TODAY IN COUNTRY MUSIC HISTORY
Lloyd Perryman, a member of the Sons of the Pioneers, was born in 1917.
"Little" Jimmy Sizemore was born in 1928.
Patsy Sledd was born in 1944.
Gene Autry debuted on the chart with his Top 5 single, "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes," in 1944.
Theron E. Hale, Grand Ole Opry member from 1925-33, died at age 70 in 1954.
Eddy Arnold's Top 5 single "I've Been Thinking" first charted in 1955.
The "Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" debuted on CBS television in 1969.
Johnny Cash's "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash" album was certified gold in 1970.
Charley Pride recorded the No.1 single "Wonder Could I Live There Anymore" in 1970.
Kenny Rogers' single "Lucille" debuted on the chart en route to No.1 in 1977.
TNN's "Crook & Chase" syndicated talk show debuted in 1986.
Randy Travis' "Always and Forever" album was certified double platinum in 1988.
Garth Brooks was a triple winner at the 23rd annual American Music Awards in 1996. Brooks was named artist of the year but politely left the trophy on the podium, saying the other nominees deserved the award more, especially Hootie and the Blowfish.
MUSIC AND MORE
MONTGOMERY GENTRY WORKING ON 3RD CD
Montgomery Gentry reports that it's just finished its first set of recording sessions for what will eventually become its third CD.
The band tells country.com that popular local backup players were hired for the sessions. Included are guitarist David Grissom, keyboardist Chuck Leavell, drummer Greg Morrow and steel guitar player Al Perkins.
Eddie Montgomery has been highly complimentary of the musicianship of many of the studio performers who have been working on his group's project. He calls the current additional members "heavy."
The new CD is being produced by veteran Music City entrepreneur Blake Chancey. No word on when the project will be completed.
(Thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)
'DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN' TOUR KICKS OFF
The "Down From the Mountain" tour kicked off last Friday night at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.
Country.com reports that despite boasting such names as Patty Loveless, Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss & Union Station, it was truly a show without headliners. No one artist got significantly more stage time than the others, and their order of appearance seemed more random than tantalizing.
Also on the bill -- the Fairfield Four, Ralph Stanely, Norman Blake, Chris Thomas King, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, the Whites and the Peasall Sisters.
Except for a few standing microphones, plus a lectern and an easy chair for the announcer, the uncurtained stage was bare. Performers walked on, sang, acknowledged the applause and walked off again. Because the artists generally did no more than two songs in a row, the evening sped by. Counting a 20-minute intermission, the all-acoustic performance ran for almost 2 1/2 hours and featured 29 songs.
The tour is the latest spin-off from the hugely successful soundtrack album, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" By Feb. 20, when the tour wraps in Berkeley, Calif., the troupe will have visited 16 U. S. cities and Toronto.
The Houston Chronicle reports that as of last Friday, only George Strait had sold out his concert at the Houston Rodeo.
In its final year at the Reliant Astrodome, the annual event -- set for Feb. 12-March 3 -- includes 20 concerts in all. Tickets to Strait's show have been on sale since August. The opening concert by the Dixie Chicks, on sale since October, has only scattered seats left.
Tickets to weekend concerts by Pat Green and Clay Walker in the 58,152-seat dome also are moving quickly, the newspaper said. But weekday concerts by Brooks & Dunn, Bob Dylan and Lyle Lovett and Martina McBride are moving more slowly.