A Running Diary of the 38th Annual CMA Awards
The magic of TiVo. Wednesday night, watching Tuesday night's Country Music Awards. Strangely, the show kicks off with a strange montage of Robert Johnson, then segues into Tim McGraw, who's obviously not lip-synching, because his four note range voice is just slightly off on the four notes they arrange every song around for him. But back to Robert Johnson...for the life of me I can't even draw a tortured, incongruous, crooked line between the two. It makes no sense. Oh well, here we go.
Oh great, Lisa Hartman Black will be appearing too.
This list of who's on is like watching the build up to a WWE event on Thursday night. Just lower the cages and watch out for the foreign object he has in his trunks! There it is! Awwww, c'mon ref!
Brooks & Dunn...Nashville's first answer to Wham! Like I said, one of these guys will retire to NASCAR, the other will be blowing truckers in rest stops someday. And oh, by the way, maybe Vince Gill isn't here because he's too fucking embarrassed to do this shit anymore.
Great, let's light up Shania first. She even reads cue cards in a wooden fashion. "Country music always comes down to a really great song," she says. I'm surprised she didn't catch on fire when she said that.
"Live Like You Were Dying" Some fat guy with bad hair wrote it with some tall skinny guy who looks like a dope. Of course, the fat guy thanks his "angels." I'll bet you an entire paycheck that's not the last time, Jesus, God, and all the angels are thanked for an award. Just a side note, I'm not a heartless bastard, I realize McGraw dedicated this out of tune gem to his dead dad, Tug, a great pitcher for the Phillies, a rare spilling of true emotion allowed by the suits in Nashville. Anyway, Tug closed out the Royals in 1980, shortly after my 12th birthday, I was crushed, fuck you Tug.
I'm warming up to this Gretchen Wilson a little, I'll admit it. But I can remember having a glimmer of hope for Sara Evans back in the day, and they've got her fucked over assbackwards these days down there, so I guess we'll have to watch and see how old Gretchen turns out. They keep panning out when she turns up the volume too, so I can't tell if she's lip-synching (and I'm watching this on a 52 inch TV). Plus, she looks a little ambivalent about the applause. Maybe they made her fake it.
Why is Toby Keith singing with his daughter? Did I mention that I don't have a fucking clue about what's getting played on shitty radio stations like K102 right now, too? Is this a hit? Or did he just say, "I'm a big star and I'm going to sing with my daughter and you fuckers can get stuffed if you don't like it." They're not faking it, but I'm not sure why they're doing it. Anyone? Buehler? Buehler?
See!!!! I fucking told you. Big & Rich in a Chevy commercial. This band is all about making fucking commercials. All you people panting over their authenticity can go fuck yourselves now.
Tribute to Brother Ray...this oughta be good...
That's it? Jesus.
Okay, I just paused the TiVo over the half-hearted half-assed "tribute" to Ray Charles, because right after that, they introduced Martina McBride. A) She'll be lip-synching, B) this will be some overcooked, overblown, piece of shit song about angels and babies and puppy dogs. I'm half-tempted to fast forward past it, but, like everyone, I'm going to stop and watch the train wreck....on with the show....
A song about a handicapped kid...great...does this lady have no shame? There should be some kind of limit on how much empathy you can piggyback your melodramatic, eager, schoolgirl choir voice onto. I think McBride currently holds the record at something like 40. Of course his mom has to work 2 jobs. Of course "Hey Jude," is his favorite song, and of course he insists on saying grace, and of course he prays for everyone but himself. Of course he doesn't have a father. Jesus, I'm going to get a fresh beer and hit fast forward. Martina McBride, we're all tired of it and you. Sing a song about getting laid for once would ya?
Nichols and Shelton..."what about Martina McBride?" What about her? Fucking move on. Nice mullets you jackasses. Do you think they put you together on stage by accident? Musical Event of the Year.
Somehow Kenny Chesney is nominated twice.
"Whiskey Lullaby" Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss. For some reason they thank country radio. Let me tell you something Brad, country radio took a flyer and were surprised yet again, when it was successful.
Here we go, Big & Rich. For some reason they have a disabled midget standing in the background, not doing anything but dancing. They're singing about how country music isn't what it used to be, blah blah blah. Here's Cowboy Troy. I'm sticking to my guns on this. This bullshit is more marketing than "musical revolution." I mean, really, what are they doing differently than Kid Rock, circa about 2 years ago? Same basic beat, bass line and melody. Same midget for God's sake. Yeah, line up and waste your dough on this shit, it's "new."
