The 2023 CMA Awards LIVE Blog

Welcome everyone to the notorious Saving Country Music CMA Awards LIVE blog. As the 2023 presentation transpires, snark, keen observations, earned praise, and probably a few swear words and errant typos will be presented in real time. Yes, there will be some fun at other people’s expense, so bring a thick skin.

YOUR feedback and observations are welcome as well, so please feel free to pipe up in the comments section below.

To see all the CMA Awards nominees, CLICK HERE.

WARNING: Language
All Times Central Time.


Entertainer of the Year – Lainey Wilson
Female Vocalist of the Year – Lainey Wilson
Album of the Year – Lainey Wilson’s Bell Bottom Country
Musical Event of the Year – “wait in the truck” – HARDY (feat. Lainey Wilson)
Music Video of the Year – “wait in the truck” – HARDY (feat. Lainey Wilson)
Male Vocalist of the Year – Chris Stapleton
Single of the Year – “Fast Car” – Luke Combs
Song of the Year – “Fast Car” – Tracy Chapman
Vocal Duo of the Year – Brothers Osborne
Vocal Group of the Year – Old Dominion
New Artist of the Year – Jelly Roll
Musician of the Year – Jenee Fleenor

10:21 – Obviously, the big story form the 2023 CMA Awards is Lainey Wilson. As far as the presentation overall, it felt rather pedestrian with a lot of slow songs and ballads making up most of the performances. Lainey Wilson was an exception to that, but it’s hard to call her performance memorable either. The awards and winners also felt predictable and pedestrian. Brothers Osborne again, and Old Dominion again. Kudos to Tracy Chapman for winning Song of the Year, but that was about the only thing aside from Lainey that raised a blip.

Don’t conflate that with this night being “bad” though. This is a much better alternative to one Bro-Country act taking the stage after another.

How can a woman that is just now starting to try and sell out amphitheaters walk away with Entertainer of the Year? Isn’t this supposed to mostly be a touring award? The CMAs and country music were sending a message, and that message has so many tentacles, it will take a dedicated article to run them all down. But in the interim, Lainey Wilson is what you need to know about the 2023 CMA Awards. Country music has a new Queen, and that Queen is country.

10:05 – Thanks everyone for stopping by! Super sorry about all of the technical issues. I’m going to compose some final thoughts, run down the winners, lick my wounds, and get out of here.

9:58 – Wow, SHOCKING win for Lainey Wilson as Entertainer of the Year, but nobody better say it’s not deserved. Arguably nobody deserves it more in country, because nobody is more country than Lainey Wilson in the mainstream. It’s a new day for women, and a new day for country in country music.

9:52 – WINNER – Lainey Wilson is the SHOCKING 2023 Entertainer of the Year.

9:45 – WINNER – Chris Stapleton wins the 2023 CMA Male Vocalist of the Year.

9:44 – Not even Little Big Town could ruin that performance of “Delta Dawn.”

9:42 – Damn, Tanya Tucker looks great, and sounds great singing “Delta Dawn.” Charlie McCoy playing with her on harmonica.

9:33 – I’m all for Post Malone’s foray into country music. But I wish they would have picked some more meaningful material others than Joe Diffie’s gimmick songs to do this to. It feels like a missed opportunity.

9:31 – Wow, Moragn Wallen and HARDY comes out to sing Joe Diffie’s “John Deere Green” and a SUPER PITCHY. Hope Diffie ain’t paying attention up there.

9:29 – Lainey Wilson dedicates the win to “all the little girls” and “ladies who blaze trails.”

9:28 – WINNER – The winner of the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year is Lainey Wilson.

9:24 – Carly Pierce comes out with Chris Stapleton singing “We Don’t Even Fight Anymore.” One of many really meaningful, and really slow ballads, which has been a theme of the night.

9:23 – We FINALLY might be getting all the issues with the website resolved folks. So sorry about this. Record levels of traffic just shut everything down. Was not expecting this.

