Grammy Nominees; Jack Cooke & Big Bill Lister Passed Away; Dixie Chick Lawsuit Dropped; CMA CEO Resigns

Brody Vercher | December 3rd, 2009

  • Nominees for the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards in the country category are as follows:

    And a few from the Americana Roots category include:

    View the full list at

  • Jack Cooke, a longtime member of Ralph Stanley‘s band The Clinch Mountain Boys, passed away on Tuesday from a massive heart attack. From a press release:

    His first professional job was playing with the Stanley Brothers while he was still in his teens. He left the Stanleys to join Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys band, a post he held from 1956-1960. During that time, he recorded such songs with Monroe as “Gotta Travel On,” “Big Mon” and “Tomorrow I’ll Be Gone.”

    Later, he formed his own group, Jack Cooke and the Virginia Mountain Boys, and played in bands headed by Earl Taylor and the Stonemans. He joined the Clinch Mountain Boys in 1970 and remained there until he was sidelined by health problems early this year.

  • A defamation lawsuit filed against the Dixie Chicks by the stepfather, Terry Hobbs, of one of three 8-year-old boys killed in Arkansas 15 years ago was dismissed by a federal judge. Hobbs claimed Natalie Maines accused him of being involved in the boys’ deaths, but the judge said Hobbs couldn’t establish “actual malice.”
  • Standing at 6’7″ Big Bill Lister was dubbed “Radio’s Tallest Singing Cowboy,” and when he died on Tuesday in San Antonio at the age of 86 he was the last of Hank Williams‘ Drifting Cowboys to go.

    In 1988, Lister’s wife Lila found an old demo of Hank and the Cowboys singing “There’s a Tear In My Beer,” a recording no one knew existed. He gave the demo to Hank Williams Jr., who turned it into a #1 duet with his daddy. Hank Jr. ended up giving Lister a piece of the royalties and a gold record for his walls.

  • Emily West‘s new single, “Blue Sky,” features Keith Urban. Listen on MySpace.
  • Robert Earl Keen and Kris Kristofferson earned spots on Todd Snider‘s top 10 albums of 2009 list.
  • CMT’s Chris Parton on Billy Joe Shaver‘s stage banter:

    Honest, relatable and drop-dead funny, he’s the grizzled old wiseguy that everybody loves to have around — “Before I headed out on the road, my wife always used to say ‘Be careful!’ and ‘Have fun!’ Well, which one is it?!” — “Behind every great man there’s a woman saying ‘You can’t do that!'” — “We’re almost through here, and you got your money’s worth a long time ago.”

  • Blake Shelton‘s next album, Hillbilly Bone, isn’t due until early next year, but on Dec. 22 the lead single and title track will be digitally released along with an iTunes-exclusive digital compilation of his best know songs titled The Essential.
  • Tammy Genovese resigned from her position as the Country Music Association’s chief executive officer. She’s been with the organization 24 years and served in the top spot since taking over in 2006.
  • That Nashville Sound listed ten songs you never heard in 2009.
  • Currently starring in the successful film The Blind Side, it’s been announced that Tim McGraw will take on another movie roll, this time it’ll be alongside Gwyneth Paltrow in a film titled Love Don’t Let Me Down.

    In “Love,” [Garrett] Hedlund plays a young rising singer-songwriter who becomes involved with a fallen country singer played by Paltrow. They embark on a career resurrection tour with her husband-manager (McGraw) and a beauty queen-turned-singer ([Leighton] Meester). Romantic entanglements and old demons threaten to derail them all.

    The FNL Connection: McGraw and Hedlund play rivals in this upcoming film, but played father and son in the movie Friday Night Lights, and Meester looks like Minka Kelly who starred in the TV adaptation…

  • Every Tuesday night Ray Wylie Hubbard hosts Roots and Branches, live from Tavern in the Gruene, where he’s joined by special Americana guests for songs and stories. Listen to a recent episode with Bruce Robison and The Trishas on the KNBT FM website.
  • Country California: Who/what are some of your recent musical discoveries?
  1. Chris N.
    December 3, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    No disrespect intended, but it seems like every few months another “last of the Drifting Cowboys” dies. Are we sure there are no Drifting Cowboys left?

  2. Truersound
    December 3, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    people are crazy nominated for best country song…..shoot me now

  3. Brady Vercher
    December 3, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    People who want to be shot are crazy!

  4. Jon
    December 3, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    The news about Cookie left everyone, including host Jim Lauderdale (who produced Jack’s one solo album a few years ago), a bit down in the dumps at last night’s Music City Roots; in his honor, Jim called “Sitting On Top Of The World” as the cluster number at the end of the show. You can hear (and sometimes see) Jack singing it with Ralph’n’em here: . He’s singing some stout baritone here ( ), though regrettably, no one who’s posted clips from this 1977 KET appearance saw fit to post his featured number on that show. And he got some decent face time here, too: . None of the obits I’ve seen really do justice to his career and contributions, and he was a great guy, too. RIP Jack Cooke.

  5. Noeller
    December 3, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    People Are Crazy was a GREAT song, no matter what. You can dislike the success he had, you can dislike Billy as an artist, but it was a GREAT song, period.

    With that being said, I think it’s laughable that the Grammy people, of anyone, would nominate Taylor Swift in a vocal category. Truly shocking. At least we know she won’t win, ’cause they have a lot more self respect than that. Just like the CMA proved……………………….oh. Wait.

    Glad to see Jamey’s “High Cost Of Living” up for a couple. Based on the Grammy’s history of voting, you’d think he’ll be a relative shoe-in in his categories.

  6. Leeann Ward
    December 3, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    It’d be a great song if it wasn’t so lame.

  7. Brady Vercher
    December 3, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    “People Are Crazy” had a good vocal with nice production and a hook that resonated, but the storyline sucks. It’s enjoyable to an extent, but I wouldn’t call it great.

  8. Vicki
    December 3, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I hope the Grammy’s will be true and think about that Female “Vocal Performance” and pick one of the 4 true singers in that category over big sales and world domination of the other.

    Kinda surprising that Brad Paisley wasn’t in the male vocal performance category. Didn’t Trace’s song just come out like 2 weeks ago?

    Good on the Zac Brown Band for getting so many nominations.

  9. Leeann Ward
    December 3, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    What Brady said is what I meant by my pithy comment above.

  10. Steve Harvey
    December 3, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Nice to see ‘High Cost of Living’ getting a few nods.

  11. Rick
    December 3, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    I’m glad Emily West’s label hasn’t given up on her yet, but I don’t see Top 40 country radio paying any attention to “Blue Sky” even with a Keith Urban connection. If this song were instead recorded by Carrie Underwood it would likely go to # 1, but that’s the way it goes. I so wish the label would release “Annie’s Gonna Get a New Gun” instead which has a Big & Rich style vibe to it that’s really fun. Sadly radio wouldn’t likely spin that one either…

  12. Truersound
    December 3, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    I would honestly rather listen to pokerface than people are crazy. At least pokerface has in interesting beat. Plus that whole question of whether or not she has a penis.

  13. Truersound
    December 3, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks for that Todd Snider link BTW. That’s funny he likes phish, I love how he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about the music he likes *coughjackingramcough*

    Also the ad on this page I see is to take a quiz to find out if you are a redneck or not. If you have to take a quiz on the internet to figure out if you are a redneck, you aren’t.

  14. ALJID
    December 4, 2009 at 1:00 am

    After the CMA travesty, I’m having a feeling the Grammys would want to join the pathetic ride to acknowledge mediocre songs and out-of-tune singers. Listeners now actually think there is something real about singing out of tune and train wreck performances. The CMAs used to be called the Oscars of Country Music because it used to be quality over quantity hence Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts despite being a massive, commercial and radio success got snubbed. Quality over quantity. Another good example of that was Shania Twain’s case where she couldn’t win any female vocal award at the CMAs despite her larger than life success worldwide because she couldn’t keep up with Martina McBride’s vocals. Now it’s no more different than the Teen Choice Awards. It’s about money and the teen sensations. Watch how the Grammys will join the ride.

  15. merlefan49
    December 4, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Go Cash !

    Category 109

    Best Long Form Music Video
    (For video album packages consisting of more than one song or track. Award to the Artist and to the Video Director/Producer of at least 51% of the total playing time.)

    * In Boston
    Chris Botti
    Jim Gable, video director; Bobby Colomby, video producer

    * Johnny Cash’s America
    (Johnny Cash)
    Robert Gordon & Morgan Neville, video directors; Robert Gordon & Morgan Neville, video producers

    * Anita O’Day — The Life Of A Jazz Singer
    (Anita O’Day)
    Robbie Cavolina & Ian McCrudden, video directors; Robbie Cavolina, Melissa Davis & Ian McCrudden, video producers
    [AOD Productions]

    * Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy World Tour Live
    Keith Urban
    Chris Hicky, video director; Blake Morrison, video producer
    [Capitol Nashville]

    * The Beatles Love — All Together Now
    (Various Artists)
    Adrian Wills, video director; Martin Bolduc & Jonathan Clyde, video producers

  16. Lisa
    December 4, 2009 at 9:21 am

    I’m pleased to see Lee Ann Womack nominated for her performance on “Solitary Thinkin'”.

    Can anyone shed some light on why they chose to nominate Taylor in the country categories specifically for her performance on “White Horse” rather than “You Belong With Me” or “Fifteen”?

  17. Aaron
    December 4, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Taylor should win for best vocal performance for white horse, she isn’t a great singer by all means but she sings with enough longing and conviction which we know she means it, you don’t always have to be a power vocalist to win

  18. Vicki
    December 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    BUT Arron you do need a singer that sings in tune and with more than a limited range. I admit, I love “White Horse” as a song. It’s very well written ..

