Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

"Coal Miner's Daughter" to Join Songwriters Hall of Fame

Butcher Hollow, Kentucky's favorite "Coal Miner's Daughter," singer/songwriter Loretta Lynn, will receive the top honor in the songwriting world this summer. During a ceremony in New York City on June 19, Lynn will be formally inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, along with Desmond Child, Albert Hammond, Alan Menken and John Sebastian. Lynn's musical career began years ago when her late husband, Mooney Lynn, bought her a guitar and urged her to perform after hearing her sing to their babies around the house. Lynn took to songwriting and offered a hauntingly realistic glimpse into the world around her involving infidelity, alcohol, motherhood, birth control and the coalmines of Kentucky. She has written numerous hits such as "Honky Tonk Girl," "Fist City," "The Pill," "One's On the Way," and "You Ain't Woman Enough."

Loretta Lynn. File Photo

Lynn will be only the ninth country songwriter to be bestowed with this honor of induction into the Hall of Fame, joining Boudleaux and Felice Bryant, Harlan Howard, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams.

Congratulations, Loretta! You keep making Kentucky proud.

Final Nominees for CMT Music Awards

When the final nominees were announced for the 2008 CMT Music Awards last month, Brad Paisley's "Online" and Sugarland's "Stay" topped the list with four nods each, along with video director Shaun Silva. Following closely behind with three nominations each were Trace Adkins, Kenny Chesney, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. Fans can continue to vote online at www.cmt.com through April 11. Final nominees for the Video of the Year category will be announced during the awards ceremony and final voting will occur throughout the ceremony which will be held at the Curb Event Center at Nashville's Belmont University on April 14, airing live on Country Music Television. The hosts of the show will be none other than Hannah Montana and her papa, Miley Ray and Billy Ray Cyrus.

Brooks and Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban, as well as the singing Cyrus hosts, are all scheduled to perform during the awards ceremony. Now, on to the nominees! Video of the Year: Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You," Kenny Chesney's "Don't Blink," LeAnn Rimes' "Nothin' Better to Do," Brad Paisley's "Online," Taylor Swift's "Our Song," Sugarland's "Stay," Rascal Flatts' "Take Me There," and Carrie Underwood's "Wasted." Female Video of the Year: Martina McBride's "Anyway," Miranda Lambert's "Famous in a Small Town," LeAnn Rimes' "Nothin' Better to Do," Taylor Swift's "Our Song," and Carrie Underwood's "So Small." Male Video of the Year: Kenny Chesney's "Don't Blink," Toby Keith's "High Maintenance Woman," Trace Adkins' "I Got My Game On," Keith Urban's "I Told You So," and Brad Paisley's "Online." And Duo Video of the Year: Big and Rich's "Lost in This Moment," Brooks and Dunn's "Proud of the House We Built," Sugarland's "Stay," and Montgomery Gentry's "What Do Ya Think About That."

Group Video of the Year: Little Big Town's "A Little More You," Rascal Flatts' "Stand" and "Take Me There," and Bon Jovi's "(You Want To) Make a Memory." Collaborative Video of the Year: Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You," Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's "I Need You," Bon Jovi and LeAnn Rimes' "Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore," and Garth Brooks and Huey Lewis' "Workin' For a Livin'." USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year: Bucky Covington's "A Different World," Luke Bryan's "All My Friends Say," Kellie Pickler's "I Wonder," and Chuck Wicks' "Stealing Cinderella." And Awards Performance of the Year: Dierks Bentley's "Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go)," Kellie Pickler's "I Wonder," Tim McGraw's "If You're Reading This," and Sugarland's "Stay."

