COUNTRY BEAT: Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Dolly Parton …

Harris' landmine concerts canceled; Gram Parsons nominated for rock hall; Parton offers advice.

The Concerts for a Landmine Free World scheduled for Wednesday (September 19) at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia, and Thursday at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C., have been cancelled by the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. The shows were to feature Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, John Prine, Bruce Cockburn, Nanci Griffith and Steve Earle. A statement said, “In light of Tuesday’s devastating terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation has decided to cancel its landmine awareness concerts. Our organization’s focus and energies, and those of our singer/songwriters, are instead on the innocent people whose lives were taken or shattered by this week’s vicious events” …

Brenda Lee, the late Gram Parsons and Lynyrd Skynyrd are on the new Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ballot. Lee is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame; Parsons influenced a generation of country artists including Emmylou
Harris
; and Travis Tritt, Alabama and Hank Williams Jr. were among country artists who paid tribute to Skynyrd on the 1994 album Skynyrd Frynds

Dolly Parton says entertainers need to stay positive during trying times. “I think everybody is dealing with this tragedy in their own kind of way, based on what they feel and what their own fears and insecurities are,” she told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. “I’m a very patriotic person, but I also know that when things are at their worst that I need to be at my best.” The terrorist attacks have stimulated Parton’s creative side, she said. “I see how everybody deals with it, and I am able to write about their emotions. It allows me a way to express [sorrow], not just for myself, but for the people who can’t put [their emotions] into words. It’s very strange and deep places where I am going.”

Alison Krauss has rescheduled her New Favorite tour with Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas. The tour was originally scheduled to kick off in Cincinnati on September 12 but was postponed after the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. It will now begin September 28 at the Lucas Theatre in Savannah, Georgia, and will continue through November 11 in Greensburg, Pennsylvania …

Wynonna Judd got a standing ovation for her emotional rendition of “How Great Thou Art” at the Grand Ole Opry Saturday evening. It marked her debut on the Opry. After the show, Judd suggested that her recent engagement to bodyguard D.R. Roach
could last more than two years. “I’m thinking about around August or September of 2003,” she predicted as a wedding date. ” ‘Course, I may just say that just to say it. We may get married next week. Who knows?” …

Dolly Parton plans a $10 million expansion to her Dollywood theme park in east Tennessee. New features will include an interactive museum of her life. She also plans a $25 million Dixie Stampede dinner theater in Orlando, Florida …

Country artist manager David Skepner died of a heart attack Tuesday while waiting on line at a gas station in Nashville. He was 63. Skepner managed Wylie & the Wild West Show, among others, and formerly managed Loretta Lynn and Riders in the Sky. Announcement of a memorial service is pending …

Eddie Stoneman, of legendary country group the Stoneman Family, died Friday in Charles County, Maryland, after suffering an apparent cerebral hemorrhage. He was 81. The oldest child of country pioneer Ernest “Pop” Stoneman, Eddie Stoneman played banjo on his father’s 1934 session for the Vocalion label. Visitation will be Wednesday and services will be Thursday at Hunts Funeral Home in Waldorf, Maryland …

Doug Stone was erroneously listed on an early manifest of one of the downed jetliners. The singer reports he’s safe at home in Nashville with his family. …

Garth Brooks‘ press conference scheduled for Monday morning (September 17) at the Country Music Hall of Fame has been postponed. Brooks had scheduled the media event in Nashville to talk about his new single and upcoming album. His duet with George Jones, “Beer Run (B Double E Double Are You In?),” was to be released to radio Monday but has been postponed “until a more appropriate time,” according to Capitol Records. …

Brooks was one of several country artists in New York on Tuesday (September 11) and stranded there following the terrorist attacks. Mary Chapin Carpenter was in town to tape the public television show “Live 360,” which was canceled. Billy Gilman was in town for Monday’s Michael Jackson tribute concert. Brooks had been in town to tape public service announcements for the Reading Across America program and had planned to leave for Washington, D.C., to attend an ASCAP tribute show, which was canceled. A number of country artists were also stuck in Toronto until flights resumed. Ricky Skaggs, Carolyn Dawn Johnson and others had been there for Monday night’s Canadian Country Music Awards. …

