Must Have List – December 2011
It will be difficult to avoid country stars on television in December 2011, not that anyone is trying. Between must have awards shows and Christmas celebrations, dozens of the biggest names in country music are singing to America in primetime. Most notably, the American Country Awards are this month, but the 'CMA Country Christmas' special had us setting our DVRs as well.
There are a few stocking stuffers to be found on this list of must haves, including Brad Paisley's bestselling book and Taylor Swift's live album/DVD package -- the perfect way to enjoy her show for under $20. Little Big Town also have a must have song that you'll want to download in time for your holiday party.
The 2011 Taste of Country Awards are giving fans a chance to decide the winners of the most prestigious and serious categories, plus a few we threw in just for fun. Taylor Swift is a frequent nominee, as are Brad Paisley and Scotty McCreery. Fans can vote for all 10 awards through Jan. 1, 2012.
Lee Brice shows he has plenty to be grateful for in this video of the first single from his upcoming album. The song is the 'Love Like Crazy' singer's fastest rising single to date. The video puts creative and adorable imagery to an irresistible story about the ways a good woman can make any man's life better.
This made last month's Must Have List as well, and now we know that was somewhat of a false alarm. We're really sure that the song will appear on 'Glee' this month, however. No, seriously ... the show confirmed it! Look for Toby Keith's latest hit is to be performed by Chord Overstreet's character, Sam, on Dec. 6.
This Dec. 21 television special focuses on adoption and will feature many celebrities who've either been adopted or are parents of adopted children. Martina McBride will be joined by fellow musical guests Justin Bieber, Gavin DeGraw, Mary J. Blige, Christina Perri and OneRepublic. Actress Katherine Heigl will also appear, as will Denise Richards. The special was created to focus on the joys of adoption and to remind people there are still over a half million children living in American foster care.
This hasn't been a year of big name holiday releases, but Little Big Town show how a remake of a well-known Christmas standard is still capable of raising the hair on one's arms. Their rendition of 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' is little more than their four perfect harmonies over an acoustic guitar -- an electric guitar lights the fire later -- but amidst the commotion and confusion of the season, simplicity is divine.
It was a star-studded lineup for this Jennifer Nettles hosted television special. Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, Keith Urban, Vince Gill and Rascal Flatts are just a few of the faces fans will recognize when it airs again on Dec. 17. Alaina's version of 'My Grown Up Christmas List' had previously leaked on YouTube, but with the first airing of the program on Dec. 1, fans also got material from artists who've been singing about the holidays for years.
If you're expecting a new iPhone or Android for Christmas, be sure to download the RadioPup app. Listen to over 160 stations -- including country's WYRK and WGNA -- from anywhere, anytime for free. There are more than just country stations included, and you can favorite your top picks to share on Facebook or Twitter.
All the set designs, all the costumes and all the most memorable performances of songs from Swift's three albums are included on this December 2011 must have for any fan. The performances were taped across the world -- from "Hola, Madrid" to "Good evening, Nashville" -- and even fans who took in one or two shows along the way will find something new to appreciate. Bonus material on the DVD/Blu-ray includes home movies and rehearsal footage.
Paisley is considered one of Nashville's finest pickers, and he opens up about how the guitar shaped his life in this New York Times best seller. He tells stories about great country and blues player and shares intimate details about how the instrument provided him self-confidence. It's not only a must read for fans of Paisley and country music, it's a must read for all music lovers.
Jason Aldean and the Zac Brown Band lead the way with eight nominations each, but -- as with all awards shows -- it's the performances we'll truly remember. Blake Shelton, Pistol Annies, Thompson Square and the Band Perry are amongst the artists slotted in for the Dec. 5 show on Fox.