CMA Awards: Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Band Perry win top honors
Nashville’s Country Music Assn. has a well-deserved reputation for déjà vu, having doled out the same awards to the same performers year after year across much of its nearly half-century history. But this year the CMA apparently decided that it’s time to bring some new blood into its ranks, heaping multiple awards on relative newcomers Jason Aldean and the Band Perry, yet saving its top award for Taylor Swift, naming the 21-year-old singer and songwriter entertainer of the year.
Aldean, country music’s unrequited best man for several years -- he's had just one previous CMA nomination -- finally made it to the altar himself as his “My Kinda Party” was named album of the year Wednesday at the 45th CMA Awards. It was a decisive vote of confidence for the Macon, Ga., singer, who got the nod over Swift and her blockbuster “Speak Now” album, which last fall became the first collection in 5½ years in any genre to sell more than 1 million copies during its first week of release.
“My Kinda Party,” however, is the top-selling country album of 2011 with sales of more than 2 million copies to date; Swift’s album, which has logged nearly double that figure at 3.8 million, was released at the end of 2010. Aldean, whose four studio albums have sold more than 5 million copies collectively, also received the trophy for musical event for his duet “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with the first “American Idol” winner, Kelly Clarkson.
The Band Perry won for new artist, and its hit single “If I Die Young” picked up single and song of the year honors for its heart-tugging exploration of youths who feel overlooked or taken for granted, something the young sibling trio doesn’t have to worry about now.
The CMA also added to the ascendancy of singer-songwriter Blake Shelton, who married Miranda Lambert last summer, awarding him its male vocalist and her the female vocalist awards, both for a second year in a row. Sugarland scored again for country duo, the fifth consecutive win for group members Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, and Lady Antebellum collected its third straight win as vocal group of the year.
-- Randy Lewis
Photo of Taylor Swift arriving Wednesday Country Music Assn. Awards in Nashville. Credit: Reuters