COUNTRY BEAT: Charley Pride, Ralph Stanley, Jeffrey Steele …

Pride leads Caribbean cruise; Stanley honored by post office; Steele launches solo career ...

Country Music Hall of Fame members Charley Pride and Jimmy Dickens will headline the Fifth Annual Grand Ole Opry Caribbean Cruise from December 2-9 on the cruise liner Carnival Victory. Bill Anderson, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in October, and Grand Ole Opry member Jean Shepherd will also perform on the cruise …

Ralph Stanley will be honored with a special set of hand cancellations issued by ten U. S. post offices in his home area of southwestern Virginia. These are not commemorative stamps, but rather cancellation marks imposed on regular stamps at post offices once the envelopes or post cards to which the stamps are attached enter the mail system. The Stanley markings carry the same design and date — Aug. 2 — for each participating post office, and will be released in conjunction with Dr. Ralph Stanley Appreciation Day, held annually in Dickenson County. Collectors can purchase all 10 cancellations at the postal station at the Dickenson County Fair through Aug. 4, or order them separately from these post offices: Bee, ZIP Code 24217; Birchleaf, 24220; Breaks, 24607; Clinchco, 24226; Clintwood, 24228; Dante, 24237; Davenport, 24239; Haysi, 24256; McClure, 24269; and Nora, 24272. The cancellations will remain available through September 1 …

Former Boy Howdy lead singer Jeffrey Steele is launching his solo career with the new single “Somethin’ in the Water.” Also well known as a songwriter (his cuts include “Couldn’t Last a Moment” by Collin Raye, “Unbelievable” by Diamond Rio, “Big Deal” by LeAnn Rimes and “I’m Trying” by Trace Adkins), Steele will release his debut album, Tip Your Hat on October 30 …

Mary Chapin Carpenter told a Las Vegas audience that she may update the lyrics to one of her older hits, “I Feel Lucky,” reports the Associated Press. The 1992 song, written by Carpenter with Don Schlitz, features the names of Dwight Yoakam and Lyle Lovett. “After years of singing this song, they just aren’t doing it for me anymore,” Carpenter said. She said new names to replace Yoakam and Lovett must be available, recognizable, and Carpenter must think they are “cute.” “I’ve had audience members volunteer their names, but ‘Bob Smith’ isn’t going to cut it,” she said. From polling audiences, the two names that are in the running now are actors John Cusack and George Clooney …

Hank Williams Jr.‘s 3rd Annual Rolling Titan Thunder Rally is scheduled for September 8 at Nashville’s Riverfront Park. Confederate Railroad and Lee Roy Parnell will also perform at the show, which marks the opening of the Tennessee Titans’ football season. …

The Eagles have scheduled only two U.S. dates for this year, and tickets for their sold-out July 28 date in Dallas were advertised as high as $1,500 each. The show is the first for the new $420 million American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas. Other country acts scheduled to play the 20,000-seat arena later this year are Willie Nelson with Robert Earl Keen (October 26), Toby Keith (October 27) and Lee Ann Womack with Clay Walker (October 28). The Eagles’ other pending U.S. concert date is August 11 in Denver’s Mile High Stadium. …

Robert Earl Keen‘s Lost Highway debut album Gravitational Forces has been set for a September 11 release. He is said to be re-recording “The Road Goes On Forever” for the album. Gurf Morlix is co-producing with Keen. …

New daddy Clint Black will host the third annual Family Television Awards, airing August 10 at 9 p.m. ET on CBS. Produced by Dick Clark, the program will be taped in Los Angeles on August 2. Black and his wife, Lisa Hartman Black, will perform during the ceremony. The awards show recognizes the best in family-friendly entertainment.(MTVi’s parent company, Viacom, also owns CBS.) …

Gordon Lightfoot and Gary Buck have been elected to the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Association announced Thursday (July 26). The entertainers will be inducted into the hall during the September 7-10 Canadian Country Music Week celebrations in Calgary, Alberta. …

Willie Nelson‘s next album, The Great Divide, is scheduled for release October 2. Guest artists are said to include Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty, Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Brian McKnight, Lee Ann Womack, Alison Krauss and Kid Rock. Thomas also wrote songs for the album, as did Bernie Taupin. …

Billy Ray Cyrus, on hiatus from his television series “Doc,” is in Nashville working on a new album with Dixie Chicks co-producer Blake Chancey. Cyrus has also recorded “Let’s Go to the P-B-R,” the title track to a Professional Bull Riders Association album to be released in September. Cyrus’ disc is due next year. …

Wayne “The Train” Hancock‘s new Bloodshot album, A-Town Blues, was produced by Lloyd Maines and is due September 4. …

Trace Adkins‘ court appearance for his July 5 arrest on drunk-driving charges has been delayed until September 26. He had been due in Williamson County (Tennessee) General Sessions court on Monday (July 23). Adkins is now wrapping up the loose ends on Chrome, his fourth album for Capitol, due October 9. “I’m Tryin’,” the album’s first single, has just been released. …

Renowned Texas swing fiddler Johnny Gimble will give a presentation and concert at the Country Music Hall of Fame on August 18. His appearance is the first big event in support of the yearlong run of “Nashville Salutes Texas! — Country From the Lone Star State,” the museum’s first special exhibit in its new building. Gimble played fiddle in hall of famer Bob WillsTexas Playboys and went on to win the Country Music Association’s musician of the year award five times between 1975 and 1990. Gimble will discuss his life and work and will give a performance demonstration at 2 p.m. in the hall’s Ford Theater. Gimble and his band — featuring his son, Dick Gimble — will perform at 7:30 p.m. in the hall conservatory. …

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. …

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 …

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. …

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. …

— sonicnet.com staff report