Country music was very well represented walking into the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony last month, and by the time the golden Gramophones had all been handed out at the end of the evening, country music had officially ruled the ceremony. Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood, and Charles Kelley, better known as Lady Antebellum, were nominated in six categories and walked home with five trophies. The dynamic trio captured the Best Country Album award for Need You Now and the CD’s title track was named Best Country Song and the Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group, as well as the all-genre Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Although Miranda Lambert was nominated for five awards, she certainly didn’t go home empty-handed as she captured the Best Female Country Vocal Performance Gramophone for “The House That Built Me.” The Zac Brown Band garnered four nominations, taking home their very first Grammy, Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, along with Alan Jackson for “As She’s Walking Away.” This marked Jackson’s very first Grammy win as well. During the live awards ceremony broadcast, Keith Urban, Norah Jones, and John Mayer joined to sing the classic “Jolene” as an honor to the legendary Dolly Parton, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
And the country winners were: Best Female Country Vocal Performance: Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me”; Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Keith Urban’s “’Til Summer Comes Around”; Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”; Best Country Collaboration with Vocals: Zac Brown Band & Alan Jackson’s “As She’s Walking Away”; Best Country Song: Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”; Best Country Album: Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now; and Best Country Instrumental Performance: Marty Stuart’s “Hummingbyrd.”
Other wins by country artists include: Record of the Year: Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”; Song of the Year: Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now”; Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album: Diamond Rio’s The Reason; Best Bluegrass Album: Patty Loveless’s Mountain Soul II; Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: Crazy Heart; and Best Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: Ryan Bingham’s “The Weary Kind.”
Congratulations to all the country winners!
“Achy Breaky Heart” singer, songwriter, actor and Flatwoods, Kentucky native Billy Ray Cyrus opened up about his family’s woes in the February 22 issue of GQ magazine. After 17 years of marriage, Cyrus and wife Tish filed for divorce last October, and their 18-year-old daughter, superstar Miley Cyrus, has gone from one negative headline to another, from pole dancing at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards to a topless Vanity Fair photo shoot to a YouTube video featuring the youngster smoking salvia from a bong. The paternal Cyrus admits that he is scared for his daughter, who shot to superstardom in the title role of Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana.” He feels that the hit show destroyed his family and his famous daughter and he admits he wishes that he and Miley had never been cast in the show, saying, “I’d take it back in a second. For my family to be here and just be everybody OK, safe and sound and happy and normal, would have been fantastic. Heck, yea, I’d erase it all in a second if I could.” He went on to say, “You think, ‘This is a chance to make family entertainment, bring families together…’ and look what it’s turned into.”
Cyrus feels his daughter is on a destructive path like the late Anna Nicole Smith, Kurt Cobain, and Michael Jackson. He told GQ, “She’s got a lot of people around her that’s putting her in a great deal of danger. I know she’s 18, but I still feel like as her daddy, I’d like to try to help. At least get her out of danger. I want to get her sheltered from the storm. Stop the insanity just for a minute.” He went on to accept partial blame: “I should have been a better parent. I should have said, ‘Enough is enough—it’s getting dangerous and somebody’s going to get hurt.’ I should have, but I didn’t. Honestly, I didn’t know the ball was out of bounds until it was way up in the stands somewhere.”
When you thought Miranda Lambert’s career couldn’t get any bigger, the nominations for the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards were announced, revealing that Lambert will vie for seven trophies next month. She will compete for Entertainer of the Year, Top Female Vocalist, Single Record of the Year, Video of the Year, and Song of the Year for “The House That Built Me,” Video of the Year for “Only Prettier,” and Vocal Event of the Year along with Loretta Lynn and Sheryl Crow for “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” The Zac Brown Band and Kenny Chesney followed in Lambert’s footsteps with five nominations each, followed by The Band Perry and Taylor Swift with four nods each, and Lady Antebellum, Lee Brice, Easton Corbin, Alan Jackson, and Keith Urban with three nods each.
And the nominees are: Entertainer of the Year: Jason Aldean, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban; Top Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, and Lee Ann Womack; Top Male Vocalist: Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, George Strait, and Keith Urban; Top Vocal Duo: The JaneDear Girls, Joey + Rory, Montgomery Gentry, Steel Magnolia, and Sugarland; Top Vocal Group: Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Randy Rogers Band, The Band Perry, and Zac Brown Band; and Vocal Event of the Year: Zac Brown Band & Alan Jackson’s “As She’s Walking Away,” Emily West & Keith Urban’s “Blue Sky,” Loretta Lynn, Miranda Lambert & Sheryl Crow’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Colt Ford & Jamey Johnson’s “Cold Beer,” and Uncle Kracker & Kid Rock’s “Good to Be Me.”
