Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

As I reported last month, probably the biggest concert that will hit the Louisville area this year is Kenny Chesney's "Sun City Carnival Tour," which will stop off at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Saturday, May 30. Chesney has announced a dozen stadium shows this summer and his third stop will be right here in the Derby City, so fans can expect an exciting show, I guarantee! Chesney will be bringing the following acts to Papa John's with him: Nicholasville, Kentucky's own Montgomery Gentry, Grammy winners Sugarland, Blake Shelton's main squeeze Miranda Lambert, and hot newcomers Lady Antebellum. Tickets for this show were to go on sale on February 21 and cost $177, $127, $81, $61, or an amazing $22 each. If you have not already bought your tickets as of press time, you had better snatch them up, as this will be a highly anticipated show for country fans not only in Louisville but in the surrounding region. Tickets can be purchased at all TicketMaster locations or by logging on to www.ticketmaster.com. The show is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. and will likely last to near midnight, if not later.

Other dates for Chesney's summer stadium tour include: Dallas' Pizza Hut Park on May 2, Columbus, Ohio's Crew Stadium on May 23, Pittsburgh's Heinz Field on June 6, Chicago's Soldier Field on June 13, Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field on June 27, San Francisco's AT&T Park on July 18, Salt Lake City on July 23, Seattle's Qwest Field on August 1, Boston's Gillette Stadium on August 15, Detroit's Ford Field on August 22, and Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium on September 19.

Plant & Krauss Dominate Grammy Awards

When the 51st Annual Grammy Awards were handed out last month, the true stars of the show were rock legend Robert Plant and the "Queen of Bluegrass" herself, Alison Krauss. The duo took home a whopping five trophies (winning every award they were nominated for) for their critically acclaimed Raising Sand album, which resulted from their pairing on CMT Crossroads a few years ago. The pair's five wins were as follows: Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album and Album of the Year for Raising Sand, Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for "Killing the Blues," Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for "Rich Woman," and Record of the Year for "Please Read the Letter." With these five trophies, Krauss has earned more 26 Grammy Awards, than any other female.

Brad Paisley captured two Grammy Awards this year for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for "Letter to Me" and Best Country Instrumental Performance for "Cluster Pluck" along with James Burton, Vince Gill, John Jorgenson, Albert Lee, Brent Mason, Redd Volkaert, and Steve Warniner. This particular award brought Vince Gill's Grammy total up to 20, making him the most awarded country male by the Grammys.

Carrie Underwood performed "Last Name" during the live telecast of the Grammys and took home the trophy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for the hit. Sugarland earned their first Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for "Stay," and lead singer Jennifer Nettles captured the Best Country Song award for writing "Stay." George Strait earned his first-ever Grammy Award for Best Country Album for Troubadour. Kentucky native Ricky Skaggs made his home state proud as he took home the trophy for Best Bluegrass Album for Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 and 1947.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Paisley & Newfield Top List of ACM Nominees

When the nominees for the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards were presented 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.

West Virginia native Paisley is surely making his home state proud with his following nominations: Entertainer of the Year, Top Male Vocalist of the Year, Single Record, Song, and Video of the Year for "Waitin' on a Woman," and Vocal Event of the Year along with Keith Urban for "Start a Band." Newfield, who is the former lead singer of trio Trick Pony, has made quite a splash with her debut solo single "Johnny and June," earning the following nods: Top Female Vocalist of the Year, Record and Video of the Year for "Johnny and June," and Song of the Year (as the artist and writer) for the "Johnny and June."

Chesney's three nominations include: Entertainer and Top Male Vocalist of the Year, along with Vocal Event of the Year with Mac McAnally (as the artist and producer). Jamey Johnson will vie for Top New Male Vocalist of the Year, Single of the Year for "In Color," and Song of the Year (as the artist and writer) of the same song. Strait will compete for Entertainer and Top Male Vocalist of the Year, along with Song of the Year for "I Saw God Today" and Video of the Year for "Troubadour."

And the nominees are: Entertainer of the Year: Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Keith Urban, and Carrie Underwood; Top Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert, Heidi Newfield, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and Lee Ann Womack; Top Male Vocalist: Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, George Strait, and Keith Urban; Top Vocal Group: Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, Randy Rogers Band, and The Lost Trailers; and Top Vocal Duo: Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn, Joey + Rory, Montgomery Gentry, and Sugarland.

Top New Female Vocalist: Sarah Buxton, Julianne Hough, and Ashton Shepherd; Top New Male Vocalist: Jamey Johnson, James Otto, and Jake Owen; and Top New Vocal Duo or Group: Eli Young Band, The Lost Trailers, and Zac Brown Band.

Song of the Year: George Strait's "I Saw God Today," Jamey Johnson's "In Color," Heidi Newfield's "Johnny and June," Brad Paisley's "Waitin' on a Woman," and Trace Adkins' "You're Gonna Miss This"; Single Record of the Year: Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder & Lead," Jamey Johnson's "In Color," Heidi Newfield's "Johnny and June," Brad Paisley's "Waitin' on a Woman," and Trace Adkins' "You're Gonna Miss This"; Video of the Year: Heidi Newfield's "Johnny and June," Carrie Underwood's "Just a Dream," Taylor Swift's "Love Story," George Strait's "Troubadour," and Brad Paisley's "Waitin' on a Woman"; and Vocal Event of the Year: Josh Turner & Trisha Yearwood's "Another Try," Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire's "Cowgirls Don't Cry," Kenny Chesney & Mac McAnally's "Down the Road," Sugarland, Little Big Town & Jake Owens' "Life in a Northern Town," and Brad Paisley & Keith Urban's "Start a Band."

Nominees for the Album of the Year category will be announced later this month. Fans will have the opportunity to vote in the three newcomer categories this year: Top New Female, Top New Male, and Top New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year. Fans can cast their votes by logging onto Great American Country's website, www.gactv.com. Fans can also vote for Entertainer of the Year by logging onto www.voteACM.com. These fan-voted and the traditional industry-voted awards will be presented live at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be broadcast live on CBS-Television.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Country Stars Take on Reality TV

Better Man" singer Clint Black is following in fellow country crooner Trace Adkins' big footsteps, as he'll be a contestant on the new season of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice, which begins on NBC Television on March 1. Let's hope Black can last as long or longer than Adkins, as he was a definite fan-favorite last season, landing in the runner-up spot, being beat by America's Got Talent judge Piers Morgan. Black will head to New York City and try his hand at the business world along with comedian Andrew Dice Clay, Annie Duke, funnyman and MTV reality show star Tom Green, LPGA golfer Natalie Gulbis, skater Scott Hamilton, Deal or No Deal model Claudia Jordan, Khloe Kardashian, R&B singer Brian McKnight, Joan and Melissa Rivers, actress Brande Roderick, basketball star Dennis Rodman, retired NFL player Herschel Walker, and pop group TLC's Tionne "T-Box" Watkins.

The new season of ABC-Television's smash Dancing with the Stars competition will be hopping with country artists when it debuts March 9. Two-time DWTS professional dancing champion turned country sweetheart Julianne Hough will return to the cast. It was originally announced that Hough would not compete this season, but to top things off, she'll be dancing with her real-life partner, boyfriend Chuck Wicks of "Stealing Cinderella" fame. This season will also feature another celebrity couple, country singer Jewel and her professional bull riding husband Ty Murray, although the two will be competing against each other with professional dancers. Other celebrities competing this season include: pop's Go-Go's lead singer Belinda Carlisle, stuntman Stephen Glover (better known as MTV reality star Steve-O), actor/comedian David Alan Grier, Olympic Gold medalist Shawn Johnson, rapper Lil' Kim, actor Gilles Marini, Access Hollywood co-anchor Nancy O'Dell (who once hosted Nashville Star), actress Denise Richards, former New York Giant Lawrence Taylor, and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Our best wishes go out to Clint, Julianne & Chuck, and Jewel! Make country music proud!

