NASHVILLE SKYLINE: 2010′s Moments: Taylor Swift, Hank Williams, Crazy Heart

It Was an Up and Down Year for Country Music

(NASHVILLE SKYLINE is a column by CMT/CMT.com Editorial Director Chet Flippo.)

Here are a few memorable moments and music from this past year.

Hank Williams‘ massive boxed set, Mother’s Best, is one of the most significant music releases in years. Hank will live forever, and his music will continue to find new listeners.

Rosanne CashThe List. Although this was actually released in late 2009, it found its audience this year. And it preserves Johnny Cash‘s musical heritage.

And, after decades, Alan Jackson finally got around to recording a Johnny Cash song. “Ring of Fire” on Jackson’s 34 Number Ones is a standout on a collection of many standouts.

Dierks Bentley‘s Up on the Ridge was a true musical gamble that has paid off with new audiences and multiple Grammy nominations and with impetus for more musical experimentation.

Taylor Swift continues to amaze and daze her fans and confound her critics.

Crazy Heart. Both the movie and the soundtrack were pleasant surprises. It’s a story that has been told many times, but it remains eternally fresh and gripping.

Caitlin Rose’s Own Side Now is the most talked-about album of the year that is available only as an import — and a fairly pricey one at that. It’ll be released in the U.S. in the spring, but it is attracting much critical attention. As well it should, for Rose is a very gifted young writer and singer. See what you think.

Marty Stuart‘s Studio B Sessions recharged his batteries and proves why he has long been a true music original.

Buddy Holly is the subject of a new six-CD boxed set that includes all of his studio recordings. They range from his early primitive home studio recordings all the way up to the recording sessions in his New York City apartment. That’s an impressive 203 songs in this set. I hear that only 7,000 copies of this set have been released.

Elizabeth Cook‘s Welder shows this unconventional singer and songwriter continuing to mature and grow musically.

Jamey Johnson‘s double album, The Guitar Song, affirms his importance as the torchbearer and safe keeper of what makes country country.

The Band Perry‘s “If I Die Young.” A fledging young trio of siblings defied the conventional wisdom by recording and releasing a long death song at a time when most other artists were rushing to put out raucous summer songs. “If I Die Young” is a potent reminder of the power of a good song.

I loved the big bonfire in Leipers Fork, Tenn., which consumed a huge pile of albums and singles that are all about how country the singers and songwriters are. A midnight rainbow amazingly appeared soon thereafter in the sky.

The massive flooding in Nashville in May caused great devastation, but also inspired people to step up and support their town, their fellow townspeople and their music community. I am proud of our city’s and community’s efforts to recover and rebuild.

Gerry House took his House Foundation off Nashville’s WSIX in mid-December and retired from radio. Thanks, Gerry, for many years of music, humor, insight and true goodness. He signed off with the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” followed by the chirping of crickets.

Finally, I hate to say farewell to a great record executive, music fanatic and baseball nut. Nick Hunter was one of the true good guys. Nashville and music are both much better for his having been here. R.I.P., Nick.