As we gear up for Volume III of my Running Diary of the annual schlockfest known as the Country Music Association Awards, I'm filled with equal parts dread and excitement. Nothing will top last year's work...a rambling screed so vile that not one, but two executives from "Music Row" felt the need to encourage me to perform impossible feats of auto and transitive sexual prowess. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Before we engage the wondrous powers of Dish Network's recording feature, let's examine what we know:
1) Kenny Chesney is an assclown of proportions heretofore unknown to mortal man.
2) Ed Benson is the greedy, Matrix-like "Architect" behind the cash grab in Nashville that has led to shameless spectacles like the one I just know I'm about to watch.
3) Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Buck Owens wouldn't walk across the street to piss on any of these people if they were on fire.
4) I'm out of beer, but I have one Newcastle Brown Ale, 2 Dr. Peppers, and a full bottle of Bacardi behind the bar.
Let the games begin...Maestro, the "play" button if you please....
We start off with Chesney faking it on a Les Paul Gibson. Singing a song about how his life is so hard as a "hillbilly rock star." Not a Country Star mind you, but a hillbilly rock star. Funny, we can hear both the Flying V and the Les Paul lead, but Kenny's guitar isn't so distinguishable. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt...the vocal harmonizer in his mic is well tuned, so he doesn't have to lip synch this. But neither the song, nor the performance are strong enough to knock me over. Wooden like Shania's "Party" performance last year. Make sure we throw a lot of video clips of him in concert in the background, just so we all understand how hard his life is. I paused the TV to point out that this was all done before, and better, by Motley Crue in the "Home Sweet Home" video, and should have been stopped there, like Hitler at the English Channel, too. Fuck you Chesney, hopefully I won't have to sit through the musical equivalent of oral surgery watching you perform again tonight.
Hold it, James Gandolfini? Are you kidding? This oughta be good, can't wait until he shows up.
All the clowns are set to climb out of the car at the circus, here come Brooks & Dunn...
Good thing Ronnie pointed out which one was which, I never knew, and I never cared.
Terrible Billy Joel joke. Okay, the Martina McBride joke just spiked my rage meter. Did she re-record "Rose Garden?" And if she did, why? It doesn't have disabled kids getting saved from burning houses by puppy dogs before turning into angels. Jesus, this is beyond terrible Ed, you let this shit on air?
"Many of us loved dearly," but many of us ditched their legacy to make piles of cash.
Single of the Year
Paisley, Keith, Sugarland, Rascall fucking Flatts, LeAnn Womack...LeAnn Womack wins. I'm going to be fair and give this a thumbs up because Rascall fucking Flatts didn't win. LeAnn has a shred of cred, but had those assclowns won, we would have known the fix was in. Of course, she didn't write the song, because none of these fuckers do anymore. She lost me on the "tune into your country station" bit though, because Gregg Swedberg only plays stuff that makes Women between 18 and 54 listen to the commercials.
Speaking of commercials....
I FUCKING KNEW IT. I DIDN'T PREDICT IT BECAUSE IT WAS TOO TRITE TO IMAGINE.
The first commercial on this televised abortion is Big & Rich for Chevy. Hey Big & Rich, I'll be on the radio on Saturday from 2 to 4pm Central time, the 800 number into the studio is 877-646-1220. You fucking posers are fucking losers. You're about commercials and cash. You aren't edgy. You aren't talented. You're a fucking sham perpetrated on the "Country Music" public to sell dildos, laundry detergent, and pickups. Fuck you and your edgy Muzik Mafia bullshit. You aren't Country, you're Cashville, and you should be ashamed of yourselves. No one is going to buy your "comeback" album in 2015.
This commercial is retarded. Martina could squeal a song at top volume about it.
Oh fuck. Pause. "Country's Newest Outlaws."
Let me explain something, then get off my soapbox so I can get through this. The original Outlaws left Nashville and retreated to Austin to get away from fuckers like you. They wanted to play their songs and make their music and not be worried about whether Nashville made money on sideshow bullshit. If Waylon was alive, he would kick all of your asses. Big & Rich, you are the two biggest cocksuckers in Country Music today.
