from ...

While the new releases are on hold until after the holiday break, it's
time for another edition of country news worthy enough for this column.
Are you hot over Keith Urban? Well there are other artists that I can
think of that are more calendar-worthy, but heck, it's for a good
cause. (Maybe I'm just a bit fussier these days after watching Manhunt
on Bravo.) Keith Urban's fans have entirely designed and produced a
calendar of their favorite star for the third year in a row, with
proceeds benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The
calendar, featuring 12 naked pictures of the singer taken at various
concerts, is available for $15 (plus shipping) at (OK, he's not really naked. I just thought it
might boost sales for them.)

January/February 2005 News
No Frosty the Snowman Christmas for Urban this year.

By Neil Haislop
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA Monday Dec.27.2004 / --
Keith Urban heads to his brother's home in Australia for the Christmas Holidays.

But there won't be any snow since it's summer south of the Equator. And, the only "white" Keith is looking forward to are the white caps of waves good enough to hang ten on.

"We actually go to the beach at Christmas time because it's the middle of the summer in Australia," Urban told AP.

"It's kind of like a cross between Thanksgiving and Fourth of July because we eat way too much and it's completely stinking hot outside, so, you know — a mixture of all great holidays at once."

Tops in 2004 country music


1. "Live Like You Were Dying," Tim McGraw. Curb.

2. "Remember When," Alan Jackson. Arista Nashville.

3. "You'll Think of Me," Keith Urban. Capitol.

4. "When the Sun Goes Down," Kenny Chesney & Uncle Kracker. BNA.

5. "Letters From Home," John Michael Montgomery. Warner Bros./WRN.

6. "American Soldier," Toby Keith. DreamWorks.

7. "Mayberry," Rascal Flatts. Lyric Street.

8. "Suds in the Bucket," Sara Evans. RCA.

9. "Watch the Wind Blow By," Tim McGraw. Curb.

10. "Days Go By," Keith Urban. Capitol.

  Great American Country's list of the Top Videos of 2004 is  
full of superstars - but the guy at No. 1 has seen his  
stardom explode this year. Keith Urban tops the GAC video  
chart with his hit, "You'll Think Of Me." Right behind him  
is Gretchen Wilson with "Redneck Woman," Kenny Chesney's  
duet with Uncle Kracker, "When The Sun Goes Down," Tim  
McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," and "American Soldier"  
by Toby Keith at No. 5. For the complete list of GAC's Top  
50 videos of the year, go to  
The past 12 months have been good to country music album  
sales. Fans are snapping up new releases by some of  
country's biggest stars and hottest newcomers, allowing  
for many platinum celebrations. In this first episode of  
CMT Insider we'll kick off the year with a look back at  
the top 10 albums of 2004, as determined by Billboard  

Albums and stars making the list include Big & Rich,  
Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith,  
Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and the only  
female in the bunch newcomer Gretchen Wilson. Get a  
complete rundown of albums, as well as Lance Smith's  
year end Hit List. L.A. correspondent Lisa Lee will  
find out what Hollywood has to say about country music.  

(NASHVILLE, 28 DEC 04) -- The Roughstock Network (
announced their 2004 Single and Album of the Year awards today, the tenth
year that Roughstock has conducted their fan-voted Roughstock Country
Music Awards. Sara Evans scored Single of the Year honors for "Suds In The
Bucket," edging out Keith Urban and Reba McEntire. With three singles in
the year-end chart, Kenny Chesney's "When The Sun Goes Down" was named
2004 Album of the Year.  The Single and Album of the Year awards are
compiled from the results of the weekly Roughstock Country Countdown
( chart. The RCC Chart is
the largest fan-voted country music chart, with over 120,000 votes
tabulated each week. Along with the announcement, Roughstock released
their 2004 Year-End Singles, Albums, and Country Record Label charts and
honored their Best New Artist for 2004. Roughstock also named Artist of
the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Male Artist of the Year, Duo/Group of
the Year, and Songwriter of the Year awards for the third year.

