Drivers, Start Your Buses! Country Stars Ready to Tour

Taylor Swift, Alan Jackson and Others Test International Appeal

Coming soon to a stage near you — almost every big name on the country charts.

Taylor Swift has the most ambitious — and grueling — tour so far disclosed with 76 shows scheduled in 15 far-flung countries.

Other acts venturing beyond the American borders this year are Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum and Sugarland.

Tim McGraw, recently crowned Billboard top country touring act of 2010, is among the latest to announce plans for this year’s roadwork. A handful of shows have been confirmed, including a March 7 appearance at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, but he has yet to reveal the bulk of his Emotional Traffic tour of North America with Luke Bryan and The Band Perry.

Jason Aldean starts his 2011 tour on Jan. 21 in North Little Rock, Ark. Eric Church and the JaneDear Girls are both on the initial shows, but Church is on board for the first five shows only. Aldean has dates scheduled through a March 19 concert in Thackerville, Okla.

Kenny Chesney will be hard at work on his Goin’ Coastal tour, including nine stadium shows with the Zac Brown Band as co-headliners. Those stadium concerts include Tampa, Fla. (March 19), Dallas (April 16), Washington, D.C. (June 4), Green Bay, Wis. (June 11), Philadelphia (June 18), Pittsburgh (July 2), Kansas City (July 30), Detroit (Aug. 20) and Foxboro, Mass. (Aug. 27). The Foxboro show sold out in eight minutes when tickets went on sale in November.

Jackson launches his tour in Canada with a Feb. 1 show in Sudbury, Ontario. He’ll play two more concerts in Canada before heading south for appearances on Feb. 11 in Thackerville, Okla., and Feb. 12 in Choctaw, Miss., and even farther south for his first tour of Australia. Lambert will join him for the six Australian dates which begin March 4 in Melbourne and end with a three-night stand set for March 10-12 in Brisbane. He hits the road again in Canada on March 29 in Calgary, Alberta. In August, he travels overseas again for shows in Sweden and Norway.

Toby Keith will be returning with the 2011 edition of his American Ride tour. He begins his performance schedule with a Feb. 4 stop at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. His February calendar also includes other stops in Texas, Connecticut and New York before traveling to Canada for a series of shows starting on Feb. 22 in Regina, Saskatchewan, and ending Feb. 27 in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Later in the year, he’ll be appearing at festivals in Arizona, Ohio, Wyoming and Manitoba, Canada.

Lady Antebellum’s tour kicks off on Feb. 4 in Thackerville, Okla. In March, they’ll be hitting cities in Texas, Mississippi and Florida. In April, they’ll travel to Australia to open five concerts for Keith Urban. The award-winning trio will spend much of June and July appearing at festivals in Colorado, Kansas, Wisconsin, Ohio, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.

Brad Paisley’s most recent H2O World Tour was so successful, he’s extending it into the winter months and renaming it the H2O Frozen Over tour. The shows with Darius Rucker and Jerrod Niemann begin on Jan. 20 in Green Bay, Wis. The tour includes four shows in Canada and will also travel to Indiana, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Kentucky before closing on Feb. 26 in Nashville.

Rascal Flatts will be embarking on the second leg of their Nothing Like This tour on Jan. 14 in Sioux Falls, S.D. Luke Bryan and Chris Young are the support acts for the shows that include dates from Nebraska to New York to Louisiana. The tour is currently schedule to close on March 12 in Oklahoma City.

George Strait and Reba McEntire are resuming their tour with Lee Ann Womack with what should be a major event on Jan. 14 in Austin, Texas. The tour will hit several major cities, including Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Detroit, Cincinnati, Chicago and Denver before ending on April 9 in Louisville, Ky.

As previously mentioned, Swift’s Speak Now tour is one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken by a country act. However, she’s starting off the year in a fairly intimate environment with a Jan. 21 concert aboard Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, the Allure of the Seas, while it’s docked in Cozumel, Mexico. Things get hectic soon enough, however, once she officially launches her world tour on Feb. 9 in Singapore. The international dates continue with visits to South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway Germany, France and Spain. She winds down the first leg of the tour with shows in Ireland and England, closing on March 30 at London’s 02 Arena. Swift’s North American shows begin in Los Angeles on April 23-24. She has concerts scheduled in major markets throughout the U.S. and Canada and is scheduled to conclude the tour on Oct. 8 in Dallas.

Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush aren’t short on ambition, either, with their 2011 Incredible Machine tour scheduled to hit more than 60 markets. In select cities, their opening acts will include Little Big Town and singer-songwriters Sara Bareilles and Matt Nathanson. Sugarland’s shows begin March 3 at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and continue through an Oct. 22 concert in their hometown of Atlanta.

And proving he, too, is no slacker, Keith Urban launches his Get Closer tour with five shows taking place April 8-15 in Australia. Lady Antebellum will be opening the concerts in Adelaide, Melbourne, Tamworth, Sydney and Brisbane. The North American portion kicks off on June 16 in Biloxi, Miss., and he’ll be on the road almost constantly until the tour comes to a halt on Oct. 15 in Minneapolis.