CMA Awards 2014: Staff Predictions and Picks

Despite the Grammys and even the ACM’s demonstrating more consistent taste over the past few years, the CMA’s remain the most significant industry awards that honor country music.  This year’s slate of nominees gives the organization an opportunity to build on the credibility of last year’s George Strait victory.  His win for Entertainer saved a dismal show in its closing minutes.

Here’s our take on this year’s contenders:

George Strait ACMEntertainer of the Year

Should Win:

  • Luke Bryan
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Blake Shelton
  • George Strait – Kevin, Jonathan, Tara, Ben
  • Keith Urban

Will Win:

  • Luke Bryan
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Blake Shelton
  • George Strait – Jonathan, Kevin, Tara, Ben
  • Keith Urban

Kevin:  I’d settle for a Miranda Lambert victory, as she had an amazing year.  But my first choice is George Strait, who deserves a fourth trophy for that record-breaking final concert.   The rest of these nominees have either won before or still seem to have their best days ahead of them.  There will never be another George Strait again.

Jonathan: The appalling sense of entitlement Jason Aldean has shown in his seemingly endless campaign of adult temper-tantrums disguised as interviews since these nominees were announced makes it all the more satisfying that the voters didn’t exclusively consider commercial and touring stats when voting for this award. I think that will likely continue with the final ballots, giving Strait the win here as a final send-off– a win that, as Kevin said, Strait’s last concert fully justifies based on even Aldean’s logic.

Tara: I have a feeling I’ll be pulling for Lambert next year, but 20 months after seeing it, I’m still high on Strait’s phenomenal farewell show. He deserves this.

Ben: Why not? Miranda will have plenty more shots at it, but this could be our last chance to see George Strait accept a CMA Entertainer of the Year trophy. Let the cowboy ride away in style.

Eric ChurchMale Vocalist of the Year

Should Win:

  • Dierks Bentley – Jonathan, Ben
  • Luke Bryan
  • Eric Church – Kevin, Tara
  • Blake Shelton
  • Keith Urban

Will Win:

  • Dierks Bentley
  • Luke Bryan – Jonathan, Tara, Ben
  • Eric Church – Kevin
  • Blake Shelton
  • Keith Urban

Kevin:  I’m thinking – no, fervently hoping – that this is a three man race between the guys who haven’t won the award yet: Bentley, Bryan, and Church.   Another win by Shelton would just be depressing.   A case could be made for all three winless gentlemen, but I’m giving Church the edge because he made the best music.  Bentley’s probably the most overdue, though.

Jonathan: Bentley made the best album and had the best run of singles of the five men here, and he’s years overdue to break through to the genre’s A-list. A win here could help that cause, though I suspect he’s a longshot behind Church, Bryan, and Shelton. Of those three, I’m pulling for Church, but this may be the year that Bryan finally de-thrones his good buddy Shelton.

Ben: I’m torn between Church and Bentley, but leaning toward the former for reasons similar to Jonathan’s. I’m guessing that this will be Bryan’s year, and I won’t complain as long I don’t have to stomach another Shelton victory.

Tara: Church is the most entertaining and inventive of the crew right now, but my guess is Bryan will finally take this away from Shelton.

Kacey MusgravesFemale Vocalist of the Year

Should Win:

  • Miranda Lambert – Ben, Jonathan, Kevin, Tara
  • Martina McBride
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood

Will Win:

  • Miranda Lambert – Ben, Jonathan, Kevin
  • Martina McBride
  • Kacey Musgraves – Tara
  • Taylor Swift
  • Carrie Underwood

Kevin:  It feels strange to advocate for a record-breaking fifth win in this category for Miranda Lambert, given that she hasn’t been my first choice in this race in recent years.  But Platinum is a fantastic album, and she’s the only contender to release significant new music in this eligibility period.   I think she’ll win easily, the real surprise in this race will be who fills the fifth slot next year when “Gone Poppin’” Swift is not in the running?

