Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Kentucky Artists Among ACM Honors

The ACM Honors, which are recognitions the Academy of Country Music Awards are unable to include during the ACM's annual televised awards program, were handed out last month and a couple Kentucky acts were among the honorees. Ashland, Kentucky natives Wynonna and Naomi Judd, better known simply as The Judds, and Sandy Hook's late, great Keith Whitley were recognized during the honors. These Kentucky artists were honored with the prestigious Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award. Whitley's widow, Lorrie Morgan, and children Morgan and Jesse Keith Whitley accepted this honor after Lorrie and Jesse performed "'Til a Tear Becomes a Rose."

The Voice coach Blake Shelton, who has mentored three of the show's four winners thus far, was honored with the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award. Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood, who make up the trio Lady Antebellum, were awarded the Jim Reeves International Award for taking country music around the world on their last international tour. Jason Aldean was honored with the Crystal milestone Award for his outstanding concert ticket sales, including the sell-out of two shows at Boston's Fenway Park, a whopping 70,000 tickets.

And the winners are: Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award: The Judds and Keith Whitley; Jim Reeves' International Award: Lady Antebellum; Mae Boren Axton Award: Tommy Wiggins; Songwriter of the Year: Dallas Davidson; Poet's Award: Guy Clark and Hank Williams; Casino of the Year: Red Rocks Casino & Resort in Las Vegas; Venue of the Year: Ryman Auditorium; Nightclub of the Year: Joe's Bar in Chicago; Promoter of the Year: Ed Warm of Joe's Bar; Talent Buyer of the Year: Jerry Hufford of Buck Owens' Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, California; Audio Engineer of the Year: Chuck Ainlay; Producer of the Year: Jay Joyce; and Musician of the Year: Matt Chamberlain—percussion & drums, J.T. Corenflos—guitar, Aubrey Haynie—fiddle, Mike Johnson—steel guitar, Michael Rojas—piano & keyboard, Jimmie Lee Sloas—bass, and Ilya Toshinsky—specialty instruments.

Swift & Musgraves Earn Top CMA Nominations

Taylor Swift took home her first-ever MTV Video Music Award on August 25 when her "I Knew You Were Trouble" was named Best Female Video of the Year, and a couple weeks later when the nominees were announced for the 47th Annual Country Music Association Awards, she, along with hot newcomer Kacey Musgraves, topped the list of nominees with six nods each. Swift will vie for Entertainer of the Year, Female Vocalist, Album of the Year for Red, and she is up for Single, Video, and Musical Event of the Year along with Tim McGraw & Keith Urban for "Highway Don't Care." Musgraves' first-ever CMA nominations include Female Vocalist of the Year, New Artist, Album of the Year for Same Trailer Different Park, and Single of the Year for "Merry Go 'Round." As a songwriter, she received nominations for Song of the Year for "Merry Go 'Round" and Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart."

Following behind Swift and Musgraves with five nominations each are Mr. & Mrs. Blake Shelton. Shelton will vie for Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist, Album of the Year for Based on a True Story, and Musical Event and Video of the Year for "Boys 'Round Here" along with wife Miranda Lambert, Ashley Monroe, and Angaleena Presley, better known as Pistol Annies. Lambert will vie for Female Vocalist of the Year, and Single and Video of the Year for "Mama's Broken Heart," in addition to the collaboration nods with Shelton.

And the nominees are: Entertainer of the Year: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, George Strait, and Taylor Swift; Female Vocalist of the Year: Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood; Male Vocalist of the Year: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Blake Shelton, and Keith Urban; Vocal Duo of the Year: Big & Rich, Florida Georgia Line, Love and Theft, Sugarland, The Civil Wars, and Thompson Square; Vocal Group of the Year: The Band Perry, Eli Young Band, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, and Zac Brown Band; and New Artist of the Year: Lee Brice, Brett Eldredge, Florida Georgia Line, Kip Moore, and Kacey Musgraves.

Album of the Year: Little Big Town's Tornado, Kacey Musgraves' Same Trailer Different Park, Blake Shelton's Based on a True Story, Taylor Swift's Red, and Carrie Underwood's Blown Away; Single of the Year: Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise," Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart," Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift & Keith Urban's "Highway Don't Care," Kacey Musgraves' "Merry Go 'Round," and Darius Rucker's "Wagon Wheel"; Music Video of the Year: Lady Antebellum's "Downtown," Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart," Little Big Town's "Tornado," Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift & Keith Urban's "Highway Don't Care," Blake Shelton & Pistol Annies' "Boys 'Round Here," and Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away"; Musical Event of the Year: Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan & Eric Church's "The Only Way I Know," Kelly Clarkson & Vince Gill's "Don't Rush," Florida Georgia Line & Nelly's "Cruise," Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift & Keith Urban's "Highway Don't Care," and Blake Shelton & Pistol Annies' "Boys 'Round Here"; Song of the Year (songwriter award): "I Drive Your Truck," "Mama's Broken Heart," "Merry Go 'Round," "Pontoon," and "Wagon Wheel"; and Musician of the Year: Sam Bush—mandolin, Paul Franklin—steel guitar, Dann Huff—guitar, Brent Mason—guitar, and Mac McAnally—guitar.

