CMA Awards: The Commentary

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Wow, what a night! The CMA Awards are now in the history books. Indeed this year was historical. George Strait has now become the most awarded CMA artist. At the end of the night, Strait has 22 of the trophies. Pretty darn cool.
The special guest for the night was Shania Twain that presented Entertainer of the Year to Kenny Chesney. It was a nice surprise, though it was found out who exactly was the mystery presenter earlier that afternoon when she arrived in Nashville.
The show itself to me was one of the best in quiet sometime. It was just plain fun to watch. Our co-hosts for the evening, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood did a great job I thought. However, I believe Brad Paisley could have done the job by himself. Carrie Underwood did a good job, but I found Paisley's skills a couple notches better.
Now, in the moment, watching the show, I really enjoyed what I was seeing. It's country music's night to shine as bright as it can. Its done through honoring the award winners and showcasing the talent from the past year. Now, after a few hours of the show sinking in to my mind, I begin to think about many different things. Mostly, what was missing.
What was missing? Well, country music for one. You may be saying, what? Yes, I said it. The show was missing country music. What was performed last night, with few exceptions, was pop music dressed up in a country music though process. Think about it. Kid Rock? Sure, it was a good performance, but he isn't country. The Eagles... not country. The Wailers...not country. That doesn't even scratch the surface of the songs performed by "country artists" that really weren't country music songs either. George Strait, Alan Jackson, and Brad Paisley's 2nd performance should have been examples of what country music is all about. Darius Rucker's performance also can be added in there. But, the real country music artists were missing. We didn't hear from the real country artists or their songs. The show was all about branding country music rather than the tradition of the song, the written true-to-life lyrical journey, and traditional country music performed in a contemporary form like someone like Alan Jackson can do. There many of those artists, even sitting in the audience, that deserved to be spotlighted for their creative work from the past year that didn't get seen or heard in the pursuit of making country music popular.
Something else that was missing was the Hall of Fame Induction portion. If you sat up in your seat or looked out the window at a passing car, you would have missed it. Those artists deserve much more than that. They are apart of the deep roots of country music and has had the deepest impact on the music. Pop Stoneman, Tom T. Hall, The Statler Brothers, and Emmylou Harris deserved so much more than just a few words from Vince Gill. Each should have showcased. That really made me disappointed.
Now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the show. It did its purpose I guess. The show was full of today's greatest stars and events. The ratings are very high and it was fun. Next year, CMA please, pay attention more to tradition and real country music.

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