Clark, Mandrell & McCoy Headed to Hall of Fame

The 2009 inductees into the hallowed Country Music Hall of Fame were announced last month at Nashville's downtown Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. During the press conference, Carl Smith announced guitarist and banjoist extraordinaire Roy Clark as one of this year's recipients. Louise Mandrell introduced her big sister, Barbara Mandrell as a recipient. Mel Tillis announced Charlie McCoy as the third inductee.

Clark began his music career playing with the likes of Jimmy Dean and Wanda Jackson. He gained further exposure from multiple appearances on the sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, but his most notable performances were those as co-host of the long-running country corn-pone series Hee Haw along with pal and co-host Buck Owens. Through this vehicle, Clark helped popularize country music among folks who had never been exposed to country music.

Mandrell's musical talents became apparent to her parents at an early age so they started The Mandrell Family Band to help their oldest child gain experience and exposure. Quite the showman and musician, Mandrell's talents were showcased on the hit NBC series Barbara Mandrell & The Mandrell Sisters, along with younger sisters Louise and Irlene, in the 1980's. Following many hits such as "I Was Country (When Country Wasn't Cool)" and "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed" and a near-fatal car crash, in the 1990's Mandrell decided to retire from country music to be a full-time hockey mother to her three children.

McCoy's expansive work as a studio musician and harmonica player extraordinaire has landed him the title of the most-recorded harmonica player in history. He can be heard playing on such classics as George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and Roy Orbison's "Candy Man." He was discovered by Tillis in a Miami nightclub in 1959, and Tillis took him to Nashville to play on demos for the publishing company Tillis wrote for. He also recorded with Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley, and spent 18 years as the bandleader on Hee Haw.

Congratulations, Roy, Barbara, and Charlie!

Taylor Swift Embarks on Debut Headlining Tour

Taylor Swift will embark on her debut headlining tour this year, kicking off her national "Fearless Tour 2009" in nearby Evansville, Indiana on April 23, bringing along pal Kellie Pickler and new group Gloriana as opening acts on the 52-city tour. Swift recently said "Headlining my own tour is a dream come true. This way, I can play more music every night than I ever have before. Having written my own songs, they are all stories in my head, and my goal for this tour is to bring those stories to life."

If you're wondering if Swift will be hitting Louisville on this tour, the itinerary has her slated to play the Derby city on August 30, which just so happens to be the closing day of the Kentucky State Fair. My guess is that there will be several sleepy teens and pre-teens at school on Monday morning, August 31 after spending the day at the Fair and staying out late rocking out with their musical idol and role model, Taylor Swift.

Country Family Album

Bye, Bye" singer Jo Dee Messina can add the tile of "mother" to her resume. She and husband Chris Deffenbaugh became proud parents for the first time when son Noah Roger Deffenbaugh was born in Nashville on January 19. Noah weighed in at 6 lbs, 19 ozs. Messina plans to resume touring next month.

Seventy-three-year-old steel guitarist Tom Brumley passed away February 4 in San Antonio, Texas. The son of gospel songwriter Albert E. Brumley, the younger Brumley is best known as a member of Buck Owens' Buckaroos band. In recent years, he spent 15 years starring in his own show in Branson, Missouri and was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1992.

Sixty-nine-year-old country singer and television star Molly Bees passed away on February 7 in Oceanside, California. She performed on Cliffie Stone's Hometown Jubilee in Los Angeles, went on to be a regular on the children's show The Pinky Lee Show, and later went was a regular on The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show. She is best known for recording "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" back in 1952.

Well, that's it for another month. I would be remiss for not congratulating "Louisville Music News" editor Paul Moffett and co-founder Jean Metcalfe for an amazing two decades of publishing LMN this month. It has been a personal privilege to have brought you "Country Notes" for more than 14 of those 20 years. Here's hoping the LMN tradition will continue to keep Louisville music fans informed for many years to come. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin' your way."