Due to Tuesday’s events, the Oak Ridge Boys have postponed their celebration of the 20th anniversary of “Elvira” scheduled for Monday (September 17) at the Country Music Hall of Fame. …

Lonestar will begin their I’m Already There tour October 6 in Salisbury, Maryland’s Wicomico County Civic Center. The group will visit more than 30 cities before finishing in December. Jamie O’Neal will open a number of dates in October and November; Blake Shelton takes over opening duties in December. Announced dates include October 7 at Asheville, North Carolina’s Ingles Food Festival; October 10 at Reading, Pennsylvania’s Sovereign Center for Performing Arts; October 11 at Poughkeepsie, New York’s Mid-Hudson Civic Center; October 12 at Buffalo, New York’s Shea’s Performing Arts Center; October 18 at Albany, New York’s Palace Theater; October 19 at Norfolk, Virginia’s Naval Base; October 20 at Jacksonville, North Carolina’s New River Amphitheatre; and October 25 at Rama, Ontario’s Casino Rama. …

Alan Jackson has been named opening-day headliner at the Texas Stampede rodeo at Dallas’ American Airlines Center. Headliners include Jackson (October 25), Robert Earl Keen and Willie Nelson (October 26), Toby Keith and Sara Evans (October 27 matinee), Phil Vassar and Martina McBride (October 27 evening) and Clay Walker and Lee Ann Womack (October 28). … Connie Smith has missed a show for the first time in 27 years. The Grand Ole Opry member canceled three performances this month because her doctor directed her to rest her voice for three weeks. Smith began her recording and touring career in 1964. …

Billy Ray Cyrus underwent knee surgery Friday (September 7) in Nashville, but the operation won’t keep him off the set of “Doc,” his TV series. The singer’s knee damage stems from years of stage and sports activity, according to a spokesperson. Cyrus expects to be in Toronto on Monday to begin work on the PAX series. …

Nashville’s Broadcast Music Incorporated transformed its balcony into an outdoor Italian restaurant Thursday to welcome actor/singer Dominic Chianese. Chianese, who plays Uncle Junior in “The Sopranos” TV series, was in town to make his Grand Ole Opry debut Friday (September 7) and to promote his album, Hits, which was recorded in Nashville. After mingling with guests, Chianese mounted a small stage. He spoke wistfully of growing up in New York during the 1930s, hearing his grandfather sing to him and listening to an Italian-language radio station. “I got my first love of music from Grandpa Domenico and Gene Autry,” he said. Chianese described his invitation to appear on the Opry as “the dream of my life.” Although clearly a fan of traditional country music, Chianese made no pretense of being a closet “country boy.” He poked fun at himself with a song called “Typical New Yorker,” which appears on his album alongside other melodically gentle fare such as “For the Good Times,” “Santa Lucia,” “Guantanamera” and “Shady Grove.” …

“Unforeseen logistical challenges” have forced organizers to reschedule a benefit concert by the Dixie Chicks. Originally set for September 15 in Austin, Texas, the Texas Twilight Gala in support of the Pediatric AIDS League of Texas (PAL), would have marked the trio’s first live performance of 2001. Shawn Colvin, Terri Hendrix and the Austin Symphony also were to appear. “The circumstances surrounding the postponement are beyond the control of PAL and the talent involved,” said the organization’s spokesperson. The concert will be rescheduled “as soon as logistically possible.” …

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers will present Garth Brooks with the ASCAP Golden Note Award at a dinner Tuesday in Washington, D.C. ASCAP president and chairman Marilyn Bergman will host the event, attended by members of Congress, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. The award recognizes Brooks’ contributions to American music as a performer and songwriter. Songwriters Pat Alger, Alan Bergman, John Bettis, Hal David, Dean Kay, Jimmy Webb and Paul Williams will be part of a musical tribute to Brooks. Past recipients of the award include Elton John, Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder and Andre Previn

