Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to talk about last week’s 2014 CMAs (Country Music Awards). This year’s show was once again co hosted by country music superstars Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, and featured really cool musical performances. Once again, Carrie and Brad were able to use their combination of witty banter, musical talents, and comic timing to poke fun at some of this year’s most highly profiled current events. They also performed a very funny song about George Strait not being at the show this year, and then later when they “discover” that he is at the show, they make comments about why he hasn’t gone anywhere (which is a joke about the tour that George Strait just completed, which was called ‘The Cowboy Rides Away’). The hosts opening monologue was definitely a fun way to kick off such an exciting, high energy show. So now let’s move on to the awards and musical performances!
Single of the Year:
‘Automatic’ by Miranda Lambert
Now if you were listening to country radio this year, you definitely heard this song (this single even reached #3 on the Billboard US Country AirPlay chart). Of course no one should be surprised at this win, because Miranda co-wrote the song and we all know that right now Miranda Lambert truly has the Midas touch.
Song of The Year:
‘Follow Your Arrow’ by Kacey Musgraves
This is another song that you’ve definitely heard all year long. This song was certainly a big hit as the 3rd single off of Kacey’s debut big label album, and its success is definitely evidence that we haven’t heard the last of this rising star.
New Artist of The Year:
Brett Eldredge first made his impact on the country music scene in 2012 when his single ‘Don’t Ya’ (which was certified Platinum in the U.S.) was released to country music radio and reached #1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. This single was followed up with the similarity successful single ‘Beat of The Music’ (was certified Gold in the U.S.) in 2013. With such a strong show on his debut album, it’s not a surprise that Brett won this honor.
Vocal Duo of The Year:
Florida Georgia Line
Ok everyone who was surprised by this please raise your hands. Let me guess, there are no hands raised right? Yeah, if you’ve listened to the radio AT ALL this past year (country and pop radio), then you’ve heard of the country power duo Florida Georgia Line. These rising stars have also had cross-over remixes of two of their hit singles (Cruise & This Is How We Roll) with features from r&b/pop/rap stars Nelly and Jason Derulo. With their iron grip on both country and pop radio, I foresee 2015 to be an even BIGGER year for Florida Georgia line.
Album of The Year:
‘Platinum’ by Miranda Lambert
Midas strikes again! With her success from the singles ‘Automatic’ & ‘Somethin’ Bad’ (which features fellow superstar Carrie Underwood, and has been certified Gold, as well as peaking at #1 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Songs), this was definitely a hard album to beat.
Vocal Group of The Year:
Little Big Town
With a new album which made its’ debut at #3 on the Billboard U.S. Top Country Albums, and a lead single (entitled ‘Day Drinkin’), which peaked at #4 on the Billboard U.S. Country Airplay, this was certainly Little Big Town’s year to win this top honor.
Irving Waugh Award of Excellence:
With highly successful careers as the front man of the country rock band ‘Pure Prairie League’ and as a solo artist, Vince Gill is the definition of a country music icon. As a solo artist, Vince Gill has won every country music award (multiple times), has won 20 Grammy awards, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (in 2005), and was awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2012). Honestly I could sit here and list all of Vince Gill’s INCREDIBLE accomplishments but that would take pages and pages. To make a long story short, if you listen to any one of Vince Gill’s records, you will definitely see why he deserves this award.
Male Vocalist of The Year:
This year Blake has certainly used his voice to prove why he deserves this top honor. This year, Blake released his latest album ‘Bringing back the Sunshine’, which peaked at #1 on the Billboard U.S. 200 chart(which counts albums of all genres) & #1 on the Billboard U.S. Top Country Albums chart. The album also produced a single that peaked at #3 on the U.S. Country chart.
Female Vocalist of The Year:
Midas is here y’all…Midas is here! I don’t think I need to tell y’all why Miranda deserves this award, but in case you forget…listen to her latest album ‘Platinum’, and you’ll remember why she is so awesome.