Kenny Chesney, Target and a prom night DUI death. Couldn't have predicted that. Ed, you're telling me you can't do better than this?
The next commercial is about depression. Amen brother.
Has anybody else noticed that the majority of the Music performers they're pimping for the Johnny Cash tribute tomorrow night are rock and pop stars? You want to know why? Kid Rock is Kid Rock, but there's more Johhny Cash in Kid Rock's pinky nail than there is in Kenny Chesney's entire body.
Big & Rich...Coming to Your Ci-tay...Dylan Hicks' favorite song. Phoney walkup footage. Big doesn't have his Slash hat on. They mention Skyline chili and Cincinnati; listen to Ron White about Cincinnati chili. Blows a big hole in their "argument." Before I fast forward through this shit, I want everyone to realize that this was written by the marketing department at Warner Brothers records. Nothing sells units like a song that mentions the town where "you" live. Ed, is this the best we have?
Sara Evans...definitely not lip synching. Good god Sara, where did the nose and the baby fat go? Eat a sandwich and let yourself go a little bit. This could be a good song if you looked like a real girl...like you did, oh, I don't know, 5 or 6 years ago...I'm serious about the nose though. That beautiful nose you had was 75% of the sexiness in your twangy, slightly off-key delivery. You could have been the female Willie. Look at you. You're paralyzed up on stage right now. Move around. You should be in jeans. Coulda shoulda woulda. Next time you see Ed Benson, remind him of how he fucked up your career.
I just rewound about 4 times because Amy Grant just agreed with everything I just wrote.
Speaking of commercials...
Big & Rich overdubbed over a Chevy commercial. Cocksuckers.
Fast forward, but let's note they ran K102's bullshit commercial here. The "biggest" stars in country are obviously shorter than Donna Valentine. Fuck you Kenny.
Anyone notice they've only given out one award so far?
Brad Paisley performing...I want everyone to note that Brad is A) singing live, B) playing his own guitar, and C) not that bad. I've always had a soft spot in my black heart for Brad Paisley. What he's doing on stage among these peacocks and peahens takes real balls. Kudos Ed, this performance is a winner. Yeah, we all know that voice singing background. The only angel in the building, Alison Krauss. I just paused, because I want Brad Paisley to know that I'm going to try desperately to find a song off his new record to play on "The Other Side of Country." I think I might be a close Brad Paisley fan.
Look, standing ovation. Why is it every time somebody talented sings, they get a standing O on this show?
Here they come, the overdressed, the over-made-up, the talentless...ladies and gentlemen, I give you Rascall Flatts. Why is this good? What is redeeming about 3 guys singing the warmed over and discarded lyrics of Bruce Springsteen while an extremely annoying and nauseating video montage splashes around behind them? You know who these guys are? They're the 3 guys at your church who are asked to sing during ice cream socials about boys, girls, and cars, without making the parents feel threatened that they're going to sodomize their daughters later. This is awful. Simply awful.
Song of the Year.
Norah on keys with Willie and Paul Simon, some kind of sing up to the presentation. There is simply no one better than Willie is there? There are a lot of people in the first 5 rows or so of this auditorium feeling pretty inadequate right now, even though Willie and Paul are collectively 300 years old. Even crusty and past their prime, they're a thousand times better than all of them. Norah knows it.
Paisley, Keith, Rascall Flatts, Lee Ann Womack, Gretchen, Brad and Alison
Wait a minute, pause...weren't Brad & Alison and Gretchen up last year for the same songs? I'm confused...oh wait, Ed will shamelessly rehash songs if he has to to make money. Anyway...
Whiskey Lullaby...why not? Great song by 2 great performers, and Bill Anderson's a good ol songwriter, even if he can't sing. Good for him. Good for you Whisperin' Bill. Nice jacket. I want a jacket similar to that. Of course, the tasteless, gutless, assholes in the booth cut his acceptance speech off with some banjo music. Good job Ed.
I'll be the first to admit that I don't sit around watching Nashville country music videos, so seeing in this commercial (Number 3, by the way, by the edgy, anti-establishment duo of Big & Rich) which uses their video which incorporates kind of a Star Wars theme, which is just coincindentally coming out on DVD, simply doesn't surprise me at all. Cocksuckers.
