2015 ACM Awards: Winners

ACM 2015
This is Country Music in 2015.

Here are the winners of the 2015 ACM Awards:

Entertainer

Luke Bryan

Male Vocalist

Jason Aldean

Female Vocalist

Miranda Lambert

Vocal Duo

Florida Georgia Line

Vocal Group

Little Big Town

New Artist

Cole Swindell

Album

Miranda Lambert

Platinum

Single

“I Don’t Dance”

Lee Brice

Song

“Automatic”

written by Nicole Gallyon, Natalie Hemby, and Miranda Lambert

performed by Miranda Lambert

Music Video:

“Drunk on a Plane”

Dierks Bentley

Vocal Event

“This is How We Roll”

Florida Georgia Line with Luke Bryan

Multiple Wins:

3 – Miranda Lambert

2 – Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line

Multiple Losses:

4,332 – Country Music’s Dignity and Sense of Self-Worth

31 Comments

  1. The show was a train wreck honestly besides George Strait LBT and Reba performances the rest were so boring bland or strait up awful.

    Man though LBT performance of the night love that song and everything about it is awesome.

  2. I’ll be honest, I didnt watch a lot of the awards show, but as unpopular as this may be to say, I am bored with Miranda Lambert. I really enjoyed her first two albums, but the last couple have been much flatter for me and overall her singles have largely gotten weaker. She’s still incredibly talented, but it honestly feels like she has been on a bit of a creative cruise control for some time now.

    Awarding Aldean as vocalist of the year is also funny because the guy is a TERRIBLE live singer. In the studio they do enough where he sounds fine, but the live performances I have heard, he has not sounded good at all. If you wanna give him entertainer of the year, whatever, but at least when Blake Shelton wins vocalist of the year, you know the guy can actually sing well.

  3. I have to agree with Mike W’s 2nd paragraph. Re Miranda, timing is everything. If she had been born around 1970, she would have had to compete against all those great female vocalists of the 90’s. I don’t think she would have fared well.

  4. I watched some of it, and I just had to laugh at how much posing and posturing was done during that 3 hour-plus snooze fest. And this was with the MUTE button on.

    I have to agree with Kevin here, a lot of the genre’s dignity and sense of self-worth were eviscerated last night at AT&T Stadium, a.k.a. the Jerry Jones Pleasure Palace.

  5. I’m always stunned at how amateurish these award shows seem. How do you host a major event and still have winner after winner walk on stage and not know where to face to give their acceptance speeches?

    I missed the first hour, but the best performances I heard were from Reba (and I am not a fan of hers), Garth, Alan Jackson and Little Big Town. Worst were Martina McBride, Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney. Most baffling was the Jonas Brothers 2.0 performance.

  6. The highlight of the night was when Luke Bryan won the award for Entertainer of the year and a Miranda Lambert song was playing in the background. LOL. It is pretty evident that the Academy and Lambert thought they had that award in their hands. How embarrassing for them. WME won again last night. FIXED!!! BTW–Carrie Underwood should give them lessons in singing a medley of songs.

  7. I can see saying that Miranda isn’t your taste or that you think that she’s bad, but to say that this last album was coasting is confusing to me. I could see thinking that about Four the Record, but not Platinum or Revolution.

  8. Miranda though LeeAnn it’s so hard to like her especially given the terrible single releases the fact she wins everything when Carrie Underwood delivers and has better radio success touring sales critical acclaim. Platinum just they have some good deeper cuts but my gosh Little Red Wagon Automatic and Something Bad are just all terrible.

  9. I’m a die-in-the-wool Miranda Lambert fan with enough bias to sink a ship. But even I have to call out Platinum as an album that makes far too many concessions away from country music. There are a number of strong tracks (“All That’s Left,” “Holding On To You,” “Pricilla”) but as a whole it’s so wildly uneven, it’s embarrassing. Instead of recording a track reminiscing about 90s country (“Another Sunday In The South”), why not just sing a 90s country caliber song in that style? If you miss it that much, why not bring it back?

    Is Lambert coasting on her success? No, but she isn’t pushing herself towards greatness either. “Little Red Wagon” isn’t any better than “Fastest Girl In Town.” This album needed a track like “Dear Diamond” or even “Love Letters” to ground it. Lambert instead rid herself of any truly special tracks (spotlighting favorite songwriters, for instance) in favor of squarely playing the mainstream game. Platinum isn’t the worst album I’ve ever heard, but it’s one I won’t be playing often in heavy rotation.