Entertainer of The Year:
Well now we’ve reached the final award, and although the competition was extremely fierce, it is clear why Luke Bryan walked away with this award. His 2013 album ‘Crash My Party’ was SUCH a huge album for the country music superstar that it peaked at #1 on both the Billboard U.S. 200 & Top Country Albums, as well as producing 3 consecutive #1 singles, and two more singles that peaked at #2 and #5 respectively. If these statistics don’t convince you that Luke Bryan IS the country music entertainer of the year, then take a listen to his album ‘Crash My Party’ and you’ll see how his ability to entertain translates through the album so effortlessly.
Kenny Chesney kicked off the show with his performance of his 1st single ‘American Kids’ off of his latest album ‘The Big Revival’. The number consisted of a very hippie/bohemian theme, complete with fun multicolored lights, and a multicolored bus in the background, complete with an American flag. Kenny’s dancers were also dressed to match the theme, and made the audience feel as if they were invited to an awesome party.
Miranda Lambert & Meghan Trainor:
Next up we had a fun performance by two of music’s sassiest performers Miranda Lambert & Meghan Trainor! They performed a fun and unique performance of Meghan’s hit ‘All About That Bass’. The backdrop of the stage flashed the word ‘Bass’ in different colors throughout the number, and Miranda and Meghan both let their sassiness fly and because of this ha the audience hanging on their every word.
Lady Antebellum stepped up next with their infectious hit single ‘Bartender’. The performance was even more fun to watch with the addition of white, blue, purple, and red lights that kept the “party vibe” of the show going. There were also A LOT of small lights that went all around the stage, that made the stage look as if it were surrounded by stars, and this added the perfect finishing touch to a great performance.
Florida Georgia Line:
Next up we had an AMAZING performance of Florida Georgia Line’s single ‘Dirt’. Usually Florida Georgia Line tends to move around a lot during big award show performances, so I thought that it was a really cool change of pace to see them both sitting down and accompanying themselves on guitar. This performance also showed that these talented guys are able to not only draw in an audience through their stage presence, but simply through their musical skills. The backboard of the stage had cool revolving images of houses, roads, and fences in yellow and orange colors that made the images look as if they would explode at any second.
Keith Urban was next with his performance of his hit single ‘Somewhere In My Car’. The staging was cool with strobe lights that flashed all over the stage, but as always; it was Keith’s voice and unnatural guitar skills that stole the show. It honestly would not be a Keith Urban show without an EPIC guitar solo and he certainly did not fail.
The Band Perry:
The Band Perry was up next, with their performance of ‘Gentle In My Mind’, in honor of the great Glen Campbell. I really loved that the staging for this song was very simple, so the attention of the performance was on the song itself. The Band Perry added their own twist to the hit by changing the arrangement slightly, which brought a fresh vibe to the classic tune.
Kacey Musgraves & Loretta Lynn:
One of country music’s newest rising star Kacey Musgraves, performed the hit ‘You’re Lookin at Country’ with the iconic Loretta Lynn (who made the song famous in 1971). The backdrop of the stage has a very classic country look with a barn that said ‘Grand Old Opry’ on it. This was a really awesome performance that brought together the worlds of classic and modern country into a performance that was one of the standout numbers of the night.
Jason Aldean rocked the stage next with a performance of his single ‘Burning It Down’. The performance had a very country meets rock vibe, complete with cool red and white lights, and lots of energy that just made you want to get up and dance.
