COUNTRY BEAT: Dixie Chicks, Sara Evans, Buck Owens …

Chicks to return to live performance; Evans' husband's pol plans eyed; Owens becomes SWM ISO.

The Dixie Chicks, who haven’t played in public since their last tour ended in December 2000, plan to open the 2002 Houston Rodeo on February 12. George Strait will close the rodeo on March 3. It will be the last year for the rodeo in the Astrodome, which will be razed and replaced. …

Sara Evans‘ husband’s political ambitions are drawing scrutiny in his native Oregon. Craig Schelske announced on Monday that he will seek the Republican nomination for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives now held by Democratic Rep. Darlene Hooley, who will seek a fourth term in the 2002 election. Democrats in the district have filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission alleging that Schelske has been violating federal law by raising campaign funds from his wife’s concerts, before he was an announced candidate. Schelske answered that his lawyers advised him that he was in the clear. Evans and Schelske maintain homes in Nashville and Aumsville, Oregon. …

Buck Owens, 72, has placed a personal ad in several southern California newspapers in search of a fan he briefly met in September while taping an episode of “Family Feud,” the Associated Press reports. The Country Music Hall of Fame member lost the woman’s phone number and has placed ads that partly read: “Buck has lost contact, would like for you to call Mel Owens at (661) 326-1011. Please call, extremely important.” The telephone number is for his offices in Bakersfield, California. The country legend, who is divorcing his wife of 22 years, admits his pursuit is a little unusual. “I know it sounds silly to some people, me looking for her this way,” Owens told the AP. “But what if it works?” …

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. …

— sonicnet.com staff report