COUNTRY BEAT: Billy Ray Cyrus, BR5-49, Brad Paisley …

Cyrus' TV series debuts; BR5-49 cut an Everlys tune; Paisley records with Asleep at the Wheel.

Billy Ray Cyrus‘ new television series, “Doc,” premieres on the PAX TV network on Sunday (March 11). The show debuts as a two-hour movie at 8 p.m. ET and has been scheduled for 13 episodes. Cyrus portrays Clint Cassidy, a country doctor from Montana who goes to the big city. …

BR5-49 are finishing a studio album before heading out on George Strait‘s big stadium tour. They just recorded the old Everly Brothers song, “The Price of Love,” which the Everlys released as single in 1965. The cover will likely be the first single from BR5-49′s new album, the group’s Gary Bennett said. …

Brad Paisley has recorded Hank Garland‘s signature song “Sugarfoot Rag” with Asleep at the Wheel. The song will appear on the album The Very Best of Asleep at the Wheel, due in either April or May. “Not everybody knows that Brad’s a good fingerpicker,” says the Wheel’s Ray Benson. …

Sherrié Austin is being treated for a viral infection in her inner ear, reports the Associated Press. The singer was briefly hospitalized on Wednesday (March 7) after fainting during a dizzy spell at a Nevada casino where she was scheduled to perform. …

Charley Pride will play the first musical performance in the new Country Music Hall of Fame on Tuesday (March 13). Although it doesn’t officially open till May, the Hall will present Pride and the late Faron Young‘s son, Robyn Young, with medallions commemorating Pride’s and the elder Young’s 2000 inductions into the Hall of Fame. Pride is remembered for such classics as “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone” (RealAudio excerpt), and Young made his name with such hits as “Hello Walls” (RealAudio excerpt). It will be the first official Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum event in the Hall’s new $37 million home in downtown Nashville. Metro Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell, Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist and songwriters/singers Bill Anderson, Merle Kilgore, Jack Clement and Dwight Yoakam (via video) will take part. …

Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams and John Prine have been added to the lineup for River Stages 2001, an outdoor festival to take place in downtown Nashville on May 4-6. They join previously announced acts Bob Dylan, the Wallflowers, Blues Traveler, Joan Osborne, the Black Crowes, Cheap Trick, the Dickey Betts Band, Evan & Jaron, Meredith Edwards and two dozen or so other groups and artists. …

Jo Dee Messina has four nominations in the 2001 Boston Music Awards, scheduled for April 19 at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre. The Boston-area native won Act of the Year last year and is again nominated in that category, as well as for female vocalist, album and single. …

Terri Clark was named the winner of the 2001 Juno Award for Best Country Female Artist, at the annual Canadian music show. At the awards ceremony, held in Hamilton, Ontario, on Sunday (March 4), Paul Brandt was named Best Country Male Artist, and Best Country Group or Duo award went to the Wilkinsons. …

Kenny Rogers will re-release 14 of his earlier albums, including The Gambler (RealAudio excerpt of title track), on his own label, Dreamcatcher Records. The albums, due in May, were originally released on Capitol/EMI from 1976-1985. Seven of them went to #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and several have never been available on CD. The re-issues are Love Lifted Me, Kenny Rogers, Daytime Friends, Every Time Two Fools Collide, Love or Something Like It, The Gambler, Classics, Kenny, Gideon, Share Your Love, Love Will Turn You Around, We’ve Got Tonight, Duets, Love Is What We Make It.

