Saving Country Music’s Official 2014 ACM Awards LIVE Blog

acm-awardsDearly beloved, welcome to the gathering of old souls and independent-minded country fans on the occasion of the ACM Awards to collectively commiserate and contemplate what the hell has happened to our fair genre known as country music as the pomp and circumstance of the ACM Awards transpire right before our shocked and disgruntled eyes. Be forewarned that all sense of decorum and courtesy will be tossed aside at moments in lieu of admittedly immature and reactionary snark delivered with little or no governor. This is a night to get small and speak our minds, while at the same time being willing to give credit to any glimmers of true talent or hope.

So get your refresh fingers ready, and feel free to chime in yourself below in the comments.

SCM’s 49th Annual ACM Awards Complete Preview

Recap of 49th ACM Awards Televised Winners:

  • Entertainer of the Year – George Strait
  • Album of the Year – Kacey Musgraves
  • Male Vocalist of the Year – Jason Aldean
  • Female Vocalist of the Year – Miranda Lambert
  • New Artist of the Year – Justin Moore
  • Single of the Year – “Mama’s Broken Heart” – Miranda Lambert & Songwriters
  • Song of the Year – “I Drive Your Truck” – Lee Brice & Songwriters
  • Vocal Duo of the Year – Florida Georgia Line
  • Vocal Group of the Year – The Band Perry

– – – – – – – – – – – –

10:15 – So my general, knee jerk reaction is that overall this was a pretty good night in the fight to save country music. Yes, there were some terrible, TERRIBLE performances by Florida Georgia Line, The Band Perry, and others, and there were some awards given out to unworthy recipients. But overall, when it came to the two big awards, Album of the Year and Entertainer of the Year, it went to the two candidates that touch on the preservation of traditional sound in country music, AND to pushing the genre forward with substantive and artistic merit. AND the Album of the Year going to Kacey Musgraves also helps with the positively awful showing of women right now when it comes to getting a fair shake on radio, or even from performance lineups of shows like this. Hey, Kacey Musgraves wasn’t even scheduled to perform or present an award, yet she walked away with one of the top prizes.

Yes, George Strait received a lot of fan and industry votes based on the fact that he’s quitting touring. But it’s a big win nonetheless, and can’t be overlooked.

The theme for the last half of 2013 seemed to be a sense of renewed hope for country music from many different occurrences, including George Straits Entertainer of the Year win from the CMA’s in November. The first half of 2014 however has been filled with some of the worst backsliding imaginable from country music’s top male performers. But tonight in many respects was a retrenching of the positivity. I understand some people might not see George Strait or Kacey Musgraves, or even Miranda Lambert’s surprising win for Song of the Year as anything special. But it is a step in the right direction. Things are changing. The good guys are winning. They won tonight, and they won at the Grammys and CMA’s. And there there wasn’t even as many douchebag performances that were used to at these award shows. For a time I thought my snark machine was broken, but in truth there just wasn’t much to laugh at. Taylor Swift won nothing. Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton walk away empty handed.

Radio continues to be a big challenge in the fight to save country music, but when it comes to these stupid award shows, the cream is rising, and generally speaking, the right people are winning. I am going to walk away with this with a much more positive attitude than I thought I was going to. The Justin Moore ineligibility issue is still a big hangup, and we’ll keep fighting that fight. But other important fights were won tonight.

10:01 – I’m gonna take a quick moment to some compose some final thoughts, recap the winners and such, and then we’ll call it a night, but THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by to follow along and participate! Thanks to all the folks leaving comments! All the retweets, favorites, and likes! I ain’t done yet….

9:59 – Arguably the first time a traditional country artist wins ACM Entertainer of the Year in 25 years, since George Strait won it in 1989. You could also start the watch at 13 years ago when Brooks & Dunn won.

9:58 – The ACM for Entertainer of the Year goes to George Strait!!!

9:57 – So LL Cool J is giving away the night’s biggest award? Dumb.

9:53 – Um, Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan just introduced¬† “Sheryl Crow!” and Dierks Bentley walks to the mic. I think this is a Sheryl duet, but still… Yeah, here she comes.

