COUNTRY BEAT: Kenny Chesney, Dwight Yoakam, Rascal Flatts ...

Chesney #1 at radio; Yoakam sets tour; Flatts in Backstreet Boys charity.

Kenny Chesney takes over the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart this week with the #1 "Don't Happen Twice." Brooks & Dunn's "Ain't Nothing 'Bout You" drops from #1 to #3, and Tim McGraw's "Grown Men Don't Cry" stays at #2. Debuting on the chart are Kortney Kayle's "Unbroken by You" at #53, Jessica Andrews' "Helplessly, Hopelessly" at #58, Elbert West's "Diddley" at #59 and Billy Ray Cyrus' "Southern Rain" at #60. ...

Dwight Yoakam will kick off a 50-date North American tour on July 1 in Sun City West, Arizona. The singer will crisscross the U.S. and play two Canadian shows before ending the trek at the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas, on November 3. Yoakam is touring in support of his latest album, Tomorrow's Sounds Today. Yoakam's writing/directing film debut, "South of Heaven, West of Hell," is slated to open on June 15 in New York and Los Angeles. He stars in the film with Bridget Fonda, Peter Fonda, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Reubens and Vince Vaughn. The movie premiered in January 2000 at the Slamdance Festival in Park City, Utah. He has since acted in "The Panic Room," starring Jodie Foster. ...

Rascal Flatts will perform Friday (June 1) at Lupus 2001, a concert staged at Universal City Walk in Orlando, Florida. The second annual benefit concert is the brainchild of Backstreet Boys member Howie Dorough, whose sister, Caroline, died from Lupus in 1998. ...

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are expecting their third child in January. The couple married in 1996 and has two daughters, Gracie, 4, and Maggie, 2. "All four of us are beyond excited," Hill and McGraw said in a joint statement on Wednesday morning (May 30). "Gracie and Maggie can't understand why they have to wait until January to see the baby." Hill and McGraw are also contributing prayers for a CD in conjunction with Pope John Paul II's series of prayer books, to be released in November. McGraw, who along with Kenny Chesney was recently acquitted of charges of assaulting sheriff's deputies in New York State, will begin a U.S. tour with Chesney on June 20 ...

Brad Paisley — who released his second album, Part II, on Tuesday — will perform acoustically at the Country Music Hall of Fame's Ford Theater at 6:30 p.m. CT Friday as part of "American Music and the Movies," a special event co-sponsored by CMT. Money raised from the charity event will benefit the Nashville Independent Film Festival (NIFF) and VH1's Save the Music program. The 32nd annual NIFF — formerly known as the Sinking Creek Film Celebration — will be held June 6-10 at Nashville's Regal Green Hills Cinema 16. Among the films showing are "Down From the Mountain," a documentary by D.A. Pennebaker about the artists on the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, and the 1969 documentary "Johnny Cash — The Man, His World, His Music." Marty Stuart will present the Cash film ...

Country group BR549 — formerly written BR5-49 — officially has dropped the dash from its name. The hillbilly boogie quintet takes its name from the phone number on the sign country comedian Junior Samples held up while selling used cars on the show "Hee Haw." "The dash is too confusing," BR549 singer/guitarist Chuck Mead said. "Graphically, I think it looks better without the dash. It doesn't really matter to us. The name was a joke in the first place. We never thought we'd ever go this far ... Younger people really don't know what the name BR549 is all about. To them it's just a series of numbers and letters." After releasing two studio albums and two live projects for Arista Records, the band signed with Sony's Lucky Dog imprint and will release a new set, This Is BR549, on June 26. ...

Lee Roy Parnell will headline a new "Best in Texas" showcase during Fan Fair, featuring singers making names for themselves in the Texas music scene. Appearing with Parnell at the June 16 showcase at Nashville's Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park will be Sonny Burgess, Peter Dawson, John Evans, Kevin Fowler, Bill Pekar and Elbert West. … BlackHawk have landed a new record deal with Sony Music Nashville, a label spokesperson confirmed Tuesday (May 29). Vocalist Henry Paul and keyboardist Dave Robbins will continue without founding guitarist Van Stephenson, who died April 9 at age 47 after a long battle with skin cancer. BlackHawk has charted seven top-10 country hits, including "Every Once in a While" and "That's Just About Right." …

