COUNTRY BEAT: Faith Hill, Montgomery Gentry, Gaylord Entertainment ...

Hill crosses over in Billboard Awards; duo playing halftime; Nashville giant drops its Net division.

Continuing her crossover success, Faith Hill won both country and pop awards at the Billboard Music Awards on Tuesday (December 5). In tying the Dixie Chicks in winning four awards, Hill was named Top Country Artist, Female, as well as Hot 100 Singles Artist, Female. She also won the Hot 100 Airplay Track of the Year and Hot 100 Single of the Year awards for "Breathe" (RealAudio excerpt). The Chicks won honors as Top Country Artist, Top Country Duo/Group, Country Album Artist of the Year, as well as Country Album of the Year for Fly. ...

Country Music Association Duo/Group of the Year Montgomery Gentry will be the halftime entertainment for the third annual Music City Bowl at Adelphia Coliseum in Nashville on Thursday (December 28). The game pits West Virginia against the University of Mississippi. For the crowd, expected to be in excess of 65,000 people, they'll perform a three-song set of their first top-10 hit "Hillbilly Shoes" (RealAudio excerpt), the Waylon Jennings classic "Ramblin' Man" and their current hit "All Night Long." ...

Nashville's giant Gaylord Entertainment Company is continuing a company-wide reorganization by dropping its Internet business. A statement issued Tuesday (December 5) said Gaylord will divest itself of Gaylord Digital by the end of the year by selling or shutting down that division's four Internet sites: Christian music site Musicforce.com, broadcasting site Lightsource.com, country site MusicCountry.com and indie-artist site Songs.com. The company said 85 jobs were cut immediately, with another 31 expected to be cut by year's end. The company earlier abandoned plans to launch a record label, and it had previously sold CMT and TNN to Viacom (sonicnet.com's parent company). Gaylord Web sites serving other company holdings, such as the Grand Ole Opry and radio station WSM, were not affected. ...

A number of country artists will play the Make-a-Wish Foundation benefit show on Wednesday (December 6). Performing at the Wildhorse Saloon starting at 7 p.m.: JoDee Messina, Clay Davidson, Rascal Flatts, Jamie O'Neal, Phil Vassar, Neal McCoy, Brad Paisley and the Clark Family Experience. ...

Sara Evans has been added to the lineup for the Fourth Annual George Strait Country Music Festival, which hits the road in March. Evans joins Alan Jackson, Lonestar, Lee Ann Womack, Brad Paisley and Asleep at the Wheel on the tour. The annual, stadium-only festival has played to more than 2 million fans, averaging an audience of 45,000 people per show. The fest also features the Straitland midway and a second stage featuring country music up-and-comers. ...

An anthology of 21 tracks selected from the Ozark Mountain Daredevils' A&M albums is now out. Time Warp: The Very Best of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils is digitally remastered from original master tapes, with a 16-page booklet containing recent interviews with bandmembers, photos and artwork. The group had a number of hits, primarily in the 1970s, with such songs as "If You Want To Get to Heaven" (RealAudio excerpt), "Chicken Train," "Jackie Blue" and "Spaceship Orion." ...

Clay Davidson will be on hand at Texas Stadium in Dallas on December 10 to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" as the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Redskins. ... Sara Evans is a guest on ABC's "Politically Incorrect" on Tuesday (December 5) and will tape "Later Today" on Monday (December 11) for an airing later in the month. ...

A Pittsburgh man has been sentenced to six months in jail for peddling Tammy Wynette's confidential medical files to supermarket tabloids. William A. Cox also was sentenced to six months of house arrest and fined $2,610 — the same amount he was paid for selling the late country star's files to the National Enquirer and the Star. Using an assumed name, Wynette checked into the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Presbyterian in 1994 and 1995, and Cox got Wynette's medical information by logging on to the hospital's computer system under a former physician's password, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Hull said. Cox begins serving his jail term on January 2. ...

