Roots, Toots n' Hoots Blog
Thet 57th Annual Country Music Awards
Jeffrey Remz | November 8, 2023
The 57th Annual Country Music Awards get underway...
8 p.m. - Jelly Roll gets the awards underway with "Need a Favor." Man, that guy has come a very long way quickly. He doesn't exactly look country, but hes more so than a lot of folks. Wynonna comes out to sing with Jelly Roll. She sounds great. It sure makes sense that she's out there with him.
A Post Malone siting in the crowd He's going country at some point also.
8:06 pm. - Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning are back hosting. "We are back, and you know what that means," Manning said. "Travis and Taylor were not available," rejoined Bryan. Let the corniness begin. Guess it already has.
8:08 p.m. - Bryan challenges Manning to come up with the net line of songs. He makes it through Kenny Rogers and Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places," although he isn't the greatest singer of course. He gets "stumped' with Bryan's "One Margarita." Corny, but not too bad. It's all planned needless to say.
8:12 p.m. - Luke Combs wins Single of the Year for "Fast Car." It got played so much that this was no surprise. "I want to thank Tracy Chapman for writing one of the best songs of all time. I just recorded it because I loved it so much." He said he "loved it" since he was four years old. The award also goes to the producers - Combs, Chip Matthews and Jonathan Singleton and Matthews as mix engineer.
8:18 p.m. - Song of the Year - "Fast Car' by Tracy Chapman. She wasn't in the house, of course, but said it was "truly an honor" for the song to be recognized 35 years later.
8:22 p.m. - Bryan is stepping aside from being the host to singing. He sounds more country than usual with "Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Every Day" and turns into a medley. He comes off like a nice guy, but I've always thought of him as country (very) light. Very poppy with "One Margarita," "That's My Kind of Night," "Play It Again" and a fast paced "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)" where he infuses it with passion. Got to give Bryan credit though for putting some banjo on the music. Let's see how often that happens tonight.
8:33 p.m. - Ashley McBryde, whose career continues on the upswing (predicting a bit '24 for her), is singing "Light On in the Kitchen." She's changed her look over time for sure. Got some mandolin going even which is a big plus. She's just a real good singer with plenty of quality songs.
8:36 p.m. - Cody Johnson does his new single "The Painter." This guy sounds real good and twangy. You can't say he isn't country. Fiddle is going too. This really is a country awards show! (sorry to sound cynical).
8:44 p.m. - Vocal Duo of the Year - Brothers Osborne for their sixth win. No surprise here except if Dan + Shay had won, but didn't think that'd happen. "We're shocked every year when this happens," said TJ, the singer. He joked that he thought HARDY and Lanie Wilson would win it. John Osborne said, "I was a nerd growing up," adding that he now felt like "a cool kid."
With all due respect, what was the chance of Maddie & Tae or The War and Treaty winning this? I love The War and Treaty, but haven't thought of them as a country act. Anything goes, right?
8:49 p.m. - Morgan Wallen is out with Eric Church in a surprise for singing "Man Made a Bar." Both sound real good.
8:52 p.m. - Chris Young is out there. He's a good singer, but not sure why his career hasn't gone even further at this point. He honored his high school music teacher, Brenda Gregory. She got a Chevy Trax for her troubles! And then they're live onstage. Teachers can make a difference folks.
9 p.m. - Combs is singing this time - "Where the Wild Things Are." The man dressed in black always sounds good to these ears.
9:05 p.m. - Chris Stapleton - new album coming this month - is doing "White Horse," his ne single. It's pretty much a rocker. Stapleton was known for bluegrass before going his own way with country, but he's never really been a straight country performer. What he always has been is an excellent singer. He may not be Mr. Charisma personified, but sure goes down easy musically.
9:15 p.m. - First and maybe only boo of the night: Jordan Davis for being labeled an LSU fan by Bryan. Davis didn't fall apart. Instead, he sang "Next Thing You Know." Light, easy going, positive song.
9:18 p.m. - Tony Award-winning actress Cynthia Erivo is giving out an award. She's the first person of color on the show so far. She gives Old Dominion its sixth Vocal Group of the Year honor. Zero surprise here. It would have been if they didn't win. "We never take this for granted," lead singer Matt Ramsey said. "We got there by surrounding ourselves with the absolute best people."
9:21 p.m. - Lainey Wilson is singing "Wildflowers and Wild Horses." She's singing like her life depended on it. She's such a natural performer that I've wondered what took so long for her to really get to where she is now (don't worry. She's not done going either). She sure has interesting outfits - she looks like a cowgirl pretty much at least with her pants and ropes hanging from her outfit. The song has some country looks and feel, although not a hard core country song.
