Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Louisville's Country Music Event of the Year

Unless you live in a hole, then you've probably already heard about the biggest country music event of the year scheduled to hit Derby City on Memorial Day weekend. The George Strait Country Music Festival will be the first non-athletic event to take place in the brand new Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Sunday, May 30. Fortunately, this must-see (and must-hear) event will be one of a mere 18 stops for Strait's concert tour this year. Strait will welcome some heavy-hitters in country music including Tim McGraw, Jo Dee Messina, the Dixie Chicks, Kenny Chesney, Mark Wills and Asleep At The Wheel. The first stop for this day-long festival, which will also include a special stage for up-and-coming country performers, will be in Phoenix, Arizona on March 6. Keep reading in upcoming months for ticket information.

1999 Nashville Music Award Winners

When the fifth annual Nashville Music Awards were handed out in Music City last month, Faith Hill's "This Kiss" was the big winner, garnering two awards, including Song of the Year for songwriters Beth Nielsen Chapman, Annie Roboff and Robin Lerner and Video of the Year for director Stephen Goldmann. This award-winning tune also led to two additional awards, including Faith's Country Album of the Year award for Faith and Beth Nielsen Chapman's Songwriter/Composer of the Year award. The "Man in Black," Johnny Cash, although not on hand due to ill health, was honored with the Heritage Award for his contribution to the growth of Nashville's music industry.

The country awards presented included: Male Vocalist: Vince Gill; Female Vocalist: Trisha Yearwood; Group/Duo: The Mavericks; Country Album: Faith Hill's Faith; Independent Album: Emmylou Harris' Spyboy; Pop Album: The Mavericks' Trampoline; Reissue Recording of the Year: The Complete Hank Williams; Song of the Year: Faith Hill's "This Kiss," written by Robin Lerner, Annie Roboff and Beth Nielsen Chapman; Video of the Year: Faith Hill's "This Kiss," directed by Stephen Goldmann; Album Artwork of the Year: Hank Williams Compilation Box Set; Music Club of the Year: The Bluebird Café; and Concert Venue of the Year: the Ryman Auditorium.

Congratulation to all the winners!

WAMZ Remains on Top

In the recently released Arbitron radio ratings, 97.5 FM WAMZ, known for playing the hottest country music in town, once again topped the list of local radio stations, followed by it's all-talk sister station 840-AM WHAS. In addition to this feat, WAMZ was one of the top country radio stations in the country when it came to the 1999 radiothon for St. Jude's Childrens Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. The station raised in excess of $325,000, a record-breaking total. The money goes toward finding a cure for cancer and to help treat children battling this dreaded disease, as well as providing accomodations for families of children being treated at the hospital. WAMZ's "Country Cares For Kids" campaign even topped a popular Nashville radio station, which just squeeked in $320,000, that included a considerable donation by "Mr. & Mrs. Country Music," Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

Hats off to Coyote and the whole gang at WAMZ! Keep up the good work.

Another Little Montgomery

Nicholasville, Ky.'s favorite hometown country boy, John Michael Montgomery, is a papa for the second time. John Michael and his wife Crystal welcomed 8 lb., 10 oz. Walker Carl Montgomery into the world on Sat., Feb. 13, just in time for Valentine's Day. John Michael and Crystal's eldest child, Madison Caroline, is two..

Congratulations Mom and Pop Montgomery!

TNN Music City News Country Awards Nominees

When the nominations were announced for the 33rd Annual TNN Music City News Country Awards last month, Faith Hill topped the list with a whopping seven nominations, including Female Artist of the Year, Single of the Year, Song of the Year and Video of the Year for "This Kiss;" Song of the Year and Vocal Collaboration of the Year with hubby Tim McGraw for "Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me;" and Album of the Year for Faith. Trailing behind Faith with five nominations each were Alan Jackson and George Strait, each nominated for Entertainer of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Single of the Year (for "I'll Go On Loving You" and "I Just Want To Dance With You" respectively), and Album of the Year (for High Mileage and One Step At A Time respectively). In addition, Alan's "I'll Go On Loving You" was nominated in the Video of the Year category, and George's "I Just Want To Dance With You" received a nod for Song of the Year.

And the nominees are: Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Neal McCoy, George Strait and Shania Twain; Male Vocalist: Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, and George Strait; Female Vocalist: Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Shania Twain and Trisha Yearwood; Vocal Band: Alabama, BlackHawk, Diamond Rio, Dixie Chicks and Sawyer Brown; and Vocal Duo/Group: Brooks & Dunn, The Kinleys, The Lynns, The Statler Brothers and The Wilkinsons.

