I can’t say whether the tides are changing in country music but if you use the recent CMA Awards as any sort of example of what country music is like today, you may notice who wasn’t there.
Remember back in the early to mid-2010s when “bro-country” became a thing? Artists like Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and others all had hit songs that were somewhat generic and formulaic with lyrics about drinking or dancing girls or backroad parties. Obviously there was success in that subject matter, but there was also a lot of pushback from traditional country music fans and well-known country artists.
Fast forward to 2019, the 53rd annual CMA Awards airing on ABC and featured no, not bro-country, but a heavy dosage of bra-country. The women of country music! Get it? Bra… women… women wear bras? It’s just a little diversion from bro-country to remind us all that bra-country is great! The CMA Awards was hosted by the amazing trio of Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, and Carrie Underwood and if you didn’t get a chance to see the fantastic opening number, here it is.
I’m sure fans were happy to hear and see a lot of more traditional country being showcased, celebrating legendary women in country music, and not hearing the likes of Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, and Jason Aldean… none of whom were in attendance.
If you want to read a full recap of the show performances click here.
Concerning those CMAs, I was really only surprised by a couple things…
Garth Brooks winning Entertainer of the Year. Grady Smith says it best here…
Actually, that’s it. I was surprise by one thing. Garth. Over Eric Church and Carrie Underwood. Come on! Like Grady is, I’m also a fan of Garth Brooks, but it definitely seemed like he just swooped in and took the award away from others who genuinely deserved it.
I also don’t like Kacey Musgraves, there, I said it. But she’s a big part of the bra-country movement and if the future of country music is how the CMAs looked this year… I’m back in! I love most of the women featured on the show, plus I love Eric Church, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert (I almost dated her, you know), Dierks Bentley, and plenty of others.
I’m pretty much obsessed with Spotify these days. For a long time I was a “free” member. That’s where you can download songs and play them, but it was always on shuffle, you can’t back up to previous songs, or skip 4 or 5 songs ahead. You also can’t select a song to listen to it. So a few months ago I became a supscriber and I haven’t
regretted it for a second! Since then I’ve put together a playlist I listen to when I need to reflect, to worship, to be calm. If you’re interested in songs that help remind us of how big God is, yet how
personal He is, and how much He loves us, take a listen to my most recent worship playlist.
King of My Heart – Kutless
Sun & Moon – Phil Wickham
In Awe – Hollyn
Holy (Wedding Day) – The City Harmonic
Come Thou Fount – MercyMe
How Great Thou Art – Carrie Underwood with Vince Gill
Keith Urban has two music videos for his latest song “The Fighter.” The song is a duet with Carrie Underwood. The first video features Keith and Carrie with clips of a lone female dancer. The second video, dubbed the Dancers Version, leaves Keith and Carrie out visually but adds in a male dancer along with the female from the first video. You’ve probably already seen it, that’s why you’re here but click here for the video on YouTube. The pair was most recently seen on stage at the ACM Awards in Las Vegas as part of Keith and Carrie’s performance, but who are these dancers, anyway?
Their names are Lindsay Richardson (left) and Lyle Beniga (right). The pair are an item, as my parents would say. And they were also part of the Tennessee Kids (Justin Timberlake’s band and dancers for the 20/20 Experience tour).
Starting with Lyle, he’s got quite the dance resume. He’s danced with A-list artists who are known for their own dance skills: Justin Timberlake, Usher, Jennifer Lopez. Adding to that list, he was part of a Michael Jackson tribute that aired on MTV. So yeah, dancing in any professional capacity as it relates to Michael Jackson is definitely saying something! A few more fun facts:
You can follow him on Instagram here, and Twitter here.
Here’s the Michael Jackson tribute performance, although I can’t tell which one is Lyle.
Moving on to Miss Lindsay Richardson now:
She’s a dancer, a yoga instructor, and an actor. Her dance resume includes Justin Timberlake, Tinashe, Justin Bieber, and Britney Spears, just to name a few.
