Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Toby Keith Headed to Town

One of the biggest names in music today is going to jumpstart the local concert scene this year. And, no, I'm not referring to the lip-syncing Ashlee Simpson's March 10 concert at the Palace Theatre. I'm speaking of none other than the reigning Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year, Toby Keith's, appearance at Freedom Hall the following night on Mar 11. This is going to be a rare concert for country fans, as Keith is performing a limited tour with none other than the legendary rocker Ted Nugent. If you've never had the great fortune of attending a Toby Keith concert before, you can rest assured that you'll get your money's worth, as this guy can really kick it! Besides his long list of greatest hits, fans can expect to hear Keith's new single, the semi-autobiographical "Honky Tonk U."

Tickets for this show are already on sale and can be purchased at all TicketMaster locations, or by calling the Freedom Hall box office at (502) 361-3100.

"Coal Miner's Daughter" Belle of Grammy Ball

When the 47th Annual Grammy Awards were handed out last month in Los Angeles, Butcher Holler, Kentucky's very own Loretta Lynn was the belle of the ball. Lynn picked up two well-deserved trophies: Country Album of the Year for Van Lear Rose and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals along with Jack White for "Portland, Oregon." Upon receiving the Album of the Year award, producer White stated, "We were sitting on the front porch together when we were making the record. In between songs, she told me, `You know, Jack, fourteen of my songs got banned by country radio and every time they wouldn't play it, it went No. 1.' Well, country radio wouldn't play this record either and look who's No. 1 now. You're an American treasure, Loretta." Throughout her illustrious career, Lynn had only captured one other Grammy back in 1971 for Best Country Collaboration along with Conway Twitty for "After the Fire is Gone."

Photo of Loretta Lynn
Photo By Photo by Michael W. Stout
Loretta Lynn

Newcomer Gretchen Wilson has had a stellar year and the Grammy awards made it even more stellar as her "Redneck Woman" helped her capture the Best Female Country Vocal Performance trophy. Tim McGraw received quite a bit of face-time during the live Grammy broadcast and walked away a winner with the Best Male Country Vocal Performance trophy for "Live Like You Were Dying," the song which gained its songwriters, Craig Wiseman and Tim Nichols, the Best Country Song trophy. In addition, The Dixie Chicks captured the Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Top of the World." The Best Country Instrumental Performance went to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs, Vassar Clements and Jerry Douglas for "Earl's Breakdown." Randy Travis picked up the Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album trophy for Worship & Faith.

Congratulations to Loretta and all the Grammy winners!

CMT 2005 Music Awards Preliminary Nominees

Country Music Television recently announced that it will change the name of its music video awards program from the CMT Flameworthy Video Music Awards to simply the CMT Music Awards this year. Redneck comedian Jeff Foxworthy will host this year's awards ceremony, which is to be televised live from Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center on April 11. The program will include live performances by Big & Rich, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Reba McEntire and Gretchen Wilson. Look for more performers to be added as the awards ceremony draws closer.

This being the only fan-voted country music awards show, winners in nine categories will be selected by you, the fans, by simply logging on and voting on www.cmt.com. The first round of nominees has been announced and you can vote right now. The final nominees in each category will be announced March 16. Pals Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw top the list of first-round nominees with five each, followed by Big & Rich, Toby Keith and Gretchen Wilson with four nods, not counting Video Director of the Year nods in which category the trophy will go to the video director as well as the artist. Alison Krauss, Martina McBride, Shania Twain and Keith Urban were each nominated in three categories.

And the first-round nominees are: Video of the Year: Big & Rich's "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)," Kenny Chesney's "I Go Back," Toby Keith's "Stays in Mexico," Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss' "Whiskey Lullaby," Rascal Flatts' "Feels Like Today," Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman," and Keith Urban's "Days Go By"; Female Video of the Year: Terri Clark's "Girls Lie Too," Loretta Lynn's "Miss Being Mrs.," Martina McBride's "How Far," Reba McEntire's "Somebody," LeAnn Rimes' "Nothin' `Bout Love Makes Sense," Shania Twain's "Don't!," Gretchen Wilson's "When I Think About Cheatin'," and Lee Ann Womack's "I May Hate Myself in the Morning"; Male Video of the Year: Trace Adkins' "Songs About Me," Kenny Chesney's "I Go Back," Alan Jackson's "Monday Morning Church," Toby Keith's "Stays in Mexico," Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," Charlie Robison's "El Cerrito Place," Blake Shelton's "Some Beach," and Keith Urban's "Days Go By."

Group/Duo Video of the Year: Big & Rich's "Holy Water," Brooks & Dunn's "That's What It's All About," Alison Krauss & Union Station's "Restless," Lonestar's "Mr. Mom," Los Lonely Boys' "Heaven," Montgomery Gentry's "If You Ever Stop Loving Me," Rascal Flatts' "Feels Like Today," and Sawyer Brown's "Mission Temple Fireworks Stand"; Collaborative Video of the Year: Jimmy Buffett, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith & George Strait's "Hey Good Lookin'," Jimmy Buffett & Martina McBride's "Trip Around the Sun," Kenny Chesney & Uncle Kracker's "When the Sun Goes Down," Loretta Lynn & Jack White's "Portland, Oregon," Nelly & Tim McGraw's "Over and Over," Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss' "Whiskey Lullaby," Travis Tritt & John Mellencamp's "What Say You," and Shania Twain & Billy Currington's "Party for Two"; and Breakthrough Video of the Year: Big & Rich's "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)," Josh Gracin's "I Want to Live," Blaine Larsen's "How Do You Get That Lonely," Los Lonely Boys' "Heaven," Julie Roberts' "Break Down Here," Mindy Smith's "Come to Jesus," Sugarland's "Baby Girl," and Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman."

Most Inspiring Video of the Year: Big & Rich's "Holy Water," Brooks & Dunn's "That's What It's All About," Josh Gracin's "I Want to Live," Martina McBride's "God's Will," Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," John Mellencamp's "Walk Tall," Joe Nichols' "If Nobody Believed in You," and Darryl Worley's "Awful, Beautiful Life"; Hottest Video of the Year: Kenny Chesney's "Old Blue Chair," Sara Evans' "Suds in the Bucket," Toby Keith's "Whiskey Girl," Nelly & Tim McGraw's "Over and Over," Shania Twain's "When You Kiss Me (One Take)," Keith Urban's "You're My Better Half," Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman," and Lee Ann Womack's "I May Hate Myself in the Morning"; and Video Director of the Year: George Flanigen, Robert Deaton and Marc Oswald for Big & Rich's "Holy Water," Trey Fanjoy for Lee Ann Womack's "I May Hate Myself in the Morning," David Hogan for Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman," Sophie Muller for Loretta Lynn & Jack White's "Portland, Oregon," Adrian Pasdar for Charlie Robison's "El Cerrito Place," Michael Salomon for Toby Keith's "Stays in Mexico," Rick Schroder for Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss' "Whiskey Lullaby," and Shaun Silva for Kenny Chesney's "I Go Back."

Wynonna Filming Draws Fellow Celebs

As I have reported in recent months, Ashland, Kentucky native Wynonna Judd was to take her autobiographical concert titled "Her Story: Scenes from a Lifetime" to the Grand Ole Opry House on February 1 to record a live concert CD and DVD. Well, the stars came out of the woodwork to support the most soulful red-headed country diva of them all. Besides mom Naomi Judd, the audience consisted of famous fans Terri Clark, Billy Dean, Keith Urban and even country's power couple, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. McGraw and Hill reportedly were responsible for several standing ovations throughout the evening. The first hour of the show consisted of both solo and classic Judd hits, while the second hour focused heavily on songs by artists from various genres of music which influenced Judd's life and music. Although no release date has been set, Curb Records hopes this special CD and DVD will be available on store shelves sometime this spring. Keep reading here in the months to come for further details.

