COUNTRY BEAT: Faith Hill, Brad Paisley, Charlie Robison ...

Hill's CD plans for 2001; Paisley in Rockies charity event; Robison's New Year's Eve show.

Faith Hill said she hopes to record the follow-up to her 1999 smash, Breathe, as well as a Christmas album next year. Speaking backstage at the Billboard Music Awards, the singer said she plans to release at least one more single, if not two, from Breathe before putting it to rest. "The next one is 'If My Heart Had Wings' (RealAudio excerpt), and hopefully 'If I Should Fall Behind' (RealAudio excerpt), the Bruce Springsteen [cover], after that," she said Tuesday at the Billboard show, where she won four awards. Asked how she answers critics who say she's sold out country, Hill replied, "I don't answer 'em. ... I've always focused on my music and tried to develop and grow as an artist. ... Critics have always had those little lines about me, and now that my career has gotten as big as it is, it's just in bold print." ...

Brad Paisley, Chely Wright, Billy Dean, Toby Keith and Mindy McCready are among the more than 20 country artists who will take part in the 7th Annual Country in the Rockies, from January 27 to February 3 in Crested Butte, Colorado. Proceeds from the series of concerts and outdoor events help fund research efforts of the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories for Cancer Research, a division of the T.J. Martell Foundation at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville. ...

Charlie Robison will play New Year's Eve at Fort Worth, Texas' huge nightclub Billy Bob's Texas. ...

Well-known country and pop music video director Martin Kahan is in critical condition in Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center with head injuries he sustained after a fall, the Tennessean reports. Kahan, who won a Country Music Association Award for the Alan Jackson "Chattahoochee" video and has done videos for Neal McCoy, Kenny Chesney, Bon Jovi, Loverboy and others, fell down a flight of stairs Tuesday night (December 5) at a house where he was staying. Kahan lives in New York City and was in Nashville editing a video for 3 of Hearts. ...

Dwight Yoakam's directorial debut, "South of Heaven, West of Hell," will open December 15 for a two-week run at the Mann Westwood Fourplex in Los Angeles. The Western film stars, among others, Warren Zevon, Billy Bob Thornton, Bridget Fonda, Peter Fonda and Paul "Pee-Wee Herman" Reubens. It's about a U.S. marshal seeking to bring to justice a gang made up of his former surrogate family after the Spanish Civil War. Yoakam has also recorded a duet with Earl Scruggs for the latter's upcoming album. They recorded the song "Down the Road" and also co-wrote "Borrowed Love" with Randy Scruggs. ...

Chris Cagle has been camping out on the roof of a Wal-Mart in Wichita, Kansas, since Wednesday (December 6), a spokesperson for the singer said, as part of a campaign by a local radio station to collect for the Toys for Tots program. Cagle will remain on the roof until the goal of 12,000 toys is met. ...

Willie Nelson will be featured Saturday (December 9) on "Austin City Limits" with special guest Leon Russell. ...

Brooks & Dunn and Kenny Chesney have been added as presenters on the American Music Awards special airing January 8 on ABC. Martina McBride and SheDaisy will perform on the show. ...

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. ...

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. ...

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. …

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. ...

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