Honky Tonky Happy Hour: Why I Won’t Be Watching The CMA Awards

Leslie Sloan | November 10th, 2009

I haven’t watched the CMA awards in years. Sometimes I’ve had a gig, but most of the time, there wasn’t anything there to interest me. I would flip channels and land on the awards show, but wouldn’t stay long. In the 80s, I didn’t miss a show. All my favorite artists were on. Country had encountered a “traditional” country revival of sorts and I was head over heels (musically speaking) about Ricky Skaggs and his fiddle player, Bobby Hicks. I wanted to hear Randy Travis and George Strait and Reba McEntire live.

I think my lack of enthusiasm for the current awards show is because I’m not a fan of the artists in general, so there’s not anything drawing me to the show itself. I know that the show gets flak for lip syncing and bad hosting and too much focus on glitz and glam, but honestly, if my favorite artists were a part of it, I could get past all of the frills.

Which is why people watch the shows–they’re fans. And I get that.

But I’m not a fan–I perused the list of nominees and just didn’t see me drawn in. I have a small temptation with Lee Ann Womack and Jamey Johnson, but I can’t endure the whole show for that.

What bothers me the most is the lack of diversity exhibited by the CMA. There’s no bluegrass, no Americana, no Red Dirt, no Hardcore–the show and the music is centered upon the hitmakers. But what is country music? Is it only those limited sounds produced by the Top 10 on Billboard?

While I understand the philosophy of having “all the big stars,” I have a proposal for the CMA Execs that involves a concept that record labels continually try to nail down: Appeal to everyone.

Why not have a Bluegrass portion? You could have performances by Ricky Skaggs or The Cherryholmes Family or Nickel Creek or Alison Krauss or The Steeldrivers.

How about Red Dirt music? Get Randy Rogers or Deryl Dodd or Kevin Fowler on the show. And Americana? Grab Jim Lauderdale, Randy Crowell, or Buddy & Julie Miller. Hardcore Country? You could bring in older Nashville acts from George Jones to Connie Smith to the Texas honky tonkers like veteran Dale Watson and younger newcomers like Amber Digby and Justin Trevino.

Maybe even Rockabilly with acts like Hank III, Big Sandy, Wayne “The Train” Hancock and Deke Dickerson. And have awards of course–Best Bluegrass Album of the Year, Best Red Dirt Album of the Year, etc.

Suddenly, there’s something for everyone; the hard partying 20 year olds, the over-60 retirees, the environmentally friendly hippies, the middle age hipsters, and of course, with the hitmakers you’ll still keep your young to middle age mainstream crowd. (And, for once, you might actually get musicians watching the show.)

And I wouldn’t extend the show–just cut back the existing list of performers and insert one of the above. Some of the performance choices are baffling. You’ve got Lee Ann Womack up for a nomination and there as a presenter, but she’s not singing. But Dave Matthews is? Really? I am a past Dave Matthews fan, but he can’t hold a candle vocally to Lee Ann. And why is Kid Rock performing? Maybe that’s the CMA exec attempt at appealing to more people. No Kid Rock fan is going to sit through an entire night of country to hear him sing with Jamey Johnson, though. Put Jamey up there on his own–give him a guitar and let him loose with “In Color.”

I understand that “live” performances have changed–it’s a show. It’s theatrical. But are we missing the music? Has the rise of artists like Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, The Dixie Chicks, and others not taught us anything about the genuine thirst that we have to hear musical performances? To watch a band that features not only a gifted singer singing a well written song, but instrumentalists that are just as much a strong part of the performance. You could include the guys up for Musician of the Year. Paul Franklin could have the audience with their jaws dropped or on their knees in tears.

My frustration with the awards shows is probably more tied to my frustration with music and with live performances in general. I regret our current lack of diversity and lack of focus on music and musicians that are truly allowed to play as opposed to sitting in the background playing fills. Fills and frills. I guess that sums up live music award performances to me–lots of icing and no cake. I love icing, but I get sick if that’s all there is.

