Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Paisley & Swift Dominate CMT Music Awards

When the 2009 CMT Music Awards were handed out last month in Nashville, Brad Paisley was the big winner, taking home three belt buckle trophies while Taylor Swift followed with two wins. Paisley captured the Male Video of the Year award for "Waitin' on a Woman," featuring veteran actor Andy Griffith, "Start a Band," his duet with Keith Urban, was named Collaborative Video of the Year, and Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Alan Jackson & George Strait's video performance of "Country Boy" was named CMT Performance of the Year.

Although Swift only captured two trophies, she took home the top prize, Video of the Year, for "Love Story," as well as Female Video of the Year for the same song. Sugarland walked into the awards with the most number of nominations, five, but Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush walked away with a single trophy: Duo of the Year for "All I Want to Do."

nd the winners are: Video of the Year: Taylor Swift's "Love Story"; Female Video of the Year: Taylor Swift's "Love Story"; and Male Video of the Year: Brad Paisley's "Waitin' on a Woman."

Group Video of the Year: Rascal Flatts' "Every Day"; Duo of the Year: Sugarland's "All I Want to Do"; Collaborative Video of the Year: Brad Paisley & Keith Urban's "Start a Band"; and USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year: Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried."

CMT Performance of the Year: Alan Jackson, George Strait, Brad Paisley & Dierks Bentley's "Country Boy"; Wide Open Country Video of the Year: Kid Rock's "All Summer Long"; Nationwide On Your Side Award: Gloriana; and Director of the Year: Trey Fanjoy (Taylor Swift's "Love Story").

Congratulations to all the winners!

Sugarland's Lexington Performance Hitting Wal-Mart

Fans who had the privilege of hearing Sugarland live during their recent stop at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Kenny Chesney's "Sun City Carnival Tour" know the energy the duo puts into their performance. This energy will be translated to CD and DVD next month, as the duo's concert at Lexington's Rupp Arena last year was recorded for a live CD/DVD package. The combo, titled Live on the Inside, will be available exclusively at Wal-Mart on August 4. The 10 song CD will include live performances of "Stay," "All I Want to Do," and "Love," as well as cover songs by the B-52's, Beyonce, Edie Brickell, Kings of Leon, Pearl Jam, and R.E.M. The 16-cut DVD will also include live performances of "It Happens," "Settlin'," "Want To," and many more hits.

Live on the Inside's price tag of $12 will be sure to please Sugarland fans young and old alike!

Montgomery Gentry Leaves Its Mark

Nicholasville, Kentucky's favorite rowdy country duo, Montgomery Gentry has really left its mark on the country music industry in the recent past. Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry wowed the home-state crowd at Kenny Chesney's stadium show last month, exuding family, country, and a definite party attitude. Their unique brand of country music landed the duo with a highly coveted invitation to become members of the legendary Grand Ole Opry in late May when Opry member Charlie Daniels surprised them by walking onstage following their Opry performance, stating, "I have known you guys for a long time, and I am very proud of all your accomplishments. If you agree to it, on June 23, you're gonna be made members of the Grand Ole Opry!" Needless to say, the pair accepted the invitation and were scheduled to become official members just days following press time.

Montgomery Gentry's patriotism and unending support of our U.S military was the inspiration for the duo's latest album, For Our Heroes, which is available exclusively at Cracker Barrel restaurants. The special CD includes hits like "Something to Be Proud Of" and "My Town," as well as several recordings that have been available only on limited release discs. The duo put this special CD together to honor the troops and to donate a portion of all proceeds to the Wounded Warrior Project, which offers supplies to wounded soldiers when they return home to the United States.

Congratulations, Eddie and Troy! Keep up the good work.

Special Country Honors

George Jones' 1980 hit "He Stopped Loving Her Today" is one of the most popular country songs of all-time and the song is about to receive a major honor. The classic tune is one of 25 songs that has been selected to be added to the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry. It will join the Stanley Brothers' "Rank Stranger" from 1960, as well as recordings by The Who and Etta James.

Long-legged Newnan, Georgia native Alan Jackson began his career in Nashville in the mailroom at cable television channel TNN The Nashville Network over two decades ago. Just last month, Jackson celebrated 20 years in the music industry and his accomplishments as a seasoned country singer/songwriter will be rewarded next year in a huge way. Jackson has been selected to receive his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010, the 50th anniversary of the Hollywood, California staple. He will join fellow musicians Bryan Adams, Chaka Khan, the late Roy Orbison, Ringo Starr, and ZZ Top.

Congratulations, George & Alan!

Twain Reaches Out to Fans

Country superstar Shania Twain has had a very difficult year dealing with a very public breakup from husband/producer John "Mutt" Lange. She recently posted a letter to fans on her website asking for patience as she creates new music. She began, stating, "First I want to apologize for the delay in releasing new music. Music is the basis of our relationship, after all, and I realize I'm not holding up very well on my end of the relationship! But music has a mind of its own and is ruled by a writer's emotions and state of mind, not by a timeframe or wishful thinking. I wish like crazy that I had new music by now since I dream of how fun it would be to see you all again out on tour with new songs to sing, but as most of you know, I have been side-tracked slightly over this past year."

She continued, "The personal issues that took place just over a year ago have been well documented, and there's no need to go into more detail here. Since then, I've been inspired by my pain to write and use writing as a therapy through the suffering. I truly wouldn't wish this on anybody as a means to get inspired, but it's been a productive period with so much emotion trying to find its way out. However, there is no telling how long it will take me to actually finish these songs and record them so they can get out to you." She concluded by writing, "Please be patient and I will do my best to continue working on a finished album!"

Although Twain has not released any new music since 2004, the music industry has not forgotten her. Billboard magazine recently revealed its top 100 songs of all time to celebrate the Hot 100 chart's 50th anniversary and her "You're Still the One" was ranked the 66th hottest single of all time. The tune earned Twain two Grammy awards in 1999 and the Song of the Year award at the 1999 BMI Country Songwriter Awards.

Country Codas

Keyboardist and record producer Barry Beckett passed away June 10 at his Hendersonville, Tennessee home, following a lengthy illness. Beckett has worked with rock legends such as Bob Dylan, Dire Straits and Bob Seger, as well as country artists like Alabama, T. Graham Brown, Kenny Chesney, Confederate Railroad, Neal McCoy, Lorrie Morgan and Hank Williams, Jr.

Our condolences go out to "Here's a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)" singer Travis Tritt upon the passing of his father, 76-year-old James E. Tritt last month. The elder Tritt was a U.S. Army veteran and a retired school bus driver in Marietta, Georgia.

Well, that's it for another month. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish each of you a safe and happy 4th of July. America is the greatest country on the face of the planet and our biggest thanks go out to our men and women of the U.S. military who make personal sacrifices to fight for our freedom. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin' your way."