9:21 – CORRECTION: It was the Zac Brown Band behind Zac Brown and Alan Jackson. The CMA said it would be the Coral Reefers, but something must have happened.

9:15 – Lainey Wilson is now poised to have a massive night.

9:14 – You hear Lainey Wilson talk, and you know she’s country.

9:13 – WINNER – The 2023 CMA for Album of the Year goes to Lainey Wilson for Bell Bottom Country.

9:12 – Paula Abdul looks like an ailing United States Senator.

9:10 – Megan Moroney is surprisingly country for the platinum blonde Barbie Doll image she sports. I feel like people might give her the credit she deserves due to superficial reasons.

9:08 – I like my Megan Maroney without the side of Old Dominion. Do the producers think Megan can’t hold the room by herself? She’s one of the hottest new artists in country. Old Dominion’s an anchor, not a buoy.

8:59 – Now Alan Jackson and Zac Brown take the stage to play Margaritaville. I hope I never ever for the rest of my life have to see Zac Brown in shorts again.

8:55 – Kenny Chesney and Mac McAnally come out with acoustic guitars to tribute Jimmy Buffett with “A Pirate Looks at 40.” McAnally regularly played and collaborated with Buffett.

8:52 – Sorry folks, the 2023 CMA LIVE blog is a victim of its own success. So many folks trying to access the site, it’s bogging down. All hands on deck trying to fix it.

8:50 – Jelly Roll shouts out Zach Bryan as the “hottest thing in country music.” Zach is actually in the house. He then gives a Shake Shack snake preacher sermon about winning “new artist” at 39.

8:49 – WINNER – Jelly Roll wins the 2023 CMA New Artist of the Year.

8:48 – The dudes in Lady Antebellum look like henchmen for Sam Bankman-Fried.

8:44 – The War & Treaty are a great example of country soul that the CMA and the entirety of country music should embrace. No clue how when we have The War & Treaty and Midland out there, Old Dominion and Brothers Osborne have a lock on the Duo and Group of the Year awards.

8:37 – Kelsea Ballerini still has a way to go to get “good.” But she’s been going in the right direction with her last couple of releases. “Leave Me Again” is good writing, and shows off her range much better than her pop past performances.

8:35 – Behind-the-scenes tidbit: Instead of CMA presenters using a teleprompter this year, they’re just writing out all the scripts across Jelly Roll’s face on the front row.

8:33 – Dan + Shat need to pull a Florida Georgia Line and fold.

8:31 – Yay, Patty Loveless! Get her back up on the stage. She killed it last year with “Never Leave Harlan Alive.”

8:25 – This Winter the Opryland resort is renting Lainey Wilson’s keister as a sled hill for the kiddos.

8:23 – Cool setting for Lainey Wilson’s up-tempo performance of “Wildflowers and Wild Horses.” It shows off more of Lainey’s rock side than her country one. I guess you go with the new single as opposed to the 3-week #1 “Watermelon Moonshine.”

8:20 – The broken record of Old Dominion winning this award every single year is quickly becoming an embarrassment of the CMA. Midland or someone else can’t even win this once? What is going on here? Whose leg is Old Dominion humping?

8:18 – WINNER – The 2023 CMA Vocal Group of the Year is Old Dominion.

8:14 – Jordan Davis is hard to hate. He’s quietly putting together a quality catalog of mainstream country songs. This “Next Thing You Know” song isn’t raising my pulse or anything, but if it came on the radio, I wouldn’t be reaching for the dial.

8:07 – I believe that is Paul Franklin on steel guitar behind Stapleton. He got screwed out of Musician of the Year once again.

8:05 – “White Horse” might be the best song of Chris Stapleton’s career. It leans into all of his strengths. It’s not exactly “country,” but it’s damn powerful.

8:02 – Charlie Worsham photo bombing Luke Bryan ahead of the Chris Stapleton performance. Would rather see him on the stage.

