Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Country Music To Invade The KY Derby

Well, it’s that time of year again. The tulips are blooming, the fireworks have thundered over Louisville, and that feeling is in the air. Anyone from around these parts knows that it’s time for the 126th running of the Kentucky Derby, and, as usual, country music will be a big part of the festivities. Fans of the hot group Ricochet, known for songs like “Daddy’s Money,” will want to head to the Chow Wagon on the Waterfront Wednesday evening, May 3 to hear the boys perform live. And Philip Morris will once again continue their tradition of the Derby Festival of the Stars show on Thursday, May 4 at Freedom Hall as Nicholasville, Ky. boy John Michael Montgomery, the lovely Lorrie Morgan and the patriotic Lee Greenwood will hit the stage for a free concert ("free" after paying $3 for parking at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center). Be sure to get out and enjoy the Derby festivities, especially these country music treats.

TNN Music Awards Nominees

When the nominees for the Country Weekly Presents the TNN Music Awards were announced recently, Faith Hill was no stranger to the list as she received eight nods, including Entertainer of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Single of the Year, CMT Music Video of the Year, Collaborative Event of the Year along with husband Tim McGraw and the Impact Award. And as if these nominations weren’t enough, Hill continues to soar as her latest smash “Breathe” recently topped the Adult Contemporary charts, a feat no American female vocalist has done since November 1997, when LeAnn Rimes took “How Do I Live” to #1.

Following behind Faith with six nominations was “The Cowboy” George Strait, followed by Faith’s hubby Tim McGraw with five nominations, while hot newcomer Brad Paisley earned four nods himself, along with Alan Jackson and husband-and-wife duo Clint and Lisa Hartman Black

The entire list of nominees is as follows: Entertainer of the Year: Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, George Strait and Shania Twain; Female Artist of the Year: Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Jo Dee Messina and Shania Twain; and Male Artist of the Year: Kenny Chesney, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw and George Strait.

Group/Duo of the Year: Alabama, Brooks and Dunn, Dixie Chicks, Lonestar and The Wilkinsons; The Discovery Award: Montgomery Gentry, Brad Paisley, SHeDAISY, The Wilkinsons and Mark Wills; The Fast Track Award: Trace Adkins, Lila McCann, Steve Wariner, Mark Wills and Chely Wright; and The Impact Award: Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw and George Strait.

Collaborative Event of the Year: Alabama and ‘N Sync’s “God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You,” Clint and Lisa Hartman Black’s “When I Said I Do,” Sara Evans and Vince Gill’s “There’s No Place That Far,” Faith Hill and Tim McGraw’s “Let’s Make Love,” and Vince Gill and Patty Loveless’ “My Kind Of Woman/My Kind Of Man”; Song of the Year and Single of the Year: Lonestar’s “Amazed,” Faith Hill’s “Breathe,” Brad Paisley’s “He Didn’t Have To Be,” Clint and Lisa Hartman Black’s “When I Said I Do,” and George Strait’s “Write This Down”; CMT Music Video of the Year: Faith Hill’s “Breathe,” Brad Paisley’s “He Didn’t Have To Be,” Dixie Chicks’ “Ready To Run,” Reba McEntire’s “What Do You Say,” and Clint and Lisa Hartman Black’s “When I Said I Do”; and Album of the Year: George Strait’s Always Never The Same, Faith Hill’s Breathe, Tim McGraw’s A Place In The Sun, Dixie Chicks’ Fly and Alan Jackson’s Under The Influence.

In addition to the above mentioned awards, The Country Weekly Career Achievement Award and The Minnie Pearl Award will also be handed out during this three-hour gala. Be sure to tune in to TNN at 8:00 pm EDT on June 15 to catch this awards show live, hosted once again this year by Jeff Foxworthy.

Academy of Country Music Awards

And while we’re on the subject of country music awards, I thought I had better remind you not to forget to tune in to CBS at 8 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 3 to catch the 35th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards show, hosted by international superstar Dolly Parton. Joining Dolly in performing on this three-hour program will be the likes of Clint and Lisa Hartman Black, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson and George Strait on “Murder On Music Row,” The Judds, Lonestar, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Jo Dee Messina, Sawyer Brown, Chely Wright and many, many more.

While you are marking your calendar for country music on the tube this month, be sure to mark down FOX’s season finale of King of the Hill on May 21. Clint Black, Martina McBride, Randy Travis and Wynonna will appear as the characters Hank, Bobby and Peggy head to Nashville, Tennessee’s annual Country Music Fan Fair.

