Country Music Tries To Look Forward At ACMs
Country music in 2019 finds itself at a crossroads. That was apparent several times during last night's ACM Awards in Las Vegas. The format honored current acts, while at the same time pointed back to a better age of country, the 1990's. Brooks and Dunn performed. George Strait took the stage THREE times! I'm all for paying homage to the past, but what does it say about the current state of country music when you'd rather hear those artists?
What else does it say when the most successful country album of the year, Golden Hour by Kacey Musgraves, also wasn't touched by most of mainstream country radio. All it did was win best country album at the CMAs, ACMS, and the Grammys. It also won all-genre album of the year at the Grammys. That should have been a triumph for country music! We can put out great music that is also critically acclaimed! In my opinion, and that's all this is, that's a major indictment to the radio format I love and work in.
There were things that I loved last night. Kacey winning again. Ashley McBryde getting some stage time solo and then with Eric Church on 'The Snake'. Dan and Shay taking home handfuls of awards after working so hard to get to the top was cool to see. There were also important messages sent like Little Big Town's and Keith Urban's new singles. County music has always been great at doing that. But in the end, I was left wondering where country music is headed. Have we reached the official end of bro-country and rock-country? Will female artists still find it hard to get airplay and proper awards show respect? It should be interesting to see what artists lead us to the next stage of country music.