(HOT TALK is a weekly column by longtime CMT.com contributing writer and former Billboard country music editor Edward Morris.)
Curb Links Jo Dee Messina With New Producer
isn't something the involved parties are willing to talk about, but it appears that Curb Records didn't like the album Jo Dee Messina's producers, Byron Gallimore and Tim McGraw,
turned in for her. Consequently, the label is releasing a greatest hits package instead of the expected album of new material.
Messina is now working with producer Mark Bright. Whether other producers will be brought in is unclear. Hot Talk spoke
with Gallimore, who declined to discuss the matter, beyond saying that, "We're all friends. We're all family." Messina's publicist
and manager referred questions about the aborted project to the label, which has yet to respond.
of Bluegrass Tour Planned for Fall
Immortal Entertainment, the folks who brought you the two successful Down
From the Mountain tours last year, is planning a Voices of Bluegrass tour for this fall. Immortal's Kevin Lyman tells Hot
Talk that the acts expected to be involved are the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Rosanne Cash, Nanci Griffith, Australian singer Kasey Chambers and the group Robinella &
Ralph Stanley Invited to Perform With Boston Pops
The Boston Pops
orchestra has invited bluegrass patriarch Ralph Stanley to perform on its May 12 "Evening
at Pops" series, which will be taped for broadcast on PBS. Details of the appearance are still being worked out. Stanley recently
shared a best bluegrass album Grammy award with Jim Lauderdale for Lost in the Lonesome Pines.
Trevino Records Album for Warner Bros.
Raul Malo, lead singer of the recently reconstituted Mavericks, has produced a country album on Rick Trevino for Warner Bros. Records. Trevino was a bright
star for Columbia Records during the 1990s, hitting the Top 10 with "She Can't Say I Didn't Cry," "Doctor Time," "Bobbie Ann
Mason," "Learning as You Go" and "I Only Get This Way With You." He hit No. 1 in 1996 with "Running Out of Reasons to Run."
After leaving Columbia, he performed with Los Super Seven, which won a Grammy in 1998 for Best Mexican-American/Tejano Music.
Kentucky Hotel Sets Bluegrass Festival
The Executive Inn Rivermont Hotel in Owensboro, Ky., the
original home of the International Bluegrass Music Association convention, will stage its second annual bluegrass festival
April 10-12. Performing Thursday will be David Peterson & 1946 and the Isaacs. Friday's lineup is Karl Shiflett & Big Country
Show, Mountain Heart, IIIrd Tyme Out and Fisher & Co. Saturday's stars are J. D. Crowe & the New South, the Del McCoury Band,
Honi Deaton & Dream and Ronnie Reno & the Reno Tradition.
Open Wide: More Books From the Country
The Country Music Foundation has announced the publication this year of five more books of
interest to country fans and scholars. Out this month is Vinyl Hayride: Country Music Album Covers 1947-1949 by Paul
Kingsbury and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum staff. In June or July, the Foundation will release a revised edition
of the Robert K. Oermann and Mary Bufwack study, Finding Her Voice: Women in Country Music 1800-2000. (The original
study was published in 1993.) Coming this summer will be Country Music Trivia Book, which will be packaged with a CD-ROM
game. The Country Music Pop-Up Book, also by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum staff, is due out this fall,
as is The Complete Country Music Discography 1922-1942 by Tony Russell. The pop-up package promises to be a real treasure
trove. In addition to containing more than 20 essays about country music, it will include sound chips (that activate when
pages open), die-cut images, reproduced objects, historic photos, as well as the aforesaid pop-up images. The volume even
includes a tray that contains a guitar pick, postcards from the Country Music Hall of Fame collection and a booklet covering
all the Country Music Hall of Fame members. The tray also includes a copy of a vintage Grand Ole Opry fan -- the kind waved
on summer nights before air conditioning was installed at the Ryman Auditorium.
Asleep at the Wheel's
Ray Benson Cuts Solo Album
Ray Benson, leader of Asleep at the Wheel,
has recorded a solo album for Koch-Audium Records. Titled Beyond Time, the 12-cut collection will be released April
22. Performing with Benson on various cuts are Dolly Parton, Delbert McClinton, Jimmie
Vaughan and guitarist Stanley Jordan. Benson teams up with Flaco Jiminez on a cover version of Marty
Robbin's "El Paso," the only song on the project Benson didn't write or co-write. On April 1, Capitol Records will
release Asleep at the Wheel's 20 Greatest Hits.
CMA Chief Easing Back Into Work
Benson, executive director of the Country Music Association, is easing back into work after having been sidelined for several
months with a life-threatening illness. "He's still working from home," his assistant tells Hot Talk. "He's been in
[the office] a few times but not on a daily basis. He is getting better."
I welcome your froth-flecked opinions and
clear-eyed news tips. Amuse and amaze me at Hottalk@cmt.com.