Foxnews.com reports that
Viewers who tuned into last night’s CMT Music Awards were left wondering whether or not they were watching a country music award show.
The fan-voted show kicked off with a number of collaborative performances featuring country stars and others outside the genre, from rockers Cheap Trick to rapper Pitbull.
Keith Urban, Brett Eldredge and Maren Morris started the show off at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. That was followed with an outdoor performance by Billy Ray Cyrus with recent Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick. Then the show went back indoors for a performance by Pitbull, pop singer Leona Lewis and Cassadee Pope — all while Jason Aldean, Nicole Kidman and more watched in the audience.
The performances did not leave fans happy with the show.
“Can someone please explain to me why #Pitbull just performed at the #CMTawards? Wasting time when real county artists could be performing,” one viewer asked.
“Why cut Cam short short to have 5th Harmony ruin a show,” another asked when the “Burning House” singer sang with the pop group.
…Comedian and singer Wheeler Walker Jr. chimed in saying, “Take out the music & the hosts and this show isn’t half bad.”
It wasn’t until Blake Shelton was joined by the Oak Ridge Boys to sing their song “Elvira” did viewers perk up. The “Doing It To Country Songs” singer also took home the first CMT social superstar of year award and joked about drunken tweeting.
“The audience has been dead most of the night till this Blake Shelton/Oakridge boys mashup. That was so fun!” a fan wrote.
…Chris Stapleton, who took breakthrough video of the year for “Fire Away,” performed his song “Parachute” alongside his wife, Morgan, much to the viewers’ delight.
“Chris Stapleton! First real country artist performance tonight,” a user tweeted while someone else added, “@ChrisStapleton is by far the best example of bridging old & new country music.”
Another highlight from the night was Tim McGraw’s win for the night’s top honor. He won music video of the year for “Humble and Kind,” ending Carrie Underwood’s four-year-winning streak.
But it was Little Big Town’s performance with Pharrell Williams that was the most talked about moment.
The hit-making producer-rapper-singer, who produced Little Big Town’s new album, performed alongside the Grammy-winning country group.
Little Big Town won group/duo video of the year for their Grammy-winning smash, “Girl Crush.” It was their first-ever CMT win.
“This is a real surprise,” Kimberly Schlapman said onstage, standing next to Karen Fairchild, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet.
The country world has recently been welcoming of pop stars, and not just onstage: On her popular album “Lemonade,” Beyoncé performs a country original called “Daddy Lessons,” which the Dixie Chicks covered in concert and others in the genre praised. And last year, Justin Timberlake was the highlight of the Country Music Association Awards when he performed alongside Chris Stapleton. Timberlake’s song “Drink You Away” hit the country charts after the performance.
Other performers included top country singers such as Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean.
Erin Andrews and NFL star J.J. Watt hosted the show.
On this Mississippi Summer Morning, just a few miles away from Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, I sit here reflecting on the influence which actual Country Music had on my young life, growing up with my Mother and Daddy.
Every family, to this day, has rituals that they observe like clockwork.
Our Saturday Night Ritual was to eat homemade hamburgers, spaghetti, or crockpot beans off of TV trays and watch Hee Haw, the syndicated country music variety show, out of Nashville, which starred Buck Owens, Roy Clark, and a “cast of thousands”.
The snotty folks up in the Northeast Corridor never could figure out what made that “hick show”, that lasted 25 years, so popular.
After all, it was about traditional American Values, love of God and Country, respecting our American Musical Heritage, and featuring talented performers who wrote songs, sang, played their own instruments, loved and appreciated their fans, and actually behaved like average Americans.
Plus, they had the good grace and common sense to keep their private lives, private.
At this time in our country’s history, when morality has become relative and ethics situational, we find our souls crying out to hear something that will soothe our troubled souls. Instead, we find synthesized, mass-produced Pop Music and “so-called” Country Music, actually more Pop Music, manufactured in New York City (pronounced like they do in the Pace Salsa Commercials), advocating meaningless one-night stands and encouraging the debasement of the human soul, instead of its ability to rise above any obstacle in its path that might hinder individual achievement.
