Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

The Judds To Reunite

To celebrate the seventh anniversary of their final concert, on Dec. 4 Ashland, Ky. natives Naomi and Wynonna Judd, better known as the multiple award-winning country duo The Judds, announced what all Judds fans have been waiting to hear since Naomi announced she was diagnosed with Hepatitis C back in 1990. Naomi joined daughter Wynonna on-stage for a few of their award-winning songs and then announced that the two divas plan to ring in the millenium with style, along with thousands of their closest friends and fans. The long-awaited The Judds Reunion Concert on New Year's Eve 1999 will take place in Phoenix, Arizona. This once-in-a-lifetime concert will be held at the America West Arena and tickets go on sale Sat., Jan. 16. If you're not by chance going to be in Arizona this month in time to order tickets, never fear as Dillards ticket outlets across the country will also be selling tickets.

If you missed The Judds' recent television reunion on The Rosie O'Donnell Show last month, then you'll want to be sure to tune in to TNN's Prime Time Country: An Evening With The Judds at 9:00pm EST on Jan. 11, which just so happens to be Naomi's birthday. Naomi and Wynonna will perform hits such as "Love Is Alive,""Have Mercy" and "Had A Dream." Studio audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions of The Judds, and the "unsung Judd," actress Ashley Judd, will be on hand to surprise Mom with Wynonna's children, Elijah and Grace, for her birthday.

Before Hepatitis C ended the country duo known as The Judds, Naomi and Wynonna earned five Grammies, nine Country Music Association Awards, and eight Billboard Music awards, among others. Naomi is proud to say that she is now in full remission of Hepatitis C.

American Music Awards Nominees

Country music fans won't want to miss the American Music Awards program which will air at 8 p.m. EST Jan. 11 on ABC. Among the awards to be handed out will be five strictly country categories. Topping the list of nominations is Shania Twain with a whopping five nominations, including Favorite Country Female Artist, Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, Favorite Adult Artist, and Favorite Country Album and Favorite Pop/Rock Album for Come On Over. Earning two nominations each are the Dixie Chicks (Favorite New Country Artist & Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group), Garth Brooks (Favorite Country Male Artist & Favorite Country Album), and George Strait (Favorite Male Artist & Favorite Country Album).

The entire list of country nominations is as follows: Favorite New Country Artist: Dixie Chicks, The Kinleys, and The Wilkinsons; Favorite Country Album: Garth Brooks' Sevens, George Strait's One Step At A Time, and Shania Twain's Come On Over; Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group: Alabama, Brooks & Dunn and Dixie Chicks; Favorite Male Country Artist: Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and George Strait; and Favorite Female Country Artist: Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes, and Shania Twain.

And for all of you Garth Brooks fans who are wondering, yes, the mega-star will be on hand for the ceremonies. Garth will have the honor of helping present the Award of Merit to his personal musical influence, Billy Joel.

Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees!

1998 Top Country Singles

The recent announcement of Billboard magazine's Top Country Singles & Tracks of 1998 surely made "turbo-tonkin'" hitmaker Tim McGraw quite happy as he topped the list with "Just To See You Smile." As if that weren't enough, he co-produced the #2 song, Jo Dee Messina's smash comeback hit "Bye Bye." Landing in the #3 spot was none other than Mrs. Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, with "This Kiss." Tim also co-produced the #4 song, Jo Dee Messina's "I'm Alright." And rounding out the Top 5 is Tim's 1999 concert tour partners, the hot new award-winning Dixie Chicks with "There's Your Trouble."

1998 couldn't be summed up any better than with country music's hottest couple, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, the 1998 comeback artist of the year, Jo Dee Messina, and the hottest new group of the year, the Dixie Chicks. Congratulations to all and keep up the good work.

1998 Top Country Albums

As could be expected, megastar Garth Brooks was the top selling country artist of 1998. Garth made quite a splash in Billboard magazine's Top Country Albums for 1998 chart, having two entries in the Top 10 -- topping the list with Sevens, and coming in at #5 with his six-CD box-set, The Limited Series. LeAnn Rimes is the only artist to have three entries in the Top 20 with You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs at #3, Sittin' On Top Of The World rounding out the Top 10, and her debut album Blue landing at #16. The "Dynamic Duo," Brooks & Dunn, hit #7 with The Greatest Hits Collection and #14 with If You See Her, while George Strait landed in the Top 20 twice with One Step At A Time at #12 and Carrying Your Love With Me at #19.

