ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC® CELEBRATES ARTISTS, MUSICIANS & MORE AT 11TH ANNUAL ACM HONORS™ AT NASHVILLE’S HISTORIC RYMAN AUDITORIUM 

ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC® CELEBRATES ARTISTS, MUSICIANS & MORE AT 11TH ANNUAL ACM HONORS™ AT
NASHVILLE’S HISTORIC RYMAN AUDITORIUM

MUSICAL TRIBUTE EVENT RECOGNIZED SPECIAL HONOREES & OFF-CAMERA CATEGORY WINNERS FROM THE 52ND ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS™

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Two-Hour Special to Air Friday, September 15 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network

NASHVILLE, TN – AUGUST 23: Honorees Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and George Strait attend the 11th Annual ACM Honors at the Ryman Auditorium on August 23, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for ACM)

Earlier this evening, the Academy of Country Music® presented the 11th Annual ACM Honors™, an evening dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards™. Portions of the event, held at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, were taped for a two-hour special that will air on Friday, September 15 (9:00 – 11:00 PM ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

The event, sponsored by City National Bank, featured a star-studded lineup of live performances and award presentations celebrating Special Awards recipients Kelsea Ballerini (Gene Weed Milestone Award), Toby Keith (Poet’s Award), Bob Kingsley (Mae Boren Axton Service Award), Reba McEntire (Mae Boren Axton Service Award), “Nashville” (Tex Ritter Film Award), Dolly Parton (Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award), Shel Silverstein (Poet’s Award, awarded posthumously), and George Strait (Cliffie Stone Icon Award). The evening also honored winners of the Industry and Studio Recording Awards, along with Songwriter of the Year Award winner, Lori McKenna. The Academy of Country Music will present trophies to previously announced Special Awards recipients Eric Church (Merle Haggard Spirit Award) and Willie Nelson (Poet’s Award) at a later date.

Highlights from the event include:

  • Hillary Scott opened the evening with a performance of “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” and was then joined by Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild for a powerful duet performance of “Does He Love You” for which they received a standing ovation. The duo then welcomed Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman for a special performance of “Little Rock” in tribute to Reba McEntire. Fairchild, Schlapman, and Scott then presented McEntire with the Mae Boren Axton Service Award.
  • Kelsea Ballerini performed “Legends” before receiving her award, which was presented to her by Lady Antebellum. Following her acceptance speech, Ballerini performed a medley of #1 hits including “Dibs,” “Love Me Like You Mean It,” and “Peter Pan.”
  • Chris Stapleton performed “When Did You Stop Loving Me,” and Alan Jackson performed a medley of “Marina Del Rey” and “The Fireman” in tribute to George Strait before he accepted his award to a standing ovation. Following his acceptance speech, Strait took the stage and performed “Here For A Good Time” to a dancing audience to close out the evening. Reigning Entertainer of the Year Jason Aldean presented the award to Strait.
  • Chris Janson performed “A Boy Named Sue” and “Cover of the Rolling Stone” in tribute to Shel Silverstein, who received his award posthumously. Silverstein’s family friend Susan Nadler accepted the award from Janson on Silverstein’s behalf.
  • Toby Keith performed “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” and “Who’s Your Daddy?” after songwriter Jimmy Webb presented him with his award.
  • Maren Morris performed “Galveston” in tribute to the late Glen Campbell.
  • Brad Paisley performed “My Tennessee Mountain Home” in tribute to Dolly Parton.
  • Bobby Bones presented Bob Kingsley with his award, after which Thomas Rhett sang a medley of his hits “Die A Happy Man” and “Craving You.”
  • Songwriter Ross Copperman introduced Little Big Town, who performed “When Someone Stops Loving You,” written by Lori McKenna, before presenting McKenna with the award.
Additional off-camera highlights included:
  • Brett Young presented Studio Recording and Industry Award winners with their awards prior to the show taping.
  • Cassadee Pope presented the television series “Nashville” with the Tex Ritter Film Award. “Nashville” stars Clare Bowen and Charles Esten performed “Sanctuary” in a special moment before CMT’s Frank Tanki, Opry Entertainment’s Steve Buchanan, and Lionsgate’s Russell Ziecker accepted the award.
Presenters who took the stage at the event included Jason Aldean, Bobby Bones, Ross Copperman, Chris Janson, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Brad Paisley, Cassadee Pope, Hillary Scott, Jimmy Webb, and Brett Young.Below is a full list of special award recipients:

SPECIAL AWARDS

Cliffie Stone ICON Award – George Strait has been chosen to receive the Cliffie Stone Icon Award. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry leader who throughout their career has advanced the popularity of the genre through their contributions in multiple facets of the industry such as songwriting, recording, production, touring, film, television, literary works, philanthropic contributions and other goodwill efforts.

With 61 No. 1 singles under his belt, George Strait has captivated the charts for longer than any other artist in any genre. Winning his first ACM Award for 1984’s Male Vocalist of the Year, “King George” went on to build his country kingdom one great song at a time. Now-classic hits like “Amarillo by Morning,” “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” “The Fireman,” “The Chair” and “Give It Away” established Strait’s smooth voice and no-nonsense style, making his live show a must-see event. Strait is one of the best-selling artists of all time with 100 million albums sold worldwide. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007 and was named the Academy’s Dick Clark Artist of the Decade in 2009.  Though he officially retired from the road after his Cowboy Rides Away tour wrapped in 2014, Strait continues to pack houses at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with his “2 Nights of Number 1s” show featuring all his number one hits performed live.

The Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award has been renamed the Cliffie Stone Icon Award.

Past recipients of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award include Alabama, Bob Beckham, Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Crystal Gayle, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, The Judds,  Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Jerry Reed, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, Billy Sherrill, Ricky Skaggs, The Statler Brothers, Mel Tillis, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Keith Whitley, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Bob Wills and Dwight Yoakam, among others.

GARY HABER LIFTING LIVES AWARD – Dolly Parton has been chosen to receive the Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry professional who is devoted to improving lives through the power of music, has a generosity of spirit, and is committed to serving others, voted on by the ACM Lifting Lives Board of Directors.

Dolly Parton has held many titles over her storied 50-year career – singer, songwriter, actress, legend—but philanthropist is one that is close to her heart. Since her earliest days of stardom, Dolly has used her celebrity to support the causes she loves most. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library has to date provided 100 million books to preschool children in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In 2016, Parton stepped up to raise money for victims of the massive wildfires in her native East Tennessee. Hosting Smoky Mountains Rise, a three-hour telethon, Dolly helped raise more than $10 million for the Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund, which provided money for temporary housing for families that lost their homes in the fires.