The Wilkinsons Take Little Nashville By Storm

Father Steve, 18-year-old Amanda and 15-year-old Tyler Wilkinson, better known as the country music trio The Wilkinsons, took the Little Nashville Opry in nearby Nashville, Indiana by storm last month as they performed two shows for fans old and young alike. Riding on the release of their brand-new sophomore album, Here And Now, The Wilkinsons exuded nothing but professionalism learned in such a young career in country music. The Canadia trio featured Amanda on lead vocals on “Fly (The Angel Song)” and the group’s debut, chart-topping hit “26-cents.” Amanda’s little brother Tyler amply wowed the crowd (not to mention the teenage gals screaming in the crowd) with lead vocals on their current hot release “Jimmy’s Got A Girlfriend,” which just so happens to be the first single from the new album. While speaking to the group following their first show, I couldn’t help but sense that Steve feels most fortunate to have the opportunity to work and travel with his family, in addition to the fact that he is obviously proud of his children.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit the Little Nashville Opry, pack up the entire family and cruise up to Brown County, Indiana some Saturday evening for an intimate concert with some of country’s hottest performers. Artists scheduled to perform this month include Joe Diffie, Ricky Van Shelton, John Anderson and Pam Tillis. Other artists scheduled to perform in the near future include John Berry, Lee Ann Womack, Flatwoods, Ky.’s own Billy Ray Cyrus, Chely Wright, Charley Pride, Brenda Lee, Diamond Rio, Butcher Hollow, Ky.’s own Loretta Lynn and Sawyer Brown. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Little Nashville Opry at (812) 988-2235 (Note: no alcohol or smoking are allowed).

The “Man In Black” Honored By Library of Congress

The legendary Country Music Hall of Famer Johnny Cash was honored by receiving a Living Legend medallion from the Library of Congress in our nation’s capital just last month. Unfortunately, Cash was not on hand for the event, due to health reasons. It was hosted by NPR’s Cokie Roberts, andcelebrated the library’s bicentennial. Also among the 78 recipients of this honor was Bluegrass great Ralph Stanley, as well as Hank Aaron, Tony Bennett, B. B. King, Gen. Colin Powell, folk singer Pete Seeger and Barbra Streisand.

Congratulations to Johnny and all the other honorees!

Country Health Watch

The country music family has had several health scares recently. One of the original outlaws, Waylon Jennings,underwent surgery last month in Phoenix, Arizona to relieve suffering from peripheral vascular disease, which clogs blood vessels carrying blood to arms and legs. Doctors opened blood vessels in Waylon’s legs and expect a full recovery.

The Mavericks had a scare of their own last month as 40-year-old drummer Paul Deakin underwent open-heart surgery to replace a valve in his heart. In a recent press release, Deakin thanked his friends and fans for their thoughts and prayers during this ordeal. He hopes to be back on the road with his fellow Mavericks sometime in June and is anxiously awaiting fatherhood later this year.

Early last month, Trace Adkins had to make a run for the emergency room as he crushed his index and middle finger with a 400-pound boulder on his Tennessee property. Doctors were able to repair the fractures in his fingers and expect Trace to make a full recovery, hopefully by the end of this month. Trace is quite a trooper, though, as he is continuing to tour while he heals. Unfortunately, he cannot play his guitar for some time yet.

Country/folk legend Emmylou Harris banged herself up a while back as the car she was driving hydroplaned during a storm outside of New Orleans. Although nothing was reportedly broken, Emmylou did suffer with some bruised ribs. Emmylou had been in New Orleans recording and fortunately only had to cancel a few shows due to this accident.

Best wishes to Waylon, Paul, Trace and Emmylou during their recoveries.

Country To Invade State Fair Again!

Although it is only May, it is never too early to start thinking about the Kentucky State Fair in August. I have a feeling that country fans will be happy once again this year as country music will invade the fair. I think this year’s lineup will include artists for fans of new country music, as well as traditional country music. Fans can expect to see the likes of the Dixie Chicks (on their first-ever headlining tour), Brooks and Dunn, Lonestar, the Oak Ridge Boys, newcomers Chad Brock and Clay Davidson, Ronnie Milsap and Kenny Rogers. Keep reading Cowboy Corner in the upcoming months for further details.

Well, that’s it for this month. I hope everyone has a fun and safe Derby Festival. Always remember: “Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin’ your way.”