CMA / AMA Best Artists – My View

So the Country Music Association and the Americana Music Association have recently released their nominees list for their respective awards and in an attempt to figure what passes for country music nowadays and what the heck “Americana” means I am going to compare a category they share…sort of.

CMA Entertainer of the Year
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
Rascal Flatts
George Strait
Keith Urban

CMA Male Vocalist of the Year
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
George Strait
Josh Turner
Keith Urban

CMA Female Vocalist of the Year
Alison Krauss
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Reba McEntire
Carrie Underwood

AMA Artist of the Year
Joe Ely
Lucinda Williams
Patty Griffin
Todd Snider

Being good, progressive minded folk the Americana place the boys and the girls in one “artist” category. The CMA naturally plays it like a broken record with Chesney and Rascal Flatts nominated for the millionth time. I have a question, to qualify for EOTY shouldn’t you be entertaining? And I don’t mean in a comedic sense. And what is the difference between “Entertainer of the year” and Vocalist of the year” I mean all the nominees are vocalists,that’s what they do to entertain, sing. Is the CMA rewarding acrobatics, ripped biceps and hair gel as a separate category?

I like George Strait and think his 07 release “It Just Comes Natural” is good but not great. I like Brad Paisley somewhat but think he’s choosing the corn-ball and schmaltz cuts that are beneath him and his fine guitar playing to chase the dollar. I think Miranda Lambert is the best thing to happen to country in a long time and she has the good sense to cover excellent songwriters like Gillian Welsh. Alison Krauss is the one crossover artist here but she had to soften her bluegrass roots and get a make-over to get acceptance by the CMA crowd. Britney 2…er..I mean Carrie Underwood has the pipes but not the soul or courage to be interseting.

Joe Ely is a Texas legend and should when in any category he’s in. And even though I love Lucinda, I think “West” was a weak effort and shows that moving to L.A. will kill even a dignified soul.

I will use the CMA boy/girl dichotomy and ignore the useless EOTY category and play nice and not add other deserving artists like Elizabeth Cook and Wayne Hancock into the mix, and say:

Male Artist of the Year: Joe Ely

Female Artist of the Year: Miranda Lambert

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