The Humanitarian Award has been renamed/incorporated into the existing Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award.

Past recipients of the Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award and Humanitarian Award include Brooks & Dunn, Vince Gill, Lonestar, Martina McBride, Neal McCoy, Reba McEntire, Montgomery Gentry, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood.

GENE WEED MILESTONE AWARD – Kelsea Ballerini has been chosen as the recipient of the Gene Weed Milestone Award. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry leader for a specific, unprecedented or outstanding achievement in the field of country music during the preceding calendar year.

Kelsea Ballerini went straight to the top of the charts with her first single, 2014’s “Love Me Like You Mean It.” Her self-penned debut was just the beginning of her winning streak. Her next two singles, 2015’s “Dibs” and 2016’s “Peter Pan,” also went to No. 1, making Ballerini the first female solo artist to have three consecutive No. 1 singles from a debut album since Wynonna Judd in 1992.  Ballerini was named the ACM New Female Vocalist of the Year for 2015, was nominated for Best New Artist at the 59th Grammy Awards and came in at No. 2 on the Forbes “30 Under 30 – Music” list. Having wrapped up her first headlining tour, aptly titled “The First Time Tour,” Ballerini is currently working on a new album and is hitting the road with Thomas Rhett on his 2017 Home Team Tour.

The Crystal Milestone Award and Gene Weed Special Achievement Awards have been combined and renamed the Gene Weed Milestone Award.

Past recipients of the Crystal Milestone Award and the Gene Weed Milestone Award include Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, George Burns, Kenny Chesney, Jeff Foxworthy, Merle Haggard, Gayle Holcomb, Loretta Lynn, Little Big Town, Willie Nelson, Jennifer Nettles, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood.

Mae Boren Axton SERVICE Award – Bob Kingsley and Reba McEntire have been chosen as the recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Service Award. This award is presented to an outstanding country music artist, duo/group or industry leader in recognition of years of dedication and service to the Academy of Country Music.

One of the most recognizable radio voices in the world, Bob Kingsley has been a friend to both country fans and country artists for generations. As host and executive producer of Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40, the Texas resident has been inducted into both the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame and the National Radio Hall of Fame. Early in his career as a young disc jockey at KFOX in Los Angeles, Kingsley became involved with the fledgling Academy of Country and Western Music, which would eventually be called the Academy of Country Music. He won the Academy’s On-Air Personality of the Year award for 1966 and 1967. He was first elected to the Academy’s board of directors in 1967. He has since won a third ACM trophy for National On-Air Personality of the Year (2006) and continues to serve on the board today, making Kingsley the Academy’s longest-serving board member.

For more than 30 years Reba McEntire has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Academy of Country Music. Hosting her first ACM Awards in 1986 at Knott’s Berry Farm, McEntire has returned to the ACM stage as a host for a record 14 times—-eight of those solo. A 14-time ACM Award winner (including 7 as ACM Female Vocalist of the Year), Reba has also been an avid supporter of the Academy’s charitable efforts, donating her time and talents to numerous ACM specials and other events supporting ACM Lifting Lives. In 2017, Reba partnered with the Academy and Omaze to offer a fan a chance to meet her backstage in Vegas, with proceeds from the auction going to ACM Lifting Lives.

The Mae Boren Axton Award has been renamed the Mae Boren Axton Service Award.

Past recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Award include Barry Adelman, John Dorris, Tim DuBois, Rod Essig, Gayle Holcomb, Jack Lameier, Marge Meoli, Paul Moore, Ray Pilzak, Gaynelle Pitts, Keith Urban, Gene Weed, Tommy Wiggins and David Young.

MERLE HAGGARD SPIRIT AWARD – Eric Church has been chosen to receive the Merle Haggard Spirit Award. This award is presented to a singer-songwriter who is continuing the legacy of country legend and 20-time ACM Award Winner Merle Haggard by following his/her own path, crafting great songs and epitomizing Merle’s spirit through genuine performances and great storytelling.

Over 12 years and five studio albums, Eric Church has established himself as an artist who stays true to an uncompromising path. As an intense performer and songwriter, he has brought to life the eternal themes of life, love and heartbreak in his own hellraising way through songs like “Smoke a Little Smoke,” “Springsteen,” “Give Me Back My Hometown” and “Record Year.” He has also bucked convention in the way his recorded and live music is delivered. He surprised fans—and the media—with his 2015 album, Mr. Misunderstood, which landed in the mailboxes of his fan club members without any promotion first before going out to the general public and the media the next day. For the 2017 60-city “Holdin’ My Own Tour,” Church went out solo without a support act and played two sets himself. Church holds five ACM awards, including Album of the Year, Vocal Event of the Year, Video of the Year, New Solo Vocalist of the Year and the ACM Jim Reeves International Award.

Past recipients of the Merle Haggard Spirit Award include Miranda Lambert.

Poet’s Award – Toby Keith, Willie Nelson and Shel Silverstein (awarded posthumously) have been chosen to receive the Poet’s Award. This award is presented to a country music songwriter for outstanding and longstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their career, with special consideration given to a song or songs’ impact on the culture of country music.

Toby Keith has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and is routinely cited as one of country’s top businessmen with bars, restaurants, race horses and golf courses to his name, but it’s his accolades as a songwriter than mean the most to the Oklahoma native. Keith began writing as a teenager and charted his first self-penned No. 1 with his debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” Since then, he has pretty much ignored the Nashville tradition of cutting Music Row writers’ songs and personally written or co-written just about every song he’s ever recorded. Among the highlights of his two-decade hit-making career are blue-collar anthems “How Do You Like Me Now,” “Beer for My Horses,” “I Love This Bar” and “American Soldier.” A 12-time ACM Award winner, Keith was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015.

Willie Nelson is an American treasure, and the songs he has written will stand the test of time. Writing since the age of six, the Texas native has penned tunes that are part of the very foundation of country music. His credits as a songwriter include classics for other artists including “Crazy” (Patsy Cline), “Funny How Time Slips Away” (Ray Price) and “Hello Walls” (Faron Young). He co-wrote the outlaw anthem “Good-Hearted Woman” with his friend Waylon Jennings. Nelson’s signature song, “On the Road Again,” won the Grammy for Best Country Song in 1980. Willie was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001.

The late Shel Silverstein (awarded posthumously) is known the world over as the offbeat poet and cartoonist behind beloved children’s books Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree, but he was also an accomplished songwriter. Silverstein penned inventive songs about unusual characters for a variety of artists, including “One’s On the Way” for Loretta Lynn, “Marie Laveau” for Bobby Bare and the classic rock anthem “Cover of the Rolling Stone” for Dr. Hook. He brought his madcap imagination to the song, “A Boy Named Sue,” which became a No. 1 hit for Johnny Cash. The song won the 1969 Grammy for Best Country Song. Silverstein died of a heart attack in 1999 at the age of 68. He was posthumously inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.

