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2024 ACMs - the blow by blow

Jeffrey Remz  |  May 16, 2024

Tonight is the 59th edition of the Academy of Country music Awards straight outta Frisco, Texas with Reba McEntire hosting for thet 17th time.

8:01 p.m. - Lainey Wilson, decked out in fed, gets started with Little Texas' "God Blessed Texas." She didn't sing the whole thing, but pretty much anything she sings works. She's not even wearing bellbottoms tonight.

8:03 p.m. - Wilson walked through the crowd tog et to the stage to belt out "Hang Tight Honey," her new single. She has a great country twang as usual. No hat either. Is this part of the new Lainey Wilson? Whatever she does is fine just as long as the music continues to be great!

8:06 p.m. - Reba is hosting again. She's always a bit hokey, talking about her donkeys. "They have one hit, and they've turned into total asses," she joked. Didn't get much of a response. She won her very first ACM award 40 years ago!

"I can remember when Jelly Roll was an after school snack," she joked. She went on to mention how Luke used to be one of the gospels instead of the name of everybody in country music. You get the idea.

She gives a shout out to Post Malone (Malone is his real name) and joked about "Pre Malone." Obviously jokes here, which are decidedly corny.

8:13 p.m. - Song of the Year - Jordan Davis for "Next Thing You Know." "Chase McGill and Greylan James helped write it. This was a surprise. "I grew up watching this be holding this now is crazy."

I would have expected "The Painter" by Cody Johnson, "Tennessee Orange" by Megan Moroney or "Fast Car" by Luke Combs to win it. Frankly, I liked all three better, but Davis had a good song too. The others just had more to say IMHO.

8:18 p.m. - Jelly Roll sings "Liar." New song for him. This guy is entertaining. He is so earnest with his soulful delivery and soul-based backing singers.

8:23 p.m. or so - Kelsea Ballerini and Noah Kahan, the pop star, sing his big hit "Stick Season." Nice reading. Ballerini is very animated, and he keeps a country vibe with his acoustic guitar playing.

8:29 p.m. - Country Duo of the Year - Dan + Shay. Thought it would have been Brothers Osborne. Dan Smyer said, "I'm freaking out right now...I'm so glad to be back on the stage with you." Shay Mooney said, "I'm a little overwhelmed" before thanking God, Reba and a few others.

8:33 p.m. - New duo or group winner Tigirlili Gold sang "I Tried a Ring On." They sound like sisters as well they should. Good harmonies with a real country sound. There's even a mandolin going.

8:35 p.m. - Group of the Year - Old Dominion, of course. Zero surprise here. Flatland Cavalry was never going to win, but great that they were nominated. "Matt Ramsey as usual takes the talking chores, "This is a business that is a business that is go go to...We try to take a look at our fans who are the best in the world...I'm sitting in the crowd taking all of this in." "We could not have dreamed that we would have won this thing seven years in a row." He recounted a story of sitting on his front porch talking with fellow OD member Geoff Sprung and his water got turned off because he couldn't afford to pay it. Times have changed guys!

8:39 p.m. - Cody Johnson sits with acoustic guitar in hand singing "Dirt Cheap." Not the usual upbeat, fast-paced songs we tend to hear on these awards shows. I think if I had to guess, he'd be the country performer, who may get a lot bigger. You get the feeling from him that he's the real deal, including his white cowboy hat.

8:46 p.m. - Bad joke by Dan Smyers of Dan + Shay, about whether Reba was at the ACMs with Hank Jr. or Sr. Doubt the Williams family thinks it's funny.

8:47 p.m. - Miranda Lambert sings her new song "Wranglers." Album coming later this year. She is not rocking with this one. That's fine with me.

8:50 p.m. - Noah Reed of Schitt's Creek and Ashley McBryde do a parody with some current songs. "All these country guys need a razor," he sings to Jelly's "Need a Favor." Sort of cute.

8:52 p.m. - Song of the Year - "Fast Car" by Luke Combs. He wasn't there, but suspect he'll accept it anyway. Tough competition as well with Jelly Roll's "Need a Favor" and Parker McCollum's "Burn It Down" among others. Combs has done well obviously with the song.

8:54 p.m. - Kane Brown sings "Georgia on My Mind," made famous by the late great Ray Charles. Of course, he gives it a soulful bent, although a bit smooth in his singing - that is not a criticism. This guy has come a long way since his start. Well done.

