Saving Country Music’s 2017 ACM Awards LIVE Blog

acm-awardsWelcome ladies and gentlemen to the Saving Country Music 2017 ACM Awards LIVE blog! For three hours we’ll be ranting and raving, running down the winners, and doing our best to highlight the few bright moments in what otherwise promises to be the an annual exercise in embarrassing the true country music fan. Instead of sitting pat, we stand up and let our voices of dissent be heard, and commiserate together until such day that the ACM’s wisen up and start putting talent over commercial appeal.

Understand this is not an exercise for the faint of heart, so bring a thick skin. There’s no time for bruised egos or correcting typos. Get your refresh fingers ready.

If you want to know what to expect, check out this Complete Preview. If you want to see Saving Country Music’s predictions, CLICK HERE. All times Central time.

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  • Songwriter of the Year: Lori McKenna
  • Single Record of the Year: Florida Georgia Line, “H.O.L.Y.” Producer: Joey Moi; Record Label: Big Machine Label Group
  • Vocal Event of the Year: Florida Georgia Line featuring Tim McGraw, “May We All;” Producer: Joey Moi; Record Label: Big Machine Label Group
  • New Vocal Duo or Group of the Year: Brothers Osborne
  • New Female Vocalist of the Year: Maren Morris
  • New Male Vocalist of the Year: Jon Pardi
  • Song of the Year: “Die a Happy Man,” Thomas Rhett; Songwriters: Thomas Rhett, Sean Douglas, Joe Spargur.
  • Vocal Duo of the Year: Brothers Osborne
  • Vocal Group of the Year: Little Big Town
  • Album of the Year: “The Weight of These Wings,” Miranda Lambert; Producers: Frank Liddell, Eric Masse, Glenn Worf; Record Labels: RCA Nashville, Vanner Records
  • Video of the Year: “Forever Country,” Artists of Then, Now and Forever; Director: Joseph Kahn; Producers: Nathan de la Rionda, Jil Hardin, Charleen Manca, Joanna Carter, Chandra LaPlume, Sarah Trahern, Damon Whiteside
  • Male Vocalist of the Year: Thomas Rhett
  • Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert
  • Entertainer of the Year: Jason Aldean

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10:10 – The story of the 2017 ACM Awards will be the launching of Thomas Rhett as the next major country music arena/stadium-level franchise. No way that dude deserves Song of the Year over “Humble and Kind” or Male Vocalist of the Year over anyone. Maybe Single of the Year, but that is as far as Thomas Rhett deserved to go. This is all about Big Machine leveraging behind-the-scenes power to launch a bona fide superstar. Whether it will work or not, we’ll see. Meanwhile it will be hard for Chris Stapleton to see the boost they were hoping for with the new song, and Florida Georgia Line continues to flounder.

Miranda Lambert has now won 8 Female Vocalist of the Year awards at the ACM Awards. Hard to say it’s not deserved, but you wonder when the streak is going to end. Meanwhile, it’s hard to argue in that poor field that “The Weight of These Wings” deserved Album of the Year. Think of all those great songwriters on that album who get to share in that joy. Adam Hood, Waylon Payne, Jack Ingram, Brent Cobb, Ashley Monroe, Mando Saenz, Shake Russel, and Jon Randall.

And Jason Aldean once again walks away with Entertainer of the Year. Horrible. A franchise we thought might be on the ropes gets another boost, though this is probably in response to Aldean’s lagging sales and singles instead of in spite of them.

After a few years of improvement, the ACM’s took a dramatic turn back in 2017. Let’s hope Jon Pardi, William Michael Morgan (where was he), and Chris Stapleton can help right the ship next year.

10:03 – THANK YOU THANK You to everyone who followed along, read, commented, shared, tweeted, liked, friended, and all that other stuff. I am going to compose some final thoughts, run down the winners, catch up with y’alls comments, and call it a night.

10:00 – Welp, Jason Aldean winning Entertainer of the Year pretty much caps off one of the WORST country music awards shows in history, if not THE worst save for a deserved win my Miranda Lambert for Album of the Year (in a weak field). This is one of those awards shows whose horrible reverberations will go for years, just like when Luke Bryan first won Entertainer of the Year.

9:58 – Ha! And once again, the Shania Twain rumors don’t pan out. Still no new single. But keep waiting, ya shmucks!

9:57 – Jason Aldean accepts one of the biggest awards in all of country music in a jacket made of PVC.

9:55 – The ACM for Entertainer of the Year goes to Jason Aldean.

9:55 – Joe Walsh! Save us!

