Wednesday, May 21, 2008

That Country Crowd

Watching the Academy of Country Music Awards the other night I started thinking about how many of country's current crop of stars seem inauthentic. And, I'm also troubled by the fact that these awards shows rarely showcase country's best.
For example, Dwight Yoakam was a presenter but he didn't perform. That's a shame because Dwight is one of the most electrifying country performers I've ever seem.
Thank goodness Reba McEntire hosted the event. Reba is the quintessential country star: great looks, great voice, great personality. She's got it all.
But it gets dreary watching Kenny Chesney win the "Entertainer of the Year" Award again and again. This miniature beach bum is such a shameless self-promoter that it's almost pitiful.
On the other hand Montgomery Gentry are just as they are. Troy and Eddie are irrepressible crowd pleasures and they exude so must testosterone that it restores your faith in the future of manhood.
And I always enjoy seein the beautiful Leann Rimes -- what a powerhouse. LeeAnn can sing most any type of song but she remains a country music giant. I also like another Lee Ann - the grogeous and talented Lee Ann Womack.
I was happy that Brad Paisley was honored but I wish he would do fewer novelty numbers and show us a more serious side.
And I find that Keith Urban brings an enormous amount of depth and sensitivity to his performances.
Also, Trace Adkins was in fine form and it's great to see how he has grown as an artist with a newly-diverse repertoire. His new song, "You're Gonna Miss This" is a poignant country classic.
And Garth Brooks was back (Did he ever really retire?) and regrettably as self-absorbed as ever.
But why in hell was Dr. Phil on the show? Can someone tell me what this windbag has to do with country music?
Of course, King George (Strait) doesn't really have to sing if he doesn't want to. All he has to do is show up. Any country gathering become an official EVENT when the King Is In The House!
BTW: Of the two annual country awards shows I much prefer the Country Music Association Awards from Nashville. The ACM Awards and Show are the Real Deal!

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