Jonathan: I’ve thrown my support behind Underwood during the past two awards cycles, since she’d demonstrated some substantial artistic growth during her Blown Away era while Lambert was peddling by far her weakest set of material. But I’ve also said since her debut that Lambert is the most compelling, forward-thinking, and fearless artist Nashville has produced in a generation. I can’t not mention that she released two of her worst singles in “Automatic” and “Somethin’ Bad,” but Platinum is, on the whole, close to Lambert’s best work, and she fully deserves to win this year.

Ben: Lambert may not have deserved all of her Female Vocalist wins of the past four years, but she deserves a win this year.

Tara: It’s been awhile since I’ve fully backed Lambert, and it feels good. It’s hard to wrap my head around a fifth win, though, so I’ll make a completely unfounded guess that she’ll be dethroned by Musgraves.

lady antebellum downtownVocal Group of the Year

Should Win:

  • The Band Perry
  • Eli Young Band
  • Lady Antebellum
  • Little Big Town – Tara
  • Zac Brown Band – Jonathan, Kevin, Ben

Will Win:

  • The Band Perry – Kevin
  • Eli Young Band
  • Lady Antebellum – Jonathan, Tara, Ben
  • Little Big Town
  • Zac Brown Band

Kevin:  The CMA’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge Zac Brown Band in this race is approaching Sawyer Brown territory, but at least they’ve won at the Grammys.  The Band Perry seems to be the token big group of the day, so I’m betting they win this year.

Jonathan: The only one of the five nominees that I can’t imagine winning is Eli Young Band, though they’ve put out enough decent, commercially relevant music that they feel like a solid fifth instead of just a filler nominee. The Band Perry lost considerable momentum with “Chainsaw,” and it remains to be seen how their gamble of releasing a cover of “Gentle On My Mind” will pay off; that they won the ACM back in the spring makes them the soft frontrunner here, though.

That said, Lady Antebellum had the biggest presence on radio of these five groups during the past year. Despite being in the throes of a pretty grotesque identity crisis– they’re trying so, so hard not to be boring– I could see their overall popularity giving them a slight edge. Zac Brown has openly called out the CMAs on the politics that have kept his band from winning industry awards; however deserving and overdue ZBB might be, that’s probably not going to get them any trophies.

Ben: I don’t see a clear frontrunner on the “should win” front, but Zac Brown Band is way overdue. Still, Lady Antebellum seems to be the act with the most momentum right now.

Tara: Lady Antebellum has momentum on its side, despite that horribly inane current single. I think they’ll steal this back from Little Big Town, who has my support based solely on “Sober.” Yeah, it’s like that.

VFlorida Georgia Line Anything Goesocal Duo of the Year

Should Win:

  • Dan + Shay – Kevin
  • Florida Georgia Line
  • Love and Theft
  • The Swon Brothers
  • Thompson Square – Jonathan?

Will Win:

  • Dan + Shay
  • Florida Georgia Line – Ben, Jonathan, Kevin, Tara
  • Love and Theft
  • The Swon Brothers
  • Thompson Square

Jonathan: Same as it ever was: Looking at this line-up, there’s no reason at all why this category shouldn’t be merged with Vocal Group. But, hey, without Florida Georgia Line, Country Universe wouldn’t have gotten that sweet shout-out in Billboard.

Kevin:  Florida Georgia Line are more popular than the rest of the line up on the same scale that Brooks & Dunn was in their halcyon days, so they should win easily.  I don’t particularly like the music of any of these nominees, but I’m a big fan of Dan Milliken, so I’ll make Dan+Shay my pick.  At least they share a worthwhile name, if nothing else.

Ben: Whatever.

Tara: My only preference is for Florida Georgia Line to lose.

Brandy Clark StripesNew Artist of the Year

Should Win:

  • Brandy Clark – Ben, Jonathan, Kevin, Tara
  • Brett Eldredge
  • Kip Moore
  • Thomas Rhett
  • Cole Swindell

Will Win:

  • Brandy Clark – Ben, Jonathan, Kevin, Tara
  • Brett Eldredge
  • Kip Moore
  • Thomas Rhett
  • Cole Swindell

Ben: It may be blind, stubborn optimism, but I honestly can’t bring myself to predict anyone else. Brandy Clark is just such an obvious choice to me.

