City National Bank was the Presenting Partner of the Evening and

1000 Stories Wine is the Official Wine Partner of the Academy and ACM Honors

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Photos Available at Getty Images

NASHVILLE, TN (August 21, 2019) – Earlier this evening, the Academy of Country Music® presented the 13th Annual ACM Honors™, an evening dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 54th Academy of Country Music Awards™.

The event featured a star-studded lineup of live performances and award presentations celebrating Special Awards recipients Brooks & Dunn and Martina McBride (ACM Cliffie Stone Icon Award), Gayle Holcomb (ACM Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award), Miranda Lambert (ACM Gene Weed Milestone Award), Kacey Musgraves (ACM Jim Reeves International Award), Rodney Crowell, Kye Fleming and Billy Joe Shaver (ACM Poet’s Award) and A Star is Born (Tex Ritter Film Award).

Also honored were winners of the Industry and Studio Recording Awards, along with Songwriter of the Year Award winner, Shane McAnally. The evening was written and produced by the Academy’s Lisa Lee.

Lending their musical talents, the house band for the evening’s celebration included ACM Studio Recording Winner, guitar player of the year Derek Wells as band leader, ACM Studio Recording Winner, piano/keyboard player of the year Dave Cohen on keyboards, Justin Schipper and Kris Donegan on guitar/utility, Mike Rinne on bass/upright, and Evan Hutchings on drums. Backing vocalists for the event were Lo Carter and Jason Eskridge.

Introduced this evening, ACM Charity Buzz, an online auction featuring signed ACM guitars, VIP show tickets, and more. All proceeds go to ACM Lifting Lives® to continue improving lives through the power of music.

Highlights from the event include:

  • Interim ACM Executive Director RAC Clark opened the evening and welcomed Chris Young to the stage for a performance of “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight” in tribute to ACM Poet’s Award winner Rodney Crowell. Later in the evening Hannah Crowell accepted the award on behalf of her father, who was unable to attend.
  • Bobby Bones presented both the ACM Industry Awards and ACM Studio Recording Awards.
  • Caylee Hammack and Lauren Alaina performed a medley of “Broken Wing” and “Independence Day,” respectively, in tribute to Martina McBride. Following the performance, Alaina presented McBride with the ACM Cliffie Stone Icon Award.
  • Chris Janson performed a medley of “Honky Tonk Heroes” and “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal” in tribute to Billy Joe Shaver, who was unable to attend.
  • Tenille Townes and Maddie & Tae performed a medley of “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed” and “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool,” respectively, in tribute to Kye Fleming before ACM Triple Crown Award winner, Barbara Mandrell made an appearance to present Fleming with the ACM Poet’s Award.
  • Trisha Yearwood presented Gayle Holcomb with the ACM Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award – and then surprised Holcomb and the audience with an unannounced performance, a sultry rendition of Frank Sinatra's “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road).
  • Ashley McBryde, joined by Chris Harris, performed “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone” in tribute to Brooks & Dunn before they accepted the ACM Cliffe Stone Icon Award via in-house video.
  • Midland performed a medley of “Burn Out” and “Make a Little” in tribute to ACM Songwriter of the Year, Shane McAnally, before his acceptance speech. McAnally was previously announced as Songwriter of the Year at the ACM Party for a Cause: Stories, Songs & Stars event in Las Vegas, NV in April.
  • Following the acceptance of his award, McAnally returned to the stage to accept the ACM Jim Reeves International Award on behalf of his friend and frequent collaborator, Kacey Musgraves, who was unable to attend.
  • A Star is Born music supervisors, Julia Michels and Julianne Jordan accepted the Tex Ritter Film Award on behalf of the film.
  • Reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year Keith Urban, and Miranda Lambert – the all-time most awarded artist in Academy history – ended the night with a performance of “The House That Built Me.” Following their performance, Lambert accepted the ACM Gene Weed Milestone Award.

Below is a full list of special award recipients:

ACM Cliffie Stone ICON Award – Brooks & Dunn and Martina McBride were 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.

