Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Wynonna Pens a Novel

Ashland, Kentucky native Wynonna has enjoyed great success as half of country duo The Judds, along with mother Naomi Judd; she has gone on to make an impressive name for herself as a solo artist, and now she’s adding another job to her resume. On January 25, Wynonna released her very first novel, titled “Restless Heart.” Her foray into the literary world of fiction follows the “’star is born’ struggles and triumphs of a young woman, Destiny Hart, as she navigates her way through her dizzying rise to stardom.” Needless to say, “Restless Heart” is loosely based on Wynonna’s own rise to stardom from small-town Kentucky to country music concert stages around the globe.

Strait & McEntire Wrapping Tour at KFC Yum! Center

When the Pollstar touring publication ranked the top-grossing concert tours of 2010, George Strait and Reba McEntire’s co-headlining tour, with opener Lee Ann Womack, was the top-ranked country tour and the 14th top-grossing tour across all genres of music. Grossing a whopping $41.6 million, the dynamic country duo was followed by Brad Paisley at #15 ($40.7 million) and Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum at #16 ($39.1 million). If you weren’t fortunate enough to catch Strait and McEntire at their Lexington stop last year, never fear, as they’ve extended their tour through the winter and will end the tour right here in the Derby city on April 9 at the KFC Yum! Center downtown arena. Tickets for this must-see show went on sale January 28 and run from $41.50 - $93.50.

Hill & Urban Will Leave Their Mark During the Super Bowl

When you sit down to watch Super Bowl XLV on Sunday, February 6, keep your eyes peeled for a couple big hitters of country music. Keith Urban will perform during the pregame celebration at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, which begins at 2 p.m. EST on FOX-Television. Urban will reportedly perform songs from his most recent CD, Get Closer.

During the big game, country fans might want to hold out on running to the restroom during the highly-anticipated Super Bowl commercials during the second quarter as Mrs. Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, will be featured in a Teleflora spot. Hill has created “The Collection by Faith Hill” with the flower delivery company and will star in a humorous 30-second commercial in which she is helping her recording studio sound engineer with a Valentine’s Day dilemma. Speaking of Teleflora, Hill says, “They’re a great company that takes pride in their products, their flowers—and in their commercials. I can’t think of any better way to kick off this partnership than with an ad during the Super Bowl.”

McEntire & Shelton to Host ACM Awards

When the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards are presented in Las Vegas on April 3, Reba McEntire will return as host of the ceremony for the 13th time, but this year she’s bringing along a friend to help out. It was announced last month that CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, Blake Shelton, who is also managed by McEntire’s manager-husband, Narvel Blackstock, will co-host the awards program. Upon the announcement, Shelton stated, “This is an incredibly special moment for me. I am humbled that Reba invited me to co-host the ACM Awards with her. She is not only a mentor to me, but a true friend. She continually supports other artists, which is a testament really to her beauty and talent. You will definitely have to tune in and check it out. With the two of us together on live TV, you never know what we might say.”

Although the majority of the ACM nominations will not be announced until later this month, the nominations for the top new artist categories were recently revealed. Eric Church, Easton Corbin and Randy Houser will vie for Top New Solo Vocalist, and The Band Perry, The JaneDear Girls, and duo Steel Magnolia will compete for the title of Top New Duo or Group of the Year. All of these artists will compete for the Best New Artist award.

The 46th Annual ACM Awards will air live on CBS-Television at 8 pm EST on Sunday, April 3.

John Rich Headed to the Board Room

John Rich has proven to be a country music mastermind as a singer, songwriter and producer and has made quite a name for himself as half of country duo Big & Rich, but fans will soon get to see for themselves how business savvy the entertainer is. It was officially announced last month that Rich will be among the latest batch of celebrities to compete for the title of Celebrity Apprentice. He headed to New York City late last year to compete on real estate mogul Donald Trump’s NBC-Television reality show pitting celebrities against one another to win money for their favorite charity. Beginning March 6, fans can watch Rich compete in business-oriented challenges each week with fellow celebrities actor Gary Busey, baseball giant Jose Canseco, teen idol David Cassidy, model Hope Dworaczyk, original Survivor winner Richard Hatch, singer, actress and Michael Jackson sister La Toya Jackson, former The View co-host Star Jones, Real Housewives of Atlanta star NeNe Leakes, rapper Lil Jon, actress Marlee Matlin, singer Mark McGrath, rock musician Meat Loaf, actress Lisa Rinna, model Niki Taylor, and legendary singer Dionne Warwick.

Country stars are no strangers to Mr. Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice. Trace Adkins was the runner-up to Piers Morgan on the first edition of the show. Clint Black proved that he’s not quite as business savvy as Adkins in a subsequent season. Last season, rising country stars Luke Bryan and Emily West appeared as the focus of one of the weekly competitions as the two competing teams worked with one of the two performers to develop a marketing campaign for their budding careers.

Best wishes to John during this competition! Show NYC what country music is made of!