Kenny Chesney capped a banner year by capturing Artist and Male Artist of
the Year awards, after finishing second each of the last two years. Brad
Paisley finished second, and three-time winner Toby Keith was third. Men
dominated the Artist charts again this year, capturing the top nine spots,
though Sara Evans, Gretchen Wilson and Martina McBride finished in spots 9
through 11. Sara Evans took Female Artist of the Year honors in a photo
finish with Gretchen Wilson and Martina McBride. Just 2 chart points
separated the three artists. Wilson's breakout 2004 earned her the year's
Best New Artist award. Her "Musik Mafia" cohorts Big Kenny and John Rich
of Big & Rich placed second among new artists.

Sara Evans charted two singles in the Top 50. "Suds In The Bucket" spent 2
weeks at number one and 11 in the top 10 over the final 6 months of the
year. Keith Urban placed two singles in the year-end top 10. "You'll Think
of Me" spent 2 weeks at number one and 18 weeks in the top 15 in the
spring and early summer of 2004. Urban also enjoyed chart success with
"Days Go By" from his "Be Here" album, spending 5 weeks at number one.
Kenny Chesney charted three singles, including a duet with Uncle Kracker
that spent 5 weeks at number one, to beat out Sara Evans's "Restless" and
"Mud On The Tires" from Brad Paisley for Album of the Year.

For the second straight year, male artists held nine of the top ten artist
spots. Kenny Chesney edged out Brad Paisley, who enjoyed solo and duet
success in 2004, and 2001-2003 Artist of the Year Toby Keith. Perennial
starts Tim McGraw, Urban, and Brooks & Dunn joined up-and-coming stars
Billy Currington and Gretchen Wilson in strong 2004 showings. Chesney and
Keith were the only artists to place 3 singles in the year-end chart. Tim
McGraw broke Garth Brooks' 1995 record for consecutive weeks at #1 when
"Live Like You Were Dying" spent 8 weeks at #1 in the fall.

Brooks & Dunn captured their second Duo/Group Award on the strength of two
charted singles, including "That's What It's All About," which spent 6
weeks in the top 5. Past winners Rascal Flatts and Lonestar rounded out
the top 3. Newcomers Big & Rich cracked the top five. Unlike the Artist of
the Year category, the New Artist Category was led by women, where
Gretchen Wilson's standout year gave her the New Artist of the Year award
in a landslide. Big & Rich, Josh Gracin, Julie Roberts, and Sugarland were
among the new artists who enjoyed hit singles in 2004. The top 10 success
of "Redneck Woman" and "Here For The Party" helped launch Wilson into the
second spot in the Female Artist of the Year category.

After a second place finish last year, Arista Nashville returned to the
top with their third Label of the Year award. Arista racked up over 5000
chart points, including two top 10 singles to take top imprint honors.
Last year's winner, RCA Nashville, finished second followed by MCA
Nashville. Dreamworks and Capitol Nashville rounded out the top five.
Craig Morgan's continued success led Broken Bow Records to the highest
finish among independent labels ahead of Audium and Clint Black's Equity

Roughstock also awarded Songwriter of the Year. The co-writer of two top
ten hits, Craig Wiseman had four credits on the year-end Singles chart to
lead him past John Rich and Toby Keith for the award. In addition to "In A
Real Love" (written with Phil Vassar) and "Live Like You Were Dying"
(written with Tim Nichols), Wiseman co-wrote "That's What It's All About"
for Brooks & Dunn and "Rough & Ready" for Trace Adkins. Wiseman also won
the award in 2002. The 2004 awards marked the first time that Roughstock
determined the Label and Songwriter awards using the same chart points
formula used for other awards.

Each year, Roughstock announces its Country Music Awards, aggregating
performances by songs and albums on each of the weekly Roughstock Country
Countdown singles charts. The year-end charts and awards are based on a
point recap system that awards points according to a complex, inverse
relation to chart position for each week a title appeared on the chart.
The chart year began with the January 10, 2004 RCC chart and concluded
with the one dated December 25, 2005.

