COUNTRY BEAT: Tim McGraw, Marty Stuart, Randy Travis ...

Singer recovering from appendectomy; Stuart to host film premiere; Travis recording live.

Tim McGraw is recovering from an emergency appendectomy he underwent on Thursday (December 14) in Nashville. A representative for the singer said he will recover at home in Nashville over the holidays. His Soul 2 Soul Tour 2000, with his wife, Faith Hill, ended on Tuesday (December 12) in Orlando, Florida. The tour played 64 cities, grossed more than $45 million and drew more than 1 million fans, McGraw's representative said. McGraw's "My Next Thirty Years" (RealAudio excerpt) is at #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart for the second straight week. ...

Marty Stuart will host the Nashville premiere of the movie "All the Pretty Horses" at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (December 21) at the Green Hills Regal Cinema. Stuart, who scored the music for the movie, will speak before the premiere, a benefit for the T.J. Martell Foundation. Billy Bob Thornton directed the film, set in 1940s west Texas. ...

Randy Travis recorded two shows at the Anaheim, California, Sun Theater on Thursday (December 14). The live concerts will be released on DVD, videocassette and compact disc next summer. ...

Country Music Hall of Fame member Eddy Arnold will receive a National Medal of Arts in Washington, D.C. Arnold, 82, is one of 12 medal recipients who will be honored by President Clinton on Wednesday (December 20) at Constitution Hall, the National Endowment for the Arts announced. Other country music artists who have received NEA medals are Grand Ole Opry stars Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Earl Scruggs and Bill Monroe. ...

Attorneys for Garth Brooks were in Seattle on Friday (December 15) to address a discrimination lawsuit against the singer. The suit, filed by a woman who uses a wheelchair, charged that Brooks and concert promoters at a Seattle show in 1998 held seats in the front two rows open for attractive, young women. A representative for Brooks said the singer traditionally holds the first two rows of seats open to give to people seated at the very back or in the highest rows. ...

When the new Country Music Hall of Fame opens in May, 10 new members will be inducted in opening ceremonies, said the Country Music Association. Traditionally, between two and four new members are inducted annually into the hall. There are now 74 members. ...

BR5-49 are in a Nashville studio with Dixie Chicks producer Paul Worley working on their fifth album. BR5-49, dropped by Arista Nashville earlier this year, were signed recently by Sony Music Nashville's Lucky Dog Records, which specializes in alt-country music. ...

Young Billy Gilman joined President Clinton and the first lady in Washington, D.C., for the taping of TNT's "Christmas in Washington" on Sunday (December 10). Following the taping, Gilman and his family attended a party at the White House. The TNT special will air at 8 p.m. on December 17. ...

Craig Morgan's new holiday single, "The Kid in Me," is being offered as a promotional download to help raise donations for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. The download can be obtained by visiting the St. Jude official Web site at www.countrycares.org. The single is not for sale and is not on Morgan's current, debut album. ...

Steve Earle plays the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on Friday (December 15), and will open shows for the Dave Matthews Band on Saturday (December 16) at Providence, Rhode Island's Providence Civic Center, and on Sunday (December 17) at Philadelphia's First Union Center. Earle will resume his tour on January 18 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the Tivoli Theatre. ...

Nashville's Gospel Music Association has signed with Dick Clark Productions to produce the annual Dove Awards show, the Tennessean reports. The production, held in the Grand Ole Opry House in April, has never been on network TV, something Clark said he was aiming for. ...

"A Trinity Music City Christmas With Paul Overstreet" will air on the Trinity Broadcast Network at 11:30 p.m. on December 25. The half-hour holiday special features Christmas songs and memories. Overstreet will also be part of the network's special programming on New Year's Eve. …

Kenny Rogers' song "All That You Could Be" (RealAudio excerpt) will be featured in an upcoming episode of CBS' "Touched by an Angel." The episode, titled "An Angel on my Tree," airs December 17. Earlier this year, an episode of the show was built around Rogers' single "Buy Me a Rose." ...

Billy Ray Cyrus will perform at a December 23 fund-raiser at Lewis County High School in Tennessee to benefit the family of a slain police officer. Alan Ragsdale was shot and killed November 27 while on duty. Proceeds from the concert will go to a fund for Ragsdale's wife, two stepchildren and 10-year-old son. ...

On CMT's upcoming Dixie Chicks weekend (December 16-17), all programming on the network will be devoted to the group. Two specials — "Dixie Chicks Uncut" and "Dixie Chicks: On the Fly" — will be aired, as will an array of videos, interviews, musical segments and previously unseen tour footage. (CMT is owned by sonicnet.com's parent company Viacom.) ...

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. ...

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. ...

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." ...

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. ...

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. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report