The Country Throwdown Tour, one of the biggest country tours of the year, just announced their 2012 lineup. While the star-studded run was fronted last year by its crowning jewel Willie Nelson, this year’s showcase will display the talents of Gary Allan, Justin Moore, Rodney Atkins, Josh Thompson, Eric Paslay and Sunny Sweeney.

The 2012 Country Throwdown Tour will make its way across several states within the U.S. in May and June, though the earliest date scheduled thus far is May 18 at Jones Park in Gulfport, Miss, with a second show to follow on May 26 in Gilford, New Hampshire. More tour dates and locations will be unrolled in the following days and weeks. Starting in June, Atkins will take Moore’s place on the main stage, so the pair will not be on the road simultaneously.

One unique aspect of Country Throwdown is their Bluebird Cafe tent stage, which features the best in emerging country songwriters in an in-the-round setting that has become popularized at Nashville songwriter venues like the Bluebird Cafe. The artists taking this stage have yet to be announced, so stay tuned.

Last year, Randy Houser, Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert and Craig Campbell, among others, joined Nelson on the run across the States, which introduced country music fans to unfamiliar new artists — many of which have since become household names.

Tickets for the event aren’t yet on sale, but you can get presale information at the tour’s website.

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