CMA 2011 Preview: The Jason Aldean Effect (& Predictions)

November 7, 2011 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  20 Comments

Back in late July, when Jason Aldean’s country rap mega-hit “Dirt Road Anthem” rose to #1 on the country Billboard charts, I predicted that this would make Aldean a legitimate candidate for Song, Album, and Entertainer of the Year at the 2011 CMA Awards, saying:

Not only is “Dirt Road Anthem” now a #1 single, it has been in the top 5 for two months. This is not a flash in the pan, and Aldean’s album “My Kinda Party” is already the best-selling country album of 2011 so far. Jason Aldean is undeniably a country music superstar, and he, his album, and this song, are serious candidates for top honors at this year’s CMA Awards.

Well lo and behold, when the nominations came out, Jason was up for all the major awards, though officially Song of the Year would go to “Dirt Road Anthem” writers Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert. Sitting here a few days before the 2011 CMA Awards show, I look a little less clairvoyant, and a little more like a master of the obvious, with My Kinda Party and “Dirt Road Anthem” being such commercial blockbusters as the best-selling album and song so far for 2011.

The only question left is, will Jason Aldean and “Dirt Road Anthem” win? Certainly having the best-selling album and song makes these clear front runners in those two categories, and combined they give Aldean a good case for being the the most important male vocalist and entertainer this year. But sheer numbers don’t always make you a shoe-in for the awards.

Taylor Swift’s song “Mean”, with it’s anti-bullying message seems to be garnering a lot of sympathy for Song of the Year, and with her own commercial blockbuster album Speak Now, she has a legitimate shot at the Album & Entertainer awards herself. Remember, this time last year, the big talk about Taylor Swift was how she was “overexposed,” and she was noticeably absent from any of the CMA fanfare after sweeping the awards in 2009. Hypothetically, the payoff for her patience in 2010 is a big night in 2011. Taylor and Jason Aldean are the two artists poised to sweep the awards, setting up a very interesting Aldean vs. Swift storyline throughout the night.

At this point I’m not sure if it matters if Jason Aldean wins or not; the effects of his presence in the CMA nominations have already been felt. His nominations already likely pushed Jamey Johnson out of the CMA picture. And as I pointed out when the nominations came out, Jason Aldean used to be on the outside looking in to the music industry and the awards shows, saying in 2010, “The average fan doesn’t understand how all that stuff works and the industry probably doesn’t want them to.” Now Aldean is the industry, as a bona fide top-tier country music franchise, and so are Colt Ford and Brantley Gilbert, and so is country rap.

Just like how Taylor Swift’s big 2009 sweep of the awards caused a dramatic pop-oriented shift in the genre, with established bands like Sugarland going in a more pop direction, and bands like Lady Antebellum breaking through, an Aldean sweep could cause a shift to Aldean’s calling cards of checklist songs and country rap. And a win for the song “Dirt Road Anthem” would all but make the formation of the mono-genre complete.

Saving Country Music’s Official 2011 CMA Predictions:

Entertainer of the Year: Jason Aldean (1a Taylor Swift)

Album of the Year: Jason Aldean’s My Kinda Party

Male Vocalist of the Year: Blake Shelton (1a Jason Aldean)

Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert

Song of the Year: Taylor Swift’s “Mean”

Music Video of the Year: Taylor Swift’s “Mean”

New Artist of the Year: The Band Perry

Vocal Group of the Year: Lady Antebellum

Vocal Duo of the Year: Sugarland (should be The Civil Wars)

Single & Musical Event of the Year: None of the Above

Musician of the Year: Sam Bush deserves it.


20 Comments to “CMA 2011 Preview: The Jason Aldean Effect (& Predictions)”

  • I don’t even know if I can bring myself to watch this so called “country” awards show… What a bunch of garbage!


  • I know I won’t be watching this year, last years award shows were to much for me. I can’t believe how hard it is to hear good country music on a damn country show.


  • I dont see how anyone besides Taylor Swift would win Entertainer of the Year. For someone that doesnt listen to country they know who Taylor is but not Jason Aldean. Taylor is all over the radio, tv, award shows, morning shows etc etc. She does a lot more for the “country” genre than anyone else.


    • I understand what you’re saying, but I’m not sure if the opinions of people outside of country really matter. At the same time, Brad Paisley won Entertainer of the Year last year. I think you would find way more people outside of country recognize “Dirt Road Anthem” than you would one of Paisley’s top songs. And one of the reasons for that might be because Aldean performed the song with Ludacris on the CMT Awards.


  • yuck….Jason Aldean is the worst. Worse than Taylor Swift. Worse than Rascall Flatts. I don’t know if its because he tries to market himself as an outlaw, or because people I know actually like his shitty music, or just because dirt road anthem is so very terrible and yet so very popular, but something about him just makes me want to punch his metrosexual cowboy face. He is the poster boy for everything that is wrong with country music today.


  • After hearing “Got My Country On” by Chris Cagle yesterday, I have finally had it. Enough with these damn songs about how country you are. We get it. You’re country. Now give me something worth listening to. Later in the day, my wife was listening to “Mean” by Taylor Swift. I never was a huge Taylor Swift fan, but that’s not a bad song. Now I’m thinking her stuff isn’t bad at all compared to what the faux outlaw boys are putting out en mass lately.


    • Exactly. The old singers didn’t have to sing about how “country” they were, because it came through in their singing, and you just knew.


    • I agree Mike. I’m not a Taylor fan by any means,but I find myself defending her more and more and it kind of scares me! With morons like Aldean and Gilbert and Justine Moore,Eric Church,Blake Shelton and SO many others in the picture,she all a sudden doesn’t seem half bad.