Although he's officially retired from performing, singer-songwriter Tom T. Hall made four guest appearances during Ralph Stanley's 31st annual Memorial Bluegrass Festival, held May 24-26 at the Hills of Home Park near Coeburn, Virginia. Hall appeared at each of Stanley's Thursday and Friday shows, each time singing "The Water Lily," which he recorded with Stanley for the bluegrass legend's 1993 album Saturday Night & Sunday Morning. … A Maine resident offers to trade six one-pound lobsters for a video copy of last November's Dixie Chicks TV special in the "Swopper's Column" of Yankee magazine's June issue. …

Chris LeDoux will perform "For Your Love" from his newly certified gold album 20 Greatest Hits at the fan-voted TNN & CMT Country Weekly Music Awards, which will be simulcast on June 13 for the first time on TNN and CMT. LeDoux's performance will be his first television appearance since receiving a liver transplant last year. Country fiddler Charlie Daniels will join LeDoux, who underwent surgery in October after being diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, a liver disease with no known cause. …

Chris Cagle is getting a second chance with his debut album. Play It Loud was released earlier this year on Virgin Nashville, which soon closed its doors, shifting artists under contract to sister company Capitol Nashville. Now Capitol is repackaging the original 10 tracks and adding two more. The new disc will be released June 19. ...

Reba McEntire's upcoming TV sitcom for the WB network has changed titles again. The show was initially to be called "Sally," then it became "Deep in the Heart," and now the program bears the title "Reba." The show will air on Friday nights beginning this fall. McEntire may also star in a TV version of her Broadway hit, "Annie Get Your Gun." The project is in the development stage, a spokeswoman for McEntire's record label said. ...

A book based on and named for Lee Ann Womack's hit song "I Hope You Dance" (RealAudio excerpt) has now sold more than 300,000 copies, landing on The New York Times best-sellers list, according to its Nashville publisher, Rutledge Hill Press. The book was written by the song's writers, Mark D. Sanders and Tia Sillers. ...

Sara Evans, Collin Raye and Gary Allan will be the featured performers at the Gstaad Festival, the premier European country-music festival. Swiss artist John Brack will also appear at the event, held in Gstaad, Switzerland, on September 7 and 8. ...

BR5-49 and other U.S. country artists will play two festivals that take place simultaneously in France and Poland. The Mragowo Festival in Mragowo, Poland, and the Craponne Festival in Craponne, France, will share BR5-49, Danni Leigh, Trent Summar and the New Row Mob and Heather Myles on July 27, 28 and 29. Rhonda Vincent will play in Craponne, and George Hamilton V will play in Mragowo. BR5-49 will also play the Klewenalp Festival in Klewenalp, Switzerland, on July 20. ...

Trisha Yearwood's 17-acre hilltop estate, Nightwatch, is up for sale, and the new owner will get a special feature. The 4,100-square-foot log house in Hendersonville, Tennessee, has a giant copy of the Rembrandt painting that gave the home its name. The 15-by-17-foot oil-on-canvas copy of "The Night Watch" dominates the living room with its 27-foot ceiling. Yearwood decided to move out of the house after divorcing Robert Reynolds of the Mavericks. ...

Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel will fill in as guest DJ for Austin station KVET's Sammy Allred, who is in good condition after triple bypass surgery at the Heart Hospital of Austin. Allred, who is also a member of the Geezinslaws, is expected to be out of action at least four weeks. ...

Kortney Kayle will be featured in a recurring role on ABC's "One Life to Live" this summer. Kayle will portray herself and have several musical performances on the show. ...

Lucy Lawless has turned in her warrior princess garb for a songwriter's flannel and denim following the cancellation of "Xena," the Austin American Statesman reports. The country music fan has asked Threadgill's Eddie Wilson — stepfather of Renee O'Connor, who played Xena sidekick Gabrielle — to line up a backing band of Austin musicians for some serious woodshedding. ...

Kasey Chambers, already scheduled to open shows for Lucinda Williams in May and June, has added concert dates with Robert Earl Keen. Her Keen tour dates are June 2 at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, June 3 at Ziggy's in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and June 5 at Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, North Carolina. Chambers has also added Williams shows on May 29 at the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, Tennessee, and on June 12 at Le Spectrum in Montreal, Quebec.. …

Willie Nelson's annual 4th of July Picnic in Luckenbach, Texas, has been canceled this year. The promoter said Wednesday (May 16) that Nelson was taking a break, but did not elaborate. Nelson's Farm Aid benefit concert, set for September 29 in Noblesville, Indiana, outside Indianapolis, is still on. ...

