2011: bring on the awards (unfortunately)
Jeffrey Remz | January 3, 2011
2011 has just started, and immediately - and I do mean immediately - we are bombarded by awards shows.
I have never been a big fan of these affairs - in country, there are the Academy of Country Music awards, the Country Music Association awards, the CMT awards and a newcomer, the American Country Awards, which debuted (none too well) in December in that country hotbed of Vegas.
Part of the problem is that the awards focuses everything on winning the awards instead of the quality of the music. It's sort of akin to teaching students to the state exam, instead of educating them for education's sake.
So, here it is the first Monday in the new year, and the ACMs announced that the candidates for top new solo artist and new vocal duo or group are on the ballot.
Eric Church, Easton Corbin and Randy Houser are contending for the top new solo vocalist. Sorry, but I thought Church has been around for a good long time now and isn't all that new. His debut, "Sinners Like Me," came out July 18, 2006. I would not call someone whose first disc came out 4 ½ years ago and gained airplay and critical praise a newbie. Corbin and Houser more squarely fit into that category, although Houser's "Anything Goes" debut came out in November 2008.
As for the groups category, less issue there at least in terms of being a newcomer. All three groups - The Band Perry, The JaneDear Girls and Steel Magnolia - have or are about to release (Steel Magnolia's CD comes out later this month, not sure about The JaneDear Girls).
Of course, this points out another issue. How can a band like The JaneDear Girls even be nominated without having anything more than one single out (Wildflower). If that's all it takes to get nominated, we are in bad shape, country music fans. Steel Magnolia at least has at least had a five-song EP out in February 2010.
The announcement is news, but not necessarily so welcome. Label it a ho-hum way to start 2011.