Georgia has long been a hotbed for country music, producing such stars as Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt and Trisha Yearwood, but perhaps never before have Peach State artists dominated the Billboard charts the way they did in 2012. Four Georgia acts -- Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Zac Brown Band and Lady Antebellum (two of the trio's members, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, are from Augusta; Hillary Scott is from Nashville) -- all had solid achievements on the airplay and sales charts.
They share honors with a Yankee lady turned country/pop superstar.
Pennsylvania native Taylor Swift is the year's top country artist and No. 3 on the all-genre Top Artists chart for 2012.
Bryan, hailing from Leesburg, is No. 1 on Country Songs Artists. He has three hits on the year-end Country Songs recap: "Drunk on You" at No. 10, "I Don't Want This Night to End" at No. 17 and "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" at No. 48. Thanks to strong sales of 2011's "Tailgates & Tanlines" (Capitol Nashville), Bryan nabs the No. 3 slot on the Country Albums Artists recap.
"Tailgates & Tanlines" is this year's No. 2 title on Country Albums, followed by Lionel Richie's "Tuskegee" (Mercury/Universal Music Group Nashville) at No. 3 and Lady Antebellum's "Own the Night" (Capitol Nashville) at No. 4.
Bryan's tourmate Aldean -- the pair hit the road on the "My Kinda Party" tour in 2012 -- scores on the Country Songs recap at No. 26 ("Fly Over States"), No. 31 ("Take a Little Ride") and No. 49 ("Tattoos on This Town"). Aldean finishes No. 2 on Country Albums Artists by placing a pair of releases, 2010's "My Kinda Party" and this year's "Night Train" (both on Broken Bow) in the top 10 on the albums recap.
Meanwhile, North Carolinian Eric Church, who can currently be heard on country radio with Aldean and Bryan on "The Only Way I Know," scores a No. 4 finish on the Country Songs Artists recap due to two singles on the Country Songs tally, "Springsteen" at No. 9 and "Drink in My Hand" at No. 44.
Josh Turner leads the year-end Country Songs recap with "Time Is Love," besting Brantley Gilbert (another Georgian) with "You Don't Know Her Like I Do" at No. 2 and newcomer Jana Kramer's "Why Ya Wanna" at No. 3. Dustin Lynch's debut single, "Cowboys and Angels," lands at No. 4 while trio Gloriana claims No. 5 with its breakthrough hit "(Kissed You) Good Night."
When it came to album sales, Swift remains the queen of country. Along with leading the Country Artists recap, Swift is No. 1 on the Country Albums Artists recap. Her latest album, "Red" (Big Machine), which sold 1.2 million first-week copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, also leads the Country Albums recap.
In a notable change from 2011, country's youth movement seemed to flatten a bit in 2012, despite the success of Hunter Hayes, fueled by his No. 1 Country Songs hit "Wanted," and Kramer, as well as "American Idol" winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina.
As for the state of Georgia's musical legacy, the future looks bright, considering such stars-in-waiting as Gilbert (from Jefferson, Ga.), Alaina (Rossville) and Kip Moore (Tifton) all made in-roads in 2012.
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• COVER STORY: One Direction
• OVERVIEW The Year in Pop
• YEAR-END ISSUE: Order It Here
• HUB: The Year In Music 2012
• 2012 CHARTS: Hot 100 Songs
• 2012 CHARTS: Billboard 200
• 2012 CHARTS: Top Artists
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