Previous recipients of the Poet’s Award include Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, Guy Clark, Jack Clement, Hank Cochran, Dean Dillon, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Kris Kristofferson, Bob McDill, Roger Miller, Buck Owens, Eddie Rabbitt (awarded posthumously), Fred Rose, Don Schlitz, Cindy Walker, Jimmy Webb and Hank Williams.

Tex Ritter FILM Award – “Nashville” has been chosen as the recipient of the Tex Ritter Film Award. This award recognizes an outstanding television movie, series or feature film released during the preceding calendar year which prominently features country music.

Now in its fifth season, “Nashville” continues to tell Music Row’s stories to a world-wide audience. Airing domestically on CMT and Hulu, the hour-long drama is seen in 225 territories around the globe. Main characters Deacon Clayborne, Will Lexington, Avery Barkley, Gunnar Scott and Scarlett O’Connor have made real-life music stars out of actors Charles Esten, Chris Carmack, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio and Claire Bowen. The cast has released 17 soundtrack albums on Big Machine Records and has toured regularly, playing to sold-out crowds in both the United States and abroad. The show has been credited as part of the recent tourism boom in the city of Nashville, which has seen an amazing increase in visitors over the past five years.

Past recipients of the Tex Ritter Film Award include Beer For My Horses, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Country Strong, Crazy Heart, Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, O Brother, Where Art Thou, Sweet Dreams and Walk the Line, among others.

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD – Previously announced winner Lori McKenna – the first female to win this category ­– has been chosen as the recipient of the Songwriter of the Year Award. This award is presented to an individual known predominately as a songwriter, selected by a Professional Panel of judges composed of songwriters, publishers, producers, and performing rights organization representatives.

Lori McKenna has never lived in Nashville, yet she’s gradually become one of the most sought-after co-writers in Music City. At her kitchen table in Stoughton, Massachusetts, she wrote a heartfelt message to her five kids in the form of “Humble and Kind.” Tim McGraw carried the song to No. 1, and it also led to McKenna winning her second consecutive Grammy for Country Song of the Year. The first one was for Little Big Town’s triple-platinum single, “Girl Crush.” One of McKenna’s earliest champions was Faith Hill, who recorded “Stealing Kisses” for 2005’s Fireflies. McKenna continued recording her own albums as more stars cut her songs, including Hunter Hayes (“I Want Crazy”) and Keith Urban (“The Luxury of Knowing”). She released a new album, The Bird & The Rifle, in 2016. The project received a Grammy nod for Best Americana Album, while “Wreck You” was up for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song. She is a co-writer on Little Big Town’s new single, “Happy People.”

Past recipients of the Songwriter of the Year Award include Ross Copperman, Dallas Davidson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Roger Miller.

INDUSTRY AWARDS

  • CASINO OF THE YEAR – SMALL CAPACITY: Foxwoods Resort and Casino – Mashantucket, CT
  • CASINO OF THE YEAR – MEDIUM CAPACITY: The Joint at The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV
  • FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR: Tortuga Music Festival – Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • NIGHTCLUB OF THE YEAR: Joe’s Live – Rosemont, IL
  • VENUE OF THE YEAR – SMALL CAPACITY: Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, TN
  • VENUE OF THE YEAR – MEDIUM CAPACITY: Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO
  • VENUE OF THE YEAR – LARGE CAPACITY: Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN
  • DON ROMEO TALENT BUYER OF THE YEAR: Lenore Kinder – AEG Live
  • PROMOTER OF THE YEAR – Ed Warm – Joe’s Live
STUDIO RECORDING AWARDS
(Note: ** Indicates a tie.)
  • BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Glenn Worf
  • DRUMMER OF THE YEAR – Miles McPherson
  • GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Tom Bukovac & Danny Rader**
  • PIANO/KEYBOARDS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Dave Cohen
  • SPECIALTY INSTRUMENT(S) PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Dan Dugmore
  • STEEL GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Dan Dugmore
  • AUDIO ENGINEER OF THE YEAR – Chuck Ainlay
  • PRODUCER OF THE YEAR – Jay Joyce

Academy of Country Music Announces Special Award Honorees

ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC® ANNOUNCES SPECIAL AWARD HONOREES
KELSEA BALLERINI, ERIC CHURCH, TOBY KEITH, BOB KINGSLEY, REBA McENTIRE, “NASHVILLE,” WILLIE NELSON, DOLLY PARTON, SHEL SILVERSTEIN AND GEORGE STRAIT

ACM HONORS™ TV SPECIAL TO TAPE AUGUST 23RD
FOR BROADCAST AT A LATER DATE ON THE CBS TELEVISION NETWORK
FOR 2ND CONSECUTIVE YEAR

 

The Academy of Country Music® announced today the winners of the Special Awards for the 52nd ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS™. Honorees will be celebrated during the 11th ANNUAL ACM HONORS™, an evening dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards. The event will take place Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN and will be broadcast at a later date on the CBS Television Network.

Additional off-camera categories to be feted at ACM HONORS include to-be-announced Industry Awards and Studio Recording Awards, along with previously announced Songwriter of the Year Award winner, Lori McKenna. McKenna is the first female to win in the ACM Songwriter of the Year category.

The Academy of Country Music Special Awards are voted on by the ACM Board of Directors for specific achievements. Please note that titles of select Special Awards have been updated, as noted within each category listed below. Recipients of Special Awards for the 11th Annual ACM HONORS include:

 

Cliffie Stone ICON Award – George Strait has been chosen to receive the Cliffie Stone Icon Award. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry leader who throughout their career has advanced the popularity of the genre through their contributions in multiple facets of the industry such as songwriting, recording, production, touring, film, television, literary works, philanthropic contributions and other goodwill efforts.

With 61 No. 1 singles under his belt, George Strait has captivated the charts for longer than any other artist in any genre. Winning his first ACM Award for 1984’s Male Vocalist of the Year, “King George” went on to build his country kingdom one great song at a time. Now-classic hits like “Amarillo by Morning,” “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” “The Fireman,” “The Chair” and “Give It Away” established Strait’s smooth voice and no-nonsense style, making his live show a must-see event. Strait is one of the best-selling artists of all time with 100 million albums sold worldwide. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007 and was named the Academy’s Dick Clark Artist of the Decade in 2009. Though he officially retired from the road after his Cowboy Rides Away tour wrapped in 2014, Strait continues to pack houses at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas with his “2 Nights of Number 1s” show featuring all his number one hits performed live.

The Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award has been renamed the Cliffie Stone Icon Award.

Past recipients of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award include Alabama, Bob Beckham, Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Crystal Gayle, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, The Judds, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Jerry Reed, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, Billy Sherrill, Ricky Skaggs, The Statler Brothers, Mel Tillis, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Keith Whitley, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Bob Wills and Dwight Yoakam, among others.

GARY HABER LIFTING LIVES AWARD – Dolly Parton has been chosen to receive the Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry professional who is devoted to improving lives through the power of music, has a generosity of spirit, and is committed to serving others, voted on by the ACM Lifting Lives Board of Directors.

Dolly Parton has held many titles over her storied 50-year career – singer, songwriter, actress, legend—but philanthropist is one that is close to her heart. Since her earliest days of stardom, Dolly has used her celebrity to support the causes she loves most. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library has to date provided 100 million books to preschool children in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. In 2016, Parton stepped up to raise money for victims of the massive wildfires in her native East Tennessee. Hosting Smoky Mountains Rise, a three-hour telethon, Dolly helped raise more than $10 million for the Dollywood Foundation’s My People Fund, which provided money for temporary housing for families that lost their homes in the fires.

The Humanitarian Award has been renamed/incorporated into the existing Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award.

Past recipients of the Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award and Humanitarian Award include Brooks & Dunn, Vince Gill, Lonestar, Martina McBride, Neal McCoy, Reba McEntire, Montgomery Gentry, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood.

GENE WEED MILESTONE AWARD – Kelsea Ballerini has been chosen as the recipient of the Gene Weed Milestone Award. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry leader for a specific, unprecedented or outstanding achievement in the field of country music during the preceding calendar year.

Kelsea Ballerini went straight to the top of the charts with her first single, 2014’s “Love Me Like You Mean It.” Her self-penned debut was just the beginning of her winning streak. Her next two singles, 2015’s “Dibs” and 2016’s “Peter Pan,” also went to No. 1, making Ballerini the first female solo artist to have three consecutive No. 1 singles from a debut album since Wynonna Judd in 1992. Ballerini was named the ACM New Female Vocalist of the Year for 2015, was nominated for Best New Artist at the 59th Grammy Awards and came in at No. 2 on the Forbes “30 Under 30 – Music” list. Having wrapped up her first headlining tour, aptly titled “The First Time Tour,” Ballerini is currently working on a new album and is hitting the road with Thomas Rhett on his 2017 Home Team Tour.

The Crystal Milestone Award and Gene Weed Special Achievement Awards have been combined and renamed the Gene Weed Milestone Award.

Past recipients of the Crystal Milestone Award and the Gene Weed Milestone Award include Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, George Burns, Kenny Chesney, Jeff Foxworthy, Merle Haggard, Gayle Holcomb, Loretta Lynn, Little Big Town, Willie Nelson, Jennifer Nettles, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood.

Mae Boren Axton SERVICE Award – Bob Kingsley and Reba McEntire have been chosen as the recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Service Award. This award is presented to an outstanding country music artist, duo/group or industry leader in recognition of years of dedication and service to the Academy of Country Music.

One of the most recognizable radio voices in the world, Bob Kingsley has been a friend to both country fans and country artists for generations. As host and executive producer of Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40, the Texas resident has been inducted into both the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame and the National Radio Hall of Fame. Early in his career as a young disc jockey at KFOX in Los Angeles, Kingsley became involved with the fledgling Academy of Country and Western Music, which would eventually be called the Academy of Country Music. He won the Academy’s On-Air Personality of the Year award for 1966 and 1967. He was first elected to the Academy’s board of directors in 1967. He has since won a third ACM trophy for National On-Air Personality of the Year (2006) and continues to serve on the board today, making Kingsley the Academy’s longest-serving board member.

For more than 30 years Reba McEntire has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Academy of Country Music. Hosting her first ACM Awards in 1986 at Knott’s Berry Farm, McEntire has returned to the ACM stage as a host for a record 14 times—-eight of those solo. A 14-time ACM Award winner (including 7 as ACM Female Vocalist of the Year), Reba has also been an avid supporter of the Academy’s charitable efforts, donating her time and talents to numerous ACM specials and other events supporting ACM Lifting Lives. In 2017, Reba partnered with the Academy and Omaze to offer a fan a chance to meet her backstage in Vegas, with proceeds from the auction going to ACM Lifting Lives.

The Mae Boren Axton Award has been renamed the Mae Boren Axton Service Award.

Past recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Award include Barry Adelman, John Dorris, Tim DuBois, Rod Essig, Gayle Holcomb, Jack Lameier, Marge Meoli, Paul Moore, Ray Pilzak, Gaynelle Pitts, Keith Urban, Gene Weed, Tommy Wiggins and David Young.

MERLE HAGGARD SPIRIT AWARD – Eric Church has been chosen to receive the Merle Haggard Spirit Award. This award is presented to a singer-songwriter who is continuing the legacy of country legend and 20-time ACM Award Winner Merle Haggard by following his/her own path, crafting great songs and epitomizing Merle’s spirit through genuine performances and great storytelling.

Over 12 years and five studio albums, Eric Church has established himself as an artist who stays true to an uncompromising path. As an intense performer and songwriter, he has brought to life the eternal themes of life, love and heartbreak in his own hellraising way through songs like “Smoke a Little Smoke,” “Springsteen,” “Give Me Back My Hometown” and “Record Year.” He has also bucked convention in the way his recorded and live music is delivered. He surprised fans—and the media—with his 2015 album, Mr. Misunderstood, which landed in the mailboxes of his fan club members without any promotion first before going out to the general public and the media the next day. For the 2017 60-city “Holdin’ My Own Tour,” Church went out solo without a support act and played two sets himself. Church holds five ACM awards, including Album of the Year, Vocal Event of the Year, Video of the Year, New Solo Vocalist of the Year and the ACM Jim Reeves International Award.

Past recipients of the Merle Haggard Spirit Award include Miranda Lambert.

Poet’s Award – Toby Keith, Willie Nelson and Shel Silverstein (awarded posthumously) have been chosen to receive the Poet’s Award. This award is presented to a country music songwriter for outstanding and longstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their career, with special consideration given to a song or songs’ impact on the culture of country music.