Willie Nelson collapsed onstage during a show at the Konocti Harbor Resort in Kelseyville, California, on August 28, according to the Fresno Bee. Shows subsequently canceled included California dates on August 30 at the Palace Indian Gaming Center in Lemoore and the Pozo Saloon in San Luis Obispo on September 2. A spokesperson for Nelson declined to comment and said the singer is next scheduled to play the Farm Aid concert on September 29, in Indianapolis, Indiana …

Mavericks lead singer Raul Malo has scheduled October 23 for the release of his first solo album. Today will include songs in both English and Spanish and will feature a duet with Shelby Lynne, “It Takes Two to Tango” …

Martina McBride and folk singer Arlo Guthrie have been added to the Farm Aid benefit concert on Sept. 29 at Verizon Wireless Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana. The bill also includes Dave Matthews and Farm Aid founders Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp. …

Garth Brooks has scheduled a September 17 press conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville to talk about his duet with George Jones, “Beer Run (B Double E Double Are You In?),” and his upcoming album. A Brooks spokesperson hinted the song will be delivered to country radio the same day. Brooks announced his retirement last year but promised one more record. The new track will appear on the album, his first collection of new studio recordings in four years (following 1997′s Sevens). “Beer Run” also is slated to appear on Jones’ upcoming CD, The Rock, now scheduled for October 2 release. …

Gail Davies says her labor of love — an album honoring the late Webb Pierce — is nearing completion and slotted for November 13 release. Profits will be split between the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Caught in the Webb: A Tribute to the Legendary Webb Pierce includes cuts by Dale Watson, Mandy Barnett, Charley Pride, Rosie Flores, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Robbie Fulks & Joy Lynn White, Allison Moorer, Matt King, Crystal Gayle, the Del McCoury Band, Lionel Cartwright, Guy Clark, BR549, Trent Summar & Chris Scruggs, Kevin Welch & Deborah Pierce, Billy Walker, Blue Highway and Pam Tillis. Pierce will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in October. …

Songwriter/performer Cecil Null, 74, died of cancer Sunday (August 26) in Bristol, Virginia. Null’s most famous composition is “I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know,” a #1 hit in 1953 for the Davis Sisters. He was credited as the guiding force in uniting Chet Atkins and Merle Travis for their Grammy-winning 1974 album, The Atkins-Travis Traveling Show. Null wrote “I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know” in 1947. “It was turned down by nearly everybody in the business,” he once said. Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette covered the song on their 1993 album, Honky Tonk Angels. …

With the four additional 2001 CMA Award nominations he received, Alan Jackson moves past Vince Gill in the career-nominations tally. Jackson now has 50, according to the CMA, while Gill, who received none this year, has 48. George Strait, with two nods this year, remains king with 66. Jackson has a long way to go to catch Gill in awards won, however. Gill rules that roost with 18 career honors, Strait follows with 14 and Jackson is well back in the pack with seven. …

Merle Haggard‘s next album, Roots, Vol. 1, features his hero, guitarist Norm Stephens, who played on a number of Lefty Frizzell recordings including “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time” and “I Love You a Thousand Ways.” Stephens has been retired from music for years, and Haggard recently discovered that they have long lived near each other in California. Haggard’s pianist, Doug Colosio, noticed a classified ad Stephens placed in a local paper and called it to his boss’ attention. After they reunited, they cut some songs. Recorded in Haggard’s home, the album features Stephens with Haggard’s band, the Strangers, romping through three new Haggard originals and songs by Frizzell, Hank Williams and Hank Thompson. Anti/Epitaph Records releases the LP November 9. …

Lee Ann Womack has recorded a duet with Willie Nelson for his upcoming CD The Great Divide. They recorded the Bernie Taupin composition “Mendocino County Line.” Sheryl Crow, Bonnie Raitt, Rob Thomas and Kid Rock will also appear on the album, which was originally scheduled for a late September release, now moved to January. …

