By Rebekah Deponte |Staff Writer|
The American Country Countdown (ACC) Awards happened May 1 at The Forum in Inglewood.
The event embodied the roots of country music, acknowledging artists who have shaped the industry, as well as celebrating the shift in the genre’s sound that has been inspired by country newcomers.
The ACC Awards are based on the weekly radio show “American Country Countdown with Kix Brooks” and recognized country music artists’ yearly achievements based on album sales, radio play, and streaming data.
Martina McBride, Jennifer Nettles and Camaron “Cam” Marvel Ochs opened the show with a performance of McBride’s hit song, “This One’s for the Girls.”
The performance opened the show with a powerful feminist tone even though the country music industry has infamously been a “boys club” since the beginning of country music.
Most awards, including Album of the Year and Artist of the Year (Chris Stapleton’s “Traveller” and Luke Bryan, respectively), went to male artists, but there remained a strong message of female empowerment within the country music community throughout the show as female artists performed and presented.
Many award winners thanked loved ones, God, and fans in their acceptance speeches, but Carrie Underwood plucked heartstrings when she quickly dedicated her Female Vocalist of the Year award to Isley Thibodeaux without any explanation beyond the fact that Thibodeaux is a fan of Underwood’s.
Fans took to the internet to learn that Thibodeaux, a 10-year-old girl from Louisiana, was allegedly killed by a drunk driver on April 24.
The young child was on her way home from Underwood’s concert.
The country singer has been in contact with Thibodeaux’s family since she heard about the tragedy and sent a floral arrangement as well as a personal letter to the funeral.
The biggest honor of the night was the Nash Icon award, which was presented to Brooks & Dunn by former winner Reba McEntire.
Brooks & Dunn taking home this title might have left a bad taste in some mouths; considering Kix Brooks, the host of the ACC Awards is one of the two leads of the band.
However, the band was and remains to be, the best-selling country duo since they parted ways in 2009.
This shows that they are deserving of the honor regardless of Brooks involvement with the ACC organization.
Toby Keith and The Strangers (Merle Haggard’s band) ended the show with a touching tribute to the late country icon Merle Haggard, who passed away last month after a series of many recent health issues.
Haggard’s son, Ben Haggard, played guitar alongside of Keith for the six-song tribute.
The award show is a baby in comparison to longer standing country award shows, this being only its second year airing—but the format of this show is unlike the rest.
Winners were notified ahead of time and almost every winner performed before they gave their acceptance speech.
It is too soon to tell if this awards show will continue on for decades like the Country Music Television Awards have but the format alone is enough to give these bigger shows a run for their money.