Yesterday, Steven Tyler and Kelsea Ballerini announced the nominees for the upcoming CMA Awards. Some nominations came as no surprise to anyone (notably the Entertainer of the Year category, Vocal Group of the Year category, and the trio of Carrie, Miranda and Kacey at the top of the Female Vocalist category). Other nominations like Chris Stapleton for Album and Male Vocalist of the year are pleasant surprises. I can’t say I’m too surprised to see his name under New Artist, but that nonetheless is a welcome nomination as well.
The one category that draws ire from me, however is the Song of the Year nominees:
- “American Kids” (Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally)
- “Girl Crush” (Liz Rose, Lori McKenna, Hillery Lindsey)
- “Like a Cowboy” (Randy Houser, Brice Long)
- “Like a Wrecking Ball” (Eric Church, Casey Beathard)
- “Take Your Time” (Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne)
Three of the five (“Girl Crush”, “Take Your Time”, and “American Kids”) are also nominated for Single of the Year. The other singles up for grabs are “Talladega” and “I Don’t Dance.” I find it very odd that none of Carrie’s two recent eligible singles “Something in the Water” and “Little Toy Gun” are nominated in either category, especially Song of the Year. Song of the Year is an award that celebrates songwriting and story telling in country music.
“Something in the Water” and “Little Toy Guns” had great chart runs, continuing Carrie’s trend of most of her singles getting to the top three of the airplay charts. “Something in the Water” has been certified platinum and “Little Toy Guns” gold. Both songs feature some fantastic storytelling and songwriting. It’s an insult to country music that two successful, well-written singles are overlooked for Song/Single of the Year while Sam Hunt’s stupid talk-sing pop song and Kenny Chesney’s boring checklist song are nominated for both. I know that the CMA, for whatever reason, have no love for Carrie Underwood, but this is a huge injustice to her music. The mere fact that neither song got at least one nomination is appalling and further exemplifies how the establishment of country music in Nashville continues to abandon its roots in favor of “cool pop music.”
Another song I think was vastly overlooked for the Song of the Year category was Tim McGraw’s “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools.” A song that is true country music and that had an impressive chart run among a dreck of pop songs, it’s surprising that “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” didn’t get a nomination. When you look at songs that have won Song of the Year in the past, Tim’s song and Carrie’s two songs fit right in with the slower tempo songs that rely on a raw emotion to draw in listeners.
In a just world, all three singles alongside “Girl Crush” and Jake Owen’s “What We Ain’t Got” would have been nominated for Song of the Year, making for an intriguing list and a must-watch category (controversy aside). Instead we have to put up with the fact that the CMA have traded timeless quality and roots in one of their most important categories for songs that are hip today and forgotten tomorrow. The only positive we can take from these two categories is if Sam Hunt goes home empty-handed, but that’s only a moral victory at best.
Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases
- The Damn Quails released their second album last Friday on September 4th. I’m bummed I overlooked it in this section until now, but the crowd-funded Out of the Birdcage is an album well worth your time. We should have a review for it soon.
- Tami Neilson has released a new song and video from her upcoming release Don’t Be Afraid. “Lonely” is a song Ron Neilson, her father, at began writing but never finished before his death in February of this year. Tami and her brother Jay finished the song in his memory.
- Turnpike Troubadours will release their fourth studio effort on September 18th.
- Stoney LaRue will be releasing a new album of covers called Us Time on October 16th. This announcement comes quickly after LaRue’s arrest for domestic abuse.
- And more Red Dirt news, Cody Canada and Mike McClure, of The Great Divide and Mike McClure Band, recently collaborated in a live acoustic show which will be mixed and released into a live acoustic album.
- Tim McGraw has tweeted a date without any reference “11-6-15.” Being a Friday, this is 100% a date that will coincide with new music, most likely a new album. I’m sure more details will be revealed over the next two months.
Today in Country Music History
- In 1957, Johnny Cash’s first album, Johnny Cash With His Hot and Blue Guitar, is released.
- Lynn Anderson records “Rose Garden” in 1970.
Today’s Country Music history facts come courtesy of RolandNote.
Throwback Thursday Song
“Rose in Paradise” by Waylon Jennings. Also on this day in 1986, Waylon recorded this song at Groundstar Labs in Nashville. This is simply a great country song and shows a nice vocal range for Jennings. While I think Chris Young and Willie Nelson’s collaborative cover of this song is also great, Waylon’s original will always be the best version of the song.
Non-Country Suggestion of the Week
The Arcs Yours, Dreamily, This is a side project for The Black Keys singer and guitarist Dan Auerbach. Auerbach teams up with multi-instrumentalist Leon Michaels for this experimental rock album. Yours, Dreamily, has a good pace and rhythm over the album and features some excellent harmonies and instrumentation.
Tweet of the Week
SMU presents, The Evolution of Bro pic.twitter.com/fvp7KfWBkq
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 5, 2015
Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, and Cole Swindell walk into a college football game…..
An iTunes Review That Makes Me Smile
This review was left under Maddie & Tae’s Start Here. The album received high praise here, and this reviewer seems to be in agreement with us. Also, you have to love any opportunity to call out Sam Hunt, Florida Georgia Line and Chase Rice for their trashy pop music.