Mike Sudhalter | November 9, 2007
I didn't get to watch the CMA Awards Wednesday night, but I was surprised and pleased with some of the results.
It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Kenny Chesney would win Entertainer of The Year, Taylor Swift would claim the Horizon Award and Rascal Flatts would take Vocal Group of the Year.
I was glad to see Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley win two awards apiece. They have two of the best new albums out, in my opinion. Underwood won Female Vocalist Of The Year and single of the year ("Before He Cheats") while Paisley took male vocalist and video of the year ("Online", directed by Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame).
I was shocked to see Sugarland top Brooks & Dunn for Vocal Duo of the Year. Don't be surprised if its time for Kix and Ronnie to begin pursuing solo projects. If they're smart, they'll stick together - it's good marketing. I thought if anyone would beat B&D, it would be Big & Rich.
Gotta think it was a victory for neo-traditional country that George Strait won album of the year for "Give It Away", his best effort in recent years and songwriters Bill Anderson, Buddy Cannon and Jamey Johnson won the song of the year award for writing the album's title track.
Chalk up another win for tradition with Tracy Lawrence winning his first CMA. The Arkansas native won it for Vocal Event of The Year, a collaboration with Chesney and Tim McGraw on "Find Out Who Your Friends Are." That's also a victory for independent labels, in this case, Lawrence's Rocky Comfort Records.
I saw a video of Kellie Pickler singing "I Wonder", the song about her mother who left her when she was a child. Pickler was sobbing uncontrollably as she sang this song. I can understand why it's so emotional for her. When I saw her live in Nashville, the tears flowed freely as well. I knew this might sound cold-hearted, but Pickler needs to detach her personal emotions when she performs, or maybe not chose songs that hit so close to home. It's one thing if your songs are making those in the audience cry. It's kind of disturbing as a fan to see you cry to your own songs. At the same time, I have no idea what it's like to be in that situation, and I admire Pickler's courage in letting millions know about something so personal and painful. She's truly one of country's rising stars.