CMT Awards Still Suck

Want to know the best part of last night’s CMT awards show? when Robert Plant and Alison Krauss accepted the Wide Open Country video of the year honor for “Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On),” a song previously recorded by the Everly Brothers. That was it, period.

The spectacle was embarrassing. It’s like when Elvis came back from the from his stint in Friedberg, Germany with the 3rd Armored Division. Elvis began his career as a rugged hillbilly channeling country, blues and gospel of his upbringing in Tupelo, Mississippi and after his time in the Army and losing his mother he slowly devolved into a drug-riddled, spangled-jumpsuit-wearing freak. Today’s mainstream pop-country music is the Vegas Elvis. A bejeweled, bloated shell of past greatness.

You can point the finger at lots of places, Nashville elite’s initial embarrassment of the Opry and country music industry and the dirty hillbillies crowding their streets. Blame Chet Atkins, Owen Bradley and Bob Ferguson for the syrupy sounds of Countrypolitan to increase market share and entice middle America. Blame the smooth 70’s sounds of Alabama and Kenny Rogers…whatever.

Bottom line, you see talentless hacks like Rascal Flatts, John Rich and Taylor Swift and artists that should know better, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, and real talent like Ashton Shepherd pushed off to a side stage and trying to get a song in before the breakand you see the shadow of something great just off in the wings. Something beautiful, passionate, timeless and real…not some idiotic (and not funny) song about maintenance men and snotty women. And there is the insidious incursion of the American Idol pod people which works into the music industry’s business plan of offsetting risk and increasing predictable financial success. Like McDonalds you know what you’re going to get. But what’s good for burgers sucks for music.

So hats off the Plant and Snoop Dogg, who donned all all black in honor of “my main homeboy” Johnny Cash. These men and breaking stereotypes in new and courageous ways and doing something that’s actually worth paying for.

As someone who grew up with and still loves country music, and has family in the business, what I saw last night was an insult to tradition and a depressing look at the genre’s future.

8 thoughts on “CMT Awards Still Suck

  1. April 16, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    amen my friend… amen

  2. April 16, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    I understand why people criticize much of the current radio fare: heck, I dislike about half of it. I even understand why some country music fans find refuge in Alt.country, even though I think that most of it’s not very good and not very country. But really, if you’re blaming Owen Bradley and Chet Atkins, you just don’t like country music. You pretty much lose all credibility as a country music fan and critic when you blame Rascal Flatts on Patsy Cline’s producer and argue that the beest thing about a country music awards show was the presence of Snoop Dogg and Robert Plant.

  3. Baron Lane
    April 16, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Matt, what Atkins and Bradley did early in their careers does not give them a pass for the Jodinaire-ladened sugar that Bradley produced and Atkins pushed as an A&R director of country music at RCA later in their careers, just like That’s Alright Mama doesn’t give Elvis a pass for Blue Hawaii.

    I see country music (alt of not) as coming from the place it has always come from, mostly outside of Nashville and from the (dirt) street and bar. Just because a release is not officially sanctioned by music city doesn’t mean it’s not a better brand of representative contemporary country then say Taylor Swift. Fact is, the bar is pretty low with most of those acts.

    I love country music and truth be told your a bit of a dick to say otherwise. I just disagree that clowns in $500. jeans or bimbos with glittery guitars are doing anything with even the fraction of artistic integrity that you get from a Dale Watson or Elizabeth Cook release. Country enough for you?

    I speak to my readers (fans and bands) which mostly all agree that Nashville is on the wrong track and the fodder they serve up is insipid and insulting to anyone with an awareness of country music’s history. Hell, it’s insulting to anyone over 25.

    Yeah it sucks that Snoop Dogg and Robert Plant were some of the most representative of good country/roots music on the programs, but don’t come bitching at the messenger. The Nashville emperor has no clothes and many people know it.

  4. April 19, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Maybe Snoop and Robert Plant should do a record.

  5. April 19, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    runawaydorothy – I would like to hear that record. I guarantee it would still beat anything ever released by Brooks and Dunn.

  6. Ed Clendaniel
    June 9, 2016 at 9:43 am

    What can I say? Country is in another one of those stupid ruts that they like to get in to now and again. It needs to be more diverse. Just like USA, it has sucked for so many years we need to get socialists in here to straighten it out, right? (Sarcasm) Radio country? Really sux right now. Nothing catchy at all just regurgitating a bunch of hum drum chick music. Thank God for MP3s. Yes, Alternative country smokes lame stream country at this point. Just go see a #Moccasin Creek show.
    Nice to give attention to that no good piece of crap Gun Grabber McGraw too. Ugh! Thank God Nashville is still a great place to go. Looks like once you get big and call the shots, all you call is crap.

  7. John Hill
    June 12, 2016 at 6:58 am

    I’m done with CMT awards. It was a insult to country music and country music fans.

  8. May 6, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    Viewers who tuned into last night’s CMT Music Awards were left wondering whether or not they were watching a country music awards show.

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