Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Country Loses A Legend -"The Man in Black" Dies

The country music family, as well as the entire music world, lost a legendary member last month when Johnny Cash passed away, only four months after the passing of his wife, June Carter Cash. The 71-year-old "Man in Black" died in the early morning hours on September 12 at Nashville's Baptist Hospital, following years of declining health. Cash's manager, Lou Robin, stated: "Johnny died due to complications from diabetes. I hope that friends and fans of Johnny will pray for the Cash family to find comfort during this very difficult time."

Cash was born J.R. Cash to farmers Ray and Carrie Rivers Cash on February 26, 1932 in Kingsland, Ark. It was at a very young age that Cash acquired a taste for country music, listening to a battery-operated radio in the evenings. He began singing at school and during church services and formed his first band while serving in the United States Air Force in Germany. The year after getting an honorable discharge in 1954, Cash landed a recording contract with Sun Records' Sam Phillips, where he enjoyed success with songs like "Cry, Cry, Cry," "Folsom Prison Blues," and "I Walk The Line."

Following numerous personal and professional highs and lows, Cash married his soulmate June Carter of the famed Carter Family on March 1, 1968. This union was not strictly a personal union, but a professional union as well. The couple gathered the family and hit the road for years of popular concert tours. Along the way, Cash was wooed to Hollywood for both television and film roles.

Cash's record sales had reached an all-time low during the late Seventies and early Eighties but his career enjoyed a resurgence in the late Nineties when he signed a recording contract with American Records, which produced four critically acclaimed albums. Among these albums is Cash's last album, American IV: The Man Comes Around, which includes a cover of Nine Inch Nail's Trent Reznor's "Hurt." The video for this number garnered four nominations and one win at last month's MTV Video Music Awards, as well as four nominations for next month's Country Music Association Awards. In addition to these recent acknowledgements, Cash is the only artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Cash' wife, June Carter Cash, passed away May 15 of this year during heart surgery. He is survived by daughters Roseanne, Kathy, Tara and Cindy, son John Carter Cash and step-daughter Carlene Carter, as well as numerous grandchildren.

Johnny has left a hole in the country music world which will never be filled. He will be deeply missed. Our condolences to the entire Cash family.

Grand Ole Opry Live Jumps CMT Ship

Come Saturday night, if you're flipping the television channels in search of Grand Ole Opry Live, you're probably going to be out of luck. Country Music Television has been airing the one-hour edition of the Opry every Saturday night since the demise of The Nashville Network (TNN). CMT's contract recently expired and a new agreement could not be reached between CMT and the Opry's owner, Gaylord Entertainment. Beginning October 4, the Opry will begin airing each Saturday night on Great American Country (GAC), which is currently only available in the Louisville area on DISH Network.

Toby Keith Dominates CMA Nominations

When the nominees for the 37th Annual Country Music Association Awards were recently announced, artists and fans alike were shocked at the diverse mix of nominees. Toby Keith dominated the list of nominees with a whopping seven nods. Johnny Cash, along with Brooks & Dunn and Brad Paisley, received an impressive four nominations, just weeks prior to his death. Landing three nominations each were Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson and Darryl Worley, while Keith's arch rivals, the Dixie Chicks landed a mere two nods. The most controversial category is none other than the Female Vocalist of the Year. Faith Hill and Shania Twain were surprisingly absent from the list of nominees which includes Terri Clark and Martina McBride, as well as unexpected artists Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless and Dolly Parton.

And the nominees are: Entertainer of the Year: Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw; Female Vocalist of the Year: Terri Clark, Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride and Dolly Parton; Male Vocalist of the Year: Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and George Strait; Vocal Duo of the Year: Bellamy Brothers, Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry, Sons of the Desert, The Warren Brothers; and Vocal Group of the Year: Alabama, Diamond Rio, Dixie Chicks, Lonestar and Rascal Flatts.

Horizon Award: Gary Allan, Buddy Jewell, Joe Nichols, Blake Shelton and Darryl Worley; Song of the Year: Brooks & Dunn's "Red Dirt Road," Toby Keith & Willie Nelson's "Beer For My Horses," Brad Paisley's "Celebrity," Randy Travis' "Three Wooden Crosses," and Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten?"; Single of the Year: Johnny Cash's "Hurt," Toby Keith & Willie Nelson's "Beer For My Horses," Brad Paisley's "Celebrity," Randy Travis' "Three Wooden Crosses," and Darryl Worley's "Have You Forgotten?"; and Album of the Year: Johnny Cash's American IV: The Man Comes Around, Dixie Chicks' Home, Toby Keith's Unleashed, Tim McGraw & The Dancehall Doctors' Tim McGraw & The Dancehall Doctors and Joe Nichols' Man With A Memory.

