Wednesday Discussion: CMA Entertainer, 2008

Kenny Chesney. Keith Urban. Alan Jackson. Tim McGraw. Dixie Chicks. Shania Twain. Garth Brooks.

Those are the seven acts that have been deemed worthy of CMA’s Entertainer of the Year trophy in the past ten years.

It’s their most prestigious award, the one that caps off the night, and while the ACM has always put a high premium on big ticket sales, the CMA has honored some acts in this category who elevate the industry with their talent. Vince Gill’s two wins are the best representation of this trend. The Urban and Jackson victories are the most recent.

So when I pick the five acts that I’d like to see nominated, I’m choosing those who are firing on all cylinders right now: commercial success, artistic achievement and representation of the genre as a whole. Ideally, the entertainer of the year should be an ambassador of the format, and I think that the following five acts have that perfect combination of integrity and visibility this year.

Kenny Chesney
Three-time winner and reigning champion. The past year brought a handful of strong singles, most notably “Don’t Blink” and “Better as a Memory.” There isn’t anybody else on the scene who’s selling tickets like him. There’s no denying he’s the king of the road, and he’s held that title for a longer stretch than any artist since Garth Brooks.

Brad Paisley
Another great year at radio is nothing new for Paisley, who has been a mainstay on the dial for almost a decade. But as a ticket draw, he’s brought it to a new level, headlining major venues across the country. He’s widely seen as an artist as well, with that credibility only being heightened by his instrumental prowess. Earlier this year, he won his first Grammy, and it was for his instrumental work, which will also be highlighted on his upcoming CD Play.

George Strait
He’s been so consistently good for so long, it’s easy to overlook when he kicks things into a higher gear. It’s as if his Hall of Fame induction rejuvenated him, and he’s been making better music because of it. He sells tons of tickets whenever he decides to play, and his new album has been a top seller.

Sugarland
The only duos in history to be nominated for this award are the Judds and Brooks & Dunn. This year, Sugarland should become the third. Their live show is notoriously awesome, they’ve posted huge numbers at radio and retail, and the critical reception for their new album has been overwhelmingly positive.

Carrie Underwood
The airplay stats, record and ticket sales speak for themselves, but her impact is larger than those already impressive numbers. She is the genre’s best ambassador right now to the world outside of country music. She maintains the interest of her younger fanbase without pandering to it, and crafts music that is still appealing to adults.  She’s as much in her element paying tribute to Eddy Arnold as she is covering a George Michael social justice anthem. She doesn’t just deserve to be the first female solo artist to be nominated in eight years; she deserves to win.

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116 Comments

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116 Responses to Wednesday Discussion: CMA Entertainer, 2008

  1. Awesome line-up, though I’d personally swap out Strait for Urban. Definitely keeping my fingers crossed for the ladies to get invited to the party this time.

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  3. Carriefan16No Gravatar

    Go Carrie She deserves this one!!!!!

  4. ChristopherNo Gravatar

    I agree that Carrie deserves this one. If Kenny Chesney, a.k.a. the most overated Country music singer, gets it one more time, I might sue. If Carrie doesn’t get it, then I’d like to see it go to Brad or Keith…

  5. Again I’ll go with who I like here and who I think will get nominated…

    Who I want

    Carrie Underwood
    Brad Paisley
    Keith Urban
    Sugarland
    Kenny Chesney

    Who will get nominated

    Rascal Flatts
    Carrie Underwood
    Sugarland
    Brad Paisley
    Kenny Chesney

  6. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar

    I agree with Matt B.

    Urban may be a spoiler for Carrie. I wouldn’t believe this to be true, but some CMA voters may wish to knock Carrie down a couple notches for her relatively unpolished live skills, at least compared to most of the other options.

    Of course, Strait and Jackson have done well in this category without being overly dynamic. I second Kevin’s notion that this award is more about being an ambassador who is capable in many areas than any one discipline (i.e. live performance).

  7. anna

    blake, i ve seen carrie twice this year, once before may and her opry induction and once after. she has improved 100 percent after her tour. she has learned to perform with her voice, body, movements. her reviews from her shows april on have been stellar, check out the one from indiana. she interacts well with the audience, band. she def deserves the nom if not the win yet.

  8. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    Other than numbers, the thing that gets me with Carrie Marie is simply her amazing growth as a performer. I’ve seen her four times (five if you count the whole Idol tour thing) and her growth has been truly outstanding between one show to the next. Her co-headliner tour with Keith was awesome but then just a couple of weeks later I got to take in her own headliner tour and it was simply fantastic. A long, long way from the GA State Fair a couple of years earlier. As in no comparison!

    Not only is she comfortable in her own skin now but quite honestly I think she has arrived as a performer. In a bigtime way! So much so that she’s moving the arrangement around on her songs and doing some fantastic covers as well. If you haven’t seen her do “I Know You Won’t” live you owe it to yourself to check that out. She literally evolved that song on the road and it hardly resembles the album version.

    If that ain’t entertainin’ I’ll kiss your grits! :-o

  9. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar

    I honestly have only seen her twice live in person, once in 2006 and then just a few months ago. The improvement is, to say the least, very impressive.

    In terms of the Entertainer of the Year, these awards shows do seem to have the slightest bias towards weighing live performance above other disciplines (mentioned above). Is she a deserving nominee in the category? In my opinion, absolutely. Would I be shocked to see the lingering bias continue? No.

  10. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    There’s absolutely nothing left unpolished about Carrie now Blake. Her interaction with her fans is stellar, her musical arrangements are outstanding, her stage presence is second to none, and her showmanship is now at the top of the field.

    At the beginning of the Underwood/Urban tour Carrie was way behind. By the end? They were on par from what I could see. Keith is a master entertainer but Carrie has reached that plateau as well with a different skill set. Different but both excellent in what it is they do.

  11. bobby

    i think it should be:
    Carrie Underwood
    Kenny Chesney
    Keith Urban
    Brad Paisley
    Sugarland/ George Strait

    I couldn’t decide between Sugarland and George Strait, so either one works for me. I mainly only feel really strongly that Carrie should be nominated. If she it would be hard to argue that women don’t have to work harder for the award.

  12. MelissaNo Gravatar

    Good picks but I want Keith Urban in there too.

    Who I want:

    1. Kenny
    2. Keith
    3. Brad paisely
    4. Rascal flats
    5. Carrie Underwood.

    Carrie deserves a nomination this year for sure– even if she doesn’t win yet.. that is ok. It is maybe too earlyin her career for the win— but I would LOVE to see a woman get a nomination for once.

    so sick of the men dominating everything in country music. It is time to notice the great achievements that women have made as well.

  13. I think the only thing that’d be sickening to me in this whole category would be if Taylor Swift somehow got a nomination. If she does that means the CMA is pandering to the ‘youth’ audience. In that regard, just say Yes to Carrie.

  14. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I don’t want to start a Carrie versus Taylor war here, but Taylor’s nomination really belongs at the CMT awards. I did, however, think she was charming on Lorriann Crook’s CMA Close Up show on GAC. I still think she’s a nice kid, so I kind of hate to be too mean to her, not that my opinion is even on her radar.:)

  15. AaronNo Gravatar

    So I’m a huge Carrie fan…but I don’t think it’s her time to be nominated yet. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to see her get a nomination in this category…but it’s not going to happen. It’s gonna be another all-male field again this year consisting of:

    Kenny Chesney
    Keith Urban
    Brad Paisley
    George Strait
    Alan Jackson or Rascal Flatts

    To me those first four are locks for a nomination and the fifth spot is a close one between Jackson and the Flatts boys. So it should be interesting, come Sept. 10, to see the noms.

  16. MelissaNo Gravatar

    Aaron- you may be right- but I think alot of people are sick and tired of the old boys club dominating the field. It is as boring as the Brooks n Dunn award (and I do love brooks and dunn, but come on already).

    Carrie has made a huge mark on the industry and she has converted many pop fans to country– without pandering to pop radio or remixing her songs like taylor does. So carrie has retained her integrity while expanding the boundries of country- just as Shania did a few years ago. Carrie is this generation’s Shania- and she deserves to be nominated now.

    I don’t expect her to win yet- but to me, a nomination is a win for her and for all the female artists in country music who have to fight twice as hard as the men.

    Matt– if Taylor somehow got a nomination- I would be done with country music forever. May as well give the award to miley cyrus or britney spears while you are at it.. The ACMS were an embarassment with that shower scene she displayed. I can’t believe they allowed her to do that MTV hoopla at such a prestigious event. Then again- she needs props to distract people from her bad vocals.

  17. TomNo Gravatar

    the only real question this year is:
    chesney or paisley?
    carrie underwood’s progress will earn her a nomination. the same goes for sugarland. rascal flatts and keith urban seem to have peaked. george strait could spoil the party for urban and the rascals.

    next year it’ll be most likely:
    sugarland/nettles or underwood?

    the trend is their friend.

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  19. MarcNo Gravatar

    Can’t stand urban.

    Chesney is an easy choice as is Underwood.

    Going for the underdog vote with Sugarland as I thoroughly enjoyed their concert last December.

  20. vpNo Gravatar

    carrie for sur should be nominated if not win, just a few reason if
    1.look at statistics country musics lisenters have increased about 38% since her arrival.
    2.there is no one with her vocal skills out there right now (not anyone new anyway), she is up there with the elite.
    3. in just three short years she is headlining her own tour and selling out 86% of her shows, so what if they are not stadiums it shouldn’t matter.
    4. almost 13 million records sold worldwide soon to release both albums in the uk.
    5. devotion to her fans.
    6 induction to the opry and the commitment she shows to it
    7. she has extended her tour twice because of the demand from her fans when this year is done she will of toured from the end of january to end of december, those big name guys mostly only tour during spring summer and fall and don’t go to any smaller fairs as she does.

    in conclusion she atleast deserves the nod if not the win.

  21. J.R. JourneyNo Gravatar

    Sugarland.

  22. vpNo Gravatar

    forgot to mention her first 7 released songs all gone #1, first music artist to ever do that
    8 if you include inside your heaven and 9 when just a dream inevidably goes #1 with those vocal skills shown.

  23. ScottNo Gravatar

    Carrie’s numbers and voice speak ffor themselves…and as for being an ambassador she wins hands down..she should win and she will win

  24. GLENNNo Gravatar

    I would personally swap out Strait for Urban too. Definitely keeping my fingers crossed for Carrie. Having seen all of them live, Carrie & Urban both put on the very best shows live, bar none. Would love to see Carrie win!!!

  25. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar

    I believe Carrie herself would admit there are always areas of improvement, but I could say that for most, if not all, touring acts. Just in terms of touring, artists like Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney or Keith Urban are still considered to be better at the craft of live performance. Does this mean that Carrie has not entered the top echelon of touring acts and live performers? Absolutely not.

    Again, the CMA historically takes longer to recognize females and they are usually 1-2 years behind the curve. But as I mentioned in the original post, I consider her both incredibly deserving of the nomination and a very likely candidate to receive one.

  26. Steve F.No Gravatar

    Brad Paisley is long overdue for this award, in my opinion. He is the consumate entertainer..No one mentioned here beats his artistry, virtuosity, stage presence and stagecraft, good humor, and authentic Country charisma. Brad overdoes it with the pranks and stagecraft at times, but he is never dull, and backs up all the bells and whistles with unparalleled talent. And after all, this is the ENTERTAINER of the year category, and Brad is always entertaining.

    I don’t get the whole Carrie thing. She, like Taylor is a product of the very lucrative youth market in my opinion…Carrie has an amazing voice, but she has not paid her dues. And while I admit I am not familiar with her album cuts, her hits simply do not sound Country to me.

    Call me old fashioned, call me narrow minded, but to my hearing only Brad and George Strait sound Country among those mentioned so far. The boundaries of Country have already been expanded beyond recognition. Does Keith Urban even have a fiddle in his band? Or a steel guitar? I saw his concert video, and didn’t see any of those essential Country instruments. Country’s soul has been lost in exchange for mainstream sales. Just the latest episode of the old “Murder on Music Row” story I guess.

