Here’s a look at some of the other notable country music happenings from 2015:
Country music was hot in Sin City. Reba and Brooks & Dunn kicked off their residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in June and returned in December month for more dates. They’ll be back in May to continue their Together in Vegas shows. Rascal Flatts enjoyed their Vegas Riot! Residency at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino so much, they re-upped for more shows in 2016. Their Rhythm & Roots run starts February 17. Both George Strait and Garth Brooks are on the books to play the new Las Vegas Arena after it opens this spring. The first Strait to Vegas show is April 22, with Garth Vegas taking the stage starting June 24.
The Academy of Country Music Awards left its usual Sin City home to mark its 50th year at the home of the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Miranda Lambert was the night’s big winner, taking home her sixth Female Vocalist trophy in a row, as well as Song and Album of the Year honors. The ACMs picked Cole Swindell, who’s now notched a total of four number-ones, as its New Artist. Jason Aldean was Male Vocalist, while host Luke Bryan picked up another Entertainer of the Year trophy, a feat he would repeat at this year’s CMA Awards. While the 51st ACM Awards will return to Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena for this year’s show, it’ll do so without one of its longtime hosts: Dierks Bentley will take over for Blake Shelton to helm the April 3 event with Luke.
In 2015, Luke Bryan proved he was both CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year for a reason. He played his first overseas shows in February, before releasing his seventh and final Spring Break collection in March. In May, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled its Dirt Road Diary exhibit in his honor. Later that month, he set out on the Kick the Dust Up Tour, which reached one of its high points in July, as he played for 35,000 people at Nashville’s Vanderbilt Stadium, with tourmates Randy Houser and Dustin Lynch, as well as Florida Georgia Line and Thomas Rhett, who joined him on the stadium dates. In August, Bryan’s new Kill the Lights album debuted at number one atop the Billboard 200 all-genre chart. By year’s end, he’d sent three number-one songs to the top of the charts and picked up his second CMA Entertainer of the Year honor.
Kenny Chesney finished the year in the company of Taylor Swift, One Direction, The Rolling Stones and U2, ranking as one of Billboard’s top five touring acts across the board. There were 57 dates on his Big Revival Tour, including 23 stadiums, that drew a total audience of 1.3 million. That puts Kenny at number three, just behind Taylor Swift with 1.9 million tickets sold, and 1D, who came out on top by playing for a total 2.3 million screaming fans. Next year, Kenny does it again, when he kicks off his Spread the Love jaunt April 23 at Jordan Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama. Along for the ride in 2016 are Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt and Old Dominion.
Cam‘s “Burning House” definitely generated a lot of heat in 2015. While Rolling Stone Country ranked it number one on its list of “25 Best Country Songs of 2015,” by year’s end, the second single from Cam’s debut album, Untamed, had also ascended to the top of the Mediabase radio airplay chart. The tale of ill-fated love also went platinum and nabbed the California native a Grammy nomination for Best Country Solo Performance.
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