Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Lady Antebellum Helping Rebuild Henryville

As was announced here last month, hot country trio Lady Antebellum chose Henryville High School, which was devastated by deadly tornadoes on March 2, as the winner of its "Own the Prom Night" contest. Group members Charles, Hillary, and Dave were unable to perform at Henryville's actual prom on March 20, but they are hosting the "Rebuilding Henryville Charity Ball" at the KFC Yum! Center on Wednesday, May 16. The trio will perform a special private prom concert for HHS juniors and seniors that evening prior to the public benefit concert which is slated to begin at 8:30 PM. Tickets for this show were slated to go on sale April 27, costing $25 and $35 for reserved seats. These ticket prices include facility fees and all proceeds from this concert will remain LOCAL and go to the New Hope/Indiana Bankers Association for the benefit of the Disaster Relief Fund.

Lady A also hosted a poster concert in connection with this highly anticipated event and all posters and T-shirts sporting the winning design sold will also benefit the tornado relief efforts. If you are unable to attend this concert and would like to donate to the relief efforts, you can do so by logging onto www.crowdrise.com/LadyAProm/fundraiser/ladyantebellum.

Upcoming Live Country Music

Well, the 138th Run for the Roses, the Kentucky Derby, is just around the corner, meaning some good ole country music is coming to town. On Thursday, May 4, 4th Street Live! will offer country fans a free, pre-Derby concert, when "If I Could Make a Living" and "Dreaming With My Eyes Open" singer Clay Walker will entertain the fans on 4th Street along with our own homegrown country boy J.D. Shelburne. Kroger's Fest-A-Ville on the Waterfront will be heated up with Derby Eve Jam starring the legendary Charlie Daniels Band, best known for the classic "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." And if you like the price of free, you're in luck, as CDB's performance will cost absolutely nothing as long as you're wearing a 2012 Pegasus Pin.

As I reported last month, most of the Kentucky State Fair main stage concerts had been announced, all but the closing show on Sunday, August 26. Well, the mystery has been solved as it was recently announced that The Band Perry will perform live in Freedom Hall along with opening act NEEDTOBREATHE before the annual state fair rides off into the sunset. Tickets for this show will cost $35 and $45 and will go on sale May 21. As a reminder, Hank Williams, Jr. will open the fair on Thursday, August 16, along with rocker George Thorogood. Tickets are already on sale and cost $49 and $39. "The American Band Tour" featuring Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, Eli Young Band, and Edens Edge will roll into the fair on Saturday, August 18. At press time, ticket information for this show had still not been released, so keep reading in upcoming months for this info as it becomes available.

A couple legends are heading to the area next month, so get your tickets now. "The Rhinestone Cowboy," Glen Campbell, who is currently touring the country with his farewell tour, has he recently divulged that he is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, will perform at the Louisville Palace on Friday, June 8. Tickets are already on sale and range from $19.50-$75. "Kiss An Angel Good Morning" singer Charley Pride will perform live in The Showroom at Horseshoe Southern Indiana on Saturday, June 30. Tickets for this show range from $35-$75. Horseshoe will also bring Jamey Johnson on June 8 and Gary Allan on Thursday, July 12. And newcomer wiz-kid Hunter Hayes will be performing "Storm Warning" and other tunes from his debut album live on 4th Street Live! on June 15.

Taylor Swift Earns Top ACM Award

Taylor Swift enjoyed a career and personal first on March 31 when the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, presented the singer the Big Help Award for her selfless humanitarianism at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards in Los Angeles, but this accolade still didn't hold a candle to the big award she received the next night in Las Vegas. That's right, Swift took home the coveted top prize at the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, being voted Entertainer of the Year by her fans. This was her only win for the night, with the top trophy recipients being Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, and Kelly Clarkson, who each took home two trophies. Lambert was named Female Vocalist of the Year and her Four the Record was named Album of the Year, and Aldean and Clarkson's "Don't You Wanna Stay" was named Single Record of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year.