Jonathan: If Clark had enough support to land on the final ballot over acts with better commercial stats, I can’t imagine that the voters who put her there will suddenly shift their allegiances elsewhere, particularly given the relative (or, in two cases, nearly complete) lack of artistic merit “elsewhere” entails. She has high-profile endorsements of her work (among them: Gill, Jackson, Lambert, Musgraves, Nettles, Paisley) that may be indicative of other artists’ potential votes. I won’t be shocked if she doesn’t win– though don’t ask me how a voter might choose among the other four– but I think she has a real, legitimate look at this.

Kevin: I refuse to acknowledge a reality where Clark is not the landslide victor.  Her strength as a previous and current songwriter nominee should help.

Tara: Easy pick and win. But I will say, though they’re leagues upon leagues below Clark, Eldredge and Moore continue to show great potential.

Miranda Lambert PlatinumAlbum of the Year

Should Win:

  • Dierks Bentley, Riser; Produced by Arturo Buenhora Jr., Ross Copperman, and Jaren Johnston
  • Luke Bryan, Crash My Party; Produced by Jeff Stevens
  • Eric Church, The Outsiders; Produced by Arturo Buenhora Jr. and Jay Joyce
  • Miranda Lambert, Platinum; Produced by Chuck Ainlay, Frank Liddell and Glenn Worf – Jonathan, Kevin, Tara, Ben
  • Keith Urban, Fuse; Produced by Benny Blanco, Nathan Chapman, Ross Copperman, Zach Crowell, Mike Elizondo, Dann Huff, Jay Joyce, Stargate, Keith Urban, and Butch Walker

Will Win:

  • Dierks Bentley, Riser; Produced by Arturo Buenhora Jr., Ross Copperman, and Jaren Johnston
  • Luke Bryan, Crash My Party; Produced by Jeff Stevens
  • Eric Church, The Outsiders; Produced by Arturo Buenhora Jr. and Jay Joyce – Jonathan
  • Miranda Lambert, Platinum; Produced by Chuck Ainlay, Frank Liddell and Glenn Worf – Kevin, Tara, Ben
  • Keith Urban, Fuse; Produced by Benny Blanco, Nathan Chapman, Ross Copperman, Zach Crowell, Mike Elizondo, Dann Huff, Jay Joyce, Stargate, Keith Urban, and Butch Walker

Kevin: A close race between Church and Lambert, with the latter’s strength across the ballot (and better album) giving her the edge.

Jonathan: Platinum is easily the class of this field, and Lambert’s across-the-ballot support suggests that she’s likely to win here. But she can’t win everything, can she? I like Bentley’s album a whole lot more than I like Church’s, but the latter has far greater commercial stats. If the voters are going to recognize Church for his perceived derring-do, this is the most likely place they’ll do so.

Tara: Lambert released a doozy of an album –colorful, insane and so much fun–, and I think the voters will jump on it.

Ben: Easy choice.

Tim McGraw Faith Hill Meanwhile Back at Mama'sSingle of the Year

Should Win:

  • Dierks Bentley, “Drunk on a Plane”; Produced by Arturo Buenhora Jr. and Ross Copperman – Jonathan
  • Eric Church, “Give Me Back My Hometown”; Produced by Arturo Buenhora Jr. and Jay Joyce
  • Miranda Lambert, “Automatic”; Produced by Chuck Ainlay, Frank Liddell, and Glenn Worf
  • Tim McGraw with Faith Hill, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s”; Produced by Byron Gallimore and Tim McGraw – Ben, Kevin, Ben
  • Blake Shelton, “Mine Would Be You”; Produced by Scott Hendricks – Tara

Will Win:

  • Dierks Bentley, “Drunk on a Plane”; Produced by Arturo Buenhora Jr. and Ross Copperman
  • Eric Church, “Give Me Back My Hometown”; Produced by Arturo Buenhora Jr. and Jay Joyce
  • Miranda Lambert, “Automatic”; Produced by Chuck Ainlay, Frank Liddell, and Glenn Worf
  • Tim McGraw with Faith Hill, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s”; Produced by Byron Gallimore and Tim McGraw – Jonathan, Kevin, Ben
  • Blake Shelton, “Mine Would Be You”; Produced by Scott Hendricks – Tara

Ben: I’m ready to see some simple, understated country sincerity rewarded in this category for a change.

