Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Local Radio Personality to be Honored During Ky. Music Hall of Fame Induction

During the 2004 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, to be held in Frankfort on February 19, the spotlight will be on Louisville's premier country music program director. WAMZ 97.5-FM's own Coyote Calhoun will be honored with the Kentucky Broadcasters Association Award for his long and outstanding service in the radio field. Calhoun will be keeping company with some pretty impressive names in music that evening. The 2004 Hall of Fame inductees include Jerry Chesnut, The Coon Creek Girls, J.D. Crowe, Vestal and Howard Goodman, Boots Randolph, Ricky Skaggs and Billy Vaughn. In addition to Calhoun's special award, Dwight Yoakam will be honored with the Governors Cup, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys will receive Ambassadors Awards and Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry will be named Entertainers of the Year.

Several of this year's inductees and award recipients will be on hand to accept their awards and to perform. The ceremony will begin at 8 p.m. at the Frankfort Civic Center. General admission tickets are $35 and can be purchased by calling 1-877-356-3263 or by logging on to www.kentuckymusicmuseum.com.

The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum "honors Kentucky performers, songwriters, publishers, promoters, managers, broadcasters, comedians and other music professionals who have made significant contributions to the music industry in Kentucky and around the world." It is located in Renfro Valley, KY. The current Hall of Fame inductees are: Rosemary Clooney, the Everly Brothers, Red Foley, Tom T. Hall, Grandpa Jones, Bradley Kincaid, John Lair, Loretta Lynn, Bill Monroe, The Osborne Brothers, Jean Ritchie and Merle Travis.

Congratulations to Coyote and all the others being honored!

Naomi Judd Brings Book to Town

When Ashland, Ky. native Naomi Judd was forced to retire from country music as half of one of the most successful duos in country music history, The Judds, in December 1991, her future looked rather bleak. Her health was failing as she was battling hepatitis C. Well, Mama Judd got on the ball and got her disease under control and is now hepatitis C free. Judd is not one to just sit at home and enjoy her retirement. She has been as busy in recent years as when she was touring the country with daughter Wynonna.

Judd was in town last month for a book signing for her brand new New York Times' best-seller, Naomi's Breakthrough Guide: 20 Choices to Transform Your Life. Fans lined the aisles of the Fern Creek Wal-Mart to spend a moment with their favorite country red-head and get an autographed copy of her book. Wrapping up her book tour right here in Derby City, Judd headed to Cal. for tapings of the all-new Star Search, on which Judd serves as a celebrity judge.

And while we're on the subject of the Judd family, Naomi and daughters Wynonna and Ashley will be honored in our state capitol next month. The author/singer Judd, singer Judd and actress Judd will be co-recipients of a Kentucky Governor's Award in the Arts during a ceremony in Frankfort on March 11. No word yet if the three Judd women will be on hand for this ceremony, so check back next month for further details.

Toby Keith to Heat Up Louisville and Super Bowl

Toby Keith is probably the hottest thing going in country music today. His career is red-hot and the recent release of his latest album, Shock'n Y'all is proof. Released just a few months ago, the disc has already been certified double platinum, having sold more than 2 million copies, making it the highest selling album released last year. This stellar CD remains at the top of the country albums charts with his previous release, Unleashed also in the top five selling albums. Keith was also the largest country concert draw last year, playing to nearly 1.2 million fans, beating out his arch rivals the Dixie Chicks at #2, followed by Kenny Chesney, Shania Twain and rounding out the top five tours, Tim McGraw. In all genres of music, Keith had the second most-attended tour of the year, following Bruce Springsteen.

Louisville fans will be excited to learn that Keith will be heating up the Super Bowl on February 1 and then head to Louisville February 5 with his "Shock'n Y'all" Tour to ignite yet another flame. The night before the Super Bowl, Keith will star in a special live edition of CMT Crossroads on Country Music Television. He will be joined on-stage in Houston by pal and duet partner Willie Nelson, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, jazz man Wayman Tisdale, rocker Sammy Hagar and Darryl McDaniels of rap group Run-DMC. And what better way to kick off the biggest football game of the year than with a performance by Mr. Keith? He and Willie Nelson will appear on the Super Bowl pre-game show Welcome to Houston-The Spirit of Texas with Beyonce Knowles, Aerosmith and Josh Groban. Both the pre-game show and Super Bowl XXXVIII will air live on CBS-Television.

And if two nights of live, televised Toby Keith performances is not enough to whet your appetite, then there's the Freedom Hall show. Coming along with Keith will be hot newcomer Blake Shelton. Tickets are going fast, so don't wait until the last minute or it just might be too late. This "Shock'n Y'all" Tour promises to be a must-see, major production.

Vince Gill Taking a Break from CMA Hosting Job

Country crooner Vince Gill holds the record for winning the most CMA Awards (18 awards total) and he has filled the slot of host of the annual Country Music Association Awards for the past 12 years, but he recently announced that he is taking a break from the job this year. Fortunately though, Gill is not opposed to returning to the job in the future. He recently released the following statement: "I'm forever grateful for the opportunity to represent this industry and have taken great pride in hosting the CMA Awards for the past 12 years. I've always been one to trust my gut and my gut tells me it is time for a change for everyone. In the future, I will be more than willing to accept that role again, but right now it feels like I need a little break."

A replacement host for this year's 38th Annual CMA Awards program has not yet been announced.

Country Awards

When the 30th Annual People's Choice Awards were handed out in Los Angeles last month, country music swept the music categories. The "First Couple of Country Music," Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were named Favorite Male and Favorite Female Musical Performer, although Hill shared the honor with Beyonce Knowles. Toby Keith got some well-overdo recognition with the trophy for Favorite Music Video for his comical "I Love This Bar."

Natalie Maines nearly brought the career of the Dixie Chicks to a screeching halt last March when she made her infamous slam against President George W. Bush during a London concert. Dixie Chicks radio airplay plummeted and the band has still not recovered from the backlash caused by the disparaging remark. But this very remark has landed the Chicks the Patrick Lippert Award, which will be presented during MTV's 11th Annual Rock the Vote Awards on February 7. Following the remark, the Chicks embarked on a campaign called "Chicks Rock, Chicks Vote," urging young women to exercise their right to vote. This controversial award will honor the Chicks for their "commitment to preserving and protecting freedom of expression."

It was recently announced that supergroup Alabama will be the latest recipients of the Country Radio Broadcasters Career Achievement Award. Randy, Teddy, Jeff and Mark will be only the seventh act to ever receive this honor. Given to an "individual artist or act that has made a significant contribution to the development and promotion of country music and country radio," the award will be presented during the annual Country Music DJ Hall of Fame ceremony March 2 in Nashville.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Country Family Album

The McGraw family suffered a major blow last month. Tim McGraw's father, the famed New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies baseball pitcher Tug McGraw, passed away at his famous son's home outside of Nashville on January 5. The elder McGraw had been suffering from brain cancer. Tim spent the majority of his childhood unaware of the identity of his true father, but strangely enough was a big fan of Tug McGraw and reportedly even had Tug's baseball card taped to his headboard. Once Tim's mother revealed his father's identity to her son, he and his father established a family relationship. Tug McGraw was survived by sons Mark, Matthew and Tim, daughter Cari Velardo and four grandchildren.

Well, there's been no official word, but it appears that the marriage between Lorrie Morgan and Sammy Kershaw may not be over after all. As I reported a few months ago, the couple filed restraining orders against one another following a heated argument and even proceeded to file for divorce. Well, one wouldn't think a couple going through a divorce and ordered by the courts to stay away from one another would appear on a game show together, but that's just what Morgan and Kershaw did last month. The pair taped an episode of Pyramid hosted by Donny Osmond in Los Angeles last month. Keep reading in the months to come as I'll give you further details as they are announced. In the meantime, Morgan's brand new critically acclaimed album Show Me How hit stores late last month.

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."