the Guardian and the CMAs

Ok.  Read on if you want a perspective on the CMA Awards with blatant disregard of any country music knowledge (courtesy of the Guardian).

I briefly watched the CMAs because I like music in general and I like to see good musicians play good music (and country can have its moments along with all the other genres).  Plus.  I had watched some of the CMA FanFest on Palladia and there were some really good performances.

But, boy, the CMAs were pretty disappointing in comparison.

In fact … I will quote from one of the expert commentators who will be quoted below:

–          “ They’ve been pretty disappointing so far. The songs are what country songs have been sounding like for the last five or ten years and it makes it kind of the same. It all sounds very familiar, not at all fresh. Keith Urban is trying too hard and Sara Evans really can’t sing that well live.”


But this post isn’t about my thoughts … its about the British invading Nashville’s finest moment.

as most of my readers know I am a Guardian (newspaper) reader. I just like the british perspective on things around the world. But up until now I am not sure I have laughed out loud reading an article in the Guardian.

Today I did.

The Guardian sent someone to the Country Music Award ceremony.


A Brit commenting on country music (how awesome is that?).

Even better it is a streaming commentary live from the CMAs.  I knew I was in for a rollicking read when the writer who was going to do the live blog commentary opened with this:

7:00 pm: Well howdy, padners! Aren’t y’all lookin’ sassy tonight? Let’s saddle ’em up because tonight we’re gonna be ridin’ – and ridin HARD – out to the Country Music Awards! Yee haw!

Now, despite my nigh-on bilingual skills, I’m going to be honest with you and admit that my knowledge of country music pretty much begins and ends with the word y’all.

So be prepared for plenty of Forrest Gumpian observations (“Wow, there are a lot of guys called Kenny in Country Music, aren’t there?”) and general expressions of enthusiastic bafflement.

Awesomely qualified to give us a clear unbiased (but 100% british) perspective on country music.


But the writer did have two country music writers with him to provide some expert background perspective.  And I admit … even their comments were refreshingy honest (I am not sure they have much of a career in Nashville after having some of their comments printed for the world to see).


This may be the best stream-of-thought commentary of one of those made-for-tv award spectacles I have ever read.

There is a blatant disregard for any country music knowledge and a remarkable candid perspective on country music and wardrobe decisions and talent.

Here are my highlights (link to the entire commentary at the end).

8:04 pm: Oh my goodness it’s starting! And it’s opening with Blake Shelton and, oh yes ladies and gentlemen, KENNY LOGGINS doing Footloose, while a load of dancers writing around on scaffolding and spotlights swing around the arena drunkenly. All in all, it’s more like an the MTV awards from the 1980s meets ITV’s Gladiators than anything to do with country music. Well, they got me on side from the kick off. Well done, CMAs.

Incidentally, something very terrible appears to have happened to Loggins’s face recently. Let’s put it this way, his soul patch and earring are the least worrying physical elements on his face. I say no more.

8:05 pm: The hosts, Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, have just stepped on and are engaging in “comedy banter”. Incidentally, Carrie appears to be wearing a tent made out of several rolls of Charmin. And that is my professional fashion opinion.

8:09 pm: HIDEOUSNESS KLAXON! For some reason, Brad and Carrie have a pair of Barbie dolls (“OMG!” cries Carrie) and now they two of them are making their Barbies have sex. On stage. Loudly. Is this legal? Well, it probably is in Nashville.

8:19 pm: Carrie has changed her dress and Kerri and I agree it is “much better.” Bear in mind this is all relative. Keith “Urban” Kidman is playing in what looks like the center of the arena and Lord all mighty, look at those guns. Those things are so disproportionate I actually stopped laughing at his hair. For a minute.

8.24pm: Keith Urban keeps doing this unbearable kick with his little boots and it is so cheesy the whole room reeks of brie. Plus he’s wearing Q-reader uniform of black jeans and black shirt. I honestly think my fertile bits have just turned to ashes.

8.25pm: Now Sara Evans is singing, and she appears to be compensating for her terribly dull outfit (black trousers and black top – trend alert) by having dancers from Cirque du Soleil swing about on silk scarves. She is rhyming “longer” with “stronger.” Maverick.

Personal note: (this last comment made me laugh out loud … one of my biggest complaints with country music is the lyrical laziness …)

8:33 pm: Wow, Carrie has changed again, and is now wearing half a pink dress. Maybe she didn’t have time to put the whole thing on. Miranda Lambert is singing Baggage Claim and swinging those hips in a way I think someone once told her was “sassy.” She also appears to be wearing a World Wide Wrestling giant belt around her middle.

8:46 pm: The Flatts are joined on stage by Natasha Beddingfield, a who is wearing Snuffleupagus on her bottom half and just a bra on her top half. It is an extraordinary combination – brave, edgy, a definite hit for next season and, no, I can’t keep this up, it is complete and utter cack.

8.47pm: GONG! Sugarland win Vocal Duo of the Year and the experts in the office are disgusted. “They suck,” Jesse says. Kerri was rooting for The Civil Wars, which is not a phrase I ever wrote before.

I should have added earlier – the crystal awards that the CMAs are handing out are amazingly phallic. Again, this is not me being unfair. This is me reporting a fact.

Personal note: the civil wars (actually a really nice group) comment is very very funny.

10.47pm: Faith Hill is singing. Her make up is witchy, her hair is enormous and her pant suit is too tight. It’s all beginning to blend into one, isn’t it, readers? “She has a very wide stance,” notes Jesse. And now that he’s pointed that out I literally cannot stop staring at Faith’s straining crotch. Again, another phrase I never thought I’d write.

10.50pm: GONG! Female Vocalist of the Year goes to … Miranda Lambert! She of the Baggage Claim song earlier. And, my god, fellow nominee Taylor Swift looked miffed at that one.

“All of these ladies deserve this more than me,” says Miranda. In classic awards cameraman style, we get a straight-on shot of Taylor Swift who is giving what I think can be described as Death Eye.

10.55pm: Carrie Underwood, wearing a pair of beige curtains, has introduced Reba McIntyre, who, judging from her face, has her own wind machine, permanently blasting her straight on.


My sides hurt. This was funny.

And funnily true.

Here is the entire commentary:

I cannot wait for next year’s CMA.

Written by Bruce