Over 3.6 million people listened to Roughstock's weekly Countdown show,
"The Roughstock Country Countdown with Don Steel," and visited the weekly
Countdown charts this past year. Roughstock has presented the weekly
Roughstock Country Countdown in its current format since 1995. The largest
independent country music site on the Web with over 9 million annual
visitors, Roughstock celebrated its 11th anniversary in 2004.


2004 Singles of the Year
1 Suds In The Bucket - Sara Evans - RCA Nashville
2 You'll Think Of Me - Keith Urban - Capitol Nashville
3 Somebody - Reba McEntire - MCA Nashville
4 Letters From Home - John Michael Montgomery - Warner Brothers/WRN
5 In A Real Love - Phil Vassar - Arista Nashville
6 Whiskey Lullaby - Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss - Arista Nashville
7 Live Like You Were Dying - Tim McGraw - Curb
8 She Thinks She Needs Me - Andy Griggs - RCA Nashville
9 If You Ever Stop Loving Me - Montgomery Gentry - Columbia
10 Days Go By - Keith Urban - Capitol Nashville
11 That's What It's All About - Brooks And Dunn - Arista Nashville
12 Mayberry - Rascal Flatts - Lyric Street
13 Nothing On But The Radio - Gary Allan - MCA Nashville
14 I Got A Feelin' - Billy Currington - Mercury
15 I Hate Everything - George Strait - MCA Nashville
16 If Nobody Believed In You - Joe Nichols - Universal South
17 Sweet Southern Comfort - Buddy Jewell - Columbia
18 How Am I Doin' - Dierks Bentley - Capitol Nashville
19 American Soldier - Toby Keith - DreamWorks
20 Mr. Mom - Lonestar - BNA
21 Here For The Party - Gretchen Wilson - Columbia
22 Stays In Mexico - Toby Keith - DreamWorks
23 Loco - David Lee Murphy - Audium
24 I Want To Live - Josh Gracin - Lyric Street
25 Remember When - Alan Jackson - Arista Nashville
26 I Go Back - Kenny Chesney - BNA
27 Girls Lie Too - Terri Clark - Mercury
28 When The Sun Goes Down - Kenny Chesney And Uncle Kracker - BNA
29 Perfect - Sara Evans - RCA Nashville
30 Paint Me A Birmingham - Tracy Lawrence - DreamWorks
31 Watch The Wind Blow By - Tim McGraw - Curb
32 Too Much Of A Good Thing - Alan Jackson - Arista Nashville
33 Desperately - George Strait - MCA Nashville
34 Redneck Woman - Gretchen Wilson - Sony Nashville
35 Rough & Ready - Trace Adkins - Capitol Nashville
36 Whiskey Girl - Toby Keith - DreamWorks
37 Little Moments - Brad Paisley - Arista Nashville
38 Let's Be Us Again - Lonestar - BNA
39 That's What She Gets For Loving Me - Brooks And Dunn - Arista Nashville
40 Songs About Rain - Gary Allan - MCA Nashville
41 The Woman With You - Kenny Chesney - BNA
42 Awful, Beautiful Life - Darryl Worley - DreamWorks
43 Feels Like Today - Rascal Flatts - Lyric Street
44 Come Home Soon - Shedaisy - Lyric Street
45 Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy) - Big & Rich - Warner Brothers/WRN
46 In My Daughter's Eyes - Martina McBride - RCA Nashville
47 Good Little Girls - Blue County - Curb
48 Hot Mama - Trace Adkins - Capitol Nashville
49 Some Beach - Blake Shelton - Warner Brothers/WRN
50 I Can't Sleep - Clay Walker - RCA Nashville

