It won't be long now until the Country community gathers to hand out hardware in Las Vegas. Here are the latest updates:
Merle Haggard will be honored with the Crystal Milestone Award during the broadcast. Note that he was the first ever ACM Entertainer of the Year in 1970. Past recipients of the Crystal Milestone Award include Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Gayle Holcomb, Jennifer Nettles and Taylor Swift. The award is given to an artist or industry leader to commemorate a specific, remarkable achievement. In this case the milestone is 50 years in Country music.
These off-camera awards were announced today:
Career Achievement Award – Toby Keith and Ronnie Milsap, 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.
Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award – Bob Beckham, honoring individuals who are pioneers in the country music genre.
Gene Weed Special Achievement Award – Carrie Underwood to acknowledge unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music.
Jim Reeves International Award – Steve Buchanan and Rascal Flatts, presented to an artist for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world.
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.
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
- 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
- SPECIALTY INSTRUMENT(S) PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Bryan Sutton
- STEEL GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Paul Franklin
- AUDIO ENGINEER OF THE YEAR: Justin Niebank
- PRODUCER OF THE YEAR: Dann Huff