This evening, Kane Brown and Ashley McBryde are set to host the 2020 CMT Awards with the help of actress Sarah Hyland. If you’re unfamiliar, this particular award show is solely based around music videos and television performances throughout the year.
And while there’s some big-name star power with the likes of Carrie Underwood, Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert and others, there isn’t a ton to get excited about for those who skew towards the traditionalist taste in modern country music. Long story short: it’s mostly a pop country snoozefest and incredibly gimmicky production from CMT.
What I wanted to do was go through each category and give my alternative picks for each award with the “indie” and “underground” scene in mind.
So without further ado, here are your 2020 CMT Music Awards Winners… the alternative edition.
Video Of The Year
Actual Nominees: Carrie Underwood “Drinking Alone”, Keith Urban “Polaroid”, Kelsea Ballerni “Homecoming Queen?”, Luke Combs “Beer Never Broke My Heart”, Miranda Lambert “Bluebird”, Tanya Tucker “Bring My Flowers Now”
Alternative Winner: Tyler Childers – “Country Squire”
In August 2019, Tyler Childers dropped his highly anticipated album Country Squire. The title track of the album got this amazing video, which was released in July of this year. The animated video was a unique take on the rare lighthearted song from Childers. Both he and artist, Colonel Tony Moore knocked this one out of the park.
Female Video Of The Year
Actual Nominees: Ashley McBryde “One Night Standards”, Carrie underwood “Drinking Alone”, Gabby Barrett “I Hope”, Kelsea Ballerini “Homecoming Queen?”, Maren Morris “The Bones”, Miranda Lambert “Bluebird”
Alternative Winner: Jaime Wyatt – “Neon Cross”
If you’re not familiar with Jaime Wyatt you should change that. She’s a bad-ass woman whose music addresses her criminal past, addiction, and recovery. This song is the title track of her most recent album. I’m an absolute sucker for the dive bar aesthetics throughout the video.
Male Video Of The Year
Actual Nominees: Jason Aldean “Got What I Got”, Luke Bryan – “One Margarita”, Luke Combs – “Even Though I’m Leaving”, Morgan Wallen – “Chasin’ You (Dream Video)”, Sam Hunt – “Hard To Forget”, Thomas Rhett – “Remember You Young”
Alternative Winner: Charley Crockett – “Run Horse Run”
One of my favorite releases from 2020 was Charley Crockett’s Welcome To Hard Times and “Run Horse Run” might just be the best song off the album. The video features Crockett in a Western theme with horses, trains, and beautiful cinematic shots to perfectly accompany the fast-paced song.
Group Video Of The Year
Actual Nominees: Lady A – “Champagne Night”, Little Big Town – “Wine, Beer, Whiskey”, Midland – “Cheatin’ Songs (Live From the Palomino)”, Old Dominion – “One Man Band”, The Chicks – “Gaslighter”, The Highwomen – “Crowded Table”
Alternative Winner: Whiskey Myers – “Bury My Bones”
In September of 2019, Whiskey Myers dropped their fifth studio album which was self-titled. On that album was this gem of a song that features an even more impressive music video. The video tackles the difficult reality that veterans face with PTSD. Some parts are hard to watch but the overall message is an important one.
Duo Video Of The Year
Actual Nominees: Brothers Osborne – “All Night (Studio Performance)”, Dan + Shay – “I Should Probably Go To Bed”, Florida Georgia Line – “Blessings”, LOCASH – “One Big Country Song”, Maddie & Tae – “Die From A Broken Heart”
Alternative Winner: Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen – “Rodeo Clown”
If you’re familiar with the Texas scene, you have to know Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen. The two often team up and this fun and at times silly song is Texas Country gold. I’m instantly hooked from the beginning when Randy and Wade come rolling into the video in a barrel.
Breakthrough Video Of The Year
Actual Nominees: Blanco Brown – “The Git Up”, Caylee Hammack – “Family Tree”, Gabby Barrett – “I Hope”, Ingrid Andress – “More Hearts Than Mine”, Riley Green – “I Wish Grandpas Never Died”, Travis Denning – “After a Few”
Alternative Winner: Jesse Daniel – “Rollin On”
The second the guitar riff starts in the beginning of the song you get Dwight Yoakam vibes. Daniel isn’t a household name just yet but if he continues to drop songs like this, he should be. Something about the VHS quality video is pleasing to the eye to go along with the old school sound of the guitar in the song.
Collaborative Video of the Year
Actual Nominees: Blake Shelton with Gwen Stefani – “Nobody But You”, Carly Pearce and Lee Brice – “I Hope You’re Happy Now”, Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber – “10,000 Hours”, Kane Brown featuring Nelly – “Cool Again”, Marshmello and Kane Brown – “One Thing Right”, Thomas Rhett featuring Jon Pardi – “Beer Can’t Fix”
Alternative Winner: Evan Felker and Carrie Rodriguez “Whiskey In Your Water”
In late 2019, we got signs of life from Evan Felker, who at that point was quiet for months after Turnpike went on a hiatus. He’s since gotten clean and seems primed for a return to music but hearing Evan and Carrie sing this one together warmed the hearts of red dirt fans everywhere at the time.
CMT Performance of the Year
Actual Nominees: CMT Artists of the Year: Ashley McBryde – “One Night Standards”, CMT Crossroads: Brooks & Dunn and Luke Combs – “Brand New Man”, CMT Artists of the Year: Chris Young – “Drowning”, CMT Crossroads: Halsey and Kelsea Ballerini – “Graveyard”, CMT Artists of the Year: Sam Hunt – “Fancy”, CMT Crossroads: Sheryl Crow and Chris Stapleton – “Tell Me When It’s Over”
Alternative Winner: CMT Crossroads: Sheryl Crow & Jason Isbell “Everything Is Broken”
Everything Jason Isbell touches musically turns to gold and this is no different. “Everything Is Broken” was originally recorded by Bob Dylan, but this performance from these two legends is one of the better covers that I’ve heard.