The 54th Annual CMA Awards aired Wednesday and during the show, producers made a point to honor several late country icons (Kenny Rogers, Joe Diffie and Mac Davis) with tribute performances, however, three iconic country music artists who also died this year were not mentioned during the broadcast at all: John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Billy Joe Shaver.
Fans and artists were quick to point out the snubs and two artists, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, were so upset by the omission of the three country icons, that they have decided to exit the Country Music Association forever.
“Due to @CountryMusic’s failure to mention John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Billy Joe Shaver at the CMA’s last night, @amandashires and I have decided to return our membership cards,” Isbell revealed on Twitter. “I doubt anybody will care, but we cared a lot about our heroes.”
Due to @CountryMusic’s failure to mention John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Billy Joe Shaver at the CMA’s last night, @amandashires and I have decided to return our membership cards. I doubt anybody will care, but we cared a lot about our heroes. pic.twitter.com/UmplzD0Z7p
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) November 13, 2020
The married couple’s withdraw from the CMA comes after Sturgill Simpson ripped into the organization on Instagram for the same reason.
“Two seconds, that’s all it would have took,” Simpson said.
“Don’t get it twisted…wouldn’t be caught dead at this tacky ass glitter and botox cake & cock pony show even if my chair had a morphine drip,” he added. “I just wanted to see if they would say his name but nope. No time for Buddha.”
Prior to the show, Prine’s record label, Oh Boy Records, shared their disappointment on Twitter.
“We’re disappointed John won’t be a part of the CMA award show tonight,” the tweet read. “Country music was both the inspiration and foundation for his songwriting and performing. While there may be a number of artists who have had more commercial success than John, there are very few who achieved more artistically.”
According to Variety, ratings for the CMA Awards fell to an all-time low in 2020 with just 7.1 million total viewers tuning into the show. That figure is down 30% from 2019.