Country Beat: Dolly Parton, Alecia Elliott, George Jones ...

Parton to play charity gig; Elliott opening for Christina Aguilera.

Dolly Parton will headline the Stars Over Mississippi Benefit Concert in Amory, Miss., on Oct. 7. Actresses Whoopi Goldberg and Brooke Shields, and TV personality Kathie Lee Gifford, will host the show, which benefits a scholarship fund. ... MCA Nashville newcomer Alecia Elliott is scheduled to open shows for pop singer Christina Aguilera over July 4 weekend. Shows are set for July 2 at the Sioux Empire Fair in Sioux Falls, S.D. ...

Prominent country and Christian tunesmith Wayne Kirkpatrick releases his debut album The Maple Room on Michael W. Smith's label Rocketown. Along with co-penning Amy Grant's hits "Every Heartbeat" and "Good for Me," Kirkpatrick has co-written several hits with friends Tommy Sims and Gordon Kennedy, including Eric Clapton's Grammy-winning "Change the World" as well as material for Garth Brooks' pop concept album In the Life of Chris Gaines. ...

A&E presents "George Jones: The King of Heartache" as part of its Biography series on Tuesday (May 30). ... Bloodshot Records combed its vaults to compile an EP of exclusive material from Texas cowpunk band Old 97's released this week. The eight-song set features two long out-of-print singles and four never-before-heard tracks from the group's 1995 Wreck Your Life sessions. ...

Nashville's Audium Entertainment will release a series of historic recordings in conjunction with the Country Music Foundation and Hall of Fame. Bluegrass pioneer Jimmy Martin will headline the series, due in September. ... Tracy Byrd's video for "Love, You Ain't Seen the Last of Me" on Great American Country (GAC) directs viewers to the GAC Web site, where they can view and vote on different alternative endings to the romantic story line of the video. Nashville company Honest Interactive devised the marketing tool, Content Connectivity, which includes corporate sponsorship on Byrd's site. In six weeks, Honest will air a revised video on GAC with a new ending based on viewers' votes. ...

Along with the recent reissue of Johnny Cash's At San Quentin and Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger, Sony Legacy will repackage George Jones' classic 1980 comeback album, I Am What I Am, Johnny Horton's collection of hits, The Spectacular Johnny Horton, and an Original Carter Family collection, Can the Circle Be Unbroken: Country Music's First Family. The albums will be released July 4 as part of Sony's American Milestones Series. Never-before-heard bonus tracks "I'm a Fool for Loving Her," "Am I Losing Your Memory or Mine?," "The Ghost of Another Man" and "It's All in My Mind" are featured on the Jones album, with "Counterfeit Love," "All Grown Up" and "Battle of New Orleans" included on the Horton collection. ...

Folksinger Ramblin' Jack Elliott is set to perform before the screening of his daughter's documentary "The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack Elliott" on June 10 as part of the Nashville Independent Film Festival. ... A caravan of fans will begin a trek across the U.S. on June 6 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the C.W. McCall #1 country and pop hit "Convoy." The song, about truckers, was a #1 country hit on Billboard's charts for six weeks in 1975. ...

The soundtrack to the Johnny and June Carter Cash film "Return to the Promised Land" will be released on CD for the first time in July. Previously available only on VHS, this audio version on Renaissance Records includes never-before-heard bonus tracks and liner notes by Cash himself. The project began in 1972, when Cash co-wrote and narrated the film "The Gospel Road." June portrayed Mary Magdalene, and Kris Kristofferson sang in it. Director Robert Elfstrom, who wrote and directed the 1969 documentary "Johnny Cash! The Man, His World, His Music," portrayed Jesus. In 1992, Johnny, June and their son John Carter Cash returned to Israel to produce a more intimate work featuring gospel standards, new material and personal reflections that became "Return to the Promised Land." ...

Dr. Ralph Stanley and His Clinch Mountain Boys, Tom T. Hall, Jim and Jesse, the Lonesome River Band and Doyle Lawson are among the more than 20 performers slated for the 34th annual Bill Monroe Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival to be held June 13–18 in Bean Blossom, Ind. ... Charlie Daniels will perform during the Billy Graham Crusade at Adelphia Coliseum in Nashville. He and gospel group Point of Grace share the stage Friday, June 2 at 7 p.m. Other performers at the free concerts June 1–4 include dc talk, Jars of Clay, Steven Curtis Chapman, Kirk Franklin, Michael W. Smith and CeCe Winans. ...