    And in defense of Taylor, she, unlike Carrie, at least she seems to sing and write from her heart and experience. Not my cup of tea, the whole teenage experience thing, but she does sound sincere, even if she cannot match Carrie in sheer vocal ability.

    I simply cannot buy the whole Carrie as the bat-wielding, avenging bad-girl deeply scarred, don’t even know my (or is it his?) last name victim persona. She does not ring with the truth of authenticity.

    I don’t think she even deserves the Vocalist of the Year awards she has received, never mind Entertainer of the Year. There were far more worthy candidates in the running for each of those she won. I think Carriemania and it’s pop-diluted offshoots are ruining Country music today. I am very dissapointed in the Opry for getting caught up in the frenzy. I could be wrong, but I doubt Carrie has a deeply rooted understanding and appreciation for the history and traditions of the Opry, at least not to the extent of some other more worthy candidates who have been waiting years for induction. But maybe the Opry was sold on her after hearing her amazing performance of How Great Thou Art…I guess it could be argued that on the merit of that performance alone, she deserved rapid induction.

    I agree that women have been under-represented in Entertainer of the Year category, I just don’t believe that Carrie is the right woman for the honor.

    There you have it folks, my dissenting opinion.

    -Steve from Boston

  27. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    “but she has not paid her dues”

    Would you like a blindfold when we stand you in front of the wall at dawn Steve or do you want to watch? he-he!

    Please ‘splain the paying dues thing. Considering Carrie Underwood began doing the whole car show/county fair circuit at 11 and even cut a record in Nashville at 17 that got caught up in the whole Music Row transition thing back when I’d like to know the definition of paying dues. I really, really get tired of hearing about this dues thing simply because Carrie didn’t play the honky tonk circuit. Spend her nights getting plastered in a bar to give “real life” to her music. She’s been the opening act for numerous country bands and worked her tail off for years. And afraid of work she ain’t! Carrie is arguably one of the hardest working young artists out there as evidenced by the insanity that is her schedule.

    As far as a youth market goes I beg to differ there as well. I’d say Carrie’s fans are more divergent than that. By a great margin. Another thing that sets her apart is her fans actually buy other artists’ music. There is a big crossover for Miranda that you would never figure would happen but it has. Look at the peak sales of LBT, Lady A, Josh Turner and you’ll find strong support from Carrie fans for them. Same with Keith Urban. Keith won a lot of fans co-headlining with Carrie. Carrie fans are not one-dimensional as Taylor’s. Carrie brought them into country and they’ll remain.

    I don’t know how many of her fans I’ve spoken to that are now big fans of the Opry. People that would never consider planning family vacations around the Opry do so now. Not only do they take in Carrie’s shows but usually spend a few days to a week taking in all kinds of artists at the Opry. What other new artist has done that for country music? Her respect for the history of country music is strong. Very strong as evidenced by her cuts at various awards shows. Her younger days were nothing but cover songs of a lot of classic country renditions. If you haven’t heard her cover at 17 of Patsy’s “Crazy” you might want to check that out. Her Gospel is simply awesome.

    Carrie is steeped in the history of the genre and that is a major reason she was inducted into the Opry to begin with. But then I guess only an uber-fan would know her history since it’s not something she spends a great deal of time with. Carrie is not the type to toot her own horn. That little girl is so humble about her induction it is inspiring. Nothing taken for granted and appreciative for every last drop of success she’s had. Totally refreshing.

    You don’t like her because you don’t like her vocals or the material she covers then fine but the whole “paying her dues” “she hasn’t earned it” “she doesn’t appreciate the history of country music” memes are simply not viable arguments. Period!

    There’s my dissenting opinion to your dissenting opinion. And we all know about opinions eh? :-o

  28. You’re a brave man, Steve.

  29. GailNo Gravatar

    If Keith Urban doesn’t get a nomination for EOTY it will be a big shame! His live shows have always gotten rave reviews even his shows with Kenny Chesney, who may bring in the money, but to me he’s not the better live entertainer or singer. Kenny just picks good songs and knows alot of other big artist who gladly help him out! They could replace KC with Sugarland as far as I’m concerned! Jennifer has the voice and live skills for sure.

  30. northtexasNo Gravatar

    “I don’t get the whole Carrie thing. She, like Taylor is a product of the very lucrative youth market in my opinion”

    At 63 I’m glad to be considered part of the youth market! LOL!!

    Over at her CMT message board there is a Veterans for Carrie thread with over 90 responses…Taylor Swift she’s not.
    http://www.cmt.com/artists/az/underwood__carrie/message_board.jhtml?c=v&t=932292&m=7712281&o=0&i=0

  31. ZachNo Gravatar

    OMG!!!!!!!! Kevin!!!!
    I made up my own CMA Awards list (who I wanted to be nominated) and it is EXACTLY like yours! (great minds think alike? LOL)
    for mine it was Brad Paisley for the win
    but now my top 3 of who I want to win:
    1. Carrie Underwood
    2. Brad Paisley
    3. Sugarland

    Honestly if either 3 win I will be happy but If Carrie or Sugarland win I will scream from the highest mountaintop ^^ (joking)
    anyways I think Carrie Underwood really deserves it and if she doesn’t win this year there is always next year ^^

  32. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I would be excited if Carrie was nominated, not so much because I’m an uber fan of hers, but because she really does fit the criteria that Kevin outlined. I’ll admit that the fact that she’d be a female nominee helps too.

    I’d switch Strait out for Urban as well.

    Ultimately, I think Paisley should win, because he’s been deserving of the award for a couple of years now, but keeps missing the win. I’d like to see him recognized with the award for his efforts just once.

  33. RainbowNo Gravatar

    Reba embarked on a huge tour with Kelly Clarkson, and they have been very succesful, and she’s added more dates for this fall. Plus, she had her big Duets album last year, so I wouldn’t put it past her to get a nomination.

  34. TaylorNo Gravatar

    Are you kidding me?? Rascal Flatts have been selling almost every show these last two tours. They are consistently playing to HUGE crowds every night, their charity work they do, should more than qualify for the overall entertainer. Isn’t entertainer about giving back to your fans and community?? There is no body on that list that deserves it more than Rascal Flatts. They get soo little credit from the industry it’s pathetic.. The industry can’t deny the success they have had and how you don’t even mention them on your list is ridiculous.

  35. If voters actually read the criteria for Entertainer of the Year, it would easily be Carrie. But they don’t, so it’ll be the same five guys it always is.

  36. BlakeNo Gravatar

    Chris N.,

    At your service!

    CMA AWARDS NOMINATION GUIDELINES
    ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
    This award is for the act displaying the greatest competence in all aspects of the entertainment field. Voter should give consideration not only to recorded performance, but also to the in-person performance, staging, public acceptance, attitude, leadership, and overall contribution to the country music image. Award to artist.

    Any number of females have suffered a little injustice in this category in recent history, but many of embodied the qualifications detailed here.

  37. DustinNo Gravatar

    I agree with this lineup 100% and I also agree that CARRIE DESERVES TO WIN!!!

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  39. I know that this is supposedly the most prestigious of the CMA awards, but I’ve never really been too keen on it– it’s always struck me as more of an arbitrary, “Who Do We Like The Bestest This Year” award. Which, given the boys’ club mentality of the country music establishment, explains the lack of respect shown to the genre’s women over the years.

    I’ll be pleasantly surprised if that changes this year.

    Whether or not she’s “paid her dues” and whatever her limitations as a live performer might still be, Underwood has certainly done enough to meet the stated criteria for a nomination in this category. Sugarland would merit the nomination, as well, based on their high profile and their ability to put on a compelling live show.

    But I have a hard time seeing both of them scoring a nomination. Chesney and Paisley both seem like near-locks; sadly, I’d say that Rascal Flatts probably are just as secure based on their touring stats.

    Including Underwood and Sugarland, that leaves at least six artists in strong contention for the remaining two slots: Urban, whose co-headlining tour certainly helps out Underwood’s cause in this category; both Strait and Alan Jackson, the two veteran traditionalists who are sure to figure prominently in the rest of the year’s nominations tally; and Reba McEntire, who has greatly increased her profile over the past year, is riding a wave of renewed good-will within the industry, and is often regarded as not having been given her proper due by the major awards.

    I don’t think a line-up of Chesney, Jackson, Paisley, Rascal Flatts, and Strait is at all far-fetched. But I think it’s more likely to break down as follows:
    (1) Paisley and Chesney
    (2) Rascal Flatts
    (3) Strait and/or Jackson
    (4) Underwood and/or Urban
    (5) McEntire
    (6) Sugarland
    (7) Everyone else

    As to who I think should be nominated, I don’t really have a dog in this fight, but I’d love for Alison Krauss’ name to be in serious contention.

  40. Steve F.No Gravatar

    Thanks for your thoughtful response, and the dissent to my dissent, JarheadDad. You do make some good points, and I am willing to be educated about Carrie, but we still have several points of profound disagreement. I hope you can be open and fairminded when you consider my points as well.

    It’s good to know she does have an appreciation of tradition as evidenced by her years of covering the classics etc. I’m sure she has worked very hard. The dues I’m talking about is not about living a previous life of dissapation for a biography to sing about, nor is it about ducking behind chicken wire to avoid being hit by chucked honky tonk beer bottles.

    I’m talking about repeated attempts to break into the business, having albums that have recieved critical acclaim, but have been commercial failures. And years of feeling the pain that such frustration brings. Cases in point, Patty Loveless, and Sara Evans. They both have authentic Bluegrass backgrounds, and have been nourished by the sounds of Mountain music and Classic Country from a very early age. In Sara’s case, she began playing mandolin in her family’s Bluegrass band at the age of 4. Patty and Sara both had several very high quality albums under their belt before seeing significant airplay, or any hit songs. Both Sara and Patty had to wait for at least ten years in the industry before getting a major ACM or CMA. Contrast that to Carrie’s overnight success for her debut. Can you honestly tell me that Carrie’s first album is any better than Sara’s Three Chords and the Truth?!

    And that debut single “Jesus take the Wheel”…schmaltzy kitch if you ask me. I applaud a person expressing their faith, but it has been done so much better and more tastefully by many other artists, in my opinion. This is a cringe inducing song if I ever heard one.

    Carrie has a great and powerful voice. But all too often, she is full throttle, overdrive and overpowering. She has not achieved the artistic maturity yet to know when and how to use restraint. Nuance seems all to absent from her singing. Again, I am talking about her major hits, I admit I am not familiar with her album cuts etc.

    When I listen to Sara, Patty, Brad and Alan, I hear echoes of Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe, George Jones, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Hank Williams. I hear it in their authentic Country inflections and phrasing. I hear it in the high lonesome tone they summon so effortlessly from the depths of their true Country souls. Such genuine Country charisma comes as naturally to them as breathing. I do not hear this in Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Sugarland or even Carrie, despite her rural upbringing.

    There are two brilliant Country singers from my home state. Massachusetts is not exactly known as a breeding ground for major Country artists, but in my opinion Jo Dee Messina and Lori McKenna sound more Country than some of their Southern counterparts. They both have rural sounding voices even though they are from the industrial Northeast.

    Lori cannot compete with Carrie for vocal gymnastics, but I would take the expressiveness and sincerity in her voice over Carrie’s powerful belting out any day of the week. Sincerity and expressiveness will always trump technical virtuosity in my book.

    Here is an example of why all this matters. And I dont blame Carrie alone for this. The Country-Pop divas of the late nineties created a market enviroment that virtually guarenteed Sara’s Neo-Traditional gem THREE CHORDS AND THE TRUTH would fail. In order to succeed in the market, Sara had to turn her back on her roots to a certain degree and transform herself into a Country-Pop artist. This is sad, because I still believe Sara has the potential to become as great artistically as Patty Loveless. I say this because where an artist’s roots run deep, there is amazing potential for timeless artistic achievement. The deeper the roots the greater the potential, and Sara’s roots run just about as deep and pure Country as they come.

