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.
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.
If you were unable to attend the CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville back in June, or if you were fortunate enough to attend and want to relive the magic, then you’re in luck as ABC-Television is airing a three-hour recap, titled “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock,” on Monday, August 12 at 8 p.m.. The must-see special will be hosted by Little Big Town and will include performances, interviews and special appearances by: Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow, Hunter Hayes, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Kip Moore, Kacey Musgraves, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and The Zac Brown Band. Also appearing will be the cast of Duck Dynasty, actors/musicians Charles Esten and Lennon & Maisy Stella from ABC’s Nashville, Kellie Pickler’s Dancing with the Stars champion partner Derek Hough, Kid Rock, and Lenny Kravitz.
After incriminating photos of him kissing American Idol contestant Brittany Kerr made their rounds on the internet late last year, Jason Aldean has filed for divorce from wife Jessica Ussery. On April 26, the day following an announcement from a representative in Aldean’s camp about the couple’s separation, Aldean filed for divorce from his high school sweetheart, whom he married on August 4, 2001. The country star reportedly contacted Kerr just prior to filing to warn her of an imminent media storm following the filing, at which time Kerr deleted social media accounts. Aldean and Ussery have two daughters, 10-year-old Keeley and 5-year-old Kendyl.
Congratulations are in order for “Tip It On Back” crooner Dierks Bentley and his wife Cassidy, who are expecting their third child. Baby #3 will join big sisters Evie, 4, and Jordan, 2. Bentley announced the upcoming event on Twitter when he tweeted, “So my wife and I will be changing our family defensive strategy come the fall, switching from MAN-to-MAN to ZONE. #3! Advice @TheTimMcGraw?,” asking the father of three, Tim McGraw for advice. McGraw replied to the tweet, “Hey @DierksBentley, with all girls so far you might do best to just join the offense!!…congrats on #3.” Congratulations, Dierks and Cassidy!
Clara Henningsen, who makes up the family trio The Henningsens along with her brother, Aaron, and father, Brian, tied the knot with Jacob Calaway at the Henningsens’ family farm in Illinois on May 4. The newlywed is already back on the road performing the trio’s debut single, “American Beautiful,” opening on Brad Paisley’s “Beat This Summer Tour.” Congratulations, Clara and Jacob!