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The ACMs: blow by blow

Jeffrey Remz  |  April 2, 2017

We're going to follow the Academy of Country Music awards tonight blow by blow.

8:00 p.m. - Jason Aldean gets the party started followed by the likes of Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood. All played snippets of their hits and sounded good. Underwood was of ultra-strong voice. No surprise there.

8:06 p.m. or so - Joe Walsh is the surprise icon. The Eagles guitarist joins co-hosts Bryan and Bentley for a very energetic reading of the late Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode." I didn't think this would amount to much, but got to say they all sounded real good. I never hear Bryan belt it out like that.

8:09 p.m. - the intro is lame with Bentley and Bryan showing where they visited in Vegas. Ho hum. Not all that funny especially when they joined the Thunder From Down Under, supposedly. Does Keith Urban, who's name-checked for being from Australia really think it's funny?

8:13 p.m. - Sam Hunt is out performing his current smash "Beauty Like a Back Road." He's got a good groove, but it's really a soulful song like most all of his material and has scarcely anything to do with country. You are what you are. Snuggles with his fiance during the song who's out in the crowd.

8:20 p.m. - Dierks Bentley is out in jeans and white performing his current single "Black." Seems a bit understate vocally. Not a ton of energy there. Is The Edge playing guitar. Sounds like U2 chimey guitar underneath.

8:27 p.m. - Thomas Rhett, Sean Douglas and Joe Spargur win Song of the Year for "Die a Happy Man. "I'm overwhelmed," Rhett said. "I didn't think this was going to happen." He thanked his wife for whom the song was written.

8:29 p.m. - Maren Morris sings "I Could Use a Love Song." Sounds fine, but not the most exciting song either. Kind of middle quality material to these ears. Nice pedal. Next time, though, she should either get a different colored guitar or outfit. Both were white.

8:32 p.m. - Morris won the ACM for Best New Female Artist, which was actually announced earlier, as in weeks ago. "I don't know why I'm in shock right now. I knew this was going to happen." Not sure why she is in shock either then.

8:40 p.m. - After another dull piece by the co-hosts including a wax figure of Bryan, Jason Aldean is out with his current hit "Any Ol' Barstool." More of a slower rock song, although one can hear pedal underneath. Live, one suspects the guitars are blaring for a good chunk of it.

8:43 p.m. - Vocal Duo of the Year - Brothers Osborne! "Oh my God, what the hell," said TJ Osborne, the singer. "What is happening right now? Our parents are here tonight. I'm going to thank them because they believed in us from the time we were babies." Brother John, who plays guitar and owns the big beard, was quite stoked of course. This was a surprise, but somehow Florida Georgia Line never seems to win much.

8:46 p.m. - Miranda Lambert sings her heartfelt "Tin Man," which closes her show (or at least the one I saw in February). Nicely done, simple with her solo on acoustic. Best song tonight by far. Sings the hell out of it. Keeps it nice and simple. No overkill.

8:50 p.m.: Rascal Flatts sings "Yours If You Want It," its latest single. Upbeat, catchy, pop country, of course. These guys have staying power and was not sure they would, but they manage to keep having the hits.

8:57 p.m. - Keith Urban offers his big super hit "Blue Ain't Your Color." He's in black and white on the TV against a somewhat colored background. Nice reading with a good, soulful feel. Can't accuse Urban of being filled with fake flash. Offers a few good guitar licks and doesn't rush the song. Good job.

9:03 p.m.: Little Big Town gets ultra bright with "Happy People." Overkill of color from the floor to the backdrop to Kimberly Schlapmans pantsuit outfit, which has a zero colors. "We all deserve to be happy while we're here," the song concludes. Nice message, albeit ultra simple in trying times.

9:14 p.m. - Lady Antebellum offers "You Look Good,' Their new single with a lively horns section. Okay, it's not country either, but it does sound real good. They sing it real well, especially Charles Kelley. They bring out a full-fledged horns section from some university. This and Lambert are the tops outings tonight by far.

9:19 p.m. - Vocal Group of the Year:Little Big Town. They joke around some and don't have a whole lot to say save the usual of loving the country fans.

9:23 p.m. - Brothers Osborne plays some of "It Ain't My Fault," its fast-paced scorcher. They do a good job, but see these guys live. They're real real good. TJ is a very fine singer. And they were formally given the New Vocal Duo Award. Well deserved. Been awhile for them go gain big mo, but maybe, just maybe, they have it now.

9:29 p.m. (or so) - Kelsea Ballerini sings her hit "Yeah Boy." Does a sufficient job of singing it, but it's also not the most exciting song going.

9:33 p.m. - Chris Stapleton scorches on "Second to Know." (that may be the title). Swampy at first and then rocks. Sort of an Outlaw Country Rock thing. He always seems to do things his own way. Nice outing from a guy, who is the opposite of flash.

9:37 p.m. - Brett Eldredge did a cute reading of "Something I'm Good At." Fast and playful with backstage intro of a slew of characters, who were a bit over the top in their outfits, including a contortionist, who's seen at the end in a bubble, which he pops.

9:44 p.m.: Luke Bryan sounds pleasant on "Fast." Does a good job of singing it.

9:48 p.m. - Miranda Lambert fortunately wins Album of the Year for "These Weight of These Wings." She won along with producers Frank Liddell, Glenn Worf and Eric Masse. Personal album. "Miranda brought her heart," said Worf. Liddell also praised Lambert for getting deep and personal. Quite true as she just lays it on the line. Great album. So glad she won.

9:56 p.m. - World-wide TV premiere of "Speak to a Girl" from Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. I haven't been bowled over by the song. They do a decent enough job of singing it, but here's hoping they have better songs on their forthcoming CD. Just so it's clear, I'm super glad that someone finally is cutting a legit duets disc.

10:02 p.m. - Video of the Year:Forever Country - Then, Now & Forever. This was the song that spliced together a bunch songs together. Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild gives out the thanks.

10:08 p.m. - Thomas Rhett trots out his new single, "Cravin' You," with Maren Morris helping out. This soulful thing is getting out of hand, although this is nothing new for Rhett, who also got a funky beat. That's the kind of artist he is, of course. Like most of the performances, there's not silly backdrops involved in presenting the songs. Glad for that because sometimes these awards get out of hand. Yet another non-country song.

10:12 p.m. - Old Dominion offer a good performance of "No Such Thing as a Broken Hart." Pretty straightforward. Nothing flashy. This group was made for arenas.

10:15 p.m. - Good night for Thomas Rhett as he wins Male Vocalist of the Year over the likes of Chris Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban and Jason Aldean. "Every one in this category are my idols. Everyone in this category shaped the artist that I am. I try to be the best artist that I can."

"This is a very humbling experience," he said.

10:23 p.m. - Cole Swindell is on with "Flatliner" with help from Bentley, of course. Fast-song, good beat, you can get your head shaking, but not sure it's a song for the ages. Bentley's out with a baseball hat.

10:27 p.m. - Female Vocalist - Miranda Lambert. "I'm so glad female artists are kicking ass these days," Lambert said. What? No bleeps?!?! :) I pretty much figured she would take it when she won Album of the Year. No way Kacey Musgraves would win it with this crowd. Lambert was deserving.

10:33 p.m. - Reba is out with Christian singer Lauren Daigle, who sure sounds like Adele, on "Back to God," from Reba's recent gospel/spiritual disc. Good album. This duo can sing the heck out of the song. Reba's twang is unmistakable.

10:40 p.m. - Jon Pardi with black cowboy hat on, sings "DIrt on My Boots." My gosh, hate to sound cynical, but there's even a fiddle up there. He is formally given the New Male Artist award.

10:47 p.m. (or thereabouts): Florida Georgia Line is out with Backstreet Boys for a nice version of "God, Your Mama and Me" before seguing into BB's "Everybody." FGL seems real into it. The tour are hitting some dates together this summer. Lots of good energy up there, and crowd loved it.

10:57 p.m. - Jason Aldean takes the big one - Entertainer of the Year. "Man, I am so thankful. You guys don't know how much I love getting up and doing what I do every day."

And so it ends with Bryan and Bentley back out wishing everyone well.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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