    I think it was back in 01 that Sara performed a rendition of Muleskinner Blues that would make Bill Monroe and Dolly Parton proud. The Opry should have inducted Sara right then and there, that’s how good it was. But instead, she and other very deserving artists continue to be overlooked because of the current preoccupation with Carrie and Deirks and other overnight, next-big-thing newcomers.

    Katrina Elam is another very deseving but overlooded artist .Last I heard, Universal South has been sitting on her sophomore album, this in spite of her voice being every bit the equal of Carrie Underwood, and Kat is an accomplished songwriter as well. Her record label had no problem issuing Carrie the rights to Kat’s “Flat on the Floor”. Shameless. I guess there is only room for one beautiful and gifted young Okie singer in the market now, and the marketers have chosen the lesser talent, IMO.

    I thought Patty Loveless’ song KEEP YOUR DISTANCE was the best authentically Country song of 2005. I thought for sure it would be a #1 smash. But it was in that year that I woke up and I grew up. Patty’s gem didn’t even chart and that is a scandal indeed. But today Sugarland’s “oo oo all i wanna do” pos is top of the charts, go figure.

    And I blame artists like Carrie for creating an enviroment where it is possible to be “too Country for Country”. I certainly cannot blame her for singing the type of watered down pop-country that sells. Who could turn down such a lucrative career and oportunity to touch people with music?! But it makes me appreciate those who stand up for tradition all the more.

    In my opinion, Patty Loveless is the Queen of Country in exile, quietly going about the business of making the kind of music she loves and believes in, maintaining her dignity and artistic integrity in spite of all countervailing market forces. Contrast this to Carrie smashing headlights in music videos and screeching about not being able to remember her (and his) last name.

    I am saddened and amazed there is not more of an outcry about the state of affairs in Country music today, the dominance of pop-diluted country and the decline in the popularity of New-Traditonalism. Seems like most everyone is rolling over in the tide of Carriemania nowadays.

    If I had to choose between the Traditonalists and all that Music Row is currently offering, I would chose Tradition, without blinking, with out regret and without ever looking back. I will always choose the sound of “twin fiddles and a steel guitar”

    God Bless the Keepers of the Flame.

    -Steve from Boston

    GO BRAD! for Entertainer of the Year.

  41. GavinNo Gravatar

    Steve F Says:

    Her record label had no problem issuing Carrie the rights to Kat’s “Flat on the Floor”. Shameless. I guess there is only room for one beautiful and gifted young Okie singer in the market now, and the marketers have chosen the lesser talent, IMO.

    Brett James and Ashley Monroe are the actual songwriters of Flat on the Floor. Katrina was set to record it that is all. If you are a songwriter who would you rather cut the song Katrina Elam or Carrie Underwood?

  42. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I’d like Monroe to cut “Flat On the Floor.”

  43. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Steve,
    I know what you’re saying, but “Before He Cheats” is what got me to give Carrie a chance in the first place, I think. To me, it was the most country thing she had put out at that point. You know, I could be wrong, but I could hear Patty giving that song a good run too…she’s sure got the sass.

  44. Gavin – Katrina did record it before Carrie, and it stalled at #52 on the charts. Carrie ended up doing a better job with it, in my opinion, but still, Katrina kinda got screwed over.

    Leeann – Ashley recorded the demo of the song, and you can listen to 30 seconds of it for free (or buy the entire thing) here:

    http://www.myspace.com/wrensongpub

    You have to scroll down past the myspace player to the one that says “Wrensong,” but it’s there.

    …And I only know all of this because it came up somewhere else on this site a few months ago, so thanks to whoever dropped that info back then!

  45. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Yeah, I remember that bit of info too. I haven’t had good luck with wrensong though. Does her recording sound like a demo or a full recording?

  46. wtalley1No Gravatar

    Leeann…you can see a live version of it here:

    http://www.cmt.com/videos/unplugged/ashley-monroe/217389/flat-on-the-floor.jhtml

    Just copy and paste.

  47. I guess I’d say demo, though her singing is distinct enough that it could maybe pass for a full recording on a very sparse, acoustic album.

  48. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    It turns out that I like Carrie’s version better than Ashley’s live recording of it. Maybe because it has more muscle or something. I love Ashley, but it didn’t really sound like she was into the song in the video recording.

  49. lcbNo Gravatar

    I want to say how much I have enjoyed all the comments on this thread about the EOTY award. It’s refreshing to see real country fans disagree in a civil manner, especially after reading some really low-brow debates on other boards recently. I am mainly rooting for Carrie to take the Female Vocalist honors again. She deserves it, I think, for her incredible voice, and I actually think she has shown plenty of “nuance” in her performances. She delivers with emotion, and yes, with power, when it’s called for. I think a nomination for EOTY will be victory enough for her now. Someday, she will win it, but not at 25. It’s Brad’s turn, I think.

  50. LCB,

    Thanks for that compliment. Respectful disagreement is something that we strive for here. I’m glad that it’s being achieved!

  51. Steve F.No Gravatar

    Gavin, I stand corrected…I just assumed that Katrina wrote Flat on the Floor because she writes most of her material..Thanks to Universal South I had no liner notes to go on!

    Leeann, that would be interesting…Patty’s got plenty of sass, but she tends to go light on the bash! I can’t picture her wielding a baseball bat in a video, lol..

    lcb, thanks, glad you enjoyed the spirited dissagreement. I tried to understand and respect other points of view, but I didn’t pull any punches either. Carrie has some worthy defenders here, I gotta say! My problem with Carrie is not with her as a person, and it is clear that she is an extremely talented singer. My problem is with CarrieMANIA, which seems to me to be disproportionatly greater that even her admittedly great talent and achievement. Carriemanina, Keithmania, Rascalmania, lol, Kennymania and Sugarmania, combined with the seeming decline of the popularity of New-Traditonalist Country, is making it very difficult for my favorite female artist’s “tractors” to get much traction nowadays.

    For some reasaon the men of Country seem more able to succeed by singing more traditonal Country (and Bluegrass flavored Country) than the women. Seems a double standard to me. For some reason, modern Country audiences want their lady singers to be more Pop.

    Leeann, something else I love about Patty is she tries to make music that appeals to both men and women. Sure, she sings of heartache from a female perspective, natural enough..But with Patty, the male bashing is kept to a minimum.

    And Kevin, I’d just like to second LCB’s compliment…It is refreshing to be able to post a dissenting opinion freely without being attacked personally. I belong to a fan club of a prominent artist where that is not the case. Differing opinions are most often met with derision and ridicule. This particular artist deserves so much better than her clique based FC fan base.

    So Kevin, I just wanna say you,Leeann,Blake and your team run a classy joint here, and really seem to have found the elusive balance between respectful order and freedom of expression.

    It’s nice to be among the grownups.

    -Steve from Boston

  52. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Steve,

    That’s really one of the highest compliments that can be paid to this site. It’s really what we strive for as moderators and writers. While we freely express our opinions, and their not always adulating, we try to be respectful. So, thank you again for the acknowledgement that our goal is being met.

    We can’t take all of the credit though. It’s thanks to our readers and commenters that such a respectful tone is able to be maintained.

  53. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Ha! I didn’t even see Kevin’s comment above before posting mine. So, ditto to what he said.

  54. GavinNo Gravatar

    Steve…you can blame artists like Carrie, Keith, Brad, and Taylor but before you do that you better point a finger at Garth, Shania, Faith, and Martina. You can blame radio but then they point the finger at advertisers with their target demographic figure of between 18 and 49 that only listen to Mainstream Country Pop. It is the no play no pay philosophy. The more pop country gets the more crossover it is and the bigger the listener base becomes which equals more money for all involved. It is a vicious cycle. Because of this very talented artists are left out in the cold. You know what they say, “It’s not personal it’s just business.”

  55. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    I’m baaaack! But not for long! I really don’t have a lot of time right now but I had to respond to Steve. Again.

    *sigh*

    Where to even begin Steve? Your take on Carrie’s “overnight success” doesn’t hold any more water than your first arguments of “not paying dues”. I’ll post a bit of Carrie’s bio from way back before Idol. I believe this time period was ’01-’03? Not sure but anyhoo here you go:

    “Carrie has performed at numerous festivals and various other shows in Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, & Tennessee and has been the opening act for “Diamond Rio”, “The Wilkinson’s”, “Exile”, ” “Gene Watson,” Billy Hoffman” and “Earl Thomas Conley”. Carrie travels with her five piece, high energy band, “The Star Rise Band”, in which each member also performs various types of music, from the 60′s Rock & Roll to current Country Hits, and gives Carrie’s show a variety to please all audiences.

    Carrie has done several recordings in Nashville with Chuck Howard and John Guess. She had recorded songs that were written by Beth Neilson Chapman and others that were given to her to record by the publishers Jason Houser, Willis Jones and Island Bound.”

    Now if that ain’t country I’ll kiss your grits again! I actually saw her back then and didn’t know her name. I do remember her though and also remember thinking what a great job that young lady did. Definitely made an impression.

    Another counterpoint is one you use to justify Carrie’s “lack of charisma”. Carrie DID cut an album that was never released. She’s been in the studio TWICE to no avail. Another part of that whole “overnight” success thing you like so well. The vivacious Ms. Underwood may be shy but she’s eat up with charisma. There are two Carries. One is a stage performer that is simply a force of nature and there’s the shy, quiet personal life Carrie that keeps her personal life where it belongs; personal!

    I understand how you feel. Make no mistake about it. You are a traditionalist and feel your favs are not getting a fair shot. Problem there is market and you’ve obviously been around long enough to know the cycles in country music. Those cycles rotate back and forth between traditional country and pop country. About every ten years or so. I give you Glen Campbell et al. You also want to throw the baby out with the bath water in regard to markets. I live in a large market and our traditional country station just shut down. They are now an oldies station and the oldies are drawing double the ratings. Now, if you want to make sure your artists never have a shot then you better hope you don’t get your wish. Young artists that you have a problem with are keeping the genre alive, supplying more revenue for labels, and allowing your favs the opportunity to even record. I already mentioned the number and quality of fans that Carrie has brought to country and their total willingness to explore the genre. I had a conversation recently with a group of young Carrie fans that are all about learning the history of country music and they are, and I quote, “Country fans for life and here to stay”!

    Be very careful what you wish for Steve. You just may get it!

    I wish I had more time but I’ve got a boat to rig for making a livin’ tomorrow. If I get some time this weekend I’ll try to respond further. There are just so many preconceived notions you have of My Girl that I could go on for pages! Heh! I enjoy a good debate and that’s why I’ve always enjoyed being allowed to post here. Kevin and Leeann do a great job. I haven’t picked on Blake yet but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt! ;-)

    P.S. I am a HUGE Patty and Sara fan as well. Go figure! :-)

  56. Steve F.No Gravatar

    Gavin, I actually agree completely with you about the earlier culprits Shania, Martina and Faith being the primary influence for the beginning of the most recent cycle of Pop-Country dominance…They are not off the hook in my book, lol. THEIR success made it very difficult for Sara to suceed as a Traditionalist. Again, it’s about preferences…to any I may have offended, I dont consider them talentless or bad human beings…Just real Country the way I see it. I agree Country is and arguably should be a big tent, but my concern is that it is currently being expanded beyond recognition, and is danger of losing it’s soul and identity. So yes, the current wave began with Martina and Faith, but Carrie, and the others work as crossover ambassadors for the genre goes too far, IMO. Again, I go back to Keith Urban as a clear and concrete example. How is he Country exactly? He sounds to me like soft-rock, folk or pop. I thought WHERE THE BLACKTOP EN

  57. Steve F.No Gravatar

    I wrote another long post, but my computer froze and I lost more than have of the content…sorry folks. But Gavin, I was just saying that I thought Keith Urban’s Where the Blacktop Ends was the one and only real Country song I have heard from him. And no one has answered whether he even has a fiddle or steel guitar in his band. I think that this does matter, as these are identity instruments for Country music.