The following is a list of the Top 20 country albums for 1998 as reported by Billboard magazine, followed by the album's ranking in the Billboard 200 Albums for 1998 list including all genres of music: 1/3) Garth Brooks' Sevens; 2/5) Shania Twain's Come On Over; 3/14) LeAnn Rimes' You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs; 4/37) Hope Floats Soundtrack; 5/44) Garth Brooks' The Limited Series; 6/51) Tim McGraw's Everywhere; 7/54) Brooks & Dunn's The Greatest Hits Collection; 8/56) Dixie Chicks' Wide Open Spaces; 9/62) Faith Hill's Faith; 10/69) LeAnn Rimes' Sittin' On Top Of The World; 11/71) Trisha Yearwood's Songbook (A Collection Of Hits); 12/70) George Strait's One Step At A Time; 13/x) Martina McBride's Evolution; 14/x) Brooks & Dunn's If You See Her; 15/x) Reba McEntire's If You See Him; 16/x) LeAnn Rimes' Blue; 17/x) Sammy Kershaw's Labor Of Love; 18/x) Alan Jackson's High Mileage; 19/x) George Strait's Carrying Your Love With Me; and 20/x) John Michael Montgomery's Greatest Hits.

1998 Top Country Tours

When Amusement Business magazine recently released the top concert tours of 1998, three of country music's hottest entertainers landed in the Top 10 list. Garth Brooks' tour was the fifth highest-grossing tour earning a gross amount of $34,883,676 with 101 sold-out shows, an amazing feat due to the fact that Garth kept his ticket prices under $20, a rarity in the music industry these days. George Strait followed Garth at #6, having earned $32,948,832 with a mere 18 sold-out shows. And rounding out the Top 10 was Shania Twain with her first-ever major concert tour, which grossed $27,083,481 with 40 sold-out shows.

As for the remainder of the Top 10, The Rolling Stones topped the list with a whopping $193,351,265, followed by U2 at #2, Elton John at #3, and Yanni at #4. Janet Jackson was the seventh top-grossing tour, followed by Eric Clapton at #8, and Celine Dion at #9.

1998 CMT Hitmakers

Country Music Television recently announced their top country hitmakers of 1998. Shania Twain was named Female Video Artist of the Year, while Sammy Kershaw landed the title of Male Video Artist of the Year. Brooks & Dunn was named Video Group or Duo of the Year, and the Dixie Chicks were named CMT's Rising Star of the Year.

CMT's Top 5 Videos of 1998 are as follows: 1) Faith Hill's "This Kiss," 2) Shania Twain's "You're Still The One," 3) Michael Peterson's "From Here To Eternity," 4) The Dixie Chicks' "There's Your Trouble" and 5) Brooks & Dunn's "How Long Gone."

Garth and LeAnn Dominate Billboard Music Awards

Country superstars Garth Brooks and LeAnn Rimes dominated the recent Billboard Music Awards. At the last minute, Garth stepped in to open the show in place of the ailing Madonna by flying over the crowd singing "Ain't Going Down (`Til The Sun Comes Up)." The evening belonged to Garth as he walked away with six trophies, including Country Artist of the Year, Country Singles Artist of the Year, Country Album Artist of the Year, Male Album Artist, and Country Album of the Year and Top Album By A Male Artist for Sevens, bringing his Billboard Music Awards total to a whopping 24.

Sixteen-year-old LeAnn Rimes followed in Garth's footsteps with five awards of her own. LeAnn's trophies included Female Country Artist of the Year, Country Singles Sales Artist of the Year, Contemporary Christian Artist of the Year, and Contemporary Christian Album of the Year for You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs, as well as a special honor for her version of "How Do I Live," which broke Billboard history by remaining on the charts longer than any other single, for an amazing 69 weeks.

Congratulations Garth and LeAnn!

Country Artists on the Tube

Country fans will have plenty of opportunities to see, and to hear, their favorite artists on television this month. Country artist-turned-actress Barbara Mandrell offers two brand new specials on the very same evening. Barbara will star as a determined mother locked into a dangerous triangle with her alcoholic son and his psychopathic new girlfriend on the NBC movie "The Wrong Girl" on Jan. 4 at 9pm EST. At 10pm EST the same evening, Lifetime Television's "Intimate Portrait" will focus on the life and career of Barbara Mandrell, featuring Dolly Parton, Ralph Emery and Barbara's sisters, Louise and Irlene Mandrell.

The People's Choice Awards will be handed out on CBS on Jan. 10. Country artists George Strait and Garth Brooks will vie for the title of All-Time Favorite Music Performer, along with Elton John, Barbra Streissand and Michael Jackson. Several of the hottest acts in country music will be performing on the American Music Awards, which will air on ABC on Jan. 11.

Travis Tritt's long-awaited movie "Outlaw Justice," which also features Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, will air on CBS on Sun., Jan. 24. Flatwoods, Ky. native Billy Ray Cyrus fans need to check local television listings as the superstar is scheduled to appear on UPN's "Love Boat: The Next Wave" sometime this month. In addition to acting, Billy Ray WILL perform on the episode. Via a toll-free telephone number, Vince Gill fans will have the opportunity to request their favorite song from their favorite country crooner on Jan. 30 as Vince is featured on A & E's "Live By Request" live concert. And last, but definitely not least, Dolly Parton fans will want to catch "The Simpsons" special post-Super Bowl episode on Fox-TV on Jan. 31. Dolly will be featured along with Troy Aikman, John Madden, Rosie Grier, Pat Summerall and Dan Marino.

Well, that's it for this month. May each of you have a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 1999. And always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, `cause country music is comin' your way."