Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Country Divas To Sing For Charity

Four of country music's divas will share the stage at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Sat., July 15 to raise money for the Center For Women & Families and the University of Louisville's women's athletic department. Sponsored by Brown & Williamson, this concert, which will likely be the biggest country music event in Louisville this year, will include Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride and LeAnn Rimes. Country history will be made right here in the Derby city as these four powerhouse country gals will hit the stage together for the very first time. You go, girls!!!

Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. for this once-in-a-lifetime concert and the show is expected to last until midnight. Tickets are already on sale and will set you back $25, $35 and $45, which is not a bad price for these four leading ladies (especially when Reba and Brooks & Dunn tickets were in excess of $40 just a few years back).

BlackHawk Loses 1/3

The country trio BlackHawk, best known for hits such as "Goodbye Says It All," will never be the same since lead guitarist and singer Van Stephenson has announced that he is leaving the group. Van's decision was fueled by his recent battle with melanoma. Van says, "It is more important for me to spend time at home with my family rather than spend the majority of my time traveling. Being diagnosed with cancer was one of the most devastating events of my life, but winning the battle with this disease and feeling that I have a second chance at a future has allowed me to realize what I value most, which is my family."

The two remaining members of BlackHawk, lead singer Henry Paul and keyboardist Dave Robbins, plan to continue to record and tour as BlackHawk. Fortunately, Van will continue to write songs with Henry and Dave.

Best wishes to Van, as well as Henry and Dave!

Country Grammy Winners

When The 42nd Annual Grammy Awards were passed out last month, Santana was the star of the show, walking home with a whopping eight trophies, but country artists did pretty well themselves. Shania Twain, the Dixie Chicks and Ray Benson & Asleep At The Wheel each picked up two trophies. Shania's "Man! I Feel Like A Woman" was named Best Female Country Vocal Performance, while her song "Come On Over" (which she co-wrote with husband "Mutt" Lange) was named Best Country Song. The Dixie Chicks' "Ready To Run" was named Best Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, and their latest release Fly was named Best Country Album. "Bob's Breakdown," featuring Asleep At The Wheel, Tommy Allsup, Floyd Domino, Larry Franklin, Vince Gill and Steve Wariner was awarded Best Country Instrumental Performance, while Ride With Bob, with art directors Asleep At The Wheel, Ray Benson, Sally Carns and Buddy Jackson, was named Best Recording Package. The "red-headed stranger," the legendary Willie Nelson was also awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The entire list of winners is as follows: Best Male Country Vocal Performance: George Jones' "Choices"; Best Female Country Vocal Performance: Shania Twain's "Man, I Feel Like A Woman"; and Best Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal: Dixie Chicks' "Ready To Run."

Best Country Collaboration With Vocals: Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt's "After The Gold Rush"; Best Country Album: Dixie Chicks' Fly; and Best Country Song (Songwriter Award): Shania Twain & Mutt Lange's "Come On Over."

Best Country Instrumental Performance: Asleep At The Wheel's "Bob's Breakdowns"; and Best Southern, Country Or Bluegrass Gospel Album: Bill & Gloria Gaither and Their Homecoming Friends' Kennedy Center Homecoming.

In addition to these country awards, country artists won in the following categories: Best Recording Package: Asleep At The Wheel's Ride With Bob; Best Bluegrass Album: Ricky Skaggs' Ancient Tones; and Best Traditional Folk Album: June Carter Cash's Press On.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Wynonna's New Day Dawning

Ashland, Ky. native Wynonna Judd's brand new album New Day Dawning has hit store shelves (including a four-cut CD of brand new Judd songs along with mother Naomi), but this album is not the only new thing dawning in Wynonna's life. Wynonna recently announced the new love of her life following her divorce from Arch Kelley, the father of her children Elijah and Grace. She claims that she is "totally in love" with D.R. Roach, her bodyguard of eight years. The two began dating late last year, but they have been through a lot together, both the highs and the lows, the good and the bad. Roach was with Wynonna as Naomi left the road due to hepatitis C back in 1991, as she emerged from a limo to marry Arch Kelley and as her children were born.

And while we're on the subject of Wynonna, she and mama Naomi will wrap up their "Power of Change" tour in Nashville, Tenn. on June 10, the Saturday before Fan Fair begins. The Judds will once again say goodbye to the fans (although Wynonna will continue to tour as a solo act) following this long-awaited mini-reunion tour, wrapping up the tour in the AmSouth Amphitheatre at Starwood.

