Tradition Reigns at the ACM Awards

Tradition Reigns at the ACM Awards May 16, 2024

Image: ACM

The Academy of Country Music Awards show last night on Amazon was a pageant of contemporary stars, new music, aged icons, pop stars, football players, and classic Country. (FYI Prime was not required to watch the show live last night, but it might be now?) In my description of what was obviously an eclectic mix, don’t hear that this was a show dedicated to the pop-driven components of contemporary Country music that you might be used to if you listen to the modern radio.

Instead, for all the new, trendy, and pop-music highlights present at the awards, no one can doubt that last nights awards show was deeply, deeply, dedicated to the best of what makes Country Music unique and wonderful. Yes, Post Malone was there, but he was backed up by steel guitars and fiddles and singing “I’ll love you ’till tomorrow and I’ll never love you again.” Which is about the most Country thing you can imagine.

Hosted by Reba McEntire (with an assist from Bobby Bones), highlights of the night included

  • the aforementioned Post Malone performance (no surprise there, he is famously a fan of Country music–to the point of bringing back the Nudie Suit);
  • the tribute to Toby Keith by Jason Aldean. Specifically, I was surprised that they picked Aldean for the tribute, and surprised again that instead of picking Keith’s “Don’t let the old man in“, Aldean opted for a respectful and solemn version of “Shoulda’ Been a Cowboy.” Frankly, Aldean knocked it out of the park.
  • Kane Brown’s performance of “Georgia on my Mind”, both a fresh take on the song and a fair tribute to the Ray Charles’ standard.
  • The mention of Randy Travis’ new song made with “positive AI.” I… will have to think about this. I’ve seen Terminator (all of them), and I know where AI ends. But at the same time, Randy Travis is still alive and certainly needs the help. So again, I’ll have to think more about it.
  • The closing credits– I know the fast edit is a thing and has been for a while. Maybe it’s just because I’m an old man, but I was still thrown to see a clip of Reba’s closing song snipped into the closing montage.
  • Reba McEntire’s ironic performance of “I Can’t.” Yes, she does in fact still have it.

There’s a lot of other things that could be said–the sound options are always interesting. No doubt Amazon’s tech folks tear their hair out trying to balance good sound for the thousands of people there and good sound for those of us watching at home. These are not the same thing, and at times it didn’t sound to me the way it could have with a different mix. We could also think about this as Christians. While we don’t have to pay attention to every nook and cranny of every genre, we should pay attention to the general course of the entertainment landscape, because we’re part of that landscape too (and have to job of reaching others in it). We could also note the increasingly diverse world of Country music–Jelly Roll would not have been featured even 10 years ago in any Country show, let alone the more historically-minded ACM show.

To recap, the Academy of Country Music Awards show was fantastic, respectful and representative of the long tradition of Country music while highlighting current trends driving Country radio. The Country Music Association should take note.

Dr. Coyle Neal is co-host of the City of Man Podcast an Amazon Associate (which is linked in this blog), and an Associate Professor of Political Science at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO

"One noteworthy series in this area is valuable lessons in law. This series helps young ..."

The Law
"The longevity of Parker's lectures and teachings after his death is no more surprising than ..."

Proclaiming Christ Still
"The Law. Exploring educational books about the law for kids is a crucial step in ..."

The Law
"Juggling work and studies can be overwhelming, which is why I sought help with my ..."

Common Grace, 3.70

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!