"I'm used to running around," Brown told Bobby Bones after the performance. Brown is not a big ego guy.

9:02 p.m. - Thomas Rhett walks through the crowd singing "Beautiful As You," his new song, before hitting the stage. Good vibe to the song, which is about his wife. She should like it!

9:06 p.m. - Male Vocalist of the Year - Chris Stapleton. "There are so many great guys in that category, and I'm happy just to be included in such great company...Thank you mama for always telling me I could be whoever I wanted to be." He said she was "under the weather tonight."

Stapleton won, but could just as easily have gone to Luke Combs or Jelly Roll or Cody Johnson or Morgan Wallen. Good win for Stapleton, who's his usual low-key self.

9:09 p.m. - Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani sing "Purple Irises." It's a poppy song as they duet their way through it with flowers on either side of them. She also has a purple outfit with huge huge fake flower on the front. I always get the feeling that she's the stronger singer when they sing together.

9:15 p.m. - Shelton speaks in memory of Toby Keith, a fellow Okie. His family was in the house. Jason Aldean tackles "Should've Been a Cowboy." He's on acoustic as are two other guitarists plus a string quartet. A different take on the song as Aldean had promised. Not a big fan of Aldean, but I like what he's doing here. His slow take gives it an introspective look, on the sad side, looking back. Really well done.

Aldean's version left TK's family in tears. The power of music.

9:22 p.m. - Lainey Wilson wins Female Artist of the Year. I can't say I'm the least bit surprised. "A lot of the women who were in this category specifically are some of my best friends and are people who helped pull me over the wall."

She thanked the other female artists who "Taught me so's crazy me to think that me and Wynonna Judd. We talk every week..She lifts me up> She encourages me up. She encourages me up. She lifts me up. That's what it's all about...This is for all the women who do that."

9:26 p.m. - Chris Stapleton sings "Think I'm in Love With You" with Dua Lipa. It's not so country, but the soulful Stapleton is always excellent. Dua's not so bad herself! Very well done.

9:31 p.m. - Vocal Event of the Year - "Save Me" by Jelly Roll and Lainey Wilson. No surprise here either. Wilson thanked Jelly "This song speaks to so many people who feel they didn't have a voice."

Jelly Roll said, "I'm going to try not get emotionial. I was in a dark place...I thought I'd be in jail. I thought I would die." He never fails to get personal and emotional.

9:36 p.m. - New country artist Post Malone sings "I Had Some Help," his new song with Morgan Wallen, who is not in the house. Post sounds a tad off vocally, but it's country with pedal steel and fiddle, first time I think I've heard either one tonight.

9:42 p.m. - Reba sings a bit of "Ramblin Man" with Post Malone, a snippet of it. I would not have thought these two would get together to say the least. They sounded good, and he is into this country thing.

9:44 p.m. - Charley Pride's son, Dion, said that his father said, "I think there's enough room in country music for everybody."

9:46 p.m. - Stapleton wins Album of the Year for "Higher." "What an honor," Stapleton said. "We do our best to make an album, a complete body of work all the time."

Morgane Stapleton, his wife, said, "I'm so proud every day to get to work with the love of my life. it means so much to be recognized with him." Dave Cobb also received the honor as producer. Well deserved.

9:48 p.m. - McCollum sings "Burn It Down." It's all acoustic based guitar wise with three of them. Vocals could have been a bit better.

9:52 - Nate Smith sings "Bulletproof" with pop rocker Avril Lavigne. Would never have thought about these two getting together, but they kill it. Smith is super happy. Can't say I blame him.

10 p.m. - Lainey wins the big one - Entertainer of the Year. "These past years for us has just been a complete whirlwind. I've been in Nashville 13 years doing this."

"I remember being a little girl. I'd climb out on my roof I'd look up and see the stars...and I'd dream about being up there in one of those planes. This year, it's so crazy because we've already toured the UK and Australia and we're about to start our American leg. The funny thing I still feel like that little girl. I look up at the stars."

Predictable, but Lainey got emotional with tears. She seems so real.

10:03 p.m. - Reba closes out the night with her new single - "I Can't." She sounds good and has a large group of soulful backing singers. Reba sounds strong with fire and smoke going onstage. Real good outing for Reba. Hasn't missed a step at 69. Well done.

10:07 p.m. - Unlike other awards shows, this one does not drag. Reba said she'll be back next year, and it's over. A compact, fast-paced show.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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