Country Wedding Bells

The “1/1/11” date was very popular for country wedding bells. Two country belles took the plunge and said, “I do” on New Year’s Day. American Idol sweetheart and “Red High Heels” singer Kellie Pickler, who just returned home from a USO concert for American troops in Iraq, married songwriter Kyle Jacobs during an intimate ceremony on a private island in the Caribbean. The couple first met three years ago and became engaged while vacationing in Florida last June. Jacobs is known for writing Tim McGraw’s “Still” and Garth Brooks’ “More Than a Memory.”

“Any Man of Mine” singer Shania Twain, who will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame next month, took her second trip down the aisle on a beach in Rincon, Puerto Rico on New Year’s Day. As you might remember, Twain divorced her husband, famed producer Robert “Mutt” Lange, after 14 years of marriage once she discovered he was having an affair with her friend and employee, Marie-Anne Thiebaud. Following Twain and Lange’s divorce and Marie-Anne and Frederic Thiebaud’s divorce, Twain and Frederic Thiebaud, an executive at the Nestle food and beverage company, began to console each other and wound up falling in love. The pair confirmed their engagement on December 20 and were married less than two weeks later.

Country “Blue” songstress LeAnn Rimes has taken a lot of heat lately, being blamed for breaking up the marriage of actor Eddie Cibrian and his model wife, Brandi Glanville after co-starring with Cibrian in a Lifetime television movie a couple years ago. After several reports had surfaced in prior weeks that the couple was engaged, on December 27, Rimes tweeted, “For those who haven’t read, Eddie and I got engaged over the holidays. That’s the news. It’s for real this time and the first time EVER! It was nice to have our little secret for us, our families, and friends a few days! So excited to now share the wonderful news with our fans. We got engaged on Christmas Eve, period, the end. We’ve never been engaged to each other at all before that.” She went on to tweet, “Thank you for all your well wishes!! We are extremely excited and look forward to a beautiful future. It’s been an incredible last few days, I was shocked!!! We are blessed, our families are so happy, and our lives are filled with love.”

Congratulations and best wishes, Kellie & Kyle, Shania & Frederic, and LeAnn & Eddie!

Country Baby Boom

With the current baby boom among the country music industry, Billboard magazine may soon need to add a Top Country Lullabies chart. Josh Turner and his background-singing wife, Jennifer, welcomed their third son into the world on December 13. Four-year-old Hampton Otis and 18-month-old Colby Lynch are now big brothers to Crawford Marion, who weighed in at 6 lbs, 15 oz and measured 19 inches long. Turner said, “Jennifer and I are overjoyed at Marion’s arrival. He’s a strong, handsome little boy with a resilient spirit.”

Jay DeMarcus, who makes up Rascal Flatts along with Gary LeVox and Joe Don Rooney, became a first-time father late last year. DeMarcus and his wife, CMT Insider reporter Allison DeMarcus, met their first-born child, daughter Madeline Leigh, on December 17. The petite Madeline weighed in at 6 lbs, 9 oz. Spoken like a truly proud papa, upon his daughter’s birth, DeMarcus said, “Allison and I are thrilled! Madeline is absolutely gorgeous. She looks just like her daddy!”

Dierks Bentley’s two-year-old daughter, Evie, asked Santa Claus for a little sister for Christmas and that’s exactly what she got. Bentley and his wife, Cassidy, welcomed Jordan Catherine in the wee hours of Christmas morning. Bentley broke the happy news by tweeting, “say what u want about santa’s physique, but no arguing his impeccable timing! evie wanted a little sis for Xmas & JORDAN just arrived!”

To everyone’s surprise, Keith Urban and his Oscar-winning actress wife, Nicole Kidman, met their second daughter, Faith Margaret, on December 28. News of Faith’s birth did not break until January 17 when it was announced that the couple’s biological child was born via a surrogate at Nashville’s Women’s Hospital at Centennial. In a statement, the couple said, “Our family is truly blessed, and just so thankful, to have been given the gift of baby Faith Margaret. No words can adequately convey the incredible gratitude that we feel for everyone who was so supportive throughout this process, in particular our gestational carrier.” The couple has not divulged why they chose a surrogate as Kidman carried their now two-year-old daughter, Sunday Rose, full-term, but they have said they chose for her to be born in Nashville instead of their native Australia because they have more freedom from the public eye here in the United States.

Pop-turned-country songstress Jewel and her husband, rodeo star Ty Murray, recently announced that they will be first-time parents later this year. Jewel was afraid her pregnancy would be leaked, afraid she would suffer morning sickness while hosting the Bravo reality show “Going Platinum,” but she was able to keep the news under wraps until the couple was ready to break the news. Although no due date has been announced, Jewel is in her second trimester.

Congratulations to Josh & Jennifer, Jay & Allison, Dierks & Cassidy, Keith & Nicole, and Jewel & Ty. Happy lullabies!

Well, that’s all the country music news for this month. Don’t forget to tune in to CBS-Television on February 13 for the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards where Lady Antebellum leads the list of country nominees with six nods and Miranda Lambert with five. Always remember: “Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin’ your way.”