Toby Keith has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and is routinely cited as one of country’s top businessmen with bars, restaurants, race horses and golf courses to his name, but it’s his accolades as a songwriter than mean the most to the Oklahoma native. Keith began writing as a teenager and charted his first self-penned No. 1 with his debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” Since then, he has pretty much ignored the Nashville tradition of cutting Music Row writers’ songs and personally written or co-written just about every song he’s ever recorded. Among the highlights of his two-decade hit-making career are blue-collar anthems “How Do You Like Me Now,” “Beer for My Horses,” “I Love This Bar” and “American Soldier.” A 12-time ACM Award winner, Keith was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015.

Willie Nelson is an American treasure, and the songs he has written will stand the test of time. Writing since the age of six, the Texas native has penned tunes that are part of the very foundation of country music. His credits as a songwriter include classics for other artists including “Crazy” (Patsy Cline), “Funny How Time Slips Away” (Ray Price) and “Hello Walls” (Faron Young). He co-wrote the outlaw anthem “Good-Hearted Woman” with his friend Waylon Jennings. Nelson’s signature song, “On the Road Again,” won the Grammy for Best Country Song in 1980. Willie was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2001.

The late Shel Silverstein (awarded posthumously) is known the world over as the offbeat poet and cartoonist behind beloved children’s books Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree, but he was also an accomplished songwriter. Silverstein penned inventive songs about unusual characters for a variety of artists, including “One’s On the Way” for Loretta Lynn, “Marie Laveau” for Bobby Bare and the classic rock anthem “Cover of the Rolling Stone” for Dr. Hook. He brought his madcap imagination to the song, “A Boy Named Sue,” which became a No. 1 hit for Johnny Cash. The song won the 1969 Grammy for Best Country Song. Silverstein died of a heart attack in 1999 at the age of 68. He was posthumously inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.

Previous recipients of the Poet’s Award include Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, Guy Clark, Jack Clement, Hank Cochran, Dean Dillon, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Kris Kristofferson, Bob McDill, Roger Miller, Buck Owens, Eddie Rabbitt (awarded posthumously), Fred Rose, Don Schlitz, Cindy Walker, Jimmy Webb and Hank Williams.

Tex Ritter FILM Award – “Nashville” has been chosen as the recipient of the Tex Ritter Film Award. This award recognizes an outstanding television movie, series or feature film released during the preceding calendar year which prominently features country music.

Now in its fifth season, “Nashville” continues to tell Music Row’s stories to a world-wide audience. Airing domestically on CMT and Hulu, the hour-long drama is seen in 225 territories around the globe. Main characters Deacon Clayborne, Will Lexington, Avery Barkley, Gunnar Scott and Scarlett O’Connor have made real-life music stars out of actors Charles Esten, Chris Carmack, Jonathan Jackson, Sam Palladio and Claire Bowen. The cast has released 17 soundtrack albums on Big Machine Records and has toured regularly, playing to sold-out crowds in both the United States and abroad. The show has been credited as part of the recent tourism boom in the city of Nashville, which has seen an amazing increase in visitors over the past five years.

Past recipients of the Tex Ritter Film Award include Beer For My Horses, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Country Strong, Crazy Heart, Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, O Brother, Where Art Thou, Sweet Dreams and Walk the Line, among others.

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD – Previously announced winner Lori McKenna – the first female to win this category – has been chosen as the recipient of the Songwriter of the Year Award. This award is presented to an individual known predominately as a songwriter, selected by a Professional Panel of judges composed of songwriters, publishers, producers, and performing rights organization representatives.

Lori McKenna has never lived in Nashville, yet she’s gradually become one of the most sought-after co-writers in Music City. At her kitchen table in Stoughton, Massachusetts, she wrote a heartfelt message to her five kids in the form of “Humble and Kind.” Tim McGraw carried the song to No. 1, and it also led to McKenna winning her second consecutive Grammy for Country Song of the Year. The first one was for Little Big Town’s triple-platinum single, “Girl Crush.” One of McKenna’s earliest champions was Faith Hill, who recorded “Stealing Kisses” for 2005’s Fireflies. McKenna continued recording her own albums as more stars cut her songs, including Hunter Hayes (“I Want Crazy”) and Keith Urban (“The Luxury of Knowing”). She released a new album, The Bird & The Rifle, in 2016. The project received a Grammy nod for Best Americana Album, while “Wreck You” was up for Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song. She is a co-writer on Little Big Town’s new single, “Happy People.”

Past recipients of the Songwriter of the Year Award include Ross Copperman, Dallas Davidson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Roger Miller.

About ACM Honors:
ACM Honors™ is an evening dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the Academy of Country Music Awards, including the Special Awards, Studio Recording Awards and Songwriter of the Year Award winners. The 11th Annual ACM Honors takes place Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium and will be produced for television by dick clark productions to be broadcast at a later date (date to be announced) on the CBS Television Network. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, R.A. Clark, Barry Adelman and Mark Bracco are executive producers. Pete Fisher and Tiffany Moon are executive producers for the Academy of Country Music.

MERLE HAGGARD, RONNIE MILSAP,CARRIE UNDERWOOD, RASCAL FLATTS & More Announced as Off-Camera Winners for 49th ACM Awards

acm honors












BOB BECKHAM, STEVE BUCHANAN, JACK CLEMENT, DEAN DILLON, MERLE HAGGARD,
TOBY KEITH, KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, RONNIE MILSAP, PAUL MOORE,
BUCK OWENS, CARRIE UNDERWOOD & RASCAL FLATTS
ANNOUNCED AS OFF-CAMERA WINNERS
FOR THE 49th ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS

* * *

Special Award Recipients, Studio Recording Awards, Industry Awards and
Songwriter of the Year Award Winners Announced

Today, the Academy of Country Music announced the winners of awards that will not be televised during the 49th ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS, due to time constraints. The ceremony will be telecast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. Special Awards, Industry Awards, Studio Recording Awards and Songwriter of the Year honorees will be feted at the 8th Annual ACM Honors event on September 9, 2014 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

The Academy of Country Music Special Awards are voted on by the ACM Board of Directors and specific categories are awarded during years where the Board of Directors feels there are clear and deserving candidates. Industry Awards are voted on by all professional members of the Academy. The Studio Recording Awards (formerly known as the Musician-Bandleader-Instrumentalist (MBI) Awards) ballot is voted on by professional members of the Academy classified in the Artist-Entertainer/Musician-Bandleader-Instrumentalist category, and the Producer-Engineer-Studio Manager sub-category (contained within the Affiliated category). The Songwriter of the Year ballot is voted on by professional members of the Academy in the following categories: Artist-Entertainer/Musician-Bandleader-Instrumentalist, Composer, Music Publisher/PRO, Record Company, and the Producer-Engineer-Studio Manager sub-category (contained within the Affiliated category).

