While three-time winner Chris Stapleton was the bearded belle of this year’s CMA ball, his former tour mates Little Big Town also scored big, triumphing in the Vocal Group of the Year race for a fourth consecutive time. Prior to the Vocal Group presentation, the telecast paid tribute, albeit far too briefly, to one of this year’s newly inducted members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Oak Bridge Boys, with a cappella group Pentatonix performing a snippet of the Oaks’ sing-along hit “Elvira.”
Had Stapleton not been otherwise engaged during the telecast, the show would have been the perfect opportunity for him to revisit the bluesy version of “Elvira” he performed while on the road with the “Girl Crush” quartet last year and early this year. A quick-moving, doo-wop-inspired pop-country crossover smash in the Eighties, Little Big Town turned the tune into a slow-burning number just right for their impeccable harmony, the smoky-voiced Stapleton and his wife, Morgane. The artists eventually hand the vocal duties over to the audience, most of whom are not accustomed to “papa-oom-papa-mow-mow”-ing at such a snail’s pace, unless they routinely played their original “Elvira” 45 at 33 r.p.m.
For the record, along with the Oaks, this year’s Hall of Fame inductees were influential guitarist Grady Martin and sibling vocal trio Jim Ed Brown and the Browns (whose record-setting streak at Number One with the 1959 hit “The Three Bells” was broken last summer by “Girl Crush”). The Hall of Fame honorees were feted at last month’s official, invitation-only medallion ceremony in Nashville.