Jonathan: Bentley deserves some kind of award for the way he drawls, “Mahr-dee Graw” on “Drunk on a Plane,” and I’m not so invested in any of the four other nominees to say that it shouldn’t be this award. “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” is really the only one of publishing giant McGraw-Hill’s many duets that I can stand at all; that it was a big enough hit and skews slightly more traditional than the Church, Lambert, or Shelton singles should give it a slight edge to win here.

Kevin: Here we are in a new era where McGraw and Hill are the grizzled veterans in this race.  They won in this category for their first collaboration, “It’s Your Love”, eighteen years ago.   They competed against each other for the Horizon Award twenty years ago. They’re back with a song and performance that’s way better than the rest of this category, so I’m hoping and thinking they’ll win.

Tara: As solid as it is, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” can’t hold my attention. “Mine Would Be You” is as subtle as post- “Voice” Shelton is capable of, and surprisingly potent.  Could this be where the voters recognize him?

Song of the Year

Lee Brice I Don't DanceShould Win:

  • “Automatic”; Written by Nicolle Galyon, Natalie Hemby, and Miranda Lambert
  • “Follow Your Arrow”; Written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally and Kacey Musgraves – Ben, Jonathan, Kevin, Tara
  • “Give Me Back My Hometown”; Written by Eric Church and Luke Laird
  • “I Don’t Dance”; Written by Lee Brice, Dallas Davidson, and Rob Hatch
  • “I Hold On”; Written by Dierks Bentley and Brett James

Will Win:

  • “Automatic”; Written by Nicolle Galyon, Natalie Hemby, and Miranda Lambert – Ben, Jonathan
  • “Follow Your Arrow”; Written by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally and Kacey Musgraves – Kevin, Tara
  • “Give Me Back My Hometown”; Written by Eric Church and Luke Laird
  • “I Don’t Dance”; Written by Lee Brice, Dallas Davidson, and Rob Hatch
  • “I Hold On”; Written by Dierks Bentley and Brett James

Jonathan: “Automatic,” with its too-easy and often misguided nostalgia and its indefensible, regressive gender politics, will mean that Lambert has won Song of the Year honors for what are far-and-away her two worst, most poorly-written hits. Which, considering what a great songwriter she is, is kind of a travesty.

Kevin:  Yeah, “Follow Your Arrow” is the best composition here, and gives voters a natural place to acknowledge Musgraves after they were the only organization not to give her Album of the Year last time around.   Lambert’s a threat, but I think she’s got enough strength across the ballot that voters won’t feel the  need to give her voters here.

Tara: I have so much love for this scrappy little piece of songwriting. I could see this award going to pretty much anyone but Brice, but I’ll take a gamble on Musgraves.

Ben: “Arrow” is the class of the field, no doubt, but I’m playing it safe and predicting Lambert.

Miranda Lambert Carrie Underwood Somethin Bad VideoMusic Video of the Year

Should Win:

  • Dierks Bentley, “Drunk on a Plane”; Directed by Wes Edwards
  • Lady Antebellum, “Bartender”; Directed by Shane Drake
  • Miranda Lambert, “Automatic”; Directed by Trey Fanjoy
  • Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, “Somethin’ Bad”; Directed by Trey Fanjoy – Jonathan, Kevin
  • Kacey Musgraves, “Follow Your Arrow”; Directed by Honey and Kacey Musgraves

Will Win:

  • Dierks Bentley, “Drunk on a Plane”; Directed by Wes Edwards
  • Lady Antebellum, “Bartender”; Directed by Shane Drake
  • Miranda Lambert, “Automatic”; Directed by Trey Fanjoy
  • Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, “Somethin’ Bad”; Directed by Trey Fanjoy – Jonathan, Kevin, Ben
  • Kacey Musgraves, “Follow Your Arrow”; Directed by Honey and Kacey Musgraves

Jonathan: The Black Keys did the fake movie trailer thing like 1000x better than “Somethin’ Bad” a full three years ago, but country music videos are generally so poor in their concepts and execution that “Somethin’ Bad” still manages to be something of a standout.

