Raising the stakes in country music


Blake Shelton and Luke Bryan host the ACM Awards. Both men also performed.

The 49th annual Academy of Country Music Awards aired on Sunday April 6, 2014 on CBS at 7 p.m. The show opened with The Band Perry performing their new hit Chainsaw. While the lyrics carried a strong message, the audio quality was lacking and hard to hear clearly. Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton overwhelmed the audience in the performing arts center in Las Vegas as they co-hosted the awards. Florida Georgia Line and Brad Paisley also gave live opening performances at surrounding locations. Blake Shelton was a nominee for entertainer of the year, and he also performed his new single, “My Eyes”.

Selling over 68 million albums and holding at least one single in the top 10 for 30 consecutive years, George Strait took the stage and captured the audience performing his newest single, “I Got a Car.” This calming tune portrayed his vocal fluency and experience in performing. Straight was also a nominee for this year’s entertainer of the year.

Male vocalist nominee, Lee Brice performed “I Drive Your Truck.” His live version, while unique, strayed from the original recorded version. The performance was also substantially short, lasting only 30 seconds at maximum.

Eric Church sang his single, “Give ME Back My Hometown.” While his vocal performance was right on the money pitch and sound wise, his wardrobe showed a more edgy side. Justin Moore also performed his single “Lettin the Night Roll” at a side stage in Las Vegas.

Blake Shelton, accompanied music icon Shakira, and together they performed “Medicine.” While they are known to have very different music styles, this song blended their voices exceptionally well. Their stage presence also added to the sincerity of the performance.

Taylor Swift announced vocal duo of the year. Nominees were Big and Rich, Dan and Shay, Florida Georgia Line, Love and Theft, and Thomson Square. Florida Georgia Line ended up stealing the award. The humble group finished their recognition speech by thanking all of their team members and fans for “Believing in them all the way.”

Lady Antebellum performed, signing “Golden.” While that is the official title of their song, it also sums up the performance to a tee. All vocalists harmonized to ultimately execute the song perfectly. Stevie Nicks also accompanied them for yet another performance. This time performing Rhiannon, the group added sentimental twists into the original track. All changes were made for the better.

Justin Moore accepted the Newcomer of the Year award. Single record of the year nominees were “Highway Don’t Care” by Tim McGraw featuring Taylor Swift, “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice, “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line, “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert, and “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker featuring Lady Antebellum. Announced by spouse Blake Shelton, Miranda accepted the award “in all honesty, thanking her fans and songwriters.” Lambert followed her award by signing her new hit single, “Automatic.”

Aaron Rodgers announced the nominees and winner of the song of the year award. Nominees were “Every Storm Runs out of Rain” by Gary Allen, “I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice, “Mama’s Broken Heart” by Miranda Lambert, “Mine Would Be You” by Blake Shelton, and “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker featuring Lady Antebellum. The winner was Lee Brice singing “I Drive Your Truck.”

As Brice stated, “This is not for me, its song of the year and it comes from the writers.” Finally, male vocalist of the year went to Jason Aldean.