Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

FloodFest '97 Benefit Concert

An all-star country music concert has been scheduled to aid recent flood victims throughout the state of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. This concert, titled "Kroger Presents: FloodFest '97," is scheduled for Sun. evening, April 6 at 7:00 PM in Freedom Hall at the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center. Stars confirmed to perform are Nicholasville, Kentucky's John Michael Montgomery, Flatwoods' Billy Ray Cyrus, The Kentucky Headhunters, Lexington's Exile, The Everly Brothers, Lee Greenwood, and The Oak Ridge Boys.

These stars are donating 100% of their time and expenses to raise money for those affected by the recent flood. The American Red Cross will receive 100% of all ticket sales for its flood disaster relief. Everything involved with this show, including the facility, ticket sales, advertising, and security has been donated for this worthy cause. Oklahoma City's Feed The Children program is donating a semi-truckload of food and supplies in honor of Billy Ray Cyrus. Artists such as Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn who could not participate in the concert have made personal donations.

Tickets for this show can be purchased for $15 by calling (800) 487-1212, (502) 367-5001, or any Ticketmaster Outlet. A special reception, which will include appearances by the concert's featured entertainers, will be held before the concert at 5:30 PM. Tickets to the reception, limited to 150 people, are $100 each.

Country Winners At 39th Annual Grammy Awards

14-year-old country music sweetheart LeAnn Rimes was anything but blue as she recently took home two Grammy Awards: Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "Blue," and Best New Artist. Never before in the history of the Grammy Awards has a country artist taken home the Best New Artist award. LeAnn's smash debut single "Blue" was named Best Country Song, the award going to songwriter Bill Mack.

Vince Gill also took home two Grammys: Best Male Country Vocal Performance for "World's Apart," and Best Country Collaboration With Vocals for "High Lonesome Sound" along with Alison Krauss and Union Station. The winners are:

Best Female Country Vocal Performance: LeAnn Rimes' "Blue"; Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Vince Gill's "Worlds Apart"; and Best Country Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocal: Brooks & Dunn's "My Maria."

Best Country Collaboration With Vocals: Vince Gill 's "High Lonesome Sound" featuring Alison Krauss and Union Station; Best Country Instrumental Performance: Chet Atkins' "Jam Man"; and Best Country Song: "Blue," written by Bill Mack.

Best Country Album: Lyle Lovett's The Road To Ensenada, produced by Lyle Lovett and Billy William; Best New Artist: LeAnn Rimes; and Song of the Year: "Change The World," written by Gordon Kennedy, Wayne Kirkpatrick, and Tommy Sims and recorded by Wynonna and Eric Clapton.

Lifetime Achievement Award: The Everly Brothers.

Garth Surprises 2-Millionth Concert-Goers

Country mega-star Garth Brooks recently surprised two lucky concert-goers in Charleston, West Virginia. Rick and Melinda Huffman of Charleston bought the 2-millionth ticket on Garth's current tour. The couple was escorted back-stage before Garth's performance and were welcomed by Garth, his wife Sandy, and Garth's crew.

Rick and Melinda were showered with congratulations and gifts. Garth gave them their choice between a Tahoe truck and a car, and their choice between a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caymans Islands. In addition, Garth traded the couple's back-row concert seats for a pair front-and-center.

Naomi Judd Closes Trilogy's Doors

Ashland, Ky's Naomi Judd, half of one of country music's most popular duos of all time, The Judds, has decided to call it quits in the restaurant business. After just 15 months, Naomi has closed the doors of her Nashville eatery, named Trilogy. It is reported that the financial return on this fine dining establishment did not out-weigh the time investment required.

Trilogy, which means the study of three art forms closely related, not only represented Naomi's multi-talented career as a singer/songwriter, author, and executive producer, it also mirrored the relationship and diversity of Naomi and daughters Wynonna and Ashley.

Academy of Country Music Nominees Announced

Nominees for the 32nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards were recently announced in Los Angeles by country's favorite redneck comedian Jeff Foxworthy, singer and actress Crystal Bernard from the hit series Wings, and "Billy The Kid" Dean. The "Dynamic Duo" Brooks & Dunn topped the list of nominees with six nods, followed by country veteran George Strait and newcomer LeAnn Rimes each with five nominations. The nominees are:

Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, and George Strait; Top Male Vocalist: Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Collin Raye, George Strait, and Bryan White; and Top Female Vocalist: Patty Loveless, Reba McEntire, LeAnn Rimes, Shania Twain, and Trisha Yearwood.

Top Vocal Duet: Brooks & Dunn, Jeff Foxworthy & Alan Jackson, Lorrie Morgan & Jon Randall, Marty Stuart & Travis Tritt, and Hank Williams, Jr. & Hank III; Top Vocal Group: BlackHawk, Lonestar, The Mavericks, Ricochet, and Sawyer Brown; Top New Male Vocalist: Trace Adkins, James Bonamy, and Kevin Sharp; and Top New Female Vocalist: Deana Carter, Mindy McCready, and LeAnn Rimes.

Top New Vocal Group or Duet: BR5-49, Burnin' Daylight, and Ricochet; Single Record of the Year: "Blue," "Carried Away," "My Maria," "Strawberry Wine," and "Time Marches On"; and Song of the Year: "Blue," "Carried Away," "My Maria," "Strawberry Wine," and "Time Marches On."