Lorrie Morgan, Sammy Kershaw, Chad Brock, Leslie Satcher, Exile, Cledus T. Judd, Tyler England, Blake Shelton and Carolyn Dawn Johnson have been added to the lineup for Fan Fair, which takes place June 14-17 in Nashville. They join a long list of confirmed acts including Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Kenny Chesney, Jessica Andrews, Lonestar, Jo Dee Messina, Trisha Yearwood and Lee Ann Womack. This year's event will also include late-night "Fan Fair After Hours" performances at such Nashville nightclubs as Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and the Wildhorse Saloon. …

One of the world's great scuba diving locales will host a country festival this summer. Travis Tritt, the Wilkinsons, the Kinleys, Chris Cagle, Jamie O'Neal, SheDaisy and others will perform at Cayman Country from August 1-12 on Grand Cayman in the Caribbean Cayman Islands. ...

The Veterans of Foreign Wars will present Travis Tritt with this year's VFW Hall of Fame Award, which recognizes entertainers (and sports figures) who have served veterans through their work, at the group's August convention in Milwaukee. Tritt portrayed a disabled vet in his videos for "Anymore," "Tell Me I Was Dreaming" and "If I Lost You." His long-form video, "Travis Tritt — a Celebration," was filmed during a performance benefiting disabled vets. And in 1994-96 he served as spokesperson for Disabled American Veterans. …

Lee Roy Parnell's first new studio album in four years is due on June 12 from Vanguard Records. Tell the Truth was recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound Studios and features guest appearances by Keb' Mo,' Bonnie Bramlett, Delbert McClinton and the Mississippi Mass Choir. ...

Bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs will release his Earl Scruggs and Friends duets album on August 1. He's joined on it by Elton John Melissa Etheridge, Sting, Dwight Yoakam, Billy Bob Thornton, John Fogerty, Don Henley, Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash, comedian Steve Martin, Marty Stuart, Paul Shaffer, Leon Russell and Travis Tritt. ...

Fan Fair's Superstar Spectacular will feature new Grand Ole Opry member Brad Paisley and other Opry regulars and guests in two shows at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry House. Tickets are $26 and $36, and funds benefit the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund. Performing on June 14 will be Bill Anderson, Joe Diffie, Tracy Lawrence, Collin Raye, Johnny Rodriguez, Chalee Tennison, Trick Pony and Keith Urban. Appearing on June 15 are T. Bubba Bechtol, Chris Cagle, Bill Carlisle, Jimmy Dickens, Jack Greene, James House and Paisley. ...

Lee Ann Womack and football great Terry Bradshaw will host the June 13 TNN & CMT Country Weekly Music Awards. CMT and TNN will simulcast the former TNN Country Weekly Music Awards. The three-hour program will be telecast live from Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center. Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Jo Dee Messina, Jessica Andrews, Toby Keith, John Michael Montgomery, Montgomery Gentry, Lonestar and Phil Vassar will perform on the fan-voted awards show. (CMT and TNN are owned by Sonicnet.com's parent company, Viacom). ...

Alan Jackson's house on Center Hill Lake in Middle Tennessee is up for grabs. The asking price is $3.9 million. He will continue to live at his main residence in Franklin, Tennessee. … Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith's fourth album, Blue Boy, will be released June 5. Steve Earle and producer Ray Kennedy, collectively known as "Twangtrust," produced the project. ...

Sam Phillips, who founded Sun Records and signed Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and many others to their early recording contracts, will speak at a celebrity luncheon on June 30 at Rockabilly Fest 2001 in Jackson, Tennessee. This rare public appearance by Phillips will begin at noon. ...

Singer/songwriter Deana Carter is working on a new album, but it won't be released on her longtime label, Capitol Records. Carter said she has been "writing her butt off" for the self-produced new project, but declined to say which label it will be on. "I can't say just yet," Carter said. She will debut some of her new material during a 20-city acoustic tour that kicks off May 6 in Chicago. In addition to writing new music, Carter has been splitting her time between homes in Nashville and Los Angeles, where she has written and pitched treatments for a TV game show and a food show. Carter also has landed the small role of a "bimbette Wal-Mart wife" in an upcoming independent film starring Billy Bob Thornton. ...

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. ...

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. ...

— sonicnet.com report