COUNTRY BEAT: Brad Paisley, Johnny Cash, Andy Griggs …

Paisley inducted into Opry; Cash improves; Griggs busted.

Brad Paisley wore a special good luck jacket for his induction into the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday (February 17). The singer was sporting a canary yellow Nudie suit jacket on loan from his friend Buck Owens. Owens wore the jacket for the cover of Buck Owens and the Buckaroos — Live From Carnegie Hall, which is Paisley's favorite country album. Paisley's debut, Who Needs Pictures(RealAudio excerpt of title track), has earned him a sizable following as well as a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. …

Johnny Cash's condition has been upgraded from serious to satisfactory condition, a hospital spokesperson said. The 68-year-old singer has been hospitalized with pneumonia since February 11, when he was admitted to Nashville's Baptist Hospital after flying in from his winter home in Jamaica. The Country Music Hall of Fame member has autonomic neuropathy, a disease of the nervous system that makes him susceptible to pneumonia. …

Andy Griggs was arrested for car theft on Friday (February 16) in Tallahassee, Florida, the Associated Press reports. Police said Griggs and bandmate Kevin Weaver, on tour in Florida, took a joy ride in an ambulance they found parked outside a motel. When they returned to the motel, they were arrested and charged with grand theft auto, a third-degree felony that carries a penalty of up to five years in jail. Griggs and Weaver were released after posting $1,000 bond. …

An exhibit of original Patsy Cline letters called "Love Always, Patsy: Letters From the Jewelry Box" will go on display March 5 at the Smithsonian-affiliated Rock 'n' Soul Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. The exhibit is built around a series of letters Cline wrote to a young fan between 1955 and 1959, just as the singer's career was getting underway. …

LeAnn Rimes has informed her fans, via a note on her official Web site, that she will not take part in Fan Fair 2001, due to "conflicting prior commitments." Rimes, who publicly disavowed her new album, I Need You, is in a battle with her label, Curb Records, over her contract. The musical portions of Fan Fair are presented as record label concerts, in which artists from a particular label follow each other onstage. ...

Tracy Byrd will perform a concert and host a bass fishing tournament and golf tournament in Beaumont, Texas, from March 30-April 1, to benefit the Children's Miracle Network. Joining Byrd in the March 30 concert at the Beaumont Civic Center will be Sammy Kershaw, Brad Paisley, Bill Engvall, and Mark Chesnutt. ...

Radney Foster and his wife, music journalist Cyndi Hoelzle, say they plan a new Web zine to be called PureSpunk.com, dealing with roots music. Scheduled for the first issue of the zine are a feature on Rodney Crowell, 10 Questions with Keb' Mo', the "coolest gigs" in America, short fiction and a Song of the Month Club. ...

Delbert McClinton, in a rare Nashville performance, will headline a children's benefit Thursday (February 22). The Fourth Annual Dragon's Concert benefits the Nashville Children's Theatre, and it will be held there at 8 p.m. Also appearing are Al Anderson, Bekka Bramlett, Bonnie Bramlett, Bruce Channel, Gary Nicholson, Jeffrey Steele and others. ...

The late Tammy Wynette will be the subject of a new musical coming to Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. "Stand by Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story," named for her signature song "Stand by Your Man" (RealAudio excerpt) and her 1979 autobiography of the same name, is scheduled to run September 13 through October 28. Auditions for the 10-member cast will be held at the Ryman and in New York in April. Wynette died in 1998. ...

Keith Urban notches his first #1 radio hit with "But for the Grace of God" (RealAudio excerpt), which now tops the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. The song was written by Urban with Charlotte Caffey and Jane Wiedlin, both of the Go-Go's. It marks Urban's first #1 single in the United States and the first time an Australian male artist has reached the top spot on the country singles chart. He knocked off fellow Australian artist Jamie O'Neal, who had been #1 with "There Is No Arizona." ...

The CMA Awards ceremony has officially been moved to November 7, placing the live CBS telecast in the ratings sweeps period for the first time. The move lengthens the eligibility period for awards from 12 to 13 months. Held in September for many years, the show was moved to October last year to accommodate telecasts of the Olympic Games. Vince Gill will host for the 10th straight year. (Sonicnet.com's parent company, Viacom, also owns CBS.) ...

Daryle Singletary, Rhett Akins and Jeff Carson have teamed up for their Honky Tonk Tailgate Party Tour, which will be on the road through October. Singletary first approached Akins with the idea of a loose, feel-good tour that had the atmosphere of a tailgate party, and they next enlisted Carson. They do a two-hour-plus show of honky-tonk music, finishing with tributes to George Strait, George Jones, Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard and Lynyrd Skynyrd, among others. Next tour dates are Friday (February 16) at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas; February 23 at the Jungle Ballroom in Owatonna, Minnesota; and February 24 at Menominee Nations Casino in Keshena, Wisconsin. ...

