Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

J.D. Shelburne Performs at Grand Ole Opry

Country rocker J.D. Shelburne, who grew up on a farm in Taylorsville, Kentucky, realized his passion for music upon discovering an old guitar in his late grandmother's house during his college years at the University of Kentucky. After many long hours learning guitar and taking a stab at writing songs, Shelburne became a country music staple throughout Lexington and Louisville. With his college degree in one hand and a guitar case full of dreams in the other, he moved to Nashville in February 2008 to pursue a professional career in the music business he so loves. Opening a concert for Grand Ole Opry member and guitarist extraordinaire Steve Wariner here in the Derby city back in 2009 eventually led the rising star to the famed Opry stage. Wariner invited Shelburne to fulfill a dream and perform on the Opry on February 19.

If you've not had the opportunity to catch Shelburne live in concert, he's got plenty local shows scheduled in the upcoming months: pre-game concert at Louisville Slugger Field and the Derby Festival Chow Wagon April 28, WHAS 11 Crusade for Children June 4, The Madison (Indiana) Regatta on July 1, Bowling Green's Concerts in the Park series on August 26, and the Denny Crum Celebrity Golf Tournament on October 3. For more details on J.D. Shelburne, check out his official website at www.jdshelburne.com.

First Country Shows Scheduled for State Fair

Although the Kentucky State Fair is four months away, a few of the highly anticipated country shows have already been booked. Jason Aldean has been riding high atop the country singles charts with his smash duet with the original American Idol Kelly Clarkson, "Don't You Wanna Stay," and he's bringing his "My Kinda Party" Tour to the fair on Saturday, August 20. Aldean will bring along "Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song)" singer Chris Young and new duo Thompson Square, known for their debut song "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not."

The Oak Ridge Boys are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their smash hit "Elvira" this year, and they'll be rocking the old Cardinal Stadium with this and other classic Oaks' hits during their annual appearance at the Fair on Sunday evening, August 21. Bluegrass group The Grascals will be opening for the Oaks. Nicholasville, Kentucky's own John Michael Montgomery will make a short road trip from his home to perform at the fair on Thursday, August 25. Montgomery will share the stage with fellow 1990's country chart-topper Lorrie Morgan.

Keep reading in the upcoming months for news about additional fair concerts as they are announced.

Kentucky Artists Make Headlines

Ashland, Kentucky natives Naomi and Wynonna Judd, who make up one of the most successful country duos of all time, The Judds, were honored during the annual Country Radio Seminar in Nashville on March 1. The mother and daughter recently teamed up for their "Last Encore" Tour and were recognized with the Country Radio Broadcasters' Career Achievement Award for their numerous contributions to country music. Joe Galante, who first signed The Judds to RCA Records in 1983, was presented the CRB's President's Award.

Last month, Butcher Holler, Kentucky's "Coal Miner's Daughter," Loretta Lynn, was forced to postpone some concert dates due to knee surgery. Prior to her mid-March appointment to repair torn cartilage in her knee, the legend stated, "It ain't no big deal!! They say I will be in and out of the hospital in a couple hours! But I won't be walking so good for a couple weeks!" Lynn is expected to attend the Academy of Country Music Awards on April 3, where she is nominated for Vocal Event of the Year along with Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow on a remake of her signature tune, and she plans to perform at the ACM's Girls' Night Out: Superstar Women of Country taping in Las Vegas the following night.

As was reported last month, in a recent GQ magazine article, Flatwoods, Kentucky native Billy Ray Cyrus blamed the demise of his family (his impending divorce and daughter Miley's erratic behavior) on Disney's Hannah Montana, but things are looking up these days. In a recent appearance on The View, Cyrus divulged, "I've dropped the divorce. I want to put my family back together…. Things are the best they've ever been." He continued, "I feel like I got my Miley back. I feel like we're the daddy and daughter we were before Hannah Montana."

