Country Beat: Garth Brooks, George Strait, Tim McGraw ...

Brooks' label home gets new president; Strait hit with lawsuit; court date for McGraw.

Mike Dungan became president of Capitol Nashville, Garth Brooks' label home, on Monday (July 17). Dungan, a former Arista Nashville executive, replaces Pat Quigley, who was brought in to market Brooks. After the commercial failure of Brooks' album Garth Brooks in the Life of Chris Gaines, which included the single "Lost in You" (RealAudio excerpt), the relationship between Brooks and Quigley reportedly became strained. Dungan is the fourth Capitol Nashville president in five years. Capitol's roster also includes: Trace Adkins, Susan Ashton, Rodney Carrington, Deana Carter, Tyler England, Chris LeDoux, Mindy McCready, Allison Paige, Cyndi Thomson, Keith Urban, Steve Wariner and Tim Wilson. ...

Texas businessman Ed D'Avanzo sued George Strait for $2.4 million, claiming the singer, his production company and his manager are responsible for the failure of pet food line South Texas Pet Products Inc. D'Avanzo claims the product failed because Strait would not make appearances to retailers and the public concerning the line. According to Strait representatives, the artist gave permission for Strait Nutrition Dog Food to use only his name and likeness to promote the product. ...

Attorneys for Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney are due in Orchard Park town court near Buffalo, N.Y., on Tuesday (July 18) for further proceedings regarding the singers' arrest on June 3. Chesney allegedly rode off on a police horse after a concert and, according to officials, McGraw attempted to stop the police from apprehending Chesney. ...

The Dixie Chicks will appear on the Tuesday (July 18) episode of "Rock & Roll Jeopardy!" at 8 p.m. EDT on VH1. (Sonicnet.com's parent company, Viacom, also owns VH1.) ... Honky-tonker Dale Watson will soon begin recording a Christmas album. He's playing a handful of tour dates in July and plans to record a live album during an appearance in London. ...

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Kevin Welch, Stacey Earle, John Cowan and Judith Edelman are among the many roots artists appearing at Winterhawk Festival 2000, to be held July 28–30 in Hillsdale, N.Y. The festival's sister event, the 12th annual Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, will take place July 21–23, also in Hillsdale, with performances by Janis Ian, Patty Larkin, Eddie From Ohio, Dar Williams and others. ...

Artist and country historian Marty Stuart's vintage costume collection is featured in the new book "Hillbilly Hollywood: The Origins of Country & Western Style" by Debby Bull. Stuart, whose collaboration with Earl Scruggs on "Mr. John Henry, Steel Driving Man" (RealAudio excerpt) was nominated for a Grammy, also provides commentary on the stars and style for this project. ...

Clay Walker's song "The Chain of Love" will be featured in Clint Eastwood's upcoming film Space Cowboys, which opens Aug. 4. ... The Dixie Chicks changed their Nashville performance date from Sept. 17 to Sept. 9, so as not to conflict with Britney Spears after the pop singer rescheduled her tour to appear Sept. 17 in Nashville. ...

Sara Evans, a critics' darling for her rich, traditional sound, is finishing work on her third album, Born To Fly, to be released Sept. 26 on RCA. An international version of the project will include the Martina McBride–produced bonus track "You," which marks McBride's first production work for another artist. Evans co-wrote six tracks of the 12-song set, with guest Bruce Hornsby playing on her cover of "Every Little Kiss." ...

Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch are slated for a tribute to singer/songwriter Greg Brown. The set, tentatively titled Driftless, is set for release next year on Red House. ... Honky-tonkers Trent Summar & the New Row Mob, whose debut album is due Aug. 8, are among performers tapped for the second annual convention for indie distributor RED, held July 19–23 in Southbury, Conn. RED handles distribution for indie labels from country and gospel to punk and rap. ... Powerhouse vocalist Trisha Yearwood has added dates to her European tour, including British dates in Manchester, England (Sept. 24), London (Sept. 25), Birmingham, England (Sept. 26), and a date in Glasgow, Scotland (Sept. 28). ...

Lonestar, whose hit "Amazed" (RealAudio excerpt) was a pop crossover smash, has signed with new manager Gary Borman, whose company Borman Entertainment also represents Faith Hill, Yoakam, Trace Adkins and James Taylor, among others. ... Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch's live album 11/12/13 — Live From Melbourne is the #1 most added record this week on the Gavin Americana chart. ...

New Zealand actor/musician Russell Crowe, who stars in the film "Gladiator," will play the famed Stubb's Bar-B-Q in Austin, Texas, with his band Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts. The group tackles everything from rap to country, and tickets for their shows Aug. 4, 11 and 18 are being auctioned off for more than $300 a pair on eBay.com. While in Austin, Crowe and his bandmates will also begin recording their next album. ...

Willie Nelson has been working for some time on a blues album titled Milk Cow Blues. The Island Records set is now scheduled for release at the end of August and features collaborations with B.B. King, Dr. John, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Susan Tedeschi, Jimmie Vaughan, Jonny Lang, Francine Reed and Keb' Mo'. ...

Country rocker Radney Foster is working on "Pure Spunk," a cryptic new project that will be a musical outlet for himself and other artists. Foster, along with BR5-49, Robert Earl Keen, Lee Roy Parnell and BlackHawk, was dropped when Arista Nashville recently folded into RCA. His album See What You Want To See spawned such gems as "Folding Money" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Angry Heart," and Foster is now planning a live acoustic album for fall release to include new material and past hits. ...

The Brooklyn Cowboys, whose debut, Doin' Time on Planet Earth, is currently #16 on the Gavin Americana chart, will play the weekly WYYB-FM radio and webcast concert at Jack Legs from 9-10 p.m. CDT July 24 in Nashville. The show will be broadcast on The Phoenix station and on www.songs.com. The band also will be featured on the radio/webcast of WSM-AM's "Opry Star Spotlight" between 1–2 a.m. CST on July 25. ...

Prominent Nashville resident John Hiatt is finishing an acoustic album, Crossing Muddy Waters, due Sept. 26 on Vanguard. The album simultaneously will be released online, at emusic.com, and in stores. Eric Clapton and B.B. King are riding high with their release of Hiatt's song "Riding With the King" (RealAudio excerpt), the title cut of their new album. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report