Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Louisville's Very Own Nashville Star?

Could Derby City have its own Nashville Star? Louisville's very own 28-year-old Brigid Kaelin surely hopes so. The singer/songwriter has made the list of 56 contestants (out of more than 20,000 hopefuls) who will compete in regional finals November 1-3 for the fifth season of USA Network's Nashville Star televised competition looking for the next country music superstar. Here's hoping Kaelin will make it to Nashville Star, which will premiere on January 11 with hosts Jewel and Cowboy Troy.

Good luck, Brigid!

McGraw Earns Hollywood Star

Singer/songwriter Tim McGraw is no stranger to awards and various accolades for his music career, but now recognition for his work as an actor is beginning to roll in. McGraw was in sunny California last month to be honored with his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6901 Hollywood Blvd., neighboring the stars of William Shatner and Julie Andrews. McGraw was flanked by family, including wife Faith Hill and fellow actors, including Billy Bob Thornton, during the ceremony. McGraw's second movie, Flicka, a remake of the famed My Friend Flicka, opened in theaters around the country to mediocre reviews on October 20. Critics raved on McGraw's acting debut as an abusive father a couple years ago in the football flick Friday Night Lights.

McGraw didn't just fly to California to receive this great honor last month. While there, he took the opportunity to perform at the Fulfillment Fund's Stars 2006 event at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. He helped raise money to help under-privileged students graduate from high school.

Congratulations, Tim!

First Batch of Nashville Walk of Fame Inductees

Tim McGraw is not the only country entertainer receiving a star on the Walk of Fame these days. It was recently announced that Nashville will soon have its own Music City Walk of Fame in the downtown area. The first inductees will be Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap and the late Roy Orbison. Additional inductees will be Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, songwriters of the legendary "Rocky Top," and gospel group The Fisk Jubilee Singers. These inductees will be honored during a ceremony outside the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on November 5, the eve of the Country Music Association Awards.

Congratulations to all the inductees!

Sara Evans' Messy Divorce

Country singer and dancing favorite Sara Evans dropped a bombshell on October 12 when she announced she was filing for divorce and dropping out of the ABC-Television dancing competition "Dancing with the Stars." Evans alleges that Craig Schelske, her husband of 13 years, has been unfaithful and had an affair with her former friend and nanny, Alison Clinton; frequently watches pornography; has numerous photos of himself having sex with other women; has nearly a hundred nude photos of himself in a state of arousal and had transferred $274,000 from joint bank accounts to a private, personal account in his native state of Oregon. Schelske and Clinton deny all allegations made by Evans and they are puzzled at this very public media smearing.

In wake of these allegations, Evans has been granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting Schelske from threatening her, taking the couple's three children to Oregon, viewing pornography in the presence of the children and from withdrawing money from their joint bank accounts.

Although Evans withdrew from the dancing competition, she will return for the "Dancing with the Stars" finale on November 15. Although she disappointed her dance partner Tony Dovolani by her early departure, Evans has asked Dovolani to choreograph her 2007 concert tour.

Keep reading in the months to come as this story unfolds.

Underwood & Rascal Flatts Earn Two AMA Nods

Hot newcomer Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts have had stellar years this year in the country music industry. Both acts will vie for two trophies at the 2006 American Music Awards to be held in Los Angeles on November 21. Underwood will compete for Favorite Female Country Artist as well as Favorite New Breakthrough Artist (encompassing all genres of music). Rascal Flatts are up for Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group and Favorite Country Album for Me and My Gang.

And the nominees are: Favorite Female Country Artist: Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood and Gretchen Wilson; Favorite Male Country Artist: Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith and Keith Urban; Favorite Country Band, Duo or Group: Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry and Rascal Flatts; and Favorite Country Album: Johnny Cash's Legend of Johnny Cash, Tim McGraw's Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 and Rascal Flatts' Me and My Gang.

The AMA's will air live on ABC-Television at 8 p.m. E.S.T., November 21. Congratulations and good luck to all the nominees!

Start Deckin' the Halls

Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is upon us and Christmas is just around the corner. That's right, fewer than 55 shopping days until Christmas! What better way to get into the holiday spirit than by curling up around a crackling fireplace with your sweetie, a mug of piping hot coffee and a Christmas album in the CD player. This year, three of country music's biggest artists are offering new holiday releases.

"The Cowboy" himself, George Strait, will offer his third Christmas CD, titled Fresh Cut Christmas, this month and next exclusively at Hallmark Gold Crown stores. The album, which will feature cuts "Deck the Halls," "Up on the Housetop," and "O Come, All Ye Faithful," among others, will cost a mere $7.95 with the purchase of three greeting cards. Don't waste time at picking this record up because it will be extremely limited.

Ashland, Kentucky native Wynonna is no stranger to Christmas music, as she and her mother, Naomi, released Christmas Time with The Judds years ago, but she's never released a solo Christmas album. That is, until now. This year, Wy has released the appropriately titled A Classic Christmas, which any music fan will want to add to his or her holiday collection. With one of the most powerful and beautiful voices in all genres of music, backed by an orchestra, Wynonna wraps her voice and soul around classics like "The Christmas Song," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "O Holy Night," and "Ave Maria," along with the fresh "It's the Messiah." For this remarkable project, Wynonna has teamed up with The Judds' longtime producers Brent Maher and Don Potter.

Neighboring West Virginia native Brad Paisley released his first-ever holiday collection last month, simply titled Brad Paisley Christmas. Paisley offers classics like "Silver Bells" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas," a cover of the late Buck Owens' "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy," and a couple new numbers, "364 Days to Go" and "Penguin, James Penguin." Holding onto the tradition of his last couple albums, the Kung Pao Buckaroos (Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens and George Jones) return for "Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday." The real gift in this collection is the self-penned track "Born on Christmas Day," which features a recording of a 13-year-old Paisley performing on the Wheeling, W. Va. radio show Jamboree USA mixed with the current-day Paisley. A real gem!

Tex-Mex Freddy Fender Dies

Sixty-nine-year-old Tex-Mex country singer/songwriter Freddy Fender lost his battle with lung cancer on October 14 at his Corpus Christi, Texas home. Born Baldemar Huerta in San Benito, Texas on Jun 4, 1937, Fender gained national fame as one of country music's few Hispanic superstars with #1 hits "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" (the 1975 Country Music Association Song of the Year) and "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights." In 1990, Fender co-founded the Tex-Mex group The Texas Tornados, winning a Grammy for Best Mexican-American performance for "Soy de San Luis."

Fender's health began to fail in the late 1990s. He received a kidney transplant from his daughter in 2002 and a liver transplant in 2004. Two cancerous tumors were found on his lungs this past January and nine smaller tumors were discovered in July. He began battling a blood infection early last month.

Freddy Fender last performed on December 31, 2005. He is survived by his wife Vangie Huerta, sons Baldemar "Sonny" Huerta, Jr. and Daniel Huerta and daughters Tammy Huerta Mallini and Marla Huerta Garcia.

Our condolences go out to the entire Huerta family.

Dobro Legend "Uncle Josh" Graves Passes

Dobro legend Burkett "Uncle Josh" Graves passed away September 30 in Nashville following a lengthy illness. Graves began his musical career in East Tennessee back in 1942 and joined Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper's band before becoming one of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs' Foggy Mountain Boys. He later joined fiddler Kenny Baker, mandolinist Jesse McReynolds and guitarist Eddie Adcock to form The Masters. He was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Honor in 1997.

Country Baby News

Country crooner Josh Turner has been on cloud nine both personally and professionally as of late. Turner and his background-singing wife Jennifer welcomed their first child into the world on October 6. Son Hampton Otis Turner was born at Nashville's Baptist Hospital, weighing 8 lbs., 12 ounces. Both mother and baby are doing fine and enjoying family time at home until Daddy hits the road again on November 2 for a concert in Jacksonville, Florida Just a few days after Hampton's birth, the proud papa was honored at an industry party celebrating the success of his sophomore album, Your Man, being certified platinum for selling 1 million copies. In addition, Turner's latest single, "Would You Go With Me," spent multiple weeks in the top spot of Billboard's country singles chart last month. October 2006 will be a month Turner is bound to never forget.

Country singer and guitarist extraordinaire Brad Paisley will be changing his tune to lullabies in the near future. Paisley and his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley of "What About Jim" and Father of the Bride fame, announced recently that they are expecting their first child in February. Paisley was scheduled to headline the 3rd Annual Music City Jam as part of the Country Radio Seminar (CRS) in Nashville on February 28, but that's the exact week the baby is due, so pal Toby Keith has agreed to step in for Paisley.

Congratulations to the Turners and the Paisleys!

Well, that's it for this month. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving and urge you to take time out of your busy lives to stop and offer thanks for the many blessings we have been given in this great country. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, 'cause country music is comin' your way."