Brooks & Dunn dominated country radio for two decades, from 1991’s “Brand New Man” to 2009’s “Cowgirls Don’t Cry.” They landed their first ACM Awards for 1991 Vocal Duo and New Vocal Duet or Group. They claimed the Vocal Duo category 16 times, setting a record that may never be broken. Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn shot out of the gate as Brand New Man won the 1992 ACM Award for Album of the Year, while “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” picked up Single Record of the Year. They earned Entertainer of the Year honors for 1995 and 1996, the only duo to ever win the award. They picked up a third Entertainer award and a Music Video of the Year trophy for “Only in America” for 2001 Among their 41 Top 10 hits are signature songs include “My Next Broken Heart,” “My Maria,” ‘Ain’t Nothin’ ‘Bout You” and “Red Dirt Road,” while the stunning “Believe” picked up 2005 ACM Song of the Year. Known as one of country’s most dynamic live acts, Brooks & Dunn is in the midst of a Las Vegas residency with Reba. The duo’s newest project, Reboot, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s country albums chart this year.

Martina McBride built her magnificent career with an incredible voice and a talent for finding emotional songs that resonated with her audience. Beginning with an auspicious debut single titled “The Time Has Come,” McBride has placed more than 50 titles on Billboard’s country airplay chart and earned three consecutive ACM Female Vocalist awards (2001-2003). She enjoyed a career breakthrough in 1993 with “My Baby Loves Me,” which positioned her as one of country music’s most empowering artists. She joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1995. Over the next decade she notched five No. 1 hits: “Wild Angels,” “A Broken Wing,” “Wrong Again,” “I Love You,” and “Blessed.” Dramatic music videos such as “Independence Day” and “Concrete Angel” brought her most cinematic songs to life, while in the recording studio she developed her ability as a producer. Known for her work with the YWCA and abused women, McBride received the 2003 ACM Humanitarian Award. She connected with her core country music audience on 2011’s “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” which became an anthem for women and their families facing breast cancer. In addition to her performing career, McBride has authored two cookbooks and stars in the Food Network series, Martina’s Table.

Past recipients of the ACM Cliffie Icon Award include Alabama, Bob Beckham, Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Crystal Gayle, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Alan Jackson, 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, George Strait, Mel Tillis, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Keith Whitley, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Bob Wills and Dwight Yoakam, among others.

ACM GARY HABER LIFTING LIVES AWARD – Gayle Holcomb was 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.

Gayle Holcomb, a Partner at WME and Director at Large on the ACM Board, has been a tireless advocate for ACM Lifting Lives, the Academy’s charitable arm. Holcomb helped launch ACM Lifting Lives in 2009, guiding the vision for the charity in its early stages, then continued her support by serving as chairman. Holcomb made the initial endowment to form ACM Lifting Lives’ Diane Holcomb Emergency Relief Fund, in honor of her late mother. The gift enabled the fund to respond quickly to unforeseen, immediate financial needs of ACM members, staff and members of the country music community. Holcomb remains actively involved in the fund’s charitable events, such as the ACM Lifting Lives Golf Classic at TPC, Bash at the Beach, and Topgolf Tee Off. Holcomb, the former Academy of Country Music board chairman, is also the recipient of the 2011 ACM Mae Boren Axton Award and the 2007 ACM Crystal Milestone Award. During her tenure as chairman, Holcomb was a driving force for the organization’s rapid change and growth, including moving the awards show from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. In 2015, she was inducted into the SOURCE Hall of Fame, which recognizes women’s contributions to the country music industry.

Past recipients of the ACM Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award include Dolly Parton, Darius Rucker and Carrie Underwood.

ACM GENE WEED MILESTONE AWARD – Miranda Lambert was 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.

Miranda Lambert made history at the 2018 ACM Awards, becoming the all-time most awarded artist in Academy history with her wins for “Tin Man” as Song of the Year and her ninth consecutive Female Vocalist trophy. She currently has received 32 ACM awards including five Album of the Year awards 10 Song and Single of the Year awards (as either an artist or songwriter) and the first-ever ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award. Meanwhile, Lambert and her friends Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley resurrected the Pistol Annies in 2018 with Interstate Gospel, a captivating collection that followed Lambert’s acclaimed solo release, The Weight of These Wings. Highlighted by singles like “Vice” and “Tin Man,” that platinum project won an ACM award for Album of the Year – the fifth time she’s won in that category. The Lindale, Texas, native has acquired ACM trophies for hits like “Smokin’ and Drinkin’,” “Automatic,” “Mama’s Broken Heart,” “We Were Us,” “Over,” “Over You,” “The House That Built Me” and “White Liar.” Since winning the 2006 New Female Vocalist award, Lambert has forged her own career path – prompting her to receive the first-ever ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award in 2016. She supports the next generation of women creators through a songwriting scholarship at Belmont University while continuing to raise awareness for shelter dogs through her MuttNation Foundation.