    And JarheadDad..welcome back my friend! I just want to address the part of your post about Carrie’s Country charisma or lack of it. I think you misunderstood what I meant by the term. I was not referring to confidence, stage presence or dynamism. I have no problem with Carrie being a little shy. I actually think it’s sweet and a sign of humility. Patty too, can be quiet and shy at times.

    What I meant by Country Charisma is an intangible quality of the soul that comes to expression in an artists vocals. It is what happens when an artist gives voice to the spirit of the land that nurtured them…manifest in just the right amount of twang, rural inflections and phrasing, and ideally a lonesome Mountain timbre in their tone. This is where artists like Patty and Sara give voice to, and basically channel the spirit of the fields and the farms, and the hills and the hollows. I also hear this quality in the their conversation. Even Patty and Sara’s speaking voices are music to my ears! I also hear this quality in Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Dwight Yoakam, Ralph Stanley, Clint Black and George Jones. I just dont hear it in the voices of Carrie, Jennifer, Rascall Flatts, Keith Urban and even Martina McBride.. It’s all about charisma…Gotta have that Country Charisma..

    Other aspects of Country Charisma many of these artists do posses, including Carrie. These aspects include down home charm and sense of humor and good old fashion values, But I was refering to vocal qualities not just qualities of character.

    And getting back to something Leeann alluded to, Carrie’s BEFORE SHE CHEATS…a good Country Rock song, but I just think it’s bad casting. If I were a casting director, I would give the role to Gretchen or Jo Dee. Carrie is simply not convincing, imo. There seems to be a disconnect between Carrie’s personality and many of the musical roles she chooses. And I don’t believe she is a good enough actress to pull it off. I’m not saying one needs to have a honky tonk bio to sing these types of songs, but if not, the artist needs to be a darned good actress. Better yet, artists like Carrie would be better served singing simpler, more sincere from-the-heart songs. Like Tayor Swift mostly does, and Lori McKenna, and Patty Loveless. I think this is an area where Carrie has room to grow. She has amazing potential, but needs to develop some artistic maturity and more consonance between her true personality and her musical persona. It is a shame that Carrie’s acclaim has outrun her artistry. It’s going to be a big challenge for her to stay focused and grounded as she develops as an artist.

    -Steve from Boston

  58. Steve F.No Gravatar

    In the post I made above, I should have used the terms “interpret, interpretation, and interpreter” as opposed to “acting or actress” In music it is interpretation.

    -Steve from Boston

  59. GavinNo Gravatar

    Steve…Like you I am a huge fan of Patty Loveless and of others like her and will buy anything she puts out. I love Traditional and Classic Country with some Americana thrown in. Sara Evans’ Three Chords and the Truth was a great album and one of my favorites but even when she went mainstream she still came out with some great stuff. She’s struggled lately mainly because of bad luck. As far as Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban go I am fully aware that what they are singing straddles the lines of country pop and other more mainstream genres like R & B, but if you would ever see these two live it is hard not to become a fan. I don’t consider Miranda Lambert mainstream but she is starting to make a lot of noise and starting to get some well deserved notoriety. With Faith Hill taking a step back and Martina McBride putting out a weak album it seems the only female artists that are taking advantage of this is Miranda Lambert, LeAnn Rimes, and Kellie Pickler of all people. Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift are sitting high upon that mountain and I don’t see them volunteering to climb down. Someone is going to have to make that climb and knock them off. The question is who?

  60. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    “It is what happens when an artist gives voice to the spirit of the land that nurtured them…manifest in just the right amount of twang, rural inflections and phrasing, and ideally a lonesome Mountain timbre in their tone.”

    I wonder what inflection a cow makes? Mooooooy’all? Carrie yodels, does that count? I like the Okie timbre in Carrie’s voice just fine.

    To each his own I reckon Steve. I absolutely adore the way Carrie speaks. I guess “charisma” is in the ear of the listener eh? Kinda’ what makes the world go ’round huh?

    Man, how do you score in this game? Everytime I make a rebuttal the goalposts move. Frankly, and I’m not meaning any disrespect, the trouble I have with your arguments is simply that you’ve stated you don’t listen to Carrie. You are predicating a dislike based on videos and a very limited number of songs you’ve heard. Obviously sales and awards bother you as well. I’m also curious as to what interviews you’ve listened to that make you declare Carrie has no country charm? I hear that exact same charm in a lot of her interviews and she’s definitely got a country sense of humor. She can get down home with the best of us but at the same time she’s also college educated which tends to make one have a better pronunciation skill set. As far as the twang goes I can remember quite a few artists without it. Did Carrie’s “lack of twang” make her rendition with Brad Paisley of Make The World Go Away any less country? How about her cover of the Bob Wills classic San Antonio Rose? Maybe the lack of twang made her incapable of ripping into Stand By Your Man on the Opry? Yet I seem to absolutely love all of those performances. Each and every one of them. Twangless and twang free. There obviously must be something wrong with me for not hearing what you’re hearing! Right?

    Oh well, I say tomAto and you say tomAHto. Your tastes are different than mine but also similar. I guess the biggest difference between the two of us is I’m not bogged down and narrowed in on any one particular “style” of music. I like good music. Any kind of good music. I can sing along with Hank or jam out to Keith Urban. I can totally get into Jamey Johnson and still enjoy Kellie Pickler. Love Ashton Shepherd and so to Jennifer Nettles. Dig on Miranda and adore Carrie. I’m not worried in the least if someone twangs or not as long as I enjoy their music.

    Therein lies the biggest problem I have as I mentioned above. You critic Carries’ music without knowing it. I don’t do that to any artist. If I’m going to review or offer my opinion on someone I want to hear ALL of what they have to offer. Period. That’s just the way I am.

    I even gasp like other genres. I’m an old rocker and I love Southern Rock with a passion. Southern Rock has always been a combination of country roots mixed with rock and rythym and blues. I love late 60s and 70s rock. Heavy stuff to light fun stuff. At the same time I love Roger Miller, Johnny Cash, and even Ray Stevens. Life’s too short to pigeonhole myself to limiting my enjoyment of music!

    BTW, just how does an Aussie go about having a country twang? Is that even possible? ;-)

    I will forever agree to disagree!

  61. Steve F.No Gravatar

    Jarhead, You dont listen or read carefully what I have written. I said that Carrie and others DO have the kind of CHARACTER kind of charm and charisma, just not the vocal kind that I have been discussing.

    And I admitted time and time again that I haven’t heard all of Carrie’s stuff. That does not disqualify me from opining on the stuff I DO hear and see…the stuff that gets her all the awards.

    And before you call me narrow, please remember that you dont know me. I like many genres of great music as well…Classical, Opera, Reggae, COUNTRY ROCK, (something else we have in common, LOL) Blues, and even showtunes. REAL Country just happens to be my favorite.

    And before you go mocking me for my appreciation of twang, please remember that this is another defining characteristic of true Country music. Along with fiddle and steel guitar instrumentation. Take away these elements, and you got pop…generic, miscellaneous, amorphous pop.

    And I hope you are not equating lack of college education and country inflections with bad pronunciation. That is an elitist and insulting statement that many of the greats of Country music would most likely take issue with. Dr. Ralph Stanley for one, would not equate a Southern Drawl with primitivism.

    And my preference for real traditonal Country music does not mean I am “bogged down” in one particular style as you say I am. A lot of Country pop is great music, I agree..(Sara’s RESTLESS album is a masterpiece of Country Pop.) I just object to the way it’s diluting and defining the genre nowadays, and you are right, it is cyclical to a certain degree.

    I have every right to express my dismay at what’s happening to Country music…and I see Carrie’s overwhelming popularity as PART of the problem. And Sara and Patty and other Traditionalists owe NOTHING to Carrie, Keith and Rascal Flatts expansion (diluting) of the genre to bring in more fans. I disagree with your premise that Country stations accross the nation would fold without them. There is a hard core Traditonal Country fan base that will always keep Pure Country afloat.

    And you are wrong and unfair to say I dont like numbers and awards. I wish Sara and Patty would get their deserved and fair share of them. But numbers alone do not an artist make. Let me ask you this…Do you LIKE the way Sara and Patty have been struggling to get any traction in the current market? Do you like the fact that Carrie and the other pop-country singers are eclipsing them, and making it difficult for them to chart, never mind top the charts? Remember Keep Your Distance?…dont you think that amazing song deserved a lot of air play? It was a very creative video too, that was hardly seen. (Hopefully all this will change soon, with the release of Patty’s new album, and her desire to educate people about the roots of true Country…Hazel Smith also suggested that artists like Carrie give a good listen to Patty’s new album, and learn and “detox” their ears.)

    JHD, I gotta say, I dont appreciate the mocking tone( the “ehs” and “huhs” and the cow remark, for example) and the unfair generalizations that you have made about me.. I tried to address your points with respect and an open mind. I’m sorry you cant seem to manage to do the same.

    And I have every right to “critic” as you say, (it’s actually “critique” by the way) Carrie’s music and videos I HAVE heard and seen. I never attempted to go beyond this. And after all, it is her high profile work that has won her all the acclaim and awards, not her more obscure stuff. So it IS fair game.

    It is very sad that to many of the young people I talk to, Carrie, Sugarland and Rascall Flatts is all they know of Country music and all they WANT to know about it. Most of them have never even heard of Sara Evans or Patty Loveless, and they claim to love country music. Are you happy with this state of affairs?!

    -Steve from Boston

  62. Steve F.No Gravatar

    JarheadDad…I just wanna add that I agree, we need to agree to disagree. Hey, at least we found in each other fans who love both Sara and Patty, and Southern Rock, right?

    I wish there was forum on this site for debating, because as indulgent and understanding as our moderators have been, I don’t feel comfortable continuing to debate this particular topic with you. I think we have both made good points and made our positions clear. And I think we are are taking up a LOT of space, lol..and getting somewhat off topic.

    PS, don’t feel compelled to respond to my latest long post, just because I ended with a question. It was rhetorical.

    All the best.

    -Steve from Boston

  63. Steve F.No Gravatar

    Hi Gavin!

    I think Carrie and Taylor need to watch their back, I think Miranda just may knock them off their thrones! I like Miranda, she’s got that Texas thing going on, and SHE is convincing as a bad girl, lol! She expresses her sensitive, tender side quite well too. Crazy Ex Girlfriend is an amazing album, that deserved to stand with Patty’s When Fallen Angels Fly as one of the few female albums-of-the-year.

    Not sure what you mean about Sara’s bad luck.(her failed first marraige?) Sara was poised to become one of Country’s next great superstars in the opinion of several critics, then along came Carrie and sqeezed her out for more than a few FVOTY awards. So I think it was more a matter of a disapearing or crowded niche.

    I think Sara is at a crossroads…her newer Pop-Country stuff is excellent, but with Real Fine Place she made a slight swing back to Tradition. I hope she continues in that direction, even at the risk of lower sales. If she does I believe she will realize her potential to become as great as Patty, artistically speaking. If she continues with her Pop Country stuff, as great as it is, I think she is facing stiff competition with Carrie, and others, and she may therefore not be able to realize her crossover ambitions.

    Sara has been singing IN THE PINES a-capella with her sisters in concert, and I swear, it is one of the most angelic and beautiful performances I have ever heard. Word has it that this Bluegrass classic will be on her next album. I hope it sets the tone for the whole album, and marks the direction for the next phase of her career.

    I have seen Keith’s concert DVD and I do see the appeal. He is an amazing songwriter, performer, and guitarist. Just ain’t what I call Country.

    Carrie’s ability as a concert performer I cannot comment on, as I have never seen her in concert. Are you listening, JarheadDad?!

    Miranda’s a trip, lol…her performances go a little further into Punk territory than I would like, but she is amazing.

    Good post Gavin, thanks!

    -Steve from Boston

  64. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    Mocking? Condenscending? Satirical? Me? Naw, perish the thought! The way I roll Steve. When I find something funny in a rebuttal to me I will pick on it but I wasn’t picking on you personally. If I was you’d know it. Trust me on that!

    “Be civil to the man but hell on his ideas!”

