Last night, the Country Music Association held its annual CMA Awards, which can pretty accurately be described as the Grammys of country music. That show is a big deal and a representation of how the Nashville industry sees himself. It does not always have room for dissenters. Last year, when Sturgill Simpson was locked out of all the awards categories, he busked outside the arena in protest. So it’s cool to see that the CMA people awarded Kacey Musgraves the Album Of The Year trophy for Golden Hour, a lovestruck and acid-influenced LP that only barely qualifies as country music in the current Nashville sense.
It should probably be noted that the CMAs, unlike the Grammys, don’t treat Album Of The Year as their biggest annual award. Instead, that distinction goes to Entertainer Of The Year, which Keith Urban won last night, breaking a two-year streak for the not-nominated-this-year Garth Brooks. (No woman has won Entertainer Of The Year since Taylor Swift in 2011, and all of this year’s nominees were men.) Album Of The Year instead tends to go to critically-acclaimed insurgent forces like Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, and Lee Ann Womack. Johnny Cash, who couldn’t get arrested on country radio by the end of his life, still won it for American IV: The Man Comes Around. Still, it’s cool to see the Album Of The Year trophy going to the actual best country album of the year.
You can see video of Musgraves winning the award at MSN. And on the show, Musgraves also sang the Golden Hour song “Slow Burn.” The CMA people are weird about online video, so you will have to make do with a quick clip of that performance, via Billboard.
Fellow Stereogum faves Eric Church and Pistol Annies also performed on the show. It sure would be nice if those videos would show up online.