COUNTRY BEAT: Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers, Tim McGraw …

Brooks offered liver to LeDoux; Rogers gets ACM honor; McGraw looking at new court date.

Garth Brooks offered part of his liver to Chris LeDoux last fall, LeDoux revealed to USA Today recently. Doctors ruled Brooks out as a donor because his liver was too small after LeDoux was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis in September. LeDoux found a suitable donor and received his transplant in October. He feels well enough to return to the road June 10 in San Jose, California. Brooks asked LeDoux to keep his offer secret, but LeDoux refused. Brooks mentioned LeDoux in his first single, “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),” and later sang on LeDoux’s hit “Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy.” … Kenny Rogers will receive the Academy of Country Music’s Career Achievement Award on May 9 during the televised ACM awards show. The special award has been given only three times in ACM history — to Johnny Paycheck in 1977, Carl Perkins in 1986 and John Anderson in 1993. Glen Campbell will present the honor to Rogers, who will perform “There You Go Again.” …

Tim McGraw will appear in court on May 14 in Orchard Park, New York, to answer charges of assaulting an officer last year arising from pal Kenny Chesney‘s joyride on a police horse last year. On Tuesday (April 24) he will promote his new album, Set This Circus Down, with an afternoon appearance in New York City and a later gig the same day in Nashville. … Publication of Alice Randall’s novel “The Wind Done Gone” was blocked Friday by a federal judge. Randall co-wrote Trisha Yearwood‘s 1994 hit “XXXs and OOOs (An American Girl)” and has had songs recorded by Moe Bandy, Mark O’Connor and other country artists. The book, which Randall claims is a political parody, relates the story of “Gone With the Wind” from the slaves’ point of view. U.S. District Judge Charles Pannell ruled in Atlanta that Randall’s book infringes on the copyright of Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel and constitutes an unauthorized sequel. Randall’s publisher, Houghton Mifflin, will appeal. …

Buck Owens will be honored with the Country Radio Broadcasters Career Achievement Award on June 28. Brad Paisley will present the award during CRB’s annual Country Music DJ Hall of Fame Banquet at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville. Loretta Lynn, Chet Atkins and Eddy Arnold have previously been recognized with the honor. …

John Stoneman, son of late country music pioneer Ernest “Pop” Stoneman, died Thursday (April 19) of heart failure at his home in Jonesville, Virginia. He was 77. Stoneman sang and played autoharp with the Stoneman Family band in his youth. Funeral services were held on Saturday in Jonesville. …

Some of the artists who created the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack will reconvene June 13 for a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. Alison Krauss & Union Station, John Hartford, Gillian Welch, Ralph Stanley, the Whites and the Cox Family are among the artists who will participate. …

Vince Gill and Nickel Creek will kick off this summer’s Bluegrass Night at the Ryman series in Nashville with a June 21 concert at the Ryman Auditorium. An Evening With Ricky Skaggs will be presented June 28, Sam Bush and Friends will perform July 5, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys and the Del McCoury Band play on July 12, and Rowan, Rice and Clements perform on July 19. The July 26 lineup has not yet been announced. …

Reba McEntire may star in a TV version of her Broadway hit “Annie Get Your Gun.” The project is in the “development deal” stage with CBS, a McEntire spokeswoman said Wednesday (April 18). McEntire has also signed on for her own TV sitcom, tentatively titled “Sally,” for the WB cable network. The singer has several acting credits, having starred in CBS’ “Forever Love” and the upcoming big-screen release “One Night at McCool’s.” McEntire will announce the nominations for this year’s Tony Awards May 7 in New York and might even host the show. … Billy Gilman ‘s sophomore album, Dare to Dream,will be released May 8 with “She’s My Girl” as its first single. …

Trisha Yearwood will be honored April 27 by her Monticello, Georgia hometown when Highway 83N will be renamed Trisha Yearwood Parkway. Yearwood will be on hand in the town square for its public dedication. … The block-print cover of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band‘s new Live in New York City was designed and printed by Nashville’s Hatch Show Print Shop. Hatch, a 19th-century letterpress shop, is a division of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and has long been known for its posters and advertisements for artists ranging from Johnny Cash to the Dave Matthews Band. …

