HOT TALK: Mavericks Reuniting, Vince on NPR

(HOT TALK is a weekly column by longtime contributing writer and former Billboard country music editor Edward Morris.)

Mavericks May Regroup
Raul Malo, lead singer of the disbanded Mavericks , told fans at a recent show in Los Angeles that the group is getting back together to record. A spokeswoman for Creative Artists Agency, which books Malo, wouldn’t confirm the reunion but did say “there’s been some interest in them booking some dates.” Malo’s new manager, Danny Heaps, could not be reached for comment.

Vince Gill Tagged for NPR Feature
If you reside in that gray aesthetic area that attracts you to both country radio and National Public Radio, here’s a heads up. Vince Gill recorded an interview last week with NPR’s Melissa Block for the afternoon news and feature program, All Things Considered. The piece is due to air Thursday (March 20).

Profs With Guitars
Wanna know what country music is really all about? Then check out the International Country Music Conference being held May 29-31 at Nashville’s Belmont University. These guys study lyrics like record promoters study the charts. Here are some of the presentations planned: “Pat Green : Alt Country Anathema” (yes, you read that correctly), “The Representation of the South in Alabama ’s Lyrics,” “Satchmo Country: Louis Armstrong and Country Music,” “If You’re Not In It For Love: Canadian Women in Country Music,” “Country and Western Pacific: Country Music in Pacific Island Cultures,” “Gender and Country Music” and my personal favorite, “Sitting In: Shame, Status and the Maintenance of Social Boundaries through Performance Practices in the Country Music Community.” Don’t it make your brown eyes bug?

Exit Scenes: Tim Has Left the Building
The throng that came to see Tim McGraw perform Tuesday night (March 11) in Nashville would have encored him until dawn if he hadn’t put a stop to it by walking to a white limousine backstage and driving off. At least that’s what the giant TV screens beside the stage showed him doing. For all we know, it may have been a tape. But it was effective. And it set us to thinking of other scenarios he might use to signal that the show really is over. In one, we see Faith Hill standing at the door of his bus, her hair in curlers and a baby on her hip. She is tapping her foot and glaring at her watch as Tim rushes up, his arms spread wide in a gesture of helplessness. In another, Tim runs behind the curtain, yanks Kenny Chesney off a horse and gallops away. Then there’s the one in which Garth Brooks and Barbara Mandrell leap from behind equipment cases as Tim walks by and pummel him with their entertainer of the year awards. So how would you get him out? (Kudos to Tim, by the way, for incorporating “The Ride” into his show. This story about a picker who encounters the ghost of Hank Williams was a No. 4 hit for David Allan Coe in 1983.)

Hometowners Want to Buy Patsy Cline’s Home for Museum
The Washington Post reports that a group of Patsy Cline enthusiasts in her hometown of Winchester, Va., are trying to purchase one of the houses she lived in as a teenager and turn it into a museum. The group is called Celebrating Patsy Cline Inc. and headed by Judy Sue Huyett-Kempf, an employee of the Winchester-Frederick County Convention & Visitors Bureau. So far, it has raised $35,000 toward buying the two-story residence on Kent Street and needs $40,000 more. Also to be settled: securing the right to use Cline’s name and buying artifacts of her life and career to display. A recent study, the Post says, estimates that such a landmark would attract around 20,000 visitors annually.

Since You Asked: Holly Dunn Returns, Dwight Yoakam Sets June Album
Tricia writes Hot Talk to ask what Holly Dunn and Dwight Yoakam are up to these days. After living in New Mexico for a couple of years, during which time she performed at a casino in Albuquerque, Dunn moved back to Nashville about six months ago and has since been touring and appearing regularly on the Grand Ole Opry. Her manager, Carrie Moore-Reed of Third Coast Talent, says the singer has just recorded a greatest hits collection, yet to be released, and is working on a bluegrass album with her brother, songwriter Chris Waters. More on these projects as information becomes available. Yoakam has signed to Koch Audium Records and will have an album of new music out on June 24. The album, which Pete Anderson produced, has not been titled yet.

Joe Nichols: The Cat in the Hat
Did you know that Joe Nichols was once a hat act? Long before he barreled up the charts and into our affection with “The Impossible,” the Arkansas native recorded some good stuff for the independent Intersound label. That association resulted in four music videos — “6 of 1,” “Wal-Mart Parking Lot Social Club” and “I Lied’ in 1996 and “I Hate The Way I Love You, But I Do” in 1997. I went back to take a look at “I Lied,” probably his most lyrical of the four, just to see how he’d changed. The fact is, not much. Even then he looked cool and confident of his vocal powers, and he wore his hair long, just as he does today. But then there was that big, black, low-on-the-forehead, cowboy hat that made him appear to be staring out from under a porch roof. He didn’t look ridiculous, but he didn’t look quite at ease either. Sort of like Brad Paisley . It’s still a lonesome road out there for country lads who dare go bareheaded, but they should never underestimate the impossible.

An Imaginary News Bulletin
Tensions between America and Iraq eased today when Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein surrendered his boyhood slingshot and a sharp stone to CBS-TV news correspondent Dan Rather. But on Nashville’s Music Row, the battle about going into battle raged on. Standing on opposite sides of 16th Avenue, Charlie Daniels and the Dixie Chicks continued to volley insults at each other. Daniels roared that his political opponents were pampered “mugwumps,” while the Chicks taunted him by alternately blowing kisses and dragging their knuckles along the sidewalk. Darryl Worley , whose rousing “Have You Forgotten” threatens to eclipse his earlier and better works, stood apart from the fray and contemplated the prospect of becoming the next Lee Greenwood .

Tell me all about it. The candle’s in the window at

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to