"Redneck Woman" Continues Winning Streak
Fresh off her November CMA Horizon Award win, the "Redneck Woman" herself, Gretchen Wilson, took home two Billboard Music Awards last month. Wilson was named New Country Artist of the Year and Female Country Artist of the Year. The only other country award handed out went to Wilson's fellow Muzik Mafia members, Big & Rich, who were named New Country Duo/Group of the Year.
Congratulations, Gretchen and Big & Rich!
"Coal Miner's Daughter" Tops Grammy Nominees List
When the nominations for the 47th Annual Grammy Awards were announced just last month, the country artist who nabbed the most nods was none other than Butcher Holler, Kentucky's very own "Coal Miner's Daughter, " Loretta Lynn. Lynn had a stellar year last year, thanks in great part to the release of her critically acclaimed Van Lear Rose album. She received a whopping five nominations, including Country Album of the Year, Female Country Vocal Performance for "Miss Being Mrs.," Country Collaboration with Vocals along with Jack White on "Portland Oregon," and two songwriting nods for "Miss Being Mrs." and "Portland Oregon."
Gretchen Wilson was close on Lynn's heals with an impressive four nominations, including Best New Artist, Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song for "Redneck Woman," and Country Album of the Year for Here for the Party.
Here is the entire list of country nominees: Best Female Country Vocal Performance: Alison Krauss for "You Will Be My One True Love," Loretta Lynn's "Miss Being Mrs.," Martina McBride's "In My Daughter's Eyes," Shania Twain's "She's Not Just a Pretty Face," and Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman"; Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Johnny Cash's "Engine One-Forty-Three," Lyle Lovett's "In My Own Mind," Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," Willie Nelson's "You Are My Flower," and Keith Urban's "You'll Think of Me"; Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal: Asleep at the Wheel for "New San Antonio Rose," Big & Rich's "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)," Brooks & Dunn's "You Can't Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl," Dixie Chicks' "Top of the World," and Notorious Cherry Bombs' "It's Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long."
Best Country Collaboration with Vocals: Jimmy Buffet, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith & George Strait's "Hey Good Lookin'," Norah Jones & Dolly Parton's "Creepin' In," Loretta Lynn & Jack White's "Portland Oregon," Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard & Toby Keith's "Pancho & Lefty," and Shania Twain & Alison Krauss & Union Station's "Coat of Many Colors"; and Best Country Instrumental Performance: Asleep at the Wheel's "Billy in the Low Ground," Sam Bush's "Puppies `N Knapsacks," Albert Lee, Vince Gill & Brad Paisley's "Luxury Liner," Nitty Gritty Dirt Band featuring Vassar Clements, Jerry Douglas, Earl Scruggs and Randy Scruggs on "Earl's Breakdown," and Mark O'Connor, Byron House, Bryan Sutton and Chris Thile on "Bowtie."
Best Country Album: Loretta Lynn's Van Lear Rose, Tim McGraw's Live Like You Were Dying, Tift Merritt's Tambourine, Keith Urban's Be Here and Gretchen Wilson's Here for the Party; Best Country Song: Rodney Crowell & Vince Gill's "It's Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long," Tim Nichols & Craig Wiseman's "Live Like You Were Dying," Loretta Lynn's "Miss Being Mrs.," Loretta Lynn's "Portland Oregon," and John Rich & Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman"; Best Bluegrass Album: Lynn Anderson's The Bluegrass Sessions, Nashville Bluegrass Band's Twenty Year Blues, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder's Brand New Strings, Ralph Stanley II's Carrying On and A Tribute to Jimmy Martin: "The King of Bluegrass"; and Best Contemporary Folk Album: Ani DiFranco's Educated Guess, Steve Earle's The Revolution Starts...Now, Eliza Gilkyson's Land of Milk & Honey, Patty Griffin's Impossible Dreams and The Unbroken Circle-The Musical Heritage of the Carter Famly.
Congratulations to all the nominees!
2004 Year-End Stats
Now that we are in a brand new year, Billboard Magazine has tabulated several year-end lists and Tim McGraw, Toby Keith and Gretchen Wilson turned up quite rosy on the 2004 lists. Billboard ranked the following as the Top Five Country Hits: 1) Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," 2) Alan Jackson's "Remember When," 3) Keith Urban's "You'll Think of Me," 4) Kenny Chesney & Uncle Kracker's "When the Sun Goes Down," and 5) John Michael Montgomery's "Letters From Home."
Top Five Country Albums: 1) Toby Keith's Shock `N Y'All, 2) Kenny Chesney's When the Sun Goes Down, 3) Gretchen Wilson's Here for the Party, 4) Tim McGraw's Live Like You Were Dying and 5) Big & Rich's Horse of a Different Color.
In other stats, Toby Keith was named Billboard Magazine's overall Top Country Artist, Top Country Artist-Male and Top Country Album Artist. Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying" topped the Hot Country Singles & Tracks tally, while his 2000 Greatest Hits album was atop the Country Catalog Albums chart. Gretchen Wilson topped the New Country Artists list and Top Country Artists-Female. Rascal Flatts was honored as Top Country Group and the late, great, "Man in Black," Johnny Cash, topped the Country Singles Sales chart with "Hurt" and was named Top Country Singles Sales Artist.
Top Country Tours of 2004
Country music was well represented when the figures for the top tours of 2004 were released by Billboard Boxscore. Five country acts landed in the list of the top 25 tours (all genres), three in the top ten. Shania topped the list of country artists at #3 bringing in $62.5 million for nearly 950,000 tickets sold. Kenny Chesney landed at #8 earning $49.3 million and Toby rounded out the top 10 with $44.3 million. Although Chesney sold the highest number of tickets in the country realm, a whopping 1.4 million tickets, higher prices at the ticket office allowed Twain to surpass the newly crowned CMA Entertainer of the Year.
The 10 top grossing tours of 2004 were as follows: 1) Madonna ($125 million), 2) Prince ($90.2 million), 3) Twain ($62.5 million), 4) Simon & Garfunkel ($59 million), 5) Metallica ($53.8 million), 6) Bette Midler ($53.3 million), 7) Sting ($52.4 million), 8) Kenny Chesney ($49.3 million), 9) David Bowie ($46 million) and 10) Toby Keith ($44.3 million).
Congratulations to Shania, Kenny and Toby!
No Country Artists Headed to Rock Hall of Fame
When the final nominees for artists to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame were announced, two of country's own made the cut. Rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson and the late Conway Twitty made the ballot, but unfortunately were not selected as inductees into the Hall come March. Those artists who did make the cut and will be honored in the rock institution include Buddy Guy, the O'Jays, the Pretenders, Percy Sledge and U2.
Better luck next time to Wanda and Conway! You still make us proud!
Country Family Album
Long-legged country crooner Trace Adkins' house was a little more crowded during the recent holiday season. Adkins and his wife, Rhonda, welcomed their third daughter into the world on December 3. Trinity Lee Adkins weighed in at 5 lbs., 9 ozs. This makes five daughters for Adkins.
The McBride brood is about to increase. Reigning CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Martina McBride and her road manager husband John recently announced that they are expecting their third child in June. The happy couple broke the news to their family during the recent Thanksgiving holiday. The McBrides report that their daughters, 10-year-old Delaney and 6-year-old Emma, are very excited about their upcoming baby brother or sister.
And while we're on the subject of expectant parents, "I Want to Live" singer, ex-Marine and "American Idol" finalist Josh Gracin and his wife, Ann Marie, are expecting their second child. No due date or further details have been released.
Congratulations to the Adkins, McBrides and the Gracins!
Country Legal Woes
Lynn Anderson, famous for her smash 1970 hit "Rose Garden," had an unfortunate run-in with the law last month. Police were phoned near Denton, Texas on December 2 when Anderson's car was seen swerving. Anderson eventually pulled over on the shoulder of the road and upon arrival, police awoke the cowgirl crooner, performed a sobriety test and arrested her for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). She was released on $1,000 bond.
"Ten Thousand Angels" singer Mindy McCready was arrested last year for attempting to fill a fraudulent prescription for the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin. She managed to get ninety pills but claimed they were not for her. The platinum blonde singer was back in court recently, pleaded guilty to the drug charge and was fined $4,000 and sentenced to three years of supervised probation and 200 hours of community service. Part of her community service will be a charity concert to raise money for a drug rehabilitation program.
Well, that's it for the first month of a brand new year. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, `cause country music is comin' your way."