Keith Urban will make his debut appearance on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on March 15 and sing his former #1 country hit, “But for the Grace of God” (RealAudio excerpt). …

Collin Raye has been named the 2001 recipient of the Artist Humanitarian Award from Country Radio Broadcasters Inc. Raye, an ambassador to Childhelp USA, has worked with USA Weekend‘s Make a Difference Day as a celebrity judge for the past two years, works with Native American organization Hecel Oyakapi and has been recognized by the Tennessee Task Force Against Domestic Violence for his work in combating violence against women and children. Last year, he helped deliver supplies to Kosovo and visited U.S. troops there. He also has contributed to efforts by Silent Witness National Initiative, Al-Anon, Alateen, Special Olympics, First Steps, United Cerebral Palsy, Emily Harrison Foundation and Dreammakers. …

Jamie O’Neal got a surprise at her concert Saturday night (March 3) with Darryl Worley and Rascal Flatts at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon. Friend and fellow Australian Russell Crowe jumped onstage unannounced and sang “Folsom Prison Blues” with O’Neal. Crowe was in Nashville to pick up a new motorcycle and heard that she was performing. …

Trent Summar and the New Row Mob will play 15 dates on this year’s Volunteer Jam tour in May and June. The group will join .38 Special, the Dickey Betts Band and the Charlie Daniels Band on the tour, in support of its self-titled debut album. “Paint Your Name in Purple” (RealAudio excerpt), the third single from the album, is set to be released to radio. …

After sifting through some 14,000 songs, Garth Brooks says he’s approved just two for his upcoming album. In taking audience questions (and song requests) in a rare, hour-long acoustic performance Friday (March 2) at Nashville’s Country Radio Seminar (CRS), the singer — commemorating his commercial launch at the luncheon 11 years ago — said one of the tunes will be a duet with Trisha Yearwood. Brooks said he has rebounded from the commercial and critical drubbing he got for Chris Gaines, his rock-alter-ego project. “I got the living sh– kicked out of me for doing that,” he said. “But I had fun. And, if Paramount calls me [to work on the soundtrack to 'The Lamb,' a movie about Chris Gaines], I’ll work with Babyface and Don Was on it.” In his acoustic set, Brooks, who in October announced his retirement from performing, also performed some of his own favorites, as well as songs by Cat Stevens, James Taylor and Bob Seger. About his upcoming album, Brooks said he was aiming to make it the modern equivalent of what Seger’s music was to the 1970s: “I’ll sing cool, blue-collar stuff,” he said. …

A new Lucinda Williams single, “Essence,” is due March 27, the Austin Chronicle reports. It will be the first single from her upcoming Broken Butterflies album, scheduled for a May 22 release. She will perform at the Austin Music Awards on Tuesday (March 13). …

Dolly Parton and Rory Block have been added to the talent roster for the 14th annual MerleFest, scheduled for April 26–29 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Parton, whose latest album is Little Sparrow (RealAudio excerpt of title track), will perform April 28. Other artists scheduled for MerleFest include Earl Scruggs With Family & Friends, the David Grisman Quintet, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Sam Bush, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Balfa Toujours, Vassar Clements, Peter Rowan, Jerry Douglas, Donna the Buffalo, Herb Pedersen, John McEuen, Jimmy Ibbotson Chris Hillman, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Tony & Larry Rice, Beth Nielsen Chapman, the Lonesome River Band, Tim O’Brien & the Crossing, the Del McCoury Band and the Dan Tyminski Band. …

Duane Jarvis has set a June 26 release for his new album, Certified Miracle, in the United States and Canada. Guests on the new album include Buddy Miller and Joy Lynn White on harmony vocals and Richard Bennett on guitar. Jarvis co-wrote “Still I Long for Your Kiss” with Lucinda Williams and formerly played guitar in her band. …

Steve Earle will headline a contingent of artists taking part in the 500th broadcast of the two-hour, weekly syndicated radio series “Mountain Stage.” Others appearing on the May 4 broadcast will be Jesse Winchester, Bruce Cockburn, Amy Ray with the Butchettes and mandolinist Johnny Staats. …

Trisha Yearwood has released a new single, “I Would Have Loved You Anyway,” from her as-yet-unnamed upcoming album, due for a summer release. …

