With the CMA Awards right around the corner, we’re gonna be spending the next few weeks looking back at some of the wildest moments over the course of the past 56 years.
And one thing that’s been clear over the years is that Alan Jackson has never been afraid to make a statement.
There was of course his shot at the Nashville music industry that he took with his 1999 duet with George Strait, “Murder on Music Row.”
But even before that, there was Alan’s protest at the ACM Awards back in 1994 when he had his drummer play without drumsticks after being told that he would have to perform with a pre-recorded track.
And then in 1999, when the CMA Awards were only going to give the legendary George Jones enough time to play an abridged version of his song “Choices,” Jackson took matters into his own hands and abruptly stopped his performance of his own song “Pop-a-Top” and launched into his own performance of “Choices.”
Jackson has also been outspoken on the state of country music, lamenting the loss of that traditional country sound that so many grew up on:
“I’m such a fan of country music. I just feel like it’s fading away, the real roots.
It’s always been up and down but usually there’s just a little bit of it hanging on. Now, I just feel like it’s getting further and further away, and it’s makin’ me sad.”
And country awards shows are no exception to the changing country music landscape: In fact, they seem to be leading the charge.
Every year we see these awards shows trot out pop stars, athletes, celebrities, and actors and actresses who have nothing to do with country music in a failing attempt to reach out to a wider audience, while all it really does is alienate actual fans of country music who are quickly losing interest in the shows.
Before the 2016 CMA Awards, Alan Jackson was asked about this trend and his hopes for the 50th anniversary edition of the awards show:
“Yeah, they may play some real country music.
But I understand the dang television station trying to get the ratings with whatever they think is gonna prop it up, with some big event with some other type of artist on there.
Yeah, hopefully it’ll be a good country music show for a change.”
And that was at least partially the case.
The show opened with a performance from some of the legends of country (including Jackson) performing some of the biggest country hits of all time – artists like Charlie Daniels, Reba, Randy Travis, Charley Pride, and Vince Gill.
The show even featured a Jackson and George Strait performing a duet of their own songs “Remember When” and “Troubadour.”
But the producers of the CMA Awards just couldn’t help themselves.
They also invited Beyoncé to perform with the Dixie Chicks, a decision that left many scratching their heads on a night that was supposed to be celebrating 50 years of the Country Music Awards.
And apparently Alan Jackson wasn’t a fan.
According to one Nashville manager interviewed by Billboard, Jackson stood up from his seat in the front row and walked out in the middle of the performance:
“The overall show was great, but in my opinion that seemed out of place and felt forced. It just didn’t fit the night to me, celebrating the 50 years, and the Dixie Chicks seemed like her backup band on it, without enough of a real shout-out to them.
I was sitting behind Alan Jackson, and he actually stood up from the front row and walked out in middle of the performance, so I think that spoke volumes for the traditional, real country acts.”
Jackson wasn’t the only country artist who was unhappy with the decision to have a pop artist performing during what’s supposed to be “country’s biggest night.” Travis Tritt also took to Twitter to mock and express his displeasure with the decision:
I have nothing against Beyoncé. It's the CMA producers that I'm disappointed in. Country doesn't need pop acts for ratings.
This year’s CMA Awards will take place on Wednesday, November 8 at 8pm/7pm central, and will be hosted by…Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning once again. I guess there weren’t ANY other country artists who could host alongside Luke, eh?
I guess we’ll see which other pop artists or celebrities the CMA Awards decides to trot out this year in a failing attempt to boost their ratings.
The 57th Annual CMA Awards Nominees
Lainey Wilson is leading the pack with a whopping nine nominations, and first-time nominee Jelly Roll leads all male artists with five nominations. Luke Combs and HARDY have four nominations each.
No Tyler Childers, no Mike and the Moonpies, no Colter Wall, no Kaitlin Butts, no 49 Winchester, no Charles Wesley Godwin, no Charley Crockett in sight. Hell, Zach Bryan, arguably the biggest thing in country music at the moment, could only muster up a “New Artist” nomination.
The 57th Annual CMA Awards will once again be hosted by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning as the ceremony broadcasts live from Nashville Wednesday, November 8th.
And the nominees are…
Little Big Town
Zac Brown Band
Brooks & Dunn
Dan + Shay
Maddie & Tae
The War And Treaty
“Fast Car”; Luke Combs; Producer: Luke Combs, Chip Matthews, Jonathon Singleton; Mix Engineer: Chip Matthews
“Heart Like A Truck”; Lainey Wilson; Producer: Jay Joyce; Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce
“Need A Favor”; Jelly Roll; Producer: Austin Nivarel; Mix Engineer: Jeff Braun
“Next Thing You Know”; Jordan Davis; Producer: Paul DiGiovanni; Mix Engineer: Jim Cooley
“Wait In The Truck”; Hardy f/Lainey Wilson; Producers: Hardy, Joey Moi, Jordan Schmidt, Derek Wells; Mix Engineer: Joey Moi
Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville; Producers: John Osborne, John Peets; Mix Engineers: Gena Johnson, John Osborne
Bell Bottom Country; Lainey Wilson; Producer: Jay Joyce; Mix Engineers: Jason Hall, Jay Joyce
Gettin’ Old; Luke Combs; Producers Luke Combs, Chip Matthews, Jonathan Singleton; Mix Engineers: Michael H. Brauer, Jim Cooley, Chip Matthews
One Thing At A Time; Morgan Wallen Producers: Jacob Durrett, Charlie Handsome, Joey Moi, Cameron Montgomery Mix Engineers: Josh Ditty, Joey Moi, Eivind Nordland
Rolling Up the Welcome Mat; Kelsea Ballerini Producers: Kelsea Ballerini, Alysa Vanderheym; Mix Engineers: Dan Grech-Marguerat, Alysa Vanderheym
“Fast Car”; Songwriter: Tracy Chapman
“Heart Like A Truck”; Songwriters: Trannie Anderson, Dallas Wilson, Lainey Wilson
“Next Thing You Know”; Songwriters: Jordan Davis, Greylan James, Chase McGill, Josh Osborne
“Tennessee Orange”; Songwriters: David Fanning, Paul Jenkins, Megan Moroney, Ben Williams
“Wait In The Truck”; Songwriters: Renee Blair, Michael Hardy, Hunter Phelps, Jordan Schmidt
“Save Me”; Jelly Roll w/Lainey Wilson; Producers: Zach Crowell, David Ray Stevens
“She Had Me At Heads Carolina (Remix)” Cole Swindell & Jo Dee Messina; Producer: Zach Crowell
“Thank God”; Kane Brown w/Katelyn Brown; Producer: Dann Huff
“Wait In The Truck”; Hardy f/Lainey Wilson; Producers: Hardy, Joey Moi, Jordan Schmidt, Derek Wells
“We Don’t Fight Anymore”; Carly Pearce f/Chris Stapleton; Producers: Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Carly Pearce
“Light On In The Kitchen”; Ashley McBryde; Director: Reid Long
“Memory Lane”; Old Dominion; Directors: Mason Allen, Nicki Fletcher
“Need A Favor”; Jelly Roll; Director: Patrick Tohill
“Next Thing You Know”; Jordan Davis; Director: Running Bear
“Wait In The Truck”; Hardy f/Lainey Wilson; Director: Justin Clough