SPECIAL AWARDS

Career Achievement Award – Toby Keith and Ronnie Milsap have been chosen to receive the Career Achievement Award, honoring an individual artist, duo, group or multiple artist collaboration that have advanced the popularity and acceptance of country music through their endeavors in the entertainment industry in multiple areas during the preceding calendar year.

Toby Keith has been riding high ever since his 1993 debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” The Oklahoma native took the reins in 1999 by switching record labels and releasing the bold album, How Do You Like Me Now? Since that time, he’s won ACM Awards for Entertainer of the Year (2002, 2003), Male Vocalist of the Year (2000, 2003), Album of the Year (2000, 2003) and Video of the Year (2003, 2011). In addition to his 20 No. 1 country singles, he’s enhanced his unmistakable brand through movie roles (Beer For My Horses) and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill restaurants. Since 2002, Keith has performed on 11 USO tours in 21 countries, including Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

Ronnie Milsap brought a pop and R&B sensibility to country music in the 1970s and 1980s, even as his rich, clear voice rang true as country. Forty years ago, the North Carolina native marched to No. 1 with “Pure Love,” paving the way for a total of 49 Top 10 hits on Billboard’s country chart. He won his first ACM Award as the 1982 Male Vocalist of the Year. Three years later, “Lost in the Fifties (In the Still of the Night)” claimed Song of the Year. Milsap received the 2001 Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award and will release a new album in March.

Past recipients of the Career Achievement Award include John Anderson, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Johnny Paycheck, Carl Perkins, Reba and Kenny Rogers.

Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award – Bob Beckham has been chosen to receive the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, honoring individuals who are pioneers in the country music genre.

Bob Beckham is remembered as a true music fan who took chances on unknown songwriters. Beckham was hired by Fred Foster at Combine Music in 1964. In time, its catalog grew to include Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” as well as Chris Gantry’s “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife” and Dennis Linde’s “Burning Love.” Beckham also nurtured the talent of Larry Gatlin, Jerry Reed, Ray Stevens and many more. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame recognized him with the inaugural Mentor Award in 2008. Beckham died in 2013.

Past recipients of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award include Alabama, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, The Judds,  Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Jerry Reed, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, Billy Sherrill, Ricky Skaggs, Mel Tillis, Randy Travis, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Keith Whitley, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Bob Wills and Dwight Yoakam, among others.

Crystal Milestone AwardAs previously announced, Merle Haggard has been chosen to receive the Crystal Milestone Award, which is given to an artist or industry leader to commemorate a specific, remarkable achievement.

Merle Haggard became the ACM’s first Entertainer of the Year when the award was presented for 1970. That win marked the Academy’s first Triple Crown achievement, as Haggard had already accepted the Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year award for 1965 and the first of six Male Vocalist of the Year awards the following year. Two of his most celebrated songs have also collected Single Record and Song of the Year awards from the ACM: “Okie From Muskogee” (1969) and “Are the Good Times Really Over” (1982). A winner of the ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award and Poet’s Award, Haggard joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2014, he will celebrate the milestone of 50years in country music.

Past recipients of the Crystal Milestone Awardinclude Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Gayle Holcomb, Jennifer Nettles and Taylor Swift.

Gene Weed Special Achievement Award – Carrie Underwood has been chosen to receive the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, which acknowledges unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music.

Carrie Underwood represents country music with class, whether she’s dazzling viewers of NFL Sunday Night Football or starring in a live broadcast of The Sound of Music. Her Blown Away Tour traveled to London’s Royal Albert Hall, followed by extensive dates across the U.S. and Canada. Upon completing the tour, she donated $1 million to the American Red Cross for disaster relief. She continues to support her hometown of Checotah, Okla., through her C.A.T.S. Foundation. Underwood is a rare ACM Triple Crown recipient, following wins as New Female Vocalist of the Year (2005), Female Vocalist of the Year (2006, 2007, 2008) and Entertainer of the Year (2008, 2009).

Past recipients of the Gene Weed Special Achievement Awardinclude Garth Brooks, George Burns, Jeff Foxworthy, Willie Nelson, Blake Shelton and George Strait.

Jim Reeves International Award – Steve Buchanan and Rascal Flatts have been chosen to receive the Jim Reeves International Award, which is presented to an artist for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world.

Steve Buchanan strives to provide a gateway for fans around the globe to discover country music. A Tennessee native, Buchanan is the president of the Opry Entertainment Group. In that role, he has positioned the Grand Ole Opry to be viewed as a vital, world-class tourist destination that embraces contemporary and classic artists. After the Nashville flood of 2010, he led efforts to modernize the venue during its renovation. In addition, his executive producer role for ABC’s Nashville gives insight to the inner workings of Music Row. He is currently working on mounting a Broadway show based on the long-running TV show Hee Haw.

Rascal Flatts carried their high-energy Live & Loud Tour to Europe in July 2013, enjoying sold-out crowds, widespread television exposure and significant digital sales. The group performed a total of seven shows across Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Along with packed houses, the trio appeared on BBC’s Breakfast TV and grabbed the No. 1 spot on the UK iTunes country chart. They will return in March to Dublin and London as part of the all-star Country to Country 2014 event. Rascal Flatts will launch their Rewind Tour this spring, with dates scheduled throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Past recipients of the Jim Reeves International Award include Garth Brooks, Dick Clark, Roy Clark, Merv Griffin, Alan Jackson, Charlie Nagatani, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, and Lady Antebellum, among others.

Mae Boren Axton Award – Paul Moore has been chosen as the recipient of the Mae Boren Axton Award, which is given in recognition of years of dedication and service by an outstanding individual to the Academy of Country Music.

Paul Moore has been an integral part of the William Morris team in Nashville for more than 35 years. He began his career there in 1978 as a secretary to the head of the office. In time, he became part of the management team for William Morris and later William Morris Endeavor. For 23 years, he was co-head of the agency’s Nashville office. He remains involved in booking concert dates for WME clients at major fairs, rodeos, outdoor events and festivals, and oversees tour commitments for numerous country legends. Moore is a longtime board member for the Academy of Country Music and currently serves as Parliamentarian.

Past recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Award include John Dorris, Rod Essig, Gayle Holcomb, Jack Lameier, Marge Meoli, Ray Pilzak, Gaynelle Pitts, Gene Weed, Tommy Wiggins and David Young.

Poet’s Award – Jack Clement (awarded posthumously), Dean Dillon, Kris Kristofferson, and Buck Owens (awarded posthumously),have been selected to receive the Poet’s Award, which honors songwriters for outstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their careers in the field of country music.

