2010 Rewind: No. 3 — Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Country’s “It” Couple

Next year is a decade since Blake Shelton released his first album, and there were years of grinding it out in Nashville even before that moment arrived. This year was seven years since Miranda Lambert first popped on the national radar in the TV contest “Nashville Star,” and while she was able to work as a developing and mid-level artist with her first two albums, it seemed as if she might never meld her critical acclaim with a similar level of commercial appreciation. All of that changed over the last 12 months for Blake and Miranda, who got engaged in May, then became the first couple in a decade to win Male and Female Vocalist of the Year in the same evening at the Country Music Association Awards in November. Blake and Miranda’s arrival as country’s “it” couple makes them the No. 3 entry as GAC counts down the one dozen biggest stories in country music from 2010. Read More

2010 Rewind: No. 10 — Loretta Lynn’s 50th Leads Legends

It was quite a year for the Coal Miner’s Daughter — 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of Loretta Lynn’s emergence as a national star, and she was honored in a slew of ways, including parties, awards and a tribute album by some of today’s top artists. Loretta was joined by several other legends as 2010 honorees, including Merle Haggard, Jimmy Dean and now Dolly Parton. The recognition paid to the genre’s pioneering acts represents the No. 10 entry in our countdown of country music’s dozen top stories of the year. Loretta’s first single, “I’m A Honky Tonk Girl,” came out in 1960, and it seemed like every few months during 2010, the music business found some way to pay homage to her impact. Early in the year, she was accorded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, though she was unable to attend the Los Angeles ceremony. “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was added to the National Recording Registry, she was saluted with an anniversary party at her Tennessee home, she was celebrated with a Reba McEntire-hosted Recording Academy Salute at the Ryman Auditorium, and a bunch of her classics were remade in the album Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn. That latter project brought Loretta the opportunity to sing the title track with Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow on the Country Music Association Awards. The album also features Lee Ann Womack, Kid Rock, the White Stripes, Alan Jackson and Carrie Underwood, among others. Loretta hand-picked all of the contributors — appropriate, because she’s not one of those veteran stars who dislikes newer versions of country music. Read More

Loretta Lynn Honored With a Rose

Loretta Lynn was not the Lynn that earned acclaim for recording “Rose Garden” — that would be Lynn Anderson. But Loretta can grow her very own, self-named rose garden now, thanks to the creation of the Loretta Lynn Van Lear Rose. Named after her Grammy-winning album Van Lear Rose, the apricot-colored hybrid was created by Brad Jalbert of Select Roses in British Columbia. Loretta will receive a shipment of the strain at her home in Tennessee this spring, and it will go into wider distribution next fall. Read More

Loretta Lynn: The “Coal” Truth

When Loretta Lynn showed up on Wednesday’s Country Music Association Awards, a lot of anniversaries lined up in the process. She’s currently celebrating 50 years as an entertainer. And 40 years ago, she was on the national country charts with the biggest hit of her career, “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” the song she sang on the awards with Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow. Sissy Spacek had a role in the CMA tribute, too, and even that marked an anniversary, since 2010 is 30 years since the release of the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter. Read More

Loretta Lynn Remembers Tootsie’s

Two major icons are celebrating their 50th anniversaries in 2010: Loretta Lynn and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. You certainly know Loretta, the woman whose feisty songs about contemporary womanhood made her an easy selection for the Country Music Hall of Fame. If you don’t know about Tootsie’s, you should. The purple bar sits on Lower Broadway in Nashville, across the alley from the Ryman Auditorium, where the the Grand Ole Opry was held when Loretta made her debut in 1960. Tootsie’s is a small watering hole that still exists. During its early years, it was the gathering place for many of country’s songwriters and biggest stars, including Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Mel Tillis, Faron Young, Marty Robbins, Harlan Howard and Hank Cochran. Read More