Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the official Saving Country Music CMA Awards LIVE blog for 2015! As the festivities transpire at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, we’ll be peering in to offer commentary, snark, criticism, and praise when necessary. The 2015 CMA’s actually have a few interesting moments in store compared to previous years, so hopefully there are some opportunities to cheer instead of jeer. But as always, the point is to offer our spirited dissent and a differing perspective.
This LIVE blog is conducted in a no holds barred, gloves off, free flowing stream of consciousness approach, so bring a thick skin, and a liberal interpretation of syntax. And feel free to pipe up in the comments section below because this is no autocracy.
Get those refresh fingers ready, lock s-foils in attack position, and let’s have a good clean fight!
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- Entertainer of the Year – Luke Bryan
- Male Vocalist of the Year – Chris Stapleton
- Female Vocalist of the Year- Miranda Lambert
- Album of the Year – Chris Stapleton “Traveller” – Producer Dave Cobb
- New Artist of the Year – Chris Stapleton
- Vocal Duo of the Year – Florida Georgia Line
- Vocal Group of the Year – Little Big Town
- Song of the Year – “Girl Crush” – Little Big Town -Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose
- Single of the Year – “Girl Crush” Little Big Town
- Vocal Event of the Year – “Raise ‘Em Up” Keith Urban featuring Eric Church
- Video of the Year- “Girl in a Country Song” – Maddie & Tae
10:30 – So obviously the 49th Annual CMA Awards were a massive win for Chris Stapleton. Who saw this coming? At the same time, it makes perfect sense. I almost feel bad for folks like Eric Church who walked away with a big bag of nothing, when he came into the night as a front runner for the top awards. Chris Stapleton took them all. I think we need to take some time and let it all soak in. I don’t think this means country music is “saved,” but I do think we might point back to this day when independent music began to be put on equal footing as the mainstream, in both public consciousness, and in recognition. Let’s also appreciate there are probably legions of mainstream country music fans pissed off because their favorite artists lost. Luke Bryan’s win for Entertainer felt like a footnote.
Again, a lot to crunch, and I’m sure I’ll have much more to say when it’s all soaked in.
10:23 – Saving Country Music and Charlie Rich would like to congratulate Luke Bryan on his Entertainer of the Year win.
10:22 – Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who stopped by, followed along, read, commented, liked, favorited, reposted, retweeted, etc. etc. I will be composing some final thoughts, and recapping all the winners, and then we’ll be out of here for the evening! Also will catch up with all your comments!
10:20 – Sorry folks! Site completely crashed right at the end of the CMA Awards, but it’s back now!
9:58 – Luke Bryan “They say to rap it, I ain’t rappin'” Truer words never spoken. At least he gave a shout out to Stapleton for his “uplifting” night. Everybody loves Stapleton.
9:57 – Luke Bryan wins the CMA for Bad Rapping Middle Aged White Guy of the Year.
9:54 – With no disrespect to Stapleton whatsoever, this may be a year that with no clear front runner, the voting of the CMA was so spread out across all the other nominees, Stapleton had just enough support to beat everyone else. It’s similar to how Beck won Best Album at the Grammy Awards earlier this year. Chris Stapleton’s sweep is nothing short of historic. This has never happened in the history of country music for an artist like Stapleton.
9:52 – Chris Stapleton getting choked up tanking all of his family and friends, clearly overwhelmed as he comes to the conclusion that it’s the biggest night of his life.
9:50 – Holy fucking shit.
9:50 – WINNER The CMA for Male Vocalist of the Year goes to Chris Stapleton. Oh. My. God.
9:48 – Jennifer Nettles never met a note she couldn’t sing on top of.
9:46 – It’s great to see so many older artists on this year’s presentation, but I’m just not feeling any of these performances. Make a moment. Say something. It’s all midgrade country rock songs.
9:41 – Don’t know about y’all, but I just saw George Strait in a Cavenders Boots commercial. Little victories.
9:40 Your Saving Country Music Alternative Female Vocalist of the Year is Jamie Lin Wilson!
9:38 – Miranda Lambert gives a nice shout out to Chris Stapleton. “I’m going to go home and practice” she says. Maybe just slightly depressed she did not win Album of the Year. Lambert was considered a front runner.
9:37 – WINNER The CMA for Female Vocalist of the Year goes to Miranda Lambert. It’s her sixth, SIXTH in a row.
