This is Country Music… WE DO!
Whether you were one of the thousands in attendance at the 49th Annual CMA Awards at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville or if you were one of the millions sitting and enjoying from your home, one truth stands- last night was a HUGE win for country being declared as COUNTRY!
The night was filled with amazing performances from Kacey Musgraves, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney and more, thrilling duos from Hank Williams and Eric Church and Reba and Brooks and Dunn, rounded out with memorable collaborations from John Mellancamp and Keith Urban and was topped off with Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton’s epic event. Even though as a whole the night was magical some moments of the night on the other hand may have been questionable to say the least..
I can’t help but point out Zac Brown, who just two short years ago called out Luke Bryan on “That’s My Kind of Night” being “the worst song I’ve ever heard” who was now singing an electronic dance driven song on a country music award show which, in my opinion, fell a little flat in performance and sound. Is Brown caving to the commercialization of the industry or has he started drinking the kool-aid in this new sound for the band?
I personally think that the show should’ve ended with Timberlake’s and Stapleton’s number because after such an unforgettable performance from the pair everything going on the rest of the night unfortunately didn’t match up to it’s grandeur. One moment in particular was Thomas Rhett and Fall Out Boy’s mash up of “Crash and Burn” and “Uma Thurman“. Well I have to admit that the “backup dancers” that normally enhance a performance only distracted you from being able to enjoy it- it had me questioning whether they or Dierks Bentley‘s “Drunk On A Plane” flight attendants had made a better impression on the CMAs.. On another note, an obvious tension in the air was realized during Miranda’s performance but she didn’t let that stop her from singing the hell out of her new single, “Bathroom Sink”.
Among the well deserving winners of their prospective categories, including huge wins for LBT and the writers for smashing stereotypes and hitting records in their hit Girl Crush, was Chris Stapleton! This humble man who over the years has penned hits for many other artists including Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Alan Jackson, Thomas Rhett, Patty Loveless, Josh Turner, Tim McGraw, Darius Rucker, Lee Ann Womack and Adele, finally was being recognized for his true talent as an artist. Stapleton picked up New Artist, beating crowd favorite Sam Hunt, Album of the Year with Traveller and beat heavy hitters like Eric Church and Blake Shelton by winning Male Vocalist of the Year. All won by a man who humbly said, “this is an unbelievable thing to me and I’m not gonna take it lightly.” after receiving the Male Vocalist Award.
The big win wasn’t just for Stapleton and his 3 awards or the other artists and their wins, the big win was the fact that Chris Stapleton is the epitome of what country music represents. He is country, he doesn’t rap, he isn’t trying to reinvent the sound here, he is just a simple man singing his songs with a sound that the forefathers of this genre would be proud to claim!
Thank God for artists like Stapleton and Kacey Musgraves, who last night brought her retro flair with “DimeStore Cowgirl”. Some haters may say that her performance visually seemed like a nod to Katy Perry but her sound brought you back to a generation of great women who didn’t have to run around the stage to “entertain”, they just got up on stage and sang their songs which made a statement purely on voice. Thank you to the artists who want to stay true to the roots and not feeling like they need to change the genre to the coming of times but rather bring us back to a time when the music was simpler, classic, and down right legendary! Last night was a showing that the association has their head on straight and hopefully this is an indicator for success for the future artists of country music!
Last night’s declaration of country staying country has re-inspired me to write an article I’ve been talking about for almost 2 years now.. There are some artists, including Chris Stapleton, in the genre today who aren’t afraid to keep their sound traditional that have been flying under the radar for quite some time- it’s time to be written to shed some light on the few who aren’t afraid to stand out by bringing us back.
Here’s a list of all the winners and nominees from last night’s ceremony:
WINNER: Luke Bryan
WINNER: Girl Crush, Little Big Town
American Kids, Kenny Chesney
I Don’t Dance, Lee Brice
Take Your Time, Sam Hunt
Talladega, Eric Church
SONG (award goes to songwriters)
WINNER: Girl Crush (Liz Rose, Lori McKenna and Hillary Lindsey)
American Kids (Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird and Shane McAnally)
Like a Cowboy (Randy Houser and Brice Long)
Like a Wrecking Ball (Eric Church and Casey Beathard)
Take Your Time (Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne)
WINNER: Chris Stapleton
WINNER: Miranda Lambert
Lee Ann Womack
WINNER: Little Big Town
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band
WINNER: Florida Georgia Line
Dan + Shay
Maddie & Tae
WINNER: Chris Stapleton
Maddie & Tae
WINNER: Traveller, Chris Stapleton
Old Boots, New Dirt, Jason Aldean
Pageant Material, Kacey Musgraves
Pain Killer, Little Big Town
The Big Revival, Kenny Chesney
WINNER: Raise ‘Em Up, Keith Urban featuring Eric Church
Django and Jimmie, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard
Lonely Tonight, Blake Shelton featuring Ashley Monroe
Smokin’ and Drinkin’, Miranda Lambert featuring Little Big Town
Wild Child, Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter
WINNER: Mac McAnally, guitar
Sam Bush, mandolin
Jerry Douglas, Dobro
Paul Franklin, steel guitar
Dann Huff, guitar
WINNER: Girl in a Country Song, Maddie & Tae
Biscuits, Kacey Musgraves
Girl Crush, Little Big Town
Little Red Wagon, Miranda Lambert
Something in the Water, Carrie Underwood
And for those that missed last night’s epic collab, here it is: