard in the documentary Remembering Patsy, Cline held up a copy of her first record and a copy of her newest tracks and stated, “Well, here it is…the first and the last.”
    Patsy Cline aircraft crash site, Camden, Tennessee

    Friends Dottie West, June Carter Cash, and Loretta Lynn recalled Cline telling them during 1962–1963 that she felt a sense of impending doom and did not expect to live much longer.[20] Cline, known for her generosity, had begun giving away personal items to friends, writing her will on Delta Air Lines stationery and asking close friends to care for her children should anything happen to her. She told The Jordanaires’ bass singer Ray Walker as she exited the Grand Ole Opry the week before her death: “Honey, I’ve had two bad ones (accidents). The third one will either be a charm or it’ll kill me.”

    On March 3, 1963, Cline performed at a benefit at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, Kansas City, Kansas for the family of disc jockey “Cactus” Jack Call. He had died in an automobile crash a little over a month earlier. Call was a longtime DJ for KCKN, but had switched to KCMK a week before his death in January 25, 1963 at the age of 39.[21] Also performing on the show were George Jones, George Riddle and The Jones Boys, Billy Walker, Dottie West, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, George McCormick, the Clinch Mountain Boys as well as Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins.

    Reports vary as to whether Cline, ill with the flu, gave two or three performances. Some sources say the shows were at 2 p.m. and 5:15 p.m., but other sources say an 8 p.m. show was added due to popular demand. The shows were standing-room only. For the 2 p.m. show, she wore a sky-blue tulle-laden dress, for the 5:15 show a red shocker, and for the closing show at 8 p.m., Cline wore white chiffon and closed the show to a thunderous ovation. Her final song was the last she had recorded the previous month, “I’ll Sail My Ship Alone”.

    Cline, who had spent the night at the Town House Motor Hotel, was unable to fly out the day after the concert because Fairfax Airport was fogged in. West asked Patsy to ride in the car with her and husband, Bill, back to Nashville (approximately a 16 hour drive), but Cline refused, saying, “Don’t worry about me, Hoss. When it’s my time to go, it’s my time.” On March 5, she called her mother from the motel and checked out at 12:30 p.m. to go the short distance to the airport to board the Piper PA-24 Comanche plane, aircraft registration number N-7000P. The plane stopped once in Missouri to refuel and subsequently landed at Dyersburg Municipal Airport in Dyersburg, Tennessee at 5 p.m.[22]

    Hughes was the pilot, but was not trained in instrument flying. Hawkins had accepted Billy Walker’s offer after Walker left on a commercial flight to take care of a stricken family member. The Dyersburg, Tennessee airfield manager suggested that they stay the night after advising of high winds and inclement weather, and even offered them free rooms and meals, but Hughes responded, “I’ve already come this far. We’ll be there before you know it.” The plane took off at 6:07 p.m. (Hughes’ flight instructor had also trained Jim Reeves, whose plane crashed the following year. Neither pilot was instrument-rated and both attempted using visual flight rules known as VFR—impossible in the driving rain faced by both flights.)

    Cline’s flight encountered inclement weather and crashed on the evening of March 5, 1963. Her recovered wristwatch had stopped at approximately 6:20 p.m. The plane wreckage was located approximately 90 miles (140 km) from its Nashville destination in a forest outside Camden, Tennessee. Forensic examinations concluded that everyone aboard had been killed instantaneously from their injuries and did not suffer.[23][24] Until the wreckage was discovered the following dawn and reported on the radio, friends and family had not given up hope. Endless repetitions of calls such as “Did you hear anything?” “No, did you?” tied up the local telephone exchanges to such a degree that other emergencies occurring over the same period had trouble getting through. The lights at the destination Cornelia Fort Airpark were kept on throughout the night as reports of the missing plane were broadcast on radio and TV.
    The grave of Patsy Cline

    Early the following morning, Roger Miller and his friend[who?] went searching for survivors: “As fast as I could, I ran through the woods screaming their names—through the brush and the trees, and I came up over this little rise, oh, my God, there they were. It was ghastly. The plane had crashed nose down”[24] Shortly after the bodies were removed, looters scavenged the area. Some of the items which were recovered were eventually donated to The Country Music Hall of Fame. Included in those donations were Cline’s wrist watch, Confederate flag cigarette lighter, studded belt and three pairs of gold lamé slippers. Cline’s fee and attire from that last performance were never recovered.[24]

    As per her wishes, Cline was brought home for her memorial service, which thousands attended. She was buried at Shenandoah Memorial Park in her hometown of Winchester, Virginia. Her grave is marked with a bronze plaque, which reads: “Virginia H (Patsy) Cline ‘Death Cannot Kill What Never Dies: Love'”. With the help of Lynn and West, a bell tower was erected at the cemetery in her memory, which plays hymns daily at 6:00 p.m., the hour of her death. Another memorial marks the exact place off Fire Tower Road in Fatty Bottom, Tennessee, where the plane crashed in the still-remote forest outside of Camden.

    Cline’s mother, Hilda Hensley, died in 1998 of natural causes at 82, while her father died of cirrhosis of the liver in the mid-1950s. Mrs. Hensley lived as an accomplished seamstress in Winchester, Virginia, helping to raise her grandchildren, and rarely gave interviews. Cline’s daughter, Julie Dick Fudge, stated in 1985: “Grannie loved my mother so much that it’s still hard for her to talk about (the accident).” In her later years, Hensley stated “I never knew so many people loved my daughter” about the outpouring of love by Cline’s fans.

    As Hilda was only 16 years older than Patsy, the two were very close. Cline commented that her mother was the one person she could always depend on, and Hensley commented that Patsy was a “wonderful daughter” who never let her family down in hard times. Cline’s brother died in 2004. Her sister still lives in Virginia.

    As of 2011, husband Charlie Dick resided in Nashville, producing documentaries on his late wife and attending fan functions. In 1965, he married singer Jamey Ryan, who signed a brief contract with Columbia Records before bearing a son. They divorced in the early 1970s. In the film Sweet Dreams, Ryan provided the vocals for one song: “Blue Christmas” (a tune Cline never recorded).

    Daughter Julie joins him in representing Cline’s estate at public functions and has four children (one, Virginia, named for Cline, was killed in an automobile accident in 1994) and six grandchildren. Son Randy was a drummer for a Nashville band for a time, and Charlie’s younger brother, Uncle Mel as he is known to fans, heads up the “Always… Patsy Cline” fan organization.
    Impact and influence

    In the 2003 book Remembering Patsy, guitarist-producer Harold Bradley said of Cline: “She’s taken the standards for being a country music vocalist, and raised the bar. Even now, women, are trying to get to that bar…. If you’re going to be a country singer, and if you’re not going to copy her – and most people do come to town doing just that – then you have to be aware of her technique. It’s always good to know what was in the past because someone might think they’re pretty hot until they hear her…. It gives all the female singers coming in something to gauge their talents against. And I expect it will forever.”

    When Cline made her first commercial recordings in 1955, Kitty Wells was the top female vocalist in the field. By the time Cline broke through as a consistent hit-maker in 1961, Wells, known as The Queen of Country Music, was still country’s biggest female star. Cline dethroned her in 1961 however by winning the Billboard Magazine Award for Favorite Female Country & Western Artist for two years in a row as well as the Music Reporter Star of The Year Award for 1962.

    Given that Cline’s full-throated sophisticated sound was a marked contrast to Wells’ pure-country, quivering vocals, the two country queens could not have been more different. Though Cline had gained attention on country and pop charts, she did not think of herself as anything other than a country singer and was known for her humility in her motto: “I don’t want to get rich – just live good.”
    Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Patsy Cline

    Three of her songs became posthumous Top 10 Country hits: “Sweet Dreams”, “Leavin’ on Your Mind” and “Faded Love”. Starting that June, more albums of unreleased material followed, beginning with The Patsy Cline Story and A Portrait of Patsy Cline, released the following spring. The Story album replaced Cline’s planned fourth album, originally to have been titled Faded Love and released that March. The majority of the all-Bradley-produced tracks featured the back-up vocal group The Jordanaires, who also appeared on many albums featuring Elvis Presley and Connie Francis during the period. The cover photo and design of the Story album, featuring Cline in a smoky haze of gold, with simple titles across the top, is considered to be the first contemporary album cover art in country music history.[citation needed]

    By the 1960s, MCA had acquired Decca and continued to issue Cline albums up to the early 1970s, garnering the artist several posthumous hits along the way. Some of the more notable start in early 1964 with a Top 25 country hit “He Called Me Baby”, a song recorded during her “last sessions” in 1963. The track was released on her 1964 album That’s How a Heartache Begins. Her Greatest Hits album, released in 1967, continues to occasionally appear on the country music charts and was the longest album to stay on the country charts in country music history until Garth Brooks surpassed it in the 1990s. The album still holds the record for an album by a female artist.

    In 1973, Cline was the first female solo artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Johnny Cash announced the honor for the live CMA Awards show, televised from Ryman Auditorium. Along with the standard induction bronze plaque, the hall houses a few of Cline’s stage outfits, personal effects recovered from the crash site, including her “Dixie” cigarette lighter, donated by singer Carl Perkins and letters to her fan club president Louise Seger, about whom the musical Always… Patsy Cline was created.

    MCA continued to release singles throughout much of the 1970s, but none charted.

    In the late 1970s, Cline’s name occasionally appeared in magazine articles and television interviews with West and Lynn, who credited her with inspiration for their success. Shortly after stating in her 1976 autobiography that she would never record an album of Patsy’s hits “because it would hurt too much”, Lynn did just that a year later.

    The tribute album entitled I Remember Patsy, was released in 1977 and contained the single “She’s Got You” a hit with Cline in 1962 and renditions of other Cline favorites such as “Crazy”, “Back in Baby’s Arms” and “Sweet Dreams”. The candid interview which closes the album, recorded with producer Owen Bradley late one night between sessions, gives an intimate look at the ordinary backstage life of a country superstar who was still a housewife and mother – “washing the clothes and waxing the floor”.

    These encounters Lynn led Ellis Nassour, then-manager of MCA artist relations, to create a series of magazine profiles, and to write Honky Tonk Angel, the first of his two biographies.[10] The book featured interviews with Cline’s mother, both husbands and intimate friends and peers such as West, Brenda Lee and Faron Young.

    Lynn’s own 1976 autobiography, Coal Miner’s Daughter, featured an entire chapter dedicated to her friendship with Cline. Viewers were reintroduced to Patsy when the biopic of the same name was released four years later. After Coal Miner’s Daughter opened, MCA re-released “Always”. The soundtrack released used the original 1963 vocal and overdubs by many of the Nashville Sound musicians who had been a part of the original scene. The song reached No. 18 on the Hot Country Songs list in 1980. The following year, two electronically produced duets were released between Cline and Jim Reeves, another legendary country singer who died the year after Cline in another plane crash. Their duet of “Have You Ever Been Lonely (Have You Ever Been Blue)” was a No. 5 country hit that year and their duet of “I Fall to Pieces” became an interesting footnote in music history. Like Cline, Reeves gained a massive fan base following his death, as well as a string of re-issued singles.

    In 1985 the movie Sweet Dreams and in 1990 the book Patsy by Margaret Jones appeared, based on research by Bernard Schwartz.

    In 1992, the U.S. Postal Service created special-issue postage stamps to honor Patsy Cline, along with other country superstars such as Hank Williams, the Carter Family and Bob Wills.

    MCA released a 4-disc comprehensive collection of much of her Four Star and Decca discography, called The Patsy Cline Collection. This boxed set, featuring remixed and remastered sound, included a booklet featuring rare photos and chronicling her short career. According to SoundScan, the set remained one of the top 10 bestselling boxed collections in the record industry as of 2010.

    A Patsy Cline exhibit was featured in 1993 when the Grand Ole Opry opened its doors in Nashville for its inaugural season. Several of her awards, stage outfits, wigs, make-up, hairbrush, and a fully furnished replica of her dream home’s music room were on display. The year marked the 30th anniversary of her death, so the Opry made its Saturday night segment as a tribute to Cline, Hawkins and Copas. With Cline’s widower, Charlie, and their daughter, Julie, on hand, her longtime friend Jan Howard paid tribute to Cline, singing “I Fall to Pieces”, co-written by her ex-husband, Harlan Howard, followed by Lynn, performing the classic “She’s Got You”.

    Later that year, Lynn, Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette included Cline’s cover of “Lovesick Blues” on their Honky Tonk Angels trio album, singing along with Cline’s original vocals lifted off the early multi-track tapes. A year later, Cline became a member of the Texas Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

    The Delta (TV series) starring Delta Burke featured the actress as a Nashville waitress trying to make it into country music. The show referenced Patsy Cline throughout its run, and included several Burke covers of Cline’s hits. In one episode she paid homage to Cline’s grave, where she meets another mourner, singer Tanya Tucker.

    Cline was portrayed on film again in the 1995 CBS biopic Big Dreams and Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story. At that year’s Grammy Awards, Cline was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, by Barbra Streisand and Peggy Lee. On the Grand Ole Opry’s 70th Anniversary Special on CBS, singer Martina McBride celebrated her induction as the Opry’s newest member by paying tribute to Cline with her version of “Crazy.”

    In 1996, thirteen-year-old LeAnn Rimes was discovered by Dallas disc jockey, songwriter, and promoter Bill Mack. The center of Mack’s plan to introduce Rimes was to give her his composition, “Blue,” which he had released as a single in the late 1950s (covered by several artists prior to Rimes). “Blue” was slated for Cline when his version did not become popular, but she died before recording it.

    In 1997, Cline’s recording of “Crazy” was named the number one jukebox hit of all time; “I Fall to Pieces” came in at No. 17. In 1998, she was nominated to The Hollywood Walk of Fame by a dedicated fan, and received her star in 1999; later a street was named after her on the back lot of Universal Studios.

    Also in 1999, VH1 named Cline number eleven on its 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll. She was also honored with the Nashville Golden Voice Award in its Legend Category that same year. Singer Trisha Yearwood celebrated her induction to the Opry by paying tribute to Cline, singing “Sweet Dreams” and receiving a necklace worn by Cline to commemorate the event from Charlie and Julie.

    In 2002, CMT named her number one on its 40 Greatest Women of Country Music, voted by members of the music industry. She was followed by women who had said she inspired them, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn.

    Cline’s hit song, “I Fall to Pieces” was listed at No. 107 on RIAA’s list of Songs of the Century in 2001. Lynn released a sequel to her autobiography, Coal Miner’s Daughter, called Still Woman Enough and again dedicated a chapter to her friendship with Cline (called “Still Thinking of Patsy”). One of Lynn’s daughters is named after Cline, and one of Brenda Lee’s daughter’s is named after Cline’s daughter, Julie.

    Throughout her career, country legend Reba McEntire cited Cline as a childhood inspiration and, upon reaching stardom in the 1980s, featured Cline’s hits on a number of her early albums. For a number of years, McEntire closed all her live shows with “Sweet Dreams”, but stopped after closing a show with it hours before the airplane carrying her band crashed in the pre-dawn hours of March 15, 1991, killing everyone aboard. Six months later, Dottie West died from injuries sustained in a car crash not unlike the 1961 crash which scarred Cline.

    Early in 2005, Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits was certified by the RIAA as Diamond, recognizing the sale of 10 million copies. The album was listed as Longest-Charting Title by a Female Artist in the 2005 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. For its 40th anniversary reissue in 2007, Bob Ludwig remastered the album and featured the original 1967 cover art.[25]

    Later that year, her childhood home in Winchester, Virginia, was awarded a prominent on-site marker cast in bronze for a place on The National Register of Historic Places. The house was placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and features a State of Virginia Historical Marker on the street in front of the house. Cline was further memorialized on a slab of concrete in Owen Bradley Park in downtown Nashville, featuring three of the hits that she and Bradley made famous. The sheet music for “I Fall to Pieces” is on the life-size grand piano that serves as the base for Bradley’s statue.

    Each year, on Labor Day weekend, thousands of fans celebrate Cline’s birthday at Shenandoah Memorial Gardens. Husband Charlie, daughter Julie and all of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as other family members, attended the 20th annual gathering on September 8, 2007.

    After a multi-million dollar renovation at her former school, built in 1923, authorities dedicated “The Patsy Cline Theatre” there in the summer of 2009. The dedication was celebrated with a concert by Cline’s longtime friend and songwriter Willie Nelson.

    In 2011, Cline’s childhood home opened for public tours, proceeds from which benefit a number of organizations dedicated to keeping her memory alive for future generations.

    The video game Deadpool, released in 2013, features two renditions of Cline’s “Crazy”, one by the protagonist and the other by his girlfriend.
    Movies and documentaries
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    In Coal Miner’s Daughter, Beverly D’Angelo portrayed Patsy alongside Sissy Spacek as Lynn. The film gained a wide audience. Instead of lip-synching to the original as was common during the period, both actresses sang. Contrary to the movie script, Cline and Lynn never toured together. Cline never owned a bus (she had planned to buy one before her death) and stars during her time usually traveled in caravans and limousines.

    In 1985, HBO/Tri Star Pictures released Sweet Dreams: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline, starring Jessica Lange in the lead role with Ed Harris and Ann Wedgeworth as her husband Charlie Dick and her mother Hilda Hensley, respectively. The film was based on research by Bernard Schwartz. Lange lip-synched to Cline’s original recordings.

    The film depicted Cline’s marriage to Dick as abusive, portraying Cline as a victim of domestic violence; however, as Dottie West commented in a 1986 interview: “It was always very interesting to watch – because you always knew Patsy was going to win! He was her man. He was her lover.” Cline’s mother was quoted in a 1985 issue of People saying “The producers told me they were going to make a love story. I saw the film once. That was enough. Jessica (Lange) did well with what she had to work with”. Charlie Dick stated in the same article: “It’s a great film – if you like fiction.” The remainder of Cline’s family and close friends claimed that numerous sequences in the film had been inaccurately fictionalized for Hollywood and were not pleased with the final product.

    Several such inaccuracies in Sweet Dreams revolved around the portrayal of the plane crash. The aircraft was portrayed as a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, not a Piper Commanche (in which Cline crashed). The film also portrayed the cause of the crash as engine restarting difficulties after switching from an empty tank to a full tank of fuel (the crash was caused by Hughes’ decision to attempt to fly through a storm while not instrument-rated). The film depicted the plane crashing into a mountain cliff and bursting into flames upon impact (there are no mountains at the actual crash site and the plane did not explode).

    The picture became a hit and Lange was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance, one that she credited as a favorite. The soundtrack, featuring several numbers overdubbed with a new orchestral arrangement, was a success, and Cline’s recordings began to climb the charts again.

    Since the earlier overdubbed recordings had done so well, Bradley and arranger Bill McElhiney laid her original vocals onto a digitally-recorded background for a fresh new sound. These new recordings returned Cline’s voice to attention once again, producing several hits with Walkin’ After Midnight Lovesick Blues and Foolin’ Round from the soundtrack.

    Subsequently, a more accurate series of video documentaries was produced, including most recently Sweet Dreams Still: The Live Collection as well as The Real Patsy Cline and Remembering Patsy. The latter was re-edited and used on the show Biography on the A&E Cable Channel in the mid-1990s.

    Ten years after Sweet Dreams, Patsy was portrayed again in Big Dreams and Broken Hearts: The Dottie West Story, a 1995 CBS made-for-television movie featuring Tere Myers as Patsy and Michelle Lee as Dottie. In 2007, a biopic entitled Crazy about the life of Hank Garland, lead guitarist on many of Patsy’s records, featured Mandy Barnett of Always…Patsy Cline fame as Patsy.
    Plays and musicals
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    A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, created by Dean Regan, and Always…Patsy Cline are the only plays approved by the Patsy Cline Estate and licensed by Legacy, Inc., the family company.

    A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline, created by Dean Regan in 1991, is a musical tribute which showcases her life and music. It has been produced across the United States and Canada with multiple productions by the Springer Opera House and Troupe America, Inc. It ran under the name Patsy! at the Grand Palace in Branson, Missouri for a year, starring Gail Bliss as Patsy Cline. Other celebrated performers in the role are Julie Johnson, Sara-Jeanne Hosie and Bridget Beirne.

    Always… Patsy Cline, produced by Ted Swindley, premiered in 1988. The story was taken and expanded from a section of the Cline biography, Honky Tonk Angel, written by Ellis Nassour. Always… Patsy Cline chronicles the real-life story of her encounter in 1961 with Louise Seger, a fan and Mississippi native who arrived early at the Esquire Ballroom in Houston for Cline’s performance. In a chance encounter before the show, the two met and formed a lasting friendship.

    In the musical, Cline expresses her worry to Seger over the attendance that night, and Seger tells her she’ll have no problem filling the hall. She later persuades Cline to spend the night at her house rather than a hotel. They stay up all night talking, and do a radio spot in the morning.

    The musical relied on letters that Seger received from Cline over the period prior to the singer’s death. They gave the audience an up-close look at Cline’s daily life. The title of the musical came from the sign-off Cline used at the end of each letter. The revue has played across the U.S., running off-Broadway in New York City and for over a year at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, where it sold out nightly, starring singer Mandy Barnett.

    Jake Owen – Barefoot Blue Jean Night – live

    Jake Owen (born August 28, 1981) is an American country music artist. Signed to RCA Records Nashville in 2006, he released his debut album Startin’ with Me that year. The album produced three singles, all of which reached Top 20 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart: “Yee Haw”, “Startin’ with Me”, and “Something About a Woman”. A second album, 2009’s Easy Does It, has accounted for three more singles: “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You”, “Eight Second Ride”, and “Tell Me”. In September 2011, Owen achieved his first number one on the country charts with the title track to his third album, Barefoot Blue Jean Night. He has also toured as an opening act for several country acts, including Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Little Big Town, Sugarland, Keith Urban, and Jason Aldean.
    Jake Owen and his fraternal twin brother Jarrod were born in Vero Beach, Florida on August 28, 1981.[3][4] The brothers regularly participated in a variety of sports. Jake eventually took up golf, and began pursuing a career as a professional golfer, winning his first tournament at fifteen.[3] After graduating from Vero Beach High School, they attended Florida State University. A wakeboarding accident which resulted in reconstructive surgery left Jake unable to continue playing the sport.[5]

    While recovering from his injuries, he borrowed a neighbor’s guitar and began to teach himself how to play it. After seeing a guitarist perform at a campus bar, he asked the bar’s owner if he could play a gig there. Eventually, he became a regular at the bar, and soon took up writing his own material as well.[3] He then moved to Nashville, Tennessee, making his first stop at a bank to open a savings account; after telling the bank teller that he was a singer and songwriter, the teller then asked if he had any recordings available.[4] He gave her a CD of his work, which she sent to the Warner/Chappell Music publishing company.
    Musical career

    Although Warner/Chappell did not sign him to a contract, Jake Owen eventually met the record producer and songwriter Jimmy Ritchey. They, along with songwriter Chuck Jones, wrote a song titled “Ghosts”, which they had intended for Kenny Chesney. Chesney, ultimately, did not record “Ghosts,” although it drew the attention of Sony BMG Nashville executives, who signed Jake to their RCA Records label in 2005.[5] Per their suggestion, Owen changed his first name to Jake, so as to avoid confusion with Josh Turner and Josh Gracin.[4]
    2006-2010: Startin’ with Me and Easy Does It

    In early 2006, Jake Owen released his debut single, titled “Yee Haw”. He describes the song (an up-tempo party anthem in which the narrator expresses his enjoyment with a cry of “yee haw”) as being written “to make people have a good time.”[6] It peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and served as the lead-off single on his debut album, Startin’ with Me.[5]

    Released on July 25, 2006, the album featured 11 tracks, all co-written by him and his producer. Among them were his own recording of “Ghosts” and a duet with Randy Owen (no relation) of Alabama entitled “You Can Thank Dixie”.[7] After the album’s release, Jake Owen was signed as an opening act for acts such as Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.[8]

    The album’s title track, a ballad in which the narrator expresses his desire to change everything in his life, was released as his second single. Spending more than thirty-five weeks on the Billboard country chart, “Startin’ with Me” became his first Top ten hit, reaching a peak of No. 6.[8] Also in 2007, he went on tour with Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn.[8] “Something About a Woman” was released in late 2007 as the third single. In September 2007, he and country quartet Little Big Town joined country duo Sugarland’s tour.[9] During this tour, the three acts began performing “Life in a Northern Town” (a cover of British pop group The Dream Academy’s hit single from 1985). A music video of their live performance was aired on CMT. In April 2008, a recording of this performance entered the Billboard country chart based on unsolicited airplay.

    Jake Owen released his second studio album, Easy Does It, on February 24, 2009. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Top Country Albums and No. 13 on the Billboard 200. The lead-off single to the album, “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” became his first Top 5 country hit, reaching No. 2 on the Hot Country Songs chart in April 2009. “Eight Second Ride”, a song which was originally on Startin’ with Me and newly recorded for Easy Does It, was the album’s second single; it peaked at No. 11 in January 2010. “Tell Me” was the album’s third single, reaching number 35.
    2011-2013: Barefoot Blue Jean Night and Endless Summer

    Owen released his third studio album, Barefoot Blue Jean Night, on August 30, 2011. The lead-off single and title track to the album, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night”, became his first Number One single on the country chart. The album’s second single, “Alone with You”, was released in October 2011, and like its predecessor, it reached Number One on the country chart in March 2012. The album’s next two singles, “The One That Got Away” and “Anywhere with You”, both reached Number One on the Country Airplay chart. Owen toured with Keith Urban in 2011 on his Get Closer World Tour.

    Jake Owen released an extended play titled Endless Summer on September 25, 2012. It includes “Summer Jam”, a collaboration with Florida Georgia Line, which charted within the top 40 of Hot Country Songs despite not being released as a single.
    2013-present: Days of Gold

    The first single from Owen’s fourth studio album, “Days of Gold”, was released to country radio in August 2013. During Owen’s June 2013 StageIt show, he confirmed that the album will also feature the new song “Ghost Town.” The album, also titled Days of Gold, was released on December 3, 2013.[10]
    Personal life

    Owen married model Lacey Buchanan on May 7, 2012, in Vero Beach, Florida.[11] The couple had become engaged on April 7, 2012, after Owen proposed to Buchanan on stage in front of a hometown crowd in Vero Beach, Florida, at his annual charity event.[12] After proposing, he jokingly asked “You’re probably wondering where your ring is, right?” referring to the fact that he proposed without a ring, and his single Don’t Think I Can’t Love You which he had performed prior to proposing.[13] The couple has a daughter named Olive Pearl. She was born on November 22, 2012, Thanksgiving Day.[14]

    Miranda Lambert – “Mama’s Broken Heart” – ACM Awards 2013

    Miranda Leigh Lambert[1] (born November 10, 1983) is an American country music artist who gained fame as a finalist on the 2003 season of Nashville Star, where she finished in third place and later signed to Epic Records. Lambert made her debut with the release of “Me and Charlie Talking”, the first single from her 2005 debut album Kerosene. This album, which was certified Platinum in the United States, also produced the singles “Bring Me Down”, “Kerosene”, and “New Strings”. All four singles were Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.

    After Epic’s Nashville division closed, Lambert was transferred to Columbia Records Nashville for her second album, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which was released in early 2007. Although the title track failed to make top 40, the next three singles (“Famous in a Small Town”, “Gunpowder & Lead”, and “More Like Her”) were all Top 20 hits, with “Gunpowder & Lead” becoming her first Top 10 country hit in July 2008. Lambert’s third album, Revolution, was released in September 2009. Five singles have been released from the album, including Lambert’s two Number One hits “The House That Built Me,” which spent four weeks at the top of the chart, and “Heart Like Mine”. Lambert has also been honored by the Grammy Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the Country Music Association Awards.

    In 2011, Lambert married fellow country singer Blake Shelton. She also released her fourth album, Four the Record, which includes the singles “Baggage Claim”, “Over You” (also a number 1), “Fastest Girl in Town”, “Mama’s Broken Heart” and “All Kinds of Kinds”. Lambert also collaborated with Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley in the side project Pistol Annies.
    Miranda Leigh Lambert was born November 10, 1983, in Longview, Texas, but then raised in Lindale, Texas. Her father, Richard Lee “Rick” Lambert, is a retired police officer who in later life became a private investigator in partnership with her mother, Beverly June Lambert (née Hughes). Miranda was taught about guns by her father in early childhood and later she became an avid deer hunter. Her parents took her to a Garth Brooks concert when she was nine and this started her interest in country music and being famous. Her father started writing and performing country music and she soon began singing in talent shows under his guidance. She then started out playing in local restaurants.

    At sixteen, Lambert appeared on the Johnnie High Country Music Revue in Arlington, Texas, the same talent show that helped launch the career of LeAnn Rimes many year earlier. Lambert then acquired a recording session in Nashville, but left the studio after she became frustrated with the “pop” type of music presented to her. She went back to Texas in 2000 and asked her dad to teach her how to play guitar, so she could write her own songs.[2][3]

    While still attending high school, Lambert made her professional singing debut within the band “The Texas Pride Band.” [4] She also fronted the house band at the Reo Palm Isle[5] in Longview, Texas, a long-running venue that had once a long time ago showed legends such as Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson and the place where the band Brooks & Dunn started out also as the bar room band.

    Melissa Maerz, writer for Entertainment Weekly, stated, “Lambert’s teenage years provided her with some material for her music.” When she was fifteen, her parents opened their suburban home up to an abused woman and her daughter. “She had a black eye and she was bawling,” Miranda remembers, her own eyes widening. “I had heard about domestic abuse before, but that’s when it became real.” So witnessing the after-effects of that other woman’s experience had become an influence for the 2008 song Miranda co-wrote ‘Gunpowder and Lead, “where little girls are made of Gunpowder and Lead..” Miranda Lambert is licensed to carry her very own guns. Her forearm has a tattoo of two entwined guns with angel wings. She says that “knowing she can defend herself with guns makes her feel safe.”[4]
    Music career
    Lambert performing at Laughlin AFB in 2006
    [icon] This section requires expansion with: Critical reception, musical stylings, any other relevant info. (February 2009)
    2003–2008: Musical Beginnings

    In 2002, while performing at Tye Phelps’ country music restaurant and venue “Love And War in Texas”, Miranda and her father, Rick, met entertainment attorney Rod Phelps who had previously been instrumental in getting Garth Brooks, Chris Cagle and Rory Lee Feek to move to Nashville and helping them get recording and writing deals. Phelps was impressed with the Lamberts and sent letters and demos to producer and record executive Mark Wright and Garth’s manager, Bob Doyle. Their positive responses served as encouragement and Miranda went back to Nashville to give it another try.

