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2012 CMA Nominations

They’re out!  What are your thoughts on this year’s CMA nominations?  Discuss in the comments section.

Entertainer of the Year 

Jason Aldean
Kenny Chesney
Brad Paisley
Blake Shelton
Taylor Swift

Female Vocalist of the Year

Kelly Clarkson
Miranda Lambert
Martina McBride
Taylor Swift
Carrie Underwood

Male Vocalist of the Year

Jason Aldean
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Blake Shelton
Keith Urban

Vocal Group of the Year

The Band Perry
Eli Young Band
Lady Antebellum
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo of the Year

Big & Rich
Love and Theft
Sugarland
The Civil Wars
Thompson Square

New Artist of the Year

Lee Brice
Brantley Gilbert
Hunter Hayes
Love and Theft
Thompson Square

Album of the Year (Awarded to artist and producer)

Luke Bryan, Tailgates and Tanlines - Produced by Jeff Stevens and Mark Bright

Eric Church, Chief - Produced by Jay Joyce

Miranda Lambert, Four the Record - Produced by Frank Liddell, Chuck Ainlay, and Glenn Worf

Dierks Bentley, Home - Produced by Brett Beavers, Luke Wooten, and Jon Randall Stewart

Lady Antebellum, Own the Night  - Produced by Paul Worley and Lady Antebellum

Song of the Year (Awarded to songwriters)

Eli Young Band, “Even if It Breaks Your Heart” – Will Hoge and Eric Paslay

Blake Shelton, “God Gave Me You” – Dave Barnes

Dierks Bentley, “Home” – Dierks Bentley, Dan Wilson and Brett Beavers

Miranda Lambert, “Over You” – Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton

Eric Church, “Springsteen” – Eric Church, Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell

Single of the Year (Awarded to artist and producer)

Jason Aldean, “Dirt Road Anthem” – Produced by Michael Knox

Blake Shelton, “God Gave Me You” – Produced by Scott Hendricks

Dierks Bentley, “Home” – Produced by Brett Beavers and Luke Wooten

Little Big Town, “Pontoon” – Produced by Jay Joyce

Eric Church, “Springsteen” – Produced by Jay Joyce

Musical Event of the Year

“Dixie Highway,” Alan Jackson and Zac Brown Band

“Feel Like a Rock Star,” Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw

“Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die,” Willie Nelson featuring Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson and Jamey Johnson

“Safe and Sound,” Taylor Swift featuring the Civil Wars

“Stuck on You,” Lionel Richie and Darius Rucker

Music Video of the Year (Awarded to artist and director)

Eric Church, “Springsteen” – Directed by Peter Zavadil

Kenny Chesney, “Come Over” – Directed by Shaun Silva

Miranda Lambert, “Over You” – Directed by Trey Fanjoy

Little Big Town, “Pontoon” – Directed by Declan Whitebloom

Toby Keith, “Red Solo Cup” – Directed by Michael Salomon

Musician of the Year

Sam Bush
Paul Franklin
Dann Huff
Brent Mason
Mac McAnally

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 5, 2012 in News and Events

 

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Chris Young – “Neon”

Songwriters:  Shane McAnally, Joan Osborne, Trevor Rosen

At this point, it’s almost hard to believe that just a few short years ago, Chris Young was a cowboy-hatted Nashville Star alum struggling to get airplay with singles that were generally solid, but ‘too country’ for the market.  Fast forward to 2012, and “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song)” has long since gained him admittance into the instant add club, and he has become a reliable hitmaker who continues to make country radio a little more listenable one steel-laden hit single at a time.

Though his song material has at times failed him, the title track and current single from his album Neon finds that rich neotraditional country voice sounding better than ever.  Young tackles the song’s verses with appealing subtlety, and then pours himself full-on into the chorus with a quiet intensity, while backed with fiddle and steel that just sounds pure country delicious.

Complementing the beautiful production arrangement and Young’s committed vocal performance, songwriters Shane McAnally, Joan Osborne, and Trevor Rosen provide a solid set of lyrics to complete the trifecta.  The lyrics combine imagery of Wyoming skies and Santa Fe sunsets with a few clever turns of phrase here and there, all without compromising the natural ease of flow.  It all leads to a familiar everyman destination that has been the setting of many a classic country song – the honky-tonk.  All the while, little details in the chorus place the listener right in the midst of the scene, with “a little Johnny Lee” playing on the jukebox in the corner.

With a contemporary spin on a classic country theme, and a melody that wouldn’t sound out-of-place during the glory days of the nineties, “Neon” sounds worthy of neotrad stalwarts such as George Strait and Alan Jackson, with a dash of Clay Walker thrown in for good measure.  Thus, “Neon” turns out a most refreshing, invigorating slice of contemporary country music in all its rich, twangy glory, making it arguably Young’s finest single to date.  If country radio retains any amount of good taste, this single should follow its predecessors right up the charts.

CHRIS’S SCORE:  9
(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10)

 
5 Comments

Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Single Reviews

 

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Alan Jackson – “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore”

Songwriters:  Jay Knowles, Adam Wright

Simply put, this is Alan Jackson’s finest single in over half a decade.  Humble, genuinely sincere, achingly honest, and beautifully sung – all the qualities of Jackson’s finest songs this one possesses in spades.

As the song’s brokenhearted narrator faces the impending breakup, he expresses total willingness to accept all of the blame for the relationship’s demise.  He gives no second thought to the effect on his reputation as he tells his ex “When you and your friends talk/ Make it all my fault/ Tell ‘em I’m rotten to the core/ I’ll let it all slide/ Get ‘em all on your side/ So you don’t have to love me anymore.”

The song paints a powerful picture of selfless love, as the narrator resigns himself to doing whatever it takes to allow his former lover to find closure, offering to “keep all those memories of the good times… So when you think of you and me, they won’t even cross your mind.”  Perhaps the most gut-wrenching moment is when he promises “If you need me to make your cry, I don’t want to but I’ll try,” which is thanks in no small part to Jackson’s plaintive delivery.  This is clearly a song about a man who is in a dark, dark place emotionally, and such is the making of a country music classic.  Indirectly, “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” hones in on a sad truth that most great country artists know all too well:  Once you’ve lost the one you love, nothing else matters.  Nothing.

Though Jackson’s commercial fortunes have lately been on a gradual decline along with the quality of his recent material, it sure would be a shame for country radio to let this great song slip through its fingers.  After a few years of hearing Jackson sing about everything from bologna to bug-infested margaritas, it’s extremely refreshing to once again hear him pour his rich voice into a song that is, not just “pretty good,” and not just so-so, but something truly great.  “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore” ranks among Alan Jackson’s best work to date; which, for a legend of such lofty stature, is no small distinction.

Flawless.

ALAN’S SCORE:  10
(Scores are given on a scale of 1 to 10) 

 
7 Comments

Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Single Reviews

 

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