Making 13 stops in Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee, The Santa Train has become a yearly tradition for families. Santa Claus -- with a little bit of celebrity help -- greets hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of children at each stop, passing out toys and goodwill to many along the route.
There have been many milestones in the career of Diamond Rio. In 1991, the band made history with "Meet in the Middle" climbing to the top of the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart (now called Hot Country Songs). They have won a six awards for Vocal Group of the Year from the ACM and the CMA. In 1998, they became members of the Grand Ole Opry and have experienced success with their studio albums, compilations, a Christmas album, as well as a Gospel release, with 2009's Grammy-winning The Reason.
It's an interesting time in country music. The format's biggest-selling star of the last decade, Taylor Swift, has departed for pop music. Meanwhile, Garth Brooks, who has sold more albums than any artist since 1991, is back. Brooks' return, however, has been greeted with a fairly lukewarm reception.
2014 has been a banner year for Cole Swindell. Between his own singles "Chillin' It" and "I Hope You Get Lonely Tonight," as well as writing such hits as "Roller Coaster" for Luke Bryan and Thomas Rhett's "Get Me Some Of That," Swindell has seen some of his biggest dreams come true.
Agents and managers working in the country field are predicting a record-breaking year for 2015, with more than 18 performers headlining venues with upward of 10,000 seats. But while superstars and baby bands from Nashville work their way across America, a few insiders have a caution flag at the ready.