Album of the Year: Blue, Blue Clear Sky, Borderline, Time Marches On, and The Trouble With The Truth; and Country Video of the Year: "The Change," "I Think About You," "More Than You'll Ever Know," "My Maria," and "She Never Looks Back."

The 32nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will be handed out Wednesday, April 23 at the Universal Ampitheatre in California. The gala will be televised live on NBC and will be hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, Crystal Bernard, and George Strait.

Country Radio Awards Winners

The Fourth Annual Entertainment Radio Network Country Radio Awards were recently handed out in Nashville. Hot newcomer Bryan White hosted the ceremony held at the historic Ryman Auditorium.

The big winners of the evening were Patty Loveless and Tracy Lawrence, each taking home two awards. Patty was named Best Female and won the Best Album award for The Trouble With The Truth. Tracy was named Best Male and won the Best Single award for "Time Marches On." Legendary country singer/songwriter Tom T. Hall was honored with the Legend Award.

The winners are: Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks; Best Male Artist: Tracy Lawrence; Best Female Artist: Patty Loveless: Best Group or Duo: Sawyer Brown; and Best New Artist: Mindy McCready.

Single of the Year: Tracy Lawrence's "Time Marches On"; Album of the Year: Patty Loveless' The Trouble With The Truth; Best Song (Songwriter's Award): Vince Gill's "World's Apart"; Humanitarian Award: Bryan White; and Legend Award: Tom T. Hall.

Dwight Yoakam's Upcoming New Projects

Dwight Yoakam fans will be glad to know that the Pikeville, Kentucky born singer and actor will release two new albums this year. The first, an album of cover tunes, should hit record stores in late spring. This record includes previously released tunes by various artists that Dwight has been performing live for several years. Dwight recently completed recording his second album to be released this year: a Christmas collection. Look for Dwight's holiday gift this fall, just in time for all the holiday season's merriment.

In the meantime, Dwight further reveals his acting talent as he is scheduled to appear on the "coming out" episode of Ellen Degeneres' ABC sitcom Ellen. Dwight, k.d. lang, Demi Moore, Oprah Winfrey, and Laura Dern will appear in a dream sequence in which Ellen's character is shopping in a grocery store which is having a sale for lesbians. You can catch this episode Wednesday evening, April 30 on ABC. In the meantime, you can catch Dwight starring in the movie Sling Blade.

Country Winners at Canadian Juno Awards

The 1997 Juno Awards, Canada's equivalent of America's Grammy Awards, were recently handed out and country music definitely made its mark. Topping the list of country winners was naturally none other than Shania Twain, whose The Woman In Me album has become the highest-selling country album by a female in country music history. Shania was honored with the first-ever International Achievement Award for promoting music around the world. Fellow winners of this newly established award include Celine Dione and Alanis Morissette. Shania was also named the Country Female Vocalist of the Year.

Newlywed Paul Brandt, who burst onto the country music scene with "My Heart Has A History," was named the Country Male Vocalist of the Year. The Rankin Family was honored with the Country Group or Duo of the Year trophy. And the "Emotional Girl" herself, Terri Clark, was named the Best New Solo Artist, which covered all genres of music.

Gibson Guitar Awards

Gibson, a leading maker of quality guitars, handed out its own awards last month at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City. Junior Brown was named the Best Country Guitarist Male while Mary-Chapin Carpenter won the Best Country Guitarist Female award. Mary-Chapin says this award answers the often-asked question of whether or not her guitars are merely stage props.

Country guitarist extraordinaire Vince Gill was honored with the Gibson Guitars Lifetime Achievement Award for his musical contributions as a master guitarist. Vince says he began playing the guitar before singing. He jokes that he decided to start singing along with his guitar picking to attract attention of the young ladies.

Tracy Lawrence Weds

Country singer Tracy Lawrence is a "Better Man, Better Off." Tracy and his girlfriend of nearly 15 months, Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Stacie Stephenie Maria Drew, were married March 15 during a romantic, candlelit ceremony in Dallas, Texas. Stars were shining all around as pals Toby Keith and Tracy Byrd served as groomsmen and Kenny Chesney performed at the wedding and reception.

The happy couple honeymooned in Hawaii. In the meantime, Tracy's new album, titled The Coast Is Clear, is now available in record stores.

LeAnn Rimes Signs Book Deal

14-year-old country music sensation LeAnn Rimes has signed a book deal with Doubleday Publishing for a reported $1 million. LeAnn is co-writing a fictional novel titled Holiday In Your Heart with famed writer Tom Carter, known for co-writing Reba McEntire's autobiography, Reba: My Story.

Holiday In Your Heart is a story of a young singer who comes home from touring for the Christmas holiday to visit her ailing grandmother. Look for LeAnn's debut novel in bookstores in October.

Gary Allan To Visit Louisville

Country newcomer Gary Allan, whose debut single "Her Man" recently climbed the country charts, will be in Louisville to sign autographs and perform Thurs. evening April 17 at Disc Jockey Records on Shelbyville Road.

Well, that's it for now. Always remember: Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, 'cause country music is comin' your way.