Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Miranda Lambert Sweeps CMA Nominations

To say that red-hot Miranda Lambert has had a stellar year is a huge understatement, thanks to hits "The House That Built Me" and "White Liar" plus her engagement to country crooner Blake Shelton. It was no surprise when nominations for the 44th Annual Country Music Association Awards were announced last month that she topped the list of nominations with a whopping nine nods, breaking the record for the most nominations a female artist has received in a single year in CMA history. She will vie for 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 racked up five nominations, including Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Album of the Year for Need You Now, and Single and Video of the Year for "Need You Now." In addition, trio members Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood each received an individual nomination along with Josh Kear as songwriters of "Need You Now." Blake Shelton and Zac Brown Band followed Lady A with four nominations each. Shelton will vie for Male Vocalist of the Year, and Single, Musical Event, and Video of the Year along with Trace Adkins for "Hillbilly Bone." ZBB will vie for Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, New Artist of the Year, and Musical Event of the Year along with Kid Rock for "Can't You See." In addition, Zac Brown and John Driskell Hopkins received individual nominations along with songwriters Wyatt Durrette and Shawn Mullins for Song of the Year for co-writing "Toes."

And the nominees are: Entertainer of the Year: Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, and Zac Brown Band; Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood; Male Vocalist of the Year: Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, George Strait, and Keith Urban; Vocal Duo of the Year: Brooks & Dunn, Joey + Rory, Montgomery Gentry, Steel Magnolia, and Sugarland; and Vocal Group of the Year: Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, and Zac Brown Band.

New Artist of the Year: Luke Bryan, Easton Corbin, Jerrod Niemann, Chris Young, and Zac Brown Band; Album of the Year: Lady Antebellum's Need You Now, Carrie Underwood's Play On, Miranda Lambert's Revolution, George Strait's Twang, and Dierks Bentley's Up on the Ridge; Single of the Year: Easton Corbin's "A Little More Country Than That," Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins' "Hillbilly Bone," Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now," and Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me" and "White Liar"; and Song of the Year: "A Little More Country Than That" Rory Lee Feek, Don Poythress, & Wynn Varble, "Need You Now" Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley, & Hillary Scott, "The House That Built Me" Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin, "Toes" Zac Brown, Wyatt Durette, John Driskell Hopkins & Shawn Mullins, and "White Liar" Natalie Hemby & Miranda Lambert.

Musical Event of the Year: Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert & Jamey Johnson's "Bad Angel," Zac Brown Band & Kid Rock's "Can't You See," Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins' "Hillbilly Bone," Kenny Chesney & Dave Matthews' "I'm Alive," and Alan Jackson & Lee Ann Womack's "Till the End"; Music Video of the Year: Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins' "Hillbilly Bone," Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now," Miranda Lambert's "The House That Built Me," Brad Paisley's "Water," and Miranda Lambert's "White Liar"; and Musician of the Year: Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Dann Huff (guitar), Brent Mason (guitar), Mac McAnally (guitar), and Randy Scruggs (guitar).

The CMA Awards will be handed out in Nashville, Tennessee on November 10. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will once again host the awards show which will air live on ABC-Television.

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Brooks & Dunn Ride Off Into the Sunset

For two decades, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn shared the concert stage and made country music magic as the multi-award-winning, mult-platinum selling duo Brooks & Dunn. Announcing earlier in the year that they had decided to retire the act, B&D took their last bow at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on September 2 and the two rode off into the sunset, on two separate buses. They saved their first single, "Brand New Man," as their swan song, waving to the adoring crowd as they closed this chapter of their lives.

Throughout their two-hour final concert, Brooks and Dunn took turns on lead vocals on hits like "You Can't Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl," "Mama Don't Get Dressed Up for Nothing," "Put a Girl in It," "Red Dirt Road," "Believe," "Neon Moon," "My Maria," "Only in America," "Boot Scootin' Boogie," and "Cowgirls Don't Cry," along with surprise guest and B&D pal Reba McEntire. For such an illustrious 20-year career, the duo's finale was a relatively anti-climatic concert during which Dunn spoke very little, leaving the stage banter to partner Brooks. Neither have announced any future plans, namely solo careers, but I doubt it's the last we'll hear from them musically, especially Mr. Dunn.

