CMT Awards 2010: Country videos plus Jamey Johnson song premiere

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Music award shows such as the Country Music Television cable channel’s CMT Awards at 8 tonight exist chiefly to recognize distinguished works, typically of the recent past — and attract audiences with all the star power they can muster — rather than to provide a forum for the discovery of new music.

But tonight’s ceremony from Nashville highlighting viewers’ favorite country music videos of the past year also is giving a first look and listen to singer-songwriter Jamey Johnson’s ambitious new album “The Guitar Songs,” which doesn’t come out until September.


Johnson, who gained critical accolades and a healthy amount of commercial success for his 2008 album “That Lonesome Song” and its award-laden single “In Color” apparently has been on a writing frenzy. He’s assembled two CDs worth of new material: 25 songs, including “Macon,” the one he’s slated to sing tonight at the CMT event, an atmospheric tale of a Georgia trucker on his way home.

Among the show’s other performers announced so far are Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw and the Zac Brown Band. Award presenters include Taylor Swift, Faith Hill, Sheryl Crow, Kid Rock, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Martina McBride, Kellie Pickler, Blake Shelton, Gloriana and Laura Bell Bundy. This year’s leading nominees include Swift, Urban, Paisley, Keith, Underwood and Reba McEntire.

Johnson will likely be previewing “Macon” and a few more new songs on June 19 as part of the Country Throwdown Tour, which stops that day at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine. The bill also includes Montgomery Gentry, Little Big Town, Jack Ingram, Eric Church, Ryan Bingham and Heidi Newfield. The show is the brainchild of Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman.

-- Randy Lewis

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