Mr. Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, was named Male Vocalist of the Year, while Lady Antebellum was named Vocal Group of the Year, Thompson Square was named Vocal Duo of the Year, and American Idol winner Scotty McCreery was named Best New Artist of the Year. The biggest surprise of the evening was the fact that Kenny Chesney, who topped the list of nominees with a whopping nine nods, went home completely empty-handed.

And the winners are: Entertainer of the Year: Taylor Swift; Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert; Male Vocalist of the Year: Blake Shelton; Vocal Duo of the Year: Thompson Square; Vocal Group of the Year: Lady Antebellum; Best New Artist of the Year: Scotty McCreery; and Songwriter of the Year: Dallas Davidson.

Single Record of the Year: Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson's "Don't You Wanna Stay; Song of the Year: Eli Young Band's "Crazy Girl"; Video of the Year: Toby Keith's "Red Solo Cup; Vocal Event of the Year: Jason Aldean & Kelly Clarkson's "Don't You Wanna Stay"; and Album of the Year: Miranda Lambert's Four the Record.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Keith Urban Joins the Opry

Keith Urban and Vince Gill hosted the third annual "We're All for the Hall" concert benefitting the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum on April 10, and it was a night Urban will not soon forget. Among the numerous live performances at downtown Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, Gill, Rascal Flatts, and the Oak Ridge Boys surprised Urban onstage with a big black bag. Upon opening it, country's "wonder from Down Under" discovered a legendary Grand Ole Opry microphone inside the bag, as it was announced that he was being invited to become the next member of the Grand Ole Opry. Mrs. Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, was tipped off about the surprise ahead of time but kept the secret until the surprise invitation, at which her shocked husband stated, "How beautiful to have this happen tonight. This means the world to me." He was to be officially inducted as an Opry member on Saturday evening, April 21.

This year's "We're All for the Hall" concert raised $465,000, bringing the total raised for the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum over the last three years to approximately $1.5 million. Performers who joined Urban, Gill, Rascal Flatts, and the Oaks at this year's concert include The Band Perry, Blue Sky Riders, Diamond Rio, Hall of Famer Merle Haggard, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Pistol Annies, Thompson Square, and Hall of Famer Don Williams.

Congratulations, Keith! Welcome to the Opry family.

Sugarland Gives Video Deposition on Fair Tragedy

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Two days prior to their April 14 concert at the KFC Yum! Center, while on tour in Charleston, West Virginia, Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush sat down for video depositions surrounding the deadly stage collapse prior to their August 13, 2011 concert at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. The duo released the following statement to media in West Virginia: "In all the back-and-forth between the lawyers, the suggestion's been made that we've somehow been trying to avoid having to answer questions about last summer's terrible tragedy. This is simply not true." The duo reportedly sat down for nearly five hours of questioning.

Although Bush's deposition video or transcript has not yet been made public, parts of Nettles' has been. Nettles stated that the duo would have delayed the show if they would have been asked to, which partly pins blame on tour manager Helen Rollens, whom Nettles stated had full authority to cancel any show at any time. Rollens reportedly had conversations with Fair officials prior to the deadly accident, but chose not to cancel the show. Fair officials say they had concert promoters ask Rollens twice to delay the concert, but Rollens allegedly responded, "It's only rain. We can play."

Rollens has been hailed as a hero as she had gathered Nettles, Bush, and the band in a prayer circle under the stage just prior to the stage rigging collapse, an act which spared the lives of Sugarland, their band, and crew. Nettles laid blame on the Indiana State Fair, stating, "I don't feel it's my responsibility or my management's responsibility to evacuate the fans in the case of danger. Do I care about their safety? Absolutely." She wasn't aware if fans were told anything about the impending severe weather or not, but when asked if she blamed fans for waiting and not evacuating the concert setting prior to the storm, she said, "No. Of course not."

According to a Sugarland spokesman, Helen Rollens is still employed by Sugarland, but is not acting as tour manager on their current "In Your Hands" tour.

