The Year in Country Music 2016: The ACM Crowns Jason Aldean Its New Entertainer of the Year

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In country music in 2016, there was a changing of the guard in the coveted Entertainer of the Year categories. After two years of holding the CMA’s title, Luke Bryan made way for the return of Country Music Hall of Famer Garth Brooks.  And after spending two non-consecutive years with the ACM’s Entertainer mantle, Luke ceded that crown to Jason Aldean.

Proclaiming it an award won on the strength of an artist’s live show, road warrior Jason Aldean saw the trophy as an endorsement for his We Were Here and Six String Circus tours this year with Thomas Rhett and A Thousand Horses.

–In September, CMT paid attention to Jason’s live shows, televising Jason Aldean & Friends Live at LakeShake as its first-ever Concert of the Summer. Later in the month, Jason kept the momentum going, selling out two shows at Boston’s Fenway Park.

–The ninth month of the year would also bring the seventh studio effort from the man the RIAA proclaimed the top-selling male country artist of the digital era. They Don’t Know would continue Aldean’s streak, becoming the only country album to occupy the top spot on the all-genre Billboard 200 in all of 2016.

–Confessing he’d grown up with a Garth Brooks poster on the wall of his Georgia bedroom, Jason joined his hero onstage to sing “Much Too Young” at the Octobers concert marking Garth’s seventh diamond award.

–Inspired by the death of a good friend early in his career, Jason continued his commitment to raising money for breast cancer in October, bringing his annual Concert for the Cure to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Contributing a portion of every ticket he sold this year, Jason presented a check for close to half-a-million dollars to Susan G. Komen. So far, he’s given more than $3 million to the effort.   

–2016 would bring Jason’s 17th and 18th career number-ones, with “Lights Come On” claiming the top spot in July, and “A Little More Summertime” achieving its peak in November. Jason wrapped the year by showing off the rootsier side of his sound, releasing “Any Ol’ Barstool” as his third single from They Don’t Know.

–While he captured the ACM Entertainer of the Year trophy, it was a total shut-out for Jason when it came to this year’s CMA nominations. Still, Jason was invited to perform on the historic 50th anniversary of the awards show, doing “Brand New Man” with Brooks & Dunn.

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