    In 2003, Lambert auditioned for the talent competition Nashville Star, eventually becoming a third-place finisher on the show. She performed in many places such as The Tap in College Station, Texas when she was 18. On September 15, 2003, she signed with Epic Records.[6] Her debut single, “Me and Charlie Talking” (co-written by her father and Heather Little), was released in summer of 2004 as the lead-off single to her debut album. Titled Kerosene, Lambert’s first album comprised twelve songs, eleven of which she co-wrote. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums charts,[7] and eventually gained a Platinum certification by the RIAA for shipments of over one million copies,[8] selling more than 930,000 copies up to July 2008.[9] Overall, the album produced four Top 40 singles on the Billboard country charts, including the title track which was a Top 20 hit. Lambert also toured with Keith Urban[10] and George Strait[11] in early 2006. In 2007, she toured with Dierks Bentley and Toby Keith.[12]
    Lambert on stage, in Pontiac, Michigan, March 31, 2007

    Lambert’s second album, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was released on May 9, 2007. She wrote eight of the album’s eleven tracks,[13] including its four singles. Much of the track “Gunpowder & Lead,” the album’s third single and her highest-charting single, was written while she was taking a concealed handgun class in her home town.[14]

    In 2005, at the 40th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, Lambert won the Cover Girl “Fresh Face of Country Music Award”. She was also nominated for the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award in 2005; in 2007, Lambert also received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for her single “Kerosene”. She also won the Top New Female Vocalist award at the 2007 ACM (Academy of Country Music) Awards. At the 2008 ACM (Academy of Country Music) Awards, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend won Album of the Year.

    Lambert was ranked No. 90 on the 100 Greatest Women (of Country Music) by Country Universe in 2008.[15]
    2009–2011: Revolution

    In February 2009, Miranda Lambert entered the studio to record her third album, Revolution, which was to be released on September 29, 2009. Lambert co-wrote all but four of the album’s 15 tracks; the album also includes co-writes from Blake Shelton, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum.[16] Ahead of the album’s release, an EP, titled Dead Flowers, was issued on September 8, 2009.[17] The EP, available exclusively at Best Buy, featured the Revolution album track “Dead Flowers” and three bonus tracks previously included on limited editions of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

    During this time, Lambert (along with two other singers), became the new face of Cotton Inc.’s revived “The Touch, The Feel of Cotton” campaign.[18] She has appeared in ads to promote cotton, and the website features a free download of the full version of her song, “Fabric of My Life.”[19]

    Lambert debuted her new single, “Dead Flowers”, at the 44th annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 5, 2009.[20] It was released to country radio on May 4, 2009, and was a minor Top 40 hit on the charts.

    On September 24, 2009, Lambert and her band performed all the tracks on Revolution in sequence at the Ryman Auditorium, five days before its scheduled release date.[16]
    Miranda Lambert performing in Dallas, Texas, July 1, 2007

    Upon the release of Revolution, Lambert’s work was met with significant critical praise.[21] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 85, based on 11 reviews, which indicates “universal acclaim”.[21]

    Rolling Stone magazine praised the album saying, “Lambert remains country’s most refreshing act, and not just because she makes firearms seem like a matter-of-fact female accessory.” Entertainment Weekly magazine said, “She’s found stylistic shades of songwriters twice her age…” and that the album is “…a portrait of an artist in full possession of her powers, and the best mainstream-country album so far this year.” Boston Globe commented that “Revolution’’ is the sound of Miranda Lambert coming into her own.” Slant magazine also had high praises reserved for the album saying, “Miranda Lambert expands on her fascinating, fully realized artistic persona on Revolution.”

    The album’s second single, “White Liar”, was released on August 17, 2009,[22] and debuted at No. 50 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. In February 2010, “White Liar” became Lambert’s first Top Five hit, reaching a peak of No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

    In promotion of Revolution, Miranda Lambert launched a headlining tour; Roadside Bars & Pink Guitars kicked off in March 2010 and included stops in over 22 cities, as well as a performance at the Bonnaroo Music Festival.[23]

    “The House That Built Me,” the album’s third single, was released on March 8, 2010 and became a No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It retained this position for four weeks and it received a platinum certification from the RIAA on July 8, 2010.[24] On February 13, 2011, Lambert won a Grammy Award in the Best Female Country Vocal Performance category for “The House That Built Me.”[25]

    “Only Prettier” followed as the album’s fourth single in July 2010 and its accompanying music video became somewhat viral. The music video for “Only Prettier” was directed by Trey Fanjoy and filmed in Joelton, Tennessee in June 2010,[26] and premiered on VEVO on August 3, 2010.[27] It features a 1950s theme and cameo appearances by fellow country artists Kellie Pickler, Laura Bell Bundy, and Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum. In the video, Lambert and her friends portray two rival cliques attending a high school sock hop.[28] The alter-egos are shown doing things such as spiking the punch, stuffing their bras and smoking. Ultimately, the alter-egos have a bad time at the party, while Lambert, Pickler, Bundy and Scott enjoy themselves the entire night. Additionally, Lambert is also shown performing with her band on stage at the event.

    On September 1, 2010, it was announced Miranda led nominations with an impressive 9 CMA awards, setting a record for the female with the most nominations in a single year by the organization. Miranda performed at the 44th Annual Country Music Association Awards on November 10, 2010.[29] That same night she won the CMA Award for Female Vocalist of the Year and Revolution won Album of the Year.[30] Lambert and Sheryl Crow performed “Coal Miner’s Daughter” as a tribute to country legend Loretta Lynn, who also entered the stage to join them and finished the song with Crow and Lambert as backup. Later that night, Lynn presented the Female Vocalist of the Year CMA award to Lambert.

    In December 2010, “Only Prettier”, eventually reached a peak of number 12 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, giving Lambert her seventh Top 20 hit. “Heart Like Mine” was released in January 2011 as the fifth and final single from Revolution. It became Lambert’s second Number One hit on the country charts for the chart dated May 28, 2011.
    2011–present: Four the Record

    Lambert announced in July 2011 that her fourth studio album, Four the Record, would be released on November 1, 2011.[31] A month later, Sony Music Nashville announced that Lambert and labelmate Josh Thompson would transfer to RCA Nashville as part of a corporate restructuring.[32] Four the Record has produced five singles: “Baggage Claim”, “Over You”, “Fastest Girl in Town”, “Mama’s Broken Heart”, and “All Kinds of Kinds”. “Over You”, which Lambert co-wrote with Shelton, reached number 1 in early 2012. Late in 2012, Lambert appeared on Shelton’s Christmas album Cheers, It’s Christmas, to which she contributed guest vocals on a version of “Jingle Bell Rock”.

    Lambert also recorded a song for The Hunger Games soundtrack (The Hunger Games: Songs from District 12 and Beyond), called “Run Daddy Run” featuring The Pistol Annies. The soundtrack was released on March 20, 2012.

    On October 23, Lambert and Dierks Bentley announced the co-headlined 33-show Locked & Reloaded Tour, beginning on January 17, 2013.[33]
    Acting debut

    Miranda Lambert made her acting debut on NBC’s long-running legal drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in an episode titled “Father’s Shadow”, which originally aired on February 8, 2012. Lambert portrayed an actress named Lacey Ford, who falls under the spell of a nefarious producer (played by Michael McKean) and later claims to have been sexually assaulted by the reality show producer. “I had to really pull from my gut on this whole role I was playing because I’m a very strong, confident person,” the country star says, noting that she was portraying “a more subdued, naïve character” than herself. “I really had to really transform my personality, which I wasn’t sure I could do until I got on the set and sort of just tried to put myself in her shoes.” She went on to add, “This was really nerve-racking all around, but also exciting because I’ve never acted before,” she says. “And then playing an actress trying to get a role, it was like an audition within an audition. It was sort of my audition for myself to see if I could even act at all.”[34][35] Lambert told CMT News, “I have all of the [episodes] TiVo’ed. I watch the marathons. I love them. And I never wanted to act. I still don’t. I don’t want to be an actress. I just wanted to be on that show mainly so I could be a groupie [for their autographs].”[36]

    “I actually played a rape victim, which was crazy to go from never acting to going to such a serious thing. I have a pretty small part, but it’s big to me because I’ve never acted in my life, it was hard. I was really, really nervous, like about to throw up all day. I’m playing a character opposite of my personality, and I’m having to act with people that are actually amazing actors, so it really pushed me out of my comfort zone.”
    —Miranda Lambert, to CMT News.[36]

    Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly praised Lambert in her debut role on SVU; “Lambert quickly communicated a convincing air of sodden despair and desperation. The script’s idea, an all too believable one, was to have Lacey be so desperate to become famous as a reality-TV star, she declined a rape kit test. “If he goes to prison,” she said of McKean’s creep, “What happens to the show? I really want this part.” Lambert really made you feel Lacey’s addled yearning. I don’t know, Miranda — I wouldn’t rule out that acting career so quickly…”[37]
    Pistol Annies
    Main article: Pistol Annies

    On April 4, 2011, during the taping of the Academy of Country Music’s ‘Girls’ Night Out’ television special in Las Vegas, Lambert debuted her new project, girl group Pistol Annies. The group consists of Lambert, Ashley Monroe, and Angaleena Presley. They released their single, “Hell on Heels,” in May 2011,[38] and released their debut album, Hell on Heels, on August 23, 2011, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s country chart. A second Pistol Annies album, Annie Up, was released in May 2013. This album produced the group’s first country chart entry with “Hush Hush”. The Pistol Annies are also one of many acts featured on Blake Shelton’s mid-2013 single “Boys ‘Round Here”, which went to number 1 on Country Airplay. They had previously accompanied Shelton on a rendition of “Blue Christmas” on Cheers, It’s Christmas.
    Personal life

    In 2006, Lambert began dating fellow country singer Blake Shelton.[39] Lambert sang backing vocals on Shelton’s 2008 country cover of Michael Bublé’s song “Home”.[40] The two recorded and co-wrote duet “Bare Skin Rug,” for his studio album Startin’ Fires released later in 2008. Shelton also co-wrote three songs on Revolution, and provided background vocals on “Maintain the Pain.” On May 9, 2010, Shelton proposed to Lambert after receiving her father’s blessing and they became engaged.[41][42] The two married on May 14, 2011 at the Don Strange Ranch in Boerne, Texas.[42] Wearing her mother’s wedding dress, Lambert walked down the aisle and exchanged vows with Shelton in front of 550 family members and friends, including fellow celebrities Reba McEntire, Kelly Clarkson, Cee Lo Green, Martina McBride, Dierks Bentley, Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, Trace Adkins and the Bellamy Brothers. After the ceremony, Lambert expressed her excitement: “I’m married to my best friend! Looking forward to a lifetime of laughter and love.”[43] Lambert and Shelton live in Tishomingo, Oklahoma.

    Lambert once stated that she loves watching the show “Snapped” on Oxygen, the show that tells the stories of female killers. “’It’s so weird,’ she murmurs. ‘I watched one about this woman whose husband had been beating the crap out of her for years. Finally, one day she shot him in the bedroom and shut the door–and left him there for two years. The road it happened on was County Road 233.’ She waits a beat. ‘That was where the guy gets shot in my song ‘Gunpowder and Lead.'” Does she feel responsible? She laughs. ‘You know, women have come up to me and said, ‘You gave me the courage to leave after 10 years of him hitting me.’ That’s the best compliment I could get.’ She stops, suddenly aware of her words. ‘But don’t shoot him,’ she adds, grinning. ‘Or don’t blame it on me if you do.’”[4]

    On February 21, 2013, Lambert appeared on Project Runway as a guest. The contestants of the show were charged with the task of designing two outfits for the singer: one performance look and one red carpet look.[44]

    Dierks Bentley – “My Last Name” Live at the Grand Ole Opry

    Dierks Bentley (born November 20, 1975) is an American country music artist who has been signed to Capitol Records Nashville since 2003. That year, he released his self-titled debut album. Both it and its follow-up, 2005’s Modern Day Drifter, are certified platinum in the United States. A third album, 2006’s Long Trip Alone, is certified gold. It was followed in mid-2008 by a greatest hits package. His fourth album, Feel That Fire was released in February 2009. A bluegrass studio album, Up on the Ridge, was released on June 8, 2010, and then a sixth album, Home, followed in February 2012.

    Bentley’s studio albums have accounted for eighteen singles on the country singles charts, of which ten have reached No. 1: his debut single “What Was I Thinkin'”, as well as “Come a Little Closer”, “Settle for a Slowdown”, “Every Mile a Memory”, “Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)”, “Feel That Fire”, “Sideways”, “Am I the Only One”, “Home”, and “5-1-5-0”. Four more of his singles have reached Top Five on the country charts as well.
    Frederick Dierks Bentley was born on November 20, 1975 in Phoenix, Arizona, son of Leon Fife Bentley, a bank vice-president, and Catherine Childs. His father was born in Glasgow, Missouri to Richard Thomas and Mary Cecile Fife Bentley and was a First Lieutenant in World War II. His middle name, Dierks (which he now uses as his first name publicly) is actually his maternal great-grandmother’s surname. He attended Culver Academies and graduated from The Lawrenceville School. Afterward, he spent a year at the University of Vermont before transferring to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee where he graduated in 1997.[2][3] He was initiated into Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity while at Vermont.
    Music career
    Dierks Bentley opening for Brad Paisley 14 Feb 2009 at Scotiabank Place, Ottawa
    Dierks Bentley and Modern Day Drifter

    Bentley worked at The Nashville Network (now Spike TV), researching old footage of country performances. In 2003, Capitol Nashville released Bentley’s self-titled debut album. The album’s first single, “What Was I Thinkin’,” reached Number One on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts later that year. The next two singles from that album, “My Last Name” and “How Am I Doin’,” reached No. 17 and No. 4, respectively. The album was certified Platinum by the RIAA.

    Bentley’s second Capitol album, Modern Day Drifter, was released in 2005. It spawned two Number One singles, “Settle for a Slowdown” and “Come a Little Closer,” and the Top 5 hit, “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do.” The album was also certified platinum.

    Later in 2005, Bentley won the CMA Award for the Horizon Award (now Best New Artist) and was invited to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry.[4] The induction took place on October 1, 2005. Bentley stands as the third youngest member after Carrie Underwood and Josh Turner.
    Long Trip Alone and Greatest Hits/Every Mile a Memory 2003–2008
    Bentley performing in Saginaw, Michigan, March 31, 2007

    On June 10, 2006, Bentley released his third album, Long Trip Alone. The album produced two No. 1 hits, “Every Mile a Memory” in 2006 and “Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)” in 2007. The title track reached No. 10 on the country charts. The fourth single from the album, “Trying to Stop Your Leaving,” peaked at No. 5.

    In 2007, Bentley released a live DVD titled Live and Loud at the Fillmore, which was filmed in Denver, Colorado.

    In a March 2008 interview, Bentley said he would let his fans be the executive producers of his first greatest hits album, Greatest Hits/Every Mile a Memory 2003-2008. The album was released on May 6, 2008.[5] An album cut, “Sweet & Wild,” reached No. 51 on the Hot Country Songs chart. The song was an uncredited duet with fellow country singer Sarah Buxton.
    Feel That Fire and Up on the Ridge

    Bentley’s fifth studio album, Feel That Fire,[6] was released in February 2009. Its title track, co-written by Brett Beavers and The Warren Brothers, reached Top 40 in October 2008 and became his sixth Number One in February 2009. The second single from the album, “Sideways,” was released on March 2, 2009 and went on to become his seventh Number One in the summer of 2009. The album’s third and final single, “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes,” was released on September 13, and peaked at No. 2.

    Bentley released his sixth studio album, Up on the Ridge, on June 8, 2010. The title track was released to iTunes on April 20, 2010. The song peaked at No. 21 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and became Bentley’s first single to miss the Top 10 since “My Last Name.” The album’s second single, “Draw Me a Map,” was released to radio on August 23, 2010 and peaked at No. 33.
    Home and Country & Cold Cans EP

    Bentley’s seventh album, Home, was released on February 7, 2012, led by the single, “Am I the Only One” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country Singles.[7][8] The second single off the album is “Home”, which also reached No. 1 on March 24, 2012. A third single, “5-1-5-0”, was released shortly after “Home” fell from Number One on the country chart. Dierks has been quoted by American Songwriter explaining “I wrote too many songs. I wrote 70. I wrote a lot. There’s 64 that are never going to see the light of day. That’s 64 days that I can’t get back.”[9]

    On August 21, 2012, Bentley released the Country & Cold Cans EP on iTunes. It includes five songs, including a radio edit of the track “Tip It On Back” from his album Home. Bentley paid for the studio time to record the EP himself.[10] On October 23, Bentley and Miranda Lambert announced the co-headlined 33-show Locked & Reloaded Tour, beginning on January 17, 2013.[11]

    Bentley’s eighth album, Riser, will be released in 2014.[12] The album’s first single, “Bourbon in Kentucky”, was released to country radio on June 10, 2013. It peaked at number 45 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, becoming Bentley’s lowest charting single to date. The album’s second single, “I Hold On”, was released on August 26, 2013.
    Personal life

    Bentley married Cassidy Black on December 17, 2005 in Mexico.[13] They live in Nashville, Tennessee, with their dogs Jake (who has appeared in a few of Dierks’ videos) and George.[14] The couple welcomed their first child, Evelyn Day Bentley (nicknamed “Evie”), on October 4, 2008.[15] Their second daughter, Jordan Catherine Bentley, was born December 25, 2010.[16] On June 2, 2012 he announced his father’s passing the day before.[17] In April 2013, Bentley announced that he and his wife are expecting their third child, a boy. Their son Knox, was born on October 9, 2013.

    Guitars, Tiki Bars and a Whole Lotta Love Tour (2004)
    with Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban
    The Road & The Radio Tour (2006)
    with Kenny Chesney, Sugarland, Carrie Underwood and Jake Owen
    High Times & Hangovers Tour (2006)
    with Cross Canadian Ragweed
    Locked and Loaded Tour (2007)
    with Miranda Lambert and Eric Church
    Free and Easy Summer Tour (2007)
    with Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean
    Throttle Wide Open Tour (2008)
    with Luke Bryan and Bucky Covington
    Paisley Party Tour (2009)
    with Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker
    American Saturday Night Tour (2009)
    with Brad Paisley and Jimmy Wayne
    Up On The Ridge Tour (2010)
    Jägermeister Tour (2011)
    with Josh Thompson
    Country and Cold Cans (2011)
    with Jerrod Niemann and Eli Young Band
    Country and Cold Cans (2012)
    Locked and Re-Loaded Tour (2013)
    with Miranda Lambert, Lee Brice and Thomas Rhett

    Luke Bryan – “Drunk On You” Live at the Grand Ole Opry

    Thomas Luther “Luke” Bryan (born July 17, 1976) is an American pop country singer. Bryan began his musical career in the mid-2000s, writing songs for Travis Tritt and Billy Currington. After signing with Capitol Records in Nashville TN in 2007, he released the album I’ll Stay Me, which included the singles “All My Friends Say”, “We Rode in Trucks” and “Country Man”. Follow-up album Doin’ My Thing included “Do I”, which Bryan co-wrote with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum, and the number one singles “Rain Is a Good Thing” and “Someone Else Calling You Baby”. Tailgates & Tanlines, released in 2011, includes “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)”, and the number one singles “I Don’t Want This Night to End”, “Drunk on You”, and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”. Bryan’s fourth album, Crash My Party, was released in August 2013 and includes the number one singles “Crash My Party” and “That’s My Kind of Night”. Bryan co-wrote all of his singles with the exception of “Drunk on You”, “Crash My Party” and “That’s My Kind of Night” and co-produced all four albums and one compilation album with Jeff Stevens. Bryan was the recipient of the Academy of Country Music Awards’ Entertainer of the Year award.[4]
    Luke Bryan was born and raised in Leesburg, Georgia. At age fourteen, his parents bought him his first guitar, and after learning to play it, he joined various local bands and began to play in local clubs. He had planned to move to Nashville for the music industry, but his older brother (Chris Bryan) died in a car crash the night before he moved. Luke decided to attend a college closer to home, Georgia Southern University, because he felt as though his family was more important than going to Music City. He kept on with his music career, though, by playing with local bands. Luke Bryan also had a sister named Kelly. She was one of the people who inspired him to go into the music industry. It was hard for them both to get over their brother’s death. Bryan started working for the family business at that point, but his unhappiness was obvious. With a little push from his dad (His dad said if he didn’t move to Nashville he would fire him), Bryan moved to Nashville in September 2001. Within two months he signed a songwriting contract with Roger Murrah and one of his songs was on Travis Tritt’s album in 2005. Soon after when he was playing in a club he was signed by a representative from Captiol Records right then and there he was offered a record deal and a publishing deal, and he started making his very first album, ‘I’ll Stay Me.’ Tragedy then hit Bryan’s family again when his sister Kelly, who was 39 at the time, suddenly passed away when she was at home with her young son. “They never determined what happened,” Bryan continues. “The autopsies, the coroner, no one could figure it out.” The singer has finally come to terms with the deaths of his brother and sister with the help of his faith, but wishes his sons could meet his siblings.[5]
    2007–2008: I’ll Stay Me
    Bryan performing in 2008

    Soon after his arrival in Nashville, Bryan joined a publishing house in the city.[3] Among his first cuts was the title track of Travis Tritt’s 2004 album My Honky Tonk History.[6] He was later signed by Capitol Records to a recording contract.[3] In the meantime, Bryan co-wrote Billy Currington’s single “Good Directions”, which went to number 1 on the Hot Country Songs charts in mid-2007.[7] Bryan co-wrote his debut single, “All My Friends Say”, with producer Jeff Stevens. This song reached a peak of number 5 on Hot Country Songs.[8] In August 2007, Capitol released Bryan’s debut album, I’ll Stay Me.[9] Bryan wrote or co-wrote all but one of its 11 songs. The album’s second single, “We Rode in Trucks”, peaked at number 33 while “Country Man” reached number 10.[8]

    Thom Jurek of Allmusic gave the album a positive review, considering Bryan’s lyrics “in the mainline of honky tonk tradition” although he thought some of the sound was “calculated”.[9]
    2009–2010: Doin’ My Thing

    On March 10, 2009, he released an EP titled Spring Break With All My Friends that featured two new songs, “Sorority Girls” and “Take My Drunk Ass Home,” plus an acoustic version of “All My Friends Say.”[10] After this EP, he released his fourth single, “Do I”. Bryan wrote the song with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of Lady Antebellum, whose lead singer Hillary Scott also sings backing vocals on it.[11] The song reached number two on the country songs chart.[8]

    “Do I” was included on Bryan’s second album, Doin’ My Thing, which was released in October 2009. Also included on the album was a cover of OneRepublic’s “Apologize”.[12] Bryan wrote the album’s next two singles, “Rain Is a Good Thing” and “Someone Else Calling You Baby”, with Dallas Davidson and Jeff Stevens, respectively. Both of these songs went to number 1 on the country music charts.[8] Allmusic gave this album a positive review as well, with Stephen Thomas Erlewine considering Bryan more “relaxed” in comparison to his debut.[12]

    On February 26, 2010, Bryan released a second EP, titled Spring Break 2…Hangover Edition, which featured three new songs: “Wild Weekend”, “Cold Beer Drinker”, and “I’m Hungover”.[10]

    Bryan appeared on the April 18, 2010, episode of Celebrity Apprentice alongside fellow country star Emily West. The task for each team was to make-over an up-and-coming country star, with Bryan being selected by team Rocksolid, led by Bill Goldberg, and West being selected by team Tenacity, led by Cyndi Lauper. Bryan’s make-over failed to impress the judges, leading to team Rocksolid losing the task. Bryan’s new single, Rain Is a Good Thing, and West’s single “Blue Sky”, were both sold on iTunes with a months worth of sales being donated to Lauper’s charity, the Stonewall Community Foundation, resulting in $25,000 being raised.
    2011–2012: Tailgates & Tanlines

    Bryan released his third EP, Spring Break 3…It’s a Shore Thing, on February 25, 2011, featuring four new songs—”In Love With the Girl,” “If You Ain’t Here to Party,” “Shore Thing,” and “Love In a College Town.”[10] This release was followed by Bryan’s seventh single, “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)”, which was released on March 14, 2011.[13] Also co-written by Bryan and Davidson,[14] it served as the lead-off single to his third studio album, Tailgates & Tanlines, which was released August 9, 2011.[10] The album peaked at number one on the Top Country Albums and number two on the Billboard 200.[8] “Country Girl” peaked at number 4 on the country charts and number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100.[8] The album’s next three singles—”I Don’t Want This Night to End,” “Drunk On You,” and “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”—all reached number one on the country charts.[8] Bryan, along with Eric Church, sang guest vocals on Jason Aldean’s “The Only Way I Know,” the second single from his 2012 album Night Train.

    On March 6, 2012, Bryan released his fourth Spring Break EP entitled Spring Break 4 … Suntan City. Along with the title track, which Bryan co-wrote with Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip, the EP includes “Spring Break-Up,” “Little Bit Later On,” and “Shake the Sand.”[15] Caulfield expresses, “Spring Break is mostly a compilation of tracks previously released on Bryan’s four earlier Spring Break-themed EPs, all of which were only available as downloads. Released between 2009 and 2012, the four EPs have sold a combined 145,000, according to Sound- Scan. None of the tracks on those releases were promoted as radio singles”.

    On October 12, 2012, Luke Bryan announced his first headlining tour, the “Dirt Road Diaries Tour,” which started on January 17, 2013 in Evansville, Indiana and visited a total of twenty cities before ending on March 23 in Charlottesville, Virginia.[16] Opening artists on the tour are Thompson Square and Florida Georgia Line.[16]

    On January 30, 2013, Bryan announced his first compilation album, Spring Break…Here to Party, which includes fourteen songs — twelve from his previous Spring Break EPs and two new tracks. It was released on March 5.[17] The album debuted at number 1 on both the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and the Billboard 200, becoming the first album of his career to top the all-genre album chart. One of the new Spring Break songs, “Buzzkill”, reached the Top 20 on the Hot Country chart.
    2013–present: Crash My Party

    Bryan’s fourth studio album, Crash My Party, was released on August 13, 2013.[18] The album’s first single, “Crash My Party”, was premiered in a performance at the 2013 ACM Awards and released on April 7, 2013.[19] It reached number one on the Country Airplay chart in July 2013. The album’s second single, “That’s My Kind of Night”, was released to country radio on August 5, 2013. It reached Number One on the Hot Country Songs chart in August 2013 and peaked at Number Two on the Country Airplay chart in October 2013. The album’s third single, “Drink a Beer”, was released to country radio on November 11, 2013.

    Jason Aldean – “Night Train” Live at the Grand Ole Opry

    Jason Aldean (born Jason Aldine Williams; February 28, 1977) is an American pop country singer. Since 2005, Aldean has recorded for Broken Bow Records, an independent record label for which he has released five albums and sixteen singles. His 2010 album My Kinda Party is certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), while his 2005 self-titled debut, 2007 album Relentless and 2009 album Wide Open are all certified platinum. Of his singles, nine have reached the number one position on the Hot Country Songs charts: “Why”, “She’s Country”, “Big Green Tractor”, “The Truth”, “Don’t You Wanna Stay” (a duet with Kelly Clarkson), “Dirt Road Anthem”, “Fly Over States”, “Take a Little Ride”, and “The Only Way I Know”. Seven more have reached top ten on the same chart.
    Aldean was born in Macon, Georgia. His parents, Barry and Debbie, divorced when he was three. He was raised by his mother, mainly in Macon, where he went to high school at Windsor Academy. During the summer he would spend time with his father in Homestead, Florida.

    Before going to work during the day, his dad would map out guitar chords on notebook paper to show Aldean where to place his fingers to play the chords. Aldean sat and practiced all day while his dad was at work. When his dad got home, he got out his own guitar and they played together. Soon, after hearing a song only a few times, he could play it. His early favorites included George Strait’s “The Cowboy Rides Away”, Hank Williams Jr.’s “The Blues Man”, and Alabama’s “My Home’s in Alabama”. Both parents encouraged young Aldean as he progressed musically. From age 14, after watching the country-music awards on TV, he wanted to perform on stage. With his mother’s help, he performed at the local VFW hall in Macon, Georgia. He sang John Anderson’s song “Seminole Wind” and Tracy Lawrence’s “Sticks and Stones”. He would later say that the entire audience – all ten – applauded, and that he almost had to be dragged off the stage because he was hooked on performing. He began performing at area talent contests and local fairs. At 15, he joined the “house band” at Georgia nightspot Nashville South.

    Aldean chose his stage name, as a result of his name “Jason Williams” sounding too generic, along with the fact that the name was commonly associated with basketball as there were three players with the same name at the time his music career began. He changed the spelling of his middle name, Aldine, to come up with the name Aldean.
    Personal life

    Aldean married his high school sweetheart, Jessica Ussery, on August 4, 2001. Together the couple has two daughters, Kendyl and Keeley. On April 25, 2013, seven months after Aldean admitted to acting inappropriately with former American Idol contestant Brittany Kerr, news outlets reported Aldean and his wife had separated in January.[3] Aldean filed for divorce on April 26, citing irreconcilable differences.[2]

    Along with current Major League Baseball (MLB) players Adam LaRoche and Ryan Langerhans, former MLB players Chipper Jones and Tombo Martin, Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty, and fellow country singer Luke Bryan, Aldean owns a hunting company called Buck Commander.[4]

    He also has 1300 acres of land just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.[5]

    Jason is a huge Georgia Bulldogs fan and spends every Saturday he can watching games. He played the first-ever concert at the University of Georgia’s Sanford Stadium for over 60,000 fans in April 2013, and Ludacris happened to make an appearance for their collaboration of “Dirt Road Anthem.” Aldean has a bulldog named Athens, for the location of the university and also has a “Man Barn” on his 1,300-acre farm, which includes televisions, a full bar, leather couches, and Georgia Bulldogs decorations. The farm has been dubbed “Black Jack Ridge.”[6]
    Musical career

    After high school, with his father’s help, Aldean and his band performed in Kirksville MO, At Truman State University. With one of the band’s members, Justin Weaver, Aldean began writing songs. In 1998 he performed his original songs at a showcase staged by Atlanta nightclub The Buckboard. He was approached by Michael Knox, then of the Warner-Chappell song-publishing company.[7] After signing with Warner-Chappell, Aldean moved to Nashville on November 1, 1998, at age 21.

