The CMA Awards air tonight at 8 p.m. on ABC. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood host.
Here are my picks:
Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church and Miranda Lambert
I’ve never been a Garth fan, still not. I’d give this award to Luke.
Female Vocalist of the Year: Kelsea Ballerini, Miranda Lambert, Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood, Lee Ann Womack
Gotta go with Carrie on this one.
Male Vocalist of the Year: Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Blake Shelton and Chris Stapleton
I’d give the vote to Josh Thompson, but since he’s not nominated I’m going with Blake.
Vocal Group of the Year: Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, The Band Perry, Zac Brown Band
Ok, this is a tired list with no surprises. LBT to win.
Vocal Duo of the Year: Brothers Osborne, Dan + Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Maddie & Tae, Thompson Square
Now this is a list with some new energy. Gotta go with the Maryland boys: Brothers Osborne
New Artist of the Year: Kelsea Ballerini, Sam Hunt, Maddie & Tae, Thomas Rhett, Chris Stapleton
Easy … Thomas Rhett!
Album of the Year: “Old Boots, New Dirt” Jason Aldean, “Pageant Material” Kacey Musgraves, “Pain Killer” LBT, “The Big Revival” Kenny Chesney, “Traveller” Chris Stapleton
I bought quite a few albums (CDs) in the past year, but none of these. I’ll wildly guess Jason Aldean on this one.
Single of the Year: “American Kids” Chesney, “Girl Crush” LBT, “I Don’t Dance,” Lee Brice, “Take Your Time,” Sam Hunt and “Talladega,” Eric Church
Song of the Year: “American Kids,” “Girl Crush,” “Like A Cowboy,” “Like a Wrecking Ball” and “Take Your Time”
Sorry to see Randy Houser didn’t get a Male Vocalist of the Year nod this year, so going with “Like A Cowboy,” with his sensational delivery of this song which recently went Gold.
Vocal Event of the Year: “Django and Jimmie” Willie and Merle, “Lonely Tonight” Blake and Ashley, “Raise ‘Em Up” Keith and Eric, “Smokin’ and Drinkin'” Miranda and LBT, “Wild Child” Kenny and Grace Potter
Raise ’em up for “Raise ‘Em Up.”
Music Video of the Year: “Biscuits” Kacey Musgraves, “Girl Crush” LBT, “Girl in a Country Song” Maddie & Tae, “Little Red Wagon,” Miranda, and “Something in the Water” Carrie.
“Girl in a Country Song,” just fun and funny.
Coming soon: The SGMA (Sue Guynn Music Awards) awards. No statue, buckle or fancy award and no Brad or Carrie, just one-of-a-kind distinctions.
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Look for a new band to make the Vocal Group of the Year in 2016 award shows.
Old Dominion, hailing from Maryland’s neighbor to the south, Virginia, is striking harmonious chords with (country) music fans with their debut single, “Break Up With Him,” which hit the top spot this week on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. It’s also RIAA Gold-certified. What’s special about this song is that it’s the first song all five members of the band co-wrote.
Individually, each is a songwriter and has had a hand in penning some of country music’s biggest names, biggest hits, including for The Band Perry (“Better Dig Two”), Dierks Bentley (“Say You Do”), Blake Shelton (“Sangria”), Sam Hunt (“Ex to See”), Tyler Farr (“A Guy Walks Into a Bar”) and Craig Morgan (“Wake Up Loving You,” which should get an award for the Best Use of An Alarm Clock in a country song). Luke Bryan, Keith Urban and Kenny Chesney have also recorded songs co-written by the band’s individual songwriters. That’s how OD came to be a band, to play the songs they were writing.
OD will be at the CMA Awards show tonight, and their long-awaited RCA Nashville debut album drops Friday, “Meat and Candy.”
Four of the five (six including the bonus track) of their debut EP made the 11-track RCA Nashville album: “Nowhere Fast,” “Beer Can in a Truck Bed,” “Wrong Turns” and “Break Up With Him.” Yeah, there’s beer and gravel roads, but OD gives those themes a new spin and it’s fun and real with snappy lyrics and new images (for country music anyway) like “lucky stars are lining up,” “a windshield of full of road to run and a gas tank full of freedom,” “sound of the gravel setting the mood” and “wrap ourselves all around each other like a vine of kudzu” (which should get an award for the Best Use of the Word Kudzu). One of my favorites from the EP, from “Like Dirt on a Road,” is “you’re so fly you make a trout want to jump right out the stream.”
A guy and a girl is a common theme in the songs, but the picture is musically and sonically very different in each, from the guy-knows-what’s-on-the-girl’s-mind in “Wrong Turns” to the guy-not-knowing-what-the-girl’s-thinking lyrics of “Half Empty.”
There’s the it’s-just-about-over relationship “Song for Another Time” which takes a cue from the one-liners of several country and pop songs with the country hook of “pretty soon I’ll be so lonesome I could cry, but that’s a song for another time.” (That’s a story idea I’ve had tucked away in my mind, using lines from country songs in character conversations.)
Lead singer Matt Ramsey, multi-instrumentalist Trevor Rosen, drummer Whit Sellers, bassist Geoff Spring and lead guitarist Brad Tursi are Old Dominion and I’m sure they will be new dominance in country for years to come.
OD toured with Kenny Chesney this year, and have already been tapped by Chesney for his 2016 Spread the Love Tour.
“Meat and Candy” sparkles with a fresh sound for country music and five super-talented songwriters who look like they are really having fun performing their songs live. They co-wrote all the tracks on the album.
I give it a 5-yum!
Favorite tracks: “Break Up With Him,” “Beer Can in a Truck Bed,” “Song for Another Time,” “Nowhere Fast,” “Said Nobody” and “We Got It Right”
“Meat and Candy” track list:
1. “Snapback” – Matt Ramsey, Trevor Rosen, Brad Tursi
2. “Half Empty” – Ramsey, Rosen, Matt Jenkins
3. “Wrong Turns” – Ramsey, Rosen, Jenkins
4. “Said Nobody” – Rasmey, Rosen, Tursi
5. “Crazy Beautiful Sexy” – Ramsey, Josh Osborne, Ross Copperman
6. “Nowhere Fast” – Ramsey, Rosen, Jenkins
7. ‘Beer Can In a Truck Bed” – Ramsey, Rosen, Jenkins
8. “Break Up With Him” – Ramsey, Rosen, Tursi, Sprung, Sellers
9. “Song for Another Time” – Ramsey, Rosen, Tursi, Jenkins
10. “Til It’s Over” – Ramsey, Shane McAnally (who produced the album), Ross Copperman
11. “We Got It Right” – Ramsey, McAnally, Copperman