McEntire, Shepard & Braddock to Be Inducted Into Country Music Hall of Fame

On March 1, Kix Brooks announced the three latest inductees into the revered Country Music Hall of Fame. During a medallion ceremony to be held later this year, superstar Reba McEntire will be inducted in the modern era artist category, Jean Shepard will be inducted in the veterans era artist category, and Bobby Craddock will be inducted in the brand new songwriters category.

McEntire, one of the most successful women in country music history, was unable to attend the press conference announcing the inductees at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum because she was at her father's bedside as he lay in a coma in the ICU at a Tulsa, Oklahoma hospital. In a written statement, she said, "I'm so appreciative of being selected as one of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame…. It's a wonderful honor during a very emotional time of my life. I'm so sorry I couldn't be with you all this morning…I need to be with my mama and daddy right now. I know it's where I should be…. By the way, I told Daddy about being inducted two days before he went into the coma. It's a huge blessing knowing how important it was to him."

Grand Ole Opry member Jean Shepard was one of the pioneering women of country music. She paved the way for up-and-coming country gals like Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Tammy Wynette. She was the first country woman to successfully tour as a solo artist and was the first to write and record a country concept album, titled Songs of a Love Affair.

Bobby Craddock is one of Nashville's most successful songwriters, having penned two of the former First Couple of Country Music's biggest hits: George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and Tammy Wynette's "D-I-V-O-R-C-E." He has also written recent hits like Billy Currington's "People Are Crazy" and Toby Keith's "I Wanna Talk About Me." During the press conference, Braddock questioned if he was truly slated to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, stating, "We songwriters are used to being low profile and traveling underneath the radar and not used to all this excitement."

Congratulations, Reba, Jean, and Bobby!

Reality TV Meets Country Music

If you are a fan of music competition shows and you're currently rooting on country contestants Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina on American Idol, then you won't want to miss the singing competition's country cousin, CMT's Next Superstar, which debuts on CMT on April 8. Ten finalists, including Wickliffe, Kentucky's Adrienne Beasley, who was an early country favorite on AI, will "try to impress celebrity guests each week through a series of music business related ‘challenges' and grueling performance rounds. Each week, one finalist will be eliminated and viewers will vote to determine who will win."

When media mogul Oprah Winfrey announced she was launching her very own television network, OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, on January 1, she promised country fans she would offer programming right up their alley. Well, Winfrey has kept her promise as two country music reality shows are hitting the airwaves in the very near future. The Judds' self-titled, six episode docu-series will premiere on OWN Sunday, April 10 and will follow Naomi and Wynonna Judd on their "Last Encore" Tour and explore their sometimes volatile mother-daughter relationship. Shania Twain's docu-series, titled Why Not? With Shania Twain, will premiere on OWN on Sunday, May 8. This series will chronicle Twain's dealing with the tragic death of her parents, healing from the end of her 14-year marriage to producer Robert "Mutt" Lange, and visits to vocal doctors and grief counselors to regain her voice.

The future Mr. Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, will be utilizing his musical expertise in his new role as a mentor on the upcoming NBC competition, The Voice. Shelton, along with fellow mentors Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, and Adam Levine, will select singing contestants to coach and will call on the help of their songwriting and producing friends to help groom their teams. The Voice will premiere on April 26.

Country Coda: Ferlin Husky

Country legend Ferlin Husky, who turned 85 in December, died at his daughter's house in Westmoreland, Tennessee under the care of hospice on March 17. After serving in the Merchant Marines for five years during World War II, Husky became a disc jockey in Bakersfield, California. He first recorded honky-tonk music for Four Star Records under the name of Terry Preston and performed a country comedy routine under the name of Simon Crum. Finally recording under his own name, Husky first enjoyed chart success in 1953 with his smash hit duet with Jean Shepard, titled "A Dear John Letter." He went on to top the charts for 10 weeks in 1957 with "Gone," and spent another 10 weeks at #1 with "Wings of a Dove" in 1960.

Husky was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame on May 23, 2010 and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard for his numerous roles in major motion pictures.

Well, that's it for this month. Don't forget to tune into the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on CBS-Television on April 3—the ceremony will air live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and will be hosted by Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton. Happy Spring to all and remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin' your way."