Naomi Judd Blasts CMT Music Awards for ‘Disservice’ to George Jones’ Legacy
Naomi Judd was very unhappy with the way the 2013 CMT Music Awards handled their tribute to departed country legend George Jones last week, and she’s not afraid to say so in public. In a letter to Nashville’s Tennessean newspaper, Judd takes the awards show to task for not only their scanty tribute to Jones, but also their increasing focus on multi-genre collaborations.
“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 writes. “Yet, the ‘Country’ Music Television awards show allowed only a ‘by the way’ mention of Jones’ death and legacy. Incongruously, they chose alternative music group the Mavericks to perform their short version of George’s ‘The Race Is On.’”
The group played the song after show co-host Jason Aldean spoke briefly of Jones’ influence and legacy, but their performance was not broadcast in its entirety, as the show cut to a commercial partway through.
Jones passed away on April 26 from complications due to respiratory problems. Many of Nashville’s biggest stars gathered at the Grand Ole Opry for his funeral, which featured personal and musical tributes from some of those who knew him best. CMT was one of the networks that broadcast the event in its entirety.
Still, Judd questions the network’s commitment to country music in light of the cross-genre guests that appear on the CMT Music Awards each year. Last week’s show included collaborations with rocker Lenny Kravitz and rapper Nelly.
“Every year, CMT includes artists of unrelated genres, many of whom some country music fans don’t even know,” Judd points out. “I suggest the CMT Awards show change its name. Perhaps to ‘the Multi-Genre Awards Show, Featuring Artists under 30.’”
She concludes by saying that she knows her letter will likely result in a permanent ban from CMT. “But I’m tired of folks messing with my country music,” Judd writes. “Especially when it involves my dear friend George Jones.”