Alan Jackson Dominates the CMA Awards
Nearly 38 million viewers tuned in to watch Alan Jackson make history last month when he became the third artist to ever win five trophies during a single Country Music Association Awards program. During the 36th Annual CMA Awards, Alan was named Entertainer of the Year and captured his first-ever Male Vocalist of the Year trophy, in addition to nods for Album of the Year for Drive, as well as Song of the Year and Single of the Year for his answer to the terrorist attacks of September 11, "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)." Alan's humility and genuine gratitude evident in his acceptance speeches for his plethora of awards further proved that he is a true country gentleman. The good guy really does always win.
Martina McBride was moved to tears as she accepted the Female Vocalist of the Year trophy, thankful that her parents, as well as her husband, were in the audience to share this special moment with her. Unsurprisingly, Brooks & Dunn racked up yet another Vocal Duo of the Year award and graciously acknowledged their fellow nominees The Bellamy Brothers when accepting their award.
Country Music Hall of Famer and international superstar Dolly Parton had the honor of introducing the latest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame: her fellow eastern Tennesseean, "Jumpin'" Bill Carlisle and her musical mentor and former duet partner, the flashy Porter Wagoner.
And the winners are: Entertainer of the Year: Alan Jackson; Female Vocalist of the Year: Martina McBride; Male Vocalist of the Year: Alan Jackson; Vocal Duo of the Year: Brooks & Dunn; Vocal Group of the Year: Dixie Chicks; and Horizon Award: Rascal Flatts.
Vocal Event of the Year: Willie Nelson & Lee Ann Womack's "Mendocino County Line"; Album of the Year: Alan Jackson's Drive; Single of the Year: Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)"; and Song of the Year: Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)."
Music Video of the Year: Brad Paisley's "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)"; International Artist Achievement Award: The Bellamy Brothers; Musician of the Year: Jerry Douglas; and Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees: Bill Carlisle and Porter Wagoner.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Country Songwriter Awards
When the 40th Annual ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, which collects royalties for public performance of songs copyrighted by its member writers and publishers) Awards were handed out Nov. 4 in Nashville, Alan Jackson continued his recent run of good luck when he was named Songwriter/Artist of the Year for "Where I Come From," "When Somebody Loves You," and "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)." In addition, Alan was honored with the coveted Golden Note Award in "recognition of his achievements as a songwriter, recording artist and entertainer."
Darrell Scott was honored as Songwriter of the Year for Sara Evans' "Born To Fly" and Travis Tritt's "It's A Great Day To Be Alive." Brooks & Dunn's "Ain't Nothing `Bout You" (written by Rivers Rutherford and Tom Shapiro) and Lonestar's "I'm Already There" (written by Gary Baker, Frank Myers and Richie McDonald) tied for the title of Song of the Year. Singer/songwriter/producer Rodney Crowell was surprised with the ASCAP Career Achievement Award and EMI Music Publishing was named Publisher of the Year.
BMI, the other major organization that collects license fees for songwriters, held its annual awards ceremony last month the night before the CMA Awards. Lonestar's Richie McDonald accepted the trophy for the Robert J. Burton Award/BMI Most Performed Country Song of the Year as co-writer of "I'm Already There." Tom Shapiro (Brooks & Dunn's "Ain't Nothing `Bout You," Tracy Byrd's "Just Let Me Be In Love," Joe Diffie's "In Another World," and Mark Wills' "Loving Every Minute") and Troy Verges (Jessica Andrews' "Who I Am," Lonestar's "With Me," Martina McBride's "Blessed," and Trisha Yearwood's "I Would've Loved You Anyway") were named BMI Songwriters of the Year. Grand Ole Opry member "Whisperin'" Bill Anderson was surprised with the BMI Icon Award, given to "songwriters who best embody the spirit and sound of country music." And the Publisher of the Year Award went to Sony/ATV Music Publishing in Nashville.
Congratulations to all the songwriters! Keep writing those good ole country songs!
Country Family Album
The size of the Dixie Chicks' nest has extended upon the recent birth of another little chick. Emily Robison, who just so happens to be married to fellow country singer/songwriter Charlie Robison, welcomed the couple's first child into the world in San Antonio, Tex. on Nov. 11. The bouncing baby boy, named Charles Augustus Robison, weighed in at 8 lbs., 13 ozs. and measured 21 in. long. The entire family is doing fine following the blessed event.
Troy Gentry, who makes up half of Montgomery Gentry along with pal Eddie Montgomery, has more reason to celebrate besides the huge success of the duo's current release, "My Town." Troy and wife Angie welcomed their first child, daughter Kaylee Alexandra, into the world Nov. 13 in Nashville. Having arrived a little premature, Kaylee weighed in at 5 lbs., 1 oz. and measured 19 in. long and is doing just fine. Troy has another daughter from a previous marriage.
Canadian country songstress Carolyn Dawn Johnson recently became engaged to Nashville businessman Matt Fisher. During a recent tour, CDJ didn't tell her band that she was engaged and tried to nonchalantly wave her ring in front of them for them to notice, but, being typical men, they didn't. Following the tour, she finally divulged her impending nuptials to the guys. No details regarding her wedding have been released.
Congratulations to Emily & Charlie, Troy & Angie and Carolyn Dawn & Matt!
