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Naomi Judd Takes CMT to Task for ‘By the Way’ Mention of George Jones During Awards Show

Naomi Judd feels CMT did George Jones a disservice by limiting their tribute to the Possum during the 2013 CMT Music Awards. In addition to the short time allotted for the dedication, the legend was critical of the group the network chose to perform Jones’ music.

In a letter to the Tennessean, Judd recognizes that Jones is as important to country as the Beatles are to pop and the Rolling Stones are to rock music. “Yet, the “Country” Music Television awards show allowed only a “by the way” mention of Jones’ death and legacy,” she writes.

“Incongruously, they chose alternative music group the Mavericks to perform their short version of Jones’ ‘The Race Is On,’” she adds.

Only one minute of the dedication aired before the show went to commercial. Of that, the first 33 seconds were of host Jason Aldean speaking of Jones’ legacy.

Judd continued her letter by questioning how dedicated CMT really is to country music, referring to, but not mentioning, crossover collaborations with artists like Nelly and Lenny Kravitz in 2013.

“Every year, CMT includes artists of unrelated genres, many of whom some country music fans don’t even know,” she continues. “I suggest the CMT Awards show change its name. Perhaps to “the Multi-Genre Awards Show, Featuring Artists under 30.”

“I realize speaking out will cause me to now be forever banned by CMT. But I’m tired of folks messing with my country music,” she wrote, concluding her letter. “Especially when it involves my dear friend George Jones.”

George Jones died at the age of 81 on April 26 after spending a week in the hospital. His life was remembered and celebrated during a touching funeral service at the Grand Ole Opry on May 2. CMT aired the tribute in its entirety.

Next: See Country Music's Greatest Feuds

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