Academy of Country Music Recognizes George Strait As Artist of the Decade

Brody Vercher | October 30th, 2008

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  1. [...] biggest hits?” — M.C. “Wait, which decade? Surely not this one?” — Marc “I think George Strait is country-ish, enough so to retain plausible deniability when being [...]
  1. The Confessor
    October 30, 2008 at 11:48 am

    I don’t mean to start a political firestorm here (and I’d appreciate it if everybody else follow my intention on that point), but the inner workings and relationships of the country music scene always fascinate me…

    (For instance, I’ve always wondered whether some unspoken animosity exists between the members of Montgomery Gentry and John Michael Montgomery, who split from an earlier band all three were a part of for a solo music career.)

    That list of “retitled” country music tours suggests some tension between Big Kenny and John Rich, and their Wikipedia article notes that the band is currently on hiatus. Is the suggestion of tension purely speculative, or is there a source stating such?

  2. Amazace
    October 30, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    George Strait artist of the decade? You’ve got to be kidding. Oh, wait a minute, this is the ACM. It figures they would pick Strait. Someone who is not a songwriter, and openly admits he doesn’t even pick up a guitar until it’s time for a tour.

  3. m.c.
    October 30, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Confessor–Eddie Montgomery was his brother’s road manager for several years early in John Michael’s career, almost up until MG took off. Troy Gentry also pursued a solo career for a while and won a Jim Beam talent contest. So, no, there wasn’t any animosity between the brothers over John Michael going solo.

    Amazace–George Jones has rarely written any of his hits. Same goes for Patsy Cline, Ray Price…the list goes on and on. If they were named Artists of the Decade in their time, wyould you criticize them for not writing their biggest hits?

    You can like or dislike Strait for the songs he chooses or his performances of them. But I am always, um, amazed that anyone uses “he doesn’t write his own songs” as a criticism for a successful country artist–or a singer most any other genre. (And I guarantee you Jones doesn’t pick up his guitar until tour time, either, nor does Price spend a lot of time with music when he’s off the road.)

    I love a lot of performers because of the songs they’ve written, but I also love a lot of great singers for how they’ve interpreted the material of others.

  4. Marc
    October 30, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Wait, which decade? surely not this one? (Also, isn’t it a little premature? Still 14 months left!)

    On the Montgomery Brothers note, I saw something on that recently.. can’t remember if it was Katie Cook’s show.. or Lorianne Crook’s (Still cute after all these years!), or maybe someone else. Whatever happened to JMM anyway, seems like he disappeared.

  5. Amazace
    October 30, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    I realize Jones, Cline, and Price didn’t write their songs, but as far as I know they were never awarded Artist of a decade either. The key word here being “Artist”. To me that is someone who is a singer, songwriter, musician. Someone who transcends both Pop and Roots music, and who loves music so much they can’t be without it either on or off the road. To me that’s a musical “artist”.

  6. m.c.
    October 30, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    I don’t think the ACMs or Billboard started naming Artists of the Decade until the ’80s. But my point was that Jones, Cline and Price are monumental artists of their time.

    Yep, I said artists. I would disagree with any definition of “artist” in music that would take great singers out of that category because they didn’t write songs or play an instrument–the voice, after all, is an instrument too. Jones, Cline and Price aren’t artists?
    By your definition, a great instrumentalist who doesn’t sing isn’t an artist either. So Miles Davis is just a trumpet player, and Chet Atkins just a guitarist?

  7. Amazace
    October 30, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Twist it all you want, but George Strait sings cover songs. He’s like the Pat Boone of Pop Country, but like I said this is the acm. I expect nothing more. Van Gogh was a painter, I painted a barn once. Are we both artists?

  8. Matt B.
    October 30, 2008 at 1:18 pm


    They are NOT cover songs if nobody’s ever recorded the song for release before. They are simply songs someone’s written with the hopes that someone records them. You’re gonna tell me that Elvis wasn’t an artist too? Or Reba? or any other person who writes few,if any of their hits. I don’t buy that. That’s such a narrow-minded POV about the term “artist” w/r/t music that it’s not even funny.

  9. Drew
    October 30, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    How can you have a problem with George Strait? Seriously, who else is there? Brad Paisley? Kenny Chesney? Alan Jackson? Keith Urban? I couldn’t see them logically picking any of them over George.

