The 2016 American Country Countdown Awards celebrated on May 1 at The Forum in Los Angeles started out immediately catching your attention. Jennifer Nettles, Cam and Martina McBride kicked the show off with a resounding shout-out to women with Martina’s 2003 hit, “This One’s for the Girls.” The rockin mood was set from that point on and the fans were ready.
Awards and performances were abundant in the fast paced show. Luke Bryan did double duty on accepting his Artist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year wins amid giving a performance of his latest hit, “Huntin’ Fishin’ and Lovin’ Everyday”. Carrie Underwood gave a strong stellar performance of her current release, “Church Bells.” She can sing anything and rightfully deserved Female Artist of the Year. While accepting her award Carrie gave a special dedication to fan, 10 year old Isley Thibodeaux. The vehicle Isley was in after leaving Carrie’s show in Lafayette, LA was struck by a drunk driver and Isley did not survive.
“It’s been so much fun seeing you guys out on the road this year,” Underwood said in her acceptance speech. “And we’ve just been having fun together so thank you. And one fan in particular,” the singer said as she began to get choked up, “Isley Thibodeaux, this is for you.”
There were stand out performances from Cole Swindell (“You Should Be Here”), Chris Janson (“Buy Me A Boat”), Thomas Rhett for his Song of the Year winner, “Die A Happy Man,”, Kelsea Ballerini (“Dibs”) and more. The show also took a moment to honor and remember the musical genius, Prince by lighting the Coliseum in purple. Chris Stapleton continues his reign over true country music by winning Album of the Year for “Traveller.” He was not in attendance but gave his acceptance speech from San Diego where he was performing that same evening.
Being there and feeling the vibe of the fans fun, excitement and appreciation for their artists was exhilarating. I relished in the moments when old school became new school in the honoring of country duo Brooks and Dunn with the NASH Icon Award, presented by Reba. They took it up a notch and proved their award was deserved when they hit the stage singing, “Red Dirt Road.” That never grows old.
Country music suffered a great loss on April 6 with the passing of legend Merle Haggard. The selection of bringing Toby Keith in to pay tribute was the best move. Playing with Merle’s band the Strangers along with Merle’s son Ben, the montage of hits performed included, “Mama Tried,” “Okie From Muskogee,” “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink,” “Silver Wings,” and wrapping it up with, “Fightin’s Side of Me.” I was not drinking a beer at the time but if I had there would definitely have been a tear in it.
The American Country Countdown Awards was well rounded with what is based on radio airplay charts, sales and streaming data from April 1, 2015 to March 28, 2016 provided by BuzzAngle Music. Touring data is from Pollstar “The Concert Hotwire.” The NASH Icon Award is chosen by The American Country Countdown. Watching on TV is one thing, but to be in the crowd is an entirely different vibe, both very enjoyable. A note to all country fans; learn to appreciate and support the Country Legends and Icon’s while they are still here..they have something worth listening to.
American Country Countdown Awards 2016 Winners:
Artist of the Year–Luke Bryan
Male Vocalist of the Year–Luke Bryan
Female Vocalist of the Year–Carrie Underwood
Group/Duo of the Year–Florida Georgia Line
Song of the Year–”Die a Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett
Breakthrough Male of the Year–Sam Hunt
Breakthrough Female of the Year–Kelsea Ballerini
Breakthrough Group/Duo of the Year-Old Dominion
Album of the Year–Traveller by Chris Stapleton
Digital Song of the Year-“Girl Crush” by Little Big Town
Digital Album of the Year-“Montevallo” by Sam Hunt
Nash Icon Award– Brooks & Dunn
Touring Artist of the Year-Garth Brooks
For pictures and more check out the ACCA website here and watch for our Red Carpet access updates.