Country Artists Throw Another Yulelog on the Fire
The store shelves are full of brand new Christmas albums from some of the hottest artists in country music. Red-headed fireball Jo Dee Messina has just released her very first holiday album, appropriately titled A Joyful Noise. Included on the album are classics such as "Silver Bells," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "What Child Is This," and "Silent Night," in addition to two original songs: "Keep The Faith" and the title track. Jo Dee enlisted the help of Vince Gill and Kenny Rogers in the harmony department.
Alan Jackson offers his fans a second Christmas album this year, titled Let It Be Christmas. This collection is comprised of a heaping portion of holiday standards along with one new song, the self-penned title track. Upon deciding to record another Christmas album, Alan's momma begged her superstar son to sing the classics this time around and not the honky tonk songs like he did on his 1993 Honky Tonk Christmas album and he listened to his dear Momma Jackson. To go along with this new album, Alan, his wife Denise and their three daughters filmed a brand new holiday special to be aired exclusively on CMT throughout the month of December
Country power-duo Brooks & Dunn offer fans their first holiday release this year, titled It Won't Be Christmas Without You. This mix of classics and original tunes will be a sure fan-pleaser as it offers Christmas music Brooks & Dunn style, or is it Brooks & Dunn Christmas style? Whichever way, it's exactly what one would expect with B&D's usual rockin' country, south-of-the-border flavor that will have you enjoying a cup of hot cocoa beside a roaring fire one minute and will have you dancing around the Christmas tree the next.
Louisville's own Patty Loveless offers one of the best new country Christmas packages this year with her Bluegrass & White Snow: A Mountain Christmas. Patty gained much respect, as well as several new fans, with the return to her Ky. mountain roots on her Mountain Soul album and she continues the trend and the magic with this album. Included are beautiful renditions of classics like "The Little Drummer Boy," "Silver Bells," and "Joy To The World," as well as new, self-penned tunes like "Santa Train," "Christmas Day At My House," and the title track, which features Dolly Parton and Ricky Skaggs on harmony. Other artists lending harmony include husband and wife Vince Gill and Amy Grant, Emmylou Harris, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Jon Randall and Trisha Yearwood. This album is angelic and belongs on everyone's Christmas wish list.
And the country Christmas album most far-removed from country music is Lee Ann Womack's The Season For Romance. A beautiful album within itself, it won't whet your appetite if you're expecting Lee Ann's traditional country flavor such as "Never Again" or even her slicker country-pop "I Hope You Dance." On this album, it seems that Lee Ann has been greatly influenced by jazz and lounge singers. The smooth, soulful album dusts off some true Christmas oldies like "Baby It's Cold Outside," performed along with Harry Connick, Jr.
Other brand new holiday albums now available on store shelves include The Bellamy Brothers' The Reason For The Season, Charlie Daniels' Christmas To All, country funnyman Cledus T. Judd's Cledus Navidad, the Tractors' The Big Night and Clay Walker's Christmas.
Martina McBride to Spread Holiday Cheer
The reigning ACM and CMA Female Vocalist of the Year, Martina McBride will help country fans in the Louisville air celebrate the holidays when her first ever "The Joy of Christmas" show rolls into Freedom Hall on Saturday, December 14. This one-of-a-kind two-hour holiday production, which is geared toward the entire family, promises to be a state-of-the-art show full of dazzling lights, special effects, impressive backdrops and 10 actors. Inspired by New York City's Radio City Music Hall's Rockettes annual Christmas show, this show is sure to be a holiday concert unlike any you've ever seen and will include music from Martina's 1998 White Christmas album.
Country Christmas Getaways
If you're looking for a country Christmas getaway this holiday season, then put the snow tires on the car and head to Tennessee. If you're only up for a short drive, head south on I-65 to Nashville for Gaylord Opryland's "A Country Christmas." Opryland Resort & Convention Center has been transformed into a winter wonderland with millions of twinkling lights. The Radio City Music Hall Rockettes return to the Grand Ole Opry House this year for their famed high-kicking holiday show. Also returning this year is "Fantasy In Ice," featuring 1.5 million pounds of ice sculpted into favorite holiday figures. Brand new this year, country Grammy winner Linda Davis is joined by her husband Lang Scott and daughters Hillary and Rylee each evening at the Opryland hotel for the "Linda Davis Family Christmas Dinner Show," which includes a fine, sit-down dinner and heaping portion of classic holiday music.
And if you're up for a little longer drive, head east to the Great Smoky Mountains for some seasonal festivities. Dolly Parton's Dollywood is a Christmas paradise, decked out with millions of lights and featuring a brand new production of the classic tale "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" with a new twist, a brand new parade of lights headed up by The Little Engine That Could and numerous other top-rate holiday productions, as well as breath-taking sights, sounds and tastes of the season.
And while you're in the Smokies, be sure to stop by Dolly's Dixie Stampede dinner and show to take in its incredible Christmas show highlighted by a pair of professional ice skaters and a moving nativity with live animals, as well as the majesty and athleticism of thirty-two horses. Also, be sure to catch several Christmas shows as you're driving down the Parkway, including Louise Mandrell's "most attended show in the Smokies" four-star holiday offering including yuletide treats from all genres of music, the Black Bear Christmas Dinner & Show, the award-winning Country Tonite and the Classic Country Christmas show.
Well, that's it for yet another great year. Here's wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years. Please remember to help those less fortunate than you this holiday season. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, `cause country music is comin' your way."