"Whiskey Lullaby," performed. Thank God for Alison Krauss.
What the hell show was Lisa Hartman on again? She's milked more out of her marriage than most. Wasn't she an actress once? Is she a singer now? Clint always looked overwhelmed.
Single of the Year. "Live Like You Were Dying" What's with all the black clothes? Somebody tell the producer his hair replacement looks terrible.
Here we go. Shania. I'm having a party, etc. Totally fucking lip-synched. Three dollar bill city. She's used to prancing around, but he looks like someone handed him a half pound of shit and told him to make a Michelangelo out of it. She's so fucking horrible. Fast forward.
Wham...I mean, Brooks & Dunn. To be fair, I've always been impressed with Ronnie Dunn's voice, but the cynical, dollar chasing origins of this duo are legendary, so that's always colored my view. Fast forward.
Ok, all of the sudden someone is singing about Victory in the Lord. Horizon Award, must be a newcomer, singing about the good lord. Ah, Josh Turner. Got to sing one bit of his song and poof. Could have been the best performance of the night but we'll never know. Ah shit, it was probably going to be terrible.
Okay, pause the TiVo. A second commercial featuring the musical stylings of the jingle writing team of Big & Rich. Fucking posers. Followed closely after by a Target commercial for Toby Keith's "Greatest Hits 2." There was a 1? These people should all be fucking ashamed.
Kenny Chesney. I'm worried, because is there anything I can say about his ass clown that I haven't already? Okay, pause the TiVo, he's singing a song that has "chevy" rhyming with "levy." Maybe tonight's theme should just be, "do these people have no fucking shame?" He leans back everytime he has to sing loud. Just for the sake of argument, let's assume he's NOT lip-synching...here's your guy right here. The rumor that floats around is that he's tone deaf, and he throws fits when his engineers ask him to re-record parts. That's why all the earpieces on stage, and all the harmony singers. Probably a voicebox built into the amps. Just rumors. But back to the show, 3 1/2 minutes of solid cliches. Thanks Kenny.
Reba. She's acting out every line she sings, reminding us she has her own sitcom somewhere in UHF hell. Is it syndicated yet Reba? Fast forward.
Lonestar to present some award. Best Vocal Duo. Who's the big dumb fucking geek in Lonestar with the bleach blond hair and black leather pants? Somebody put him out of his misery. Brooks & Dunn won by the way. Fast Forward.
Alan Jackson. I've gotten to meet a lot of country radio people since starting this gig, and I've been told by more than 3 people that Jackson is a thoroughgoing asshole. I don't care either way, really. But one is an anomaly, two is a trend, and three is the truth where I come from. This isn't a bad performance, but, Fast Forward.
Randy Travis and the hot blond from CSI: Wichita. I think Randy Travis is drunk. You ever think he wakes up and exclaims, "we're fucking married?" He is, he's friggin drunk. Best Album. Kenny Chesney wins. Fast Forward.
Sara Evans. Okay, let's inventory. Lost a lot of weight. Nose job. Remember her old nose? Kind of the "girl next door" thing? She was kind of chubby and cute. This new nose has taken some of that sexy twang out of her voice too. They fixed her teeth too. Told ya, chewed her up, and they'll spit her out if she doesn't reach a million units on something soon. Poor girl. Fast forward.
George Strait. The sound guys are ruining this because they've been producing lip-synchers all night and now they have to do a live performance. George's voice has always been a little more storyteller than opera-singer, but it sounds weak here. Oh well, Fast Forward.
Teri Clark. All girl band. Oh, now I get it. Girls lie too. Are they going for a Bangles thing? Strings of cliches about how "we like some of the same things." This song brought to you by "panic." Yes, when some white trash girl named Gretchen scores a big hit about being a redneck girl, the first thing you should do is get an all girl band together and copy it slightly and hammer the point into the ground. Do these people have no shame?
Pat Green and Phil Vassar. Right now the crowd is asking, "who?" Now I get it, the Pat Green thing is all an act. Anytime he gets in front of a microphone, he apologizes to his wife. He's done it everytime he comes here, and he just did it on live TV. Female Vocalist of the Year. Martina McBride. Angels, babies, and puppy dogs. She's from Kansas, fucking embarrassing. Fast Forward.
