Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the 2022 installment of the notorious and explosive Saving Country Music CMA Awards LIVE blog. As the presentation transpires, snark, thoughts, pointed remarks, keen observations, and probably a few swear words and errant typos will be presented in real time, so get your refresh fingers ready. Yes, there will be some fun at other people’s expense, so bring a thick skin, but we’ll also give credit where credit is due.
And of course, YOUR feedback and observations are always welcome, so please feel free to pipe up in the comments section.
To see all the CMA Awards nominees, CLICK HERE.
All Times Central Time.
Entertainer of the Year – Luke Combs
Female Vocalist of the Year – Lainey Wilson
Male Vocalist of the Year – Chris Stapleton
Album of the Year – Luke Combs – Growin’ Up
Single of the Year – Cody Johnson – “Til You Can’t”
Song of the Year – Jordan Davis – “Buy Dirt”
Vocal Group of the Year – Old Dominion
Vocal Duo of the Year – Brothers Osborne
Musical Event of the Year – Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde – “Never Wanted to Be That Girl”
Video of the Year – Cody Johnson – “Til You Can’t”
Musician of the Year – Jenee Fleenor
10:15 – Luke Combs said it best. The 2022 CMA Awards were the most country in years, and this continues a trend that started when Chris Stapleton shocked the CMA Awards in 2015. Yes, there’s still pop stuff and poor performances. But they’re now the exception, not the rule. I started doing these live bogs to help keep myself and others sane and to cope. Now there’s just as much to celebrate and be imp[ressed by as there is to complain about. Of course it’s not perfect. Of course the best of country music are still not even nominated. But the work true country fans have been doing since the apex of Bro-Country is paying off in ways we can see right in front of us. Lainey Wilson and Cody Johnson were two of the biggest winners of the night. Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt, Jason Aldean, et all were nowhere to be found. It’s a new era in country music, not just in the independent world, but in the mainstream. Who thought we’d be seeing Patty Loveless sing “Never Leave Harlan Alive,” or have measured praise for Kelsea Ballerini?
And make no mistake, the media was salivating over the idea of Morgan Wallen winning. And he didn’t. But the country music community also signaled that they’re not just going to shun him forever, but offer a path to forgiveness and understanding, while also opening up the stage to artists like The War and Treaty and Marcus King, who we never thought we’d see on the CMA Awards.
There were some lame moments of course. But overall, it was a good night full of tributes of past greats, good performances by newcomers, and COUNTRY music.
10:05 – Thanks everybody for stopping by! Thanks for commenting and sharing. I’m going to compose some final thoughts, run down the winners, and call it a night!
10:03 – Luke Combs, Chris Stapleton are the safe picks for big awards that won’t get people too excited or incensed. Would have been cool to see Miranda or Carrie win on a kind of weak year, but if you weren’t going to give it to the biggest artists in country music right now (Morgan Wallen), Combs was who it fell to.
But I gotta say, the fact that the 2nd biggest artist in country (Zach Bryan) wasn’t even mentioned tonight was a big mistake the industry will pay for with relevancy toward younger audiences.
9:59 – …and 1000 think pieces written pre-written about the embarrassment of the CMA making Morgan Wallen the Entertainer of the Year are now worthless.
“Country sounded a lot more country than it has in a long time tonight,” says Luke Combs. And he’s right.
9:56 – WINNER – The CMA for Entertainer of the Year goes to Luke Combs.
9:52 – It’s hard to know if it’s emotion, Alan Jackson’s issues with CMT (a syndrome he’s dealing with), or both. But he seemed genuinely touched to receive this award. Of course we know Alan Jackson has had a love/hate relationship with these awards shows, protesting what they did to George Jones, telling his drummer to play without sticks to tip off they were using a backing track, to walking out on Beyonce. But he seems truly gracious here.
9:49 – “I came to Nashville with nothing. Carrie called it three chords and the truth. It was more like three chords and a prayer. I loved country music. I wanted to carry it on, the kind that I love.”
9:47 – We have to appreciate that with this Alan Jackson tribute, this presentation has probably been half to 2/3rds actual country music this year. Each year since about 2015, country music has become more country, and the CMAs have followed suit.
9:46 – Glad they’re letting Alan Jackson actually sing too. Lainey killed “Neon Rainbow.”
9:41 – Dierks Bentley, Lainey Wilson, and Jon Pardi singing “Chatahoochee.” Let’s see if somebody has the balls to sing “Murder on Music Row.”
