Murder ballads are indelible part of country music history, from the earliest recording from The Carter Family, all the way to today with Ashley McBryde’s latest radio single “Martha Divine.” The roots of murder ballads go back to before country music was a commercial enterprise.
The 2020 CMA Awards will transpire on Wednesday, November 11th (make sure to follow along with Saving Country Music’s LIVE blog), and this year it will be a tribute heavy affair. Tributes, remembrances, and the marking of anniversaries will be a big part of the presentation.
Brian Kelley, Carrie Underwood, Charley Pride, Charlie Daniels, Chris Stapleton, CMA Awards, Darius Rucker, Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, Joe Diffie, Kenny Rogers, Lee Brice, Luke Combs, Mac Davis, Miranda Lambert, Tyler Hubbard
Many gave credit to Garth Brooks for taking himself out of contention, and you can’t blame him personally for voters awarding him the CMA Entertainer of the Year. But there’s still some bad blood out there coming from many in the country community, including Miranda Lambert, apparently.
Despite George Strait officially retiring from full-time touring in 2014—a commitment he’s actually stuck to unlike other superstars, only playing sporadic stadium shows and limited-run Las Vegas residencies—Strait surprisingly walked away with Billboard’s “Top Country Tour” award.
It’s one of the most common criticisms of today’s mainstream country music: all the songs sound the same and say the same basic things. But is this true, or is it more of a stereotype? And are country lyrics improving as the mainstream continues to veer away from the Bro-Country era?
Look, lobbying for Carrie Underwood among the classic country crowd has always been an uphill battle. But the career of Carrie Underwood is a perfect example of why you can’t paint all pop country with the same broad brush.
Just remember, “It’s only the ACM Awards.” It’s just disappointing that one of their best presentations in perhaps a decade or more—and under difficult circumstances—had to be sullied at the very end by a silly and avoidable decision.
Remember, it’s just the ACM Awards. Less prestigious than the CMAs, and more susceptible to bloc voting and other dubious practices than most any other awards apparatus in country music and beyond, think of it more as a performative infomercial for the mainstream of country music.
From 2008 to 2018, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood hosting the CMAs together was one of the few bright spots on a presentation that otherwise offered you a steady diet of bad pop country being crammed down your throat. They won’t be hosting the CMAs again, but they are pairing up for the Grand Ole Opry Saturday night.
Another quality lineup will grace the Grand Ole Opry stage Saturday night, August 22nd as mainstream traditionalist Jon Pardi, upstart singing trio Runaway June, and Grand Ole Opry member Pam Tillis will help keep the circle unbroken by performing and streaming live from the Opry House in Nashville.
This week, Maddie & Tae’s “Die From A Broken Heart” finally made it to #1 on the country radio charts. It is a major accomplishment, and a long-fought battle for a song that was originally revealed to fans all the way back in the fall of 2018, and not released as a proper single to radio until May 6th, 2019.
Once again Garth is being Garth, which means ultimately he’s probably doing the right thing and making a good choice. He’s just doing it in the most self-gratifying of ways. His heart is 100% in the right place. But his ego won’t allow him to make an altruistic move without letting everyone else know what he’s doing.
The song Florida Georgia Line played a snippet of appeared to have the title of “Feels Good.” But apparently Carrie Underwood was not feeling good about any of it. Underwood never replied or even addressed the duo’s proposal publicly, which left many speculating if Carrie had snubbed them.
As tax season approaches and we get the opportunity to tie a bow around the doings of 2019, it’s always interesting to look back on the year at the Grand Ole Opry to see which performing members are paying their proper dues to country music’s most historic institution, and which one’s aren’t.
Alan Jackson, Barbara Mandrell, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Chris Janson, Dan Rogers, Dustin Lynch, Gene Watson, Grand Ole Opry, Hal Ketchum, Kelsea Ballerini, Loretta Lynn, Lorrie Morgan, Luke Combs, Patty Loveless, Reba McEntire, Rhonda Vincent, Ronnie Milsap, Stonewall Jackson, Tom T. Hall
Like someone with the Coronavirus coughing in your face, here come the 2020 ACM Awards nominations. With Maren Morris and Thomas Rhett leading the pack of nominees with five nominations each, Justin Bieber receiving three nominations, you might as well be getting news from the local doctor where you’re quarantine station is located.
Sorry to barge in on all your Holiday revelry, but the news just came down that Carrie Underwood won’t be returning to host the CMA Awards in 2020, which she’s done for the last dozen years. And yeah, it kind of feels like a thing that’s worth remarking on.
Well well, it’s getting chippy out there after Eric Church and others lost the 2019 CMA Entertainer of the Year honor to Garth Brooks. At Eric Church’s show at The Anthem in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, November 16th, he was singing a rendition of “Are You Sure Hank Done It His Way” by Waylon Jennings, changing the lyrics to lash out at Garth.
As an addendum to all of the brewhaha last week surrounding Garth Brooks winning the 2019 CMA Entertainer of the Year over Carrie Underwood, a little context is perhaps needed. Though Stan armies love to war back and forth, behind the scenes things are often a lot more moderate and congenial.
On the day after the CMA Awards, it’s always important to take a deep breath, and remind yourself, “It’s just the CMA’s.” But it does feel important to address what turned out to be the biggest controversy Wednesday night, which was Garth Brooks winning Entertainer of the Year over Carrie Underwood.
Amanda Shires, Ashley McBryde, Brandi Carlile, Carrie Underwood, Charley Pride, CMA Awards, Dolly Parton, Eric Church, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Hootie and the Blowfish, Jenee Fleenor, Kacey Musgraves, Kelsea Ballerini, Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire
Eric Church’s latest album Desperate Man will win the CMA Album of the Year in 2019, beating out Thomas Rhett’s Center Point Road, Dan + Shay’s self-titled release, Girl by Maren Morris, and Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty. This is the bold prediction Saving Country Music is putting out there right here and now.
Carrie Underwood will win the 2019 CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year when it is handed out on November 13th, 2019. Mark it down. She will beat out Chris Stapleton, Keith Urban, Garth Brooks, and Eric Church for the top prize of the night. This isn’t necessarily an endorsement, nor is it any kind of rebuke. It’s simply a prediction.
Look, the semi controversy over the CMAs choosing to replace Brad Paisley as the long-time host in 2019 with Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire is water under the bridge at this point. But it is kind of amusing that the CMAs and ABC recently announced that Brad Paisley will be getting his own television special later this season.
In many respects, the CMAs did that this year with their 2019 nominations, or at least better than many years. But the Album of the Year nominations were especially easy to pick apart in 2019. The biggest reason to second guess these nominations is that this current awards shows cycle has been exceptional for excellent mainstream albums.
Many pop artists want to be included in country these days through collaborations or remixes to skim some of those fans off for themselves. But country music should be careful of continuing to allow this to happen. The music world was much better when pop was too sugary for country, and country was to corny for pop.