      I think even Triggerman may have pointed out in the past,she is who she is.She’s not on stage screaming how country she is and comparing herself to the likes of Loretta Lynn or Tanya Tucker


  • I don’t consider this country, I consider it POP country and I don’t care for that genre so I won’t be watching again this year. It makes no difference in my life that these artists are touted as the best in the industry. I seek out better music for my life . . . my choice, my right, my taste. I guess a dozen little statues on Taylor’s mantle make her feel good. I don’t subscribe to it since I don’t relate to her songwriting or genre. I want to support real country music. The classic country that Hank loved. Hank didn’t need a statue to validate his talent. One of the greatest country singers ever and Nashville still disrespects him. I wouldn’t trust them any further than I could throw em. Jason Aldean may be the golden child now but he won’t be forever. But there is good news. Willie is still Willie. Marty Stuart is still a country music playin’ megatalent. Hank Williams the Third still knows whats up. Puts on a great show too. I’ll never see a Taylor Swift show. Not going to see Colt Ford, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, sugarland, Miranda or Blake. I’ll spend my time boycotting the Nashville Music machine and they won’t feel my absence neither. But I don’t have to buy into it neither.

    Please don’t feed the animals at the zoo.


    • Hit the nail on the head with this one!


      • Thank you Muller.

        Isaiah 44: 9-10 . . . Those people are witnesses for the statues, but those people cannot see. They know nothing and will be ashamed. Who made these gods? Who made these useless idols?


  • The Civil Wars are the only commercial country act I can tolerate. I hope they win whatever it is they’re up for…


  • …vocal duo,i missed that on the first read through.


  • I didn’t realize The Civil Wars had made enough of a splash to make it into the field for the CMAs. I am not a huge fan, as I find them a little too airy and self-involved, but they at least have some authenticity and write their own music. Glad to see them there, at least. I don’t mind Lambert, either, though not enough interest in either to buy a CD.


    • I think The Civil Wars made it because they are a duo has had some commercial success, and they needed to fill out the category with nominees. My feelings about them are similar to yours. My big concern is how commercially or creatively viable and a husband and wife team who sings lovingly into each other’s eyes be in 2011? Having said that, they are probably the most authentic thing in the nomination pool aside from the musician’s category. Actually, there is one more authentic nominee…


      • I was wondering who you meant – now I see you were working on the Taylor Swift piece. :)

        I agree about hte love songs. I think mature love songs have always been hard to write, just like happy songs are hard to write. There are lots of good stuff out there about falling in and out of love, not so much about ongoing love. I know you are not a Steve Earle fan, but his writing about messed up attempts at relationships are great; his more recent songs about love for Allison Moorer never hit that same depth for me. Although this might say more about me and, more generally, our culture, as listeners than about the inherent artistry of the song.


  • does any one not think it funny, when cowboy troy came on to the scene, big kenny alpine, and john rich, called him, the new charlie pride.. that was in 2004, seven years later, cowboy troy is still in the mist of cult status, he and neal mccoy where the first ones, neal, did a rap song back years ago, I do not remember when, but my point is ,
    many country fans cringed at both neal mccoy’s song and thought cowboy troy was a bad version of snoop dog… many country fans on blogs, like the oak ridge boys
    message board, scoffed and said rap and country will never mix…

    now enter jason aldean… A WHITE MAN, who comes in his rap songs, dominate
    cmt and gac and his album explodes because of the song… I know the Muzik mafia, has failed as the savior of outlaw music, as many critics, like country weekly called them, in article, but john rich,and gretchen wilson both sold out to big
    corperate nashville, but like him or not, cowboy troy really brought some great music, NOTE: HIS SECOND ALBUM, NOT THE CORNY I PLAYED CHICKEN WITH A TRAIN.. his second album was really good in my eyes, mixing hard rock, with country blues and rap.. BLACK IN THE SADDLE, was a milestone record, and many country fans, called troy the devil for bring rap into country and trying to destroy it..

    now that a white man like jason aldean brings rap into country, these same people who lamblasted troy now embrace aldean? I wonder if cowboy troy had done this song, just how big the song would have been… is this racism?

    I know alot of young fans have come into country and things do change, but for many country fans, when hank junior insulted obama, how many of today’s country fans, I mean the main stream fans, really got upset? not many, I read alot of blogs, on yahoo, and others, many country fans, thought hank jr’s freedom of speech had been taken away… many main stream country fans still are of the right wing conservative, ” BUSH should still be president” phase… I guess i will always wonder if cowboy troy had done this song, would this have been the song, that would have made him a superstar, like it did jason aldean?

    I know the outlaw fans like on this site, and others don’t care about race, and probably many of you do feel, that rap does not belong in country, which is fine too, but I can’t help but wonder, for the people who demonized the dixie chicks, and slander obama, would cowboy troy have made the same impact with the same song? it reall makes me think… maybe it’s not racsim, maybe it’s jason’s time, but
    I just will always wonder, what if?


    • There might have been a little racism involved, but I’ve always thought Cowboy Troy came across as a bit to most people; a rapper who just put on a cowboy hat to be different. He may be much more than that, I can’t say I’m familiar with his stuff personally, but that is the impression I get from the majority of people.

      I think the success of “Dirt Road Anthem” probably comes from timing first. My mono-genre theory way predates Aldean even deciding to record this song, but the timing was perfect, just as the two super-genres of country and hip-hop are being forced to join to keep the huge bloated music infrastructure from collapsing. And it is a nice, docile, palatable country rap song. It’s only half rap, sung by a inoffensive white boy. As I’ve always said about the song, if I was a true country rapper, I would be offended and embarrassed by this song and it’s casper milktoast approach, and the suburban culture whores who make up its core demographic.


      • good points, I guess timing as they say sometimes, is everthing


  • Totally agreed that “The Civil Wars” should win the vocal duo.


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