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Although everyone on our staff loves country music, we have different tastes and don’t always agree. For this reason, we didn’t compile a comprehensive list of our favorite collective country albums of the past year. Instead, some of our staff picked their individual faves. Make sure to let us know your faves of 2013!
Cassadee Pope – Frame By Frame: I am admittedly one of those music lovers who listens to an album the first time and is simply incapable of forming an opinion. No matter how much I love the artist, I sit there with a blank stare after the first spin. So, in all fairness to the artist, I listen again. That was my experience with Frame By Frame. I listened the first time, and the true stand outs to me were, the already loved, “Wasting All These Tears,” “Easier to Lie,” “I Wish I Could Break Your Heart,” and “11.” And for me to find four songs I like in the first spin is pretty impressive. In subsequent attempts to listen to Frame By Frame, I have found myself loving every track and even using Cassadee’s debut country album to accompany me during long, tedious runs to help the time go by. Each track exemplifies Cassadee’s gorgeous vocals, versatility, and incredible range. Give it a whirl … you will be begging for more from this CRS New Face!
Thank-you to all of our KIC friends and readers for voting in our recent polls!
First we asked you to pick the Best Albums of 2013, and you did not disappoint!
Scotty McCreery and Danielle Bradbery fans showed up big time to vote for their favorites. It was a back and forth between the two at first. Bradbery’s self titled debut album had the lead for quite a while, but McCreery’s See You Tonight took the lead yesterday and won with 39% of the vote. Keith Urban and his Fuse album had a very strong showing too, and his fans brought him to the third spot. Blake Shelton, Cassadee Pope, and Kellie Pickler rounded out the Top 6 and also had solid support from the fans.
Here are your Top 10 Albums of 2013:
1. Scotty McCreery – See You Tonight
2. Danielle Bradbery – Danielle Bradbery
3. Keith Urban – Fuse
4. Blake Shelton – Based On A True Story
5. Cassadee Pope – Frame By Frame
6. Kellie Pickler – The Woman I Am
7. The Band Perry – Pioneer
8. Luke Bryan – Crash My Party
9. Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer, Different Park
10. Brad Paisley – Wheelhouse
Our next polls were male & female Break-Out Artist for 2014.
Again, Danielle Bradbery fans brought in big numbers for the Break-out Female poll. Bradbery took the early lead and held it throughout the voting period. Caroline Kole came in at number two with Cassadee Pope finishing in third. It was a fight for second and third; only two votes separated Kole and Pope in the end and was a very close race.
Our Break-Out Male poll might be the most exciting. After countless requests and tweets for Casey James, we added him to the list of voting options. We have loved James since American Idol, and think he is very talented. It is just difficult to choose artists when you have to limit the voting options, but we are so glad you spoke out and we could include him.
And you really proved yourselves! Well done, Casey fans… he won with 38% of the vote. Thomas Rhett was an early favorite and held the lead for quite some time, before James topped him. Brett Eldredge had a solid showing as well and rounded out the Top 3.
And our final poll was Best Artist of 2013. We wanted to have a limited list here, and not have endless options. Our team chose who we thought were the top 5 artists of 2013 (Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, & Taylor Swift) and asked you to make the final decision. Voting was clear from the beginning and never wavered. Carrie Underwood is your pick for Best Artist of 2013. Shelton and Bryan finished second and third respectively.
There is a trend among our winners in these recent polls… Artists from American Idol and The Voice always have some of the most loyal fan bases around. We love how dedicated you are to your artists!
Thank-you all for making our polls a success and a great amount of fun for us! We really enjoy hearing your thoughts and opinions, so we appreciate your participation.
Until next time!
Country music certainly gave us many memorable moments over the last year. Whether it was new artists making their way into the industry, smash hits climbing the charts, notable feuds sprinkled throughout tabloids, or live television performances of classic Broadway shows, our beloved genre definitely did not disappoint. The staff here at Keepin’ It Country was incredibly fortunate to attend many live shows of some of our favorite artists throughout the last year, from which we brought our fans and followers real time coverage. We collectively compiled some of our most memorable live performance moments of 2013, which we witnessed as members of the audience. In reverse chronological order, we bring you Keepin’ It Country‘s first-hand year in review:
Jo Dee Messina - December 22, 2013, Casino Miami – In anticipation of her upcoming album, Me, Jo Dee Messina brought her show to Miami, Florida. In the review heard around the world (thanks to Jo Dee herself!), we excitedly reported about Jo Dee, whose vocals are deserving of a myriad of accolades, undoubtedly re-entering the country music scene with a bang. With stellar performances of well-known hits, sure-to-be future number ones, and incomparable covers, Jo Dee brought the crowd to its feet multiple times. Mark our words — 2014 will be Jo Dee’s year, and we cannot wait to watch her soar.
Kelly Clarkson‘s Acoustic Show for Green Mountain Coffee – October 10, 2013, New York’s Highline Ballroom – As the ambassador for Green Mountain Coffee, Kelly Clarkson went to Peru to learn about coffee farming and fair trade. She brought her newfound knowledge and out-of-this-world vocals to an invite-only acoustic show at New York’s Highline Ballroom. Joined by only a keyboardist and pair of acoustic guitarists, Kelly wailed through some of her biggest hits, her voice shining in the intimate space. Highlights of the show included a haunting, acoustic solo rendition of “Don’t You Wanna Stay?” and the fan request, “Sober.”
Brad Paisley at the New Yorker Festival – October 5, 2013, New York’s Gramercy Theater – This was a far cry from a usual Brad Paisley spectacle, but instead featured Paisley in an intimate setting, on-stage with only an acoustic guitar and interviewer, Kelefa Sanneh. It was much a storytellers night, as Paisley traded stories with Sanneh, intertwined with acoustic performances of both his biggest hits and some of his deepest cuts. The night also included an audience Q&A and insight into what was arguably Brad’s most controversial cut, “Accidental Racist.”
