You know, we really give out a lot of awards. If you are a successful country music artist, especially, there are just piles and heaps of opportunities for you to win award after award. What do you suppose, say, Carrie Underwood does with all of them? Has she used them to build a shed 1?
Anyway, you get it. Another awards show. I’ve talked previously at great length 2 about how the problem with writing these things about country music is that there’s precious-little turnover, especially when compared to other genres, so I’ll not get into the whole thing here except to mention it for any first-time readers that happen across it.
Anyway, this awards show has a bunch of awards I’m not going to write about, because I have zero opinions about casinos or venues that I don’t attend. Oh, and I’m skipping songwriter of the year because even though it’s in my wheelhouse, more or less, I still find it difficult to deduce what the songwriters in question are nominated for, and in country music the songwriters generate a lot more material than in other genres/sub-industries.
Furthermore, I’ll be going through these quickly, so as to minimize the amount of time I have to spend getting frustrated at my own inability to come up with more words to say about each of these artists, especially as time goes by.
Music Event of the Year
I don’t know why this is called this, and it drives me crazy every time I write about these awards. I suppose I’d call it “team-up” in my head, but that’s what a childhood of comic books will do to you. Anyway, I kind of like “Drowns the Whiskey,” which surprises me somewhat, as I generally don’t like Jason Aldean. I suppose even a blind squirrel finds a dog’s butt sometimes.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jason Aldean, “Drowns the Whiskey” f. Miranda Lambert
Video of the Year
None of these are particularly interesting or inspiring, but at least the Brothers Osborne look like they’re having fun.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Brothers Osborne, “Shoot Me Straight”
Song of the Year
At some point I may have to talk about “Meant to Be,” but the powers that be have allowed me to continue avoiding that for yet another awards ceremony, which is great. Chris Stapleton’s “Broken Halos” is a fine song, and an honorable nominee. But Kacey Musgraves is super-great, and “Space Cowboy” is especially super-great, and it’s the winner.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kacey Musgraves, “Space Cowboy”
Single of the Year
This is a pretty dire situation. I sort of like “Down to the Honky Tonk,” and it is, by the rough rubric we have here, the least bad song. But I do want to say this about “Most People are Good”: it is terrible. Like, it’s a melodically-dumb song with a chorus that never really kicks into gear, and the less I say here about the lyrics the more likely I am to be able to get through the rest of my life without trying to chew on my own eyeballs, but I appreciate how earnest it is. This is sort of how I feel about Luke Bryan in general. It’s pandering and terrible pabulum for middle-of-the-road mush-listeners, but goshdarn it it feels pretty genuinely all that. And something that sucks honestly and without pretense is the best of the things that suck. I mean, it’s not a winner, it’s a terrible stupid song, but I rather appreciate the attempt in and of itself.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Jake Owen, “Down to the Honky Tonk”
Album of the Year
I’ve sort of come around on Eric Church. I still don’t listen to him of my own volition, but I’ve softened on what it is he’s doing, and I don’t hate it. I like Chris Stapleton well enough. He’d be praised a bit higher if he were in direct competition with anyone but Kacey Musgraves.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kacey Musgraves, Golden Hour
New Duo or Group of the Year
I still only like LANCO of these options. I like their all-caps name.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: LANCO
New Male Artist of the Year
I am sad that Mitchell Tenpenny’s music doesn’t move me more, because his name is awesome. I mean, it’s not a very country-music sort of name, but it’s an all-time great name anyway. Shame, really. He should try to be as good as Luke Combs. It would make him better.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Luke Combs, who isn’t actually that good. But who also has a pretty good name, for all that.
New Female Artist of the Year
This one is actively the most difficult for me to decide on. I genuinely have no feelings. Like not even a “Well Luke Combs is a little better than the curve here” type of feeling. I guess Carly Pearce doesn’t actively put me to sleep. I guess.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Carly Pearce
Group of the Year
LANCO’s incursion is fine, but I still like Lady Antebellum more. Still and all, there have been several categories with more than one viable choice in them, and that’s kind of nice. Makes me hopeful, even.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Lady Antebellum
Duo of the Year
There are definitely not two viable candidates in this category, and also I am concerned that LOCASH is trying intentionally to interfere with LANCO’s all-caps fanbase. Actually, given that one of them is “new” and the other is not, it’s probably the other way around, but LOCASH suck real bad, so I’m blaming them. Good job, Brothers Osborne! At least you seem to be having fun in that one video I mentioned earlier!
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Brothers Osborne
Male Artist of the Year
I’ll say this: I spend most of these writeups whining about how terrible this all is. No one in this category is anything I’d call a favorite, but none of them are that bad, such as it is. It’s still a matter of “acceptable by degrees”, which isn’t great, but by the lax standards that this awards show generates within my heart, it’s almost an embarrassment of riches.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Chris Stapleton
Female Artist of the Year
The female artist category isn’t necessarily better than the male artist category, but the highs (Kacey Musgraves) are much higher, even if the lows (Maren Morris) are also much lower. It’s nice, though. A relative pleasure to work through. I’m pretty happy about it, even though it was pretty much a foregone conclusion anyway
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Kacey Musgraves
Entertainer of the Year
It is dumb nonsense that there are no women here. It is especially dumb nonsense that one of the women who isn’t here is Kacey Musgraves. That said, the winner is non-musical, because Luke Bryan is a delightful addition to American Idol and has, therefore, entertained me more than the rest of these people. He will, of course, not be present, because the ceremony airs directly opposite an episode of American Idol, but that would make it funnier anyway.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Luke Bryan
And there you have it! We’ll be back in November to look at (I’m sure) this exact same basic set of people once more!