The War & Treaty at the ACM Awards, A Turning Point?

Since it’s inception in 1966, the Academy of Country Music awards ceremony has been held in high esteem and provided an opportunity for reflection by country artists, fans and industry insiders.

 

Like many other culturally relevant awards shows, the ACM Awards are a unique opportunity to both provide milestone achievements for established artists and help to launch the careers of artists that are finding their footing in the industry. It is both prestigious and communal. If you want to be somebody in the industry, you want to be in attendance at worst and  participating at best.

 

Each year the show is carefully curated to include hosts, presenters, performers, and of course nominees that reflect where country music is,  has been, and wants to go.

 

From 2010 to 2020,  there were only 41 instances in which Black people were represented. That’s counting performances, nominations, and presenters. Eleven of these appearances were entertainers from other genres like Nelly, Eve, and Cece Winans. The remaining 30 were repetitions of FOUR Black country music artists.

Last Sunday, at the 56th ACM Awards ceremony, things looked a little different. Thanks to the ACM Diversity task force there was more representation than ever before including the historic inclusion of a black woman, Mickey Guyton, hosting the event.

 

One thing in particular that stood out to me, was the inclusion of the up and coming duo War & Treaty. This was especially significant because it’s the first time that the ACMs have used the award stage to introduce their audience to an up and coming Black musical act. Historically, the few Black artists that have been represented have been artists that have had to put an exorbitant amount of effort into being recognized within the country music industry.

 

The War & Treaty have been putting in the work and have certainly been making music that qualifies as country, but they have been operating in the folk and Americana world. For the first time, the ACM’s have opened the door and invited a Black act in. The overwhelmingly positive response to their inclusion of The War & Treaty will hopefully be the encouragement needed to keep those invitations coming.

 

The War & Treaty are currently on tour until the end of September. You can find tickets to see them live, information on their latest releases, merch, and more on their website .

If you, like many of us, simply can’t get enough, here’s one of our all time favorite live performances from The War & Treaty.

Black Opry’s ACM Awards Highlights

It was a long night full of performances and appearances from some of the biggest names in country. But there were a few names that we here at Black Opry were particularly excited about.

 

Mickey Guyton was stunning and a complete natural as the first ever Black woman to host the ACM Awards. Guyton was flawless and didn’t skip a beat. In addition to hosting she delivered her second, career defining performance of the year, debuting self-written song titled “Hold On.”

 

Another very exciting appearance for us here at Black Opry was The War & Treaty!  Their performance of U2’s “Pride (In The Name of Love” with Dierks Bentley  set Twitter ablaze. Everyone is asking for more of the husband and wife duo and we are hoping that the industry heeds the call and puts them front and center.

 

 

In her second performance on the ACM stage, Cece Winans joined Carrie Underwood for a soul touching medley of gospel hymns that no doubt left jaws across the country on the floor.

 

“New Male Artist of the Year” winner, Jimmie Allen, got a friendly surprise when Brad Paisley drove into town and joined him on stage to perform their brand new duet “Freedom Was A Highway”.

 

In addition to winning Video of the year for Worldwide Beautiful”, Kane gave a great performance of the single “Famous Friends” with Chris Young. 

Darius Rucker, who we are always glad to see, also made a short appearance as a presenter.

 

For a full review of the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards, head over to Country Queer.

War & Treaty

Husband and wife duet, Michael Trotter JR. and Tanya Blount make up The War and Treaty.

Hailing from Albion, Michigan, they describe themselves as “two lovebirds singing without reverb.” The War and Treaty have created a unique blend of country, soul, folk, and Americana music. They have released one EP, “Down To The River” (2017), and three studio albums, “Love Affair” (2016), “Healing Tide” (2018), and “Hearts Town” (2020).

In 2019 they won Emerging Artist of the Year at the Americana Music Honors and Awards. In 2020 they won Artist of the Year at Folk Alliance International, and in 2021 they were nominated for Band/Group of the year.