I've said before that I don't really put much stock in awards shows anymore. This sort of thing is why:
Taylor Swift had four nominations going into Sunday's show, but for being the top-selling artist in country and pop music, she got a special, unexpected honor after she performed the ballad "You're Not Sorry" following a magical entrance courtesy of magician David Copperfield.
McEntire stopped her and presented her with a special ACM Crystal Milestone Award for bringing so many young people to country music.
It was bad enough that the excellence evident in the latest albums from George Strait and Jamey Johnson went unrecognized in favor of such a pop tart, but this...this is just unreal. "Bringing so many young people to country music"? Ok then. It's worth asking what kind of so-called "fans" people like Taylor Swift bring to country music and whether those "fans" will be there for the long run or go on to the next big thing when he or she comes along. My money's on the latter. If you don't think so, I would advise you to look at what happened in the years after the Urban Cowboy craze. Things got so bad in Nashville that the New York Times in 1985, not long before the neo-traditionalist movement caught fire, actually ran a story predicting the death of country music. A look at the list of No. 1 singles for that year provides many reasons for that, although, granted, there was some bona-fide gold in there.
And like those hypothetical fans with the Sugarland and Metallica bumper stickers on their cars, I'm betting, again, that most of these "fans" only like the stuff that's popular now and don't like any of the older or more traditional music. In fact, I would put money on it. Compare that to the younger fans turned onto the genre by the Texas-red dirt artists like the Randy Rogers Band, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Stoney LaRue and Jason Boland. (I know that Ragweed is really more of a rock band, but work with me here...) I know for a fact that many if not most of the younger fans of the Texas-red dirt country are more real fans of the music, i.e., they appreciate all the older artists who gave the music its identity and they aren't just following a passing fad. And, really, that's worth so much more than some pretty piece of crystal, but it's still a shame that what's going on in the country music establishment mirrors so much of what's going on in the political establishment.
Heyyyy, my favorite tune from Death Magnetic! "Hunt you down without mercyyyyy! Hunt you down all nightmare long..."