Merle Kilgore, who co-wrote “Ring of Fire” (RealAudio excerpt of Johnny Cash‘s version) with June Carter before she became June Carter Cash, will host the 2001 Legendary Acoustic Concert at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on April 3. Other songwriters performing in the concert will be Gordon Lightfoot, Ray Parker Jr., Andrew Gold and Sharon Vaughn. The event is sponsored by The Nashville Songwriters Association International and is part of Tin Pan South 2001, a week of events, concerts and songwriting workshops, running April 2 though 7. …

Tim McGraw‘s forthcoming album, Set This Circus Down, includes 14 tracks and is due for release April 24. The track listing is: “Cowboy in Me,” “Telluride,” “I Guess You Get Used to Somebody,” “Unbroken,” “Things Change,” “Angel Boy,” “Forget About Us,” “Take Me Away,” “Smiling,” “Set This Circus Down,” “Angry All the Time,” “Let Me Love You,” “Grown Men Don’t Cry” and “Why We Said Goodbye.” …

Charlie Robison‘s first single from his upcoming album, Step Right Up, will be a remake of the old NRBQ song “I Want You Bad.” The single will be released Monday (March 12); the album is due April 10. …

Chely Wright has been appointed to the Music Educators National Conference advisory council. She founded the Reading, Writing & Rhythm Foundation to further music education. …

Billy Gilman and Jessica Andrews, two of country music’s youngest artists, will tour together in the summer, the Associated Press reports. The 17-year-old Andrews’ single “Who I Am” is at #6 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, and her debut album of the same name was released February 27. Gilman, at 12, the youngest-ever Grammy nominee, has had chart hits with “One Voice” and “Oklahoma.” …

David Frizzell is set to release a new album, David Frizzell 2001, on April 17. Frizzell — who has had two #1 Billboard singles with “I’m Gonna Hire a Wino to Decorate Our Home” (RealAudio excerpt) and “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma” — and duet partner Shelly West will release “You’ve Just Been Robbed by Jesse James” as a single April 9. …

Bill Anderson will host his fifth annual City Lights Festival in Commerce, Georgia, on June 28 and 29. Charley Pride, Little Jimmy Dickens, comedian T. Bubba Bechtol, Billy Walker and Jeannie Seely will also appear. …

Asleep at the Wheel are compiling a best-of album for a late-April or early-May release. The Very Best of Asleep at the Wheel will comprise 14 tracks and include such songs from the group’s live shows as “House of Blue Lights,” “My Baby Thinks She’s a Train,” “Miles and Miles of Texas,” “The Letter Johnny Walker Read,” “Route 66″ and “Big Balls in Cowtown” (RealAudio excerpt), which will be the first single and video. …

LeAnn Rimes has informed her fans, via a note on her official Web site, that she will not take part in Fan Fair 2001, due to “conflicting prior commitments.” Rimes, who publicly disavowed her new album, I Need You, is in a battle with her label, Curb Records, over her contract. The musical portions of Fan Fair are presented as record label concerts, in which artists from a particular label follow each other onstage. …

Tracy Byrd will perform a concert and host a bass fishing tournament and golf tournament in Beaumont, Texas, from March 30–April 1, to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network. Joining Byrd in the March 30 concert at the Beaumont Civic Center will be Sammy Kershaw, Brad Paisley, Bill Engvall, and Mark Chesnutt. …

The late Tammy Wynette will be the subject of a new musical coming to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. “Stand by Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story,” named for her signature song “Stand by Your Man” (RealAudio excerpt) and her 1979 autobiography of the same name, is scheduled to run September 13 through October 28. Auditions for the 10-member cast will be held at the Ryman and in New York in April. Wynette died in 1998. …

The CMA Awards ceremony has officially been moved to November 7, placing the live CBS telecast in the ratings sweeps period for the first time. The move lengthens the eligibility period for awards from 12 to 13 months. Held in September for many years, the show was moved to October last year to accommodate telecasts of the Olympic Games. Vince Gill will host for the 10th straight year. (Sonicnet.com’s parent company, Viacom, also owns CBS.) …

— sonicnet.com staff report