This October marked 30 years since the release of Pretty Hate Machine, the debut album from Nine Inch Nails, and on Wednesday night, frontman Trent Reznor finally won his first CMA award. So now we have a definitive answer to a long-standing question: “How long will it take the Country Music Association to acknowledge Trent Reznor’s contributions to country music?” (Thirty years. The answer is 30 years.) Reznor won a Musical Event of the Year CMA Award for “Old Town Road,” the chart-topping Lil Nas X song that features a sample from Nine Inch Nails’ “34 – Ghosts IV.” Reznor shares the win with Lil Nas X; Billy Ray Cyrus; Atticus Young, who worked on the original track; and YoungKio, who built the beat around it for “Old Town Road.” But awards watchers agree this was really more of a career award for Reznor, the songwriter behind country standards like “Closer,” performed here by the Tonk Honkys:
He also wrote “Hurt,” performed by Johnny Cash, a recording that won CMA awards for Single of the Year and Video of the Year. (Neither category recognizes the songwriter, and “Hurt” didn’t get a Song of the Year nomination, so Reznor was shut out at that year’s CMA Awards.)
And of course, “The Only Time,” the Western swing classic that’s been electrifying dance halls from Nashville to Bakersfield ever since Trent Reznor and His Texas Playboys first performed it at the Grand Old Opry in October of 1953:
That last part isn’t true, but here’s what is true: Trent Reznor has won a CMA Award. He celebrated on Instagram:
So remember, if you’re lookin’ at Trent Reznor, you’re lookin’ at country!