I told myself I was not going to get too wrapped up into the American Country Awards, or ACA’s that aired last night on FOX. This is not a real awards show folks, and last night proved why. The only real country awards shows are the CMA’s, and the ACM’s, and those have degenerated so much over the years, it is hard to take them seriously either.
Spending too much time getting wrapped up in the doings of the ACA’s, even if the attention you give them is negative, I’m afraid will by proxy may somehow legitimize their existence, which might be even more of a travesty than anything that was televised last night. But when it comes to their “Artists of the Decade” award, I think it is important to point out the gross negligence the award show took in naming the winners, to prove why the ACA’s are meaningless, and their legitimacy dangerous.
The first observation about their top 10 “Artists of the Decade” is that they did not include one female artist. Not even one. In some ways, this isn’t so surprising, because music is a male dominated environment. That’s the way it is, and that is the way it is probably always going to be.
But I don’t care how their stupid list was compiled. I don’t care if it was sales driven, fan voted, a combination thereof calculated by Price, Waterhouse, Coopers, or if they took a bunch of names on pieces of paper, stuck them into Billy Ray Cyrus’s mullet and had Vanna White pick them out at random, if you have to you gerrymander your system to make sure you are inclusive to half the artists contributing to country music, and half of their fans, then that is what you do.
A lot of folks are also up in arms that Toby Keith ended up being their #1 “Artist of the Decade.” Toby’s win revealed how the ACA’s decided who got the awards, that it was sales-driven, and since Toby Keith sold more albums in the oughts than anyone else, he was the big dog. What the brain trust behind the ACA’s did not consider though, is that the oughts were a period that saw the greatest flux and contraction in the music business the industry has ever seen.
Toby Keith was their #1 just because he had a song about bombing the brown skins back to the stone age back when people actually bought music early in the decade. Last time I checked, Taylor Swift was the best-selling artist in the last five years, in any genre, yet she couldn’t even crack the ACA’s top 10? If you had created an equitable system that actually took into consideration music contraction, who knows, Taylor Swift may have been #1.
People should not be getting worked up that Toby Keith won this award, or that no women were included, they should be angry that FOX and a few investors can get together, rent the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and hijack the term “country” and maraud it around like they have any knowledge or ownership in what that term actually means, or any legitimacy to decide who gets recognized for achievement.
The term “country” doesn’t belong to them, it belongs to us, to the people who created it through 100 years of tradition. Taylor Swift wasn’t even in the building last night even if she had won an award, probably because she didn’t want to be associated with such an illegitimate show. Neither were Tim McGraw, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Eric Church, and many other legitimate country music franchises.
I am tired of being embarrassed by being associated with country music, and I’m also tired of seeing that embarrassment by fans and artists bleed energy and talent out of country to “Americana” and other areas. “Country” is our term, and our music. The “American Country Awards” have no right to it. Even more artists should boycott the awards next year, especially the beautiful and talented female artist who was dismissed by their “decade” award, and allow this thing to whiter on the vine.