Love, life and loss — 2016 has been a year of making memories Rare Country
Rare Country

We’re coming down the homestretch of 2016 and it has certainly been a year of making memories in country music. While some of those memories are heartbreaking, others are hopeful, and some are just downright happy.

In a special edition of Rare Country’s 5, Erin Holt counts down five of the biggest memory-making moments of 2016. Do you remember?

At No. 5, we look at one of the greatest losses in country music. He was an influence on his own peers, as well as being an inspiration to generations of country artists to come. So, when Merle Haggard passed away from pneumonia in April, the entire country music community mourned. A singer and songwriter, his contribution went far beyond Nashville, as he was also a pioneer in the establishing the Bakersfield sound and was an icon in rock music as well.

We could not get enough of Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood this year, and they couldn’t get enough of each other. At No. 4, their incredibly special and openly loving relationship gave us romantic memories for days. From their new duets album, “Christmas Together,” to their numerous public appearances and performances together, to the precious way they speak about each other in interviews, we’re hoping for more of these #RelationshipGoals in 2017.

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Some things are just so beautiful, they bring you to tears, and sometimes things are so sad they bring you to tears. When Kelly Clarkson performed her single “Piece By Piece” during an appearance on the final season of “American Idol,” we were faced with the combination of beauty and sadness, and the moment was so emotional even judge Keith Urban was brought to tears. Seeing so much raw emotion in just a few short minutes locks this moment in at No. 3.


To call it a triumphant return might be an understatement. After a massive stroke in 2013, Randy Travis was lucky to be alive. Not only is he thriving, but at this year’s CMA Awards he was also able to join some of his country music peers onstage and sing the final “Amen” in his own hit song “Forever and Ever, Amen.” He then went on to walk up the stairs at the Country Music Hall of Fame to be inducted and sang a hushed “Amazing Grace.” No. 2 on our list is an inspiring memory from 2016.

RELATED: Country music history was just made in the first eight minutes of the CMA Awards

We were talking about our No. 1 moment for days. Actually, it was more like weeks before we really even knew what we were talking about. But when “Forever Country” unveiled the final video, we knew it was well worth the wait. The magic of film and the creativity of a brilliant producer combined three of the biggest hits in the history of country music in one dynamic recording with country music’s brightest stars from the past and present for one groundbreaking moment. It’s something we couldn’t watch enough and something we still can’t see enough.


That’s just five of the biggest moments in country music from 2016, but there were so many more. Tell us what your favorite moment of 2016 was in the comments. And thanks to Erin for bringing us another great edition of Rare Country’s 5.

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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