All New Fan Fair 2001
The mercury is rising drastically these days, meaning two things: it's June, and it's time for Fan Fair. The 30th Annual International Country Music Fan Fair is undergoing a major overhaul this year, as it is being moved from the dilapidated Tennessee State Fairgrounds to downtown Nashville. What used to be a week-long festival, will this year be a mere four days from Thursday, June 14 through Sunday, June 17, but it's promised to be bigger and better than ever. Fans will get to enjoy thirty hours of live concerts, twenty hours of autograph signings and an opportunity to catch a glimpse of more than 200 stars, including the likes of Jessica Andrews, Tracy Byrd, Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Sammy Kershaw, Lonestar, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, Jo Dee Messina, Montgomery Gentry, Brad Paisley, SHeDAISY, Trick Pony, Travis Tritt, Lee Ann Womack and Trisha Yearwood.
This year's autograph signings will be held at the Nashville Convention Center, while the nightly concerts will be held at Adelphia Coliseum, home of the Tennessee Titans. The TNN & CMT Country Weekly Country Music Awards will be held June 13 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center, while the annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game will be played at Greer Stadium. For more information, or to purchase tickets, you can call the Fan Fair Box Office at 1-866-FAN-FAIR (1-866-326-3247).
Toby, Lee Ann and Dixie Chicks Dominate ACM Awards
Toby Keith, Lee Ann Womack and Sons of the Desert and the Dixie Chicks were the stars of the show when the 36th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards were handed out last month at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, CA. Toby earned some well overdue recognition when he accepted his very first industry awards: Top Male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year for How Do You Like Me Now? Lee Ann Womack and Sons of the Desert took home trophies for Single of the Year, Song of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year for "I Hope You Dance." The Dixie Chicks were the truly big winners as they took home the coveted Entertainer of the Year Award, along with Top Vocal Group of the Year and Video of the Year for "Goodbye Earl."
Although Toby dethroned Tim McGraw as Top Male Vocalist of the Year, Mrs. McGraw, a.k.a. Faith Hill held onto the Top Female Vocalist of the Year title for the third year running, while Brooks & Dunn reclaimed the title of Top Vocal Duo of the Year. Two of country music's legends were also honored among a crop of modern country artists. Barbara Mandrell, who retired from country music in 1997, was honored with the Pioneer Award, while the "comeback kid," Kenny Rogers, received the Career Achievement Award.
And the winners are: Entertainer of the Year: Dixie Chicks; Top Female Vocalist of the Year: Faith Hill; Top Male Vocalist of the Year: Toby Keith; Top Vocal Duo of the Year: Brooks & Dunn; and Top Vocal Group of the Year: Dixie Chicks.
Top New Female Vocalist of the Year: Jamie O'Neal; Top New Male Vocalist of the Year: Keith Urban; Top New Vocal Duo or Group: Rascal Flatts; Vocal Event of the Year: Lee Ann Womack & Sons of the Desert's "I Hope You Dance"; and Album of the Year: Toby Keith's How Do You Like Me Now?
Single of the Year: Lee Ann Womack & Sons of the Desert's "I Hope You Dance"; Song of the Year: Lee Ann Womack & Sons of the Desert's "I Hope You Dance"; and Video of the Year: Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl."
Bass Player of the Year: Michael Rhodes; Drum Player of the Year: Eddie Bayers; Fiddle Player of the Year: Mark O'Connor; Guitar Player of the Year: Brent Mason; Keyboard Player of the Year: John Hobbs; Steel Guitar Player of the Year: Paul Franklin; and Specialty Instrumentalist of the Year: Jerry Douglas, Dobro.
Radio Station of the Year: WIVK, Knoxville, Tenn.; Disc Jockey of the Year: Carl P. Mayfield & the P Team, WKDF, Nashville, Tenn.; Talent Buyer/Promoter of the Year: Bob Romeo, Romeo Entertainment; Country Nightclub of the Year: Billy Bob's, Fort Worth, Tex.; and Casino of the Year: Sam's Town, Robinsonville, Miss.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Classic Country Hits Louisville's Airwaves
If you are a fan of classic country music (as my wife and I are), then you're in luck, as Louisville finally has its very own classic country radio station. WYBL FM 93.1, "The Bull," changed their programming to classic country just last month. The next time you hop into the car, tune the radio to "The Bull" and you'll be treated to hits by legendary country artists like George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Alabama, Patsy Cline, Tom T. Hall, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Roger Miller, Tanya Tucker, Ronnie Milsap, Crystal Gayle, John Conlee and many, many more. And as a special bonus, longtime country fans will enjoy a blast from the past, as disc jockey Dickie Braun, who woke listeners up each morning on WAMZ for years, has come out of retirement to spin some classic records during the weekday afternoon drive.
Thanks for the great music and keep the classics spinning, WYBL!
