For being the first performer to bring derivative country rap to the mainstream with “Dirt Road Anthem” and opening the door to the scourge of Bro-Country, for being on the cover of People Magazine professing himself as a family man at the same time TMZ busted his ass for cheating on his wife with a woman that he said he had no relationship with yet he eventually married, for wearing blackface in a bad Halloween costume to impersonate a rapper, Jason Aldean will receive the Dick Award for the Decade from the ACMs come April—“Dick” being for Dick Clark, who this decade award was just renamed after, and who luckily is dead so he doesn’t have to see his name besmirched by being associated with the likes of Jason Aldean.
Announced on Wednesday, March 6th, Jason Aldean will now be recognized as the biggest, most important and influential artist in country music over the last 10 year span by the ACM Awards. He will join a very exclusive club of performers who’ve received this award previously, a club that includes Marty Robbins (1969), Loretta Lynn (1979), Alabama (1988), Garth Brooks (1998) and George Strait (2008). Dick Clark was an early host of the ACMs, and Dick Clark Productions remains the production company behind the presentation.
“On behalf of our Special Awards Committee, our Board of Directors and Academy staff, we extend our congratulations to Jason and his entire team on this landmark career achievement,” said Pete Fisher, CEO of the Academy of Country Music, who took the position in 2017 after running the Grand Ole Opry into the ground for nearly two decades. “We look forward to celebrating Jason’s remarkable career at our 54th annual awards in Las Vegas.”
Yes, and we look forward to spitting raspberries and flipping off our television sets when it happens, if we even bother to tune in to your dog and pony show, Pete. This feels like a good opportunity to invoke the immortal words of Sturgill Simpson, who said in 2016 about the ACM Awards after ignoring Merle Haggard for years, “If the ACM wants to actually celebrate the legacy and music of Merle Haggard, they should drop all the formulaic cannon fodder bullshit they’ve been pumping down rural America’s throat for the last 30 years along with all the high school pageantry, meat parade award show bullshit and start dedicating their programs to more actual Country Music.”
But to be fair, who the hell else are you going to give an award like this to, which is clearly based off of commercial applicability? The fact that an artist like Jason Aldean is even considered for an award of this caliber just underscores what a wasteland popular country music has been for the last decade, making it possible and necessary for sites like Saving Country Music to even exist. It feels like we should take one of those big pink erasers they always made you get with your school supplies but only used to to bean your buddies in the back of the head with, and erase the whole damn last decade up to Chris Stapleton’s 2016 CMA Awards. Seriously, just torch the entire country music timeline and cauterize the wound at 2009.
I guess you instead could give this thing to Taylor Swift, but she turned country into pop before abandoning the format altogether. Miranda Lambert would be a better choice. After all, she’s won more awards—ACMs or otherwise—than anyone else in the last decade. But being honest, her commercial output has been inconsistent throughout the last decade. Carrie Underwood would probably be the more logical and better pick for this distinction, and rest assured she’s the one whose fans will be most upset, and justifiably so since Underwood’s been ceremoniously snubbed by the ACMs consistently over the last 10 years. But even Carrie had large swaths of the last decade where she wasn’t touring and on the radio. The country music Gomer Pyle, Luke Bryan? That would arguably be even more lame than giving it to Jason Aldean.
Frankly, Jason Aldean has probably been the most consistent commercial “performer” over the 10 year period. But man does it smart to think of this loser and his green mowhawed guitar player getting up there and accepting an award that once went to the legendary Marty Robbins and the immaculate Loretta Lynn.
Then again, we could get super torqued over this, or we could just take a few deep breaths, remind ourselves this is just the dumbass ACM Awards—which have been a bastion for vote swapping and horse trading over the years more than any other country music institution—and find solace in the fact that naming someone like Jason Aldean an “Artist of the Decade” is just more evidence of the institution’s irrelevance, along with the irrelevance of the last 10 years of country music in general.
Roll up your sleeves and be vigilant, true country music fans. History is on our side.
And go kiss a duck, Jason Aldean.