COUNTRY BEAT: Willie Nelson, Vince Gill, Martina McBride …

Nelson to duet with Sheryl Crow; Gill at Veterans Day benefit; McBride on 'Millionaire.'

Willie Nelson will sing with Sheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks will come out of hibernation to perform on the 35th annual CMA Awards, scheduled for November 7 in Nashville. Crow and Nelson team up on “I’ll Be There for You,” a duet from Nelson’s next album, The Great Divide, due in January. The Dixie Chicks, reigning Entertainer of the Year, have not revealed their plans for the show. Also, Martina McBride performs “When God-Fearin’ Women Get the Blues”; Jessica Andrews sings “Who I Am”; Phil Vassar chooses “Just Another Day in Paradise”; Blake Shelton croons “Austin”; and Cyndi Thomson sings “What I Really Meant to Say.” The awards will be broadcast live from the Grand Ole Opry House from 8-11 p.m. ET. …

The Grand Ole Opry will stage a Veterans Day (November 11) show at the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville to raise money for the families of terrorist victims. Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Little Jimmy Dickens, Steve Wariner, Bill Anderson and Porter Wagoner are set to perform. More acts will be announced. In addition to the special Sunday show, regular Opry programs will be held at the Ryman — its former home — from November through February. …

Martina McBride will put her brainpower to the test as a celebrity contestant on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” taping this week in New York City. McBride’s winnings, guaranteed to be at least $32,000, will be donated to a charity of her choice. An air date has not been announced. …

Hank Williams Jr. and Trisha Yearwood have been added to the artist roster for the Country Freedom Concert on October 21. The show, to be held at Nashville’s Gaylord Entertainment Center, will benefit relief efforts by the Salvation Army. Other artists previously announced include George Strait, Alan Jackson and Lonestar

Martina McBridewill join Elton John, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz and others performing
on the 2001 Radio Music Awards at the Aladdin in Las Vegas on October 26, to be televised on ABC …

Ann-Margret adds guest vocals to the Light Crust Doughboys‘ upcoming CD, God Is Love: The Gospel Sessions. James Blackwood and the Jordanaires also appear on the album …

Travis Tritt‘s Down the Road I Go has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of more than 1 million units. Released in 2000, the album marks his debut for Columbia Records following a long affiliation with Warner Bros. Down the Road I Go has yielded the singles “Best of Intentions,” “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” and “Love of a Woman.” In other RIAA news, Toby Keith‘s Pull My Chain, released August 28, has achieved gold status for shipments of 500,000 copies …

Texas swing band Hot Club of Cowtown will give a free concert Wednesday at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. The Austin combo’s performance is part of a year-long series of Texas-themed events supporting the museum’s exhibit on music from the Lone Star State. …

Dolly Parton will play a concert New Year’s Eve in Nashville to provide scholarships for families of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. “The Red, White and Bluegrass Concert” at the Grand Ole Opry House will feature Parton with an “all-star acoustic band.” “I wanted to show my true colors, which are red, white and blue, by being a good American and a good Samaritan,” she said in a statement. Money will go to the Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund. Guest artists and ticket information will be announced later. Parton said she would like to do an ongoing series of concerts featuring talent from the bluegrass and roots music community to benefit the fund. Bill Clinton and Bob Dole head up a $100 million fundraising campaign to support the scholarship fund. …

Charges against Trace Adkins for DUI, speeding and violating the open container law have been carried over to November 26 in Williamson County, Tennessee. The case went to the grand jury Monday (October 8). Adkins was arrested July 5 in Nolensville, Tennessee, while on his way home from his farm in Rutherford County. …

William E. “Smoky” Dacus, the first drummer for Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, died Tuesday at Kellmark Nursing Center in Rogers, Arkansas. He was 90. One of country music’s first drummers, Dacus joined the Texas Playboys in 1935 and played on classic recordings such as “Maiden’s Prayer,” “San Antonio Rose” and “Steel Guitar Rag.” He left the band in the early 1940s when Wills went to Hollywood. In his Wills biography, “San Antonio Rose,” Charles Townsend points out that Dacus played an important role in western swing and country music history. “This was the first time drums were successfully used in a string band,” he writes of Dacus’ tenure. Dacus helped create the solid dance beat Wills was after, and his drumming “moved the band further from traditional fiddle or string band music and even closer to jazz.” Services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday (October 11) at Immanuel Baptist Church in Rogers. …

Billy Ray Cyrus appears barechested and tattooed in the David Lynch movie “Mulholland Drive,” which opens Friday at selected theaters nationwide. The movie, which was originally written as a television pilot for ABC, won the Best Director award at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. …

