Opinion: Marty Martel On The CMA's

The Winners of “The 44th Annual CMA Awards” are:

Entertainer of the Year

Brad Paisley

Female Vocalist of the Year

Miranda Lambert

Male Vocalist of the Year

Blake Shelton

New Artist of the Year

Zac Brown Band

Vocal Group of the Year

Lady Antebellum

Vocal Duo of the Year


Album of the Year

(Award goes to Artist and Producer(s))


Miranda Lambert

Produced by Frank Liddell and Mike Wrucke

Columbia Nashville

Single of the Year

(Award goes to Artist and Producer(s))

“Need You Now”

Lady Antebellum

Produced by Paul Worley and Lady Antebellum

Capitol Records Nashville

Song of the Year

(Award goes to Songwriter(s))

“The House That Built Me”

Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin

Musical Event of the Year

(Award goes to each Artist)

“Hillbilly Bone”

Blake Shelton featuring Trace Adkins

Reprise Records

Music Video of the Year

(Award goes to Artist and Director)

“The House That Built Me”

Miranda Lambert

Directed by Trey Fanjoy

Musician of the Year

Mac McAnally – Guitar

Another great hosting job by these two great artists.  They carried the show as good as it ever has been done.  Maybe Vince should join them next year in a hosting segment which would let him roam around the arena speaking with the great names in country music who never get recognition.  Just a thought!!!! Congrats to Carrie and Brad.

Loretta Lynn, Little Jimmy Dickens, Ferlin Huskey, George Strait, Reba, Alan Jackson, Martina and the sounds of fiddle and steel guitar were heard on the show for the first time in a long, long time.  The Zac Brown Band are great musicians, great performance, and if they are the new breed of country, even though I don’t like their stage wear, I will accept it, because they were great, and no doubt Alan Jackson added his support.

Whoever was in charge of the production staff that set the scenes and camera’s to keep all artists in view on their performance’s, needs to go back to school and learn how to keep the fog from covering the complete stage.   Because of the fog machine the camera could not get through the fog.  The fog machine must have been operated by someone in the fog.

The sound engineer for the awards show should have his fingers broken for the embarrassing first 45 minutes of the show, when all that could be heard were the instruments, and the vocals were way back in the barn.  I really felt for Rascal Flatts. The lead vocals were not mixed into the audio system of television, and the song was their new release. It might have been great at the arena, but it sure sounded like hell in the living room listening to it.  I hope that someone heard the same thing I heard when George Strait sang “The Breath You Take.” I could not understand the words to the song-not George’s fault.  These production problems should never happen.  For a major television network to not be able to have the best sound system for television audiences is not acceptable.  It was not good and I hope that the powers to be will make it known that this show is country music, not a bunch of hayseeds with bib overalls on.  The sound was terrible.  I have talked with several industry people and they have all agreed with me.  Make sure highly trained techs operate the production for the next awards “live show.”  PLEASE NO INTERNS TOUCHING THE SOUND BOARD OR FOG MACHINE.

The set for the awards show was magnificent and something tells me that we were witnessing a little turn for the good in the music, and I do like some of what I heard on the show.  Reba still carries on in superstar status and that is not going to change for a long time.  So I am not going back on how I feel about country rock n roll being titled country music.  There surely was some loud music last night.  Miranda’s song was over the edge with a blaring guitar. We are all seeing the changing of the guard and if this CMA Awards Show was any example of what we will see and hear in the future, maybe, just maybe we will be in good hands, because there were some exciting performances.  I am all for change as long as we do not forget where we started and where we are going.  Remember the world is watching how we look, how we speak, and how we act.  There are still many who think we are all hillbillies, but that is because we have given them reason in the past to think that way.  I did see and feel a change on the show, but I hope that the new music is more beautiful harmonies, steel guitars, fiddles, and rhinestones.  That is what we call entertainment.  The glitz of this special night.  Oh yes, there is a lot of good music out there, but radio is too stupid or being told what to play. 


Miranda Lambert definitely hit a home run at the awards, and I congratulate her on an awesome night, and also Blake Shelton.  This has been a great year for this couple. I hope it continues for both of them.  They both are country, and I hope they keep it that way.  That ole saying still holds true-“Practice What You Preach.” Blake was a surprise to me for Male Vocalist, but he has the pipes and he had the songs, but there were some strong competition in this category.  He became the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry, with #1 songs this year, and now Male Vocalist.  He has spent his time honing his talent.  I do hope that both Miranda and Blake realize that carrying the Banner of Female & Male Vocalists of the Year, is not just for the night of the awards.  I have had my say about both of these artists in the past, and I congratulate them on their great awards and a great evening for both of them, but holding on to these awards is going to be difficult, because they will have to continue to make great country records in the future.

Finally Brad Paisley won the most coveted trophy of all, Entertainer of the Year.  It has eluded him for a few years.   It is about time for this young man and all that he does to promote country music.  His acceptance speech was a genuine as it gets.  Congrats to you Brad.  Well deserved and long awaited.  If I had to put one man in charge of leading our country music forward, he would be the pied-piper country music needs.