    I confess I don’t get the heaping praise you’ve bestowed upon Platinum but then again I’ll never understand any admiration for Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl.” That being said, differences in opinion in which we can healthy debate the merits of music are what makes these country blogs so special in the first place.

  10. Is no one going to mention the huge glaring literal pick-up truck of a centerpiece in the middle of the venue floor? I don’t know if that thing was an actual tragic manifestation of the industry’s ignorance or someone trolling from the inside.

  11. Jonathan,
    I agree that she definitely pushes the boundaries of what’s country, but she’s been doing that since Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I’ve always forgiven that if it sounds interesting to me., which is an admitted double standard, but probably why I’ve liked what Eric Church has been doing, but not Jason Aldean or that performance with Dan+Shay with Nick Jonas from last night.

    We’ll just have to strongly disagree on Platinum in general though, because I’d rank it as my second favorite Lambert album behind Crazy Ex-Girlfriend with Revolution a close third.

  12. I will say again that Little Big Town always translates better to me live than on record. As always, a song that didn’t do anything for me as a recorded studio track sounded awesome when they did it live.

  13. It was ironic that Brooks & Dunn were on the show last night because all I could think of during most of the show was the ‘please Play Something Country’.

  14. Leeann,

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is my favorite Miranda Lambert album, too. It’s just so solid from start to finish. I was so thrilled when she won the ACM Album of the Year award for it. I’d put Revolution second and Four The Record third.

  15. I think a backlash against Miranda is unjustified. The backlash should be against the country music establishment for not allowing more women to shine. Miranda is a rare exception: an artist who hits both critical and commercial marks. (Granted, I hate “Little Red Wagon”). But still, you can’t fault her for being excellent. She is great. I do think history will be kind to her. I honestly still believe that she will be a Loretta Lynn or Dolly Parton in terms of her ultimate impact on country music. Those may be strong words, but I really do think that she has both the critical chops and visibility to make that happen. Her acclaim and success are a result of being a terrific artist. There is something very important about her and the mark that she is leaving on country music. If we want to talk about overrated artists, we should start with the men who release medicore material and get tons of awards and airplay. I understand that some people may not like Miranda, but she is a real artist.

  16. I tend to agree with the majority of Martin’s comment above, though I do think that it’s impossible to overlook the role that label politics and the influence of her management team have both played in her haul of country-focused industry awards.

    She’s been over-rewarded and has won for work that, while better than what many of her peers in the mainstream were doing at the time, was not anywhere close to her best. And it’s easier for many people– and some especially noxious fanbases, in particular– to lay blame for that upon the artist rather than upon a deeply broken system that has marginalized all but two solo women.

    But I completely agree that history will look kindly on Lambert and her work, and I’ve said here and elsewhere that her very best material absolutely belongs in conversations that include the likes of Lynn and Parton.

    I’m not going to derail this thread with a 3000-word defense of why I think Platinum is close to her best work– that’s still Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, obviously– but I’ll say that it’s an album that is every bit as respectful and knowledgeable of country music traditions as it is fearless in challenging them, and it is an album with carefully drawn throughlines that find Lambert exploring her artistic persona within the contexts of contemporary trends regarding gender and celebrity. Do I miss the Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller covers? Sure. But it’s still a smart, meaty album without them, and it’s a huge rebound in terms of creativity and scope from Four the Record.

  17. Leeann,

    I pretty much echo was Jonathan had to say, but I just find her singles to be pretty uninspired lately. Granted that goes for a ton of mainstream artists, but Lambert always seemed to be able to walk that line with being able to write/record songs that were commercial hits, but also balanced that with those same songs being solid to really good songs.

    “Little Red Wagon” just sounds awful, it feels like creatively she has hit a portion of her career where she is either choosing to or is being forced to write and record material that feels a bit played out.

    I still have hope she can turn that around quickly though, I mean until “Riser” I could have basically copy and pasted my comments about Dierks since his bluegrass album.

    Heck, I’m a huge Jamey Johnson fan, but the Hank Cochran album was simply “okay” for me and the two songs he has released since being released from his record deal have fell flat for me as well. I have faith that both Jamey and Miranda still have a ton of great music left in their creative “bank” and we will see that soon enough, but right now Miranda just feels “stuck” somewhat.

  18. I’ll add my two cents on Miranda.

    I liked her first two albums. I personally don’t like the production on her past three albums and it’s difficult for me to enjoy them. I do think her third album was good, just not to my taste. Her last two were not to my taste and also not very good in my opinion.

    Like others have said, she releases terrible singles and that makes her annoying to me. Country artists by-and-large are judged by their singles and she has failed in that area. She has also started trends that I have found annoying.

    I also find her to be an unremarkable live entertainer. She can sing just fine live but she doesn’t engage me very much. Certain artists, like Keith Urban for example, put on a great show and I enjoy songs by him that I don’t like when he plays them live. Miranda isn’t that way. I think she’s fairly bland on stage. Not bad, just bland.

    It bothers me a lot that Miranda wins so many trophies. The love fest for “Over You” was ridiculous, that song was surface-level and bland, even if it was written about Blake’s brother. Award her albums if you must, but please don’t award her weak singles. Also, Carrie Underwood deserved to win some of those FVOTY awards. Her vocals, songs and performances are much better.

    Finally, I wish there were more females on radio just like everybody else. I wish there was less Miranda though. She’s like the token female artist whose existence is used to prove that country doesn’t have a female problem. There are plenty of current female artists that are as good or better than her but they don’t get played on radio. Play them and ditch Miranda.

    Miranda is one of the most awarded females in country history. That’s only because she has no competition now. Like others have said, if she competed in the ’90s, she wouldn’t win 5 straight FVOTY awards and her singles and albums wouldn’t have won because she would have faced tougher competition.

    Overall, I just find Miranda to be very overrated, especially at award shows, and I am consistently unimpressed with her singles and live performances.

  19. Ditto to both Martin and Jonathan!! I’ve been happy for all of Miranda’s wins except for “Over You”, which is a bad song from anyone. I think history will look kindly on Lambert. I really have no doubt about it.

  20. I actually think the number of Female Vocalist wins for Miranda during her career is probably correct however I will say the timing at which she earned them was a bit off in my opinion. As a huge fan of Miranda this is hard for me to admit this but I have to say she probably shouldn’t have won a couple of the FVOTY Awards she won during the Four the Record era as it absolutely coincides with the weakest material of her career and I almost feel guilty about it. That is until I think back to when Miranda was actually releasing her best work and remember that she couldn’t buy a chart hit or get any love from the industry awards shows while, at that exact point in time, Carrie Underwood was raking in the trophies and chart hits with material I thought was generally pretty awful (Last Name, All American Girl and Cowboy Casanova). So in I reality the feel the split of FVOTY awards between the two major female artists of this generation is about what it should be. Now if you want to say Miranda has won a couple awards in other categories that she didn’t deserve (especially Album of the Year for Four The Record) you wont get much of an argument from me.

  21. Not to come off as too anti-Miranda (I swear I actually kind of like her) but I have wondered about her legacy a lot. I see a lot of comments saying history will be good to her but I have one major concern.

    Artists are largely remembered for their singles, not album tracks. Lambert likely will never be bigger than she has been the past few years. So the singles we can expect to go down in history would be, thus far, “Gunpowder and Lead,” “The House That Built Me,” “White Liar,” “Heart Like Mine,” “Baggage Claim,” “Over You,” “Fastest Girl In Town,” “Mama’s Broken Heart” and “Automatic.”

    Of those, “House” will age well and deserves to. “Gunpowder,” “Over You” and “Mama’s” will probably also be remembered well. I don’t know about the others.

    My local radio stations already have stopped playing her songs older than “Four the Record.” I don’t know if many of her songs will be looked at more fondly in 10 years.

    But my original point was that singles make legacies, not album cuts. By and large, she doesn’t have many great singles. That will hurt her image 20 years from now when country fans won’t remember how she has great material on her albums like we currently do on sites like this.

    Many of my favorite Keith Whitley tracks are lesser known songs, “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now,” “Wherever You Are Tonight” and “Another Town,” for example. But I know Keith’s legacy is “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” “I’m No Stranger to the Rain” and “When You Say Nothing At All.”

    The fact that he has many great album cuts makes him adds to his legacy but his singles made his legacy. Luckily, his singles were excellent, timeless classics. The same can’t be said of Lambert.

    But I do expect that she will stay very active in the country community for years after her peak and will probably record her best music after she fades from the spotlight. I think she will be hurt by the songs that put her in the spotlight.

