LAS VEGAS — Miranda Lambert is no stranger to the pressroom at the ACM Awards , having won the female vocalist award for five consecutive years. That achievement breaks a record set by Reba McEntire in the 1980s.
“I love my job. I think the more years that go by and the older I get, the more I realize how important this all is and how much I should savor it and appreciate it,” she told reporters backstage. “I think that comes with just success and age. I am humbled and I’m excited and I couldn’t be happier.”
She added, “I don’t even know what to say anymore. I’m always afraid I won’t say anything smart. And I forgot to say something about Taylor (Swift in my acceptance speech) tonight. I always try to acknowledge everybody in any category that I ever win anything in because we all work our ass off. I mean, we do. We all do. We all give 110 percent all year long, especially Taylor. You know, she’s like her own animal — she’s ridiculous! And I forgot to say her name. … But I talked to her, and she’s cool. Taylor is cool anyway, but she’s cool with it.”
Meanwhile, Kacey Musgraves’ victory in the album category for Same Trailer Different Park marked her first ACM wins, with one trophy as the artist and another as a producer.
“Man, I’ve been so lucky from day one to just be able to do what I do and just follow my gut and my instincts,” she said. “I’m lucky to have a team around me that trusts me, and I trust them. That’s such a huge part of this. Nobody’s trying to change anybody here. We’re just kind of trying to make music. I’m very excited to be representing country music right now.”
Coincidentally, Musgraves is a co-writer on “Mama’s Broken Heart,” which was also nominated in the song category. (For single of the year, trophies are presented to the artist, producer and record label. For song of the year, the artist shares the win with the songwriters and the publishers.)
“It’s so incredible that I’m able to live in the world of being an artist and also a songwriter. It’s a dream come true,” Musgraves said. “Obviously, Miranda took it and made it a huge smash. As a songwriter, that couldn’t mean more to me, especially with somebody who grew up 10 minutes down the road from me. I mean, what are the odds? It’s crazy.”
Lee Brice won his second ACM trophy in the song of the year category. Two years ago, he and Liz Rose collected the award for writing the Eli Young Band’s “Crazy Girl.” This time, he earned the distinction as an artist by recording “I Drive Your Truck,” written by Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington and Jimmy Yeary.
Brice said he first heard “I Drive Your Truck” when he was seeking one more party song to complete his Hard 2 Love. At the end of a demo listening session, the publishers decided to play something completely unlike anything they had heard that day.
“As soon as the first chorus hit on the very first time on the demo, I just lost my mind,” Brice told reporters. “I thought about my granddaddy, so I had a connection to this song immediately. And that was before I ever got to the second verse. So I wasn’t surprised for it to win song of the year — or century, in my mind.”
Brice added, “This is really not my award. This is the songwriters’ award. I’ll be happy to have it on my mantle and so proud to be a part of it. I got to put a voice on it. But if it weren’t for them, this song never would have been here. … I’m just thankful to those writers for letting me be a part of it.”
Florida Georgia Line couldn’t make it backstage due to a performance commitment at the ACM Fan Jam. However, they did call in via speaker phone to field questions from reporters about their win for vocal duo just one year after winning the best new artist award.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Tyler Hubbard said. “We’re here at the ACMs again, and there are a lot of emotions flying around. Last year was a big year for us. Going home with new artist was huge. And being named duo of the year is a big deal. We’re very excited and very honored. We have a lot of love for the other duos that were nominated, and we’ve become good friends with all those guys.”
Asked about if any new FGL music was on the way, Brian Kelley that they’re back in the studio with producer Joey Moi.
“I think we’re sounding bigger and better than ever,” he said. “We’re pumped. For some crazy reason, I think he’s gotten even better than the last time we got in the studio with him, which is pretty crazy. We’re just excited to get new music out to our fans and for country radio to spin. We couldn’t be more excited to take it out on the road as well as on tour.”
He added, “There’s no pressure going into record two. Just a lot of confidence. We’re going to work our butts off and get the best songs on there. If it’s a word that needs to be changed, a hook, a line, a melody — just like record one, we’re going to get with our team and try to make the best record we can.”