Variety is the spice of life, so they say, and in the world of country music in 2012, no word is more appropriate to describe the genre. In addition to fan favorites who have continued to top the charts, this year's group of hitmakers included a wide variety of names, making for an immense amount of good music for country fans.
Perennial fan favorites Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood added to their list of No. 1 Billboard Country Albums this year with the releases of Welcome To The Fishbowl, Changed, Red, and Blown Away, respectively. They were joined by a slew of new faces, including Eli Young Band, Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Hunter Hayes, Kip Moore, David Nail, Jake Owen, Love And Theft, and Chris Young, all of whom topped the Country Songs chart this year.
Meanwhile, husband-and-wife powerhouse Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton solidified their reign as the current queen and king of country music. While neither artist released a traditional new album this year, they've continued to bring new fans to the genre as a team, and collaborated to co-write Lambert's 2012 hit song "Over You."
This year country's top acts hit the road to give fans their annual dose of live music. Chesney and Tim McGraw teamed for the Brothers of the Sun tour, which earned Top Package at the 2012 Billboard Touring Awards in November. Lady Antebellum, Eric Church and Lambert were also among the biggest names in touring in 2012.
The biggest news out of Nashville this year was the announcement that for the first time in history The Recording Academy has moved "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night" to Music City. In the eyes of a longtime country fan like myself, this proves that the rest of the music world is fully aware of all Nashville has to offer. Standing on the shoulders of musicians of yesteryear such as Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams, Nashville is undoubtedly one of the biggest powerhouses in music. The local community and country music fans have known this for many years, and it's humbling to see the rest of the world catching on too.
As we approach a new year, the world of country music can look back on its fortunes in 2012. A variety of good new music filled the airwaves, new fans purchased the tunes, all while our favorite artists constantly hit the road. This makes for a very diverse, and very bright, world of country music.