Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Billy Ray Cyrus Has Left the Dance Floor

Well, Flatwoods, Kentucky's very own Billy Ray Cyrus has proved to his fans and the entire country music industry that he is willing to take on new challenges when they arise. Cyrus accepted the invitation to compete on this year's Dancing With the Stars competition, teaming up with professional dancer Karina Smirnoff. Although the pair had a rocky relationship at times and sustained consistently low to mediocre scores each week in the competition, Cyrus received praise from the professional judges and fans alike for his dedication to the challenge. Cyrus and Smirnoff remained in the competition well past everyone's predictions, finally being voted off on May 8 after making it to the top five contestants. Not shabby for a good ole Kentucky. boy! Cyrus has announced that Smirnoff will appear along with him at some of his concerts this summer-definitely something for fans to look forward to.

My hat's off to ya, Billy Ray, for making country music proud! I'm sure your father would be proud as well.

Carrie Underwood Dominates the ACM Awards

When the 42nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards were handed out in Las Vegas last month, Carrie Underwood, who recently landed on People magazine's "100 Most Beautiful People" list and was named Sexiest Female Musician by Victoria's Secret, continued her habitual awards sweep, taking home three trophies. She was named Top Female Vocalist, her 6X-platinum selling debut album, Some Hearts, was named Album of the Year and her video for "Before He Cheats" was named Video of the Year.

Brooks & Dunn followed closely behind Underwood with two wins: their amazing 14th Vocal Duo of the Year trophy and Vocal Event of the Year along with Vince Gill and Sheryl Crow on "Building Bridges." George Strait also captured a pair of trophies: Single Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "Give it Away." The coveted biggest win of the night went to Kenny Chesney when he was named Entertainer of the Year.

During the awards ceremony, Brooks & Dunn were honored with the Humanitarian Award presented by the ACM and The Home Depot. To honor their extensive charity work, a public playground will be built in two communities of their choice. Although not televised during the awards ceremony, it was announced that Dolly Parton, Don Williams and the late Harlan Howard and Waylon Jennings will be presented the Pioneers Award from the ACM during a ceremony at Nashville's Tennessee State Museum on June 20. The late Buck Owens was honored with the Jim Reeves International Award and record promoter Jack Lameier received the Mae Boren Axton Award for serving on the ACM's Board of Directors for 28 years.

And the winners are: Entertainer of the Year: Kenny Chesney; Top Female Vocalist: Carrie Underwood; Top Male Vocalist: Brad Paisley; Top Vocal Duo: Brooks & Dunn; and Top Vocal Group: Rascal Flatts; Top New Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert; Top New Male Vocalist: Rodney Atkins; Top New Duo or Vocal Group: Little Big Town; Album of the Year: Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts; and Vocal Event of the Year: Brooks & Dunn, Vince Gill & Sheryl Crow's "Building Bridges."

Single Record of the Year: George Strait's "Give It Away; Song of the Year: George Strait's "Give It Away"; Video of the Year: Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats." Producer of the Year: Dann Huff; Audio Engineer of the Year: Steve Marcantonio; and Instrumentalists of the Year: Eddie Bayers (percussion/drums), Stuart Duncan (specialty-mandolin), Aubrey Haynie (fiddle), John Hobbs (piano/keyboard), Michael Johnson (steel guitar), Brent Mason (guitar), Glenn Worf (bass),

Radio Station of the Year-Major Market: WSIX in Nashville, Tenn.; Radio Station-Medium: WIVK in Knoxville, Tenn.; Radio Station-Small: WPAP in Panama City, Fla.; On-Air Personality of the Year-National: Bob Kingsley for Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40; On-Air Personality-Major Market: Jim, Deb & Kevin of WFMS in Indianapolis, Ind.; On-Air Personality-Medium Market: Charlie James with Pam Wilder of WCOS in Columbia, S.C.; and On-Air Personality-Small Market: Mike Lawrence & Dana Carole of KHKX in Midland, Tex.

Promoter of the Year: Mike Smardak of Outback Concerts of Tenn., Inc.; Don Romeo Talent Buyer of the Year: Bill Magann of Variety Attractions; Venue of the Year: Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House; and Nightclub of the Year: Buck Owens' Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, Cal.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Country Dove Winners

In late Apr, Alan Jackson added another trophy to his vast collection of awards. His gospel album Precious Memories (which he recorded as a personal gift to his mother a few years ago) was named Country Album of the Year at the 38th Annual Gospel Music Association's Dove Awards, which were handed out at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House. Country Recorded Song of the Year went to the Oak Ridge Boys' "Jonah, Job and Moses," which was written by Opry legend Bill Anderson and Tia Sellers.

