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The ACMs live from Vegas: telling it like it is

Jeffrey Remz  |  March 7, 2022

8 p.m. - The Academy of Country Music Awards get underway with Dolly Parton talking it up and Jimmie Allen tearing into "Viva Las Vegas." He's hosting along with Gabby Barrett, who sings "Let's Go to Vegas."

8:06 or so p.m. - Eric Church plays a medley of his songs like "Desperate Man," "Round Here Buzz," "Springsteen," "A Helluva View" and "Heart on Fire." He sounds good way, but truth to be told - and it's not hard - it would have been a lot better if given the chance to sing the whole song. Ashley McBryde comes out at the end of "Heart on Fire."

8:13 p.m. - Walker Hayes makes his through the crowd singing "AA" and his big hit "Fancy Like." Big hit, but not sure this is a song for the ages.

8:17 p.m. - Patter between Parton, Barrett and Allen, which is the usual silly stuff with Allen saying Parton is like an "Energizer bunny," but saying she looks like a "Playboy bunny." Hmmm. Didn't know it was cool these days to say those kinds of things.

8:20 p.m. (or so) - Brothers Osborne wins Duo of the Year. Not a surprise really given the attention the brothers have received, and they make solid music. No offense, but Maddie & Tae and LO-CASH had zero chance.

8:25 p.m. - Group of the Year goes to Old Dominion. "This is our fifth year," said lead singer Matthew Ramsey. "That's no small thing." He also made reference to Ukrainians fighting for their lives. Well said.

8:27 p.m. - Maren Morris gets to play a song from her upcoming disc, "Humble Quest," "Circles Around This Town." Good song. Like it from when it first came out. In panning around the crowd, looks like there are a lot of empty seats."

8:30 p.m. - Parmalee is out with Blanco Brown and Brooke Eden on "Just the Way." Nicely done song with the line 'Cause I was made for loving/Just the way God made you." Perfect for Eden, wh is gay, and country music has not been kind to gay performers over the years.

8:35 p.m. - Jason Aldean introduces Chris Stapleton with a reference to the mass shooting at his Vegas concert that killed dozens. One can't imagine how tough it must be for Aldean to relive that horrible night. Stapleton's song, "Watch You Burn," addresses the shootings right away with the opening lines: "Only a coward would pick up a gun/And shoot up a crowd trying to have fun/Now the Vegas lights, they won't lose their glow/And the band will play and go on with the show." The song goes on to address other acts of hate, such as the murder of Jews at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The song builds and builds thanks to a chorus. Well well done.

8:43 p.m. Carrie Underwood and Aldean win Single of the Year for "If I Didn't Love You." Aldean said,"Thanks to Carrie first of all for agreeing to do this song." Underwood didn't have anything to say beyond the usual, but she sure has a colorful dress.

8:45 p.m. - This is said to ad free, but not promo free as Amazon is promoting a lot of its own shows. Guess they had to support this somehow.

8:46 p.m. - Allen is back on stage singing "Down Home," which is his new single. Nice, mid-tempo flow to the song. There's a nostalgic bent to the song, of course, with lines like "Home is still where my heart is."

8:49 p.m. - Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde reprise their hit, "Never Wanted to Be That Girl." I would not have thought they would have been a natural pairing, but they sound good together accompanied by acoustic guitar and mandolin. Pearce has a natural country voice.

8:52 p.m. - Thomas Rhett tuns in a nice reading of "Slow Down Summer." I like the cello and violin, adding a soft touch underneath. It's a light, breezy song. Fireworks go off outside of Allegiant Stadium. Rhett's always had a smooth, goes down easy kind of voice. Soulful.

8:56 p.m. - Author James Patterson is out pushing his book, "Run, Rose, Run," which he wrote with Dolly. Can't say that I blame Amazon for using this event to push its own agenda - sell books, albums and the brand.

8:57 p.m. - Dolly is out there with acoustic guitar in hand singing "Big Dreams and Faded Jeans," the single from the album, "Run, Rose, Run." Nicely done. Kelsea Ballerini comes out to sing with Dolly, a big big honor for her. This is the best song of the night so far.

9 p.m. - Morgan Wallen wins Album of the Year for "Dangerous: The Double Album." He took a few deep breathes before reading from his phone. He never addressed the racist incident of January 2021 that got him into trouble.

