Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Underwood & Paisley Dominate the ACM Awards

When the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards were handed out last month at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Carrie Underwood took the top award, Entertainer of the Year, as well as the Top Female Vocalist of the Year trophy. Brad Paisley topped the list of nominees going into the awards with six nods, receiving three awards: Top Male Vocalist of the Year, Video of the Year for "Waitin' On a Woman," and Vocal Event of the Year along with Keith Urban for "Start a Band." Heidi Newfield was nominated in five categories thanks in great part to her hit "Johnny & June," but unfortunately she walked away empty-handed. Dancing with the Stars turned country sweetheart Julianne Hough was the only other repeat winner of the evening as she was named Top New Artist and Top New Female Vocalist of the Year.

And the winners are: Entertainer of the Year: Carrie Underwood; Top Female Vocalist: Carrie Underwood; Top Male Vocalist: Brad Paisley; Top Vocal Group: Rascal Flatts; Top Vocal Duo: Sugarland; Top New Artist: Julianne Hough; Top New Female Vocalist: Julianne Hough; Top New Male Vocalist: Jake Owen; and Top New Vocal Duo or Group: Zac Brown Band.

Top Album: Taylor Swift's Fearless; Song of the Year: Jamey Johnson's "In Color"; Single Record of the Year: Trace Adkins' "You're Gonna Miss This"; Video of the Year: Brad Paisley's "Waitin' on a Woman"; and Vocal Event of the Year: Brad Paisley & Keith Urban's "Start a Band."

Top Guitarist of the Year: Tom Bukovac; Top Pianist/Keyboardist of the Year: Gordon Mote; Top Bass Player of the Year: Glenn Worf; Top Percussionist/Drummer of the Year: Greg Morrow; Top Steel Guitarist of the Year: Dan Dugmore; Top Fiddler of the Year: Aubrey Haynie; Top Specialty Instrumentalist of the Year: Eric Darken and Jelly Roll Johnson; Top Audio Engineer of the Year: Chuck Ainlay; Top Producer of the Year: Tony Brown; Don Romeo Talent Buyer of the Year: Fran Romeo; and Promoter of the Year: Louis Messina.

The following specialty awards have been announced by the Academy of Country Music and will be presented in Nashville on September 22: ACM Music Poets Award (for songwriting): Merle Haggard & Harlan Howard; Jim Reeves International Award: Dolly Parton; Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award: Jerry Reed, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, and Hank Williams, Jr.; Mae Boren Axton Award: David Young; and Tex Ritter Award: Toby Keith's Beer for My Horses.

The ACM has selected none other than the great George Strait as the Artist of the Decade for the 2000s. An all-star musical tribute concert to Strait will air on CBS-Television on May 27. Performers on this special include: Dierks Bentley, Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, Jamie Foxx, Alan Jackson, Jamey Johnson, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, John Rich, LeAnn Rimes, Blake Shelton, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, and Lee Ann Womack.

Kenny Chesney, Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, May 30. Photo uncredited

During the live telecast of the ACM Awards last month, host Reba McEntire made surprise presentations of the ACM's Crystal Milestone Award (for selling more albums than any other artist this year) to Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland and Taylor Swift.

Congratulations to all the winners!

First Round of 2009 CMT Music Awards Nominees

The first round of nominations have been announced for the 2009 CMT Music Awards. Sugarland tops the list of nominees with six nods, followed by Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift with four nods each. Fans can vote on the following nominees through May 11 by logging onto www.cmt.com. The final nominees will be announced on May 19 and the awards will be presented in Nashville on June 17.

And the nominees are: Video of the Year: Sugarland's "All I Wanna Do," Kid Rock's "All Summer Long," Kenny Chesney & The Wailers' "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven," Rascal Flatts' "Every Day," Toby Keith's "God Love Her," Carrie Underwood's "Just a Dream," Lady Antebellum's "Lookin' For a Good Time," Taylor Swift's "Love Story," Brad Paisley's "Waitin' on a Woman," and Trace Adkins' "You're Gonna Miss This"; Female Video of the Year: Kellie Pickler's "Don't You Know You're Beautiful," Heidi Newfield's "Johnny & June," Carrie Underwood's "Just a Dream," Lee Ann Womack's "Last Call," Taylor Swift's "Love Story," Miranda Lambert's "More Like Her," Martina McBride's "Ride," and Julianne Hough's "That Song in My Head"; and Male Video of the Year: Darius Rucker's "Don't Think I Don't Think About It," Toby Keith's "God Love Her," Alan Jackson's "Good Time," Jamey Johnson's "In Color," Jason Aldean's "She's Country," Keith Urban's "Sweet Thing," Brad Paisley's "Waitin' on a Woman," and Trace Adkins' "You're Gonna Miss This."

Group Video of the Year: Rascal Flatts' "Bob That Head," Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried," Rascal Flatts' "Every Day," Little Big Town's "Fine Line," The Lost Trailers' "Hollerback," Lady Antebellum's "Lookin' for a Good Time," Eli Young Band's "When It Rains," and Glorianna's "Wild at Heart"; Collaborative Video of the Year: Josh Turner & Trisha Yearwood's "Another Try," Rehab & Hank Williams, Jr.'s "Bartender Song," Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire's "Cowgirls Don't Cry," Kenny Chesney & The Wailers' "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven," Sugarland, Little Big Town & Jake Owen's "Life in a Northern Town," Raconteurs, Ricky Skaggs & Ashley Monroe's "Old Enough," Robert Plant & Alison Krauss's "Please Read the Letter," and Brad Paisley & Keith Urban's "Start a Band"; and USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year: Joey & Rory's "Cheater, Cheater," Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried," Carter Twins' "Heart Like Memphis," Jamey Johnson's "In Color," James Otto's "Just Got Started Lovin' You," Lady Antebellum's "Lookin' for a Good Time," Julianne Hough's "That Song in My Head," and Glorianna's "Wild at Heart."

CMT Performance of the Year: Alan Jackson, George Strait, Brad Paisley & Dierks Bentley's "Country Boy," Robert Plant & Alison Krauss's "Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On)," Sugarland, Little Big Town & Jake Owen's "Life in a Northern Town," LeAnn Rimes' "Nothin' Better to Do," Def Leppard & Taylor Swift's "Photograph," Keith Urban and Brooks & Dunn's "Raise the Barn," Toby Keith's "She's a Hottie," and Caitlin & Will's "Stupid Boy"; Wide Open Country Video of the Year: Kevin Costner & Modern West's "Backyard," Kid Rock's "All Summer Long," Rehab & Hank Williams, Jr.'s "Bartender Song," John Mellencamp & Karen Fairchild's "My Sweet Love," Def Leppard & Tim McGraw's "Nine Lives," Raconteurs, Ricky Skaggs & Ashley Monroe's "Old Enough," Def Leppard & Taylor Swift's "Photograph," and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss's "Please Read the Letter"; and Director of the Year: Kristin Barlowe, Trey Fanjoy, Deaton Flanigan, Wayne Isham, Shaun Silva, Eric Welch, Roman White, and Peter Zavadil.

Other Country Honors

Toby Keith has been a very avid supporter of the United States military and he headed out for yet another USO/Armed Forces Entertainment Tour last month. In honor of his support, Keith received the Distinguished Service Award from the Military Officers Association of America in recognition of him, as a civilian, giving back to military personnel. Speaking of the honor, Keith recently stated: "There aren't enough words to describe just how grateful I am to our nation's troops. I've participated in several USO tours over the years, and I've seen firsthand their sacrifice, and I will not stop doing all I can to show my support and lift their spirits."

The sixth batch of inductees on the Music City Walk of Fame in downtown Nashville were presented commemorative sidewalk markers in the Hall of Fame Park across from the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum on April 19. Inductees included country stars Cowboy Jack Clement, Marty Stuart, and Josh Turner, Curb Records founder Mike Curb, gospel singer CeCe Winans, and the late Dr. R.H. Boyd, founder of the National Baptist Publishing Board.

Congratulations to Toby, Cowboy Jack, Marty, Josh, and all the other recipients!

Brad Paisley: Papa X 2

Congratulations go out to Brad Paisley and his actress wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley (star of According to Jim and Father of the Bride 1 & 2) upon the birth of their second child. As of press time, the name of the couple's second son had not yet been announced. This little Paisley, who cooked for nearly two weeks past his due date, was finally born on April 17 at a Nashville area hospital. He is the little brother to two-year-old William Huckleberry Paisley. The impending birth of the youngest member of the Paisley clan caused papa Brad's absence at the April 5 Academy of Country Music Awards during which he won Top Male Vocalist, Video, and Vocal Event of the Year. Paisley plans to take a hiatus from touring until June so he can spend more time with his expanded family.

Congratulations, Brad & Kimberly!

Country Codas

Seventy-seven-year-old Hal Durham, a longtime announcer of the famed Grand Ole Opry radio show, died at his home in Cape Coral, Florida in late March. Durham started as an Opry announcer in 1964 before becoming WSM radio program director, Opry manager, and Opry general manager. During his tenure, Durham inducted Opry members of the likes of Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, and Reba McEntire.

Sixty-one-year-old singer Dan Seals lost his battle with lymphoma on March 25. Seals is best known for hits "Bop," "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight" as half of England Dan & John Ford Coley, "Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold)," "Love On Arrival," "You Still Move Me," and "Meet Me in Montana" with Marie Osmond.

George Strait's older brother John "Buddy" Strait, Jr., 58, was found dead in a San Antonio, Texas hotel room on April 10. The elder Strait was in San Antonio for business purposes and his body was discovered by a La Quinta Inn cleaning crew. He is believed to have died of natural causes.

Loretta Johnson, 68, who pioneered country music fan clubs with sisters Loudilla and Kay Johnson, lost her battle with cancer on April 13. The Johnson sisters began the official Loretta Lynn fan club in 1963 and went on to start the International Fan Club Organization (IFCO) in 1965. The organization remains active today, advising the fan clubs of many country music artists.

Well, that's it for this month. I hope to see you all out at the Kenny Chesney "Sun City Tour" at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on May 30. Always remember, "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin' your way."