Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

ACM Awards April 5

The 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards are now upon us and will be presented live at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 5, and will be broadcast live on CBS-Television at 8 p.m. EDT. As I reported last month, Brad Paisley and Heidi Newfield were the most-nominated artists, with six and five nods respectively. The pair are trailed by Kenny Chesney, Jamey Johnson and George Strait with four nods each, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban with three each, and Trace Adkins, Brooks & Dunn, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, James Otto, Jake Owens, Taylor Swift, and Sugarland with two nominations each. Since the initial round of nominations was announced, the ACM revealed the nominees for the Album of the Year category. Those vying for this honor are: Jamey Johnson's That Lonesome Song, Montgomery Gentry's Back When I Knew It All, George Strait's Troubadour, Taylor Swift's Fearless, and Carrie Underwood's Carnival Ride. These latest nominations bring Johnson's and Strait's total of nods to five, Underwood's to four, and Swift's to three.

Fans have had the chance to be a big part of voting for this year's winners. It has already been announced that fans voted Julianne Hough as Top New Female Vocalist, Jake Owen as Top New Male Vocalist, and the Zac Brown Band as Top New Vocal Group or Duo. Fans can continue to cast their votes for the Entertainer of the Year nominees (Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Keith Urban, and Carrie Underwood) up until the last hour of the live ACM awards presentation by logging onto www.voteACM.com.

The ACM has announced that Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Heidi Newfield, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland, and Taylor Swift will be performing on the awards show, as well as host Reba McEntire. Fans especially won't want to miss a very special performance by Trace Adkins. Adkins will perform "Til the Last Shot's Fired" with the West Point Glee Club to help support the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). The performance will be available for download on iTunes and all proceeds will benefit WWP. Adkins says, "We should always let our military know how much we appreciate them putting their lives on the line for us every day. The WWP provides an incredible service to those wounded in combat, so it's an honor to donate proceeds of the performance downloads to support this important and worthy charity."

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Strait & Travis Receive Dove Award Nods

When the nominees for the Gospel Music Association's 40th Annual Dove Awards were recently announced, a few country artists were included among the nominees honoring the best in gospel music. Nominees in the Top Country Recorded Song are: Oak Ridge Boys' "Did I Make a Difference" and George Strait's "I Saw God Today," as well as Living Waters Trio's "Good Side of Goodbye," Point of Grace's "I Wish" and the Gaither Vocal Band's "Jesus and John Wayne." Top Country Album nominees are: Randy Travis' Around the Bend and Lonestar former front-man Richie McDonald's I Turn To You, as well as Living Waters Trio's Home for Now, Bart Millard's Hymned Again, and Crabb Revival's Runaway Train. Other country ties appear in the Special Event Album category, including How Great Thou Art: Gospel Favorites from the Grand Ole Opry (including the likes of Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Sara Evans, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, and Carrie Underwood) and Billy: The Early Years soundtrack from the movie about evangelist Billy Graham's life (including Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, and Josh Turner, among others).

The Dove Awards will be handed out at the Grand Ole Opry House on April 23. Congratulations to all the nominees!

Upcoming Live Country

Louisville country music fans have a very busy summer concert season ahead of them. As you all know by now, probably the biggest concert of the year will be Kenny Chesney's "Sun City Carnival Tour" which will stop off at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on May 30. Chesney will be bringing along Nicholasville, Kentucky's own Montgomery Gentry, Sugarland, Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum along for the ride. If you're not able to make this show, don't worry because there are several more top-notch concerts coming to our area.

The Kentucky State Fair has released its concert lineup which once again includes a heaping portion of country music. Two big named paid concerts will be headed to the fair: Keith Urban and Pat Green on Saturday, August 22 and closing the fair will be Taylor Swift, Kellie Pickler, and Glorianna on Sunday, August 30. Free fair concerts in the old Cardinal Stadium include: the Oak Ridge Boys on August 23, Candy Coburn on August 25, Mel Tillis and daughter Pam Tillis on August 27, and Billy Currington and Heidi Newfield on August 29.

