Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Lady A, Lambert & Underwood Dominate ACM Awards

When the 45th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards were handed out in Las Vegas last month, the big winners of the evening were Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott, better known as Lady Antebellum. The trio walked away with five awards, including Top Vocal Group and Song of the Year (as artist and songwriters, along with Josh Kear) and Single of the Year (as artists and producers, along with Paul Worley) for "Need You Now." Trailing behind Lady A with three wins was Miranda Lambert, who carried home a trio of trophies for Top Female Vocalist, Album of the Year for Revolution and Video of the Year for "White Liar."

Carrie Underwood walked home with two awards: the most coveted, fan-voted Entertainer of the Year award, as well as the ACM Triple Crown award for having previously won Top New Artist, Top Female Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year. Underwood made history as she was the first female to ever receive the Entertainer award twice. Brad Paisley also made history as he was named Top Male Vocalist for the fourth consecutive year. Brooks & Dunn, who have embarked on their final tour as a duo, were named Top Vocal Duo for the 16th time.

Nicholasville, Kentucky natives Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry, better known as Montgomery Gentry, were honored with the ninth annual ACM/The Home Depot Humanitarian Award for their extensive charity work. There were also a number of awards that were not televised on the live awards program. Keith Urban received the Jim Reeves International Award for his great success spreading country music internationally. Mel Tillis and the late Marty Robbins received the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award for their early contributions to country music. Don Schlitz and the late Cindy Walker received the Poet's Award for their songwriting accomplishments. The recent motion picture Crazy Heart received the Tex Ritter Award given to films featuring country music. And Rod Essig received the Mae Boren Axton Award for his dedication and service to the country music industry.

And the winners are: Entertainer of the Year: Carrie Underwood; Top Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert; Top Male Vocalist: Brad Paisley; Top Vocal Duo: Brooks & Dunn; and Top Vocal Group: Lady Antebellum.

Top New Artist: Luke Bryan; Top New Solo Vocalist: Luke Bryan; Top New Vocal Duo: Joey + Rory; Top New Vocal Group: Gloriana; Album of the Year: Miranda Lambert's Revolution; Single Record of the Year: Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now; and Song of the Year: Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now."

Vocal Event of the Year: Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins' "Hillbilly Bone"; and Video of the Year: Miranda Lambert's "White Liar."

Congratulations to all the winners!

Aldean, Lady A and Sugarland Top 2010 CMT Music Award Nominations

Country Music Television recently announced the first-round nominees for their 2010 CMT Music Awards, and topping the list of nominees with four nods each were Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum and Sugarland. Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood and the Zac Brown Band followed with three nominations each.

Aldean's "Truth" is in the running for Male Video of the Year and overall Video of the Year, while his duet of "Heaven" with Bryan Adams, which was recorded for CMT Crossroads, is in the running for CMT Performance of the Year and Collaborative Video of the Year. Lady A's "Need You Now" will vie for Group Video of the Year and overall Video of the Year. Their "American Honey" is also nominated in the Group Video of the Year category, and the trio's performance of "Lookin' for a Good Time" from the 2009 CMT Music Awards program is nominated for CMT Performance of the Year. Sugarland landed two nominations in the Duo Video of the Year category: "Keep You" and "Nightswimming/Joey," while their live performance of "Love Shack" with the B-52's at last year's CMT Music Awards landed the duo nominations for CMT Performance of the Year and Collaborative Video of the Year.

All 2010 CMT Music Awards categories are voted on by the fans. First-round voting is currently underway and will run through May 3. On May 11, CMT will announce the four finalists in each of the categories, except for Video of the Year. Fans can log onto www.cmt.com for all voting details. Winners will be announced during the live awards ceremony broadcast from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on June 9.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Kenny Chesney Coming At You in 3-D

Entertainer extraordinaire Kenny Chesney took video crews on the road with him last summer on his "Sun City Carnival Tour," which hit stadiums across our great nation, including Louisville's very own Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Producers took the hours and hours of footage shot from the road last year and have given fans an unforgettable experience titled Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3-D. The three-dimensional film premiered in Las Vegas the night before the ACM awards and hit movie theaters four days following the premiere. The film includes live concert footage, backstage videos, still photos, archive footage and interviews of Chesney discussing his career and his loyal fans. It promises to be a must-see for any Kenny Chesney fan.

