George Strait Honored As Artist of the Decade

george-strait1There is really no new way to pontificate on the fascinating longevity of George Strait’s career. Many, including myself, have speculated regarding the many possible reasons behind his staying power, but it is more than likely that many of the factors that we have already considered could be easily applied to other artists with lesser careers to show for it. Therefore, the consensus that can be agreed upon by most everyone is that George Strait is consistent. In the last three decades, without being loud or splashy in any way, Strait has consistently remained a vibrant country music artist, both on the charts and in concert sales. As a result, he is one of the most respected, if not intriguing, artists in the business.

On May 27, the Academy of Country Music honored George Strait as their Artist of the Decade in a two-hour CBS special. The show consisted of many of today’s biggest artists paying homage to Strait by singing the songs of the Man of Honor.

Unlike most tribute shows, this show moved along at a reasonably fast clip with few over-dramatic or slick moments to weigh it down, which was highly appropriate considering the man who was being honored that night.

The show opened with a rousing version of Strait’s Cajun flavored “Adalida” ably performed by Sugarland. Jennifer Nettle’s exaggerated drawl, while very different from Strait’s laid back vocals, gave the song energy and seemed to be a wise way to invigorate the crowd. Other energetic performances included a rocked-up version of “All My Exes Live in Texas” by Jack Ingram, which was fun but lacked the whimsical charm of Strait’s western swing flavored interpretation. Alan Jackson did a faithful steel laden cover of “The Fireman”, which is always sung at events such as these, though it’s certainly not one of Strait’s most interesting classics.

In probably one of the most disappointing performances of the night, Dierks Bentley, who is typically an intriguing vocalist, offered a weak and strained “Blue Clear Sky”, which, sadly, happens to be one of my favorite Strait songs. John Rich did not fare much better with his lifeless, uninspired rendering of one of Strait’s most revered hits, “Amarillo by Morning.” Instead of sounding like a professional, he more easily fit in with the Nashville Star contestants that he judged last summer who, incidentally, only sounded like decent karaoke singers at their best. In the not-as-bad-as-Rich-or-Bentley-but-still-not-very-memorable category was Brooks & Dunn. Their cover of “The Cowboy Rides Away” was fine, but it also lacked Strait’s easy charisma.

While most of this tribute show stuck rather closely to Strait’s own interpretations, there were a couple performances that tried to change things up a bit. As mentioned earlier, Jack Ingram added light rock to “All My Exes Live in Texas” and the other innovator was Jamie Foxx with a soulful cover of “You Look So Good in Love.” As someone who cannot fully appreciate R&B, it was difficult for me to get into his performance, though I could at least tell it was solid. Along with the R&B slant, Foxx changed Strait’s original regret filled monologue to an amusing “what does he got that I don’t?” diatribe. And we won’t even get into Foxx’s insistence that Strait’s singing is “sexy.”

As a diversion to the songs of George Strait, the past Artists of the Decade were honored throughout the show as well. Faith Hill did a respectable cover of Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough”, Martina McBride aptly covered Garth Brook’s “The Dance” and Montgomery Gentry rocked out with Alabama’s “Mountain Music.” One of the best performances of the evening, however, was Keith Urban’s tribute to Marty Robbins, which was in the form of a fabulous medley of three of Robbins’ beloved hits, including “Singing the Blues” (one of my favorite Robbins songs) “El Paso” and “A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation)” (my all time favorite Robbins song). Urban’s performance proved that he is a master at singing country music, which only left me longing even more for hints of country sounds to show up on his most recent albums.

The person who was involved in the best performances of the show was Lee Ann Womack. With Jamey Johnson providing the speaking parts of “Give It Away”, Womack gave the female perspective of the song. The two voices melded perfectly together to reveal a possible duet partnership for the future that would surely be welcomed by many. In addition to her duet with Johnson, Womack sang a surprise song for Strait that was specifically written for the night called “Stand There And Sing.” While it would not necessarily be a standout song in a non-Strait centric environment, it was a moving tribute to George Strait’s simple charismatic entertaining style of “just standing there and singing”, which is something that he’s often criticized for doing.