Star of Tomorrow-Male: Gary Allan, Keith Harling, Michael Peterson, Sons of the Desert and The Wilkinsons; Star of Tomorrow-Female: Dixie Chicks, Anita Cochran, Sara Evans, The Kinleys and Lila McCann; Vocal Collaboration: Brooks & Dunn & Reba McEntire's "If You See Him/If You See Her," Trisha Yearwood & Garth Brooks' "Where Your Road Leads," Shania Twain & Bryan White's "From This Moment On," Faith Hill & Tim McGraw's "Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me," and Sara Evans & Vince Gill's "No Place That Far"; and Single of the Year: Mark Wills' "Don't Laugh At Me," Steve Wariner's "Holes In The Floor Of Heaven," George Strait's "I Just Want To Dance With You," Alan Jackson's "I'll Go On Loving You," and Faith Hill's "This Kiss."

Song of the Year: Mark Wills' "Don't Laugh At Me," Steve Wariner's "Holes In The Floor Of Heaven," George Strait's "I Just Want To Dance With You," Faith Hill & Tim McGraw's "Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me," and Faith Hill's "This Kiss"; Video of the Year: Mark Wills' "Don't Laugh At Me," 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"; and Album of the Year: Shania Twain's Come On Over, Faith Hill's Faith, Alan Jackson's High Mileage, George Strait's One Step At A Time, and the Dixie Chicks' Wide Open Spaces.

Country fans' favorite redneck, comedian Jeff Foxworthy will once again host this year's awards ceremony, which will be held on Monday, June 14 at the Nashville Arena, serving as the official kickoff for the annual International Country Music Fan Fair. If you would like to be on hand to see your favorite star pick up his or her trophy, tickets can be purchased by calling TicketMaster at (615) 255-9600. Ticket prices are $100, $75, and $50. If this seems a little steep to you, then never fear as the awards will be telecast live on The Nashville Network.

Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees!

Tammy Wynette Not To Be Exhumed

Last month, a request from three of Tammy Wynette's daughters to have their "First Lady of Country Music" mother's body exhumed was denied. The three questioned the cause of their mother's death, desiring an autopsy to be performed on her corpse to see if she indeed died of a blood clot in her lung, or if the prescription drugs she was taking at the time of her death contributed in any way. Unfortunately for the girls, they may never receive "peace of mind," since Dr. Bruce Levy has determined that it was not necessary to exhume the body after examining her medical records.

Dr. Levy told press in Nashville that, "Because of the complications that she had suffered over the years and that he [Tammy's physician, Dr. Wallis Marsh] had treated her as her personal physician.... Based on that, as well as an examination of her body, I believe that it's sufficient evidence to rule on the natural causes."

And while we're on the subject of Tammy Wynette, if you are in the market for a new home in the Nashville area, then you are in luck. Her and husband George Richey's suburban Nashville home, which includes eight bedrooms, a sunken tub, and a steam room, is reportedly on the market for just under $2 million.

Tanya Tucker Postpones Wedding Chapel for Nursery

Due to early deadlines last month, I reported that Tanya Tucker was scheduled to marry songwriter Jerry Laseter on January 29, but, no vows were exchanged. Well, the hot topic come the end of January was much more than the last-minute postponement of the couple's wedding. The happy couple have announced that they are expecting a child in July. Tanya has two children with ex-beau actor Ben Reed.

Tanya and Jerry have postponed their nuptials until sometime this fall, when they will exchange vows in the "Two Sparrows Chapel," which Tanya is having built on the grounds of her Tennessee home. Congratulations to the happy couple!

Naomi Judd Busy These Days

Ashland, Ky. native Naomi Judd is a very busy woman these days. In addition to preparing for her long-awaited New Year's Eve 1999 reunion concert with daughter Wynonna (the younger half of the popular country duo The Judds), she has written the follow-up to her best-selling autobiography "Love Can Build A Bridge," which was inspired by The Judds' hit song of the same title. This follow-up book, which bears the same name as Naomi's literary debut, is a children's book scheduled to be published by Harper Collins in May.

In addition to Naomi's upcoming projects, Mama Judd was recently in New York City to receive yet another honor. Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper presented Naomi with the Humanitarian Award at this year's Red Ball benefit for her support of research of liver disease, the disease that forced Naomi to retire from country music in 1991.

Country Music Playboys and Playgirls

Top country music performers Shania Twain, Brooks & Dunn, and Garth Brooks were recently featured in Playboy magazine, but it wasn't their photos covering the pages-they were all listed in the 1999 Playboy Music Poll. Shania was named Top Female Country Vocalist and her Come On Over disc was named Top Country CD. Garth was named Top Male Country Vocalist and Brooks & Dunn were named Top Country Group.

Not to be outdone, Playgirl magazine recently had their very own music poll, titled Playgirl's Raunchy Music Awards. Flatwoods, Ky. native Billy Ray Cyrus was crowned "Musician Most Likely Not To Break Your Heart," while Tim McGraw was named "Musician Most Likely To Give Old Fashioned Lovin'."

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