Dwight Yoakam is in the running for a gospel award. His song "Miner's Prayer" has been nominated for a Dove Award in the Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year category. The song was recorded by New Tradition on their June 2000 album, Cradle, Cross, Crown. The 32nd Annual Dove Awards will be held on April 26 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. ...

Mary Chapin Carpenter is traveling to Cambodia on a fact-finding tour for the anti-landmine campaign. Accompanying her are singer/songwriter Terry Allen and Cambodian-American author Luong Ung. The Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, which helps land mine victims in Cambodia, is hosting the tour. ...

Reba McEntire will headline a summer all-woman tour. Scheduled for the tour, to run July 10 through August 13, are Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Jamie O'Neal and Carolyn Dawn Johnson. ...

BR5-49 and the Warren Brothers have been added to the talent lineup for George Strait's Country Music Festival. They will perform on the second stage on the all-stadium tour, which launches March 24 in Tampa, Florida. BR5-49 recently played at the Aspen, Colorado, wedding reception for "Almost Famous" actress Kate Hudson and Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes. ...

Lucinda Williams and her new band are scheduled to perform at the Austin Music Awards, to be held at the Austin (Texas) Music Hall on March 13, the Austin Chronicle reports. Other scheduled performers are James Cotton, Vallejo and the Gourds. ...

Randy Travis is working on an album combining new, original material and some of the songs he's done in his movie and TV projects. The album is due in the fall from new label Relentless/Nashville. ...

Country Music Hall of Fame member Ray Price is recovering from stomach surgery in Houston. Price, whose current album is Prisoner of Love (RealAudio excerpt of title cut) and who celebrated his 75th birthday January 12, plans to resume performing soon. ...

John Michael Montgomery has been added to the lineup for Fan Fair, scheduled for June 14–17 in downtown Nashville. Other artists joining the roster include Tracy Lawrence, Bryan White, South 65, Gary Allan, Tim Rushlow, Craig Morgan and Kristin Garner. Four-day tickets, allowing access to all events, are now on sale and range from $90 to $115. ...

Vince Gill has announced several tour dates for the summer: June 30 in Kelseyville, California, at Konocti Harbor Resort; July 11-12 in Cherokee, North Carolina, at Harrah's Cherokee Smokey Mountain Casino; August 24-25 in Westbury, New York, at the Westbury Music Fair; and August 26 in Cohasset, Massachusetts, at the South Shore Music Circus. ...

Charley Pride is recording a new studio album in Nashville for the first time in years. The Country Music Hall of Fame member is cutting a tribute album to the late Jim Reeves. Charley Pride's Tribute to Jim Reeves is due from Music City Records on April 3. ...

Rick Trevino is working on his first album focusing on traditional Mexican folk music. Known mainly as a country singer, Trevino decided to learn and perform music reflecting his heritage. Los Lobos' Steve Berlin is producing the album, tentatively due in May. Trevino will also appear on the second album by Los Super Seven, the occasional supergroup that now includes eight members: Trevino, Mavericks' lead singer Raul Malo, David Hidalgo, Ruben Ramos, Cesar Rosas, Caetano Veloso, Alberto Salas and Susana Baca. Their new album, Canto, is due in March. ...

Dolly Parton will be inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in New York in the summer, along with Billy Joel, Eric Clapton and Sting. ...

Lucinda Williams and her father, Miller Williams, the 1997 Presidential Inaugural poet, are scheduled for a program of music and poetry together, presented by the International Poetry Forum. They will appear onstage March 30 at 8 p.m. at the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh. ...

Brooks & Dunn will launch their Neon Circus and Wild West Show on April 27 in Birmingham, Alabama. The tour, which will run through August, will include opening acts Toby Keith, Montgomery Gentry and Keith Urban. Various sideshow acts, special effects and street performers will also be included. Brooks & Dunn's next album, Steers & Stripes, is scheduled for an April 24 release. ...

Dolly Parton, who has two Grammy nominations, including Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "Travelin' Prayer" and Best Bluegrass Album for The Grass Is Blue (RealAudio excerpt of title track), will perform a duet with Brad Paisley on the Grammy Awards, airing February 21 on CBS. Paisley is nominated in the Best New Artist category. ...

The Bellamy Brothers will mark their 25th anniversary in music with a two-volume CD series. Volume I will be released in March with a single and video titled "What'll I Do," with Volume II to follow in August. ...

Roots legend Sleepy LaBeef will head up an eclectic roster at "Rockin' at the Ryman," a benefit presented by the Rockabilly Music Foundation at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium on April 5. Also appearing will be the Jordanaires, Ronnie Dawson, Gene Vincent's Blue Caps, Rosie Flores, D.J. Fontana, Janis Martin, Jack Scott and Jerry Naylor. ...

Martina McBride will headline the post-race concert at this year's Country Music Marathon on April 28 in Nashville. The charity event drew 8,500 runners in its debut last year, and more than 10,000 are expected this year. ...

— sonicnet.com staff report