Taylor Swift tops an astounding 17 Billboard year-end charts, including the Hot 100 Airplay Songs list, for her Number One single, "Love Story." She was also named Artist of the Year, and her Fearless album tops the Billboard 200 and Country Albums year-end charts. In 2009, Taylor performed her first headlining tour, which sold out in every city. Her mantle was filled with awards during the year. They included two Academy of Country Music trophies, five BMI songwriting honors, five Country Music Association (CMA) Awards and five American Music Awards. Taylor made history for being the first Country artist to win an MTV Music Video Award, and, at 19-years-old [at the time she won the award], became the youngest artist to win the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year Award. Despite all the fame and celebrity that has come her way, Taylor says it's important to stay grounded.
"It's really cool to walk into public places, like a mall or something like that, and have people just go nuts," she said. "I used to dream about that when I was a little kid. But, as far as how I view myself, I never want that to change, because you just can't believe in all the hype that people say about you. You're still just a person. So, that's kind of how I've always looked at myself."
Jason Aldean tops three of Billboard's year-end charts. His 2009 Number One hit "Big Green Tractor" is Number 10 on the year's Top Country Songs list. The track was the second single from Jason's Wide Open album to reach Number One during the past year. Aldean recently announced that he's extending his "Wide Open" tour into 2010.
"Sweet Thing" by Keith Urban was the ninth most popular Country song of 2009. It was the debut single from his latest album, Defying Gravity, which became his first release to top the Billboard 200. Keith says the album reflects the positive direction of his life.
"I'm very grateful for where I'm at in my life," Urban said. "We went in to record this album, and it turned out to be a very uplifting and very joyous record."
Kenny Chesney's Sun City Carnival Tour was the highest-grossing Country tour of 2009. Kenny has sold more than one-million concert tickets for seven consecutive years. Although he won't be performing a full tour in 2010, Kenny plans to appear at a few Country music festivals throughout the year. Kenny, Rascal Flatts, and Brad Paisley are the only Country acts listed among the overall Top 25 tours of 2009.
In 2009, the Country industry said goodbye to several artists, including 61-year-old Dan Seals, who died of complications from cancer. Country fans also mourned the deaths of Jimmy Boyd, Hank Locklin, Vern Gosdin and former Grand Ole Opry manager Hal Durham.
Country music news headlines included the break-up of Brooks and Dunn after 20 years performing as a duo. Garth Brooks, on the other hand, emerged from retirement in December. He's booked to play four shows on weekends through February at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas. The solo engagement could continue until 2014, when he'll reunite with his band to perform a world tour.
In November, Lady Antebellum won the Country Music Association Award for Vocal Group of the Year. The band's win ended Rascal Flatts' six-year reign in that category. Lady Antebellum also won the CMA's Single of the Year honor for the Number One Country song of 2009.