Tag Archives: ACMs

Five on Friday: ACM Awards thoughts

I’ve had a week to let the ACMs sit and digest. Five days later, the things that stood out to me about the 2014 ACMs… (this is REALLY hard to narrow down!)

FoF - ACMs

1. Lack of females represented. Now, let me be completely up front about the fact that my own music collection is probably 70/30 male artists to females. So in a weird way, I didn’t notice the discrepancy of male to female performances until it was pointed out to me. But, there was one solo female performance. All the other females appeared as part of a group or in duets with  male artists. Why didn’t Carrie Underwood perform? Why didn’t Taylor Swift? (Hey, I’m not a Swift fan, but seriously… why didn’t she perform?) What about Kacey Musgraves who took home album of the year? Very unsettling knowing the females were pretty much ignored. Though as a sidebar, Miranda Lambert’s “Automatic” is IMO one of the best songs to hit radio in awhile, and she was rockin’ those silver boots and white tank top. Damn, girl lookin’ GOOD.

damnstrait2. George Strait took home Entertainer of the Year. I hate that Entertainer of the Year is now fan voted. I really do. I don’t know WHY they went to that format for the top award, but they did. (I happen to be one of the only people I know that agreed with every time Taylor Swift took the award, because whether you like her or hate her, she’s a monster entertainer and earned that award.) I think that this is one of the first times my heart swelled with pride at the winner of a fan-voted award. George Strait, y’all! King George! I’m disappointed so much controversy resulted after the fact, but I’m sooooo happy he won. And, yes, I voted for George that night.

3. Merle Haggard tribute was amazing, but way too short.  George Strait. Miranda Lambert. Introduced by Garth Brooks. MERLE HAGGARD? Be still my country music fan heart! Be still my Texan heart! Seriously could have hugged my TV. I was beaming the whole time. But. It was way too short. Way, way too short. It’s Merle Haggard! Why was it regaled to two half-songs? I was disappointed in that, but their choice of performers couldn’t have made me happier. And I’m glad he got the honor. On his birthday, at that! So I’m going to stick with being happy with it and pretend I’m not still a little miffed it was so short.

4. Lee Brice stole the show. Lee Brice dared to go on an awards show and sing a song acoustically. Not just that, but put his entire heart and soul into that performance. I would put his short verse and chorus in the top five performances of this night EASILY. If he didn’t turn your head during his performance, you must have been up getting something to drink and just not been watching. Because it was AMAZING.

5. So many artists, so little time! But wait… Why did some artists get multiple slots? Why not give that second slot to another amazing act? Where was Chris Young? Why didn’t Eli Young Band perform? Or, hey, how about some of those females that got left out? Hmm…

Making it happen Monday: In music, money talks

222: CDsLast night was the Academy of Country Music awards. Anyone who follows me on Twitter not only knows this, but also knows how I felt about parts of the show.

As always, the show left me sitting back, pondering the direction of country music, the genre of music I’ve loved for years and that, well, pays my bills. I spent time on Twitter following some discussions, and I realized some glaringly obvious things.

Today, country almost needs to be broken into more than one genre. Perhaps its always really needed that, but it feels stronger than ever now.

I say that because much of the modern country is being called “Bro Country” and its gone in a pop, rock and rap direction. It’s catchy and gets stuck in your head. The lyrics are far from deep and tend to go in a very similar direction of trucks, hot girls, parties in the country, bonfires, and just riding around. It creates an idealistic view of “country living.”

Fighting to stand beside the “Bro country” is what I’d call the people holding on to the more traditional approach… with its own modern twist. Songs that strike a chord and/or tell a story. Songs that make me want to find a dancehall and dance the night away with my honey. Songs that respect women, history, family and true love.

I’d also say there’s a solid section that fits right in between the two. And I think its that fact right there that makes the idea of breaking the genre up in any way would never work. And honestly, I don’t WANT to see the genre broken up. I’m not opposed to there being the existence of “Bro Country.” (Yeah, I just said that. But I’m not.) I’m opposed to the fact that its shoved down country fan’s throats. I’m opposed to the fact that I never hear the new stuff I would like, because I get so fed up with country radio that I keep my radio set firmly on Sirius’ Prime Country. 

While watching the awards while on Twitter, I’m left going, “Who is requesting this stuff??” as the Bro Country thing came on multiple times. The outrage I saw over Florida Georgia Line performing twice, while Lee Brice’s passionate acoustic performance of his award-winning “I Drive Your Truck” was regaled to a verse and a chorus.

I’ve known all along that what we hear on radio is (not quite) equal parts what the labels back, what fans request and what fans purchase. The first and the last are all about the money. It’s something that many who make music in Nashville lament and fuss about, but its money that decides what we hear. And within that, its why many aim at the teenage demographic. Teens will purchase singles off iTunes faster than those of us that are older. Parents will buy their teens music while foregoing their preferred music. Those of us that are older are more worried about paying the electric bill than we are buying a new album. We’re more willing to buy a hot cup of coffee from Starbucks to get us going in the morning than we are to buy a new single for $1.29.

Is it a messed up mentality? Yeah. It is. But I do it myself… and I’m married to a musician!

How do we make sure artists that are carrying to torch for country music stay successful? We buy their music. I think we’re all still, in a way, ingrained to buy a whole CD versus single tracks. “Oh I’ll get it when the album comes out.” Then we go get a vanilla latte instead of the album. Maybe next month.

Meanwhile, the “Bro Country” that’s popular with teens and young adults is being played over and over and over because sales have shown its what “the majority” wish to hear. And you know what? Maybe it is the majority that wants it. Maybe I’m stuck in my own little world and I’m clueless. Maybe we DO need to consider splitting up the genre some. But maybe we can instead make our statement 99¢ or $1.29 at a time. And in doing so, we hear more of what we want to hear, and we support the creation of even more songs to love in the future.