    Aldean was offered a recording contract but was subsequently dropped. He signed with another label but again was dropped in 2000 for postponing his recording sessions repeatedly. Various showcases failed to bring him a contract. The last straw was an attempt at the Wildhorse Saloon where the promised label talent scouts never even showed up. Finally, Lawrence Mathis spotted Aldean at one of the showcases at The Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Mathis signed as Aldean’s first manager. Still frustrated and discouraged with his struggling career, Aldean gave himself six months before planning to leave Nashville and return home to Georgia. Then five weeks later, he was offered a deal from Broken Bow Records in Nashville. Shortly after the release of his first album, Aldean picked up his new (and current) agent, Kevin Neal. Furthermore, while recording Relentless, Aldean moved to Clarence Spalding and Spalding Entertainment for management.
    Jason Aldean (2005–2006)

    Aldean’s first single, “Hicktown”, was released in early 2005.[7] It served as the lead-off to his album Jason Aldean, and reached a peak of No. 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. The album also produced his first Number One hit in “Why”, as well as the No. 4-peaking “Amarillo Sky”, which had previously been a non-charting single in 2002 for McBride & the Ride. Amarillo Sky earned a 2006 ACM nomination for song of the year and video of the year. Aldean earned the title of “Top New Male Vocalist” at the 2006 Academy of Country Music Awards. Jason Aldean has sold over one million copies in the United States, and was certified platinum by the RIAA in 2007.
    Relentless (2007–2008)

    Aldean spent most of January 2007 in the studio with producer Michael Knox to finish his second album, Relentless.[7] This album was released on May 29, 2007, and at Wal-Mart, it was released with a Limited Edition CMT Pick DVD that includes performances from Aldean. The album’s lead-off single, “Johnny Cash”, was originally recorded by Tracy Byrd and peaked at No. 6 when Aldean released it. Its followup, “Laughed Until We Cried”, has become his fifth consecutive Top Ten hit. Relentless has also been certified platinum by the RIAA, and its title track was released as its third single. The song has also been Aldean’s lowest charting single in both the U.S. and Canada, failing to reach Top Ten on the country charts.
    Wide Open (2009–2010)

    Aldean released a seventh single titled “She’s Country” to radio on December 1, 2008. It is the first single from his third album Wide Open which was released on April 7, 2009. The single debuted at No. 51 on the Hot Country Songs chart in late-November 2008. His seventh consecutive Top 40 hit on the country charts, it is also his first Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, and became his second number-one hit, and his first since “Why” in May 2006. The next single, the David Lee Murphy-Jim Collins co-write “Big Green Tractor,” became Aldean’s third Number One hit. Wide Open debuted at No. 2 on the Top Country Albums chart. “The Truth” became the album’s third consecutive Number One hit in January 2010, with “Crazy Town” being the album’s fourth single, peaking at No. 2 on the country charts.

    Aldean performed with Bryan Adams on an episode of CMT Crossroads in the beginning of May, and the episode premiered on June 26, 2009.[8] In an interview with Shave Magazine, Aldean explained that working with Bryan on Crossroads “was great. He was a lot of fun.” But the real highlight for Aldean was working with Randy Owen. “I am a big fan of Alabama so I got a chance to work with Randy Owen on this album (it didn’t make the album but it eventually made a bonus track). It was really cool. Alabama were like ‘The Beatles’ for me so working with him was definitely one of the highlights. I mean, both of those guys were really cool moments, but, if I had to pick one highlight, it would be working with Randy this year.”[9]

    A live DVD titled Wide Open Live & More was released on August 25, 2009.

    At the 2010 CMT Music Awards, Aldean picked up 3 nominations in Video of the Year and Male Video of the Year for “The Truth”, as well as collaborative video of the year and CMT performance of the year for his performance of “Heaven” with Bryan Adams.[10]
    My Kinda Party (2010–2012)

    Aldean released a new single in August 2010, “My Kinda Party,” which entered the Hot Country Songs chart at No. 41, which is the lead-off single from his album of the same name, released on November 2, 2010.[11] It marks as Aldean’s tenth top 10 country hit. He also collaborated with Kelly Clarkson on the intimate duet “Don’t You Wanna Stay”. Aldean and Clarkson’s performance on November 10, 2010, at the CMA Awards received positive recognition, and debuted at No. 59 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart from unsolicited airplay for the week of November 20, 2010. In March 2011, “Don’t You Wanna Stay” became Aldean’s fifth number one hit.

    In early 2011, Aldean’s recording of “Dirt Road Anthem”, recorded previously by both of its writers, country rap artist Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert (who also wrote “My Kinda Party”), debuted on the Hot Country Songs chart at No. 57 as an album cut from unsolicited airplay for the week of February 5, 2011.[12] In March 2011, “Dirt Road Anthem” was selected as the third single from My Kinda Party. Aldean also collaborated with Ludacris on the song “Dirt Road Anthem” at the 2011 CMT Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee on June 8, 2011. In addition to making number one on the Hot Country Songs chart for the week of July 30, 2011, “Dirt Road Anthem” has also become Aldean’s first top ten hit on the Hot 100 chart.

    Aldean performed his song “My Kinda Party” at the start of the 2011 Home Run Derby, aired on ESPN.

    Aldean won the CMA award for Album of the Year in 2011 as well as the Musical Event of the Year with his duet, “Don’t You Wanna Stay”, with Kelly Clarkson. It was his first win.

    On October 25, 2011, it was announced that Aldean will be performing on The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live! – Countdown to Music’s Biggest Night, the one-hour special which takes place live on Wednesday, Nov. 30, at the Nokia Theatre L.A. The show will announce nominations in several categories as well as feature performances by past GRAMMY winners and/or nominees.[13]

    The fourth single from My Kinda Party was “Tattoos on This Town” at number 2, followed by the number 1 “Fly Over States”.
    Night Train (2012–present)

    The first single from Aldean’s fifth album was “Take a Little Ride.” It was released on July 16, 2012. Later, the album’s title was announced as Night Train. The album was released on October 16, 2012. The album’s second single, “The Only Way I Know,” is a collaboration among Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church. The album’s third single, “1994,” is a tribute to Joe Diffie. The album’s fourth single, “Night Train”, was released to country radio on June 24, 2013. “Take a Little Ride”, “The Only Way I Know” and “Night Train” peaked at number one on the Country Airplay chart.

    During a radio interview on May 18, Aldean hinted at another possible collaboration with Ludacris. He did state that it would not be on Night Train.[14]

    Aldean performed “My Kinda Party” during the People’s Choice Awards on January 9, 2013.

    On June 5, 2013, Jason Aldean co-hosted the 2013 CMT Music Awards with actress Kristen Bell. Aldean and Lenny Kravitz opened the awards show singing “American Woman”.[15]

    The album’s fifth single, “When She Says Baby”, was released to country radio in late-October 2013.
    Road band

    Aldean’s road band consists of Rich Redmond, Tully Kennedy, Kurt Allison, and David Fanning. Redmond, Kennedy, and Allison were formerly in the band Rushlow, which was fronted by former Little Texas lead vocalist Tim Rushlow. The road band produces for Thompson Square and Parmalee, who are also signed to Broken Bow, under the name New Voice Entertainment.[16]

    Me & My Gang Tour 2006
    with Rascal Flatts & Gary Allan (Eric Church was kicked off for playing too long and Aldean took his spot, along with Taylor Swift)
    Still Feels Good 2007
    with Rascal Flatts, Kellie Pickler, Taylor Swift
    Free and Easy Summer Tour
    with Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert 2007
    Live Your Voice Tour
    with Tim McGraw 2008
    CMT ON TOUR: Relentless
    with Lady Antebellum 2008
    Last Rodeo Tour
    with Brooks & Dunn 2010
    Wide Open Tour 2010
    with Luke Bryan (All Year) & David Nail, Jake Owen, Uncle Kracker, Love and Theft (Select Dates)
    My Kinda Party Tour 2011 with
    Spring Leg: Eric Church & The JaneDear Girls
    Fall Leg: Chris Young & Thompson Square
    My Kinda Party Tour 2012
    with Luke Bryan (All Year), Lauren Alaina (Spring Leg) & Rachel Farley (Summer & Fall Leg)
    2013 Night Train Tour
    with Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Jake Owen, Thomas Rhett & Kelly Clarkson (Select Dates)

    Awards and nominations
    Year Organization Award Result
    2005 ACM Awards Top New Male Vocalist Won
    2007 ACM Awards[17] Song of the Year – “Amarillo Sky” Nominated
    Video of the Year – “Amarillo Sky” Nominated
    CMA Awards[18] Horizon Award Nominated
    2010 American Country Awards Male Artist of the Year Nominated
    CMT Music Awards[19] Video of the Year – “The Truth” Nominated
    Male Video of the Year – “The Truth” Nominated
    Collaborative Video of the Year – “Heaven” with Bryan Adams from CMT Crossroads Nominated
    2011 ACM Awards[20] Entertainer of the Year Nominated
    Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
    Billboard Music Awards[21] Top Country Artist Nominated
    Top Country Album – “My Kinda Party” Nominated
    CMT Music Awards[22] Video of the Year – “My Kinda Party” Nominated
    Male Video of the Year – “My Kinda Party” Nominated
    Collaborative Video of the Year – “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson Nominated
    Best Web Video of the Year – “My Kinda Party” live from webcast Nominated
    CMA Awards[23] Entertainer of the Year Nominated
    Single of the Year – “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson Nominated
    Musical Event of the Year – “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson Won
    Album of the Year – My Kinda Party Won
    Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
    Billboard Touring Awards[24] Breakthrough Won
    American Music Awards[25] Favorite Country Male Artist Nominated
    Favorite Country Album – “My Kinda Party” Nominated
    American Country Awards[26] Male Music Video of the Year – “My Kinda Party” Nominated
    Artist of the Year Won
    Male Artist of the Year Nominated
    Album of the Year – My Kinda Party Won
    Single of the Year: Male – “My Kinda Party” Won
    Single of the Year: Vocal Collaboration – “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson Won
    Touring Headline Act of the Year Won
    Music Video: Group, Duo, or Collaboration – “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson Won
    2012 Grammy Awards[27] Best Country Solo Performance – “Dirt Road Anthem” Nominated
    Best Country Duo/Group Performance – “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson Nominated
    Best Country Album – “My Kinda Party” Nominated
    ACM Awards[28] Entertainer of the Year Nominated
    Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
    Album of the Year – “My Kinda Party” Nominated
    Vocal Event of the Year – “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson Won
    Single Record of the Year – “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with Kelly Clarkson Won
    Video of the Year – “Tattoos on This Town” Nominated
    Billboard Music Awards[29] Top Country Artist Nominated
    Top Country Album – “My Kinda Party” Won
    Top Country Song – “Dirt Road Anthem” Won
    CMT Music Awards[30] Video of the Year – “Dirt Road Anthem” Nominated
    Male Video of the Year – “Dirt Road Anthem” Nominated
    CMT Performance of the Year – “Tattoos On This Town” from Artists of the Year Won
    Teen Choice Awards Male Country Artist Nominated
    Choice Country Song: Tattoos On This Town Nominated
    CMA Awards Entertainer of the Year Nominated
    Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
    Single of the Year Nominated
    American Music Awards[31] Country Music: Favorite Male Artist Nominated
    American Country Awards[31] Artist of the Year Nominated
    Male Artist of the Year Nominated
    Single of the Year – “Tattoos On This Town” Nominated
    Single by a Male Artist – “Tattoos On This Town” Nominated
    Song of the Year: “Fly Over States” Nominated
    Song of the Year: “Tattoos On This Town” Nominated
    Touring Artist of the Year Won
    2013 People’s Choice Awards Favorite Country Singer Nominated
    ACM Awards Entertainer of the Year Nominated
    Male Vocalist of the Year Won
    Vocal Event of the Year – “The Only Way I Know”(with Luke Bryan & Eric Church) Won
    Billboard Music Awards Top Country Artist Nominated
    Top Country Album- “Night Train” Nominated
    Top Male Artist Nominated
    CMT Music Awards Video of the Year – “1994” Nominated
    Male Video of the Year – “Take a Little Ride” Nominated
    Collaborative Video of the Year – “The Only Way I Know”(with Luke Bryan & Eric Church) Won
    Teen Choice Awards Male Country Artist Nominated
    CMA Awards[32] Entertainer of the Year Nominated
    Male Vocalist of the Year Nominated
    Musical Event of the Year – “The Only Way I Know”(with Luke Bryan & Eric Church) Nominated
    American Country Awards[33] Artist of the Year Pending
    Artist of the Year: Male Pending
    Album of the Year: Night Train Pending
    Single of the Year – Vocal Collaboration: “The Only Way I Know”(with Luke Bryan & Eric Church) Pending
    Touring Artist of the Year Pending
    Music Video of the Year: Male – Take a Little Ride Pending

    Taylor Swift – Live in Las Vegas

    Taylor Alison Swift (born December 13, 1989) is an American singer-songwriter. Raised in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Swift moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of fourteen to pursue a career in country music. She signed with the independent label Big Machine Records and became the youngest songwriter ever hired by the Sony/ATV Music publishing house. The release of Swift’s eponymous debut album in 2006 established her as a country music star. “Our Song”, her third single, made her the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a number one song on the country chart. She received a Best New Artist nomination at the 2008 Grammy Awards.

    Swift’s second album, Fearless, was released in 2008. Buoyed by the pop crossover success of the singles “Love Story” and “You Belong with Me”, Fearless became the best-selling album of 2009 and was supported by an extensive concert tour. The record won four Grammy Awards, with Swift becoming the youngest ever Album of the Year winner. Swift’s third album, 2010’s Speak Now, sold over one million copies in its first week of US release and was supported by the Speak Now World Tour. The album’s third single, “Mean”, won two Grammy Awards. Swift’s fourth album, Red, was released in 2012. Its opening US sales of 1.2 million were the highest recorded in a decade, with Swift becoming the only female artist to have two million-plus opening weeks. The singles “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble” were worldwide hits. The Red Tour is visiting worldwide venues in 2013 and 2014.

    Swift is known for her narrative songs about her experiences as a teenager and young adult. As a songwriter, she has been honored by the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Swift’s other achievements include seven Grammy Awards, twelve Billboard Music Awards, fifteen American Music Awards, eleven Country Music Association Awards and six Academy of Country Music Awards. She has sold over 26 million albums and 75 million digital single downloads worldwide. Forbes estimates that she is worth over $220 million. In addition to her music career, Swift has appeared as an actress in the ensemble comedy Valentine’s Day (2010) and the animated film The Lorax (2012). As a philanthropist, Swift supports arts education, children’s literacy, natural disaster relief, LGBT anti-discrimination efforts, and charities for sick children.
    Taylor Alison Swift was born on December 13, 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania.[1] Her father, Scott Swift, is a Merrill Lynch financial adviser.[2] Scott was raised in Pennsylvania and is the descendant of three generations of bank presidents.[1][3] Her mother, Andrea (née Finlay), is a homemaker who previously worked as a mutual fund marketing executive.[4] Andrea spent the first ten years of her life in Singapore, before settling in Texas; her father was an oil rig engineer who worked throughout Southeast Asia.[3] Swift has a younger brother, Austin, who attends the University of Notre Dame.[5] She and her brother were raised in the Presbyterian faith and attended bible school.[6][7] She spent the early years of her life on an eleven-acre Christmas tree farm in Cumru Township, Pennsylvania.[8] She attended preschool and kindergarten at the Alvernia Montessori School, run by Franciscan nuns,[9] and was later educated at the Wyndcroft School, a co-ed private school.[10] When Swift was nine years old, the family moved to a rented house in the suburban town of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania,[11] where she attended West Reading Elementary Center and Wyomissing Area Junior/Senior High School.[12] Swift summered at her parents’ waterfront vacation home in Stone Harbor, New Jersey and has described it as the place “where most of my childhood memories were formed.”[13]

    Swift’s family owned several Quarter horses and a Shetland pony and her first hobby was English horse riding.[14] Her mother first put her in a saddle when she was nine months old and she later competed in horse shows.[15] At the age of nine, Swift became interested in musical theatre. She performed in many Berks Youth Theatre Academy productions and traveled regularly to Broadway for vocal and acting lessons.[16][17] Swift then turned her attention to country music; Shania Twain’s songs made her “want to just run around the block four times and daydream about everything.”[18] She spent her weekends performing at local festivals, fairs, coffeehouses, karaoke contests, garden clubs, Boy Scout meetings and sporting events.[3][4][19] At the age of eleven, after many failed attempts,[20] Swift won a local talent competition by singing a rendition of LeAnn Rimes’s “Big Deal”, and was given the opportunity to appear as the opening act for Charlie Daniels at a Strausstown amphitheater.[16] This growing ambition began to isolate Swift from her middle school peers.[1]

    After watching a Behind the Music episode about Faith Hill, Swift felt sure that she needed to go to Nashville, Tennessee to pursue a music career.[21] At the age of eleven, she traveled with her mother to Nashville for spring break to leave a demo of Dolly Parton and Dixie Chicks karaoke covers with record labels along Music Row.[22] She received label rejections and realized that “everyone in that town wanted to do what I wanted to do. So, I kept thinking to myself, I need to figure out a way to be different.”[23] At the age of twelve, Swift was shown by a computer repairman how to play three chords on a guitar, inspiring her to write her first song, “Lucky You”.[24] She had previously won a national poetry contest with a poem titled “Monster in My Closet” but now began to focus on songwriting.[25] In 2003, Swift and her parents started working with New York-based music manager Dan Dymtrow. With Dymtrow’s help, Swift modelled for Abercrombie and Fitch as part of their “Rising Stars” campaign, had an original song included in a Maybelline Cosmetics compilation CD and took meetings with major record labels.[26] After performing original songs at an RCA Records showcase, the eighth-grader was given an artist development deal and began making frequent trips to Nashville with her mother.[27]

    When Swift was fourteen, her father transferred to the Nashville office of Merrill Lynch and the family relocated to a lakefront house in Hendersonville, Tennessee.[1] “My parents took all the pressure off by saying, ‘We’re just moving because we love the area, so don’t worry.’ They knew nothing about the industry and had no involvement in entertainment, but I was obsessed with it and so they did their research and read up about it to help me in every way they could. They’re amazing people.”[28] In Tennessee, she attended Hendersonville High School for her freshman and sophomore years.[29] Later, to accommodate her touring schedule, Swift transferred to the Aaron Academy, a private Christian school which offered homeschooling services. She earned her high school diploma in 2008, having completed her final two years of course work in twelve months.[30][31]
    Music career
    2004–08: Career beginnings and Taylor Swift

    Swift moved to Nashville at the age of fourteen. As part of her artist development deal with RCA Records, she had writing sessions with experienced Music Row songwriters such as Troy Verges, Brett Beavers, Brett James, Mac McAnally and The Warren Brothers.[32][33] She eventually formed a lasting working relationship with Liz Rose. Swift saw Rose performing at an RCA songwriter event and suggested that they write together.[34] They began meeting for two-hour writing sessions every Tuesday afternoon after school.[35] Rose has said that the sessions were “some of the easiest I’ve ever done. Basically, I was just her editor. She’d write about what happened in school that day. She had such a clear vision of what she was trying to say. And she’d come in with the most incredible hooks.”[36] Swift also began recording demos with producer Nathan Chapman.[34] After performing at a BMI Songwriter’s Circle showcase at The Bitter End, New York,[33] Swift became the youngest songwriter ever hired by the Sony/ATV Tree publishing house.[37] Swift left RCA Records when she was fifteen; the company wanted her to record the work of other songwriters and wait until she was eighteen to release an album, but she felt ready to launch her career with her own material.[20][38] She also parted ways with manager Dan Dymtrow, who later took legal action against Swift and her parents.[26] “‘I genuinely felt that I was running out of time,” Swift later recalled. “I wanted to capture these years of my life on an album while they still represented what I was going through.”[39] At an industry showcase at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe in 2005, Swift caught the attention of Scott Borchetta, a DreamWorks Records executive who was preparing to form his own independent record label, Big Machine Records. She became one of the label’s first signings, with her father purchasing a three per cent stake in the fledgling company at an estimated cost of $120,000.[40][41] As an introduction to the country music business, Borchetta arranged for Swift to intern as an artist escort at the CMA Music Festival.[42]
    Taylor Swift sits and leans over her oak guitar while picking a string
    Swift performing at the Maverick Saloon & Grill in Santa Maria, California in 2006

    Swift began working on her eponymous debut album shortly after signing her record deal. After experimenting with veteran Nashville producers, Swift persuaded Big Machine to hire her demo producer Nathan Chapman. It was his first time to record a studio album but Swift felt they had the right “chemistry.”[20] Swift wrote three of the album’s songs alone, including two singles, and co-wrote the remaining eight with writers such as Liz Rose, Robert Ellis Orrall and Angelo Petraglia.[43] Musically, the album has been described as “a mix of trad-country instruments and spry rock guitars.”[44] Taylor Swift was released in October 2006. The New York Times described it as “a small masterpiece of pop-minded country, both wide-eyed and cynical, held together by Ms. Swift’s firm, pleading voice.”[45] The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones described the sixteen-year-old Swift as a “prodigy.” He noted that “Our Song” “stop[ed] me in my tracks” and praised the lyrics: “He’s got a one-hand feel on the steering wheel, the other on my heart.”[46] Rolling Stone described Swift as “bright-eyed but remarkably seasoned,” and admired “Our Song”‘s “insanely hooky sing-song melody that’s as Britney as it is Patsy.”[44]
    Taylor Swift, wearing a white dress and sunglasses, plays an acoustic guitar while standing at a microphone stand
    Swift performing at Yahoo! HQ in Sunnyvale, California in 2007

    Big Machine Records was still in its infancy upon the release of the lead single “Tim McGraw” in June 2006, and Swift and her mother helped “stuff the CD singles into envelopes to send to radio.”[47] She spent much of 2006 promoting Taylor Swift in a radio tour and later commented, “Radio tours for most artists last six weeks. Mine lasted six months.”[20] Swift baked cookies and painted canvases to gift to radio station programmers who played her music.[48] She made many television appearances, including on the Grand Ole Opry,[49] Good Morning America,[50] and TRL.[51] Swift, a self-described “kid of the internet,” used Myspace to build a fanbase.[52] This was, at the time, “revolutionary in country music.”[53] Borchetta has said that his decision to sign a sixteen-year-old singer-songwriter initially raised eyebrows among his record industry peers but Swift tapped into a previously unknown market: teenage girls who listen to country music.[53] Following “Tim McGraw”, four further singles were released throughout 2007 and 2008: “Teardrops on My Guitar”, “Our Song”, “Picture to Burn” and “Should’ve Said No”. All were highly successful on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, with “Our Song” and “Should’ve Said No” both reaching number one. “Our Song” made Swift the youngest person to single-handedly write and sing a number one country song.[54] “Teardrops on My Guitar” became a minor pop hit; it reached number thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100.[55] The album sold 39,000 copies during its first week of release[56] and, as of March 2011, has sold over 5.5 million copies worldwide.[57] Swift also released a holiday album, Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection, in October 2007 and an EP, Beautiful Eyes, in July 2008.[58][59]

    Swift toured extensively in support of Taylor Swift. In addition to her own material, Swift played covers of songs by Beyoncé, Rihanna, John Waite, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Eminem.[60][61][62] She conducted meet-and-greet sessions with fans before and after her concerts; these lasted for up to four hours.[63] As well as festival and theater dates, Swift performed as an opening act for several country artists’ concert tours. In late 2006, she opened for Rascal Flatts on the final nine dates of their Me & My Gang Tour, after the previous supporting act Eric Church was fired.[50] Swift later sent Church her first gold record with a note: “Thanks for playing ‘too long’ and ‘too loud’ on the Flatts tour. I sincerely appreciate it. Taylor.”[64] In 2007, she served as the opening act on twenty dates for George Strait’s tour,[65] several dates on Kenny Chesney’s Flip-Flop Summer Tour,[66] selected dates on Brad Paisley’s Bonfires & Amplifiers Tour[67] and several dates for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s joint Soul2Soul II Tour.[68] Swift again opened for Rascal Flatts on their Still Feels Good Tour in 2008.[69] Swift and Alan Jackson were jointly named the Nashville Songwriters Association’s Songwriter/Artist of the Year in 2007, with Swift becoming the youngest person ever to be honored with the title.[70] She also won the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award for Best New Artist,[71] the Academy of Country Music Awards’s Top New Female Vocalist award[72] and the American Music Awards’s Favorite Country Female Artist honor.[73] She was also nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award in the category of Best New Artist, but lost to Amy Winehouse.[74]
    2008–10: Fearless, VMA controversy and Grammy backlash

    Swift’s second studio album, Fearless, was released in November 2008. Swift wrote seven of the album’s songs alone, including two singles, and co-wrote the remaining six with songwriters Liz Rose, John Rich, Colbie Caillat and Hillary Lindsey.[75] She co-produced the album with Nathan Chapman.[75] Musically, it has been said that the record is characterized by “loud, lean guitars and rousing choruses,” with the occasional “bit of fiddle and banjo tucked into the mix.”[76] The New York Times described Swift as “one of pop’s finest songwriters, country’s foremost pragmatist and more in touch with her inner life than most adults.”[77] The Village Voice felt she displayed “preternatural wisdom and inclusiveness,” “masterfully avoiding the typical diarist’s pitfalls of trite banality and pseudo-profound bullshit.”[78] Rolling Stone described her as “a songwriting savant with an intuitive gift for verse-chorus-bridge architecture” whose “squirmingly intimate and true” songs seemed to be “literally ripped from a suburban girl’s diary.”[76] Music critic Robert Christgau characterized Swift as “an uncommonly-to-impossibly strong and gifted teenage girl.”[79] Swift promoted Fearless heavily upon its release. An episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show was dedicated to the album launch and Swift appeared on many other chat shows.[53][80] She communicated with fans using social media platforms such as Twitter and personal video blogs.[53] The lead single from the album, “Love Story”, was released in September 2008 and became the second best-selling country single of all time, peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[81] Four more singles were released throughout 2008 and 2009: “White Horse”, “You Belong with Me”, “Fifteen” and “Fearless”. “You Belong with Me” was the album’s highest-charting single, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.[82] The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 Album Chart with sales of 592,304 and has since sold over 8.6 million copies worldwide.[83] It was the top-selling album of 2009 and brought Swift much crossover success.[84]
    Swift performing in Los Angeles during the Fearless Tour in 2010

    Swift carried out her first headlining tour in support of Fearless. As part of the 105-date Fearless Tour, Swift played 90 dates in North America, six dates in Europe, eight dates in Australia and one date in Asia.[85] She sang a cover of Justin Timberlake’s “What Goes Around… Comes Around” nightly, intertwined with her own “You’re Not Sorry”.[86] Swift invited John Mayer, Faith Hill and Katy Perry to perform one-off duets with her at various dates during the North American tour, while Justin Bieber, Kellie Pickler and Gloriana were the support acts.[87] The tour was attended by more than 1.1 million fans and grossed over $63 million.[88] Taylor Swift: Journey to Fearless, a concert film, was aired on television and later released on DVD and Blu-ray.[89] Swift also performed as a supporting act for Keith Urban’s Escape Together World Tour.[90] In addition to tour dates, the singer paid tribute to a number of fellow artists in televised performances. She performed a cover of Alan Jackson’s “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” at the CMT Giants: Alan Jackson event, took part in a joint, televised concert with rock band Def Leppard in Nashville, and performed a cover of George Strait’s “Run” at a televised ACM event honoring Strait as the Artist of the Decade.[91] Swift sang her song “Fifteen” with Miley Cyrus at the 51st Grammy Awards and performed a self-penned rap skit with T-Pain at the CMT Awards.[92] Swift also recorded a number of side-projects. She released a cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl” through Rhapsody in 2009[93] and made her stage entrance to Petty’s recording of the song until 2013.[94] She contributed backing vocals to John Mayer’s “Half of My Heart”, a single featured on his fourth album.[95] She co-wrote and recorded “Best Days of Your Life” with Kellie Pickler[96] and co-wrote two songs for the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack – “You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home” and “Crazier” – with Martin Johnson and Robert Ellis Orrall, respectively.[97] Swift also provided vocals for Boys Like Girls’s “Two Is Better Than One”, written by Martin Johnson.[98] She contributed two songs – including “Today Was a Fairytale” – to the Valentine’s Day soundtrack[99] and recorded a cover of Better Than Ezra’s “Breathless” for the Hope for Haiti Now album.[100]
    Swift performing in Los Angeles during the Fearless Tour in 2010

    Swift became the first country music artist to win an MTV Video Music Award when “You Belong with Me” was named Best Female Video in 2009.[101] Her acceptance speech was interrupted by rapper Kanye West, who had been involved in a number of other award show incidents.[102] In the event’s press room, Swift, a fan of West’s music,[103] denied having “any hard feelings” towards him.[104][105] The incident received much media attention and inspired many Internet memes.[106] A few days later, Swift told an interviewer that West offered her a personal apology, which she accepted: “He was very sincere.”[101] She refused to discuss the incident in subsequent interviews so as not to make a “bigger deal” of it: “It happened on TV, so everybody saw what happened … It’s not something I feel like we need to keep talking about.”[107] It has been said that the incident and subsequent media attention turned Swift into “a bona-fide mainstream celebrity.”[108]

    Swift won four Grammy Awards in 2010, from a total of eight nominations.[109] Fearless was named Album of the Year and Best Country Album, while “White Horse” was named Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.[110] She was the youngest ever artist to win Album of the Year.[111] During the ceremony, Swift sang “Rhiannon” and “You Belong with Me” with Stevie Nicks. Her vocal performance received negative reviews and sparked a widespread media backlash.[108][112] Her vocals were described variously as “badly off-key,” “strikingly bad” and “incredibly wretched.”[113][114] While The New York Times found it “refreshing to see someone so gifted make the occasional flub” and described Swift as “the most important new pop star of the past few years,”[111] music analyst Bob Lefsetz predicted that her career would end “overnight.” He publicly appealed to Swift’s father to hire a “crisis publicity agent” to manage the story because “Taylor’s too young and dumb to understand the mistake she made.”[115][116] Stevie Nicks, writing in Time, defended the singer: “Taylor reminds me of myself in her determination and her childlike nature. It’s an innocence that’s so special and so rare. This girl writes the songs that make the whole world sing, like Neil Diamond or Elton John … The female rock-‘n’-roll-country-pop songwriter is back, and her name is Taylor Swift. And it’s women like her who are going to save the music business.”[117] Fearless won many other accolades and has become the most awarded album in country music history.[118] Swift became the youngest ever artist and one of only six women to be named Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association.[119] Fearless also won the Association’s Album of the Year award.[119] Swift was the youngest ever artist to win the Academy of Country Music’s Album of the Year honor.[120] The American Music Awards honored Swift with Artist of the Year and Favorite Country Album plaudits.[121] She was awarded the Hal David Starlight Award by the Songwriters Hall of Fame[122] and was named Songwriter/Artist of the Year by the Nashville Songwriters Association.[123] Billboard named her 2009’s Artist of the Year.[124] Swift was included in Time’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in 2010.[125]
    2010–12: Speak Now and world tour

    Swift released her third studio album, Speak Now, in October 2010. She wrote all fourteen songs alone and co-produced the record with longtime collaborator Nathan Chapman.[126] Musically, it has been said that the album “expands beyond country-pop to border both alternative rock and dirty bubblegum pop.”[127] The New York Times described the album as savage, musically diverse and “excellent too, possibly her best.”[126] The Village Voice remarked that the album demanded “a true appreciation of Swift’s talent, which is not confessional, but dramatic: Like a procession of country songwriters before her, she creates characters and situations—some from life—and finds potent ways to describe them.”[128] Music critic Robert Christgau found the album’s songs “overlong and overworked” but remarked that “they evince an effort that bears a remarkable resemblance to care—that is, to caring in the best, broadest, and most emotional sense.”[79] Rolling Stone described Swift as one of the best songwriters in “pop, rock or country”: “Swift might be a clever Nashville pro who knows all the hitmaking tricks, but she’s also a high-strung, hyper-romantic gal with a melodramatic streak the size of the Atchafalaya Swamp.”[129] Swift carried out an extensive promotional campaign prior to Speak Now’s release.[130] She appeared on various talk shows and morning shows, and gave free mini-concerts in unusual locations, including an open-decker bus on Hollywood Boulevard and a departure lounge at JFK airport.[131] She took part in a “guitar pull” alongside Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill and Lionel Richie at LA’s Club Nokia; the musicians shared the stage and took turns introducing and playing acoustic versions of their songs to raise money for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.[132][133] The album’s lead single, “Mine”, was released in August 2010 and five further singles were released throughout 2010 and 2011: “Back to December”, “Mean”, “The Story of Us”, “Sparks Fly” and “Ours”.[134] Speak Now was a major commercial success, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart. Its opening sales of 1,047,000 copies made it the sixteenth album in US history to sell one million copies in a single week.[135] As of February 2012, Speak Now has sold over 5.7 million copies worldwide.[136][137]
    Taylor Swift, wearing a purple dress, plays a blue acoustic guitar while sitting on a stool
    Swift performing in Newark, New Jersey during the Speak Now World Tour in 2011

