Drum Roll ... Is Country Music One Big Party?
April 4, 2014
Jimmy Carter in his homebase Nashville.
Six month cycles ... Country music gets a makeover every six months when a three-hour national infomercial airs on network television for "America's favorite music." These shows get the genre's biggest audiences of the year and leave images real and imagined. They are big deals!
ACM's are a rite of Spring, so will we see a short-sleeve version of the CMAs or will new ground be plowed and new seeds sowed? Going in, you get the feeling it's a Blake, Miranda, Luke show..
I have not seen a format but why, as I write this, do I think maybe the Doobie Bros will pop up, or someone like that.? Stevie Wonder did that last year. The classic rock/ '70s and '80s hitmakers are trying to get into the Country charts in the worst way. John Fogerty, Stevie Nicks, The Doobies, Lionel Richie ... I could go on. The Beach Boys even tried as did Wayne Newton in the '9's. Nothing new about any of that. ( The Beach Boy Country duet CD was fun)
Trying to think if anyone is on the brink of stardom this season. Not really. The Blake Shelton fame shows no sign of leveling off. He is the star of TV, radio and concerts. His co-host wingman is Luke Bryan. His star is too hot to stare at and he could repeat as Entertainer of the Year. Both are at the top of the game.
Now this is where the nostalgia might break out. The tour for King George is winding up, so you make him Entertainer of the Year. There is a high move on to vote that idea in. Awarding George might just be a salute to that generation of performers, too. After all, huge names are missing in action from this show. It's the new kids now who have almost taken over the store. Not going to name names, but the former A-listers missing on the award show circuit is getting pretty large. Go back just four years ... where are all those big names today?
The teenaged /early-20s girls have ascended Taylor Swift to the heavens ... Those stars are like Haley's Comet; they come around very rarely. Anyone see another Taylor on the horizon or bullpen? I don't.
Who new or even semi-new will come out of this ACM show with a headline or even a sentence? Brett Eldridge, maybe? Hopefully something magical will occur. Some great moments of spontaneity ... anything to keep this from getting stale.. You have three hours to fill ... a very long time if things aren't cooking on HIGH.
The labels are working very hard to break a few of the females into A-list areas but the glass ceiling seems even stronger these days. Miranda can't be the only female voice tolerable to Country radio audiences. Girls, try some party songs. It works for the boys. Sara Evans sounded good on my radio this week!
It still feels weird for a Country TV spectacle not to have the Rebas, Alans, Martinas, Oaks, Ronnie Milsaps, Vince Gills. Maybe the rap-running artist should take a page from Pat Benatar this week and play "Ring of Fire." She did that opening for Cher and hard-rock version and it smoked. There has to be a way to recycle the Platinum stars of the past few years into contemporary radio. Is Country now the new pop? Just party music? Alien to its heritage? Or is this just a phase? Hmm ... Can't wait to see the ACMs take on what Country music is April of 2014. It will set the tone for the CMTs and CMAs, so good luck, Vegas Country folks.