Taylor Swift, Sugarland, Faith Hill + More Give Thanks
Thanksgiving is all about counting our blessings with friends and family ... and stuffing ourselves into a food coma! Your favorite country stars are no exception. The Boot rounds up memories from some of our favorite artists, who share their favorite traditions and favorite foods of Thanksgiving.
Taylor Swift always makes time for her extended family at Thanksgiving. "I have family that I spend every Thanksgiving with," the 20-year-old superstar says. "They're all on my mom's side, and they're all women, and they're really loud. They're obnoxiously loud, and they all have this genetic cackle. They stand in the kitchen and it's the loudest sound. It like, breaks noise barriers, and it's like out of a movie. My cousins have like 49 cats and dogs. It's really fun to go there and have somewhere I know I'm gonna be every Thanksgiving." Don't forget to watch -- or set your DVR -- Taylor takes fans on a journey from New York to Los Angeles during her new NBC-TV special, 'Taylor Swift: Speak Now,' airing at 8:00 PM ET Thanksgiving evening (November 25).
Alan Jackson says he is most thankful for his wife, Denise, and three daughters. "It sounds just really simple, but the biggest blessing for me is to be able to have the success and the money because I don't think I would've ever realized that it's not important had I not had the opportunity to go through all this," explains the Georgia native. "Because now I could give up all these toys and the house, the big house, and all that kind of stuff and live in a small home and be just as happy or more happy sometimes to have some loved ones, whether they're your children or just whoever – people who you love that will take care of you and share life with you."
Blake Shelton says Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday. "It's the most overlooked. I just like it because it's in the fall and it's my favorite weather, and I like to eat a lot," he says. "Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I guess it's because I just love the fall so much."
Justin Moore agrees with Blake. "Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, because you don't have to fool with presents and stuff. It's just everybody gets together, drink beer and fry turkeys. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving."
Faith Hill has a lot to be thankful for. "I enjoy my children, and I enjoy my life -- that's what I'm most thankful for," she says. "I'm thankful for a lot of things; it's almost like a domino effect. One makes the other better. My family, my children, make music better for me, make everything better. But it's one thing to have a life and it's another to live it, and that's something I've learned, it's not something I've always known. [laughs]"
Faith's hubby, Tim McGraw, says the holiday is all about family, "either going to family's house or having family over at our place," he explains. "The kids getting to reconnect with aunts and uncles and cousins and friends who sometimes you don't get to connect with unless it's that time of the year. And certainly what it means is giving thanks. I think this year it's gonna be a lot more special for a lot of families because it certainly is a time to sort of reevaluate and really step back and take a look at the things that you do have, and start thinking about the life that some other people don't have."
Martina McBride feels very blessed this Thanksgiving. "There's the obvious things, of course, having daughters and a wonderful husband, and that relationship that has grown and matured and deepened and strengthened over the years. I feel blessed to have that."
Trace Adkins gives thanks for the F's in Thanksgiving. "The food," he acknowledges with a laugh. "Hmmm, the food, family, that's what it's all about. Giving thanks for family and food and football – the three F's you've got to have. Well, there's another one, but we won't ... you know. [laughs]"
Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles lists many things she is most thankful for, including "health, and the health of my loved ones and family. I'm thankful for the safety of my brother, who came back from Afghanistan. I'm thankful for music and to have a wonderful partner and manager and a wonderful group of people to go on the road with and do what I love. I'm thankful for the fans that buy the records to allow us to do what we love. I could list on and on, but I am a happy girl." (Catch the duo perform 'Stand Up' from their new album 'The Incredible Machine' on the 'CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute' November 25 at 8:00 PM ET.)
Jason Aldean says he's most thankful for the health of his children. The singer has two daughters, seven-year-old Keeley and three-year-old Kendyl, and he notes that with Kendyl's arrival he learned that was something he couldn't take for granted. "Ghe biggest thing that I'm probably most thankful for, and this isn't really something I've actually talked much about either, but when my second daughter was born or when my wife was pregnant with her, there were a lot of problems. I mean they thought there was stuff wrong with her, possible Down Syndrome [and] things like that and so, it was really a tough period. Then she was born, and now just to kind of see her grow up and be fine. Fortunately, it was nothing."