2004 Albums of the Year
1 When The Sun Goes Down - Kenny Chesney - BNA
2 Restless - Sara Evans - RCA Nashville
3 Mud On The Tires - Brad Paisley - Arista Nashville
4 Shock'n Y'all - Toby Keith - DreamWorks
5 Here For The Party - Gretchen Wilson - Columbia
6 See If I Care - Gary Allan - MCA Nashville
7 Let's Be Us Again - Lonestar - BNA
8 Golden Road - Keith Urban - Capitol Nashville
9 Room To Breathe - Reba McEntire - MCA Nashville
10 Letters From Home - John Michael Montgomery - Warner Brothers/WRN
11 Shaken Not Stirred - Phil Vassar - Arista Nashville
12 Live Like You Were Dying - Tim McGraw - Curb
13 This I Gotta See - Andy Griggs - RCA Nashville
14 You Do Your Thing - Montgomery Gentry - Columbia
15 Be Here - Keith Urban - Capitol Nashville
16 Greatest Hits Collection, Volume 2 - Brooks And Dunn - Arista Nashville
17 Melt - Rascal Flatts - Lyric Street - 607 Chart Points
18 Billy Currington - Billy Currington - Mercury
19 50 Number Ones - George Strait - MCA Nashville
20 Revelation - Joe Nichols - Universal South
21 Dierks Bentley - Dierks Bentley - Capitol Nashville
22 Buddy Jewell - Buddy Jewell - Columbia
23 Tryin' To Get There - David Lee Murphy - Audium
24 Greatest Hits, Volume 2 - Toby Keith - DreamWorks
25 Josh Gracin - Josh Gracin

2004 Artist of the Year
1 Kenny Chesney
2 Brad Paisley
3 Toby Keith
4 Tim McGraw
5 Keith Urban
6 Brad Paisley
7 Billy Currington
8 Brooks And Dunn
9 Alan Jackson
10 Sara Evans

2004 Male Artist of the Year
1 Kenny Chesney
2 Brad Paisley
3 Toby Keith
4 Tim McGraw
5 Keith Urban
6 Billy Currington
7 Alan Jackson
8 George Strait
9 Gary Allan
10 Trace Adkins

2004 Female Artist of the Year
1 Sara Evans
2 Gretchen Wilson
3 Martina McBride
4 Shania Twain
5 Reba McEntire
6 Terri Clark
7 Alison Krauss
8 Carolyn Dawn Johnson
9 Julie Roberts
10 Rachel Proctor

2004 Duo/Group of the Year
1 Brooks And Dunn
2 Rascal Flatts
3 Lonestar
4 Montgomery Gentry
5 Big & Rich
6 Shedaisy
7 Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss
8 Blue County
9 Kenny Chesney And Uncle Kracker
10 Shania Twain and Billy Currington

2004 Best New Artist
1 Gretchen Wilson
2 Big & Rich
3 Josh Gracin
4 Julie Roberts
5 Sugarland

2004 Songwriter of the Year
1 Craig Wiseman
2 John Rich
3 Toby Keith
4 Tom Shapiro
5 Tim Nichols
6 Casey Beathard
7 Big Kenny
8 Harley Allen
9 Rivers Rutherford
10 Gretchen Wilson

Urban and Fogerty Schedule CMT Crossroads  

CMA male vocalist of the year Keith Urban and Rock and Roll  
Hall of Fame member John Fogerty are the latest artists  
scheduled to team up for an episode of CMT Crossroads. In  
the '60s, Fogerty established his reputation as one of  
America's greatest singer-songwriters as the leader of  
Creedence Clearwater Revival. In the band, he wrote and  
sang classic hits such as "Proud Mary," "Bad Moon Rising,"  
"Who'll Stop the Rain," " Lodi" and "Looking Out My Back  
Door." As a solo artist, his credits include the hit single  
"Centerfield" and the 1997 Grammy-winning album Blue Moon  
Swamp. In 2004, he released the critically-acclaimed album  
Deja Vu All Over Again. Urban's latest album, Be Here, was  
certified platinum just weeks after its release. Urban's  
two previous albums are each certified double platinum for  
shipments of 2 million copies. Urban and Fogerty will tape  
the CMT Crossroads concert later this month in Los Angeles. 
**The show will air on CMT on February 19th!**

Review: Rock still has a place in Urban country
January 27, 2005

Keith Urban's aptly named.

