The Hodgepodge: The Mainstream Country Music Bubble is About to Burst

Waylon warned you, country music.
Waylon warned you, country music.

Lord it’s the same old tune…

This past weekend the 50th ACM Awards took place and the reviews for it haven’t been pretty. From Trigger at Saving Country Music to Grady Smith at The Guardian to the consensus on Twitter, they all found the show to be pretty bad. I myself found it to be weird and boring. Many of you weighed in on that post and whole heartedly agreed. The show was plagued with production errors and enough medleys to set a person insane. It wasn’t easy to sit through. Really this whole year in mainstream country music hasn’t been easy to stomach. When it looked like we were going to get more traditional country songs on the radio, the hope for that quickly evaporated. Instead we’ve gotten a heavy dose of Sam Hunt’s pop music, bro country rehashes, trend chasing, female artists continuing to get ignored and Thomas Rhett trying to be Bruno Mars. It’s the same old stuff country music has been doing for years now.

Where do we take it from here?

It was clear as day to anyone who watched the 2015 ACM Awards that country music has two big problems. The first problem is that country music has no idea what it is anymore. There’s a clear identity crisis taking place. This show featured performances from George Strait, Sam Hunt, Christina Aguilera and Nick Jonas. Do you see hip-hop awards shows with such a melting pot of performers? Do you rock awards shows with so many different sounds? No because they know who they are. This variety of sounds was touted during the ACM Awards, like this is a great thing. It’s clearly not because you’re sending mixed signals to viewers. They have no idea what the hell country music is because you’re throwing so many different sounds at them. The second problem is country music has zero direction on where to go. They’re chasing the R&B sound. They’re chasing the EDM sound. They’re rehashing bro country stuff. Country music is like a 12-headed monster and each head is going a different way. There’s no cohesion and no identity.

It’s been the same way for years/We need to change

Country music clearly needs to change and quickly. I think that’s obvious to a lot of people. But nobody wants to make the first move. Everyone is too afraid to make a move or say something. Some people will say, “Well what about Sturgill Simpson? He can save country music!” To them I repeat what I’ve said before and what Sturgill himself has said: he’s no savior. One artist can’t save the genre. I find Sturgill to be a trailblazer and a shining example to other independent country artists on how to do it your own way. Regardless of what happens in mainstream country music, Sturgill Simpson will be safe and continue to do his own thing. Atlantic Records will wisely keep him out of that racket and market him more like an indie rock artist rather than a mainstream country artist.

Another thing people will bring up is splitting country music, something that looked very possible last year. The top 40 country artists could go do their thing and the traditional, older country artists could go do their music. It would establish a clear line and everyone could be happy. I’ve advocated for this. But that convenient dream isn’t going to happen. It’s pretty much dead right now. You’re better off dismissing this fantasy as unrealistic. There are other ideas I’ve seen floated out there that could “save” mainstream country music and bring it change, but they’re not even worth addressing because I only see one change on the horizon for mainstream country music happening. It’s a change that they’re in the midst of doing right now and they’re not even aware it’s about to happen.

The mainstream country music bubble is about to pop. No splitting. No country music civil war is going to happen. It’s simply going to break into pieces, something I forewarned of months ago if country music didn’t start to get its act together. It reminds me a lot of how rock music shattered into pieces, became irrelevant as a mainstream genre and disappeared completely off radio. Rock reached its peak in popularity in the 80s with hair metal, which bro country is often compared to. At the beginning of the 90s, Nirvana became huge and grunge became the popular style in rock. The arrival of this group was a godsend for the genre because hair metal along with some other terrible rock sub-genres had made the public bored with rock music. Nirvana brought something fresh and new to the genre. Then Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana, tragically shot himself. Some people say this was the day rock music died too. Rock music lost its icon and symbol of hope.

