The CMA Awards Show

Well I broke down last night and watched the country music awards show. I had heard that Dave Matthews was going to perform with Kenny Chesney. I knew it would be about 45 seconds worth of Dave Matthews but what the hell. The show had already screwed me out of Modern Family so I figured I might as well watch it in its entirety.

It turned out to be the Taylor Swift show. It is funny. I just do not keep up with the music scene like I once did. Hell I only found out that Taylor Swift was a girl about a month ago. I had heard people talking about Taylor Swift and I had always just assumed Taylor was a male.

So I saw her perform for the first time last night. And I saw her perform and perform and perform and win and win and win and I thought what in the name of God has happened to country music?

She is a child who sings to children. Watching her made me feel like I was watching an episode of the mouseketeers. How is it that she gets to take home all of the hardware?

I was raised on country music. But when I say that I mean Jim Reeves, George Jones, Stonewall Jackson, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Johnny Horton and folks like that.

I can tolerate a good portion of the new country music I just do not really consider it to be country. As Rick Bragg once said of Faith Hill, “she is beautiful and sings beautifully but she is about as country as Siegfried and Roy”.

The world is changing. I guess it is as Brad Paisley sings. Welcome to the future.

18 comments to The CMA Awards Show

  • I haevn’t knowingly listened to Taylor Swift, but I can say that almost none of the modern “country” does anything for me. When I was a kid, I didn’t like the country music my folks listened to, but I guess it sunk in, because I love most of it now.

    Figuring out where one genre ends and another begins can be tough. Was Ronnie Milsap a country legend or a cross-over phenomenon? Was Hank Williams a Country & Western star or did blues and gospel have as much to do with his fame as anything?

    Figuring out whether it’s any good or not is a lot easier than figuring out what category it belongs to. And I routinely tune in the modern country stations just to check and see whether I might luck up on something good. And I almost never do. Better luck in almost every other genre. But I guess every genre has its peaks & valleys. Maybe next year another Waylon Jennings will come out of nowhere & rescue country from its doldrums.

  • ben

    I don`t really like her brand of singing but most people do.George Jones spoke out about her and Underwood about a month ago,saying they were not country and so many people let him know that they do show up for their concerts,that he had to backtrack,now after the show Wynonna Judd said she [Swift] was to young to win the awards,that will come back to bite her in the behind.all the guys that she was up against,she was the opening act at one time.but I do know she SOLD MORE RECORDS THAN ANYBODY IN ANY GENRE OF MUSIC,now if Dave[who,I don`t think is country] keeps going he might win something.

  • RW

    I tend to look at this from a positive viewpoint. I recall having this discusion elsewhere, in that case it was about Miley Cyrus, and their bemoaning how teenie-boppers are starting to run the show. My retort was that, no, that type of music isn’t my cup of tea, but I’m darn glad that Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus are such a hit with the youngsters as my daughter loves – and I mean in all caps – both of them, especially Taylor Swift. Now, I know it’s become en vogue to dismiss them both as being popcorn acts and that’s prolly more true than not, but before all these young girls were buying everything that had Hannah Montana or Taylor Swift on the label, the big draw for that sect was……Lindsay Lohan. So, yeah, I’m gleeful that those two seemingly level-headed (at this point, things can always change) and down to earth gals are the apple of my little girl’s eye. I’d much rather hear her play “Love song” for the 17,000th time than have her checking TMZ for the latest gossip on that dishrag ho and soon-to-be-suicide-victim, Lohan.

    Besides, I’m sure a lot of young girls were watching the CMA’s last night, whereas w/o Swift they might be listening to Satan’s work, rap & hip-hop. Anything that brings new fans to country is okay with me.

    About the country music: eh, it changes. Faith Hill is more Mariah Carey than Barbara Mandrell, true, but Brad Paisley sure does remind me of Buck Owens. And Jamey Johnson (that is one great CD, btw) is a throwback to Waylon and a young Travis Tritt, to these ears. Trace Atkins, Toby Keith, Vince Gill, John Rich and many others continue to carry the flag of ‘old school’ country. No, Sugarland isn’t Brooks & Dunn, they’re more pop than country. But, Darius Rucker, an admitted pop star, had (in my opinion) the best country CD since Brad Paisley’s “Time Well Wasted”. Plus, I’m hoping that Rucker continues the path first blazed by the great Ray Charles and the immortal Charlie Pride in bringing more black fans to country. Seriously, that CD is worth the price. Great songwriting, almost on par with the stuff that Paisley pens. Throw in the best group out there, Rascal Flatts, the sultry Miranda Lambert (a throwback to Loretta Lynn, IMO), Sarah Evans (release another CD, Sarah!), Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley, George Strait, Montgomery Gentry & Allison Kraus and you have plenty of folks still carrying the country mantle, which will offset the more mainstream-pop sounds from Sugarland, Keith Urban, Chesney, Swift, Cyrus, etc.

    How is it that she gets to take home all of the hardware?

    Because she deserved it. The number of CD’s that she’s selling is mind-boggling. Fearless has been out a loooooong time and is still #5 on Billboard’s charts, across all music genres, not just country. And her first release, which is more than three years old, is ranked higher than Sugarland’s new release! It’d have been a crime if she didn’t win, IMO. I don’t like Kobe Bryant, but I must tip my cap and say that he’s the best going, right now. Same with Swift. Anyone who can sell THAT MANY copies, in an era where her target audience (10-15 year olds) are usually downloading songs for “free”, deserves props.

