Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Dixie Chicks Top Recent Awards

Between last month's two awards show, the 29th Annual People's Choice Awards and the 30th Annual American Music Awards, the Dixie Chicks were the big country winners, taking home a total of three trophies. Although not on hand for either awards show, at the People's Choice Awards, Natalie, Emily and Martie tied rock group Creed for the title of Favorite Musical Group or Band and at the AMA's they were honored with trophies for Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group and Favorite Country Album for Home.

Faith Hill was the only other country winner at the People's Choice Awards as she was named Favorite Female Musical Performer, beating out popsters Jennifer Lopez and Celine Dion. Alan Jackson vied for Favorite Male Musical Performer, but he unfortunately was beat out by rapper Eminem.

Faith's hubby, Tim Faith was named Favorite Male Country Artist for the third consecutive year at the American Music Awards, while the McGraws' pal Martina McBride was named Favorite Female Country Artist. Hot Canadian country newcomer Carolyn Dawn Johnson was named Favorite New Country Artist. 1980's Artists of the Decade, supergroup Alabama, who kicked off their farewell concert tour on New Year's Eve, was honored with the Award of Merit. This honor made Randy, Teddy, Jeff and Mark the most-awarded artists in the history of the AMA's, bringing their total up to an impressive 22. As the quartet accepted the honor, they were especially appreciative to their families for enduring the numerous weeks they have spent on the road each year.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Country Grammy Nominations

Kenny Chesney represented country music among all other genres of music as he was on hand at New York City's Madison Square Garden last month to help announce the nominees for the 45th Annual Grammy Awards. The Dixie Chicks continued their recent streak of good luck, as they tied Alan Jackson for the most number of country nominations with four each. The Chicks' triple-platinum selling album Home was nominated for Best Country Album and overall Album of the Year for all genres of music, their "Long Time Gone" will vie for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and their "Lil' Jack Slade" will vie for Best Country Instrumental Performance. Alan will compete against the Chicks in the Best Country Album category with Drive, while his anthem "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)" landed him a nod for Best Male Country Vocal Performance, Best Country Song and overall Song of the Year for all genres of music.

And the nominees are: Best Female Country Vocal Performance: Faith Hill for "Cry," Martina McBride for "Blessed," Dolly Parton for "Dagger Through The Heart, Lucinda Williams for "Lately," and Lee Ann Womack for "Something Worth Leaving Behind"; Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Johnny Cash for "Give My Love To Rose," Pat Green for "Three Days," Alan Jackson for "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)," Joe Nichols for "The Impossible," and Brad Paisley for "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)"; and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: Diamond Rio for "Beautiful Mess," Dixie Chicks for "Long Time Gone," Lonestar for "Not A Day Goes By," Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for "Roll The Stone Away," and Trick Pony for "Just What I Do."

Best Country Song: Joe Nichols' "The Impossible" written by Kelley Lovelace & Lee Thomas Miller, Dixie Chicks' "Long Time Gone" written by Darrell Scott, Willie Nelson & Lee Ann Womack's "Mendocino County Line" written by Matt Serletic & Bernie Taupin, Pat Green's "Three Days" co-written with Radney Foster and Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning)"; Best Country Collaboration with Vocals: Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood's "Squeeze Me In," Mary Chapin Carpenter, Sheryl Crow & Emmylou Harris' "Flesh And Blood," Johnny Cash & Fionna Apple's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Willie Nelson & Lee Ann Womack's "Mendocino County Line," and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Taj Mahal, Alison Krauss & Doc Watson's "Will The Circle Be Unbroken"; and Best Country Instrumental Performance: Bering Strait's "Bearing Strait," The Chieftains & Earl Scruggs' "Sally Goodin," Dixie Chicks' "Lil' Jack Slade," Bela Fleck's "Bear Mountain Hop," and Nickel Creek's "Smoothie Song."

Best Country Album: Dixie Chicks' Home, Alan Jackson's Drive, Willie Nelson's The Great Divide, Joe Nichols' Man With A Memory and Dolly Parton's Halos & Horns. In addition to these nominations, the legendary "Man in Black," Johnny Cash will vie for the Contemporary Folk Album (Vocal or Instrumental) trophy for American IV-The Man Comes Around.

The 45th Annual Grammy Awards will be handed out on February 23 at Madison Square Garden and will air live on CBS-Television. Good luck to all the nominees.