9:40 – If you’ve been fighting through the last 2 hours and 40 minutes for the Alan Jackson tribute, you’ve made it.
9:34 – Elle King is a lot.
9:32 – Kind of surprised that Herman Munster-looking Patrick Carney of The Black Keys didn’t get cancelled. You cheat on the twice hot Michelle Branch while she’s pregnant so she slaps you, and SHE’S the one who ends up in the slammer?
9:30 – Chris Stapleton is the safe, easy pick, and probably means that Morgan Wallen has less of a chance to win Entertainer of the Year.
9:29 – WINNER – The CMA for Male Vocalist of the Year goes to Chris Stapleton.
9:27 – No bigger Stones fan than me, and I know they have a tribute album coming up. But it’s going to feel weird if we get this, and no tribute to Naomi Judd, or an In Memorian segment. Then again, this was just an opportunity to feature The War and Treaty, and that’s a pretty good excuse.
9:25 – I know The War & Treaty aren’t straight down the middle country, but they are also straight fire. If there was ever an Americana act worthy of crossing over to mainstream country, it would be them. And now that they’re signed to a major label, it just might happen.
9:21 – Looks like Lainey Wilson might have a massive night after all. Winning Female Vocalist means you’re a top tier star. Hopefully folks now go and pay attention to her album, which debuted at #12. Along with Carly Pearce, country music has a new crop of top women, and they are country.
9:20 – Sorry folks, tons of load on the server at the moment. If the site goes down, we’ll get it back up shortly.
9:19 – WINNER – The CMA for Female Vocalist of the Year goes to Lainey Wilson.
9:16 – Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie. What is this? Where is Ryan Seacrest?
9:15 – Got to tip your hat to the CMA for putting this into the presentation. Right now, it’s the revitalization of the sound from the Country Music Highway where Patty Loveless, Chris Stapleton, Childers, Sturgill, and so many more are from that is fueling the country music revolution, and it was ravaged in the floods. And this wasn’t a 90-second snippet. This was one of the longest performances of the evening.
It was also the best.
9:10 – Oh my word. Patty Loveless, Mrs. Coal herself, singing “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” with Chris Stapleton is just about as good as it gets. This is worth the 3-hour commitment to watching this show all unto itself.
9:09 – So they’re going to mention the Kentucky Rising benefit, but not mention Tyler Childers and Dwight Yoakam who also were a big part of it with Chris Stapleton? They’ll do everything to avoid Childers.
9:05 – Lainey Wilson has one of those accents you can’t fake, but many try.
8:59 – As much satisfaction as it gives me to think the political functionaries on Twitter are writhing like possessed demons in The Exorcist at the mere presence of Morgan Wallen on the CMA stage, “You Proof” is click track trash, and makes me wish he would get the party end of his mullet caught in a dangerous piece of industrial machinery.
8:57 – Big win for Lainey Wilson is a super strong field that should have also included Zach Bryan.
8:56 – “This one is for that 9 year old girl that wrote her first song, and knew this is what she wanted to do.”
“It’s for the ones who believed in me, and a little bit for the ones who didn’t.”
8:55 – WINNER – The CMA for New Artist of the Year goes to Lainey Wilson.
8:54 – Kelly Clarkson can make a country album any time. Instead we get Nelly and Diplo trying to cross over.
8:52 – This Kealsea Ballerini, Carly Pearce, Kelly Clarkson collab at bad. Great three-part harmonies, some steel guitar in the background.
8:50 – Bring back Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley as hosts. Not one of these Peyton/Luke jokes have landed.
8:47 – Important to note that the camera found Maren Morris, who was up for Album of the Year. She had said a couple of months ago that she did not feel comfortable going to the CMA Awards. Apparently they coaxed her into the room.
8:45 – Again, Luke Combs is hard to not root for, but Growin’ Up felt flat to me. Album of the Year? It was an extremely weak field this year. I guess someone had to win it. I would have probably picked Miranda Lambert or Lainey Wilson.
8:44 – WINNER – The CMA for Album of the Year goes to Luke Combs for Growin’ Up.
8:43 – What is it about Keith Urban these days that makes me fear he wants to eat my soul?
8:40 – The worst part of Hardy is Hardy. The Clark Kent sunglasses and the bad radio singles. And the fact that he knows better and can write great songs if/when he wants to, like “Wait in the Truck.” Yeah, the story is pretty implausible. But it actually has a story, and is a hit song on radio featuring an incredible collaborator in Lainey Wilson. I just can’t hate on this.
8:38 – Good on Luke Bryan for mentioning the passing of Jeff Cook. I still want an In Memorian segment though.