Supporting Character of the Year: Jason Alexander in "Online," Rodney Carrington in "I Got My Game On," Tyler Hilton in "Teardrops on My Guitar," and Christian Kane in "So Small." Wide Open Country Video of the Year: Alison Krauss and Robert Plant's "Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On)," Willie Nelson's "Gravedigger," The Eagles' "How Long," and Jack Ingram's "Measure of a Man." Tearjerker Video of the Year: Kenny Chesney's "Don't Blink," Kellie Pickler's "I Wonder," Billy Ray Cyrus' "Ready, Set, Don't Go," and Sugarland's "Stay." Comedy Video of the Year: Toby Keith's "High Maintenance Woman," Trace Adkins' "I Got My Game On," Brad Paisley's "Online," and Blake Shelton's "The More I Drink." And Video Director of the Year: Trey Fanjoy, Michael Salomon, Shaun Silva and Roman White.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Kenny Chesney Dominates ACM Nominees

When Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley announced the nominees for the 43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards last month, Kenny Chesney was the top contender, garnering eight nominations in seven categories. Chesney will compete for Entertainer of the Year, Top Male Vocalist, Album, Single, Song and Video of the Year, as well as Vocal Event of the Year along with Tracy Lawrence and Tim McGraw for "Find Out Who Your Friends Are" and with George Strait on "Shiftwork." Trailing Chesney with four nods each are Rodney Atkins, Big and Rich, Brad Paisley and Sugarland. Miranda Lambert, George Strait and Taylor Swift each received three nominations.

Reba McEntire will return as the host of the ACMs for the 10th consecutive year on May 18. The ceremony will be broadcast live from Las Vegas on CBS-Television. Currently scheduled performers include Rodney Atkins, Big and Rich, Emerson Drive, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes, Sugarland, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban.

And the nominees are: Entertainer of the Year: Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, George Strait and Keith Urban; Top Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. Top Male Vocalist: Rodney Atkins, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait and Keith Urban. Top Vocal Duo: Big and Rich, Brooks and Dunn, Halfway to Hazard, Montgomery Gentry and Sugarland. And Top Vocal Group: Diamond Rio, The Eagles, Emerson Drive, Little Big Town and Rascal Flatts.

Top New Female Vocalist: Sarah Buxton, Kellie Pickler and Taylor Swift. Top New Male Vocalist: Luke Bryan, Jack Ingram and Jake Owen. Top New Duo or Vocal Group: Carolina Rain, Lady Antebellum and The Wreckers. Single Record of the Year: Kenny Chesney's "Don't Blink," Miranda Lambert's "Famous in a Small Town," Big and Rich's "Lost in This Moment," Sugarland's "Stay," and Gary Allan's "Watching Airplanes." And Song of the Year: Kenny Chesney's "Don't Blink," Big and Rich's "Lost in This Moment," Emerson Drive's "Moments," Rodney Atkins' "Watching You," and Sugarland's "Stay."

Vocal Event of the Year: Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You," Tracy Lawrence, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney's "Find Out Who Your Friends Are," Kenny Chesney and George Strait's "Shiftwork," Bon Jovi and LeAnn Rimes' "Till We Ain't Strangers Anymore," and Vince Gill and Sheryl Crow's "What You Give Away." Album of the Year: Brad Paisley's 5th Gear, Miranda Lambert's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Kenny Chesney's Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates, Rodney Atkins' If You're Going Through Hell and Taylor Swift's Taylor Swift. And Video of the Year: Kenny Chesney's "Don't Blink," Big and Rich's "Lost in This Moment," Brad Paisley's "Online," Sugarland's "Stay," and Rodney Atkins' "Watching You."

Best wishes to all the nominees!

Sweetheart of the Grand Ole Opry

Yet another chapter was written in Carrie Underwood's fairy tale story when she performed on the revered stage of the legendary Grand Ole Opry last month. After performing her rendition of traditionalist Randy Travis' "I Told You So," Travis walked on stage and surprised the 2005 American Idol winner with an invitation to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. After about a one second pause, Underwood said, "Yes!" She stated, "This is one of the best nights of my life and it's certainly something I'll never forget. And I'm glad each and every one of you were here to share it with me. This has been absolutely amazing."

After being crowned American Idol in May 2005, Underwood wasted no time making her Nashville debut at the CMA Music Festival, followed up by her Opry debut on June 10. She will be formally inducted as an Opry member on May 10.

