Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Calling All Local Musicians

If you are a local musician dreaming of that big break and American Idol and Nashville Star television music competitions aren't your speed, then you're still in luck. Country singer/songwriter Mark Collie, who gained chart success with "Even the Man in the Moon Is Cryin'" and "Born to Love You" back in the 1990's and country songwriter and record executive Randy Boudreaux, who works for Broken Bow Records, are looking for undiscovered talent right here in the Derby city. Collie and Boudreaux will be hosting a talent search during open mike night at Loser's in O'Malley's Corner every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. The pair will be traveling to Louisville from Nashville each week in hopes of discovering and developing new artists. They plan to bring fellow performers (including new and well-established artists), songwriters and record executives each week to aid in their search.

Musicians interested in the opportunity to be discovered should arrive at Loser's on any Tuesday night around 7:30 p.m. to meet with Collie and Boudreaux to discuss their potential career before the open mike showcase begins. For more details, call Barry Hunt at 589-3866.

Underwood & Rascal Flatts Top People's Choice Awards

When the annual People's Choice Awards were handed out early last month, country sweetheart Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts were the big country winners. Underwood was crowned Favorite Female Singer among all genres of music and her "Before He Cheats" was named Favorite Country Song. Rascal Flatts' "Life Is a Highway," which was featured in the Disney/Pixar film Cars, was named Favorite Song from a Movie and Favorite Remake Song. Kenny Chesney also made country music proud as he was named Favorite Male Singer, also among all genres of music.

Congratulations, Carrie, Rascal Flatts and Kenny!

Country Stars Ready for Grammy Awards

Country fans won't want to miss the 49th Annual Grammy Awards, which will be handed out live at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 10 (and airing live on CBS-Television). Despite the fact that their Bush-bashing comments across the great pond a few years back have gotten them virtually erased from all country radio playlists, the Dixie Chicks top the list of country nominees. Natalie, Martie and Emily will vie for Record of the Year (all genres), Song of the Year (all genres) and Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "Not Ready to Make Nice" and Album of the Year (all genres) and Country Album of the Year for Taking the Long Way. Following closely behind the Chicks with four nods is Carrie Underwood. She will vie for New Artist (all genres) and Song of the Year (all genres), Female Country Vocal Performance and Country Song of the Year for "Jesus, Take the Wheel." Both the Chicks and Underwood were recently announced as performers on the live telecast.

During the week of the Grammy Awards, the late Western swing bandleader and Country Music Hall of Famer Bob Wills will also be remembered and honored for his great contributions to music. He will posthumously receive the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Grammy, along with fellow recipients The Grateful Dead, The Doors, Joan Baez, Booker T. & the MGs, jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman and opera singer Maria Callas.

In other Grammy news, several country songs will be inducted into this year's Grammy Hall of Fame, honoring a song's achievements in history. This year's country inductees are: Jimmie Rodgers' "Blue Yodel #9 (Standing on the Corner)," The Delmore Brothers' "Blues Stay Away from Me," Charlie Poole's "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down Blues," George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today," Patsy Montana & the Prairie Ramblers' "I Want To Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart," Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You," Jimmie Rodgers' "In the Jailhouse Now," Uncle Dave Macon's "Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy," Emmitt Miller & His Georgia Crackers' "Lovesick Blues," and DeFord Bailey's "Pan American Blues." The only country album to be inducted this year will be Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser's 1976 monumental album Wanted! The Outlaws.

Keith Urban Finishes Rehab

Country music's guitarist extraordinaire, the "Wonder from Down Under," Keith Urban, has successfully completed his recent stint in rehab for alcohol abuse. Mr. Nicole Kidman has admitted addictions to alcohol and cocaine in the past and checked himself into a California rehab center in October to help overcome his demons. Unfortunately, that coincided with the release of his latest album, Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing, which includes his current single, "Stupid Boy." He remained in rehab for three months with the exception of a few days toward the end of his tenure after Christmas when he joined his wife in their native Australia.

Upon his release from rehab last month, Urban wasted no time at resuming his life and career right where he left off. Urban and Kidman attended a Los Angeles party following the annual Golden Globe Awards. It was announced the next day that Urban has rescheduled a benefit concert in Chicago for St Jude Children's Research Hospital. The show was originally scheduled for November 11 and has been rescheduled for February 8. In addition, it was announced that Urban will embark on an international tour touted as the "Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing World Tour" in April. This much-anticipated show will stop in Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and the United States.

Best wishes, Keith for continued success and good health.

Grand Ole Opry Sued by Senior Artist

Country music pioneer and Grand Ole Opry member Stonewall Jackson, known for hits "Waterloo" and "B.J. the D.J.," is not a happy camper these days. The 74-year-old singer sued the Grand Ole Opry's owners, Gaylord Entertainment and the Opry general manager, Pete Fisher, on January 11 for $10 million, accusing the hallowed organization (of which he has been a member for half a century) of age discrimination, breach of contract and retaliation. He feels that his number of Opry appearances has greatly declined in recent years since Fisher took control of the Opry, supposedly wanting to feature younger artists on the revered stage of the historic, longest-running music program. Jackson claims that Fisher has said the legendary entertainer is "too old and too country" to perform on the Opry.

Steve Buchanan, Gaylord Entertainment's VP of Media & Entertainment, recently told Nashville's The Tennesseean newspaper that the Opry tries to appeal to all generations of fans. He said, "The allegations of age discrimination are without merit, as evidenced by our lineups in each and every show."

Keep reading in upcoming months for more details as this story and lawsuit unfold.

American Idol's Country Gals Go Heavy Metal

FOX-Television's insanely popular American Idol is primarily known as a singing competition to find America's next top pop music singer, but it's had it's share of successes in the country music genre as well. AI Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood, who hails from Checotah, Oklahoma, has taken Nashville and country music by storm. Her debut album, Some Hearts, was recently certified 5X platinum for sales in excess of 5 million copies. Underwood's CD was released on November 15, 2005, has topped Billboard magazine's country albums chart for 20 weeks and is the fasting selling debut album by a female country artist ever.

Albamarle, North Carolina's favorite "Small Town Girl," Kellie Pickler might not have captured the titled of the Season 5 "American Idol," but she did land her way into the show's top 10. Ever popular as an innocently na´ve country girl, Pickler has earned success as a country artist herself, following in Underwood's footsteps. While co-hosting the morning female chat-fest The View last month, Pickler was surprised with a gold certification plaque for her debut album, Small Town Girl, celebrating sales of half a million copies, thanks in part to the album's first single, "Red High Heels." When Rosie O'Donnell surprised her with the plaque, Pickler stated, "This is awesome. It reinforced that my dreams are becoming a reality. It's almost better than being in a shoe department where everything's half off!" O'Donnell tried to have Pickler's very own American Idol, the legendary Dolly Parton, make the presentation to Pickler, but unfortunately it was not conducive to Parton's busy schedule.

Congratulations, Carrie and Kellie!

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