Not sure of who I should congratulate, CMA, ABC Network, nominees and recipients, and all artists in attendance, but last night’s CMA Awards Show might have been the beginning of a new era in country music.  Last night’s event looked and sounded as if someone, somewhere, had a meeting of the minds and decided  that  if this really was the Greatest Night in Country Music, then changes had to be made, and I believe changes were made.  Someone got together in a secluded room and told the industry giants and the artists to buy some new duds, and look like stars, not like some of them were just coming in from bush-hogging.  Get a haircut and have their hair done, buy some clothes that dictate who we are in country music and where we are going-make a statement.  Last night the ladies were beautiful and dressed to the nines, and most of the dude’s looked better than they ever have.  They represented Country Music and Nashville the way we used to be.  We are not the hillbilly nation that everyone assumes we are. 
With all of the hype and promotion that CMA and ABC put forth to make all of us think that this is really the biggest night in country music-IT WAS.  The glitz and glamour abounded from the Red Carpet to the arena.  Last night I really believe I was witnessing the true beginning of the CHANGING OF THE GUARD.   I was really impressed with how beautiful the ladies looked, their fashion driven dresses, beautiful hairdos, less skin, and all camera ready.   The class of 2011 was awesome.   I am hoping that from here on out, all of the awards shows will be like last night, with great production, dress code, and everyone on the same page when it comes to acceptance speeches!!!!  But please let’s fix the sound so that the singer is the most important part of each segment, and not the band???? Oh yeah, I did not forget the guys who really looked great in suits and ties, all looking cool.  Some of the guys with baseball hats and jeans, I could do without, at least for this special night, but some never change, and I respect them for how they perceive themselves.
My editorial is not going to be so much about the winners, but about our music in general.  I opted not to include pictures in this article.  The winners were in some cases surprises, but all in all the winners were great choices.  Just so I do not get in any trouble with the fans of Lambert and Shelton, I will keep my thoughts about all choices to myself.  I did notice that there were times that disappointment was evident with some of the nominees, but that comes with the territory of hope, anticipation, dreams, and reality.
The mood of the evening was evident from the opening of the show, that this just might be the Greatest Night in Country Music.  Blake Shelton and Kenny Loggins “Footloose” gave me the feeling that this could be a great show, and I personally was not disappointed in the outcome.  There are issues that need to be addressed especially the sound, which never seems to compliment the singer, and that is what The CMA Awards are all about.  2012 surely will have better sound.  And now that ABC has signed on to air the CMA Awards for the next 10 years.  I am hoping that this issue will be addressed immediately. 
Several years have passed when many of us, and I mean many of us, just turned to another channel on the TV, instead of watching the awards show, with its rock n roll sound, and no direction or any semblance of what a show of this magnitude meant to our country music industry.  During these year’s I don’t think the younger set really cared about dressing up, or looking great for the world to see. Not all of the artists on the past awards shows were in the category of looking like “let’s get this over and party,” so last night I know many of us that turned to another channel in past years, stayed up to watch this particular show.  And considering past shows, this was no doubt the best CMA Awards Show I have seen in many, many years.
Yes I know that many of you might be thinking that I am a traitor to pure traditional country music and that I have moved over to the other side, but trust me, I have not.  I was impressed with changes that have been made to accommodate what is no doubt going to be the direction country music is going to be.  I feel that the time is getting closer, that we will be hearing fiddle’s and steel guitars again, and  it is not too far in the distant future.  I am country, and most of these young artists are making music the way they feel it, and I am hearing more and more country in their songs.  Drinking, cheating, loving, hurting, happy country song’s.  THAT IS GOOD.  The record labels, disc-jockeys, and artists have got to make more real country records.
In the past when the show invited other successful artists from other genre’s, I was not too keen on that, but last night hearing Lionel Ritchie with Rascal Flatt’s, Gregg Allman with Zac Brown Band, I enjoyed that part of the show.  I have personal thoughts on some of the segments, but I feel the entire three hour show was a success.
To see Faith Hill back on the CMA Awards was awesome, and she came back with a super song “Come Home” from her new CD, and showed us why she has sold more than 40 million records.  Her performance was as good as it gets.  Also great to see, Hank Jr., and Little Jimmy Dickens in their spoofs.