Slowly but surely rock music devolved into multiple sub-genres, as several groups failed to duplicate the sound and success of Nirvana. The genre lost direction and popularity. Hip-hop made its rise into mainstream prominence at this time and essentially bumped rock off radio, taking its place. Now look at rock music. You don’t hear any new rock music on the radio. All there’s left of rock music on the radio is a local classic rock station playing hits from rock’s heyday. I see country music going down the exact same path minus the Nirvana part. There’s won’t be a Nirvana because country music doesn’t want a Nirvana walking through the door. Country music would rather continue down the same path it’s on and fall flat on its face. It’s afraid of trying something new, fresh and different. Taking risks isn’t considered business sound, even though business is stagnant and terrible right now.

Somebody told me when I came to Nashville
Son you finally got it made
Old Hank made it here, we’re all sure that you will
But I don’t think Hank done it this way, no
I don’t think Hank done it this way, okay

Now this gloom and doom prediction I’ve just thrown out at you is a real bummer. But ultimately I think country music would become better as a result. A new genre will rise out of the ashes. There would no longer be a mainstream or radio presence by country music. This would mean only the best country artists would get noticed. People would take to the Internet to find country music, just like independent country fans do now. It’s what rock fans do too. The B-list artists that are only known because of manufactured radio pushes by major labels would fall off the radar. This would be anyone who isn’t at a Carrie Underwood/Blake Shelton type level. So you would say goodbye to the Michael Rays and Kelsea Ballerinis of country music. The fluff would be out the door. I wouldn’t have to review terrible music being passed off as country anymore. Come to think of it, this sounds like an ideal scenario.

Heed the words of Waylon and make proactive change, country music. Or a crashing change will eat you alive.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Zac Brown Band will release their new album Jekyll + Hyde next Tuesday. I have no idea what to expect in terms of sound with this album, which makes me even more excited to give it a listen. If you haven’t read it yet, check out the album’s track listing. Also Aircheck confirmed the rumor that the group’s next single will be “Loving You Easy” and will impact radio on the first week of May.
  • Tyler Farr’s new album Suffer in Peace will also come out next Tuesday. The track listing for it suggests a mixed bag. I expect a few good songs and a few terrible songs. Speaking of terrible, I found out via Windmills on the song “C.O.U.N.T.R.Y.” Farr sings about his love of truck nuts. I’ll let you imagine what that song is like.
  • For those who missed it, Jason Isbell announced his new album will be released on July 17 and will be called Something More Than Free. That’s the same day Alan Jackson’s new album comes out too. This is also a significant day because it’s the first week where major releases start coming out on Fridays rather than Tuesdays.
  • Sammy Kershaw just announced recently that he will be releasing his first full-original album in five years on June 9. It will be called I Won’t Back Down. He signed a deal with Cleopatra Records to release the album. This is a great surprise and I’m definitely looking forward to this one.
  • Also for those that aren’t on Twitter: I saw Gary Allen live in concert last Friday and it was a fantastic show. From what I’ve gathered from the show, his new album should be classic Gary. He mentioned that “Hangover Tonight” was the last song written onto the album, which leads me to believe he threw it in to appease his label. Allen played two new songs from the album and they sounded like great country songs. The one was called “Mess Me Up” and I think it has great potential to be a single.

Throwback Thursday Song

Randy Travis – “Forever and Even, Amen” – It was so great to see Lee Brice give a shout out to Randy Travis at the ACM Awards. It was also classy of him to play a couple of lines acoustically from Travis’ classic song “Forever and Ever, Amen.” So I thought it was only appropriate this iconic song would be this week’s throwback song.

Non-Country Album Recommendation 

Rap music’s great year continues, as another fantastic rap album just came out. It’s Yelawolf’s Love Story and it has one of the most different sounds I’ve ever heard on a rap album. Probably because it’s a rap album with heavy country and southern rock influences. What? Yes, you read that correctly. The wording is key: it’s a rap album with country influences and not the other way around. It’s in the right genre too. I always thought though you couldn’t mix these two genres period, but Yelawolf, a southern hip-hop artist from Alabama, proves me wrong. What separates Yelawolf from hick-hop artists like Colt Ford is Yelawolf’s got bars. He understands the craft of rap. The album is a whopping 18 songs long and complex, but it’s well worth listening to from start to finish. Ironically it has even more country moments than many mainstream country albums. Patsy Cline’s “Walking After Midnight” can be heard in the opening song! Rap music is now sounding more country than country music. What world am I living in?

