The cowboy himself, George Strait, picked up three trophies at the 30th Annual Country Music Association Awards, presented at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn. on Oct. 2. Strait was named the Male Vocalist of the Year, his Blue Clear Sky album was named Album of the Year, and "Check Yes Or No" was honored as the Single of the Year.
The dynamic duo, Brooks & Dunn walked away with the top award of the evening, Entertainer of the Year, as well as their fifth consecutive Vocal Duo of the Year Award. Country crooner Vince Gill increased his record total of CMA awards to 17 with the Song of the Year Award for "Go Rest High On That Mountain" and for Vocal Event of the Year with Dolly Parton on "I Will Always Love You."
Our hometown girl, Patty Loveless, tearfully accepted her very first CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award as she thanked her brother, Roger Ramey. ("You GO girl!") Bryan White pulled an upset when he received the Horizon of the Year Award over Shania Twain, while Junior Brown surprised everyone with his well-deserved Music Video of the Year Award for "My Wife Thinks You're Dead."
During the three-hour live telecast, Ray Price, Buck Owens, and the late Patsy Montana were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
The entire list of winners is as follows:
Entertainer of the Year Brooks & Dunn
Female Vocalist of the Year Patty Loveless
Male Vocalist of the Year George Strait
Horizon Award Bryan White
Single of the Year George Strait's "Check Yes Or No"
Vocal Duo of the Year Brooks & Dunn
Music Video of the Year Junior Brown's "My Wife Thinks You're Dead"
Song of the Year Vince Gill's "Go Rest High On That Mountain"
Vocal Event of the Year Dolly Parton and Vince Gill's "I Will Always Love You"
Album of the Year George Strait's Blue Clear Sky
Musician of the Year Mark O'Connor -- fiddle
Vocal Group of the Year The Mavericks
Congratulations to all the winners!
Country music and Kentucky are going to be in the movies. Country singers Randy Travis and Mark Collie are going to be up against one of Hollywood's heavyweights, Steven Segal, in the feature thriller Fire Down Below, which is being filmed right here in the Bluegrass state. Randy says "I play a bad cop" and adds "I'm waiting on the script...I may get a whipping or get shot." Mark plays a bully who works for a mining tycoon, clashing over illegal toxic waste disposal.
Flatwoods, Ky.'s Billy Ray Cyrus is also ready to try his hand at the big screen. Billy Ray's new movie agent, the William Morris Agency, is out to find suitable roles for the Achy Breaky man. His new manager, Al Schlitz, says, "We've pulled Billy off the road so he can concentrate on this aspect of his career."
Be on the lookout for Fire Down Below in 1997 and good luck to Billy Ray on his move to the movies. If acting doesn't fly, don't forget your microphone and guitar, Billy Ray.
Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn are as successful on the racetrack as they are on the country music charts and award shows. Last year's winner of the Mark Collie Celebrity Race for Diabetes Cure, Kix Brooks, finished in second place during this year's race on Oct. 9, while his partner in crime, Mr. Dunn, captured the top spot. The dynamic duo beat out fellow country stars Aaron Tippin (who finished in a respectable third place), Wade Hayes, Diamond Rio's Marty Roe (the 1994 winner), and newlyweds Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (who had just tied the knot three days earlier on Oct. 6 in Tim's home-state of Louisiana). A few sparks flew as Terri Clark crashed into Rhett Akins, knocking them both out of the race.
Congratulations and hats off to Mark Collie (a diabetic since the age of 17) and all those involved in making this year's race another success. The race festivities began the evening before at the Wildhorse Saloon with a special VIP party, hosted by Mark. The party featured a celebrity auction and an acoustic concert starring Mark, Aaron Tippin, Jo Dee Messina, and The Nelson Brothers. More than $400,000 was raised from this year's events, pushing the Mark Collie Foundation contributions to diabetes research to just at the one million dollar mark. Grants have been awarded to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and the American Diabetes Association, among others.
