Country music fans, superstar Music City talent and industry elite turned out in force tonight for the Academy of Country Music’s 9th Annual ACM Honors, an evening dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. The sold-out special event, hosted for the second consecutive time by Jake Owen, was held in Nashville at the historic Ryman Auditorium.
The evening included a mix of live music and video tributes celebrating Honorees including Special Awards recipients Barry Adelman, Luke Bryan, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant (awarded posthumously), Eric Church, Tim DuBois, Loretta Lynn, Bob McDill and Alabama. Studio Recording Awards (formerly MBI Awards) recipients included Chuck Ainlay, Tom Bukovac, Dan Dugmore, Jay Joyce, Greg Morrow, Michael Rojas, Ilya Toshinskiy and Glenn Worf. Industry Award winners included Ed Warm of Joe’s Live, Sally Williams of Ryman Auditorium, Country Thunder USA: East in Twin Lakes, WI, Hard Rock Live in Biloxi, MS, Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, CA, Joe’s Bar in Chicago, IL, MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, NV, Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO and Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. Luke Laird was honored as Songwriter of the Year.
Artists who performed in tribute to honorees included:
• Jason Aldean performing a medley of “Love in the First Degree,” “Tennessee River” and “The Closer You Get” in tribute to Alabama
• Roy Clark performing “Yesterday When I Was Young” in tribute to Barry Adelman
• Randy Houser performing “Roller Coaster” in tribute to Luke Bryan
• Chris Isaak performing a medley of “Bye Bye Love” in tribute to Felice & Boudleaux Bryant
• Miranda Lambert performing “Rated X” in tribute to Loretta Lynn
• Kacey Musgraves performing “Good Ole Boys Club” in tribute to Luke Laird
• Jake Owen opened the show with a performance of Alabama’s hit “Feels So Right.”
• Josh Turner performing “Good Ole Boys Like Me” in tribute to Bob McDill
• Holly Williams performing “Like Jesus Does” in tribute to Eric Church
• Restless Heart performing “The Bluest Eyes in Texas” in tribute to Tim DuBois
Presenters included RAC Clark to Barry Adelman, The Swon Brothers presented the Industry awards, and Kelsea Ballerini presented the Studio Recording Awards.
In a surprise moment, unscripted from the show run, Luke Bryan presented Academy of Country Music CEO Bob Romeo with a recognition from the ACM Board of Directors and the ACM staff in appreciation for his vision which lead the Academy to put on the Guinness World Record-setting most-attended awards show in history last April, held at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Career Achievement Award – Alabama received 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. Past recipients of the Career Achievement Award include John Anderson, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Ronnie Milsap, Johnny Paycheck, Carl Perkins, Reba, and Kenny Rogers.
Crystal Milestone Award – Loretta Lynn received the Crystal Milestone Award which is given to an artist or industry leader to commemorate a specific, remarkable achievement. In 2014, Lynn celebrated her 50th anniversary in country music. Past recipients of the Crystal Milestone Awardinclude Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Merle Haggard, Gayle Holcomb, Jennifer Nettles,and Taylor Swift.
Gene Weed Special Achievement Award – Luke Bryan received the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, which acknowledges unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music. Past recipients of the Gene Weed Special Achievement Awardinclude Garth Brooks, George Burns, Jeff Foxworthy, Willie Nelson, Blake Shelton, George Strait, and Carrie Underwood.
Jim Reeves International Award – Eric Church received the Jim Reeves International Award, which is presented to an artist for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world. 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, Lady Antebellum, and Rascal Flatts among others.
Mae Boren Axton Award – Barry Adelman and Tim DuBois received 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. Past recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Award include John Dorris, Rod Essig, Gayle Holcomb, Jack Lameier, Marge Meoli, Paul Moore, Ray Pilzak, Gaynelle Pitts, Gene Weed, Tommy Wiggins and David Young.
Poet’s Award – Felice and Boudleaux Bryant (awarded posthumously)and Bob McDill received the Poet’s Award, which honors songwriters for outstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their careers in the field of country music. Previous recipients of the Poet’s Award include Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Guy Clark, Jack Clement, Hank Cochran, Dean Dillon, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Kris Kristofferson, Roger Miller, Buck Owens, Fred Rose, Don Schlitz, Cindy Walker and Hank Williams.