Tweet of the Week

So many great candidates for tweet of the week, thanks to the ACM Awards. But this one took the cake. It’s the perfect analogy.

An iTunes Review That Will Make You Face Palm

Hunt Fans Being Hunt Fans

This was under Sam Hunt’s Montevallo. I…just…I got nothing. What can I say to this?

That’s it for the Hodgepodge this week! Be sure to sound off in the comments! 

The 2015 ACM Awards: The Highs & Lows of a Boring & Weird Show

2015 ACM Awards

The 50th edition of the ACM Awards aired last night on CBS and it was many things. For starters it was quite long, as the show ran for three and a half hours. If you were watching live like me, it felt like six hours. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. But then again it was quite boring. A big part of it may have been the fact that the winners of the awards were pretty predictable and there wasn’t any suspense. There were several guests, with some of them adding to the show while others clearly hurt it (I’ll get to that here in a minute). The 2015 ACM Awards had some highs and many lows. We’ll start first with the highs. Before that though I just want to thank everyone again who followed along on the live blog and on Twitter last night. I had a blast talking about the show with all of you. Also welcome new readers! So without further ado let’s get to the fallout of the ACM Awards…

The Highs

  • George Strait’s Performance – King George went out on the stage and did what he always does: sing great country music. He performed a medley consisting of the classic “All My Exes Live in Texas” and his new single “Let It Go.” In addition to the great performance, he gave a classy speech in accepting his Milestone Award. Strait was awesome. Also I guarantee he high-tailed it out of there after this because I didn’t see him the rest of the show. Brad Paisley wanted him to join in on singing “Crushin’ It,” so that gave him more incentive to leave. Thank you, George.
  • Randy Travis Shout Out – Shortly after Strait, Lee Brice gave a very nice shout out to country music legend Randy Travis. The crowd gave him an ovation, which he full-heartedly deserves. He’s been battling numerous health problems over the last year and it was just great to see him.
  • Tony Romo Burns Blake Shelton – I’m not a big fan of Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, but I like him a lot more after the burn he put on Blake Shelton. During a little back and forth Blake made a masturbation joke I believe. Romo uttered at him: “Blake, we’re the Dallas Cowboys, we have real balls.” In the words of Michael Scott, “Boom! Roasted!”
  • Martina McBride’s Performs “Independence Day” – The iconic McBride performed her mid-90s hit and sounded good despite terrible production work and being in a cavernous stadium. It just reminded me of how much I would like to hear her back on country radio again.
  • Dierks Bentley Performs “Riser” – It was satisfying to see Dierks Bentley perform this type of song on a big stage. It was also nice for the writer of the song Travis Meadows. Bentley is working on his new record right now, but I hope that “Riser” gets released as a single before the new record is released. Seeing it performed at the ACM Awards certainly gives me some hope.
  • Little Big Town Performs “Girl Crush” – As most country fans are aware, the group’s latest single has been talked about a lot in the past month for it’s “controversy.” I’m glad they performed it tonight and for anyone out there who still thinks this is a “lesbian” song, you’re an idiot. By the way it was a nice performance, as Fairchild’s vocals were spot on.
  • Reba’s Medley – While I didn’t like her most recent single, I thought her medley performance last night was great. While I would rather hear her sing a full song than a medley (another thing I’ll get to in a minute), I thought she nailed her performance. She really hit the high notes well.
  • Taylor Swift’s Milestone Award Speech – While I’m on record as being not a big fan of Taylor Swift’s work, I have come around on her since she has went pop. After listening to her speech accepting the Milestone Award that the CMA basically used to force her into appearing, I think I like her now. She handled such a weird situation with poise and grace. She thanked country music for giving her the start she needed to become a superstar and all of the fans for their support. Swift also reinforced that she has moved on to pop, but did it in a polite manner. It really painted her in a good light. Meanwhile it makes country music look like the ex who just can’t move on from the broken relationship.
  • Dwight Yoakam Being Dwight Yoakam – Just seeing him on the show was nice. Standing out there with duct tape next to faux outlaw artist Justin Moore, who somehow tore his skinny jeans, with a disinterested look was just icing on the cake. Can Yoakam host next year’s show?
  • Brooks & Dunn’s Performance – The last quality performance from the night came from the great 90s duo Brooks & Dunn, who reunited for the first time in a few years. They sounded just as good as ever and reminded me that they were once the ones dominating the duos awards instead of Florida Georgia Line. Simply put the “old people” kicked the younger performer’s asses tonight.

