Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout
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Shania Heads to Town Following Several Honors

Shania Twain fans are in luck as the superstar will bring her Up! tour to Louisville's Freedom Hall on May 19 in support of her album of the same name. Although no opening act has been announced yet for this show, her recent concerts have included an opener. Tickets are already on sale and can be purchased at any Ticketmaster location or by calling the Freedom Hall box office at 502-361-3100.

Come May 19, fans will witness first-hand why Twain recently swept the 14th Annual Billboard Music Awards. She was named the Country Artist of the Year and Country Albums Artist of the Year, while Up! was named Country Album of the Year. And speaking of Up!, the disc was recently certified 10 times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Since the disc is a two-CD set, this certifies that five million copies have been sold. This accomplishment makes Twain the only female to have three consecutive albums sell more than 10 million copies each (her previous two being The Woman In Me and Come On Over).

Coal Miner's Daughter Receives Kennedy Center Honor

Butcher Hollow's favorite "Coal Miner's Daughter," Loretta Lynn received a high honor last month during a ceremony in our nation's capitol. Lynn received a Kennedy Center Honor for her "significant contribution to the arts," along with singer James Brown, actress Carol Burnett, director Mike Nichols and violinist Itzhak Perlman. On hand to honor the country legend were Garth Brooks, former President George Bush, Patty Loveless, Lyle Lovett, Reba McEntire, Sissy Spacek (who won an Oscar portraying Lynn in the 1980 movie Coal Miner's Daughter) and Trisha Yearwood.

Congratulations, Loretta!

Country Grammy Nominations

When the nominations for the upcoming Grammy Awards were recently announced, the country categories were dominated by country traditionalists. Ky.'s own Ricky Skaggs topped the list with five nods, followed by the "Redheaded Stranger," Willie Nelson with four. Alison Krauss, Shania Twain and the late June Carter Cash earned three nominations each. Surprise nominations include the Oak Ridge Boys' "Colors" in the Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Ray Benson's nods for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for "Annabelle" and Best Country Instrumental Performance for "Ain't Chet Yet."

And the nominees are: Best Female Country Vocal Performance: June Carter Cash's "Keep on the Sunny Side," Patty Loveless' "On Your Way Home," Martina McBride's "This One's for the Girls," Dolly Parton's "I'm Gone," and Shania Twain's "Forever and For Always"; Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Ray Benson's "Annabelle," Vince Gill's "Next Big Thing," Lyle Lovett's "My Baby Don't Tolerate," Tim McGraw's "She's My Kind of Rain," Joe Nichols' "Brokenheartsville," and Randy Travis' "Three Wooden Crosses"; and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: Brooks & Dunn's "Red Dirt Road," Diamond Rio's "I Believe," Lonestar's "My Front Porch Looking In," The Oak Ridge Boys' "Colors," and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder's "A Simple Life."

Best Country Collaboration with Vocals: June Carter Cash & Johnny Cash's "Temptation," Alan Jackson & Jimmy Buffett's "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," Willie Nelson & Norah Jones' "Wurlitzer Prize (I Don't Want to Get Over You)," Willie Nelson & Toby Keith's "Beer For My Horses," and James Taylor & Alison Krauss' "How's the World Treating You"; Best Country Album: Faith Hill's Cry, Lyle Lovett's My Baby Don't Tolerate, Willie Nelson & Ray Price's Run That By Me One More Time, Willie Nelson's Live and Kickin', Shania Twain's Up! and Livin', Lovin', Losin': Songs of the Louvin Brothers; Best Country Song: "Beer for my Horses," "Celebrity," "Forever and For Always," "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," and "Wave On Wave"; and Best Country Instrumental Performance: Ray Benson's "Ain't Chet Yet," Alison Krauss & Union Station's "Cluck Old Hen," Brad Paisley & Redd Volkaert's "Spaghetti Western Swing," Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson & Ricky Skaggs' "Pick Along," and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder's "Get Up John."

In addition to these nominations, the following country artists are nominated in the listed categories: Best Bluegrass Album: Alison Krauss & Union Station's Live and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder's Live at the Charleston Music Hall; Best Traditional Folk Album: June Carter Cash's Wildwood Flower and Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson & Ricky Skaggs' The Three Pickers; and Best Contemporary Folk Album: Rosanne Cash's Rules of Travel and Emmylou Harris' Stumble Into Grace.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

People's Choice Awards Nominees

Country artists were scattered throughout the musical categories when the nominees for the People's Choice Awards were recently released. Faith Hill and Shania Twain will vie for Favorite Female Musical Performer, while Mr. Faith Hill, Tim McGraw will vie for Favorite Male Musical Performer. The retiring supergroup Alabama and Brooks & Dunn will compete for the title of Favorite Musical Group or Band.

The People's Choice Awards will be handed out January 11 during a live broadcast on CBS-Television.

Good luck to the nominees!

2003 Record Toppers

Mark Wills enjoyed a stellar year with his smash hit "19 Something" and it was recently announced that the tune was named Radio & Records' Most-Played Country Single of the Year. Shania Twain was named Top Female Airplay Artist, Toby Keith continued his reign as the Top Male Airplay Artist for the second consecutive year, Rascal Flatts was named Top Group/Duo Airplay Artists and Jimmy Wayne was named 2003's Most-Played New Country Artist. In addition, Keith was honored with the MVP Award.

