Americana hitmaker Jason Isbell and his wife, Amanda Shires — who founded country supergroup the Highwomen alongside Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile and Natalie Hemby — are standing up to Nashville's powerful Country Music Association for omitting several important tributes from the CMA Awards on Wednesday, November 11, including that of the much-beloved late John Prine.
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
Isbell tweeted that he and Shires were planning on turning in their CMA membership cards as a result of not hearing any sort of recognition for Prine, who died of coronavirus earlier this year, during the show; and also the omission of Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver, who also passed this year prior to the awards ceremony.
There was no formal "in memoriam" segment held during the broadcast, as is common with many awards shows. However, 2020's late icons Charlie Daniels, Kenny Rogers and Joe Diffie did receive tributes.
While the CMA Awards — which were held in person in Nashville this year — treaded lightly on the subject of COVID-19 in general during the show, Diffie, like Prine, was a victim of the virus and died of resulting complications.
Walker and Shaver both died at the end of last month from cancer and a stroke, respectively.
Grammy Award-winning Americana/country musician Sturgill Simpson backed up Isbell's stance with a since-deleted Instagram video in which he spewed in a salty manner regarding the omission of Prine's memory. "Two seconds, that’s all it would have took. Literally two syllables: John Prine. That’s it. Nope," he opined.
Simpson then said exactly what he thought of the CMA Awards, stating that he "wouldn’t be caught dead at this tacky ass glitter and botox cake & cock pony show even if my chair had a morphine drip."
When Prine passed in April, numerous A-list country stars, including Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban, flocked to social media to chime in about his tremendous creative influence. Those from the rock and pop worlds also mourned, with names such as Bruce Springsteen and Sheryl Crow musing the loss to the music world at large.