Spring is in the air meaning only one thing: it's Derby Time! That's right, the 125th Kentucky Derby is just around the corner, meaning some hot country music is bound to come to town as usual. Although no official announcement has been made, I have a feeling that the annual Philip Morris Festival of the Stars will feature the incredibly energetic group Sawyer Brown, as well as newcomer Deryl Dodd. Keep your ears open for more details concerning this FREE concert which will take place at Freedom Hall on Thurs., April 29. Newcomer David Kersh will appear on the Belvedere on April 28 at the Chow Wagon, so watch out. As usual, many country stars will probably be in town for the actual Run for the Roses, so keep your eyes open and your autograph book handy, because you just may run into one of your favorite country crooners.
"The King of Country Music," the 67-year-old legendary George Jones has finally been released from Nashville's Vanderbilt Medical Center following a near-fatal automobile crash on March 6. State police say that George was talking on his cellular phone to his stepdaughter last month when he lost control on a "curvy, heavily-traveled, two-lane road" crashing his Lexus SUV into a concrete bridge railing near his Franklin, Tenn. farm. The singer sustained a collapsed lung, a ruptured liver and internal bleeding and was in critical condition for several days. Following a lengthy stay in the hospital's trauma unit, George had a setback when he developed pneumonia due to his collapsed lung.
"No Show" Jones has made considerable progress and was released from the hospital a mere thirteen days following the crash. He reportedly left the hospital on his tour bus and is resting comfortably at home. As George continues to recover, there remains speculation that the singer who was once plagued with alcoholism had been drinking at the time of the accident. Despite the fact that a previously opened bottle of vodka was found under the passenger seat of his vehicle, police have not requested medical records, which might show George's blood alcohol level.
Many prayers have been answered with George's great improvements so far. Get well soon, George! After all, something tells me that you may be showing up at this year's Kentucky State Fair, health permitting of course.
Country music was well represented as the 41st Annual GRAMMY Awards were handed out recently. Crooner Vince Gill captured his twelfth and thirteenth GRAMMY Awards, making him the most GRAMMY awarded country singer. Vince was graced with the Best Male Country Vocal Performance for "If You Ever Have Forever In Mind," and for Best Country Instrumental Performance along with Randy Scruggs on "A Soldier's Joy." The legendary "Man In Black," Johnny Cash was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award, which was accepted by his wife, June Carter Cash. Despite Vince and Johnny's honors, it was definitely a "Girls Night Out"-- The Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain each captured two trophies themselves. The Dixie Chicks captured the Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Award for "There's Your Trouble" and their Wide Open Spaces, which has sold over 5 million copies, was named Best Country Album. Although she was nominated in six categories, Shania managed to take home the trophies for Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song, both for "You're Still The One."
The entire list of country winners is as follows: Best Female Country Vocal Performance: Shania Twain's "You're Still The One," Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Vince Gill's "If You Ever Have Forever In Mind," Best Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal: Dixie Chicks' "There's Your Trouble," Best Country Song: Shania Twain & Robert John "Mutt" Lange's "You're Still The One," and Best Country Album: Dixie Chicks' Wide Open Spaces.
Best Country Instrumental Performance: Randy Scruggs & Vince Gill's "A Soldier's Joy," Best Country Collaboration With Vocals: "Same Old Train" featuring Clint Black, Joe Diffie, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless, Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Pam Tillis, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, & Dwight Yoakam, Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album: The Apostle--Music From & Inspired By The Motion Picture, Best Boxed Recording Package: The Complete Hank Williams, and Best Historical Album: The Complete Hank Williams.
Congratulations to all the winners!
1999 is definitely the year for Faith Hill. Faith has been honored with nomination after nomination for every awards show, and nothing was different when the nominees for the 34th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards were announced recently. Mrs. Tim McGraw captured a whopping six nominations, including Top Female Vocalist, Album of the Year for Faith, Single Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Country Video of the Year, all for her smash hit "This Kiss," and Top Vocal Event of the Year for "Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me," her tender duet with hubby Tim. You GO GIRL!
Following in Faith's footsteps with four nods each were Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn and Steve Wariner. The Dixie Chicks, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Jo Dee Messina, George Strait, Shania Twain and The Wilkinsons each garnered three nominations.
And the nominees are: Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Tim McGraw, George Strait, and Shania Twain; Top Male Vocalist: Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Tim McGraw, Collin Raye, and George Strait; Top Female Vocalist: Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Jo Dee Messina, Shania Twain, and Trisha Yearwood; Top New Male Vocalist: Deryl Dodd, David Kersh and Mark Wills; and Top New Female Vocalist: Sherrie Austin, Jo Dee Messina and Allison Moorer.
