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Tony’s CMA Awards Show Recap

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Do you ever ask someone how they are doing? They often will respond “Good” or “Fine” even if they aren’t. Over the last 6 weeks, if you were to ask the country how it was doing and you had access to the national newscast and the response was “fine”, you may not be getting the authentic response.

The Vegas Shootings at a country show. The Texas Church Shootings at a church. Coincidentally, these two places (at a country concert and place of worship) is where I feel at my safest….until these last 6 weeks.

In the country music world, we just lost an icon struggling with an illness in Glen Campbell and sudden loss of the very young Troy Gentry.

The CMA Awards came along at just the right time.

The country (both the collection of states AND the industry) needed a warm embrace from Nashville. That’s exactly what was delivered in this 51st edition of the CMA’s.
Eric Church wowed from the start with “Amazing Grace” – a performance that was eloquent in the delivery and the implied message. Then, something happened you will not normally see at another type of popular music awards show – egos were put aside and artists in this competitive Music City focused not on charts or awards, but on the healing power of music. I LOVED the transition from “Amazing Grace” to the Hootie sing-a-long “Hold My Hand”. It’s just what the doctor ordered. It proved to be the perfect antithesis to the tragedies and hate we saw unfold at Mandalay Bay or a First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. At the CMA’s, you felt love triumph over hate – if only for 3 hours.

Brad and Carrie show a deft touch of the balancing act between kind words and silly parodies. They knew how to appropriately handle the room and their duties. Tim and Faith provided a nice addition to the pair and you can genuinely feel the respect among some of music’s biggest names. No Kanye moment here.

So many takeaways from the night.

• We are still very much living in the Chris Stapleton era of country
• When you sell 6 million concert tickets in 2 years, you are probably going to win Entertainer of the Year
• Jon Pardi is the real deal
• If you had a dry eye, when the camera panned to the late Troy Gentry’s wife and family, you are made of stone
• I wish Taylor Swift would have accepted for “Better Man” – that could have been a magical tv moment
• Old Dominion deserved more screen time
• Eric Church is trending towards Entertainer of the Year
• Keith Urban’s new song “Female” is heart-felt – sound like it could be something from a movie soundtrack
• Miranda Lambert is carrying the flag for traditionalisms
• Pink can hang out in Nashville anytime
• Sugarland is getting back together?
• Chevy loves the CMA Awards
• Man, a lot of country songs mention Chevy trucks
• Let’s sign up Brad and Carrie for another 10 years
• Where can I buy a Carrie Underwood lamp shade dress for my wife?
• Carrie Underwood can light up a room

Overall grade A

I spent a good chunk of it from the KCAU newsroom. In a night of honest words and gestures, I couldn’t muster the courage to inform the Channel 9 squad I never did well on camera in the tv classes I took in college. They invited me on-air anyway. During a night where acceptance, camaraderie and love were on display, a goofy bald guy gave his opinion on America’s greatest format – country music.

Here’s hoping country music will be the soundtrack to a day where we can answer “fine” and mean it.

Tony Michaels
KSUX Program Director
Sioux City, IA