Nashville's famed songwriter headquarters, the Bluebird Café, celebrates its 18th birthday on June 6. Among the many performers taking part will be Lee Roy Parnell, Pat McLaughlin, Jimmy Hall, Jonell Mosser and Jim Photoglo. Also appearing will be the first act that played the Bluebird, the Jay Patten Band. ... Mary Chapin Carpenter's Party Doll & Other Favorites has been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). ...

Johnny Paycheck will make his first public appearance in some time on July 23 at Meskwaki Casino in Tama, Iowa, with good friends Ray Price, David Frizzell, Little Jimmy Dickens, Hank Thompson and Ralph Emery. Paycheck has been recovering from serious respiratory ailments. ...

Clint Black and John Michael Montgomery have teamed up with Stetson Cologne for a Father's Day promotion to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. ...

Trisha Yearwood and Alison Krauss will be on "Austin City Limits" on Saturday (May 27). ... Tom Whalley, president of Seagram's Interscope/IGA record division, has accepted an estimated $30-million deal to run Time Warner's Warner Bros. Records division when his contract expires on Jan. 1, 2002, sources say. ... Jo Dee Messina's forthcoming album, Burn, features a song called "Bring On the Rain," with backing vocals by Messina's friend and producer Tim McGraw. ...

Willie Nelson's Farm Aid 2000 will be held Sept. 16 at the Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Va. A lineup has not yet been set. Last year's Farm Aid, also held at the Nissan Pavilion, on Sept. 12, included Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews Band, Barenaked Ladies, Deana Carter and Trisha Yearwood and sold 23,000 tickets to raise funds for farmers in need. Farm Aid was founded in 1985 by Nelson, Mellencamp and Young as a clearinghouse, information center and rallying point to aid struggling family farmers. ...

Kenny Rogers' song "The Greatest" will become a children's book, due in June for kids ages 4–9. It will come with an audio CD of the song, and it's the first in a scheduled series of children's books from Rogers. ... Books are in the works on Bill Monroe and the Dixie Chicks. Richard D. Smith's work about the father of bluegrass, titled "Can't You Hear Me Callin': The Life of Bill Monroe," is due Aug. 1. James L. Dickerson's "Dixie Chicks: Down Home and Backstage" is scheduled for release in September...

Randy Travis and his wife/manager Elizabeth Travis have organized a benefit concert to aid the victims of recent fires in New Mexico. The show, Randy Travis in Concert — New Mexico Fire Disaster Relief, is scheduled for May 28 at the Santa Fe Opera Theater in Santa Fe, N.M. Also appearing will be comedian/actor Paul Rodriquez, country artists Michael Martin Murphey and Gary Morris and actress Ali MacGraw. A silent auction will precede the concert. ...

Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc. will honor Loretta Lynn with the Country Radio Broadcasters Career Achievement Award during ceremonies to be held at 6:30 p.m. June 22 at the Sheraton Music City. Lynn is the third country music artist receive the prestigious award, Chet Atkins and Eddy Arnold being previous recipients. Lynn's new album Still Woman Enough is due July 24 from Audium Entertainment. ...

Pax TV plans a midseason series starring Billy Ray Cyrus as a country doctor who moves to New York. The hour-long show, to be called "Doc," has no premiere date set. ...

A Nashville judge has ordered evidence from Tammy Wynette's widower, George Richey, sealed and guarded until produced for a trial next year. Richey provided files, medical records and a deposition last week for a wrongful-death lawsuit that Wynette's daughters filed against the singer's doctor. The judge issued the ruling in response to an affidavit filed by Richey's lawyer, who charged that one of the daughters "has admitted to selling information to a tabloid and cannot be trusted with the requested data." Wynette's daughter Jackie Daly has just published a book about Wynette that is critical of Richey. ...

When he died in 1973, country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons left behind a journal containing many unfinished songs. After Parsons' widow allowed access to the journal to several Nashville musicians, they finished some of the songs and recorded them for Shell Point Records. The album, The Gram Parsons Songbook, due in June, includes 14 tracks, with lead vocals on "Blessing for Being" by Jim Lauderdale. Other singers on the album are Carl Jackson, Mike Ward, the Woodys, Larry Cordle, Eddie Dunbar, Eddie Cunningham and Lona Heins. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report