The Lows

  • Stop The Medleys! – Almost every performance throughout the show was a medley and it drove me absolutely nuts. It drove a lot of people nuts. Apparently since many in today’s world have such short attention spans, full songs weren’t to bothered with. George Strait’s medley was the only one where I could remember all of the songs in it because there were only two songs. The rest had so many songs that I couldn’t remember them all. It makes for pretty non-memorable performances.
  • The Production Value Was Terrible – As someone who is familiar with the workings of television production, I can tell you the 50th ACM Awards featured some of the worst production I’ve ever seen at a major awards show. The cameras were all over the place and people constantly couldn’t figure out where to look or they were off on their cues. It made for some awkward moments. Justin Moore looked completely lost. Steven Tyler was cut off. I will cut them some slack for the fact that the show was in the gigantic Cowboys Stadium, where a country awards show should never be done. It made performances sound much worse than they should have. Regardless if I were CBS I would take a good luck at the production team after that show.
  • The Merle Haggard “tribute” – The 2015 ACM Awards kicked off with a Merle Haggard tribute, performed by Eric Church and Keith Urban. This all seemed well enough and any time the Hag gets recognized is a good thing. The problem is the “tribute” sucked. Haggard wasn’t even at the show and he was only featured on the video behind Church and Urban for around ten seconds. I think Taylor Swift got more airtime during the tribute. To top it all off the tribute song was just a terrible rock song and name-dropped Haggard. It wasn’t even a Haggard song. This was a joke of a tribute.
  • Florida Georgia Line Performs “Sippin’ On Fire” – This went about how I expected it to go. It was terrible. The duo was even more off pitch than usual with the performance taking place in a stadium. Which leads me to ask why do people pay money to hear a concert from these two? You’re better off throwing money into a fire pit.
  • Miranda Lambert’s Domination – Now before you Miranda fans start to tear me a new one, let me explain. I’m not saying Lambert didn’t deserve to win her awards, as her Platinum album was one of the best in mainstream country last year. No, the problem is her winning everything at every award show. Ask any sports fan and they’ll tell you they hate it when a certain team dominates for years on end (unless you’re a fan of that team of course). It’s the same case here. It doesn’t look good for country music to have the same artist winning over and over. As they say variety is the spice of life. I have no problem with Lambert winning, but can somebody else win too?
  • Jason Aldean Performs a Medley – This was the kind of train wreck I expected coming into this show. After a minute of this in the background I had to hit mute. This could have passed as the bro country mashup.
  • Cole Swindell, Thomas Rhett & Sam Hunt Barely Sing; Suck Anyway – The three finalists for New Artist of the Year award all performed on the show. Thankfully they each sang only two or three lines from each of their latest respective hits. But they still managed to be among the worst of the show. Swindell is still bland as a loaf of white bread. Rhett is a black hole of charisma. Sam Hunt didn’t even sing, he just spoke “Take Your Time.” By the way I realized I shouldn’t have been surprised with Swindell winning. Many Bryan fans are Swindell fans and they almost all threw their massive support behind Swindell. Meanwhile Rhett doesn’t have nearly as big of a fan base and Hunt has pop fans who probably weren’t even aware that the ACM Awards aired last night.
  • The Lesser Known Artists Being Forced to Stand Next to a Truck – This was a sad and cruel joke. All of the second-rate artists just happy to be there were forced to stand next to a truck and deliver transition promos between commercials. I mean Big & Rich doing it was kind of funny. But Mickey Guyton being reduced to this instead of performing is a war crime.
  • Dan + Shay + Nick Jonas = Bad Music – I thankfully missed this performance because I was taking a bathroom break. Great timing, huh? By all accounts this was garbage and I’m not going to watch it to verify. In the comments section, let me know over or under two years Dan + Shay are gone from country music.
  • Terrible Guests That Added Nothing to the Show – Christina Aguilera, Steven Tyler and Dr. Phil were all on this show for some reason. Aguilera performed with Rascal Flatts, in one of the oddest pairings I thought I would never see and never wanted to see. She was only there to promote her appearance on the ABC show Nashville. Still the possibility of a country record is there and as much as I roll my eyes at this thought, I also realize it would be more country than a lot of other mainstream albums. Steven Tyler was barely thrown in towards the end, but what little he said didn’t catch people’s attention. It was his hideous pants. Take a look at them. I’m no fashion expert, but those belong in the garbage. Dr. Phil was the strangest guest appearance of the night. By the time he wondered onto the show I was pretty zoned out. I don’t know why he was there. Maybe some therapy after all of the medleys the audience had to sit through?