As is supposedly the tradition of the Academy’s tribute shows, the previous Artist of the Decade passes the torch onto the newly anointed artist, which is what Garth Brooks did for George Strait. Brooks appropriately acknowledged the irony of this act, as he regaled the audience with the story of what inspired him to become a country music singer/entertainer, which just happened to include George Strait. After “the torch” was passed, George Strait showed us all why he so richly deserved the honor. He humbly thanked and praised the show’s participants for their contributions and for giving up their precious time to pay tribute to him. Then he sang “Ocean Front Property” and ended with “Troubadour” with the help of the entire cast of the show.

After a season of awards shows that have been disappointing at best, this tribute show was happily refreshing. Because they had great songs to work with from a man who can’t help but respected, the show was bound to be an easy success. Much like George Strait himself, the show was laid back without feeling stale. Everyone seemed genuinely honored to be there, even if some of their performances missed the mark here and there.

At times, I admittedly take George Strait for granted. I all too often forget what a huge fan of his I was in the nineties when I first entered the world of country music. Fortunately though, I spend more time in awe of his thirty year career and the grace with which he conducts himself. In “Troubadour” Strait concluded by singing, “I was a young troubadour, when I rode in on a song./And I’ll be an old troubadour when I’m gone“, which he followed by saying, “Not anytime soon, I hope.”

I heartily echo that hope.


  1. Thought it was a Great show!!! Favorite/best performances were Miranda/Blake and Brooks & Dunn. B&D need to put their version on an upcoming CD thought they did a fabulous job!

  2. Two performances I didn’t find a place to discuss in the recap were Miranda/Blake and Taylor Swift. I actually thought Taylor did a good job with “Run.” It fit her limited range very well and it was the first live performance of hers that I enjoyed. I liked Blake’s and Miranda’s duet too, but it was more because I like hearing them sing together more than the performance being especially memorable.

  3. I echo most of the sentiments here. I found Swift enjoyable but not great and also thought to myself “this sounds decent because she doesn’t have to stretch vocally.” I’m a huge fan of Miranda but I thought the duet seemed to stumble through. Tim McGraw was decent.

    Favorites were definitely the Jamey Johnson/Lee Ann Womack duet and the Urban medley. I said aloud “Wow, Keith Urban can be so good when he wants to be.”

  4. I am and have always been on of Dierks Bentley’s biggest fans. I must admit that I thought his performance of the song seemed flat. I remember he did “I Cross My Heart” on a CMT Top 100 Love Songs Concert a couple years back (a bluegrass version with the Del McCoury Band) that was much better and “intriguing”. I too find his vocals much more interesting as well, but have been somewhat disappointed by his latest record (compared to his previous ones) and this performance. His demo introduction was clever and creative however. I look foward to seeing him live this summer with Brad Paisley and at CMA Fest however.

    Jamie Foxx should not be at a George Strait tribute.

    I thought that LAW oversang a bit during the duet but it was awesome to hear that song as a duet.

  5. I didn’t catch it last night but watched it on tape tonight. I have to agree that the Jamey Johnson and Lee Ann Womack duet was the definite highlight of the evening. I also enjoyed Keith Urban, Montgomery Gentry’s rendition of “Mountain Music”, LeAnn Rimes, Tim McGraw (singing my second favorite George song) and Martina McBride. Ronnie Dunn still sounds great but he and Alan Jackson are both starting to show their age when they’re up there with all of these younger artists. Blake Shelton has a great voice and a lot of potential when he’s paired with the right material. He also delivered the night’s funniest line when he quoted Pure Country. Jamie Foxx, who may not have had any business being there, was a pleasent surprise nonetheless. Toby Keith, Taylor Swift and Dierks underwhelmed. The weakest performance though, in my opinion, was John Rich. To be fair, he did choose my favorite GS song so he had big job ahead of him if he was going to impress me. However, I think it really revealed his shortcomings as a vocalist.

  6. I didn’t really get into the intros in my recap, but I did enjoy Jamey Johnson’s quip about Strait not liking him much and Bentley’s demo pushing was humorous too. I must have missed Blake’s intro though.

  7. Jamie Foxx should not be at a George Strait tribute.

    I didn’t watch the program; I forgot it was on until it was more than half over, but I had the same thought about Jamie Foxx. What is his connection with George Strait or country music in general to warrant his inclusion?