Congratulations to Alan, The Oaks, Bill and Tia!

Who's Stalking Martina McBride?

Seems that country's darling songbird Martina McBride has a stalker these days. According to McBride's husband, John McBride, Ricky D. Fissel knocked on the couple's front door on April 1, asking if the singer was home. Fissel reportedly returned the following week, asking who lived at the home before running off the premises. John McBride identified Fissel in a photo lineup and the stalker's home was searched - authorities discovered a newspaper article with hearts drawn around a photo of the singer. The McBrides appeared in a Nashville court early last month, filing a protection order against the stalker.

Porter Wagoner Celebrates 50 Years on Opry

Last month, the Grand Ole Opry celebrated the rhinestone-clad Porter Wagoner's 50th anniversary as a member of the legendary institution. Wagoner, an influential singer, songwriter, producer and probably best known for introducing Dolly Parton to the world, officially became an Opry member on February 23, 1957. He has since become a staple on the famed Opry stage and his name, outrageous costumes and his music have become synonymous with the Opry.

To mark this phenomenal occasion, the frail, 79-year-old Wagoner was seated on the front row of the audience of the Saturday night Opry on May 19 along with his three children and his sister. Those honoring Wagoner in song were Marty Stuart, Louisville's own Patty Loveless, long-time Wagoner banjoist Buck Trent and Wagoner's most famous duet partner herself, Dolly Parton. Wagoner joined the party onstage to perform a couple songs from his highly anticipated and critically acclaimed CD Wagonmaster, which was produced by Stuart (hits store shelves on June 5). Parton joined her former boss and duet partner for a moving rendition of their hit "Just Someone I Used to Know," joined by Loveless on harmony. In closing, seated on a stool center-stage, Wagoner was serenaded by Parton with a heart-felt rendition of her signature tune, "I Will Always Love You," the tune she wrote for him upon the painful end of their musical partnership back in the 1970's.

Congratulations, Porter!

Tidbits from Tuckerville

"Delta Dawn" singer Tanya Tucker is looking for a new place to live. She recently sold her south-Nashville 22,620 square-foot house that sits on 500 acres of land to the Ohio-based Eagle Ridge Investments. Tucker's property was part of a $13.5 million real-estate deal, which also included the purchase of 160 acres adjoining the singer's property. The land will be used to develop a subdivision of nearly 500 homes starting at more than half a million dollars, while her house is slated to become the clubhouse of an 18-hole golf course.

Tucker may not get to hang on to all of this whopping amount of dough though. She was recently sued by manicurist Danielle D. Hobbs, who claims she was attacked and bitten by one of Tucker's dogs last May during a professional visit to her home. Hobbs states this attack led to "painful and disfiguring scars on her legs." Tucker's camp says the lawsuit was unexpected and holds no merit.

Upcoming Live Country

The paid concerts for this year's Kentucky State Fair have officially been announced and country fans should be quite pleased. Rascal Flatts closed out last year's fair and this year, well, there gonna get things kicked off country-style. Rascal Flatts will bring Jason Aldean along for the ride on Thurs., August 16 in Freedom Hall. Tickets will cost $60 each and will include fair gate admission and will go on sale June 2. Long-legged, deep-voiced Trace Adkins will prove why ladies love country boys when he rolls into the fair along with Dierks Bentley and American Idol alum Kellie Pickler on Saturday, August 18. Tickets for this show will run $41 (which also includes fair gate admission) and are already on sale at all Ticketmaster locations. Although the free state fair concerts have not yet been "officially" announced, it looks like fans will be treated to the likes of Gary Allan, Steve Holy, Tracy Lawrence, Jo Dee Messina, The Oak Ridge Boys and Blake Shelton.

4th Street Live! is gearing up for another spectacular free country concert series this summer. "Miller Lite Hot Country Nights" will kick off June 6 with Jack Ingram. Buddy Jewel will hit the downtown entertainment spot on June 13, Clay Walker on June 20, Emerson drive on July 11, Jake Owen on July 18, Little Texas on July 25 and Danielle Peck on August 15.

And don't forget, the "Rowdy Frynds Tour" featuring Hank Williams, Jr. and rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd will set up shop in Freedom Hall on June 15. The Wreckers will be playing Coyote's Music & Dance Hall on June 27. Billy Currington and Josh Turner will help celebrate Independence Day at Waterfront Park on July 3. Martina McBride will be bringing the newly crowned ACM Top New Vocal Duo or Group Little Big Town and Top New Male Vocalist Rodney Atkins to Freedom Hall on July 19.

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."