    Pretty much sums it up. Your idea in your later posts was simply that my opinion wasn’t equal to your’s. Go back and read it again. It’s almost like you’re the teacher and all the rest of us are the students. “Because I’m the teacher and I say so!” Heh! Plus you made fun of my spelling. What’s next? Grammar? he-he! There is no preview function here. Nor an edit button. Yes, I know the difference between “critique” and “critic”. Even without a college degree I can figger some stuff out on my own. Imagine that! Speaking of which Carrie majored in journalism which requires a lot of public speaking classes and speeches. I’ll leave you to put that puzzle together.

    And no, you didn’t respond to the rebuttal points I made but instead simply moved on to another arena. An example would be who Ms. Underwood opened for and the fact she’s had two attempts to produce a record derailed. Those are only two. There are others.

    Yep! We need to move to a forum. There are just so many points you make that need refuting. The one about traditional country stations is one. I have an Arbitron lisitng around here somewhere that you would want to look at. You might just be surprised. If I can find it I’ll post a link.

    I absolutely detest mainstream radio for the most part but it’s a necessary evil. Fortunately there are all kinds of alternatives to listen to music nowadays that can put an artist’s stuff out there. It’s just not mainstream. And great artists need mainstream as much as fledgling ones. And don’t think radio doesn’t know it! Problem is a lot of the alternatives also cost the artists the opportunity at making a living. Catch-22.

    Actually Steve, I kinda’ like you. I like the passion with which you support your favs. That in and of itself is what separates country music from the rest of the music world. We are all passionate about the artists we support and stay with them through thick and thin. Do pop fans do that? Of course not, they’ll move on to the next shiny object that shows up. This print media removes any and all nuance such as tone inflection and facial expression so it’s quite possible to take a written word and not understand the intent.

    Plus you like Raggae! I saw Bob Marley in the Islands a bunch back in the day. He was just another bar band singer back then but man did he have something special goin’ on!

    Patty could sing the phone book and I’d buy it!

    Yeah, I agree to turn this back over to the regularly scheduled posts. Hijacking wouldn’t even come close to describing what we just did! Apologies all around!

  65. GavinNo Gravatar

    Steve…We both can agree that male artists dominate the genre. Women have to be exceptional to get heard in this business. If the current sound at radio is going to change it is going to be up to the men. If the sound starts down a more traditional road over the next few years you will see different women become prominent. The men dictate the course the woman are forced to follow to compete. If I’m going to throw certain artists under the bus I’m going to start with the men and forget about the women.

  66. Steve F.No Gravatar

    JHD, I was stating my opinion, not saying it was more valid than yours. I may have missed some of your points, but you made some good ones, and I addressed a lot of them. Speaking of moving the goalposts, I’m sure I made some good points as well, but you didn’t acknowledge any of them that I can recall. You basically were doing the same thing you accused me of doing, moving on to other points. You mostly tried to ridicule my opinions, instead of acknowledging any of the valid points I may have made. But I do appreciate the way you seem to understand my frustration about current conditions, and my passionate support for some or our Traditional favorites. You do seem to appreciate where I’m coming from.

    The critique remark was kind of a cheap shot on my part, I admit. It was made in response to what I perceived as your sarcastic tone. I am not the best speller in the world either,lol. And I agree completely about the need for an edit and a preview feature. Also, is there any way we posters can contact each other? Some fan clubs allow email contact, with the club shielding the email address for the first correspondence, and leaving it up to the recipient whether or not they want to respond in kind with an email reply.

    It was never my intention to assume a condescending tone. I thought I had something to offer by way of a contrary opinion, and was pointing out different perspective with which to view Carrie, her music and the level of her acclaim. I thought what I offered was unique, thoughtful and well stated. I didn’t hear any other dissenting viewpoints, it seems that EVERYONE was bowing down without question at the Underwood altar, or staying neutral. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I HAD to speak up!

    So I was trying to show another way to look at the Carrie phenomena, not suggesting that “I am the teacher and I say so”. I tried to support every assertion I made, and frequently used the phrase imo, or “in my opinion”. I never ridiculed your opinions. I was fighting for the dissenting perspective, because I felt pretty much alone in that point of view.

    Except for my friend Gavin! Who seems to love Tradition as much as I do (even though he loves Carrie too), but is much more diplomatic in his statements. Good points Gavin, about the domination of the charts by the men. But stars like AJ and Brad have been able to succeed with a fairly Traditonal repetoire. (Dwight seems to be struggling though, INTENTIONAL HEARTACHE, like Patty’s KEEP YOUR DISTANCE deserved to to much better than it did).

    I trace the difficulties that the ladies are having at staying true to Tradition back to the overwhelming success of Shania, Martina and Faith with their Pop-Country offerings.. And now Carrie and Sugarland continuing that Pop-Country dominating tradition.

    Garth too, but he did have some real, hardcore Trad-Country sounding songs, like Rodeo, Full House etc. But yeah, a lot of the men nowadays continue to set the tone with Pop style Counry. Keith, Rascall Flatts and many of the newcomers. I am so grateful for Alan and Brad, and hope they can set the tone for everyone, the men and the ladies…so that tradCountry can be cool once again!

    I just want to end with one last expample of how the popularity of pop-country singers is sqeezing out more traditonal artists, and more seasoned, vets. I went to one of Kenny Chesney’s stadium concerts, at the home of the NE Patriots. Presenting the lineup in reverse chronological sequence.. Kenny of course had top billing, then Brooks and Dunn…so far so good. Then I just assumed it would be Sara Evans, but instead it was SUGARLAND, arggh! Then Sara, then Pat Green who opened for everyone. After all the years of Sara’s hard work and artistry she gets to open for Sugarland. Just aint right. Just the year before, Sugarland opened for Brad and Sara, the way it should be…IN MY OPINION.

    -Steve from Boston

  67. GavinNo Gravatar

    To get back on topic I actually had to reread Kevin’s article. Carrie Underwood sure can be a polarizing subject around here. Whether you hate her or not she is the alpha female right now and if a woman is going to crash the party she is the best bet. Her eye popping numbers combined with her successful headlining tour is reason enough to get a nomination. Can she win? If she is nominated the voters will be forced to compare her numbers with the other nominees. And yes she will compare to if not exceed the other nominees in those figures. Kevin’s statement, “She is the genre’s best ambassador right now to the world outside of country music.” is a fact that won’t be overlooked by the committee.

    Who do I think will be nominated:

    Kenny Chesney
    Brad Paisley
    Keith Urban
    Rascal Flatts
    Carrie Underwood

  68. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Steve, you said “I didn’t hear any other dissenting viewpoints, it seems that EVERYONE was bowing down without question at the Underwood altar, or staying neutral. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I HAD to speak up!”

    I’m glad you did speak up. I just wanted to address this particular point though. I can only speak for myself, but I just want to make it clear that I am not “bowing down at the Underwood alter” or “just staying neutral.” In reality, I appreciate all three of the women that you have brought into this conversation: Patty Loveless, Sara Evans and Carrie Underwood. I have all of the albums from all three of the artists. I can easily say that Patty is my very favorite of the three, Sara following (though I have not liked any of the new songs on the GH album, especially her latest single) and Carrie after that. I think it’s okay to like all three. Liking Carrie is not being disloyal to Patty or Sara. To me, comparing Carrie to Patty is like comparing apples to oranges. They fill two different roles. Sure, Patty is traditional, which is my personal leaning, but Carrie is talented and is growing into her own. Therefore, I don’t think that she needs to be denied an award because Patty didn’t get it. Basically, what I’m saying is that one should not be punished for the mistake that others have made. Yes, Patty most definitely should have gotten more recognition, but since Patty didn’t, that doesn’t mean that Carrie shouldn’t. It means that a terrible mistake was made with Patty, which is separate from whether or not Carrie eventually deserves this award.

    I’m tired, so I hope my rambling made sense.

  69. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    No problem with an e-mail addy Steve: jarheaddad@hotmail.com . I use that one to screen on the internet and to keep my main box free of spam. Feel free to drop me a note!

    Half of what you take as derision from me would be nothing more than chuckles if we were sitting over a beer somewhere. That’s the biggest problem with this type of communication medium. Can I be harsh? You bet. Can and will. But I wasn’t in particular in this case. Actually I’ve rather enjoyed the thread and was mostly poking fun at you. I’m bad about that. I find just about everything under the sun funny. Comes with surviving this long and still being alive I reckon.

    I totally agree with Gavin’s point on the men dictating to the women how they have to proceed if they are to be successful. Frankly I don’t like it much. I’ve been trying to get in touch with my feminine side but unfortunately I haven’t found it yet. Be that as it may I would love to see Carrie get the nom simply to get a woman with creds into the running. Eight years is a long, long time. I was about as annoyed as you were when Patty didn’t get a nom when she so totally deserved it.

    Don’t even think you’re alone in your opinion of Carrie. Sheesh! I’m just surprised the bashing hasn’t begun already although I believe a lot of the original bashers may have actually sat back and started paying attention to what Carrie can actually do. Just trust me when I tell you I’ve heard all of the arguments in the world with most of them being way over the top. The majority just downright spiteful. It do get old!

    Baptism under fire. Nothing like it eh? ;-)

  70. SarahNo Gravatar

    okay, as a member of Carrie’s fan club and a diehard fully supportful fan, i am always happy to defend her. First of all, I have seen Carrie 10 times and she has gotten better and better each time with her stage presence. She is funny, and who said she didn’t have twang?? Carrie is Country, very country and has never been ashamed of it. 2nd, Carrie’s voice alone makes her better than anyone in country music right now. She is flawless and very deserving of every award she has won. Whoever thinks she hasn’t paid her dues obviously doesn’t know what all this girl has went thru to get where she is. She went to Nashville as a teen and recorded a demo album. It didn’t work out cause the company moved or something of the such, so she almost gave up, she went to COLLEGE which is a lot more than u can say for most artists. And going thru AMerican Idol is definitely paying your dues!! and the Grand Ole Opry made the best and right decision to induct Carrie . She has brung it alive again and brought so many fans to the opry. i have traveled hours and hours to Nashville to see Carrie at the Opry and have also been influenced by the other artists performing. And i wanna say, Vince Gill (definitely one of your traditional artists u talk about steve), said himself “Inducting Carrie is the best decision the Opry has made in a long time.” and to say Carrie doesn’t deserve her female vocalist of the year awards, if u didn’t notice the award is called the “Female Vocalist OF THE YEAR” and Carrie has been that. Carrie has brought in so many fans and introduced them to Country music, i know cause i am one. When i started listening to Carrie, i wanted to hear other country as well and now i am a all country fan. and just so u know, Carrie is gonna be dominant on the charts for years to come so just get used to it, k? She is amazing and an awesome entertainer. i have seen Keith Urban and Brad and they are great too, but Carrie is on a higher level then them right now and deserves Entertainer of the Year. and about Taylor Swift, she is no where near the singer Carrie is and who cares if she writes all of her music its always about the same thing. Carrie has written some of her biggest hits like “So Small”, “All-American Girl” , and “Last Name”. and u saying “Last Name” and “BEfore He Cheats” isn’t something u think Carrie should sing, well u have to take risks and Carrie always pulls it off and like somone said earlier there are 2 Carries. There is Carrie Underwood who sings those songs and then there is Carrie, the simple and shy country girl. And i can’t believe you would say something negative about “Jesus Take the Wheel”! that song has meant so much to me and been an inspiration to millions of people. You should look into the facts, before you put an artist down and their music. okay, i’m done now.

  71. Steve F.No Gravatar

    Leeann, your “rambling” made perfect sense!..My comment about everyone bowing down before the “Underwood Altar” was a bit of hyperbole on my part…an overstatement to be sure. I just couldn’t resist using that phrase, I liked the near alliteration of it. I did exaggerate a little to make a point. I really do believe that there is an unquestioning bandwagon, a tide carrying Carrie that is disproportionate even to her considerable talent. The acclaim outpacing her artistry.

