Taylor Swift is pretty much responsible for the industrious task of ushering in a massive fresh breath of air in country music, shaking things up so that new blood circulated with a vengeance in an industry known for being a bit sticky to move along.
Who can forget her history-making awards-show shakeups of last year? Most notably, her sweep of the Country Music Association Awards in November that paved the way for her Grammy triumphs in January?
Now, all that said--Taylor didn't win a single award at the 2010 Academy Of Country Music Awards show Sunday night, despite being nominated in some of the biggest categories, including the fan-voted Entertainer Of The Year. Interesting, eh?
The Taylor '09 Effect, shall we call it, did prove to have its influence over the annual awards show this year. The roster of winners reads as a delightful sea change, tipping toward new and influential talent.Carrie Underwood winning Entertainer Of The Year and making history as the only woman to win it twice. She locked this one down and slammed the boys' club out of the water yet another year running--hell, she even won it over her only female rival, the revered (i.e. formidable as hell) Taylor. (As an aside, I am wondering if Carrie's fan-voted win now places Taylor even more strongly in the pop realm--outside of country--than ever.)
Along these lines, I have to smile that the Zac Brown Band were also nominated in the Entertainer Of The Year category, as well as Album Of The Year. Awesome!Lady Antebellum? Already making news out of the gate with their amazing seven ACM nominations, this young group became one of the many-are-called-but-few-are-chosen country/pop crossover stories--much like Taylor Swift--that made good on the sparks of domination they showed last year. Top Vocal Group...don't get me wrong, I love Rascal Flatts, but this was a much-needed shakeup. Song and single of the year for "Need You Now," too? Mah gawd, this is great. MIRANDA LAMBERT. Another girl--and a newish one to boot--scoring important wins such as Album and Video Of The Year. And, I will add, pounding her fellow country girls with her Female Vocalist win. You've got to love a gal who high-fives her boyfriend instead of kissing him when her name is announced for a coveted award. (In a fun note--said boyfriend Blake Shelton won his first ACM Award tonight, too--Vocal Event Of The Year for "Hillbilly Bone," his collaboration with Trace Adkins.)
For those lamenting the good ol' days, tradition still held firm at the ACMs 2010--Reba McEntire (who somehow just gets cooler and more gorgeous year by year) hosted the show for a record 12th time. Brad Paisley won a most deserved, if slightly predictable, Male Vocalist Of The Year. The soon-to-be-history Brooks & Dunn took their 10th Top Vocal Duo honors. And the legendary Charlie Daniels ripped up the stage, as well as appeared in a pre-show Geico commercial.
Yes, only in the country world can one find all this new and old existing together in seemingly perfect harmony. I love writing about Nashville; it never fails to make me feel good about music as a whole.
Incidentally, I'm also feeling good about Taylor Swift's future in country, despite going home empty-handed from Vegas. Country is a genre known for its loyalty, and no matter how firmly Taylor gets down in the pop trenches, I'm positive she'll always have a home in the Nashville community.
Be sure to let me know what you think--were the awards deserved or off the mark? I'm all ears.
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