News AWARD SEASON The 54th annual Academy of Country Music Awards Show aired on CBS April 7, from Las Vegas, held few surprises among those carting home trophies, with Keith Urban copping Entertainer of the Year, Kacey Musgraves garnering best female vocalist, and first surprise Thomas Rhett, winning best male vocalist. Reba McEntire (left) again emceed the lengthy presentation. Other winners: Dan+Shay, best duo; Old Dominion, another surprise for best group; Musgraves’ “Golden Hour” voted best album; Dan+Shay’s “Tequila” best single, and also best song for its writer-producer Dan Smyers; Chris Janson’s “Drunk Girl” won top video; best music event went to Dierks Bentley and Brothers Osborne’s collaboration on “Burning Man”; Shane McAnally won ACM’s best songwriter accolade; and Jason Aldean received the prestigious Artist of the Decade, courtesy Dick Clark Productions clan and ACM. Oddly, some of the nominees had to have their wins acknowledged off-camera, rudely acknowledged by CBS to make more time for the superstar performances on camera, and most notably missing were Ashley McBryde, best new female artist; Luke Combs, best male; LANCO best newby in the duo/group category; and such other victors as McAnally, Bentley and the Osbornes, and Chris Janson, also announced earlier. It was to devote more time for medleys by such superstars as Aldean and Miranda Lambert, and allow more women performers on stage in this me-too movement era. No doubt readers have already absorbed the fact that the newest names being enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame are Brooks & Dunn, who first hit with a 1991 #1 Brand New Man; Ray Stevens, a singer-writer-comedian whose first success was the 1970 pop-oriented Everything Is Beautiful, followed by the Top Five novelty The Streak (1974) and two more country hits Misty (1975) and Shriner’s Convention (1980); and Jerry Bradley, who pushed the Outlaw country image while RCA chief, notably via his #1 Platinum-selling LP The Outlaws, in 1976, featuring Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter and Tompall Glaser. It won CMA Album of the Year honours. Official induction ceremonies for this trio will be conducted come fall at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Congrats to these deserving music masters, all of whom would probably agree that pioneers such as Al Dexter, Lulu Belle & Scotty, Tex Williams, Slim Whitman, Johnnie & Jack, Hank Locklin, Skeeter Davis, Wynn Stewart, Stonewall Jackson, David Houston, Jack Greene, Freddie Hart and Lynn Anderson, all equally qualified, have been overlooked far too long. Only Jackson is still among us, and has been unfairly treated by WSM’s Opry, which he served so well, right after serving his country in both the Navy and Army. Jackson’s been left off their roster for the past several years, despite boasting hits in three decades i.e. the 1950s’ Life To Go and pop-country smash Waterloo; the 1960s with Why I’m Walkin’, B.J. the DJ and Don’t Be Angry; the 1970s’ Me And You And a Dog Named Boo. Where’s the justice? So sad that some of the finest performers, many of whom broke new ground and helped spread the popularity of country via film appearances and singing crossover hits that captured new fans, died without ever knowing their achievements would be appreciated by an industry they helped to nourish. Such a shame. Former Alabama lead singer Randy Owen recently accepted the Boy Scout’s Heart Of An Eagle Award in recognition of his dedication and compassion shown towards the organisation’s community efforts in Aniston, Ala., through his personal leadership, character and integrity. Randy’s statement noted, in part, “It’s a great honour to be recognized by the Boy Scouts of America. I admire the great people who make scouting a wonderful lifetime experience for our state and country.” The group Alabama marks its 50th anniversary this year, after selling in excess of 75 million albums, thanks to such hit songs as Mountain Music and Dixieland Delight. Tanya’s Tequila Tanya Tucker’s in town to tout tequila, notably a brand called Cosa Salvaje (translation: wild thing), founded by Elle France, now Tanya’s new business partner. Known in earlier days as somewhat of a “wild thing” herself, Tanya has added pink streaks to her blonde tresses these days. She’s insisting, “I truly love the taste of Cosa Salvaje, and certainly wouldn’t be partnering with it, if it didn’t pass my taste test.” Cosa Salvaje is a silver spirit distilled by the family-owned Partida Distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, flavoured by Blue Agave plants, assuring a smoother, crisp taste. Checking locally, the brand retails for less than $50 a bottle. A few sips and you, too, can do the “San Antonio Stoll” and just maybe wake up to a pleasant “Delta Dawn” 6 cmp - MAY 2019 The latest news on the female country ‘supergroup’ The Highwomen is that Natalie Hemby is joining Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires in the line-up. The group performed It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels at Loretta Lynn’s birthday bash at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville recently. Carlile told Rolling Stone that she had re-written “the original Highwaymen song with Jimmy Webb.” They have been in the studio with Dave Cobb producing.