Overall I would give this show a C-. The veteran country artists and Taylor Swift of all people saved this show from being a complete waste. This show was also almost too boring to hate. I don’t think I’ll remember anything from this show and that’s bad news for the ACM Awards because this was a milestone show.

What did you think of it? What are your highs and lows? Sound off in the comments! 

2015 ACM Awards – Live Results & Analysis

2015 ACM Awards

One of country music’s biggest awards shows of the year has arrived. The 50th ACM Awards will hit the air at 8 pm ET tonight on CBS. If you don’t have CBS or you’ve cut the cord, no worries. You can also stream it live on CBS’ All Access app. For more information on this, click here. Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton will once again host the show, which will be taking place in Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. Several performers are slated to perform on the show, including Garth Brooks, George Strait and Reba. To see the full list of performers, click here.

Since it’s the 50th edition of the ACM Awards, the academy is going all out for this one. Some of things they do will work well. Other things not so much. We’ll applaud, cheer, laugh and cringe throughout the hours long show. And you should do it right here on Country Perspective! I’ll be posting live results as they’re happening through the night with some snarky analysis for good measure. As for my live commentary and full analysis of the show, I’ll be live tweeting on Twitter. You can follow me at @realcountryview or twitter.com/realcountryview. For those not on Twitter you can simply go to the Twitter link I just listed and hit refresh throughout the night. Derek is also live tweeting the show and you can follow him @DHWritesCountry or twitter.com/DHWritesCountry.

Be sure to check out my predictions and thoughts coming into the show here. I feel better about these predictions than my Grammy ones, as these country awards shows are more predictable. I’m just happy if I get above 50% correct. And hey feel free to throw in your own predictions too. So let’s watch the ACM Awards together and be sure to keep hitting refresh to keep up with all of the happenings of the show!

Live Results

Entertainer of the Year

Winner: Luke Bryan

Everyone thought Miranda Lambert would take this award too, but I knew better. Did you really think some celebrity endorsements would win her the award? Bryan fans are nuts and vote like crazy. It’s the reason Cole Swindell pulled off the upset and won New Artist of the Year. I would’ve liked to have seen Garth Brooks win, but then again it’s kind of a good punishment for him for choosing such terrible singles. So Bryan wins this year and his camp will shut the hell up about last year.

Male Vocalist of the Year

Winner: Jason Aldean

Female Vocalist of the Year

Winner: Miranda Lambert

Vocal Duo of the Year

Winner: Florida Georgia Line

Vocal Group of the Year

Winner: Little Big Town

New Artist of the Year

Winner: Cole Swindell 

Pretty big surprise here. I thought for sure Sam Hunt had this locked up, being that he has dominated the charts lately. Regardless all three finalists for this award were a damn joke.