My nod for the best part of the entire show was the Tribute to Glen Campbell.   Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, and Jimmy Webb paid honor to Glen, and it was the evenings most important segment, including tears of joy and super awesome performances by Vince, Brad, Keith, and Jimmy.   Glen was truly humbled by this tribute to his music and I thought the camera shots were perfect for what this tribute meant to Glen, and to our music industry.   This special segment of the awards should be included each year for artists who have given so much to the music world.
The changing of the guard takes time to be fully understood, but last night was evident that we are making some stride’s, and that if the CMA Awards Show is truly going to be The Biggest Night In Country Music, then I believe we have made a great start.  Now, I am going to make a suggestion to CMA and ABC.  For the future awards shows, let’s invite Stonewall Jackson, George Jones, Alan Jackson, Jack Greene, Jean Shepard, Bill Anderson, Lynn Anderson, Gene Watson, Jan Howard, Bobby Bare, Connie Smith, Jim Ed Brown & The Browns’, Jimmy C. Newman, Ray Price, Kitty Wells, Jesse McReynolds, Bobby & Sonny Osborne, John Conlee, John Anderson, Freddie Hart, and the list goes on and on.  Seat them in a special section of the venue and make sure the camera gives them attention during the show, and pays tribute to them for laying the foundation of country music so strongly that it has withstood the pains and troubled times.  Let the younger artists be seated with them in this special section.  Make a segment where all of these legendary artists are joined together on stage to sing maybe a special song written especially for them.  Tape the segment earlier in the week of preparations for the live show.  We are beginning the passing of the torch, so instead of thinking that we can just put out one torch and light another, let’s pass the torch the way it should be done, from the past to the present, for the future.   Passing this type of torch takes time to keep the flame burning brightly.  And as we all know there have been times it looked like the flame was going to die out.  
I am still wondering why Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, and George Strait were left off as nominees for Entertainer of the Year!!!!!!  I do congratulate Taylor Swift.
So I am adding one more award to last night’s show, to CMA’s head man, Steve Moore and his staff, also to ABC Network for a job well done and hopefully the following 10 years will continue to be bigger and better.   One more thing I would like to see less of is the pyrotechnics involved in the show.  Let the Rolling Stones and all of the Rock and Pop acts do their thing, but let us keep the Country Music Awards on the same level as the Oscar’s are to the film industry-classy.  For the Country Music Awards, it is all about the music, the nominees and recipients, not the fire and smoke, not the hosts, JUST THE MUSIC
For those that might have missed this year’s CMA Awards because they felt it was not going to be any better than in past years-give it a chance in 2012-you might be surprised as I was this year.  It did not go on without a hitch, but a changing of the guard is taking place, and I think the changes are going to be good for country music.  As long as we have more Brad Paisley’s, Carrie Underwood’s, Martina McBride’s, Vince’s Gill’s, etc., we hopefully can change the direction of the road that our music has been traveling.  It seems as though country music has rebounded from past years of decline.  When more artists who love country music, take control of their music, and record country music, then we will see more success. 
I have included all of the categories and winners, but needless to say, all of the nominees were winners.  As we all know, when there is an awards show, there is only one winner.  Sometimes I wish there were more nominees to select from, instead of five, but that is the rules of the awards show, and I voted for who I wanted to win and I was happy with my selections.  BTW, I am happy that Reba, one of three inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year, paid honor to Jean Shepard and Bobby Braddock, who were inducted with her.
As always I would enjoy hearing your comments, both pro and con.  Keep it Country. 
Marty Martel
© 2011
2011 Country Music Award Winners
 Single of the Year
 If I Die Young (The Band Perry)
 Song of the Year
 If I Die Young (The Band Perry)
 Vocal Duo of the Year
 Album of the Year
 My Kind of Party (Jason Aldean)
 Best Group
 Music Video
 You and Tequila (Kenny Chesney)
 Best New Artist of the Year
 The Band Perry
 Male Vocalist of the Year
 Female Vocalist of the Year
 Entertainer of the Year

Related Posts

Country Music Fair Erfurt

Amanda Heartsong By The Hearthfire

By Phillip Doring for Country Music News International Magazine

The Emergence Of Owen Smith

By Phillip Doring for Country Music News International Magazine

Tamworth Country Music Festival

By Phill Doring for Country Music News International Magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *