(HOT TALK is a weekly column by longtime CMT.com contributing writer and former Billboard country music editor Edward Morris.)
The Thunder Rolls -- Moderately -- Over Kimes-Brooks
Capitol Records and Garth Brooks' managers were none too pleased
when Royal Wade Kimes' label released a single of his duet with Brooks, "Night Birds," just as Capitol was unveiling Brooks'
own single, "Why Ain't I Running." (See 2/21/03 Hot Talk). Asked about the
clash, Capitol offered a terse, "No comment." Kelly Brooks, Garth's brother and co-manager, admits to a bit of annoyance over
the matter. "It was not really anything big. We just weren't made aware that the guy was going to put it out. ... It was a
surprise. We just kind of inquired what was going on. ... Without anyone talking to us, we saw [news of the Kimes single]
in the morning [music business] faxes. It was like, 'Man, at least you could have called.' But there's no problem." Anne Weaver,
who's been promoting the single to radio, says, "No one's told me to back off. I'm still working it."
Wild: Louvin Brothers Tribute Coming Up
Universal South Records has given the go-ahead for a tribute album to
2001 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees, the Louvin Brothers.
Details are scarce, but ace songwriter Carl Jackson ("I'm Not Over You," "No Future in the Past") is producing it, and Vince Gill and Patty Loveless are among the acts tagged
to appear on the record. No word yet on whether Emmylou Harris, a long-time champion of the Louvins, will also be involved.
Charlie Louvin, the younger half of the duo, continues to perform on the Grand
Ole Opry. Ira Louvin was killed in a car accident in 1965. Modeling their sound on the Blue
Sky Boys and the Delmore Brothers, the Louvins became a major singing and songwriting
force from the mid-1950s until the early '60s. Their hits included "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby," "When I Stop Dreaming,"
"You're Running Wild," "Cash on the Barrel Head" and "My Baby's Gone."
Giggling With Gill
Leave it to Vince Gill to add some life-giving lightheartedness to the solemnity of country music ceremonies. (It's that
very quality, of course, that makes him the ideal host of the occasionally tedious CMA Awards shows.) Last week, the Country
Music Hall of Fame and Museum called on Gill to open "Six String Sculpture," a display of six historically important guitars
at SunTrust Bank's office on Music Row. As bank officers and museum officials busied themselves with last minute details before
the unveiling, Gill leaned against a pillar grinning like a kid waiting for recess. "I just came by to get some money out
of the fast cash," he said when Hall of Fame director Kyle Young introduced him. As the ceremony moved on, Gill peeked behind
the black curtain still shrouding the exhibit and gasped, "One of them is missing!" After the priceless guitars were finally
unveiled, Gill put his face to the glass enclosure, pointed and asked, "What do you want for that one?"
entirely whimsical. "I have an extensive guitar collection of my own," he told the small crowd of music industry guests and
media. "I've found that those rare instruments are pretty good investments, not only for your soul but for where the great
music has been." A frequent guest vocalist on other people's records, Gill told Hot Talk he had recently sung on albums
for Terri Clark, Leslie Satcher, Sara Evans
and his long-time fiddle player, Andrea Zonn. Oh, yes, about the guitars. Stunning instruments all, they are: radio and recording
artist Bill Boyd's 1932 Martin 00-42; steel guitarist and dobroist Shot Jackson's 1974 Sho-Bud "Sho Bro"; Juice Newton's specially-designed
Washburn Monterey Artist (circa 1984), with inlaid mother of pearl initials; movie star Jimmy Wakely's 1941 Gibson SJ-200;
Johnny Western's 1953 Gibson J-200 (he wrote the theme for the Have Gun, Will Travel TV series; and Lulu Belle Wiseman's
1945 Martin D-28 (she was the prettier half of the famous National Barn Dance radio duo, Lulu Bell & Scotty).
Wake the town and tell the people! Columbia Records will hit the streets on
April 1 with The Essential Willie Nelson, a two-disc, 41-song
package that includes not only Nelson's highest-charting hits from Columbia but also
his first ever single ("Night Life" on the Bellaire label) and gems from his early days with Atlantic and Monument. There
are duets with Waylon Jennings, Ray Charles, Leon
Russell, Ray Price, Julio Iglesias, Merle Haggard,
Emmylou Harris and Lee Ann Womack and a previously
unreleased team effort with Steven Tyler and Aerosmith.
Mel Street Tapped for Birthplace Hall
Mel Street will be inducted into the Birthplace of Country Music
Alliance's Hall of Fame May 15. The Alliance is located in the Tennessee and Virginia border town of Bristol, where, in 1927,
country music pioneers Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family made their first recordings. A native of Grundy, Va., Street gained
national recognition in 1972 when his self-penned "Borrowed Angel" became a Top 10 country hit. His strong and emotionally
urgent vocals led some critics to rank him with such master stylists as George Jones
and Lefty Frizzell. Over the next six years, Street charted 18 more singles, among
them "Lovin' on Back Streets" and "I Met a Friend of Yours Today." He killed himself Oct. 21, 1978, on his 43rd birthday.
April 12, Dennis Schuler Sr. and Larry J. Delp will sign copies of their biography, Mel Street: A Country Legend -- Gone
but Not Forgotten at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville from 1 to 4 p.m.
for the Intractably Country
Don Cusic, a music business prof at Nashville's Belmont University, has two books
of country interest due out this year: The Cowboy Way: The Amazing Adventures of Riders in the Sky (University of Kentucky
Press) and Baseball and Country Music (University of Wisconsin). A prolific author, Cusic's other music titles include
Hank Williams: The Complete Lyrics and Eddy Arnold: I'll Hold You in My Heart.
If you're the marryin'
kind and want to do things the right way, which is, of course, the country way, then you'd better check out the new songbook
from Warner Bros. Publications. It's modestly titled Ultimate Wedding Showstoppers and brimming with country selections.
Let's see, there's "Amazed," "Amen Kind of Love," "Forever and Ever, Amen," "Could I Have This Dance," "My Everything," "Keeper
of the Stars," "Your Love Amazes Me" and on and on. Not included is "That Don't Impress Me Much," which, in my book, is really
the ultimate showstopper.
My e-mail's open all night, but my mind closes early. Catch me if you can at HotTalk@cmt.com.