46th Annual CMA Awards Country’s Night To Shine

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Submitted by Don Graham

While the bright lights of Broadway in New York were dark after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on Manhattan, the lights were shining bright on America’s other Broadway, in Nashville, Tennessee. This year the event was held at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena a stones throw from the mother church of country music, The Ryman Auditorium and was hosted for the fifth straight year by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley.  The Bridgestone Arena is home to Nashville’s NHL hockey team the Predators and one of their star players  Peterborough, Ontario’s Mike Fisher is married to Carrie Underwood. Fisher may be locked out from the Predators dressing room due to the current NHL lockout but he was there in the arena on Thursday night.

On ABC's "Good Morning America," the morning of the show early winners were announced ahead of the awards show. Kenny Chesney was named the winner of the CMA Award for Musical Event for “Feel Like a Rockstar,” with Tim McGraw. Toby Keith won Music Video of the Year for his hit single “Red Solo Cup.”

When country music's biggest stars took the stage Thursday night in Nashville, we saw many of our favorites from the last decade. But a lot of new faces were visible as country's fan base shifts to a younger audience.From Taylor Swift's army of empowered young women to the power-drinking party boys who prefer lead nominees Eric Church and Jason Aldean, country's audience is much different than it was 10 years ago. The live show opened with the young guard Aldean, Luke Bryan and Eric Church trading verses and getting their honky tonk on.

Host and hostess Paisley and Underwood, after acknowledging the disaster in the northeast caused by hurricane Sandy,were on point with their country humour on topical subjects and events like dancing Gangnam style. While announcing the tribute to Willie Nelson they told him they were also stripping him of all his previous CMA Awards. Seems there have been doping charges a la Lance Armstrong. A grinning Willie in the audience replied “guilty.”

When Miranda Lambert rocked the stage it was obvious that “this ain’t your grandpa’s country”.

Taylor Swift was the only female artist up for Entertainer of the Year, the award she won last year. This years nominees were Swift, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton and Kenny Chesney. And the entertainer of the year went to Blake Shelton.

Aldean, Shelton, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan and Eric Church were the nominees for Male Vocalist of the Year. And the winner was once again Blake Shelton.

Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Martina McBride were nominated with last year's winner, Miranda Lambert, for Female Vocalist and this years winner was Miranda Lambert.

So once again Blake and Mirnda are still the king and queen of Nashville.

Comic Tim Allen, Connie Britton from the hit show Nashville, Olympic Gold Medalist  Shawn Johnson, Reba, Lisa Marie Presley, Kimberly Williams Paisley wife of Brad  and Hayden Panettiere who are also from the hit TV show Nashville were  among the presenters.

The tribute to Willie Nelson was amazing a highlight. Lady A. with “You Were Always on My Mind” and “Crazy”, Blake Shelton and Keith Urban rockin the Johhny Bush song “Whiskey River”. Tim and Faith’s  “Good Hearted Woman” was a littls stiff but well intentioned. Willie then took the stage for ‘On The Road Again.” Awesome in it’s simplicity. Ensemble vocals rocked. And the first annual Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award went to ………..Willie Nelson,.

Here is a list of the  remaining nominees and  winners:
In the single of the year category the nominees were “Dirt Road Anthem”, Jason Aldean, “Home” Dierks Bentley, “God Gave Me You” Blake Shelton, “Pontoon”, Little Big Town, and ‘Springsteen” Eric Church with “Pontoon“ by Little Big Town coming out on top.

Album of the Year nominees were "Chief" – Eric Church "Four The Record" - Miranda Lambert,  "Home" "Own The Night" – Lady Antebellum   and "Tailgates and Tanlines” – Luke Bryan with the honours going to “Chief” by Eric Church

Song of the Year "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" written by Will Hoge and Eric Paslay "God Gave Me You" written by Dave Barnes " Home" written by Dan Wilson, Brett Beavers, and Dierks Bentley "Over You" written by Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton  and "Springsteen"  written by Eric Church, Ryan Tyndell, and Jeff Hyde with Blake Shelton and Miranada Lambert’s  “Over You” by Shelton/Lambert coming out on top.

Group of the Year nominees were Eli Young Band, Little Big Town, The Band Perry and Zac Brown Band were nominated and the winner was…….Little Big Town.

Vocal Duo of the Year Big & Rich Love and Theft, Sugarland The Civil Wars, Thompson Square with Thompson Square getting the nod.

New Artist of the Year nominees were Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, Hunter Hayes, Love and Theft and Thompson Square with Hunter Hayes grabbing the title.

Country may been changing and some old school folks like myself may yearn for the old country sounds but it’s gone and it ain’t coming back! But this genre ain’t half bad. We can wish all we want for possum and the Hag but this is the new path. Vince Gill and Kelly Clarkson old and new! Two thumbs up! Well done CMAs.