(Disclaimer - we get it. The country music that gets played on the radio and featured at awards shows like ACM's is pop garbage and a disgrace to Waylon Jennings, and Jimmie Rogers. Despite that, somehow, someway country music continues to kill other genres in terms of sales and spins so today's artists must be doing something right. Crazy. It's ok for people to like different musicians. Deep breathes. It's all gonna be ok.)
After last year’s amazing performance where Keith Urban played piano for her, this year Mickey Guyton became the first black female to host the ACMs.
Chris Young and Kane Brown at Ryman
Blanco Brown presented the first award, Group of the Year, to Old Dominion. In March 2020, Brown had a near fatal accident when he collided head-on with a pick-up truck while riding his motorcycle.
Thomas Rhett at Grand Ole Opry
Miranda and Stapleton (first time collab) at The Bluebird
Power marriage of Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd at Ryman
They set up a stage by the river downtown where Lady A performed.
Gabby Marrett at The Bluebird
Darius presents song of the year - Marren Morris “The Bones”. Wrote it for her now husband. Emotional meaning to her.
What a performance by Dierks Bentley at The Station Inn. As Dierks said - The Station Inn is bluegrass ground zero where he cut his teeth in Nashville. He paid tribute to the late owner of The Station Inn, J.T. Gray.
He performed his cover of U2’s “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” with The War & Treaty. There was a lot of awesome music being made… worth the watch.
Dierks’ wheelhouse is bluegrass with his modern take and he leaned into that with the 2010 album ‘Up on the Ridge’ where this cover first appeared. Really with he would lean into that sound more often.
Carrie Underwood with CeCe Winans at the Grand Ole Opry
Church with “Bunch Of Nothing” at Ryman. 2:37 is passion.
Dan and Shay with “Glad You Exist” at The Bluebird
Luke Combs with “Forever After All” and an orchestra at Grand Ole Opry
Listen, respect Miranda Lambert, but the most awarded artist in ACM history was an interesting stat. Would love to see the sabermetrics on that one.
Jimmie Allen and Brad Paisley with “Freedom Was A Highway”
Martina McBride presents Single of the Year. Each nomination was a woman for the first time in history. The winner, Carly Pearce and her collab with Lee Brice, was a bit awkward when he joined her on stage to accept after they made a big deal, as they should, about the all-women nominations. Also, Pearce revealed that “I Hope You’re Happy Now” was the last song that her late producer Busbee worked on.
Kenny Chesney with “Knowing You” at Grand Ole Opry
Ashley McBryde with “Martha Divine” on the river stage
Alan Jackson with “Drive” and “You Will Always Be My Baby” at Ryman. He wrote both songs for his daughters’ weddings. How was your band at your wedding?
Good on the Academy for going back-to-back classics in AJ’s “Drive” and Blake Shelton’s “Austin”
Shelton also played the newer “Minimum Wage”
Leslie Jordan presents Duo of the Year to Dan + Shay
Carly Pearce and Lee Brice perform at Grand Ole Opry
Acmliftinglives.com is the philanthropic arm of the ACMs supporting those affected by Covid in the music/live events industry.
Mickey Guyton performs “Hold On”. Wrote song as prayer.
Ingrid Andress presents Male Artist of the Year to Thomas Rhett beat out Dierks, Church, Stapleton.
Keith Fricken Urban performs “Tumbleweed”... Urban and Paisley don’t get mentioned enough, if at all, in the great guitarist conversation.
Brothers Osborne with “I’m Not For Everyone”
Now open in Nashville is the National Museum of African American Music and Darius Rucker is the National Chair
Kelsea Ballerini performs “Half Of My Hometown” with Chesney at Grand Ole Opry
Clay Walker presents Album of the Year to Chris Stapleton who accepted at The Bluebird. Feel like Stapleton is the most humble person on the planet.
Amy Grant present Female Artist of the Year to Maren Morris
Little Big Town performed literally walking down Broadway in Nashville with a marching band. Pretty cool and song fucks. Played without Philip Sweet (out - Covid) who made a video appearance and looked good.
Luke Bryan wins Entertainer of the Year. Would love to know the criteria for the past year.
Brothers Osborne close the show at Ryman with “Dead Man’s Curve”