COUNTRY BEAT: Dolly Parton, Bellamy Brothers, Brenda Lee ...

Parton collectors convene; Bellamy retrospective due; Lee to be honored.

Dolly Parton is scheduled to star in an ABC television movie about the life of actress Mae West, reports Variety. Also upcoming is the Dolly Parton Collectors Convention, to be held in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, following the annual Dolly Parton Homecoming Parade there (Pigeon Forge, near Parton's hometown of Sevierville, is the home of the Dollywood theme park). Parton merchandise from years past, out-of-print albums, photos and promotional materials will be sold and traded. The convention will be held from 9 to 11 p.m. on April 6 at the Smoky Shadows Convention Center. ...

The Bellamy Brothers will release their retrospective album The 25 Year Collection — Vol. I on March 27. The 20-track collection includes two new songs and new live versions of their hits "Redneck Girl," "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body (Would You Hold It Against Me)" (RealAudio excerpt) and "I Could Be Persuaded." ...

Brenda Lee will be honored on April 5 at the Rockin' at the Ryman concert, when the veteran country and rockabilly artist will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rockabilly Music Foundation. Lee rose to fame with her 1959 pop hit "Sweet Nothin's" (RealAudio excerpt). Artists set to appear include: Eric Heatherly, Rosie Flores, Billy Burnette, the Jordanaires, Boots Randolph, Jack Scott, Janis Martin, Ronnie Dawson, Sanford Clark, Sleepy LaBeef, Jerry Naylor and members of the late Gene Vincent's band, the Blue Caps. Proceeds of the concert will go toward building a rockabilly museum and establishing a benefit/relief fund for rockabilly artists. ...

George Jones and Garth Brooks will headline a tribute concert to Johnny Russell, the Grand Ole Opry member who has written and performed such songs as "Act Naturally" (RealAudio excerpt of Russell's version), which was a hit for the Beatles. Also appearing at the March 22 show at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House will be Vince Gill, Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, Roy Clark, the Oak Ridge Boys, and others. ...

Country singer Trisha Yearwood has filed a lawsuit against singer/songwriter Michael J. Young over an old demo of her singing "Love What Ya Do to Me," the Tennessean reported. In her suit, filed in federal court, Yearwood asks that the recording be destroyed and seeks an unspecified amount in damages. The lawsuit claims that she recorded the demo in 1990 and that vocals by Young, a co-writer of the song, have been added to make it a "duet." The suit further alleges that a CD by Young containing the song, titled Best of Both Worlds, is being sold on the Internet. ...

Singers Amy Grant and Vince Gill had their first child together on Monday (March 12). Their daughter, whose name has not yet been announced, was born at 12:36 a.m. in a Nashville hospital, weighs 7 pounds 9¼ ounces and is 19½ inches long. ...

The late country singer Boxcar Willie's wife is auctioning off some 12,000 items that belonged to him. Boxcar, whose real name was Lecil Travis Martin, died of leukemia in 1999. The auction, in Branson, Missouri, where he performed in his theater the last years of his life, began Saturday (March 10). ...

Loretta Lynn will perform live on A&E's "Live by Request" Thursday (March 15) from 9-11 p.m. ET. The program, which will be shown again March 24, will be simulcast live over the Jones Radio Network. Fans visiting livebyrequest.com will be able to listen to a live webcast and e-mail song requests, which also will be taken via a toll-free number. An A&E biography on Lynn, whose latest single is "I Can't Hear the Music Anymore" (RealAudio excerpt), will air just prior to the show. ...

Some 3,000 items belonging to the late Roy Rogers and Dale Evans will be put up for auction at the couple's Apple Valley, California, home. A turquoise recliner, toaster, dishes, clothing, knickknacks and other items are going on the auction block at a March 31-April 1 auction at the home, which is also being sold. Rogers died on July 7, 1998, and Evans died February 7 of this year. More information is available at royrogers.com. ...

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. ...

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. ...

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). ...

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. ...

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. ...

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." ...

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." ...

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. ...

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. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report