Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Toby and Lee Ann Dominate ACM Nominees

Toby Keith and Lee Ann Womack racked up a whopping six nominations each when the nominations for the 36th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards were announced recently. Toby is up for Entertainer of the Year, Top Male Vocalist, Album of the Year for How Do You Like Me Now?, Single and Song of the Year for "How Do You Like Me Now?," and Video of the Year for "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This," while Lee Ann will compete for Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year for I Hope You Dance and Single, Song and Video of the Year for "I Hope You Dance," as well as Vocal Event of the Year along with Sons of the Desert for the same song.

A note-worthy nomination among the vast list of nominees went to Naomi and Wynonna, better known as The Judds. The Ashland, Ky. mother-daughter duo reunited for the first time since 1991 last year for a new album and tour, which garnered them a nomination for Vocal Duo of the Year, an award they took home every year from 1984 until 1990. A fellow home-state artist, Nicholasville's John Michael Montgomery was also recognized for the first time in quite a while with two nominations for his smash hit "The Little Girl," which will vie for Single and Song of the Year. In addition, Louisville's very own Coyote's music and dancehall will compete for Club of the Year, along with Billy Bob's in Fort Worth, Tex., Crazy Horse in Irvine, Cal., Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, Cal. and Montana's in San Dimas, Cal.

The entire list of nominees is as follows: Entertainer of the Year: Brooks & Dunn, Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Toby Keith and George Strait; Top Female Vocalist: Sara Evans, Hill, Martina McBride, Jo Dee Messina and Lee Ann Womack; Top Male Vocalist: Kenny Chesney, Keith, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Strait; Top Vocal Duo: Brooks & Dunn, The Judds, The Kinleys, Montgomery Gentry and The Warren Brothers; and Vocal Group of the Year: Alabama, Diamond Rio, Dixie Chicks, Lonestar and Sawyer Brown.

Top New Female Vocalist: Tammy Cochran, Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Jamie O'Neal; Top New Male Vocalist: Billy Gilman, Keith Urban and Phil Vassar; Top New Vocal Duet/Group: Clark Family Experience, Rascal Flatts and Sons of the Desert; Vocal Event of the Year: Kenny Rogers, Alison Krauss, & Billy Dean's "Buy Me A Rose," Womack & Sons of the Desert's "I Hope You Dance," Hill & McGraw's "Let's Make Love," Strait & Alan Jackson's "Murder On Music Row," and The Warren Brothers & Sara Evans' "That's The Beat Of A Heart"; Album of the Year: Johnny Cash's American III: Solitary Man, Keith's How Do You Like Me Now?, Womack's I Hope You Dance, Gilman's One Voice and Paisley's Who Needs Pictures; and Video of the Year: Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl," Womack's "I Hope You Dance," Hill's "The Way You Love Me," Alabama's "When It All Goes South," and Keith's "You Shouldn't Kiss Me Like This."

Song of the Year: Keith's "How Do You Like Me Now?," Womack & Sons of the Desert's "I Hope You Dance," John Michael Montgomery's "The Little Girl," Gilman's "One Voice," and Paisley's "We Danced"; and Single Record of the Year: Keith's "How Do You Like Me Now?," Womack & Sons of the Desert's "I Hope You Dance," Aaron Tippin's "Kiss This," Montgomery's "The Little Girl," and O'Neal's "There Is No Arizona." The following are instrumentalist nominees: Bass: Michael Rhodes, Dana Williams and Glenn Worf; Drums: Eddie Bayers, Steve Duncan and Brian Prout; Fiddle: Mark O'Connor, Stewart Dumsa and Aubrey Haynie; Guitar: Dann Huff, Brent Mason, Jimmy Olander, Brent Rowan and Mark Sissel; Keyboard: John Hobbs, Gary Primm and Dan Truman; Steel Guitar: Paul Franklin, Bill Johnson and Jay Dee Maness; and Specialty Instrument: Jerry Douglas-dobro, Jimmy Henley-banjo, Oline Johnson-mandolin and "Jelly Roll" Johnson-harmonica.

The 36th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will be handed out May 9 and the awards ceremony will air live on CBS-Television. Good luck to all the nominees!

Alan Rounds Up a Herd of TNN Country Weekly Nominations

When the nominations for the TNN Country Weekly Music Awards were announced just last month, fan -favorite Alan Jackson roped in a whopping eight nominations. Alan will vie for Entertainer of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, The Impact Award, Collaborative Event of the Year, Song of the Year and Single of the Year along with George Strait for "Murder On Music Row," Album of the Year for When Somebody Loves You and CMT Music Video of the Year for "www.memory." George Strait and the reigning "First Couple of Country Music," Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, followed on Jackson's spurs with seven nominations each.

The nominees are as follows: Entertainer of the Year: Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw and George Strait; Female Artist of the Year: Hill, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Jo Dee Messina and Lee Ann Womack; Male Artist of the Year: Jackson, Toby Keith, McGraw, Brad Paisley and Strait; Group/Duo of the Year: Alabama, Brooks & Dunn, Dixie Chicks, Lonestar and Montgomery Gentry; The Discovery Award: Jessica Andrews, Billy Gilman, Montgomery Gentry, SHeDaisy and Phil Vassar; and The Fast Track Award: Kenny Chesney, Terri Clark, Sara Evans, Gilman and SHeDaisy.