The CMA Awards will be handed out in Nashville on November 6. The awards ceremony will be hosted once again by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.

Congratulations and best wishes to all the nominees!

Country Artists Shine at Americana Music Honors & Awards

When the 12th Annual Americana Music Honors & Awards were handed out last month at the famed Ryman Auditorium, some of country music's classic artists made a huge mark. Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell earned the Album of the Year award for their Old Yellow Moon, and the critically-acclaimed collaboration also earned them the Duo of the Year trophy. Pikeville, Kentucky native Dwight Yoakam took home the highly coveted Artist of the Year Award, and Old Crow Medicine Show, the newly inducted members of the legendary Grand Ole Opry, was awarded the Trailblazer Award. Country royalty Hank Williams was posthumously awarded the President's Award.

And the winners are: Artist of the Year: Dwight Yoakam; Duo of the Year: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell; Trailblazer Award: Old Crow Medicine Show; Emerging Artist of the Year: Shovels & Rope; Instrumentalist of the Year: Larry Campbell; Song of the Year: Shovels & Rope's "Birmingham"; Album of the Year: Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell's Old Yellow Moon; Spirit of Americana/Free Speech in Music Award: Stephen Stills; President's Award: Hank Williams; Lifetime Achievement Award for Executive: Chris Strachwitz; Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist: Duane Eddy; Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance: Dr. John; and Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriter: Robert Hunter.

Congratulations to all the winners!

George Strait WILL Play Louisville During Final Tour

When "The Cowboy" George Strait announced last year that he is planning to retire from touring in 2014, local fans hoped that the legend would ride into the Derby city one last time, but Louisville was not included on the tour's first leg. Well, fans can breathe a sigh of relief because the second half of "The Cowboy Rides Away" Tour was announced last month and Strait is scheduled to perform at the KFC Yum! Center on March 7. At press time, tickets for this must-see show had not yet gone on sale. Strait's May 31, 2014 Foxborough, Massachusetts stop is the last show currently scheduled, but the big finale will take place in his home state of Texas in Dallas on a yet-to-be-announced date. The final leg of this tour will feature a variety of opening acts: Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Lee Ann Womack, and Chris Young. The opening act(s) for Louisville has not yet been announced.

Huge Country Duets Coming This Month

Country music fans are in for some legendary and unique new duets this month. Traditionalist crooner Randy Travis is releasing a brand new album of covers, titled Influence Vol. 1: The Man I Am, on October 1. This album will include a special duet with Joe Nichols, titled "Tonight I'm Playing Possum," a tribute to the late greatest country singer of all time, George Jones. Travis will also cover Jones' "Why Baby Why," Lefty Frizell's "Saginaw, Michigan," and Ernest Tubb's "Thanks a Lot," as well as nine other covers.

In 1983, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton recorded their first duet, "Islands in the Stream," a tune written by The Bee Gees, Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. The smash hit topped music charts around the world and has sold millions of copies—it has been dubbed the "most successful duet of all time." Three decades later, the musical legends have rejoined forces to record a brand new duet titled "You Can't Make Old Friends," which will be released on Rogers' new album of the same title on October 8. The tender tune was co-written by Don Schlitz, who wrote Rogers' classic "The Gambler" tune. Rogers and Parton have also filmed a video for this track.

The legendary "Red-Headed Stranger," Willie Nelson, will perform live in concert at the Louisville Palace on October 15, the same day his new duets album, titled To All the Girls…, will hit stores. This special album will include duets with some of music's leading ladies, including Dolly Parton on "From Here to the Moon and Back," Loretta Lynn on "Somewhere Between," Emmylou Harris on "Dry Lightning," Alison Krauss on "No Mas Amor," Wynonna on "Bloody Mary Morning," and Carrie Underwood dueting on Nelson's classic "Always On My Mind."

Thanks for the Memories

With this being the last print edition of Louisville Music News, I'd like to offer my heartfelt thanks to editors Paul Moffett and Jean Metcalfe for affording me the opportunity to write about the country music that I love for the last 19 years. "Cowboy Corner" debuted in LMN in October 1994, and this, my 229th column, is my last. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting countless fellow country music fans over the last nearly two decades, and I have heard some GREAT music throughout this time. I've had the opportunity to meet numerous country artists, including the top three on my wish list: Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire, and Dolly Parton. Superstar Garth Brooks even sang "The Dance" a capella to my lovely wife on her 25th birthday. And I even got to interview my favorite artist of all, Parton!

This might be my last official "Cowboy Corner," but that doesn't mean that my love of country music has drawn to a close. My concert-going will not wane, I will submit occasional blog entries on LMN's website, and be on the lookout for my concert photographs. Thanks to each of you, the readers, the country fans, for sharing this journey with me.

Well, for the last time, always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, 'cause country music is comin' your way."