The Newcastle's gone. Ah, demon rum.
"Pause," a commercial for Cheaper by the Dozen II. That really sums up what's going on here tonight, doesn't it? Am I high?
Lee Ann Womack performs...yeah I like this song. Nothing wrong with it. Shania and Faith wouldn't be caught dead singing a song like this. That hillbilly on the guitar singing backup almost drowned her out. She might have to fire him. Here's the first real question of the night. Who is THAT guy? Why doesn't he have a contract? Does he write his own songs? I'll be a whole paycheck he's been turned down by every "label" on music row. He's picking 3 finger technique and singing the mid range. Sorry Lee Ann, you're pretty damned good, but you wanna do us all a favor? Get that guy a gig.
George Strait...I'm going to fast forward this. We know this is polished and tight. I'd like to see George record a song that breaks him down in tears every night, or roaches his buzz to the point of forgetting the words, key and beat, like Willie. George needs to take off the Teflon as he ages.
Wynona and Cowboy Troy to present
Album of the Year
Urban, Rascall Flatts, McGraw, Strait, Womack
Okay, "pause," now I know something is fucked. Being a voting member of the CMA, I know that songs off of Live Like You Were Dying won awards last year, now the album is up for the Album Award this year. Look, it was either released last year or this year Ed. I know you're greedy and like to milk things, but this is borderline fraud. What ARE the rules? An independent, objective observer might look at something like this and start thinking the deck is stacked so that your biggest stars get two years' worth of coverage for one year's (or one minute's) worth of lousy music. Anyway.
Womack wins. Can't bitch too much. Good for her. She's drumming home that she thinks what she recorded isn't what she's hearing on Country Radio today. Why is she doing that Greg Swedberg? I haven't the foggiest fucking clue.
LET ME TELL ALL OF YOU SOMETHING, you think they're kidding with this Fruit of the Loom commercial where the apple sings in country time, "you can't overlove your underwear," country-power-ballad style, but they're not. There really is very little difference between this song and what you hear on Greg Swedberg's K102, KEEY, Minneapolis.
Let me tell you something...if Joey Daniels looked like Ruth Buzzie, she wouldn't have shit today, no matter what her voice sounded like. No, she doesn't look and sound like Faith Hill at all. What a dope I am for even making the comparison. She's NEW. She's FRESH. Good god, Ed.
Michael Bloomberg. What can you say? Two smokin' hot daughters. Good job Michael. Here we go, he intros Garth in Times Square.
Let's make a couple points about this, Al Kunz style. A) Garth has his place in Country music. He's the Elvis of Country, to be sure (and as Sherwin Linton quoted Waylon as saying, "Garth did for Country what panty hose did for fingerfucking,"), but B) he's singing about Chris LeDoux. Chris LeDoux won what? Seven, eight Belt Buckles? LeDoux was a bad fucking dude. So if the Elvis of Country wants to go out into the middle of Times Square and talk about one of the baddest rodeo riders ever, I have zero problem with that. Jesus, I have a heart.
Here's my guy...the second greatest songwriter ever...Kris.
God I hope he's as drunk as he sounds. Thumbs up Kris, thumbs up. Oh god. It all just went into the toilet.
I'm pausing here because I can't think of a single thing that I'd rather watch LESS than Martine McBride singing "Help Me Make It Through the Night." What have we ever seen, read, or heard about his woman that suggests she can grab this song and fill it with the requisite desperation, anger, and pathos to make it whole? Nothing. That's the fucking answer. I'm going to hit play here, and you, me, we, we're all going to be disappointed. Shame on you fucking Ed.
Just because you can sing in tune and hold a note longer than 30 seconds doesn't mean you can sing country...especially a song so central to the canon like this one. Fuck you Martina, you just ruined a little bit of me. Fast forward.
PERFECT...AFTER that wooden reading of the tune, the first person the cameras focus on is Ed Benson. Fuck you Ed. Have I said that tonight?
After commercials, Alan Jackson performs.
Wonderful Tonight, country time. I'm going to pause here, because he's doing two things that warrant discussion. A) He's not singing his own song, and B) he's rehashing some 70's soft rock crap. You can knock him all you want, and I've done my share, but the guy sings his own songs for the most part. Why is he doing this? Could it be because of Ed? Most likely. Why is he singing this particular song? I haven't the foggiest fucking Derek & the Dominoes idea. I'm going to fast forward, because, even though songs like "Friday I'm in Love" by The Cure and "Sober" by Tool should be made into country numbers, this one shouldn't.
Joe Nichols and Olivia...hey Olivia, where did your career go? Xanadu my ass.
Vocal Duo of the Year
Small & Opportunistic, Wham, Monty-Gentry, Not Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Warren Brothers
Wham wins. I'm going to hit pause here again. A) Brooks & Dunn win every year and their tired shit wasn't anything new this year. B) Caitlin Cary & Thad Cockrell recorded the best duet album this year by far. It's called Begonias, and if you don't own it, you're probably a friend of Ed Benson, a greedy man with no musical taste whatsoever. If you own the Brooks & Dunn record, go down to your local buy-back CD place, sell it to them, take the dough and apply it toward your own personal copy of Begonias. You'll be glad you did.
Hit "play something country"
Sugarland performs...Remember last year when I told you that Big & Stupid was warmed over Kid Rock with a dash of Guns & Roses and grunge thrown in? This Sugarland is just a cross between Trick Pony and the Black-Eyed Peas...and that's not saying much. Actually, that's saying fast forward...because there's gotta be something more...this chick'll be singing about her bubble in no time...
Bon Jovi? Why not? Bon Jovi, like Springsteen, REM, bits and pieces of Stone Temple Pilots, and the Commmodores, has always been more country than half the shit out of Nashville...
I'm going to fast forward anyway
Wait a minute, where did the Tiny & Retarded Chevy commercials go? I'm willing to bet you there's some research somewhere that says that Big & Rich fans only watch the first 15 or 20 minutes of a TV show, so stacking all their commercials into the first hour is the way to go for maximum impact. Maybe we should let that one gel.
Yeah, we gotta talk about it...Garth Brooks the box set, only available at Walmart. A) well, this one is obvious, but B) all you shit heels in Nashville are shitting blood with anger that he's "retired." He's going to make more in 5 minutes on the internet than you've made in the last 5 years. I fucking hate his music, but I'm going to laugh at YOU because NOTHING that you've done even compares, and he sucks. God, I love America, I love Country Music, and I hate Ed Benson.
Oh God, give it to me. Tim and Faith. Country's "First Couple"
Here's my issue...this is a song about a fractured relationship. Every goddamned video, article, and scripted photo shoot we see of these two tells us they're halfway up each other's orifices at all times in wedded bliss. George and Tammy they're not. What informs this performance other than overwrought melodrama? His voice is weak and hers is surprisingly strong.
I'm going to hit pause here and say something that makes me want to throw up. Theirs was a game effort. It wasn't a country song. But, it was a good soap opera song. They gave it the old college try. He barely did anything, and for that, he gets a thumbs down. But she really tried, so let's give her some credit. Jesus, I hate myself. If only they had sung a country song. You're neither one of you Johnny and June...you're not even Johnny and June's crusty dirty underwear. But that's a different blog.
Vince Gill to present...thank God. Vince is talented and hot-headed and funny. Let's watch. The Vinny joke was the best joke of the night. The jacket joke was the 2nd best.
DeFord Bailey...a KING. Get you some DeFord. Your life will change. I can't overstate that. Nice toss in Vince, you're a class act.
Glenn Campbell. Why not? Goddamned good guitar player, good singer, and smart enough to recognize Jimmie Webb's genius. Thumbs up.
Holy shit!!! Nice Mullet too! I give the Mullet an 11 on the 10 scale. If you don't listen to "Gentle on My Mind," at least once every one or two weeks or so, you aren't human. Ed Benson doesn't, but he's an ape.
Miranda Lambert...that looks like Jon Dee Graham playing guitar for her. Is it? God I hope not. Hey look, she took her guitar off. I wonder why. Is it because she had no intention of playing it in the first place? Was it even plugged in Ed? Why the split screen video effect Ed? Can't the song stand on its own? Fast forward.