9:51 – I wish I could “Rewind” back to the time before Rascal Flatts were born so I could give their parents prophylactics and avoid this.

9:49 – Haven’t had the time to delve deep enough into the Kacey Musgraves win for Album of the Year, but obviously it was HUGE. Another big win for the good guys. Even if you don’t like Kacey, it’s hard not to see that this was the critical favorite besting the commercial projects.

9:46 – Merle Haggard awarded the ACM Crystal Milestone Award 4 years AFTER Taylor Swift won it in 2009.

9:44 – George Strait sings “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” and Miranda Lambert sings “Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down” as pictures of Merle set the backdrop. The songs are abbreviated, but we’ll take it.

9:43 – Garth Brooks gives a heartfelt introduction to the ACM’s tribute to Merle Haggard, who is celebrating his 77th birthday.

9:42 – “I just want to say I’m really proud to be a woman representing country music.” –Kacey Musgraves

9:40 – The ACM Award for Album of the Year goes to Kacey Musgraves !!!!

9:36 – Nuff said.


9:35 – I blew my sarcastic wad on hating Hootie doing this song 18 months ago. What’s up with all the rehashed hits on this damn show this year?

9:33 – Miranda Lambert wins the ACM for Female Vocalist of the Year.

9:31 – If Sheryl Crow wins Female Vocalist, I’m going on a paintball vandalism spree. Promise.

9:25 – Yes, child hunger sucks, but so does ConAgra. Give your money to people who need it, not to prop up corporations and their bleeding heart multi-million dollar ad campaigns. Sorry for the soapbox, but that was so transparent.

9:23 РYeah, yeah, bullies suck. But this songs is mawkish and pandering. Great songs convey their message with subtly and poetry.  This song is the type your cheeseball guidance counselor picks for the soundtrack for a school wide assembly.

9:20 – Hunter Hayes is one of those guys that’s so nice you hate his guts.

9:18 – The ACM for Vocal Group of the Year goes to The Band Perry.

9:17 – Once again Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gets face time, announcing that the next ACM Awards will be held at the Death Star–Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX, to celebrate the ACM’s 50th anniversary.

9:10 – Just hearing Bobby Bones speak makes my blood boil. By the way, he already won some radio personality pre-telecast award, despite this being his first year in the business.

9:08 – Holy shit, it’s a Toby Keith sighting! I thought he’d be at home right now rolling naked in a big pile of money.

9:06 – The ACM Award for Male Vocalist of the Year goes to Jason Aldean and for his excellent taste in accessorizing with the chain wallet and woman’s black shawl.

9:05 – All the explosions and aerial tricks were to take away from the fact that Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line together SUCKS ASS!

9:03 – AIDS watch on the elbow on that one Florida Georgia Line guy. Someone page a nurse with rubber gloves. Cleanup at the Mandalay Bay.

9:03 – Before they asked the guys from Nitro Circus to be a part of this performance, they asked members of David Allan Coe’s 1% Motorcycle Gang. They said they’d rather shit knives than even be in the same building with Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line.

9:01 – I spoke too soon…

8:59 – Once again we get an austere, decidedly NOT arena rock performance from an artist that’s known for them in Tim McGraw. We also have heard NO country rap, or country/EDM awfulness so far tonight. McGraw sings in front of a vintage-style mic, and is joined on stage by wife Faith Hill.

8:57 – Um Tim McGraw, you’re a little out-of-tune.

8:53 – For those counting at home, I’m three out of four on my predictions. My miss was for “Single of the Year”. Traditionally that goes to the commercial blockbuster, while Song of the Year is more for the critic’s favorite. The way it turned out, two critically-favorite songs won. Another win for the good guys.

8:50 – The ACM for Song of the Year goes to Lee Brice for “I Drive Your Truck”. Lee lets the songwriters talk. The ACM’s don’t and cut them off.

8:49 – The Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers makes the second appearance by a football personality on the night. There’s still some people in the back rows booing Jerry Jones.