Kevin:  The video clips of both ladies have been hit or miss.  For every “Kerosene” and “Blown Away”, there’s been a “Mama’s Broken Heart” (Look at me! I’m crazy because I take pills in an evening dress!) and “Two Black Cadillacs” (Lyrical vaguery solved! The cars did it!)   “Somethin’ Bad” showcases two strong personalities, containing them without restraining them.

Vince Gill and Paul Franklin BakersfieldMusical Event of the Year

Should Win:

  • Vince Gill and Paul Franklin, Bakersfield – Ben, Jonathan, Tara
  • Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, “Somethin’ Bad”
  • Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban, “We were Us”
  • Tim McGraw with Faith Hill, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s”
  • Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, “You Can’t Make Old Friends” – Kevin

Will Win:

  • Vince Gill and Paul Franklin, Bakersfield
  • Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, “Somethin’ Bad”
  • Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban, “We were Us”
  • Tim McGraw with Faith Hill, “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” – Ben, Jonathan, Kevin, Tara
  • Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, “You Can’t Make Old Friends”

Kevin:  I will champion “You Can’t Make Old Friends” until the end, though in this category, I’d only frown upon a win for “We Were Us.”  McGraw’s just dominated this category lately, and with Gill/Franklin and Rogers/Parton splitting the beloved legends vote and Lambert splitting her own vote, McGraw/Hill seems destined to win.   A solid choice, even if I still have issues with harmony vocals being considered a full-fledged musical event.   Might as well just give this award to Trisha Yearwood every time she does her own harmony track, as it’ll be better than any star collaboration anyway.

Jonathan: I am fully on-board with Kevin’s plan to give this award to Trisha Yearwood for her harmony tracks, in the same way that I’d be inclined to give her Female Vocalist of the Year during any year that she released new music and Connie Smith didn’t. Moving on: This is the only category in which Lambert is the weakest nominee (“We Were Us”), and she’s hurt by the split votes with “Somethin’ Bad.” I’d be thrilled if either Bakersfield or the lovely Parton & Rogers duet were to win, but it’s hard to fathom how “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s” could lose this.

Ben: McGraw seems to be the only contender not facing the threat of vote-splitting, and this category has become his sweet spot in recent years anyway. My personal fantasy would be to see Bakersfield take this, and I would be similarly thrilled by a victory for Rogers and Parton, but I’m not holding my breath on either account.

MacMcanallyMusician of the Year

Should Win:

  • Sam Bush (Mandolin) – Jonathan
  • Jerry Douglas (Dobro)
  • Paul Franklin (Steel Guitar) – Ben, Kevin, Tara
  • Dann Huff (Guitar)
  • Mac McAnally (Guitar)

Will Win:

  • Sam Bush (Mandolin)
  • Jerry Douglas (Dobro)
  • Paul Franklin (Steel Guitar) – Kevin
  • Dann Huff (Guitar)
  • Mac McAnally (Guitar) – Ben, Jonathan, Tara

Kevin: That Gill collaboration raised Paul Franklin’s profile enough to compensate for all of this generation’s voters who don’t know what a steel guitar is, right? Right???

Ben: This category is so begging for a shake-up.

Jonathan: I want to believe in what Kevin is saying (and also to believe that Sam Bush, who is kind of a genius, will win this award someday), but I can’t bet against a 6-time defending champ.

31 Comments

  1. Are indie-label artists not allowed to be nominated for a category. If they are, then Isbelle’s “Southeastern” should really be awarded “Album of the Year” and just let the other shlubs go home because it’s not even close if his album is allowed in the category.

  2. It’s George or bust for EOTY. Don’t see how he can lose.

    I was genuinely surprised to realize that Dierks Bentley had never won Male Vocalist. Seems like he would have slipped through at least once by now.