Note, no more Big & Poor commercials yet...
Keith Urban performs...more than one, less than ten alt country types have asked me to turn onto this guy. I think I'll repeat what I wrote last year: there are currently, in Nashville, about 20 guys who are the same guy that he is, they just aren't as good looking. His looks are what separated him from the rest of them. Don't get me wrong, he's talented. But why aren't there 30 Keith Urbans clogging up Greg Swedberg's K102, KEEY, Minneapolis? The answer? They're ugly.
Mrs. Garth and Trace Adkins...honkytonk badonka fuck you Trace, you dick. Nice suit you ass.
Male Vocalist of the Year
Chesney, Jackson, Paisley, Strait, Urban
Urban wins. He'll cry like last year. Fast forward.
Okay, I'm man enough to admit that I want to roll her. She might be the real deal. Why is she affiliated with a bunch of assclowns like Little & Shallow and Cheeseney?
Oh God. Pause. Behind her, Jack and Jackie O and Waylon and Jessie. Did anybody ask anybody about this? This might be the single most hamfisted fucking stupid thing I've ever seen during the performance of a country song ever. Ed, you're really fucking stupid. What DOES this mean? Could you explain this to me in 50 words or less? Could you do it in a hundred? This is exactly the kind of shit I'm talking about when I'm talking about shit. Look at that stage right now...there are umpteen hardcore, talented musicians with brains standing out there either playing beautifully or faking it for the cameras, but one thing is uniform throughout the whole group because they all have brains...they all just glanced over their shoulders and asked themselves, "what the fuck?"
Desi and Lucy. Please tell me there are people in the audience laughing hysterically. This is ridiculous. Are you embarrassed Gretchen? Of course you are. You tried to sing your song and they insisted on this stupid shit. Ed, you're a shameless cocksucker like your puppets Big & Rich.
One last commercial from Big & Rich. Shameless.
Okay, here we go. Finally, Alison Krauss & Union Station plus Jerry Douglas, the best Dobro player on earth. Great Ed, your fucking monkeys in the booth fucked up her mic. Jesus Christ, pause. Hey Ed!!! You dumbass!!! The most talented performer all night just kicked off her song with a fucked up mic level. Is it that fucking hard? Who's running this show? I'm sorry Alison. I'm sorry you've graced us with your beautiful voice and talent in a genre and industry that appreciates you about as much as the porn industry appreciates a 57 year old grandmother with the clap. You deserve better than Ed and his minions of evil. You've played in bombed out shit-holes, just this side of Branson, Missouri where there was barely more than one outlet, and yet your mic was on when you started singing. Guess what? You just launched into a song on the stage of Madison Square Garden and that wasn't the case. How long, oh Lord, how long?
God job Alison
Lee Ann Rimes and Tony Soprano...Tony thanks the Army. Class individual.
Female Vocalist of the Year
She's drunk like last year
Evans, Krauss, McBride, Gretchen, Womack
Gretchen Wilson. Why not?
Dierks Bentley singing. Here's another guy everybody's trying to convince me about. Hey Ed, the whole "performer sitting, singing a few bars, then handing his guitar to the roadie as he ascends to the main stage where the band launches into power chords in front of splashy lights" thing is tired. Try harder next time. Not a bad song, wouldn't cut it in Austin, but, Fast forward...
Vince Gill is back.
Oh God. Alabama. Christ. Pause. Hey, I hate Alabama, it's no secret. That whole dirty, Eagles underbelly of the thing really drove some nails into real country's coffin. But, before we continue, what's the real issue with TONIGHT'S broadcast? 10-1 says Rascall fucking Flatts comes out and has something to do with this. God I hope I'm wrong.
Mark Herndon freezes and rips off Randy and the bass player from saying anything. The dickheads running the show don't adjust. Classy Ed, really classy. Alabama has made you piles of cash you shit heel, and you cut them off. If I were Randy Owen, I'd find you after the show, and beat you senseless. Just how many turds are involved with this show? Is it a Guiness Record?
Kenny's DUI-death Target commercial runs again. Big whup.
Julie Roberts...wooden, nervous, talentless...fast forward.