9:53 – #backstreetsback

Nov 23, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks on during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

9:50 – Horrible.

9:49  – Rascal Flatts backstage right now. “Shit, I thought we were country’s boy band?”

9:48 – Wonder how Florida Georgia Line got those holes in the knees of their jeans?

9:44 – Don’t go anywhere, y’all! You still have Florida Georgia Line performing with the Backstreet Boys, you mindless proles. Sponsored by T-Mobile.

9:41 – Holy shit it’s a cowboy hat! Three of ’em! And a fiddle!

See, this is why we’ve got to support Jon Pardi, even if he’s not the greatest. He’s trying in the incredibly restrictive Music Row environment.

9:40 – Reba’s from an era when country singers actually had to be able to sing.

9:39 – Clear play for the Christian market that Music Row has been making for the last couple of years to attempt to make up for all the older country fans they’ve scared away in the last half decade.

Strong performance by both ladies though. Not bad.

9:37 – Do we really call Reba THE Queen of Country Music? How about A queen. Kitty Wells and Loretta deserve a little deference here.

9:36 – Nice shout out for country music’s Gospel influence by Ronnie Dunn. The bros at home have blank stares on their faces.

9:33 – Thanks folks for commenting below. Trying to catch up when I can.

9:29 – Pretty damn surprised Miranda Lambert won for Female Vocalist after Carrie Underwood’s strong year. But I guess you have to account that the eligibility period creeped into when “Vice” was on radio, and when “The Weight of These Wings” was making noise. Still, if you felt like there was a year Carrie Underwood could steal one, it would be this year. Carrie’s fans won’t be happy, and Miranda had that sense.

9:27 – The 2017 ACM Award for Female Vocalist of the Year goes to Carrie Underwood’s gams!

Actually, it’s MIRANDA LAMBERT.

“Carrie can sing me under the table, we can agree on that,” says Miranda.

9:25 – All the douche Bro singers are wearing the same leather jacket (just a different color), singing the same song. Fucking Cole Swindell isn’t even singing into the mic. What a joke.

Cole Swindell, “I Will never forget this moment.” Yeah, neither will we. Unfortunately.

9:22 – By the way, the Thomas Rhett win means Chris Stapleton was completely locked out of the ACM Awards in 2017. Best-selling country artist in years with incredible critical acclaim, and no hardware.

9:20 – This is what we’re seeing here folks: Scott Borchetta and Big Machine are going hard behind Thomas Rhett. He is the new Big Machine cash cow now that Florida Georgia Line are flailing, and Tim McGraw is gone. This is all about launching the next arena-level franchise. Hey, someone has to take over for Kenny Chesney. But Thomas Rhett just doesn’t have the talent for even half this attention. He never should have been taking out of the Music Row publishing house for retread Bro-Country tunes.

9:17 – What’s the over/under on how much Scott Borchetta paid for Thomas Rhett’s Male Vocalist of the Year trophy? Ridiculous. So contrived.

9:16 – See, long still on Rhett’s wife.

9:15 – The 2017 ACM for Male Vocalist of the Year goes to Thomas Rhett?


9:12 – Old Dominion is screaming “Hey!” now? Even the 2012 Lumineers think this is lame.

9:11 – Screw your faux hawk, Thomas Rhett.

9:09 – Once had a jacket like Thomas Rhett’s. A guy got it for free for signing up for a magazine subscription, and then left it in a Pizza Hut. After two years, I filched it from the lost and found to change my oil in.

9:08 – To the one true God, a fern could perform better hosting duties than Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley.

9:07 – Welp, blog hasn’t crashed yet. There’s one positive.

9:03 – Chris Stapleton’s “Fire Away” should have won Video of the Year. Some good songs in “Forever Country” obivously, but it was too busy to really accomplish anything.

9:02 – The ACM for Video of the Year goes to that “Forever Country” montage thing. Sponsored by Xfinity. Don’t forget that. Xfinity Xfinity.

8:59 – Err. A little pitchy Tim and Faith. Whatever.

8:57 – I’ll leave Faith Hill and Tim McGraw alone. Not into this adult contemporary schlock, but it’s not the problem. Harmless music for 47-year-old divorcees to listen to in the bubble bath.

8:53 – Hard to say Miranda Lambert didn’t deserve Album of the Year. You may not hearing it represented much on radio moving forward, but isn’t that the way for all of the better efforts?

8:52 – Bobby Bones is a tool in an ugly suit by the way.

Though he is learning how to keep his nose clean better.

8:49 – Miranda Lambert producer Frank Liddell’s advice to songwriters: “Tell the truth, it’s more interesting.”

8:48 – The 2017 ACM for Album of the Year goes to Miranda Lambert for “The Weight of These Wings”

8:46 – I don’t know folks. Hate Luke Bryan, but I’m kind of feeling this song.

Actually I’m not, it’s more formulaic pap. Boring at best.

8:42 – If you’re wondering how Sturgill Simpson feels after being snubbed from this garbage:


8:40 – Here’s 90 seconds of a shitty Brett Eldridge song, and then he pops a balloon with a tiny person in it. Um, point? Is this a country music awards show?

8:38 – Need to spend a little more time with the Chris Stapleton song to formulate my thoughts, but obviously a very guitar driven, upbeat song. Felt like it was searching for a direction or melody a little bit, but we’ll revisit it later. Better than anything else that has happened, sans Miranda maybe.

8:36 – Anderson East needs to work on his awards show poker face instead of playing tongue pool.

8:36 – Dave Cobb playing acoustic guitar.

8:34 – Thank GOD Stapleton, save us front that ear screw Kelsea Ballerini torture.

8:33 – STOP SAYING BOY !!!!! Fuck me.

8:32- Is this the Kelsea Ballerini song that says “boy” 32 times or something? Ha! Garbage. Only a Jonas Brother guitar solo could make this worse.

8:32 – Cam forgot her top, Kelsea Ballerini is missing her bottoms. Keeps you distracted from the music at least. She’s got so much nothing.

8:30 – Correction, I meant to sat Stuart Smalley below, not Jack Handy. My apologies to the Jack Handy family.

8:24 – You know Kellie Pickler is a Saving Country Music Album of the Year alumni, but she’s annoying me tonight. All that coaching for her reality show on CMT has made her more plastic than personable in my opinion.

8:21 – Perhaps now that the Brothers Osborne have some hardware behind them, maybe they’ll get a chance to be unleashed. They have some questionable songs, but I think that at the core of this act is something mainstream country could really use.

8:20 – See … 🙂

8:18 – The ACM for Vocal Group of the Year goes to Little Big Town. I’m announcing this before the award.

8:17 – Whoah, more horns. And more horns. That’s enough horns to give Sturg a woody. Too bad this pseudo-reggae UB40 garbage is a waste of all their breath.

8:16 – Did Lady Antebellum steal Sturgill Simpson’s horns? Those bastards.

8:14 – Thanks everyone piping up in the comments section. Reading when I can.

P.S. : Something must have gone wrong, because we were in commercial for a very very long time.

8:04 – Got nothing on this Little Big Town performance. This song feels like something I’d hear on Yo Gabba Gabba. Jack Handy self-affirmation bullshit.

8:03 – I know she’s married to a hockey player who could kick my music blogging ass. Get off my back! We’ve got to find the beauty in this thing wherever it exists.

8:02 – Okay shut up y’all, Carrie Underwood’s gams are back.

8:01 – Keith Urbane gets TWO songs? Seeing him play guitar just reminds us he actually has talent, but for some reason refuses to use it for anything.

7:58 – The black and white motif is perfect for this Keith Urban song because it’s incredibly bland.

7:57 -Keith Urban sucks.

7:53 – Seriously, another loss by Florida Georgia Line for Vocal Duo of the Year despite being the clear commercial winner proves the well has been poisoned on them. They may still give them the lower tier awards to get Scott Borchetta off their back, but the industry has moved on.

7:51 – Wow, we’re hearing why Rascal Flatts decided to pre-record their performance a few years back. Pitchy, off pentameter. These guys look like their five-year old daughter’s dressed them from their mother’s clothes.

7:50 – Hahaha! Rascal Flatts has officially been relegated to the “other” stage. How embarrassing the chubby one is wearing the same leather jacket as Jason Aldean, just in blue.

7:48 – Solid performance by Miranda Lambert. Not an amazing moment, but really strong. She just proved why she deserves to win Album of the Year, regardless of what else happens tonight.

7:48 – I like this song, but Miranda performing it is basically waving the white flag on reaching the top of the charts with her radio career.

7:46 – Miranda Lambert’s “Tin Man” was co-written by Lambert and Jack Ingram. Miranda is hoping to make a “moment” here instead of giving just another performance of just another single.

7:44 – Kane Brown had the simplest job of the entire night, and still figured out how to fuck it up.

7:43 – The ACM for Vocal Duo of the Year goes to Brothers Osborne.

Take that Florida Georgia Line!

7:42 – Yawn.

7:40 – This red leather coat Jason Aldean is wearing is something your English teacher would wear on casual Friday in 1987.

7:38 – Would love to hang out with the wax Luke Bryan on a nice, steamy Texas summer day.

7:36 – Meant to say this before, but I bet they show Thomas Rhett’s wife more than any other spouse tonight. My theory is they know he’s a black hole, and so they push her because she grades better in focus groups than anything Thomas does.

7:35 – Still can’t believe Thomas Rhett’s “Die A Happy Man” beat out “Humble and Kind” for Song of the Year. Clearly Big Machine has been lobbying hard for this awards cycle, trying to reset after shuttering Dot and losing Tim McGraw. That’s also likely the reason for Florida Georgia Line winning to pre-telecast awards. We might be witnessing the worst awards show ever transpiring, both in the winners and in the performance.

7:33 – They randomly hand Maren Morris her New Female Vocalist of the Year trophy, surprising her. Shows just what an afterthought the ACM’s have made of their New Artist awards.

7:32 – “Oh, we’re supposed to stand up for that? Oh, okay…”

7:30 – Still surprised Maren Morris’s “80’s Mercedes” stalled. At least it had some attitude. This song is cold pizza.

7:29 – By the way, that Oscar La La Land wrong envelope bit was funnier than anything from Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley yet. And it wasn’t that funny.

7:28 – Massive upset by Thomas Rhett. Bullshit.

7:27 – WHAT ?!? Thomas Rhett’s “Die A Happy Man” beats out Lori McKenna’s “Humble and Kind” For Song of the Year? EMBARRASSMENT!

7:25 – David Copperfield is still alive? And not in rehab?

7:24 – They’re totally pumping crowd noise in this thing a la the New England Patriots.

7:22 – Dierks Bentley’s ACM Awards outfit came in a bag that said 5 for $10.99 with a BONUS 6th T at Target.

7:21 – Whose leg I gotta hump to get “Up On The Ridge” Dierks Bentley to come back?


7:19 – I was gonna say thank God we got all the worst performers out of the way with the opening montage, but looking at the run sheet it looks like Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and the lot will all likely perform again.

7:15 – Seriously, what’s up with these douche pants Sam Hunt’s wearing with the pouch in the front? What an embarrassment to marsupials.

7:13 – Dude, seriously. Worst opening awards show monologue ever. Dierks and Luke have the chemistry of Chernobyl.

7:12- Keith Urban’s trying to revitalize his street cred with the Ryan Adams safety pin jean jacket.

7:11 – Man, this opening montage from Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan is totally bombing. Jason Aldean, get those tow chains ready.

7:09 – Love Chuck Berry, but he just got more tribute time on the ACM’s than Guy Clark and Ralph Stanley combined.

7:08 – Joe Walsh! Some real talent on the ACMs.

7:06 – I wonder what Sturgill Simpson feels about this opening “medley.”


7:04 – Just focus the camera on Carrie Underwood’s gams for the next three hours. They’re more impressive than anything else we’ll see tonight.

7:03 – The only thing “HOLY” here is Florida Georgia Line’s $1,200 fashion-ripped jeans.

7:01 – Perhaps Jason Aldean can use those friggin tow chains hanging from his belt to pull this car wreck out of the ditch.

7:00 – Here we go!

6:58 – Seriously, this feels like the most under-anticipated awards show I’ve ever experienced in almost 10 years of doing this. No buzz on social media or anywhere else. Feels like eveyone just wants to get it over with.

6:56 – Will Shania Twain show up? Will she perform? Will anyone give a shit that isn’t watching Wrestlemania tonight?

6:53 – Ever had that nightmare where you’re walking down the red carpet of the ACM Awards and forgot to wear a shirt? Yep, that just happened to Canary Yellow Cam.


6:50 – Won’t lie. I’m about the most unexcited and uninspired to conduct one of these LIVE blogs than I’ve ever been. There’s just nothing to get excited about with this presentation except perhaps a new song from Chris Stapleton. I think the ACM’s just got tired of even trying to appeal to older and more traditional country fans and just said screw it. Hopefully there is some big surprises.

6:45 – So the last few times we’ve executed the LIVE blog there have been some technical difficulties, from the site completely crashing due to massive waves of traffic, to it not updating properly. An extensive amount of work, effort, and resources have gone into making sure everything goes off without a hitch this time, which still guarantees nothing. But if there are some bumps in the road, we’ll get them ironed out. We always do. Just hang tight. These are the rigors of independent web publishing.

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