    I’m still trying to decide if I’ll watch this when CMT eventually repeats it. I used to be really into tribute programs and albums, but lately I find that I’d just rather hear the songs sung by the original artist; perhaps because the people who are chosen to participate in these projects are lacking in so many ways. I’m not terribly excited by most of the names on this program’s roster.

  8. I dunno, I think it was fine that Fox was there. He’s not my cup of tea, but he seems to have a respect for country music on some level. He even had a story that showed that he’s been a Strait fan for a long time, though exagerated it may have been. I suppose I would have been annoyed if he had pushed out a country artist who could have performed instead (as happened on the CMAs a couple years back when he sang with RF on one of two songs that evening), but it doesn’t seem that he did. Right now, I can’t think of anyone who should have been there who wasn’t, as far as people who have expressed adulation for Strait in the past goes. It’s kind of early though, so I’m sure there were oversights that I’m not thinking of right now, but no one glaring, except for maybe Kenny Chesney (who I didn’t personally miss.).

  9. Great show. Here’s hoping George is around another 30 years. My only regret is that, in a show like this, some good songs aren’t going to get sung. I would’ve liked to seen someone perform “Baby’s Gotten Good at Goodbye”, “The Chair” “Baby Blue” or “I Just Wanna Dance with You”

  10. Nice recap, Lynn.

    Keith’s performance was probably the night’s highlight for me. I love him on this kind of fare, and it was the most fully realized performance of the night for me, doing the best of job of respecting the tribute aspect of the evening without sacrificing emotional and physical commitment to the performance.

    I wanted to like Lee Ann/Jamey on “Give It Away” more than I did — I liked the idea of it, and I loved the rehearsal vids, but Lee Ann’s nerves seemed to have her grasping for the high “give it away”s and she didn’t look entirely comfortable to me. I did enjoy her other song, though.

    I wanted LeAnn’s song to be longer; I thought she needed a bit more time to make a stronger emotional connection. She sounded lovely though. Martina did a nice job, as well. Miranda and Blake sounded nice together — I think their voices meshed better than they did on “Home.” Alan turned in a capable performance, as well.

    I thought Taylor mumbled through parts of “Run” because she was struggling to reach the lowest notes and her upper register sounded pinched and chirpy as usual. One of the things this performance highlighted is how she struggled with volume control. She sounds pretty when she sings in her head voice but she just doesn’t know how to control her chest voice, resulting in poorly modulated transitions and grating ‘power’ notes. But she did mostly stay on pitch, so that was nice. I agree that Dierks (surprisingly) and John Rich (less surprisingly) struggled.

    I would have loved to see a Patty Loveless performance on this night. Past that, the show was missing usual suspects Kenny Chesney (who has worked with George, though maybe there is some enmity over the “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven” situation?), Brad Paisley (who was then awaiting the birth of his son), Carrie Underwood (who doesn’t have a strong connection to George and had a charity gig that may have caused a schedule conflict) and Rascal Flatts (don’t think they have a strong connection to George, either). Of those four, I think Brad and Carrie could have turned in good performances (whether solo or together).

  11. Sugarland – not a fan of theirs by any means. But they were almost ok on this one.

    I had to mute it during MG’s song. It hurt my ears something fierce.

    I thought Jamey Johnson did good on “Give It Away” (which is very surprising because I’m not a fan of Jamey’s voice, but he didnt sound like himself last night!) On the otherhand, I didnt think Lee Ann did well on that at all.

    But ….. I thought the original song Lee Ann did was WONDERFUL; both the song and the performance. Easily the highlight of the night.

    Taylor Swift – thankfully was not as awful as I had anticipated. Though a lot of that can be credited to the backup singer who came in with great vocals and volume during the chorus.

    Keith Urban – when he said he was gonna do Marty Robbins songs I was scared. But he did ok. Not great, but ok. But then again, nobody can do Marty but Marty. (Keith also seemed to be struggling with a ‘frog in his throat’ or something. I wanted him to just step back, get a drink of water, hock it up, or do whatever he needed to do and start over).

    I liked Faith’s performance much better than I thought I would – though I thought there was a great deal of irony in her song choice!

    Tim was ok. Which is actually a pretty big compliment because I’m not a Tim fan at all.

    I liked Jamie Foxx’s performace for the most part. I thought he went a little overboard there at the end.

