Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Garth's Marriage On The Rocks

Garth Brooks recently shook the music industry up when he hinted that he may retire from the music business at the end of this year to spend more time with his family, but his latest announcement really hits close to home. Garth spoke candidly with ABC-TV's Good Morning America last month admitting that he and wife Sandy are currently having marital problems and neither know what the future has to hold. Although Garth is the first to admit that he still loves Sandy (whom he wed in 1986), he told GMA in this exclusive interview that he wants Sandy to be with someone that makes her happy, whether it be him or not, and vice versa. Garth admits that he has been very unfair to Sandy and their three daughters during the last decade while he has been on the road playing music for millions of fans around the globe, and he further admits that life has been very difficult since the passing of his mother last year. Neither Garth nor Sandy has admitted publicly that they plan to divorce. Keep reading in upcoming months and I'll keep you current on this story.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Garth and Sandy and we hope that they can work through their problems and save their marriage.

Recent Country Winners

Canadian-born country superstar Shania Twain was the only country music winner last month when the People's Choice Awards were handed out in Pasadena, Cal., but we can't complain. Shania made country music proud as she was voted Favorite Female Musical Performer (which includes all genres of music) by the fans. Congratulations, Shania and keep up the good work.

When the annual American Music Awards were handed out last month in Los Angeles, mega-star Garth Brooks was the big winner, walking away with three nods. As if winning the Favorite Male Country Artist and Favorite Country Album (for Double Live) awards weren't enough, Garth was also named the Top Artist of the 1990's. Not too shabby for an Okie! In addition to Garth's wins, Shania Twain was named the Favorite Female Country Artist and the Favorite Female Pop/Rock Artist. Brooks & Dunn was named Favorite Country Band/Duo/Group, and Nicholasville, Ky.'s very own duo Montgomery Gentry was named Favorite New Country Artist.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Country Grammy Nominees

Although rock veteran Santana recently swept the nominees for The 42nd Annual Grammy Awards with a whopping 10 nods, country music artists came out smelling pretty rosy themselves, especially Ray Benson and Asleep At The Wheel. Asleep At The Wheel grabbed five nominations as a group and lead singer Ray Benson captured an extra nomination for his work on the group's Ride With Bob tribute album to Bob Wills. Country/folk veteran Emmylou Harris and the Dixie Chicks each walked away with four nominations, while Lonestar's amazing tune "Amazed" received two nominations Best Country Song and Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.

The entire list of nominees is as follows: Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Vince Gill's "Don't Come Crying To Me," George Jones' "Choices," Lyle Lovett's "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)," Tim McGraw's "Please Remember Me," and Dwight Yoakam's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"; Best Female Country Vocal Performance: Emmylou Harris' "Ordinary Heart," Faith Hill's "Let Me Let Go," Alison Krauss' "Forget About It," Martina McBride's "I Love You," and Shania Twain's "Man, I Feel Like A Woman"; and Best Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal: BR5-49's "Honky Tonk Song," Diamond Rio's "Unbelievable," Dixie Chicks' "Ready To Run," Lonestar's "Amazed," and SheDAISY's "Little Goodbyes."

Best Country Collaboration With Vocals: Alabama and N'Sync's "God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You"; Asleep At The Wheel; Manhattan Transfer & Willie Nelson's "Going Away Party"; Asleep At The Wheel & Dixie Chicks' "Roly Poly"; Clint & Lisa Hartman Black's "When I Said I Do"; and Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt's "After The Gold Rush"; Best Country Album: Asleep At The Wheel's Ride With Bob; Dixie Chicks' Fly; Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt's Trio II; George Jones' Cold Hard Truth; and Alison Krauss' Forget About It. Best Country Song (Songwriter Award): Marv Green, Chris Lindsey & Aimee Mayo's "Amazed"; Mike Curtis & Billy Yates' "Choices"; Shania Twain & Mutt Lange's "Come On Over"; Marcus Hummon & Martie Seidel's "Ready To Run" and Bill Anderson & Steve Wariner's "Two Teardrops."

Best Country Instrumental Performance: Asleep At The Wheel's "Bob's Breakdowns"; Del McCoury, Doc Watson & Mac Wiseman's "Black Mountain Rag"; Marty Stuart & Earl Scruggs' "Mr. John Henry, Steel Driving Man"; Marty Stuart's "The Greatest Love Of All Time" and Steve Wariner's "The Harry Shuffle." Best Southern, Country Or Bluegrass Gospel Album: Glen Campbell's A Glen Campbell Christmas; Roy Clark's Roy Clark Sings & Plays Gospel Greats; Bill & Gloria Gaither and Their Homecoming Friends' Kennedy Center Homecoming; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver's Winding Through Life and J.D. Sumner & The Stamps Quartet's The Final Sessions.

In addition to these country nominees, country artists were nominated in the following categories: Album of the Year (Pop): Dixie Chicks' Fly; Song of the Year (Pop): Shania Twain's "You've Got A Way"; Best Pop Instrumental Performance: Willie Nelson's "Night And Day"; Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album: The Prince of Egypt-Nashville; Best Recording Package: Asleep At The Wheel's Ride With Bob; Best Spoken Word Album: Merle Haggard's Merle Haggard's My House of Memories For The Record and Nanci Griffith's The Chieftains The Authorized Biography; Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical: Alison Krauss' Forget About It, and Lorrie Morgan's My Heart; Best Album Notes: Hank Williams Live At The Grand Ole Opry and Ray Charles The Complete Country & Western Recordings (1959-1986); Best Historical Album: Ray Charles The Complete Country & Western Recordings (1959-1986); Best Long Form Music Video: "The Making Of Ride With Bob"; and Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: Dann Huff.

Be sure to tune in to CBS-Television on February 23 to see who picks up this year's Grammys. In addition to the above mentioned awards, country veteran Willie Nelson and folk artist Woody Guthrie will receive Lifetime Achievement awards. Good luck to all the nominees!

Ralph Stanley To Join Opry

January was a very special month for the legendary Grand Ole Opry, not only for the fact that this long-running radio program headed back to the historic Ryman Auditorium last month and welcomed artists such as the reunited Judds and Reba McEntire, but also for the fact that it added Bluegrass great Ralph Stanley as its latest member. Grand Ole Opry General Manager Pete Fisher described this historic event as follows: "The Grand Ole Opry is honored to call Ralph Stanley our newest member. He has carried with him a deep passion for the Opry throughout his legendary career. A standing-room-only audience on hand to witness an evening filled with country music's premier talent made the night even more magical."

Diamond Rio Member Recovering

Diamond Rio member Brian Prout, who just so happens to be romantically linked to Sonny Bono's widow U.S. Representative Mary Bono, is recovering beautifully following recent surgery in California for carpal tunnel in his arms. Brian is looking forward to rejoining his fellow band-mates later this year on tour.

Best wishes to Brian for a speedy recovery!

Dixie Chicks Worst-Dressed Country Trio?

The Dixie Chicks Martie, Natalie, and Emily took a swift punch recently when they were included on Mr. Blackwell's infamous annual "Worst-Dressed List." The Chicks joined the likes of Cher, Martha Stewart, Celine Dion, Queen Elizabeth, Sarah Jessica Parker and Britney Spears. When commenting on country's current trio of royalty, Mr. Blackwell said, "They look like a trio of truck stop fashion tragedies trapped in a typhoon."

Regardless of Mr. Blackwell's opinion and regardless of the fact of whether these girls' wardrobes are fashionable or not, the Dixie Chicks' music will always be in style!

Country Family Album

We must start the country family album on a sad note this month. Country's working man Aaron Tippin and his wife Thea were expecting another child this summer, but the couple unfortunately lost the baby to a miscarriage. Please remember the Tippins during this trying time.

On a much happier note, I bet the Kinleys' parents are saving their pennies these days as twins Jennifer and Heather Kinley were both recently engaged to be married. A mere seven days following Jennifer's engagement to Adam Hughes, Heather became engaged to Mark Mendenhall. No wedding dates have been announced yet, but I'll keep you posted. Congratulations to Jennifer and Heather, as well as their soon-to-be significant others!

Congratulations are in order for Flatwoods, Ky. natives Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus as the two recently welcomed a brand new baby girl into the world. Noah Lindsey Cyrus was born Jan. 8 at Nashville's Baptist Hospital, weighing 6 lbs., 2 ozs. Best wishes to the entire Cyrus clan.

Country On The Tube

Mark Wills fans will definitely want to tune in to The 49th Annual Miss USA Pageant which will air on CBS-TV on February 4. Mark will be heading to Branson, Missouri's Grand Palace theater to perform his current smash hit "Back At One" along with the song's writer, pop sensation Brian McKnight. Brian has taken his version of this smooth ballad to the Top 5 on the pop charts.

Fans of CBS-Television's Touched By An Angel series definitely won't want to miss the February 6 episode as veteran country crooner Kenny Rogers will make a guest appearance. Executives of this popular show were so bowled over by Kenny's current single "Buy Me A Rose" that they wrote this entire show around the song.

Although The Nashville Network has turned its focus primarily away from country music-oriented programming to family entertainment, the network has not completely left all the country stars smoking in the dust. Country crooner and guitarist-extraordinaire Lee Roy Parnell will appear on the February 9 episode of TNN's brand-new original series 18 Wheels Of Justice. Fans must be warned that Lee Roy will NOT be playing a good guy!

In addition to all of these shows, don't forget to tune in to see how country music fares at The 42nd Annual Grammy Awards, which will air live February 23 on CBS.

Well, that's all for this month. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin' your way."