Country music stars gathered around in Las Vegas and saluted George Strait Wednesday night. They called him the “King of Country.” He’s won practically every award: Grammy, CMA, ACM and is a member of the Country Hall of Fame. His latest award was an extra special one — ACM Artist of the Decade. He deserved it too — how maybe other singers have 57 number one hits? Zero.
Sugarland was first up to sing George’s “Adelaide.” Kristian Bush, the male member of Sugarland, thanked George and insisted that the kindness George showed to him made Kristian a better person. “Adelaide” was fun. I think it did George justice.
Toby Keith was one of my favorite singers. I told my friend that I cannot die without seeing Toby live and if I did die before that, Toby must play at my funeral. Toby sang Strait’s first number one hit, “Unwound.” To me, this was true country. Can I buy Toby’s version of this song? It’s amazing. George looked very happy at the end and shook Toby’s hand.
Brooks and Dunn performed “The Cowboy Rides Away.” Compared to their usual music, “The Cowboy Rides Away” was softer, prettier, and not really what I’m used to from them. I found it very interesting that they could sing this and liked this better than their regular material.
Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert were good together. They did a duet, “It Ain’t Cool To Be Crazy About You.” I really liked it. I’m not a big Miranda Lambert person (I hate “Gunpowder and Lead”) and Blake’s okay generally, but I’m not a huge fan. However, they rocked this song. George nodded his head in approval.
Smiling, Keith Urban trotted up on stage. Keith Urban did a Marty Robbins song, who was first to receive the ACM Artist of the Decade award. He sang, “A White Sport Coat,” which is very different than Keith’s normal music. It was still good, but I’ll stick with Keith’s “Start A Band” or “Kiss A Girl.” It’s too old school for me.
Before starting “Amarillo By Morning,” John Rich said it was a privilege to sing that song. I thought he did a great job and I would definitely buy it from iTunes. I thought George agreed — his body language said it was great. John ended with asking George to sign his guitar. Aww…
I hated Faith Hill. I mean, I really did. I can’t stand any of her music. The only ones that are tolerable are the ones with her husband, Tim McGraw. I even turn off the radio when she’s on. I hated when she tried to honor previous ACM Decade winner, Loretta Lynn.
Lee Ann Womack and Jamey Johnson did a duet of the song “Give It Away.” Jamey called George “his hero” and thanked him “for giving me a second chance.” It was fairly good. They make a good duo. I really don’t give Jamey Johnson enough credit though. He’s very talented. I should listen to him more.
Jack Ingram was amazing singing “All My Exes Live In Texas.” He brought the power up; Jamie Foxx was bobbing his head and Martina McBride was singing the lyrics.
Montgomery Gentry covered Alabama’s “Play Me Some Mountain Music.” Loved Alabama’s version, loved their version. Good stuff. I loved that fiddle.
The next woman performed as the opening act for Strait when she was sixteen. Taylor Swift sang “Run.” The lights dimmed and Taylor played guitar. The chorus of the song was very good. Everyone on Twitter seemed to love it. People said, "it’s the best performance hands down … it’s better than George’s version” and “it gave me chills.” It was certainly the talk on Twitter.
LeAnn Rimes called George cute. I don’t see it. She sang “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind.” It sounded too whiny for me to enjoy fully.
And now, the man who has won zero ACM awards … Jamie Foxx. I didn’t know why he was there. I guess he’s a George Strait fan. He’s not a bad singer though. He had a pretty good story about his hometown and talked about the “sexiness of George’s music.” Moving on …
Alan Jackson’s latest is “Sissy Song,” but he covered “The Fireman.” Martina knew these lyrics too. Sugarland loved it. Worked for me.
I was excited to see Dierks Bentley next, who admitted stalking George Strait. He’s a funny guy. He did “Blue Clear Sky.” I liked it right away. I had never heard George’s version.
The next woman was the singer who brought me into country music. Martina McBride sang “The Dance” by Garth Brooks. Right away, I liked it much better that Garth’s version.
Tim McGraw covered one of Strait’s more popular songs, “Marina del Rey.” I thought George’s original was much better, but Tim’s was fine too. Actually, I take that back, Tim’s might me better. I can’t decide.
Lee Ann Womack came back out and sang an original song about George Strait. It’s cutesy. Think Hallmark. George looked in awe. Then Garth Brooks (who was the Artist of the Decade in the 1990s) came out to pass the torch
to George Straight. Garth admitted, “I wanted to be George Strait.”
The night ended like a perfect fairytale. George gave his acceptance speech and sang a song. Then, all the artists came up and sang a song together.
No Lady Antebellum and Brad Paisley? What’s with that? And nobody does my favorite George Strait song, “River of Love?” This concert would have been perfect with those adjustments.
It was definitely a good ACM Artist of The Decade concert. I can’t even imagine who will get it ten years from now.