9:34 – Man, a lot of the songs were seeing from folks this year are the third and fourth singles from these artists, and they just feel a little flay. “Riser” is decent, but they should do their best song from the year, not whatever already dead single they’re trying to push.
9:31 – The girl playing with Dierks Bentley is violin maestro and YouTube star Lindsey Stirling.
9:27 – I know Musgraves is polarizing to some folks, but can you really watch that and say it’s not so much better than most of the rest of the stuff we’ve heard tonight? Could have done without the whole My Little Pony thing at the end though. Something for the kiddos maybe.
9:25 – Is it just me or does Musgraves sound even better when she’s not wearing pants?
9:25 – Holy shit. Marry me Musgraves.
9:23 – Great. Political humor.
9:20 – Ha! Jason Aldean’s steel guitar player has the easiest job in showbiz. Am I am bad person for hoping for a Michael Jackson-style accident with Aldean’s flaming mic stand?
9:19 – Leave it to Jason Aldean to bring flamethrowers and redundant wallet chains to wizz all over our Chris Stapleton parade.
9:15 – Chris Stapleton for Male Vocalist of the Year? Why the hell not I guess. The calculus has completely changed. Writing all those hit songs for other has resulted in incredible name recognition and respect from the industry who apparently were ready to look beyond commercial performance and reward talent. We may not be watching the launching of a new country star. We may be watching the launch of a country superstar.
9:13 – Nothing against Miranda, but this song doesn’t do much anything for me. Oh God and why do all of these performances have to be bisected by a Bon Jovi guitar wank off?
9:13 – Your Saving Country Music Alternative Group of the Year is the Turnpike Troubadours!
9:11 – All of a sudden, Little Big Town is one of the big winners tonight, and it’s all because of a fabricated controversy over “Girl Crush.”
9:10 WINNER – The CMA for Vocal Group of the Year goes to Little Big Town (another SCM predicition).
9:08 – Wow, Pentatonix is like a snark buffet ready to feast on. If they weren’t tributing the Oak Ridge Boys, I might feast on it.
9:04 – I think Luke Bryan’s performance is a good time to dedicate a moment of silence to Joey Feek of Joey + Rory who is in the final stages of her life after suffering from abdominal Cancer.
9:02 – Yes, Eric Church released a new album. We know. It’ll be dealt with in due course.
8:57 – See, The CMA’s talked a big talk about giving women a bigger stage this year, but they’re still getting pushed on the side acoustic stage and pulling teleprompter duty for the radio winners. Both Maddie & Tae and Kelsea Ballerini got that treatment.
8:55 – Screw Blake Shelton for using his relationship with that girl from No Doubt as a springboard for publicity, especially after all the “respect our privacy” bullshit.
8:53 – Looks like we got any technical issues squared away folks, sorry if you’re having trouble loading the site at times. Everybody in the world is trying to figure out who Chris Stapleton is at the moment.
8:50 – Sportsball cross marketing talking head nonsense.
8:46 – This is turning into an HUGE night ladies & gentlemen. A lot to take in in real time. But wow. A lot to be happy about, including that Kelsea Ballerini’s performance got cut off for commercials.
8:43 – Dave Cobb was just on the stage at the CMA Awards. Dave Cobb was just on the stage of the CMA Awards.
8:42 – WOW WOW WOW! The CMA for Album of the Year goes to Chris Stapleton’s “Traveller”! Also goes to producer Dave Cobb!!
8:40 – Kiefer Sutherland has morphed into a just slightly less pathetic version of Kevin Bacon.
8:40 – Lost Boys Kiefer Sutherland > Kiefer Sutherland who would agree to be a part of the candy ass CMA Awards.
8:39 – The only thing keeping me from wholesale hating on on Fall Out Boy is the lead singer keeps reminding me of a svelte Austin Lucas.
8:37 – See folks, remember Timberlake, and now you see this? It’s master and pupil.
8:35 – Well at least Thomas Rhett found some proper duds. On his album cover he looked like he should be bummin squares in front of the Salvation Army.
8:32 – Your Saving Country Music Alternative Vocal Duo of the Year is Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen!
8:28 – Eric Church is always at his best when it’s just him and his guitar. Good way to start off the performance. Need to give this a few more listens, but not hating this song so far. Kind of Mellencamp.
8:26 – Eric Church comes out to sing “Mr. Misunderstood” from his surprise album released this morning to his fan club. It’s now available on iTunes. Will have more on this after the awards.