I don’t have a gig tomorrow. I’ll be at home–possibly flipping channels. I’ll probably land on the CMA Awards at some point. I’ll be slightly interested in the dresses and the hair (I always wonder what Reba’s going to pull out of her hat). I might watch part of a performance or hear a bad lead-in by a presenter. But if I knew that there were some or all of the categories included that I mentioned earlier, I’d only be flipping during commercials. And you can report that to Nielsen.

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  1. [...] CMA Links: – Full List of 43rd CMA Nominees – Miss Leslie’s Honky Tonk Happy Hour: Why I Won’t Be Watching The CMA Awards [...]
  1. stormy
    November 10, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Leslie: Dragon’s Den–BBC America 9:00 central. Its this really cool show where millionaires find projects they want to back and support. They tried to do an American Version called Shark Tank, but it seemed more focused on acquisitions than mentoring. The Dragon’s even backed a band once.

  2. Saving Country Music
    November 10, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Thank you so much Miss Leslie for articulating this perspective so well, and again to the 9513 for allowing ALL perspectives of the broad country scene to be represented.

    But I will be watching. Because I believe this MIGHT be the most important CMA’s since the 1975 uprising and formation of ACE, IF Taylor Swift walks away with Entertainer of the Year.

  3. reddragon
    November 10, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Excellent blog! Wholeheartedly agree!:)

  4. Leeann Ward
    November 10, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Miss Leslie, I don’t know how practical your vision for the show is, but I wish some form of it could/would be done. I really feel the same as you do. I’ll only be watching to participate in our live blog, but that’s only out of duty not any sort of anticipation.

    I can’t believe the only way Vince gets to perform is if he sings backup for a pop singer (Dautry) and that Kid Rock will be singing with Jamey Johnson. What part of the country music scene has Kid Rock been in in the last year? As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m just hoping that I’ll be wrong about those two performances, but I suspect I won’t.

  5. Razor X
    November 10, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    As I’ve already said elsewhere, I used to really look forward to this show when I was growing up. Like you, I never missed it in the 80s but now it’s more than I can endure to sit through the whole thing. I can’t even be bothered to DVR it anymore for the occasional moments of interest. If anything worthwhile happens, it will be up on YouTube the next day.

  6. Lanibug
    November 10, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    For the past several years, I have been in the habit of DVRing the awards shows, so that I can start watching the show about an hour late and fast forward through all the (large) bits that I do not like and watch the parts that I do like.

  7. sam (sam)
    November 10, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I won’t be watching the CMA awards either. I don’t really care who wins. I like many of the artists on the show, but really, I dont care who wins the award. I’m not rooting for anyone.

  8. Linda
    November 10, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Miss Leslie, ditto!!!!! I truly understand.
    I ave many of the sme feelings.
    At least randy Travis is nominated for song of the year as are Carrie and Randy for vocal event with the duet of “I Told You So.”

    Whether i bother to watch remains to be decided. Since so many times such awards aren’t even always presented during the show but only mentioned and often the news is out on the internet before ever even announced, I may just look for that ahead of time. Of course if Randy were to win either and they’d let him speak, I’d not want to miss it.
    I enjoyed your comments.

  9. M.C.
    November 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    The CMA doesn’t have more diversity because it’s a big prime-time network TV show. Network ratings watchers can analyze down to the minute how many people tune in or out during the show. The reason the Hall of Fame segment, once the best part of the program for many of us, got taken off the air was because the ratings made such an obvious dip during those segments, and some of those viewers don’t come back. I’ve heard reports that when Harold Bradley was being honored and walked onstage, it was the biggest drop in viewers during the show in a decade.
    So as much as I’d love to see the Steeldrivers or Justin Trevino on there too, the reason they aren’t is because a significant enough percentage of viewers wouldn’t recognize them, and they’d hit the remote to see what’s happening on the cop show or on Comedy Central.