Her hometown is Berlin, Vermont.
Her first concert was Hanson. In an mmm bop they’re gone.
She has two dogs named Bruce and Charlie.
You can follow her on Instagram here, and Twitter here.
Lindsay posted a couple of videos of Keith’s take on using her and Lyle for this video. Take a look by clicking these links. Part 1 and Part 2
These two dancers are amazing! Keep an eye out for them in all types of forms: live, music videos, and who knows where else! And since you made it down this far, you might as well check out my children’s book and pick up a copy! 🙂
A phrase that’s been on the front of my mind lately is one you’ll hear in sermons, in songs, or written on posters or in sympathy cards. It comes from Ephesians 3:20.
God is able.
If you’re like me, though, every once in a while you might ask yourself, “What is He able to do, exactly?” I think the Sunday School answer is everything. But that doesn’t necessarily help me when I’m stuck in traffic and frustrated, or when I make a mistake at work, or when I say something that’s not exactly encouraging to someone. Or for you, maybe you’re losing patience with your kids, or lost out on a big work project, or didn’t do so hot on a recent test. Or maybe you just accomplished something significant, or did get that big work project. There’s still a need for God even in those situations, right? It could almost be anything at all that points us to a need for something more.
What has made the phrase relevant in my life recently is acknowledging that I sometimes get caught in this cycle:
Feeling discouraged <turns into> thinking something will or won’t happen <turns into> doubt <turns into> unhealthy behavior <turns into> guilt.
So I’ll admit, then, sometimes I wonder about it. “Is God able?” I’ll ask. Is He actually able to help me with what I’m doing today? Using the cycle above, is He able to keep me from diving into discouragement, etc?
Then recently it dawned on me: Yes, He is. Because His ability to “do” isn’t constrained by and doesn’t rely on my belief that He can. He can. He can. That’s it. He can. It’s like wondering if a beagle howls. Or a dolphin jumps. Or if grass is green. The answer is yes, yes, and yes. Whether I believe it or not, the grass is still green. A dolphin will still jump. A beagle will still howl.
And God is able.
So I’m thankful today that even in my wavering ups and downs where for one minute I’m singing How Great Thou Art and the next I’m quoting one of my favorite lines from Rescue Dawn – “God, why don’t You help us when we need You most?” – God is still there, and He is still able.
How often are you faced with a choice that alters your future, and maybe the course of other lives, as well? Sure we all make choices every day, even tiny ones that seem insignificant but could determine where we are in a year, or 5 years, or 25. Like when I get caught at a red light, or just miss the elevator, or win tickets to a concert, how do those events alter the course of my life? Or do they at all? Maybe, maybe not. It’s the butterfly effect. There’s a song by Norah Jones called “Man of the Hour” that begins with a pretty big decision, “It’s him or me…” so she’s deciding between “a vegan and a pothead.” But I’m a firm believer there’s always a secret third option, which Norah takes and it’s a dog! Of course it’s a dog. Like Carrie Underwood sings, “The more boys I meet, the more I love my dog.”
Norah’s decision affected the lives of 2 guys, herself, and the dog, so I’d say it was a pretty important choice. Then she decided to sing about it, which I’m very happy about. It’s a lighthearted affirmation that dogs are always a good choice.
I knew there was going to be a moment of silence today at 1:50pm (Central time) and I very much wanted to be a part of it. So during my lunch break I left the office to jog through downtown Nashville. I love afternoon jogs in the spring because I don’t have to wear layers of clothing, there are lots of people outdoors enjoying the elements, and I have time to think. Most of my thoughts today were consumed by a pretty girl in Franklin, Tennessee, but a couple of other thoughts stood out as well. One: I relate more to Taylor Swift than Carrie Underwood. At least, their songs. Whatever, that’s neither here nor there. The second thought occurred at the worst time, right when I was most exhausted. The cinnamon challenge. The teenage fad is this; trying to eat a spoonful of cinnamon as fast as possible. Evidently, it’s very difficult due to the nature of cinnamon. So as I was gasping for air near the end of my run, I thought about a spoonful of cinnamon which didn’t help me at all.