8:36 – Thanks to everyone commenting below. I’m reading when I can. We’re halfway through!
8:32 – Katy Perry and Thomas Rhett need to take the lite R&B shit back to the adult contemporary side of the dial.
8:31 – Doesn’t Katy Perry have an inflatable shark to hump somewhere? What the hell is she doing on a country awards show?
8:31 – Thomas Rhett is the most normcore, nondescript human in history. You might as well have a slice of Wonder bread with the crust cut off by your mommy up there singing right now.
8:29 – Huge win for Cody Johnson, and for a deserving song. Johnson could have a huge night here.
8:28 – WINNER: The CMA for Single of the Year goes to Cody Johnson for “Til You Can’t.”
8:27 – This is the way I like my Tyler Hubbard: Presenting, not singing. What a fall from grace for Florida Georgia Line.
8:26 – Holy shit! Marcus King! He just made me pull my hammy playing air guitar on the top of my couch.
8:24 – Man, Zac Brown Band still can slap whenever they want. But ever since he was rapping about Patrick Swayze and Veyron whips over drum loops, it’s just hard to take him too seriously.
8:22 – The CMAs love their behind-the-scenes executives barely anybody knows or cares about. The Country Music Hall of Fame is full of them, while Dwight Yoakam and Tanya Tucker are on the outside looking in.
8:21 – Carly Pearce may have the performance of the night so far.
8:18 – Dude, they literally gave Breland the opportunity to introduce/star in a fucking Chevy truck commercial. How demeaning. I honestly feel sorry for him.
8:16 – This Urkel-looking dude Breland has about as much chance of becoming an actual country star as Beto O’Rourke has of being Texas Governor after he promised to come for your guns. Quit trying to make him a thing.
8:16 – Sonya Isaacs too.
8:15 – Damn, we got a Ricky Skaggs guitar solo on this thing.
8:13 – Carly Pearce is saving country music. Here she’s singing her Loretta Lynn tribute, “Dear Miss Loretta,” and with Kentuckian Ricky Skaggs backing her. Pretty sure that’s Jeneee Fleenor on fiddle too.
8:12 – I mess with some Carly Pearce.
8:06 – HINT Luke Bryan: If you got to tell everyone how country you are, you’re probably not country. And that wasn’t patriotism welling up inside of me when I was watching that performance, it was bile.
8:04 – Will give Old Dominion credit for mentioning Jeff Cook and Alabama, who were probably the most successful country group in history. May be the only hat tip Jeff Cook gets tonight.
8:03 – Just appreciate we live in a country music world with Mike and the Moonpies, Turnpike Troubadours, Whiskey Myers out their setting the world on fire and a group of dudes who look like Crypto-selling douche creeps in Old Dominon just won the CMA Vocal Group of the Year.
8:01 – WINNER – The CMA for Vocal Group of the Year goes to Old Dominion.
7:55 – So apparently Wynonna thought she was at the CMT Awards. No wonder she looked so unhappy.
7:53 – Luke Combs is always not bad, sometimes okay, occasionally good, and never great. He’s hard to not root for with his everyman thing. But you always want more from him. This song and performance is fine. I will forget about it five minutes from now.
7:51 – Nothing says country like a pyrotechnics show. We knew the first 20 minutes of this thing was a mirage.
7:49 – Watching Carrie Underwood perform in an evening gown in tribute to Loretta was good. But it’s not an awards show if she doesn’t show off her gams that can crush bowling balls.
Don’t care for this performance though. She does best live with ballads. Not rehashed hair metal.
7:44 – At this point Vocal Duo is Brothers Osborne’s to lose indefinitely, kind of like how Brooks & Dunn was for a decade-plus. Dan + Shay who?
7:42 – WINNER – Brothers Osborne wins for Vocal Duo of the Year
7:40 – Goodness. Wynonna’s frown face says it all. What an awkward moment as festive music plays behind her. Someone didn’t read the room here on the production crew.
7:37 – I don’t know who Geraldine is, but I would watch out. Miranda comes across as one who will throw your tossed salad in your face and hit the pavement before the po-po roll up.
7:36 – Cool to see Jeannie Seely get some pub introducing a Miranda Lambert performance. Would be even more cool if they let her sing.
7:34 – No joke, the internet is EXPLODING right now with tons of late teens, early 20s country fans wondering why the hell Zach Bryan is not on this thing. Not booking him at least as a presenter or something was a catastrophic move by the CMAs.