8:01 – So Luke Combs’ version of “Fast Car” just won two major awards, and he’s performing, “Out Where The Wild Things Are”?

8:00 – Sorry for all the problems folks, I think we just got them all fixed.

7:49 – “Man Made a Bar” does nothing for me. A strange, pedestrian track to pick for an awards show performance.

7:48 – Eric Church is performing with Morgan Wallen. CANCEL HIM!!!

7:46 – Folks, we’re having catastrophic issues with the website at the moment. We’re trying to get them hashed out. Sorry of all the issues.

7:45 – WINNER – The 2023 CMA for Vocal Duo of the Year goes to Brothers Osborne … surprising nobody.

Was hoping they’d pick The War & Treaty. Thought they might have a chance this year.

7:39 – Cody Johnson’s new album Leather is surprisingly excellent. “The Painter” feels a little pedestrian as a radio single, but a solid performance here, and you have to give Cody Johnson credit for pushing quality songs and challenging the mainstream country audience.

7:28 – Really enjoy Ashley McBryde’s “Light On In The Kitchen,” but The Devil I Know I think failed to make the splash we all wanted it to.

7:25 – Luke Bryan told me to kiss his ass, and I couldn’t be more proud after watching this medley of the worst songs from his career.

7:22 – Tracy Chapman becomes the first Black woman to win a CMA Award via the Luke Combs version of “Fast Car” winning the 2023 CMA Song of the Year.

7:19 – WINNER – The 2023 CMA Song of the Year goes to Tracy Chapman for “Fast Car.”

7:18 – Hey folks, having some connectivity issues. We’re working on them.

7:13 – Luke Combs: “First off, thanks to Tracy Chapman for writing the greatest song of all time.”

FYI, this CMA doesn’t officially go to Tracy Chapman. If “Fast Car” wins Song of the Year, that would be an award for Chapman.

7:12 – WINNER – The CMA for Single of the Year goes to “Fast Car” by Luke Combs

7:11 – Who’s Parker MacKallum, Peyton?

7:10 – I thought the Writers Strike was over. According to this monologue, it’s still ongoing.

7:05 – Luke Bryan is the Cooper Manning of country music.

7:04 – With that new haircut, Morgan Wallen looks like he should be looking for the basement of the Alamo.

7:03 – Wynonna shows up to duet with Jelly Roll on “Need a Favor,” giving this performance a prayer of being good.

In all seriousness, this is one of Jelly Roll’s “not bad” songs.

Told you there would be a bunch of Gospel stuff tonight.

7:01– The 2023 CMA Awards open with a commercial for Ozempic. Oh wait, this is a Jelly Roll performance.

7:00 – Here we go!

6:50 – Expect a lot of Gospel elements and moments of “unity” from the CMAs this year according to the buzz coming out of rehearsals and the press. If it’s anything like the 2022 CMA Awards, it might be harder to find things to be snarky about compared to previous years. The CMAs have been trending in a more positive direction. We’ll have to see if 2023 holds up to that trend.

6:48 – Early winners include:

Musical Event of the Year – “wait in the truck” – HARDY (feat. Lainey Wilson)
Music Video of the Year – “wait in the truck” – HARDY (feat. Lainey Wilson)
Musician of the Year – Jenee Fleenor

Obviously with Lainey Wilson winning two awards already and being up for seven more, she’s primed to have a major night.

6:45 – A few of the things we can most anticipate: There will be a tribute to Jimmy Buffett performed by Alan Jackson, Zac Brown Band, Mac McAnally, and Buffett’s Coral Refer band. Post Malone will also be performing with Morgan Wallen in HARDY in what is being touted as a “classic country medley.” There is some indication that medley might be of either Joe Diffie songs, or at least include a Joe Diffie song. Hardy is also saying Post Malone will have a “big announcement” around the performance.

© 2024 Saving Country Music