COUNTRY BEAT: Clay Davidson, Dolly Parton, Bob Ferguson …

Davidson in bus wreck; Parton in Oxford American; songwriter Ferguson dies.

Clay Davidson and his band were involved in a bus accident Friday (July 20) about 20 miles outside Effingham, Illinois. Several suffered cuts, bruises and soreness, but there were no serious injuries. Everyone on the bus was examined at a nearby hospital and released, according to a statement from Davidson’s publicist. Weekend concerts in Madison, Wisconsin, and Regal, Minnesota, were canceled. Davidson, band and crew expect to resume touring July 28 with a concert in Grundy, Virginia. …

The Oxford American — author John Grisham’s “Southern magazine of good writing” — has published its fifth annual music issue. As in previous years, a sampler CD comes with the magazine, giving readers the opportunity to hear many of the artists featured in the periodical, which runs more than 200 pages. Recordings by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Kevin Gordon, Steve Young, Deborah Allen and collaborations by Ralph Stanley with Bob Dylan and Earl Scruggs with Billy Bob Thornton are among the country-related tracks on this year’s 22-song disc. Marty Stuart contributes an article about Scruggs, and in a forum, Hank Williams Jr., Pam Tillis, Rosanne Cash, Del McCoury, Allison Moorer and others sound off about their favorite Southern tunes, performers and records. …

Songwriter and producer Robert B. “Bob” Ferguson died Sunday (July 22) at the University of Mississippi Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. He was 73. The hospital declined to release any details of his death. Ferguson is best known for writing the country classics “Wings of a Dove” and “The Carroll County Accident” and for producing such RCA acts as Connie Smith, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton. Ferguson also managed Ferlin Husky, whose 1960 recording of “Wings of a Dove” stayed at #1 on the country chart for 10 weeks. Wagoner’s cut of “The Carroll County Accident” charted in late 1968 and ultimately reached #2. The Country Music Association named it song of the year in 1969. …

John Anderson recorded the Delmore Brothers’ “Nashville Blues” Wednesday with the Band’s Garth Hudson and Professor Louie & the Crowmatix. They linked with Anderson while they were in Nashville for an appearance on Billy Block’s “Western Beat” show. A long-time admirer of the Band, Anderson has featured the group’s drummer, Levon Helm, on some of his road shows. Wednesday’s session was co-produced by Aaron “Professor Louie” Hurwitz and Jim Della Croce and is slated for release on an upcoming Professor Louie & the Crowmatix album …

Final nominees have been set for the Canadian Country Music Association Fans Choice Award. They are: Paul Brandt, Terri Clark, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Jason McCoy and the Wilkinsons. Fans may vote from August 1 to September 9 at www.ccma.org. The winner of the award will be announced during the annual Canadian Country Music Awards show on September 10 in Calgary …

Reba McEntire and Lee Ann Womack are heading a roster of female country stars appearing on the front of Kellogg’s cereal boxes. Other artists adorning the breakfast table include Chely Wright, Jessica Andrews, Jo Dee Messina, SheDaisy and Terri Clark. A total of 18 country singers will appear on three different boxes. Fans who pick up the cereal can also send off for a free compilation CD featuring six artists …

Tim McGraw has added a stop to his Set This Circus Down tour. The date is in Columbia, Maryland, on August 11 at the Merriweather Post Pavilion. After the tour — which also features Kenny Chesney and Mark Collie — ends in Nashville on August 25, McGraw will play the New York State Fair in Syracuse, New York on August 27 …

Tyler England and his label, Capitol Records, have parted ways after one album. Back when he called himself “Ty” instead of “Tyler,” England was Garth Brooks’ roommate and bandmate. He recorded two albums for RCA and scored one major hit with “Should’ve Asked Her Faster.” After his RCA deal, England moved back to his native Oklahoma from Nashville and all but gave up on his music career. Brooks coaxed
him back and gave England a second shot at the big time. Using his clout at Capitol Records, Brooks helped England land a record deal, then agreed to produce his 2000 release, Highways & Dance Halls. The CD failed to crack Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. “I Drove Her to Dallas,” a single from the project, peaked at #54 in March on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

New female trio 3 of Hearts are getting the saturation treatment for the release of their self-titled debut album on July 24. They are currently on 12 million boxes of Kellogg’s cereal; are the subject of spreads in YM and Seventeen magazines; and are beginning a 20-city Gillette-sponsored performance tour at Wal-Mart stores on July 26. …

T Bone Burnett, producer of the platinum-selling movie soundtrack album, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, will deliver the keynote address October 1 at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass Trade Show in Louisville. Keynote ceremonies will begin at 6 p. m. …

Still holding the # 1 spot on the Billboard Top Country albums chart, O Brother, Where Art Thou? is credited with sparking broad-based interest in bluegrass and old-time acoustic music. Featured on the album are performances by Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch, Ralph Stanley, the Cox Family, the Whites and others. The current Billboard Top Country albums chart lists five more bluegrass/acoustic entries among its 75 best-selling titles: Mountain Soul, Patty Loveless; Nickel Creek, Nickel Creek; Songcatcher, various artists; Little Sparrow, Dolly Parton; and The Storm Still Rages, Rhonda Vincent. …

The 2001 World of Bluegrass will be held October 1-7, with the IBMA Awards Show set for October 4. …

Bluegrass greats Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs and Stuart Duncan, blues legend James Cotton and Cajun accordionist Marc Savoy will record the theme for the upcoming PBS documentary series “American Roots Music” on Thursday in Skaggs’ studio. The four-part series — which will touch on folk, country, blues, gospel, Western swing, bluegrass, Cajun, zydeco, Tejano and Native American music — will begin October 29. Like Ken Burns’ recent jazz series, “American Roots Music” will feature companion CDs, video box sets and a coffee-table book. …

The National Endowment for the Arts will present folk and bluegrass pioneer Hazel Dickens with a National Heritage Fellowship during a September ceremony in Washington, D.C. The 66-year-old singer/songwriter will be honored along with others masters of the folk and traditional arts, including guitarist Eddie Pennington and zydeco accordionist Boozoo Chavis, who died May 5. The fellowships include a $10,000 award. …

The July/August issue of Fingerstyle Guitar will salute Chet Atkins with a selection of previously unpublished photos and letters and a CD of interviews and music. Among the 25 or so photos is a rare shot of Atkins and Paul McCartney, taken by the late Linda McCartney in the early 1970s. Featured on the CD will be Atkins’ Grand Ole Opry performance of “Avalon” from July 1956; “Black Mountain Rag” from 1971’s Pickin’ My Way; an interview with Atkins’ longtime rhythm guitarist, Paul Yandell; and an interview of Atkins conducted by bassist Dave Pomeroy. The tribute will also include letters Atkins wrote to fellow guitarist Rick Foster. The Chet Atkins Appreciation Society will hold its annual meeting Wednesday through Saturday (July 11-14) at the Sheraton Music City in Nashville. …

Billy Gilman will be the only country artist taking part in a tribute to Michael Jackson at New York’s Madison Square Garden on September 7 and 10. Gilman will sing a song more than three times older than he is — the theme from the 1972 movie “Ben,” for which Jackson received an Academy Award nomination. …

Country Music Hall of Fame members Ray Price and Hank Thompson will headline the sixth annual Frizzell Festival on Pawnee Bill’s Ranch in Pawnee, Oklahoma, on October 13. The all-day music celebration, hosted by David Frizzell, will include performances from Freddie Hart, Wanda Jackson, Claude Gray and Tommy Cash. …

A museum for Shania Twain is now open in her hometown of Timmins, Ontario. The Shania Twain Centre, which opened June 30, features memorabilia the singer donated. The 11,000-square-foot building is adjacent to the Timmins Gold Mine tourist attraction. …

LeAnn Rimes will close Camp Jeep with a headlining performance on July 28. In its sixth year, the family camp is a three-day brand loyalty program for Jeep enthusiasts at Oak Ridge Estate in the Blue
Ridge Mountains in Nelson County, Virginia. More than 8,000 people are expected to attend …

Universal-owned Republic Records has signed Texas singer-songwriter Pat Green, the first
country-leaning artist on the label. The Republic roster includes rock bands 3 Doors Down and
Godsmack. Green’s Republic release is due October 16, and the first single, “Carry On,” goes to radio August 21. A favorite in the Lone Star State, Green has recorded with Willie Nelson, Dixie Chicks singer Natalie Maines and Jack Ingram. His duet with Radney Foster, “Texas in 1880,” is at #60 on the Billboard country singles chart for July 7. …

Guitarslinger Eric Heatherly is designing a line of automobile seat belts that look like custom-made guitar straps. …

The Hal Leonard Corp. has released the songbook “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” a collection of nine songs from the recent film and soundtrack of the same name. Arranged with guitar tablature, the 48-page edition includes lyrics, music and movie publicity photos. The songs are “Big Rock Candy Mountain,” “You Are My Sunshine,” “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues,” “Man of Constant Sorrow,” “Keep on the Sunny Side,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “I Am Weary (Let Me Rest),” “In the Highways” and “In the Jailhouse Now.” …

As part of their “world tour,” BR549 will take part in Operation Thank You, which takes supplies and entertainment to U.S. military troops in Bosnia. BR549 will perform a concert for troops on July 25. The band’s world tour begins July 9th in Canada and will run through London, Poland and France. The group celebrated the June 26 release of This Is BR549 with a party at New York City’s B.B. King Blues Club on June 25 and played a show at the club the next night. …

Trisha Yearwood sings harmony on the John Mellencamp song “Deep Blue Heart,” due in the fall on his next album. The singers share a booking agent, and Mellencamp called Yearwood after he got wind she was covering his song “Small Town” in concert. “He played me this song,” Yearwood said, “and he said, ’I kind of have an idea of like when Emmylou Harris sang on Bob Dylan’s record, just kind of harmony all the way through.’ … It was really great.” Yearwood will open for Mellencamp on August 6 at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver. …

Alan Jackson and Kenny Rogers have been nominated for the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Jackson, a native of Newnan, Georgia, will perform during the September 15 awards ceremony in Atlanta. The winner will be inducted into the Macon institution. The museum honors artists who have claimed Georgia as home at some time in their lives. …

Plans are being made an early-2002 tour featuring acts from the million-selling O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. Sold-out concerts featuring Alison Krauss and Union Station, Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley, the Cox Family, the Fairfield Four, the Whites and others were staged at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium in May 2000 and New York’s Carnegie Hall June 13. …

— sonicnet.com staff report