10 Years Ago: A Look at Country Music at the Start of the Decade

How is it almost 2020?

It feels like just yesterday that we were entering 2010. Back when Taylor Swift was still country and Zac Brown was still normal. Yet here we are getting ready to enter a new decade. So before we find out what the next decade of country music has in store, let’s take a look back at where we were at the start of this decade.

As 2009 was coming to a close, announcements from two legendary acts had the country music world talking. In August 2009, Brooks & Dunn announced that they would be breaking up in 2010 after 20 years as a duo. They performed their “final” concert on September 20, 2010 in Nashville. (Luckily, they would reunite just 4 years later – although we did get some great music from Ronnie Dunn during his time as a solo artist).

And in October 2009, Garth Brooks announced that he was coming out of retirement for a residency at Encore Las Vegas. The residency began in December 2009 and lasted for 187 shows through January 2014. The shows featured Garth performing solo acoustic shows featuring music from his influences – except for the last four shows, which came after he announced that he would be going back out on tour.

Taylor Swift was also still riding high in country music in 2010, winning the year’s ACM Award for Entertainer of the Year, along with a Grammy for Album of the Year (and basically every other country award that the Grammys gave out that year). This came on the heels of the infamous Kanye incident at the MTV Music Awards in September of 2009.

A guy named Eric Church won Top New Solo Artist at the 2010 ACM Awards following the success of his 2009 album, Carolina. Church had two songs on the charts in 2010 with “Hell on the Heart” and “Smoke a Little Smoke,” the latter of which was released as a single over protests from his label. Eric threatened to walk from his label if “Smoke” wasn’t released as his next single, and the label finally gave in after telling him “It’s your funeral.” We know who was right on that one.

Several artists found love in 2010 – Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert got engaged in May after five years of dating, and Kellie Pickler got engaged to songwriter Kyle Jacobs. And Carrie Underwood tied the knot with then-Ottawa Senators player Mike Fisher in July 2010.

In April 2010, a devastating flood swept through Nashville and damaged several major buildings, including the Grand Ole Opry House and the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. The Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium and other venues around town until it could finally return home on September 28, 2010.

And finally, we get to the music.

As 2009 ended, Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” was sitting at the top of the charts, holding the #1 position for five weeks before going on to win Single of the Year at the 2010 CMA awards. It would be replaced in 2010 by Reba’s “Consider Me Gone,” which would become her longest-running #1 single.

Chris Young would get his second consecutive #1 single in 2010 with “The Man I Want to Be,” and Miranda Lambert also reached the top of the charts with “The House that Built Me,” a song that would win Song of the Year at the CMA Awards that year (and basically ever ACM award too).

Zac Brown Band had three songs hit #1 in 2010, the most of any artist, which would propel them to a win for New Artist of the Year at the CMA Awards. Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert and Toby Keith were the only other artists having three songs in the top 20 of the country charts that year.

2010 was a big year for Easton Corbin, who had his first #1 with “A Little More Country Than That,” as did Jerrod Neiman with “Lover, Lover.” But 2010 also saw artist by the name of Luke Bryan snag his first Billboard #1 with “Rain Is A Good Thing.”

Needless to say, Luke went on to have many, many more, earning himself the inaugural ACM Album of the Decade for Crash My Party.

Lee Brice’s “Love Like Crazy” spent a ridiculous 55 weeks on the Hot Country chart and was named the #1 song of 2010 based on airplay and chart time.

And The Band Perry released “If I Die Young” in 2010, a song that would hit #1 in 2010, and stay on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for an incredible 53 weeks.

Overall, not a bad time in country music.

As we all know, country music kind of went off the rails in the last decade, but looking back, it came in pretty strong. Here’s hoping we can get back to that in the next ten years.

Whiskey Riff is the most entertaining country site…ever.