Watching the CMA’s (Country Music Awards) has always been a tradition of mine. I’m a city girl with a country heart. I have to say that this year’s CMA’s took me to a new level of love and pulled at every heartstring. The opening alone of old singers that my grandfather and I used to listen to had me crying tears of joy. Our old favorites such as Alabama, Charlie Daniels, Ricky Skaggs, Randy Travis, Roy Clark and George Straight bought back the memories of driving to the cabin with Grandpa with the radio blasting and us singing at the top of our lungs. I saw his smile that I’ve missed so much over the last few years of him being gone.
Then they did the tribute to Dolly Parton, a woman I’ve admired all my life and who’s songs Grandma would always serenade Grandpa with as she made breakfast. The smile never left my face as Carrie Underwood, Reba, Martina McBride, and more sang out Parton’s songs in beautiful harmony. I already had it in my mind that this has been the best music awards I had seen this year.
I was even very happy with the winners this year as I found it hard in many categories to pick just one that I really wanted to win. Chris Stapleton took Album of the Year (Traveler), Male Vocalist of the Year, and New Artist of the Year. Luke Bryan took Entertainer of the Year. Female Vocalist of the Year went to Miranda Lambert. Maddie and Tae took Music Video of the Year with “Girl in a Country Song.” Musical Event of the Year went to Keith Urban and Eric Church with “Raise ‘Em Up.” Musician of the year went to Mac McAnally for guitar. Little Big Town’s song “Girl Crush” took Single of the Year and Song of the Year. They also landed Vocal Group of the Year. Florida Georgia Line took Vocal Duo of the Year yet again. All and all, I believe that every recipient was very deserving and can’t wait to see what the new year will bring us in country music.
I think the most hype the CMA’s have received was the song Beyoncé did with the Dixie Chicks. They sang Beyoncé’s song “Daddy Lessons” of her latest album Lemonade and the Dixie Chicks’ song “Long Time Gone.” I thought it was amazing, especially since the Dixie Chicks have not performed at the CMA’s since they admitted to not supporting the War on Terrorism in 2001. I thought it was a very bold choice putting the two together, giving the CMA’s the edge that it needed. For so long, country music has been given this reputation that only “red necks” like it and that’s who they aim to please. I believe that by putting the Chicks and Beyoncé together, they crushed that image. It seemed like many people thought that this performance was as amazing as I thought it was, but it met a lot of backlash from other fans. Many saying that “cop-hating” Beyoncé didn’t belong there. I also read a comment that a black woman doesn’t belong in country.
Okay, let’s back up. Beyoncé never once said she hated the police. She has spoken out against police brutality, which doesn’t make her a bad person. It makes her a conscious woman who knows what’s going on in the communities and is standing up for what’s right. She’s trying to make the public conscious of what many colored people have to go through every day, but our white privileged lives don’t want to come off of cloud nine. Also, why is her race even being bought into play? No one bat an eye when Darius Rucker, formerly of Hootie and the Blow Fish, went solo and country. In fact, they welcomed him with open arms. No one said anything when Taylor Swift went from country to pop. What about the hundreds of artists who have crossed over between the genres such as Pink, Elle King, Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney, and Dobie Gray just to name a few? So what if Beyoncé crossed over and did a song in country? So what if some of her dance moves weren’t “country?” The Chicks and Beyoncé sang beautifully together and I welcome Beyoncé back. I’d love to see her do other songs with other country artists.
All and all, I think the 50th CMA’s was pretty amazing to watch. It was fun listening to Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood poke fun at the election that would soon be done. I loved hearing the music I grew up on and taken back to memory lane with my grandparents. I welcomed the chance to talk to Grandma this past weekend about it and the shows that we watched with Grandpa when I stayed with them over the summer breaks. I believe a show that could bring such a smile to a depressed woman’s face is a win in my book.