In a letter to Nashville newspaper The Tennesseean, country singer Naomi Judd took aim at last week’s CMT Music Awards, ripping the ceremony for not staying true to country music — and for short changing George Jones’ death with an undercooked tribute.
“George Jones is to country music what The Beatles are to pop, the Rolling Stones to rock, Elvis to rockabilly, Mozart to classical and Aretha to soul,” Judd wrote. “Yet, the ‘Country’ Music Television awards show allowed only a ‘by the way’ mention of Jones’ death and legacy.”
“Incongruously, [CMT] chose alternative music group the Mavericks to perform their short version of George’s ‘The Race Is On,’” Judd continued.
Judd wasn’t just bothered by the George Jones tribute, though. She also criticized genre-bending performances, alluding to Florida Georgia Line and Nelly’s rendition of “Cruise.” “Every year, CMT includes artists of unrelated genres, many of whom some country music fans don’t even know.” Judd argued. “I suggest the CMT Awards show change its name. Perhaps to ‘the Multi-Genre Awards Show, Featuring Artists under 30.’”
“I realize speaking out will cause me to now be forever banned by CMT,” she concluded. “But I’m tired of folks messing with my country music. Especially when it involves my dear friend George Jones.”
Tell us how you really feel, Naomi! (Read her full letter to The Tennessean here.)
To have Jason Aldean call the Possum “the greatest country singer of all time” and then only broadcast a 26-second tribute (embedded below) befuddled me too, especially when other country shows put together heartfelt performances for artists that are often still alive — like the CMA Awards’ tear-inducing Glen Campbell tribute in 2011. But then, the CMT Awards aren’t exactly going for respectability, are they? (Side note: The Mavericks are great.)
What do you think, country fans?
For more country music musing: