For this one we’re taking it back to 1994, and what, in my mind, is the greatest country music awards show moment in history.
And what a year that was…I was 6 years old, The Lion King was in theaters, O.J. was running from the cops in a white Ford Bronco, beloved rock legend Kurt Cobain passed away, Slick Willie was the President of the United States, and…
Alan Jackson was giving a big fat middle finger to the Academy of Country Music with his performance of “Gone Country” at the 29th Annual ACM Awards
Although Jackson ended up taking home quite a few awards and was nominated for a bunch of others, he got pissed when producers told him that he had to perform with a pre-recorded backing track.
Alan was, and still is, an old school dude. You don’t lip sync, you don’t use pre-recorded tracks… live music is live music and there is no faking it.
So what did Alan do?
He sent his drummer Bruce Rutherford out there with no drumsticks.
That’s right, ol’ Bruce is behind the drum kit just waving his hands around like a mad man at nothing… absolutely priceless.
What a legend.
You see, Alan knew how to make a point, ruffle some feathers, and let his opinion be known without making a huge scene. A guy like Waylon Jennings would just walk his ass out and not perform (which he did, a number of times). But Alan knew how to be subtle, yet effective.
Alan, who was also co-hosted the ceremony alongside Reba McEntire that night, was also interviewed by Dick Clark back stage. And of course, Dick had some questions about why Alan was wearing a cutoff Hank Williams shirt at a rather formal gathering.
Alan’s response was classic Alan:
“Well, I love Hank, and I get a lot of gifts on the road playing, and a fan gave me this shirt.
I just saw it in the closet before I came out here this weekend and I grabbed it and said, ‘I’m gonna wear it for my song,’ you know, ‘Gone Country.’ Hank’s country.”
Like I said… LEGEND.
At the CMA Awards in 1999, Alan would deliver a protest performance of George Jones’ “Choices” after the show cut Possum’s own performance slot down.
Alan thought it was bullshit that they wanted George Jones to cut time (George declined to even attend after that), and in a show of solidarity, Alan performed a George Jones song during the second half of his own time on stage.