Jennifer Nettles for NASH-FM, August 17, 2013, Hill Country BBQ – It’s not every day that you get to catch one of country’s biggest names in the basement of a BBQ restaurant. However, it was Jennifer’s voice that overpowered the smell of ribs and pulled pork, as she performed a sampling from her forthcoming album, including the album’s first single and title track, “That Girl” while also trading stories with NYC’s NASH-FM’s Blair Garner.
The Band Perry – July 21, 2013, NYC’s Roseland Ballroom – The singing siblings rocked New York’s historic Roseland Ballroom with a polished and poised performance that would make even the most seasoned veterans jealous. Although their Pioneer album didn’t receive as much acclaim as it deserved in 2013, there is no doubt that the Perry siblings are here to stay with their dynamic stage presence.
Jason Aldean – July 20, 2013, Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois – In one of two memorable 2013 live moments selected by our staff involving Jason Aldean, we were lucky to be in the sold out Wrigley Field crowd. Jason, along with Kelly Clarkson, Jake Owen, Thomas Rhett, and Nashville’s first signed DJ, Dee Jay Silver, rocked Chicago like no other country acts have done before. Despite the pouring rain, the sold out crowd stayed put, drank, danced, and sang to their favorite Jason songs, including his award-winning smash hit duet with Kelly Clarkson. Even the White Sox owner, White Sox players, and Atlanta Braves players braved (pun intended) the rain and celebrated country music in the heart of Chicago on that stormy night.
Striking Matches, Ashley Monroe and Hunter Hayes – MTV’s Artist to Watch show – June 18, 2013, New York’s Webster Hall – Although the night belonged to Hunter Hayes, the highlights of this show were country duo Striking Matches and the woman behind one of 2013′s best country albums, Ashley Monroe. Although the show itself was a bit of a mismatch with the Hunter fans not paying appropriate respect to the openers, both Ashley and Striking Matches held their own. Ashley especially shined on the tongue-in-cheek, “Weed Instead of Roses” and her version of Jason Aldean‘s #1 hit, “The Truth,” which she co-wrote.
Cassadee Pope – June 8, 2013, Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach, Florida – Cassadee Pope took the world by storm during Season 3 of The Voice as a member of Team Blake. Soon after being crowned “The Voice,” Cassadee hit the road with vocal superstar trio, Rascal Flatts. At her hometown show (which was featured on CMT’s Frame By Frame), Cassadee shared her talents with her family, friends, and fans. Witnessing this young artist catapult into stardom and return to her roots for the first time in a large venue was an absolute privilege, as Cassadee wow’ed her hometown with her stunning vocals and gave us just a small glimpse of what is yet to come.
Blake Shelton – iHeart Radio Show – March 27, 2013, iHeartRadio Theater – To go with the release of Based On a True Story…, Blake took the stage for iHeartRadio. The show was streamed online and included Blake’s biggest hits combined with some of his newer tracks. Definite crowd-favorites included sing-along performances of “Austin,” “Honey Bee,” and “Old Red.”
Jason Aldean – March 2, 2013, Madison Square Garden – It’s not every day that a country artist headlines New York’s legendary, Madison Square Garden. Joined by Thomas Rhett and Jake Owen, Jason owned MSG with his biggest hits, as the audience sang along and hung on to every word. Although he sang some of his newer hits, set list highlights included “Big Green Tractor” and “Amarillo Sky.”
Miranda Lambert – January 26, 2013 – Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City – Although there were no low points in Miranda Lambert’s performance at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall during the first leg of her Rocked and Reloaded Tour (with Dierks Bentley), it was her performance of “Over You” that left us speechless that night. Performing on the one year anniversary of the death of her childhood friend, Mark Adams, tears streamed down Miranda’s cheeks as she held the microphone out to the audience to help her through the song. And help her they did, singing back each word of “Over You” in a moment that gives me chills just thinking about it.
We bid adieu to a fabulous year of country music and eagerly look toward 2014. Country music continues to make huge strides as the years progress, and it is foreseeable that the next year will be filled with landmark tours, chart-topping albums/singles, and the continuance of country music flourishing as a whole. What were some of your most memorable concert moments of 2013, and what are you most looking forward to in the 2014 country concert circuit?
According to Billboard, Florida Georgia Line, the duo of Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, not only topped several year-end recaps but also brought their record label, Republic Nashville, to new heights. At the close of the year, Florida Georgia Line landed in the Number 1 spot on the Hot Country Songs recap with “Cruise” and placed two more tracks in the Top 20 with “Get Your Shine On” at Number 7 and “Round Here” at Number 16. Luke Bryan, Hunter Hayes, Blake Shelton and Taylor Swift round out the top five on the Hot Country Songs 2013 Recap.
Florida Georgia Line, which signed with Republic Nashville in mid-2012, also clinched the top spots on the Country Airplay Artists and Country Streaming Songs Artists recaps. Coming in behind the duo on the latter tally are, once again, the combination of Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan, Hunter Hayes and Blake Shelton.
“Cruise” also ended the year in the Number 1 spot on the Country Digital Songs recap while “Get Your Shine On” places at Number 9. Darius Rucker’s remake of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” finishes at Number 2, followed by Blake Shelton’s “Boys ‘Round Here” (featuring Pistol Annies), Tim McGraw’s “Highway Don’t Care” (with Taylor Swift) and Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party.”
It’s the biggest award of the CMAs… Entertainer of the Year! Who do you want to win?
CMA 2013: Entertainer of the Year
Total Voters: 216