The CMAs

This show ended HOURS ago, but I’m just firing it up now.

Actually, I caught a bit of the last half hour, as I was icing my knees after hiking. Kellie Pickler! I knew that song! Shit, I watch the Grammys and I’m clueless, yet every number on the CMAs is familiar. I can’t fast forward! But Rascal Flatts… That guy’s been on the road too long, you don’t make vocal mistakes on national television, not when everybody’s watching. Maybe that’s why he sang to tape when they opened the show…he didn’t want to make any MISTAKES!

And they opened the show with "Still Feels Good"… I LOVE this song! Please put aside your country music prejudices, go to Rascal Flatts’ MySpace page…oops, it’s not up there. Bottom line, "Still Feels Good" is the kind of record you play when you’re driving up PCH, with the sunroof open, the breeze blowing back your hair as you rest your elbow on the windowsill and scan the road through your Wayfarers. The ending solo, which I’m sure was played by Dann Huff, is simply MARVELOUS!

I can’t believe they opened with my favorite song. And the lead singer…he’s CHUBBY! He couldn’t make it in pop. But country’s truly a big tent. There’s room for an average dude with a mellifluous voice.

James Stanton? Is that this dude’s name? The host? From "Desperate Housewives"? I don’t watch that trash. And speaking about being distracted by Reba? I always thought she was homely. Ah, the scriptwriters are just as phony as they are in Hollywood. As for this dude saying country is the greatest music on earth…has he ever heard "Dark Side Of The Moon"? Still, country’s where it’s at today…

Miranda Lambert. Are you catching this? She’s not singing "Famous In A Small Town", but GUNPOWDER AND LEAD!

It’s a barn-burner. Are you catching the dude with the National steel? This ain’t on tape, this is positively LIVE! The sound is imperfect. You have to BE THERE! This is roadhouse music.

And what’s up with Miranda? With her legs spread, daring you to come up and take her! She’s showing all her attitude, all her sexiness. She’s positively FANTASTIC! And are you hearing that ripping guitar? She’s lost all pretense. She’s singing just like you in front of the mirror. She’s LETTING GO! If you don’t think this is rock and roll, you don’t know what rock and roll IS!

Oh, are you catching her thrusting her head? Back and forth? Better than, more natural than, anybody on "Dancing With The Stars"? That was fucking GREAT!

And I love how they had two musical numbers right away. It’s all about the music. Unlike the Grammys.

Sheryl Crow! What, is a supermarket opening? Is she sporting a twang? Sheryl’s a good musician, but I wish she had more self-respect.

John McBride is wearing a jacket and tie? I’ve only seen him in that same J. Crew gray blue t-shirt. He told me he bought 100!

Who knew George Strait was so young? I thought he was older. Didn’t know he was produced by Tony Brown. Met Tony with Buffett in McBride’s studio.

Turns out George Strait is 55. I just looked it up in the Wikipedia. I figured he’d be over 60. He’s playing "How ‘Bout Them Cowgirls"… It’s better live than on record. Then again, is he singing to tape too? What’s up with country? Haven’t they ever heard of Milli Vanilli? I’d have preferred "Give It Away"…but it turns out that was last year, #53 in his string of 55 number one singles.

One of these guys in Montgomery Gentry is way too good-looking. I hope they play, I like Montgomery Gentry.

Turns out "Give It Away" qualifies for this year’s awards. It just won Song of the Year. I’m down with that. You can’t hear it without having a smile on your face. Can’t believe I knew each and every nominated song.

This co-writer of "Give It Away" just thanked his ex-wife…and if you know the lyrics… And how did such a young ‘un end up writing with these two alta kachers?

Taylor Swift. Fuck, she’s singing to tape too. Wow, the vocal is MORE country than the record, betraying her roots. But who put her in that outfit? Too sexy for her age. And she’s overemoting. But I like this song, and I love Taylor Swift. Because there’s an honesty you never see in the songs of her eighteen year old counterparts on Top Forty.

This is really pretty bad. With the taped backup vocals. Phony. I’m disappointed. Someone needs to be shot. She looks like a junior version of Faith Hill. But she hasn’t grown into the role yet. That’s gonna take like another FIFTEEN YEARS!

What the FUCK is Jessica Simpson doing here?

Sara Evans… I wish she was singing "As If" as opposed to announcing/hosting.

