Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Music City Drying Out After Flood

On May 1 and 2, downtown Nashville suffered the worst flooding it had experienced in over a century, hauntingly similar to New Orleans' devastation in recent years. The Cumberland River swelled, causing devastating flooding which took the lives of some, destroyed homes, and greatly damaged many country music hot spots. The entire Opryland complex was hit extremely hard. Gaylord Opryland Hotel was flooded up to its second floor and will be lucky to reopen in time for the annual Christmas festival. Opry Mills Mall turned into a retail swamp, complete with flesh-eating piranhas swimming down its halls after escaping from an aquarium in one of the mall's restaurants. The historic Grand Ole Opry house was also flooded and was forced to move the Opry to the Ryman Auditorium and other venues for an extended period of time. Fortunately, the Opry folks began moving country relics to higher ground prior to the flooding, but not everything could moved in time. Although a great portion was saved, instruments, archive photographs and video, and Opry member costumes have been sent to restoration companies around the country. Never fear, the hallowed wooden circle from the Ryman Auditorium was salvaged and will be in prime condition whenever the Opry is able to return to its current home.

The Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum suffered five feet of water in its mechanical room, but re-opened in about a week following the flood. Downtown's Wildhorse Saloon has no idea when it will be ready to entertain country music fans. Riverfront Park and LP Field, which will be home to CMA Music Festival concerts this month, were underwater but have since dried out and the show WILL go on as planned. Many country artists lost cherished instruments and tour equipment in storage facilities along the banks of the Cumberland. This flood has affected country music, but it cannot be broken!

Regardless of the situation, when there's a need, the country music industry is the first to step up to the plate. Vince Gill jumped in the very next weekend following the flood and hosted a local telethon to raise money for flood relief efforts. With the help of his wife, Amy Grant, Reba McEntire, Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, and others, the telethon raised more than $1.7 million. GAC hosted its own benefit a few weeks later. The music channel's "Music City Keep On Playin'—A Benefit for Flood Relief" concert aired live on GAC, featured artists like Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, and Keith Urban, and raised more than $1.8 million. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill also quickly rose to the occasion and are spearheading "Nashville Rising: A Benefit Concert for Flood Recovery" to take place at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on June 22. In addition to the McGraws, Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Luke Bryan, Miley Cyrus, Amy Grant, Miranda Lambert, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood will perform at the benefit concert which sold out in a matter of hours.

Nashville, you are in our thoughts and prayers as you struggle through this recovery! We're confident you will rebound even stronger than before.

CMA Music Festival WILL Go On

Despite Nashville's recent floods, the 2010 CMA Music Festival (formerly known as Country Music Fan Fair) will go on as planned June 10-13 in downtown Nashville. The four-day country music festival will feature concerts at Riverfront Park and LP Field, both of which were under water following the floods, but which have fortunately dried out in recent weeks. Kentucky natives Wynonna and Naomi Judd, better known as The Judds, will reunite and kick off the festival with a performance at the Riverfront Park Stage on Thursday, June 10 at 10 a.m. Throughout the festival, this stage will offer free concerts by artists like Rodney Atkins, Diamond Rio, Gloriana, Patty Loveless, Craig Morgan, Lorrie Morgan, Joe Nichols, James Otto, Jake Owen, Steel Magnolia, Uncle Kracker, Gretchen Wilson, and Chris Young. The nightly paid concerts at LP Field really pack a punch with the heaviest of hitters this year. Artists currently scheduled to perform on the main stage include Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, Billy Currington, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and the Zac Brown Band, among others

The CMA Music Festival brings in approximately 56,000 country music fans and nearly $22 million into Nashville through visitors' spending. These proceeds normally benefit the Keep the Music Playing program which benefits music education in Metro Nashville Public Schools, but this year's proceeds will be split between music education and local flood relief. Steve Moore, the chairman of the CMA Board of Directors, recently stated, "We cannot think of a better way to help our local economy at this time of great need than to continue the 39-year tradition of CMA Music Festival."

For complete details on the 2010 CMA Music Festival, for ticket information, and for up-to-date concert schedules, log on towww.CMAfest.com.

HullabaLOU Schedule Released

The highly-anticipated inaugural HullabaLOU three-day music festival, to be held at Louisville's historic Churchill Downs July 23-25, recently released its official concert schedule. Music provided by more than 60 artists and bands will be available for the listening pleasure of festival-goers on five separate stages over the course of the weekend, from approximately 1 p.m. 11 p.m. each day. Country fans will be in hog heaven throughout the weekend as a bevy of country's finest will be rolling into Churchill Downs. Friday's country performances include J.D. Shelburne on the Budweiser Stage 1:45 p.m. 2:30 p.m., Exile on the Fleur de Lis Stage 2:45-3:35 p.m., Gloriana on the Budweiser Stage 5:35 p.m. 6:35 p.m., and Dierks Bentley on the HullabaLOU Stage 7:40 p.m. 8:50 p.m.. Saturday's performances on the HullabaLOU Stage include Sara Evans 5:45 p.m. 6:35 p.m., Jason Aldean 7 p.m. 8:15 p.m., and headliner Kenny Chesney 9 p.m. 10:30 p.m.. Sunday's performances include Justin Moore on the Fleur de Lis Stage 4:10 p.m. 5:10 p.m., followed by Kentucky natives Loretta Lynn 5:45 p.m. 6:45 p.m. and Dwight Yoakam 7:25 p.m. 8:40 p.m., as well as the Zac Brown Band on the HullabaLOU Stage 6:30 p.m. 7:45 p.m..

For all things HullabaLOU, log onto www.hullabaloufest.com.

Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert Saying, "I Do"

Country fireball Miranda Lambert has been riding high on her recent ACM Female Vocalist, Album, and Video of the Year wins, but the excitement level jumped up several notches on Mother's Day. Blake Shelton, whom Lambert has been dating for five years, took his sweetie for a walk in the woods near their adjoining Oklahoma farms and popped the big question, totaling surprising the future Mrs. Shelton. Being a true country gentleman, Shelton asked his future father-in-law for his daughter's hand in marriage prior to the proposal, which included the presentation of a diamond and platinum engagement ring which Lambert describes as "much more perfect than I could have done myself."

News of the happy couple's engagement first broke in People magazine. Lambert told the publication, "Weddings are great and engagements are great and diamonds are especially great. But I'm just excited to be married because I want to tell Blake I really can love him the rest of my life and be happy and make him happy."

The couple has not yet announced a wedding date, but keep reading in the months ahead for further details as they become available.

Congratulations, Blake & Miranda!Here's wishing you many years of happiness!

Kentucky Country News

During the April ACM awards, Nicholasville, Kentucky natives Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, better known as Montgomery Gentry, were presented the Academy of Country Music/The Home Depot Humanitarian Award. As recipients of this honor, the duo has the opportunity to help build a KaBOOM! playground at the location of its choice. Being good ole Kentucky country boys, the duo asked its fans to help them pick the location for the custom-built playground and it was decided that it will be built in Lexington sometime this fall.

And while we're on the topic of the Bluegrass State and country music, country stars Rascal Flatts and Little Big Town made the country music industry and Louisville proud last month as they performed the National Anthem prior to the 136th Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks, respectively. Thanks for helping our Derby city shine!

Aldean, Lady A, Swift & Underwood Lead CMT Music Awards Nominees

When the final nominees for the 2010 CMT Music Awards were recently released, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood topped the list of nominees, grabbing three nods each. Nabbing two nods each were Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Steel Magnolia, Sugarland, Keith Urban, and the Zac Brown Band. The fan-voted awards will be handed out at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on June 9. Kid Rock will host the awards ceremony which will broadcast live on Country Music Television. Fan voting is complete for all categories except for Video of the Year, which fans will be able to vote for during the live telecast by logging onto www.cmt.com. Toby Keith, Kid Rock, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and the Zac Brown Band are among the artists scheduled to perform during the ceremony.

And the nominees are: Video of the Year: Toby Keith's "American Ride," Carrie Underwood's "Cowboy Cassanova," Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now," Kenny Chesney's "Out Last Night," Jason Aldean's "The Truth," Keith Urban's "'Til Summer Comes Around," Zac Brown Band's "Toes," Brad Paisley's "Welcome to the Future," Miranda Lambert's "White Liar," and Taylor Swift's "You Belong with Me"; Female Video of the Year: Reba McEntire's "Consider Me Gone," Carrie Underwood's "Cowboy Cassanova," Miranda Lambert's "White Liar," and Taylor Swift's "You Belong with Me"; and Male Video of the Year: Toby Keith's "American Ride," Billy Currington's "People Are Crazy," Tim McGraw's "Southern Voice," Jason Aldean's "The Truth," and Keith Urban's "'Til Summer Comes Around."

Group Video of the Year: Rascal Flatts' "Here Comes Goodbye," Gloriana's "How Far Do You Wanna Go?," Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now," and Zac Brown Band's "Toes"; Duo Video of the Year: Brooks & Dunn's "Indian Summer," Steel Magnolia's "Keep On Lovin' You," Sugarland's "Keep You," and Sugarland's "Nightswimming/Joey"; Collaborative Video of the Year: Kellie Pickler & Taylor Swift's "Best Days of Your Life," Bryan Adams & Jason Aldean's "Heaven," Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins' "Hillbilly Bone," and Kenny Chesney & Dave Matthews' "I'm Alive"; USA Weekend Breakthrough Video of the Year: Easton Corbin's "A Little More Country Than That," Luke Bryan's "Do I," Laura Bell Bundy's "Giddy On Up," and Steel Magnolia's "Keep On Lovin' You"; CMT Performance of the Year: Reba McEntire's "Consider Me Gone," Lady Antebellum's "Lookin' for a Good Time," Tim McGraw's "Southern Voice," Carrie Underwood's "Temporary Home," and Brad Paisley's "Then"; and Video Director of the Year: Deaton Flanigen, Chris Hicky, Shaun Silva, and Roman White.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

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."