Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

ACM Award Winners

When the 38th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards nominees were recently announced, Toby Keith landed a whopping eight nominations, but the tall Oklahoman walked away with just one trophy when they were handed out last month in Las Vegas. Only one trophy, but Keith landed the top trophy, the coveted Entertainer of the Year. Alan Jackson captured one-third of the trophies he was nominated for: Album of the Year for Drive and Video of the Year for "Drive (For Daddy Gene)." Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts each tied Jackson with two trophies. Chesney was named Top Male Vocalist of the Year and his "The Good Stuff" was named Single Record of the Year, while Rascal Flatts was named Top Group of the Year and their "I'm Movin' On" was named Song of the Year. Martina McBride held on to her title of Top Female Vocalist of the Year.

And the winners are: Entertainer of the Year: Toby Keith; Top Female Vocalist: Martina McBride; Top Male Vocalist: Kenny Chesney; Top Vocal Duo: Brooks & Dunn; and Top Vocal Group: Rascal Flatts.

Top New Female Vocalist: Kellie Coffey; Top New Male Vocalist: Joe Nichols; Top New Vocal Duo/Group: Emerson Drive; Album of the Year: Alan Jackson's Drive; and Vocal Event of the Year: Willie Nelson & Lee Ann Womack's "Mendocino County Line."

Song of the Year: Rascal Flatts' "I'm Movin' On"; Single Record of the Year: Kenny Chesney's "The Good Stuff"; and Video of the Year: Alan Jackson's "Drive (For Daddy Gene)."

Bass Player of the Year: Glenn Worf; Drummer: Lonnie Wilson; Fiddle Player: Larry Franklin; Guitarist: John Willis; Keyboardist: Matt Rollings; Steel Guitarist: Jay Dee Maness; and Specialty Instrumentalist: Mark Casstevens. Radio Station of the Year: Knoxville's WIVK; On-Air Personalities: Tony & Kris of San Diego's KSON; Buyer/Promoter: Louis Messina of The Messina Group; Nightclub: Nashville's Wildhorse Saloon; and Casino of the Year: Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

In addition to these awards, supergroup Alabama performed their first #1 hit, "Tennessee River" prior to their receiving the ACM Pioneer Award. Lonestar was presented the fan-voted 2nd Annual Home Depot Humanitarian Award. And George Strait performed a special medley of #1 hits including "Write This Down," "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind?," "She's Gonna Leave You With A Smile," "Check Yes Or No," and "The Chair" before accepting the Gene Weed Special Achievement award for his recent milestone of reaching 50 #1 hits, surpassing all other artists in all genres of music.

Congratulations to all the winners!

More Country Stars Support the Troops

More and more country artists are taking time out of their busy schedules to show their support and appreciation for our military troops. On his way to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby last month, Travis Tritt stopped off at Fort Knox to visit with the troops. Tritt has also visited troops stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. and Fort Riley, Kan. On an April 24 trip to our nation's capitol, Tritt was honored with a Public Service Award from the Department of Veterans Affairs for his continued support throughout the years.

Steve Wariner was also in the Bluegrass state last month when he headlined a free concert for the troops of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division stationed at Fort Campbell. Performing along with Wariner were Sherrie' Austin, Memarie, Restless Heart and Chalee Tennison. And while there, Sherrie' and Chalee were joined by Eddie Bayers, Lane Brody, Clint Daniels, Hometown News, Brad Martin and Lila McCann to pass out free four-day passes to downtown Nashville's International Country Music Fan Fair to be held June 5-8.

Upon his return home from being a POW in Iraq, U.S. Army Pfc. Patrick Miller's mother admitted to the press that her son has a less than pleasant singing voice and he repeatedly tortured his captors by singing his rendition of Toby Keith's "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)." When Keith learned of Miller's homecoming in Wichita, Kan. on May 11, he surprised the ex-POW by driving the three-hour trip from his home in Oklahoma to meet him and thank him for his courage.

Hot newcomer Tammy Cochran has also spent some time recently visiting the troops. Last month she took part in the Spirit of America tour by visiting Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, N.M. and Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Ariz. Deanna Carter performed her very first USO show last month when she performed at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. And while in Hawaii, Carter got a chance to spend some time with base personnel and their families.

On May 21, Tim McGraw held a special concert for military personnel and their families at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs, Colo. Twenty-two-thousand tickets were handed out free of charge for this special stop on the "Tim McGraw & The Dancehall Doctors: One Band Show."

The guys of Lonestar performed a very special concert for the troops Memorial Day weekend off the shores of New York aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid. Lonestar: Concert for the Military was filmed and will broadcast on CMT on June 29.

Country Stars Sing for Charity

Country crooner Kenny Rogers is headed to town to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the WHAS Crusade for Children. Kenny will perform along with the R&B family group The Neville Brothers and Louisville's very own magician, Lance Burton, on June 7 at 8 p.m. at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. These stars will help the Crusade raise money to aid "organizations that serve special needs children in all 120 Ky. counties and more than 50 southern In. counties."

