Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to recap Sunday night’s (Sunday April 6th, 2014) ACM Awards. The award show took place in Las Vegas, and honored some of country music’s brightest stars. The show was once again hosted by the hilarious and unpredictable Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan (both were nominated for various awards). With these two hosting, the show was definitely not short on laughs or surprises (and NO celebrity was safe with these two). There were also some amazing performances that stole the show and left the audience in amazement. We definitely have A LOT to cover so if y’all are ready…let’s go!!!
The show began on a hilarious note due to the comedic pairing of Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton. Luke began the show by making fun of the amount of money that was “wasted” on the “ruined” hairdos by the confetti that ‘The Band Perry’ released during their number (I’ll speak more about this in the ‘Performance’ section). They then went on to announce that the 50th ACM show will be held in Arlington, TX (yay Texas!!!) at the ‘AT&T Stadium” (which is home to the NFL team the Dallas Cowboys). Then Blake commented that “you don’t see many awards shows in Cowboys Stadium”, in which Luke responded “You don’t see any playoff games there either”. The two then poked fun at other celebrities such as Britney Spears, and Miley Cyrus. The two also attempted to replicate Ellen Degeneres’ famous Oscar ‘ selfie’ moment, but discovered that they were the “most famous people there”. These were just a few of the numerous jokes and antics that the two came up with. The two definitely left their audience laughing uncontrollably, and in doing so once again proved why they are the perfect award show hosts. The only disappointment that I felt about Blake and Luke’s hosting was that I have to wait A WHOLE YEAR to see them in action again. Honestly who can wait that long?!?
Vocal Event of the Year: ‘We Were Us’ by Miranda Lambert feat. Keith Urban
Although all of the nominees released amazing tracks that were more than deserving of this award, I can definitely see why this song won. Not only is the song incredibly catchy and fun, but the time of the song is very unique in relation to the theme. The tone of the track is happy, because the song is about how good a relationship used to be when the couple was together. When you combine a unique song with the equally unique vocals of Miranda and Keith, you certainly have ‘The Vocal Event of the Year’.
Video of the Year: ‘Highway Don’t Care’ by Tim McGraw feat. Taylor Swift and Keith Urban
Even though I didn’t pick this video, I can definitely see why it won. The plot of the video deals with the devastating effects that texting and driving can have. The story in the video is definitely one that most of us can relate to, and this makes the video much more powerful. The video leads the audience through an emotional roller coaster and makes you reflect on your own texting and driving habits. Because of the power and emotion that this video is able to convey, I can see why it won.
Vocal Duo of the Year: Florida Georgia Line
This was such a big year for Florida Georgia Line that I don’t see how any other group could have possibly had a shot at beating them out. From their breakout cross-over hit single ‘Cruise’, to their newest track ‘This is how we roll’ which features fellow country star Luke Bryan (the song was #2 on the ITunes Country Charts as of 4/8/2014). This power duo seemed to emerge out of thin air, and have since taken fans hearts’ and the airwaves by storm. Although this past year was HUGE for them, Florida Georgia Lone shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Single of the Year: ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ by Miranda Lambert
This song was all over the radio this year, so it was no surprise when it won ‘Single of the Year’. With about 1,521,000 copies sold as of November 2013, it seems that fans just can’t get enough of this song. This was a really big night for Miranda, but Kacey Musgraves (who co-wrote Mama’s Broken Heart with a few other writers)was also able to share in this honor.
Song of the Year: ‘I Drive your Truck’ by Lee Brice
Now although I didn’t pick this song, I can see why it won. The emotionally charged lyrics make the track very powerful, and this power resonates and stays with listeners. Also, the fact that this song was written about a real person ( the late Fort Drum soldier Jared C. MontiI who was a recipient of the Medal of Honor in 2009) makes the lyrics hit even harder. I personally love this song, and it was all over the radio this year, so this was definitely a HUGE step forward for Lee Brice in his career.
Male Vocalist of the Year: Jason Aldean
This was a VERY tough category, because all of the artists who were nominated had huge years in country music. Jason Aldean has had numerous hits this year with songs such as ‘Night Train’ and ‘When She Says Baby’. With his catchy songs and amazing vocals, Jason definitely proved that he deserves this high distinction.
Vocal Group of the Year: The Band Perry
Even though this wasn’t the group that I thought would take home this prize, they have had numerous popular songs this year. With fan favorites such as: ‘DONE.’ ‘Better Dig Two’, ‘Don’t Let Me Be Lonely’, and ‘Chainsaw’, it is easy to see why this group continues to dominate the country music scene. The group has been on a non-stop uphill ride ever since their 2010 hit ‘If I Die Young’, and this momentum makes no indication of stopping any time soon.
Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert
Even though there were a lot of very deserving artists for this category, this was “the year of Miranda Lambert”, so it only makes sense that she would win the award for best representing female country vocalists. With her huge sales, fiercely loyal fan base, and incredible songs and vocal ability, who else could’ve won this award!?!
Album of the Year: Kacey Musgraves. ‘Same Trailer, Different Park’
Kacey has certainly been a breakout star this year with her super popular tracks ‘Merry Go Round’, ‘Blowin’ Smoke’, and ‘Follow Your Arrow’. Her “classic country” vocal qualities and honest lyrics have carved her a permanent slot in country music that she will be occupying for A LONG time. Kacey also helped write Miranda Lambert’s hit ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’, which further got her name out to country music lovers everywhere, and also gained her more respect as a singer/songwriter.
Crystal Milestone Award: Merle Haggard
This wasn’t an award that was up for grabs, which is why I didn’t include it in my ‘2014 ACM Awards Predictions’ blog (which you can see here: Monday Memos: My 2014 ACM Nomination Predictions on celindareyes’ Blog – Buzznet ). This award was presented to Merle Haggard due to his long and phenomenal career in country music. He has had countless hits with tracks such as: ‘(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers (his 1st top ten hit), ‘I’m a Lonesome Fugitive’ (his 1st number 1 hit), ‘Okie From Muskogee’, ‘Mama Tried’, ‘If We Make it Through December’, ‘Today I Started Loving You Again’, ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star’, and numerous others. Merle Haggard has won 14 ACM (Academy of Country Music) Awards, 6 CMA (Country Music Association) Awards, and 3 Grammy Awards. He was inducted into ‘Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame’ in 1977, ‘The Country Music Hall of Fame’ in 1994, and was inducted into the ‘Kennedy Center Honor’ ( an award given to individuals who use the performing arts to affect American culture) in 2010. He was also one of the pioneers of the ‘Bakerfields Sound’ ( which is distinguished by the combination of traditional country steel guitar sound, and new vocal harmonies in which words are kept at a minimum). This sound continues to greatly influenced numerous modern artists such as Brad Paisley, the Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and numerous others. So as you can see, Merle Haggard has not only had an extremely enviable career, but has also greatly changed the sound of country music.
Entertainer of the Year: George Strait
Although there were numerous deserving artists that could have won this award, the award had to go ‘King George’. With a chart topping 2013 album ‘Love is Everything’ (which reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums, and #2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 charts), George Strait used this final album to perfectly end his career. Even some of the other artists who were nominated for this award cheered when George Strait won, so this showed the vast amount of respect that he has within the country music community.
The Band Perry:
They performed their newest hit track ‘Chainsaw’, and brought a very cool rock element to their performance style. The band dressed in all black, which finished off their very cool country meets rock vibe. The back screen behind the stage displayed the lyrics of the song in big red letters, which brought a very unique element to the number. My favorite part of the performance was the confetti that flew into the audience about mid-way through the track. It brought a very fun vibe to the performance, and served as a great set-up for jokes from the show’s hosts. All in all, this performance was very energetic and cool, and definitely showed that The Band Perry has cultivated their performance style and have found their artistic identities.
Florida Georgia Line:
FGL performed their newest hit ‘Stay’, while the music video for the tune played in the background. At one point of the number fire and smoke began to go off in the background, which added an extra cool flair to the number. I really loved Florida Georgia Line’s vocals on this song, because their harmonies were very tight, and they proved that they have the talent and energy to put on a phenomenal live show. Later on, Florida Georgia Line performed their super hit ’This is How we Roll’ with the show’s co-host Luke Bryan. The performance was very interesting and intricate, with a very cool BMX show in the background (it was AMAZING!!!).
Brad Paisley performed his newest song ‘River Bank’. I thought it was really cool that he performed the song on a glass stage over a pool. Throughout the song, Brad kept the energy up, and played a very cool guitar solo midway through the song (which has become a staple in his songs). I really loved this performance, and found it to be a very cool addition to the lineup.
Blake Shelton & Gwen Sebastian:
Next, ACM co-host Blake Shelton, and singer/songwriter Gwen Sebastian (who also competed on the second season of ‘The Voice’, and was coached by Blake while she was on the show) performed the song ‘My Eyes’, off of Blake’s album ‘Based on a True Story’. The staging for the song was very cool, due to the stage’s darkness and the small lanterns that decorated the stage. The performance gave off a very stripped down acoustic vibe, due to the staging, and Blake accompanying the song on an acoustic guitar. After so many high energy performances, this was a very nice change of pace.
