Country music artists contributed a lot of happy news in 2015, but unfortunately the year also held a lot of disappointment and sadness for both fans and artists. This year saw the end of an era, the demise of relationships, and the heartbreak of grief.
Ending an era that included fans singing along to “Honey, I’m Home” and “Any Man of Mine” and thousands of couples dancing to “From This Moment On” at their wedding receptions, Shania Twain announced her last tour ever. After ending a two-year run at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Shania Twain’s “Rock This Country Tour” rocked the summer and let fans savor their memories one last time.
Blake Shelton said goodbye to being the CMA’s reigning Male Vocalist of the Year. After riding the high of winning the award for five consecutive years as wife, Miranda Lambert, won the Female Vocalist of the Year award right alongside, Blake Shelton was knocked off his throne by Chris Stapleton (who by the way, said goodbye to any remaining obscurity he may have had after sweeping three categories and rocking the stage at the CMA Awards.) Some may have seen Blake’s fall as a sort of cosmic reassessment of fortune because the end of his winning streak came in the same year as the end of his marriage to Miranda Lambert. Country music’s favorite couple said goodbye to each other after four years of marriage.
Also filing for divorce this year were Reba McEntire and her husband of 26 years, Narvel Blackstock. Through the marriage, Reba McEntire became mother-in-law to pop singer Kelly Clarkson, who married Reba’s stepson Brandon in 2013. Reba is also stepmom to two more children and has a son, Shelby, with Narvel Blackstock as well.
Country music artists have also known deep heartache this year. Randy Rogers, frontman for the Randy Rogers Band, lost a newborn daughter. Baby Rumer died at just six days old. Randy Rogers gave a statement that indicated his daughter had some kind of sickness involving her brain and that he would share her story with fans someday when he and his wife are ready.
Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry fame also lost a child in 2015. Montgomery’s 19 year old son Hunter lost his life after an accident in September. Though exact details weren’t publicized, Eddie Montgomery did share that his son had been on life support following the accident, but later died at a hospital in Kentucky.
Keith Urban also said goodbye to a very important person in his life–his dad. Keith Urban’s father had been fighting cancer but passed on at the beginning of December. Keith Urban credited his father for setting him on his life’s journey in country music.
As the year closes, friends, artists and fans are also pouring out their love to Joey Feek, one-half of the duo Joey + Rory. The duo said goodbye to their music career together and cancelled all concert performances when it was determined that the cervical cancer Joey had been fighting since 2014 was now terminal. Joey Feek ends the year on hospice care, surrounded by Rory, their daughter Indiana, and many loved ones.
While another New Year’s Eve brings fun and excitement around the world, many in the country music community are looking to 2016 as a year of readjustment, days of longing and tear-filled holidays ticking off the calendar, and of just trying to find solid ground again. Through these trying times, prayers and well wishes will most certainly be appreciated.