7:31 – They should have bailed out on the Cole Swindell song, and launched into Jo Dee Messina’s, “My Give a Damn’s Busted.”
7:30 – If the girl in this Cole Swindell song is a 90s country fan, what the fuck is she doing hanging out with Cole Swindell’s weak ass?
7:29 – My general countenance watching Cole Swindell:
7:28 – This Cole Swindell “Heads Carolina” performance would be the perfect time for Will Smith and his spring-loaded slapper to randomly dart out of the crowd and rip someone across the crooner.
7:27 – I’ll say this. “Buy Dirt” is not as bad as I want it to be. Would have much preferred “Never Wanted To Be That Girl” or “Things A Man Oughta Know.” But this was a surprisingly strong field.
7:26 – WINNER – The CMA for Song of the Year goes to Jordan Davis for “Buy Dirt”
7:23 – Damn Cody. Dude knows how to deliver a song.
7:22 – Cody Johnson is a sleeper to have a huge night. He’s also up for New Artist of the Year and Single of the Year. Before Zach Bryan started blowing up, he was really the guy blowing up in country this year, esp. off the power of “Til You Can’t.”
7:20 – Damn, a real cowboy hat on the CMA Awards stage. And another real country song with steel guitar and fiddle in Cody Johnson’s “Til You Can’t,” which already won Video of the Year. Yeah, it’s not Merle Haggard, but it’s hard to not root for Cody Johnson.
7:15 – 15 minutes in, and all we’ve heard so far is classic country music, and at the very start of the show. This isn’t the 2013 CMA Awards. Things are truly changing.
7:14 – I want to like the Pillbox Patti bit, but the electronic garbage on her record was a turn off.
7:13 – Super awesome Ashley McBryde and her new Lindeville project gets prime time placement here, but slightly lame they’re playing the one cover from the project. Still, with Brandy Clark, Brothers Osborne, Hammack, Pillbox Patti, and Brothers Osborne, this is some of the best of the mainstream on display.
7:11 – None of these monologue jokes are landing. The comp % is worse than Eli Manning in an NFC Championship game.
7:10 – Gotta love that Alan Jackson didn’t even bother to shave for this thing.
7:09 – Since we’re doing football analogies, Peyton Manning can blame CTE and concussions for being slow. What’s Luke Bryan’s?
7:08 – Wait, so our generation’s Gomer Pyle and the dude who made out with Papa John at mid field when his defense won him a Super Bowl are the ones hosting the CMA Awards? This is going to be a longer night than waiting for Midterm results.
7:05 – Now Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and Reba are singing a full version of “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” You really can’t complain about this start to the CMAs. Classic country music goodness here.
7:03 – As great as this Loretta Lynn tribute is, I would prefer one or two heartfelt full song performances as opposed to the medley of hits.
7:02 – Holy butt, the CMA Awards start with an actual country song (“You Ain’t Woman”), and a bona-fide steel guitar on stage. Miranda Lambert now singing “Don’t Com Home ‘A Drinkin'” … and the folks who tuned in to see Morgan Wallen tractor rapping are wondering what the hell is going on with this bumpkin’ shit.
7:01 – The presentation starts with vintage footage of Loretta Lynn accepting the CMA Entertainer of the Year. This is the 50th anniversary of Loretta Lynn becoming the first woman to win the CMA for Entertainer of the Year in 1972.
7:00 – And here we go!
6:49 – WINNER – Musician of the Year – Jenee Fleenor (fiddle)
This is Jenee Fleenor’s fourth consecutive win going back to 2019. Steel guitarist Paul Franklin has now been officially nominated 30 times, and never won.
6:45 – Early winners include:
Musical Event of the Year – Ashley McBryde and Carly Pearce – “Never Wanted to Be That Girl”
Video of the Year – Cody Johnson – “Til You Can’t”
A couple of wins for the good guys here to prime the pump.
6:40 – Some of what to expect:
The presentation will start off with a tribute to Loretta Lynn. There will also be tributes to Jerry Lee Lewis, Alan Jackson, and The Rolling Stones. Though it’s easy to cast off the CMAs as only pandering to pop country audiences, with the way the younger generation ignores television entirely, they’ve been trying to appeal to older audiences more and more over the last few years. So far though, there’s no word on a tribute to Naomi Judd. Let’s see if we even get an In Memoriam segment, which the CMAs have preempted in recent years.
Along with the usual suspects performing, there are some folks from the more independent/Americana side of music performing as well, including Marcus King, The War and Treaty (who just released an EP), and The Black Keys.