    Figuring out where one genre ends and another begins can be tough. Was Ronnie Milsap a country legend or a cross-over phenomenon? Was Hank Williams a Country & Western star or did blues and gospel have as much to do with his fame as anything?

    I think that adds to the aspect of country, IMO. Hip-hop songs all sound the same to me. If it’s a dude, for example, to me it’s Keith Sweat. They’re all the same. I don’t want everyone trying to sound like Hank Williams; there already was Hank Williams, no sense trying to recreate what was already just fine. Just do your ‘art’ and let the chips fall where they may. If it’s more mainstream yet still tells a story that strikes a chord with country fans, then I say “good for you, Carrie Underwood” (is there anyone more beautiful than her, by the way? She is simply stunning). If it’s too pop, I won’t listen to it (looking in the direction of Faith Hill & Tim Mcgraw). Country has few boundaries, which is why its all-time best seller is one of the more ardent liberal Democrats going (Garth Brooks), it’s current male ‘king’ just wrote an homage to Barack Obama (Paisley), its current top duo are hardcore Democrats (Sugarland) and the hottest new artist is a black guy, but the entire spectre that is “country music” is still labled as that which personifies “red state Republicans”. Country is about “us”, the people, period.

    Wynonna Judd said she [Swift] was to young to win the awards,that will come back to bite her in the behind

    Oh, absolutely, it will. There’s no way she can sustain this level of success and “overexposed” is just around the corner. If she can continue to pound out songs, though, she’ll be fine. The big thing going against her, though, is that all those 13 year old girls are going to turn into 19 year old girls and if she doesn’t pen songs that strike a chord with them, then she’ll slide slowly into mid-card status. Then again, everyone thought Leann Rimes would be a flash-in-the-pan, too. Of course, Leeann can sing like few others, whereas Swift doesn’t really sing as much as provide cadence.

  • I have actually heard the Jamey Johnson CD and really do like it. My brother-in-law had me over one afternoon and played it for me while we were cookin’ on the grill. It was a very good CD. It is more in line with the old stuff. Somewhere between Waylon and Jones :-)

    I was probably too hard on Taylor and I do need to get my ass off of my shoulders.

    Swift doesn’t really sing as much as provide cadence.

    True. But you would think that a guy who loves Bob Dylan wouldn’t mind that so much :-)

    But I think more than anything it kinda caught me flat-footed. I had no idea what was going on in country music and seeing it stunned me. I had no idea the girl sold records at that pace. I cannot imagine buying one of her albums unless I was a 12 year old girl or was going to give it to a 12 year old girl.

    There just ain’t that many 12 year old girls out there so she is striking some kind of chord somewhere else.

    I had been told that she was gorgeous and when I saw her the first thing I thought was, “Hell. My titties are bigger than hers!”

    So for me there just wasn’t anything at all there to justify all of the hysteria.

    But since you pointed out to me that it is a good thing for the young girls that is good enough for me. I had young girls once.

  • Sorry for this digression, but I’ve puzzled over this many times during discussions like this one:

    There are a finite number of tones in the various tonal systems used by all musicians world-wide, a finite number of tones that can be produced together by one performing group, and songs that get much play must be finite in length. Importantly, there are a finite number of tones and combinations of tones that the human mind can be trained to respond favorably to. Possible rhythm patterns are also finite. Given the rate at which songs have been produced over the last few thousand years, how long before it is impossible to make new music that anybody likes?

  • RW

    So for me there just wasn’t anything at all there to justify all of the hysteria.

    Despite her age, she’s considered a young girl. Don’t forget all the free publicity and universal empathy for what that douchebag, Kanye West, did for her. Anyone on the fence immediately went into the pro-Taylor camp after that happened.

    True story: 4th of July weekend my family arrived at Myrtle Beach shortly after you’d left. We played a round of putt-putt one evening and there was a karaoke machine at the nearby pool. 18 holes later, I’d heard four different little girls that chose “Our song” to sing while we played. I think it was four of the 7 songs that were performed. As if I wasn’t tired of that song, already, I had it running through my brain all evening. That, on top of everything else, told me that there was something huge going on with Taylor Swift…..every little girl wanted to sing that @#$% song. On my daughter’s computer? Taylor Swift desktop backgrounds and every episode of Hannah Montana. When her friends & relatives come over they don’t play very many video games; they watch episodes of Hannah Montana on her PC.

    Taylor Swift is bigger than “Who Shot J.R.” was in the early 80s.

  • RW

    smijer, a quote from the great Eddie Van Halen, in Rolling Stone mag: “We get 12 notes. Do what the $&ck you want with ‘em, you know?”

  • That’s the best quote ever!

  • ben

    Like I was told by my dad,all music is pretty its just that the words mess some
    of them up.

  • ben

    One more thing and then I`ll shutup,no body has said any thing about The Zak Brown Band,that did Devil went down to that blowed me away great picking on that one.

  • I liked Zak Brown Ben. Anybody who has a beard and wears a stocking cap everywhere he goes is gonna automatically get the benefit of my doubt.

  • jadarm

    God, I just love Taylors eyes.


  • I have looked and looked and everytime I see her I just see a little girl.

    I guess I am just getting too old to even fantasize anymore.

  • jadarm

    Welcome to the family Gavin!

    Glad to have you!


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