As Tim McGraw continues touring the country this summer, he continues to perform an occasional Bread and Water concert at a nightclub to raise money to benefit local chapters of the American Red Cross. As a result, Tim, along with fellow country artists Lonestar and Randy Travis, have been named members of the Red Cross's National Celebrity Cabinet to help promote awareness of the organization's services.

Chely Wright has gathered an "A-list" of entertainers to help her raise funds for her very own Reading, Writing and Rhythm charity. Chely's June 3 concert will be held in Nashville and will feature Terri Clark, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Aaron Lines, Clay Walker and Darryl Worley, as well as Evan Marriott, the star of FOX-Television's recent hit Joe Millionaire.

Grammy Award-winning country singer Linda Davis will co-host a special concert to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association along with Lance Bass of the pop group *NSync on June 5. This show, which will be held at Nashville's Wildhorse Saloon, will also feature Kellie Coffey, Kevin Denney andy Griggs, Rebecca Lynn Howard and Jo Dee Messina.

June Carter Cash: 1929-2003

When one brings up the subject of country music pioneers in conversation, it is impossible to not mention the "First Family of Country Music," The Carter Family. The country music community lost one of its own last month as a member of this legendary family passed on. Seventy-three-year-old singer, songwriter and actress June Carter Cash died May 15 at Nashville's Baptist Hospital following complications from recent surgery to replace a heart valve.

Valerie June Carter was born June 23, 1929 to Ezra and "Mother Maybelle" Carter (who made up The Carter Family along with cousin Sara and her husband, A.P. Carter). Carter first performed publicly with her sisters Helen and Anita in 1937 and the trio went on to form The Carter Sisters along with Mother Maybelle in the early 1940s after the breakup of The Carter Family group. She went on to perform on the Grand Ole Opry in 1950 and married fellow Opry star Carl Smith in 1952. In 1955, the couple welcomed their daughter Rebecca Carlene, who went on to country fame herself as Carlene Carter. Carter had a second daughter, Rosie, with second husband Rip Nix.

Carter joined Johnny Cash's road show in 1961, which led to the award-winning duets "Jackson," "Long-Legged Guitar Pickin' Man," and "If I Were A Carpenter," as well as the couple's 1968 marriage, which produced one son, John Carter Cash. Cash recorded a little diddy titled "Ring of Fire" in 1963, which was written by Carter and Merle Kilgore and landed at the top of the country charts for the "Man in Black." Due to failing health in recent years, the happy couple made their last public appearance together last September when they sang during the Americana Music Awards program. Carter was last seen publicly on April 7 as she accepted a career achievement award on behalf of her husband at the 2003 CMT Flameworthy Video Music Awards.

Carter is survived by husband Johnny Cash, daughters Carlene and Rosie, son John Carter Cash and step-daughters Rosanne, Tara, Kathy and Cindy. Upon Cash's request, the May 18 funeral service for his beloved wife was open to the public, allowing fans to express their condolences and their appreciation for this country legend. Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers and The Oak Ridge Boys were just a few of the country performers who took part in the service.

Upcoming Live Country Music

I reported details on the area's biggest country music festival of the summer a few months back and it is already upon us. Country Stampede Presented by Belterra Casino Resort will be held at Kentucky Speedway June 6-8. The Friday, June 6 lineup includes Shevy Smith, Robinella & The CC Stringband, Jolie Edwards, Mountain Heart, Trace Adkins, The Del McCoury Band, Jeff Foxworthy, Ricky Skaggs and Travis Tritt. The Saturday, June 7 lineup includes Cledus T. Judd, Dusty Drake, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Shannon Lawson, Phil Vassar, Jeff Bates, Brad Paisley, Chad Brock, Daryle Singletary, Rhett Akins, Wade Hayes and Lonestar. The Sunday, June 8 lineup includes Kellie Coffey, Dustin Evans, Blake Shelton, Rodney Atkins, Gary Allan, Aaron Lines, Diamond Rio, Emerson Drive and Sawyer Brown. One-day general admission tickets cost $50, three-day general admission $85, three-day reserved seating $175 and three-day VIP tickets are $450. For more info, call 888-652-RACE or 800-795-8091, or log on to www.kentuckyspeedway.com.

Churchill Downs is goin' country come Sunday, June 29. The Brew & Bar-B-Q Festival will run both Saturday and Sunday, but Sunday afternoon will hold a special treat for country music fans. After a $2 track admission, race fans can enjoy a free concert in the Infield by country newcomers Emerson Drive, known for their smash hit "I Should Be Sleeping," and the red-hot Darryl Worley, who has been riding the top of the charts with "I Miss My Friend" and his patriotic anthem "Have You Forgotten?"

As I reported in last month's column, concerts to be held during this year's Kentucky State Fair are beginning to be announced and tickets will soon be going on sale. Tickets for Alan Jackson and Joe Nichols' August 14 concert will go on sale June 23 and will cost $35 (which includes gate admission). Nicholasville, Ky.'s own Montgomery Gentry will perform along with Hank Williams, Jr. on August 16 and tickets will go on sale for $35 on Jul. 14. And Kenny Chesney will close the fair once again this year with his "Margaritas & Senoritas" Tour featuring Keith Urban. Tickets will cost $37 and will go on sale June 9.

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."