Josh Turner, who has gone through some health issues in the past, is thankful for his health this year. "That was one of my goals for 2010 was to be more healthy. I feel like I'm stronger and more healthy, and I haven't had to go into a show sick or anything, so I've been very thankful for that. Thankful that all of my family is healthy. Thankful for these two No. 1s this year, and having the album out and it being a success and just being able to do what I love for a living."
Sara Evans feels like the luckiest girl alive in both her personal and professional lives. "I feel like Hannah Montana," she jokes. "I feel like I have the best of both worlds. [laughs] I can go out on tour and I can be all glammed up and perform on stage and then I can come home and play tennis at the country club and pack lunches for school and do homework after school. So, I am very, very thankful for all the blessings that God has given me. I am thankful for our children and that they're healthy. My continued prayer every day is that He'll keep us safe and healthy and keeps us together and help us to just be great people."
"Thanksgiving is certainly one of my favorite holidays," James Otto says. "I love to eat, sadly, and all the best foods come out of Thanksgiving, like the stuffings and all the things that are bad for you ...Thanksgiving is all about the family gathering around and everybody getting together. I have a lot of different memories growing up from Thanksgiving with my grandparents to Thanksgiving with my parents. Over the course of time, Thanksgiving has changed. I've lost grandparents and I'm a long ways away from my parents these days, and so it's a pretty special occasion when everybody gets together."
Jaron of Jaron and the Long Road to Love truly found his voice over the past year. "I'm thankful this year that I'm able to do music again. I never really went away from playing music, I just sort of went away from sharing it. And to have the opportunity to find a fan base again and an audience who embraces me and supports me and gives me a release for my music, and they share their lives with me. Just to be able to do this again and do it every single day -- hopefully, I'll be saying this again next year that I get to wake up every day happy and passionate about what I'm doing."
Easton Corbin is thankful for his family. The 'Roll With It' singer is also giving thanks for his successful career, having topped the country charts twice this year. "We used to always go to my grandma's for Christmas and Thanksgiving," says Easton. "We'd go for the big meal. I don't get to go back that much. A lot of times, I'll stay in [Nashville] for Thanksgiving and then go down for Christmas." His favorite side dish? "Cornbread dressing."
Lee Ann Womack doesn't trust anyone but her husband, producer Frank Liddell, in the kitchen at Thanksgiving. "I wouldn't have anybody prepare my Thanksgiving dinner except my husband, because he's such an amazing cook. He is my favorite cook, actually, and I've been to a lot of really, really nice restaurants. He just has a knack for it. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without Frank's cooking. The family always calls and wants to know what he's making. I make him make out a menu so I can send it to everybody, and it's always very special. So, that's my only chef at Thanksgiving."
Montgomery Gentry's Troy Gentry says his family will vary the side dishes, but the holiday main course is a tradition."We always mix it up. We always have turkey for Thanksgiving, we always have ham for Christmas, but we always mix up everything else from potato casserole, to Angie and her mom have this special green been recipe that they do. Mashed potatoes are always on the table. It kind of depends on the mood for the year."
For Jason Michael Carroll growing up, the holiday wasn't about the meal or football games on the tube, it was about spending time with his dad early Thanksgiving morning. "One of my favorite memories of Thanksgiving was probably going hunting with my dad. I'd look forward to every Thanksgiving, early in the morning, my dad getting me up, getting me dressed, letting me go get in the pick-up truck with him, and we'd drive out to the hunting club. We'd be out there all day. We'd have ham sandwiches for lunch that he got from the little community store, and I remember getting back home to the smell of turkey in the house. We lived in a trailer in Louisburg, North Carolina, and if my dad got a deer, he'd be cleaning the deer in the yard. And then we'd sit down and have dinner and watch football. Those were some of my favorite times."
Keith Urban heads south for the holiday for a halftime performance of several of his hits as the Dallas Cowboys play host to the New Orleans Saints. The annual football game also serves as the kick-off of the Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign. Kid Rock also takes to the stage, as he plays Ford Field to perform the '2010 United Way Halftime Show' during the Thanksgiving Day showdown between the Detroit Lions and the New England Patriots.