Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Dixie Chicks Rule CMA Awards

When the 34th Annual Country Music Association Awards were handed out last month, the Dixie Chicks were the definite stars of the show as they took home four trophies, including Music Video of the Year for their controversial "Goodbye Earl," Album of the Year for their sophomore record Fly, Vocal Group of the Year, and the most coveted award of the evening, Entertainer of the Year. Traditionalist Lee Ann Womack had a pretty magical evening herself as her smash hit "I Hope You Dance" was titled Single of the Year and Song of the Year.

The "First Couple of Country Music," Tim McGraw and Faith Hill had a good night themselves as they were named Male and Female Vocalist of the Year, while Nicholasville, Ky. boys Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, who make up the duo Montgomery Gentry, unseated Brooks & Dunn as Vocal Duo of the Year, a title Kix and Ronnie enjoyed for eight years. Reba McEntire was honored with the CMA International Achievement Award for "contributing to the awareness and development of country music outside North America." Also during the ceremony, the legendary Charley Pride and the late Faron Young joined a long list of country royalty as new inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The entire list of winners is as follows: Entertainer of the Year: Dixie Chicks; Female Vocalist of the Year: Faith Hill; Male Vocalist of the Year: Tim McGraw; Vocal Duo of the Year: Montgomery Gentry; Vocal Group of the Year: Dixie Chicks; and Horizon Award: Brad Paisley.

Album of the Year: Dixie Chicks' Fly; Single of the Year: Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance"; Song of the Year: Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance"; Vocal Event of the Year: George Strait & Alan Jackson's "Murder On Music Row"; Music Video of the Year: Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl"; and Musician of the Year: Hargus "Pig" Robbins.

Broadcast Personality of the Year: Major Market—Danny Wright, WGAR Cleveland, Ohio, Large Market—Angie Ward, WTQR Greensboro, N.C., Medium Market—Colleen Addair, WIVK Knoxville, Tenn., and Small Market—Lynn Sharpe, WUSY Chattanooga, Tenn. Station of the Year: Major Market—KYGO, Denver, Colo., Large Market—WFMS, Indianapolis, In., Medium Market—WIVK, Knoxville, Tenn., and Small Market—WUSY, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Prodigal Bluegrass daughter Dolly Parton hosted the IBMA Awards show at the Palace.

Congratulations to all the winners! If you didn't catch the awards program last month, you've got another chance to watch it at 7:00 pm EST Nov. 24 on CMT.

Grand Ole Opry Celebrates 75

Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House was buzzing and shining brighter than the Milky Way with all the country stars last month as the longest-running radio show celebrated its 75th birthday. The festivities drew Garth Brooks, Bill Carlisle, Wilma Lee Cooper, Little Jimmy Dickens, Vince Gill, Hal Ketchum, Alison Krauss, Loretta Lynn, Lorrie Morgan, Bashful Brother Oswald of Roy Acuff's band, Dolly Parton, Riders in the Sky, Jeannie Seely, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Pam Tillis, Travis Tritt, Porter Wagoner, Billy Walker, Charlie Walker, Steve Wariner, Trisha Yearwood and a whole slew of other Opry members. Dolly Parton and Vince Gill will host a CBS Television special entitled Grand Ole Opry 75th—A Celebration at 9 p.m. EST on Thanksgiving evening, November 23.

Chris LeDoux Has Liver Transplant

Cowboy singer Chris LeDoux was diagnosed with the chronic liver disease primary sclerosing cholangitis about three months ago. Fortunately, he received a much-needed liver transplant early last month. You may recall that football player Walter Payton died just last year of this same disease, which scars and blocks the bile ducts around the liver and can lead to liver failure. Dr. Debra Sudan performed the transplant at Nebraska Health System in Omaha, Neb. on October 7. Fans can send cards to Chris via his publicity firm AristoMedia, 1620 16th Avenue S., Nashville, TN 37212.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Chris.

Country Family Album

There is some really good news, as well as some pretty sad news, in this month's country family album. First, it sounds like lullabies are in the future for Clint Black. That's right, congratulations are in order for Clint and his lovely bride Lisa Hartman Black. The happy couple, who joined forces this past year on their award-winning smash duet "When I Said I Do," have just announced that they are expecting their first child in May.

Bryan White, who released his first-ever greatest hits collection on Halloween, has hung up his title as one of country music's most eligible bachelors. On October 14, Bryan and soap opera actress Erika Page were married at the Royal Lane Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Due to Bryan and Erika's careers, the newlyweds will maintain homes both in Nashville and New York. Congratulations to the happy couple, and best wishes for many years of happiness together!

On a more dismal note, recent rumors flying around Nashville all the way to the covers of the supermarket rag mags were recently confirmed when mega-star Garth Brooks told Billboard magazine that he and Sandy, his wife of 14 years, are indeed getting a divorce. Garth and Sandy's relationship has struggled and rebounded several times throughout Garth's illustrious career, but it has finally succumbed to the music business. Garth told the magazine, "Sandy and I both agree that we need to get divorced. Right now, we're focusing on the impact it will have on the children and how to handle that best, to remain parents even if we don't remain husband and wife." For the past year, Garth has pretty much remained in seclusion with Sandy and their three daughters in their home state of Oklahoma.

Country Music Sportsmanship

Good sportsmanship runs rampant throughout the country music industry, and always for a good cause. Singer/songwriter Mark Collie hosted his annual Mark Collie Celebrity Race for Diabetes Cure last month. The Nashville Speedway was full of country stars, as well as NASCAR racers, including Joe Buford, Brooks & Dunn, Anita Cochran, Diamond Rio, Coley McCabe, Coo Coo Marlin, Lisa Stewart and Aaron Tippin. Lonestar's Dean Sams won the main race, while Brooks & Dunn's Kix Brooks won in the team captain's race, and former TNN host Lisa Stewart won the women's heat. Over the past seven years, Mark's annual race and silent auction have raised $1.25 million for Nashville's Vanderbilt Hospital's Diabetes Research Center. Diabetes is a disease very near to Mark's heart, as he was diagnosed with the disease in his late teens.

Country crooner Vince Gill will host his 11th annual celebrity basketball game and concert on Nov. 7. This event will not only include Vince and his new bride Amy Grant but will also include Deana Carter, Sawyer Brown's Mark Miller, Brad Paisley and Chely Wright. The event will be held at Nashville's Belmont University and proceeds will benefit the university's athletic department, as well as the Curb School of Music Business.

Christian Country Music Awards

Country singers Linda Davis and John Berry have been tapped to host the annual Christian Country Music Association Awards program Nov. 2 at the "Mother Church of Country Music," the historic Ryman Auditorium. Several contemporary country artists are among the Christian nominees, including: Song of the Year: for Sawyer Brown's "800 Pound Jesus" and John Berry's "Salvation"; Mainstream Country Artist: Brad Paisley, Collin Raye, Jeff Carson, LeAnn Rimes, and Sawyer Brown; and Video of the Year: Sawyer Brown's "800 Pound Jesus," Vestal Goodman & George Jones' "Angel Band," Clay Walker's "Chain Of Love," Brad Paisley's "He Didn't Have To Be," and LeAnn Rimes' "I Need You."

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