Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

John Michael Montgomery Update

Nicholasville, Ky.'s own John Michael Montgomery can breathe a sigh of relief following a long, drawn-out legal battle with his stepmother, Barbara Montgomery. Ms. Montgomery was attempting to sue John Michael, his record company and the co-producer of the video "I Miss You A Little" for using the likeness of John Michael's father, Harold Montgomery, without written consent. The video, which was a personal musical tribute to Mr. Montgomery, who passed away of cancer in 1994, included footage of John Michael by his father's tombstone, as well as a photograph of the elder Montgomery singing. Fortunately, the judge sided with John Michael on the grounds that Mr. Montgomery was not a public figure and not nationally known. It's a shame a person would have to go to such lengths to honor his/her own father.

In other JMM news, the singer hosted thePutt For Paws golf tournament and charity concert in his hometown of Nicholasville just last month at the Connemara Golf Links. All proceeds from this benefit will go to the Jessamine Humane Society.

Billy Ray Cyrus Fans, Listen Up

Billy Ray Cyrus fans will want to hurry up and tune into Country Music Television as Flatwoods, Ky.'s favorite country singer makes country music history. He is releasing two different music videos at the same time, but only for one week. CMT will play the ballad "Time For Letting Go" and the uptempo "Under The Hood," both from Billy Ray'sShot Full Of Love album, scheduled to hit stores on Nov. 3, until midnight, Nov. 3. These two videos will be shown back-to-back, along with instructions for fans to vote for their favorite of the two videos. The favorite video will be announced on the CMT Delivery Room on Wed., Nov. 4, while the less-popular video will be pulled from rotation, to be added at a later date.

Alabama Keeps The Hits Rollin'

1980's Artists of the Decade, the members of supergroup Alabama, have kept the hits rolling for more than 20 years now, and the foursome continues to break records. The band's recent release, the 2-CD setFor The Record, includes more than just 41 #1 hits. The compilation also includes three brand new songs, including "How Do You Fall In Love," which took Randy, Teddy, Jeff and Mark to the top of the country music charts for the 42nd time, placing them in the history books as having more #1 hits than any other artist or group of artists. To help celebrate all of their success, the band was recently honored with their very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition, they recently hosted their very own 3-hour pay-per-view concert during which they proceeded to sing all of their #1 hits in chronological order.

And while we're on the subject of Alabama, the group will soon open yet another Alabama Grill restaurant in Music City, Nashville, Tenn. The eatery will be a part of the Opry Mills retail and entertainment complex, which will replace the former Opryland theme park in the year 2000.

Congratulations guys and keep up the good work!

Johnny Cash Hospitalized Again

The legendary "Man in Black," Johnny Cash continues to struggle with health problems. The 66-year-old singer, best known for hits "A Boy Named Sue," "I Walk The Line" and "Ring Of Fire," recently entered a Nashville hospital with another bout of pneumonia. Shortly after he was released, Johnny had to be re-admitted for doctors to re-evaluate the medication being used to treat his Shy-Drager syndrome, the disease that has slowed the singer down since his diagnosis just last year.

Gene Autry: 1907 1998

Another chapter closed in the historical pages of country music on Oct. 2 when "The Singing Cowboy," Gene Autry, passed away at his home in Studio City, Cal. just three days after his 91st birthday, following a long illness. Born Orvon Gene Autry, Gene made his radio debut in 1928, recorded his first hit, "That Silver-Haired Daddy Of Mine" in 1931 and made his acting debut in the 1934 film "In Old Santa Fe." Before retiring, Gene starred in 93 feature films and recorded over 600 songs, including the ever-so-popular holiday classic "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer." He hosted his very own radio program titled "Gene Autry's Melody Ranch" from 1940 until 1956, while he went on to produce 91 half-hour episodes of "The Gene Autry Show" for television.

Gene Autry turned his great love of baseball into a business as the millionaire bought the American League's California Angels (now the Anaheim Angels) back in 1961, owning the team up until his death. Throughout his illustrious career and lifetime, Gene is known to be the only entertainer to have five stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one each for radio, records, film, television and live theatrical performances.

Gene is survived by his wife, Jackie Autry, a sister, Veda and several nieces and nephews. The Autry family has requested that gifts of sympathy be made via donations to the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027-1462.