“Cowboy” Jack Clement’scareer stretched back to Sun Records, where the Memphis native mixed 1950s recording sessions by Johnny Cash. Two of Cash’s early hits were written by Clement: “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess Things Happen That Way.” A few years later in Texas, George Jones cut Clement’s “A Girl I Used to Know.” In Nashville, Clement opened a publishing company and signed Bob McDill, Allen Reynolds and Don Williams. Clement joined the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in April 2013, four months before his death.

Tennessee native Dean Dillon hitchhiked to Nashville to pursue a music career as a recording artist, but he found his biggest successes as a prolific songwriter. He penned hits for George Jones (“Tennessee Whiskey”), Keith Whitley (“Miami My Amy”), Toby Keith (“A Little Too Late”) and Kenny Chesney (“A Lot of Things Different”). Dillon truly found his muse in George Strait, who built his legendary career on Dillon’s unique songs, including his debut single “Unwound” followed by “The Chair,” “Nobody in His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her,” “It Ain’t Cool to Be Crazy About You,” “Ocean Front Property,” “Marina Del Rey” and “If I Know Me” to name a few. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.

Kris Kristofferson emerged as a songwriting force in the 1970s. He used his widely varied experiences—from Rhodes Scholar to Army helicopter pilot to janitor at Nashville’s Columbia Studios—to craft some of the most emotionally compelling story songs ever written. His composition “For the Good Times,” recorded by Ray Price, received 1970 ACM Awards for Single Record and Song of the Year. In addition to solo success with “Why Me,” Kristofferson’s songs have been immortalized by Johnny Cash (“Sunday Morning Coming Down”), Janis Joplin (“Me and Bobbie McGee”), Ronnie Milsap (“Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends”) and Sammi Smith (“Help Me Make It Through the Night”). Born in Texas, Kristofferson joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award in 2005.

Buck Owens’ boisterous single “Love’s Gonna Live Here” spent an astonishing 16 weeks atop the country airplay chart in 1963. He followed that composition with more original material like “My Heart Skips a Beat,” “Together Again” and “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail,” writing the latter with Harlan Howard. An icon in the Bakersfield, Calif., country scene, Owens received the 1965 ACM Award for Male Vocalist of the Year and his band The Buckaroos won three consecutive ACM trophies. He joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996 and accepted the ACM Pioneer Award in 1988. Owens died in 2006.

Previous recipients of the Poet’s Award include Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Guy Clark, Hank Cochran, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Roger Miller, Fred Rose, Don Schlitz, Cindy Walker and Hank Williams.

INDUSTRY AWARDS

  • CASINO OF THE YEAR:                   Small Capacity – Mohegan Sun Wolf Den – Uncasville, CT

Medium Capacity – Mohegan Sun Arena – Uncasville, CT

  • NIGHTCLUB OF THE YEAR:              Billy Bob’s Texas – Fort Worth, TX
  • VENUE OF THE YEAR :                     Small Capacity – Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater – Austin, TX

Medium Capacity – Grand Ole Opry House – Nashville, TN

Large Capacity – Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN

 
  • DON ROMEO TALENT BUYER OF THE YEAR: Nicole More – Neste Event Marketing
  • PROMOTER OF THE YEAR:            Brian O’Connell – Live Nation

STUDIO RECORDING AWARDS (FORMERLY THE MBI AWARDS)

  • BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR:         Michael Rhodes
  • DRUMMER OF THE YEAR:             Shannon Forrest
  • GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR:   Rob McNelley
  • PIANO/KEYBOARDS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Charlie Judge
  • STEEL GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Paul Franklin
  • AUDIO ENGINEER OF THE YEAR: Justin Niebank
  • PRODUCER OF THE YEAR:             Dann Huff
  • SPECIALTY INSTRUMENT(S) PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Bryan Sutton

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR

  • SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR: Shane McAnally

About the Academy of Country Music Awards
The 49th Academy of Country Music Awards is dedicated to honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in the country music industry.  The show is produced for television by dick clark productions and will be broadcast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, R.A. Clark and Barry Adelman are executive producers.  Bob Romeo is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.

Off-Camera Winners Announced for the 48th Annual ACM Awards

acm 48th

JASON ALDEAN, GUY CLARK, BLAKE SHELTON, KEITH WHITLEY,
TOMMY WIGGINS, HANK WILLIAMS, THE JUDDS & LADY ANTEBELLUM
ANNOUNCED AS OFF-CAMERA WINNERS
FOR THE 48th ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS

* * *

Special Award Recipients, Industry Awards, MBI Awards and
Songwriter of the Year Winners Announced

Today, the Academy of Country Music is announcing the winners of awards that will not be televised during the 48th ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS, due to time constraints. The ceremony will be telecast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. Special Awards, Industry Awards, MBI (Musician, Bandleader, Instrumentalist) and Songwriter of the Year honorees will be feted at the 7th Annual ACM Honors event on September 10, 2013 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

The Academy of Country Music Special Awards are voted on by the ACM Board of Directors and are awarded during years where the Board of Directors feels there are clear and deserving candidates. Industry Awards are voted on by professional members of the Academy. The MBI ballot is voted on by professional members of the Academy classified in the Artist-Entertainer/Musician-Bandleader-Instrumentalist category, and the Producer-Engineer-Studio Manager sub-category (contained within the Affiliated category).  The Songwriter of the Year ballot is voted on by professional members of the Academy in the following categories: Artist-Entertainer/Musician-Bandleader-Instrumentalist, Composer, Music Publisher/PRO, Record Company, and the Producer/Engineer/Studio Manager subcategory (contained within the Affiliated category).

SPECIAL AWARDS

Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award – Keith Whitley and The Judds have been chosen to receive the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, honoring individuals who are pioneers in the country music genre.

Keith Whitley brought a blend of traditional bluegrass, classic country and contemporary songwriting influences to his timeless recordings. Although his catalog is regrettably small, this Kentucky native stands as one of the most respected vocalists of his era, thanks to a rich baritone that effortlessly conveyed the emotion of any song. Whitley first entered the Top 10 in 1986 with “Ten Feet Away,” setting the stage for enduring ballads like “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” “When You Say Nothing at All” and “I’m No Stranger to the Rain,” all of which reached No. 1 before Whitley died in 1989 at age 33.

 

The Judds gave country music an acoustic boost in the 1980s, ultimately racking up 20 Top 10 hits. They picked up seven consecutive ACM Awards in the Vocal Duet category, as well as a Song of the Year trophy for “Why Not Me.” Their winning streak began in 1984 with “Mama He’s Crazy,” the first of 14 No. 1 hits. Fans also identified with the ups and downs of Naomi and Wynonna’s mother-daughter relationship, adding another dimension to modern classics like the nostalgic “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days)” and the empowering “Love Can Build a Bridge.”

 

Past recipients of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award include Alabama, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Jerry Reed, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, Billy Sherrill, Ricky Skaggs, Mel Tillis, Randy Travis, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Bob Wills and Dwight Yoakam, among others.

Crystal Milestone Award – Jason Aldean has been chosen to receive the Crystal Milestone Award, which is given to an artist or industry leader to commemorate a specific, remarkable achievement.

Jason Aldean soared to stadium headliner status in 2012. He sold out his first stadium show last year, moving more than 27,000 tickets for Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. All tickets were purchased more than two months in advance. Aldean’s arena show tickets went quickly too. He sold 24,000 tickets in two minutes for his Indianapolis show, along with 20,000 seats in just four minutes in St. Louis. Aldean is now swinging for the rafters with his “Night Train Tour.” Stadium shows on the itinerary include Wrigley Field in Chicago, Sanford Stadium in Athens, GA, and Boston’s Fenway Park—which sold out in seven minutes, setting a venue record and making Aldean the first country act to headline the historic ballpark. The Academy is honoring Aldean for this remarkable achievement.

Past recipients of the Crystal Milestone Award include Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Gayle Holcomb, Jennifer Nettles and Taylor Swift.

Gene Weed Special Achievement Award – Blake Shelton has been chosen to receive the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, which acknowledges unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music.

Blake Shelton stepped into his role on NBC’s The Voice as a well-known figure in country music circles. Now he’s a household name to millions of viewers who appreciate his lively personality, his honest approach toward aspiring talent and his camaraderie with pop stars like Christine Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Adam Levine. That broad appeal paved the way for a network special to coincide with his first holiday album, Cheers, It’s Christmas. A three-time ACM Awards co-host, Shelton is climbing the charts with “Sure Be Cool If You Did.” Look for his “Ten Times Crazier Tour” starting in July.

Past recipients of the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award include Garth Brooks, George Burns, Jeff Foxworthy, Willie Nelson and George Strait.

Jim Reeves International Award – Lady Antebellum has been chosen to receive the Jim Reeves International Award, which is presented to an artist for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world.

Lady Antebellum seized the day with their “Own the Night World Tour,” ultimately performing to more than a million fans in 11 countries and three continents. Along with packing venues in the U.S. and Canada, the trio sold out three shows at the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Band members Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott also accepted the honor of opening for a musical hero, Bruce Springsteen, at London’s Hard Rock Calling. A three-time winner in the ACM Vocal Group category, Lady Antebellum will release its fourth studio album, Golden, in May, likely taking their newest hit “Downtown” around the globe.

Past recipients of the Jim Reeves International Award include Garth Brooks, Dick Clark, Roy Clark, Merv Griffin, Alan Jackson, Charlie Nagatani, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, among others.

Mae Boren Axton Award – Tommy Wiggins has been chosen as the recipient of the Mae Boren Axton Award, which is given in recognition of years of dedication and service by an outstanding individual to the Academy of Country Music.

Tommy Wiggins co-founded the organization that is now the Academy of Country Music. While pursuing opportunities performing on radio and on stage, Wiggins lived in Tucson and Nashville before relocating in 1960 to Los Angeles, where he appeared on local television shows. Along with releasing several singles on Stadium Records, Wiggins launched a radio industry publication titled D.J.’s Digest. In 1964, he teamed with songwriter Eddie Miller and club owners Mickey and Chris Christensen to stage a Los Angeles-based awards show and form the Country Western Music Academy–later renamed the Academy of Country Music–to draw attention to country artists based on the West Coast.

Past recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Award include John Dorris, Rod Essig, Gayle Holcomb, Jack Lameier, Marge Meoli, Ray Pilzak, Gaynelle Pitts, Gene Weed and David Young.

Poet’s Award – Guy Clark and Hank Williams have been selected to receive the Poet’s Award, which honors songwriters for outstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their careers in the field of country music.

Guy Clark has earned the respect of countless songwriters by crafting his compositions with wit, wisdom and warmth. This native Texan made a lasting impression with his 1975 debut album Old No. 1. His extensive songwriting catalog includes cuts by Johnny Cash (“Texas 1947”), Kenny Chesney (“Hemingway’s Whiskey”), Rodney Crowell (“She’s Crazy for Leaving”) and Ricky Skaggs (“Heartbroke”). Meanwhile, his own recordings of “L.A. Freeway” and “Desperadoes Waiting for a Train” make listeners feel as though they know him personally. The 2011 collection, This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark, received a Grammy nomination for best folk album.

Hank Williams remains one of the most revered songwriters in history. A native of Alabama, Williams’ commercial style found a champion in music publisher Fred Rose in 1946. Despite a brief career, Williams catalog includes “Cold, Cold Heart,” “Hey Good Lookin’” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” His compositions have been recorded by Tony Bennett, Jimmy Buffett, Norah Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charley Pride, Linda Ronstadt and Hank Williams Jr., among many others. The legendary figure was found dead on Jan. 1, 1953. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 and received the 1973 ACM Pioneer Award. Hank Williams will be honored posthumously.

Previous recipients of the Poet’s Award include Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Hank Cochran, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Roger Miller, Fred Rose, Don Schlitz and Cindy Walker.

INDUSTRY AWARDS

CASINO OF THE YEAR – Red Rock Casino & Resort – Las Vegas, NV

NIGHTCLUB OF THE YEAR – Joe’s Bar – Chicago, IL

VENUE OF THE YEAR – Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, TN

DON ROMEO TALENT BUYER OF THE YEAR – Jerry Hufford – Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace

PROMOTER OF THE YEAR – Ed Warm – Joe’s Bar

MBI (MUSICIAN, BANDLEADER, INSTRUMENTALIST) AWARDS:

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR – Jay Joyce

AUDIO ENGINEER OF THE YEAR – Chuck Ainlay

BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Jimmie Lee Sloas

PERCUSSIONIST/DRUMMER OF THE YEAR – Matt Chamberlain

FIDDLE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Aubrey Haynie

GUITARIST OF THE YEAR – J.T. Corenflos

PIANO/KEYBOARDS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Michael Rojas

SPECIALTY INSTRUMENT(S) PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Ilya Toshinsky

STEEL GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Mike Johnson

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR – Dallas Davidson

About the Academy of Country Music Awards
The 48th Academy of Country Music Awards is dedicated to honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in the country music industry.  The show is produced for television by dick clark productions and will be broadcast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network.  Allen Shapiro, Orly Adelson and R.A. Clark are executive producers.  Barry Adelman is producer, and Bob Bardo is the executive in charge of production. Bob Romeo is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.