  10. fluffy
    November 10, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    this and the acms just plain out stink, every year brad paisley get the most nominations , then they throw in rock and other acts that don’t even belong there, and far as taylor swift , I have a suggestion , when she starts to sing someone please put a sock in her mouth , she has an awful voice

  11. highwayman3
    November 10, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    I think there’s a way around with what M.C. said. They could add the Hall of Fame in the last half hour of the show, and put Taylor Swift right after it to lure the viewers back.

  12. Rick
    November 10, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    The CMA, ACM, and CMT awards shows concentrate on the current biggest names in Mainstream Country as defined by Top 40 radio airplay, album sales, and concert attendance. Mass market appeal is what both those organizations and network TV channels are interested in, so it dovetails well. With leading artists like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift becoming pop culture media icons, the appeal of “contemporary country” keeps expanding to a wider audience. The appearances of so many Top 20 country acts on TV programs from morning shows, to late night, to Oprah prove this expanding appeal. Unfortunately this trend is fueled by making the music more and more pop and rock oriented and less traditional country sounding in nature.

    There will be a far higher percentage of dedicated American Idol fans watching than us long term country fans who prefer the more roots oriented and less commercial forms of authentic country music.

    The Americana Music Association and Int’l Bluegrass Music Association partly exist because the CMA and ACM have little interest in those non-mainstream forms of country music. I’d gladly watch the AMA and IBMA Awards shows on TV but couldn’t care less about these celebrations of the “Young Country” stuff.

  13. anna
    November 10, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I’m only 20 yrs old and I fully agree. My boyfriend told me the show was coming on and I was like- ok? So what? He said he thought I liked that stuff. No way, too “pop” for me. I’m also a bluegrass fan, so if there was a portion of the show dedicated to that I would for sure watch. I like the country classics too, and some texas swing. All this new stuff is mainly trash. There are a few good artists but I could count them on one hand. One artist in particular, I can’t stand. This person can’t even sing and it shows in the live performance. The crowd is caught up in the song, lights, and smoke; they don’t care if there’s any talent on stage.

  14. ross
    November 10, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    well there is nothing bad about your opinion
    but what i’m hating the most is all controversy around taylor swift
    i’ tire of that it’s a bad thing enough that she makes bad music
    if she wins entertainer of the year we’re lost

  15. will
    November 10, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    The biggest problem is that we’re all in the minority of music buyers and therefor we’re not the target audience for the CMAs If they put bluegrass and red dirt performers up there, to the average viewer they are putting inferior performers on stage. No matter how much we KNOW Taylor Swift sucks, people buy her records and want to see her on tv.

  16. Noeller
    November 10, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    I dunno, I have a lot of respect for Miss Leslie, but this blog comes across as an old person shaking their fist at “young hoodlums”.

    I’m as angry as anyone about Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, but really – it’s not that bad.

    Why is everyone so upset about Kid Rock? That guy has more respect for Country music and it’s traditions than the majority of the people on that awards show. I would also say that he’s more “Country” than a lot of the people winning awards tomorrow night.

  17. Mojo Bone
    November 10, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Rick’s post above pretty much describes my feelings on the matter, except for this; The CMAs used to reflect what was great and timeless about country music rather than what’s popular and ‘of the moment’. By trying to be yet another American Music Awards-a tacky celebration of whatever makes the most money, they may have attracted more eyeballs and advertisers-but have ultimately made themselves irrelevant to the culture. Heck, even the Grammys are smarter than that.

  18. Miss Leslie
    November 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Interesting thoughts. I’m glad Razor brought up the youtube factor. I think youtube has become the primary source for television nowadays. Why watch the whole show? Someone’s going to put up the good stuff on youtube.

    M.C. – I think the missing part about this piece is what is the goal of the CMA by putting on the award show? An exec friend of mine pointed out to me that a lot of the people in the categories I mention above would have to know what the CMA could offer its members. And I think that’s something a lot of us as the listening audience don’t think about. This is an organization with goals and objectives. It’s not an entertainment show centered around the things we necessarily value.