Little Big Town & Ariana Grande:
Next we had another “mash of the genres”, when Little Big Town performed with special guest Ariana Grande. First Little Big Town came onstage to perform their latest hit ‘Daydrinkin’. This had to be my favorite performance of the night because of all of the cool visual aspects of the number. The board consisted of two levels of drummers with black suits that had red lights. You could really only see the red lights, so this made the drummers look EXTREMELY cool (I honestly can’t even express just how cool this looked)! Little Big Town had similar outfits on, which added such a cool futuristic feel to their performance that said it apart from the all of the other performances. As always their vocals were VERY on point and near perfect (which is HARD to do in a group). Once ‘Daydrinkin’ was over, the lights instantly switched from red to blue, and Ariana Grande came out to sing a snippet of her hit collaboration ‘Bang Bang’. Little Big Town joined her, and in doing so added a fun country meets r&b flair to the song that was very cool.
Tim McGraw was up next with his song ‘Shotgun Rider’, which brought the classic Tim McGraw vine that fans have grown to love. The staging was very simple with cool blue lights circling the stage, and the confidence and energy that are now a Tim McGraw staple.
Cole Swindell: Cole Swindell performed a snippet of his song ‘Chillin It’, before announcing the winners of the award for ‘Radio Stations of The Year’. Even though Cole only performed a snippet of his song, he was still able to command the stage and grab the crowd in such a way that makes me very excited to see what his future holds.
Dierks Bentley was up next with his party anthem single ‘Drunk on A Plane’. The backboard of the stage had a picture of a plane on a runway, and alternating names of “destination sites”. This performance definitely kept the show’s energy up, and made the show feel less like an award show, and more like an epic concert.
Co-host Brad Paisley performed next with his latest hit ‘Perfect Storm’. The number had an AWESOME Brad Paisley style guitar solo (which the crowd went wild for), and an energy and likability that showed why Brad’s career is steadily on the rise with no sign of slowing down.
Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe:
Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe were up next with their emotional duet ‘Lonely Tonight’, which had the crowd captivated from the first note, to the last. The staging for this number was very simple and stripped down, which perfectly brought out the intimate feel of the song, and really made you feel every word.
Co-host Carrie Underwood performed her latest hit ‘Something In The Water’. The backboard had REALLY cool blue lights that floated around and made it look like there was a giant waterfall behind Carrie, that later changed to multicolored lights. Later in the performance a choir of people walked on to accompany Carrie, and added a cool twist to the performance that matched the song perfectly. As always, Carrie’s show-stopping vocals took center stage during this number, and perform that she still has a HUGE presence in country music (BRAVO CARRIE UNDERWOOD!!!).
Next up we had the Entertainer of The Year himself, Mr. Luke Bryan. He performed his newest hit ‘Rollercoaster’, and had very simple staging. The backboard was grey with clouds and occasional thunder. Luke allowed his natural charisma to take center stage, and the crowd completely loved it (and they were even singing back to him at one part of the song).
Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town:
Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town took the stage once more to perform their duet ‘Smokin and Drinkin’ (off of Miranda’s latest album). The staging consisted of a lot of cool smoke and lights, which helped add a cool vibe to the performer that perfectly matched the chilled vibe of the song, Miranda & Little Big Town’s vocals went together perfectly, and made it clear that these two acts NEED to release more tracks together.
George Strait & Eric Church:
King George Strait returned to the CMA stage once more with his performance of his 2003 hit ‘Cowboys Like Us’. The backdrop had a lot of cool pictures of George Strait throughout his career, and added a very classic country feel to the performance. Eric Church added a little rock to George Strait’s classic country vibe, and brought another great example of what happens when modern and classic country merge.
Thomas Rhett performed a snippet of his hit song ‘Get Me Some of That’, while he announced the winners of the CMA ‘Personalities of The Year’ awards. Although his performer was short, Thomas certainly held his audience’s attention the entire time, and showed why he is a rising star to watch.