Mark Collie Celebrity Race

The fifthannual Mark Collie Celebrity for Diabetes Cure was a big success for more than just diabetes research last month. Matthew Nelson, who just so happens to be the son of the late rock and "Ozzie & Harriet" television star Ricky Nelson, as well as half of the 1980's rock duo Nelson along with twin brother Gunner, was a huge success as he beat out 69 celebrity drivers at the Nashville Speedway. Matthew beat out Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn, Faith Hill, Tracy Lawrence, Tim McGraw, Billy Ray Cyrus, Terri Clark, Rhett Akins and Jo Dee Messina, as well as host Mark Collie. Butcher Hollow, Ky.'s own country music legend Loretta Lynn, who lost her husband Oliver "Mooney" Lynn to this dreaded disease, acted as spokesperson for this fine event.

This celebrity race, as well as a public celebrity auction and concert raised in excess of $400,000 this year to be used for the research for a cure for diabetes, a disease that Mark Collie has battled since the age of 17.

Congratulations to Matthew, as well as all of the participants who joined together to help find a cure for diabetes.

Faith Hill Heats Up Louisville

Despite rain and sagging temperatures, recent Country Music Association Video of the Year winner Faith Hill heated things up when she performed at the Palace Theatre on Oct. 18. Faith had the crowd on its feet and eating out of the palm of her hands for an amazing 95-minute show. Focusing heavily on her current album simply titledFaith, Mrs. Tim McGraw tore through numbers such as "The Hard Way," "Me," "The Secret Of Life," "My Wild Frontier," her recent #1 hit "This Kiss" and her current release, "Let Me Let Go." Not to disappoint fans, Faith went back and sang hits such as her debut release, "Wild One," "Take Me As I Am," her cover of Janis Joplin's "Piece Of My Heart," "It Matters To Me" and the fun and bouncy "Let's Go To Vegas."

Strangely enough, it was not Faith's own collection of material that really showcased the vocal prowess that brought the house down. Besides the fact that the crowd went wild as Faith was joined for a duet on "When I Need You" by her husband, superstar Tim McGraw, it was her powerful rendition of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" from the classic movie The Wizard Of Oz and her spine-chilling musical tribute to Tammy Wynette, "'Til I Can Make It On My Own," that proved that this mother of two is more than just a pretty face who sings to legions of fans each night. And what better way to end a perfect evening than with a perfectly soulful delivery of the Sheryl Crow penned "Somebody Stand By Me."

Jump-starting the evening was the brand new duo, The Warren Brothers. Despite the fact that brothers Brad and Brett had just released their first single, "Guilty," to radio and their debut BNA RecordBeautiful Day In The Cold Cruel World had not yet been released at the time of the show, the crowd was extremely responsive, as well as entertained. The duo offered an impressive 40-minute set which included tunes such as "Loneliest Girl In The World," "She Wants To Rock," "I Tried," "Just Another Sad Song" and "Better Man," the entire set self-penned. This is one group to keep an eye on as they are destined to hit with their hard-core, rock-edged country.

Linda Davis Back With New Record

The incredibly talented Linda Davis could be called the "Energizer bunny of country music" for rightful reasons. The longtime Reba McEntire touring and duet partner is back stronger than ever with her debut DreamWorks Records release titledI'm Yours. Linda has been singing since she was a mere 6-years-old back in East Texas, and she was awarded a Grammy in 1994 forBest Country Vocal Collaboration for "Does He Love You" with pal Reba. She was surprised by DreamWorks executives following her performance at Fan Fair this past June when she was offered a recording contract.

I'm Yours, which hits record stores early this month, includes her brand new release, which happens to be the title-track, and six other new songs, as well as seven tunes from Linda's previous albums. Highlights of this must-have collection include new songs like "I Took The Torch Out Of His Old Flame," "From The Inside Out," and "After A Kiss," as well as classics such as "Three Way Tie," "Love Didn't Do It," "Company Time" and Linda's first top 10 hit, "Some Things Are Meant To Be." Also included are "I Wanna Remember This" from the motion picture "Black Dog," as well as "Make It Through," a duet with label-mate Randy Travis, scheduled to be included on the movie soundtrack album "The Prince of Egypt—Nashville," which will be released mid-November.

Be sure to look for I'm Yours the next time you visit your favorite local record store.

Well, that's it for this month. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you, your family and friends a very Happy Thanksgiving. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, 'cause country music is comin' your way."