    My feeling is (and this goes along with Noeller’s comment)that I watch a music show for 1 of 2 reasons – either I’m a fan or I’m curious about the music. The CMA awards offer neither enticement for me this year.

    And Noeller – for the record, I’m far from old. I’m a musician. And that, fortunately or unfortunately, makes me a heckuva lot pickier than an old person. I don’t get the Top 10 stuff – not because I’m too old for it to be relevant, but because, musically speaking and IMHO, it’s without much merit. I’m more apt to listen to mainstream rock than mainstream country – although I think the issue with music lacking musicality is a widespread issue in general.

    You’ll notice that the guys I picked on were Kid Rock and Dave Matthews – not the young kids. Look at my list of alternative performers. From the Cherryholmes family to Randy Rogers to Amber Digby to Hank III – I’m not asking for a show filled with performances by Jean Shepard and George Jones.

    I’m just asking for music. And if that makes me crotchety then I guess you’d be right on that point.

  19. Leeann Ward
    November 10, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    “I’m just asking for music. And if that makes me crotchety then I guess you’d be right on that point.”

    I’ll join you there.

  20. Jon
    November 10, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    I think the missing part about this piece is what is the goal of the CMA by putting on the award show?

    An educated guess is that there are several goals, not listed here in order of importance:

    1. Make a bunch of money for the organization’s operating budget

    2. Honor the artists through awards voted on by their fellow industry members

    3. Present the artists most valued by the industry to viewers – both those who are already fans and those who might become fans when exposed to the music’s “best” representatives.

    That leaves room for some variety – I remember seeing Dolly Parton do something (forget what) off The Grass Is Blue when that album came out, and Alison Krauss+Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas were on the CMA awards show just 2 years ago, singing my buddy Sarah Siskind’s beautiful “Simple Love” (you can see it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L15VHpCdLwk ), etc. – but not a huge amount. And given the goals of the show, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing; the industry should be putting what it considers to be its best foot forward and giving a platform for those who’ve already gotten to the final nomination stage. So as you say, Leslie, the fact that you disagree with what that best foot is is probably the most important reason for your lack of interest.

    I will say that there are quite a few folks who don’t like the CMA’s typical nominations who are probably eligible for membership, and if they were to join and take part in the awards process, the outcome of at least the nomination process would probably look somewhat different, and therefore the show would probably look somewhat different, too.

  21. Jon
    November 10, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Sorry about the malformed link there. This is it:


  22. solongsowrong
    November 10, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Thanks for a great article Miss Leslie. You state your views quite well, as do many others here.

    The music that gets presented at this show is what is promoted, and is what the majors are trying to sell. They could care less about the artistic part of the equation. All the greats from the other Country genres you talk about, make no money for the Nashville major labels, so why would they want them to be a part of their promotion of the current Pop Country flavors of the month? What is on the show is what most of the commercial fans want to hear, because that is what they know, and that is what they buy.

    I get it that what you like… and what I like as well… has nothing to do with being old and shaking our fists at the latest Pop Country artists. It has everything to do with the music just not appealing to our tastes. We leave it for those who it’s meant to reach. Instead of watching and complaining about it like many do, we move on and listen to what we like instead, which is music that has some tradition and roots behind it. Music is just like anything else. Without roots, it dies, and as someone pointed out, the money aspect and advertising of this current form of Country music, makes it irrelevant to the culture. I accept it for what it is, but because it has straying so far from its Roots, I see no reason to listen to what has become irrelevant.

    Like you, I won’t be watching this show either.

  23. Vicki
    November 10, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    I agree and I’m a Carrie fan. I like all the facets of what makes Country music. That’s what I love about going to the Opry. You just get a whole different look at what Country music is. I think that it should be about bluegrass, Texas Swing, Americana, Traditional, and Country Pop. The same basic awards for each, Entertainer, Male/Female vocalists, duo/group and new artist. Plus song and album and that’s it. That’s what I miss about the grammys..the whole world of music and not just the pop hitmakers. I loved singing Opera, jazz, country..(Garth singing “Friends in Low Places” first got me hooked on country), etc. I want it all. Why can’t we express and showcase the great music of America and not just what is hip at the moment?

  24. Miss Leslie
    November 10, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    “I will say that there are quite a few folks who don’t like the CMA’s typical nominations who are probably eligible for membership, and if they were to join and take part in the awards process, the outcome of at least the nomination process would probably look somewhat different, and therefore the show would probably look somewhat different, too.”

    I think that’s a key element. At a MUCH smaller level, I see this with conferences like SXSW where many roots music artists see no value in attendance at even non-SXSW events. Not understanding that their presence (if it became a larger representation), could have an impact on the official showcases themselves.

    Reading over your comment, my issue is with “the industry”, what it considers “the best”, and the criteria it uses to determine “the best”.

    And there’s not much I can do about that except just focus on the music I’m into. I could have blasted the CMA nominees and performers in this piece and didn’t – choosing instead to focus on more of what my idea of an ideal Country Music Awards show would look like. There’s a lot of “the best” out there that most of the public will never hear.

    Speaking of the best of the best, thanks for sharing the link – wish we could see more of that.

  25. Roger
    November 10, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    I will watch because i enjoy hearing/seeing live train wrecks…..

  26. J.R. Journey
    November 10, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    Really great article, Miss Leslie. Like Leeann, I’m not sure all your suggestions are practical, but I would definitely like to see some of your ideas incorporated into the show – especially the part about diversifying the music to include all the subgenres of country music instead of just highlighting the mainstream. But I guess that’s the whole point of the show: to highlight the mainstream. In the past, the mainstream has been a lot more interesting – and certainly more diverse – than it is now, so we didn’t have to think about adding subgenres to allow for diversity.

    I’m with you on the icing though – all icing and no cake isn’t any good. It’s the same with all gravy and no biscuits or all syrup and no pancakes.

  27. Jon
    November 10, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Reading over your comment, my issue is with “the industry”, what it considers “the best”, and the criteria it uses to determine “the best”.

    Well, and the point about membership is that folks who qualify as members of the industry – which isn’t that hard to do – need to think about whether they want to participate in those decisions.

  28. Razor X
    November 10, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    I like Miss Leslie’s idea about including bluegrass, Red Dirt, Americana, etc. I don’t think it would be possible to squeeze all of those performers into one two-hour show, but it would be nice if the CMA would at least give those sub-genres a token nod and do perhaps one segment that highlighted a song or two from each.

  29. Johnny Paycheck
    November 10, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    I think awards shows like the CMA and the ACM and CMT, and even the grammys nowadays are just a reflection on what the majority of our society is comprised of and focused on. for the most part there’s really no basic moral compass or integrity in any aspect of society, so that is reflected in mainstream music. People are always talking about blurring of lines in various aspects of humanity but I think if you blur the lines too much in music as well as national and racial and government party affiliation, eventually you end up with a mongrel society, no part of which retains any purity of thought or emotion, there’s no tradition to reflect where people came from and no connection to the root system that feeds these different branches of life.
    The world at large is mostly focused on the moment and how much can be extracted now, and so mainstream country is full of surface polish with rust and grime underneath. That’s why award shows have become what they are, they reflect the majority of what people are and what they want.

  30. Brad
    November 11, 2009 at 10:21 am

    I’ll be live-blogging the awards snarkily over on our website, but I think you’ve got an excellent point about including more of the “sub-genres”. It would be much like the Academy Awards showing shorts from foreign and animated films during the show. Why not expose the audience to someone like the Randy Rogers Band or Dale Watson…other awards shows take chances like that (notably the Grammy’s). Alas, it’s a ratings/money chase and ABC dictates as much about the content of this s how as the CMA. Sad.

  31. Chris N.
    November 11, 2009 at 10:35 am

    “It would be much like the Academy Awards showing shorts from foreign and animated films during the show.”

    You mean the part nobody watches?