But then at 1:50pm all that was history. I stopped in my tracks and for 1 minute, I stood in place and prayed for all the people affected by the Boston bombing, especially the ones that lost someone they love. So because the three that died can no longer run, and quite a few others are probably in that same boat now, I didn’t run. For a whole minute. Then at 1:51pm I took off. Call it my little way of pausing to honor those who’ve suffered followed up by running hard to honor those who’ve suffered.
9:26 Jason isn’t the first to perform with a rapper. Recall Tim McGraw and Nelly. Anyway, Jason rapped the first verse.
9:24 Kid Rock introduces Jason Aldean and Ludacris… performing “Dirt Road Anthem.”
9:24 are those the numbers from ‘Lost’ on her arm?
9:23 and the buckle goes to… Taylor Swift…. who’s in Milwaukee???????
9:22 Kid Rock and his tall trucker hat replay the Video of the Year nominees.
9:20 fill in the blank at home… the performance will be [awesome/good/ok/not good/terrible/oh my goodness].
9:16 commercial break and another mention of Jason Aldean performing with Ludacris. Will that be a show stopper? My guess is they’re going to sing “Dirt Road Anthem” because the verses are more ‘rappy’ than a country song. Those parts, I can only assume, will go to Ludacris. Jason will sing the choruses.
9:15 Blake is on the set of “The Voice” in L.A. and gives his acceptance speech. He thanks so many people, and the fans.
9:14 and the buckle goes to… Blake Shelton. Good year for him. He’s not there either, surprise surprise.
9:12 after a major fall (see pictures above), Shania gathers herself and walks on stage. She’s introducing Male Video of the Year.
9:12 Kid Rock is bantering about the next artist up, and some girl throws her panties on stage. I assume it was a girl. He introduces Shania Twain.
9:11 Charles Kelley starts the process to a long and drawn out lawsuit by throwing his sticks into the crowd.
9:10 no time to think about that as Charles Kelley takes to the drums. They perform “Kiss” by Prince. you know… “you don’t have to be rich to be my girl…”
9:09 wait, isn’t this the same group that sang “Need You Now”? Wasn’t that about a late night booty call?
9:07 they introduce Lady Antebellum who will perform “Just A Kiss.” Listen to to the lyrics, finally a song about living with morals!
9:06 Sara Evans and Sheryl Crow are on the stage now.
9:01 at this point I rather see a commercial about cicadas than the Huggies denim diaper one, or the annoying Bing Facebook commercial. Once is enough, bro’s!
9:00 performance finishes. On the Nationwide stage, Lee Brice takes us to another commercial break.
8:58 I heard he wrote this whilst sitting under an oak tree in Centennial Park. I think the third verse mentions cicadas.
8:56 Little Big Town introduces Keith Urban who is performing “Long Hot Summer.” He must live in Nashville.
8:52 Fructis… it’s kinda like ‘frook-teece’. Actually, that’s exactly how to say it. They make shampoo and other stuff you’ll find in the hygiene section of Wal-Mart. Ok, next word to learn is ‘hygiene’… practice on your own, I think you can do it!
8:51 during this commercial break, I’ll teach you how to say Garnier Fructis. First, start with Garnier. Say ‘car’ but with a g and not a c. Next, ‘n’ and ‘yay!’ in one syllable.
8:50 is it weird if they don’t get a standing ovation after a song called “Stand Up”? I think I saw people standing as they clapped. Nevermind. Commercial break.
8:48 white flags are waved all over the arena.
8:46 Jennifer writes Love on a flag and hands it to 2 girls from Joplin, MO. The girls wave the flag as Sugarland perform “Stand Up.”
8:45 next up is Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina introduce Sugarland, again, should be a great performance.