Vocal Event of the Year: Tracy Byrd, Andy Griggs, Montgomery Gentry & Blake Shelton's "The Truth About Men," Alan Jackson & Jimmy Buffett's "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," Toby Keith & Willie Nelson's "Beer For My Horses," Kid Rock & Sheryl Crow's "Picture," and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band & Johnny Cash's "Tears in the Holston River"; Music Video of the Year: Brooks & Dunn's "Red Dirt Road," Johnny Cash's "Hurt," Toby Keith & Willie Nelson's "Beer For My Horses," Martina McBride's "Concrete Angel," and Brad Paisley's "Celebrity"; and Musician of the Year: Jerry Douglas (dobro), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Aubrie Haynie (fiddle/mandolin), Brent Mason (guitar) and Randy Scruggs (guitar).

The 37th Annual CMA Awards will be handed out November 5 at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House. Vince Gill will assume the role of host for the 12th consecutive year. The awards program will be broadcast live on CBS-Television.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Keith's Streak of Luck Continues with AMA Nominations

Toby Keith's streak of good luck continued when the nominations for the 31st Annual American Music Awards were recently announced. Keith, Shania Twain and Tim McGraw each received two nods. Keith will vie for Favorite Male Artist-Country and Favorite Album-Country for Unleashed, Twain will compete for Favorite Female Artist-Country and Favorite Album-Country for Up! and McGraw will vie for Favorite Male Artist-Country and Favorite Album-Country for Tim McGraw & The Dancehall Doctors.

And the nominees are: Favorite Female Artist-Country: Faith Hill, Martina McBride and Shania Twain; Favorite Male Artist-Country: Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw; Favorite Band, Duo, or Group-Country: Alabama, Brooks & Dunn and the Dixie Chicks; and Favorite Album-Country: Toby Keith's Unleashed, Tim McGraw's Tim McGraw & The Dancehall Doctors, Rascal Flatts' Melt and Shania Twain's Up!.

The American Music Awards will be handed out November 16 in Los Angeles. The awards program will be broadcast live on ABC-Television.

Shania Rules Canadian Country Awards

International country/pop superstar Shania Twain's luggage was a little heavier upon her departure from her native Canada last month following the 27th Annual Canadian Country Music Association Awards. Twain was honored with four awards, including Female Artist of the Year, CMT Video of the Year for "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!," and Album and Top Selling Album of the Year for Up! Terri Clark landed the Single of the Year award for "I Just Wanna Be Mad" and the coveted Kraft Cheez Whiz Fans' Choice Award, while newcomer Aaron Lines was dubbed Male Artist of the Year and was honored with the Chevy Truck Rising Star Award.

And the winners are: Kraft Cheez Whiz Fans' Choice Award: Terri Clark; Female Artist of the Year: Shania Twain; Male Artist of the Year: Aaron Lines; Group or Duo of the Year: Emerson Drive; Chevy Truck Rising Star Award: Aaron Lines; and Roots Artist or Group of the Year: Sean Hogan.

Single of the Year: Terri Clark's "I Just Wanna Be Mad"; SOCAN Song of the Year: Doc Walker's "Rocket Girl"; CMT Video of the Year: Shania Twain's "I'm Gonna Getcha Good!"; Album of the Year: Shania Twain's Up!; and Top Selling Album: Shania Twain's Up!

Independent Female Artist of the Year: Lisa Brokop; Independent Male Artist of the Year: Gil Grand; Independent Group or Duo of the Year: Doc Walker; Independent Song of the Year: Doc Walker's "Rocket Girl"; CCMA Hall of Fame: J. Edward Preston and Sylvia Tyson; and CCMA Broadcast Hall of Fame: Fred King, Charlie Russell and Art Wallman.

Congratulations to all our northern neighbor winners.

Other Country Codas

Eighty-eight-year-old Country Music Hall of Famer and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Floyd Tillman lost his battle with leukemia August 22 at his home in Bacliff, Tex. He garnished praise from the country music community with songs like "Slipping Around," "They Took the Stars Out of Heaven," "G.I. Blues," and "Drivin' Nails In My Coffin." Just prior to his death, Tillman finished recording his soon-to-be-released album, The Influence, which includes duets Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and George Jones among others. Tillman is survived by two sons.

Sixty-four-year-old crooner Wilma Burgess passed away in Nashville on August 26. Following in the footsteps of Patsy Cline, Burgess left her mark on country music during the days of the Nashville Sound. Between 1965 and 1967. She landed in the Top 15 of the country charts with "Baby," "Misty Blue," and "Tear Time."

American treasure Sheb Wooley also lost his battle with leukemia at Nashville's Skyline Medical Center on September 16. Two days prior to his death, the 82-year-old singer, songwriter and actor attended the funeral home to pay respect to the Cash family upon Johnny Cash's passing. Under the name of Ben Colder, Wooley earned chart success with numerous country parodies, including "Detroit City No.2," "Harper Valley P.T.A. (Later That Same Day)," and "Almost Persuaded No. 2," and he is known for writing the theme song for Hee Haw, but his claim to fame was his smash novelty hit "The Purple People Eater." Wooley is survived by his widow, Linda Dotson, two daughters and two grandchildren.

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."