8:25 – WINNER Florida Georgia Line wins the CMA for Vocal Duo of the Year. Finally one of my predictions comes true.
8:24 – Shouldn’t Cole Swindell be out in the concourse selling Luke Bryan thongs to overweight divorcees with bedazzled jeans right now?
8:24 – Cole Swindell is presenting and not performing because there’s seven other artists EXACTLY like Cole already performing tonight.
8:24 – These US Girls Soccer Players have more moxie and are more country than the entire Bro-Country canon combined. #CMAawards
8:21 – Did Florida Georgia Line just perform? I already forgot.
8:20 – Ha, awesome! Florida Georgia Line douche guy totally rocking the man bun. (hair joke, take a drink)
8:17 – Might be some latency in the site folks. Getting slammed after the Stapleton / Timberlake performance. Keeping it together with duct tape. If it goes down, it will likely come right back up. Be patient.
8:15 – P.S. I have super secret sources telling me Justin Timberlake is recording a country album in Nashville this week. Story coming up later this week.
8:13 – Justin Timberlake is a little too much here. If he’s going to go country, he’s going to have to learn subtly and modesty, but he’s not calling himself country . . . yet.
8:11 – Justin Timberlake is still a pop performer playing country. But the difference is country music needs him more than he needs country.
8:10 – We just witnessed Chris Stapleton become a country star folks.
8:09 – Now we know why Stapleton was given such a sweet performance slot. Also, I may be wrong, but on certain years, the New Artist has been announced before the presentation and not televised.
8:07 – So appreciate folks, Stapleton is singing a song made famous by David Allan Coe, and written by Dean Dillon. And he’s singing the hell out of it too.
8:06- Hello to everyone participating in the comments section, thanks for chiming in! I’m trying to read during the commercial breaks.
8:02 – Going back to the Stapleton win, that’s massive. And he’s still up for two more awards, and Album of the Year may be the one he was most likely to win going in. If you want to look at the glass half empty, his label may have block voted him into New Artist, which would hypothetically lessen his chances for Album of the Year. It’s extremely unlikely he wins Male Vocalist, but who knows now. Big win.
8:01 – …and then here comes Steve Vai to sling his penis all over the stage. Ugh.
8:00 – The audio on these performances have been pretty washed out so far. Not my favorite song from Carrie, but hearing her sing is refreshing.
7:58 – HUGE upset for New Artist. That was Sam Hunt’s or Thomas Rhett’s running away.
7:57 – WINNER Wow. The CMA New Artist of the Year goes to Chris Stapleton.
7:56 – Go Stapleton! Fingers crossed.
7:55 – Thanks for showing us how to be 50 and fabulous Little Big Town.
7:53 – Wow, Ziggy Stardust stands in with Little Big Town on “Girl Crush.”
7:51 – Okay, the Chevy commercial turned out to be a pretty cool feature on the young women of country. Though I got no love for Kelsea Ballerini.
7:49 – Did Brad Paisley just do a Chevy commercial before the commercials? C’mon.
7:48 – Your Saving Country Music Alternative for Song of the Year is Cody Jinks’ “David”!
7:47 – Okay, I am happy Liz Rose is getting some face time. That’s the mother of Caitlin Rose. She’s the blonde one talking first.
7:46 – WINNER The CMA for Song of the Year goes to “Girl Crush” by Little Big Town. Again.
7:44 – They still have a Miss America? This chick just came out on stage in a freaking tiara. The hell.
7:43 – Sam Hunt’s got a big bag of nothing. That talking bullshit is absolutely unbearable. Steve Martin, about that banjo . . . .
7:41 – Why is Sam Hunt dressed like a Catholic altar boy? Because he’s molesting country music?
7:35 – This Kenny Chesney song isn’t even about the beach, and they still had to beach it up with the stage setup. Is this a country awards show or Peter Pan theatrical playworks? Forgettable performance, Chesney.
7:34- When you get out-countried by Kenny Chesney, you know you’ve strayed. What’s up with Chesney’s dad slacks, though? Someone get him a Wrangler endorsement.
7:33 – What especially sucks is Zac Brown Band is an amazing outfit of musicians, and instead we get a performance of chord strumming and epileptic lights.
7:32 – Zac Brown comes out and plays “Beautiful Drug,” aka reaching through thousands of TV screens and ripping the hearts of loyal fans all across the nation and stomping on them for a big payday. Awful, embarrassing, The Benedict Arnold of country music. Can’t even joke about it.
