Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires exit CMA after John Prine snub

The Country Music Association is something of a walking disaster zone at the moment. Some stalwarts who died this year were honoured during the 2020 CMA awards show last night, including Kenny Rogers, Charlie Daniels, and Mac Davis, but three other recently deceased icons went completely unmentioned during the broadcast: John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Billy Joe Shaver. And this has not gone unnoticed – Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires have announced that they’re returning their lifetime membership cards to the Country Music Association. In a tweet Isbell wrote: “I doubt anybody will care, but we cared a lot about our heroes.”

They are not the only artists to call out the decision. Sturgill Simpson posted on his Instagram: “Don’t get it twisted…wouldn’t be caught dead at this tacky ass glitter and botox cake & cock pony show even if my chair had a morphine drip. I just wanted to see if they would say his name but nope.”


And Prine’s label Oh Boy Records tweeted: “We’re disappointed John won’t be a part of the CMA award show tonight. Country music was both the inspiration and foundation for his songwriting and performing. While there may be a number of artists who have had more commercial success than John, there are very few who achieved more artistically.”

Margo Price was also critical of the show for its lack of diversity and the general direction of the genre. She recently told Uncut: “Country music has been hijacked by a bunch of morons that don’t care about real songwriting.” And, dear reader, this is all good enough reason that you won’t find Tim McGraw (sorry Tim) on our hallowed pages. Long live americana!

About Mark Whitfield 2006 Articles
Editor of Americana UK website, the UK's leading home for americana news and reviews since 2001 (when life was simpler, at least for the first 253 days)
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Martin Johnson

This makes disappointing reading that CMA is so blinkered but uplifting the there are artists who are calling the omissions out. At AUK we had an internal debate about running the Charlie Daniels obituary because of his mainstream tendencies and the implications of the politics of a large part of his audience. We ran it because of his early session work with Dylan and Cohen and his significant influence on early southern rock. We need to remain vigilant to ensure artists get their due recognition.

Andrew Trott

I don’t know what i find the most offensive . The fact they would leave out three of the most significant songwriters and performers that ever graced Gnashville (sic) , or that they hand out shitty little plastic membership cards .