Brad Paisley… Isn’t a marching band Kanye West’s effect? Works, but just barely. Still, I’d rather have seen a giant tick invade the arena as Brad played "Ticks" instead of "Online". He’s pretty good. I like his finger-picking guitar style. But this is a dumb novelty song. Not all of this is live. Good for country’s reputation. Can’t the industry respect itself? They think the audience can’t handle the honesty? Isn’t the music about HONESTY? Love the reference to the Mac in the lyrics…

I had to fast-forward, just like I switch satellite stations when this song comes on the radio. And the inclusion of Taylor Swift and Kellie Pickler is SUPERFLUOUS!

God, it’s one song after another. They’ve got this right. Neil Portnow, are you watching?

Alison Krauss… Where’s Robert?? What, he can’t find that confounded bridge? What a voice. If you’re out of the loop, start with Alison’s cover of "Baby, Now That I’ve Found You". This is the first song I don’t know, still, Alison’s great. How come none of the singer-songwriters in the rock world are as good as she is? Sure, Patty Griffin’s a great writer, but listen to this VOCAL!

Okay, enough of Sara Evans… She’s a terrible prompter reader.

Big & Rich… Good for giving props to Porter Wagoner. A throwaway song though… Great that these guys can fit in the country tent.

Rascal Flatts winning vocal group of the year. I’m down with that. Although this category was rich with nominations. Have you heard "Take Me There"? Listen to the LYRICS! God, none of them thanked God!

They threw in that Rodney Atkins was adopted? At least he’s singing. And he’s authentic. But he’s singing to tape.

That’s what I need. The star of an ABC TV show to cross-promote. But now I finally get Kate Walsh, she doesn’t translate in photos in magazines. She’s got a certain girl next door charisma.

Carrie Underwood. What, is she standing on top of a cake?

Wow, she’s doing a great job of singing this song.

This is the Mariah Carey number. With all the string players, it all says "important". Yeah, important to the recording industry. Did you see her hawking product in the Target ads? Yup, unique product. So, if you’re a fan you’ve got to buy the album TWO THOUSAND TIMES to get it all. Keep fucking the customer in the ass. Stop placating retailers and think of the fans. This is good, but I’m fast-forwarding. I’ve got months to burn out on this on the radio.

Vince Gill. Looking good! You’ve lost weight, you’re working out! Did you know that he started out in a late edition of Pure Prairie League?

The Eagles. Most of this is live. They’re not showing Steuart. Maybe this is ALL live. And you can tell the difference. This sounds completely different from so many of the previous performances. Glenn is coming across as very cool. The harmonies are great. Henley’s in good form. But this is not an A-level song. They’re showing Steuart, this IS live. This needs to be played faster, with some of the energy of Miranda Lambert. Ultimately a disappointment. If only they could have played a ballad. But even though they invented most of the music on this show, they’re still interlopers, they’ve got to play by the rules. How fucked up is it to own the biggest selling record of all time and have to play by the rules.

Another promotional appearance. Shit, they’d have been better off playing "Take It Easy".

Kate Walsh is going through the motions.

I realize they’re stars, but I don’t really get Brooks & Dunn. Wait, this performance is really good. What a voice. Are these right winger lyrics, or is this generic patriotism, heartland crap? God must be busy? I’m fast-forwarding.

Get Kate Walsh off of here. Let her go party on Sunset with her peeps.

Jason Aldean. You know it’s on tape from the first note. Set this up against the Eagles. But I like Jason… If this song is a hit, then country radio needs to reevaluate. Wait, I’ve heard this. The record is better. Still, it’s far from fantastic.

Jessica Simpson again… Oh, that’s right. She’s gone COUNTRY!

Jewel’s on with her boyfriend, with her assets pouring out. Love that she never got her teeth fixed. Whew, her boyfriend is a real shitkicker, with that deep Texas accent.

This chick from Sugarland is SO into having won. First winner thrilled and showing the proper emotion. Imagine meeting up with her in a bar. She’d tie you in a KNOT! And is that the stupidest hat of all time on Kristian? What, is he a BLOCKHEAD?

How come Dwight Yoakam can go hatless in movies, but not music? And, he can let the leather pants go.

Sugarland. Do you know this number? This is the kind of thing that made Janis Joplin so famous. I’d rather listen to stuff like this than the melisma of the popsters ANY DAY! This is killer. And totally live. With minimal accompaniment by Kristian Bush. A triumph.

Now let me get this straight. Isn’t this song written from the point of the view of the MISTRESS? That’s country. Christian and two-faced. Family values my ass. But, there a million women in the same position. A caveat. If they DO leave the other person for you, chances are they’ll leave you too…

I’ve seen this live. I want to fast-forward, but I can’t. My fingers won’t walk to the remote. She’s POSSESSED! It’s her year. There’s no hand in the air like Mariah, no chest-thump like Celine. The audience loves her. One record can make your career, put you over the top. Boy, Jennifer Nettles can really sing. A standing ovation. Wholly deserved.