  32. Jon
    November 11, 2009 at 10:40 am

    ABC dictates as much about the content of this s how as the CMA

    Actually, not.

  33. Brad
    November 11, 2009 at 11:37 am

    So, Jon…you’re saying that the TV execs have nothing at all to do with placing things like Kid Rock and Dave Matthews (both guys I’m a fan of btw)smack dab in the middle of “country music’s biggest night”? That’s like saying ESPN/ABC has no influence with the BCS when it comes to college football. I understand and respect what the CMA does and who they are…but, it’s 2009 and money/tv have a huge amount of influence. They’re trying to drive ratings and if they thought a Lady Gaga duet with Blake Shelton would make people watch it would be on the show. Is Daughtry performing with Vince Gill because Chris is a respected member of the CMA or because they want it to be a tv event?

    Chris N.-nicely played. Yes, the part that “nobody” watches. Just agreeing with Razor X’s point about how it would be nice in a utopian world to showcase all spectrums of country music and not just the chart-toppers. It will never happen, but it is a nice thought that Miss Leslie presented.

  34. Razor X
    November 11, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but it does seem like the CMA show has gone downhill since it moved to ABC. We didn’t used to get so many performers from outside the genre; the show is starting more and more to resemble the American Music Awards.

  35. Jon
    November 11, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    What I took issue with was the statement that ABC dictates the content of the CMA awards show as much as the CMA. It doesn’t, and that’s just a fact. The producer of the show certainly doesn’t need anyone from ABC telling him that it would be a good idea to get folks like Kid Rock (who won a BMI country award last night) or Dave Matthews (who recently recorded a duet with Kenny Chesney) or Daughtry (who recently recorded with Vince Gill) onto the show. Everyone connected with it, not just ABC, wants the show to be a “TV event.”

    BTW, thanks for the pointer to the MOM – Not Otherwise Specified blog entry on the visit with Dierks.

  36. Casey
    November 11, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    The CMA’s are a joke. Another night full of Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, and Taylor Swift. I’m a huge fan of Jamey Johnson, and what song will him and Kid Rock be doing together?

  37. thenamenowinuse
    November 11, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Um, three of the five artists you named in the lead paragraph as who “used” to be on the CMAs still are going to be on tonight – Randy Travis (who, yes, IS overlooked, but you’re completely glossing over his nomination), George Strait, and Reba are ALL nominated. Not watching is sure a nice way to root for her.

    Yes, they need to be more diverse, but you need to know what you’re criticizing first. What a HUGE fan of “Randy” Crowell you must be…almost as much a fan as someone who actually knows his name is Rodney.

    Casey — for some reason, they’re doing Jamey’s AMAZING song “Somewhere Between Jennings and Jones.” I really really hope this leads to it being a single — even though a new album’s in the works.

  38. thenamenowinuse
    November 11, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Ummm…actually Dave Matthews is on because Kenny Chesney’s current single (and by “current” I mean it’s been out for months) is an existing duet with him. It’s not ABC’s doing – obviously Kenny Chesney is going to perform his successful current single on the CMA Awards!

  39. M
    November 11, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    “Miss Leslie
    November 10, 2009 at 4:40 pm Permalink
    I’m more apt to listen to mainstream rock than mainstream country – although I think the issue with music lacking musicality is a widespread issue in general.”

    Then maybe you shouldn’t be writing for a country music site.

  40. Miss Leslie
    November 11, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    THENAMENOWINUSE – I don’t watch things for “supportive” reasons. It’s like when people thank me for “keeping the music alive”. I’m not playing the music I play to keep the music alive. I play it cuz I dig it. And I’m well aware of the single with Dave Matthews and Brad Paisley. I just think if I had a choice of performer, I would choose Lee Ann Womack over the duet with Dave and Brad.

    The good thing is that I am NOT writing for a mainstream country site, nor would I have any interest in it at all.

    The 9513 has included me on this site for my perspective and experience with practically everything else “country”. I dig the fact that they include everything “country” in this community. Including mainstream – that I pay attention to, but just personally prefer to listen to 1960s Johnny Paycheck and Conway Twitty than Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts.

    To both of you – I’m also one of those strange people that believes in using your own name when posting to blogs. I have other artist friends whose name I’ve seen on blogs here and elsewhere. I know industry execs that use their own names when posting to messageboards.

    As argumentative as these things can get, it’s usually nice to know who you’re talking to and where they come from. Where they stand is just an interesting part of the mix. No judgements, just good water cooler conversation.

  41. Stormy
    November 11, 2009 at 4:03 pm
  42. Casey
    November 11, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Why can’t Jamey just sing the dang song by himself. No offense to Kid Rock fans, but he is no where between Jennings and Jones. Gosh I hope they don’t ruin something great. If he sang it by himself it would be so much more effective in getting to the point of the song. By putting Rock up there it just messes everything up.

    November 11, 2009 at 10:17 pm


  44. Cindy W.
    November 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    What a waste of three hours I’ll never get back. And for the industry to award Taylor Swift as they did, I’m done! DONE! Country Music should be blinkin’ embarrassed. I feel so bad for the other nominees. This is beyond unbelievable.

  45. Cindy W.
    November 11, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    And while I’m here, what the hell is Vince Gill singing backup for Daughtry on the CMAs! I mean really.

  46. Miss Leslie
    November 11, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    Posting this twice –

    OK so I lied – I watched a little. Ironically, started at George Strait. Enjoyed it overall – except the blinding video in the background and the ironic fact that the steel didn’t make it to the TV sound and you could only hear it from what was getting picked up onstage.

    Lady Antebellum was alright. Alt-rock but I was ok with it.

    Carrie Underwood = Lady Gaga for sure.

    The Judds have become a living caricature of themselves.

    Darius Rucker – I dig his enthusiasm. Wish I could have heard the songs that he wrote that were too country for Capital to release.

    Keith Urban HAD to have been going through some kind of machine. If not, he’s got an impeccable voice.

    Vince Gill – it didn’t sound bad because Vince is such a versatile artist. It just didn’t do anything for me.

    I almost fell out of my chair laughing – My 8 year old son RAN into the room when Darius Rucker was going up for his award and they were playing his music in the background. “Is that Nickelback?”

  47. Sheldon Packwood
    November 12, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I can relate to a lot of the negative feedback on the state of mainstream country music. Let me, however, play Devil’s Advocate for a moment.

    Having been in the industry for nearly 35 years (started playing honky tonks and fairs at age 13 – you can do the math), I’ve heard the same thing since before I started performing. I recall people that are heralded today as country’s legendary stars being lambasted for some of their work when it came out. Waylon and Willie were taken to task for their long hair and loud guitars. Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5″ and Barbara Mandrell’s “Sleepin’ Single In A Double Bed”, along with many other songs of that era, were considered pop rubbish by many country music fans of the time. Look back a few years to the uproar that Garth Brooks caused with his full production stage shows.

    Like it or not, profit is the driving force behind commercial music. Of course it’s going to be predominantly pop. ‘Pop’ is an abbreviation for popular. Unfortunately, most people are a bit like lemmings. They’ll accept whatever is force fed to them and think it’s great. It’s what is wrong with a LOT of things in society today… but I digress.

    Music is a business, and an ugly one at that. There are countless singers who had several hits and abruptly disappeared. Where did they go? Lots of them are still there trying to ‘get back’ to the ‘big show’, working day jobs and playing for tips in the countless storefront tourist trap bars Music City has to offer. I thank God every day I never fell into that trap. Nashville chews up and spits out artists on a regular basis, even legends. It isn’t that artists like Merle Haggard haven’t continued to put out great music, they just ceased to be profitable enough for the machine in Nashville to promote it.

    I don’t like it, but I understand it. I just choose not to actively listen to mainstream music of any genre. Independantly produced music is far and away a better bet if you appreciate music as an art form.

    Sorry about being longwinded. I do appreciate the platform here. I’ll get down from my soapbox now…..

