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Published: Friday, 5/14/2004

Loretta Lynn returns to the spotlight

Loretta Lynn, one of the leading ladies in country music history, is

returning to the charts after years on the sidelines.

Lynn's latest album, "Van Lear Rose," debuted at No. 2 on the

country album charts when it was released at the beginning of this month. She also was at No. 24 on the pop charts, just ahead of Janet Jackson.

Despite being in the business for 44 years, Lynn has never had an

album debut this high. In the first week on the shelves, she sold more than 37,000 copies.

She will be at the Stranahan Theatre in Toledo on June 12.

***

Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame member Charley Pride was hospitalized on Thursday, May 6 and underwent emergency surgery for a subdural hematoma on Saturday, May 8.

After spending the night in ICU, normal procedure for this type of

surgery, Pride is now in a private room and doing very well. The

recovery time period is estimated at four to six weeks.

***

If you are looking to see Willie Nelson soon, you're going to have

to check him out on his Memorial Day special on the USA Network. That show, starting at 9 p.m., will include performances by Jerry Lee Lewis, Toby Keith, Kid Rock, Keith Richards, Merle Haggard, Lee Ann Womack, Rickie Lee Jones, and others. Unfortunately, shortly after the show was taped, Willie visited the doctor and was told that he has a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome because of all his guitar playing and will not be able to perform again

until the beginning of July.

***

In her first television interview since leaving a Utah rehabilitation clinic for alcohol abuse, Jo Dee Messina told CMT Insider host Katie Cook that she checked into the clinic after her manager, Stuart Dill, confronted her about forgetting the words to her hit, "Stand By Me," at a post-Superbowl show.

"I tried to think back to it, and I was like, I remember this and I

remember that, and I remember forgetting the words, man I don't remember the show. I think that means that's a problem," Messina told Cook.

***

Dixie Chick Martie Maguire and her husband, Gareth, are now the

parents of twin girls, Eva Ruth and Kathleen Emilie.

***

The Ohio Expo Center in Columbus is hosting the Spring Bluegrass

fair tonight and tomorrow. Tickets at the gate are $42 and are good for both days and includes parking, reserved seating, and blacktop camping Tonight, starting at 7, there will be a bluegrass open stage.

Tomorrow the entertainment begins at noon with the Lonesome River Band, followed by David Parmley and Continental Divide, Mike Snider, Peter Rowan, John Cowan Band, J.D. Crowe & The New South, Tony Rice Unit, Seldom Scene, and Patty Loveless.

***

In other bluegrass news, one of the hottest groups in bluegrass,

Mountain Heart, has released its latest album. Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder will be hitting stores with their next album in July. And Melonie Cannon, the daughter of famed songwriter and

producer Buddy Cannon, will be releasing her album later this summer.

Look for it!

***

Brad Cotter, the winner of the USA Network's "Nashville Star," has

entered the charts at No. 42 on Billboard with his first single, "I Meant To."

That is the highest entry for a new country artist's debut since Jan. 20, 1990. Brad beat out his close friend, Buddy Jewell, whose debut single, "Help Pour Out the Rain," charted at No. 44 last year.

***

And finally, good guy John Michael Montgomery recently hit No. 3 on

the charts with "Letters from Home," a song about a soldier getting letters from his family. The song inspired 15-year-old Shauna Fleming to create a Web site, amillionthanks.org, that is gathering letters from all over the world to send to the troops overseas.



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