USA - The 49th Country Music Association Awards programme took place at a packed Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Wednesday 4 November. With country music stars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood returning as hosts for the live ABC telecast, the show again lived up to its reputation as Country Music's Biggest Night, with three hours of live performances that combined country royalty with fresh newcomers, while sprinkling in several collaborations with country outsiders.

To keep the packed program on schedule, the production relied on wireless microphones and in-ear monitors for quick set changes, eliminating cumbersome floor wedges and cables. For monitoring, the performers typically bring their own custom earphones, all of which were powered by Shure PSM1000 wireless personal monitor systems.

As always at the CMAs, all major wireless microphone brands were represented, enabling the show to meet the preferences of every performer. Shure endorsers were well represented in the winner's circle, including Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan (SM58), Vocal Duo of the Year Florida Georgia Line (Beta 58A), and Vocal Group of the Year Little Big Town, whose Girl Crush took both Single of the Year and Song of the Year awards. All used Shure UHF-R wireless systems.

But they were far from the only performers choosing Shure UR2 handhelds. This year's breakout artist, Chris Stapleton, opted for the classic SM58 capsule, as did Sam Hunt and Shure endorser Kacey Musgraves.

The studio condenser sound of the KSM9 was also popular, used by Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, as well as endorsers Kelsea Ballerini and Fall Out Boy. Endorsing artists Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley, who was joined by electric violinist Lindsey Stirling using a UR1 bodypack for a rendition of his single Riser, both chose the Beta 58A capsule for performances.

Handling the audio was a returning "dream team" headed by co-audio producers Tom Davis and Paul Sandweiss. Music Mix Mobile (M3) was again onsite to handle the 5.1 surround broadcast mix, with engineers John Harris and Jay Vicari at the controls. Inside Bridgestone Arena, Pat Baltzell created the production mix, with Rich Shimer doing the music mix at front of house. Tom Pesa and Jason Spence handled monitor mixing for the two stages. The primary wireless supplier was ATK Audiotek.

As usual, Shure Artist Relations Manager, Nashville-based Ryan Smith, was on hand to watch it all happen. "This year's CMA Awards raised the bar for outstanding performances, and congratulations are in order for everyone involved, performers and audio crew alike," he noted. "It was again a pleasure to see so many artists using Shure products, and we are looking forward to continuing our support at next year's 50th anniversary CMA Awards."

(Jim Evans)

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