With all of today’s over-produced, under-written Pop and Country-Pop Music flooding the airwaves of both broadcast and satellite radio, Americans my age wonder where all the great Country Songwriters and Performers have gone to?
What is happening to country music reflects a lot about the culture we live in. Artists who actually lived what they sung about like Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, The Statlers, Jim Ed Brown, Porter Waggoner, Hank Williams, Jr., Randy Travis, Jeannie C. Riley, and Elvis Presley have been replaced by fashion models and wannabe rock stars.
Please don’t get me wrong.
There are still Americans performing country music. Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Reba, Martina McBride, Clint Black, Montgomery Gentry, Brooks and Dunn (who are back together and appearing with Reba in Las Vegas), Rascal Flatts, among others, are still attempting to keep the spirit of Country Music alive.
However, in our culture of fast lives, fast food, and instant gratification, superficiality sells. That’s how we got stuck with Barack Hussein Obama (mm mmm mmmm).
It is easier and more profitable for a record company to sell someone who looks good and can sing a little, or release a country music album made by a fading rock star, than it is for them to market someone who is unbelievably talented and writes their own songs, but who resembles your next door neighbor.
Remember the Bruce Springsteen and Van Morrison Country Music CD fiascos?
No? I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t admit it, either.
Can you imagine Hank Williams, Sr., Patsy Cline, or Buck Owens trying to get a record deal today?
I’m sorry Mr. Williams. Your vocalization is way too twangy and you drink way too much. “I Saw The Light”? What kind of song is that? A song about redemption? Get real. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”? Who Cares? You’re just not marketable.
Ms. Cline, we can’t use you. You look like somebody’s next door neighbor.
Mr. Owens, what is the “Bakersfield sound” that you’re talking about? That won’t get any airtime in New York City. “Act Naturally”? That’s a song? Next thing you know, you’ll tell me that the Beatles will want to record it.
Now you know why Toby Keith formed his own record label.
The big recording companies like RCA Nashville and Arista are run like any other business. Executives are transferred from other cities and other divisions within the company and are judged to be successful by the amount of revenue they generate. The decision was made several years ago to turn country music into pop music. Country Music started the transition from Kitty Wells to Taylor Swift and from George Jones to Kid Rock in an effort to claim a bigger share of the CD-buying public. The disconnect arises when you take a genre that has traditionally sung about God, America, family, and heartache and try to make it about fashionistas, MTV, and shallow people with situational morality and ethics.
Just like the Liberal Politics of the outspoken harpies, the Dixie Chicks, it just doesn’t work here in America’s Heartland.
Or, as we say in Dixie,
That dog don’t hunt.
Alan Jackson and George Strait were prophets.
Nobody saw him running from sixteenth avenue
They never found the fingerprint or the weapon that was used
But someone killed country music, cut out its heart and soul
They got away with murder down on music row
The almighty dollar and the lust for worldwide fame
Slowly killed tradition and for that someone should hang
They all say not guilty, but the evidence will show
That murder was committed down on music row
For the steel guitars no longer cry and fiddles barely play
But drums and rock ‘n’ roll guitars are mixed up in your face
Old Hank wouldn’t have a chance on today’s radio
Since they committed murder, down on music row
They thought no one would miss it, once it was dead and gone
They said no one would buy them old drinking and cheating songs
Well I’ll still buy ’em
Well there ain’t no justice in it and the hard facts are cold
Murder’s been committed, down on music row
Oh, the steel guitars no longer cry and you can’t hear fiddles play
With drums and rock ‘n roll guitars mixed right up in your face
Why, the hag, he wouldn’t have a chance on today’s radio
Since they committed murder down on music row
Why, they even tell the posse to pack up and go back home
There’s been an awful murder down on music row
“Murder on Music Row”. George Strait/Alan Jackson, 2000
Last night’s CMT Awards wasn’t just a murder.
It was a MASSACRE.
Until He Comes,