  10. PaulaW
    October 30, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Well, being a HUGE fan of songwriters (most who are NOT performers of their own music) I think it’s great that there are some who sing (yes, artitsts) out there who do not write their own songs. It’s what makes the world go round. Something for everyone to do.

  11. Amazace
    October 30, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    I knew this would fire up some people. Seriously, I don’t care what the acm’s do. Elvis was a great entertainer. I’ll pass on Reba, the Queen of oversing. Most everyone I listen to is a singer/songwriter, and even though she’s not known as a songwriter, the only real candidate for “Artist of The Decade” is Alison Krauss.

  12. diver
    October 30, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Brady, I would love to hear your views about George Strait having success without being a songwriter. As I recall, last April you wrote a very harsh review about a relative newcomer because he had not written more of this own songs on his debut album.

  13. agent713
    October 30, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Marc, that’s my question. Which decade?

  14. Brady Vercher
    October 30, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Diver, I don’t have any problems with George Strait’s success, although I don’t know if he’s worthy of the Artist of the Decade designation.

    Oh, and my review of Bucky Covington’s “I’ll Walk” didn’t actually mention anything about him not being a songwriter.

  15. Jeff
    October 30, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    I wonder if Allison Kraus sleeps with her fiddle when she’s not on tour?

  16. Amazace
    October 30, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Only when she’s not sleeping with her Bow…

  17. Hollerin' Ben
    October 30, 2008 at 2:54 pm


    When Willie is singing Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain is he only functioning in the capacity of entertainer whereas he is only functioning as “artist” when performing original songs?

    To say that singer-songwriters are the only “real” artists ignores a whole heap of country music history. Aside from the George Jones, Ray Price, Patsy Cline argument, some of the best work of classic, legendary singer songwriters were not their own songs.

    Hank Williams broke through with Lovesick Blues, Willie broke through with Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, and Waylon’s greatest album was penned almost exclusively by Billy Joe Shaver. Heck, Johnny Paycheck’s big hit was a David Allen Coe song, and in turn David Allen Coe’s biggest song was a Steve Goodman tune. But in all of that work they were only being “Pat Boone” like?

    So is Kris Kristofferson an artist when he does Me and Bobby McGee, whereas Janis Joplin is Pat Boone?

    It seems that you’d like to put some mystical primacy on composition, but that seems to ignore the fact that, like M.C. said, the voice is an instrument and vocal performance is an art, and country music has recognized this as such for it’s entire history.

    That being said…..
    I think George Strait is country-ish, enough so to retain plausible deniability when being accused of completely abandoning the tradition, sanitized, consistent, and boring above all else. In other words, he is the perfect pick for “artist of the decade” for country music in the 2000’s

  18. m.c.
    October 30, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Amazace — I think Alison Krauss would be a good Artist of the Decade choice too. And “her bow” comment is hilarious.

    Thinking of the ACM choice, I’m guessing they believe there is a difference between artist and entertainer. Otherwise, it seems odd to give one artist the Entertainer of the Year award four times in a decade, an unprecedented honor, and then give the Artist of the Decade honor to someone else. Makes me wonder what Mr. Chesney thinks of the ACM’s choice.

  19. Chris N.
    October 30, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Three words: Frank F-ing Sinatra.

  20. Amazace
    October 30, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks for the reply Ben, but I was referring strickly to the ACM’s choice of artist of the decade which has only been awarded to Marty Robbins, Loretta Lynn, Alabama, and Garth Brooks (notice a trend?). I was not referring to all of country music history. I hope this clears up any confusion on you’re part.

  21. J.R. Journey
    October 30, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    George Strait = Artist of the Decade. Cool.

  22. Sam G.
    October 30, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    The best part of George Strait being Artist of the Decade is that it means Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith aren’t.

  23. Nicolas
    October 30, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    Why does Reba always have to host the ACMs?? …

  24. diver
    October 30, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Brady, my bad. You are right.

  25. Trailer
    October 30, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    The Ben Nichols album is awesome(if you buy now, you get a digital copy right away). One of my favorite singers (if that’s what you can call his rasp) and one of my favorite authors… can’t go wrong there.

