The actual show opened with a multi-artist, multi-song collaboration that lasted about 8 minutes. It included Vince Gill, Merle Haggards son, Ben on guitar, Charlie Daniels, Ricky Scaggs, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood and the tear jerker section of the performance was from Randy Travis who had suffered a stroke. This was his first few words shared on the CMA stage in quiet a while. I do not know that anyone who watched it, didn't have a tear in their eye....or rolling down their perfectly done make-up. It was a beautiful and perfect opening for a show that had been advertised as a bit of a walk down memory lane and that it was the 50th Anniversary of this ceremony.
The Making of "Fire Away" the Video
Dierks & Elle at The Opry
"Different for Girls"
Usually I sit with my fists clinched and my eyes rolling out of my head over the majority of winners at these shows. It seems to come in waves. One year it is legit and another couple it is all about the trends. I get erked by the trendy years. Mainly because these artists will more than likely never be heard of again or will attempt to transplant into another genre. This year was a legit year in my country music lovin' hearts opinion. New Artist of the Year went to a surprised and emotional Maren Morris. Morris had JUST finished performing and returned to her seat in time to hear her category. An emotional Morris shared how last year she watched that award show from a bar across the street and this year here she was winning. I won't lie, I cried. I cry watching these things. I can't even help it!!!!!! All I kept thinking as Maren gave her thank you's and wiped the tears from her eyes was that dreams do actually come true!!!!! Cheesey, but its how I feel about her win. I love those kinds of stories. The last year I was across the street and this year I'm in the front five rows. She also later posted to her Instagram a video of her parents, who had been sitting elsewhere in the arena that night, when her name was called. I cried again. It was so beautiful and such a special moment for her to have shared with her fans and followers. I had originally picked Kelsea to take this category just because it has seemed to be her year, but I was glad to see Maren win. I love "Hero" and think it's a spectacular freshman release from an artist. Add to this win the fact that Maren had just threw down an UHHHMAAAYYYYZZZZINNNGGGG performance of "My Church". It was truly a soulful and powerful performance especially considering it was her first on the CMA stage. Nerves alone would have me missing a note or two, but girl held it down.
Next surprise was in the Vocal Duo of the Year category where Brothers Osborne FINALLY took FGL out of the winner seats. The brothers said in their acceptance speech that they had so expected to be losing to FGL that they had already been drinking and weren't even all that sure it was really happening. LOL!!! I loved it. Their acceptance speech was one of the very best of the evening. Genuine, real, unrehearsed and a well deserved moment of acknowledgement for the duo. Brothers Osborne was on my personal list of hopeful winners in this category. While I probably would have been stoked to see any duo dethrone FGL, I was especially stoked that it was Brothers Osborne.
Brothers Osborne - "21 Summer"
Single of the Year was no surprise and Thomas Rett's, "Die a Happy Man" won. It has basically won at all shows it's been nominated at so it was kind of expected here as well. Vocal Group of the year went to Little Big Town, which I also don't see as too big of a surprise given the popularity of "Girl Crush", "Day Drinking", Etc. Song of the year went to Lori McKenna for Tim McGraws, "Humble and Kind". The Song of the year is awarded to the writer of the song if it is different than the performer of the song. I did expect Rett to win this category as well, but had hoped a newbie like Cam or Maren would win. Even though I was totally wrong in my prediction and hope I am glad to see it go to Lori McKenna for "Humble and Kind". "Humble and Kind" is another song that I can't listen to with out tissues. As I write this I'm starting to realize I may be a cry baby??!!!! McGraw performed, "Humble and Kind" with the help of Ben Ellis's students from Christ Presbyterian Academy. The students entered the stage in all black with a white candle. It paid homage to the style of the video as well as to the heart of the song.
Male Vocalist, Female Vocalist, Album of the Year and Entertainer of the Year are ALWAYS fairly stacked categories with nominee's that truly deserve to be there. Making my predictions in these categories was difficult because I know what is on trend, but I also knew what I would've liked to see happen if I happen to be in charge. It also adds to the pressure when it comes to performances. We generally expect a lot from the nominee's in these categories if they are also performers that night. One of the standouts is, as always, Miranda Lambert. Keeping her style very subdue she performed her latest single, "Vice", in a black pant suit with a bit of lace peaking out at the top. She played her acoustic guitar with her band and Gwen Sebastian on bgv's. Through no fault of Gwens, I think her mic was bit hot considering she was bgv's. Her ooh's and ahh's almost over powered Miranada's lead vocals. "Vice" is the first single off of Miranda's upcoming, double disc set, "The Weight of These Wings". She has been teasing other singles online, but so far "Vice" is the only "official" single, or video.
Male Vocalist, for the second year in a row, went to Chris Stapleton. No surprise here. What is a baffling thing to me is that this is his second Male Vocalist of the year award and radio still doesn't play him as often as they should. If I hear "T-Shirt" one more time I am gonna throw myself from my moving car. Stapleton was joined by Dwight Yokum for his performance this year and it was a wonderful throw back as well as current collaboration. I've also always been a fan of Dwight. He has signature moves and style that just can't be copied. He is his own kind of artist and I love that about him. I think Stapleton can probably relate.
