With 2013 now in our rear-view mirror, it's time for me to take another crack at what the next year will hold in country music.  I don't like to brag (OK, yes I do), but my predictions for last year were pretty spot-on for the most part.  I'm very nervous about this year, because I just don't know what will happen.  Country music experienced one of the biggest shifts in history in 2013, so 2014 may be tough to call.

The Tailgate, Moonlight, Cutoff Songs Continue

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

It was one of the most talked about elements of country music in 2013.  Zac Brown dogged Luke Bryan about it.  Even, Tom Petty weighed in on it.  And this recap video was made to ridicule it.

Bottom line is, songs with the field party, bonfire, pickup, pretty girl, cold beer, summer theme have ruled the charts and many fans seem to love them.  I think we're a long way from seeing them go away.  I say we'll see at least 17 number ones that fit this mold in 2014.


But, Not So Fast

Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images

There will be a select group of artists fighting to keep country's roots alive in the next year.  Alan Jackson has made his opinions known as has Gary Allan, and these two along with newer traditionalists like Brad Paisley, Justin Moore, and Chris Young may just lead the charge to bring back a sense of respect and tradition.  I think there will be enough support to give it some steam too, it just remains to be seen.


Country Bros

Facebook / Chase Rice

The term 'Bro Country' has been tossed around quite a bit lately, and has paved the way for a new type of artist.  I expect more to become successful in the next year including guys like Cole Swindell, Thomas Rhett and Chase Rice, while masters of this genre like Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, and Jake Owen continue to dominate.


Where are the girls?

Christopher Polk, Getty Images

I expect even less involvement from the solo females of country this year.  Only Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, and Taylor Swift have really broken through the male-dominated charts lately, and I expect all three to be ghosts for a while with maybe a couple songs a piece this year.  Of course that could also lead to another new female to breakout.  My money would be on Cassadee Pope, Danielle Bradbery, or Maggie Rose.


An Outsider Tops The Charts


With all the crossover sound, and major collaborations, like FGL and Nelly's 'Cruise,' I expect a duet featuring one of country's superstars and an artist from outside the format to top the country charts this year.  I'm shooting for Justin Timberlake or Bruce Springsteen.


Garth Is No Dummy, He'll get Chummy

Jemal Countess, Getty Images

While Garth Brooks himself is a huge draw on his own, I wonder if he doesn't realize the young country trend that is happening.  You know, his music isn't on the radio as much as it used to, meaning some younger fans may not be buying tickets when he comes back.  Could the 'biggest undertaking' he's planning be a festival type show with some of today's new acts as support?  It wouldn't be a bad idea.


Breakout Stars of 2014

Arista Nashville

It's so hard to predict the future, especially in music, but here's who I'm predicting to have a breakout year:

Cassadee Pope, Cole Swindell, Swon Brothers, Dan + Shay, and once again I think the stars will only shine brighter for Thomas Rhett.