    You are right about apples and oranges..And I admit I have an old fashioned, (but not invalid) idea of what true Country is. Carrie SHOULD win many awards, but Grammy’s in the Pop and Rock genres, imo. Same with Keith Urban…they are amazing talents, but should not qualify for CMAs or ACMs imo. And I know of a lot of intelligent people with great taste in music, who love both Patty (and Sara) and Carrie(now I can add a few more to that list) I don’t completely understand it, lol, but I do acknowledge it.

    I dont mean to blame Carrie for stealing Sara or Patty’s awards or airplay, etc. But the overwhelming success of pop-country artists like Carrie do make it difficult for the Traditionalists to get a fair hearing. It is not the fault of the pop artists, I blame the market.

    I remember Patty’s KEEP YOUR DISTANCE video on GAC, and promotions for her Dreaming My Dreams album back in 05. Autograph pre-sales, 20 questions with Patty etc. But for whatever reason, KYD didn’t chart and the video dissapeared very quickly. I’m glad that you love Patty and Sara too, so we would both be in agreement that the reasons KYD didn’t make it have nothing to do with any lack of artistic merit with either the song or with Patty herself. So yes a terrible injustice was done, but why? And what KIND of mistake led to it being squelched? I think maybe Country radio and TV gave up on it too soon. But they probably did so because the public had an appetite for more pop-flavored offerings. If Sara and Carrie and Faith(lol) are nominated, and Carrie wins, it does mean that Sara doesn’t this time around. But does that mean that Carrie is better than Sara?! She sold more, that’s for sure…But I hope that isn’t the only, or even main criteria for the highest honors. Sales may be the tipping point though, if two equally talented artists are both under consideration. I’m rambling now, thinking out loud, lol.

    But that is not the winner’s fault. No one should blame the artist for that. A lot of market studies indicate that “tweens” (according to TIME magazine, for instance) actually have the most purchasing clout of any demographic group. (their parents cave to their whims, according to Time, for use of their entertainment dollars) And many of them would naturally be fans of American Idol. I think much of Carrie’s fan base is from young teenage girls. In Carrie’s case she happens to be an amazing vocalist who appeals to adults as well, but I still believe the majority of her support comes from the youngsters. That would explain the rise of Taylor, too. And maybe even Kellie Pickler, and now Jessica Simpson’s crossover effort. (did you see that Jessica was #3 on CMT’s countdown this week?, SOMETHING must account for that…she is certainly not more talented than some of the artists she has leap-frogged over.)

    Anyway, the youngsters are redefining Country, not that they are propping up untalented artists, but as I indicated in another post…Carrie, Taylor, Keith, Sugarland and Rascall Flatts are all they know of Country, and all they WANT to know of it.

    Many of these young-uns I have talked with never even heard of Sara Evans or Patty Loveless. So I doubt very much they are familiar with Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Ralph Stanley, or Bill Monroe.

    That is just sad.

    Oh, Leeann, I agree COMPLETELY with your opinion of Sara’s filler songs for her greatest hits album. Except for AS IF which is a catchy Pop song, but the others are cliche ridden, rushed efforts IMO…Sara can, and I expect she will, do so much better!

    And getting back to my heroes not getting the recognition they deserve, they are FAR more gracious, philosophical, and patient than bitter ole Steve has been.

    At her fan club party, Sara was introducing her band and crew, and forgot some names momentarily…she said in a very self-depricating and humorous tone “you have to understand, I’m not used to this, I dont win any awards…” Everybody laughed, then her sister Ashley chimed in, saying “It’s true, she really doesn’t” lol.

    And I have read of Patty expressing some minor frustration..she has been slightly discouraged in the recent past,saying that she feels like the “new Patty” is competing with the old Patty. And that those familiar with her earlier stuff from the late eighties and nineties are not hearing her newer stuff. She wants to get the music out to the people. That fits in so well with an expression she has used in the past, that she is more interested in “making records than breaking them”

    I should count my blessings that she has a great new album coming out very soon, and has enough support from her fans and peers in the industry to get the music to the people.
    And that she has so many supporters here at this wonderful site full of knowledgable and thoughtful Country music fans!

    -Steve from Boston

  72. Steve F.No Gravatar

    Sarah, I didn’t mean to offend you or any other Carrie fans here, but you should read my posts more carefully in full context, and you will see where I’m coming from at least, even if you don’t agree with me. I said a lot of nice things about Carrie as well.

    As for the song Jesus take the Wheel, I’m glad it was inspirational for you and many others. It just makes me cringe, that’s all…I have heard so many more religous songs that I like a whole lot better. I believe Carrie’s heart was in JTTW, but it just sounds schmaltzy and superficial to me.

    And I think Brad is a far better guitar player and songwriter than Carrie, a much higher level, lol…But you’re right, Carrie does sing better!

    I just like Brad (and Sara and Patty) because he sounds more COUNTRY to me, and puts on a totally entertaining show, so he is my choice for ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR.

    Yeah, Carrie does have twang when she speaks, but not much when she sings. I know, and have said she is a good country girl, but I just think her singing style is more pop than country.

    I hope if Carrie does dominate for a long time, she learns more about the traditions of Country and Bluegrass music, and INCORPORATES this into her singing style.

    And do you think it is fair that Carrie was inducted into the Opry after only two years, and Sara Evans is still not a member after 10? Sara has been performing the kind of music the Orpry LOVES since before Carrie was even born!

    And you and JarheadDad made some good points about how hard Carrie has worked to get where she is..details I was not familiar with. Thank you for that. But other artists, just as talented, have worked even harder and for longer. I’m not the only one who thinks this, Leeann Rimes also said Carrie has not paid her dues.

    ‘K, I’m done now too!

    -Steve from Boston

  73. Steve F.No Gravatar

    Leeann, I should have said “I never intended to make it sound like I was accusing Carrie of stealing awards or airplay etc” That what I meant…not my original statement “I don’t mean to blame Carrie for stealing…” I can see how the latter could be misinterpreted. At the very least I should have put quotation marks around the word “stealing”.

  74. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Steve,

    I certainly took no offense to your posts. I just didn’t want you to think that I, in particular, was staying nuetral just to stay nuetral. I wanted you to know that there was a reason for it.

    I’m with you on so many of your points. It really is a shame that Patty and Sara haven’t won more awards and acclaim, because they certainly deserve it. and I know I’d be just as upset as you if it were Vince that received the same treatment.

    I know that the young people who love Taylor, Carrie and RF can seem frustrating because you’re concerned that they’ll never progress beyond them. While that may be true much of the time, I want you to know that I started out liking more pop country like Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt (who wasn’t being so traditional when I started listening to country radio) and other less than traditional artists. In fact, when I first started listening to country music, I was horrified by too much traditional sound in the music. I swore that I’d never like that “Country Western stuff.” but I have grown to really love the traditional, including people like Johnny Cash, George Jones, Merle Haggard, etc. In fact, if I were forced to choose, traditional is where I lean, even when listening to newer artists like Justin Townes Earle, Ashton Shepherd and Ashley Monroe. I still like less traditional stuff, but I tend to gravitate toward them. I know that I’m not the only one who has this story. So, there’s hope, my friend. There’s a chance that some of these kids will come around someday. They’ve got to start somewhere and maybe starting with the traditional just isn’t the natural place for kids to begin in most cases, but it’s nice that they’re starting somewhere.

    PS. I forgot about “As If”. I actually *do* like that one.

  75. Steve F.No Gravatar

    I hope you’re right, Leeann..
    I know Tradition will never die, but I hope it’s dormancy is just the ebb of the current cycle, and that the sound of “twin fiddles and a steel guitar” will once again be the dominant and defining sound in Nashville. Even for the young people.

    That’s awesome you’re a huge Vince fan as well. Actually it was my love for Patty that led me to a much deeper appreciation for Vince Gill. (how could it not?, lol) I think it’s cool that Vince sang backup on both Sara and Patty’s first number one singles. (No Place That Far, and Timber I’m Falling in Love)…He sure knows how to pick ‘em. I’m starting to think that Vince Gill is a Queenmaker, or at least a Starmaker!

    And Vince and Patty are together again on Patty’s new album Sleepless Nights. I believe it is the title cut where Vince once again sings harmony vocals with Patty.

    And Patty sings harmony for Vince on Satisfied Mind, which will be on the upcoming Imus Ranch record due in late September. Patty will also cover Fleetwood Mac’s haunting Silver Springs! I can’t wait.

    Has anyone mentioned Vince Gill for Entertainer of the Year? If not for this year, to make up for years past. Is this the only major award this supremely talented man has NOT won?

  76. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Steve,

    I believe Vince has actually won two Entertainer of the Year awards from the CMA. I could be wrong though.

  77. He won Entertainer in 1993 and 1994. He has 18 to his credit, tied with George Strait for most all-time wins.

  78. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    “He sure knows how to pick ‘em. I’m starting to think that Vince Gill is a Queenmaker, or at least a Starmaker!”

    Must… resist… must….resist…. AWWWWWWWWWW! Just cain’t do it!

    Vince Gill is Carrie Underwood’s biggest fan and supporter. He has taken her under his wing since the first time she appeared on the Opry and was the driving force to get her inducted. Time to write him off. The wanker! How could he?

    Ruh-Roh! Oh well, at least it supports the Queenmaker theory huh? We need a Carriemania category. I’ll moderate! :-o

    Gotta’ question: what was the steel guitar on Patty’s Chains? A friend swears it was a pedal but I don’t think it was. Anybody know? Sounds like lap steel to me. Maybe console.

    You could do a post Leeann on favorite steel guitar players I bet. Of course I’d have to go with John Hughey since he not only played with Elvis but he was with Vince for so long. ;-)

  79. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I’d go with Hughey too, with Don Helms following, of course.

  80. JarheadDadNo Gravatar

    BTW, meant to tell you earlier, I just loved Vince’s tribute to Don on the Opry! I swear, there cannot be a better representative of country music than Vince. With all the hoopla and everything that goes on Vince just proves that country is still family!

  81. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Yes, JHD, it was really wonderful to see Vince represent country music in such a way. I’m very proud that he’s my favorite.:)

  82. SarahNo Gravatar

    okay, my suggestion to you steve is to listen to all of Carrie’s music. It is very country, especially her 2nd album Carnival Ride. And i don’t see how you don’t think she has no twang in her music…its quite twangy to me.

    And about the Opry, Carrie did deserve to be inducted after just 2 1/2 years cause she has accomplished more in those short years than Sara has accomplished in her entire career. And did you even watch Carrie’s induction?? You can tell how much the Opry means to that girl, and the history. She has said it many many times.

    and for Jesus Take the Wheel, that song tells the story about accepting Christ and letting him control your life. how is that superficial ??

    and don’t get me wrong, I love Brad Paisley and he is a great talent, but Keith is a better entertainer. Both still, Carrie is on a higher level and has worked harder than any of them this year. She barely has had a break in her schedule!! She deserves this award.

    And you don’t think she knows the importance of country and bluegrass traditions?? Have you ever looked into it? Just listening to Carrie in interviews and such, you can tell all that is important to her and she has said it so many times. And did you hear her performances of “Stand By Your Man”, “San Antonio Rose”, and “Make the World Go Away”? They are absolutely amazing.

    And for LeAnn Rimes, she hasn’t done squat for years! She had no right to say anything about Carrie, she’s just mad that someone her age has already accomplished more than her in just a few short years!!

    k, i’m done lol. and Steve, I’m not mad i’m just taking up for Carrie.

  83. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I’ll have to say that “Jesus Take The wheel” almost ruined any chance of me liking Carrie. I really hate that song. By the way, I *am* a Christian; I just have to agree with Steve on that song, especially since it was put out as her first official country single. To me, it seemed like pandering, though I blame her label and not Carrie.

  84. I actually thought that “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was a pretty bold move. After “Inside Your Heaven”, I assumed she was going to be a pop-flavored country act with little depth. “Wheel” was straight-up country, and was religious without being preachy.

    When I heard the album, I was also impressed by “Before He Cheats”, which I thought had more of an edge than anything most mainstream females were doing.