9:30 p.m. - Dan + Shay, the men in black, perform "Save Me the Trouble." They sound inspired with real good vocals. Never been a big fan of theirs as their music is far more pop than it is rock. Doesn't mean they don't do a good job with it. This is more rock at times though.
9:36 p.m. - Kelsea Ballerini is out with her acoustic guitar on "Leave Me Again." This is part of her response to her split from ex-husband Morgan Evans. She does a great job singing with lines like "For a while the shoe fit/But then I outgrew it/And staying only made me get real good at pretend/So, I hope I never leave me again." She's had a lot of growth over the years. Hard to hear these lines (especially after seeing Evans last week in concert). It all feels too public, but music is about feelings and emotion too, right? Performance of the night so far.
9:43 p.m. - The War and Treaty, the husband-and-wife team of Michael and Tanya Trotter, get stage time, with "That's How Love is Made." They have some pedal steel going, but these guys are R&B/soul, not really country. That in no way diminishes their musical excellence. They are really really good! Awesome live too.
9:49 p.m. - New Artist of the Year goes to Jelly Roll. No surprise either though some real good artists here (Zach Bryan for one, Hailey Whitters also). "Nashville...there's something poetic about a 37-year-old man winning New artist of the Year...I want you to keep going...I want to tell you it's going to be okay...Let's party Nashville." Ah, speech of the night?
9:56 p.m. - Kenny Chesney and Mac McAnally, a member of the late Jimmy Buffett's band, pay tribute to Buffett singing "A Pirate Looks at 40" with acoustic guitars in hand. Nicely done. Worthy tribute to Buffett, who died too young at 76.
10 p.m. - Alan Jackson and Zac Brown are out to sing "Margaritaville." They also sound really good. A nice tribute to Buffett. Jackson recorded the song with George Strait and Buffett by the way. Nice island feel to the song.
10:08 p.m. Old Dominion and Megan Moroney sing "Can't Break Up Now." Ramsey outsings her. Matt Ramsey outsings Moroney at first, but she picks it up as the song goes along. She has quite the dress though - a white outfit.
10:12 p.m. - Lainey Wilson wins Album of the Year for "Bell Bottom Country." What an outfit - black hat and the rest is black also. She gives thanks to. "I feel like my love for story telling came from...Baskin, a town of 200 people..stories that make you laugh, make you cry, make you feel something. That's what we wanted to do with this record."
10:24 p.m. - Carly Pearce has help from Chris Stapleton in singing "We Don't Fight Anymore." He is awesome, and she puts her all into it. She better with a partner like Stapleton.
10:28 p.m. - Wilson wins Female Vocalist of the Year for the second time. Can't say I'm surprised, but good competition. ""It's a good night. it's a real good night. We're going to party tonight...This is for all the hard working ladies that I know, that I don't know. For all you little girls watching...I'm looking at myseflf in the mirror, I say I'm beautiful...Us girls, we've been having to blaze trails from the very very beginning."
10:31 p.m. - HARDY and Megan Wallen pay tribute to the late Joe Diffie with "John Deere Green." Surprised they'd pay tribute to Diffie. Good song, and they sing well together. Very country song for HARDY to sing. Wallen, less so.
10:34 p.m. - Post Malone, who is said to be planning something in country, scores big time with "Pick Up Man," another tribute to Diffie with HARDY and Wallen. he steals the son. Man, he sounds into it. Nicely done. Big hugs all around.
10:40 p.m. - Little Big Town sings a snippet of "Delta Dawn" before Tucker takes the stage to sing. Great harp playing, and she has aged well vocally.
10:45 p.m. - Male Vocalist of the Year - Stapleton wins for the seventh time! He beat out Wallen and Combs. Kudos to Stapleton. "Every one of these guys in this category deserves this award. I've won a couple of these, but I'm always surprised...I'm humbled."
10:53 p.m. - Entertainer of the Year - Lainey Wilson. Okay, she may be a superstar right now. With tears, Wilson said, "This is all I ever wanted to do. This is the only thing I know how to do." "We worked our butts off this year...I've been in thsi town for 12 1/2 years, and it finally feels like country music is beginning to love me back."
Wilson talked about how her parents brought home a horse that needed serious breaking in. "Every time it would start bucking, I would hold on a littler bit tighter. That's one of the things that prepared me for this ride."
10:56 p.m. - K. Michelle and Jelly Roll close out the night with The Judds' "Love Can Build a Bridge." He's a real good singer. You get the feeling he feels it. Great song to close out the evening.
That's a wrap. Lots of good music. Lainey Wilson underscored that stardom is hers. She deserves it.