George Strait has donated one of his stage outfits to the Country Music Hall of Fame, along with one of his rodeo championship belt buckles, custom-made spurs and a leather saddle. …

Emmylou Harris begins her Anti-Landmine campaign tour on Saturday (December 2) in Stamford, Connecticut, at the Palace Theater. Other dates: Sunday (December 3), Ottawa, Ontario, at the National Center for the Arts – Opera House; December 4, Toronto, Ontario, at Massey Hall; Tuesday and Wednesday (December 5 and 6), Burlington, Vermont, at Flynn Theater; Friday (December 7), Somerville, Massachusetts, at Johnny D's. Steve Earle, Bruce Cockburn, Nanci Griffith, Mary Chapin Carpenter and John Prine will be openers, each at a different show. …

Delbert McClinton's "Blues Cruise" will feature performances by Asleep at the Wheel, Marcia Ball, Junior Brown, Bekka Bramlett, Bonnie Bramlett, Stephen Bruton, the Derailers, Jimmy Hall, Al Anderson, and Michael McDonald. The McClinton cruise (1-800-DELBERT) will take place on the Regal Empress from Regal Cruise Lines, January 2–7, running from Florida to Cozumel, Mexico. ...

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' Animal Times magazine readers have voted Shania Twain the "sexiest vegetarian alive." Even her dog, Tim, is on a meat-free diet. ...

Shania Twain will have a unique tourist site next year in her native Canada when an expansion of the Timmins Underground Gold Mine Tour site is completed. The underground gold mine and its other attractions have been a popular tourist site since 1990 in the northern Ontario town of Timmins, where Twain grew up. A new Shania Twain Centre at the mine will offer interactive exhibits of the singer's life and career and will display a large collection of Twain memorabilia. The gold mine itself was discovered in 1909 and was once the largest gold producer in the Western Hemisphere. ...

Ralph Stanley is recording a new studio album with guest appearances by Lucinda Williams, Dolly Parton, Iris DeMent, Maria Muldaur, Chely Wright, Gillian Welch and Valerie Smith. The 72-year-old bluegrass singer also has two cuts on the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack, due for release on Tuesday (December 5), and an album of his classic songs, Man of Constant Sorrow, will be released December 26. ...

Rodney Crowell has delayed the release of his album The Houston Kid until February 13, to coincide with the release of a documentary film being made about him. Crowell's first release of new music in six years is about growing up on the wrong side of the tracks in Houston, the singer said when he previewed songs from the album at the recent Americana Music Association convention in Nashville. "It seemed kind of strange to me to have each of these two things isolated from the other," Crowell said. Nashville film students are making the documentary, also called "The Houston Kid." ...

Billy Gilman, who has two albums in the top 10 of the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, has finished taping "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," a Walt Disney World Christmas special, which will air on ABC on Christmas Eve. SheDaisy will also be on the program. Gilman, Kathy Mattea and teen opera singer Charlotte Church will perform at the 77th annual Christmas Pageant of Peace and tree lighting ceremony Monday (December 11) in Washington, D.C. The event will air live on C-SPAN and HGTV. ...

Martina McBride and SheDaisy have joined the talent lineup for the American Music Awards show, to be broadcast January 8 on ABC. ...

Kinky Friedman will host a benefit concert at Austin, Texas' La Zona Rosa on December 10 for local fiddle player Mary Hattersley, who is battling breast cancer. The concert, known as Sweet Mary Aid (after Hattersley's nickname), will feature Asleep at the Wheel, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison, Shawn Colvin, Willis Alan Ramsey, Damon Bramblett, Mojo Nixon, the Austin Lounge Lizards, Marcia Ball and others. The 8 p.m. concert will be preceded by a 3 p.m. kids' matinee show with Alvin Crow and other artists. Among the items available at the show will be a CD of Hattersley's 1972 jam session in Austin with the Grateful Dead, Doug Sahm and Leon Russell.

— sonicnet.com staff report