4th Street Live! will once again host a series of free country concerts this summer. Jake Owen will kick off the series on April 29 and Jamey Johnson will be performing on June 19. Keep reading in the upcoming months as many more concerts will likely be finalized and announced.

What is the Kentucky Derby Festival without some live country music? Blake Shelton will be bringing Nashville with him when he appears at Kroger's Fest-A-Ville on the Waterfront on April 30. Admission will be a Kentucky Derby Pegasus Pin.

Horseshoe Casino in Elizabeth, Indiana is bringing some big-hitters to the area this year as well. Josh Turner, who recently announced that he and his back-up singer wife Jennifer are expecting their second child, will be performing in the ballroom on April 23. The Outdoor Summer Concert Series will return this year and the country entries will be Vince Gill on May 22 and Willie Nelson on June 6.

French Lick Casino & Resort also has a couple great country concerts coming up. Clint Black will be headed to French Lick, Indiana on May 30 and LeAnn Rimes will be performing on June 19.

LeAnn Rimes Speaks Out About Rumors of An Affair

LeAnn Rimes' appearance in the Lifetime network movie Nora Roberts' Northern Lights, which debuted late last month, has caused quite a stir. Since a cover story in Us Weekly magazine, rumors having been flying that Rimes and her on-screen love interest, actor Eddie Cibrian, are having an affair. Rimes, who has been married to Dean Sheremet since 2002, posted the following note on her website regarding this rumor: "This is a difficult time for me and my loved ones, but I appreciate all your continued support. I would like to assure all of you that this [her official website] is a place for you to hear things directly from me, and, as you all know, not everything in our lives is always black and white." Cibrian released his own statement combating the rumor stating: "Other than being friends and two actors who were romantically intertwined in a movie-for-television we filmed last fall, there is no truth to the reporting initiated by Us magazine. It is a fabricated story that is using random snapshots as connective tissue to create a scandalous relationship."

Randy Owen Receives Humanitarian Award

During the 40th Annual Country Radio Seminar last month in Nashville, Country Music Hall of Famer and former Alabama front-man Randy Owen was presented the Country Radio Broadcasters' Artist Humanitarian Award. Owen launched the Country Cares for St. Jude Kids fundraising campaign in 1989, and the event, which consists of radiothons hosted by country radio stations around our nation, has raised an impressive $345 million to help find the cure for cancer. All proceeds from these charitable events go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. When Owen accepted the honor, he said, "I want to warn you, if we don't get all the cancers cured, I'll be here 40 years from now."

Congratulations, Randy, and a personal thank you for helping aid the research to cure cancer, the cruel disease that has claimed the lives of many friends!

Country Codas

The country music family took a big hit last month when it lost three beloved members. First of all, 80-year-old Grand Ole Opry member Ernie Ashworth passed away on March 2. Ashworth enjoyed a long career as a successful songwriter, singer, and radio station owner. He is best known for hits "Talk Back Trembling Lips," "You Can't Pick a Rose in December," and "Each Moment (Spent With You)." He was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1992.

Ninety-one-year-old Grand Ole Opry member Hank Lochlin passed away at his Brewton, Alabama home on March 8. Lochlin began performing as a youngster and appeared on the Louisiana Hayride after WWII. He is best remembered for hits "Send Me the Pillow You Dream On" (which he also wrote), "Please Help Me, I'm Falling," and "Let Me Be the One."

Irby Mandrell, the patriarch of the singing Mandrell family, passed away at a Nashville area hospital on March 8. Mandrell was the manager and mentor for daughters Barbara, Louise, and Irlene. He helped further broaden the fan base of country music with closing the deal on the popular NBC variety show Barbara Mandrell & The Mandrell Sisters. He was with daughter Barbara in February when it was announced that she would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year.

Our sympathy goes out to the Ashworth, Lochlin, and Mandrell families at this time.

Well, that's it for another month. Now that the concert season is about to hit full swing, I hope I'll run into you at several of the exciting shows hitting the area this year. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin' your way."