Tim McGraw and Charlie Daniels are the latest additions to the lineup for the Country Freedom Concert. They’ll join George Strait, Alan Jackson, Lee Ann Womack, Lonestar, Vince Gill, Sara Evans, George Jones, Brooks & Dunn, Clint Black and Martina McBride in the October 21 show at Nashville’s Gaylord Entertainment Center. The concert will benefit the Salvation Army. …

Jeff Carson has been named national spokesperson for NASO, the National Association of Slain Officers, a non-profit organization created in 1998 to provide support and encouragement for the immediate family members of slain police officers. Carson will record a series of radio PSAs for national distribution and will perform at a November 17 fund raiser for NASO in Portland, Oregon. …

Doug Supernaw, known for his #1 country hit “I Don’t Call Him Daddy,” is behind bars in Houston for failing to pay $135,000 in overdue child support and for contempt of court, according to reports from a Houston media outlet. His official Web site, dougsupernaw.com, acknowledges the situation: “Doug was arrested on Oct. 4 for not paying back child support. After he has served 10 days for contempt he will go back to the judge. As it looks now, all shows appear to be on hold.” Supernaw, 41, was held in contempt of court after allegedly lashing out at a Harris County court judge when she handed him a six-month jail sentence, Houston television station KPRC reports. …

Lee Ann Womack and other country artists have been added to the upcoming Country Freedom Concert lineup. Clint Black, Vince Gill, Sara Evans, George Jones and Lonestar have been added to a bill that already includes George Strait, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn and Martina McBride. The concert to benefit the Salvation Army will be televised live from Nashville’s Gaylord Entertainment Center on October 21. …

Billy Gilman met Elisabeth Wagner, the 21-year-old woman who inspired “Elisabeth,” on Saturday at the State Fair of Texas. Wagner has struggled with neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder that causes small growths on her nerves, since she was 2 years old. Her positive attitude led her aunt and a friend to write the song, which Gilman recorded. … Garth Brooks‘ press conference to announce the release of his single “Wrapped Up in You” and a forthcoming album will take place Tuesday (October 9) at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame at 7:45 a.m. The public is invited to attend. …

Alan Jackson‘s induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, which was postponed due to the events of September 11, has been rescheduled for October 22 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. …

Chely Wright will make her movie debut in “Max Keeble’s Big Move.” She plays a homeroom teacher. …

A previously unreleased single from the late rockabilly legend Carl Perkins should soon be available for download and for sale to benefit New York firefighters. Perkins recorded the spoken-word tribute “The Fireman” during his final 1998 recording sessions. His producer, Bob Johnston, who wrote the song, plans to make it available on a Web site and to release it as a single. It is scheduled to be included on Celebration, a Perkins CD set for January release. Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Tom Petty also appear on the album. … Jo Dee Messina launches her fall tour Thursday (October 4) with a show in Salem, Virgina. She’ll play 21 dates, winding up December 15 in Champaign, Illinois. …

Lee Ann Womack has set dates for her Christmas tour with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, featuring Mercer Ellington. The tour will launch on November 29 in Sewell, New Jersey, and play 18 dates, finishing in Maryville, Tennessee, on December 22. …

Brad Paisley has co-authored a book based on his hit single “He Didn’t Have to Be.” The song, about a stepfather taking on a new family, was a #1 hit for Paisley in 1999. Along with the song’s co-writer, Kelley Lovelace, Paisley collected memories about the composition of the song as well as photographs, letters and messages from fans about the song’s impact on them. The book comes with lyrics and a CD of the song. …

The Dixie Chicks‘ a cappella recording of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is available for download on the trio’s Web site, www.dixiechicks.com. While there is no charge to download the track, the Dixie Chicks are asking fans to make a donation to the American Red Cross National Disaster Relief Fund. “In this time of great need, together let’s celebrate America’s heroes by donating to the American Red Cross,” the group said in a statement. “Let’s support the families of those who gave their lives to preserve our wide open spaces.” It is the trio’s first recording since their 1999 album, Fly. …

Two days after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Randy Travis and a team of writers composed a new song, “America Will Always Stand.” Now Travis has recorded the song and made it available to radio stations across the country. “We pray that it will help America and its people, in the worst of times, to stay brave and united,” he said in a statement. Co-writers include Mike Curtis, Yvonne Sanson, Becky Bluefield and Doc Walley. Travis recorded “Point of Light” during the Gulf War at the request of President George Bush. Relentless Records will release “America Will Always Stand” and “Point of Light” as a single in the next week. All proceeds from the sale of the single will go to the American Red Cross …

— sonicnet.com staff report