Oct 032013

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!

Oct 022013

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.

Oct 012013

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.”

May 062013

Flatwoods, Kentucky native Billy Ray Cyrus broke onto the country music scene 21 years ago, when his debut single, “Achy Breaky Heart,” skyrocketed to the top of the music charts. The smash tune helped his debut album, Some Gave All, to sell a whopping 9 million copies. Many thought Cyrus would be a one-hit wonder, but two decades later, he still enjoys an illustrious career in the entertainment industry. In addition to his music career, he has enjoyed success as an actor in the title role on the television drama Doc, he played father to his real-life daughter, Miley Cyrus, on Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana, and just last year he appeared on Broadway in the musical Chicago.

Cyrus recently decided to tell his life story and penned his autobiography, titled Hillbilly Heart, which was released just last month. Once and for all, he wanted to set the record straight and clear up several untruths and misconceptions about him and his family. He recently told Country Music Television, “Sometimes I look at my life and go, ‘How did my life end up being something that became more about what my persona is, compared to who I really am?’ All I ever wanted was for the music to speak for who I am. But when you are coming out of the eclipse of ‘Achy Breaky Heart,’ that is a pretty tough thing to do. I spent the last 20 years reinventing myself from that moment.”

Telling his life story was not always easy for Cyrus though. He continued, “All I am looking for is the truth. I want to make sure I got everything true in there….Some of those truths are not always pleasant. As a matter of fact, I am realizing I have had a painful life.”

In addition to promoting Hillbilly Heart, Cyrus plans to tour extensively throughout 2013 to further promote his 2012 album Change My Mind.

May 052013

Fortunately, the Kentucky Derby is not the only draw for country artists to come to town. Just a few days after the Derby, Taylor Swift will bring her highly-anticipated “The RED Tour” to the KFC Yum! Center on Tuesday, May 7. The 22-year-old will be performing some of her biggest hits, as well as new material from her latest album, RED, which was released last October. Opening for Swift will be Ed Sheeran, who performs the duet “Everything Has Changed” on the country/pop mega-star’s chart-topping album.

2011 American Idol winner Scotty McCreery may be in his freshman year of college at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina during the week, but that’s not hampering his country music career on the weekend. The singer will bring his appropriately titled “Weekend Roadtrip Tour 2013” to Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino in Elizabeth on Friday, May 17. He’ll be sure to perform hits “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble with Girls” from his debut album, Clear As Day.

American Idol judge Keith Urban hasn’t performed in Louisville for quite some time, but that’s about to change. It was recently announced that the second leg of his 2013 “Light the Fuse Tour” will end at our very own KFC Yum! Center on Sunday, December 8. Later this year, Urban plans to release new music, which he’ll be sure to perform at this must-see show. Opening for Urban will be newcomer Dustin Lynch and ACM Vocal Group of the Year, Little Big Town.