Top Vocal Duet or Group of the Year: Alabama, Brooks & Dunn, Dixie Chicks, Sawyer Brown, and The Wilkinsons; Top New Vocal Duet or Group: Dixie Chicks, The Warren Brothers, and The Wilkinsons; and Top Vocal Event of the Year: Steve Wariner & Garth Brooks' "Burnin' The Roadhouse Down," Reba McEntire & Brooks & Dunn's "If You See Him/If You See Her," Faith Hill & Tim McGraw's "Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me," Sara Evans & Vince Gill's "No Place That Far," and "Same Old Train" featuring Clint Black, Joe Diffie, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless, Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Pam Tillis, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, and Dwight Yoakam.
Album of the Year: Garth Brooks' Double Live, Faith Hill's Faith, Jo Dee Messina's I'm Alright, George Strait's One Step At A Time, and Dixie Chicks' Wide Open Spaces; Single Record of the Year: Martina McBride's "A Broken Wing," Steve Wariner's "Holes In The Floor Of Heaven," Faith Hill's "This Kiss," The Wilkinsons' "26 Cents," and Shania Twain's "You're Still The One"; Song of the Year: Martina McBride's "A Broken Wing," Mark Wills' "Don't Laugh At Me," Steve Wariner's "Holes In The Floor of Heaven," Brooks & Dunn's "Husbands and Wives," and Faith Hill's "This Kiss"; and Country Video of the Year: Sawyer Brown's "Drive Me Wild," Toby Keith's "Getcha Some," Steve Wariner's "Holes In The Floor of Heaven," Alan Jackson's "I'll Go On Loving You," and Faith Hill's "This Kiss."
In addition to all of these nominees, Louisville's very own Coyote's Music and Dancehall was nominated for Country Nightclub of the Year. Be sure to tune in to the 34th Annual ACM Awards airing on CBS Television on Wed., May 5.
Good luck to all the nominees!
Country traditionalist Lee Ann Womack will hit movie theaters next year, but don't be looking for her mug to don the big screen anytime soon. Lee Ann has signed on to provide the speaking and singing voice of Becky Thatcher in MGM's upcoming animated version of the classic Tom Sawyer. Also featured in the film will be the voice of country music's rowdy friend, Hank Williams, Jr.
The legendary Western swingin' Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys were honored with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month, along with rockers Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel. Other country artists bestowed with this same honor in the past are Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers and Bill Monroe.
And while we're on the subject of Bob Wills, the late music pioneer will once again be honored with a tribute album come July. Volume II of the award-winning Tribute To The Music of Bob Wills And The Texas Playboys will include artists such as Clint Black, the Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, Merle Haggard, Lyle Lovett, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Lee Ann Womack, and Dwight Yoakam.
Kentucky native Dwight Yoakam, known for his singing, writing and acting, is about to hit the small screen, but he won't be acting. Although he has recently been concentrating on his career in the movies, Dwight will not be appearing in a movie in the near future. Instead, Dwight will be featured in television commercials for the Gap, performing Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love."
Although no word yet on whether he'll stop off in the Louisville area or not, Dwight is planning an approximately 60-city concert tour throughout North America running from June through September.
Country music's very own Collin Raye will head to Florida to celebrate Easter with Mickey Mouse this year. Collin has been added to the musical line-up for the 1999 Walt Disney Happy Easter Parade, which will air on ABC Television on Easter Day, April 4. Joining Mr. Raye will be the pop group 98 Degrees and the hot pop newcomer Britney Spears, along with Mr. & Mrs. Easter Bunny, as well as all of your favorite Disney characters. You can bet that this is one Easter parade that Collin prays it doesn't rain on!
During a recent visit to Malibu, California, country crooner Vince Gill got the opportunity of a lifetime when he went in the studio with the legendary pop songstress Barbra Streisand. The two worked on a song that will appear on Barbra's next album. This once-in-a-lifetime recording session, which took place at famed producer David Foster's studio, reportedly took several hours and included a star-studded dinner party during a break in recording.
In closing, as for the much-anticipated May 30 George Strait Country Music Festival (featuring George Strait, Tim McGraw, Jo Dee Messina, the Dixie Chicks, Asleep At The Wheel, Kenny Chesney, and Mark Wills) to be held at the Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, still no word on ticket information as of press-time. I have a feeling that tickets may go on sale early this month though, so keep your ears open. This is THE country concert of the year that you won't want to miss.
Well, that's it for this month. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, `cause country music is comin' your way."