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:
Entertainer of the Year
George Strait – Kevin, Jonathan, Tara, Ben
George Strait – Jonathan, Kevin, Tara, Ben
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.
This year’s CMA nominees are the best in years, with multiple nominations for Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, and Brandy Clark. Country radio may still be shunning women, but their embrace by CMA voters suggests that the industry knows who is really leading the way in the genre these days.
Entertainer of the Year
Who’s In: Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban
Who’s Out: Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift
George Strait, a surprise winner last year, is nominated again in a year that includes his record-shattering final concert. Miranda Lambert’s domination of this year’s nominations extends to the big category, where she competes for the first time since 2010.
The mind-numbingly dull lyric has nothing new to offer, with details that sound more like a pitch for an Axe commercial than an actual documentation of a realistic human experience. The band also phones it in, with nothing more distinctive than a Karaoke backing track.
But Rhett sells it anyway. It’s nice to hear a guy who can actually sing being allowed to do so, without any production tricks or clumsy attempts at spoken word. Sincerity is always a plus in my book, and “Get Me Some of That” is better than similar records because Rhett sounds engaged, not detached.
I don’t really want to listen to it again, but if I had to pick one brocountry album to hear all the way through, I think Rhett’s might be the one that’s the least likely to be painful.
Written by Rhett Akins, Michael Carter, and Cole Swindell
<a href=”http://www.countryuniverse.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Thomas-Rhett-Beer-With-Jesus.jpg”><img class=”alignright size-thumbnail wp-image-22676″ title=”Thomas Rhett Beer With Jesus” src=”http://www.countryuniverse.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Thomas-Rhett-Beer-With-Jesus-150×150.jpg” alt=”” width=”150″ height=”150″ /></a>Far better than its title suggests.
Thomas Rhett poses a hypothetical that brings Jesus into the contemporary world, but avoids recreating him in our own image. Every question that Rhett suggests he would ask of Jesus is believable, and I dare say that his belief that Jesus would sit with him in loving conversation instead of harsh judgment for his surroundings is more consistent with the Gospel than, say, Porter Wagoner’s <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yroypJB0XU”>”What Would You Do (If Jesus Came to Your House).”</a>
Rhett’s slightly ragged vocal is charmingly innocent and sincere, like an Eric Church from the right side of the tracks. The only thing that holds
the song back from me is the second verse, which treads water by focusing on the jukebox instead of the conversation at hand. But redemption comes with a solid bridge and beautiful final chorus.
The production does such a great job of not getting in the way of the song. It makes me wonder how many more of today’s country songs I would like if I was able to hear them without interference. If the singer here believes in Jesus, the producer here believes in his singer. I don’t know that many souls will be saved by “Beer with Jesus”, but if Nashville listens to it carefully, they might learn something about saving country music.
<em>Written by Rick Huckaby and Lance Miller</em>
<strong>Listen: </strong><a href=”http://media.allaccess.com:8001/5076/1345652152_strm.mp3″>Beer with Jesus</a>
se.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Thomas-Rhett-Something-to-Do-With-My-Hands-150×150.jpg” alt=”” width=”150″ height=”150″ />It’s a given that a large amount of new music is derivative of the dominant artists of the day.
This has always been true in popular music, and especially true in country music. So no harm, no foul on Thomas Rhett, a new artist who is understandably going to need time to find is own voice.
The problem is in the chosen derivatives. “Something to Do With My Hands” is a Billy Currington-style song presented with a Jason Aldean delivery.
So what could’ve been cute and goofy in a sellin’ turnips on a flatbed truck way, ends up just sounding dumb and ridiculous.