Saving Country Music’s 2017 CMA Awards LIVE Blog


Here we go once again ladies and gentlemen, getting the snark machine up and running, doing our best as disgruntled country music fans to let our voices be heard and our vehement displeasure be registered, while also giving credit to whatever few fleeting moments of positivity or actual country music graces our eyes and ears as the 51st Annual CMA Awards transpires on the boob tube.

As the presentation goes one, I’ll be keeping a running tab of the doings, recapping the winners, leaving commentary, and encourage you to do the same in the comments section below. So get your refresh fingers ready, your thick skin on (because there will be dirty words and robust, knee-jerk opinion), and let’s get ready to rumble. For info on what to expect, nominees, etc., click on the Complete Preview below.

WARNING: Language

All times Central time.


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  • Garth Brooks – Entertainer of the Year
  • Chris Stapleton – Male Vocalist of the Year
  • Miranda Lambert- Female Vocalist of the Year
  • Chris Stapleton’s From A Room: Vol 1 produced by Dave Cobb – Album of the Year
  • Jon Pardi – New Artist of the Year
  • “Blue Ain’t Your Color” – Keith Urban – Single of the Year
  • “Better Man” – Little Big Town – written by Taylor Swift – Song of the Year
  • Little Big Town – Vocal Group of the Year
  • Brothers Osborne – Vocal Duo of the Year
  • Brothers Osborne – “It Ain’t My Fault” – Video of the Year
  • Willie Nelson and Glen Campbell – “Funny How Time Slips Away – Vocal Event of the Year
  • Mac McAnally – Musician of the Year

10:08 – The big narrative coming out of the 2017 CMA awards will be the incredible solidarity and unity everyone who attended, performed, and presented showed, while journalists and bosy bodies wanted to see the entire presentation disrupted by politics. Meanwhile outside, Sturgill Simpson in some way did that exact thing, but in an unusual way. I still want to let this sing in a little more before I share more thoughts. But most certainly, tomorrow many won’t be talking about who won, and some amazing performances by country’s top women in Carrie and Miranda, but the cultural impact of it all in this politically-charged environment.

All that said, obviously it was another huge night for Stapleton, and we can let the fact that it’s become so commonplace let us lose sight of its importance. Garth for Entertainer is anti-climatic, but still a win for more traditional, and older artists. And let’s face it, he wins when it comes to touring, and that’s what the Entertainer award has become, for better or worse. Also Brothers Osborne won two awards. But really the biggest moments were won by Miranda Lambert and her performance, and Carrie Underwood taking what some thought would be a weakish moment for the Las Vegas massacre victims, and hitting it absolutely out of the park like only someone who posses a singular voice can.

We also got an In Memoriam, and multiple tributes to fallen greats. Obviously there were plenty of bad performances, but overall, it was a better CMA Awards than most due to some iconic performances, and a refreshing amount of unity shown by all involved.

9:58 – Well damn folks, thanks for stopping by! I’m going to give some summation thoughts, recap the winners, and we’ll get out of here. Thanks to everybody for following along, commenting, tweeting, retweeting, liking and sharing!

9:57 – At least Alan Jackson takes us out, and with a sly country protest song.

9:55 – Man, it could have been Luke Bryan, but man … anti-climactic. Really felt like Stapleton or Eric Church deserved Entertainer more this year. It’s just another thing to collect dust for Garth.

9:54 – The CMA for Entertainer of the Year goes to Garth Brooks.

9:52 – Reba McEntire comes out to present Entertainer of the Year

9:48 – Wish the audio wasn’t so washed out at times, especially for Alan. It’s been worse tonight though.

9:46 – Alan Jackson comes out to sing “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” to represent this year’s Hall of Fame inductees. I want his coat.

9:43 – Just appreciate this folks, this is the THIRD Male Vocalist of the Year trophy for Stapleton from the CMA in a row. He also won Album of the Year tonight—the second time he won that award.

9:43 – The CMA for Male Vocalist of the Year goes to Chris Stapleton.

9:42- The woman singing with Eric Church was Joanna Cotton, one of his backup singers. Thanks Brandi Cough in the comments.

9:38 – Of course they save Alan Jackson for almost last so the trad country fans have to sit through everything else. Bastards.

9:36 – Not sure how I feel about this song selection from Eric Church. A little too jammy for an awards show, when you should try to be anthemic, and Church can pull it off anthemic so well. Not bad, just a little strange.

Who was that woman singing?

9:35 – Notice most every time Eric Church performs on these things, he tends to feature a female vocalist prominently.

9:33 – Yup. “I feel like there’s a family in this room right now,” Miranda syas. It appears that’s what everyone decided to say in their acceptance speech.

9:31 – Miranda Lambert won Female Vocalist. Just give it to her.

9:31 – Oh great, it’s Jimmie Johnson, reminding us how shitty NASCAR has become these days just like mainstream country.

9:28 – As opposed to some obsequious, mawkish adult contemporary ode to women, why don’t the CMAs and country music feature some actual women themselves?

I guess I give Keith Urban credit for the effort. But sorry. Pass.

9:24 – What was the point of that Dan + Shay, Lauren Alaina performance? I know we’re supposed to have a message of coming together, but it’s yet another pop song. The Youngbloods? There’s not a classic country song about coming together? I can names dozens.

9:23 – Faux hawk #17 & #18 courtesy of Dan + Shay.

9:21 – Normally I would be miffed that Jon Pardi got cast on the other stage. But I could give a shit about this song. Y’all can cut to commercial whenever you want. Should be singing “She Ain’t In It.” Saw what Miranda did when you’re bold?

9:19 – Is there ANY male performer tonight aside from Paisley and Stapleton that hasn’t rocked the faux hawk. Just like the music, it’s all the dam same.

9:18 – Hey y’all back off of Kane Brown, he had a hard life growing up. He often had to choose between buying food, or getting another neck tattoo.

9:17 – Your Saving Country Music alternative Vocal Group of the Year is Country Side of Harmonica Sam!

9:15 – Little Big Town: “Kindness is an attractive quality. We can change everything because of harmony.” So far as close as we’ve gotten to an “outspoken” moment.

9:13 – The CMA for Vocal Group of the Year goes to Little Big Town. Yawn

9:12 – PERFECT way to show respect to fallen country greats and those lost in the Las Vegas tragedy by Carrie Underwood. 10 out of 10. Bravo.


9:07 – I believe the name of this tune Carrie Underwood is singing is “Softly and Tenderly”. THIS is how they should have opened the presentation.

9:05 – Wow. Carrie Underwood comes out, singing a Gospel tune in a flowing white dress while images of lost country greats flicker in the background. Appreciate The CMAs usually don’t do this type of extended In Memoriam tribute. Plus we got decent tribute to the big ones who passed. Good on them for once. They should do this EVERY year.

8:59 – Still don’t know if we’re making enough of the Miranda Lambert performance. And it’s not just because it was country, or because it was Miranda Lambert. She knew what we didn’t—that she could get on the stage and kill that song, and make a “moment.”

8:57 – I just have no use for Maren Morris. And after 25 second of the hook of her current single, we get yet another performance from yet another pop star. A Hootie song, then a Pink song, and now this One Direction dude. Is this a country music awards show? I’d rather even pop country than straight up pop. The point of the CMAs is to promote COUNTRY music. To give so much air time to pop is like cutting your own legs out from under you, especially when the performers are better than some of the country ones. Basically you’re running an infomercial for folks to turn on KISS-FM.

Sorry for the rant.

8:54 – If Garth Brooks ends up winning Entertainer of the Year after his lip sync flub, it will be an embarrassment.

8:53 – That’s Dave Cobb playing with Stapleton, and Morgane is confirmed pregnant with twins.

8:52 – You know I love Stapleton, but this mid-tempo stuff all with the same instrumental lineup and production at some point is just going to get too tedious for folks to keep paying attention.

8:50 – Wow, now a Mac McAnally sighting. We’re being blessed with some actual country talent tonight.

8:45 – Brothers Obsborne was a shoo-in for this. Clearly the industry has taken the “anyone but Florida Georgia Line” stance. And finally one of my predictions comes true this year.

8:44 – The CMA for Vocal Duo of the Year goes to Brothers Osborne!

8:43 – Sugarland is still a thing?

8:42 – Holy shit, Jimmy Webb, an actual country musician, on stage.

8:41 – Little Big Town tends to annoy me, but they’re doing a really great tribute to Glen here. Classy.

8:38 – Little Big Town Comes out tributing Glen Campbell with “Wichita Lineman.”

8:37 – Okay folks, believe we solved all the latency problems and we’re back up and running full speeed for now!

8:33 – Garth Brooks, straight up lip syncing.

8:31- Sorry the site is loading slow for some and comments are getting stuck in moderation. We’re working diligently on it.

8:30 – Why have Pink just come out and sing a song without collaborating with a country artist? Where was Kenny Chesney? Extremely odd.

8:25 – Garth Brooks was lip syncing. More on this soon.

8:21 – Yes folks,  Sturgill crashed the CMA Awards by busking in front with his Grammys. Finished up a while ago. Will have a report on it soon.


8:16 – The CMA for Album of the Year goes to Chris Stapleton for “From A Room: Vol 1” !

8:12 – Nice! Brothers Osborne showing some love to the recently-passed Don Williams playing “Tulsa Time.”  There you go, Honky!

8:11 – Working through some severe latency folks. If the site goes down, it will be back up shortly. The price of popularity.

8:09 – Not the hugest Brothers Osborne fan, but this is SO much better than Florida Georgia Line. Is FGL even in the building?

8:06 – New best moment of the CMAs so far: miranda-lambert-2017-cma

8:01 – Warning guys, server got slammed big time after Miranda’s performance. If I lose you, I will re-connect shortly.

7:58 – Jon Pardi winning New Artist is a big win for the good guys. You could tell Pardi was getting emotional.

7:57 – The CMA for New Artist of the Year goes to Jon Pardi!

7:55 – Miranda Lambert tearing up during her performance. Man, was that spectacular. Miranda continues to impress as a leader in country music, for women, for real country, for songwriting, for everyone.

7:52 – “To Learn Her” might be Miranda Lambert’s most traditional country song of her entire career. Shows a lot of leadership to select this for her CMA performance. Along with being a great song, make no mistake about it, this is a big middle finger to the country music establishment.

7:46 – The only good thing about this shitty Luke Bryan cell phone love song is it’s been surprisingly weak in the charts and sales. Even his malleable fans are just meh on it.


7:43 – Oh fuck, here comes Luke Bryan.

7:42 – Reba’s outclassing Kelsea Ballerini on her own song. Kealsea’s just so smiley and well-adjusted it’s offensive.

7:41- Hot DAMN Reba McEntire looks good. Who would know she’s 84-years-old.

7:38 – Song of the Year and Single of the Year winners are pretty quizzical. Song of the Year should have gone to Miranda, and as hurt as it says, Sam Hunt probably deserved Single of the Year. There’s just no statement giving those awards to Keith Urban and Taylor Swift.

7:36 – Your Saving Country Music alternative Song of the Year is Jason Isbell’s “If We Were Vampires”

7:34 – Best CMA moment so far:


7:33 – Wow, I just feel bad for all these folks this sounds so shitty. So can see the folks in the crowd wincing. They know this was a washout. Troy Gentry deserved better.

7:32 – Thank god for little gifts, like Gary LeVox’s microphone being off when he’s trying to sing.  🙂

7:31 – Whose leg I gotta hump to get back the version of Dierks Bentley that Cody Canada named his first born after?

7:30 – Wow. Shitty sound for Dierks! Turn the feeders up dumbasses.

7:29 – Yes, TAYLOR SWIFT just won another CMA Award. That’s how desperate country music is for a defining style, and a pulse.

7:28 – Song of the Year goes to “Better Man,” written by Taylor Swift, and performed by Little Big Town.

7:27 – Have it on good authority that Karlie Kloss purged up her dinner of a Diet Coke and a Bagel Bite before making her way on stage. Someone get this waif a cheeseburger.

7:24 – Man I’m glad Merle Haggard didn’t live the day to see faux-hawked douchebags name dropping Coldplay in songs got face time on the CMAs. Thomas Rhett’s got so much nothing.

7:22 – The only good thing about Keith Urban winning Single of the Year is that Sam Hunt didn’t win. You have to take that as yet another big rebuke from the CMAs. The historic, landmark run of “Body Like a Backroad” pretty much demanded it should win this award, but Sam has never been a favorite of the CMAs. Even they know he’s taken “country” too far.

7:18 – Keith Urban, you’re 50-years-old now and your pubes are grey. Give this trend-chasing shit up.

7:17 – The CMA for Single of the Year goes to Keith Urban for “Blue Ain’t Your Color.”

7:16 – Brad Paisley “Pitch Perfect 3. Or as well know it, Auto-Tune.”

7:15 – These opening skits should never go more than 5 minutes, unless there’s more action. This is a perfect example why.

7:11 – Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as hosts. But this is starting to lose a little steam.

7:08 – Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood making fun of the rules to CMAs attempted to impose to keep politics out of the presentation. Paisley is pretty damn talented at peppering Zeitgeist humor.

7:04 – Is it me, or is Lady Antebellum like a bad, Gen X reboot of the Scooby Doo cast?

7:03 – So your idea of a “touching” moment is recycling a 20+ year-old Hootie song? Just reminds you what a carpetbagger Darius is. “Hey America, please watch for the next 3 hours. See, we’re really not actually country!”

7:01 – If anyone in the mainstream can pull off a poignant moment from the mainstream, it’s Eric Church. Not what you normally expect from an awards show opening. Usually it’s fireworks and lasers.

7:00 – Here we go!

6:58 – So all the talk about the opening performance is how it’s going to be “poignant” and “touching” and such, so just be aware we may keep the snark machine in idle position for the start of the show out of respect. We’ll see.

 6:50 –  Early winners so far are Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson’s duet of “Funny How Time Slips Away” for Vocal Event of the Year, and Brothers Osborne’s “It Ain’t My Fault” for Video of the Year. This is the first CMA Award for Glen Campbell in 49 years, and the first CMA category win for Willie Nelson in 15 years.

It could also mean a big night for Brothers Osborne, who’ve been regularly beating out Florida Georgia Line for Vocal Duo of the Year. Brothers Osborne is performing. Florida Georgia Line is not.

6:45 –  Some stuff from the red carpet: Jon Pardi confirmed he’s performing “Dirt On My Boots,” NOT his current single “She Ain’t In It.”

Also, Maddie & Tae said they will be cutting a new record in two weeks, for those that care.

Jon Pardi wore the (probably) only Nudie Suit on the red carpet:


Dan & Shay apparently got married, so congratulations to them!


Amanda Shires is rocking a shirt that says, “Mama wants to change that Nashville Sound,” quoting one of hubby Jason Isbell’s lyrics. If Isbell wins for Album of the Year, guessing Amanda will be the one to accept it?


I though Jay DeMarcus’s hair of Rascal Flatts fame was crazy. Appreciate this is a 46-year-old man….


….and then came along this dude. Have no clue who he is. He’s like a YouTube guy or something. Nice cardigan, dude.


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