And Finally Artist News Awards

Trent Reznor nominated for country music award, via Lil Nas X

By | Published on Monday 2 September 2019

Lil Nas X

Trent Reznor has been nominated for a Country Music Association Award after a non-country music song he wrote was sampled in a song many deem not to be a country music song. Top work. Basically Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ is up for the Musical Event Of The Year prize.

The big US hit of the year that broke chart records all over the place features a sample of instrumental Nine Inch Nails track ’34 Ghosts IV’, which got Reznor and his songwriting partner Atticus Ross songwriting credits on the record.

The actual status of ‘Old Town Road’ as a piece of country music has been controversial – Billboard initially listed it on its country music chart in March, before booting it off two weeks later. It never returned, despite its massive success in the main Billboard singles chart.

The slightly wishy-washy Musical Event Of The Year category at the CMAs seemingly exists to allow awards organisers to include things that don’t really fit into the rest of the categories (the prize was originally, and is still occasionally, named Vocal Event Of The Year, which makes both more and less sense at the same time).

Therefore it seems the perfect category for a non-country country music song that sampled a non-country music song. It means, at least, that ‘Old Town Road’ can be included in the event without anyone having to say it was the ‘best’ anything.

Although, technically it’s the remix of the track featuring Billy Ray Cyrus that is up for the prize, which possibly already placates some of the naysayers in the country music community. Certainly earlier this year, when Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus performed the song with Keith Urban at CMA Fest in Nashville, it seemed to go down well with the audience. So, it seems like a shoo-in to win the prize, even if we’re not 100% sure what the prize is for.

Of course, cynics might say that CMA organisers want to exploit the ‘Old Town Road’ phenomenon to boost ratings for their awards show, but needed a sneaky way of doing that without annoying more conventional country music fans. Though the Musical/Vocal Event Of The Year prize is generally not handed out during the televised ceremony, and since 2014 has been revealed before the event on ‘Good Morning America’.

Acknowledging the nod last week, Lil Nas X tweeted: “Thank you guys for this nomination!” Going a bit further, Reznor posted to Instagram a photograph of fellow nominees Brooks & Dunn with his and Ross’s faces photoshopped on top and the caption “New world, new times…”

Reznor and Ross are not, however, capitalising on their new found success in country music. They’re instead having a crack at children’s songs. Kind of. They are composing the soundtrack to new Disney Pixar film ‘Soul’. That’s not due out until next June though, so they could definitely take a break to perform ‘Old Town Road’ with Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus at the CMA Awards ceremony on 13 Nov.

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