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

ACM JIM REEVES INTERNATIONAL AWARD – Kacey Musgraves was chosen to receive the Jim Reeves International Award, which is presented to an artist or industry leader for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world.

Kacey Musgraves borrowed one of her song titles for the aptly-named Oh, What a World: Tour, which led her around the globe in 2018. In addition to being the first country artist to play the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, Musgraves charmed audiences in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Those international dates led to multiple shows across the United States and Canada. Musgraves headlined the C2C: Country to Country festival in early 2018, then returned in the fall to perform at Wembley Arena in London. Musgraves collected her first ACM Female Vocalist of the Year award in April. She also received Album of the Year honors for the critically acclaimed Golden Hour. That accomplishment marks her second win in that category, following 2013’s Same Trailer Different Park. She served as co-producer on both albums. Golden Hour debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s country albums chart, while Apple Music named it the Global Album of the Year in 2018. In February, Golden Hour won the Grammy for Album of the Year and Country Album of the Year. She also picked up Grammys for “Butterflies” (Best Country Solo Performance) and “Space Cowboy” (Best Country Song).

Past recipients of the Jim Reeves International Award include Joe Allison, Bill Boyd, Garth Brooks, Steve Buchanan, Joe Cates, Eric Church, Dick Clark, Roy Clark, Al Gallico, Merv Griffin, Jim Halsey, Alan Jackson, Ken Kragen, Lady Antebellum, Sam Louvello, Thurston Moore, Charlie Nagatani, Buck Owens, Rob Potts, Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts, Roy Rogers, Bob Saporiti, Louise Scruggs, Dinah Shore, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Jeff Walker, Jo Walker-Meador and Bill Ward.

ACM Poet’s Award – Rodney Crowell, Kye Fleming and Billy Joe Shaver were 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.

Rodney Crowell has written for many of country music’s most prominent artists since the 1970s. A Houston native, Crowell landed his first cut with Jerry Reed after the country star signed him to a publishing deal in 1972. Emmylou Harris then hired him for her Hot Band and frequently recorded his songs, introducing his prodigious talent to her fans and other country artists. Crowell’s catalog grew to include #1 singles like “I Couldn’t Leave You If I Tried” and “She’s Crazy for Leavin’,” as well as Rosanne Cash’s “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me,” Crystal Gayle’s “Til I Gain Control Again,” Highway 101’s “Somewhere Tonight,” Waylon Jennings’ “I Ain’t Livin’ Long Like This,” Tim McGraw’s “Please Remember Me,” Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Long Hard Road (The Sharecropper’s Dream),” the Oak Ridge Boys’ “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight,” Bob Seger’s “Shame on the Moon” and Keith Urban’s “Making Memories of Us.” As a recording artist, Crowell was named ACM Top New Male Vocalist for 1988. He received a Grammy for Best Country Song and an ACM Song of the Year nomination for “After All This Time.” He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003.

Kye Fleming’s songwriting helped define an era of country music through radio-friendly material recorded by Barbara Mandrell, Ronnie Milsap, and Sylvia, among many others artists of the 1970s and 1980s. Fleming grew up in a Navy family and toured as a folk artist before turning to professional songwriting. Following a move to Nashville in 1977, she teamed up with songwriter Dennis Morgan for major cuts like Mandrell’s "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool," “In Times Like These,” "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed" and “Years,” as well as Milsap’s “Smoky Mountain Rain” and “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It for the World.” Morgan and Fleming also co-wrote Sylvia’s No. 1 hit, “Nobody,” which received an ACM nomination for Song of the Year. Fleming earned multiple Songwriter of the Year distinctions from BMI (1981-1983) and NSAI (1981-1982). She continued to land singles like Amy Grant’s “What About the Love,” Michael Johnson’s “Give Me Wings,” Willie Nelson’s “There You Are,” Charley Pride’s “Roll on Mississippi” and Steve Wariner’s “All Roads Lead to You.” She was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009 and participated in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Poets & Prophets series in 2012.