I personally thought that Loretta’s Tribute, celebrating her 50th anniversary in country music was great.  Her dress was vintage Loretta-she was beautiful.  It would have been nice to have seen Crystal Gayle as part of the segment for Loretta. Sometimes I wonder who pulls the strings for adding talent to these shows.  Sissy Spacek looked great and it was so good to see her do the intro to the tribute segment for Loretta.

Lady Antebellum made history with “Need You Now,” their second consecutive Single of the Year Award-(what an awesome song), the Carrie Underwood “Mama’s Song” was super, Zac Brown was impressive., Taylor Swift got marks of A+ last night, and George Strait song was great, but audio for George was as bad as it gets, and Gwyneth Paltow no doubt was the highlight of the evening for me, when she sang the Most Country song of the night, with the exception of Loretta Lynn’s tribute segment.  Vince Gill once again brought super harmony and guitar work to the song, but this young lady just might have stole the show.  SHE RECEIVED A STANDING OVATION.  Hey that is my opinion.

Carrie Underwood looked beautiful in her gown, Reba is always eloquent, Loretta is Country Music Elite, Martina always with great fashion, in fact all of the ladies were dressed to the hilt.  Now the guys, I must say that they all looked great.  There were a couple that looked like they just got out of bed and got to the arena just in time to go on.  We don’t need that kind of dress.  If you cannot respect the music, the industry, and the millions of people who view the show-THEN STAY HOME. These are the Country Music Association Awards and it is the Oscar Awards for our music so we should go the extra mile to present the best look for our industry to impress the world.  We are in a new age of electronics, so let’s get rid of the sparklers and pryo junk.  If that is what an artist wants in their road show, that is their business, but let’s make this one night of the year the most impressive of all music genre’s.

So in closing, I was not impressed with the production, but I was impressed with the fact that the awards had a more country theme then I have seen or heard in some years.  The opening of the show was heavy on instruments way too loud in the audio mix, so that Carrie could hardly be heard.  I would venture to bet that when the production people review this show (if they do) they will be ashamed of their work.  The skit with Carrie and Brad after the opening of the show was country as a horse barn.

Do I agree with the award winners-no, not all of them, but that is the way voting goes.  It was a colorful evening to showcase country music and I believe we got more country music last night than in previous years.  In the coming years CMA needs to dictate to the network, OR FIND ANOTHER NETWORK, that there must be time set aside to recognize the new Hall of Fame inductees.  I do understand that time is so short, that there might not be enough time to let the inductees speak, but they should be given seats together and the camera’s could pan on them through the evening and have them stand together as recognition of their great award.  That is all we are asking.  CMA has a duty to recognize to the world, those who are inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and I feel that they will do this.

For those of you that might think I am being a turncoat, please understand that I support real country music, I do not support the country that is hard rock being called country, and we all know who those artists are, who profess to being country, but if they are country, then we have lost all meaning of what country music is and should be.  I am just saying that this past CMA Awards Show, I did see and hear a glimpse of what country was and I am hoping that 2011 will see more of that theme.  It can be done with the Brad Paisley’s to lead the music industry forward into this new era.  Being a leader is not all fun and games, partying, etc.  Don’t forget, more fiddles and steel guitars, and more beautiful harmony.  There are other things I would like to say about the dress code but I have said enough.  I have talked with several of my friends in the industry and they feel the same as I do, but they all agree that this past CMA Awards Show was a step forward, with the exception of the audio productions of the show.  Let’s see what 2011 holds for our country music.

One last thought.  Kitty Wells, Jean Shepard, and Loretta Lynn paved the way for the female country artists of today.

By: Marty Martel



  1. Marty my name is Ron Dennee im Larry Steeles nephew Bobby is my sister. Any way I moved to tennesse 1 1/5 yrs. ago. With hopes of doing something with my music, please hear me out I’m sure youv’e a million storys. Im not trying to peddel myself or to hear me on the radio, I want my songs to b heard. I have had the chance to play the bluebird cafe and got great response. I just had a thought that if you were to be around Maybe you could listen to them and maybe give me addvice good or bad who knows I might surprise you. I hope you get this note I left my e-mail address and my ph. no. is 928 243 0476 I live in hartsville tn. and I drive truck for a living. Thank You for your time Sincerly Ron Dennee aka: Willie J . Lol

  2. Marty, I agree with you regarding the dress of some of the men……..you would think they were going for a drink, or doing Sat. a.m. errands, not an awards show.
    Do these guys think they won’t win, and sit on their behinds without a chance of going on stage, or are they trying to offend mom and pop?
    I also agree that only veterans behind a sound board should be in place.

    What I wish to know is: do the members still VOTE for the nominees?
    Thanks for letting me “air off”……Grant would never do that, but I have a little
    more dare than he. ntb

  3. I did not get to see the award show this year do to my job but, as I read through the list I am greatful Taylor Swift went home with not a single award. I agree with the mens outfits. Also if you look at the women’s clothing isn’t it getting a little much? Something you would see on MTV. I am a country music fan if I wanted to see you dress like Lady GaGa I’d change the channel to MTV. BRING BACK THE TRADITION!

  4. I could not agree more on all counts. Well said and I do hope the same changes you suggest are needed actually do happen.

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