    Oh boy, without The Civil Wars and zombie Sugarland there to lend the Vocal Duo category some illusion of integrity, it really has lost all meaning, hasn’t it? Not that it had much left anyway. Just knowing FGL probably has a B&D-style lock on this trophy for the next half-decade at least, no matter what else happens in the genre, is mighty depressing.

  3. Speaking of indie-label artists, how I wish 12 Stories by Brandy Clark was nominated for Album of the Year. It would instantly my choice to win, even if Miranda or Eric are much more likely to take the prize.

    I wished award shows would focus the competitive awards on current material, rather than career tributes. It would have made more sense last year if George Strait received the Pinnacle Award (or an equivalent) and Taylor Swift got EOTY instead. (And this from a Carrie Underwood fan…) I would like Miranda to cap off a strong year with the top prize. But competition aside, it would still be worth King George winning again to watch the reaction from all the artists he inspired over the years.

  4. I always look forward to this each year.

    1) I think that either Dierks or Eric Church will surprisingly get male vocalist. I think that the lack of Luke Bryan in many of the categories might mean that there is a lack of support for him. I’m pulling for Dierks.

    2) I think that it is going to be a landmark year with “Follow Your Arrow” getting best song. I also think that Brandy Clark will get new artist. This is groundbreaking with Clark being openly gay and because of the content of “Follow Your Arrow.” In addition, because we are seeing that songs that are popular via streaming and downloading and not on country radio considered to be hits, this is a unique time.

    3) Miranda is a lock for Album and Entertainer.

    It will be fun to see how all of this plays out on awards night!

  5. My comment on JPap’s blog:
    “Another terrible year for country music. Hope Brandy wins new artist but couldn’t care less for the rest. I’m hoping that in the next year or so Striking Matches will be eligible for the duo award. Maybe Eric Paslay will be a future male vocalist nominee. Love his new single “She Don’t Love You”.”

    I’ll add that ZBB didn’t win when when they deserved to and they won’t win this time.

  6. While I’d love to see Southeastern and 12 Stories up for Album of the Year in lieu of the Luke Bryan and Keith Urban sets, it’s my understanding that the CMAs have a minimum sales figure for albums to be eligible for the award… Which, for obvious reasons, is another talk show altogether.

    Oddly enough, I can’t find that on the official CMA website, but I remember the issue of # of units sold came up a couple of years ago re: Jamey Johnson.

  7. @JK – I asked the question (see below) about # of units sold in regard to Kevin’s Sept 6th post on the CMA Nominations. My research came up empty and no one had an answer for me here at CU. I guess nobody knows and the CMA folks apparently don’t think it’s worth mentioning.

    September 6, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    i read on cmaworld.com that “The eligibility period for the 2014 CMA Awards is July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014″. If that’s correct, BC’s “12 Stories” was eligible since it was released in October of 2013. Would I be correct in assuming that lack of sales is the reason it didn’t get nominated?

  8. I want to see Brett Eldredge beat out Brandy Clark. Brett has captured my ear ever since “Raymond”

    As long as Kacey Musgraves loses and Eric Church and George Strait wins, I will be a happy camper. Not as happy as if Josh Turner was nominated, but I will take what bones I am given.

  9. How is Ashley Monroe not up for “New Artist of the Year”? Does her work with Pistol Annie’s disqualify her from being nominated? I also realize she had an album out a few years before “Like a Rose” but that was an independent label album. If eligible, Monroe should be in the new artist category and be considered as a top choice for winner.

  10. It is interesting how the Song of the Year category includes two songs representing opposite sides of the cultural spectrum, “Automatic” and “Follow Your Arrow”.

  11. Thomas,

    I do not find Musgraves very interesting or engaging. I went over this before in another thread. “Follow Your Arrow’ is your typical “be yourself” song. In other words, another “outlaw” song.

  12. I agree. It’s a very good “be yourself/outlaw” song that pushes the boundaries of the country establishment. There’s nothing wrong with doing something old fashioned if you do it well.

    Also, have you listened to anything else off of Same Trailer, Different Park? Even if you don’t like Follow Your Arrow, the entire album is chock-full of smart, engaging, well sung songs.

  13. Why were Vince Gill and Paul Franklin allowed to get in Music Event for a full album? I’ve never seen that before.

  14. Eligibility criteria from the CMA website:
    “An event is defined as a collaboration of two (2) or more people either or all of whom are known primarily as individual artists. They must have performed together, as a unit, on a single or album released domestically within the eligibility period with each artist prominently featured. Live performance events are not eligible. Award to each artist.”

    So it’s not really a question that Bakersfield would be eligible for the award. There just aren’t many high-profile collaborative albums that would have Gill’s clout to pull off a nomination. I mean, I personally would have voted for Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison’s Our Year over any of the four singles nominated.

  15. “Three time CMA Awards winner Trisha Yearwood.” That’s it? I had no idea.

    Blake Shelton again, folks. Will the voting bloc ever end?

  16. The Doobie Brothers?!?! As if Meghan Trainor and Ariana Grande weren’t enough. I’m all for showing how country can be inclusive, but it’s sad to much time was given to these other artists while Brandy Clark and others didn’t get to sing.

  17. Jess, don’t get me started about the Doobie Brothers getting two whole performance slots!

    There were many disappointments and head scratchers, but the great parts were Vince Gill’s Irving Waugh of Excellence award, Kacey Musgraves and Loretta Lynn’s delightful performance of “You’re Looking at Country”, The Band Perry’s performance of “Gentle on My Mind” and Kacey Musgraves win for “Follow Your Arrow.”

  18. Brett over Brandy? Gimme a break! Can’t take the cma people seriously. Makes me wonder if this is an anti-gay thing. Glad i didn’t watch or record the show.

  19. I’m doubting it’s an anti gay thing, but more of a numbers thing, but I didn’t enjoy the moment when I heard Br” and I thought they were going to say Brandy’s name, but they said Brett instead.

  20. It’s absurd though. I like Eldredge (hell, I like Thomas Rhett) but there’s just a huge gap in artistic merit between him and Clark.

  21. I didn’t watch the show last night, but I did see the last few minutes, and they really ended a COUNTRY awards show with the Doobie Brothers? Isn’t that the best example of where Country is as a format right now?

    I’m not as hard on the format as others are, but that was just stupid and I maybe am getting tired of this format, and just music in this era in general. I need more Kacy Musgraves, Jamey Johnson, Brandy Clark, etc in my life. Also, as for Taylor Swift, I keep thinking about Natalie Maines and how the Dixie Chicks blasted the format. I also keep thinking about the song Lubbock or Leave It, about Buddy Holly and the day the music died. Well, when the Dixie Chicks discontinued doing Country Music, was that the day Country Music died? There are some of country music I do like (Eric Church, Old Little Big Town) but it doesn’t feel like country music anymore and the last few moments of last night’s CMA show was a great example of that.

  22. “It is interesting how the Song of the Year category includes two songs representing opposite sides of the cultural spectrum, “Automatic” and “Follow Your Arrow”.”

    I don’t necessarily agree that these two songs represent opposite sides of the cultural spectrum. I think a lot of people can probably relate to both songs in different ways.

  23. Applejack, “Automatic” is partly about looking back, but not just for the sake of nostalgia and missing time with people. It’s literally bemoaning current society; who would argue GSP isn’t better than a map? It’s also vaguely sexist with the lines about boys having to ask girls out, which obviously stands as a counterpoint to “Follow Your Arrow.” The part about divorce comes out of nowhere, too.

  24. I’m actually really pissed about Swift, Greg. I really, really liked Speak Now and Fearless, but Red was iffy and 1989 is absolute garbage that sounds like it was written by a focus group.

  25. Thomas,

    I’m glad someone is. I loved her first three albums (fearless and Speak now) and I hate the fact that she’s getting a free pass for shunning the genre that created her. I guess now she has the backing of NPR so it doesn’t matter, but I’m not buying her album because of that.

  26. I could give a damn about shunning the genre, haha.

    I just want her to sing good songs, and she hasn’t done that in a while. I think her voice, both physically and lyrically, is a better fit for pop/country than the electronic garbage she wants to put out.

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