New Country Music Hall of Fame Star-Studded
The brand-new $37 million Country Music Hall of Fame was dedicated and open to the public during a star-studded ceremony just last month. I was on hand to see this historic event, which drew a laundry list of stars: Marty Stuart, Vince Gill, George Jones, Porter Wagoner, Trisha Yearwood, Diamond Rio, Pam Tillis, Stonewall Jackson, Wilma Lee Cooper, Emmylou Harris, Brenda Lee, Little Jimmy Dickens, Martina McBride, Earl Scruggs, Eddy Arnold, Brad Paisley, Charley Pride, Kitty Wells, Johnny Wright, Kathy Mattea, John Conlee, Hal Ketchum, Riders In The Sky, The Whites, Ricky Skaggs and more. The ninety-minute ceremony was chock full of unforgettable performances, including George Jones' and gospel great Vestal Goodman's moving rendition of "Amazing Grace"; Vince Gill's "The Key of Life," the song Vince wrote in honor of his late father; Earl Scruggs' "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"; Emmylou Harris' rendition of the Louvin Brothers' "If I Could Only Win Your Love"; Kathy Mattea's rendition of Hank Williams' "House of Gold" and the emotional clincher, Marty Stuart's performance of country pioneers the Carter Family's "Wildwood Flower" and "Will The Circle Be Unbroken," sung while playing Mother Maybelle Carter's Gibson L-5 guitar, the last item to be placed into the new Hall of Fame.
The 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is a must-see for country fans of all ages. Make a point to head to Nashville this summer to view country music artifacts from country music's beginning to the present, with mementos from Jimmie Rodgers, Garth Brooks, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell, Brooks & Dunn, Little Jimmy Dickens, Patsy Cline, Ray Price, Hank Williams and The Judds, plus lots of others.
The museum is located at the corner of Demonbreun and Fifth Avenue in downtown Nashville. Single-day admissions as follows: adults $14.95; children 6-15, $7.95; children under 6 free. Two-day admissions are: adults $24.95; children 6-15, $12.95; children under 6 free. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-852-6437.
And while we're on the topic of the new Hall of Fame and Museum, Country Music Television began hosting a brand new weekday show, titled CMT: Most Wanted Live, from the museum on Memorial Day. This new show will be broadcast live from the museum each weekday at 6 p.m. EDT and will feature the most-requested videos of the day, video premieres, country music news and much more. Museum-goers will have the chance to be a part of the audience at no extra cost.
Loretta Lynn Opens New Museum
Butcher Holler, Ky.'s very own Loretta Lynn opened her new Coal Miner's Daughter Museum, located at her dude ranch in Hurricane Mills, TN. on Memorial Day weekend. The 18,000 square-foot museum allows fans to see the life of a country superstar first-hand. Fans will have the opportunity to see Loretta's tour bus, her late husband Mooney's Mack truck, stage clothes and Loretta's numerous awards. The museum also has memorabilia from the major motion picture Coal Miner's Daughter, which earned Sissy Spacek an Oscar for her role as the Country Music Hall of Famer, as well as depictions of the school-house Loretta attended in Butcher Holler and Loretta's first home in Nashville.
The Coal Miner's Daughter Museum will be open daily through Oct. and on weekends from Nov. till March.
Terri Clark Charged With DUI
Country music stars are often placed upon a pedestal (as if they aren't human as you and me). Well, that is far from the truth as Terri Clark will attest. While driving home from a business meeting just last month, Terri Clark was pulled over and charged with Driving Under the Influence and implied consent. In a press release dated May 3, Terri stated the following: "While en route home from a business meeting last night, I was pulled over for going 45 mph in a 30 mph zone on West End Ave. in Nashville. I was five minutes from home, but the officer suspected I had consumed alcohol and wanted me to do a sobriety test. I refused a Breathalyzer on the advice of a friend who is an attorney. While I had had some alcohol with dinner, I did not feel like I was impaired. I do not, nor have I ever condoned drinking and driving and know that no matter how little alcohol one has, one should never drive after drinking. I apologize and deeply regret this incident."
McGraw & Chesney Legal Battles Continue
Tim McGraw and country pal Kenny Chesney's legal battles continue stemming from their scuffle with the law in Buffalo, New York as Kenny rode off on a deputy's horse, and Tim allegedly assaulted an officer trying to remove Kenny from the horse following their performances as part of the George Strait Country Music Festival last June. Tim and Kenny's trial has been in full swing for the past few weeks in Orchard Park, New York, with a slight setback: the judge hearing the case suffered a heart attack. Once another judge was appointed, Tim and Kenny were slapped with a lawsuit by Sergeant Mark Rokitka, blaming the country singers have caused him great pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress and lost wages from missed work due to this altercation. Rokitka is suing for an undisclosed amount of money.
And if you were wondering, yes, Faith Hill has been right by her husband's side throughout the trial. If Tim is convicted, Faith could get a little lonely at nights as Tim could face a year in prison. Kenny's outcome on the other hand could be much less severe.
Keep reading in the upcoming months as I'll keep you posted on the outcome of this trial.
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."