Willie. "For the Good Times," by Kris K. My love for these two men's music is unabashed. This is going to get ruined for me somehow, there's too many wildcards in this auditorium. Faith Hill overplaying "Help Me Make it Through the Night." Hey Cantwell and Friskics-Warren, wanna take it back? Way to fake it Faith, you couldn't understand that song if it were spelled out for you in crayon. Randy Travis, "Sunday Morning," wishing lord he was stoned...I'm tellin' you, he is stoned. Kris K deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, his songs are the greatest. "Lovin' Her Was Easier" is still one of my five favorite tunes of all time. "Back in the day when the music was what mattered, and it was all that mattered." You tell 'em Kris.
Keith Urban. Never got it. Fast forward.
Dierks Bentley. The crackerjack sound guys have fucked up a vocal again. If everyone would have just lip-synched, they could have saved a lot of numbskulls a lot of work. Fast Forward.
SheDaisy and Buddy Jewel. They make the chubby one stand on the end and the pretty blond one gets to talk first. SheDaisy was another failed Country Music copycat experiment. I'm still not sure what their talents are. Funny, they came along right after Wilson-Phillips. Male Vocalist of the Year. Keith Urban. He's Australian and he's crying. Fast Forward.
Julie Roberts. I'm just going to say it, any vocal that started off smoothly in this show is a lip-synch, and the others are real singing. Julie's lip-synching a song about ballsy woman, this year's theme in country. I wonder if it sank in last night with Gretchen Wilson how she caused the great independent woman oversaturation panic of 2004 in Nashville. Who wants to bet she starts singing about angels on her next album? Fast Forward.
LeAnn Rimes and Joe Nichols. Anybody else see LeAnn and think "Judy Garland?" She's flirting with him, very Judy. Maybe she's drunk off her ass too. Horizon Award. Gretchen Wilson. You knew that was coming. She thanked Sony. The only "thing" she thanked by name, Sony.
Montgomery Gentry. Bad start to the vocal, real singing. He's even adjusting his mic. This is funny because they're trying to out-Big & Rich, Big & Rich; or wait a minute, maybe Big & Rich were trying to out-Montgomery-Gentry them. I'm telling you, this is all half-baked Hank Williams Jr. shit, a la Kid Rock, et al. I mean, does he have to wear the big wide brimmed hat every time he performs? Did anybody notice that Big put his special top hat on to perform at the beginning of the show, then switched back? Doesn't anybody just grab whatever's on the bus anymore? It's all fucking scripted, about as spontaneous as the Bush's or Kerry's having sex.
Jim Foglesong. It's his fault. He signed Garth Brooks and they're putting him in the Hall of Fame. I always wondered whose fault it was. I'm going to make a Jim Foglesong Sucks t-shirt, I just wonder if anyone will get it.
Rascal Flatts. Before I fast forward, I want to...awww forget it. This is too easy. These guys suck so much it's beyond words. Fast Forward.
Jamie O'Neal and Darrel Worley. Vocal Group of the Year. PAUSE. Alabama is a nominee? They aren't dead? Fucking A, will these guys just go the fuck away? Haven't we all had enough? RESUME. I wouldn't walk across the street to piss on any of these groups if they were on fire. Rascall Flatts won of course. What bullshit. What's the difference between these assclowns and Mr. Roboto Styx? God that was painful.
Here's Shania again. Reading the cue cards again, wooden, lifeless. Someone get a defribilator. Of course she's introducing a "super star" lineup of male performers to destroy "Hey Good Lookin'." Kenny Chesney completely misses the beat, key, and words the two times he's tried to chime in so far. The rumors appear to be true. What a fucking joke this is. Is this what Hank Williams died for? Alan Jackson, if he really is the asshole everyone says he is, looks embarrassed to be up there. Kenny Chesney blows it again. Someone turn off his mic. That was pathetic, they just collectively set country music back about 50 years.
Dolly and her big boobs. She's actually funny and lively and colorful. I just rewound back to Shania introducing the train wreck to compare. How can folks see a ball of fire like Dolly, then spend billions of dollars on a phoney, plastic piece of shit like Shania? I'm lost. Entertainer of the Year. Kenny Chesney. Toby Keith and Alan Jackson shake his hand like it has shit on it. He's crying because he's talentless and he knows he finally put one over on all of us. They cut him off. If anyone can find out who the director and producer of this show were, I want to send them a present. That was awesome. Fuck you Kenny Chesney.
That's all I got. What crap. I give up. Again.