Lanky Newnan, Ga. country boy Alan Jackson is riding high on the charts with his latest single inspired by the terrorist attacks of September 11, titled "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)." This touching song rocketed to the top of the charts in just a few weeks and at print deadline, the tune remained at the #1 spot for the fifth consecutive week, making this Jackson's longest-running #1 hit (his 1993 "Chattahoochee" topped the charts for four weeks). His great success from this mega-hit has created quite a buzz and tickets for his February 21 concert (along with Jamie O'Neal) at Freedom Hall at the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center are in great demand. If you have not yet bought tickets for this highly anticipated show, they were still available at press time for $35 each and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations, or by calling (502) 361-3100. And while you're out spending your hard-earned money, it will be worth your while to stop by your favorite local record store and pick up Alan's brand new CD, Drive.
Country Award Winners
Tim McGraw continued his recent winning streak last month when the 29th American Music Awards were handed out in Los Angeles. Tim was named Favorite Country Male Artist and his Set This Circus Down was named Favorite Country Album. Mrs. Tim McGraw, the lovely Faith Hill, was named Favorite Country Female Artist. It was no surprise when Brooks & Dunn were named the Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group and the members of Trick Pony were greatly surprised when they were named Favorite New Country Artist. In addition, country mega-star Garth Brooks was honored with the Award of Merit for his contributions to the music field.
When the 28th Annual People's Choice Awards were handed out last month, country music dominated two-thirds of the music categories. The only nominees in the Favorite Male Musical Performer category were Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and George Strait. Brooks took home the award, bringing his People's Choice Awards trophy count up to a whopping twelve. Faith Hill beat out pop singers Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears for the title of Favorite Female Musical Performer. In addition to the music categories, one of country's favorite redheads, Reba McEntire, walked away with the trophy for Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series for her WB sitcom Reba.
And while we're on the subject of Reba, it was recently announced that her smash sitcom has been picked up for a second season. Jordan Levin, the WB network's president of entertainment, recently released a statement saying, "In Reba, we have the crossover hit comedy we've been working toward for six years and Reba McEntire has proven herself to be a natural television star with impeccable comic timing." Reba can be seen every Friday night on the WB network.
Country Grammy Nominees
The 44th Annual GRAMMY Awards will be handed out by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences on February 27 and several country artists have been nominated. A complete list of country and country-related nominees are as follows: Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Ryan Adams' "Lovesick Blues," Johnny Cash's "I Dreamed About Mama Last Night," Lyle Lovett's "San Antonio Girl," Tim McGraw's "Grown Men Don't Cry," Willie Nelson's "Marie," and Ralph Stanley's "O Death"; Best Female Country Vocal Performance: Sheryl Crow's "Long Gone Lonesome Blues," Jamie O'Neal's "There Is No Arizona," Dolly Parton's "Shine," Lucinda Williams' "Cold, Cold Heart," and Trisha Yearwood's "I Would Have Loved You Anyway"; and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: Asleep At The Wheel's "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens," Brooks & Dunn's "Ain't Nothing `Bout You," Diamond Rio's "One More Day," Alison Krauss & Union Station's "The Lucky One" and Lonestar's "I'm Already There."
Best Country Collaboration with Vocals: Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss & Gillian Welch's "Didn't Leave Nobody But The Baby," Garth Brooks & George Jones' "Beer Run," Jo Dee Messina & Tim McGraw's "Bring On The Rain," The Soggy Bottom Boys' "I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow," and Trisha Yearwood & Don Henley's "Inside Out"; Best Country Album: Diamond Rio's One More Day, Tim McGraw's Set This Circus Down, Willie Nelson's Rainbow Connection, Timeless-Hank Williams Tribute and Trisha Yearwood's Inside Out; and Best Country Song: Diamond Rio's "One More Day," Alison Krauss & Union Station's "The Lucky One," Lonestar's "I'm Already There," Jamie O'Neal's "There Is No Arizona," and Jamie O'Neal's "When I Think About Angels."
Best Country Instrumental Performance: Asleep At The Wheel & Brad Paisley's "Sugar Foot Rag," Bill Kirchen's "Poultry In Motion," Alison Krauss & Union Station's "Choctaw Hayride," Brad Paisley's "Munster Rag," and Earl Scruggs & Friends' "Foggy Mountain Breakdown"; and Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album: Ann-Margret & The Jordanaires and The Light Crust Doughboys with James Blackwood's God Is Love: The Gospel Sessions, Bill & Gloria Gaither Present A Billy Graham Music Homecoming, Merle Haggard & Albert E. Brumley Jr.'s Two Old Friends, the Oak Ridge Boys' From The Heart and Randy Travis' Inspirational Journey.
In addition, Faith Hill's "There You'll Be" is nominated for Best Pop Vocal Performance, as well as Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media. Patty Loveless' Mountain Soul will vie for Best Bluegrass Album, along with Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Sweethearts, Alison Krauss & Union Station's New Favorite, Dolly Parton's Little Sparrow and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder's History of the Future, while Freddy Fender's La Musica de Baldemar Huerta is up for Best Latin Pop Album. The O Brother, Where Art Thou? motion picture soundtrack is nominated in the Best Album and Best Compilation Soundtrack Album categories. Alison Krauss & Union Station's New Favorite and Mary Chapin Carpenter's Time*Sex*Love* will compete with one another for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.
This year's Grammys will be handed out in Los Angeles on February 27 and the ceremony will be broadcast live on CBS Television.
Top 10 Country Albums of 2001
Tim McGraw and the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack album continue to make their way to the top of the charts and to the top of the music awards nominees lists. Both made a huge splash on country albums sales charts last year: O Brother was the top seller, while two of McGraw's albums were in the Top 10 list. Here's the rundown of the 10 top-selling country albums of 2001 (as reported by SoundScan): 1) O Brother, Where Art Thou?; 2) Garth Brooks' Scarecrow; 3) Coyote Ugly soundtrack; 4) Tim McGraw's Set This Circus Down; 5) Tim McGraw's Greatest Hits; 6) Toby Keith's Pull My Chain; 7) Lee Ann Womack's I Hope You Dance; 8) Dixie Chicks' Fly; 9) Kenny Chesney's Greatest Hits and 10) Faith Hill's Breathe.
Congratulations to all the top-sellers and keep the music coming!
Statler Brothers To Retire
The "most awarded act in the history of country music," the Statler Brothers, have come to the difficult decision to retire from touring at the end of this year. The group began as the Kingsmen in 1961 and adopted their current name in 1964. Brothers Don and Harold Reid, Phil Balsley and Jimmy Fortune will perform their last concert on November 1 at a yet-to-be-determined location. This will be the last opportunity for fans to hear classics such as "Flowers On The Wall," "The Class of '57," "Whatever Happened To Randolph Scott," "Elizabeth" and "Do You Remember These" live. This quartet has enjoyed a very successful career, which included The Nashville Network's most popular show, the musical variety show appropriately titled The Statler Brothers Show.
Before retiring from the road, that Statlers will release a brand new gospel album this spring. And just why are the Statlers retiring? According to their publicist, "The reasons cited for their decision to retire were simply to free themselves of a rigid travel schedule and to spend more time at their Shenandoah Valley homes."
I'll keep you posted in future months about the Statlers' final show as details become available.
Deana Carter Arrested for DUI
It seems like several country artists have been in trouble with the law lately for driving under the influence of alcohol. It seems that "Strawberry Wine" singer Deana Carter has been sipping just a little too much of that "Strawberry Wine" lately. She was pulled over for speeding in Nashville around 1:30 a.m. on December 21 and was charged with a DUI and an "implied consent" violation. She was taken to night court following her arrest after admitting she had been drinking and failing a sobriety test.
Special Country Performances
Several country artists will be participating in some very high-profile performances this month. Ashland, Ky. native Wynonna will head to New Orleans to take part in a pre-game patriotic tribute titled "Let Freedom Ring" before the kick-off of Super Bowl XXXVI on February 3.
The Dixie Chicks and LeAnn Rimes will be on hand at Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 8 to participate in the opening ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Also performing will be Sting, Rita Coolidge and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It has not yet been announced what songs the Chicks and LeAnn will perform as part of the Olympics' theme, "Light The Fire Within." Be sure to tune in to see the opening ceremonies of the Olympics live on NBC Television.
A heaping portion of country music will be served up on the big screen come March 1 when Mel Gibson's brand new movie, "We Were Soldiers," hits theaters. The original motion picture soundtrack, which is slated to hit stores February 26, will include numbers by Brooks & Dunn and Lee Ann Womack, as well as duets by hot country newcomer Jamie O'Neal & Michael McDonald and the legendary `Man In Black,' Johnny Cash & Dave Matthews (of the Dave Matthews Band).
Country stars will be overtaking the WB network February 22. Naomi Judd, who along with daughter Wynonna, made up the award-winning duo The Judds, will play Cousin Nadine on Maybe It's Me. In the episode, Cousin Nadine attends a pre-death funeral for lead character Molly Stage's grandmother and winds up marrying her grandfather. On the same evening, country crooner Andy Griggs will be featured singing "Custom Made" on Sabrina The Teenage Witch.
Country Health Watch
As I have reported in recent months, country music's original outlaw, Waylon Jennings, has been hospitalized from complications surrounding his diabetes. Just a few weeks ago, Waylon released a press release stating that his left foot had to be amputated December 19 due to these complications. Jennings' wife, country singer Jessi Colter, remained at her husband's side throughout his hospital stay. I am happy to report that Waylon has progressed enough to leave the hospital January 7 and return to his home outside Phoenix, Arizona, where he continues to recuperate. Waylon hopes to return to the stage this spring.
Country Family Album
Diamond Rio drummer Brian Prout took the big plunge December 28 when he and singer/songwriter Stephanie Bentley were married at their home outside Nashville. Brian and the boys of Diamond Rio have enjoyed great success with their recent smash hit "One More Day," while Stephanie enjoyed great success recently as co-writer of the title track of Faith Hill's current album, Breathe. Congratulations, Brian and Stephanie and may you have many years of marital bliss!
Condolences are in order for the family of singer, songwriter and bassist Bobby Austin. The 68-year-old Austin passed away January 6 in Camas, Washington. He is best known for his first chart single, "Apartment No. 9," which he co-wrote with Johnny Paycheck. The tune became Tammy Wynette's first hit in 1967 and became the Academy of Country Music's very first Song of the Year winner. Austin is survived by his wife, Fern and children Linda, Robert, Jr., William and Steve.
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."