  22. Jason,
    I’m assuming the point of that pic is to drive home the point on how off the rails the show was last night, hence, “This is country music in 2015.” Then again Christina did fairly well compared to many of the others who performed, including her duet partner.

  23. I recorded the show for later viewing – got around to viewing it tonight (actually fast forwarded through most of it) – mostly dreck. Aguilera exceeded my expectations of her vocals but most of the rest of the show wasn’t very good

    As for multiple award winners – at one time there was a great reluctance to give anyone too many awards – this held true for the various MVP awards in Baseball and Football, Tony Awards, Grammys, Oscars , CMA and ACM awards and awards. If you check the record holders in the various award categories, they are almost always someone recent. I wouldn’t read too much into the number of awards Alison Krauss or Miranda Lambert have won. In a different era they would have far fewer awards – even if the competition was as weak as is currently the case.

  24. Yes, if RF and Aguilera had continued the whole performance in the way that they began the song, it actually might have been one of the best performances of the night.

  25. I write this as someone who loves all types of music from some (yes) Taylor Swift to Hazel Dickens. As long as it’s good, it’s good…

    I think that much of the ACM show proves that the mainstream country music world is now a state of mind as opposed to a musical genre.
    Taylor Swift gets backlash for going pop while others like Sam Hunt are embraced. This is because Sam Hunt is perceived as one of the crowd that packed that Texas arena for the ACMs. Steven Tyler and Nick Jonas and Xtina show up and it’s fine to that ACM crowd because there is something safe and super harmless about their presence. Any artists who seems to exude too much”otherness” is not country to that ACM stadium crowd…

    I don’t mean to turn this into a political thread. However, as long as there is a perceived notion of conservative, Jesus-loving, truck driving, stereotypical beliefs present on the stage, then it is country. A person can be as pop as they want to be as long as they are perceived as “country” in their beliefs outlook on the world… When people got annoyed that Taylor Swift was there, it was not about her music not being country. It was about her as a person not being seen as country.

    It is interesting how what is true country music and what is considered more traditional is the music that is embraced by hipsters and liberals like me. It’s strange. The more country the actual music is, the less country it is to that audience in that Texas stadium.

    I guess my point is that country as a genre is not about the music, it’s a subculture based on shared personal beliefs. Traditional, authentic country music is embraced more by the Coachella crowd than that crowd at the ACM awards… Ashley Monroe, Brandy Clark, and Chris Stapleton are examples of this…(This might be true of even someone like Dwight Yoakam)

    Traditional country music became Americana and Americana became alternative and mainstream country became adult contemporary… or something like that…

  26. The fact that Cole Swindell won for best new artist tells me that the real problem in country music isn’t just the radio play. It is a deeper notion of what is really talent and what a real country fan is. Those kids at the awards aren’t concerned with the foundations of country music. They want to party. That is what is attracting them to ” new country music”. They aren’t life long country fans. They date back to Garth. And as long as these shows cater to the present ,and shun the past, they will never see the disconnect. And why should they – they and the record companies are getting fat and rich playing untalented, good-looking robots that sing the same thing over and over again that’s not country. That is a reflection of a generation that is shallow and uninterested in anything before 1980. And country history be damned. The ACM awards are an insult to country music.

  27. CraigR,

    From what I observe, most new country fans aren’t even very familiar with Garth. They may know a song or two that they heard on American Idol, but I’d say the new fans date back to the days of Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood dominating the mid-late 2000s.

    I know a college-aged fan who watched the ACMs and had no clue who the guy with the red, white and blue guitar was. I told her it was Garth Brooks. She said, “Oh yeah, the guy who won EOTY last year.” I said that was George Strait. She said “same difference.”

    I know some 20-something fans that call “International Harvester” a classic. I had mostly forgotten that song. Oh well.

  28. Last year, my dad told me that my 15-year-old sister had told him that she loved country music, but when he mentioned Garth Brooks, she had no idea who he was. I was horrified, but when I think about it, I suppose she was just a baby when he “retired” and she has no historical knowledge about country music. My dad did show her a couple of Garth songs that she ended up liking at least.

  29. Quote by CraigR:

    The fact that Cole Swindell won for best new artist tells me that the real problem in country music isn’t just the radio play. It is a deeper notion of what is really talent and what a real country fan is.

    And not that it matters much, but I’ve heard a lot of true country music fans I know refer to Cole Swindell as “Cold Swindle.” I’d have to agree, since all that he and his bro-country mates are doing is bad Southern rock with faux-country elements.

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