Darius Rucker hosted The American Country Countdown’s Top 10 Stories of 2015 special on FOX tonight. Charles Kelley from Lady Antebellum also joined Darius to share his take on this year’s biggest stories in country music.
Check out the highlights from this year’s Top 10 Stories special below.
2015 was filled with lots of amazing moments and milestones for country music. Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks both celebrated their 25th years in country music.
Little Big Town had a huge 2015. The band’s track “Girl Crush” was the #1 song of 2015 and the biggest song of their career. It was No. 1 for 13 consecutive weeks on the Hot Country Songs Chart. It also won the CMA award for Single of the Year.
Florida Georgia Line took connecting with their fans to a new level this year by creating “This Is How We Cruise,” a cruise with the duo from Miami to Mexico. It gave FGL a chance to meet their fans up close and personal.
“For the fans, it’s a big ol’ music festival on a big ol’ ship,” said Brian Kelly.
The Grand Ole Opry turned 90 years old this year. Whether you’re a new face or a living legend, the Grand Ole Opry has played an important role in the career of every country crooner
“There’s history. When you walk in the building, you can just feel it and you think of all the artists that have been on that stage. It’s just mind boggling,” said Carrie Underwood.
New comers like Maddie & Tae also recognize the power of being a part of the Opry. “Once the Grand Ole Opry is behind you, you have got the support of the world behind you,” said Maddie.
2015 was an exciting year for country music, as a new generation of women stepped into the spotlight, like Maddie & Tae, Cam and Kelsea Ballerini.
Maddie & Tae broke onto the scene with their hit “Girl in a Country Song.” They even won CMA Video of the Year for the track’s music video.
Cam has also had a breakthrough year with her single “Burning House.” “When I am near uncomfortable or vulnerable, that is when people connect the most,” said Cam.
And with Taylor Swift solidifying her move to pop music, someone had to step into to fill her country boots. With a single tweet, Taylor passed the torch on to Kelsea Ballerini.
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) March 9, 2015
“To have my biggest influence be the one to open that gate for me to a lot of new ears is a very cool thing,” said Kelsea.
Kelsea’s single “Love Me Like You Mean It” soared to No. 1, making her the first female artist to have her debut single top the charts since Carrie Underwood in 2006.
While these ladies are some of the hottest rising faces in country music, they’re all in this together.
“It’s very important as women that you lift each other up. Our support is honestly… unstoppable,” Tae.
Jason Aldean had a massive year in terms of awards and touring. He won his third straight Male Vocalist of the Year ACM award in April. Then, Jason’s Burn It Down Tour took the country by storm with countless stadium shows and over 2 million tickets sold. The special featured a performance of Jason’s “Gonna Know We Were Here” from one of his tour stops in Foxborough, Mass.
After eleven years off, Shania Twain went back on tour in 2015. Even though she’s the best-selling female artist in country music history, she announced it would be her last tour ever. The Rock This Country Tour hit 60 cities in the US and Canada.
Shania also announced she was working on new music to release in 2016.
There was no party like a Sam Hunt party in 2015. Sam had the highest country album debut in years, plus he sold over 5 million singles and had three straight No. 1 hits.
Luke Bryan and Carrie Underwood both praised Sam for his big year.
“He’s figured out a different way to sound different and I don’t think he plans it, that’s just the way he sounds and people are eating it up,” said Luke.
“The way he dresses, types of songs he sings, the stuff that he writes: he’s his own artist and I really respect that,” said Carrie.
Speaking of Carrie, she has had an amazing ten year career so far, but this year she did something she had never done before: she welcomed her first child.
While she had a major life milestone this year, she didn’t slow down. Carrie hosted the CMAs for an eighth straight year and had her 22nd No. 1 song with “Smoke Break.”
The special featured a sneak peek at what fans can expect from her Storyteller Tour in 2016 with a performance of “Smoke Break” in London.
Luke Bryan had another epic year in 2015. He packed out stadiums across the country and his album Kill the Lights was the No. 1 album in the country, beating out legendary rapper Dr. Dre. Luke also won Entertainer of the Year at both the ACMs and CMAs.
Click here for the complete list of winners.