Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

John Michael Montgomery Arrested on Multiple Charges

Nicholasville, Kentucky's own John Michael Montgomery has made headlines once again, but not for his musical abilities. On a much somber note, 41-year-old JMM dominated news outlets last month when he was arrested in the early morning hours of February 16 at the intersection of Man O' War Blvd. and Belleau Wood Dr. in Lexington. He was charged for driving under the influence, possessing a prescription drug (the painkiller Endocet) not in its proper container, running a red light and then driving erratically and two counts of carrying a concealed deadly weapon. The arrest occurred at 2:54 a.m. and Montgomery was released from custody at 6:48 a.m.

Later the same day, Montgomery's attorney, Jon Woodall, entered a plea of not guilty when he appeared in court on his client's behalf. Woodall presented the following statement: "John Michael is not yet able to comment in detail regarding the impaired driver allegations. We are awaiting completion of a final report to be issued by the arresting officer. Based upon the contents of that report and other evidence, a decision will be made concerning the substantive nature of these charges."

"John Michael is, of course, an avid sportsman and hunter. He has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Kentucky to carry concealed weapons. Unfortunately, John Michael did not have his concealed carry permit with him at the time he was stopped. Once John Michael's permit is produced for law enforcement officials, he is hopeful that these charges will be dismissed."

"Approximately one and a half months ago, John Michael underwent extensive hip replacement surgery. In order to treat pain associated with that surgery and his recovery, John Michael's physicians have prescribed certain pain medications. The controlled substance charges relate specifically to this prescription medication. Therefore, John Michael is hopeful that the controlled substance charges will also be dismissed."

"John Michael wishes to thank his family, friends and fans for their support as this matter is resolved."

Keep reading in upcoming months for further details in this developing case.

Alison Krauss Rules the Grammys

Country/bluegrass sweetheart Alison Krauss has been very fortunate when it comes to the Grammy Awards and this year was no different. During the 48th Annual Grammy Awards, Krauss picked up three additional trophies, bringing her total up to 20 trophies, more than any other female in all genres of music. She and her band, Union Station, won Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Restless," Country Album of the Year for Lonely Runs Both Ways and Country Instrumental Performance of the Year for "Unionhouse Branch."

Emmylou Harris landed her 12th Grammy with the Best Female Country Vocal Performance trophy for "The Connection," while Keith Urban earned his very first Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for "You'll Think of Me." The Best Country Song award went to Bobby Boyd, Jeff Hanna & Marcus Hummon, songwriters of Rascal Flatts' "Bless the Broken Road." Husband and wife duo Tim McGraw and Faith Hill earned a Grammy for Country Collaboration with Vocals for "Like We Never Loved at All." Also during the live telecast, Merle Haggard and the late Owen Bradley were recognized as recipients of Lifetime Achievement awards.

In other country-related news, the Del McCoury Band took home the Bluegrass Album trophy for The Company We Keep, Delbert McClinton's Cost of Living was named Best Contemporary Blues Album, John Prine took home the trophy for Best Contemporary Album for Fair & Square, Tim O'Brien's Fiddler's Green captured the Best Traditional Album trophy and Mrs. Vince Gill, Amy Grant, captured the trophy for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album for Rock of Ages...Hymns & Faith.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Dolly Parton & the Cash Legacy Earn Oscar Nods

International superstar Dolly Parton, who turned 60 in January, has had a very illustrious career over the past five decades. Throughout that time, little has made the always-bubbly Parton speechless, but she was reportedly floored upon the recent announcement that she landed an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. Parton received the nod for her self-penned "Travelin' Thru" from the film Transamerica starring Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman, who earned a nod herself for Best Actress for her portrayal of a transsexual dealing with his son. An Oscar nomination is quite an honor for any musician and this marks Parton's second nomination in this category. Her first was for the title track from her 1980 movie debut, 9 to 5. Fans can catch Parton performing "Travelin' Thru" on the live Oscar telecast.

The late, legendary Johnny and June Carter Cash will also be well represented at the 78th Annual Academy Awards, which will air live on ABC-Television on March 5. Although the critically acclaimed biopic of their life, Walk the Line, was shut out from the Best Picture category, actors Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Whitherspoon each landed a nod. Phoenix's portrayal of the "Man in Black" landed him a nomination for Best Actor, an award he earned at the Golden Globes back in January Whitherspoon will compete for Best Actress for her portrayal of the ever-loving Carter Cash, the award she took at both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards January 29. In addition to these two top awards nominations, the film will vie for Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing.

Congratulations and best wishes to Dolly, Joaquin and Phoenix! Make country music proud!