Pollstar recently released its list of the top grossing country tours of 2003 and rivals the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith topped the list. The Chicks' "Top of the World" Tour grossed a whopping $61.6 million, thanks in part to the fact that tickets had already been sold BEFORE Natalie's disparaging remarks against President Bush during a London concert. Keith enjoyed the second most profitable tour, raking in $42 million. Shania Twain had the third highest-paying tour with $35.5 million, followed by Kenny Chesney at $34.4 million. And Tim McGraw & The Dancehall Doctors' "One Band Show" rounded out the top five country tours with 31.3 million dollars worth of ticket sales.

Run-Ins with the Law

The "Rhinestone Cowboy," Glen Campbell made headlines recently when he was arrested for drunken driving. Campbell was driving under the influence November 24 in his hometown of Phoenix, Ariz. when he struck another car and fled the scene for his home. A witness followed Campbell to his home and notified police who arrested Campbell for extreme drunken driving. During the fiasco, Campbell became angered and kneed a police officer on the thigh. Upon a breathalyzer test, it was determined that Campbell's blood-alcohol level was 0.20, while 0.08 is Arizona's legal alcohol limit. Before posting $2,000 bail, Campbell reportedly could be heard singing his signature song behind bars. The day following his release from jail, Campbell released the following statement: "Yesterday, I was arrested and put in jail. Even at my age, I learned a valuable lesson. I apologize to my wife, my family, my friends and my fans." Although he blames his behavior on mixing prescription drugs and alcohol, he is facing a felony count of aggravated assault and misdemeanor counts of extreme DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.

"I Don't Call Him Daddy" and "Reno" singer Doug Supernaw is suffering the consequences of his run-in with the law during a September 2002 barroom brawl. He was recently sentenced to a 14-day Texas jail term after being found guilty of resisting arrest. He was also fined $1,500 for the misdemeanor and he faces trial for a felony account of assault of a police officer in February

Country Stars Say, "I Do"

Blake Shelton's life is really looking up these days. He is burning up the charts with "Playboys of the Southwestern World," and his personal life is equally afire. Shelton married Kaynette "Katt" Williams in Gatlinburg, Tenn. on November 17. The happy couple had been engaged since December 2002.

Soulful country crooner Wynonna made her second trip down the aisle November 22 in her hometown of Leiper's Fork, Tenn. Wynonna married her bodyguard of 10 years, D.R. Roach in a small, private ceremony. Pick up a copy of this month's issue of In Style magazine for exclusive coverage of the ceremony and reception. You might remember Wy's recent highly publicized arrest for DUI following what the singer described as a celebration of her upcoming wedding and a friend's birthday. Well, Wy pleaded guilty last month and has lost her driver's license for one year, has been sentenced to 200 hours of community service and was fined $350 plus court costs.

Trick Pony's Heidi Newfield is making plans to say "I do." Newfield's fiancé Bill Johnson recently popped the big question in his hometown of Greenville, N.C., presenting her with a family heirloom diamond which has been in his family for 120 years. The couple has not yet set a wedding date, so keep reading in upcoming months for further details.

Congratulations and best wishes to the Sheltons, Wy & Roach and Heidi & Bill.

Country Baby Boom

There has been a definite baby boom in country music as of late. Travis and Theresa Tritt welcomed another child on November 20. Son Tarian Nathaniel weighed in at 6 lbs., 12 oz. and measured 18 ½ inches long. Tarian joins big brother Tristan and big sister Tyler.

"Just Another Day In Paradise" singer Phil Vassar is a papa once again. He and wife Julie welcomed their second daughter on December 4. Presley Jade was born in Nashville and weighed in at 6 lbs., 11 oz. She joins 5-year-old big sis Haley.

Well, you can't say Kenny Rogers is too old to be a father again. The 65-year-old crooner recently announced that he and his wife, Wanda are expecting in July. And they're not just expecting one child, but two! Twins actually run in both parents' families, especially for Wanda, who is an identical twin herself.

Congratulations to the Tritts, Vassars and Rogers!

Country Codas

The country music community was hit hard by death last year and unfortunately the death toll increased greatly in the last few weeks. On November 17, famed singer/songwriter Don Gibson passed away at Nashville's Baptist Hospital at the age of 75. Although he enjoyed chart success as a singer with "Oh Lonesome Me" and "Sweet Dreams," he is better known as the songwriter of these classics, as well as "I Can't Stop Loving You" and "(I'd Be) A Legend in My Time." Gibson was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

Songwriter Vince Matthews, best known for penning Gene Watson's "Love in the Hot Afternoon" and Crystal Gayle's "This is My Year for Mexico," died November 22 at Nashville's St. Thomas Hospital. No details have been released besides the fact that Matthews requested his body be donated to science.

Teddy Wilburn, who along with older brother Doyle, made up the Wilburn Brothers, passed away November 24 in Nashville. The duo joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1953 and remained members until Doyle's death in 1982. Since then, Teddy remained a solo Opry member. Besides fame as a country music duo themselves, the pair was instrumental in jumpstarting the careers of Patty Loveless, Loretta Lynn and Webb Pierce through their talent agency, booking agency and music publishing companies.

Superstar Dolly Parton's mother, Avie Lee Parton, whom Dolly immortalized in her precious autobiographical song "Coat of Many Colors," passed away at the age of 80 on December 5 following a long illness.

Fifty-eight-year-old honky-tonker and Kentucky native Gary Stewart was found dead December 16 after an apparent suicide. Stewart will be remembered for hits "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)," "Drinkin' Thing," and "Ramblin' Man." Stewart canceled his last scheduled concert November 29 following the death of his wife.

Well, that's it for yet another month. As another year begins, I wish you the happiest, healthiest and wealthiest of New Years. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, `cause country music is comin' your way."