8:45 actually I’m not a gigantic fan of their music, but I like them and I’m glad they won. They thank Roman White, the video director.
8:44 and the buckle goes to… Lady Antebellum. Awesome!
8:42 LBB goes on a rant about how to be a country star. She’s awesome. They announce the nominees for Group Video of the Year.
8:41 Ricky Schroder and Laura Bell Bundy take the stage next to which LBB says he’s a great kisser.
8:35 ZBB, probably my favorite band right now, doesn’t disappoint. Commercial break as The JaneDear Girls sing one of their songs, “Shotgun Girl.”
8:33 their set looks like a comic strip of an ocean, with the band appearing to play on top of the water.
8:32 he introduces Zac Brown Band, guaranteed to put on a good performance.
8:31 the show returns with Kid Rock saying “that’s right Detroit.” Okkkkk…..
8:30 between cicadas and camel crickets, I must say I’m not that hungry anymore.
8:29 I still haven’t eaten dessert.
8:25 Dale Earnhardt, Jr commercial for Nationwide. Grrrrrrrr. Jimmie Johnson is gonna win it all!
8:24 I love that song “Picture”. Wait, it was called “Collide”? Commercial break as Hunter Hayes plays and sings. I actually kinda like this performance.
8:23 they dance a little… the music stops… Kid Rocks tells the band to keep playing. They oblige and he and Sheryl keep dancing.
8:22 I might throw away my Lance Armstrong bracelet. What a dweeb for mistreating Sheryl.
8:19 Sugarland introduces the next performers, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow that perform “Picture (the 2011 version)”… oh it’s called “Collide.”
8:19 Miranda’s not there, she’s either out on tour or still honeymooning with Blake Shelton.
8:18 and the buckle goes to… Miranda Lambert for The House That Built Me.
8:17 they introduce the nominees for Female Video of the Year.
8:16 the show returns with Jason Aldean and Kristin Chenoweth. She comments that he’s a verrrry handsome man. Something else about his blue or green eyes, and her short height.
8:13 I found my dog. She’s got a weird cough going on right now. Cecadas? probably. I don’t know why she eats them… uncooked.
8:09 Kid Rock has a slight wardrobe change. He introduces Colt Ford who takes us into a commercial break.
8:09 they each speak. Nice work trio!
8:08 and the buckle goes to… The Band Perry. Let’s see if she lets her brothers speak.
8:06 performance finishes with Big & Rich saying “the boys are back in town!” Luke Bryan takes the stage to present the next award, it’s for Breakthrough Video of the Year.
8:05 something about fake id’s, money, oh and Gretchen Wilson makes an appearance. Be on the lookout for Lil John.
8:03 their first performance together on tv in 3 years sounds a lot like Roy Orbison.
8:02 everyone’s (including you Merilee) favorite woman, Mary Steenburgen who introduces Big & Rich.
7:59 Ok, I didn’t want to go here, but if I see another denim diaper commercial that says “I poo in blue” I’m gonna…. I’m gonna…. ok, fine. I’ll just keep watching.
7:57 commercial break. ok, I really gotta find my dog.
7:53 Rascal Flatts perform “I Won’t Let Go.” I swear this song reminds me of another but I can’t put a finger on it. In my head I’m seeing Olympics, Whitney Houston, slow motion people running… can’t… quite… place…. it… but I want to go outside and run.
7:52 Ron White and Justin Bieber take the stage, not to perform, but to introduce Rascal Flatts.
7:50 Kid Rock talks about CMT One Country and their contribution to the USO and soldiers all over.
7:47 the last 2 contestants on CMT’s Next Superstar take us into a commercial break. I need to go find my dog and get some dessert, not in that order.
7:46 ZBB accepts but no sign of Jimmy Buffett. He must be in Margaritaville. Afterall, it’s 5:00 somewhere.
7:45 and the buckle goes to… Jimmy Buffett and Zac Brown Band.
