Country’s Community Reacts to Tragedy

Country radio stations have turned songs by Kenny Rogers and Jo Dee Messina into emotional memorials to the tragic events Tuesday in New York, Washington and Somerset County, Pa.

Programmers at WCTK-FM (98.1) in Providence, R.I., have intercut news audio from President Bush and others into Rogers’ new single, “Beautiful (All That You Could Be).” Other stations in the Northeast have picked up the recording, says a spokeswoman for Rogers.

Rogers had planned to be in his hometown, Houston, on Wednesday (Sept. 12) for the unveiling of new uniforms and cheerleaders for the city’s expansion NFL team, the Houston Texans. The event was canceled.

“Sometimes, the things we take for granted turn out to be the most precious,” Rogers said in a statement. “I for one, have always taken for granted my life was safe. At a time like this, if we allow the government to do its job and accept a little bit of the inconvenience, we can all feel that security again.”

Messina’s new single, “Bring on the Rain,” a duet with Tim McGraw , also has become a tribute. Lines appropriate to the situation such as “Yeah, I might feel defeated, I might hang my head/I might be barely breathing -– but I’m not dead,” are punctuated with sound bites from events of the day. In Nashville, WKDF-FM (103.3) is playing the song.

Elsewhere, artists have been affected in many different ways:

Loretta Lynn has canceled a concert Thursday at San Francisco’s Bimbo’s 365 Club. She will resume touring Friday at the Gold Country Casino in Oroville, Calif.

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder have canceled an in-store appearance at a Nashville area Tower Records to mark the release of his new CD, History of the Future. Skaggs and his group were delayed Tuesday as they tried to return to Nashville from Calgary, Alberta, where they were part of the Canadian Country Music Awards.

Nickel Creek has canceled appearances Wednesday night in San Antonio and Thursday night in Austin.

• A music industry showcase by Keith Urban , scheduled for Thursday at a Nashville club, has been postponed indefinitely.

Billy Gilman , who was in New York Tuesday following his participation in Michael Jackson’s anniversary celebration Monday night at Madison Square Garden, made it home to Hope Valley, R.I., but he had to hire a limousine in New York to drive him there. Gilman waited for 2½ hours on a bridge, a spokeswoman said, before making it home Tuesday night.

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