Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Billy Ray Cyrus Headed To Small Screen

Our own Flatwoods, Kentucky native Billy Ray Cyrus has a brand new album available, Southern Rain, but the music is not Billy Ray's only professional focus these days. Billy Ray has landed the lead role as Dr. Clint Cassidy in the new PAX-Television series Doc. His character is a doctor from Montana who heads to New York City following a love interest, but he continues to work in a Manhattan clinic once his lady dumps him. Billy Ray will begin filming Doc this month in Toronto, Canada. The show will debut as a television movie on PAX in March and will continue as an hour-long weekly series thereafter.

Faith Sweeps AMA Awards

When the nominees were announced for the American Music Awards last month, Faith Hill topped the list of nominees with four nods, including Favorite Female Artist Country Music, Favorite Album Country Music for Breathe, Favorite Female Artist Pop or Rock Music, and Favorite Artist Adult Contemporary Music. The following are all nominees in the country music categories:

Favorite Male Artist Country Music: Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, and George Strait; Favorite Female Artist Country Music: Faith Hill, Martina McBride, and Reba McEntire; Favorite Band, Duo, or Group Country Music: Brooks & Dunn, Dixie Chicks, and Lonestar; Favorite New Artist Country Music: Allecia Elliott, Billy Gillman, and Keith Urban; and Favorite Album Country Music: Faith Hill's Breathe, Alan Jackson's Under The Influence, and Toby Keith's How Do You Like Me Now.

Congratulations to all the nominees and best of luck! You can catch the American Music Awards on ABC-TV at 8:00 pm EST on Jan. 8, 2001.

Garth Discusses His Future

International country music megastar Garth Brooks has hinted in the past that he may retire from country music soon, but he's not packing his bags yet. Garth recently announced that he plans to record one more studio album before hanging up his microphone, but he unfortunately has no plans for a supporting concert tour. Once he hangs up his cowboy hat, Garth plans to write screenplays, and possibly even a network television series. Garth states that his reason for retirement is to spend more time with his three daughters. As I reported earlier, Garth and wife Sandy have been separated for quite some time and Garth reportedly filed for divorce in a Nashville court on November 6, stating that he and Sandy have been separated since March 1999. The two are supposedly still working out a custody arrangement for the children.

In the meantime, if you need some new Garth music and missed out on the collector's edition box set, which was released in 1998, then you're in luck. Special editions of Garth's first six CDs are now available with a new song on each disc, which were previously only available in the box set.

LeAnn Rimes All Grown Up and Ready To Take Control

Now that LeAnn Rimes is eighteen and a legal adult, she is ready to take control of her own career. LeAnn recently sued Nashville's Curb Records to be released from the recording contract her parents signed on her behalf when she was a mere 12 years old. She feels that she can obtain a much better contract than what she currently has and is asking Curb to give her exclusive rights to all of her past recordings and videos, destroy all of her CDs which are currently being distributed and turn over all publishing rights in her songwriting. As you'll remember, this isn't the first professional hurdle LeAnn has tried to overcome as she has grown up as country's sweetheart – she and her mother filed a lawsuit against her father and business partner earlier this year accusing the two of mismanaging her finances.

Latest Country Awards

When the 11th Annual Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) Awards were handed out last month, Shania Twain was the true star in the country category. Shania and her producer and co-writing husband were honored as the songwriters and publishers of "You're Still The One," "From This Moment On," "That Don't Impress Me Much," "You've Got A Way" and "Man! I Feel Like A Woman," songs determined to have received the most play across Canadian radio airwaves last year. Other country songwriters recognized were Paul Brandt for "That's The Truth," and for "There You Are," and for "Single White Female," and Wilkinson of The Wilkinsons for "Boy Oh Boy." Congratulations to all of our northern neighbor songwriters.

Country music's latest kid wonder, 12-year-old swept the Billboard Video Awards last month, picking up four trophies for his debut video, "One Voice." Billy's video was named Best Country New Artist Clip, Best Contemporary Christian Clip, Best Contemporary Christian New Artist Clip and Best Jazz/AC New Artist Clip. Congratulations to Billy on all of his newfound success!

When the Sixth Annual Nashville Music Awards were handed out last month, Emmylou Harris and took top country honors, being named Female Vocalist and Male Vocalist of the Year respectively. Country newcomer Brad Paisley's "He Didn't Have To Be" was named Video of the Year, while Alison Krauss' Forget About It was named Country Album of the Year and June Carter Cash's Pressing On was honored as Folk Album of the Year. Congratulations to all the winners!

Country Health Watch

As I told you last month, cowboy singer Chris LeDoux underwent liver transplant surgery in Omaha, Nebraska on October 7, and I'm happy to report that the singer has been released from the hospital. Doctors are very optimistic and say there are no signs of the transplanted organ being rejected by Chris's body. Continued best wishes to Chris as he recovers!

Chris's need for a liver transplant was brought on by a disease called sclerosing cholangitis, which causes scarring and even organ failure. Country Tex-Mex singer Freddy Fender is in the same boat as Chris was needing a liver transplant, but Freddy's need was brought on by hepatitis C, the same viral infection which attacks the liver that forced Naomi Judd to retire from country music nine years ago this month. In addition to Freddy's hepatitis C, he is also suffering with kidney problems and is currently undergoing dialysis. Best wishes to Freddy in undergoing a successful liver transplant in the very near future!

Country Family Album

On Nov. 5, the country music community lost a legend as Country Music Hall of Famer Jimmie Davis, the former governor of Louisiana, passed away in his sleep at his home in Baton Rouge. Jimmie lived to the ripe old age of 101 and is best known for the classic tune "You Are My Sunshine." We would like to extend our sympathies to the entire Davis family.

Congratulations are in order for Ricochet keyboardist Eddie Kilgallon and his wife upon the birth of their first daughter, . Addison arrived on November 6, weighing in at 7 lbs., 1 oz.

Our condolences also go out to Dolly Parton and the entire Parton family upon the death of her father, 79-year-old on November 12. Mr. Parton passed away in a Knoxville, Tenn. hospital after suffering numerous strokes in recent weeks. Dolly has celebrated the life of her dear father in songs such as "Daddy's Working Boots" and "Appalachian Memories." Mr. Parton is survived by his wife, , and 11 of his 12 children.

Country Holiday Gift Ideas

If you are looking for some good country CDs for the loved ones on your Christmas shopping list this year, then you're in luck as there are a number of brand new greatest hits packages which are sure to please any country fan. The reigning Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year, Tim McGraw, piano man Ronnie Milsap, and "Rebecca Lynn" crooner Bryan White have each released impressive collections of their greatest country hits over the years. In addition to these, the ever-so-energetic group Sawyer Brown has also released a greatest hits package, but with a twist. The Hits Live contains 14 live performances of the band's greatest hits, as well as four new studio songs.

And while we're on the subject of Christmas, if you're a Faith Hill fan, as I'm sure most of you probably are, then you'll want to head out to the movie theater to see Jim Carrey playing the title role in Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Be sure to stick around for the closing credits as you'll hear Faith singing "Where Are You, Christmas," which was penned by , and . Watch CMT for Faith's accompanying video for this song. If you'd like to own a copy of the tune, it is included on the motion picture soundtrack.

Well, that's it for this month, and this year for that matter. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. As always, if you have the ability and opportunity to help someone in need this holiday season, please do whatever you can to help spread some cheer for someone who may not have a Christmas otherwise. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin' your way."