  26. Marc
    October 30, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Drew: Krauss

    Jeff: One time… in band camp…

  27. Drew
    October 31, 2008 at 12:38 am

    Well, I think Krauss is an immensely talented artist, but do you seriously think it would actually be possible to name her as the country artist of the decade? Most of her work has been bluegrass, which a fairlyy sizeable portion of country fans don’t listen to very much. She has had few hits on the country charts, and most of them have been in the form of duets for established country stars. I just don’t think it’s plausible for a purely country organization to do this… it would create a very strange response from a lot of country try charts, and most of them have been in the form of duets for established country stars. I just don’t think it’s plausible for a purely country organization to do this… it would create a very strange response from a lot of country fans and maybe even country singers.

  28. Amazace
    October 31, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Fisrt, I have to laugh at the ACM being a purely country organization. Then using that phrase twice, is over the top! Anyway, of course Alison will never be the Artist of The Decade at a Pop Country award show. She has obviously move way beyond those limitations. Most of her work has been in Americana Music, but she transcends all genres, and is respected by musicians all over the world, while maintaining her musical integrity. Do you actually think the acm would go for all of that? Not hardly.

  29. Drew
    October 31, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    It’s the “Academy of Country Music”… what I mean is that the ONLY musical genre it deals with is country. For them to pick an artist whose main work wouldn’t even be classified as country most of the time would just be odd.

    And a lot of country fans don’t like “Americana” and the folk association it has to it. Folk music was everything country didn’t stand for back in the day.

  30. Amazace
    October 31, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    The only musical genre the AMA deals with is Pop Country. Americana is certainly more than just Folk music. Americana is music based on the traditions of Country, Rock, Blues, Bluegrass and Folk. One look at this weeks AMA Chart will prove that.

  31. mikeky
    October 31, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    i nominate daron norwood.

    or cleve francis.

  32. Drew
    October 31, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    I just took a look. And the #1 single being something relating to “Peace Queer” doesn’t exactly inspire me.

  33. Peter
    October 31, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Things are very black and white in your world, Drew, I think…Folk=Red state; Country=Blue state.

    too bad there’s so many of us who don’t fall so easily into those categories

  34. Stormy
    October 31, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Peace Queer is a great album.

  35. Drew
    October 31, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    I think you need to learn the roots of folk. From its creation through its peak it was fostered by left wing radicals.

    Can you imagine something called “Peace Queer” on country radio? haha, no chance in hell that would get airplay.

  36. Hollerin' Ben
    October 31, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    yeah, Peter definitely had that backwards

  37. leeann Ward
    October 31, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    I assume he just got the colors mixed up.

  38. stormy
    November 2, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    George Strait isn’t my favorite choice, but he is certainly better than the choice I feared they’d make–Rascal Flatts.

  39. Drew
    November 2, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    haha, could you imagine that?

  40. Bobby
    November 2, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    “Someone who is not a songwriter, and openly admits he doesn’t even pick up a guitar until it’s time for a tour.”

    And even when George DOES pick up a guitar, he doesn’t play the damn thing.

  41. Drew
    November 2, 2008 at 4:05 pm

    The songwriting part of the argument is valid, that’s a big deal, especially considering the roots of country singer-songwriters. But because he doesn’t play the freakin’ guitar? Who gives a damn!

  42. Peter
    November 3, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    As a Canadian, I always mix those colours up; our Liberal Party uses red and our Conservative Party uses blue….dang ol’ cultural differences.

    I would suggest Drew that you watch (if you can) the movie Bob Roberts to see some fictional neo-con folk music :)

  43. bojangles
    March 1, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    That dipshit doesn’t even play the guitar. I saw him on gac and he walked out, sat down with his guitar, sang, and never even touched a string. He damn sure doesn’t write his own songs. That’s not much of an artist.

  44. J.R. Journey
    March 1, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    I take it you didn’t see God today, Bojangles.

  45. Razor X
    March 1, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    “As a Canadian, I always mix those colours up; our Liberal Party uses red and our Conservative Party uses blue….dang ol’ cultural differences.”

    I’ve always thought that your way makes a lot more sense.

  46. Leeann Ward
    March 1, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Why, Razor, because of “bleeding hearts”?:)

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