8:46 – I don’t hate Miranda’s “Automatic” at all, but there’s some electronic crap going on here that really takes away from the performance. Sounds like they’ve just got it too high in the mix. I’ve also noticed a few performers fighting through the vocals getting washed out.

8:39 – VERY surprised “Mama’s Broken Heart” won for Single of the Year. I thought “Cruise” would run away with it. It also means that kudos go to songwriters Brandy Clark and Kacey Musgraves. Not a big fan of that song, but that is a big win for the good guys.

8:37 – The ACM for Single of the Year goes to Miranda Lambert for “Mama’s Broken Heart”.

8:35 – Forgettable performance from Jason Aldean, of a forgettable song.

8:32 – I really feel bad for Justin Moore because he probably does deserve an award, and you could tell it really meant something to him. He’s been snubbed like so many other artists because of mainstream country’s myopic perspective on superstar franchises.

8:31 – If you missed it before, here’s a breakdown of why Justin Moore was ineligible for New Artist of the Year:

8:27 – “I was beginning to think there was a height requirement,” says Justin Moore accepting his New Artist of the Year Award. Later he gets very emotional and begins to choke up.

8:26 – The ineligible Justin Moore wins the ACM for New Artist of the Year. Start the drums of war to beating.

8:24 – Seriously, I’d love to hear the Chipmunks version of that song and see Luke Bryan sail into the 14th row.

8:23 – Who’s leg I got to hump to get them to turn up the RPM’s on that record player stage and have Luke Bryan eat it on national television?

8:21 – Did Luke Bryan really just say, “Tryin’ to pour a little sugar in her Dixie cup”?

8:19 – Funny Tweet from Farce the Music : “Next year, Kip Winger will be a best new artist nominee”

8:15 – Interesting Note: Kip Moore is being sued by Mother Goose because “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck” rips off the cadence of “Hole in the Bottom of the Sea” (and targets the same demographic).

8:14 – Seriously, there’s kids starving in Japan, and Keith Urban can afford three drummers to play redundant beats. There was the douchebag arena rock performance we knew the ACMs were good for.

8:12 – Three drummers? Even the surviving members of the Grateful Dead right now are going, “Really?”

8:10 – Interesting note: Keith Urban’s new hairdo has the same exact distinguishing features as the chupacabra.

8:09 – Man, Stevie Nicks is looking amazing, but her face has got to have gone through more overhauls than the Obamacare site.

8:07 – ACM’s: “Hey Stevie Nicks, we’d love for you to perform on our show this year.” Stevie Nicks: “Sure! As long as you don’t pair me up with T-Swizzle. Last time she hit more wrong than a piano falling down a flight of stairs.”

8:06 – Once again we get a subdued, acoustic performance as Lady Antebellum and Stevie Nicks perform in the middle of the crowd on a small stage.

8:03 – The ACM for Vocal Duo of the Year goes to Florida Georgia Line. And water is wet.

8:00 – One hour in, and we get an award. AN AWARD!

7:59 – This Shakira girl doesn’t belong here, but she’s got an excellent voice. I’m a pretty big fan of her mid thigh-high boots and short sided skirt too.

7:57 – One hour, two Blake Shelton performances, including one with Shakira, yet not a one from a female solo performer.

7:50 – Surprisingly, they forgot to announce Justin Moore is completely ineligible for the New Artist of the Year award he’s up for for having two albums selling over 500,000 copies. More:

7:48 – Don’t love “Give Me Back My Hometown” but it’s one of the better ones on “The Outsiders”, and once again we get a fairly subdued performance. The images behind him come from a mini movie made for the album.

7:46 – Eric Church continues the theme of playing more substantive singles, deciding to play “Give Me Back My Hometown,” instead of “The Outsiders” or something else.

7:42 – So they couldn’t give Lee Brice a full performance, even though he’s nominated for Male Vocalist and Song of the Year? NOt a huge fan of that song, but still. C’mon Mike Curb, sacrifice a puppy to Satan or whatever you do wield your power and get your lone remaining superstar a full 2 1/2 minutes.

7:40 – Guy Ferrarri whips my ass. Doesn’t he have a TGI Fridays to open or a hair appointment to keep?