Travis Tritt will be featured on an upcoming segment of “Dateline NBC” set to air in early summer. A “Dateline” crew is following him as he visits New York City for media appearances and then launches his tour. …

Jo Dee Messina was scheduled to sing at the conclusion of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on June 2 in Washington, D.C. But the singer has decided to run in the race as well. The event raises funds for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment. … Bluegrass group Hayseed Dixie have been added to the Nashville River Stages lineup. The AC/DC tribute band — formerly known as AC/Dixie — will perform May 4 at the downtown-Nashville outdoor festival. The group’s first album, A Hillbilly Tribute to AC/DC, will be released April 17. It includes bluegrass versions of such AC/DC hits as “Highway to Hell” and “Big Balls.” …

Merle Haggard will release a pair of gospel albums on May 1. Two Old Friends is a collection of duets with Albert E. Brumley Jr., son of late gospel songwriter Albert Edward Brumley (“I’ll Fly Away”). Cabin in the Hills features guest vocals by Haggard’s wife, Theresa; ex-wife Bonnie Owens; Porter Wagoner; Johnny Counterfit; and Ray McDonald. The album includes traditional material and four new songs, including Iris DeMent‘s “Shores of Jordan.” …

Rick Trevino explores his Mexican-American roots on Mi Son, a 10-song album due May 10. Trevino has showed his Spanish-speaking side before, in his role as vocalist with Los Super Seven. The new set includes two performances with Los Lobos and a duet with Ruben Ramos of Los Super Seven. Los Lobos member Steve Berlin produced. …

Brad Paisley will drop a fishing line for the Hook, Line and Singer Fishing Tournament on April 27 at Nashville’s Cedar Creek Country Club. Other country artists angling in the tourney, which will benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, include Trace Adkins, Cledus T. Judd, Darryl Worley and Craig Morgan. …

Junior Brown will open for the Dave Matthews Band on July 25 at Antioch, Tennessee’s AmSouth Amphitheatre. …

Patty Loveless and husband/producer Emory Gordy Jr. are putting finishing touches on Loveless’ return-to-roots album, Mountain Soul, due June 26. Ricky Skaggs, Travis Tritt and Jon Randall guest on the album, which mixes traditional and contemporary songs. Kentucky-bred Loveless re-recorded “The Sounds of Loneliness,” which she wrote at 15 for her debut album. Mountain Soul features covers of Reno & Smiley‘s “I Know You’re Married,” Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner ‘s “Someone That I Used to Know,” Melba Montgomery‘s “Raging Fire,” and Darrell Scott‘s “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive.” “I’ve been wanting to do this record since 1992, when Emory and I put a little group together to go play the Carter Stanley Memorial Festival,” Loveless said in a statement. Loveless will tour this summer to support Mountain Soul and Strong Heart, her current mainstream country album. …

Trace Adkins will host the BellSouth Senior Classic golf tournament at Opryland’s annual Celebrity Kids Classic event at Nashville’s Springhouse Golf Club on May 27. The event raises money for charities including Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, Tennessee Lions Charities, Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scout Council of Cumberland Valley and Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee. Artists taking part include Chris Cagle, Mark Collie, Clay Davidson, Vince Gill, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Sonya Isaacs and the Wilkinsons. …

Dolly Parton will star as the mother of an insurance claims investigator in the Disney comedy “Frank McKlusky, C.I.,” the Hollywood Reporter reports. It will be her first Hollywood feature film role since playing herself in 1993′s “The Beverly Hillbillies.” …

Trisha Yearwood is joined by guest vocalist Don Henley on
“Inside Out,” a song on Yearwood’s upcoming album, due June 5. Yearwood and Henley will also perform together April 21 at a benefit in Dallas for the Yellow Rose Foundation, to fund multiple sclerosis research. Other guest vocalists on the album will be Kim Richey, Vince Gill, Rosanne Cash and Andrew Gold. …

Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Nanci Griffith, Steve Earle, John Prine, Guy Clark and the Cowboy Junkies are among the artists on Poet: A Tribute to Townes Van Zandt, honoring the late singer/songwriter. The album is due in late July. …

Rodney Crowell is contributing a guest column about a song cycle on his new album, The Houston Kid, for the May issue of the magazine The Advocate. In his “My Perspective” column for the gay and lesbian magazine’s annual music issue, Crowell writes about his songs “Wandering Boy” (RealAudio excerpt) and “I Wish It Would Rain” (RealAudio excerpt), which examine the relationship between twin brothers — one a bisexual street hustler with AIDS, the other homophobic. Crowell will appear on ABC’s “Politically Incorrect” on April 9. …

Trisha Yearwood returns to the CBS show “Jag” in the role of a forensics pathologist in May. …

Dolly Parton and a host of other women singers will grace the soundtrack album for the upcoming film “Songcatcher.” The album, due May 8, also includes songs by Patty Loveless, Julie Miller, Deana Carter, Allison Moorer, Gillian Welch, Sara Evans, Rosanne Cash, Maria McKee, Iris DeMent, Hazel Dickens and Emmylou Harris. DeMent also appears in the film, which is about a musicologist in Appalachia. It’s set for a June release. …

Mary Chapin Carpenter‘s upcoming album will be titled Time Is the Great Gift; Sex Is the Great Equalizer; Love Is the Great Mystery, which will be shortened to Time * Sex * Love, her record label reports. The long title is a quote from her guitarist John Jennings. The album, due May 29, was recorded at London’s Air Studios in November. Song titles include “The Dreaming Road,” “Slave to the Beauty,” “Whenever You’re Ready,” “The Long Way Home,” “Swept Away,” “King of Love,” “This Is Me Leaving You,” “Someone Else’s Prayer” and “In the Name of Love.” “Simple Life” will be released as a single in April. …

Mandy Barnett has recorded “The Letter That Johnny Walker Read” (RealAudio excerpt of Asleep at the Wheel version) with Asleep at the Wheel for their upcoming The Very Best of Asleep at the Wheel. Brad Paisley recently recorded Hank Garland‘s “The Sugar Foot Rag” with the group for the album, due in late spring. The Wheel opened the George Strait Country Music Festival tour Saturday (March 24) for the fourth consecutive year. …

Slaid Cleaves and a number of other alt-country luminaries are scheduled to play Twang Fest 5, to be held June 6–9 at Blueberry Hill in University City, Missouri. Acts include Deke Dickerson, Roger Wallace, the Domino Kings, Ass Ponys, Charlie Chesterman, Elizabeth Cook, Fear and Whiskey, Rockhouse Ramblers, Star City and the Tarbox Ramblers. …

Don McLean will release two albums in April on his new, Nashville record label. The Don McLean Records releases, due April 24, are Starry, Starry Night, from his recent PBS television special, and Don McLean Sings Marty Robbins. On Starry, Starry Night, McLean is accompanied by the Austin Symphony Orchestra and guest vocalist Nanci Griffith. The 24-track set covers McLean’s hits from “American Pie” to “Vincent” (RealAudio excerpt). Griffith joins McLean for the songs “And I Love You So” and “Raining in My Heart.” The 12 songs on Don McLean Sings Marty Robbins include such Robbins hits as “El Paso” (RealAudio excerpt) and “Singin’ the Blues.” …

Fan Fair 2001 has added the following artists to its roster: Trace Adkins, Susan Ashton, John Berry, Terri Clark, Eric Heatherly, Sonya Isaacs, Lila McCann, Neal McCoy, Jamie O’Neal, Rascal Flatts, SheDaisy, Sons of the Desert, Chalee Tennison, Pam Tillis, Trick Pony, Phil Vassar, Steve Wariner, Mark Wills, Lee Ann Womack and Chely Wright. Fan Fair takes place June 14-17 in Nashville. …

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 April or May. “Not everybody knows that Brad’s a good fingerpicker,” says the Wheel’s Ray Benson. …

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. …

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. …

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. …

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.

— sonicnet.com staff report