Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Reminder: CMA Awards November 10

The 44th Annual Country Music Association Awards will be handed out in Nashville on November 10, and it's sure to be an exciting evening full of surprises. Miranda Lambert tops the list of nominees with nine nods — Entertainer of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year for Revolution, Single and Video of the Year for "The House That Built Me" and "White Liar," Song of the Year for "White Liar," and Musical Event of the Year along with Dierks Bentley and Jamey Johnson on "Bad Angel." Lady Antebellum has been nominated for five awards, followed by the future Mr. Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, and the Zac Brown Band with four nods each.

Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley did such a phenomenal job hosting last year's awards ceremony that they've been invited to resume the hosting duties this year, promising many more unforgettable duets between the pals. Lambert and Sheryl Crow will perform Loretta Lynn's signature tune, "Coal Miner's Daughter" during the ceremony, the day following the release of the Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn CD, which includes the pair joining the legend on this very song. Other artists scheduled to perform during the show include Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Sugarland, Keith Urban, and the Zac Brown Band with Alan Jackson.

Fans can catch the CMA Awards airing live from the Bridgestone Arena on ABC-Television at 8 pm EST November 10.

The Eagles at the Yum! Center

The Eagles aren't really country music, but I got into the new arena for the show and took these photos.

Glenn Frey

Photo By Mike Stout

Glenn Frey Glenn Frey

Timothy B. Schmit, bass

Photo By Mike Stout

Timothy B. Schmit, bass Timothy B. Schmit, bass

Glenn Frey

Photo By Mike Stout

Glenn Frey Glenn Frey

Timothy B. Schmit, bass

Photo By Mike Stout

Timothy B. Schmit, bass Timothy B. Schmit, bass

Joe Walsh

Photo By Mike Stout

Joe Walsh Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh

Photo By Mike Stout

Joe Walsh Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh

Photo By Mike Stout

Joe Walsh Joe Walsh

Don Henley

Photo By Mike Stout

Don Henley Don Henley

Don Henley

Photo By Mike Stout

Don Henley Don Henley

Grand Ole Opry Goes Home & Surprises Blake Shelton

When torrential downpours in May caused Nashville's Cumberland River to flood the hallowed Grand Ole Opry building, covering the famous stage with four feet of water, the country music community's spirits sunk as much damage was reported. Not only was the Opry house greatly affected, but also numerous stage costumes, country music memorabilia, and musical instruments and equipment were harmed or destroyed. After months of restoration, which included new floors, refinished and redecorated dressing rooms, new high-def projection and programmable lighting, and a new artists' lobby and concession stands, the legendary Grand Ole Opry radio program returned to its current home on September 28. The famed circle of wood from the Opry's original home, the historic Ryman Auditorium's stage, was also salvaged, restored, refinished and returned to the center of the Opry stage in time for the grand re-opening, which featured performances by Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Charlie Daniels, Little Jimmy Dickens, Martina McBride, Del McCoury, Montgomery Gentry, Lorrie Morgan, Brad Paisley, Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Josh Turner, Keith Urban, and Steve Wariner. Opry Group President Steve Buchanan stated, "The grand lady has just gotten a little more grand."

Amidst the celebration of returning home, Blake Shelton received the surprise of a lifetime upon his completion of "Hillbilly Bone" with Trace Adkins. Adkins mentioned to the audience that Shelton is an avid Twitter user, held up a cell phone and said the Opry had just tweeted and invited him to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Surprised, Shelton said, "Man, that's taken a long time. I know a lot of guys who want this as bad as I've wanted it. Forget them! This is hands down the highlight of my career."

Morgan & Underwood Win ICM Awards

When the 16th Annual Inspirational Country Music Awards were handed out at Nashville's Trinity Music City USA Auditorium last month, a couple of country's mainstream artists took home trophies. Craig Morgan was named Mainstream Country Artist of the Year and his "This Ain't Nothin'" was named Mainstream Inspirational Country Song of the Year. Carrie Underwood's video for "Temporary Home" was named Video of the Year. "The Blind Side," which starred country artist Tim McGraw and Oscar-winner Sandra Bullock, was named Faith, Family & Country Movie of the Year. Country/bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs was named Inspirational Bluegrass Artist of the Year.

Congratulations, Craig, Carrie, Tim, and Ricky!

The Judds Headed to Santa Train Before KFC Yum Center

Ashland, Kentucky natives Wynonna and Naomi Judd, better known as the former country super-duo The Judds, are reuniting and bringing their "Last Encore Tour" to the University of Louisville's brand new KFC Yum Center downtown arena on December 3, but they're going to hit the mountains before they head to town. On November 20, the mother and daughter will ride the Santa Train, which delivers gifts to children at 14 stops throughout the mountains of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. The Santa Train is sponsored by CSX Railroad, the Kids Wish Network, Food City, and the Kingsport, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and will distribute more than $300,000 worth of toys to thousands of children.