New Artist nominee Bret Eldridge performed a very shorten version of his track ‘Beat of the Music’, as the music video for the song played in the background. Despite the performance being very short, he still got the crowd excited, and certainly showed that he is one to watch in the upcoming year.
George Strait performed his new single ‘I got a car’ off of his final album ‘Love is Everything’. Before he began the performance, the person who announced him stated some facts about his career, such as the fact that he is the only artist to have a top 10 hit every year for 30 years. As he performed the song, different images of road signs and other images that have to do with driving appeared behind him on the back screen. I really loved how George Strait proved that even after all these years, he is a true showman, and is able to keep an audience completely captivated just with his voice. Later in the show, George Strait covered Merle Haggard’s song ‘I’m a Lonesome Fugitive’, as sketches of Merle Haggard were displayed on the back screen. It was really cool to see a legendary performer like George Strait honor another legendary performer and showing how important roots are in music.
Lee performed a shortened version of his hit song ‘I Drive Your Truck’ (which won ’Song of the Year’ later in the show). Even though this was a shorten version of the track, it was still very powerful due to Lee’s intense emotional connection to the song’s lyrics. I also really loved how dark and haunting the staging looked, it really added to the vibe of the performance. My favorite part of the performance was that you could really see how much passion he gave to his performance, especially when he began to cry while singing, (then I began to cry and it all got very emotional…but you don’t want to hear that…ok…moving on).
Eric Church was up next with his single ‘Give Me Back My Hometown’. I really loved how simple the performance was (the staging was very simple with only the music video playing in the background). I felt that this staging perfectly matched the “old country” feel of the song, and just gave the whole number a very cool effect.
Justin performed a shortened version of his hit song ‘Lettin’ the Night Roll’ (which helped him win the new Artist of the Year award at the ACMs). Even though the track was shorten, it certainly proved why Justin won the award this year.
Blake Shelton and Shakira:
Blake’s second performance of the night was with another artist associated with the voice, the one and only Shakira (who coaches on the show)! They sang the song ‘Medicine’, which is off of Shakira’s self-titled album. I really liked this performance due to the unique pop meets country feel that this song has (and Shakira even wore boots!). Towards the end of the song, Blake and Shakira walked down the catwalk part of the stage, and added a little bit of rock to the performance. This was definitely a fun performance to watch, and made me excited to see if the two will duet again sometime in the future.
Lady Antebellum performed an absolutely unforgettable number with the legendary rock star Stevie Nicks. They did a mashup of their song ‘Golden’ and Stevie Nicks’ song ‘Rhiannon’. It was so much fun to see the two amazing acts share the stage together. This was certainly one of the highlights of the show, and gave the audience a fun change in musical direction. Ever since Lady Antebellum and Stevie Nicks performed together on ‘CMT Crossroads’ earlier this year, I have loved seeing them together. I was really excited to see them perform at the ACM’s, and this leads me to think maybe they should record an album together…maybe…possibly…please! Ok, I will stop fangirling now.
Keith Urban performed his track ‘Even The Stars Fall 4 U’, off of his ‘Fuse’ album. Per usual Keith Urban fashion, the performance was full of energy and very entertaining. There was also a very cool mid song guitar solo (another Keith Urban staple). My favorite part of the performance was towards the end, when two of Keith’s band members went up to his mic and started singing with him, it gave the performance a very old school rock n’ roll feel.
Kip (another nominee for best new artist) performed a shortened version of his hit song ‘Something Bout a Truck’. Although this was a short performance, the crowd completely loved it, and Kip showed exactly why he was nominated.
Co-host Luke Bryan performed his newest single ‘Play it Again’, off of his hit ‘Crash my Party’ album. This performance definitely had my favorite staging of the night, due to the fact that the stage was made of giant records, and the back screen also had giant records on it as well (because the song is called play it again…get it…good!). The items on the back screen rotated between displaying the giant records, and showing a live feed of the audience dancing to the song. This was a really fun performance to watch, and definitely proved why Luke Bryan is one of the top male artists in country music.
Jason Aldean performed his newest hit single ‘When she calls me baby’. As always, Jason’s impressive vocals were front and center (which makes sense since he did win Male Vocalist of the Year). The staging was very simple, with blue lights shining all over the stage, and Jason dressed in all black (even his guitar was black!).
Miranda performed her newest single ‘Automatic’ off of her newest, yet to be released, album ‘Platinum’. I really love that this performance had Miranda old family pictures displayed on the back screen throughout the number. The song has a very ‘vintage country’ sound to it, so the performance really matched the theme of the track. I also loved that Miranda wore a very casual outfit ( a sparkly white tank top, sparkly white boots, and ripped jeans), because this really matched her carefree and down to earth attitude ( which is one of the many things that makes her awesome…I mean c’mon, you have to admit that she seems really cool and we all want her to be our BFF…yeah that what I thought). Later in the show Miranda covered Merle Haggard’s song ‘Tonight the Bottle let me Down’. As she sang, sketches of Merle Haggard rotated on the back screen. Miranda did a very good job performing covering this classic song, and proved that although her music has many modern country elements in it, she is still influenced by the pioneers that shaped country music.
Next up, Tim McGraw performed ‘Meanwhile Back at Mama’s’, where his wife Faith Hill made a special appearance. She was dressed in a beautiful strapless white dress, and he wore a tux with a black cowboy (very cowboy chic). My favorite part of the staging was the old 50s style golden mic that Tim McGraw used in the performance, I thought it was an interesting touch that made the performance unique.
Toby Keith performed his newest single ‘Shut Up and Hold On’ off of his ‘Drinks After Work’ album. The staging was really cool due to the multicolored stage lights and steel guitar influence in the sound.
Next, Hunter Hayes performed his latest tear jerking ballad ‘Invisible’. The performance began with Hunter singing behind a large screen as images of shadows appeared across the screen. Once the first chorus of the song began, the screen rose but the shadows continued to move across the screen. I really enjoyed this performance because how passionate and connected Hunter was to the song. The fans really seemed to love this number, proving that this was certainly one of the most special moments of the evening.
Darius Ruckner then performed his version of the song ‘Wagon Wheel’ with super group Lady Antebellum. The crowd seemed to really get into it, and the whole performance felt like an amazing sing-along. I really loved how much fun the performance was, and even though they have performed this song before they were able to bring a fresh feel to the track.
Next up was the AMAZING Rascal Flatts who performed their newest hit track ‘Rewind’, which is off of their latest album ‘Rewind’. Even though the lead singer Gary LeVox did not perform the song live (because he was sick and did not want to damage his vocal chords), I still felt that the group put on an excellent show. I was really impressed that they did not cancel their appearance last minute, and found a way to make an appearance for their fans despite the problems that they were faced with.
Sheryl Crow and Dierks Bentley:
Lastly, Sheryl Crow and Dierks Bentley performed Dierks song ‘I hold on’. I really loved how the two had such great stage chemistry, which made their performance a very sweet ending to an AMAZING show.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’, we are going to discuss my predictions for the 2014 ACM awards! Now this is a really big night for country music, and honestly all of the nominees deserve the various awards. However, I made a list for some of the artists that I believed went above and beyond the norm this year. Are y’all ready!?! Then let’s go!!!
Entertainer of the Year: George Strait
Although all of the nominees deserve this award, I definitely think that “King” George will walk away with it this year. His ‘Love is Everything’ album made its debut at #2 on the Billboard 200 charts and #1 on the Country Albums chart. This album further solidified George Strait’s place in history by becoming his 18th top 10 album on the Billboard 200 chart (tying him with Paul McCartney for the fourth-most top 10 albums among male artists in history). I think that this accomplishment alone is a true testament to George Strait’s career, also since this is his last opportunity to win this award, one more ACM award would be the perfect ended to a legendary career.
Male Vocalist of the Year: Luke Bryan
With mega hits this year such as: ‘Crash My Party’ (which peaked at #2 on the U.S. charts), ‘That’s My Kind of Night’, ‘Drink a Beer’ (which both peaked at # 1 on the U.S. charts), ‘Play it Again’ (which peaked at #9 on the U.S. charts), and a feature on the hit Florida Georgia Line track ‘This is How We Roll’ (which has peaked at #1 on the U.S. Hot Country Songs), Luke Bryan has been an inescapable force this year. With his catchy party songs, and new country vocals, Luke has taken over the airwaves, and in doing so has definitely proved that he was the male voice that represented country music this year.
Female Vocalist of the Year: Miranda Lambert
Throughout the past few years, Miranda has certainly shown us that she represents country music with the upmost respect and passion. This year was certainly no different, due in part to her amazing breakout hits: ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ (which is nominated for numerous awards at the ACMs, and has peaked at #20 on The Billboard charts, making this her highest peaking single to date, as of April 3rd, 2014), ‘All Kinds of Kinds’(which was praised by critics as “daring” and having a “meaningful and impacting message”), and ‘Automatic’ (which made its debut at #26 on the U.S. Billboard Country Airplay chart, making it Miranda’s highest debuting single to date, as of April 3, 2014). As if this weren’t enough, Miranda also had a hit duet with Keith Urban entitled ‘We Were Us’ (which peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Country Airplay and U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts). With all of these hits under her belt, I can’t see how any artist has represented country music in a better light than Miranda Lambert.
Vocal Duo of the Year: Florida Georgia Line
When you think of country music duos, there are only 3 words that you think of…do you have it?…that’s right Florida Georgia Line! They had us rocking all year long with their infectious tracks: ‘Cruise’ (which peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Country charts, generated a remix featuring Hip-Hop/R&B vocalist Nelly that has yet to leave radio rotation, and lead them to global fame…not bad for a lead single!), ‘Get Your Shine On’, ‘Round Here’ (which both peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Country charts), ‘Stay’, and ‘This is How We Roll’ Feat. Luke Bryan (which both peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Country charts). With all of these hits and no signs that the momentum is stopping any time soon, is there really a better choice!?! Yeah I didn’t think so.
Vocal Group of the Year: Lady Antebellum
Ever since they first came on to the country music scene in 2007 with their debut single ‘Love Don’t Live Here’ (which peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart), Lady Antebellum have been an unstoppable force in country music. This past year they released their 5th studio album ‘Golden’, and the title perfectly describes the country group. ‘Golden’ produced a number of successful singles for the group, which included: ‘Downtown’, and ‘Compass’ (which peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Country Airplay charts), and ‘Goodbye Town’ (which received praise from critics for its demonstration of the group’s continued growth). I believe that Lady Antebellum proves time and time again that they are the top tier group in Country Music, and they’re later album only further solidifies this.
Album of the Year: ‘Crash My Party’ by Luke Bryan
I think anyone who has followed Country Music this year knows that Luke Bryan has had a phenomenal run. Four must be a lucky number for Luke because his fourth studio album ‘Crash My Party’ had produced 4 hit singles. Throughout this album, Luke has shown his playful, party side (‘That’s My Kind of Night’), his romantic side (‘Crash My Party’ and ‘Play It Again’), and his soft and somber side (with ‘Drink a Beer’). With such a diverse album (which peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 and U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums), I don’t see how another album could receive the distinction that comes with this award.
Single of the Year: ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ by Miranda Lambert
Now this is a song that we’ve all heard all year long! This song has peaked at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Country Airplay and U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and as of November 2013, has sold 1,521,000 copies (yeah that’s A LOT!!!!). The song also received positive reviews from critics, who raved about the track’s tone and lyrics. What I really loved about this song is that it showed that after all these years; Miranda still has the same spunk and sass that made audiences first fall in love with her.
Song of the Year: ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ by Miranda Lambert
Ok…seriously consider how many times you’ve heard this song this year…exactly!!! This combined with everything that I wrote in the previous paragraph perfectly demonstrates why ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ IS Country Music’s ‘Song of the Year’.
Video of the year: ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ by Miranda Lambert
Honestly this is probably my favorite video of this year! I loved how she kept a tone of seriousness throughout the whole video, despite the fact that the lyrics were not serious at all. Miranda also had quite a few funny moments in this video where she played with her facial expressions. All in all, I really loved how this video showed just how comfortable Miranda is within her artistry, and also projected the confidence that the lyrics contain. If you haven’t seen this video, or just want to see it again, here you go: Miranda Lambert – Mama’s Broken Heart
Vocal event of the year: ‘We Were Us’ by Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert
Now you know that anything that Miranda Lambert is connected with is automatically going to be a HUGE success…and this song is no exception. What I really loved about this duet was Miranda and Keith’s ability to harmonize beautifully, and make this track a standout on the radio. These two artists certainly deserve all of the acclaim in the world because of this duet, and Keith’s phenomenal guitar skills on the track make this a “vocal event” that will not soon be forgotten.
National on Air Personality: Kix Brooks: ‘American Country Countdown with Kix Brooks’
This is definitely a no brainer. Anyone who turns on the radio at the end of the week has heard Kix Brooks’ show. The former second half of the country super duo ‘Brooks and Dunn’ has certainly made his mark on the other side of radio. His charismatic personality and charm has allowed audience’s to fall in love with him in a new way, and for these and numerous other reasons, proves that he definitely deserve this award.