    Direk’s Bentley’s performance was not so hot, but I did like his little story there at the beginning and giving GS that cd was cute.

    Martina did well.

    Blake and Miranda. Didnt like it. Not a Miranda fan at all, but I usually like Blake.

    Alan Jackson. Liked it.

    Toby Keith. Was surprised that I liked that as well. Not a big TK fan, though he does have a few things I like.

    Brooks and Dunn were so-so. I was a little disappointed. However, it was nice to see Kix getting to sing a bit.

    John Rich was good. Not great, but good. Til right at the end he hit an off note or two.

  12. I loved this show!! Keith Urban was my favorite. I loved Marty Robbins music. Everybody did pretty good except….Dierks, Taylor(what was with that headband??)John Rich, Jack Ingram (he grates on my nerves..I don’t like to hear him or see him perform.) I thought Tim McGraw’s performance was good. Didn’t too much care for Miranda and Blake’s duet.

  13. Really nice job, Leeann. I enjoyed the show, especially love hearing the Dean Dillon tunes. I think Blake Shelton could do really well on some of George Strait’s songs, particularly those clever Dillon lyrics. The end was a little awkward and George isn’t much for speeches, but I enjoyed the whole program.

  14. Leeann great comments.

    I have to say that for the first time I enjoyed a Taylor Swift performance. She was in control and relaxed. I hated that thing on her head though. I thought Jamey Johnson and Lee Ann Womack were great. I wish they would record a song together or maybe a whole cd. I also liked Tim McGraw. And when Martina McBride sang ” The Dance” I was left wondering why one of the greatest voices in music isn’t singing better songs on her own. She make you cry with that voice.

    I was insulted by John Rich’s singing. When will he just go away. I also was not moved by Keith Urban. I hate to disagree with you Leeann. He never comes off as honest or real. But the real disappointment was Faith Hill. She sang Loretta Lynn’s song without any tongue-in-cheek or humour or zest. She was boring and bland.

    As for Jamie Foxx. Maybe he thinks he is the new Ray Charles for country music. But as a black man who likes country music I don’t want him to represent people of color who listen to country music. His “soulful” song was an insult to a great song. Was he adding black to the song? If so that is very insulting. The R&B sound and being black are not married. The problem is that there are many people of color who love country music and George Strait- but these programs tend to be very white. That is the fault of the producers. But Jamie Foxx doesn’t make up for that lack or help it.

  15. Overall I thought it was a pretty good show with some good song selections. I agree that up until now, George Strait has been easy to “take for granted” but I suppose that’s part of his success.
    I think part of why he is still so likable and so successful is because he’s not in our face 24/7. He doesn’t get into letting Music Row shove him down our throats, ie. overexposure thru tv, merchandising, etc.
    Interesting that Garth “handed off” the award because that is precisely why I turned off Garth years ago. I still like the guy and like his early stuff but he put himself EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME! Timing is everything…

    Speaking of overexposure and ought to consider backing off a bit after this tour…. I did like Taylor’s “Run”. Unlike many who post, I actually like Taylor and just don’t want to see them burn her out so fast.

    Keith Urban can do some great country when he wants to! I love when he pays respect to the legends like Marty Robbins and Glen Campbell. Would love to hear him do more classics.

    Sugarland… love them, loved their song choice.

    Alan Jackson… Somehow hasn’t managed the “stand there and sing” thing, ala King George. I always get the impression he’s uncomfortable and bored with his own performance.

    Blake Shelton is by far one of the most underrated male vocalists in country music today. Period.

  16. I missed it since it was playing on my birthday and I was busy. After reading the recap I really wish I didn’t though. :P

  17. Great review Leeann..I thought it was a pretty good show as well. The honor very well deserved for King George.

    But the cast of performers for the most part had me wondering how they were connected to George Strait.

    I thought everyone did OK, Taylor better than expected, it was nice to see her sing a Country song. Actually I think hers was one of the better performances of the night.

    But I thought Jamie Foxx really over did it, and actually detracted from the show instead of adding to it. Out of place as Adam Lambert’s creepy rendition of Ring of Fire on Idol’s Country Night. Jamie Foxx is no Ray Charles.

    And I was dissapointed in Faith Hill’s version of You Ain’t Woman Enough..I agree, it was bland.

    Sorry I missed the MG rendition of Mountain Music.

    I think everyone did fairly well considering, but kept thinking George does ’em better. One standout for me, however, was Alan Jackson. AJ makes legendary Country look so easy…as I have stated before, it was as though he was channeling a voice from Country’s golden age, like a reincarnation of Hank Williams. This honor would have been equally appropriate for Alan Jackson..he is equal it stature to the great Strait with a similar natural, easy going Country charisma. And very similar “stand there and sing” vocal style as well. But that works so well for each of them, and they should not change a thing. Neither Alan Jackson nor George Strait need any gimmicks. Pure Country is enough.

    George Stait, on he surface, can seem a little bland, but his appeal has a way of growing on you, he embodies all that is good and authentic about Country music. His pure and expressive Texas twang, his humility and graciousness, and his fidelity to Traditon, and as Leeann pointed out, his consistency. Consistent and expansive as the big ole Texas sky. He’s a real cowboy, and it shows in his music.

    Dudley, I agree, Patty Loveless belonged on that stage. I read a quote by her in Country Weekly, words to the effect of “George Strait is real, and anything real, endures” How true, and the same can be said of Patty. Plus Patty’s recent duet with George, “House of Cash” …

    Brad Paisley too, has a similar all American appeal, like George Strait himself. He is another voice of the Heartland.

    Also, Sara Evans once told a British Magazine about how she was lamenting the watered down condition of Country Music (this was in the late Nineties, I believe), basically Sara said that it was “all Pop”…(Sara was such a fervent Traditionalist at that time, and oh, how I miss that Sara.) Anyway, she cited three exceptions, and champions of real Country that she especially admired and they were Alan Jackson, Patty Loveless and George Strait. I know Sara still really looks up to Mr. Strait, and for these reasons, I think Sara belonged on that stage as well.

    Great topic Leean, and interesting comments everyone!

  18. Loved Urban’s tribute to Robbins. Loved the idea of LAW and Jamey Johnson doing a duet, but thought LAW was not quite herself. Trying too hard? But her original song was solid. I was thinking all along a pretty good case could be made for Alan Jackson receiving this kind of honor, based on his singing and writing. I like Strait, but have a tad bit more respect for the singer/songwriter. But I do like George and think he represents the genre about as well as anyone.

  19. I loved the show! I have to say my favorite performance of the night was definitely Keith Urban. He was brilliant with the Marty Robbins melody! I wish he could add more traditional country flavor to his music because he sounds amazing!

    I also loved Sugarland’s performance. When I first heard they were going to participate I was kinda skeptical because I didn’t know what song they were going to sing. I thought they picked the perfect song for them! It suited their personalities and I think Jennifer did an awesome job with the vocals.

    Miranda and Blake were good too, I loved hearing “It Ain’t Cool to Be Crazy About You” as a duet. Same with “Give it Away” (though I was more impressed with Lee Ann’s part) it was amazing and a nice twist on the song.

    I did not like John Rich’s version of “Amarillo by Morning.” If you’re going to sing one of the most recognizable Strait songs, than you better to a heck of a job on it but he didn’t. I also wasn’t a fan of Jack Ingram’s rocked out version of “All My Exes,” it just didn’t seem “right” to me. I also think Kenny Chesney should’ve sang “Marina Del Ray” instead of Tim since Kenny recorded it and had it released on his bonus track cd for When the Sun Goes Down album.

    I have to say that I’m in the minority when I say I kinda liked Dierks’ version of “Blue Clear Sky,” I was disappointed it was a shortened version.

    Overall it was a great show! I thought most of the performances were good and I loved all of the performers…it was an excellent way to honor King George.

  20. I agree with LeeAnn Ward in regards to Mr. Foxx. I’m not really an R&B guy, but I thought it was cool that someone like him would be at a tribute like that. Perhaps one could say that his connection was just as a fan, but I didn’t see anything wrong with that. After all, it’s the fans that got Strait to where he is. (This Strait fan will be seeing him for the 15th time in August at Reliant Stadium in Houston.) Maybe my surprise at Foxx being a Texan AND a George Strait fan colors my perception, but then the song he sang wasn’t one of George’s more traditional country numbers to begin with. And I think Foxx did it justice. It would have been interesting to see if he could have pulled off a more traditional Strait number like “Right Or Wrong” (Bob Wills cover, I know, Lol) or “Let’s Fall To Pieces Together,” though.

  21. I guess most of you just don’t get it…..there is no longer a need for the “keepers of the confederacy”… I am a black rancher and so happen to sing country music as well….I actually live the life that many of you perceive to be country….but very disappointed that you thought Jamie Foxx should not have been included…

    So you think todays country music is pure… you are sadly mistaken…90% of the artist on the radio are pop rejects and really have no business being considered country…

    Jamie Foxx has more talent and has had more success than most folks in the vip seats…

    Believe it or not…you are really stereo typing but I will give you a little history lesson…That fiddle and banjo that we all associate with country music…came from people that look like Jamie..oh that rodeo that we all love to see at the end of the year…..same people..different continent!

    Chutegate9 on Youtube….that’s the proof!

  22. I don’t think people were decrying Fox’s inclusion because he was black, but rather, because he’s not a country singer.

  23. To ‘Ranch and Rodeo..I am delighted to hear that you sing Country Music, and wish you all the best with your artistic aspirations. But I totally agree with Leeann about the reasons many of us were less than thrilled at Jamie Foxx’s inclusion in the show. Nothing to do with racism… Many many Country fans, for instance, are proud to claim the great Ray Charles as one of our own, although we admit that several other genres of music can make an even stonger claim on him, as he transcended genres in so many ways. And many of us were also put off by Jaime’s jokes and somewhat mocking attitude as well…nothing to do with his race at all. It’s not as though Mr. Foxx came to the show as an aspiring crossover Country singer and was not well recieved. His musical treatment of the Strait song wasn’t Country at all, still I do believe it was meant as a respectful tribute, but the lead up and presentation of it didn’t come accross that way, to many of us. Again, Jamie Foxx is no Ray Charles.

    But you’re right about the sad state of Country today, it is not Pure Country, but rather much of it it is nothing more than Nashville Pop for the most part.

    And I think you’re right about the banjo being from Africa and all, but I believe the “fiddle” has been around in Europe for many, many centuries, predating the Baroque era. But the banjo is seldom an ingredient in today’s “country-lite” recipe, and the fiddle nowadays only seems to make token-nod appearances. With some notable exceptions from Traditionalists artists and Bluegrass, of course.

    Oh, and about your “Keepers of the Confederacy” remark.. actually Country music has transcended the Confederacy from the beginning. The Commonwealth of Kentucky, one of the Appalachian states where Country and Bluegrass music was concieved, was actually a border state, part of the Union and not part of the Confederacy. And Country’s appeal is now nationwide, and worldwide for that matter.

    On a different note, did anyone see the GAC poll as to who we think should be the NEXT Artist of the Decade?

    Last I checked, the results were as follows:

    Carrie Underwood, 49.4%
    Reba McEntire 31.7%
    Alan Jackson 8.8%
    Kenny Chesney 5.0%
    Keith Urban 3.7%
    Brad Paisley 1.5 %

    Well I guess Alan and Reba’s years of solid accomplishment don’t count nearly as much in the popular mind as Carrie’s sheer phenomenal popularity. Very sad.

  24. Steve,
    I agree that’s a pretty sad pole result. Really, though, asking people to vote on who should be the next artist of the decade is a futile exercise, because there’s no way of knowing what people’s careers will look like in ten years.

  25. True enough…who knows, maybe she’ll surprise a lot of us with a string of real solid, real Country albums and songs.

    But IF AJ and Reba continue going strong as they are, (especially Jackson, imo) It will be hard to see how anyone can truly deserve the title more, baring some unforseen phenomenom.

    When I saw Alan Jackson on that stage with George Strait, I saw two living legends, equal in stature.

  26. Yeah, based on this decade, I’d say Jackson is the clear choice. I’m less sure about Reba, as her career has been less solid in the past ten years. Not to be rude to Carrie fans, because I know she’s accomplished a lot, but I’m baffled that she’d be chosen for a decade award unless people are simply predicting the future rather than basing their choice on this past decade, since she’s not even been around for half of a decade yet. But again, I suppose it’s kind of a pointless/meant to be fun pole and there’s no concrete criteria that can be used for such a thing.

