2019 CMA Awards Thoughts

Posted by Greg on Nov 13, 2019 in Music, Op-Ed |

Holy cannoli it’s late and we need to get to bed, but here’s our thoughts on the recently wrapped-up 2019 CMA Awards.

Willie Nelson sure sounded rough. If that’s the future of his vocals, he might want to hang it up tomorrow morning. Not sure he’s ever sounded that dreadful.

No real surprises in the winners except Garth winning Entertainer of the Year. He might indeed be a megalomaniac but the amount of energy he puts into his performances and his stage show is seriously on another level.

Pink and Chris Stapleton’s performance was an early highlight as was Christian rockers For King and Country and Zach Williams performing their CCM-chart toppers with Dolly Parton.

Both Reba’s rendition of “Fancy” and Maren Morris’ performance of “Girl” were borderline iconic while Dierks Bentley’s performance was muddled, chaotic and overproduced. Garth Brooks and Blake Shelton’s rendition of “Dive Bar” was also muddled, chaotic and overproduced. The dive bar stage setup was pretty epic.

The understated opening was one of the best things the awards show has done in years and the abundance of understated performances was both welcome and memorable. Foremost of those was Kelsea Ballerini’s “Homecoming Queen” followed closely by Thomas Rhett’s “Remember You Young” and Keith Urban’s “We Were.” Many liked Carrie Underwood’s “Drinking Alone” but the entire thing felt so un-country. That girl can belt but each successive album continues to steer her as far from country as possible. If this were the Grammy’s it’d make sense, but this is a country music awards show.

Old Dominion’s performance of “One Man Band” was better than anticipated and probably their best performance on an awards show so far. Luke Combs and Miranda Lambert’s performances were by the book. Credit to Combs for being exceedingly gracious and humble in accepting his awards, ditto to Maren Morris, Ashley McBryde and Kacey Musgraves. Miranda on the other hand continued to throw shade at Blake Shelton by not clapping when he won an award for “God’s Country.”

Other important takeaways include the many shoutouts to fallen songwriter/producer Busbee, most notably in Morris’ Album of the Year acceptance speech. Though it was barely highlighted in the show, Lil Nas X winning for “Old Town Road” was quite monumental. In winning, he became the first openly gay artist to win a CMA Award. That combined with the abundance of female performances and victories and you have a blockbuster, breakthrough night. Even when most of the awards went as predicted the awards show still managed to break new ground. Can’t say we can ask for much more.

Post-script: Did you see Luke Combs reading Mean Tweets on Jimmy Kimmel Live? That’s a superstar we can get behind.

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