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ACM Week poll: Is contemporary country really country music?

by Brandy McDonnell Published: April 17, 2010
[img]91403b368cad5cbf9b0e6f8565e196eb[/img]

Carrie Underwood is the reigning Academy of Country Music entertainer of the year and is vying to win the title for the second straight year at Sunday’s ACM Awards.

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-20532" title="james marsden - ap" src="http://blog.newsok.com/bamsblog/wp-content/imagescaler/ac4c326a78c6935dd2082af72ce9cdfb.jpg" alt="" width="415" height="512" imagescaler="http://blog.newsok.com/bamsblog/wp-content/imagescaler/ac4c326a78c6935dd2082af72ce9cdfb.jpg" /> <strong>James Marsden (Associated Press photo)</strong> James Marsden, best known for his roles in the “X Men” franchise as well as “27 Dresses,” “Superman Returns” and “Enchanted,” says growing up in northwest Oklahoma City allowed him to nurture his creative side and develop a successful acting career. “There’s like a creek down by my mother’s house and a little play area, and I just lived down there,” Marsden told my <a href="http://blog.wimgo.com/planet46/2010/04/15/james-marsden-nude-on-a-roof/?custom_click=lead_story_title">fine colleague George Lang</a> during a one-on-one interview at Los Angeles’ Four Seasons Hotel. “That’s a necessary thing for kids to have that. To me, it felt like Mark Twain — I was in that world. It allowed me to dream.” Marsden, 36, said his mother encouraged him to get into acting at Putnam City North High School, where he laid the groundwork for his successful acting career. One of the keys to his success: "I always tried to choose the roles that weren’t necessarily easy, that were challenges." “But when I realized that it was a formula that was working, then I became conscious and aware of it — that sort of diversity was attractive to me and became an essential element in all of my decision-making,” Marsden told George. “So it is now. I did ‘Death at a Funeral’ right after I did ‘The Box,’ with Richard Kelly, which are complete polar opposites, very different films. And I’m cautious to make sure that it never comes off as an arrogant ego thing, to just prove to everyone that ‘I can do everything.’ But I really think that’s where my strengths lie, changing it up and doing different things. It’s like, I feel like I don’t excel at one thing, but I’m good at a lot of things.” His latest movie is the comedy "Death at a Funeral," in which he plays Oscar, the nervous fiance that Zoe Saldana’s Elaine brings to her uncle’s funeral. In short order, he accidentally ingests a hallucinogen and scene-stealing madness ensues. “It almost felt like an acting exercise: How crazy can you go being completely sober?" Click <a href="http://blog.wimgo.com/planet46/2010/04/15/james-marsden-nude-on-a-roof/?custom_click=lead_story_title">here </a>to read the rest of George's great feature, which includes information about Marsden's next project. -BAM

Taylor Swift is the reigning Country Music Association entertainer of the year and is nominated for the ACM entertainer title. (Associated Press file photos)

The 45th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will air live from Vegas at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS, with Oklahoma native Reba McEntire hosting for the 12th time. Fans can follow along with my live blog of the show here at BAM’s Blog.

This year, the academy has expanded the fan-voted entertainer of the year category to eight rather diverse nominees: Checotah native and 2005 “American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood; Norman rabble-rouser Toby Keith; contemporary country sensation Taylor Swift; traditionalist royalty George Strait; Aussie standout Keith Urban; island-loving hitmaker Kenny Chesney; triple-threat Brad Paisley; and Atlanta-based Zac Brown Band. Voting continues into Sunday night on www.VoteACM.com.

These award shows always seem to invite debate about what is “real” country music, particularly since Swift has become a dominate force in the genre. Last fall, George Jones said country-pop stars

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-20532" title="james marsden - ap" src="http://blog.newsok.com/bamsblog/wp-content/imagescaler/ac4c326a78c6935dd2082af72ce9cdfb.jpg" alt="" width="415" height="512" imagescaler="http://blog.newsok.com/bamsblog/wp-content/imagescaler/ac4c326a78c6935dd2082af72ce9cdfb.jpg" /> <strong>James Marsden (Associated Press photo)</strong> James Marsden, best known for his roles in the “X Men” franchise as well as “27 Dresses,” “Superman Returns” and “Enchanted,” says growing up in northwest Oklahoma City allowed him to nurture his creative side and develop a successful acting career. “There’s like a creek down by my mother’s house and a little play area, and I just lived down there,” Marsden told my <a href="http://blog.wimgo.com/planet46/2010/04/15/james-marsden-nude-on-a-roof/?custom_click=lead_story_title">fine colleague George Lang</a> during a one-on-one interview at Los Angeles’ Four Seasons Hotel. “That’s a necessary thing for kids to have that. To me, it felt like Mark Twain — I was in that world. It allowed me to dream.” Marsden, 36, said his mother encouraged him to get into acting at Putnam City North High School, where he laid the groundwork for his successful acting career. One of the keys to his success: "I always tried to choose the roles that weren’t necessarily easy, that were challenges." “But when I realized that it was a formula that was working, then I became conscious and aware of it — that sort of diversity was attractive to me and became an essential element in all of my decision-making,” Marsden told George. “So it is now. I did ‘Death at a Funeral’ right after I did ‘The Box,’ with Richard Kelly, which are complete polar opposites, very different films. And I’m cautious to make sure that it never comes off as an arrogant ego thing, to just prove to everyone that ‘I can do everything.’ But I really think that’s where my strengths lie, changing it up and doing different things. It’s like, I feel like I don’t excel at one thing, but I’m good at a lot of things.” His latest movie is the comedy "Death at a Funeral," in which he plays Oscar, the nervous fiance that Zoe Saldana’s Elaine brings to her uncle’s funeral. In short order, he accidentally ingests a hallucinogen and scene-stealing madness ensues. “It almost felt like an acting exercise: How crazy can you go being completely sober?" Click <a href="http://blog.wimgo.com/planet46/2010/04/15/james-marsden-nude-on-a-roof/?custom_click=lead_story_title">here </a>to read the rest of George's great feature, which includes information about Marsden's next project. -BAM

like Swift and Underwood “have stolen our identity.”

“They had to use something that was established already, and that’s traditional country music. So what they need to do really, I think, is find their own title, because they’re definitely not traditional country music,” Jones told the Associated Press.

On Sunday, we’ll be examining the question “What is country music in 2010″ in much more depth.

In the meantime, what do you think? Should pop-influenced contemporary country be considered country music? Or should it have its “own title,” as The Possum puts it?

-BAM

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by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more...
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