A large crowd of music industry executives and artists crowded into the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Ford Theater Wednesday for a preview of “Reba.” The new TV sitcom, starring Reba McEntire, debuts September 14 on the WB TV network. At the party, MCA Nashville president Tony Brown said the company will release McEntire’s Greatest Hits Volume III: I’m a Survivor on October 23. The title track is also her sitcom theme and is now charting country. The album also includes a remake of Kenny Rogers‘ 1977 hit “Sweet Music Man,” produced by Alison Krauss and featuring members of Union Station, drummer Jim Keltner
and Chris Thile of Nickel Creek. Among those attending McEntire gala were Barbara Mandrell and Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn, as well as Martina McBride and newcomer Carolyn Dawn Johnson, both part of McEntire’s support cast for the recent Girls’ Night Out tour. McEntire donated seven costumes from her starring role in Broadway’s “Annie Get Your Gun” to the Hall of Fame. The gesture, she said, tied together the worlds of Broadway and country music. The fringed leather outfit from the show’s finale was on display during the party. “I want my fans to be able to see what I’ve gotten to do on Broadway by bringing a piece of it back to Nashville,” McEntire said. “I’m bringing ‘em home. This is the greatest place to display it, and I’m very proud to have some things here in the Hall of Fame”. …

Wynonna will marry her longtime security guard and road manager, D. R. Roach. Both have been married once before. Wynonna has two children, Elijah and Grace. Roach has one, Zachary. No date has been set. According to a news release announcing the couple’s engagement, the proposal came on the second anniversary of their first date. Wynonna is at work on a new solo album, to be promoted by Universal Records New York. Plans are to release it in the first half of 2002. …

George Strait plans to return to the biggest annual musical event in Texas, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The singer, who last played the rodeo four years ago, has agreed to headline the March 3, 2002 concert, which will be the last such performance in the Reliant Astrodome. Strait has also signed to play the first rodeo
performance in the Astrodome’s successor, the new Reliant Stadium, in 2003. The 2002 rodeo and concert series runs from February 12 to March 3. Country and pop artists perform daily. …

Almost 18 months after it was announced, construction has yet to begin on a new Gilley’s honky-tonk in Dallas. The new club is intended to be an upscale re-creation of the Pasadena, Texas, club that inspired the movie “Urban Cowboy.” The new site, on 10 acres in downtown Dallas, is still awaiting city approval. Plans call for corporate suites, a large dance floor, several restaurants, two mechanical bulls, displays of country music memorabilia and a drive-in movie. The old Gilley’s burned to the ground several years ago. …

Trisha Yearwood will play Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium October 14. The date was added recently to her 2001 tour, which began in June at the House of Blues in New Orleans and continues through October 21, when she plays Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The Ryman has special significance for Yearwood. Aside from its country music connections, she was married onstage there, and in 1999, when the Grand Ole Opry returned to the Ryman, she was invited to become a member of the cast. …

Singer/songwriter Bobby Bare and wife Jeannie will sell the Bobby Bare Trap, a shop in downtown Nashville specializing in stuffed animals and bear-related gifts. “Bobby’s not retiring, slowing down some, but I am,” said Jeannie Bare, who manages the shop. “I want to spend more time with my husband and children and my friends. I’ll always love teddy bears.” The Bares have had the Bare Trap since 1986. The store is home to “Big T,” a 10-foot-wide, 10-foot-high creature purported to be the world’s largest teddy bear. …

“Red Desert Sky,” the story of Australia’s musical Chambers family, will be released October 5 by Allen & Unwin, Ltd. The family — father Bill, mother Diane, daughter Kasey and son Nash — performed as the Dead Ringer Band. The band’s U.S. manager, John Lomax III, who now manages Kasey as a solo act, wrote the book. Kasey Chambers has recently been in the U.S. to promote her award-winning album, The Captain, which made its debut in 1999. In October, Warner Bros. Records will release her second solo album, Barricades & Brickwalls, in the U.S. Nash Chambers produced both projects. “Red Desert Sky” is not being published in the U.S. but will be available through Allen & Unwin’s Web site and from Amazon.com. …

John Carter Cash, son of June Carter and Johnny Cash, has produced two new tracks for an album by the San Diego alternative country outfit known as The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash. Led by Mark Stuart, the group recorded the tracks at the Cash Cabin studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee, north of Nashville. “Nowhere Town” and “Spanish Eyes” will appear on a re-release of the group’s 2000 release, Walk Alone. The younger Cash met the band in March at Nashville’s Exit/In. His father, country’s famed Man in Black, has given the group permission to use his name. “My father has always been open-minded, and he chose the right stars to use his name,” said John Carter Cash in a statement. “The Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash are really good guys.” The band appears Tuesday (August 21) in Bonner Springs, Kansas, and Wednesday (August 22) in Maryland Heights, Missouri, opening for Tim McGraw. Walk Alone will be released September 25. …

Marking one his first public appearances after jail time and drug rehabilitation, Steve Earle appeared at Nashville’s Bluebird Café in September 1995 to swap stories, jokes and tunes with his songwriting mentors Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. Sixteen songs from the show will be released on October 9 by Koch Progressive under the title Together at the Bluebird Café. Earle’s songs include “My Old Friend the Blues” and “Copperhead Road”; Van Zandt’s selections include “Tecumseh Valley” and “Pancho and Lefty”; and Clark’s numbers include “Dublin Blues” and “Randall Knife.” Making a surprise appearance, Emmylou Harris joined in for group sing-alongs. Van Zandt, a hard-living troubadour, died of a heart attack at age 52, a little more than a year after the show. …

Trick Pony have two nominations for Billboard Music Video Awards, and they may not be too happy about it. The new trio will compete against themselves, as both their nods are in the Best Country New Artist Clip of the Year category. Others in that division are Cyndi Thomson, Clark Family Experience and Tammy Cochran. Nominated in the Best Country Clip of the Year category are Steve Earle, the Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Jo Dee Messina, and Dwight Yoakam. Cochran and Billy Gilman are nominated in contemporary Christian categories. The awards will be presented November 2 in Beverly Hills, California. …

Pieces supposedly from the wreckage of Patsy Cline‘s death plane will be offered for sale on the eBay auction site. Two brothers from Jackson, Tennessee, own the pieces, ostensibly from the wreckage of Cline’s Piper Comanche, which crashed March 5, 1963, killing her and three others. Scott and Eric Mills drove the wreckage in their pickup truck to Nashville on Wednesday to show to curators at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Curator Mark Medley said the Hall of Fame will not bid on the pieces, to be offered on eBay beginning August 31 with a floor price of $100,000, but would ask any potential buyers to loan them to the Hall, which already has parts of the plane in its archives. The Mills brothers say they bought the wreckage from a man who collected it shortly after the plane crash. …

Longtime Wilco member Jay Bennett has left the group, a spokesperson for the band told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Creative differences” were cited as the reason for his split. Shortly before the news of Bennett’s departure, Wilco separated from their longtime record label, Reprise, also over creative differences. In an earlier interview, bandleader Jeff Tweedy had said that Bennett did not play a big part in the band’s latest LP, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which Reprise refused to issue in its present state. Wilco begin a fall tour in September as a quartet, with Tweedy joined by bassist John Stirrat, new drummer Glenn Kotche and multi-instrumentalist Leroy Bach. …

Chicago roots rock band Wilco, favorites with alternative country fans, have split with Reprise Records after three studio albums, founding member Jeff Tweedy said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. Reprise asked Wilco to make changes to their recently completed album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and the band refused. Wilco retain rights to the album and are looking for another label to release it. Tweedy was a member of the influential early ’90s alt-country group Uncle Tupelo. Wilco will begin a fall tour September 21 at the Gypsy Tea Room in Dallas. …

— sonicnet.com staff report