Carrie Underwood w/ Runaway June, Lindsey Ell,
Natalie Stovall, & Orianthi - "Dirty Laundry"
2016 CMA's Performance
Female Vocalist, breaking Miranda's multi-year win in this category, went to Carrie Underwood. And in my opinion, deservingly so as Carrie last won Best Female in 2008. All of her albums have reached platinum if not multi-platinum status. She is a personality that represents the country music community in a variety of genre settings. She is known by the fashion industry and is someone that they clammier to dress. She is spokesperson for Almay cosmetics, Callia by Carrie Underwood active wear, and so many other things that the list would take up this entire post. Also, let us not just cruise by the fact that she assembled a all girl chick band to rock the faces off of the audience for her performance of her current single, "Dirty Laundry". Joined by electric guitarist Lindsey Ell & Orianthi, BGV's by Runaway June, and Natalie Stovall on fiddle, this girl gang could not be stopped. It was a seriously good performance in my opinion. Especially considering Carrie juggled it while also co-hosting the show. I truly think Carrie deserved this award, which leads me to Entertainer of the Year. Again, I really wanted to see Carrie when ETOY this year. The Storyteller tour has been monstrous and so successful that dates had to be added. Carrie performed on the last episode of American Idol with Keith Urban, all of her singles off of "Storytellers" have hit number one, and again, the list is endless. However, Garth Brooks took the trophy this year. I have been a Garth fan for actual decades. I LOVE GARTH!!!! or as Brad Paisley calls him, Mr. Yearwood. LOL!!! "Shameless"........is m'jam. Garth can do no wrong in my eyes. I am choosing to pretend he didn't release that one album as Chris Gaines. We all have our youthful mishaps. Garth was reported as saying that this is a category for the younger generation of artists and that he was surprised to hear his name. I disagree with Garth on this topic as in recent years it has not only gone to him, but George Strait, Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan have all won multiple times, on multiple shows and have been in the genre for a looooooooooonnnnnnnngggggggggggg time. I mean, do I need to bring up Blake's, "Ol' Red"?? I'm not even making fun. I know that's one of his number one's, I'm just saying, I don't think of it as a young performers category.
Lastly we approach Album of the Year which went to Eric Church's, "Mr. Misunderstood". I think this is a iconic win on several levels. One being that Church dropped "Mr. Misunderstood" exclusively to his fan base, the "Church Choir", during last year's CMA show. It was later released for public consumption. He performed two sold out shows at Red Rocks which he has turned into an unplugged-esq album that is now out for the fans who couldn't make the shows. He also announced that he will be hitting the road in 2017 with no openers. That's right, no one to break the ice, no one to kinda ease ya into the evening. It's just gonna be him playing his tunes, playing by his rules. This is so epically Eric Church that I don't know how people read it and don't get amped just thinking about it. I have a friend who is already planning to get tickets and I will have her do a full report back. You hear that Amber?! Take notes and pictures!!! My pick for this category was Dierks', "Black" album. I just love the way it was delivered and the visuals we have been given to go along with it. I also feel like it could be an album that as we move forward in the genre, we look back on as one of the best in Dierks career. Dierks hasn't been afraid to take some chances and do some things other folks find dangerous, hell-o, "Up on the Ridge"??!!! But that is what makes him so very Dierks. I love "Black" and I love "Mr. Misunderstood". So, I am happy with this category even though it didn't go as I had predicted. Church performed earlier in the evening and I am fairly certain, for the first time probably ever, if not maybe only at his wedding, wore a tuxedo. Yes, I think that Eric wearing a Tuxedo is bloggable information. He of course kept his aviators on the entire show, but still, a TUXEDO!!!!
Eric Church - "Mr. Misunderstood"
fr "Mr. Misunderstood"
The show went about a half hour over and robbed Dolly Parton of her acceptance speech for her Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement award. It did however allow for a performance where when Reba saw Dolly as the curtain went up, she got so excited she forgot the words. I LOVE THAT!!!! See, even artists are fans. They geek out too!!! This was our only lyrical dose of Kacey Musgraves for the evening and I take great issue with that. Kacey was up for Female Vocalist and was apart of the Dolly tribute that the ACM's did with Katy Perry. I feel she should've been given her own spot at this years CMA's. Her addition to the Dolly tribute however was flawless, as expected. And while Dolly didn't get to give her full speech as she had prepared it she did get at least one funny in stating that receiving the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement award was a "high honor". bahahahahahahahah!!!!! Like it or not, there is NO ONE like Dolly!!!! If you think country music and you don't think Dolly, there is something wrong with you.
Dolly Parton - Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement
Well, we could cuss and discuss the CMA's till none of us even like music any more, but let's not. I'm unsure how I would cope without music. It's far cheaper than booze or pills, usually. LOL!!! J/K!!! Everyone calm down. Until out next awards show, keep requesting your favorite tunes and artists with local radio and keep voting at GAC and CMT websites for your fave videos!!! See ya next time!!!
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