The Doobie Brothers, Jennifer Nettles, Hillary Scott, & Hunter Hayes:
The Doobie Brothers, Jennifer Nettles, Hillary Scott, & Hunter Hayes were up next with their performance of The Doobie Brothers hit ‘Listen To The Music’. The high energy performance was EXTREMELY fun to watch, and brought musicians from the whole spectrum of country music, to bring a fresh sound to this awesome song. The Doobie Brothers, Jennifer Nettles, and Hillary Scott killed their vocal performances, and Hunter Hayes had an AMAZING guitar solo that the crowd went crazy for. What I loved most about this performance was the fact that it felt less like a calculated award show performance, and more like a bunch of musicians jamming out.
The Doobie Brothers closed the show with their song ‘Takin it To The Streets’, (with some help from Jennifer Nettles, Hillary Scott, Hunter Hayes, & Brad Paisley). The number included an AWESOME keyboard solo, and had a very old school feel and energy that made the performance feel like an AMAZING concert.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to discuss one of the most important nights in Country music…the CMT Awards! This award show had it all, great artists, a hilarious host, fun performances, and lots of beards (I promise I’ll explain this later. Veteran host Kristen Bell was back again, only this time she hosted the show solo. If you missed the show, don’t worry I’ll catch you up. Are you ready? Are you sure? I’m just kidding, of course you are…ok let’s get started.
The 2014 CMT awards were hosted by award winning actress Kristen Bell (probably best known for her roles in ‘Veronica Mars’, ‘Frozen’, and as the voice of ‘Gossip Girl’ on, you guessed it, Gossip Girl. The opening sketch begins with Kristen on accounts depressed because she didn’t have a co-host to help host the show. She was then held by two former co-stars who introduced her to an app called Holla (which is supposed to be like Tinder only “more country”). She went on a number of “dates” with several men but was unlucky in finding a co-host. She was then given a pep talk by her former co-stars and decided to embrace the concept of girl power and host the show solo. When she went into the hallway to begin the show several country music stars gave her “advice”, which only made her more nervous. When she went to the elevator, she found Luke Bryan trying to break up the guys from Florida Georgia Line, who were fighting Solage/Jay-Z style. When the show began Kristen rose from under the stage and informed the audience that they wouldn’t have to worry about Luke Bryan falling off the stage tonight (the camera then panned to Luke who was wrapped in police caution tape). She then declared that the CMT awards would be ladies night and said that the power invested in her by CMT and her princess title in the movie ‘Frozen’ gave her the power to do so ( yup that made it official!). She then sang a song about male country artists having very tight jeans and belt buckles there were too large. After Alan Jackson was honored, later on the show, Kristen came out dressed exactly like Alan Jackson, beard and all (see told you there would be beards in this blog). She then poked fun at the Billboard Music Awards’ use of a Michael Jackson hologram by saying that she had a Jason Aldean hologram, but it was only comedian Tom Arnold. Later on in the show Kristen said that she forgot to make the VIP gift bags, so she “took” several objects from numerous artists such as Eric Church’s sunglasses, Luke Brian’s hat (which he knew nothing about) and The Band Perry’s trophy. As you can see Kristen did an excellent job hosting the CMT Awards, and had us laughing, singing, and constantly wondering what hilarious joke she would make next. I really hope that she hosts the show again next year because with Kristen Bell, you never know what is going to happen, but you know you’re going to love every minute of it. Now let’s get to the awards!
Group Video of the Year:
The Band Perry ‘Done’
Although the competition was extremely stiff, it makes sense that The Band Perry won this award, due to the critical acclaim that this song has received from critics and fans, and the amount of radio play it had last year. Ever since the group’s breakout hit ‘If I Die Young’, The Band Perry has made their presence known in country music.
Breakthrough Video of the Year:
Cassadee Pope ‘Wasting all these Tears’
Cassadee has certainly had an amazing 2 years, after winning the 3rd season of ‘The Voice’. Since then, she has had a top charting debut album, has perform with numerous amazing Country music artists, and has successfully transitioned into a well respected country/pop artist. Because of all of his hard work, it definitely doesn’t come as a surprise that Cassadee won at the CMT awards. My favorite part of her win was when Blake Shelton (Cassadee’s coach on ‘The Voice’), not only announced her win, but also “coached” her when he directed her to give her acceptance speech after she became too overwhelmed with emotion to speak.