Album of the Year

Winner: Miranda Lambert – Platinum

Single Record of the Year

Winner: Lee Brice – “I Don’t Dance”

Song of the Year

Winner: Miranda Lambert – “Automatic”

Video of the Year

Winner: Dierks Bentley – “Drunk on a Plane”

Vocal Event of the Year

Winner: Florida Georgia Line & Luke Bryan – “This is How We Roll”

 

To see the nominees for every single award, click here.

Predictions For The 2015 ACM Awards: The Winners, The Losers & Maybe Some Country Music?

2015 ACM Awards

Well here we are; another country music awards show is here. The 50th ACM Awards show has arrived. Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan will once again host the show, which will air on Sunday on CBS at 8 pm ET from Dallas. It’ll be held in Cowboys Stadium, aka Jerry Jones’ Death Star. Also with Bryan and Shelton hosting again we are guaranteed to have some stupid moments/sketches that further embarrass country music. Aren’t awards shows great? There really isn’t a lot in my opinion to be excited about with this year’s ACM Awards, unlike last year where everyone tuned in to see if George Strait or Luke Bryan would in Entertainer of the Year. No, I’m more interested in ACM Presents: Superstar Duets where we get to see Cole Swindell try to sing alongside Alan Jackson. The train wreck factor is sky-high and I love to watch a good train wreck. But sadly that won’t be airing until May, as it’s only being taped this weekend. Don’t worry I’ll be live blogging that one too.

Back to this year’s ACM Awards, which look pretty predictable on paper. Miranda Lambert leads all artists in nominations with nine, which shocks nobody. Dierks Bentley follows with seven nominations and Florida Georgia Line after that with five nominations. Miranda will once again rack up a lot of hardware. That’s inevitable. I’m hoping for some sort of surprise so I don’t go crazy watching this show. I’ll be posting live results here on Sunday night, as we do on every awards show. You can follow along and react together right here on Country Perspective. And I’ll be live tweeting my thoughts too. One way or another I’m going to find a way to make this show entertaining because ACM surely isn’t. So without further ado let’s take a look at the 2015 ACM Awards:

Entertainer of the Year

  • Garth Brooks
  • Jason Aldean
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Luke Bryan
  • Florida Georgia Line

Who I Think Wins: Luke Bryan because he got “snubbed” last year according to this camp. Whatever. Garth Brooks and his camp have been pushing hard, but I have yet to be convinced that Garth has the same sway and power he did in his heyday. He has done nothing on radio upon his return due to the fact that he picked the worst single choices possible. I have no idea what the hell his team was thinking by choosing “People Loving People” and “Mom” as singles. Garth’s comeback has been nothing but a giant yawn. But hey he still sells out stadiums and arenas.

Who I Would Pick to Win: None. Sturgill Simpson is better than all of the above artists and would be my pick to win.

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Blake Shelton
  • Brad Paisley
  • Dierks Bentley
  • Eric Church
  • Jason Aldean
  • Luke Bryan

Who I Think Wins: Jason Aldean has won this award two years in a row. Blake Shelton won in 2011. I think it comes down to these two on who wins. I’ll go with Aldean just because he whined about the CMA Awards snubbing him and the ACM Awards seem to like him. Plus Aldean has had more success with his newest album and singles.

Who I Would Pick to Win: Dierks Bentley because he was the only one of those six above to put out a good album in 2014. Bentley’s singles also performed well across the board. I still don’t understand how Brad Paisley got nominated and Tim McGraw didn’t.

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Brandy Clark
  • Carrie Underwood
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Martina McBride
  • Miranda Lambert

Who I Think Wins: Miranda Lambert. You can take this one to the bank.

Who I Would Pick to Win: Carrie Underwood because she arguably released the best single in mainstream country music in 2014. Her newest single “Little Toy Guns” will also be one of the best singles in mainstream country music in 2015. I’d think Carrie would get tired of losing to Miranda, but many Carrie fans would point out former Sony Nashville CEO Gary Overton would be to blame. We’ll have to wait and see if the new CEO helps Carrie on the next round of awards shows.