Before we leave the subject of Carrie Underwood, the number ones keep on coming. She landed at the top of the charts for the seventh consecutive time with her latest single, "All American Girl." Congratulations on all your success, Carrie!

Must-See Country TV

Country music has been well represented on the small screen as of late. When long-legged Trace Adkins headed to New York City last fall to vie for the title of NBC-Television's The Celebrity Apprentice along with the likes of KISS bassist Gene Simmons, world heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis and supermodel Carol Alt, who would have thought that our country boy would go so far. At the time of this writing, Donald Trump has selected Adkins and tabloid editor Piers Morgan as the final two contestants battling for the title. The American cowboy vs. the Brit! Adkins has competed with consistency, integrity and good ole Southern charm every step of the way. More than once he admitted that he was playing the game for one reason and one reason alone: his six-year-old daughter who suffers from severe food allergies. Adkins is vying for the $250,000 grand prize for his charity of choice, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN). We're rootin' for ya, Trace!

After much speculation over the past several months, it was confirmed last month that international country superstar Dolly Parton will be a mentor to the contestants on FOX-Television's American Idol this season. Parton will reportedly appear on the April 1 episode mentoring the top nine contestants as they perform selections from her songbook and will likely appear live on the April 2 results show to perform a selection from her recently released Backwoods Barbie CD. Parton is not the only country flavor to hit AI this season though as Carrie Underwood will return "home" for the special "Idol Gives Back" charity show on April 9.

Trace Adkins left his comfort zone to compete as a New York businessman, so why shouldn't Clint Black leave his comfort zone to try something new? Well, he's going to do just that on the new reality show Secret Talents of the Stars, debuting April 8 on CBS-Television. Black will hang up his guitar, grab a microphone and try his luck as a stand-up comedian. Judges will critique the live performances of 16 celebrity's secret talents and viewers will vote for their favorites. Hats off to Clint!

Country Music Television has teamed up with FremantleMedia North America, producers of American Idol, for a brand new singing competition called Can You Duet. The weekly music competition is looking for another George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn and Wynonna and Naomi Judd. The show will debut on CMT on April 14 and will be hosted by TV personality Rossi Morreale. The judges and contestant mentors will appropriately be half of one of the most popular country duos, The Judds, Naomi Judd, "Amazed" songwriter Aimee Mayo and vocal coach Brett Manning.

George Strait Radio

Not too many singers can say they have their very own radio station, but for the next two months, "The Cowboy," Country Music Hall of Famer George Strait, will have his own channel. "Strait Country" will premier on XM Radio channel 17 on April 1 to coincide with the release of his 37th album, Troubadour, which includes his current Top 10 hit "I Saw God Today." It'll be all George Strait, all day long. The station will play Strait's music and exclusive interviews and programming surrounding the singer through May 31.

Eric Logan, executive VP of programming for XM Radio says, "George's tremendous achievements and body of work transcends musical genre and will make this channel a must-listen for all music fans across the country."

When asked about the distinct honor of having his own radio channel (joining only Michael Jackson and Led Zeppelin as the third artist to achieve this feat), Strait said, "It's always a thrill to hear one of your songs played on the radio, but to have XM Radio dedicate an entire channel to my music is just amazing."

Country Ups and Downs

Congratulations are in order for "All My Friends Say" singer Luke Bryan and his wife Caroline. The Bryans welcomed their first child into the world March 18. Thomas Boyer "Bo" Bryan weighed in at 6 lbs, 14 ozs and measured 20 in long. Bryan is a proud father, stating, "Watching my wife bring our son into this world is a feeling I can't even put into words. It's definitely one of the greatest moments in my life. Caroline and Bo are doing great."

Our hearts go out to 89-year-old, "Make the World Go Away" singer, and Country Music Hall of Fame member Eddy Arnold upon the passing of his wife of 66 years last month. Eighty-seven-year-old Sally Gayhart Arnold died at a Nashville-area hospital on March 11 after being admitted the previous weekend with breathing problems. Eddy Arnold was recovering from hip replacement surgery he underwent the previous week when his wife passed away.

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."