Impact Award: Dixie Chicks, Hill, Jackson, McEntire and Strait; Single of the Year: Keith's "How Do You Like Me Now?," Womack's "I Hope You Dance," Hill & McGraw's "Let's Make Love," Strait & Jackson's "Murder On Music Row," and John Michael Montgomery's "The Little Girl"; and Song of the Year: Keith's "How Do You Like Me Now?" written by Keith & Chuck Cannon, Womack's "I Hope You Dance" written by Mark D. Sanders & Tia Sellers, Hill & McGraw's "Let's Make Love" written by Chris Lindsey, Marv Green, Bill Luther & Aimee Mayo, Strait & Jackson's "Murder On Music Row" written by Larry Cordle & Larry Shell and Montgomery's "The Little Girl" written by Harley Allen.

Album of the Year: Messina's Burn, McGraw's Greatest Hits, Womack's I Hope You Dance, Strait's Latest Greatest Straitest Hits and Jackson's When Somebody Loves You; Collaborative Event of the Year: Hill & McGraw's "Let's Make Love," Strait & Jackson's "Murder On Music Row," Montgomery & Alison Krauss' "The Little Girl," Paisley & Chely Wright's "Hard To Be A Husband/Hard To Be A Wife," and Womack & Sons of the Desert's "I Hope You Dance"; and CMT Music Video of the Year: Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl," Womack's "I Hope You Dance," McEntire's "I'll Be," Hill & McGraw's "Let's Make Love," and Jackson's "www.memory."

The TNN Country Weekly Music Awards will be handed out at the Grand Ole Opry House on June 13 and the awards program will air live on TNN at 8 pm EDT. Being the only fan-voted country music awards, fans can vote for their favorite nominees by logging onto country.com, countryweekly.com, or tnnonline.com, by calling special 900 telephone numbers as seen on TNN, or by filling out the ballot found in Country Weekly magazine beginning with the April 17 issue.

Congratulations and best of luck to all the nominees!

Collin Raye Honored As Humanitarian

During the opening of Nashville's annual Country Radio Seminar last month, Clint Black honored crooner Collin Raye with the Country Radio Broadcaster's Artist Humanitarian Award for all of his charitable contributions. Collin has raised more than $100,000 for scholarships and community work in his hometown of DeQueen, Arkansas and has raised money for charities such as the Special Olympics, the Tennessee Task Force on Domestic Violence and Catholic Relief Services, just to name a few. Collin accepted this award on behalf of all the volunteers behind the scenes that help these charities.

Our hats are off to Collin for a job well done and an award well deserved!

McGraw & Chesney Court Date Set

Legal battles for Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney and Tim's former production manager, Mark Russo continue. The three will tentatively be in court May 7 for charges following Kenny's highly publicized police officer horse-ride following their performances at the George Strait Country Music Festival last June 3 in Buffalo, N.Y. Tim and Kenny are requesting that the judge throw out these charges. Keep reading in the months ahead as I'll keep you updated on this ongoing legal situation.

Country Family Album

Congratulations are in order for country newcomer Phil Vassar and his longtime girlfriend, Julie Wood, as Phil recently popped the big question and Julie accepted his proposal to be married. No word on any wedding date, but keep reading in upcoming months for more details. Best wishes to Phil and Julie for a long and happy life together!

Country crooner Vince Gill and his lovely bride, Amy Grant welcomed their first child into the world on March 12 at 12:36 am in Nashville, just two days following the couple's first wedding anniversary. Corrina Grant Gill, a girl, weighed 7 lbs., 9 ¼ oz. and measured 19 ½ in. long. Corrina joins 18-year-old Jenny as Vince's second child (Jenny is from Vince's first marriage to Sweethearts of the Rodeo's Janice Gill), while she was number four for Amy, joining 13-year-old Matt, 11-year-old Millie and 8-year-old Sarah Chapman (all born from Amy's previous marriage to Gary Chapman). Congratulations, Vince and Amy!

The first little chick has hatched and it's a boy! Lead singing Dixie Chick Natalie Maines and her husband, actor Adrian Pasdar welcomed the world's first baby Dixie Chick into the world on March 15 at 9:57 am in Austin, Tex. Jackson Slade Pasdar weighed in at 6 lbs. and measured 20 in. long. Mom and baby are both doing fine. Congratulations, Natalie and Adrian!

The Canadian-born country superstar Shania Twain and her husband, producer "Mutt" Lange, recently announced that they are expecting their first child. So much for that size 2 waist! Shania and "Mutt," who have been married since 1993 and now reside in Switzerland, did not release any further details, such as the due date. In the meantime, the happy "parents-to-be" are working on Mom's new record, which will probably hit stores sometime next year. Congratulations, Shania and "Mutt"!

Country Health Watch

Good news for fans of Grand Ole Opry star Wilma Lee Cooper. Wilma Lee's health improved enough for her to be released from Nashville's Baptist Hospital last month following a mild stroke-like episode she suffered on Feb. 24 backstage at the historic Ryman Auditorium following an Opry performance.

Wilma Lee's fellow Opry star Johnny Russell continues a tough battle with diabetes, which has ran up pretty hefty medical bills. Some big names in country music, including the likes of Garth Brooks, the Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill and Connie Smith, paid tribute to Johnny last month at a benefit concert at the Grand Ole Opry House, raising money to help cover his medical expenses. If you would like to make a contribution to this worthy cause, donations can be sent to Johnny Russell Tribute, 2607 Crump Dr., Nashville, TN 37214. We would like to send our best wishes to Johnny at this time.

The "Coalminer's Daughter," Butcher Hollow, Ky.'s own Loretta Lynn was originally scheduled to perform at the Johnny Russell benefit concert last month, but she unfortunately had to cancel due to her own health problems. Just a few days following a live concert she performed on A&E's "Live By Request" series, Loretta was admitted to a hospital near her home in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. for pneumonia.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Wilma Lee, Johnny and Loretta!

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