In other Wynonna news, the singer recently received a career first when she received a Dove Award nomination by the Gospel Music Association last month for "Rescue Me" from her latest CD, What the World Needs Now is Love. The tune will vie for Country Recorded Song along with Mike Bowling's "The Heat of the Battle," The Crabb Family's "Forever," fellow Kentucky native Billy Ray Cyrus' "I Need You Now," and Joe Nichols' "Just a Closer Walk with Thee." The 36th Annual Dove Awards will be handed out in Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House on April 13. Congratulations and good luck, Wy!

Lynn Anderson Legal Woes on the Rise

If you recall, "Rose Garden" singer Lynn Anderson was arrested for drunk driving back in December in Denton, Texas As if that weren't enough legal trouble, Anderson has managed to get herself into even more trouble with the law. On January 24, she was arrested after being accused of stealing a Harry Potter DVD from a food and drug store in her hometown of Taos, New Mexico. As she was being led to the police officer's car, she allegedly struck the officer in the arm. Anderson was charged with misdemeanor counts of shoplifting, battery and resisting or obstructing an officer. Her attorney recently entered not guilty pleas to all three charges and described Anderson as a "loved and respected member of the Taos community."

Country Codas

Louisville's very own famed Bluegrass fiddler Art Stamper lost his battle with throat cancer on January 23. Born near Hindman, Kentucky in 1933, Stamper began playing fiddle as a pre-teen and went on to receive the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America Old-Time Fiddler Award three consecutive years. Throughout his music career, he played with the likes of Bill Clifton, J.D. Crowe, The Goins Brothers, Jim & Jesse, Bill Monroe, The Osborne Brothers, Larry Sparks and The Stanley Brothers.

One of the most influential individuals in country music, singer, songwriter and manager Merle Kilgore, succumbed to congestive heart failure caused by cancer treatment on February 6 in Mexico. The seventy-year-old Kilgore began his career as a radio DJ, but soon shifted his interests to singing and songwriting with hits such as "Dear Mama" and "Love Has Made You Beautiful." Kilgore has worked behind the country music scenes for decades as a music publisher and has been the manager of Hank Williams, Jr. since 1986. He will probably be most remembered as the songwriter of Claude King's "Wolverton Mountain" and co-writer of Johnny Cash's classic "Ring of Fire" along with June Carter Cash. His songwriting talents landed him in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1997. Kilgore's memorial service was held at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium and included performances by Kid Rock, Brenda Lee, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Travis Tritt and Wynonna.

Sonny Day, 80, who was the original accordionist in Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys group, passed away February 6 from bone cancer. Day performed on Acuff's classic recording of "The Wabash Cannonball" and performed along with Acuff on the Grand Ole Opry in the 1940s. In more recent years, Day could even be heard on records by Vince Gill and Tanya Tucker.

The 61-year-old "Help Me Make It Through the Night" singer Sammi Smith passed away in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on February 12. Born Jewel Fay Smith on August 5, 1943, Smith was a professional singer by the ripe old age of 12. She took the plunge and moved to Nashville in 1968, charting with "So Long, Charlie Brown, Don't Look for Me Around," "Then You Walk In," and "Today I Started Loving You Again." Smith last appeared on the Grand Ole Opry with her son Waylon Payne last summer.

Country Vows

Wedding bells have been ringing all around the country community as of late. "If Heaven" crooner Andy Griggs took a bride named Renee on January 11 in Mt. Juliet, Tenn. The happy couple first met during a meet-and-greet session backstage at an Idaho concert.

Big Kenny, who makes up the hot new Muzik Mafia duo Big & Rich with John Rich, made his second trip down the aisle recently. The "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" singer/songwriter married Christiev Carothers in S.D. on January 23.

Congratulations and best wishes to these two happy couples!

Well, another month has come and gone. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, `cause country music is comin' your way."