As if CMA Entertainers of the Year Brooks & Dunn haven't already won enough awards, they and team members swept the recent Sixth Annual SRO Awards sponsored by the Country Music Association. Kix and Ronnie were named Touring Artist of the Year, managers Bob Titley and Clarence Spalding of Titley/Spalding & Co. were named Artist Manager of the Year, and road manager Scott Edwards was named Road Manager of the Year.
In addition to these awards, 22-year old hot newcomer and CMA Horizon Award winner Bryan White was named the New Touring Artist of the Year and The Mavericks, the CMA Vocal Group of the Year, were named the CMA International Touring Artist of the Year.
Congratulations to all and we hope to see you all right here in Louisville in 1997!
The name Mike Lunsford is well known in these parts, thanks in great part to his last gig performing with The Whiskey River Band. Since the first of the year, Mike Lunsford has taken his thirty-plus years in the music business to Whiskey Renegade. Mike, originally from Guymon, Okla. performs lead and rhythm guitar, harmonica, and lead and harmony vocals.
Louisville native Fred Williams Jr. offers his 10 years of experience on drums and vocals. William (Eddy) Kiger, from Big Run, West Virginia, began picking the guitar at the ripe old age of ten and has been playing bass with local bands for over 25 years, as well as singing lead and harmony vocals. Fredericksburg, Indiana's Lou Hacker brings 20 years of experience to Whiskey Renegade playing lead and steel guitar and singing lead and harmony.
Mike Lunsford & Whiskey Renegade counts an amazing 85 years of experience in country music, the members individually performing with Nashville artists Dolly Parton, Ronnie Milsap, Johnny Paycheck and Asleep at the Wheel. Together they provide the finest in country music entertainment, including several current and classic Top 40 hits as well as original material. Keep your eyes and ears open for these fellas and go out and give them a listen.
The long-awaited Alan Jackson CD, Everything I Love, which includes Tom T. Hall's "Little Bitty," a remake of Charly McClain's "Who's Cheatin' Who," plus the title track is now available in your favorite local record store. Mary Chapin Carpenter's first release in two years, A Place In The World is also available and includes "Let Me Into Your Heart" from Kevin Costner's movie Tin Cup.
Reba McEntire is back with a totally country album, titled What If It's You, which includes her current single, "The Fear of Being Alone." Reba recorded her new album using her band members in her brand spankin' new Starstruck recording studio in downtown Nashville (Barry Manilow is currently recording in her new studio).
Hit-maker Mark Chesnutt offers up his Greatest Hits, which includes "Bubba Shot The Jukebox," "Blame It On Texas," and "Goin' Through The Big D," as well as two brand new tunes, "It's A Little Too Late" and "Let It Rain." The man in black, Johnny Cash is back with a new disc titled Unchained.
Keep your eyes open for a new release from Terri Clark that includes her incredible re-make of Linda Ronstadt's "Poor, Poor Pitiful Me." And if you're anxiously awaiting new releases by Tanya Tucker and Kathy Mattea, their November release dates have been moved back to 1997.
November is packed with live country shows right here in Derby City. The "Swingin'" John Anderson will be headlining the annual Firefighter's Benefit along with Patricia Conroy, at 8:00 p.m. on Nov. 8 at Louisville Gardens. Get your tickets by calling (502) 491-1877. Go out and support your local firemen and enjoy some fine country music at the same time.
Kentucky boy John Michael Montgomery is going to heat up Louisville Gardens on Nov. 23 when he stops off to perform hits from his new CD, What I Do The Best, as well as "Life's A Dance," "Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)," "Rope The Moon," and "Be My Baby Tonight." Newcomer Rhett Akins and the rapidly rising Ricochet will have the honor of warming up the crowd.
Louisville's favorite country night-spot, Coyote's, has a stellar line-up of concerts for the remainder of the year. The "Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy," David Allan Coe, will perform on Nov. 5. Two days later on the 7th, hot newcomer Trace Adkins ("Every Light In The House") will appear. The rodeo-riding Chris LeDoux will entertain on Nov. 19 and the incredible Wade Hayes will sing on Dec. 3.
Well, that's it for now. I'd like to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and always remember: keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, 'cause country music is comin' your way.