Country Beat: Kenny Rogers, Brad Paisley, Jo Dee Messina ...

Friends join Rogers in studio; Paisley set for Japan festival; Messina goes gold.

Kenny Rogers is collaborating with several artists on his upcoming album, There You Go Again (Dreamcatcher), due Oct. 3, reports Billboard. Suzy Bogguss, Billy Dean, Alison Krauss, Steve Wariner, Linda Davis, Brad Paisley, Diamond Rio and Collin Raye are among those helping out in the studio. Rogers' current album, She Rides Wild Horses, spawned such #1 hits as "Buy Me a Rose"(RealAudio excerpt). ...

Brad Paisley is scheduled to perform at the 12th annual Country Gold Festival in Kumamoto, Japan. The Wilkinsons, the Derailers, Chalee Tennison and Claire Lynch also are slated for the Oct. 15 event, according to a refugee management spokesperson. ...

Jo Dee Messina's Burn has been certified gold, the RIAA reports. Messina leaves for Switzerland to perform Sept. 8–9 at the Gstaad Festival, along with Chad Brock, Asleep at the Wheel and Wynonna Judd. ...

A new recording deal for Lee Roy Parnell, who was among those artists dropped when Arista Nashville folded into RCA this summer, is pending, according to a spokesperson for the singer/slide guitarist. Additionally Parnell, whose hits include "Heart's Desire," has been logging studio time. He was asked to play on the debut project for Meredith Edwards, the first artist in *NSync member Lance Bass' joint venture with Mercury Nashville. Parnell also has collaborated with Big House on a cover of a Grateful Dead song that will appear on the group's next album. ...

Jerry Lee Lewis' youngest sister, rockabilly artist Linda Gail Lewis, has teamed with Van Morrison for a duets album, You Win Again (Pointblank/Virgin), according to label sources. Due for release Oct. 3, the project includes versions of Hank Williams' "Why Don't You Love Me," Jerry Lee Lewis' "Let's Talk About Us," John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillin' " and Bo Diddley's "Cadillac," plus Morrison's own "No Way Pedro." The two singers are touring in Europe through Oct. 7. ...

Sept. 8 will be Kinky Friedman Day in Austin, Texas, according to a spokesperson for the singer. The city's mayor is honoring Kinky Friedman for community efforts, including his Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch and the Adopt-a-Dog-athon. ... Gaylord Entertainment has signed former Decca artist Chris Knight for an untitled country label, according to a source for the company. Gaylord has plans to launch three record labels. ...

In addition to RCA's reissue of Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, MCA is due to release a special collection this fall to commemorate the Opry's 75th birthday. Both releases will include the new Brad Paisley/Chely Wright duet "Hard To Be a Husband, Hard To Be a Wife," according to a label spokesperson. ...

The Tractors are scheduled to release an album on Audium Entertainment in early 2001 with a tour to follow, according to a label representative. ... "Workin' Man Blues: Country Music in California" by Gerald W. Haslam nabbed first place this week at the 11th annual Ralph J. Gleason Music Book Awards, sponsored by BMI, Rolling Stone, and New York University. (Sonicnet.com Country Editor Chet Flippo is one of the judges for this award.) ...

Willie Nelson has invited presidential candidates and congressmen to Farm Aid on Sept. 17, in Bristow, Va., to show their support for the family farmer. In an open letter posted on his Web site, Nelson writes, "While we are including everyone in this new millennium government, and while we are planning on leaving no one behind, let's remember not to leave the small family farmer behind, because I believe that they are, and always will be, the backbone of this country."...

Trisha Yearwood will narrate and sing two original songs for "The Tangerine Bear," an animated movie due Nov. 1 on home video and DVD, said a spokesperson for the singer. The movie is also scheduled to air on ABC during the holiday season. ...

Deana Carter told Nashville's Tennessean that she is living in Los Angeles part time and is concentrating on writing a TV pilot based on her life that would include one of her songs at the end of each episode. ...

Sony's Americana imprint Lucky Dog is releasing a new line of reissues, dubbed "Pick of the Litter," according to a label spokesperson. The first batch, due Sept. 19, includes Rodney Crowell's Keys to the Highway and Life Is Messy; Marty Stuart's Let There Be Country; Salt of The Earth, from Billy Joe Shaver; Between Midnight & Hindsight, from Joy Lynn White and compilations of material by the O'Kanes (to be titled The Only Years) and by Shelby Lynne (to be titled Epic Recordings). ...

An A&E "Biography" focusing on the Grand Ole Opry will feature interviews with Loretta Lynn, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Porter Wagoner, Marty Stuart and Little Jimmy Dickens, among others. A&E said the program is scheduled to air in November. ...

Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams III, Jerry Jeff Walker, John Anderson and David Allen Coe have been added to the lineup for Willie Nelson's Picnic to be held Oct. 8 in Spring, Texas, near Houston. ...

Country veterans the Oak Ridge Boys began as gospel group the Oak Ridge Quartet in 1945 and have maintained their gospel influence in such songs as "Each Step I Take." The Gospel Music Hall of Fame will honor the Oak Ridge Boys by inducting them in ceremonies on Oct. 30 in Nashville. ...

RCA will reissue the album Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry on Sept. 12 to coincide with the Opry's 75th anniversary. The project features performances by Vince Gill, Hank Snow, Martina McBride, Jimmy C. Newman and a new duet by Brad Paisley and Chely Wright. The two aspiring Opry members co-wrote "Hard To Be a Husband/Hard To Be a Wife" and debuted the song on the Opry stage in June. Interviews conducted by Bill Anderson with Minnie Pearl and Roy Acuff also are included in the reissue. ...

Buddy and Julie Miller have been tapped to open for Emmylou Harris for dates in San Francisco (Sept. 26); Portland, Ore. (Sept. 28); Seattle (Sept. 29); and Vancouver, British Columbia (Sept. 30). Buddy, alone, will then open several October dates for Harris, including: Denver (Oct. 3); Minneapolis (Oct. 5); Chicago (Oct. 6); Grand Rapids, Mich. (Oct. 7); and Columbus, Ohio (Oct. 11).

— sonicnet.com staff report