With an amount of awards that must require another house to hold, and decades of hits, I can see why Alan Jackson is considered an artist with vast impact. I also loved all of the respect that the crowd gave Alan Jackson after he won the award; it was really heartfelt to see all of the admiration in the room. I also thought it was really sweet that Alan Jackson seemed like he wanted to cry when he received his award, it was nice to see how appreciative he was, despite the fact that he is a legend.
Male Video of the Year:
Blake Shelton ‘Doin’ What She Likes’
Again, this is a category that had some stiff competition, but it was no surprise that Blake came out on top. ‘The Voice’ coach and Country music superstar has definitely had a track record for winning awards with his chart topping hits lately, so it was obvious that his odds of winning this award were high. Congrats Mr. Shelton!
CMT Performance of the Year:
Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie ‘Oh No/All Night Long’
Ok, I think we ALL saw this coming. When you take Country star Luke Bryan, and R&B/Soul superstar Lionel Richie, and have them perform together, greatness happens. I was honestly very surprised when I first saw this performance because I found the combination to be an interesting choice, but once I saw the performance, I couldn’t believe that it took so long to get these two artists together. My only hope now is that they perform together again. Maybe they could form a Country/Pop/Soul power duo!?! Please!!!
Florida Georgia Line feat. Luke Bryan:
Florida Georgia Line feat. Luke Bryan ‘This is How We Roll’
Ever since this song first dropped, it has been ruling radio airwaves and is definitely a fan favorite (it peaked at #1 on the U.S. Country Hot Songs chart and #2 on the U.S. Country Airplay chart). Because of how infectious and catchy this track is, the appeal and longevity of the song is easy to understand.
Female Video of the Year:
Miranda Lambert ‘Automatic’
Yeah, just like we said earlier about Blake Shelton earlier, Miranda is also currently dominating award show season. With talent, fun tracks, and just a dash of a Rock n’ Roll influence in her songs, Miranda is definitely inspiring change in Country music, and fans are loving it.
Duo Video of the Year:
Florida Georgia Line ‘Round Here’
Ever since this amazing duo first released their album ‘Here’s to the Good Times’ (which peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200, and #1 on U.S. Top Country Albums charts), they have been ruling Country radio with their feel good, party music. Because of this, it is completely understandable as to why this duo has also ruled award season.
Video of the Year:
Carrie Underwood ‘See You Again’
Carrie has taken the music industry by storm ever since she won American Idol, and hasn’t slowed down since. She’s released hit after hit, so it was no surprise that fans loved ‘See You Again’ too. Carrie is also known for releasing great and often powerful music videos, and the ‘See You Again’ video is no exception. The video is beautifully shot, and definitely showcases the emotion found in the lyrics.
ZZ Top, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, and Jason Derulo:
The show began with Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill of ZZ Top kicking off the show, and then Florida Georgia line appeared and began performing ‘This is How We Roll’. Luke Bryan then came out joined in on the next portion of the song. The staging was really cool, and used multicolored lights and smoke to add extra flair to the performance. Before ‘This is How We Roll’ finished, Jason Derulo came out and everyone joined him in performing his latest single ‘Talk Dirty’. The backboard of the stage then displayed pictures of multicolored lips (which was awesome!), and Jason, Luke, and the guys from Florida Georgia Line all began dancing. Then, everyone on stage finished ‘This is How We Roll’, which was the PERFECT ending to this amazing opening number.
‘The Voice’ season 4 winner Danielle Bradbery made her CMT performance debut by performing a snippet of her latest single ‘Young in America’ on the ‘Nationwide’ stage (which is the stage where the new artists perform). The performance was short, but showed the same unique qualities that made fans fall in love with her on ‘The Voice’.
Lindsey Sterling presented an award at the show, but before she did, she demonstrated her AMAZING skills on the violin. As always, Lindsey did a PHENOMINAL job and made her playing (and dancing…while she was playing) seem effortless.
Hunter Hayes was up next, and performed a track entitled ‘Tattoo’ off of his sophomore album ‘Storyline’. The performance was really fun to watch, and the staging featured blue spotlights shooting out everywhere. The audience seemed to really love Hunter, and as always he wasn’t short on energy during his performance (he jumped around A LOT…and I mean a lot). He finished the performance with an amazing guitar solo that really had the audience excited.
Kacey Musgraves & Lee Ann Womack:
These two amazing Country music singers performed the song ‘Living on Love’, as a tribute to Country music legend Alan Jackson (who received the first ever ‘Impact Award’). During Kacey and Lee Ann’s performance, clips from Alan Jackson’s music videos were played on the stage’s back screen. It was a really touching performance, and I really loved how Alan Jackson looked as if he was going to cry during the performance, it was a very nice moment.
Next up was new artist Tyler Farr, who performed a snippet of his hit heartbreak theme song ‘Redneck Crazy’. If you listened to Country music radio at all this past year, then you have heard this song.
Country star and ‘American Idol’ coach Keith Urban was up next, and performed an acoustic version of his hit song ‘Cop Car’. He performed via video, from the ‘Bluebird Cafe’ (a historical cafe where numerous Country music stars have been discovered) in Nashville. The song was definitely a different sound for the star, because the performance did not include an amazing guitar solo (which has become Keith’s signature move). But hey, you gotta love an artist who keeps you on your toes.
Jake Owen then performed his new song ‘Beachin’ on the ‘Kia Outdoor Performance Stage’. The staging really brought the vibe of the song to life, and made the performance really fun to watch. The audience threw beach balls in the air, and the back screens on the stage showed images of beach balls (lots of beach balls in this performance). The vibe of the song was a really cool fusion of Country and Rap music, and the high energy in the track kept the audience dancing.
Eric Church & Lizzy Hale (from the band Halestorm):
Now this was a really interesting and unexpected duet. The two artists performed ‘That’s Damn Rock & Roll’ off of Eric’s newest album ‘The Outsiders’. Eric wore his signature dark sunglasses, and both he and Lizzy played the guitar. The performance had a very 70s/80s Rock n’ Roll feel to it, and drove the crowd crazy (in a good way don’t worry). It was cool to see such a different type of performance on the CMT awards, and really went with this year’s theme of introducing various different genres in the show.
New artist Thomas Rhett performed a snippet of his new track ‘Get Me Some of That’. This track (and Thomas’ other hit song ‘It Goes Like This’), have been all over Country radio over the past few years. His performance was very energetic, and he was very confident, so I can definitely see that he will have a lot of staying power as a Country artist.
John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, and Hunter Hayes:
Next up, Jennifer Nettles joined John Legend in a special duet rendition of his hit track ‘All of Me’, with Hunter Hayes on the guitar. This version definitely strayed from John Legend’s original version, and had a more bluegrass vibe to it. However, this change was not surprising due to the fact that Hunter was asked to produce the new version. I really loved how the revisions gave the track such a fresh feel, that it almost seemed like an entirely new song. I definitely hope that these three work together in the future.
Dierks Bentley performed his new track ‘Drunk on a Plane’. He came on stage playing a guitar, and had dancers who were dressed like flight attendants, and danced down the main aisle leading to the stage. They also danced around boxes off and on stage at different points of the performance. The staging was really simple (the back screen was red with yellow circles), but the dancers were a unique touch.
New artist Cole Swindell performed a snippet of his hit track ‘Chillin It’, which contains a cool fusion of Country and Rap influences. Cole kept the crowd engaged, seems confident in stage, and was just “chillin’ it” (sorry I had to make that joke).