  27. I have the feeling that if the question were “who do you think deserves to win THIS decade’s “Artist of the Decade” award, Carrie would still win that pole, (after all, she wins EVERY pole she named in) and that is a sad symptom or the sad state of affairs in today’s Country, if you ask me. And GAC kinda fed into that in their current next decade’s poll by including her as a choice.

  28. It seemed ironic that Lee Ann Womack sang “Just Stand There And Sing” right before Garth Brooks came on stage to pass the Artist of the Decade torch. Here is the quote that makes me think the song is directly aimed at Garth’s brand of high energy, zip wire, fire and smoke country music:

    “I can’t just go out and stand there and sing,” he [Garth Brooks] says. The result-a high-energy concert style-offers “a rush like I never dreamed music would be.”

    I agree Dierks was way over his head trying to stretch the vocals on “Blue Clear Sky.” However, I was impressed with Taylor Swift though my expectations were low. It was nice to see Keith Urban sing a country song for the first time in his career. John Rich has no vocal talent whatsoever but he has tried to bring forgotten heroes back into country music’s limelight (e.g. John Anderson, Billy Joe Shaver, etc.). Martina McBride took on “The Dance” with stunning vocals.

    The fact that so many performances were off the mark underscores the effortless talent that enables King George to deliver his music.

  29. “It was nice to see Keith Urban sing a country song for the first time in his career.”

    That comment could be aimed at more “country artist” than just Keith Urban! I have yet to hear Taylor Swift sing a country song, but by golly she is put on a pedestal and considered the saviour of country music and I don’t understand that. Keith Urban has more talent than Taylor Swift ever thought about!! He brought a lot of fans over to Country Music, but did he get any credit or any kind of award like the little princess did…NO! He got slammed and shunned! Man, things sure have changed! I don’t have any respect for the Country Music industry anymore. Money and Marketing and Popularity and Politics are what it’s all about now!!

  30. Nice reviews and opinions! I just posted my review on my blog (way late I know, but I’ve been busy!). This is my first visit to the site in quite a while. I missed out on so much.

  31. I have yet to hear Taylor Swift sing a country song, but by golly she is put on a pedestal and considered the saviour of country music and I don’t understand that.

    She is?? That’s news to me.

  32. Well Razor…she actually got an “extra special award” at the ACMs for bringing in a younger audience to country and I’ve actually read articles asking the question..Is Taylor Swift the savior of country music? You can see articles like this in magazines or google. Now, razor, you’re in the know!

  33. “I don’t have any respect for the Country Music industry anymore. Money and Marketing and Popularity and Politics are what it’s all about now!!”

    gail … with all due respect, are you THAT new to country music?
    It has been like that for YEARS and is not at all unique to country music. Welcome to the world of showbiz!

  34. I thought Sugarland started of the show great, what a performance, but Keith was my fav, yes I am a big fan but to here him sing Marty Robbins was amazing, in my book he stole the show, I think these fan polls are getting all the younger kids to vote, and that is why people like Taylor Milly to name a few are getting awards, ETOY, should go to an artists you reall interacts with the people, draws great crowds, and loyal fans, also great songs, one that can fill in and do most anything, all in all it was a great show

  35. @ Craig R. As a Black woman who loves country music, you ought to be ashamed of your statement. Do you really think for one moment Jamie Foxx see’s himself as “the new Ray Charles”? Do you really think he want’s to be a “Black country icon”? Get real. He’s doing just fine with his music and film career. Your comments are disengineous to him and any true Strait fan.

    Country is not an exclusive white domain. I thought Jamie’s rendition of it was different, he took it to a whole nother level and put an R&B twist to it. Jack ingram gave another of my favorites a little rock, LeeAnn Rimes looked just gawd damn awful, don’t care for Taylor Swift but she did the song justic and I agree with everyone Keith Urban surprised me. I blogged about the even ton my blog – raggy dee ann

    Maybe some of you need to check out Rhythm Country and Blues a CD that paired off country singers with Soul and Blues singers. Aaron Neville was Paiared with Trisha Yearwood, George Jones & BB King, Little Richard & Tanya Tucker and the Best pairing or at least the best song was Travis Tritt & Patti Labelle…other’s too and all put together by Don Was.

    You tell me Travis Tritt doesn’t have any soul in him. Country music is music with a lotta soul.

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