Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Wynonna Ready For Return

In addition to her big New Year's Eve reunion show with her mother Naomi Judd in Phoenix, Ariz., Ashland, Ky. native Wynonna is revving up for a big return to county music with the release of a brand new album. This new album, Wynonna's first on Mercury Records, is set to hit store shelves in mid-January and will include 10 new solo cuts, as well as a bonus four cuts by the ever-so-loved duo The Judds. Keep your ears open for Wynonna's first single, titled "Can't Nobody Love You (Like I Do)." In the meantime, you can catch Wynonna and Naomi appearing in commercials for K-Mart stores. Also, mark your calendars for Dec. 8, the evening mother Naomi's Christmas movie titled A Holiday Romance is scheduled to air on CBS Television.

Johnny Rodriguez Found Innocent

Country singer Johnny Rodriguez, best known for such #1 hits as "Ridin' My Thumb To Mexico,""That's The Way Love Goes" and "Just Get Up And Close The Door," was found innocent of murder last month. Johnny shot and killed acquaintance Israel Borrego in his own house in Uvalde, Texas upon returning home from a friend's house. Johnny states that he fired the fatal shot out of self-defense, assuming that Borrego was a burglar in his home. Johnny was facing life in prison if he were not found innocent and acquitted of this Aug. 29 murder charge.

The Dixie Chicks Continue To Soar

Natalie Maines, Emily Erwin Robison and Martie Sidel, who make up the hottest trio in music these days, the Dixie Chicks, continue to soar with their brand new album Fly. This album debuted at #1 on Billboard Magazine's Top 200 Album list the first week after its release, the first time a country duo or group has ever achieved this feat. In less than two short months, the album has already been certified double platinum, meaning that over 2 million copies have been sold. In addition to the success of this new CD, the Dixie Chicks' major label debut album, Wide Open Spaces, recently reached 7X-platinum status, having sold over 7 million copies. Not bad for three chicks from Texas!

The past year-and-a-half has been an enormous whirlwind for the girls, so they are about to take a much-needed and well-deserved winter break once they wrap up their tour of Australia this month. But before they go on vacation, the Chicks can be seen (well, more like heard) on FOX Television's King of the Hill cartoon on Nov. 14. Martie says that "We're playing three sluts from Louisiana, which some people might say is not much of a stretch `cause we're from Texas." And if all of this weren't enough, the Dixie Chicks will appear in television ads throughout this month for the Drug-Free America campaign.

Country Health Update

As you probably recall, the legendary "Man In Black," Johnny Cash has been suffering from a rare disease known as Shy-Drager Syndrome for nearly two years now. Unfortunately, Johnny was back in Nashville's Baptist Hospital last month with another bout of pneumonia. At press time, Johnny was said to be in serious but stable condition.

In other medical news, Dale Evans, the widow and frequent co-star of western movie singing cowboy Roy Rogers, was hospitalized last month in Calif. with heart and respiratory problems. After extensive tests, it was reportedly discovered that Dale likely suffered a mild heart attack.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to both Johnny and Dale!

To Be, Or Not To Be?

You are probably tired of hearing about "Delta Dawn" singer Tanya Tucker's impending nuptials to songwriter Jerry Laseter by now, but the saga continues. The couple has postponed the wedding once again because the custom-built wedding chapel on Tanya's farm is still not complete and ready for the ceremony. Keep reading and I'll let you know when this long-awaited event finally takes place.

Since soon after the death of singer-turned-Congressman Sonny Bono, rumors have been flying that Sonny's widow Congresswoman Mary Bono and Diamond Rio drummer Brian Prout are romantically linked. Well, not only are the two romantically linked, but they are even engaged to be married. Brian gave Mary a diamond ring earlier this year which sparked a lot of suspicions. Although the couple has confirmed the engagement, no wedding date has been set yet. Congratulations to Brian and Mary!

Rumors have also been circulating around the county music community for quite some time now about the possible romance between country crooner Vince Gill and gospel singer turned pop artist Amy Grant. Well, the rumors have been confirmed by the happy couple themselves. Vince and Amy have been spotted together at a recent hockey game in Nashville and were even seen holding hands at Vince's recent charity golf tournament in his home state of Okla. This happy couple met in 1993 when Vince invited Amy to perform along with him at a Tulsa, Okla. Christmas show. Vince divorced Janis Gill, one-half of the country duo Sweethearts of the Rodeo, nearly two years ago. Amy's divorce from Gary Chapman, gospel singer and host of The Nashville Network's former "Prime Time Country," was finalized just this past June. Amy reports that she and Gary tried desperately to salvage their marriage and that Vince was not to blame for the divorce.

It upsets me to report that what country fans thought was a strong and happy marriage has now gone to the wayside. That's right, country songstress Trisha Yearwood and Robert Reynolds of The Mavericks are calling it quits. The two filed for divorce, stating irreconcilable differences and asked for their privacy during this very painful and personal time. Trisha and Robert were married in the newly remodeled historic Ryman Auditorium in May of 1994.

Country On The Tube This Month

Since the temperatures are rapidly falling these days, it is the perfect time of year to turn into a couch potato in front of a roaring fire. Country music couch potatoes are definitely in luck this month. To start things off, international superstar and brand new Country Music Hall of Famer Dolly Parton will star in the Lifetime Network movie Blue Valley Songbird on Nov. 1, alongside of leading man and fellow country crooner Billy Dean. This movie was born from the song of the same title that Dolly wrote for her critically acclaimed 1998 album Hungry Again.

Country gospel fans won't want to miss the 5th Annual Christian Country Music Association Awards program, set to air at 8 p.m. EST on Nov. 4 on the Family Network, CTN and GMT. Marty Raybon, formerly of Shenandoah and The Raybon Brothers, will act as co-host of this awards program, along with the incredibly talented Linda Davis. In addition to Marty and Linda, watch for performances by artists such as T. Graham Brown and Mark Wills.

"Smoke Rings In The Dark" singer Gary Allan is a very busy man these days. It addition to releasing a brand new album, this month Gary tries his hand at acting in the CBS Television mini-series Shake, Rattle and Roll: An American Love Story on Nov. 7 and 10. Watch for Gary as he portrays the 50's Rock `n' Roller Eddie Cochran.

Fans of Reba McEntire will definitely want to head to the couch following Thanksgiving supper to catch her brand new Christmas movie. Secret of Giving, which features three songs from Reba's brand new Christmas CD (available in stores now), will air on CBS on Nov. 25. Also, keep your eye on A&E's Biography throughout the month as Reba is scheduled to be the subject of this program sometime in November.

On the same night of Reba's Christmas movie, the reigning Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year Shania Twain will host her second network television special after the great success of her Winter Break program last year. Just like Reba, you'll find Shania on CBS Television Thanksgiving evening. Check listings for exact air times.

Although I haven't heard any exact date yet, country phenomenon Garth Brooks will not only make history, but he will probably make a lot of heads turn as he is scheduled to both host and be the musical guest (sort of) on NBC Television's Saturday Night Live sometime this month. Garth will come face-to-face with his new alter ego, rock star Chris Gaines as Garth will host the show and Chris will act as the musical guest. This will make Garth's second time to act as host, and Chris Gaines' debut as musical guest. To add a little more confusion (or maybe a little more explanation) to the matter, you can pick up Garth's (or Chris') new album, titled Garth Brooks In...The Life of Chris Gaines, in your favorite local record store now.

Well, that's it for yet another month. I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving holiday along with your family and friends. Always remember, "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, `cause country music is comin' your way."