George Strait Makes History

The incomparable George Strait is not called "King George Strait" for nothing. The Texas crooner made history last month by becoming the first artist in all genres of music to have a Top 10 hit on the Billboard magazine charts for 30 consecutive years. Strait earned his very first Top 10 hit back in 1981 with "Unwound," and for the following 29 years he has had at least one Top 10 single on the charts, his most recent being his latest single, "I Gotta Get to You."

When speaking recently about this feat, Strait said, "It just continues to be one heck of a ride that I'm enjoying every minute of. Time does fly when you're having fun. Thanks to all of my fans for their support." And Strait summed it up best by saying, "Long live country music!"

Congratulations, George, and keep those Top 10's coming!

Dollywood Turns 25

International superstar Dolly Parton was on-hand at her Pigeon Forge, Tennessee theme park, Dollywood, in late march to celebrate the park's silver anniversary. After moving away from her home at the foothills of the great Smoky Mountains to pursue a career in country music and finding great success in the music business she loves, the savvy business woman wanted to give back to her community and offer jobs to the locals, so she partnered with Herschend Family Entertainment to convert Silver Dollar City to Dollywood in 1986.

To celebrate the park's 25th anniversary, visitors can expect surprises around every corner. Season pass holders are eligible for special prizes handed out each day by spotters walking throughout the park, ranging from merchandise to 25-year season passes to vacation packages at the new Dollywood Vacations. Visitors can also enjoy the evolution of the park throughout the last quarter century in a special photo timeline in Valley Exhibition Hall.

When speaking of the park's anniversary, Parton says, "Everyone knows that I'm a dreamer, and the 25th anniversary of my Dollywood theme park is the continuation of a country girl's dream of a special place where families can experience and enjoy all that my Smoky Mountain home has to offer. I'm inviting everyone to join us all season long as we celebrate the dreamer in you, too!"

New this year for the park's silver anniversary is Adventure Mountain, America's largest challenge course unmatched in size and scope. The attraction for the entire family is themed as a rustic National Parks Service Ranger complex filled with towering wood, stone and steel structures, complete with four different courses including swinging beams, suspension bridges, flying islands and a tire traverse.

Congratulations to Dolly and all the folks at Dollywood for 25 years of success!

Taylor Swift Takes Home Two Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards

Although "Fearless" singer Taylor Swift walked home empty handed from the Academy of Country Music awards last month, the story was quite different when Nickelodeon handed out their annual Kids Choice Awards in Los Angeles in late March. Although Swift was unable to attend the ceremony because she was performing a sold-out concert in Michigan the same night, she won honors in two categories. She was named Favorite Female Singer and her "You Belong to Me" was named Favorite Song.

Congratulations, Taylor!

Country Family Album

April was a very busy month on the home-front for country artists. Eric Gunderson, a member of Love and Theft ("Runaway" and "Dancing in Circles"), married longtime girlfriend Emily Hagar on April 3 in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The couple honeymooned in the Dominican Republic before heading home for Gunderson and his bandmates to perform at Country Thunder USA in Florence, Arizona and join Tim McGraw's tour along with Lady Antebellum on April 22.

Canadian country songstress Terri Clark, known for her smash hit "Better Things to Do," suffered a real blow as she lost her mother, Linda Clark, to cancer on April 4. Although her mother suffered a lengthy battle with cancer, Clark says, "She is finally at peace and out of pain, our hearts are broken and we will miss her terribly." Linda Clark was her daughter's number one fan and an avid supporter of her music career.

Happily married singer-songwriters Steve Earle and Allison Moorer welcomed their first child together into the world on April 5. Son John Henry Earle weighed in at 8 lbs, 2 oz. Earle is also the father of singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle.

Well, that's it for yet another month. Here's wishing you and yours a very happy and safe Derby season. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin' your way."