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Archive for Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sunday big night for country music

May 17, 2008

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Trace Adkins, Brooks and Dunn, Miranda Lambert, Montgomery Gentry and other artists perform on the 43rd annual Academy of Country Music Awards ( p.m. Sunday, CBS). Garth Brooks will receive a milestone award recognizing his decades on the charts.

¢ A country artist of a very different vintage is celebrated in the documentary "The Sweet Lady with the Nasty Voice" (8 p.m. Sunday, Smithsonian). Smithsonian is available on Direct TV.

The Sweet Lady in question is Wanda Jackson, considered by many to be a pioneer of rockabilly and the first lady of rock 'n' roll. As a teenage country singer, Jackson toured with a number of upcoming lads named Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. Jackson dated Elvis and applied her unique vocal growl to such rockers as "Let's Have a Party," "Mean, Mean Man" and "Fujiyama Mama," the song that became Jackson's first No. 1 hit, albeit on the Japanese charts.

Jackson's sexy outfits got almost as much attention as her music, and she takes credit for liberating female country artists from the restrictions of the chaste-cowgirl look. After a religious experience, she devoted most of the 1970s and 1980s to gospel music. But beginning in the mid-1990s, her music was discovered by fans young enough to be her grandchildren.

She now maintains a busy tour schedule appearing in venues better known for alternative rock and country acts. Like many American jazz musicians, she's better known in Europe and Japan than she is in her native land.

This generous and affectionate profile will go a long way toward winning Jackson the American recognition she deserves. She's seen here with her biggest fans, including Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello and Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead. In the film, Costello reads the letter he sent to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame chastising them for not yet inducting Jackson, the woman who paved the way for Janis Joplin, Chrissie Hynde and every female rocker who ever picked up a guitar.

Today's highlights

¢ Will Smith and Kevin James star in the 2005 comedy "Hitch" (7 p.m., ABC).

¢ Competition at a dog-treat bakery on "Groomer Has it" (8 p.m., Animal Planet).

¢ The sheriff tests a new poison on "Robin Hood" (8 p.m., BBC America).

¢ Johnny Depp stars in "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (8 p.m., Starz), the third movie in the franchise, making its TV debut.

¢ A cop is linked to a controversial killing at a political rally on "Law & Order" (9 p.m., NBC).

¢ Steve Carell hosts "Saturday Night Live" (10:30 p.m., NBC), featuring musical guest Usher.

Sunday's highlights

¢ "Nature" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) examines the plight of the vanishing rhinoceros.

¢ Lynette faces child-abuse charges on the season finale of "Desperate Housewives" (8 p.m., ABC).

¢ Three women believe they have earned the affections of the young doctor on "Cranford" on "Masterpiece" (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings, part 3).

¢ Jane ascends as Anne falls out of favor with Henry on "The Tudors" (8 p.m., Showtime).

¢ Lester Holt of NBC News hosts "Mystery of the Crystal Skulls" (8 p.m., Sci Fi), a speculative look at legendary relics and a thinly disguised tie-in to the new "Indiana Jones" movie.

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