    Swift toured throughout 2011 and early 2012 in support of Speak Now. As part of the thirteen-month, 111-date world tour, Swift played seven shows in Asia, twelve shows in Europe, 80 shows in North America and twelve shows in Australasia.[138] Swift invited many musicians to join her for one-off duets during the North American tour. Appearances were made by James Taylor, Jason Mraz, Shawn Colvin, Johnny Rzeznik, Andy Grammer, Tal Bachman, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Nicki Minaj, Nelly, B.o.B, Usher, Flo Rida, T.I., Jon Foreman, Jim Adkins, Hayley Williams, Hot Chelle Rae, Ronnie Dunn, Darius Rucker, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney.[139][140] During the North American tour leg, Swift wrote different song lyrics on her left arm for each performance and has said that the lyrics should be viewed as a nightly “mood ring.”[141][142] Swift performed many acoustic cover versions during her North American tour. In each city, she paid tribute to a homegrown artist.[143] She has said the cover versions allowed her to be “spontaneous” in an otherwise well-rehearsed show.[144] The tour was attended by over 1.6 million fans and grossed over $123 million.[138] Swift’s first live album, Speak Now World Tour: Live, featuring all seventeen performances from the North American leg of the tour, was released in November 2011.[145]
    Swift performing in Sydney during the Speak Now World Tour in 2012

    At the 54th Grammy Awards, Swift’s song “Mean” won Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance.[146] She also performed the song during the ceremony. Bob Lefsetz, one of the most vocal critics of her 2010 Grammy performance, believes the song is addressed to him.[147][148] Lefsetz had previously been a supporter of the singer’s career,[149] and Swift and Lefsetz had corresponded occasionally by email and telephone.[147] Time felt she “delivered her comeback on-key and with a vengeance”[150] while USA Today remarked that the criticism in 2010 seemed to have “made her a better songwriter and live performer.”[151] Swift won various other awards for Speak Now. She was named Songwriter/Artist of the Year by the Nashville Songwriters Association in both 2010 and 2011.[152][153] She was named Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in both 2011 and 2012[154] and was named Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association in 2011.[155] Swift was the American Music Awards’s Artist of the Year in 2011, while Speak Now was named Favorite Country Album.[156] Billboard named Swift 2011’s Woman of the Year.[157]

    While Swift was completing her fourth album in the summer of 2012, James Taylor invited her to appear as a special guest during his Tanglewood set; they performed “Fire and Rain”, “Love Story” and “Ours” together.[158] Taylor, who first met Swift when she was eighteen, has said that, “we just hit it off. I loved her songs, and her presence on stage was so great.”[159][160] During this period, Swift also contributed two original songs to The Hunger Games soundtrack album. “Safe & Sound” was co-written and recorded with The Civil Wars and T-Bone Burnett.[161] John Paul White has said working with Swift was “a revelation … It truly was a collaboration.”[162] It was released as the album’s lead single and, as of January 2013, has sold over 1.4 million copies in the United States.[163] It won Best Song Written For Visual Media at the 2013 Grammy Awards and was nominated for Best Original Song at the 70th Golden Globe Awards.[164] Swift’s second contribution to the album, “Eyes Open”, was written solely by the singer and produced by Nathan Chapman.[165] In addition, Swift contributed vocals to “Both of Us”, a Dr. Luke-produced single from B.o.B’s second album Strange Clouds.[166]
    2012–present: Red and media scrutiny

    Swift’s fourth studio album, Red, was released in October 2012.[167] She wrote nine of the album’s sixteen songs alone. The remaining seven were co-written with Max Martin, Liz Rose, Dan Wilson, Ed Sheeran and Gary Lightbody. Nathan Chapman served as the album’s lead producer but Jeff Bhasker, Butch Walker, Jacknife Lee, Dann Huff and Shellback also produced individual tracks. Chapman has said he encouraged Swift “to branch out and to test herself in other situations.”[168] Musically, while there is experimentation with heartland rock, dubstep and dance-pop, it is “sprinkled among more recognisably Swiftian fare.”[169][170] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times found Red “less detailed and more rushed than her usual fare”[171] but placed it at number two on his end-of-year list, characterizing it as the album on which Swift “stops pretending she’s anything but a pop megastar, one with grown-up concerns, like how two bodies speak to each other and how taste in records can be a stand-in for moral turpitude.”[172] The Times praised her “sublime” lyrics, particularly those on the “brooding” “All Too Well”.[173] Rolling Stone enjoyed “watching Swift find her pony-footing on Great Songwriter Mountain. She often succeeds in joining the Joni/Carole King tradition of stark-relief emotional mapping … Her self-discovery project is one of the best stories in pop.”[174]
    Swift performing in St. Louis during the 2013 Red Tour

    As part of the Red promotional campaign, representatives from 72 worldwide radio stations were flown to Nashville during release week for individual interviews with Swift.[175] She also appeared on many television chat shows and performed at award ceremonies in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Australia.[176] The album’s lead single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”, became Swift’s first number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.[177] Six further singles have been released: “Begin Again” (for country radio), “I Knew You Were Trouble”, “22”, “Everything Has Changed”, “The Last Time” (all for pop and international radio) and “Red” (for country radio). Red debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with first-week sales of 1.21 million copies; this marked the highest opening sales in a decade and made Swift the first female to have two million-selling album openings.[178] As of May 2013, Red had sold over 6 million copies worldwide.[179] In her career, as of November 2012, she had sold in excess of 26 million albums and 75 million song downloads.[180]

    The North American leg of Swift’s Red Tour ran from March to September 2013. She played 66 dates across North America, including thirteen stadium shows.[181] The Red Tour visited stadiums across New Zealand and Australia in December 2013, and will visit England and Germany in February 2014.[182] In Australia during the Red Tour Swift became the first female artist to sell out Sydney’s Allianz Stadium. [183]

    Swift invited special guests such as Carly Simon, Tegan and Sara, Jennifer Lopez, Luke Bryan, Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy, Ellie Goulding, Nelly, Sara Bareilles, Cher Lloyd, B.o.B, Gary Lightbody, Train, Neon Trees, Rascal Flatts and Hunter Hayes to duet with her on various nights of the tour.[184] Swift has collaborated with a number of other artists in the Red era. She co-wrote “Sweeter Than Fiction” with Jack Antonoff for the One Chance movie soundtrack.[185] She provided guest vocals for a Tim McGraw song titled “Highway Don’t Care”, featuring guitar work by Keith Urban; the trio performed the song live on three occasions.[186] She performed an acoustic version of “Red” with Vince Gill and Alison Krauss at the 2013 CMA Awards.[187] Swift performed “As Tears Go By” with The Rolling Stones in Chicago as part of their 50 & Counting tour.[188] She also joined Florida Georgia Line on stage during their set at the 2013 Country Radio Seminar to sing “Cruise”.[189] Swift won three MTV Europe Music Awards in 2012, including the honors for Best Female and Best Live Act.[190] She was named Best Female Country Artist at the 2012 American Music Awards.[191] The Nashville Songwriters Association’s Songwriter/Artist Award went to Swift for the fifth and sixth consecutive years in 2012 and 2013.[192] “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” was nominated for Record of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards while “I Knew You Were Trouble” won Best Female Video at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.[193] At the 2013 American Music Awards, Swift won four awards including Artist of the Year, marking her third winning the category and the most times an artist has won the category.[194]
    Swift performing in Chicago during the 2013 Red Tour

    In the Red era, Swift’s romantic life became the subject of intense media scrutiny. Gawker remarked that Swift had dated “every man in the universe.”[195] The Westboro Baptist Church protested Swift’s concerts, labelling her “the whorish face of doomed America,” while Abercrombie and Fitch marketed a slogan t-shirt with a “slut-shaming” Swift reference.[196] The New York Times asserted that her “dating history has begun to stir what feels like the beginning of a backlash” and questioned whether Swift was in the midst of a “quarter-life crisis.”[197] The Village Voice suggested that Swift’s embrace of “traditional femininity” was the cause of the backlash: “She’s young, she can be contentiously dramatic, she puts herself in the center of her stories, and obviously she’s dated a lot of famous people in a relatively short amount of time. But none of that is exceptionally rare.”[198] At the Golden Globes award ceremony, comediennes Tina Fey and Amy Poehler poked fun at Swift’s serial dating reputation, with Fey warning her to “stay away” from young men in the audience: “She needs some ‘me’ time to learn about herself.” Swift was later asked about the incident in a Vanity Fair profile: “I was just sort of like, Oh well, you know, I can laugh at myself. But what it ended up adding to was this whole kind of everyone jumping on the bandwagon of ‘Taylor dates too much’—which, you know, if you want some big revelation, since 2010 I have dated exactly two people.” Elsewhere in the article, whilst discussing what the journalist describes as “the Golden Globes, and mean girls in general,” Swift approvingly quoted Madeline Albright’s remark that ‘There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.’[199]

    Swift began writing songs for her fifth album in July 2013. While she hopes to re-team with some past collaborators,[200] she also has “a really long list of the people I admire and I would really love to go and contact.”[201] In November 2013, Billboard reported that Swift has been “doing much of her work with Max Martin again.”[202] Also that month, Swift told Billboard that, “There are probably seven or eight [songs] that I know I want on the record. It’s already evolved into a new sound, and that’s all I wanted.”[203]

    One of Swift’s earliest musical memories is listening to her maternal grandmother, Marjorie Finlay (née Moehlenkamp), sing at church.[10][204] In her youth, Finlay was a television host in Puerto Rico and performed in operas in Singapore and Thailand.[3][205] As a very young child, Swift enjoyed Disney movie soundtracks: “My parents noticed that, once I had run out of words, I would just make up my own.”[22][206] Later, her parents exposed her to artists including James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel and Def Leppard.[207][208] Swift has said she owes her confidence to her mother, who helped her prepare for class presentations as a child.[209] She also attributes her “fascination with writing and storytelling” to her mother.[210] Swift enjoyed both reading and writing poetry and was particularly drawn to the works of Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss.[3][211] She remains interested “in any writing from a child’s perspective” and has cited To Kill a Mockingbird as one of her favorite books.[48]
    Yellow cartouche
    Red cartouche
    Shania Twain (left), Stevie Nicks (centre) and Carly Simon (right) have influenced Swift

    Swift was introduced to country music by “the great female country artists of the ’90s … Shania, Faith, the Dixie Chicks.”[60][212] She was drawn to both the sound and storytelling of country music.[213] Shania Twain, both as a songwriter and performer, was her biggest musical influence.[214] Faith Hill was Swift’s childhood role model and she tried to copy “everything she said, did, wore.”[215][216] Swift admired the Dixie Chicks’s defiant attitude and their ability to play their own instruments.[3][217] The band’s “Cowboy Take Me Away” was the first song Swift learned to play on the guitar.[218] She then began to explore the music of older country stars, including Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Dolly Parton.[3][219] Lynn’s “Fist City” is one of Swift’s favorite country songs.[3] She believes Parton is “an amazing example to every female songwriter out there.”[216] Other mainstream country influences include Miranda Lambert,[220] Dwight Yoakam,[221] George Strait,[3] Garth Brooks,[60] Kenny Chesney,[216] Reba McEntire,[222] Alan Jackson,[3] Martina McBride,[223] LeAnn Rimes,[224] Tim McGraw[225] and Brad Paisley.[226] Swift also admires alt-country artists such as Ryan Adams,[227] Patty Griffin,[228] Lori McKenna[229] and Bon Iver.[230]

    Swift has been influenced by many artists outside the country genre. As a pre-teen, she enjoyed bubblegum pop acts including Hanson and Britney Spears; she still has “unwavering devotion” for Spears.[231] In her high school years, Swift listened to emo bands such as Dashboard Confessional,[232] Fall Out Boy,[233] The All-American Rejects[234] and Jimmy Eat World.[235] She was also a fan of contemporary female singer-songwriters including Michelle Branch,[235] Pink,[236] Alanis Morissette,[237] Ashlee Simpson,[238] Kelly Clarkson,[239] Fefe Dobson[235] and Avril Lavigne.[239] Swift closely followed the musical supervision on the television dramas The O.C. and Grey’s Anatomy, downloading “every” song featured.[230] She was a fan of hip hop music, particularly the rhyming patterns used by artists such as Eminem: “Pride [in a lifestyle] is something that both country and hip-hop share.”[3] Swift also drew inspiration from the catalogues of veteran artists. She describes Stevie Nicks as a “hero” who “has inspired me in so many ways.”[163][240] Tom Petty, she has said, “is on a pedestal for me.”[14] She is “obsessed” with Sixties acts like The Shirelles, Doris Troy and The Beach Boys.[142][241] Influence also came from older female pop rock singers including Pat Benatar,[239][242] Melissa Etheridge,[242] Sarah McLachlan,[237] Shawn Colvin[243] and Linda Ronstadt.[244][245]

    Swift lists Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Kris Kristofferson and Carly Simon as her career role models: “They’ve taken chances, but they’ve also been the same artist for their entire careers.”[243][246][247] McCartney, both as a Beatle and a solo artist, makes Swift feel “as if I’ve been let into his heart and his mind”: “Any musician could only dream of a legacy like that.”[248] She admires Springsteen because he is “so musically relevant after such a long period of time.”[249] She aspires to be like Harris as she grows older: “It’s not about fame for her, it’s about music.”[250] Swift says of Kristofferson: “He shines in songwriting … He’s just one of those people who has been in this business for years but you can tell it hasn’t chewed him up and spat him out.”[251] She admires Simon’s “songwriting and honesty”: “She’s known as an emotional person but a strong person.”[252]
    Peer recognition
    Taylor Swift speaks into a microphone, wearing a navy polka-dot dress and red heels
    Swift speaking during a YouTube interview in 2011

    Swift’s work has received praise from veteran artists. Neil Young describes her as “a great writer”: “I like Taylor Swift. I like listening to her. I kind of like watching her respond to all the attacks. I like the ways she’s defining herself. So I keep my eye on it.”[253][254] Stephen Stills has defended Swift’s confessional writing style: “How many times do people want to make fun of [her] for writing a song about getting dumped? I’m sorry, that’s what you do as a songwriter … Wear your heart on your sleeve, then just write about it. Fuck ‘em. If I was young, I would be one of Taylor Swift’s conquests because I would stalk her.”[255][256][257] James Taylor, who has performed with Swift on two occasions, has said that “we just hit it off. I loved her songs, and her presence on stage was so great.”[159][160] Judy Collins points to Swift as an example of a current star who is continuing on the lineage of being an independent-minded artist.[258] Kris Kristofferson claims that “she blows me away. It’s amazing to me that someone so young is writing such great songs. She’s got a great career ahead of her.”[259][260] Janis Ian notes that Swift “changed the face of music, songwriting and guitar playing for girls … There is an authenticity there.”[261] Stevie Nicks believes Swift writes “songs that make the whole world sing, like Neil Diamond or Elton John … It’s women like her who are going to save the music business.”[117] She remarked that the younger singer’s “Today Was A Fairytale” has “stayed in my heart forever. And it just reminds me of me in a lot of ways.”[262] Steven Tyler of Aerosmith believes she is “beyond talented.”[263] Jon Bon Jovi describes her as “the real deal in every way, shape and form. She’s a writer, she’s a singer, she’s a beautiful girl … Like, she’s going to be around.”[264] Dolly Parton is “extremely impressed with her, especially with her songwriting …. I’m real impressed with the depth of her sometimes. She’s got the qualities that could last a long time.”[265][266] Melissa Etheridge remarks: “I love her soul, her spirit. I think she’s going to surprise people and I think she’s going to be around for a long time.”[267][268]

    Swift has also received songwriting praise from contemporaries. John Mayer was a supporter of Swift’s early career; the duo recorded a duet and performed in concert together on two occasions: “You could put her in a time machine in any era and she would have a hit record.”[269] She has also received praise from Drake,[270] Alicia Keys,[271] Tegan and Sara,[272][273] Grimes,[274] Kesha,[275] Katy Perry,[276] Kelly Clarkson[277] and Lady Gaga.[278] Ryan Adams has said that “every tune of hers is like the one you wait a whole lifetime to write.”[279] Kathleen Hanna is “totally into Taylor Swift. I think she has super-clever lyrics, and I love that she writes her own music.”[280] Shirley Manson remarked that she is “exceedingly talented at songwriting … She drew her own door and walked right through it. We should applaud her balls for bucking the system. That’s what artists are supposed to do.”[281] Lena Dunham, the creator and star of HBO’s television series Girls, has described Swift as her “artistic kindred spirit.”[282]
    Lyrical themes and style

    Thematically, The Guardian has noted that Swift was “fantastically good at regarding teenage life with a kind of wistful, sepia-toned nostalgia” over the course of her first two albums.[283] New York Magazine has remarked that few singer-songwriters have written “great records so explicitly about their teens … Her nearest antecedent might be sixties-era Brian Wilson, the one true adolescent auteur before she came along.”[284] Comparisons have also been drawn with Janis Ian.[246] Fairytale imagery featured on Swift’s second album, Fearless. She explored the disconnect “between fairy tales and the reality of love.”[285][286] Her third and fourth albums addressed more adult relationships.[247] In addition to romance and love, Swift’s songs have discussed parent-child relationships (“The Best Day”, “Never Grow Up”, “Ronan”), friendships (“Fifteen”, “Breathe”, “22”),[287][288] alienation (“The Outside”, “A Place In This World”, “Tied Together with a Smile”, “Mean”) and career ambitions (“Change”, “Long Live”, “The Lucky One”).[289][290] Her defining quality as a songwriter, it has been said, is “a determination to register and hang onto fleeting feelings and impressions, a pre-emptive nostalgia for a present (and sometimes even a future) that she knows will some day be in the past.”[291] Swift frequently includes “a tossed-off phrase to suggest large and serious things that won’t fit in the song, things that enhance or subvert the surface narrative.”[292] The New Yorker has said that her songs, “though they are not subversive, have a certain sophistication … Sentimental songs are laced with intimations of future disillusionment.”[293]

    Structurally, Slate notes that Swift has “effortless, preternatural mastery of pop conventions: Very few songwriters can build better bridges than she does.”[294] Rolling Stone has described her as “a songwriting savant with an intuitive gift for verse-chorus-bridge architecture.”[295] The Village Voice has noted that Swift uses third-verse POV reversals frequently.[292] She has a tendency to use the same images repeatedly. In the words of The Guardian, “she spends so much time kissin’ in the rain that it seems a miracle she hasn’t developed trenchfoot.”[283] However, “to Swift’s credit, she explores new lyrical motifs over the course of [her fourth] album.”[170] American Songwriter describes Swift as “a great songwriter, who writes with an unmatched and almost unnatural acuity … Even her earliest material is characterized by thoughtful – perhaps meticulous – word choice and deliberate melodic construction, with nary a lazy rhyme or aimless tune to be found.”[296][297] While reviews of Swift’s work are “almost uniformly positive,” The New Yorker has said she is generally portrayed “more as a skilled technician than as a Dylanesque visionary.”[246]

    “For a female to write about her feelings, and then be portrayed as some clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend in need of making you marry her and have kids with her, I think that’s taking something that potentially should be celebrated — a woman writing about her feelings in a confessional way — that’s taking it and turning it and twisting it into something that is frankly a little sexist.”
    — Swift in response to criticism of her songwriting[298]

    Swift uses autobiographical detail in her work.[299] Listening to music as a child, she felt confused “when I knew something was going on in someone’s personal life and they didn’t address it in their music.”[300] The New York Times believes that “righting wrongs is Ms. Swift’s raison d’être.”[301] In her songs, Swift often addresses the “anonymous crushes of her high school years” and, more recently, fellow celebrities.[301] John Mayer, the presumed subject of “Dear John”, has said the song “humiliated” him: “I think it’s kind of cheap songwriting. I know she’s the biggest thing in the world, and I’m not trying to sink anybody’s ship, but I think it’s abusing your talent to rub your hands together and go, ‘Wait till he gets a load of this!'”[302] The Village Voice has downplayed this aspect of Swift’s songwriting: “Being told What Songs Mean is like having a really pushy professor. And it imperils a true appreciation of Swift’s talent, which is not confessional, but dramatic.”[303] New York Magazine believes the media scrutiny over her decision to use autobiographical detail “is sexist, inasmuch as it’s not asked of her male peers”: “It’s a relief to see Swift, the ur-nice-girl, refuse to give the mea culpa that many journalists she’s talked to have sought.”[304] The singer herself has said that all her songs are not factual[305] and are often based on observations.[306] Aside from her liner note clues, Swift tries not to talk specifically about song subjects “because these are real people. You try to give insight as to where you were coming from as a writer without completely throwing somebody under the bus.”[307]
    Musical and vocal style

    Swift’s music contains elements of country, country pop, pop and pop rock.[308][308][309] She self-identifies as a country artist.[310] Rolling Stone asserts that, “she might get played on the country station, but she’s one of the few genuine rock stars we’ve got these days.”[311] Swift’s own definition of country music “is really pretty simple. It’s when someone sings about their life and what they know, from an authentic place … One guy will write about how he grew up on a farm and fell in love and raised kids on that same farm. Some people sing about how, when they get sad, they go to the bar and drink whiskey. I write songs about how I can’t seem to figure out relationships and how I’m fascinated by love.”[310] She has said there will be “a huge temptation” to make an alt-country record as her career progresses.[45] The New York Times notes that, “There isn’t much in Ms. Swift’s music to indicate country – a few banjo strums, a pair of cowboy boots worn onstage, a bedazzled guitar – but there’s something in her winsome, vulnerable delivery that’s unique to Nashville.”[312] The New Yorker believes she is “considered part of Nashville’s country-pop tradition only because she writes narrative songs with melodic clarity and dramatic shape—Nashville’s stock-in-trade.”[313] The Guardian has said that Swift “cranks melodies out with the pitiless efficiency of a Scandinavian pop factory.”[283]

    Swift’s voice has been described as “sweet but soft.”[314] In studio recordings, the Los Angeles Times identifies Swift’s “defining” vocal gesture as “the line that slides down like a contented sigh or up like a raised eyebrow, giving her beloved girl-time hits their air of easy intimacy.”[127] Rolling Stone, in a Speak Now review, remarked: “Swift’s voice is unaffected enough to mask how masterful she has become as a singer; she lowers her voice for the payoff lines in the classic mode of a shy girl trying to talk tough.”[315] In another review of Speak Now, The Village Voice noted that her phrasing was previously “bland and muddled, but that’s changed. She can still sound strained and thin, and often strays into a pitch that drives some people crazy; but she’s learned how to make words sound like what they mean.”[128]

    In a live setting, Swift, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “does her best, but certainly doesn’t have the pipes to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Christina Aguilera or Carrie Underwood.”[314] Her live vocals have been described as “flat,” “thin, and sometimes as wobbly as a newborn colt.”[316][317] However, Swift has received praise for refusing to correct her pitch with Auto-Tune.[318][319][320] In an interview with The New Yorker, Swift characterized herself primarily as a songwriter: “I write songs, and my voice is just a way to get those lyrics across.”[1][321] Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Records has conceded that Swift is “not the best technical singer” but describes her as the “best communicator that we’ve got.”[322] Swift’s vocal presence is something that concerns her and she has “put a lot of work” into improving it.[323] It was reported in 2010 that she continues to take vocal lessons.[324][325] She has said that she only feels nervous performing “if I’m not sure what the audience thinks of me, like at award shows.”[326]
    Public image
    Taylor Swift stands in a Time press area, wearing a black, strapless dress and curled hair
    Swift at the 2010 Time 100 Gala, where she was honored

    Swift has high Q Score and Davie-Brown Index ratings, reflecting a high level of public awareness (90 percent) and popularity (80 percent) in the United States.[327] The singer considers it her “responsibility” to be conscious of her influence on young fans.[328] A Rolling Stone journalist who profiled Swift in 2009 remarked upon her polite manners: “If this is Swift’s game face, it must be tattooed on because it never drops.”[48][329] In 2012, Rolling Stone remarked upon Swift’s “ease with glad-handing … it’s not hard to imagine her running for office someday”[330] while The Hollywood Reporter referred to her as “the Best People Person Since Bill Clinton.”[331] It has been said that she is “the kind of driven, intensely ambitious person who’d thrive regardless of her profession.”[332] A 2012 Vogue cover story described Swift as “clever and funny and occasionally downright bawdy” in person.[333] Grantland describes Swift as “dorky” and “openly neurotic in a way you’d never see from a blonde country princess like Faith Hill or Carrie Underwood. She is more like Diane Keaton in Annie Hall: overly gracious and eager to please but full of a nonstop, nervous, fluttering energy.”[334] There has been much media commentary about Swift’s surprised reactions when she is recognized at award ceremonies.[335][336] Swift laughingly noted that “people make so much fun of me.” Although she sometimes tries to act blasé, “it’s just hard when you get excited about stuff. It’s like, if you win an award, isn’t that crazy? … How do you sit there and be like ‘Oh, another Grammy. I guess I’m gonna get that now’?”[337]

    In the early years of her career, Swift’s signature look consisted of sundresses and cowboy boots.[338][339] This fashion style is still copied by many of the young fans who attend her concerts.[338][340] At formal events, Swift became known for “sparkly, beaded dresses.”[338] Her naturally curly hairstyle is replicated by fans, and Swift has remarked: “I remember straightening my hair because I wanted to be like everybody else, and now the fact that anybody would emulate what I do? It’s just funny.”[340] She was asked by Vogue to cut bangs for a cover shoot in late 2011, and now straightens her hair.[341] Swift favors retro style and it has been said that she has the look of “a nineteen-thirties movie siren … red lipstick, thick mascara.”[342][343] She was named an Icon of American Style by Vogue in 2011.[344] She has named Françoise Hardy, Jane Birkin, Brigitte Bardot, and Audrey Hepburn as her own style inspirations.[345]
    Product endorsements

    While promoting her self-titled debut record, Swift appeared as a spokesmodel for l.e.i. jeans and as the face of Verizon Wireless’ Mobile Music campaign.[346][347] In the Fearless era, she launched a l.e.i. sundress range at Wal-Mart,[348] and designed American Greetings cards and Jakks Pacific dolls.[349][350] She became a spokesperson for the NHL’s Nashville Predators and Sony Cyber-shot digital cameras.[351][352] She performed in a commercial for the Band Hero video game, with Rivers Cuomo, Pete Wentz and Travis Barker appearing as her backing band.[353] In the Speak Now era, Swift became a CoverGirl spokesmodel,[354] launched two Elizabeth Arden fragrances, Wonderstruck and Wonderstruck Enchanted, and released a special edition of her album through Target.[355]

    While promoting her fourth album Red, Swift offered exclusive album promotions through Target,[356] Papa John’s[175] and Walgreens.[357] She became a spokesmodel for Diet Coke and Keds sneakers,[358] released her third Elizabeth Arden fragrance titled Taylor by Taylor Swift, and continued her partnerships with Sony Electronics and American Greetings. She also maintains an unofficial brand tie-in with Ralph Lauren.[359]
    Acting career
    Taylor Swift, wearing a strapless dress, looks directly at the camera. Her hair is tied back, with a few curly tendrils loose
    Swift at the premiere of Hannah Montana: The Movie in 2009

    Swift made her acting debut in a 2009 episode of CBS’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, playing a rebellious teenager.[360] The New York Times noted that the character allowed Swift to be “a little bit naughty, and credibly so.”[361] Rolling Stone felt she “held her own” and “does a good job with the script”[362] while the Chicago Tribune said she “acquits herself well.”[363] Later that year, Swift both hosted and performed as the musical guest for an episode of Saturday Night Live.[364] Entertainment Weekly described her as “this season’s best Saturday Night Live host so far,” noting that she “was always up for the challenge, seemed to be having fun, and helped the rest of the cast nail the punchlines.” Proving “admirably resilient in a wide variety of sketch roles,” “Swift inspired more of a female, girly-in-the-best-sense sensibility in SNL than it’s shown since the Tina Fey-Amy Poehler days.”[365]

    Swift made her feature film acting debut in the 2010 ensemble comedy Valentine’s Day, playing the ditzy Valley girlfriend of a high school jock.[366] The Los Angeles Times felt the performance suggested “serious comedic potential”[367] while the San Francisco Chronicle found her “very funny.”[368] Time remarked that Swift portrayed her character “rather charmingly”;[369] The Boston Globe described her as “adorably dorky.”[370] Salon asserted that she was “one of the few actors not wasted in “Valentine’s Day”. Her overgrown-pixie look and odd, widely set eyes lend her a little bit of Marilyn and a little bit of Lucille Ball: She’s Taylor-made for comic greatness.”[371] However, Variety found her “entirely undirected … she needs to find a skilled director to tamp her down and channel her obviously abundant energy.”[372] The Daily News described her performance as “painfully clunky” while Slant Magazine found her “unwatchable.”[373][374] In 2012, Swift voiced the character of Audrey, a tree lover, in the animated film The Lorax. In 2013, Swift made a brief cameo on the sitcom New Girl. In 2014, she will co-star in the film adaptation of The Giver alongside Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep.[375]

    Swift’s philanthropic efforts have been recognised by the Do Something Awards,[376] The Giving Back Fund[377] and the Tennessee Disaster Services.[378] In 2012, Michelle Obama presented Swift with The Big Help Award for her “dedication to helping others” and “inspiring others through action.”[379] Also that year, Kerry Kennedy of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights presented Swift with the Ripple of Hope Award because of her “dedication to advocacy at such a young age … Taylor is just the kind of woman we want our daughters to be.”[380][381]

    Swift is a supporter of arts education. In 2010, she donated $75,000 to Nashville’s Hendersonville High School to help refurbish the school auditorium’s sound and lighting systems.[382] In 2012, she pledged $4 million to fund the building of a new education center at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.[383] The 7,500-square-foot building is scheduled to open in 2014 and will facilitate new programs and workshops for teenagers and senior citizens.[384][385] The space will include three classrooms and an exhibit space, and will house interactive activities such as a musical petting zoo and a “wet” classroom space to make concert posters and other art projects.[386] Museum officials have decided to name it The Taylor Swift Education Center and the singer will be involved in an advisory capacity.[387] Also in 2012, Swift partnered with textbook rental company Chegg to donate $60,000 to the music departments of six US colleges.[388][389]

    Swift promotes children’s literacy. In 2009, she donated $250,000 to various schools around the country that she had either attended or had other associations with. The money was used to buy books, fund educational programs and help pay teachers’ salaries.[390] In 2010, she took part in a live webcast, Read Now! with Taylor Swift, broadcast exclusively in US schools to celebrate Scholastic’s Read Every Day campaign.[391][392] In 2011, Swift donated 6,000 Scholastic books to Reading Public Library, Pennsylvania[393] and, in 2012, she donated 14,000 books to Nashville Public Library, Tennessee.[394] Most of the books were placed in circulation; the rest were given to children from low-income families, preschools and daycare centers.[394] In 2012, she co-chaired the National Education Association’s Read Across America campaign and recorded a PSA encouraging children to read.[395] Also in 2012, Swift promoted the “power of reading” in a second live Scholastic webcast, broadcast directly to US classrooms.[396] In 2013, through the Reach Out and Read initiative, she donated 2,000 Scholastic books to the Reading Hospital Child Health Center’s early literacy program.[397]

    Throughout her career, Swift has donated money to help victims of natural disasters. In 2008, she donated the proceeds from her merchandise sales at the Country Music Festival to the Red Cross’s disaster relief fund.[398] Later that year, she donated $100,000 to the Red Cross to help the victims of the Iowa flood of 2008.[399] In 2009, Swift supported the Victorian Bushfire Appeal by joining the lineup at Sydney’s Sound Relief concert,[400] reportedly making the biggest contribution of any artist to the Australian Red Cross.[401] In 2010, she took part in the Hope for Haiti telethon; she performed and answered phone calls from viewers wishing to donate money.[402] She also recorded a song for the Hope for Haiti Now album.[403] In response to the May 2010 Tennessee floods, Swift donated $500,000 during a telethon hosted by WSMV.[404] Later that year, she donated $100,000 to help rebuild a playground in Hendersonville, Tennessee which was damaged by floodwater.[405] In 2011, Swift used the final dress rehearsal for the North American leg of her Speak Now tour as a benefit concert for victims of recent tornadoes in the United States, raising more than $750,000.[406] She also donated $250,000 to Alabama football coach Nick Saban’s charity, Nick’s Kids, to aid in the tornado relief efforts of West Alabama.[407] In 2012, Swift supported Architecture for Humanity’s Restore the Shore MTV telethon in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.[408]

    Swift opposes LGBT discrimination. Following the 2008 murder of Larry King, she recorded a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network PSA to combat hate crimes.[409] On the first anniversary of King’s death, Swift told Seventeen that her parents taught her “never to judge others based on whom they love, what color their skin is, or their religion.”[410] In 2011, the music video for Swift’s anti-bullying song “Mean” dealt in part with homophobia in high schools; the video was later nominated for an MTV VMA social activism award.[411][412][413] The New York Times believes she is part of “a new wave of young (and mostly straight) women who are providing the soundtrack for a generation of gay fans coming to terms with their identity in a time of turbulent and confusing cultural messages.”[411]

    The singer is involved with a number of charities which provide services to sick children. In 2008, she donated a pink Chevy pick-up truck to the Victory Junction Gang Camp; the truck is used to transport sick children from the airport to the camp.[414] In 2009, after performing at the BBC Children in Need annual telethon, she donated $20,000 to the cause.[415] In 2011, as the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year, Swift donated $25,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Tennessee. This figure was matched by the Academy.[416] In 2012, Swift participated in the Stand Up to Cancer telethon, performing “Ronan”, a song she wrote in memory of a four-year-old boy who died of neuroblastoma. The song was made available for digital download, with all proceeds donated to cancer-related charities.[417] Swift has met with many sick fans through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.[418][419][420][421] She has also made private visits to hospitals such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Ronald McDonald House, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.[422][423][424][425][426][427]

    Swift has encouraged young people to volunteer in their local community as part of Global Youth Service Day[428] and has promoted The @15 Fund, a social change platform underwritten by Best Buy, which gives teenagers the opportunity to direct the company’s philanthropy.[429] In 2007, she launched a campaign to protect children from online predators, in partnership with the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police.[430] Also in 2007, she supported an Allstate campaign which promotes safe teenage driving.[431] In 2009, Swift recorded a Sound Matters PSA to make listeners aware of the importance of listening “responsibly.”[432] She appeared in a Got Milk? campaign in 2010.[433] Swift has donated auctionable items to a large number of charities, including the Elton John AIDS Foundation,[434] the UNICEF Tap Project,[435] Oxfam International,[436] Habitat for Humanity,[437] MusiCares[438] and Feeding America.[439] She has also performed at a number of benefit concerts, including for the Food Bank For New York City,[440] the Reading, Writing & Rhythm Foundation,[441] Christmas for Kids,[442] Shriners Hospitals for Children,[443] and Centrepoint.[444]
    Personal life
    A view of the harbor in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, where Swift owns a summer home

    Swift lives between a three-bedroom duplex penthouse in Midtown Nashville, Tennessee[1][445] and a three-bedroom cottage in Beverly Hills, California.[446] She owns an eight-bedroom summer home in coastal Watch Hill, Rhode Island.[447] In addition, Swift purchased a four-bedroom mansion in Belle Meade, Tennessee for her parents.[448] She owns a Dassault Falcon 900 private jet and an airport hangar at Nashville International Airport.[449][450][451][452]

    According to Forbes’s Celebrity 100 list, released annually in the month of May, Swift earned $18 million in 2009,[453] $45 million in 2010,[454] $45 million in 2011,[455] $57 million in 2012[456] and $55 million in 2013.[457]

    Swift dated singer Joe Jonas from July to October 2008,[458][459] and actor Taylor Lautner from October to December 2009.[460][461] She was romantically linked to musician John Mayer from late 2009 until early 2010.[462][463][464][465] She dated actor Jake Gyllenhaal from October to December 2010.[466][467] Following their break-up, they were seen together in January and February 2011.[468][469] Swift dated political heir Conor Kennedy from July to September 2012.[470][471] She dated One Direction singer Harry Styles from October 2012 to January 2013.[472][473]

    Musicians including Jonas and Mayer have written songs about Swift.[474][475]

    Swift says she registered to vote on her eighteenth birthday.[476][477] During the 2008 presidential campaign, she supported the Every Woman Counts campaign, aimed at engaging women in the political process, and was one of many country stars to record a public service announcement for the Vote (For Your) Country campaign.[478] She stated: “I don’t think it’s my job to try and influence people which way they should vote.”[3] Following President Obama’s inauguration, she told Rolling Stone that she supported the president: “I’ve never seen this country so happy about a political decision in my entire time of being alive. I’m so glad this was my first election.”[479]

    In 2010, former U.S. President George H. W. Bush attended the taping of a Swift television special in Kennebunkport, Maine,[480] and later described Swift as “unspoiled” and “very nice.”[481] In 2012, Swift was presented with a Kids’ Choice Award in recognition of her charitable work by Michelle Obama, who praised her as someone who “has rocketed to the top of the music industry but still keeps her feet on the ground, someone who has shattered every expectation of what a 22-year old can accomplish.”[482] Swift later described the First Lady as “a role model.”[483] In a 2012 interview, Swift remarked that, although she tries to keep herself “as educated and informed as possible,” she doesn’t “talk about politics because it might influence other people.”[484] She has spoken of her interest in American history and has read books about Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, the Founding Fathers and Ellis Island.[485] Swift is a friend of the Kennedy family[486] and has spoken of her admiration for Ethel Kennedy.[487][488]
    Awards and nominations
    Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Taylor Swift

    Swift has been the recipient of seven Grammy Awards, fifteen American Music Awards, eleven Country Music Association Awards, six Academy of Country Music Awards, and twelve Billboard Music Awards. As a songwriter, she has been honored by the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

    Rascal Flatts – What Hurts The Most (Live on Letterman)

    Rascal Flatts is an American country music group composed of Gary LeVox (lead vocals), Jay DeMarcus (bass guitar, keyboard, piano, vocals) and Joe Don Rooney (lead guitar, vocals). LeVox and DeMarcus are second cousins.

    During the 2000–10 decade, Rascal Flatts recorded for Disney Music Group’s Lyric Street Records. While on that label, the band released seven albums, all of which have been certified platinum or higher by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In order of release, these albums are Rascal Flatts (2000), Melt (2002), Feels Like Today (2004), Me and My Gang (2006), Still Feels Good (2007), Greatest Hits Volume 1 (2008) and Unstoppable (2009). After Lyric Street closed in 2010, Rascal Flatts moved to the independent Big Machine Records, releasing Nothing Like This in November 2010. Their ninth studio album, Changed, was released in April 2012.

    Rascal Flatts’ studio albums have accounted for 26 single releases. All of these have charted within the top 20 or higher on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including 12 which reached number one. The band’s longest-lasting number-one single, a cover of Marcus Hummon’s “Bless the Broken Road”, spent five weeks in that position in early 2005. The late 2005–early 2006 release “What Hurts The Most” was a number one on both the country and adult contemporary charts, and peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot 100.
    Rascal Flatts’ founding was at Fiddle and Steel Guitar Bar in Nashville, Tennessee. Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus are second cousins from a musical family.[1] (DeMarcus’s brother-in-law, James Otto, is also a country music artist.) DeMarcus moved to Nashville in 1992, earning his first record deal as part of a Christian group called East to West. In 1997, DeMarcus called LeVox, and convinced him to come to Nashville and provide some harmonies on Michael English’s album Gospel, for which he was producing. They engineered the album together, and became English’s back-up band.[3]

    At the same time, DeMarcus had become the bandleader of Chely Wright’s band, where he met Joe Don Rooney, the guitarist in that band. DeMarcus and LeVox were working in a Printer’s Alley nightclub,[1] and when their part-time guitarist could not make it one night, DeMarcus invited Rooney to sit in.

    Singer Mila Mason recommended the group to record producers Mark Bright and Marty Williams,[4] who played Lyric Street Records A&R Doug Howard a three-song demo and Howard thought they were “just incredible”. After he’d heard the demos, the band went into the Lyric Street offices the next day, sat down with acoustic guitars and played a couple of songs. According to Howard in an interview with HitQuarters: “The vocals and harmonies, it was all there—I was just blown away. The lead singer has such a unique and compelling voice.”[5] The band was signed to Lyric Street in late 1999.
    Musical career
    2000–2005: Rascal Flatts, Melt and Feels Like Today

    In early 2000, the group made its debut with the single “Prayin’ for Daylight”, a song that had been on the three-song demo that had got the band signed.[5] The song, which reached number three on the Billboard country charts, was the first single from their self-titled debut, which was issued in early 2000 on Lyric Street.[1] Following “Prayin’ for Daylight”, the album’s other three singles all made top ten on that chart: “This Everyday Love”, “While You Loved Me”, and “I’m Movin’ On”, which respectively peaked at numbers 9, 7 and 4. “I’m Movin’ On” was awarded Song of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 2002.

    The album was met with positive reviews. Stephen Thomas Erlewine called it “a sunny, pleasing modern country-pop album”.[6]

    Melt was the title of their second album, released in 2002. Unlike their previous album, Rascal Flatts co-produced Melt.[1] Its first single, “These Days”, also became their first number-one single on the country charts.[1] The album included two more top ten hits, “Love You Out Loud” and “I Melt”, and the band’s second number-one single, “Mayberry”. The music video for “I Melt” featured partial nudity,[7] and as a result, the video was banned from the Great American Country network.

    Rascal Flatts’ third album was entitled Feels Like Today, and it was released in late 2004. The album’s title track was its first single, followed by “Bless the Broken Road”. This latter song was originally recorded by its co-writer, Marcus Hummon, and had also been recorded by Melodie Crittenden (whose version made the country charts in 1998), Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Sons of the Desert. In early 2005, Rascal Flatts’ version of the song spent five weeks at number one, followed by “Fast Cars and Freedom”, which also went to number one. While this song was climbing the charts, some radio stations began playing a hidden track on the album, titled “Skin”. This unsolicited airplay caused “Skin” to enter the top 40, and after “Fast Cars and Freedom” peaked, it was released as a single under the title “Skin (Sarabeth)” and officially added to the album’s track list.
    2005–2007: Me and My Gang and Still Feels Good

    Rascal Flatts’ thirteenth chart entry, “What Hurts the Most”, was released in December 2005. This song, which had previously been recorded by Mark Wills in 2003, was the first single from their fourth album, 2006’s Me and My Gang. For this album, the band worked with producer Dann Huff. “What Hurts the Most” was a crossover hit, reaching number one at both country and adult contemporary, as well as top 10 on the Hot 100 charts. After it, the album’s title track charted in the top ten, and both “My Wish” and “Stand” made number one.

    Also in 2006, the group charted in the top 10 of the Hot 100 with a cover of Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is a Highway”, which they recorded for the Pixar film Cars. Although “Life Is a Highway” was not released to country radio, several country stations began playing the song, causing it to chart within the top 20 of Hot Country Songs.

    Me and My Gang had the highest US debut of 2006, with 722,000 units in April.[8] The album spent 15 weeks as the number one album on the Billboard Country Chart and was the second-best selling album of 2006 (behind High School Musical) with sales totaling 3.5 million by year’s end.[9] The album’s success led the band to take the spot of top-selling artist for all genres of music, which hadn’t been accomplished in 15 years by a country group.[10]

    Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts performed together at the 2007 Grammy Awards ceremony.[11] Later the same year, the group released the single “Take Me There”, a song which Kenny Chesney co-wrote and had initially planned to record himself. It became a number-one country hit in September and was the first single from their album Still Feels Good. It was followed by “Winner at a Losing Game”, the first single which the band wrote itself.[12] Both it and its followup “Every Day” peaked at number two on the country charts. The fourth single from Still Feels Good, “Bob That Head”, became the band’s first single to miss the top ten at country radio. The album’s fifth and final single, “Here”, was released in August 2008 and became their ninth Number One hit on the chart week of January 3, 2009.
    2008–2010: Greatest Hits Volume 1 and Unstoppable

    Rascal Flatts released their first greatest hits CD, Greatest Hits Volume 1, on October 28, 2008. The album contains 13 of their biggest songs, starting with “Prayin’ for Daylight” and going through “Life Is a Highway”. The limited edition of the album contains a second disc with three Christmas songs: “White Christmas”, “Jingle Bell Rock”, and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”. A year later in October 2009, they released a second edition of their greatest hits collection, this time with a second disc containing live performances of “Take Me There”, “Summer Nights”, “Me & My Gang”, and “Winner at a Losing Game”.

    Rascal Flatts released the first single, “Here Comes Goodbye”, from their album Unstoppable to radio on January 20, 2009, and the album was released on April 7. “Here Comes Goodbye” became the group’s tenth No. 1 hit. The song was co-written by American Idol season six finalist Chris Sligh. The second single, “Summer Nights”, co-written by Gary LeVox, was released in early May 2009, debuted at No. 57 and topped out at No. 2 on the country charts. The group performed “Summer Nights” at the CMT Music Awards, Oprah’s Kickoff Party, and the finale of America’s Got Talent. The third single off the album, “Why”, peaked at No. 18 on the country charts. Rascal Flatts performed “Why” on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien. The band released their fourth single, “Unstoppable”, in January 2010.

    A special release version of their album Unstoppable is available at JCPenney stores nationwide. It features a special release song entitled “American Living” only available on the albums sold at JCPenney stores. JCPenney is an official sponsor of Rascal Flatts’ Unstoppable American Living Tour in a two-year partnership and $1 of every CD sold at JCPenney will be donated to the JCPenney Afterschool Fund. On July 16, 2009, as part of the JCPenney American Living Tour, Rascal Flatts made history as the first country music group to play Chicago’s Wrigley Field.[13] The trio was joined by fellow artists Vince Gill and Darius Rucker for a near-sellout crowd.
    2010–2011: Nothing Like This and The Best of Rascal Flatts Live

    After the closure of Lyric Street in April 2010, Rascal Flatts signed to Big Machine Records in July of the same year. The group’s first release for the label was “Why Wait”.[14] Their next album Nothing Like This was released November 16.[15] In December 2010, this song became the trio’s eleventh number-one single on the country music charts.

    In March 2011, Rascal Flatts was featured on a remix of Justin Bieber’s song “That Should Be Me”.

    The second single from Nothing Like This was “I Won’t Let Go”, which went to number two in early 2011. Following it was the band’s first collaborative release to country radio, “Easy”, which features a duet vocal from British singer Natasha Bedingfield. “I Won’t Let Go”, and “Easy” peaked at No. 2 and 3 respectively on the Hot Country Songs chart.

    On November 8, 2011, Hollywood Records released The Best of Rascal Flatts Live.[16]
    2012–present: Changed and All Access & Uncovered: The Making of Changed and Beyond

    Rascal Flatts’ eighth studio album, Changed, was released on April 3, 2012. It was produced by Dann Huff and Rascal Flatts. The first single from the album, “Banjo”, reached number one on the Billboard Country Songs chart. It became their 12th number one hit on that chart. The second single off the album, “Come Wake Me Up”, reached the top five on the Country Airplay chart. The third single from the album is the title track, “Changed”.

    Rascal Flatts member Jay DeMarcus and his wife, CMT Insider correspondent Allison DeMarcus, welcomed the arrival of their second child, Dylan Jay DeMarcus, on July 20 in Nashville.[17]

    Rascal Flatts received the 2,480th star in the category of recording of the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 17, 2012. The star is located in front of the Sergeant Supply Store at 6664 Hollywood Boulevard. They become the second country artist with Oklahoma ties to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame that month after Vince Gill received his star the previous week.[18][19]

    On November 19, Rascal Flatts released their second DVD, All Access & Uncovered: The Making of Changed and Beyond, inviting the public into their inner circle. The DVD project reveals a more intimate side of Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney and Jay DeMarcus’ lives during the making of their Changed album and more. The project made a one-night-only debut in movie theaters across the country in conjunction with the album release earlier that year, with the band celebrating with fans at the AMC Theater in New York City’s Times Square.[20]

    On November 20, the band made a guest appearance on NBC’s The Voice to promote their new DVD.[21] They performed “Changed” with Cody Belew and Cassadee Pope, contestants from the show.

    In 2012, Rascal Flatts announced they will get into the restaurant business. Rascal Flatts Restaurant Group was formed by Philip Lama, CEO and Eric Soe, President, who partnered with Rascal Flatts to create and develop themed restaurants throughout the U.S. and Canada. They call it the Rascal Flatts American Bar & Grill.[22] The first location is at 5455 E. High Street in Phoenix, Arizona.[23] Additional locations will be opened in 2013 and 2014.[24]

    In December 2012, Rascal Flatts and Nashville actress Hayden Panettiere hosted the third annual 2012 CMT Artists of the Year to honor the top country acts of the year.[25] Rascal Flatts also hosted The 14th Annual A Home for the Holidays with Rascal Flatts.[26] The show earned a 4.91(million) rating.[27]

    Lionheart Music Group, a Swedish independent company within the Universal Music Group, announced they will release Rascal Flatts’ album, Changed, on January 2, 2013 in Sweden.[28] Earlier, Rascal Flatts re-recorded their hit “Come Wake Me Up” with Swedish country/pop female singer, Jill Johnson, who is also under Lionheart Music Group, as a duet version on Johnson’s new album, A Woman Can Change Her Mind. The duet version was also released as a digital download internationally on November 16, 2012.[29] The record label also released their former album, Nothing Like This, on January 23, 2013.[30]

    Rascal Flatts and Journey headlined the Super Bowl XLVII CMT Crossroads concert at the New Orleans Sugar Mill on February 2, 2013. This marked the second collaboration for Rascal Flatts and Journey. In June 2012, Rascal Flatts closed the CMT Music Awards by inviting Journey to perform their hit “Don’t Stop Believin'” with them on stage.[31]

    Rascal Flatts was nominated for International Artist of the Year and International Music Video of the Year (for “Banjo” and “Come Wake Me Up”) at the 2013 CMC Music Awards.[32]

    As of April 8, 2013 Jay DeMarcus tweeted that Rascal Flatts is working on a new album [33]

    The group has an uncommon youth demographic (18–25) for country music. In September 2007, Weekly Reader Research conducted a poll of more than 2,000 children and Rascal Flatts ranked as the sixth-most-popular act among ages 10–12.[34]

    They have raised and donated millions of dollars to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.[35] They are also involved with the American Red Cross as they are members on the celebrity cabinet board.[35]

    Rascal Flatts has enjoyed financial success as touring artists. Nielsen reported that the band was the top selling artist in 2006: “Rascal Flatts was the biggest selling artist, with nearly 5 million physical album sales and nearly 4 million digital track sales.” They had their first headlining tour beginning in Fall 2002, and by 2005 they were among the top 25 tours of the year, grossing $26.3 million in 777,384 tickets sold, according to Billboard Boxscore.[36] Their follow-up tour in 2006 grossed $46.2 million, drawing more than a million people to 79 shows.[36] Rascal Flatts has the third-highest US country tour in 2007, grossing $34 million from 588,009 tickets sold.[37] The group grossed $16.8 million from their summer tour alone.[38]

    Rascal Flatts’ shows are heavy on special effects, including videos, pyrotechnics and laser lights.[36]

    In 2013, Rascal Flatts are heading to Australia for the first time to headline CMC Rocks The Hunter 2013, which is a three-day festival from March 15 to March 17. They will close the proceedings.[39]

    Between 2004 and 2012, Rascal Flatts sold over 7 million tickets, making them one of the top selling country music acts in that time.[40]

    In 2012, Rascal Flatts began the year with their “Thaw Out 2012” tour adding 47 additional dates on the Farmers Insurance Presents “Changed Tour” to bring the 2012 year-end total to just over 60 concerts and 1 million fans attending shows in this year alone.[41]
    Rascal Flatts performing with Cassadee Pope in 2013

    On April 9, 2013, the group announced that they would co-headline a show with Journey on August 1 at Hersheypark Stadium with The Band Perry and Cassadee Pope as openers. Then, on May 3, the group announced that they would add one more show with Journey on August 4th at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey with Pope as their only opener.[citation needed]

    Jo Dee Messina’s Burn Tour – 2000–01
    Alan Jackson’s Drive Tour –2002
    with Alan Jackson and Cyndi Thomson
    (CMT on Tour) I Melt Tour – 2002–03
    with Chris Cagle, Brian McComas
    Brooks & Dunn’s Neon Circus & Wild West Show – 2003
    Kenny Chesney’s Guitars, Tiki Bars & Whole Lotta Love Tour – 2004
    with Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban
    Here’s to You Tour – 2004–05
    with Gary Allan, Keith Anderson, Julie Roberts and Blake Shelton
    Me & My Gang Tour – 2006–07
    with Eric Church (2006: kicked off for playing past time limit), Blake Shelton Jason Aldean and Taylor Swift[42]
    Still Feels Good Tour – 2007–08
    with Jason Aldean (2007) and Kellie Pickler (2008)
    Bob That Head Tour – 2008–2009
    with Taylor Swift (2008) and Jessica Simpson (2009)
    American Living Unstoppable Tour – 2009–10
    with Darius Rucker
    Nothing Like This Tour – 2010–11
    with Kellie Pickler (2010) Chris Young (2010–11) and Luke Bryan (2011)
    Flatts Fest Tour – 2011[43]
    With Sara Evans, Justin Moore, and Easton Corbin
    Thaw Out 2012 Tour – 2012[44]
    With Sara Evans and Hunter Hayes
    Farmers Insurance presents Changed Tour – 2012–13[45][46]
    with Little Big Town, Eli Young Band, Edens Edge, Thompson Square(select dates), The Band Perry (2013), and Kristen Kelly (2013)
    Farmers Insurance presents Live & Loud Tour – 2013[47]
    with The Band Perry and Cassadee Pope. (Also with Journey on Aug.1 at Hersheypark Stadium and Aug.4 at Boardwalk Hall)

    Contributions for other artists

    Rascal Flatts’ members have also contributed to the work of other artists. LeVox, along with Jason Sellers and Wendell Mobley, co-wrote Phil Stacey’s 2008 debut single “If You Didn’t Love Me”.[48]

    DeMarcus has co-produced albums for several artists, including Chely Wright’s 2002 album Never Love You Enough as well as Chicago’s Chicago XXX. James Otto’s 2008 album Sunset Man was co-produced by DeMarcus and John Rich of Big & Rich.

    The group has also contributed portions of the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack, with acoustic versions of “Bless the Broken Road” and “Backwards”.

    In 2011, they did a remix of “That Should Be Me” by Justin Bieber on his remix album Never Say Never – The Remixes.

    In the same year, Anna Wilson’s Countrypolitan Duets album also included a song featuring Rascal Flatts and Ray Price, “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”.

    Also in 2011, the band collaborated with Michael Bolton on his album Gems, on the song “Love Is Everything”.

    In 2012, Lionel Richie featured Rascal Flatts on his duet album, Tuskegee, on the song “Dancing on the Ceiling”.

    Also in 2012, Swedish country/pop female singer Jill Johnson featured Rascal Flatts on her album A Woman Can Change Her Mind, on a cover of their single “Come Wake Me Up”.

    Carrie Underwood – “Blown Away” Live at the Grand Ole Opry

    Carrie Marie Underwood (born March 10, 1983) is an American country music singer, songwriter, and actress. She rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol in 2005. Underwood has since become a multi-platinum selling recording artist, a winner of six Grammy Awards, sixteen Billboard Music Awards, seven American Music Awards and ten Academy of Country Music Awards, among several others. As a songwriter, she has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. Underwood is also a two-time winner of the Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year award and the first woman to win such an award twice (2009/10). Underwood was inducted into and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2008. She was also inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2009.[2]

    Her debut album, Some Hearts, was released in 2005. Bolstered by the huge crossover success of the singles “Before He Cheats” and “Jesus, Take the Wheel”, it went on to become the fastest selling debut country album in Nielsen SoundScan history, the best-selling solo female debut album in country music history and the best-selling country album of the last ten years. Underwood won three Grammy Awards for the album, including Best New Artist. Her second album, Carnival Ride, was released in 2007, with one of the biggest opening weeks by a female artist in history, and later earned Underwood two Grammy Awards, for the singles “Last Name” and “I Told You So”. Released in 2009, her third album, Play On, was led by the success of its first single, “Cowboy Casanova”, and finished the year as the second top-selling release by a female artist. 2012’s Blown Away, her fourth album, was ranked the second best-selling release of the year by a female artist. She won a Grammy Award for the album’s song “Blown Away”. With her strong album and single sales, and $100 million in tour revenues, Underwood is the biggest American Idol earner, the highest-ranked American Idol alumni on the RIAA’s Top Digital Artists of all time list and the fourth biggest album seller of the past ten years. She has sold more than 30 million singles and 16 million albums worldwide.

    Described by music critics as Country Music’s reigning Queen, Underwood is the only solo country artist in the 2000 decade to have a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and the first and only country artist to ever debut at number one on the Hot 100, as “Inside Your Heaven” topped the chart in 2005. She is also the female country artist with the most number one hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, from 1991 to present, having 12 number one’s and breaking her own Guinness Book record of ten. Some Hearts was named the No. 1 Country Album of the 2000 Decade by Billboard and she was the top-ranked female artist on Billboard’s Best Country Artists of the 2000 Decade list. As of 2013, Underwood is net-worthed at $55 million dollars.[3]
    Underwood was born to Stephen and Carole Underwood on March 10, 1983, in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She was raised on her parents’ farm in the rural town of Checotah, Oklahoma.[4] Her father worked in a sawmill, while her mother taught elementary school.[5] She has two older sisters, Shanna and Stephanie.[6][7] During her childhood, Underwood performed at Robbins Memorial Talent Show, and sang at her local church, First Free Will Baptist Church.[8] She later sang for local events in Checotah, including Old Settler’s Day and the Lion’s Club.[9]

    A local admirer arranged for her to go to Nashville when she was 14 to audition for Capitol Records.[8] In 1996, Capitol Records was preparing a contract for Underwood but cancelled it when company management changed. Underwood said of the event, “I honestly think it’s a lot better that nothing came out of it now, because I wouldn’t have been ready then. Everything has a way of working out.”[10] While at Checotah High School, she was an Honor Society member, a cheerleader, and played basketball and softball.[11] Underwood graduated from Checotah High School in 2001 as salutatorian.[9] She chose not to pursue singing after graduation. She said, “After high school, I pretty much gave up on the dream of singing. I had reached a point in my life where I had to be practical and prepare for my future in the ‘real world'”.[11] She attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, graduating magna cum laude in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and an emphasis in journalism.[12] She spent part of one of her summers as a page for Oklahoma State Representative Bobby Frame.[13] She also waited tables at a pizzeria, worked at a zoo, and at a veterinary clinic.[11] Underwood is an alumna of the Alpha Iota chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority.[14] For two years during the summer, she performed in Northeastern State University’s Downtown Country show in Tahlequah. She also competed in numerous beauty pageants at the university and was selected as Miss NSU runner-up in 2004.[15]
    2004–05: American Idol
    Main article: American Idol (season 4)

    In the summer of 2004, Underwood auditioned for American Idol in St. Louis, Missouri. After she sang “Could’ve Been” by Tiffany on the top 12 girls night, judge Simon Cowell commented that she would be one of the favorites to win the competition.[16][17] During the top 11 finalists’ performance on the March 22, 2005, Idol episode, Underwood sang a rendition of the number one 1980s rock hit “Alone”, made famous by Heart, and Cowell predicted that Underwood would not only win the competition, but she would also outsell all previous Idol winners.[18] One of the show’s producers later said she dominated the voting, winning every week handily.[19][20] She gained a fan base known as “Carrie’s Care Bears” during the course of the show. During the final, she sang with Rascal Flatts their song “Bless the Broken Road”.[21] On May 25, 2005, Underwood became the season four winner. Her winnings included a recording contract worth at least a million dollars, use of a private jet for a year, and a Ford Mustang convertible.[22]
    [show]American Idol season 4 performances and results
    2005–07: Breakthrough and major success with Some Hearts
    Underwood performing at the World Arena in 2006

    Underwood’s music career began with the release of her first single, “Inside Your Heaven”, on June 14, 2005. The song debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, with Underwood becoming only the third artist to bow in the top slot since chart policy changed in 1998.[23] She also broke Billboard chart history as the first country music artist ever to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and the song became the first song from a country artist to go to No. 1 on the Hot 100 since country group Lonestar’s “Amazed” did so in 2000.[24] “Inside Your Heaven” is the only single by a solo country artist in the 2000 decade to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[25] It also debuted at number one on the Billboard Pop 100 and on the Canadian Singles Chart, topping it for seven consecutive weeks, becoming the longest running single of 2005 in Canada. It sold nearly one million copies and was certified gold by the RIAA and two times platinum by the CRIA.[26][27] Underwood’s debut album, Some Hearts, was released on November 15, 2005, entering the Billboard charts with 315,000 copies sold, debuting at number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums and at number two on the Billboard 200.[28] The large first week sales of Some Hearts made it the biggest debut of any country artist since the advent of the SoundScan system in 1991.[29] Some Hearts became the best-selling album of 2006 in all genres in the United States.[30] The album was also the best-selling country album of both 2006 and 2007, making Underwood the first female artist in Billboard history to earn back-to-back honors for Top Country Album.[31] Additionally, it was the best-selling female country album of 2005, 2006 and 2007.[32] Some Hearts has since been certified seven times Platinum by the RIAA, and is the fastest-selling debut country album in the history of the SoundScan era,[33][34] the best-selling solo female debut album in country music history,[35] the best-selling Country album of the last 10 years,[36] and the best-selling album by an American Idol alumni in the U.S.[37] The album’s second single,[38] “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was released to radio in October and later peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, topping it for six consecutive weeks, and at twenty on the Hot 100.[39] The song sold over two million copies and was certified 2-time Platinum by the RIAA.[40] Underwood’s third single, “Some Hearts”, was also released in October, but just to the pop radios. “Don’t Forget to Remember Me”, her fourth single, also proved successful, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Later that autumn, Underwood’s third country single,[38] “Before He Cheats”, hit number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs, staying there for 5 consecutive weeks.[41] The song peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, achieving the slowest climb ever to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, breaking the record that was previously held by Creed from July 2000.[42] In February 2008, when it was certified two-time Platinum, “Before He Cheats” became the first country song to ever be certified multi-platinum by the RIAA.[43] It has now been certified 4 times Platinum, selling nearly four million copies, and is the fourth best-selling country digital song of all time.[26][44] On April 11, 2007, Underwood continued her streak of top Country singles with the release of “Wasted”, which peaked at number one on the Hot Country Songs Chart, sold nearly one million copies and was certified Gold by the RIAA.[45] On August 2008, the “Jesus, Take the Wheel” ringtone was reported to have been certified Platinum, making Underwood the first country artist ever to have two songs hit Platinum Mastertone status together with “Before He Cheats”, which had been certified earlier in 2007.[46] Underwood started her first headlined tour, Carrie Underwood: Live 2006, with dates across North America.

    At the 2005 Billboard Music Awards, her hit song “Inside Your Heaven” won the coveted Top-Selling Hot 100 Song of the Year award and also Top-Selling Country Single of the Year award, and she won Country Single Sales Artist of the Year.[47] At the 2006 Academy of Country Music Awards, she won Top New Female Vocalist and Single of the Year, for “Jesus, Take the Wheel”.[48] At the 40th Annual Country Music Association Awards she won both the Horizon Award (now New Artist of the Year) and Female Vocalist of the Year.[49] At the 2006 CMT Awards, Underwood won both the Breakthrough Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year for “Jesus, Take The Wheel”.[50] She later won the Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award at the American Music Awards, and was also nominated for Favorite Female Country Artist.[51] She won 5 awards at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards, including the coveted Album of the Year, Top 200 Female Artist of the Year, Female Country Artist, New Country Artist, and Country Album of the Year.[52] Also that year, Underwood won a Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Award for Country Recorded Song of the Year, for “Jesus, Take The Wheel”.[53] At the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2007, Underwood won Album of the Year, Video of the Year, and Female Vocalist of the Year.[54] She was nominated for “World’s Best Selling New Artist” at the 2006 World Music Awards. At the 2007 CMT Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 16, Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” won three awards, including Video of the Year, Female Video of the Year, and Video Director of the Year.[55] Underwood won two awards at the 2007 CMA Awards: Female Vocalist of the Year, for the second consecutive time, and Single Record of the Year, for “Before He Cheats”.[56] In 2007, at the 49th Grammy Awards, Some Hearts received four Grammy nominations and Underwood won her first two Grammy Awards: Best New Artist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Jesus, Take the Wheel.[57] She sang the Eagles song “Life in the Fast Lane” alongside Grammy nominees Rascal Flatts. She also sang the Eagles’ “Desperado” to honour Don Henley of The Eagles. She also paid tribute to Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys by performing “New San Antonio Rose”. At the 50th Grammy Awards, in 2008, Underwood was nominated for two more Grammys: Best Female Country Vocal Performance, for “Before He Cheats” and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, for “Oh, Love” a duet with Brad Paisley. She won one Grammy Award that night, for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, and performed the song at the ceremony.[58]

    In December 2005, Underwood was named Oklahoman of the Year by Oklahoma Today.[59] In December 2006, Underwood joined Tony Bennett, Michael Bublé and Josh Groban to sing “For Once In My Life” on The Oprah Winfrey Show.[60] Also that month, she paid tribute to Dolly Parton, by singing “Islands in the Stream” with Kenny Rogers (originally by Parton and Rogers) at the Kennedy Center Honors, which honored Parton that year.[61] Underwood performed with the USO Christmas Tour in Iraq during the 2006 Holiday season.[62] Underwood also performed at the 2007 Idol Gives Back concert, singing “I’ll Stand By You”, a cover of The Pretenders hit. Her version of the song debuted at number six on Billboard’s Hot 100 Songs.[63] In 2007, Forbes reported that Underwood earned over $7 million between June 2006 and June 2007.[64] Also in 2007, Victoria’s Secret named Underwood the Sexiest Female Musician.[65]
    2007–09: Carnival Ride, wider success and acclaim
    Underwood at the American Idol Experience premiere

    Underwood’s second album, Carnival Ride,[66] was released in October 2007.[67] On Carnival Ride, Underwood was more involved in the songwriting process; she set up a writers’ retreat at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium to collaborate with such Music Row tunesmiths as Hillary Lindsey, Craig Wiseman, Rivers Rutherford, and Gordie Sampson.[68] Carnival Ride moved over 527,000 copies in its first week, debuting at number one on both the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums, as well as number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, one of the biggest first-week sales by a female artist.[69] Carnival Ride was certified double platinum in just two months after its release, in December.[70] The album is certified 3-time Platinum by the RIAA, for sales of over three million. “So Small”, the first single from the album, was released in July 2007 and reached number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs, topping it for three consecutive weeks.[71] “All-American Girl”, the second single, also reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. The next single, “Last Name”, reached number one on the Hot Country Song chart as well. This made Underwood the first female artist to have two consecutive albums each release three number-ones on this chart since Shania Twain in 1998. “Just a Dream”, the album’s next single, was released on July 2008 and later peaked at number one on the Hot Country Songs chart, staying there for 2 consecutive weeks. With that, Underwood became the first solo female artist to pull four No. 1s from one album since Twain did it with The Woman in Me.[72] The album’s fifth single, “I Told You So”, a duet with the original singer of the song, Randy Travis, was released in February 2009. It peaked at number two on the Billboard Country charts and number nine on the Hot 100. All singles from Carnival Ride were certified Platinum by the RIAA, for selling more than one million copies each.[40] In January 2008, Underwood embarked on a joint tour with Keith Urban named the Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Carnival Ride Tour, with dates fixed nationwide that continued through April.[73] She then started her headlined tour, the Carnival Ride Tour, in February 2008, with dates across all North America, and ended it on December 14, 2008, playing to 1.2 million fans throughout the tour and being named the top-selling country female touring artist of 2008.[74]

    At the end of 2007, Underwood won 5 awards at the Billboard Music Awards, including the coveted Billboard 200 Artist of the Year and also Country Artist of the Year.[75] Also in late 2007, she won three American Music Awards: Artist of the Year, Favorite Female Country Artist and Favorite Country Album, for Some Hearts.[76] At the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards, she won Female Vocalist of the Year, for the 2nd consecutive time.[77] She received two nominations for the 2008 Country Music Association Awards. Underwood and Brad Paisley co-hosted the awards show and she walked away with the Female Vocalist of the Year award for the third consecutive time, but lost the Album of the Year award to George Strait.[78] At the 2008 American Music Awards, Carnival Ride won the Favorite Country Album award, thus making that her 2nd consecutive win in such category.[79] In 2008, Underwood also won her first international award, which was “Female Vocalist of the Year” at the European Country Music Association Awards.[80] For the 44th Academy of Country Music Awards, in 2009, Underwood was nominated for four major awards. Underwood won for Female Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of The Year, thus making her the first woman to win the award in ten years and the 7th female to take it in the award show’s four decade run.[81] Underwood was nominated for Video of the Year at the 2009 CMT Awards for “Just A Dream”. In 2009, at the 51st Grammy Awards, she won, for the third year in a row, the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, for “Last Name”, and performed the song at the ceremony.[82][83] At the 52nd Grammy Awards in 2010, Underwood won her fifth Grammy Award: She won the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for “I Told You So” with Randy Travis and was also nominated again for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, for “Just A Dream”.[84] At the ceremony, she performed with Celine Dion, Usher, Smokey Robinson and Jennifer Hudson during the 3-D Michael Jackson tribute.[85] Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich stated that Michael Jackson greatly admired Underwood, which is why she was hand-picked to perform during his tribute.[86]

    On May 13, 2008, Underwood was invited by Randy Travis to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry,[87] later that month she was officially inducted by Garth Brooks into the Grand Ole Opry.[88] A few months earlier, she sang Julie Andrews’ classic, the title song from The Sound of Music, at the 2007 Movies Rock: A Celebration Of Music In Film.[89] On October 22, 2008, Underwood unveiled her wax figure at Madame Tussauds New York.[90] In 2008, it was reported by Forbes that Underwood earned over $9 Million between June 2007 and June 2008, being number 79 on the Top Celebrity 100 list.[91] In 2009, Forbes reported that Underwood was the top earning American Idol alumni from June 2008 to May 17, 2009. She earned more than twice as much as the second place finisher, with estimated earnings of $14 million during this time period.[92] She appeared on the holiday CD Hear Something Country Christmas 2007 with a rendition of “Do You Hear What I Hear?”. The song reached number two on the AC Chart, and remained there for 3 consecutive weeks.[93] She recorded the song “Ever Ever After” for the soundtrack of the 2007 Walt Disney film Enchanted. Underwood co-wrote a song for Idol alum Kristy Lee Cook’s major-label debut album Why Wait. At the 2008 Idol Gives Back, she sang George Michael’s classic “Praying For Time” and later recorded it.[94] In November 2008, Underwood recorded a virtual and posthumous duet with Elvis Presley, on his classic “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, for his 2008 album Christmas Duets. Elvis’ ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, herself asked Underwood to do the duet: “Priscilla wanted me to do ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas'”, she says. “I couldn’t say ‘no’.”[95] In March 2009, she tracked a cover of Mötley Crüe’s ballad “Home Sweet Home” for the American Idol season eight farewell theme.[96] Her version debuted at number 21 on the Hot 100 Songs.
    2009–12: Play On and collaborations
    Underwood performing at United States Naval Academy, in April 2011

    Underwood released her third studio album, Play On, on November 3, 2009.[97] The album debuted atop both the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums, selling over 318,000 copies in its first week, and became, upon its release, the top-selling release of the year by a female artist, but was later overtaken by Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed a Dream and finished the year as the number two.[98][99] Underwood wrote a song with pop/R&B singer-songwriter Ne-Yo for the album, the song however did not make the album.[100] The first single from the album, “Cowboy Casanova”, co-written by Underwood, Brett James and hip hop producer Mike Elizondo, was released in September 2009. It was a huge success, jumping from No. 96 to No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its second week, one of the biggest single-week upwards on the chart of all time.[101] It later peaked at number one on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs in just ten weeks, the year’s fastest chart-topper by a country female and the fastest No. 1 of her career,[102] and has sold over 2 million copies, being certified 2-time Platinum by the RIAA. Second single, “Temporary Home”[103] hit number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs and the RIAA certified it Gold.[104] “Undo It”, Underwood’s third single from “Play On”, was released to radio in May. It was later certified Platinum by the RIAA and hit number one on the Hot Country Songs chart, giving Underwood her tenth number one single on the Hot Country Songs.[105] The 4th single from Play On, “Mama’s Song”, was released to country radio in September, peaked at two on the Hot Country Songs and was certified Gold by the RIAA. The album is certified Double Platinum by the RIAA.[106]

    Underwood’s Play On Tour started its first leg on March 11, 2010 in Reading, Pennsylvania.[107] The second leg of the tour started on September 25, 2010 in Portland, Oregon, and ended January 1, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.[108] Underwood sold out the prestigious Hollywood Bowl on October 2, 2010.[109] In December 2010, ranked the Play On Tour one of the Top 50 tours of 2010, at number 18 on the North American raking, and number 31 worldwide. Billboard also ranked Underwood’s tour at number 24 for all worldwide tours of 2010. On January 4, 2011, official statistics revealed that Underwood played to over 1 million fans throughout the tour,[110] resulting in her being named again as the top-ranked female country touring artist of the year.[111]

    At the 2009 CMA Awards, she received two nominations and co-hosted the ceremony with Brad Paisley.[112] Underwood was nominated for six Academy of Country Music Awards. At the show, Underwood was named Entertainer of the Year, making her the first woman in history to win this award twice.[113] Host Reba McEntire presented Underwood with the “ACM Triple Crown Award” signifying her winning Top New Artist, Top Female Vocalist, and Entertainer of the Year during her career. She was only the second Female to win the coveted “Triple Crown Award”, the first being Barbara Mandrell.[114][115] At the CMT Music Awards Underwood walked away with Video of the Year for “Cowboy Casanova” and also won CMT Performance of the Year for “Temporary Home” from CMT: Invitation Only presents Carrie Underwood.[116] Underwood won two international awards at the 8th French Country Music Awards, which were Best Female Vocalist and Video of the Year, for “Cowboy Casanova”.[117] At the 2010 American Music Awards, she won “Favorite Country Album”, for “Play On”, making her the only artist in the American Music Award history to have all albums awarded in such a category.[118] She co-hosted the 2010 CMA Awards with Brad Paisley for the third year in a row. Underwood was the 2010 American Country Awards’ top winner with six wins, Artist of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for (Play On), Female Artist Single of the Year for (“Cowboy Casanova”), Female Artist Video of the Year for (“Cowboy Casanova”) and Touring Artist of the Year.[119] At the 2011 Grammy Awards, Underwood was nominated for ‘Best Female Country Vocal Performance’ for “Temporary Home.”[120] Underwood was honored by the CMT Artists of the Year special as one of the 5 top Artists of the year in 2010 in country music.[121] The event aired on CMT on December 3, 2010. At the 2011 Academy of Country Music Awards, Underwood sang with Steven Tyler both her song “Undo It” and Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”.[122] In May 2011, Underwood was one of the seven women to be honored by the Academy of Country Music at the Girls’ Night Out: Superstar Women of Country special. She was recognized for being the first and only female artist in the Academy’s history to ever win Entertainer of the Year twice.[123] At the ceremony, Vince Gill introduced Underwood and presented her with the special award. He sang one of her hits, “Jesus, Take The Wheel”, and joined Underwood on a rendition performance of “How Great Thou Art”. The video of the performance turned into a viral sensation, reaching 3 million views on YouTube within two days.[124] On December 5, 2011, Underwood won three awards at the 2011 American Country Awards, including Female Artist of the Year for the second consecutive time.[125]

    In December 2009, Some Hearts was named the No. 1 Country Album of the 2000 Decade by Billboard and Underwood was the top-ranked female artist on Billboard’s Best Country Artists of the 2000 Decade list.[126][127] Overall, she was ranked number 50 on the Artists of the Decade list by Billboard.[128] Also in late 2009, Underwood had her very own CMT Invitation Only[129] and also hosted a Christmas special, Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special, a two-hour variety show on Fox that featured Dolly Parton (with whom she sang a rendition duet of “I Will Always Love You”) season seven American Idol champion David Cook, Kristin Chenoweth, Brad Paisley and others.[130] In May 2010, Underwood was selected on People Magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People List for 2010. This was the 4th year in a row that she was selected for the list.[131] Also in May, Victoria’s Secret named her legs the Sexiest Legs in Hollywood.[132] In June 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Underwood as the number eleven Queen of Pop, based on a lot of criteria from 2009 until 2011.[133] Underwood co-wrote and recorded a song titled “There’s a Place for Us,” the lead single from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.[134] Underwood and songwriters, David Hodges and Hillary Lindsey, received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.[135] In March 2011, Underwood sang John Lennon’s “Instant Karma!” at the NBC’s special All Together Now – A Celebration of Service, which honored former President George H. W. Bush.[136] At the season ten finale of American Idol Underwood selected a song for contestant Lauren Alaina to sing.[137]

    Underwood is featured on “Remind Me”, a duet with Brad Paisley that reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, giving Underwood her eleventh number one single on such chart and fourteenth overall. She has also a duet with Tony Bennett on his 2011 album Duets II[138] and another duet with Randy Travis on his 2011 Anniversary Celebration album. Underwood was one of the headliners of the iHeartRadio Music Festival. The event took place on September 23 and 24, 2011.[139] On September 19, Underwood performed “You Really Got a Hold on Me” in order to honor Smokey Robinson, as he was presented with the Ella Award at the Society of Singers annual dinner. Robinson returned the favor to Underwood by singing “My Girl” to her. At the same event, they sang together with Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole and other artists a medley of multiple songs.[140] In 2010, Underwood was reported by Forbes to have earned over $13 million from May 2009 to May 2010, being the top-earning Idol.[141] In July 2011, Forbes reported that Underwood earned over $20 million between May 2010 and May 2011, being the top-earning American Idol alumnus for the fourth consecutive year.[142]

    On February 4, 2012, Underwood joined Steven Tyler to record CMT’s Crossroads at the Pepsi Coliseum during the Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam of Super Bowl XLVI.[143] It was the highest-rated episode in seven years.[144] On February 12, 2012, Underwood and Tony Bennett performed their duet “It Had to Be You” at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.[145] They also sang the song on the season two premiere of Blue Bloods in September 2011.[146]
    2012–present: Blown Away and global tour
    Underwood performing on the Blown Away World Tour, 2012

    Blown Away,[147] Underwood’s fourth album, was released on May 1, 2012.[148] Underwood has said that this album features songs with a “darker storyline.”[149] Blown Away debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, the Country Albums Chart and the Digital Albums chart in the United States, selling more than 267,000 in its first week.[150] The first single, “Good Girl”, was released to the iTunes Store on February 23, 2012. It was officially released to Country radio on February 27, 2012.[151][152] The music video for “Good Girl” premiered on Entertainment Tonight and on VEVO on March 12, 2012.[153] The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, giving Underwood her twelfth number one on the chart,[154] and was certified Platinum by the RIAA and has sold over 1.5 million copies.[155] The song “Blown Away” was released as the second single from the album on July 9, 2012. It was a massive success, selling over 2 million copies, being certified Double Platinum, reaching the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100, the number one spot on the Billboard Country Airplay and the Top 2 of the Top Country Songs, where it became Underwood’s 16th Top 10 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs, a record among women in the tally’s 68-year history.[156] The album has been certified Platinum by the RIAA and was the 7th best-selling album of 2012, the second best-selling country album of the year and the second best-selling release by a female artist in 2012.[157] The album has sold 1.5 million copies in the United States alone.[158] On August 2012, it was announced that Underwood would have her very own VH1 Unplugged (called “VH1 Presents: Carrie Underwood Unplugged”) and VH1 Behind The Music episodes.[159] “Two Black Cadillacs”, the third single from the album, was released on November 26. It became Underwood’s 17th top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, extending her own record, later peaking at number two on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart and certified Gold by the RIAA.[106][160] In March 2013, “See You Again” was announced as the album’s fourth single; it has been certified Gold by the RIAA.[161][162]

    At the 2012 CMT Music Awards, Underwood won the awards for Video of the Year, for “Good Girl”, and Collaborative Video of the Year, for “Remind Me”, her duet with Brad Paisley. She also performed “Good Girl” at the ceremony.[163] At the 2012 American Music Awards, she won the award for Favorite Album – Country, for Blown Away, and performed “Two Black Cadillacs”. On December 10, Underwood won 2 American Country Awards, for Female Artist of the Year and Single of the Year for Remind Me. She has won a total of 11 ACA’s, the most of any artist ever.[164] In early 2013, Underwood won the prize for Top Selling International Album of the Year at the 41st Country Music Awards of Australia, held by the Country Music Association of Australia.[165][166] Also in February 2013, Underwood won her sixth Grammy Award, for Best Country Solo Performance, for “Blown Away”.[167] She also performed a medley of “Blown Away” and “Two Black Cadillacs” at the awards show. On February 13, Underwood received two nominations for the Academy of Country Music Awards.[168] On May 15, she was nominated for International Act of the Year at the 2013 British Country Music Awards, which will take place in November.[169] At the 2013 CMT Music Awards, Underwood won her 10th award, becoming the most awarded artist ever in CMT Music Awards history. She won Video of the Year for “Blown Away” for the fourth time, which also makes her the artist with the most wins ever in the category.[170][171][172] During the ceremony, she paid tribute to tornado victims in Oklahoma, by performing “See You Again” backed by a choir from Nashville’s Christ Church.[173]

    On May 1, 2012, Underwood announced her international arena tour, the Blown Away Tour. The first leg consisted, besides the North American dates, of concerts in the UK, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, on June 21, 2012,[174] which sold-out in 90 minutes,[175] and five shows in Australia, including a sold-out date at the Sydney Opera House, on July 2.[155] The first leg of the Blown Away Tour made Underwood the best-selling female country touring artist of 2012, grossing over $29.2 million and bringing her career tour revenues to over $95 million.[176][177] The tour will have its own exhibition at the Country Music Hall of Fame, called “Carrie Underwood: The Blown Away Tour Exhibition”, starting on June 5, 2013.[178] The second leg of the tour started in February 2013, with shows in Ireland, an additional show in England, as part of the C2C: Country to Country festival,[179] and several shows in North America. All dates of the second leg of the Blown Away Tour were sold out, breaking records.[180] Underwood wrapped the Blown Away Tour in late May 2013, playing to one million fans across three continents and six countries. Her three headline arena tours have played to over 3.2 million fans combined.[181] On May 31, it was announced on Underwood’s official site that she would release The Blown Away Tour: LIVE, a DVD with nearly 100 minutes of performance footage, behind-the-scene looks, interviews and music videos from the album Blown Away. The DVD was released on August 13, 2013 and is Underwood’s first official DVD concert.[182]

    Underwood has been described by music critics, such as Billboard’s, as Country Music’s reigning Queen[183] and, as of early 2013, has sold more than 13 million album copies and over 27 million digital tracks in the United States.[184] The Recording Industry Association of America recognizes Underwood as the 12th Top Artist (Digital Singles) of all time, being the highest-ranked American Idol alumni on the list, with 21 million certified units.[185] Since May 2011, Underwood is the Biggest American Idol Earner, with, at the time of the press release, over $66 million in tour revenues, besides her records sales.[186] She is also the fourth biggest album seller of the past 10 years.[187] Worldwide, she has sold over 30 million singles and nearly 16 million albums.[188][189] She is the female country artist with the most number one hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, from 1991 to present, having 12 No. 1s and breaking her own Guinness Book record of ten, which was co-held with Reba McEntire.[154][190] On February 22, 2013, Billboard ranked Underwood as the 16th money maker for the period from February 2012 to February 2013. She earned close to $12 million, being American Idol’s Top Earner and second for female country artists.[191] In June 2013, Forbes placed Underwood at number 46 on The Celebrity 100 list, reporting that she earned more than $31 million between June 2012 and June 2013, being, once again, the top-earning American Idol.[192][193]

    On January 21, 2013, “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You”, a song by rock band Aerosmith with featured vocals by Underwood, was released as a single.[194][195] On May 25, Underwood joined The Rolling Stones on stage during the stop of the band’s 50 and Counting Tour in Toronto, Canada. They performed “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)”.[196][197]
    Acting career

    Underwood appeared on How I Met Your Mother in March 2010. She played the part of Tiffany, a medical sales rep that forms a relationship with Ted.[198] This was the second highest rated episode for season five, gaining 10.48 million viewers. Brian Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 8.5 out of 10. He was surprised how well Underwood performed in her first acting role.[199] A few months earlier, she appeared in an episode of the PBS children’s television series Sesame Street, performing a voice-over as “Carrie Underworm”, a parodied “worm” character.[200] Underwood made her film debut in Soul Surfer in April 2011. She played Sarah Hill, the church youth leader who helped Bethany Hamilton overcome the obstacles she faced after the shark attack.[201][202]

    It was announced by NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt on November 30, 2012 that Underwood is set to star in the coveted role of Maria von Trapp in NBC’s live broadcast of The Sound of Music, based on the original Broadway musical.[203] The three-hour telecast aired on December 5, 2013.[204] NBC is partnered with the producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “To have a star like Carrie Underwood perform Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’ – and in such a very special and unique production, is exciting beyond words,” said Ted Chapin, President, Rodgers & Hammerstein. “Part of the magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein is how their work has adapted itself to so many different incarnations, and I am certain the fresh spirit Underwood brings to her own songs will transition into exciting versions of the classic songs we all know and love.”[205]
    Personal life

    Underwood is a practicing Christian.[206][207] She and her mother are fans of writer Stephen King. His 1980s best-selling book-turned-to-movie Christine inspired the video for her single “Two Black Cadillacs”.[208] Underwood is a fan of musical drama show Nashville[209] and horror-themed TV shows The Following[210] and The Walking Dead, having stated, in an interview with Marie Claire, that she would like to play a zombie on The Walking Dead.[211]

    Underwood began dating then Ottawa Senators (now Nashville Predators) hockey player Mike Fisher after they met at one of her concerts in late 2008 and she became engaged to him in December 2009.[212] Underwood and Fisher appeared together publicly for the first time in January 2010, at the Bell Sens Soiree, an annual fundraiser in Gatineau for the Ottawa Senators’ official charity.[213] After appearing together at the CMT Awards in June 2010, Underwood told reporters that Fisher was planning a surprise honeymoon for the two of them after their summer wedding.[214]

    On July 10, 2010, Underwood and Fisher wed at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Georgia, with more than 250 people in attendance. The couple gave People the following statement, which they signed “Mike & Carrie Fisher”: “We could not feel more blessed to have found each other and to have shared this day with our friends and family that mean so much to us!” According to People, Monique Lhuillier created a dress of Chantilly lace for Underwood and also designed the bridesmaids’ dresses. The ceremony featured classical music and readings of the couple’s favorite Bible verses.[215][216] National Hockey League players, as well as Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, American Idol contestants, and judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson were in attendance.[217][218] She surprised her husband by having one of their favorite artists, Brandon Heath, sing his song “Love Never Fails” for their first dance.[219]

    On February 11, 2011, an Ottawa radio station, 105.3 CISS-FM, banned the playing of Underwood’s music because her husband, Mike Fisher, was traded to the Nashville Predators the day before. Due to Underwood’s fans’ threats on Facebook to never tune into the radio station, the station later modified their statement. They apologized for their actions, saying that their statements were meant to be taken as a joke, as they do not play Underwood’s country songs anyway and it was their tongue-in-cheek way of wishing Fisher the best of luck in Nashville.[220][221] Fisher later criticized the station saying “obviously Carrie had nothing to do with the move or the trade or anything so to imply something like that was just wrong”, and noting that both he and Underwood were disappointed in the negativity that was created by the radio station.[222][223] Underwood was selected by The Hockey News on its annual list of the 100 People of Power and Influence in Ice Hockey. For the 2012 list, Underwood ranked at number 85.[224]
    Personal interests

    Underwood is an animal lover and a vegan.[225] She stopped eating meat at the age of thirteen because she could not stand the thought of eating one of her own animals. She was voted “World’s Sexiest Vegetarian” by PETA[226] in 2007 for the second time, the first being in 2005 alongside Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, who is also a vegan.[226] In a 2007 interview with PETA, Underwood stated,

    “Ever since I was little I loved animals […] If you told me I could never sing again, I’d say that was horrible, but it’s not my life. If you told me I could never be around animals again, I would just die.”[227]

    In April 2013, Underwood, an animal lover, spoke out with disapproval regarding the Tennessee “Ag Gag bill”.[228] The bill makes it a crime to videotape animal cruelty or abuse and then fail to turn in the evidence to authorities within 48 hours. This is to stop animal rights activists from accumulating enough documentation to prove that animal cruelty is routine in big agribusiness.[229] Underwood tweeted, “Shame on TN lawmakers for passing the Ag Gag bill. If Gov. Bill Haslam signs this, he needs to expect me at his front door. Who’s with me?”[230] State Rep. Andy Holt responded to her tweet, saying, “I would say that Carrie Underwood will stick to singing, I’ll stick to lawmaking.”[231] Underwood later responded via Twitter, “I should stick to singing? Wow…sorry, I’m just a tax paying citizen concerned for the safety of my family. #NoAgGag”.[232] She also tweeted Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, saying “Please don’t sign the Ag Gag bill. Think about the welfare of the animals as well as the consumers. I’m begging you…”[233]

    Underwood has stated that she has a great interest in sports. She has participated in the annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball tournament for charity for many years. The event takes place in Nashville, Tennessee, and benefits research for life-threatening diseases.[234] In 2005, she performed the “Star-Spangled Banner” at Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons,[235] and in 2006 at the NBA All-Star Game.[236] She performed at halftime of the 2006 Thanksgiving Day football game at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas, and was friends with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.[237] She also performed the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the NFC Championship Game between the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers in 2006,[238] as well as at the 2006 edition of NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600,[239] the MLB All Star Game in Pittsburgh, P.A., and at Game 3 of the 2007 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies.[240] On February 7, 2010, Underwood performed the National Anthem for Super Bowl XLIV.[241] On May 7, 2013, it was announced that Underwood will perform the opening theme song for NBC Sunday Night Football, replacing Faith Hill.[242] Hill later expressed full support for Underwood, congratulating her via Twitter and stating that it was “an awesome choice” by NBC/SNF and that Underwood “will rock it”.[243]

    Underwood has had many endorsements throughout her career. In 2005, Underwood appeared in Sketchers global advertising campaign. In 2008, Underwood worked with Nintendo for the launch of their Nintendo DS appearing in various television commercials.[244] In 2008, Underwood became the spokesperson for Vitamin Water appearing in television and magazine advertisements. Underwood also hosts a guide to a healthy lifestyle on Vitamin Water’s website.[245] In 2010, Underwood became the spokesperson for the Pedigree adoption drive. In 2011, she became the first celebrity brand ambassador for Olay skin care. Underwood has appeared in the global advertising campaign for their facial wash.[246]

    Underwood established the Checotah Animal, Town, and School Foundation in 2009. The foundation helps with general causes, needs and services in the area of Checotah to directly impact the community.[247] “My hometown is extremely supportive of me and I feel blessed to be able to create something as a way of giving back; to say thank you,” said Underwood.[248][249]

    Underwood is a supporter of arts education. In 2009, Underwood’s foundation “Checotah Animal, Town & School Foundation” and the Academy of Country Music foundation “ACM Lifting Lives” partnered to give students in Checotah, Oklahoma a gift valued at more than $120,000 in new instruments for their music programs.[250] Underwood held a surprise concert at a local high school and then unveiled the gifts. The instruments will be shared throughout the Checotah school district, and were ordered through Yamaha Corporate Artist Affairs at a special philanthropic price.[250][250] During the 2011 holiday season, her foundation donated $350,000 to the Checotah schools.[251]

    Underwood is a supporter of animal rights. Underwood is a supporter of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and has done several public service announcements for the organization.[252] Underwood has also done a “Protect Your Pets” public service announcement for Do Something.[253] In 2010, Underwood became the official spokesperson for the Pedigree adoption drive.[254] On March 29, 2010 Underwood and Pedigree partnered to donate $10,000 to a New York City Animal Shelter. In April 2011, Underwood opened the Happy Paws Animal Shelter in her hometown.[255] On January 10, 2012, it was reported, but had previously been blogged by Underwood herself on her official fan-site, that the singer rescued an abandoned dog along highway.[256]

    Underwood and her husband made a video for the “Do It for Daron” campaign urging young people to stop bullying.[257] In July 2012, she publicly endorsed same-sex marriage. She told the British newspaper The Independent, “As a married person myself, I don’t know what it’s like to be told I can’t marry somebody I love, and want to marry,” she said. “I can’t imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love.” Underwood went on to say, “Our church is gay friendly. Above all, God wanted us to love others. It’s not about setting rules, or [saying] ‘everyone has to be like me’. No. We’re all different. That’s what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It’s not up to me to judge anybody.”[258]

    Underwood launched the Academy of Country Music Lifting Lives Temporary Home Fund in 2010. The Fund specifically benefits victims of the Tennessee floods of early 2010 and it was kicked off with grants that Underwood received from ACM as Entertainer of the Year. She also teamed up with Brooks and Dunn to support the new Fund by recording a Public Service Announcement (PSA).[259]

    Underwood is involved with a number of organizations that benefit children. In January 2010, she partnered with Country Cares for St. Jude Kids visiting the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.[260] In February 2011, Underwood donated $140,125 to Save the Children.[261] This charitable initiative was inspired by the “36 cents” written in the lyrics of Underwood’s album track “Change” on her album Play On, which addresses how even the smallest bit of spare change that one might have can add up to make a difference and help “change” the world.[262]

    Underwood is a supporter of the United Service Organization, Clothes off our back, and Habitat For Humanity.[263] To benefit cancer research, in August 2008 Underwood joined Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Miley Cyrus and other female artists to record the song “Just Stand Up!”. The proceeds benefited Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C). As a result of their fund raising efforts, the SU2C scientific advisory committee, overseen by the American Association for Cancer Research was able to award $73.6 million towards novel, groundbreaking research.[264] The song peaked at number eleven on Billboard’s Hot 100 Songs.

    In May 2012, Underwood announced that she would donate $1 of every ticket sold on Blown Away Tour to the American Red Cross.[265] On May 24, 2013, Underwood announced that she would be donating $1 million in proceeds from her recent Blown Away Tour to the Red Cross for relief efforts in response to the Oklahoma tornado. “I have watched the devastation in my home state of Oklahoma over the past several days with great sadness,” Underwood said in a statement. “With the help of my fans who attended my concerts over the past year, we can offer the Red Cross a little extra help in comforting those affected by the recent tornados.” Neal Litvack, chief development officer for the Red Cross, said, “The impact of the tornados in Oklahoma and the Midwest was devastating and the road to recovery will be long for many families. Through the generosity of Carrie, the American Red Cross can quickly respond with shelter, food and comfort now, and with lasting help as they move toward recovery.”

    2005: American Idols LIVE! Tour 2005
    2006: Carrie Underwood: Live 2006
    2008: Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Carnival Ride Tour (w/ Keith Urban)
    2008: Carnival Ride Tour
    2010–11: Play On Tour
    2012–13: Blown Away Tour

    Keith Urban – You’ll Think of Me – live

    Keith Lionel Urban (born 26 October 1967) is a New Zealand-born and Australian-raised country music musician, songwriter, guitarist, and television music competition judge. When he was 2 years old, his parents moved the family to Australia, where his career eventually began. In 1991, he released a self-titled debut album, and charted four singles in Australia before moving to the United States in 1992. Eventually, he found work as a session guitarist before starting a band known as The Ranch, which recorded one studio album on Capitol Records and charted two singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

    Still signed to Capitol, he made his solo American debut in 1999 with the album Keith Urban. Certified platinum in the U.S., it produced his first Number One on Hot Country Songs with “But for the Grace of God”. “Somebody Like You”, the first single from his second Capitol album, Golden Road (2002), was named by Billboard as the biggest country hit of the 2000–2010 decade. The album’s fourth single, “You’ll Think of Me”, earned him his first Grammy. 2004’s Be Here, his third American album, produced three more number 1 singles, and became his highest-selling album, earning 4× Platinum certification. Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing was released in 2006, containing “Once in a Lifetime”, as well as his second Grammy song, “Stupid Boy”. A greatest hits package entitled Greatest Hits: 18 Kids followed in late 2007. Defying Gravity and Get Closer were released on 31 March 2009 and 16 November 2010, respectively.

    Keith Urban has released a total of nine studio albums (one of which was released only in the United Kingdom), as well as one album with The Ranch. He has charted 29 singles on the U.S. country charts, of which 15 have reached Number One. He plays acoustic and electric guitar, as well as banjo, bass guitar, mandolin, piano, sitar, bouzouki, and drums. He is also known for his roles as a coach on the Australian version of the singing competition The Voice, and as a judge on American Idol. Since 2006, he has been married to actress Nicole Kidman.
    Keith Lionel Urban was born in Whangarei, New Zealand,[2] the son of Marienne (née McKinnon) and Robert “Bob” Urban.[3][4] He later lived with his parents in Caboolture, Queensland, Australia. His father, who owned a convenience store, put an advertisement for a guitar teacher in his shop window.[5] Urban took lessons from this teacher, Sue McCarthy (now Crealey and still a family friend)[6] and began entering local competitions, in addition to acting in a local theater company.[2]

    A few years later he began to make inroads into the Australian country music scene with regular appearances on the Reg Lindsay Country Homestead TV Program, Mike McClellan’s Music Program, and various other TV Programs performing duets with local Brisbane girl Jenny Wilson; they won a golden guitar award at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. He also performed regularly on stage at the Northern Suburbs Country Music Club near Caboolture.
    Musical career
    1991–2000: Early years

    In 1990, Urban signed with EMI in Australia and recorded his self-titled debut album.[2] He toured as a backup to Slim Dusty in 1993 and 1994. In the mid-1990s, Dusty and Urban recorded a re-worked duet of Dusty’s classic “Lights on the Hill”. He appeared for the first time at the Grand Ole Opry backing Dusty.[7] He also sang backing vocals on INXS’s 1991 live album Live Baby Live.

    Urban moved to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1992. In 1993, he appeared in the music video for Alan Jackson’s rendition of “Mercury Blues”.[8] He and Vernon Rust co-wrote “Jesus Gets Jealous of Santa Claus” on Toby Keith’s 1995 album Christmas to Christmas,[9] 4 Runner’s 1996 single “That Was Him (This Is Now)”,[10] and “Tangled Up in Love” on the Raybon Brothers’ 1997 self-titled album.[11] In 1997, he formed The Ranch, which also included drummer Peter Clarke and bassist Jerry Flowers. The Ranch released one self-titled album for Capitol Records Nashville and charted two singles on the Hot Country Songs charts in 1997: “Walkin’ the Country” and “Just Some Love”, which respectively reached numbers 50 and 61.[12] Throughout the late 1990s, Urban also played guitar on several other artists’ albums, including Paul Jefferson,[13] Tim Wilson, and Charlie Daniels.
    2000–2001: Keith Urban

    In Nashville, Urban became a frequent user of cocaine.[14] After reaching a personal nadir in 1998, he became determined to give up the habit and checked into Cumberland Heights, a treatment center in Nashville. After cleaning up, Urban released his self-titled American debut in 1999 under the production of session pianist Matt Rollings. It was led off by the number 18 single “It’s a Love Thing”, followed by the number 4 “Your Everything”, which made him the first male New Zealand performer to reach the top 10 on the U.S. country chart.[15] The follow-up, “But for the Grace of God”, written by Charlotte Caffey and Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go’s, became his first number 1 on the country charts. Then “Where the Blacktop Ends”, written by Steve Wariner and Allen Shamblin, went to number 3. He won Top New Male Vocalist Award at the 2001 Academy of Country Music Awards and the 2001 Country Music Association’s Horizon Award. Allmusic’s Thom Jurek described the first and third singles favorably, and praised the instrumental track “Rollercoaster” by saying that Urban was “flat picking his Stratocaster like it was another extremity he was born with.” He thought that those songs “balance the slick and sometimes too-soft production on the record”.[16]
    2002–2006: Golden Road & Be Here

    Urban released Golden Road in 2002. Of its thirteen songs, Urban produced seven himself and co-produced with Dann Huff on the other six.[17] It was led off by the single “Somebody Like You”, which spent six weeks at number 1. Following it was the number 3 “Raining on Sunday”, which Radney Foster had previously released as a single from his 1998 album See What You Want to See.[18] After this song, both “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me” and “You’ll Think of Me” went to number 1, with the latter winning him the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.[19]

    Urban performed “Lights on the Hill” for Tamworth’s 2004 tribute concert following the death of Australia’s Slim Dusty, an artist whom Urban had both written for and covered.[20][21]

    In 2005, Urban performed in front of European audiences for the first time. In May, Urban supported Bryan Adams on his UK and Ireland tour, which included dates in Earls Court, London, SECC, Glasgow and The Point, Dublin. On 6 June a UK only album, Days Go By was released, this album contained songs from both Be Here and Golden Road.

    “You Look Good in My Shirt” was originally intended to be the fifth single from Golden Road.[22] Instead, Capitol chose to release “Days Go By”, the lead-off to his third American album, Be Here. By late 2004, this song had become Urban’s fifth number 1 hit on the country chart. Although it was not officially released, “You Look Good in My Shirt” spent one week at number 60 on the country charts in July 2004[23] and remained a fan favorite.[22] The next single from this album was the #2 “You’re My Better Half”, followed by the five-week number 1 “Making Memories of Us”, which was written by Rodney Crowell and previously recorded by both Tracy Byrd[24] and Crowell’s side project, The Notorious Cherry Bombs.[25] The next singles from Be Here were “Better Life”, which Urban wrote with Richard Marx, and “Tonight I Wanna Cry”; the former spent six weeks at number 1, while the latter spent three weeks at number 2. After this song, “Live to Love Another Day” spent 14 weeks on the country chart, reaching a peak of number 48, although it was never officially released as a single.[23]
    2006–2009 : Love, Pain, & The Whole Crazy Thing

    On 21 August 2006, Urban’s “Once in a Lifetime” debuted at No. 17, setting what was then a new record for the highest-debuting country single in the 62-year history of the Hot Country Songs chart.[26] Despite the high debut, the song peaked at number 6.[19] After it was “Stupid Boy”, co-written by Sarah Buxton, which went to number 3 and won Urban his second Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 2007.[19] The album’s next two singles, “I Told You So” and “Everybody”, respectively peaked at numbers 2 and 5.[19] Urban released his first greatest hits collection, Greatest Hits: 18 Kids, on 20 November 2007. The CD contains all of his top 10 hits, along with two new songs, “Romeo’s Tune” and “Got It Right This Time (The Celebration).”

    In January 2008, Urban embarked on the Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Carnival Ride Tour with fellow country singer Carrie Underwood. In early May 2008, Urban debuted a new song at the Grand Ole Opry titled “A New Sunshine”. In late May 2008, Urban re-recorded “You Look Good in My Shirt”. The song was released on the radio at the end of May. “Over the years it (“You Look Good In My Shirt”) has always played like a hit song,” said Keith. “That, combined with numerous requests from both fans and radio about why it was never a single, inspired us to get back into the studio and re-record the song.” The single was a pre-cursor to the “Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy World Tour” concert DVD release in the Fall of ’08. In late 2008, Urban was featured on Brad Paisley’s single “Start a Band”, on which both he and Paisley sang and played guitar. That song, from Paisley’s album Play, went to No. 1 in January 2009.
    2009–2010 : Defying Gravity

    Urban announced that the lead single for his fifth studio album would be titled “Sweet Thing”. This song became the first No.1 single off the album. The album, Defying Gravity, was released on 31 March 2009, through Capitol Records. Its second single, “Kiss a Girl”,[27] debuted in March 2009. Urban performed this song on American Idol, during the season 8 finale, as a duet with eventual winner Kris Allen. “Only You Can Love Me This Way”, the third single, went to number 1. After it, “‘Til Summer Comes Around” went to number 3, and “I’m In” went to number 2. The latter song was a cover of Radney Foster, taken from the same album as “Raining on Sunday”; it had also been a Top 40 single for The Kinleys in 2000.[18] In between the two, Urban also made a guest appearance on then-labelmate Emily West’s single “Blue Sky”, which charted at number 38.

    Urban’s 2009 Escape Together tour, supporting the album, Defying Gravity, featured many big name opening acts, including Taylor Swift, Sugarland, and Jason Aldean. On 27 June 2009 Keith filmed a video for the song, “Only You Can Love Me This Way”, at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

    In 2009, Urban was also a judge for the 8th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists’ careers.
    2010–2012 : Get Closer

    In May 2010, Urban entered the studio to begin work on a new album.[28] The recording process was documented in a blog on his official website. At the beginning of September, it was announced that the album would be titled Get Closer and would see release on 16 November. “Put You in a Song” was released as its first single on 13 September.[29] It went to number 2, followed by “Without You”, “Long Hot Summer”, and “You Gonna Fly”, all of which went to number 1. Urban wrote “Put You in a Song” with Sarah Buxton and Jedd Hughes, and “Long Hot Summer” with Richard Marx. Preston Brust and Chris Lucas, who comprise the LoCash Cowboys, co-wrote “You Gonna Fly” with former American Bang member Jaren Johnston. After “You Gonna Fly” fell from the charts, Urban released “For You”, which was featured as the theme song of the 2012 action film Act of Valor and appeared on the film’s soundtrack. The song peaked at number 6 on the country charts.

    On 10 April 2012, Urban was asked to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry by Vince Gill at the third annual We’re All for the Hall benefit concert which Urban organized. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on 21 April 2012.[30]

    Urban plays guitar on Tim McGraw’s early-2013 single “Highway Don’t Care”, which also features a guest vocal from Taylor Swift. This song is the third single from McGraw’s album Two Lanes of Freedom.
    2013–present : Fuse

    On 13 May 2013, Urban released the single “Little Bit of Everything”, produced by Nathan Chapman.[31] It is the first single from his eighth studio album, Fuse, which was released on 10 September 2013.[32] The official music video for “Little Bit Of Everything” debuted on VEVO on 25 July 2013. Unlike his previous albums, Urban co-produced with ten other producers on this album.[33][34] The album’s second single, “We Were Us”, is a duet with Miranda Lambert. It reached number one on the Country Airplay chart in December 2013.
    Television career
    The Voice

    On 23 November 2011, Urban was confirmed as one of the four vocal coaches in the upcoming Australian version of the reality singing competition The Voice.[35]

    On 14 September 2012, Urban released a statement that he would not be signing back on for season 2.[36]
    American Idol

    The Fox network officially announced on 16 September 2012, that Urban would be a judge on season 12 of American Idol alongside Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, and Nicki Minaj.[37] On August 1, 2013, it was officially confirmed that Urban would return as a judge for Idol’s thirteenth season.[38][39][40]
    Personal life

    Urban met Australian actress Nicole Kidman at G’Day LA, a Hollywood event honoring Australians, in January 2005, but they reportedly didn’t begin dating until 6 months later. Kidman and Urban were married on Sunday, 25 June 2006, at the Cardinal Cerretti Memorial Chapel on the grounds of St Patrick’s Estate, Manly in Sydney.

    On 19 October 2006, Urban checked himself into the Betty Ford Center in California. On 20 October, Urban issued a statement saying: “I deeply regret the hurt this has caused Nicole and the ones who love and support me. One can never let one’s guard down on recovery, and I’m afraid that I have.” On 18 January 2007, Urban announced his completion of rehab and his plans to go on tour to promote his new album, Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing.[41]

    On 2 February 2007, Urban filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey painter by the same name, who has a web site The singer wanted to acquire the rights to the URL.[42] Keith Urban the singer’s URL is The painter counter-sued.[43] The lawsuit was settled in the painter’s favor.

    On 1 October 2007, while riding, Urban skidded off his motorbike when a paparazzo followed him near his home in Sydney; Urban was not hurt. In a statement released by his publicists, Urban says the incident was “the result of one person’s desire to do his job and my desire to maintain my privacy.” Urban says he tried to avoid an oncoming car and dropped his bike. He says the photographer came to his assistance without taking photos.

    On 7 January 2008, Nicole Kidman confirmed she and Urban were expecting their first child together. Kidman’s publicist said “the couple are thrilled and cannot wait.” Kidman gave birth to daughter Sunday Rose Kidman Urban in 2008 in Nashville, Tennessee. On his website, Urban stated,

    “Earlier this morning Nic gave birth to our beautiful baby girl, Sunday Rose Kidman Urban. We want to thank everybody that has kept us in their thoughts and prayers. We feel very blessed and grateful that we can share this joy with all of you today.”[44][45]

    In 2010, Urban and Kidman had a second daughter, Faith Margaret Kidman Urban, via surrogate at Nashville’s Centennial Women’s Hospital. The baby is biologically Urban’s and Kidman’s.[46] On 17 January 2011, Keith posted this statement on his website: “Our family is truly blessed, and just so thankful, to have been given the gift of baby Faith Margaret. No words can adequately convey the incredible gratitude that we feel for everyone who was so supportive throughout this process, in particular our gestational carrier.”[47] Faith’s middle name is after Kidman’s late grandmother.[48]

    Waylon Jennings,Willie Nelson,Johnny Cash,Kris Kristofferson…Highwaymen

    John R. “Johnny” Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author[2] who was considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.[3] Although he is primarily remembered as a country icon, his songs and sound spanned other genres including rock and roll and rockabilly—especially early in his career—and blues, folk, and gospel. This crossover appeal won Cash the rare honor of induction in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

    Cash was known for his deep, distinctive bass-baritone voice,[a][5] for the “boom-chicka-boom” sound of his Tennessee Three backing band; for a rebelliousness,[6][7] coupled with an increasingly somber and humble demeanor;[4] for providing free concerts inside prison walls;[8][9][page needed] and for his dark performance clothing, which earned him the nickname “The Man in Black”.[b] He traditionally began his concerts with the phrase “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”[c], followed by his standard “Folsom Prison Blues”.

    Much of Cash’s music echoed themes of sorrow, moral tribulation and redemption, especially in the later stages of his career.[4][12] His best-known songs included “I Walk the Line”, “Folsom Prison Blues”, “Ring of Fire”, “Get Rhythm” and “Man in Black”. He also recorded humorous numbers like “One Piece at a Time” and “A Boy Named Sue”; a duet with his future wife, June Carter, called “Jackson”; and railroad songs including “Hey, Porter” and “Rock Island Line”.[13] During the last stage of his career, Cash covered songs by several late 20th-century rock artists, most notably “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails.
    Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas,[14] the fourth of seven children to Ray Cash (May 13, 1897, Kingsland, Arkansas – December 23, 1985, Hendersonville, Tennessee)[15] and Carrie Cloveree (née Rivers; March 13, 1904, Rison, Arkansas – March 11, 1991, Hendersonville, Tennessee).[16][17] Cash was named J. R. Cash because his parents could not think of a name. When Cash enlisted in the Air Force, they wouldn’t let him use initials as his name, so he started to use the legal name John R. Cash. In 1955, when signing with Sun Records, he took Johnny Cash as his stage name.[18]

    The Cash children were: Roy, Margaret Louise, Jack, J. R., Reba, Joanne and Tommy.[19][20] His younger brother, Tommy Cash, also became a successful country artist.

    In March 1935, when Cash was three years old, the family settled in Dyess, Arkansas. He started working in cotton fields at age five, singing along with his family while working. The family farm was flooded on at least two occasions, which later inspired him to write the song “Five Feet High and Rising”.[21][page needed] His family’s economic and personal struggles during the Great Depression inspired many of his songs, especially those about other people facing similar difficulties.

    Cash was very close to his older brother, Jack.[22] In May 1944, Jack was pulled into a whirling head saw in the mill where he worked and was almost cut in two. He suffered for over a week before he died on May 20, 1944, at age 15.[21][page needed] Cash often spoke of the horrible guilt he felt over this incident. According to Cash: The Autobiography, his father was away that morning, but he and his mother, and Jack himself, all had premonitions or a sense of foreboding about that day, causing his mother to urge Jack to skip work and go fishing with his brother. Jack insisted on working, as the family needed the money. On his deathbed, Jack said he had visions of heaven and angels. Decades later, Cash spoke of looking forward to meeting his brother in heaven.

    Cash’s early memories were dominated by gospel music and radio. Taught by his mother and a childhood friend, Cash began playing guitar and writing songs at the age of twelve. When Cash was young, he had a high tenor voice.[23] In high school he sang on a local radio station; decades later he released an album of traditional gospel songs, called My Mother’s Hymn Book. He was also significantly influenced by traditional Irish music that he heard performed weekly by Dennis Day on the Jack Benny radio program.[24][page needed]

    Cash enlisted in the United States Air Force on July 7, 1950.[25] After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base and technical training at Brooks Air Force Base, both in San Antonio, TX, Cash was assigned to a U.S. Air Force Security Service unit, assigned as a Morse Code Intercept Operator for Soviet Army transmissions at Landsberg, Germany where he created his first band named “The Landsberg Barbarians.”[26] He was the first radio operator to pick up the news of the death of Joseph Stalin.[27] After he was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant on July 3, 1954, he returned to Texas.[28]
    Marriages and family

    On July 18, 1951, while in Air Force training, Cash met 17-year-old Vivian Liberto at a roller skating rink in her native San Antonio. They dated for three weeks, until Cash was deployed to Germany for a three-year tour. During that time, the couple exchanged hundreds of pages of love letters.[29] On August 7, 1954, one month after his discharge, they were married at St. Ann’s Catholic church in San Antonio. The ceremony was performed by her uncle, Father Vincent Liberto. They had four daughters: Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy and Tara. Liberto stated that Cash’s drug and alcohol abuse as well as constant touring, affairs with other women, and his close relationship with June Carter led her to file for divorce in 1966.[30]

    In 1968, 13 years after they first met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, Cash proposed to June Carter, of the famed Carter Family, during a live performance in London, Ontario.[31] The couple married on March 1, 1968, in Franklin, Kentucky. They had one child together, John Carter Cash, born March 3, 1970. Cash and Carter continued to work together and tour for 35 years until Carter’s death in 2003. Cash died four months later.

    Cash researched his heritage and found a mix of mostly Scottish and English ancestry. He learned, upon researching his paternal heritage, that he was of Scottish royal descent, traced back to Malcolm IV of Scotland.[32][33][34] After meeting with the then laird of Falkland, Fife, Major Michael Crichton-Stuart, Johnny traced the Cash family tree to eleventh-century Fife.[35][36][37] Cash Loch and other locations in Fife bear the name of his family.[35]

    Though he did not have Native American ancestry, his empathy and compassion for Native Americans were unabated. These feelings were expressed in several of his songs, including “Apache Tears” and “The Ballad of Ira Hayes”, and on his album, Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian.
    Early career
    Publicity photo for Sun Records

    In 1954, Cash and Vivian moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he sold appliances while studying to be a radio announcer. At night he played with guitarist Luther Perkins and bassist Marshall Grant. Perkins and Grant were known as the Tennessee Two. Cash worked up the courage to visit the Sun Records studio, hoping to get a recording contract. After auditioning for Sam Phillips, singing mostly gospel songs, Phillips told him that he didn’t record gospel music any longer. It was once rumored that Phillips told Cash to “go home and sin, then come back with a song I can sell,” though in a 2002 interview Cash denied that Phillips made any such comment.[38] Cash eventually won over the producer with new songs delivered in his early rock’a’billy style. In 1955, Cash made his first recordings at Sun, “Hey Porter” and “Cry! Cry! Cry!”, which were released in late June and met with success on the country hit parade.
    Cash (standing at right) with Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley.

    On December 4, 1956, Elvis Presley dropped in on Phillips while Carl Perkins was in the studio cutting new tracks, with Jerry Lee Lewis backing him on piano. Cash was also in the studio and the four started an impromptu jam session. Phillips left the tapes running and the recordings, almost half of which were gospel songs, survived and have since been released under the title Million Dollar Quartet. In Cash: the Autobiography, Cash wrote that he was the one farthest from the microphone and was singing in a higher pitch to blend in with Elvis.

    Cash’s next record, “Folsom Prison Blues”, made the country Top 5, and “I Walk the Line” became No. 1 on the country charts and entered the pop charts Top 20. “Home of the Blues” followed, recorded in July 1957. That same year Cash became the first Sun artist to release a long-playing album. Although he was Sun’s most consistently selling and prolific artist at that time, Cash felt constrained by his contract with the small label partly due to the fact that Phillips wasn’t keen on Johnny recording gospel, and he was only getting a 3% royalty as opposed to the standard rate of 5%. Presley had already left Sun, and Phillips was focusing most of his attention and promotion on Lewis. The following year Cash left the label to sign a lucrative offer with Columbia Records, where his single “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” became one of his biggest hits.

    In the early 1960s, Cash toured with the Carter Family, which by this time regularly included Mother Maybelle’s daughters, Anita, June and Helen. June later recalled admiring him from afar during these tours.

    In the 1960s he appeared on Pete Seeger’s short lived television series Rainbow Quest.[39] He also acted in a 1961 film entitled Five Minutes to Live, later re-released as Door-to-door Maniac. He also wrote and sang the opening theme.
    Outlaw image

    As his career was taking off in the late 1950s, Cash started drinking heavily and became addicted to amphetamines and barbiturates. For a brief time, he shared an apartment in Nashville with Waylon Jennings, who was heavily addicted to amphetamines. Cash used the uppers to stay awake during tours. Friends joked about his “nervousness” and erratic behavior, many ignoring the warning signs of his worsening drug addiction. In a behind-the-scenes look at The Johnny Cash Show, Cash claims to have “tried every drug there was to try.”

    Although in many ways spiraling out of control, Cash’s frenetic creativity was still delivering hits. His rendition of “Ring of Fire” was a crossover hit, reaching No. 1 on the country charts and entering the Top 20 on the pop charts. The song was written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore. The song was originally performed by June’s sister, but the signature mariachi-style horn arrangement was provided by Cash,[40] who said that it had come to him in a dream. Vivian Liberto claims a different version of the origins of “Ring of Fire”. In her book, I Walked the Line: My Life with Johnny, Liberto states that Cash gave Carter the credit for monetary reasons.[41]

    In June 1965, his truck caught fire due to an overheated wheel bearing, triggering a forest fire that burnt several hundred acres in Los Padres National Forest in California.[42][43] When the judge asked Cash why he did it, Cash said, “I didn’t do it, my truck did, and it’s dead, so you can’t question it.”[21][page needed] The fire destroyed 508 acres (205.6 ha), burning the foliage off three mountains and driving off 49 of the refuge’s 53 endangered condors.[44] Cash was unrepentant and claimed, “I don’t care about your damn yellow buzzards.” The federal government sued him and was awarded $125,172 ($927224 in 2013 dollars). Cash eventually settled the case and paid $82,001.[45] He said he was the only person ever sued by the government for starting a forest fire.[21][page needed]

    Although Cash carefully cultivated a romantic outlaw image, he never served a prison sentence. Despite landing in jail seven times for misdemeanors, each stay lasted only a single night. His most infamous run-in with the law occurred while on tour in 1965, when he was arrested October 4 by a narcotics squad in El Paso, TX. The officers suspected that he was smuggling heroin from Mexico, but found instead 688 Dexedrine capsules and 475 Equanil tablets that the singer had hidden inside his guitar case. Because the pills were prescription drugs rather than illegal narcotics, he received a suspended sentence.
    Johnny Cash and his second wife, June Carter

    Cash had also been arrested on May 11, 1965, in Starkville, Mississippi, for trespassing late at night onto private property to pick flowers. (This incident gave the spark for the song “Starkville City Jail”, which he spoke about on his live At San Quentin prison album.)

    In the mid-1960s, Cash released a number of concept albums, including Sings the Ballads of the True West (1965), an experimental double record mixing authentic frontier songs with Cash’s spoken narration, and Bitter Tears (1964), with songs highlighting the plight of the Native Americans. His drug addiction was at its worst at this point, and his destructive behavior led to a divorce from his first wife and canceled performances.

    In 1967, Cash’s duet with June Carter, “Jackson”, won a Grammy Award.

    Johnny Cash’s final arrest was in 1967 in Walker County, Georgia, where he was taken in after being involved in a car accident while carrying a bag of prescription pills. Cash attempted to bribe a local deputy, who turned the money down, and then spent the night in a LaFayette, Georgia, jail. The singer was released after a long talk with Sheriff Ralph Jones, who warned him of his dangerous behavior and wasted potential. Cash credited that experience for saving his life, and he later came back to LaFayette to play a benefit concert that attracted 12,000 people (the city population was less than 9,000 at the time) and raised $75,000 for the high school.[46] Reflecting on his past in a 1997 interview, Cash noted: “I was taking the pills for awhile, and then the pills started taking me.”[47]

    Cash curtailed his use of drugs for several years in 1968, after a spiritual epiphany in the Nickajack Cave, when he attempted to commit suicide while under the heavy influence of drugs. He descended deeper into the cave, trying to lose himself and “just die”, when he passed out on the floor. He reported to be exhausted and feeling at the end of his rope when he felt God’s presence in his heart and managed to struggle out of the cave (despite the exhaustion) by following a faint light and slight breeze. To him, it was his own rebirth. June, Maybelle, and Ezra Carter moved into Cash’s mansion for a month to help him conquer his addiction. Cash proposed onstage to June at a concert at the London Gardens in London, ON, CA on February 22, 1968; the couple married a week later (on March 1) in Franklin, KY. June had agreed to marry Cash after he had “cleaned up”.[48] He rediscovered his Christian faith, taking an “altar call” in Evangel Temple, a small church in the Nashville area, pastored by Rev. Jimmie Rodgers Snow, son of country music legend Hank Snow.

    According to longtime friend Marshall Grant, Cash’s 1968 rebirth experience did not result in his completely stopping use of amphetamines. However, in 1970, Cash ended all drug use for a period of seven years. Grant claims that the birth of Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, inspired Cash to end his dependence. Cash began using amphetamines again in 1977. By 1983, he was once again addicted, and entered the Betty Ford Clinic in Rancho Mirage, CA for rehabilitation. Cash managed to stay off drugs for several years, but by 1989, he was dependent again and entered Nashville’s Cumberland Heights Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center. In 1992, he entered the Loma Linda Behavioural Medicine Centre in Loma Linda, California for his final rehabilitation (several months later, his son followed him into this facility for treatment).[49][50][51]
    Folsom Prison Blues

    Cash felt great compassion for prisoners. He began performing concerts at various prisons starting in the late 1950s. His first prison concert was held on January 1, 1958, at San Quentin State Prison.[52] These performances led to a pair of highly successful live albums, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison (1968) and Johnny Cash at San Quentin (1969).

    The Folsom Prison record was introduced by a rendition of his classic “Folsom Prison Blues”, while the San Quentin record included the crossover hit single “A Boy Named Sue”, a Shel Silverstein-penned novelty song that reached No. 1 on the country charts and No. 2 on the U.S. Top Ten pop charts. The AM versions of the latter contained a couple of profanities which were edited out. The modern CD versions are unedited and uncensored and thus also longer than the original vinyl albums, though they still retain the audience reaction overdubs of the originals.