    I could see how both singles could be viewed as pandering and calculated, though. One thing that irked me is that they both were nominated for Song of the Year at the Grammys, but Carrie didn’t get a coinciding Record nod for them. I don’t think those songs would’ve been monster hits in another artist’s hands.

  85. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I guess it just rubs me the wrong way. For what the song is though, in my opinion, Carrie does sing the heck out of it. I’m just not a fan of the song in general. Maybe “hate” was too strong of a word. I can actually think of songs that I dislike more than that one.

    I love “before He Cheats” though. Maybe I’m just too wayward.:)

  86. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    It is odd that two songs from an album would receive nominations but not the album itself.

  87. I know a lot of people who didn’t like “Jesus, Take the Wheel” but I don’t think I’ve met anyone who didn’t like “Before He Cheats.” I wasn’t crazy about “Last Name”, though.

  88. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I thought “Last Name” was okay, but I didn’t love it. Her voice sounded a bit strained or something, but you know me and the banjo…

  89. Carriefan16No Gravatar

    I really don’t get everyones’s deal with Kenny Chesney what does he do that makes him stand out over anyone else? Seriously like he has won entertainer of the year like way to many times in a row. imo Its time for a new face in that slot maybe one of a female i think everyone can tell by my screen name who I’m talking about.

  90. lcbNo Gravatar

    Carrie may not get “Entertainer of the Year,” but she certainly inspires a very “entertaining” debate here. I enjoyed reading the back-and-forth about her popularity, her songs, and her meteoric rise to the top. All I would add is that she has shown a little more respect for traditional country music than maybe she is getting credit for. She has the pipes to belt out “Stand By Your Man” and the control to move us on “Make the World Go Away.” To me, she seemed right at home singing those, and she infused more emotion into her cover of “I Told You So” than Travis did, although I have always liked Randy a lot. Carrie’s country, but she’s young. She says she likes to sing songs she’d like to hear on the radio. That’s fair, and honest, I think. Some are pop, some are country, and quite a few are in between, which is where Shania, Faith, and others have been residing for years. It will be interesting to watch Ms. Underwood’s choices in the years ahead.

  91. Steve F.No Gravatar

    Interesting comments everyone. Sarah, I’d just like to add, that I have no doubt that the content of the message of Jesus take the Wheel is inspiring and heartfelt, I’m sure. But the music and the actual metaphor of the Wheel in Jesus hand, strikes me as an ackward stretch, and a little hokey. It’s not the message of the song, but, (to stretch the metaphor even more) it’s the schmaltzy vehicle with which it is delivered. (the song, not the singer is the vehicle I am refering to here.) The song may be good inspiration and theology, but in my opinion it is bad art.

    I have said that other artists have done much better songs of faith. Now I remember that Carrie herself has done MUCH better as well, with “How Great Thou Art”…much better choice of a song (hymn), and an amazing rendition of it.

    Thanks for the info Leeann and Kevin for the info on Vince’s ETOTY wins. He deserved them no doubt!

    JHD, yeah, Sarah made a similar point about Vince being a big Carrie fan…Well, no one’s perfect, lol…His high regard for Patty compensates for that! Plus he is a little biased being a fellow Okie. He has also taken Katrina Elam under his wing, so maybe there are limits to his magic. I really hope he can pull a rabbit out of his hat for Kat, she deserves as much of a chance as Carrie, and is at least as good as Carrie if not better, in my opinion. But seriously it DOES speak well of Carrie if Vince likes her so much.

    OK, JHD, LCB, and Sarah, I am willing to be educated on Carrie’s understanding and appreciation of traditional country and bluegrass…and would be willing to admit I may be somewhat in error on THAT point!. But again, that is not the wave she rode to fame and fortune…it is the pop stuff. For such a young singer, I am willing to admit she has much more depth than I gave her credit for. It will be interesting to see how she evolves as an artist.

    But I stand by my statement that her acclaim has outrun her artistry, as considerable as her talent is. I just dont think she is the absolute BEST Counry singer out there, no matter how great her voice is, or how many awards she wins or how many records she sells. And it is possible for one to have the best voice in popular music, but still not be the best singer. I hope that statement is self evident and self expanatory.

    And I just dont like her role in making pop- country so dominant, but that’s just my musical preference.

    Kevin, I know we haven’t met, but I dont like Before He Cheats, as a total package. The song itself isn’t bad for a Counry Rock song,(although I cannot condone the avenging vandalism, lol) And Carrie’s voice is incredible. But, as I have stated in earlier posts, I just think it is bad casting. Carrie is not convincing in that role, IMO. I were a casting director, I would have given that role to Jo Dee, Gretchen or Miranda. Just seems to be too much of a stretch away from Carrie’s true pesonality..and I don’t think that even her great interpretative skills bridge that gap of lack of credibility. I guess that’s the problem I have with several of Carrie’s hits. Trying to be the tough girl, the drunk girl or the bad girl…because that’s what seems to be selling nowadays. (can we thank Gretchen for that?!)

    I hope Carrie turns to the Traditonal style songs that Sarah, LCB and JarheadDad say she covers so adeptly. I hope she puts these great songs to the forefront as singles, so we can all get a glimpse of what I am sure is her amazing potential.

    -Steve from Boston

  92. Steve F.No Gravatar

    On the subject of steel players..My choice would be for the late Don Helms, may he RIP…The most amazing I have ever heard.

    Mr. Helms was actually a gracious host to my Dad and Step-Mother a few years ago. Their nephew is a Nashville aquaintence of his..(he is in the biz), and introduced them to Mr. Helms. My Dad says that Don was very warm and gracious, hosted them for coffee, (or was it tea?) and told them many wonderful stories.

    I went out and bought the Hank Williams GOLD Cd, and Mr. Helms is such and indispensable part of the Hank mystique. May the sound of of Don Helms’ haunting strains of steel inspire forever!

    -Steve from Boston

  93. Steve F.No Gravatar

    Oh, Sarah, I just caught your Carrie Vs Sara statement.

    No, Carrie has not accomplished more than Sara Evans, If you want to compare repetoirs, Sara Evans has MANY more great songs. More albums, more collaborations, more duets, more compilations, more songwriting credits, more hit singles, more SONGS, and with one or two exceptions all VERY high quality songs and performances. Sara Evans is a master of Bluegrass, Traditional Country and Pop Country. Carrie may have done some great covers or the great old stuff, but not nearly as many as Sara, I am sure. Sara Evans has the artistic maturity of a seasoned veteran, Carrie is a child by comparison in that regard. Anyone who thinks that Carrie is already perfect, or the greatest of all time with no room, or need to grow as an artist, is arrogant, naive, ignorant or all of the above.

    I just cannot let that statement of yours, saying that Carrie has accomplished more than Sara Evans in 2 1/2 years than Sara has in 10, go unchallenged. The ONLY criteria in which Carrie Underwood is more accomplished than Sara Evans, are with awards and sales…that is IT!

    And actually you are wrong again about LeAnn Rimes. She has done very well these past few years…and has as much right to state her opinions as we do!

    -Steve from Boston

  94. Steve F.No Gravatar

    And from what I hear, Carrie is only just coming into her own as a stage performer. Sara is a an old pro, with a more confident and dynamic stage presence, her dance moves on stage, her interaction with the audience, her sense of humor, I doubt Carrie comes close in this regard.

    Oh, does Carrie have enough hit singles for a greatest hits album yet? How can she be more accomplished than Sara if she doesn’t?!

    Sarah, you may want to rethink your assertions. It may be possible that the Opry too, has fallen prey to the wave of Carriemania, awards and sales…and the attempt to get more young people involved. Because if they are going on artistic accomplishment and merit alone, Sara has Carrie beat hands down! And I bet Sara has performed at least as many times on the Opry stage as Carrie, but I bet it is more.

    I think the best choice the Opry has made in recent years was the induction of Josh Turner, by far!

  95. vpNo Gravatar

    Sorry steve sarah evans does not have more than seven 1#’s not to mention those were her first seven songs released that pretty much sums up the whole debate she’s the only musician to EVER do that in the history of neilson.

    case closed

  96. Steve F.No Gravatar

    Sorry vp, nice try..but your statement, and the fact that you completely ignored the points I made that would support a contrary conclusion, just proves the point I am making,… That the only areas Carrie has achieved more than Sara Evans,( or LeAnn Rimes, and many other more established artists) is with sales, and awards. I have already enumerated the many areas where Sara has achieved more that Carrie in the above posts. But you are choosing to ignore those inconvenient facts.

    Sarah was stating that Carrie deserved to be inducted to the Opry before Sara Evans because she supposedly had achieved more in two and a half years than Sara had achieved in ten. Again, with the exception of sales and awards, that is a demonstratively inaccurate statement.

    But you and Sarah seem to think that sales and awards are the most important measure of achievement, more important than artistic merit, or prolific creativity. (Areas where many artists still have Carrie beat, not just Sara and LeAnn) Is this attitude typical of most Carrie fans? If so, that is really sad, and further evidence of the delusional nature of Carriemania, (as opposed to rational, grownup support and appreciation of Carrie)

    Again, this is where Carrie’s acclaim outruns her artistry. She has achieved a lot, and has amazing potential to be one of the best ever. But for those under the spell of delusional Carriemania, Carrie is already better than everybody else by every conceivable standard, and has already achieved more than everyone else…the awards prove it right?! And no one can question that, all must bow before the Underwood altar.

    -Steve from Boston

  97. vpNo Gravatar

    SORRY STEVE, first, you apparently you didn’t read my comments or you would know i wasn’ commenting on sales and awards (they speak for themselves), i was correcting you on sara vs. carrie hits if you could read again. Second i’m not a part of cariemania, i’ve liked country music for a very long time including sara and all the great women of country, the difference between you and i is i can accept when new talent comes around.
    you seem to be the a-typical hater. what is this? is people who have problems accepting artists like miss underwood when they didn’t reach they’re startdom as per your requirements.
    so what she started on a tv show, so what she has enormous amounts of fans, so what if radio plays her more (oh that is requested by listeners, and they are 78% 22-53 yrs of age as for country radio) these things are insignificant or you’ll like this on “So Small” as carrie might say. instead of being a hater why not enjoy this rare voice and accept people for who they are, ahat they are and how they got there. she has an amazing gift as does sarah ,faith, martina, leanne an so on.
    a voice like that doesn’t come around to often not to appriciate it is just wrong and to dwell on it is just worse. regardless if she has paid dues, put her time in made so many albums, no one not even you steve, can argue what she has accomplished and that’s just fact.
    AI just helped her get to country music and bring a whole lot more attention to it that wouldn’t have been there not half as much w/o her. she has changed the face of country as people did befor her shania, faith, martina, not to mention kenny chesney his music is all about the calypso sound of the islands not country and eveyone seems to over see that so if his faults of country music according to some country standards can be ignored than i am sure people could just leave miss underwood alone. i’m quit sure she doesn’t pay any attention to haters anyway.

  98. vpNo Gravatar

    i found this great but sad article that proves all carrie points and should put this topic to rest. now this is someone who could really hear the beauty in her voice and be able to embrace it as great artists should (not just carrie).
    this made me water up. hope it strikes a cord.
    http://www.fayobserver.com/article?id=302298

    Quote:
    Last week, Jean Bowden gave her nephew, Bobby, an autographed picture of country singer Carrie Underwood.

    Bobby Sherman loved music. Loved to dance. And he regarded Underwood, the former “American Idol,” as one of his favorites.

    With the gift, Bowden was banking on bringing a smile to that sweet, chubby face. Those trademark Bobby Sherman grins had become less and less frequent.

    “He held that picture and said, ‘She’s beautiful.’ I thought, ‘What a brave guy.’ It’s tough. He has been able to bully through everything, and this time he can’t.”

    Blind since infancy, Bobby had beaten the odds throughout life. But this time, doctors doubted that the video-game marvel with the freckles and crackly voice could overcome a rare and aggressive form of cancer that had wormed its way into his organs.

    The doctors proved right.

    Bobby died at 5:05 a.m. Tuesday, two days after his 20th birthday.