Billy Joe Shaver has embodied the Outlaw spirit of country music from the start, placing cuts in the 1970s with Johnny Cash, David Allan Coe, Tom T. Hall, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and more. After a hardscrabble youth, which can be traced through many of his most eloquent songs, Shaver met Jennings at a guitar pull in Texas. Encouraged by the legendary singer, Shaver tracked Jennings down in Nashville to pitch some songs. True to his word, Jennings took a break from his recording session and listened to Shaver sing the material -- and subsequently recorded an album almost entirely composed of Shaver’s songs, 1973’s Honky Tonk Heroes. That breakthrough paved the way for hits like John Anderson’s “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal” and Johnny Rodriguez’s “I Couldn’t Be Me Without You.” Shaver has maintained a touring and recording career for decades, performing enduring originals like "Black Rose," "Georgia on a Fast Train," "Live Forever," and "Old Five and Dimers Like Me." Other notable cuts include Bobby Bare’s “Ride Me Down Easy,” Patty Loveless’ “When the Fallen Angels Fly,” and Elvis Presley’s “You Asked Me To.” He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.

Previous recipients of the ACM Poet’s Award include Bill Anderson, Matraca Berg, Bobby Braddock, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, Guy Clark, Jack Clement, Hank Cochran, Dean Dillon, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Toby Keith, Kris Kristofferson, Bob McDill, Roger Miller, Willie Nelson, Buck Owens, Eddie Rabbitt, Fred Rose, Shel Silverstein, Don Schlitz, Cindy Walker, Jimmy Webb, Hank Williams and Norro Wilson.

Tex Ritter FILM AwardA Star Is Born was 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.

The authenticity of A Star Is Born resonated with the music community with its dazzling original songs, whether performed for thousands of screaming fans on screen, or simply between lead actors Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Cooper, who directed the film, and Gaga, who won an Oscar and a Golden Globe award for co-writing “Shallow,” both turned to Nashville songwriters to convey the characters of troubled rock singer Jackson Maine and budding songwriter Ally. Early in the film’s development, Cooper contacted producer Dave Cobb to help create Maine’s edgy, yet earthy, sound. Cobb introduced him to music by Jason Isbell, who crafted the song “Maybe It’s Time” after conversations with Cooper about the character’s struggles with redemption. In addition, Gaga co-wrote “Always Remember Me This Way” with Natalie Hemby, Hillary Lindsey, and Lori McKenna, while “I’ll Never Love Again” is a collaboration with Gaga, Hemby, Lindsey, and Aaron Raitiere. Among other songwriters on the soundtrack with country music connections, Paul Kennerly composed “Diggin’ My Grave,” Lukas Nelson served as a songwriter, music producer, consultant and performer, and Diane Warren (“How Do I Live”) contributed to the track “Why Did You Do That?” A Star Is Born received eight Oscar nominations.

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, Nashville, O Brother, Where Art Thou, Sweet Dreams and Walk the Line, among others.

ACM SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD – Previously announced winner Shane McAnally 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. This is McAnally’s second ACM Songwriter of the Year award.

Shane McAnally - With 40 No. 1 songs and three Grammy awards under his belt, Shane McAnally is well established as one of the top songwriters in Nashville. Throughout his career, McAnally has won dozens of awards and accolades including three ACM awards and a CMA award. His compositions have been recorded by Kenny Chesney, Kelly Clarkson, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert Old Dominion and countless more. The Academy of Country Music named him Songwriter of the Year in 2014; that same year, he won two Grammys in the Best Country Album and Best Country Song categories for his work on Kacey Musgraves’s debut Same Trailer Different Park. He was named Billboard’s Hot Country Songwriter of the Year in 2015.

In 2017, Sam Hunt’s “Body Like A Back Road,” which McAnally co-wrote, broke records by spending 34 straight weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart; it was subsequently named the Song of the Year at the CMT Artist of the Year Awards. In 2018, he contributed several songs to Musgraves’s Golden Hour, which won the Grammy for Album of the Year, including “Space Cowboy,” winner for Best Country Song. As a producer, McAnally has helped shape the sound of albums by Hunt, Musgraves, Midland, Old Dominion, and more.

After founding a music publishing company, relaunching an iconic record label and creating an acclaimed stage musical, McAnally is expanding his reach to television as a coach on the new NBC show Songland, a role that he describes as “my wildest dream job that I never knew I wanted.”

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


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  • DRUMMER OF THE YEAR – Matt Chamberlain

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Media Contacts:
Academy of Country Music

Brooke Primero / Melissa Moldovan

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Ryman Auditorium

Lisaann Dupont / Ebie McFarland

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