Horizon Award as presented by Monty-Gentry
Bentley, Big & Dumb, Lambert, Roberts, Sugarland
Bentley wins. I guess in the big scheme of things, I'd rather it was him. Good for you Dierks.
Wait! Radio station winners! There's Anselmo raising his hand because the worse country station in the world, K102 in Minneapolis, won the major market award for catering to women between 18-54, and not giving three shits about Country music. They're doing a meet & greet down at the Shooter Jennings show this Friday at the Cabooze. If Shooter's sober, he oughta ask whichever moneky Mick and Greg send down there, how often and at what times they play his dad's music on their station. The answer is never and never.
Carrie Underwood...I mean...we all know this is made up shit right? She just whispered 15 cliches in 25 words at the beginning of this song. She's bucking for last year's motto and award: Have these people no fucking shame? Not only will Carrie Underwood be in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart come this time next year, she'll most likely be singing funk leads in a disco cover band somewhere outside of Kalamazoo, Michigan. Jesus take the wheel indeed...
Vocal Group of the Year
Union Station, Diamond Rio, Lonestar, Rascall fucking Flatts, and Sugarland
Rascall fucking Flatts wins. Why? Somebody answer it for me. Give me one reason.
No...wait...pause. Why didn't Rascall Flatts get cut off? Alabama has sold 70 million fucking albums...billions of dollars poured into Nashville...and they got cut off...Rascall Flatts just delivered a dissertation on being stupid and talentless for like, 15 minutes and they cut off Randy Owen, who, like it or not, was the voice of Country Music for TWO FUCKING DECADES. Ed, you're really blowing it tonight. What other tricks do you have up your greasy sleeve?
Wham's singing now. Ronnie does have a good voice, I've said that before. Okay pause. The impression they want you to have is that Kixx (spelling? reality?) is playing that guitar part, but it's that honky in the background with the sweet afro who's doing it. Where's his record deal? Who is he? Was he singing backup and picking acoustic with Lee Ann earlier? Who are THESE people?
This is funny, Kixx ain't doing shit. Is he embarrassed, or is that pile of money he bathes in every night the salve for his conscience?
Wait a minute, they just advertised Martina's 18 Country Classics. Like I said before, just because you can sing in tune and can hold a note, that doesn't make you Ma Carter. Maybe "Independence Day" was a great tune and a great recording, but Loretta only recorded roughly 20 songs like that, and Dolly, maybe 15, and EmmyLou, around 25. I'm not holding my breath over you, and I'd appreciate it if you'd just stop expelling yours in long, overwrought, melodramatic screams of phoney emotion. Have you ever recorded one single song about getting fucked? Do you write your own songs ever? I mean, you've got the money and the time right?
Dolly and Elton...there's no reason to beat these two up. They've made their marks. Maybe now is the time to make the point, however, that Mainstream Country's biggest problem is that it's trying really hard to be Elton John and Billy Joel for some reason, and no one this side of the River Styx from Johnny Cash and June Carter is sure why. Maybe it's appropriate that this little event is occurring. It shows I was right when I said it months and months ago.
But look at Dolly. Wide-eyed and animated. She is genuinely excited to be singing up there. Why couldn't all those chicks on stage before her tonight be half as lively? They weren't. Just like last year. Remember? Right near the end Shania came out and gave out an award as wooden as a sawhorse and Dolly came out on stage not ten minutes later and reminded all of us what living, breathing people looked and acted like.
Shania and Billy Joel to give out the Entertainer of the Year Award...the chickens have indeed come home to roost. Stupid joke Shania. God you're stupid.
She's made of wood, I swear
Cheeseney, Jackson, Keith, Paisley, Urban
Keith Urban wins. I guess if you held a gun to my head, I would have said I preferred Paisley. But, I think the best thing is that Kenny didn't win. Maybe giving the award to someone from Australia who writes his own songs and plays his own guitar is a step in the right direction. Of course he thanks Kenny, who nods his head and looks stupid.
Guess what Keith, I do listen to country music and I do support the industry. Just not the majority of you assclowns. Yet another 3 or so hours of my life I'll never get back.
Please email me and tell me to go fuck myself again Ed Benson...please...pretty please...oh pretty pretty please...