""When I started this album, I was a kid. By the time I put it out, I was a father, and that's become more important to me than anything else," Wallen said. "To my son, this album and this award will signify that his daddy was a fighter, and he chased his dreams and worked hard to make them a reality."

He concluded, saying, "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you" to his fans. It would have been a big moment for him to talk further about treating people with respect, but I guess he's trying to put it behind him. Too bad.

9:05 p.m. - Brothers Osborne turn in a meaty performance of "Bones."

9:09 p.m. - Barrett does justice to "I Hope You Dance," a huge megahit for Lee Ann Womack. Barrett, who won New Female artist, has one big, huge voice.

9:12 p.m. - Parker McCollum, who New Male Artist, comes on for his rendition of "Pretty Heart." He sounds a bit off vocally. Good song though, but McCollum just sounded a bit rough.

9:16 p.m. - BRELAND gets a shout out for being an Amazon Breakout Artist. Smart guy. Went to Georgetown after all. He gets gospelly with "Praise the Lord." Rhett, who recorded with BRELAND, comes out as well. Makes perfect sense as Rhett has a soulful feel to his songs. Well done and upbeat.

9:19 p.m. - Lainey Wilson changes outfits (she's all in black now) for her big hit "Things a Man Oughta Know."

9:23 p.m. - Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood reprise their hit "If I Didn't Love You." Aldean holds his own with Underwood, who, of course, has massive vocal power. Aldean sounds very engaged. Probably Underwood should get credit as well for not overdoing it.

9:26 p.m. - Kane Brown is soulful on "Leave You Alone." He looks pretty snazzy as well in his green suit, while sounding smooth on the ballad (until the electric guitar gets turned up a few notches).

9:31 p.m. - Luke Bryan sings "Up." He's the king of small town Southern town country songs, which means we're talking beer and dirt roads. This one throws God into the mix. "Raised up right in a town nobody knows," sings Bryan. "What a way to grow up." It's more tender and meatier than some of his other material.

9:34 p.m. - Jordan Davis comes out to reprise the breezy "Buy Dirt" with Bryan helping out as he does on the recorded version. The small town theme continues. A breezy song and sounds good. Simple themes of living life, but hey, if more people lived like that, maybe this world would be better off. "You can't buy happiness," Davis sings. Yup. 9:36 p.m. - Mickey Guyton introduces ACM Lifting Lives video. Hmmm. Would have thought she'd get more face time than that.

9:39 p.m. - Lady A is out to sing "What a Song Can Do." They sound solid on three-part harmony in a sun-kissed country song. Charles Kelley is a solid singer.

The night is definitely focused on the music, not the awards.

9:43 p.m. - Chris Stapleton wins Male Artist of the Year. Tough field with Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen in it. "This is a dream. It really is. Dreams come true all the time. Thank you to everybody."

9:45 p.m. - Carly Pearce wins Female Artist of the Year. "Y'all. I truly know how to put this into words to you. This is all I've ever wanted to do...I feel so honored to be a female along the other females I love so much."

"You have let me tell my truth," she said.

9:47 p.m. - Chris Young and Mitchell Tenpenny are out with "At the End of a Bar" and "Raised on Country." The latter is pretty anthemic, but they only did a snippet of both. That's the problem with these kinds of shows. Gabby Barrett seems a bit stiff out there. She doesn't have a ton of energy at times.

9:51 p.m. - Kelly Clarkson is out there singing "I Will Always Love You," a song written by Dolly. No knock on Clarkson. She's a fine singer, but a better choice would have been "9 to 5," which Clarkson and Parton are singing for a documentary.

9:54 p.m. - Parton's back out for the closing. Dolly announced that Entertainer of the Year went to Miranda Lambert. "Oh my gosh," said Lambert. "I cannot believe I'm not there to celebrate. It's my first time to miss the ACMs in 17 years so my heart's a little broken. I have some shows in London...I've bee waiting this for a really really long time. I actually never thought this would happen."

In a shout out to female performers, Lambert said, "We did it."

9:58 p.m. - Brothers Osborne and Brittney Spencer are out with a meaty "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" with its retro feel. Lots of excellent guitar from John Osborne of course. Spencer is shining big time, maybe outsinging TJ, who's one great singer also.

10:01 p.m. - It's all over. that's a wrap folks.



©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher • countrystandardtime@gmail.com
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