Cowboy Corner
Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Chesney Takes Home Top CMA Award

When the 38th Annual Country Music Association Awards were handed out last month, Kenny Chesney earned not only one long-overdue CMA trophy, but two. Early in the awards ceremony, Chesney's When the Sun Goes Down was named Album of the Year and as the pièce de résistance at the conclusion of the evening, Chesney captured the coveted Entertainer of the Year award, beating out Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and his pal Tim McGraw. Chesney's `Entertainer' acceptance speech was cut short as producers started playing the closing music and rolling the credits as Chesney was just getting wound up thanking everyone for helping him arrive at this point in his career, despite the fact he told producers, "You can turn that off. I'm going to stay up here. I waited twelve years. You ain't gonna run me off in two minutes. You can turn it off the TV, but we're gonna be here awhile." Despite his interrupted acceptance speech, Chesney did not appear to be upset, although much controversy has brewed in the days since the awards as to who was at fault for this unfortunate incident.

Martina McBride was once again named Female Vocalist of the Year, tying Reba McEntire for a record four wins in the category. The Male Vocalist of the Year category was quite a surprise when Aussie Keith Urban was handed the trophy. One of the most moving moments of the evening was when "Redneck Woman" Gretchen Wilson was awarded the Horizon Award. Wilson humbly stated, "I came here last year and sat way back there in the very back and dreamed of standing up here someday. I just had no idea that it was going to happen so fast for me." Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss' haunting duet "Whiskey Lullaby" earned two trophies: Video of the Year and Musical Event of the Year.

During the awards ceremony, singer, songwriter and actor Kris Kristofferson was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as music executive Jim Foglesong.

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

Horizon Award: Gretchen Wilson; Single of the Year: Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying"; Song of the Year: Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying"; and Album of the Year: Kenny Chesney's When the Sun Goes Down.

Musical Event of the Year: Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss' "Whiskey Lullaby"; Music Video of the Year: Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss' "Whiskey Lullaby," directed by actor Rick Schroeder; Musician of the Year: Dann Huff-guitar; Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees: Kris Kristofferson and Jim Foglesong; and CMA International Achievement Award: Dolly Parton.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Louisville Author Receives CMA Award

Various industry awards were handed out during a reception last month prior to the CMA Awards. Louisville journalist, critic and biographer Alanna Nash was honored with the Media Achievement Award. Nash currently writes for Entertainment Weekly magazine and has written biographies on famous folks like Dolly Parton, murdered newscaster Jessica Savitch and Elvis' manager, Col. Tom Parker.

Congratulations, Alanna!

Chesney's Winning Streak Continued at AMA Awards

Riding high from his CMA Entertainer of the Year award a mere five days prior, Kenny Chesney also won the top award when the American Music Awards were handed out last month. Chesney beat out Evanescence, Norah Jones, Outkast and Usher to win the fan-voted Artist of the Year Award, making this his very first AMA trophy. Reba McEntire made quite a musical comeback this year, enough to capture the Favorite Female Country Artist award. Toby Keith was named Favorite Male Country Artist and Brooks & Dunn Favorite Country Band, Duo, or Group. Hot newcomer Gretchen Wilson beat out Maroon 5 and Kanye West for the breakthrough Favorite New Artist award. In addition, Toby Keith's Shock `n Y'all was crowned Favorite Country Album.

Congratulations, Kenny, Reba, Toby, Gretchen and Kix & Ronnie!

CCMA Winners

Hot newcomer Josh Turner of "Long Black Train" fame earned his first music awards last month when the Christian Country Music Association Awards were handed out. Turner's smash debut single earned the singer/songwriter Songwriter of the Year, Song of the Year and Video of the Year trophies. Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban, better known as The Oak Ridge Boys, recently released a brand new gospel album, which helped the quartet land the Mainstream Country Artist of the Year Award.

Congratulations, Josh, Joe, Duane, William Lee and Richard!

Montgomery Gentry & Lynyrd Skynyrd Kick Up Some Fun

Kentucky natives Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, who make up the smash duo Montgomery Gentry, have had the rare opportunity to fulfill one of their lifelong dreams in recent weeks. The duo shared the stage with the legendary rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd at Frankin, Tennessee's The Factory on November 17 to film an episode of Country Music Television's CMT Crossroads. The two groups joined to perform hits like "Sweet Home Alabama," "My Town," and "Hillbilly Shoes." Fans can catch this highly anticipated concert on CMT on December 10.

If you are a fan of rowdy, rockin' country music and the Montgomery Gentry/Lynyrd Skynyrd episode of CMT Crossroads is just not quite enough to satisfy your appetite, then you are in luck. The two bands will share the stage once again come year's end for Montgomery Gentry's annual New Year's Eve bash at Lexington's Rupp Arena. Tickets are now on sale.

Country Heavy Metal

Several country artists will be enjoying some precious metal under their Christmas trees this holiday season. Josh Turner's debut album, Long Black Train, which includes his award-winning smash debut single of the same name, was recently certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales of 1 million copies. The newly crowned CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, Keith Urban, will also be celebrating with a new platinum album certification for his album Be Here, a mere six weeks after its release.

Gretchen Wilson's career is shining brighter than the Gaylord Opryland Hotel during the Christmas season. Her debut album, Here for the Party, which includes "Redneck Woman," the title track and Wilson's brand new, much-talked-about single "When I Think About Cheating," has been certified triple-platinum for sales of 3 million copies. Not too shabby for a country gal hardly anyone had ever heard of a mere seven months ago. In addition, her "Redneck Woman" has been certified gold for 100,000 digital downloads.

Kenny Chesney has also had a stellar year this year and this is sure to be a holiday season to remember for the Luttrell, Tennessee native. His When the Sun Goes Down album has been certified triple platinum, while his six song video compilation DVD of the same name has been certified double platinum for sales of 200,000 copies. The superstar's on-the-road documentary Roadcase has been certified platinum for sales of 100,000 copies.

Country Christmas in Washington

The First Couple of the Grand Ole Opry, Marty Stuart and Connie Smith, will be hob-nobbing with the First Couple of the United States, President George W. and First Lady Laura Bush, for the holidays this year. Stuart and Smith will head to our nation's Capitol on December 1 to take part in the 2004 Christmas Pageant of Peace. The couple will perform their self-penned "Peaceful World" during the festivities and will be on hand for the lighting of the national Christmas tree.

Stuart and Smith will be joined by American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke, television's favorite weatherman, Willard Scott and opera singer Carl Tanner.

Chris LeDoux Health Watch

If you'll remember, rodeo champ-turned-country crooner Chris LeDoux has had his share of health problems through the years. Back in 2000, LeDoux was diagnosed with a rare liver disease that forced the singer to undergo a liver transplant. Although he has completely recovered from this liver disease and transplant, LeDoux received another blow in recent months. Early last month, LeDoux announced that he has been diagnosed with a slow-growing cancer in his bile duct known as cholangiocarcinoma. He is currently undergoing radiation treatments for the cancer and has cancelled concerts throughout this ordeal.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Chris.

Well, that's it for another month and another year for that matter! I'd like to take this opportunity to wish each of you and yours the happiest holiday season ever! Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, `cause country music is comin' your way."