  19. Aaron
    December 4, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    its not how the singer sings during her career, it’s about the vocal in the song, listen to her sing white horse acoustically, Dead flowers by miranda is also a good performance, i wouldnt mind if either won

  20. Aaron
    December 4, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    Not every song has to have perfect tone and pitch…white horse is raw and truthful and honest because shes singing about heartbreak, like she is actually going through it in real time during the song

  21. Aaron
    December 4, 2009 at 6:53 pm
  22. K
    December 4, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    “Not every song has to have perfect tone and pitch…white horse is raw and truthful and honest because shes singing about heartbreak, like she is actually going through it in real time during the song”

    Considering that one of her nominations is for vocals, I wouldn’t agree. Someone who wins the highest honor in music SHOULD have perfect pitch, and have the ability to stay on key. Granted, Taylor does fine on some songs (“White Horse,” “Fifteen,”) her singing is atrocious on most of her songs. Someone who wins this award should be on point all the time; Taylor isn’t.

    Taylor is a talented writer and she has a great artistic vision, but I think most people know she shouldn’t be able to win any vocalist awards.

  23. Aaron
    December 4, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    have you heard “Beautiful” by christina aguilera?
    it won best female pop vocal performance at the 2004 grammy awards and vocally, it is far from perfect, but that is actually why it won… NO ONE has perfect pitch live, NO ONE,show me a video where the singer is flawless, I dare you

  24. ALJID
    December 4, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Aaron, watch how Carrie Underwood pulled a flawless and emotional performance of Temporary Home at the Opry or Martina McBrides jaw-dropping pitch-perfect performance of Anyway at the CMAs. If you are actually saying being out of tune makes the song more emotional then every person in the world is as talented as Swift when it comes to singing.

  25. Please!
    December 5, 2009 at 2:30 am

    I don’t think she’s particularly good at all… anyone can sing and strum like that.. I see amateurs on utube all the time that sound better than Swift..

    A good writer yes, especially for her age.. and seeing she composes on her guitar with simple chords, is kudos to her, but not a grammy winning vocalist.

  26. Jon
    December 5, 2009 at 10:15 am

    “Perfect pitch” is the ability to identify the pitch of a note without a reference, not the ability to sing in tune; it’s an auditory skill, not a vocal one. And since the Grammy awards are for recordings, not live performance, the ability or inability to sing in tune (which is, in any event, highly contextual for just about everyone) is irrelevant. Just sayin’…

  27. Aaron
    December 5, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    she’s gonna win, and I am going to ha ha at all of you

  28. Vicki
    December 5, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    What I see is a gifted girl who won contests for poetry and literary works. She also did a lot of Theater Arts growing up. She’s a gifted full rounded arts person. You put that together and that’s an explosive combination. She writes her songs from that gifted beginning, she’s an actress, and can express herself quite well in public. Put music to her words by a gifted musician and it’s the phenomenon she is. The one area that she is not gifted in, is singing. She sing speaks, has limited range, and she’s frequently out of tune on notes in live performances. But that doesn’t matter as her words are so powerful, along with the music and how pretty she is, and the actress she is. Those other gifts overpower the weaker areas. I see Taylor continue to write great songs, but be in a great breakout movie acting role too. She will do TV specials etc. But what can any music genre do now with someone like Taylor? Most people are gifted in one or two areas. I think Taylor needs to be in her own genre by herself so that others in the genres of country, pop, rock, alternative, etc have a chance. There are more gifted singers out there by far, but they don’t have the overall writing/acting/showmanship that Taylor has. The male singers are thanking their lucky stars that they were born a man.

Tagged In This Article

// // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // //

Current Discussion

  • Paige: Oh damn. :( I never commented here and I haven't been listening to any music at all since Thanksgiving (it …
  • Dave W.: Just read the news here. Will miss E145 very much - love this site. All the best to you Juli …
  • Leeann Ward: Oh, dang! This is real. Farewell to the most generous, informative, quality, intelligent, consistent, ethical country music blog! You …
  • bll: Thanks Juli for all the great articles and information; you'll be missed by me and I suss several others. Best …
  • Both Kinds of Music: I hope people appreciate the irony that one of the best "Americana" albums is titled Metamodern Sounds in COUNTRY Music.
  • Barry Mazor: I would not rule out that possibility..There's a different set of voters involved..
  • Dana M: Does anyone else think that Brandy Clark actually has a good chance of winning since this isn't a country awards …
  • Juli Thanki: UPDATE: Brandy Clark got a Best New Artist nom. BEST AMERICANA ALBUM: Rosanne Cash -- The River & The Thread John Hiatt -- Terms …
  • luckyoldsun: Glenn Campbell is great and I'd love to see him get an award, but the words of that song may …
  • Casey Penn: Juli, it was an honor to write for you here on You're good at what you do, and The …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • walkerandthetexasdangers3
  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton