One of Nashville’s biggest events each year is the Country Music Association awards. And each year, everyone who is a fan makes some predictions, and we sit and wait with baited breath to see who will take home the grand awards, and what kinds or surprises the show will hold for us this year. Every year, there are some surprises.
Florida Georgia line opened the show along with Luke Bryan, and soon after returned to the stage to snag the trophy for “single of the year,” for their song “Cruise.” The duo also performed the song “Round Here.” Backstage, the two said they were still trying to wrap their minds around their incredible platinum success, and that it was something they could have never imagined.
Newcomer, Kacey Musgraves won “New Artist of the Year” and was seemingly amazed at receiving her trophy – having had “crappy seats” last year and having attended more as just a fan. But her year’s work has awarded her a place in the sun – or at least – in the spotlight along with the other hard-working artists in country music.
THE GEORGE JONES TRIBUTE
Admittedly, it was nice to see a tribute to George Jones – performed by Alan Jackson and George Strait. Prior to the show, I’d personally actually wondered if there would be any recognition for Jones, as there is an incredible night of talent already arranged to pay tribute to George Jones – and it too will be held at the Bridgestone later this month on November 22nd. But it was a great and honorable tribute (by Jackson and Strait), and Jones would’ve been pleased.
MALE AND FEMALE VOCALISTS
Well, the Shelton family had another great evening…and if you’ll recall, they had a pretty great evening last year at this time. This year, Blake Shelton won for “Male Vocalist of the Year,” and his loving bride, Miranda Lambert, joined him with her own trophy for their mantle, when she scored the “Female Artist of the Year.”
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
More surprising however – though perhaps not to some – was the fact that Blake Shelton also took home the “Album of the Year” for Based on a True Story, an award he accepted with producer, Scott Hendricks. The other artists up for that award were: Taylor Swift for Red, Carrie Underwood for Blown Away Kacey Musgraves for Same Trailer Different Park, and Little Big Town for Tornado.
“I drive your truck,” a song about a fallen soldier, whose father still drives his truck, recorded by Lee Brice. The song was inspired by a true story.
Obamacare makes the CMA Awards?
Hosts Carrie Under and Brad Paisley joked about Obamacare – with Underwood informing Paisley that she “started last Thursday,” and that she’s “almost finished signing up.” Then of course came a parody to the tune of “Amerillo by Morning,” that had language like: “Obamacare by morning, why’s this taking so long…” The audience seemed to love it.
THE WILLIE NELSON LIFETIME ACHIEVMENT AWARD
This award went to none other than American music icon, Kenny Rogers. We can only assume Dolly couldn’t be there, as during the course of the evening, it was Jennifer Nettles (of Sugarland) who performed the song, “Islands in the Stream” with Rogers. (Be sure to watch this clip of our recent interview with Kenny – and watch for the stories on this legendary artist in our forthcoming issue.)
Taylor took home the award for MUSICAL EVENT of the YEAR and VIDEO OF THE YEAR, but the big show-stopper came when a group of country music superstars – including George Strait, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley – who’d at one time or another asked Swift to open for them on tour in the early days of her career – presented Swift with an award that only one other country artist in history. Swift took home the Pinnacle Award, which goes to artists who take country music to a worldwide audience. The only other winner: Garth Brooks, in 2005.
Then, just when we thought we knew it all, came the show’s biggest surprise.
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
The King of Country, Mr. George Strait, took home this trophy, over Taylor Swift, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton. Strait last won this award in 1989 and 1990. He is currently in the middle of his two-year farewell “The Cowboy Rides Away” tour, was clearly a popular choice with the fans, stars and music industry people jammed into Bridgestone Arena, judging from the loud cheers.