2006 CMT Music Awards First Round Voting

The first round of voting for the 2006 CMT Music Awards is now underway on www.cmt.com. Fans can logon and vote for their favorite videos in 9 categories, including Video of the Year, Male Video, Female Video, Group/Duo Video, Collaborative Video, Breakthrough Video, Hottest Video, Most Inspiring Video and Video Director of the Year. Fans can vote for one of each of the Top 8 nominees in each of these categories through March 9. On March 15, the four finalists for each category will be announced except for Video of the Year. The second round of voting will run through April 7.

America's favorite redneck, Jeff Foxworthy, will return as host of the 2006 CMT Music Awards which will be handed out April 10 at the Curb Event Center at Nashville's Belmont University.

Kenny Chesney Keeps Momentum Going in 2006

Kenny Chesney concert tickets are the hottest thing going these days. Following his stellar, record-breaking "Somewhere in the Sun" tour last year, Chesney is scheduled to hit the road with his "The Road and the Radio" tour on March 23 in Dayton, Ohio. When tickets for the first nine stops on this highly-anticipated tour went on sale February 11, it was evident that Chesney has kept the momentum going and he has great potential of having the top-selling tour in country music for the second consecutive year. When tickets went on sale, more than 86,000 tickets were sold the very first day, totaling more than $5.5 million. Shows in Dayton; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Austin, Texas; plus Pensacola and Jacksonville, Florida, sold out the first day.

Although Louisville has not been announced as a stop on "The Road and the Radio" tour as of yet, I wouldn't count it a wash yet. I have a feeling that Chesney might stage a major stadium show this summer possibly at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. No official word on that yet, but keep reading in the months to come to see if my crystal ball is predicting correctly. In the meantime, Chesney's second stop of the tour is on Saturday, March 25 in our neighboring Lexington's Rupp Arena. Fortunately, tickets ARE still available and can be purchased at all TicketMaster locations and online.

Dolly Does It Again, Orlando Style

When my family escaped to warmer temperatures in sunny Orlando, Florida, last month, we had the opportunity to stop in and enjoy Dolly Parton's newest Dixie Stampede. Fans who have had the opportunity to experience one of the country music business diva's other Dixie Stampede establishments will notice a few changes. First of all, unlike Pigeon Forge's bluegrass pre-show in the carriage room, Orlando offers a more traditional and nostalgic saloon style show, complete with magic, music and a singing `Miss Kitty.' Once you've entered the arena to prepare for the finger-lickin' good feast and show chock-full of beautifully athletic horses, buffalo, racing pigs and even ostriches, you'll be glad to see that Parton ditched the benches for more comfortable chairs for patrons. The Orlando show gives Parton fans plenty to get their music fix as the singer appears in a video introduction featuring our National Anthem and closes with a rousing video of the Parton original "Color Me America."

Dolly's done it again with the "most fun place to eat" in Orlando. Be sure to stop by and enjoy the show while visiting down south for spring break. One word of advice though-come with a hearty appetite because you are in store for a treat of a feast including a rotisserie chicken, pork tenderloin, corn on the cob, baked potato, creamy vegetable soup and an apple turnover to wrap up the food-fest.

New Record Deals

Fans of "Have You Forgotten?" singer Darryl Worley were obviously surprised to hear about Worley's recent release from his recording contract with DreamWorks Records, but never fear, as he has bounced right back. During last month's Country Radio Seminar (CRS) in Nashville, Worley announced that he has signed a new record deal with Neal McCoy's Nashville-based label, 903 Music, making him the second artist on the label roster, next to McCoy himself. Worley is already working on recording his next record with producer Frank Rogers. No tentative release date has been revealed yet.

"Wave on Wave" singer Pat Green's career got a huge boost as he landed a coveted opening slot on Kenny Chesney's mega-tour last year. Green gained masses of new fans and even caught the attention of Chesney's own record label, BNA Records, who have signed Green to their roster. A major player in the Texas music scene, Green began recording independent records over a decade ago and just in recent years signed to a national label, the rock-oriented Republic Records. With the promotion team of BNA and the opening slot on Keith Urban's 2006 tour, I expect Pat Green is going explode this year and become a HUGE country star.

Where do eight Top 10 singles, including the smash chart-topper "19 Somethin'" get a country music artist? Well, if you're Mark Wills, it can unfortunately leave you without a record deal. Wills was recently dropped from the Mercury Records label, but he has rebounded with a brand new deal with the Equity Music Group, the home of Clint Black and Little Big Town. Wills is already recording a new album, which should be released this summer.

"Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)," "Anymore," and "It's a Great Day to Be Alive" singer Travis Tritt has sold more than 25 million records over the years while signed to major record labels, but he is embarking on a new adventure musically. Tritt recently signed with the newly formed independent label Category 5 Records. He helped launch the label last month during the CRS. Fans can be on the lookout for a brand new album in the near future called My Honky Tonk History.

Well, that's it for another month. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, `cause country music is comin' your way."