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Looking Back at Country Music in 2004

The Year in Retrospect

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Shania Twain - Greatest Hits

Shania Twain - Greatest Hits

2004 was a good year for Country Music financially. Big sales of albums from Toby Keith, Shania Twain, Kenny Chesney, Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn, George Strait, Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett contributed to the over 68 million units of country music sold this year. That's a total of more than 8 million over last year's totals.

It was a year where we saw Tim McGraw make his major motion picture debut in "Friday Night Lights," while wife and fellow country superstar Faith Hill made her movie debut in the remake of "The Stepford Wives."

Reba McEntire continued to be a major force on TV with her hit sitcom, Reba.

On the touring front, Kenny Chesney and Shania Twain were at the top of the sales charts for all genres of music.

The Muzik Mafia became a household word with the success of Gretchen Wilson and Big & Rich.

Here are some of the Top movers and shakers of 2004.

Top 5 Country Tours

  1. Shania Twain $62,546,908
  2. Kenny Chesney $49,934,380
  3. Toby Keith $44,303,565
  4. Alan Jackson $35,133,587
  5. Tim McGraw $32,549,872

Billboard's Top 10 New Country Artists for 2004

  1. Gretchen Wilson
  2. Big & Rich
  3. Josh Turner
  4. Josh Gracin
  5. Julie Roberts
  6. Blue County
  7. Ron White
  8. Rachel Proctor
  9. Rodney Atkins
  10. Amy Dalley

Walking Down the Aisle

Trick Pony's Heidi Newfield said "I Do" on a beach in Destin, FL to Atlanta sports agent Bill Johnson in June. Her bandmates Ira Dean and Keith Burns stood up for Heidi, while Billy Dean serenaded the couple at the wedding reception.

Rascal Flatts' Jay DeMarcus married his sweetheart, Allison Alderson in the Spring. Vince Gill sang at their ceremony, and the band sang "These Days" at the reception. The song was special to Jay and Allison, as they met on the shoot of the video for the song.

Lonestar's drummer, Keech Rainwater married CMT Canada's Elissa Landell in September in Toronto. They met on the red carpet during last year's CMA Awards show.

Pitter Patter of Tiny Feet

Sara Evans and husband Craig welcomed daughter, Audrey.
Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox and wife Tara welcomed daughter Brooklyn.
Joe Diffie and wife Theresa welcomed daughter, Kylie.
Dixie Chick Natalie Maines and husband Adrian welcomed son Beckett Finn.
Deana Carter and Chris Hicky welcomed son Gray Hayes.
Hometown News' Scott Whitehead and wife Nancy welcomed daughter Sara Nicole.
Cledus T. Judd and Julie Reeves welcomed daughter Caitlyn Rose.
Trace Adkins and wife Rhonda welcomed daughter Trinity Lee.

Soon to Add to Their Family

Martina McBride & hubby John will add a third child to their family next year.
Lonestar's Michael Britt and wife Rene will add a second child to their family in April.

Fan Fair is No More

Although the term Fan Fair no longer is the way to describe the Country Festival held in Nashville each June, the Festival still exists. This was the first year the CMA used the new name of the CMA Music Festival. Fans still showed up in record numbers to brave the humidity and storms to get to meet their favorite country stars.

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