Top New Solo Vocalist: Eric Church, Easton Corbin, and Randy Houser; Top New Duo or Group: The JaneDear Girls, Steel Magnolia, and The Band Perry; Single Record of the Year: Easton Corbin’s “A Little More Country Than That,” Zac Brown Band & Alan Jackson’s “As She’s Walking Away,” The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young,” Lee Brice’s “Love Like Crazy,” Kenny Chesney’s “The Boys of Fall,” and Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me”; Song of the Year: “A Little More Country Than That,” “As She’s Walking Away,” “If I Die Young,” “Love Like Crazy,” and “The House That Built Me”; Album of the Year: Kenny Chesney’s Hemingway’s Whiskey, Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now, Jamey Johnson’s The Guitar Song, Taylor Swift’s Speak Now, Dierks Bentley’s Up On the Ridge, and Zac Brown Band’s You Get What You Give; and Video of the Year: Blake Shelton & Trace Adkins’ “Hillbilly Bone,” Miranda Lambert’s “Only Prettier,” Sugarland’s “Stuck Like Glue,” Kenny Chesney’s “The Boys of Fall,” and Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me.”
The 46th Annual ACM Awards will be handed out at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 3. The ceremony will be hosted once again by Reba McEntire along with first-time co-host Blake Shelton, and will be broadcast live on CBS-Television.
Charlie Louvin, who made up country duo the Louvin Brothers along with his older brother Ira, died January 26 from pancreatic cancer. The brothers began performing as the Radio Twins in 1942 and primarily sang gospel music at various churches before turning to country music. They earned their only #1 hit with “I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby” in 1956 and enjoyed additional success with Top 10 hits “Cash on the Barrel Head,” “Hoping That You’re Hoping,” “My Baby’s Gone,” “When I Stop Dreaming,” and “You’re Running Wild.” Ira’s erratic alcoholic behavior tore the brothers apart in 1963, at which time Charlie proceeded to chart Top 10 hits like “See the Big Man Cry” and “I Don’t Love You Anymore” as a solo act.
In 2003, the Louvin Brothers’ musical peers joined to record a tribute album titled Livin’, Lovin, Losin’: Songs of the Louvin Brothers, which went on to capture a Grammy award. Louvin continued recording new music up until the end of his life, having released his last album, The Battle Rages On, in November. Still Rattlin’ the Devil’s Cage, a video documentary commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Louvin Brothers’ album Satan Is Real, was filmed in December and is expected to be released on DVD this spring. The Louvin Brothers were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1955, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1979, and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.
Fans of classic country music will be in hog heaven the next couple months as a heaping helping of legendary artists are heading to town. The “Okie from Muskogee,” Merle Haggard, will be performing at Horseshoe Southern Indiana in Elizabeth, Indiana on March 4, followed by outlaw singer David Alan Coe, known for the hit “You Never Even Call Me by My Name,” as he is scheduled to play Jim Porter’s Good Time Emporium on March 18. If “outlaw country” does not exactly tickle your fancy, the same night Coe is in town, country’s “Gentle Giant,” “Tulsa Time” singer Don Williams, will perform at the Brown Theater. The “Red-headed Stranger” himself, Mr. Farm Aid, Willie Nelson, will be bringing his brand of country music to the Louisville Palace Theatre on March 22. Two nights later, on March 24, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer “Queen of Rockabilly,” Wanda Jackson, will perform classic tunes as well as new material from her recently released CD The Party Ain’t Over, which was produced by rocker Jack White, formerly of the White Stripes. Traditional crooner Randy Travis will bring his deep baritone sound to Horseshoe Southern Indiana on April 8, the night before George Strait, Reba McEntire, and Lee Ann Womack heat up the KFC Yum! Center on April 9.
When American Idol winner and country sweetheart Carrie Underwood married Ottawa Senators hockey player Mike Fisher last year, due to their careers, the couple split its time between Nashville and Ottawa, Canada. Prior to the marriage, Underwood had a home near Franklin, Tennessee, and after exchanging vows, the couple built a 5,000-square-foot home near Ottawa. Well, their time of splitting time between two homes in two different countries has drawn to a close as Fisher was exchanged for the Nashville Predators’ first-round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft and a conditional pick in the 2012 Draft. David Poile, the Predators’ president of hockey operations and general manager recently stated, “We were seeking a Top 6 forward, and Mike Fisher was the player we set our sights on. He plays playoff-style hockey all season long. He plays on the power play, kills penalties, is strong on draws, and can match up against any opposing line.”
Zac Brown has plenty to sing about these days, and not just because of his Grammy win along with Alan Jackson for “As She’s Walking Away.” Brown and his wife Shelly welcomed their fourth daughter into the world on February 2 at their home near Atlanta. Joni Mason Brown weighed in at 7 lbs., 14 oz. and joins big sisters Justice, who is four-years-old, two-year-old Lucy, and one-year-old Georgia. Mr. Brown has been taking some much deserved time off spending quality time with the five ladies in his life and will resume touring later this month.
Well, that’s it for the month of March. Always remember, “Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, ‘cause country music is comin’ your way.”