7:29 – Kinds words said for Little Jimmy Dickens as a montage plays of his skits on the show over the last few years. Urn thing a little creepy though.
7:28 – Thank goodness, commercial break.
7:25 – Your Saving Country Music Alternative for Single of the Year is Whitey Morgan’s version of “Watin’ ‘Round to Die”!
7:24 – “Girl Crush” would have never cracked the Top 20 if some dumb rednecks didn’t think it was about lesbians singing. There was nothing brave about it. “Calculated” was more like it. Nothing like a little fake drama to drive streams.
7:23 – WINNER The CMA for Single of the Year goes to Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.”
7:22 – Martin should have brought his banjo, Paisley. Sad when a comedian is the most country thing on this country show.
7:22 – Steve Martin is probably the best musician who will take the stage all night. Should take his banjo by the neck and go all Tonya Harding on the knees of some of these Bro-Country bastards.
7:20 – William Shatner drops an S-bomb on live TV. At least it raises a pulse.
7:19 – Please, Bill Shatner, beam us out of this flat opener.
7:18 – Still hard to hate on Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. If it was Florida Georgia Line hosting this bitch, I’d want to slap them both across the cheek with a huge giant bull scrotum.
7:16 – This monologue feels quite flat compared to previous years. Just a run through of current event tropes without any developed punchline. “Luke Stagefaller” is a good nickname for Luke Bryan though.
7:15 – Ashley Monroe gets 1.5 seconds of face time. Be thankful for the small victories, I guess.
7:12 – None of these mainstream Kool-Aid drinkers know what the whole “tomato” brushup was about. And of course, Trump.
7:11- Confirmed it was Jaren Johnston playing with Jr. Since they’re both on Big Machine, it makes sense.
7:10 – Tell me one thing that was country about that song and I’ll eat my hat.
7:09 – This “John Cougar, John Denver, John 3:16” mess is awful, but I have to admit the bass part is the best part. Too bad Urban has a dead chupacabra perched on his head. (first hair joke, take a drink).
7:06 – Wow, they’re going right into the Mellencamp and Keith Urban performance next. They’re knocking out the 50-plus performers first before the Centrum Silver wears off and the Cialis kicks in.
7:05 – Hank Jr.’s been mum on the ills of country, but sources say he did slam Kelsea Ballerini as a Muslim who hates America backstage.
7:04 – Watching Eric Church perform with Hank Jr. is like watching Hitler play golf with Netanyahu. I’m not sure which one is Hitler or Netanyahu, but it sure is a strange clashing of worlds.
7:03 – You can tell when Hank Jr. is really feeling a performance when the streaks of Just For Men start streaming down his face.
7:02 – That might be Jaren Johnston from The Cadillac Three playing guitar with Hank Jr.
7:01 – You had to know Star Wars and Donald Trump would somehow play into the opening monologue.
7:00 – And here we go!
6:58 – This will not be the first time Justin Timberlake has played the CMA Awards. He played with N’Sync in 1999 who collaborated with Alabama. It sucked. Nice Hammer pants, J-Timb.
6:51 – And of course the big news of the day is that Eric Church dropped a surprise album, which might somehow play into tonights performances. Along with Jr., he’s got his own performance slot. And Blake Shelton is dating that girl from No Doubt. Officially. So there’s that.
6:50 – Notes from the Red Carpet: Alfred E. Neuman (a.ka. Scotty McCreery) officially wins the Saving Country Music Worst Dressed. Also Kelsea Ballerini’s date is a Cancer patient from St. Jude. All snark aside, sweet move by Kelsea.
6:47 – Just in case you’re not up on the news, the big performances folks are talking about and looking forward to are Hank Williams Jr. and Eric Church leading off the show with Waylon’s “Are You Ready For The Country” written by Neil Young. Then later Chris Stapleton will perform with Justin Timberlake. Also don’t count out a surprise. Last year, Vince Gill was given the Irving Waugh award and there was a nice presentation for him that wasn’t announced beforehand.
6:45 – A couple of awards were already given away this morning. “Raise ‘Em Up” from Keith Urban featuring Eric Church won for Vocal Event of the Year. That means the one nomination for Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard’s Django and Jimmie did not fruit any hardware. Also, Maddie & Tae’s “Girl in a Country Song” won for “Video of the Year.” As much as I enjoy the message of that song, the video is positively unbearable.
For all nominees, awards, and presenters, performers and predictions, you can find links up top.