Country Nominations

Several of our favorite country artists north of the border made the list when the nominations for Canada's Juno Awards were announced recently. Nominations for Best Country Male Artist are Julian Austin, Paul Brandt, John Landry, Jamie Warren and Jim Witter. Lisa Brokop, Terri Clark, Patricia Conroy, Tara Lyn Hart and Shania Twain will all compete in the Best Country Female Artist category. The Best Country Group or Duo category includes Farmer's Daughter, Lace, Prairie Oyster, The Rankins and The Wilkinsons. The Junos will be handed out in Toronto on March 11 and 12.

When the nominations for the 6th Annual Blockbuster Entertainment Awards were recently announced, country superstar Shania Twain led the country pack with two nominations. Come June, Shania will vie for the Favorite Female Country Artist trophy, as well as the Favorite CD trophy for her multi-platinum disc, Come On Over. Faith Hill and Jo Dee Messina will compete with Shania for Favorite Female Country Artist, while Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and George Strait are all up for the Favorite Male Country Artist award. Brooks & Dunn, the Dixie Chicks and Lonestar are all nominated in the Favorite Country Duo or Group category.

Good luck to all the nominees.

Country Music and Politics?

Do country music and politics really mix? Well, no one really knows for sure, but country music's workin' man Sammy Kershaw just may be the one to find out. Sammy recently reestablished his residency in his home state of Louisiana and plans to move back to the bayou later this year hopefully one day to fulfill his dream of becoming the governor of Louisiana. Sammy, a Republican, has already begun assembling a campaign committee for his future political endeavors. Country fans need not fear though as Sammy has no immediate plans of abandoning his country music career.

McGraws To Hit The Road

Although nothing has been written in stone yet, it appears that the "First Couple of Country Music," none other than Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, will be hitting the road together this year. Life just can't seem to get any better for country's favorite couple as they will have the luxury of travelling with daughters Gracie and Maggie. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the McGraws' tour will stop in Louisville. Keep reading in the future and I'll keep you up to date.

Country Family Album

Our sympathies go out to Alan Jackson and John Conlee, as well as their families, upon their recent losses of a parent. Alan's father, Eugene Jackson passed away last month from an aortic aneurysm. Alan wrote his hit song "Home" about his father Eugene and mother Ruth, who were married for 53 years. Kentucky native John Conlee's mother Evelyn also recently passed away.

The legendary "Okie From Muskogee," 62-year-old Merle Haggard will become a father for the seventh time later this year. Merle and his fifth wife, Theresa recently announced that their new bundle of joy will enter the world sometime around September The couple already has two young children, and Merle has five grown children from previous marriages. Congratulations to the Haggards!

Singer and talk show host Gary Chapman, best known as the host of the former TNN show Prime Time Country and the former Mr. Amy Grant, has picked up his life and moved on and will soon be headed down the aisle. Gary recently popped the question to Jennifer Pittman, a former animal trainer at Orlando, Florida's Universal Studios. Gary and Jennifer met last year while Prime Time Country went on the road and broadcast from Florida. Best wishes to the future Mr. and Mrs. Gary Chapman.

Well, it looks like the Tanya Tucker wedding saga has drawn to a close. If you remember, I reported a few months ago that Tanya's fiancé Jerry Lasseter had been arrested for domestic abuse sparked by an argument concerning the couple's baby. Tanya reportedly recently told a newspaper that, "The wedding is off, off, off!" I guess Tanya will remain single. You win some, you lose some!

And while we're on the subject of split-ups, Dixie Chick fiddler Martie Seidel recently finalized her divorce from her husband Ted, driving away from the marriage in her 1999 Mercedes C280.

Country On The Tube

Clint Black fans won't want to miss the singer's latest acting stint, when he will portray a small-town doctor in Going Home, which is scheduled to air on CBS-Television on March 12.

Several big names in country music have lent their voices to The Nashville Network's first animated full-length movie, Tom Sawyer. This movie will air on TNN on March 27 and includes Rhett Akins as Tom Sawyer, Mark Wills as Huck Finn, Lee Ann Womack as Becky Thatcher, Waylon Jennings as Judge Thatcher and Hank Williams, Jr. as Injun Joe, The film will be narrated by Charlie Daniels. Also included in this film will be Betty White as Aunt Polly and Don Knotts as Mutt Potter. The movie will be released on VHS and DVD and the soundtrack CD will all hit stores on April 4.

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