Dollywood & Dixie Stampede Celebrate New Season

Photo By Mike Stout

Photo By Mike Stout

Photo By Mike Stout

Photo By Mike Stout

Photo By Mike Stout

Photo By Mike Stout

International country superstar Dolly Parton was on hand for the opening of the 27th season of her Smoky Mountain theme park, Dollywood, on March 23. She kicked the season off in style as she performed her original "The Sky Is Not the Limit" tune, introducing the park's brand new thrill ride, the Wild Eagle roller coaster. Rightfully patterned after our nation's official bird, the bald eagle, riders dare the inversions, loops, and rolls in seats suspended from the Wild Eagle's wings. This is America's first "winged" steel coaster and it reaches a top speed of 61 mph, the first drop is 135 feet, and the coaster soars its riders 210 feet above ground level, offering spectacular views of the great Smoky Mountains while riding.

While introducing the ride, Parton stated, "The Eagle ride is the best thing we've done at Dollywood. Every year we try to do something a little bigger and a little better. It's the most anticipated ride in the country this year." She went on to say the park decided to add the $20 million thrill ride to hopefully draw teenagers to the park while older folks are typically drawn to the park by the many Broadway-style productions, down-home cookin', and great music around every corner. While at the park, fans of all ages can enjoy a self-guided tour of the Country Music Hall of Famer's rags-to-riches story by viewing memorabilia, awards, hand-written song lyrics, and stage clothes displayed in the legend's "Chasing Rainbows Museum."

While you and the family are in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to enjoy Dollywood and the breathtaking sights and sounds of the nation's most visited park, you won't want to miss out on Parton's Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction, touted as "the most fun place to eat in the Smokies." The multi-course country meal, all of which must be eaten with your God-given utensils, your fingers, will stick to your ribs like one of Parton's tight-fitting stage outfits. You'll be enjoying chicken, pork tenderloin, corn-on-the-cob, an apple turnover, and much more, all while you enjoy an equine show featuring beautiful horses, trick-riding cowboys and cowgirls, buffalo, racing pigs, friendly North and South competitions, humor, Indian heritage, lumberjacks, and much more, all with a very patriotic undertone highlighted by the spectacular finale choreographed to a video of Parton performing her self-penned "Color Me America." The Pigeon Forge Dixie Stampede is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Country Family Album

"Barefoot Blue Jean Night" singer Jake Owen will not be a single man much longer. Following his performance of "Don't Think I Can't Love You" during his April 7 concert in his hometown of Vero Beach, Florida, the singer popped the big question to girlfriend, Lacey Buchanan. Although he didn't have a ring to present to his bride-to-be upon his proposal, he has since purchased her a 2.5-carat diamond engagement ring. The happy couple first met when Buchanan appeared in Owen's "Eight Second Ride" video a few years ago. Although no wedding date has been set, Owen states, "We're getting married soon, in the next couple months. I mean, why not? We're gonna make it really cool and simple and get married on a beach somewhere at sunrise."

As of last month, every member of Lady Antebellum is officially "off the market." Twenty-nine-year-old Dave Haywood was the last of the trio to say "I do" when he wed Kelli Cashiola on April 14. The two were married during a secret ceremony at Front Porch Farms outside of Nashville, among family, friends, and bandmates.

"Guys Do It All the Time" singer Mindy McCready's life has been quite dramatic over the last few years, but congratulations are in order upon the birth of her second child. McCreedy and boyfriend David Wilson welcomed son Zayne on April 9. McCreedy originally thought she was pregnant with twins due to a mistaken ultrasound early in her pregnancy. This is her second child son Zander is six years old.

Congratulations are in order for "The Impossible" and "Brokenheartsville" singer Joe Nichols and his wife, Heather upon the birth of their first child. Daughter Dylan River Nichols entered the world on April 17, weighing 7 lbs, 5 oz and measuring 21.25 inches long. Upon announcing the birth, Nichols stated, "We have been trying to have a baby together for many years, and this gift is not something we take for granted. We are going to try to be the best parents possible."

We send our condolences to the family of 88-year-old banjo legend Earl Scruggs upon his passing at a Nashville hospital on March 28. Scruggs was the most influential banjo player in bluegrass music and will forever be known for "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," the theme song for The Beverly Hillbillies television show along with his musical partner Lester Flatt. He and Flatt were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Scruggs was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Honor and the North Carolina Hall of Fame. He was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the National Heritage Award, and the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award.

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