2014 American Country Countdown Awards Winners - Rolling Stone
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Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line Lead 2014 American Country Countdown Awards Winners

Jason Aldean crowned “Artist of the Year” at the inaugural Fox television event

Florida Georgia Line American Country Countdown Awards

Florida Georgia Line host the 2014 American Country Countdown Awards

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Its nominees were unexpected, but its winners were told in advance. Audience members were encouraged to drink and tweet from the on-set “Twitter bar.” And the hosts didn’t crack any Taylor Swift jokes…. In a musical genre of awards show after yet another awards show, the inaugural American Country Countdown Awards certainly made a unique mark.

Luke Bryan and show hosts Florida Georgia Line were the night’s top winners, taking home three bronzed microphone trophies each — two of them shared, for their double platinum-selling “This Is How We Roll” collaboration. (See a full list of winners below.) Bryan, who performed “Roller Coaster” alongside one of its songwriters, Breakthrough Artist nominee Cole Swindell, was the first victor on the live broadcast, taking home Male Vocalist of the Year and using his mic time to acknowledge the show’s namesake radio program and its convivial host.

“I want to thank Kix Brooks for delivering an amazing countdown every week,” said the Georgia native, also expressing gratitude for the outpouring of support in the wake of his brother-in-law’s death last month. “I want to thank all of the fans for keeping my family in your prayers. And I want to also recognize the country music community, all of the artists…. Fans, let me explain something to you: you support wonderful artists, because they have rallied around me and helped me and my family through the past couple of weeks. It’s nice to feel loved.”

The night’s top honor, Artist of the Year went to Jason Aldean. It, along with every category except the fan-voted Breakthrough Artist of the Year, was determined by a furtive mathematical equation involving radio airplay, touring and sales. Like his friend and fellow Georgian Bryan, Aldean paid tribute to the show that helped boost the radio part of the formula.

“When I was growing up in Macon, Georgia, the American Country Countdown was my one avenue to Nashville, to keep up with what was going on. I listened to it every Sunday, and never in a million years did I think I’d be making my career in music,” said the singer who’s logged hugely impressive sales and airplay numbers this year. “The fans and everybody at country radio, you guys have helped to make that happen… and that’s a pretty unbelievable feeling.”

Country crasher Vince Vaughn was on hand to present Kenny Chesney with the Groundbreaker Award, given for not only his record-setting tours but also for his creative feats and connection to his bottomless sea of fans. Reba McEntire was honored with the Nash Icon Award for her four decade-long catalog filled with hits we know by heart.

“This is a very special honor and it sure means the world to me to be thought of as a valued member of our country music family,” said the music legend. “Standing here tonight in Nashville, I think back to what it was like being one of the new kids in town, trying to make my name in country music. So as I look around this room at all of the talented young men and women doing such great work in country music today, I pray you have the chance to have a whole beautiful life making music for the people who give us the greatest job in the world: our fans.”

Female Vocalist of the Year winner Miranda Lambert teamed with McEntire’s stepdaughter-in-law, pop powerhouse Kelly Clarkson, in a pitch-perfect musical tribute to the icon, singing a medley of her hits. Their collaboration was the highlight of a night full of performances that were more about vocals and lyrics than smoke and mirrors. Carrie Underwood kicked off the show with a medley of her own hits, ranging from her 2006 Grammy-winning “Before He Cheats” to her 2015 Grammy-nominated “Something in the Water.” Other standouts included Breakthrough Artist winner Kip Moore’s stripped-down “Hey Pretty Girl” performance, Album of the Year winner Eric Church’s similarly raw rendition of “Talladega” and Lady Antebellum’s playful “Freestyle.”

See the full list of 2014 American Country Countdown nominees and winners below. (Winners in *bold.)

Artist of the Year

*Jason Aldean — WINNER

Luke Bryan

Florida Georgia Line

Lady Antebellum

Blake Shelton  

Male Vocalist of the Year

Jason Aldean

Dierks Bentley

*Luke Bryan — WINNER

Randy Houser

Blake Shelton 

Female Vocalist of the Year

Danielle Bradbery

*Miranda Lambert — WINNER

Cassadee Pope

Taylor Swift

Carrie Underwood

Group/Duo of the Year

The Band Perry

Eli Young Band

*Florida Georgia Line — WINNER

Lady Antebellum

Zac Brown Band 

Song of the Year

“When She Says Baby,” Jason Aldean

*”Beat of the Music,” Brett Eldredge — WINNER

“Lettin’ the Night Roll,” Justin Moore

“Drink to That All Night,” Jerrod Niemann

“Chillin’ It,” Cole Swindell

*”This Is How We Roll,” Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan — WINNER

“Small Town Throwdown,” Brantley Gilbert featuring Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett

“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s,” Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill

“My Eyes,” Blake Shelton featuring Gwen Sebastian

“We Were Us,” Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert 

Album of the Year 

Crash My Party, Luke Bryan

*The Outsiders, Eric Church — WINNER

Here’s To The Good Times, Florida Georgia Line

Just As I Am, Brantley Gilbert

Platinum, Miranda Lambert 

Digital Song of the Year

“Burnin’ It Down,” Jason Aldean

“Drink A Beer,” Luke Bryan

“Play It Again,” Luke Bryan

“Dirt,” Florida Georgia Line

*”This Is How We Roll,” Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan — WINNER

Breakthrough Artist of the Year Presented by Samsung Galaxy

Brett Eldredge

Tyler Farr

*Kip Moore – WINNER

Thomas Rhett

Cole Swindell

Nash Icon Award: Reba McEntire

Groundbreaker Award: Kenny Chesney


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