7:43 Hines Ward challenges Clay Matthews to a dance off, who defers to the after party. They introduce the nominees for Performance of the Year.
7:42 football music!!! Ahhh the Fall is coming soon. Maybe no NFL, but at least there’s college football. Go Seminoles!
7:42 fire and explosions as the song finishes.
7:40 I like Luke Bryan. I like the girls dancing too. The color black is in tonight.
7:38 Luke Bryan turned his hat backwards = gametime. He performs “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)”.
7:37 Melissa Peterman and Cheryl Hines talk about how great Nashville is. The cowboys that live here. Cheryl mentioned hand cuffs and lost Melissa, who is worried about her. They introduce Luke Bryan.
7:32 commercial break. Kia. Acuvue. Super 8 movie. Old Navy. Zegerid. Cotton. Huggies. PC computer. ChristianMingle.com. Taco Bell. Thank you for paying my salary, by the way.
7:31 confetti from the ceiling. The show isn’t over, though. Hmmm.
7:29 lyrically, not the best from The Band Perry, but hey, they’re doing well with their first full length performance at the CMT Awards. Kimberly takes to the piano, standing up Lady Gaga style.
7:27 The Band Perry start their song “You Lie” with a quick line from Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie.” Nice!
7:27 Paramore (I thought they broke up?) introduce The Band Perry.
7:26 Justin with his backwards hat, speaks first. He is honored to be there. he thanks his Mom, his family, and Rascal Flatts. He lets them talk. They thank Justin, the record label, William Morris, etc. Oh and they said thanks to God. Joe Don said they have Bieber fever.
7:25 the winner is… Justin Bieber and Rascal Flatts for “That Should Be Me.”
7:23 Martina McBride and lead singer of Train Patrick Monohan introduce the nominees for Collaborative Video of the Year.
7:22 the final nominees for video of the year are announced, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Sugarland, Taylor Swift.
7:21 Kid Rock asks an audience member to take their shirt off. A sign he’s had his first drink? We’ll see.
7:16:30 me finding the mute button. If I see another Olive Garden telling me I’m their family, I’m gonna go there and order something. But I won’t be happy about it.
7:16 Thompson Square perform a shortened version of “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.” Is it weird for them to perform after they just lost the previous award? Anyway, commercial break now.
7:14 Jennifer says this is the most fun awards show. They both thank the fans. Thanks to Declan Whitebloom, video director. Fans cheer and the duo walk off stage as Kid Rock introduces the Nationwide Insurance Stage.
7:13 Best Duo Video of the Year goes to: Sugarland. Good! All the nominees were good. Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush are cool people.
7:11 John Rich and Gary Busey and the winner of the Indy 500 are bantering back and forth now.
7:10 Gotta give credit to artists like Toby Keith (and Tim McGraw) who have a tons of fans and can perform without playing an instrument. Oh, and Ludacris was clapping in the audience.
7:09 if Toby has a girl bust up on stage pretending she’s a crazy fan then starts dancing, I’m shutting my tv off!
7:08 Toby Keith begins his performance of his brand new song: “Made In America.”
7:07 Wynona eyes Kid Rocks pants because they are redder than her hair.
7:06 Wynona and her ultra red hair belt out some lines, then Kid Rock interrupts her back, he’s wearing an outfit he probably found in the Country Music Hall of Fame. They finish the song as a duet.
7:05 Wynona Judd steps in and stops Kid Rock in his performance of “I’m A Cowboy”.
7:03 they stop and pick up Kid Rock. He enters the Bridgestone Arena where he’ll be hosting the CMT Awards.
7:02 guest appearances from Ron White, Donald Trump and some “good-looking” gas attendant, who calls them Cougars.
7:00 Taylor Swift opens the show by breaking up with someone on the phone. She calls on Shania Twain for help. Thelma & Louise sequence!
6:59 Katie Cook wrapped up her interview with Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman. Evan Farmer joined her and introduced the show…