7:38 – Hey, we may be in for a reckoning later, but the first portion of this presentation is filled with heartfelt, subdued, underproduced, and surprisingly substantive performances.

7:37 – George Strait receives a standing ovation from the ACM crowd.

7:36 – Huh, so you can just stand in the center of the stage, and without pyrotechnics or hip hop gesticulations sing your song? King George Strait taking this pop country crowd to school.

7:33 – 33 Platinum records sold and 68 million records for George Strait Martina McBride says introducing him to the stage.

7:29 – By the way folks, DON’T VOTE for the ACM Awards. For once I agree with Kenny Chesney. Here’s why, bookmark and read later:

7:27 – Not really sure the point of that last segment. Boring song from Blake, and a 90-second performance from a no name. No awards, no dialogue. Then back to commercials. Guess we gotta appease those advertisers.

7:26 – The only thing worse than Florida Georgia Line is a Florida Georgia Line starter kit. Here’s looking at you Brett Eldredge.

7:23 – Nothing offensive about this Blake Shelton song, but I’m surprised how subdued it is for the first portion of a country awards show. Boring. Never heard of Gwen Sebastian in my life. Oh, okay, she a “The Voice” contestant. Yawn.

7:22 – Is it time for the Merle Haggard tribute yet?

How about now?

7:17 – Something else interesting about this Brad Paisley performance since the music isn’t: It was taped yesterday. I saw pictures of this from The Tennessean yesterday. Weird they would try to pass it off as live.

7:15 – That pool in this Brad Paisley performance is like a Petri dish for venereal disease. In this instance, what happens in Vegas follows you home.

7:12 – Interesting that Florida Georgia Line got relegated to the Mandalay Bay annex instead of the main stage, though they’ll probably perform later with Luke Bryan. This is the most I’ve heard from Brian Kelley (the Doogie Houser-looking one) in the history of FGL.

7:11 – Alright, that opening monologue had a couple moments. Wonder how budding country star Jamie Lynn Spears felt about that dig about her sis?

7:09 – Why yes Luke and Blake, we know they’re country music industry awards doled out not for merit, but from the result of shady backroom deals. The question is though, how did they get up there sideways?


7:07 – Jerry “Darth Vader” Jones gets booed by the ACM crowd. Shouldn’t he be sitting in the draft war room pouring over stats instead of grabbing TV face time?

7:05 – Notice Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan said “Are you ready for some great live music?” But said nothing about COUNTY music? Truth in advertising folks!

7:03 – When did Jackyl get a female singer?

7:02 – Good to see The Band Perry boys putting on a brave face here after the recent news that a a janitorial company is suing them because their hairdos violate one of their mop patents.

6:58 – I’m expecting nothing but a bad performance from The Band Perry starting off. The opening performance is all about saying, “Hey! We’re a country show, but we’re not that type of country. We’re young and cool and rockin’!” Their ACM performance last year was terrible. They were so swept up in their high-energy gesticulations, Kimberly Perry was out of breath, and they clearly played to a pre-recorded track.

6: 54 – As far as I’m concerned, the night hinges on two major awards: Entertainer of the Year, and Album of the Year. Everything else is pretty much preordained. In both categories, the swings could be huge. The front runners for Entertainer of the Year have to be considered George Strait and Luke Bryan, symbolizing the two polar opposites in country music. For Album of the Year, it is anybody’s guess. The field is completely open, but if there were two front runners, it would be Kacey Musgraves, the critical favorite, or Florida Georgia Line, the commercial blockbuster. Whichever wins could really set the flavor of the night, and the direction of country for months, or years to come. Who Wins album of the Year is HUGE.

6:50 – Things I’m looking forward to? Very little, but hopefully the Merle Haggard tribute is cool, and it’s especially cool it’s being held on his birthday. Also, despite being unbelievably tired of “Wagon Wheel,” if it wins it will mean ACMs for Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show, and Bob Dylan. Also a Kacey Musgraves win for Album of the Year, and/or a George Strait win for Entertainer of the Year could be bright moments in an otherwise bleak landscape.

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