  48. Honky Tonk Junkie
    November 12, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    I didn’t watch the CMA’s, never do, but when I saw the list of winners, I started thinking about who would win if it was my show. I don’t have anything against the CMA’s or even mainstream country for that matter, that’s what I grew up on, after all. But back then mainstream country was Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Paycheck, Bobby Bare, Hank Jr. and a ton of others that would never get played today. About the CMA’s I say, fine, whatever. Plenty of people like that stuff so what the hell, let them have it, but let’s also get the real stuff out there so that the general population can also see and hear what it’s really about.

    Here is my list of winners for the HTJMA’s (The Honky Tonk Junkie Music Awards) using the CMA’s eligibility start date of July 1, 2008 on up to the CMA’s airdate of November 11, 2009. And yes, I extended the eligibility period beyond their date of June 30, 2009. Why? Because it’s my damn list, that’s why.

    Entertainer–Jesse Dayton–Jesse has to be one of the hardest working guys in the biz. He has his own record label, he writes and performs music for movies, he’s an actor and an all around great showman. He’s currently touring with Rob Zombie as Captain Clegg & the Night Creatures, based on the characters he and his band played in the movie Halloween II.

    Single–Drunk Dialer–Miss Leslie & Her Juke-Jointers–This was my favorite record this year. Great story that we can all relate to. Produced by pedal steel player, Ricky Davis, this is hands down one of the best-sounding recordings ever.

    Song–Country Song–Jackson Taylor & The Sinners–This song pulls no punches and tells it like it is. There is no better person to sing this song than Jackson Taylor.

    Album–All Alone Again–Joey Allcorn–Joey does retro right but with a modern sound. He used legendary players like former Drifting Cowboy, the late steel player, Don Helms. This record stayed in my CD player for weeks. I couldn’t get enough.

    Female Vocalist–Amber Digby–I can’t get enough of her voice. If I were you, I’d go online and pick up everything she’s ever done. You won’t be sorry.

    Male Vocalist–Dale Watson–This should just be called “The Dale Watson” award and he should win it every year.

    Vocal Group–The Hacienda Brothers–This is the best group you’ve probably never heard of. Unfortunately, lead singer-songwriter, Chris Gaffney died right before their last album came out. Pick up their album Arizona Motel and hear how it’s done because it won’t be again.

    Vocal Duo–Mark McKinney & Kevin Fowler–Check out their duet, County Line, from McKinney’s Middle America album. Great vocals on a fun, blue collar party song.

    Musical Event–Captain Clegg & The Night Creatures–This came about because Rob Zombie needed a band to play a Halloween party for Halloween II and Jesse Dayton was the one guy who could pull it off. They played a lot of rockabilly in the movie but the album contains quite a few honky tonk songs and it an overall solid effort from a band created for the movies.

    Musician–Ricky Davis–I think anyone who can play pedal steel is a God, but Ricky Davis is God’s God. Formerly, Dale Watson’s steel player, he is now playing with his Fiancee, Leslie Sloan (Miss Leslie) and producing as well.

    Music Video–Cocaine–Jackson Taylor & The Sinners–I love performance videos and with this one you can get a good idea of what one of Jackson’s shows is like. I’ve never seen one live because he hasn’t played California in a long time. I may soon have to fly to Texas to see him.

    New Artist–Cowboy Dave–These guys are from Nebraska, formed from the remains of Forty Twenty. I love their sound and songs and hope to one day see them live, because as much as I love their record, I’m willing to bet their live show is like no other.

    So there you go. That’s how it would be if I ran things. Out of the albums that I know of that will be out in time for next year’s awards, here is who I predict will be winners next year in some capacity: Lisa & Her Kin, The Railbenders & Eleven Hundred Springs. How do I know this? Because it’s my damn list, that’s how.

  49. Nelson
    November 12, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    At least the Handmaiden of Satan was denied a 4th FVOY win. Too bad it had to be the talentless hack Swift who dethroned her but you can’t have everything.

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