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CURRENT STORIES


Top country singers, top concert tours

by John G. Miller

MANAGING EDITOR

Wednesday night's Academy of Country Music Awards program on CBS was one of the best awards shows I've seen, with plenty of live performances and funny lines.

I really enjoyed Darryl Worley's performance of "Have You Forgotten?" as well as George Strait's medley of his many No. 1 hits.

Alabama's rousing rendition of its first No. 1, "Tennessee River," also was inspiring.

Wynonna performed her new song, "What The World Needs," which is a wonderful melody with a great message. The song showcases Wynonna's full range in a beautiful signature piece.

The awards seemed to be evenly divided among country's big-name stars, as no one won more than two.

Of course, country music's "bad girls," the Dixie Chicks, were the target of some jabs, as well as boos. The talented Texas trio has been much maligned since lead singer Natalie Maines mouthed off about President Bush in March.

Host Reba McIntire had some great lines on the Dixie Chicks, including this one from her opening monologue:

"Everybody here loves to gamble. They're backstage right now checking the latest odds on the Dixie Chicks playing the Bush family reunion," The Associated Press reported.

Later when introducing some of the presenters, McIntire mentioned that comedians Penn and Teller were on hand. She said Penn was the one who did all the talking while Teller never says anything.

"Guess which one is training the Dixie Chicks," McIntire cracked.

MORE MUSIC NEWS: Some classic acts are dominating the Top 20 Concerts list provided to The Associated Press by Pollstar.

The Billy Joel/Elton John tour leads the way, grossing about $2.2 million per city.

The Parrotheads have Jimmy Buffett in at No. 2, while Bon Jovi is No. 3.

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band hold the No. 4 position, while George Strait is No. 5. Cher is in at No. 7.

There are some "newer acts" listed, like Tim McGraw (No. 6), Kenny Chesney (No. 10), Toby Keith (No. 11) and Alan Jackson (No. 12).

Oh, and don't think the big concerts are limited to secular music acts.

Bill Gaither and Friends Homecoming concerts make the list at No. 14. They'll be in Charleston June 7, but I hear not many good tickets remain.

John G. Miller is managing editor of The Exponent Telegram. He can be reached at 626-1473 or by e-mail at jmiller@exponent-telegram.com.