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10 Things We’re Thankful for in 2013

Jake Owen, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert
Jason Merritt / Michael Loccisano, Getty Images

It’s been a wild year in country music! There have been tragedies and triumphs, reasons to celebrate, and devastating moments of sadness. There have been brilliant new songs and albums … and others that make fine coasters.

Many tweets and videos brought a tear to one’s eye in 2013, while others were cringe-worthy. Here are the 10 things we’re most thankful for this year! What about you?


JakeLacey
Christopher Polk, Getty Images
10

Jake Owen's Wife

 
 

Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and now Jake Owen! All three of these men began making the best music of their careers after settling down. The 'Days of Gold' singer seems more confident and at ease with life since marrying Lacey and becoming a father to Pearl in 2012. We're grateful to his wife for putting up with his wild ways.

 
Luke Bryan
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
9

Luke Bryan's Hip Shake

 
 

It's mesmerizing -- especially if you watch it over and over again, like we did when putting together this collection of GIFs. The music is the reason Bryan is the most sizzlin' country star on the planet, but that denim-clad swivel isn't hurting.

 
Vince Gill
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
8

Vince Gill's Potty Mouth

 
 

Admit it. You almost spit out coffee when you heard Vince Gill say the F-word over the summer. It was appropriate, no doubt about it -- the country legend was giving the Westboro Baptist Church a taste of their own medicine before a show in Kansas City. But Gill seems like the kind of guy who'll use "dern" because "dang!" is just too harsh. This was another video we viewed way more times than we're willing to admit -- watch here!

 
Florida Georgia Line
Jason Kempin, Getty Images
7

Bro-Country

 
 

On one hand, we appreciate songs popularized by Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, and, on a smaller scale, Chase Rice. The new 'bro-country' genre includes some big hits. It's also led to an entertaining dissection of the format, resulting in articles like 9 Things You're Guaranteed to Hear in a Bro-Country Song and a Songwriter's Guide to Bro-Country. Expect more of the same in 2014.

 
ronnie-dunn
6

Ronnie Dunn's Facebook Page

 
 

From time to time you cringe, but for the most part, you'll find insight into the weird and wild world of country music when you 'like' Ronnie Dunn on Facebook. He's taking on the establishment one post at a time. Some may argue that's not the place to call out the senior leaders of major radio conglomerates, but we appreciate the transparency. It's real and refreshing.

 
Zac Brown Band
Rick Diamond, Getty Images
5

Zac Brown's Honesty

 
 

The room is split on the content of Zac Brown's message to country music fans and artists concerning the songs he's hearing on the radio. But we appreciate a man willing to stand up for what he believes in, regardless of the consequences. His sharp words about Luke Bryan's 'That's My Kind of Night' began a conversation many were hoping to have soon. And he didn't just toss vague barbs at a nameless artist. He named names and then owned it. It made it sweeter to see the two bro-hug it out at the 2013 CMAs.

 
Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton
Christopher Polk, Getty Images
4

Country's First Couple

 
 

The music Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert are making separately and jointly is one thing, but their public exchanges are what we're truly thankful for. They're just fun to follow, whether trashing tabloids or Adam Levine, or sharing pictures of pets they've rescued. They feel like the most normal couple in the world -- a friend we're glad to see take home trophies at the biggest awards shows.

 
Luke Bryan, Kylee
3

The Little Girl Who Joined Luke Bryan on Stage

 
 

Kylee sort of stole our hearts, and she won't give them back. Having a bad day? Relatives bringing you down this holiday season? The 6-year-old's version of 'Someone Else Calling You Baby' will make you smile (watch here). We've gone back to it many times on slow news days. It's the No. 1 ToC time-waster.

 
tasteofcountry
2

Nearly Two Million Fans on Facebook

 
 

OK, this one is a little gratuitous and braggy, but we truly are thankful for everyone who has chosen ToC as their No. 1 source for country music news. In addition to our Facebook faithful, we also have over 100K on Twitter. Readers keep us in line -- and often informed -- on what country fans want to know about.

 
George Strait
Jason Davis, Getty Images
1

George Strait

 
 

It goes without saying, but it really should be said. George Strait laid the groundwork for so many of today's country music stars that it would be irresponsible not give him a sincere word of thanks before he begins the last leg of his final tour. Congratulations on the 2013 CMAs win, as well. It was appropriate.

 

Next: See the Best Albums of 2013

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