Though a country music star with sufficient twang in his music, his sound also has big city sophistication and grit.

Urban's urban as well as country.

Winner of the Country Music Association's Male Vocalist of the Year Award, Urban is poised on the edge of megastardom. And seeing him in concert Tuesday night at Germain Arena in Estero, it's easy to understand why.

The man is multitalented: a creative songwriter, a highly skilled musician and an energetic, affable performer.

His is a fresh sound in country music that owes as much to John Mellencamp and John Hiatt as to those who graced the stage of the Grand Ol' Opry in decades past. It's as much rock as it is country — among the screaming guitars and solid drum beats is the sound of banjo, dobro and accordion. It's a pleasing hybrid.

He opened with "Days Go By" and "Better Life," the first two cuts from his multiplatinum CD, "Be Here."

"Better Half" began with a staccato, jumpy opening that sounded like the start of the Bee Gees' "Jive Talkin'."

The evening included his earlier hits, "Somebody Like You" and "Your Everything," as well as other songs from his highly successful "Be Here," such as the tender "Making Memories of Us" and "Tonight I Wanna Cry." At times he would just stop singing and let the audience take over. That was fine for the up-tempo songs, but seemed a little strange on the slower love songs. And at one point, he engaged the audience in a call-and-response while scat singing.

If you didn't pay attention to charts or bin titles in record stores, you could easily mistake Urban for a rock musician. There's nothing about his style of dress that screams country — no boots, no big cowboy hat, no fringe. With his T-shirt, long hair, tattoo and jeans, he's definitely a different face of country. His sound's just as atypical.

Urban sings a lot about love lost and won, but also about mortality and living each day with awareness and purpose.

One unexpected highlight of the evening was the appearance of Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Rickey Medlocke, who first showed up during the Warren Brothers' opening act, performing "Red, White and Blue," a song he'd co-written with them.

During Urban's encore, Medlocke came out again and performed "Sweet Home Alabama."

"Since this is my hometown ... on behalf of myself and all the guys in Lynyrd Skynyrd, long live Keith Urban," Medlocke said. "Here's a little preview of what the Grammys will be like on Feb. 13."

Urban took a verse and the two shared the mike for the chorus, but Medlocke had the lion's share of the song.

The crowd was beside itself, roaring its approval. It was such a powerful, sizzling performance that I felt bad for the people who'd left before the encore.

At the end of the song, Urban dropped to his knees and made bowing gestures to Medlocke with his arms.

It was a fluid kind of night. Earlier, Urban did a raucous rendition of the Dave Edmunds song, "I Hear You Knocking," after beating out a drum solo on his acoustic guitar. He also did a cover of U2's "Beautiful Day" and a long rendition of Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'" with the Warren Brothers. At one point, his keyboardist performed a jazzy keyboard instrumental version of the Beatles' "Get Back."

Urban can rock out with the best of them, but he shined when performing alone with his acoustic guitar, or seated behind a keyboard by himself. He's a consummate musician who knows his instrument, not just a strummer.

Urban and his five-man band played on a set that looked like a warehouse. The drummer and keyboardist were set up on high pallets that revealed different colored lights through their slats. And there were neon signs that lit up at the very end: words such as Live, Love, Now, Faith, Believe, Hope, You, and, above the stage: Be Here, the name of his CD.

He played to the crowd, going to the very edges of the stage to perform for those in the side tiers. During a song, he gave the mike to a preschooler in the front row and let her sing the chorus. And at another point in the concert, he started reading a sign a young girl was holding up. But security confiscated the sign before he was finished.

He convinced security to hold up the sign again. It read: "I drove 28 hours through a blizzard to get here. Can I get a hug?"

"Hell, yeah," Urban said. So the young woman went forward. When Urban realized that the stage was too high for her to climb up on the stage, he jumped down to hug her.

Urban's a magnanimous performer, and a very talented one.

His show at Germain Tuesday night was simply remarkable. What a blast!