Congratulations, Kix and Ronnie, on a great 20-year ride and thanks for allowing us fans to tag along! You won't be soon forgotten.

Two Country Legends Honored

Butcher Holler, Kentucky's favorite "Coal Miner's Daughter," country legend Loretta Lynn, will be honored with a tribute album scheduled to hit stores on November 9. Coal Miner's Daughter: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn will feature some of Lynn's biggest hits sung by some of the biggest names not only in country music, but pop/rock as well. The disc will include Steve Earle & Allison Moorer on "After the Fire is Gone," Sheryl Crow, Miranda Lambert & Lynn on "Coal Miner's Daughter," Gretchen Wilson on "Don't Come Home a'Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)," Kid Rock on "I Know How," Reba McEntire on "If You're Not Gone Too Long," Lee Ann Womack on "I'm a Honky Tonk Girl," Alan Jackson & Martina McBride on "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man," Faith Hill on "Love Is the Foundation," The White Stripes on "Rated X," Lucinda Williams on "Somebody Somewhere," Paramore on "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)," and Carrie Underwood on "You're Lookin' at Country."

In December, the "Okie from Muskogee," Merle Haggard, will be honored in our nation's capitol. Haggard is one of five artists scheduled to receive the Kennedy Center Honors this year. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will present the KCH medallions to Haggard, Broadway composer and lyricist Jerry Herman, dancer/choreographer/director Bill T. Jones, Paul McCartney, and Oprah Winfrey at a private State Department dinner on December 4 and the five recipients will be honored with an all-star tribute a the Kennedy Center on the following evening. The tribute will be taped and broadcast on CBS-Television on December 28.

Taylor Swift Ready for Round Three

Taylor Swift fans will be happy to know that the songstress will offer her third CD, Speak Now, on October 25. Diehard fans will want to rush out to their local Target retail store for an exclusive special edition of the disc, giving fans three additional songs, remixed cuts, and videos on the CD. Swift's first single from the disc, "Mine," was released earlier than scheduled as a rough edit was leaked on the internet, causing her record company and producers to rush a final version of the tune to radio. Swift debuted another cut from the album, "Innocent," on last month's MTV Video Music Awards, seemingly offering a tongue-in-cheek response to Kanye West's rude interception during her acceptance speech on last year's VMA's.

Keith Urban and Friends to Help Support Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

Keith Urban is an avid supporter of the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, so much so that he has scheduled his second "We're All for the Hall" all-star benefit concert for the organization. The highly-anticipated October 5 concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena will feature Billy Currington, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, John Mayer, Martina McBride, Dolly Parton, and Charley Pride. When recently speaking about this year's benefit, Urban stated, "This year we've created a musical theme called ‘Heroes.' I've asked each artist to play one of their favorite songs from one of their country heroes, besides of course, one of their own hits. There's no doubt that this audience is going to experience a really special night—some of their favorite artists doing songs that, in some cases, they may have never even been played live before and quite possibly won't ever again."

Tickets for "We're All for the Hall" are available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com. Prices are $25 and $35, as well as a limited number of VIP packages ranging from $1,500 to $3,000.

Country Baby Boom

Two of country music's men became daddies in the last few weeks. James Otto and wife Amy welcomed their first child, daughter Ava Katherine Otto, into the world on August 24, just a few weeks before releasing his new album, Shake What God Gave Ya, on September 14. Ava weighed in at 8 lbs, 2 oz. The proud papa says, "She is beautiful like her mama, and I am already wrapped around her tiny finger."

Rascal Flatts' Joe Don Rooney and his model wife Tiffany Fallon welcomed their second child, daughter Raquel Blue, on September 7. Raquel weighed 7 lbs and was 18 in long. Following the birth, Rooney said, "Tiffany and I are so excited to have brought a brand new baby into the world. Raquel Blue is so beautiful, and we feel so grateful to have this sweet little angel round out our family. [Two-and-a-half-year-old] Jagger is already an excited big brother."

Zac Brown Band lead singer Zac Brown and wife Shelly are expecting baby number four early next year. The Brown's currently have three daughters, three-year-old Justice, two-year-old Lucy, and one-year-old Georgia Sloan, and, you guessed it, they're having daughter #4!

Congratulations to the Ottos, Rooneys, and Browns!

Well, that's it for another month. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin' your way."