Taylor Swift, Julianne Hough, Kid Rock Have New Year’s Eve Plans

Country Artists Travel From Coast to Coast to Ring in 2009

It’s New Year’s Eve and, as usual, only a handful of major country music stars will be venturing out on a concert stage. However, you won’t even have to leave home to hear at least one of them — Taylor Swift.

Swift and her friend, Kellie Pickler, will both be featured on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2009, an ABC special airing Wednesday (Dec. 31). Swift is among a list of performers including the Jonas Brothers, Lionel Richie, Natasha Bedingfield, Fall Out Boy, Jesse McCartney, Ne-Yo, Pussycat Dolls and Robin Thicke. Pickler will be working in New York’s Times Square as a correspondent for the show hosted by Clark and Seacrest. The activities begin at 10 p.m. ET with Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2009, featuring performances live from Times Square, and continue with two parts of the usual New Year’s Rockin’ Eve airing at 11:35 p.m. and 1:05 a.m. ET.

Elsewhere, two-time Dancing With The Stars champion Julianne Hough will be in Atlanta to headline the music at the 20th annual New Year’s Eve Peach Drop. Taking place at Underground Atlanta, the event will be co-hosted by country artist Rissi Palmer and seen on syndicated TV in more than 40 markets. Also in Atlanta, Jason Michael Carroll will be performing at Cowboys Concert Hall.

In Nashville, the Del McCoury Band will headline a New Year’s Eve show at the Ryman Auditorium. They’ll be joined by the Emmitt-Nershi Band (featuring Drew Emmitt of Leftover Salmon and Bill Nershi of String Cheese Incident) and the Infamous Stringdusters. Just a few steps away in downtown Nashville, Craig Morgan will be performing at the Wildhorse Saloon. Former Mavericks vocalist Raul Malo will ring in 2009 at another local club, 3rd & Lindsley.

One of the most highly-publicized shows — a double bill of Trace Adkins and Lynyrd Skynyrd at Nashville’s Sommet Center — was canceled because of the depressed economy. By swapping out opening and closing slots — and flying between two cities — both acts were scheduled to perform in Nashville and at the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville, Ky. With the Nashville cancellation, Adkins decided to spend New Year’s Eve at home, so 38 Special was enlisted to fill his slot on the Kentucky date.

Country music is always strong in Texas. This year in Dallas, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Mickey & the Motorcars and Wade Bowen will share the stage at House of Blues while Reckless Kelly headlines at Gilley’s Dallas and the Bellamy Brothers find themselves at center stage at Cowboys Red River. Also in the DFW area, Chris Young will appear at Cowboys in Arlington and
Chris Cagle will be at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth. In Houston, the Eli Young Band performs at House of Blues.

Two of the most interesting concerts will be taking place farther north. Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton will co-headline a show at the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena in Green Bay, Wis. And in Grand Rapids, Mich., Darryl Worley will be sharing the bill with a rock band, Plain White T’s, during a community event billed as New Year’s on the Grand.

In Los Angeles, Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys and Wayne Hancock will be putting a country spin on the New Year at Safari Sam’s. Trent Tomlinson will be appearing at the Whiskey Tango in Grain Valley, Mo.

No doubt, many other country-oriented are shows taking place across the nation, but one that can’t be overlooked is Kid Rock’s appearance at the Pearl, a concert theater at The Palms casino resort in Las Vegas. Tickets are topping out at $255. That’s a lot of money, but spending the evening with Kid Rock should be a New Year’s Eve to remember — although the party spirit of Kid Rock in Vegas could make it difficult for you to remember anything at all.

Calvin Gilbert has served as CMT.com’s managing editor since 2002. His background includes stints at the Nashville Banner, Radio & Records and Westwood One.