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.

Sep 072013

Lady Antebellum‘s Hillary Scott and husband Chris Tyrrell are singing lullabies these days as they welcomed their first child into the world on July 22. Daughter Eisele Kaye Tyrrell was born in Nashville and weighed in at 7 lbs, 13 ozs. Scott announced the happy occasion on Twitter by saying: “She’s here, and we are in HEAVEN!!! Eisele Kaye, our beautiful angel, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!” The proud papa described her by saying, “She is incredibly gorgeous.” The baby’s name is a combination of Tyrrell’s mother’s maiden name, and Scott’s mother, Reba McEntire duet partner Linda Davis, whose middle name is Kaye. Lady A plans to resume touring on November 8 in Southaven, Mississippi.

Megastar Garth Brooks has earned numerous accolades and titles throughout his career, but he recently added a brand new title to his resume: “grandpa.” Brooks became a first-time grandfather in July when his 19-year-old daughter August Anna Brooks gave birth to daughter Karalynn. Brooks released a statement saying, “Our family would first like to thank everyone for their warm wishes and sweet celebration of Baby K’s arrival.”

“You Don’t Know Her Like I Do” crooner Brantley Gilbert and “Why Ya Wanna” singer Jana Kramer have announced that they have broken off their engagement to be married. Gilbert asked Kramer to be his bride on his 28th birthday this past January on the stage of the legendary Ryman Auditorium. The couple was reportedly so busy touring that their relationship has suffered as a result of being apart while on the road. Not exactly the ideal situation for a young couple in love, especially a couple trying to plan a wedding. They reportedly realized that this relationship was not going to work with their busy schedules, therefore breaking off their engagement was the best solution.

On July 31, it was announced on country traditionalist Randy Travis‘s website that he had finally been released from the hospital after suffering a stroke on July 10, which required surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. The statement said: “Randy Travis has been discharged from Baylor Heart [Hospital] in Plano, Texas. Mr. Travis has been relocated to a physical therapy facility. ‘Thanks to all the fans and friends for your continued prayers and support as Randy continues on the road to recovery,’ says Travis’ fiancée Mary Davis.” Travis will reportedly spend a few months in this facility as he recovers from this stroke.

Aug 082013

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.

Jul 122013

Our condolences go out to the family of Slim Whitman upon his passing June 19. The 89-year-old Grand Ole Opry legend best known for his 1952 hit “Indian Love Call,” died from heart failure in Jacksonville, Florida. He was raised in Tampa, Florida and began his music career following a stint in the U.S. Navy. He is also known for hits like “Rose Marie,” “Love Song of the Waterfall,” “Something Beautiful (To Remember),” and “Guess Who.” His last album, Twilight on the Trail, was released just last year.

Although Flatwoods, Kentucky native Billy Ray Cyrus filed for divorce from wife Tish Cyrus in 2010 and he later withdrew the filing and the couple reconciled, his wife decided to pull the plug on their near 20-year marriage last month. She filed the papers in Los Angeles Superior Court on June 13, citing irreconcilable differences. The couple has five children together, including the headline-stealing singer/actress Miley Cyrus. Tish Cyrus is requesting full custody of their only minor child, 13-year-old daughter Noah, spousal support, and asking that Cyrus pay her attorney’s fees.

Our condolences go out to George Strait upon the June 4 passing of his father, 91-year-old John Byron Strait. He passed away after a lengthy illness and a near one-month hospitalization. His famous son released the following statement: “We are grateful for the time over the last few weeks we were able to spend with Daddy before he passed away. I want to thank everyone for their prayers and support during this difficult time as we mourn our family’s loss.” John Strait was a junior high school math teacher and a rancher, and he is survived by wife Anna, daughter Pency Edel and husband Lea, son George Strait and wife Norma, daughter-in-law Denise Strait, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Stephen Barker Liles, who makes up half of “Angel Eyes” duo Love and Theft, became engaged in Ft. Myers, Florida on May 28. He popped the question to girlfriend Jenna Michelle Kennedy as he presented her a 2.34 carat diamond engagement ring. He says, “I am so blessed to have [Jenna] in my life and for us to become one. She is my best friend and I am so grateful for the Lord bringing her into my life.” The couple plan to marry in May 2014.

Our best wishes go out to Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, who is preparing to give birth to her first child this month. Lady A performed their last concert prior to the birth at the Taste of Country Music Festival late last month. When the band returns to the road following the birth, Scott, her drummer husband Chris Tyrrell, and the new baby will be traveling our country’s highways in their very own “family” tour bus, separate from bandmates Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, as well as the band.