Carrie Underwood Is the Belle of the ACM Ball; Toby Keith Is Fightin' Mad; The Beatles Are Back


Headlines: Country prom queen Carrie Underwood received the royal treatment at the Academy of Country Music Awards: Underwood was named entertainer of the year, becoming only the seventh woman in 39 years to win the big award. She celebrated the occasion by crying. Underwood also won top female vocalist and wore something like a half-dozen different outfits during the show, including a mammoth burgundy gown that was made of enough cloth that it could have covered half of her native Oklahoma. Taylor Swift won album of the year and did some sort of magic act with David Copperfield. (And no, he did not make 2008's best-selling artist in any genre disappear.) Jamey Johnson, a Post Rock fave, won for neck beard of the year, as well as top song with "In Color." Other winners: Julianne Hough (top newcomer), Brad Paisley (male vocalist -- and best Little Jimmy Dickens joke), Trace Adkins (single of the year), Rascal Flatts (vocal group) and Sugarland (vocal duo). ... The show itself was relatively boring, but there was some real excitement backstage, where Toby Keith teed off on Peter Cooper, the country-music writer for the Tennessean. The hulking singer was furious about with a Cooper item about an apparent reference to Keith in a Kris Kristofferson profile authored by Ethan Hawke (yes, the actor) for Rolling Stone. Hawke's story said that an unnamed country star had a run-in with Kristofferson backstage at a Willie Nelson birthday concert several years ago; Cooper did the math and wrote that Singer X's name probably rhymed with "Moby Teeth." Keith insisted the anecdote was untrue (so did Kristofferson, actually), and he spent seven profanity-laced minutes at the press room podium verbally attacking Cooper. Key quote from Rhymes With Moby Teeth: "You've never [expletive] in your [expletive] [expletive] like you have right now." Cooper's own recounting of the backstage exchange is here. ... A Chris Brown dis song has hit the airwaves. Brown, meanwhile, is scheduled to be arraigned today on felony charges of assault and making criminal threats. ... Paul McCartney gets by with a little help from a very special old friend: Ringo Starr, who joins his old Beatles bandmate onstage in New York to perform "With a Little Help from My Friends" and "I Saw Her Standing There," plus Macca's "Cosmically Conscious." Key paragraph from the NYT review: "[McCartney] and Mr. Starr shared the stage lightheartedly, evading all the dramatic implications of a Beatles reunion. After the encores Mr. Starr jumped in front of Mr. McCartney waving peace signs. A grinning Mr. McCartney stepped in front of him, and back and forth it went. They were old band mates, sharing songs and clowning around, remembering a trip they took many years ago." ... Merge Records has announced the lineup for its 20th anniversary festival, and no, there is no Neutral Milk Hotel reunion on the schedule. ... Lauryn Hill is coming out of hiding to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival. ... The Good Charlotte guys are coming out of the pages of the tabloids to tend to their music career. New album, "Cardiology," due this summer. (No word if country cardiologist Cleve Francis will cameo.) ... Went to a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and "an unbelievable guitar orgy" broke out. Also: Eminem was tougher than leather in inducting Run-D.M.C. ... Charley Pride takes customer service to the next level, flying to Canada to hand-deliver a refund to a fan who'd purchased exorbitantly priced concert tickets from a reseller. ... Bud Shank, the "cool jazz" flutist and alto saxophonist, has died. Shank was most famous for two things: Bringing Brazilian music to the U.S. and playing a flute solo on the Mamas and Papas hit, "California Dreamin'." ... Depeche Mode is not impressed with this year's Glastonbury lineup, decides it wouldn't make sense to share a stage with Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen ... Three-word combination that makes me very happy indeed: New Clipse album. (And Rick Rubin is one of the producers? Oh yeah.) ... Three-word combination that makes me laugh: "U2's 'Spider-Man' Musical."

Video of the Day
In which '80s rap legend Big Daddy Kane takes a star turn in a short film about ... '80s rap legend Big Daddy Kane. The rare 1990 tour footage of Kane introducing a young, unknown rapper by the name of Jay-Z is pretty great. (Hat tip: Dutty Artz.)

Say What?
"I always, always dreamed of being an author. I never dreamed of being in a rock band, but the possibility of publishing a book -- man, that was a serious dream of mine." -- Ryan Adams, who is taking a step back from music ... and right into the world of book publishing. Next month, he publishes a book of verse, "Infinity Blues," with a novel and another poetry collection still to come.

Today (and Saturday) in TWP
Jennifer Hudson is back, and her fans couldn't be happier.

Don "Cerphe" Colwell, the classic-rock DJ who has been bringing that music to local listeners since before the rock was even considered classic, is off the air.


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By J. Freedom du Lac |  April 6, 2009; 8:15 AM ET Morning Mix
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