The Country Music Association's 1994 Group of the Year, Little Texas, parted ways following a New Year's Eve concert in Nashville. The six-member band, which formed nine years ago, is best known for their hits "God Blessed Texas," "My Love," "Some Guys Have All The Love," and "What Might Have Been." Founder Tim Rushlow recently told Arlington, Texas' Arlington Morning News that there were no creative differences or fighting within the band - the members simply wanted to branch out in different directions. Tim said, "We're all close friends, so there's not a huge fight or underlying thing. We just feel like it's time to let this thing breathe."
The Eighth Annual Billboard Music Awards were handed out last month at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and country music was very well represented. Fifteen-year-old country music sensation LeAnn Rimes was the big winner of the evening with three awards, including Country Artist of the Year, Country Album of the Year, and the coveted Artist of the Year Award. Trisha Yearwood presented mega-star Garth Brooks with the Artist Achievement Award, while Deana Carter announced the Century Award winner as "Mr. Guitar," Chet Atkins, who was unable to accept the honor in person since he was recovering from surgery at his home.
And speaking of LeAnn, this country music princess has broken a huge record with her version of "How Do I Live," a song she recorded for the movie Con Air, but which was replaced by Trisha Yearwood's version of the same song. LeAnn's rendition has been named the official top-selling song in country music history, having sold an amazing 2 million copies. And to top that off, LeAnn's Blue, which has sold 5 million albums, has tied Ashland, Ky. native Wynonna's self-titled record as the highest-selling debut album by a female in country music history.
Christmas came early for country's working man Aaron Tippin and his wife Thea. Thea gave birth to the couple's very first child on Sun., Dec. 14. Theodore Emory Tippin weighed in at 5-pounds, 8 ounces, and measured 18 ½ inches long. Teddy, as he will be called, just couldn't wait another year for his very first Christmas He decided to surprise his proud parents by arriving three weeks early.
Country fans will want to be sure to tune in to the annual People's Choice Awards ceremony to air on CBS on January 11. Country nominees this year include George Strait, Reba McEntire, and Garth Brooks.
Come January 26, several country artists will vie for various American Music Awards. George Strait is nominated for Country Male Artist and Country Album of the Year for Carrying Your Love With Me, while LeAnn Rimes will vie for Country Female Artist and Country Album of the Year for Unchained Melody: The Early Years. Other nominees include Alan Jackson and Clint Black for Country Male; Reba McEntire and Shania Twain for Country Female; Alabama, Brooks & Dunn, and Sawyer Brown for Country Band or Duo; and Tim McGraw's Everywhere and Trisha Yearwood's Songbook: A Collection Of Hits will compete for Country Album. The American Music Awards will air on ABC on January 26.
When the Country Music Association conducted a survey of country music fans recently, the music buying public chose mega-star Garth Brooks, who snagged 31% of the votes, as their favorite artist. Following at 17% was Reba McEntire; Alabama captured 14% of the votes cast, followed closely by George Strait with 13%, and Alan Jackson with 12%. Hot newcomer LeAnn Rimes landed 9% of fans' votes, and Shania Twain followed with 7%.
Turbo-tonkin'" Tim McGraw recently lost a long-running lawsuit filed by his former manager, Carol Booth. Carol claims that Tim illegally ended their partnership once his career started taking off. Tim will have to dive into daughter Gracie Katherine's college fund as a federal appeals court has sided with Carol and is forcing Tim to pay her at least $320,000, plus legal fees.
Once all is said and done, Tim could be required to pay Ms. Booth as much as two million dollars. Fortunately for Tim, wife Faith Hill will increase the couple's income this year with a brand new third album due out this Spring.
Country Music Television recently counted down the top 12 videos of the year, naming husband and wife team Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's "It's Your Love" as the #1 video for all of 1997. The top 12 videos of the year are as follows:
1. "It's Your Love" - Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
2. "That's How Your Love Makes Me Feel" - Diamond Rio
3. "Six Days On The Road" - Sawyer Brown
4. "Little Bitty" - Alan Jackson
5. "Love Is The Right Place" - Bryan White
6. "I'd Rather Ride Around With You" - Reba McEntire
7. "She's Sure Taking It Well" - Kevin Sharp
8. "We Were In Love" - Toby Keith
9. "How Was I To Know" - John Michael Montgomery
10. "The Shake" - Neal McCoy
11. "One Way Ticket" - LeAnn Rimes
12. "Whatever Comes First" - Sons of the Desert
Besides crowning the top 12 videos, CMT also picked their favorite artists in several categories as follows:
Male Video Artist: Tim McGraw
Female Video Artist: Deana Carter
Male Rising Video Star: Kevin Sharp
Female Rising Video Star: Sherrié Austin
Video Group/Duo of the Year: Brooks & Dunn
Group Rising Video Star: Sons of the Desert
Video Director of the Year: Steven Goldmann
Video Event of the Year: Bill Engvall & Travis Tritt's "Here's Your Sign (Get The Picture)"
At the beginning of December, it was announced that country mega-star Garth Brooks had been bumped down to the third best-selling artist in music history, losing out to rock group Led Zeppelin. The legendary rock group's 63 million albums sold had edged Garth out by a mere 1 million records. Well, things have changed with the recent release of Garth's highly anticipated new album, titled Sevens. Garth has resumed his #2 position by already selling over 5 million copies of Sevens in a mere month.
Garth's album sales are only surpassed by one group: The Beatles. The "G" man has several more albums to sell to nab the #1 spot from Paul, John, George, and Ringo, who have sold nearly 100 million records worldwide.
Members of the Amusement & Music Operators Association, who own or service nearly 125,000 jukeboxes around the country, recently named the recipients of the 1997 Jukebox Awards. Teenage country music sensation LeAnn Rimes was the big winner as she was named the Female Jukebox Rising Star, while her debut album Blue was voted Country Album of the Year and the title-track was named Top Country Single. The Male Jukebox Rising Star Award went to none other than 6-foot, 6-inch country newcomer Trace Adkins. The legendary George Jones received a well-deserved honor when he was added to the Jukebox Legends Hall of Fame.
Failing health may prevent the happily married singing cowboy team of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans from riding many trails these days, but rest assured that the two are still traveling "Happy Trails," but that's not all they are up to these days. Variety magazine recently reported that Roy and Dale, who just celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary December. 31, will serve as consultants to a brand new version of The Roy Rogers Show. This show is not a comeback of the original show of the same title that Roy and Dale hosted from 1951 until 1957 though. This 90's version is a 30-minute cartoon series that will even feature Roy's famous horse Trigger, and the couple's German Shepherd named Bullet. If you are wondering, Roy and Dale will not let their fans down as their ever-so-popular "Happy Trails To You" will be the cartoon's theme song.
Hot newcomer Kevin Sharp and Neal McCoy will soon be family as Kevin is recently engaged to Neal's wife's sister, Tracy Williams. And just how and where did Kevin propose? Well, once he had asked Tracy's father for his daughter's hand in marriage, Kevin slipped an engagement ring on his own hand until Tracy noticed it while the couple were hanging out watching television at Neal's Texas home.
Tanya Tucker is currently in the middle of a custody battle with struggling actor Ben Reed over their two children. Tanya wants a court to order her former boyfriend to refrain from interfering with her custody rights to daughter Presley and son Beau. According to a petition Tanya filed on November 21 in Williamson County, Tennessee, Ben reportedly kept the children for two weeks without her permission until a judge ordered that they be returned. The petition also claims that Ben is seeking custody and child support payments.
For nearly 60 years now, the legendary Grand Ole Opry star Little Jimmy Dickens has performed approximately 60 concerts and traveled more than 100,000 miles a year. The 4-foot, 11-inch star, who turned 77-years-old just last month, has decided to park his bus and quit touring. Fans need not fear though as Little Jimmy promises to continue performing on the historic stage of The Grand Ole Opry.
Small Town Saturday Night" singer Hal Ketchum will say "I Do" next month. Hal recently proposed to Gina Giglio, one of the hottest hair stylists and makeup artists in Nashville, in the airport in Austin, Texas. Hal surprised Gina with a bouquet of daisies with a single purple flower in the center, which held a diamond and sapphire ring.
Well, that's it for now. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. And always remember: Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, 'cause country music is comin' your way!