By Joe Rector

Life offers plenty of signals to individuals to let them know they are getting old. Some come when we try to physically perform at the level we did a few years ago. Of course, some of us see the signs when we notice gray or thinning hair, paunches where flat stomachs once lived, and once-muscular arms and legs gone untoned.

Even other areas of life scream to us that we are out of the loop these days. For instance, music just isn’t the same. More specifically, country music doesn’t mirror that of just a few years ago.

I tried to watch the CMA awards show the other night. I enjoy Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood as they host the show. Yes, I have my favorite entertainers for whom I root as they vie for awards. Seeing superstars like Vince Gill and Alison Krauss on the stage is also a treat. Heck, I enjoy most of the Zac Brown Band and Kenny Chesney music too. What I don’t get are some of the new acts.

The Georgia Florida Line won the Duo of the Year award. Really? I don’t have a clue who these guys are, but they beat out Sugarland! One of these guys dresses like a biker with his leather vest, and I’m not a big fan of this tattoos at all. Do they play instruments?

I turned off the show when some group dove into what sounded strangely similar to heavy metal music instead of country. What’s happened to the old stand-by C-D-G chords? I never likd “head banger “music, and I sure don’t want it invading country music.

Little Big Town has a good sound, but darn, they look more like a gospel group than a country one. Their harmonies are tight, but the song is strange: “I Don’t Want to Go Sober.” They won Group of the Year! Huh?

What I now write might be offensive or even heretical to some. For the life of me, I don’t see what the big deal is with Taylor Swift. She performed with a wonderful group that would have been much better had she not been a part of it. The girl “ain’t that special.” Her voice is flat and whiny, and all of her songs are the same. Her end will come when she no longer can find guys who will date and then dump her and then use that as the inspiration for song after song. How in the world did Taylor Swift win Entertainer of the Year three years before? Go figure.

I like Carrie Underwood, but her performance of new songs left me shaking my head in confusion. Just because a steel guitar or fiddle hits a lick in a song doesn’t make an otherwise pop tune country.

The show honored Kenny Rogers; he’s an old guy. However, I’m not so sure Kenny was actually the one recognized. The man they saluted sure didn’t look like the guy who sang “The Gambler” or “She Believes in Me.” The entertainers who sang his songs were some of the best in country music. That was nice for us old fogies.

The young folks are taking the reins of country music, but I’m not so sure how good that is. One of the best things of the night was the tribute to George Jones by Alan Jackson and George Strait. They added so much with wonderful, country voices and some wrinkles that come from experience and hard work. That was simple and good. Who said that music must evolve? The roots to Nashville country music grow deep in the traditions of the genre that foregoes too much meddling from outside.

I probably have watched my last CMA Award show. It’s just too depressing, and all this new stuff just makes me feel too old and out of place. So, I’ll close and crank up my iTunes featuring some of the old masters of country music.