Willie Nelson Fans In For Big Treat

Fans of the "Redheaded Stranger," Willie Nelson are in for a big treat this month as previously unreleased material will be available for purchase for the very first time. Willie's Crazy: The Demo Sessions, which will be released on February 11, includes 15 of Willie's earliest demos: seven rare demos and eight of which have never been released to the public. Among these 15 tracks is the demo of Willie's self-penned "Crazy" which became a classic by the late Patsy Cline. The demos were recorded in the 1960's for Pamper Music, which co-owners Ray Price and Hal Smith sold to Sony/ATV Tree Music Publishing in 1969. A tape including the demos was discovered lying on a shelf in 1994 and Sugar Hill Records is releasing the songs in cooperation with Willie and the staff of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

This rare jewel is a must have for even the most casual of Willie Nelson fans.

CMT Top 20 Videos of 2002

When Country Music Television ranked the Top 20 Videos of 2002, the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith proved that it was their year to shine as they landed in the Top 20 with two videos each. Toby landed in the #2 spot with "I Wanna Talk About Me" and at #11 with "My List." The Dixie Chicks roosted at the #4 spot with "Long Time Gone" and at #15 with their remake of the Stevie Nicks' classic, "Landslide." Although Shania Twain only had a single entry in the Top 20, she had what it took to beat out all the competition as she topped the list with the video for the first single from her long-awaited, recently released album Up!, "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!"

The entire list is as follows: 1-Shania Twain's "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!," 2-Toby Keith's "I Wanna Talk About Me," 3-Kenny Chesney's "Young," 4-Dixie Chicks' "Long Time Gone," 5-Keith Urban's "Somebody Like You," 6-Faith Hill's "Cry," 7-Brad Paisley's "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)," 8-Martina McBride's "Blessed," 9-Alan Jackson's "Drive (For Daddy Gene)," 10-Tim McGraw's "She's My Kind Of Rain," 11-Toby Keith's "My List," 12-Travis Tritt's "Modern Day Bonnie And Clyde," 13-Nickel Creek's "This Side," 14-Steve Azar's "Waitin' On Joe," 15-Dixie Chicks' "Landslide," 16-Trace Adkins' "I'm Tryin'," 17-Willie Nelson & Lee Ann Womack's "Mendocino County Line," 18-Darryl Worley's "I Miss My Friend," 19-Rascal Flatts' "I'm Movin' On" and 20-Alsion Krauss & Union Station's "Let Me Touch You For Awhile."

Trick Pony Temporarily Sidelined

Trick Pony, the 2002 American Music Awards Favorite New Country Act and Academy of Country Music Top New Duo or Group of the Year, will be sidelined for a few months this year. Keith Burns and Ira Dean's trio partner, Heidi Newfield, will not be singing for a while as she is in the process of undergoing vocal surgery under the direction of Dr. Robert Ossoff of the Vanderbilt Voice Clinic. Fans will have to wait a while before they hear hits like "Just What I Do," "Poor Me," and "On A Mission" live again, but hopefully not too terribly long.

Speaking of her surgery, Heidi recently stated, "I have been dealing with the limitations and frustrations of throat problems for long enough. After years of singing multiple sets every night and singing over inadequate sound systems, this is a good time to go in and simply solve those problems. I am in the best hands and follow-up care possible with Dr. Ossoff. I am confident that given the proper time to heal, I will be back out there singing better and stronger than ever!! There have been many singers who we all enjoy and admire that have been through this experience. So to anyone who thinks Trick Pony won't be working this year or any other crazy rumor, think again!"

Trick Pony is not canceling any concert dates due to this temporary sideline, but rather rescheduling the affected shows.

Mark Wills On Top of the World

Country crooner Mark Wills is on top of the world these days for more reasons than one. Mark recently topped the Billboard magazine country charts with his latest release, "Nineteen Somethin'," one of two new songs off his recently released Greatest Hits album. As if that weren't enough to celebrate, Mark also became a daddy for the second time last month. Eight pound, eight ounce baby girl Macy Marie was born to Mark and his wife Kelly on January 2. Big sister Mally is reportedly very excited about the new addition and Mark couldn't be prouder.

Opry Legend Jim McReynolds Passes Away

Seventy-five-year-old Jim McReynolds, who made up the country/bluegrass duo of Jim & Jesse along with his younger brother Jesse, died of cancer December 31 outside of Nashville, Tenn. The duo began in 1947 when the brothers performed a 15-minute daily radio program in their home state of Virginia. They first recorded with Larry Roll under the name of The Virginia Trio. The brothers eventually left the trio and put together their own backup band, known as The Virginia Boys.

Jim & Jesse were known for the hits "Diesel On My Tail" and "Cotton Mill Man." They became members of the legendary Grand Ole Opry in 1964 and were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Honor in 1993. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded the duo the National Heritage Fellowship Award in 1997. Upon his brother's passing, Jesse continues to perform along with his grandson.

Besides his brother, Jim is survived by his daughter, Janeen. Our deepest sympathy to the entire McReynolds family.

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."