Brantley Gilbert definitely had a physically demanding performance with his track ‘Bottoms Up’. Brantley continued the trend of being a little Rock n’ Roll into the CMTs, by rocking a camouflage muscle shirt, blue jeans, a cap, and having a drummer in his band who rocked a Mohawk. My favorite part of the performance was definitely Brantley’s back flip off of one of the small stages that the drum kit was set up on. After he did this really cool back flip, walked around in the crowd as he sang (which the audience absolutely LOVED). It was certainly a fun performance that made the fans at the show fall more and more in love with Brantley Gilbert.
Dan + Shay:
One of the newest duos to bust onto the Country music scene is Dan + Shay, who performs their incredibly infectious love song ’19 You + Me’. Although they were only able to perform a snippet of the track, both guys had very strong live vocals, and left the impression that they are a duo to watch this year.
Country music superstar Luke Bryan was up next, and performed his latest hit ‘Play it Again’. Luke tried something different with his performance, and entered from the back of the venue, and made his way through the crowd to the stage. Above where Luke entered, there was a sign that read ‘OMG Play it Again’ (this was sort of awesome…ok it was really awesome). As Luke traveled through the crowd, he touched the fans’ hands, which made them go completely crazy. Once Luke was onstage, he danced around (I think there was some minor twerking involved), and drove all of the people in the audience crazy (particularly the women). The performance definitely showed why Luke is currently one of the top guys in Country music…and this doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.
Next up was the phenomenal trio Lady Antebellum. They performed their newest hit ‘Bartender’, at the ‘Kia Outdoor Performance Stage’. The staging was really cool, and had amazing green and white lazer lights that shot out at the audience. The laser lights definitely added a cool “concert” vibe to the performance, and helped hype up the audience during the performance.
Next up was a new artist who you definitely heard on Country music radio this year. David Nail performed a snippet of his track ‘Whatever She’s Got’, and although it was a short performance, he did a great job. His live voice sounded very similar to his voice on the studio recorded track, and he seemed to be very comfortable on stage.
Little Big Town:
Little Big Town performed their newest track ‘Day Drinking’. One thing that really brought attention to the group was the fact that the stage, the instruments, and all if Little Big Town, were dressed in the same shade of bright white. The back board of the stage had really cool grey and black patterns, and lots of white spotlights. At the end of the performance, multicolored streamers fell on the crowd (which they went absolutely nuts over).
Country superstar/’The Voice’ coach performed his fan favorite ‘Boys ‘Round Here’. The staging had the frame of the front of a house (which was a nod to the track’s music video. Blake did an extremely good job, and proved that his knowledge of music/performance is one of the reasons why he has had such success finding artists who transition into the mainstream music scene (one of his former contestants Danielle Bradbery performed, and another one his contestants, Cassadee Pope won an award). So needless to say, it was a good night for Blake.
Brett Eldredge was the last new artist to perform on the ‘Nationwide Stage’ (the new artist stage). He performed a snippet of his radio hit ‘Beat of the Music’. I thought that Brett did a really good job with his performance, because he was confident, looked liked he had fun, and definitely had the audience dancing to “the beat of the music”.
Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood:
Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood wrapped up the show with their performance of their new duet ‘Something Bad’. With this performance, the two country superstars proved why they are powerful forces in Country music. They wore very tight, black, short outfits, which added a Rock n’ Roll feel to the performance. There were lots of cool spotlights, and Carrie and Miranda danced around and got the audience really into their performance. They definitely proved that they are Country girls who can rock…and we all loved every minute of it.
Well as y’all can see, the CMT Awards was unpredictable, fun, and certainly showcased all of the bright stars of Country music. I loved how artists from numerous other genres of music also participated in the show, and demonstrated just how universal music really is. The show also had the perfect blend of featuring artists that we know and love, and introducing us to the stars of tomorrow. It will be hard to top this year’s show, but I have faith in you CMT.
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.