    On Aug. 13, Jean Bowden had one of her last opportunities to spend some “Aunt Jean and Bobby time.” That was when she presented him the picture of Carrie Underwood. Bobby smiled after he told her it was beautiful.

    “That was all I needed,” she said. “My job was to make him smile.”

    He set the framed picture of the singer beside the television. Though it might not make sense to some, Bobby kept it there so he could see it.

  99. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Please, let’s try to at least stick to the subject of this thread, which is who should receive the CMA Entertainer of the Year Award or nominations.

  100. HelenNo Gravatar

    I really enjoyed reading all of the comments on this thread. As regards the nominations for EOTY I think they’re pretty spot on. However, my vote would go to Brad Paisley for the award.

    Can I just say to Steve…I got into Country music because of Carrie…now I’ve learned more and more about country music and now the Dixie Chicks, Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson are all favourites of mine.

    I don’t think Carrie should get the entertainer award just yet…I think she will get it but not yet…

    I don’t want anyone to think I’m bashing her because I am a big fan of hers and I know she works really hard and deserves all the fame. I definitely do prefer her more country stuff and I love Carnival Ride.

  101. carlyNo Gravatar

    Carrie deserves to win mroe than anyone!!!!!=]]]
    shes amazingggg

    whoever is saying carrie shouldnt win, hasnt been to one of her cocnerts… i have been to more than 5 and each one gets better and better=]]
    pluss as many albums as she ahs sold and how amny things she has done, it amazingggggggg

  102. Steve F.No Gravatar

    vp, out of respect for this site, this thread, our fellow posters, and our moderators, I am not going to respond to the blatant and ridiculous personal attack you leveled against me, except for the following:..for me being a such “hater” as you say, I sure have said a lot of nice things about Carrie as well! There’s more I could say, but again, let’s leave it at that, at least for this thread, at this time.

    If anyone wants to have a rational debate with me about Carrie Underwood, Carriemania or related subjects, please see me at Carrie’s slot #59 on the 100 greatest women thread. I have said my piece and made my position clear, but if anyone wants to pursue this further, that thread seems more appropriate, unless and until we have a thread dedicated soley to debate and rational argument.

    Helen, your post was a breath of fresh air, and a perfect example of the reasoned discussion I have been speaking of. It’s good to know that devotion to Carrie CAN lead (as it did with you) to a deeper appreciation of other Country artists, and especially other Traditional Country artists like Brad and AJ…but I have seen so many examples or “Carrie converts” to Country settling only for the Country Pop flavored stuff, and boosting the peddlers of ear candy to the top of the charts….But “nuff about that here, on this thread…

    And I am with you 100% for Brad as Entertainer of the Year! He is the epitome of pure talent and entertainment, year after year. For the male artists, I know of no one who pulls off the balancing act between serious Country music and just plain FUN better than Brad! Carrie’s day may come, but this year….GO BRAD!

    -Steve from Boston

  103. TomNo Gravatar

    after following this thread, “getting carried away” has a whole new meaning for me.

  104. Steve F.No Gravatar

    Well done Tom, pun intended I’m sure.

    I do apologize for my part, we should have found another thread to discuss that subject.

    Also, I thought your post on Sara’s (#54 on the Greatest Women countdown) thread was very well stated, you made some really good points and observations.

    -Steve

  105. JakeNo Gravatar

    This is so funny.
    The Carrie Underwood fans are so delusional that they think she deserves even a nom for EOTY.
    The facts are that she is only averaging 6,500 a concert according to billboard. That is only half or a third of what the big touing acts do.
    Why should Underwood get a nomination when she can’t even sell out a 10,000 seat venue on her name alone.
    When I think Entertainers, I think big touring acts and megastars like Shania,Garth or Kenny Chesney who can sell out huge venues on their name alone.
    I don’t see Underwood ever winning EOTY in the future because she is not that calibre and she has reached her peak already in terms of poplarity.IN fact Taylor Swift is more popular now.
    I think the only woman to ever deserve this award in the last 10 years was Shania and for Carrie fans to come on this board making Underwood out to be bigger than she is laughable.
    Carrie fans are the most deluded fans I have ever seen. Nothing they say has any truth to it.
    I don’t see any woman ever winning the EOTY in the next 6 years unless Shania goes on a massive world tour and the CMA’s forgive her for being bigger than country music.

  106. JakeNo Gravatar

    Another thing, Kevin, you can twist all the facts you want and cry about her not getting a nom but she doesn’t deserve one.
    YOu say she is country musics abassador outside of the country world, b.s, there are tons of great country music artists who are country’s biggest ambassadors like Shania who is a global icon and known worldwide and she is as classy as it gets.
    I also advise you to check your facts before you post info. If Carrie Underwood is nominated then the CMA’s would of really lowered their standard. It would be the first time they nominated an artist who only averages 6,500 a concert. She is just not a top entertaining draw.
    In fact her last 4 concerts in June only drew 5,000 and one drew only 4600.

  107. TomNo Gravatar

    steve,

    no reason to apologise. there are not many better “battlefields” for different points of view than blog-threads these days. this one had almost epic elements in it.

  108. SarahNo Gravatar

    Listen, i apologize, I love Sara Evans and she has done great things and accomplished a lot. I hope you don’t think i don’t think she has. I just mean that Carrie has done a lot in 2 years, and had the highest selling debut album of any other female country singer. And awards and sales do count just as much. But she also has had 7 strait number 1′s and an 8th one on the way with “Just A Dream”. And duh she don’t have a greatest hits album yet, because she has only been around for 2 1/2 years and just 2 albums so far. She will though, and probably sooner that u think. But i’m gonna stop talking cause this is getting rediculous lol. And i’m a defensive Carrie fan and not naive like whatever u said. I have seen Carrie many times and know what she is capable of and that is all i need to know. And whoever said Carrie can’t sell out her concerts, her headlining tour was in the top 20 selling concerts in all genres of music. But bye, never coming here again lol

  109. jakeNo Gravatar

    Sarah, you seriously need reality check. Your blind love for American Idol singer Underwood is making you say some absurd things.
    First of all being in the top 20 of concerts mean nothing because Underwood has done more dates and more concerts than most on the list. According to billboard Carrie is only averaging 6,500 people a concert and many,many were not even sellouts at that low capacity. That is not EOTY calibre.
    Big stars who have won this award are selling out 20,000 seat arenas.
    Underwood is a middle of the road touring act and those are the facts.
    I have nothing against her but you really lay it on thick making her out to be something she is not.
    Here is another fact, her socalled 7(6 actually on billboard) #1 singles. All of those songs were either written completly or co written by nashville and thats why they were high on the charts.
    None of her songs are even memorable. I can name several songs on country radio that never went #1 because nashville didn’t write it but they were much bigger and more well known than any Underwood song.

    So put things in perspective, yes she is doing well the last 3 years because of American Idol help and Nashville helping her do everything. But she does not deserve every award like you think.

    When Shania sits back at her castle I bet she laughs at how the wannabes have it so easy now. Shania had to fight for airplay and she had to break the rules despite Nashville hating her. Thats why Shania is the biggest of alltime and a global icon.
    Nobody will even be close to Shania’s level because she became a massive global megastar bigger than Nashville and did things her own way.
    But it sure would be nice if coat riding Underwood would mention how Shania made is easier for woman in country music and how Shania took the heat so all the woman nowadays can have it easier.
    It is shameful how you Underwood fans react and how such little respect you show for those woman who came before and who did things Underwood could only dream of.

  110. vpNo Gravatar

    i’ll agree shania is great cause i’m canadian and yes made it easier for women in country. i love all the women in country they all have their own strenghts, but once in a while like shania someone special comes along with extrordinary talent and yes it should be celebrated and given the credit it deserves and right now that is carrie. and i don’t think that takes anything away from all the women of country, its just her time.

    okay here is a perfect example of her talent.
    this is from other industry artist a band called the lost trailers maybe you heard of them
    this is from their tour journal.
    http://www.thelosttrailers.com/index…ontent=journal

    Well, last week was a really great one here in The Lost Trailers camp; we got to share the stage with the amazing Carrie Underwood in Chicago. We got to warm up the near capacity crowd in the NIU Arena right outside of Chicago.If you’ve never been to one of Carrie’s concerts, you need to do yourself a favor and try to catch one of her shows this summer or fall, it’s one of the best out there, period. The great thing about her is that she is able to sing just as good live as she sings on records, and she does it night after night after night, which is a feat that most performers can’t do, especially with her hectic touring schedule. My favorite parts of the show were when she performed “Remember Me”, singing spot on while she rocked the acoustic guitar, and then “Paradise City” into “Before He Cheats”. The amount of passion and stage charisma that she puts out during that part of the set is just awesome. She sent us a big shout out before she finished her set, and that’s a really cool thing to do, because some headliners don’t shout out to their openers, but she does, and that’s really a testament to why she is where she is…she’s the real deal and she treats people great. We got to hang a little bit after her set but then we were off to Wichita and she was off to Peoria; we will catch up with her outside of Philadelphia in August.

    that should be proof enough of her talent.

    now i wish we could all move on to the other threads, although this is clearly a hot topic.

  111. jakeNo Gravatar

    vp, that doesn’t change the fact she only averages 6,500 a concert and isn’t on the same level of big stars who sell out 20,000 arenas in 10 minutes.
    Who cares what some no name act says about Underwood.
    You really need to understand something. Nashville writes her songs and produces her albums, there is nothing special about her, Nashville controls her.

    Big icons like Shania created their own sound and changed the face of country music and took it to another level never reached since or before. Shanai had nothing to do with Nashvhille and did it on her own and became global and worldwide, now that is what you call special.

    So put things in persecitve please.
    The biggest stars are always the ones who go outside the box and do their own thing like Shania,Dolly or Willy Nelson and Johnny Cash.

    Those who play within the Nashville system will forever remain there and never reach any other level.

  112. vpNo Gravatar

    ok jake first you need to calm down a bit if read my comments i gave credit to all of the women singers. i was just stating that she has a rare gift and it should be enjoyed. i bet you would not be arguing if she sung a song written be shania, and if you are such a huge shania fan you would know shania’s ultimate goal would be to her other artist singing songs she wrote, she’s said it in many interviews check cmt.ca.
    also you have to remember it took shania 5 years to take off, those first 5 years she was no where near carrie. you jake need to understand how much this girl has accomplished in such a short time more than any other artist in just two very short years. she went from a farm, to university, to a tv show, to super stardom, and she like shania is very humble and thankful about it. yes she never wrote on her first album cause and she admits didn’t know if she could, but on the second she co wrote 4 songs three of which have gone to #1. might want to check your facts. don’t understand why people can’t just enjoy the music all of it, why love one hate the other, they are all on the radio cause they have something special and who are we to judge, we’re not.

  113. jakeNo Gravatar

    vp, you need a serious reality check. You say she accomplished so much so quick? Oh really? It is more like American Idol gave her an advantage to have success.
    Please don’t make me laugh and even compare someone comming off a realit tv show with huge exposure and huge advantage to someone having to work their way up.
    The biggest stars are always those that work their way up and become icons like Shania.
    Those who start out fast are never the ones who reach huge levels.
    So it is really pointless to say that some artist was not near Carrie in her first few years because other artists didn’t have American idol expsosure and Nashville support.
    Shania had to fight for every inch of airplay and she changed the sound of country and made it easy for all other woman.
    Those that break the ground are always the biggest and most remembered/
    So get your facts straight and put things in perspective.
    I don’t hate anyone but I also put things in perspective. Anyone with American Idol advantage and Nashville support could do well.
    But to become an icon and really big and special like Shania you have to changed the rules and break through and do it on your own. Those are the ones most remembered.

  114. vpNo Gravatar

    clearly blinded by shania

    i’m out of this thread everyone’s a hater of some sort instead of just enjoying all and everbodies music

  115. I totally agree that Carrie Underwood should win Entertainer Of The Year. She has a beautiful voice plus her concerts have been awesome. Come on its time for a woman to win this year!!! Give it to America’s Sweetheart.

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