Album of the Year. Okay, let someone else win. Could it be that the industry keeps honoring George Strait because he’s the only guy who can fit into the present country world who has links to the OLD ONE?


Martina McBride. I know her, I’m leaving this alone. But, I will say she’s nailing the vocal. Standing ovation, you can’t argue with that.

Keith Urban. Oh fuck, he’s playing a ballad. I wanted one of his rockers. Still, he’s great. I feel good every time I play Keith Urban’s music. It’s not about looking cool, I don’t care that he’s a favorite of the chicks… There’s just something REAL about the sound. This is a good song and a good performance, but if only he opened with his live show opener, "Once In A Lifetime", the adrenaline would pump. did you know that Richard Marx co-wrote this hit, "Everybody"? Sounds like a Richard Marx song, doesn’t it?

Sheryl Crow looks younger every year.

What the fuck is the Horizon Award? It means you’ve truly arrived? Oh, I guess it’s the newcomer award. They just don’t want to give it the negative Best New Artist Grammy imprimatur.

I knew Taylor Swift would win this one. No matter how much success she has, something inside me still thinks she should be in school. She thanked God, make me puke. But she DID thank her family for moving to Nashville so she could make it. You know how many people don’t make it? You’ve got to have faith. This is the highlight of her senior year! Line of the night. I guess she’s still going to school…

LeAnn and Reba… Hey Kelly Clarkson! Ready to fire Narvel yet? He couldn’t even get you on this show? If you were represented by Irving you know you’d appear. Where the fuck is your leverage? It was YOUR duet with Reba that was all over country radio. And, while we’re at it, doesn’t Reba remind you of Howdy Doody?


Obviously there are time constraints, they cut the intro. THEY’RE playing live. If you want to hear the best Eagles song not on the Eagles album, go to and listen to the third track, "That’s Where I’ll Be".

Although "A Place To Land" is the new album, I recently downloaded the complete stiff first album. And there’s a track on there, "Don’t Waste My Time", that I played 28 times in a row. An album track…those are the ones we always love best. It’s about creating a body of work, so when someone discovers you, they can go back and revel in all your previous work. Like a teenager discovering Led Zeppelin.

I like Dierks Bentley. Wish he’d sung "Free and Easy (Down The Road I Go)".

Carrie Underwood… Oh, more God crap. God had NOTHING to do with it! Meanwhile Kelly Clarkson, maybe you should have hired CARRIE UNDERWOOD’S MANAGER! Okay, stop thanking people and get off the stage. Oops, not soon enough. You’re so proud to be in this FORMAT? Country music is a CALLING! Shoot this girl. Give her spot to Steve Earle.

Kenny Chesney… Who let you out of the house with those PANTS? Are you going to the Boy Scout dinner? You do need to get married.

I love Kenny, but this song is a hackneyed cheap shot. Life goes fast… Didn’t Harry Chapin nail this thirty years ago with "Cat’s In The Cradle"?

About two months after I burned out on this song, it made it to number one on country radio. That’s fucked up.

He should have played "Never Wanted Nothing More". But for TV, you need sentimentality. Don’t you have raucous live shows Kenny? I’m disappointed. I wanted the guy who rolls up his sleeves to come out and ROCK! Play "Don’t Blink" for rockers and they’ll puke.

Josh Turner… He’s got a better song than this, right? Oh, this is "Firecracker". Josh, you’re sentenced to twenty four hours straight of Miranda Lambert. She’s got it, you don’t.

Now I’m at where I tuned in earlier.

Kellie Pickler. A triumph. I always liked this song on the radio. But why is she crying? Turns out "I Wonder" is about her mother who abandoned her. Wow, to make it alone, without her…the tears are deserved. But I can’t find out if she wrote this…there are no credits on, nowhere on the Web…

I’m fast-forwarding to the end. Fuck Kid Rock.

Entertainer of the Year. This SHOULD be Kenny Chesney… Just check the grosses.

Yup, Kenny won.

Who’s he there with? His mother? Hate this song they’re playing. How about a ROCKER!

Let’s see what he says… Boy does he look like a dork. LOOK INTO THE CAMERA KENNY! Could it be that he’s nervous?

Talk about artist development…

And they’re letting him go on forever. There’s no playing off like on the Grammys. He’s kind of natural. It IS his mom… And…HE DIDN’T THANK GOD!

Kenny did it himself. Just imagine if he had God on his side. HA!

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