Yeah I know, you have no intention to watch the CMA’s. It doesn’t represent what you believe to be country music, and last year you were blinded for two weeks by the sheer whiteness of Carrie Underwood’s teeth. But I will be watching, and I’ll tell you why:
First, if you’re new to the game, and want to know the scoop behind the CMA’s, why they are by far the most important awards in country music, and read about the corrupt way they do business, you can check out my three part series on them from last year.
But the reason that I will be watching is because this MIGHT be the most important CMA Award show in our generation, or at least this decade, or even more specifically, in the last 8.6 years. Let me explain:
Those of you who’ve ben around a while know that I love to draw parallels between country music and the question “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” taken from the old revival song of the same name, and the central theme on which the Country Music Hall of Fame is built around. The idea is country music works in a circle, moving to a more contemporary or pop angle, and then back to its roots.
I know I am not the first to submit this theory, but a while back, one of the most influential country music writers ever, Chet Flippo, produced a similar theory, not based on The Circle, but on cycles that last 8.6 years, taken from a mathematical formula. You can read it by CLICKING HERE. I don’t really agree with the cycles that Flippo articulated, I mean where are the Outlaws? Wasn’t this one of the most obvious turns of the cycle? But I do agree that there will never be another Taylor Swift, and that she exemplifies an extreme edge of the circle, or cycle.
“There will likely not be Taylor Swift Twos and Threes and Fours because the original Taylor pretty much Hoovered up the market for teen girl angst songs by a peer group singer-songwriter. It was a brilliant move, one of the smartest ever by a shrewd music artist, and it will not likely be repeated.”
For the record, Flippo has come out defending pop country numerous times, and Taylor Swift specifically, which is why I have had a love /hate relationship with this writer who also covered the Outlaw movement more than anyone else in the 70’s, and wrote the introduction to the Wanted! The Outlaws album.
What I’m mostly interested in seeing tonight is if Taylor Swift will win Entertainer of the Year. Yes I know, who cares. Well I do, because as you can read in Part 3 of the series above, in 1975 when pop performers won prominent awards, it caused a HUGE backlash from traditional country performers, which led to one of these cycles turning, and it allowed to Outlaws to come to fruition. If Taylor wins, pop country could win the battle, but it could be the beginning of the end for their reign. I emphasize COULD.
I know a lot of you think that the circle is already broken, and there nothing left to salvage, and that we should just enjoy the music we have and be happy for that. But I can’t help it, I’m intrigued. No other genre of music has this kind of drama, steeped so deeply in tradition.
So I will be watching, though all of Carrie Underwood’s wardrobe changes, through Jamey Johnson and Kid Rock’s duet, through the criminal Keith Urban’s guitar wank-offs, and to see if I can catch some sort of glimmer or hint that the circle, or cycle, is beginning to turn.