Just a little recap from one of the biggest nights in country music:
Wow, The opening number was awesome! Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood opened the awards show with a great rendition of Credence Clearwater Revival's "Travelin' Band". The ladies, who were soon joined by Brad Paisley, already had the crowd on their feet when they welcomed John Fogerty (lead singing of CCR) and Charlie Daniels to the stage. What a performance!
The host for this years awards was once again the fabulous Reba McEntire. Her witty humor and beautiful wardrobe changes are only part of her charm. Her voice is timeless and she is a class act. She choked up while introducing Brooks & Dunn for the last time. During her performance of her new hit "I Keep on Loving You", she had a picture montage on the video board of several of country music's long-lasting couples: Tim and Faith, George and Norma Strait, Kris and Lisa Kristofferson, Brad and Kimberly Williams-Paisley among them.
While I am not a huge fan of the Zac Brown Band (although I do like "Toes"), I commend them for their involvement with the USO. Several pieces of footage from their tour through the Middle East and interaction with our fighting men and women were featured. One of the things I love about country music is that, no matter one's politics, there is a huge patriotic emphasis and support for our troops. Thanks ZBB for keeping our troops in high spirits and giving them a little taste of home.
After years of being snubbed by the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music, Toby Keith is usually a no-show at awards shows. Tonight, however, Toby, a nominee for Entertainer of the Year, made a rare appearance. Has he gotten over his hurt feelings of being overlooked for his outspokenness? Probably not. I believe his appearance had more to do with honoring his late friend, former NBA player and jazz musician Wayman Tisdale who passed away last year from cancer, with a song that he wrote. His performance was beautifully touching and very atypical for no holds barred, take no prisoners artist.
Um, what's the story with the boots Matthew McConaughey gave Carrie Underwood? I would have appreciated a story about that rather than what led to the birth of his daughter following his last trip to the ACMs.
Brooks & Dunn's final performance on the ACMs. Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, who have been the top-ranking country duo for the better part of twenty years, is calling it quits. They are getting ready to begin their final tour later this month. It's the end of an era. I still remember the first interview I saw with them, Ronnie said that the ad campaign for their first tour was going to be "Not Garth Brooks and not Holly Dunn (these were two very popular country artists on the charts in the early '90's). Now their name is synonymous with Duo of the Year. During the performance, the cameras went to stars like Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Troy Gentry, Joe Nichols singing along to in the audience to "My Maria". And as a fitting farewell, they took home the award that should be named after them, Duo of the Year. During their acceptance speech, joked that they are in therapy with Bret Farve, trying to figure out how to capitalize on this... will there be a reunion in their future? Fans can only hope!
Congratulations to one of my favorite artist, Lady Antebellum on winning Song of the Year, Single of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year. They are absolutely awesome to watch and sound just as great live as recorded, which is more than I can say about some artists. And did I mention how fabulous Hilary Scott looked? How can anyone not love this trio? I can't wait to see them perform again with Tim McGraw here in Fresno next month!
Some of my favorite performances of the night: Blake Shelton w/Trace Atkins, Kenny Chesney (ok, he's always my favorite!), Laura Bell Bundy (yes, I know she was very Brittney-esque, but her voice reminds me of Dolly and I loved her in Wicked.), Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, Brooks & Dunn, Reba, Keith Urban, Darius Rucker.