Vocal Duo of the Year

  • Brothers Osborne
  • Dan + Shay
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Maddie & Tae
  • The Swon Brothers

Who I Think Wins: Florida Georgia Line. Maddie & Tae aren’t ready to compete with them yet. The rest of the candidates are laughable.

Who I Would Pick to Win: None. I would pick First Aid Kit, winner of Country Perspective’s 2014 Group of the Year award.

Vocal Group of the Year

  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town
  • Rascal Flatts
  • The Band Perry
  • Zac Brown Band

Who I Think Wins: Little Big Town because they by far have gotten the most acclaim and attention in the last year. The recent buzz about “Girl Crush” guarantee they win this award. Zac Brown Band will be the favorites next year since they’re releasing a new album this year. The Band Perry and Rascal Flatts are just filling spots. Lady Antebellum is irrelevant.

Who I Would Pick to Win: None. Write-in Old Crow Medicine Show.

New Artist of the Year

  • Sam Hunt
  • Cole Swindell
  • Thomas Rhett

Who I Think Wins: Shoot me. You know my thoughts on these three nominees. All three get their asses kissed pretty hard by Music Row and country radio, but out of the three Hunt is the most prized asshole. He’ll win this one and be declared the new face of country music while I contemplate throwing stuff.

Who I Would Pick to Win: None of these three, that’s for damn sure. If it was up to me I would give New Artist of the Year to Karen Jonas. If I had to pick a mainstream artist, it would be Eric Paslay.

Album of the Year

  • Jason Aldean – Old Boots, New Dirt
  • Little Big Town – Pain Killer
  • Miranda Lambert – Platinum
  • Dierks Bentley – Riser
  • Eric Church – The Outsiders

Who I Think Wins: Conventional wisdom says to pick Miranda to win, so I’m going to pick Platinum to win. I thought about picking Church’s The Outsiders, but then I remembered Lambert won a Grammy for best country album. If you’re going against Miranda in a category, you’re screwed. Sorry Church fans.

Who I Would Pick to Win: Once again, none of these nominees. Sure Dierks Bentley’s Riser album was good, but it’s not album of the year good. I’d go with Sturgill Simpson’s Metamodern Sounds in Country Music, our 2014 Album of the Year winner.

Single Record of the Year

  • “American Kids” – Kenny Chesney
  • “Automatic” – Miranda Lambert
  • “Dirt” – Florida Georgia Line
  • “Drunk on a Plane” – Dierks Bentley
  • “I Don’t Dance” – Lee Brice

Who I Think Wins: Remember when I said above if you go against Miranda in an award category, you’re screwed? Well I would like to add an addendum. If you’re Florida Georgia Line you have a chance. Those are the two it will come down to here. It’s a real tossup, but I think Florida Georgia Line will pull off the minor upset. “Dirt” was a much more popular song than “Automatic” last year.

Who I Would Pick to Win: Not only do I think “Dirt” will win, but I would also pick it. Listen, these two tools do a lot of stuff wrong and we picked their 2014 album Anything Goes as the winner of Country Perspective’s 2014 Worst Album of the Year. But they deserve to be recognized for finally getting a song right. As they say a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then, so it wouldn’t be fair to rob blind squirrels.

Song of the Year

  • “American Kids” – Kenny Chesney
  • “Automatic” – Miranda Lambert
  • “Drink A Beer” – Luke Bryan
  • “Follow Your Arrow” – Kacey Musgraves
  • “Give Me Back My Hometown” – Eric Church
  • “I Hold On” – Dierks Bentley

Who I Think Wins: This is by far the most wide open award this year. Each song has some sort of case to win. I’ve decided to pick Kacey Musgraves’ “Follow Your Arrow” to win for two reasons. First the song has already won numerous awards, so giving it another one wouldn’t look out of the ordinary. The second reason and this is the most important is because of the recent incident with “Girl Crush.” A lot of cries of homophobia in country music was echoed by people across the country with this incident and giving “Follow Your Arrow” song of the year would help country music’s image and silence some vocal opponents.

Who I Would Pick to Win: I’d give Song of the Year to Dierks Bentley’s “I Hold On” because it was an underrated song and arguably one of Dierks’ best singles of his career. People wonder why Dierks releases stupid songs like “Drunk on a Plane” and the reason why is because he never gets enough credit for his more substantial singles.

Video of the Year

  • “American Kids” – Kenny Chesney
  • “Cop Car” – Keith Urban
  • “Drunk on a Plane” – Dierks Bentley
  • “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” – Glen Campbell
  • “Somethin’ Bad” – Carrie Underwood & Miranda Lambert

Who I Think Wins: Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert’s “Somethin’ Bad” because it gives Carrie an award and Miranda another one.

Who I Would Pick To Win: I don’t care about this at all.

Vocal Event of the Year

  • “Lonely Tonight” – Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe
  • “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” – Tim McGraw & Faith Hill
  • “Somethin’ Bad” – Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood
  • “This Is How We Roll” – Florida Georgia Line & Luke Bryan
  • “The South” – The Cadillac Three, Florida Georgia Line, Dierks Bentley & Mike Eli

Who I Think Wins: “This Is How We Roll” because it’s the collaboration of country music’s two biggest cash cows. It experienced some cross-over appeal too. I’m just glad this is the last we’ll hear of this song on an awards show. By the way I have to ask: Have any of you even heard “The South”? I’m guessing no. And if you’re wondering why it’s here it’s because of politics.

Who I Would Pick to Win: “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” because McGraw deserves some kind of award for his good 2014 album Sundown Heaven Town. If I’m a McGraw fan, I’m pretty angry about the ACMs practically shutting him out. We’ll see if they give him anything.

That’s all of this year’s major awards at the ACMs. Who are your picks to win? Do you have much interest at all in this year’s show? Weigh-in below!

2015 ACM New Artist of the Year Nominees Announced

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After several weeks of fan voting, the finalists for the 2015 ACM New Artist of the Year award have been announced. The finalists are Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett and Cole Swindell. Or as I like to refer to them as: Curly, Larry and Moe. The artists that missed out on being finalists were Tyler Farr, Brett Eldredge, Kip Moore, Chase Rice and Dan + Shay. So for those unaware before, you now know that this year’s ACM Award for New Artist of the Year was nothing but a sausage fest. Not a single female artist sniffed the award, which is a crying shame.

So breaking down these finalists, in my eyes none of them are deserving of winning the award. First you have Sam Hunt, whose popularity is absolutely soaring right now and is the odds on favorite to win this award. His metro-politan music (kudos to Trigger at Saving Country Music for making the perfect term for this music) that isn’t country in any way possible is dominating the airwaves and at the same time poisoning the genre. People who hate actual country music are flocking to this guy and in the process raking in tons of money for suits on Music Row.

Then you have Thomas Rhett, who has yet to make a single song to impress me. I mean at least Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line have at least made one song apiece that I like, but I’ve literally hated every song Rhett has released. He’s in the argument for artist who cashed in hardest on the bro country fad. Nobody would have any idea who this untalented guy is if it wasn’t for him whoring himself out to the popular sound. And having a dad who was once a popular country artist helps too.

Speaking of not having any talent, I can pretty much say the same thing for Cole Swindell as I did for Rhett above. Minus the famous father of course. Then again he also has the famous connection with Luke Bryan, as his previous career was slinging merchandise for Bryan. Never before have I seen an artist so devoid of charisma in his music. As I described Swindell in my rankings of mainstream country artists last year, he’s like a meal of dry bread and lukewarm water. Does that sound appealing to you? This guy is Luke Bryan-lite and once bro country is gone, Swindell should be gone with it.

So that’s your choices for 2015 ACM New Artist of the Year. What do you think of these motley nominees?