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.
957pm Lionel Richie comes out to present Entertainer of the Year. And the award goes to…
953pm He jokes about his “real shocked face” and looks at Taylor. Got her!
952pm The award goes to Blake Shelton. He better thank “The Voice”!
951pm Taylor Swift comes out to present Male Vocalist of the Year. I love when Taylor has straight hair.
950pm Personally I wouldn’t mind if this show ended, 3 hours is just way too long!
947pm Oh, first Luke Bryan performs his unsettling song “I Don’t Want This Night To End.” Something about it makes me want to change the channel. Not sure if it’s the words, music, the dancing, or D all of the above. else.
941pm Coming up, Male Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year.
940pm or was it Blake Shelton’s ex-wife?
939pm or was it Kenny Chesney that busted through the door and said that?
938pm Minister asks if anyone wants to object, speak now or forever hold their peace… Randy Travis busts through the door and says, “Don’t do it!” Kidding.
938pm They have a unity candle. Besides rings, that’s gotta be the most common wedding tradition.
937pm Although I do like this song, even if The Bachelor kinda ruined it for a few months.
936pm This feels weird. I can’t tell if this is sweet, or very odd.
935pm The ceremony starts featuring the song “Marry Me” by Train and Martina McBride.
934pm The wedding story unfolds…
926pm After the break, a wedding ceremony. This ought to be interesting.
924pm Dierks Bentley is a cool guy. He’s got 2 dogs, so that makes him even cooler.
923pm Bono from U2 says America is not just a place, it’s an idea. Then he introduces Dierks Bentley performing the patriotic “Home.”
922pm For anyone who doesn’t get the hype of the Zac Brown Band, how do you think that performance was?
920pm Brad Paisley joins them on stage and shreds the guitar.
918pm Zac Brown perform a fun upbeat song called “Whiskey’s Gone.” I love these guys!
917pm What I wrote at 830pm (below) didn’t actually happen.
914pm Blake Shelton introduces Miranda Lambert, performing her latest hit “Over You.” The song is good, and I’ll add that the music video is hauntingly awesome.
912pm Anyone remember the movie “Dangerous Minds”? I like that movie.
910pm I think I want to see Titanic in 3D Wednesday, if for no other reason than to see Jack shaking in the freezing cold water, in 3D-D-D-D-D-D! That’s my teeth chattering in the cold water.
908pm (central) Miranda Lambert wins Female Vocalist of the Year.
9pm Cheerios. As in, that’s what I’m eating. Be back soon.
856pm Guess what, more commercials, but did I just hear them say they’re going to show a real wedding after the break? That’s a first.
855pm If you’re watching the ACM’s, chances are you are fully aware how country you are, but if you are still denying your country roots, check here to see if you are more country than you think.
852pm Sara Evans sings her latest release, a remake of “My Heart Can’t Tell You No.”
851pm Marc Anthony takes the stage? He introduces Sara Evans.
850pm Looks like everyone on the crowd has a red solo cup and you know who is so happy about this whole performance? The Solo brand. They may even send Toby a gold Solo cup.
849pm Carrot Top shows up and the crowd laughs along.
847pm Toby Keith performs “Red Solo Cup” if you can call singing that song a performance. He also just said testicles on national TV with no edit.
846pm Gary LeVox (lead singer of Rascal Flatts) asks if they can here the banjo in the back. “Yes! But we can’t see you. We’re too far back!”
845pm I like Rascal Flatts. Funny guys and they seem to have good hearts/compassion for people.
843pm Rascal Flatts performs their new song “Banjo” featuring Steve Martin (yes, that Steve Martin) on the banjo. I like this song, but I thought it was meant more for a group like Little Big Town.
842pm Standing Ovation. Taylor warms up her Oh-my-gosh face. Other people clapping.
842pm Blake and Reba take the stage again and reflect on the life of Earl Scruggs who died earlier this week.
841pm One day I’m going to invent something where we can record TV programs then fast forward through the commercials.
838pm Another tease that Bono is coming up. Nothing screams country like an Irish rock star.
837pm Scotty thanks a long list of folks, never even mentioning Josh Turner, the guy who’s voice he stole.
836pm Alright I’m back. The Kimberly Perry Band presents new artist of the year award, going to Scotty McCreery.
835pm I have a hypothesis: the word redneck will always be popular in country music.
833pm You know what’s delicious? Seafood. Baked fish filets from the Gulf of Mexico = better than your dinner I bet!
830pm Mickey Mouse rushed the stage and tackled Carrie Underwood. Crazy, right?
826pm Time for dinner. Take a break and I’ll be back in a short while. What will happen while I’m gone: more jokes, random guest presenters that probably have never listened to country music, and a random performance from an artist who’s got a new album or single coming out. Yes, I’m talking about Scotty McCreery.
825pm commercial break.
825pm Can’t figure out this band out, they sing this song and a song about being taking things slow (“Just A Kiss”) but they also have a song “Lookin’ For A Good Time” about a one night stand. Hashtag confusion. Hashtag make up your mind.
822pm Lady Antebellum perform “Dancin’ Away With My Heart.”
821pm Blake and Reba (who are hosting) come up with a few more jokes, this time including Lindsay Lohan. Blake Shelton admits he screwed up the JetBlue joke but it was still funny.
820pm Jason and Kelly come up to accept the award. Kelly is looking fab.
819pm the award goes to Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson for “Don’t You Wanna Stay.”
819pm Jake Owen and a pencil present Singe Record of the Year.
817pm I really want to eat pizza right now. If you wanna send one over, message me and I’ll send you my address.
816pm You can still vote for Entertainer of the Year: here
812pm Commercial break and the announcer is extremely intent on pronouncing every single syllable. His elementary teachers would be so proud.
811pm One could argue that Von Dutch hasn’t come around the first time yet.
811pm Or has it been so long that Von Dutch is coming back around?
810pm Evidently it’s 2003 because he’s got a Von Dutch hat on.
810pm Eric Church is wearing his signature baseball cap and aviator glasses.
809pm One of my favorites, Eric Church, takes the stage back at the MGM. He performs “Springsteen.” Guess what that songs about! Elvis.
808pm Looks like Brantley’s got some new tattoos.
807pm The Award show is at the MGM in Vegas, but they toss to the Mandalay Bay were newcomer Brantley Gilbert takes the stage to sing “Country Must Be Country Wide.”
806pm They thank the fans and the families. Charles Kelley says, “Look Mom! KISS!”
806pm None of the members of Lady Antebellum actually kissed KISS. Well played.
805pm Award goes to Lady Antebellum.
803pm If you just got in from the dog park, tune to CBS now, the ACM Awards are still going! Music legends KISS take the stage. These guys are so old slash not relevant. They’re presenting vocal group of the year…
801pm The music video for this song was filmed at the same location as his song “Tattoos On This Town”… an airport just outside of Nashville.
8pm Jason Aldean performs “Fly Over States.”
759pm Blake Shelton wins the crowd over with a joke or two, then Reba introduces Jason Aldean.
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…