When recently speaking about this great adventure, Wynonna said, "Sharing the joy of the holiday season with children who are growing up in a place so close to my heart is something that I am so honored and humbled to have the opportunity to do. Participating in the Santa Train with my mother makes it even more special to me."

Country Artists Give Back

When it comes to charity, country music artists and fans are some of the most generous people on the planet. Keith Urban held his second annual "We're All for the Hall" benefit concert in Nashville on October 5. The sold-out show featured Urban, Billy Currington, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, John Mayer, Martina McBride, Dolly Parton, and Charley Pride donating their time and talent, each performing one of their own songs as well as a song made famous by one of their personal musical heroes. This special show raised nearly $450,000 for the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum to "prepare and care for the nonprofit institution's exhibits and support its school and public programs."

Proceeds from the annual CMA Music Festival, formerly known as Fan Fair, are typically slated to be donated to Nashville's "Keep the Music Playing" educational initiative, but due to Nashville's extensive flooding this spring, the Country Music Association decided to split proceeds evenly between this program and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee's relief program for flood victims. On October 6, CMA Chief Steve Moore, CMA Board of Directors member Kix Brooks, and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean announced that the CMA broke profit records this year and was presenting a combined total of $2,924,936 to the two charities.

Country crooner Dierks Bentley hosted his 5th Annual Music & Miles charity motorcycle ride and concert on Sunday, October 17. The ride began in Columbia, Tennessee and concluded in downtown Nashville, and featured a concert by Luke Bryan, Laura Bell Bundy, Mat Kearney, Miranda Lambert, Del McCoury, Heidi Newfield, and Jerrod Niemann, in addition to Bentley. This year's event raised $250,990 for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. With this year's money raised, Bentley has raised nearly $1.5 million for the children's hospital.

Lady A & Easton Corbin Lead Brand New ACA Nominations

It seems like there is a ton of music award shows already, but FOX-Television is introducing one more on December 6. The premiere American Country Awards will be handed out at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, offering the "first and only country music awards show where fans determine all the winners by voting for their favorite nominees in music and video categories." When the nominees were announced last month, Lady Antebellum and Easton Corbin tied for the top number of nominations with seven nods each. Carrie Underwood was on their heels with six nods, followed by Miranda Lambert and Josh Turner each with five. Fans can vote for their favorite nominees by logging on to www.theacas.com. Fans can vote once a day, everyday until November 8, at which time voting for all categories except Artist of the Year: Overall will be closed. Voting for this top prize will continue through December 4. Nominees for this category are Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and the Zac Brown Band.

Visit www.theacas.com for a complete list of award nominees, including traditional categories like Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Video of the Year, as well as new categories like Touring Artist of the Year. The American Country Awards will air live on FOX-Television at 8 pm EST on December 6.

Other Country Nominations

Billboard magazine recently announced its nominees for the 2010 Billboard Touring Awards and three country tours made the cut. The three country tours competing against the likes of Bon Jovi, U2, and AC/DC for the Top Package of the Year category are: Tim McGraw's "Southern Voice Tour" featuring Lady Antebellum, Love & Theft, and the Lost Trailers; Brad Paisley's "H2O Tour" featuring Darius Rucker, Justin Moore, Easton Corbin, Steel Magnolia, and Josh Thompson; and Taylor Swift's "Fearless Tour" featuring Kellie Pickler and Gloriana. The Zac Brown Band and Ram Trucks received a nomination for Concert Marketing & Promotion of the Year for their "Letters for Lyrics" campaign. The awards will be handed out in New York City on November 4.

Nominees for the 2010 American Music Awards were announced last month and Lady Antebellum tied rapper Eminem for the most nominations, each receiving five nods. Lady A will vie for Favorite Band, Duo, or Group among all genres of music, Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist, and the all-genre Breakthrough Artist of the Year, as well as the Favorite Country Band, Duo, or Group of the Year and Favorite Country Album of the Year for Need You Now. The country nominees are: Favorite Country Female Artist: Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood; Favorite Country Male Artist: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Brad Paisley; Favorite Country Band, Duo, or Group: Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, and Zac Brown Band; and Favorite Country Album: Jason Aldean's Wide Open, Lady Antebellum's Need You Now, and Carrie Underwood's Play On. The AMA's will be handed out in Los Angeles on November 21 and the awards ceremony will air live on ABC-Television.

Well, that's it for another month. Here's wishing each of you and your families the happiest of Thanksgivings. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin' your way."