    In addition to his performances at U.S. prisons, Cash also performed at the Österåker Prison in Sweden in 1972. The live album På Österåker (“At Österåker”) was released in 1973. “San Quentin” was recorded with Cash replacing “San Quentin” with “Österåker”, which was greatly appreciated by the inmates.
    “The Man in Black”
    Cash advocated prison reform at his July 1972 meeting with United States President Richard Nixon.

    From 1969 to 1971, Cash starred in his own television show, The Johnny Cash Show, on the ABC network. The Statler Brothers opened up for him in every episode; the Carter Family and rockabilly legend Carl Perkins were also part of the regular show entourage. However, Cash also enjoyed booking more mainstream performers as guests; such notables included Neil Young, Louis Armstrong, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition (who appeared a record four times), James Taylor, Ray Charles, Roger Miller, Derek and the Dominos, and Bob Dylan. During the same period, he contributed the title song and other songs to the film Little Fauss and Big Halsey, which starred Robert Redford, Michael J. Pollard, and Lauren Hutton. The title song, The Ballad of Little Fauss and Big Halsey, written by Carl Perkins, was nominated for a Golden Globe award.

    Cash had met with Dylan in the mid-1960s and became closer friends when they were neighbors in the late 1960s in Woodstock, New York. Cash was enthusiastic about reintroducing the reclusive Dylan to his audience. Cash sang a duet with Dylan on Dylan’s country album Nashville Skyline and also wrote the album’s Grammy-winning liner notes.

    Another artist who received a major career boost from The Johnny Cash Show was Kris Kristofferson, who was beginning to make a name for himself as a singer/songwriter. During a live performance of Kristofferson’s “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down”, Cash refused to change the lyrics to suit network executives, singing the song with its references to marijuana intact:

    On a Sunday morning sidewalk
    I’m wishin’, Lord, that I was stoned.[53]

    By the early 1970s, he had crystallized his public image as “The Man in Black”. He regularly performed dressed all in black, wearing a long black knee-length coat. This outfit stood in contrast to the costumes worn by most of the major country acts in his day: rhinestone suits and cowboy boots. In 1971, Cash wrote the song “Man in Black”, to help explain his dress code:

    We’re doing mighty fine I do suppose
    In our streak of lightning cars and fancy clothes
    But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back
    Up front there ought to be a man in black.
    Cash attired in black performing in Bremen, Northern Germany, in September 1972

    He wore black on behalf of the poor and hungry, on behalf of “the prisoner who has long paid for his crime”,[54] and on behalf of those who have been betrayed by age or drugs.[54] “And,” Cash added, “with the Vietnam War as painful in my mind as it was in most other Americans’, I wore it ‘in mournin’ for the lives that could have been.’… Apart from the Vietnam War being over, I don’t see much reason to change my position… The old are still neglected, the poor are still poor, the young are still dying before their time, and we’re not making many moves to make things right. There’s still plenty of darkness to carry off.”[54]

    He and his band had initially worn black shirts because that was the only matching color they had among their various outfits.[21][page needed] He wore other colors on stage early in his career, but he claimed to like wearing black both on and off stage. He stated that, political reasons aside, he simply liked black as his on-stage color.[21][page needed] The outdated US Navy’s winter blue uniform used to be referred to by sailors as “Johnny Cashes”, as the uniform’s shirt, tie, and trousers are solid black.[55]

    In the mid-1970s, Cash’s popularity and number of hit songs began to decline. He made commercials for Amoco, an unpopular enterprise in an era in which oil companies made high profits while consumers suffered through high gasoline prices and shortages. However, his autobiography (the first of two), titled Man in Black, was published in 1975 and sold 1.3 million copies. A second, Cash: The Autobiography, appeared in 1997. His friendship with Billy Graham led to the production of a film about the life of Jesus, The Gospel Road, which Cash co-wrote and narrated.

    He also continued to appear on television, hosting an annual Christmas special on CBS throughout the 1970s. Later television appearances included a starring role in an episode of Columbo: Swan Song He also appeared with his wife on an episode of Little House on the Prairie entitled “The Collection” and gave a performance as John Brown in the 1985 American Civil War television mini-series North and South. Johnny and June also appeared in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman as a recurring couple.

    He was friendly with every US President starting with Richard Nixon. He was closest to Jimmy Carter, with whom he became close friends.[21][page needed] He stated that he found all of them personally charming, noting that this was probably essential to getting oneself elected.[21][page needed]

    When invited to perform at the White House for the first time in 1970,[56] Richard Nixon’s office requested that he play “Okie from Muskogee” (a satirical Merle Haggard song about people who despised youthful drug users and war protesters) and “Welfare Cadillac” (a Guy Drake song which denies the integrity of welfare recipients). Cash declined to play either and instead selected other songs, including “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” (about a brave Native American World War II veteran who was mistreated upon his return to Arizona), and his own compositions, “What Is Truth” and “Man in Black”. Cash wrote that the reasons for denying Nixon’s song choices were not knowing them and having fairly short notice to rehearse them, rather than any political reason.[21][page needed] However, Cash added, even if Nixon’s office had given Cash enough time to learn and rehearse the songs, their choice of pieces that conveyed “antihippie and antiblack” sentiments might have backfired.[57]
    From left to right Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, who formed the country music supergroup, The Highwaymen

    In 1980, Cash became the Country Music Hall of Fame’s youngest living inductee at age 48, but during the 1980s his records failed to make a major impact on the country charts, although he continued to tour successfully. In the mid-1980s, he recorded and toured with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson as The Highwaymen, making three hit albums which were released beginning with the originally titled “Highwaymen” in 1985, followed by “Highwaymen 2” in 1990, and concluding with “Highwaymen – The Road Goes on forever” in 1995. Of the group’s four members, Cash was the only one not a Texan.

    During that period, Cash appeared in a number of television films. In 1981, he starred in The Pride of Jesse Hallam, winning fine reviews for a film that called attention to adult illiteracy. In the same year, Cash appeared as a “very special guest star” in an episode of the Muppet Show. In 1983, he appeared as a heroic sheriff in Murder in Coweta County, based on a real-life Georgia murder case, which co-starred Andy Griffith as his nemesis. Cash had tried for years to make the film, for which he won acclaim.

    Cash relapsed into addiction after being administered painkillers for a serious abdominal injury in 1983 caused by an unusual incident in which he was kicked and wounded by an ostrich he kept on his farm.[58]

    At a hospital visit in 1988, this time to watch over Waylon Jennings (who was recovering from a heart attack), Jennings suggested that Cash have himself checked into the hospital for his own heart condition. Doctors recommended preventive heart surgery, and Cash underwent double bypass surgery in the same hospital. Both recovered, although Cash refused to use any prescription painkillers, fearing a relapse into dependency. Cash later claimed that during his operation, he had what is called a “near death experience”.

    Cash’s recording career and his general relationship with the Nashville establishment were at an all-time low in the 1980s. He realized that his record label of nearly 30 years, Columbia, was growing indifferent to him and was not properly marketing him (he was “invisible” during that time, as he said in his autobiography). Cash recorded an intentionally awful song to protest, a self-parody.[citation needed] “Chicken in Black” was about Cash’s brain being transplanted into a chicken. Ironically, the song turned out to be a larger commercial success than any of his other recent material. Nevertheless, he was hoping to kill the relationship with the label before they did, and it was not long after “Chicken in Black” that Columbia and Cash parted ways.

    In 1986, Cash returned to Sun Studios in Memphis to team up with Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins to create the album Class of ’55. Also in 1986, Cash published his only novel, Man in White, a book about Saul and his conversion to become the Apostle Paul. He also recorded Johnny Cash Reads The Complete New Testament in 1990.
    American Recordings
    Johnny Cash sings a duet with a Navy lieutenant c. 1987.

    After Columbia Records dropped Cash from his recording contract, he had a short and unsuccessful stint with Mercury Records from 1987 to 1991 (see Johnny Cash discography).

    His career was rejuvenated in the 1990s, leading to popularity with an audience not traditionally interested in country music. In 1991, he sang a version of “Man in Black” for the Christian punk band One Bad Pig’s album I Scream Sunday. In 1993, he sang “The Wanderer” on U2’s album Zooropa. Although no longer sought after by major labels, he was offered a contract with producer Rick Rubin’s American Recordings label, better known for rap and hard rock.

    Under Rubin’s supervision, he recorded American Recordings (1994) in his living room, accompanied only by his Martin Dreadnought guitar – one of many Cash played throughout his career.[59] The album featured covers of contemporary artists selected by Rubin and had much critical and commercial success, winning a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Cash wrote that his reception at the 1994 Glastonbury Festival was one of the highlights of his career. This was the beginning of a decade of music industry accolades and commercial success. Cash teamed up with Brooks & Dunn to contribute “Folsom Prison Blues” to the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Country produced by the Red Hot Organization. On the same album, he performed the Bob Dylan favorite “Forever Young”.

    Cash and his wife appeared on a number of episodes of the television series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman starring Jane Seymour. The actress thought so highly of Cash that she later named one of her twin sons after him. He lent his voice for a cameo role in The Simpsons episode “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer),” as the “Space Coyote” that guides Homer Simpson on a spiritual quest. In 1996, Cash enlisted the accompaniment of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and released Unchained, which won the Best Country Album Grammy. Believing he did not explain enough of himself in his 1975 autobiography Man in Black, he wrote Cash: The Autobiography in 1997.
    Last years

    In 1997, Cash was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease Shy-Drager syndrome, a form of multiple system atrophy. The diagnosis was later altered to autonomic neuropathy associated with diabetes. This illness forced Cash to curtail his touring. He was hospitalized in 1998 with severe pneumonia, which damaged his lungs. The albums American III: Solitary Man (2000) and American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002) contained Cash’s response to his illness in the form of songs of a slightly more somber tone than the first two American albums. The video that was released for “Hurt”, a cover of the song by Nine Inch Nails, fits Cash’s view of his past and feelings of regret. The video for the song, from American IV, is now generally recognized as “his epitaph,”[60][page needed] and received particular critical and popular acclaim.
    Cash’s original grave (top) and the Cash/Carter memorial (bottom)

    June Carter Cash died on May 15, 2003, at the age of 73. June had told Cash to keep working, so he continued to record, completing 60 more songs in the last four months of his life, and even performed a couple of surprise shows at the Carter Family Fold outside Bristol, Virginia. At the July 5, 2003, concert (his last public performance), before singing “Ring of Fire”, Cash read a statement about his late wife that he had written shortly before taking the stage:

    The spirit of June Carter overshadows me tonight with the love she had for me and the love I have for her. We connect somewhere between here and heaven. She came down for a short visit, I guess, from heaven to visit with me tonight to give me courage and inspiration like she always has.


    While hospitalized at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Cash died of complications from diabetes at approximately 2:00 a.m. CT on September 12, 2003—less than four months after his wife. It was suggested[by whom?] that Johnny’s health worsened due to a broken heart over June’s death.[61][62] He was buried next to his wife in Hendersonville Memory Gardens near his home in Hendersonville, TN.

    On May 24, 2005, Vivian Liberto, Cash’s first wife and the mother of Rosanne Cash and three other daughters, died at the age of 71 from complications from surgery to remove lung cancer. It was her daughter Rosanne’s 50th birthday.[63]

    In June 2005, Cash’s lakeside home on Caudill Drive in Hendersonville was put up for sale by his estate. In January 2006, the house was sold to Bee Gees vocalist Barry Gibb and wife Linda and titled to their Florida limited liability company for $2.3 million. The listing agent was Cash’s younger brother, Tommy Cash. On April 10, 2007, during a major restoration of the property by the new owner, Cash’s home was accidentally destroyed in a spontaneous combustion-ignited fire caused by workers using linseed oil products.[64]

    One of Cash’s final collaborations with producer Rick Rubin, entitled American V: A Hundred Highways, was released posthumously on July 4, 2006. The album debuted in the No.1 position on the Billboard Top 200 album chart for the week ending July 22, 2006.

    On February 23, 2010, three days before what would have been Cash’s 78th birthday, the Cash Family, Rick Rubin, and Lost Highway Records released his second posthumous record, titled American VI: Ain’t No Grave.
    Religious beliefs

    Cash was raised by his parents in the Southern Baptist faith tradition. He was baptized in 1944 in the Tyronza River as a member of the Central Baptist Church of Dyess, Arkansas[65]

    A troubled but devout Christian,[66][67][page needed] Cash has been characterized as a “lens through which to view American contradictions and challenges.”[d][69][70] A biblical scholar,[2][71][72] he penned a Christian novel titled Man in White; in its introduction Cash writes about a reporter who, interested in Cash’s religious beliefs, questions whether the book is written from a Baptist, Catholic, or Jewish perspective. Cash denies an answer to the book’s view and his own, and replies, “I’m a Christian. Don’t put me in another box.”[73][page needed][74] and he made a spoken word recording of the entire New King James Version of the New Testament.[75][76] Even so, Cash declared that he was “the biggest sinner of them all”, and viewed himself overall as a complicated and contradictory man.[77][e] Accordingly,[f] Cash is said to have “contained multitudes,” and has been deemed “the philosopher-prince of American country music”.[82][83]

    From his early days as a pioneer of rockabilly and rock and roll in the 1950s, to his decades as an international representative of country music, to his resurgence to fame in the 1990s as a living legend and an alternative country icon, Cash influenced countless artists and left a large body of work. Upon his death, Cash was revered by the greatest popular musicians of his time. His rebellious image and often anti-authoritarian stance influenced punk rock.[84][85]

    Among Cash’s children, his daughter Rosanne Cash (by first wife Vivian Liberto) and his son John Carter Cash (by June Carter Cash) are notable country-music musicians in their own right.

    Cash nurtured and defended artists (such as Bob Dylan[40]) on the fringes of what was acceptable in country music even while serving as the country music establishment’s most visible symbol. At an all-star concert which aired in 1999 on TNT, a diverse group of artists paid him tribute, including Dylan, Chris Isaak, Wyclef Jean, Norah Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Dom DeLuise and U2. Cash himself appeared at the end and performed for the first time in more than a year. Two tribute albums were released shortly before his death; Kindred Spirits contains works from established artists, while Dressed in Black contains works from many lesser-known artists.

    In total, he wrote over 1,000 songs and released dozens of albums. A box set titled Unearthed was issued posthumously. It included four CDs of unreleased material recorded with Rubin as well as a Best of Cash on American retrospective CD.

    In recognition of his lifelong support of SOS Children’s Villages, his family invited friends and fans to donate to the Johnny Cash Memorial Fund in his memory. He had a personal link with the SOS village in Diessen, at the Ammersee Lake in Southern Germany, near where he was stationed as a G.I, and with the SOS village in Barrett Town, by Montego Bay, near his holiday home in Jamaica.[86][87]

    In 1999, Cash received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked Cash No. 31 on their “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” list.[88][89]

    The main street in Hendersonville, Tennessee, Highway 31E, is known as “Johnny Cash Parkway”; the Johnny Cash Museum is located in the town.

    On November 2–4, 2007, the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin’ Festival was held in Starkville, MS. Starkville, where Cash was arrested over 40 years earlier and held overnight at the city jail on May 11, 1965, inspired Cash to write the song “Starkville City Jail”. The festival, where he was offered a symbolic posthumous pardon, honored Cash’s life and music, and was expected to become an annual event.[90]

    JC Unit One, Johnny Cash’s private tour bus from 1980 until 2003, was put on exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum in 2007. The Cleveland, Ohio museum offers public tours of the bus on a seasonal basis (it is stored during the winter months and not exhibited during those times).

    A limited-edition Forever stamp honoring Cash went on sale June 5, 2013. The stamp features a promotional picture of Cash taken around the 1963 release of “Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash.”[91]

    Country singer Mark Collie portrayed Cash in John Lloyd Miller’s award-winning 1999 short film I Still Miss Someone.

    In November 2005, Walk the Line, a biopic about Cash’s life, was released in the United States to considerable commercial success and critical acclaim. The film featured Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny (for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor) and Reese Witherspoon as June (for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress). Phoenix and Witherspoon also won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, respectively. They both performed their own vocals in the film, and Phoenix learned to play guitar for the role. Phoenix received a Grammy Award for his contributions to the soundtrack. John Carter Cash, the first child of Johnny and June, served as an executive producer.

    On March 12, 2006, Ring of Fire, a jukebox musical of the Cash oeuvre, debuted on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, but closed due to harsh reviews and disappointing sales on April 30. Million Dollar Quartet, a musical portraying the early Sun recording sessions involving Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, debuted on Broadway on April 11, 2010. Actor Lance Guest portrayed Cash. The musical was nominated for three awards at the 2010 Tony Awards, and won one.

    Robert Hilburn, former Los Angeles Times pop music critic, is currently at-work on a biography, to be titled In Search of Johnny Cash. It will be published by Little, Brown and Co., but no release date has been announced.[92]
    Awards and honors

    For detailed lists of music awards, see List of awards received by Johnny Cash.

    Cash received multiple Country Music Association Awards, Grammys, and other awards, in categories ranging from vocal and spoken performances to album notes and videos.

    In a career that spanned almost five decades during which he rose to recording industry icon status, Cash was the personification of country music to many people around the world. Cash was a musician who was not tied to a single genre. He recorded songs that could be considered rock and roll, blues, rockabilly, folk, and gospel, and exerted an influence on each of those genres. Moreover, he had the unique distinction among country artists of having “crossed over” late in his career to become popular with an unexpected audience, young indie and alternative rock fans. His diversity was evidenced by his presence in three major music halls of fame: the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (1977), the Country Music Hall of Fame (1980), and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1992). Only thirteen performers are in both of the last two, and only Hank Williams Sr., Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, and Bill Monroe share the honor with Cash of being in all three. However, only Cash was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the regular manner, unlike the other country members, who were inducted as “early influences.” His pioneering contribution to the genre has also been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.[93] He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1996. Cash stated that his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, in 1980, was his greatest professional achievement. In 2001, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.[94] He was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award for best cinematography for “Hurt” and was supposed to appear, but died during the night.

    Legends Of Country Guitar – Legends In Concert

    The Osmonds are an American family music group with a long and varied career—a career that took them from singing barbershop music as children, to achieving success as teen-music idols, to producing a hit television show, and to continued success as solo and group performers. The Osmonds are devout members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and their religious values have influenced their careers.[2]

    When it began as a barbershop quartet, the group consisted of brothers Alan Osmond, Wayne Osmond, Merrill Osmond, and Jay Osmond. They were later joined by younger siblings Donny Osmond and Jimmy Osmond. Their only sister Marie Osmond, who rarely sang with her brothers at that time, launched a successful solo career in 1973. Older brothers George Virl Osmond, Jr. (Virl) and Tom Osmond were born deaf and did not originally perform,[2] although they later made occasional appearances, most notably on the family Christmas specials from the 1970s. All of the Osmonds were born in their hometown of Ogden, Utah except the youngest, Jimmy, who was born in Canoga Park, California. The group have sold 102 million records worldwide.
    Early years: barbershop and variety shows

    The Osmond Brothers’ career began in 1958 when Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay began singing barbershop music for local audiences in and around their hometown of Ogden, Utah. In their made-for-TV movie “Inside the Osmonds,” the Osmonds explain that they originally performed to earn money to support Virl and Tom in buying hearing aids and serving missions for their church.[3] Despite their young ages (in 1958 Alan was 9, Wayne 7, Merrill 5, and Jay 3), within a few years, the boys’ talent and stage presence were strong enough that their father, George Osmond, took them to audition for Lawrence Welk in California. Welk turned them down, but on the same trip, they visited Disneyland and were hired to perform there [4][unreliable source?] after joining an adult barbershop quartet for some impromptu singing.[5]
    The boys with Andy Williams in 1964. From left: Alan, Wayne, Williams, Merrill, and Jay.

    While the Osmond Brothers were performing on a televised Disney special, Andy Williams’ father saw them and was so impressed he told his son to book them for his television show. Andy did, and the Osmond Brothers were regulars on Andy Williams’ show from 1962–1969,[5] where they earned the nickname “one-take Osmonds” among staff due to their professionalism and tireless rehearsing.[6] Donny soon joined them on the show, making the Osmond Brothers a 5-member group. Marie and Jimmy were also introduced on the show as the years went by. During this time, the Osmonds also toured Europe, performing with Sweden’s most popular singer, Lars Lönndahl, and even releasing a single where they sang a Swedish version of “Two dirty little hands” (“Fem smutsiga små fingrar”).[7]

    The Osmond Brothers were regulars on the Jerry Lewis Show in 1969, and they continued to tour and perform with Andy Williams.[5] But soon the Osmond Brothers decided they wanted to perform popular music and shed their variety-show image. They wanted to become a rock-and-roll band. This change was a difficult one for their father, who was suspicious of rock and roll. But he was persuaded, and the boys began performing as a pop band.

    To this end, the Osmonds recorded a single, “Flower Music”, for UNI records in 1967. [8] They achieved only modest success at first, but they found fame in 1971.[3]
    The Osmonds: a pop music success – 1971–1972

    Record producer Mike Curb saw the Osmonds (no longer called “The Osmond Brothers”) perform as a band and recognized that they combined a rare mix of polished performing style, instrumental skill, and vocal talent.[5] He helped the Osmonds get a record contract with MGM, and arranged for them to record at Muscle Shoals with R&B producer Rick Hall.[3] Under Hall’s guidance, the Osmonds hit the top spot on the pop chart with “One Bad Apple” (Billboard No. 1) in 1971. The Osmonds soon had hits with other light, R&B-style pop numbers like “Double Lovin'” (Billboard No. 14) and “Yo-Yo” (Billboard No. 3). In each of these hits, the formula was the same; Merrill sang lead, and Donny was “co-lead” in essence, singing the “hook” or “chorus” of the song.
    The Osmonds in 1971. Clockwise from top right: Merrill, Jay, Donny, Alan, and Wayne.

    At this time the Osmonds also recorded several hits that were billed to Donny, the lead soloist on the songs. They included “Sweet and Innocent” (Billboard No. 7), “Go Away Little Girl” (Billboard No. 1), “Hey Girl”/”I Knew You When” (Billboard No. 9), and “Puppy Love” (Billboard No. 3). It was at this time, 1971 and 1972, that the Osmonds were at their peak of popularity.

    After this early “bubblegum soul” phase, the Osmonds began writing their own music, and their sound moved towards rock and roll with hits like “Down by the Lazy River” (#4), “Hold Her Tight” (Billboard No. 14), and “Crazy Horses” (#14).[5] The Crazy Horses album was the band’s first really personal statement—the brothers have been quoted as saying that the title song refers to air pollution from cars. They wrote all the songs and played all the instruments with Alan on rhythm guitar, Wayne on lead guitar, Merrill on lead vocals and bass, Jay on drums, and Donny on keyboards.[9] All the brothers sang back-up, with Jay and Donny sometimes singing lead parts.
    Rock and roll and Osmondmania

    With their clean-cut image, their talent, and their energetic pop-rock sound, the Osmonds toured to crowds of screaming fans in the U.S., and they even had a short-lived Saturday-morning cartoon series on ABC-TV during 1973–1974. By this time the Osmonds had broken through in the UK as well: all members of the Osmond family, counting group and solo recordings, charted 13 singles on the UK charts during 1973. Some observers coined a new word, “Osmondmania,” to describe the phenomenon, although it was genuinely a reference born of the mania attributed to the Beatles nearly a decade earlier. Though not remotely equaling the Beatles’ influence, the Osmonds’ popularity was at a peak at this time, and the same type of hysteria was generated at their concerts during this period, primarily the response of teenage girls in attendance.[5]

    But changes and challenges soon arrived. The older boys were of age to go on church missions, yet they believed they could reach more people through their music. The Osmonds viewed their music as their mission.[3] As a part of their mission, they recorded an ambitious album in 1973 called The Plan, perhaps best described as a Mormon concept album with progressive rock aspirations. One reviewer suggested that The Plan carried a too-strong religious message—Mormonism is, after all, fairly conservative and not usually associated with the themes of rock and roll. He likewise suggested that the music was too varied and experimental.[10] The album produced only two modest hits: “Let Me In” and “Goin’ Home” both peaked at No. 36 on the Billboard charts. Furthermore, the older boys may have wanted to reduce the regular touring that is a necessity in popular music but not so good for marriage and “settling down”.[3]
    Solo careers take off

    Donny, and to a lesser extent, Marie and Jimmy, soon began to emerge as solo artists. Jimmy had hits in Japan, and in 1972 had a No. 1 hit in the United Kingdom with “Long Haired Lover from Liverpool.” Marie hit No. 1 on the U.S. country charts in 1973 with “Paper Roses”–she was only 13 at the time. And Donny achieved Superstar status. He had a string of pop hits in the early 1970s, including “Go Away Little Girl” (Billboard No. 1), “Puppy Love” (#3), and “The Twelfth of Never” (#8). From 1971 to 1976, he had 12 top-40 hits, including 5 in the top 10. Of the all-time most popular teen idols, Donny is ranked at #2, directly behind Davy Jones of the Monkees.[citation needed]

    Donny’s popularity, and his numerous solo hits, have led many to assume he was the group’s lead. But Merrill was the lead singer, although Donny would usually sing the chorus of the songs, therefore being a “co-lead” in the group. Donny’s emergence as a solo star, and the record-company’s desire to appeal to the teen-girl audience, often thrust Donny out in front of the group.[3]

    By now the family was touring, recording, creating, and producing for 5 technically separate artists: The Osmonds, Donny Osmond, Marie Osmond, and Jimmy Osmond—plus Donny and Marie had begun recording duets and had hits with “I’m Leaving It Up to You” (Billboard No. 4) and “Morning Side of the Mountain” (#8). Through all the stress and pressures created by these many efforts, the family hung together. “Inside the Osmonds” depicts the family mottos as being “It doesn’t matter who’s out front, as long as it’s an Osmond” and “Family, faith, and career. In that order”.[3]

    The original Osmonds as a group still produced hits. In 1974, “Love Me for a Reason” reached No. 10 on the U.S. pop charts and went to No. 1 in the U.K. The Irish boy band Boyzone took the song to No. 2 on the U.K. charts in 1994.
    Donny and Marie: the show and its challenges
    Donny and Marie, 1977.

    By 1976, though, the group’s record sales were softening, and the Osmonds poured themselves into a new venture: The older brothers began producing The Donny & Marie Show, which was a hit on ABC from 1976–1979.[5] But the success came at a cost. The family built and operated, at great expense, a first-class television studio in Orem, Utah, where the show was produced beginning in the second season.[5] As a result, the Osmonds as a performing band became a third or fourth priority to the careers of Donny and Marie, the success of the show, and the operation of the family studio. The older brothers deferred or gave up their dreams of being a rock-and-roll band. Donny experienced stage anxiety, a type of social phobia, and Marie had a brief bout with an eating disorder after a network executive told her she looked heavy. When the show was canceled, the Osmonds were taken by surprise, as they had believed that the show would have been renewed for at least another year, and found themselves in debt and without a clear direction.[3]

    They recovered and eventually paid their debts and re-established their careers. Rather than go into bankruptcy, they resolved to honor all of their financial obligations. [3] But the Osmond artists and enterprises began operating separately.
    After The Donny and Marie show
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    This section is outdated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (December 2010)

    Jimmy worked as a businessman and manager. He eventually moved to Branson, Missouri, and opened the Osmond Family Theater, where he and his brothers performed until 2002. They now[when?] appear in Branson during the Christmas season.[5]

    Marie recorded a number of successful duets with Donny and continued to sing country music; she had several top-40 country hits in the mid-1980s, the biggest of which was “Meet Me in Montana” with Dan Seals (country No. 1). She starred in the Broadway musicals The King and I (as Anna) and The Sound of Music (as Maria) in the mid-1990s. She returned to television first in the short-lived 1995 ABC sitcom Maybe This Time and then with Donny in 1998 to co-host Donny & Marie, a talk/entertainment show that lasted two seasons.

    Donny returned to the pop-music scene in 1989 and had two Billboard Top-40 hits: “Soldier of Love” (#2) and “Sacred Emotion” (#13). He performed on Broadway as Gaston in the stage production of Beauty and the Beast, and also gave over 2,000 performances as Joseph in the touring production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He has hosted games shows in the US and UK (most notably the 2002-2004 revival of Pyramid and the British version of Identity), continues to appear on television, winning the ninth season (Fall 2009) of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and still tours in the US and England. Since September 2008, Donny & Marie have been performing a 90 minute show four nights a week, for a couple of weeks each month, in the Showroom of The Flamingo Las Vegas. It is currently extended through November 2013.[11]
    The Osmonds performing in May 2008

    Alan, Wayne, Merrill, and Jay formed a country group and returned to using the name “The Osmond Brothers.”[5] They had two Billboard Country hits in the early 1980s: “I Think About Your Lovin'” (#17) and “It’s Like Fallin’ in Love (Over and Over)” (#28). They had other country successes, but mostly did not tour, preferring to stay in Branson and perform. The brothers continue to perform with various line-ups and sometimes with their children in Branson.[5] Merrill performs and records as a solo artist as well. Alan has multiple sclerosis, and does not perform as often today. All of the brothers are married, some with large families. Alan’s eight sons started performing in the mid-1980s as “The Osmond Boys,” now known as The Osmonds—Second Generation.[12]

    In 2007–2008 all of the Osmonds went on a tour of Europe to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their career in show business. A special televised concert in Las Vegas (the only tour stop in the US), commemorating the anniversary, aired on US PBS stations on March 10, 2008. Alan played piano with the orchestra for most of the show and Virl and Tom provided signed lyrics for two songs. The Osmonds’ long-time friend and mentor Andy Williams made a surprise appearance, reminiscing about how his father had told him to put the brothers on his variety show.

    In 2009, Donny and Marie Osmond will record a television special for the British channel ITV1. An Audience with Donny and Marie is the latest in ITV’s long running An Audience with… series and will be based on their Las Vegas stage show.[13]
    Olive and George Osmond (aka Mother and Father Osmond)

    Olive Osmond, mother of the Osmond siblings, died on May 9, 2004 at age 79. Their father, George Osmond, died on November 6, 2007 at age 90.[14] The couple were survived by their nine children and 55 grandchildren as well as a number of great-grandchildren; Olive by 22, George by 48. Before Mr. Osmond’s death, plans were being made for him and the 120+ members of the Osmond family to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show to celebrate the family’s 50th anniversary in show business. He died just a few days prior to the show being taped. The family ultimately decided to go on with the show as scheduled, and on Thursday, November 9, the entire Osmond family appeared on stage with Oprah Winfrey as a tribute to their father. The show aired the following day, the same day as Mr. Osmond’s funeral.
    Hollywood Walk Of Fame

    In 2003, the Osmond Family were honored for their achievements in the entertainment industry with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Many within the industry believed that they had earned this honor sometime previously, although it was eventually given to them, and, unlike a number of the various musical halls of fame, a specific time period was not required from the release date of their initial commercial recording in order for them to be considered.