The Academy of Country Music, one of the few orgs that puts on two awards shows every year, has named the recipients of non-competitive honors that will be given out in August in a ceremony that traditionally serves as the adjunct to the ACM Awards in April. Honorees at the 14th annual “ACM Honors” ceremony at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium Aug. 25 will include current stars Luke Combs and Dan + Shay as well as lifetime recipients like Loretta Lynn and Rascal Flatts.
In honor of being “one of very few artists to claim a double-platinum album in 2021,” Combs will be receiving the ACM Gene Weed Milestone Award.
Dan + Shay will get the ACM Jim Reeves International Award, presented to artists who’ve had an extraordinary amount of global appeal in taking country to foreign markets.
The ACM Cliffie Stone Icon Award, a more overarching kind of lifetime achievement award, will be presented to two honorees — Rascal Flatts, the trio that recently had an amicable breakup (and was scheduled to do a farewell tour in 2020 before the pandemic intervened), and Joe Galante, the legendary Nashville exec who retired in 2010 as chairman of Sony Nashville but remains active in charity efforts.
The ACM Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award, an honor that generally recognizes philanthropy, will also have two recipients: Lady A, active through its own LadyAID charity as well as participating in the ACM’s own Lifting Lives Music Camp, and songwriter Ross Copperman, another camp participant.
Loretta Lynn, Gretchen Peters (the writer of “Independence Day,” among other hits) and the late Curly Putnam (co-writer of “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “Green Green Grass of Home”) are all slated to receive the ACM Poet’s Award in honor of their songwriting prowess.
Ken Burns “Country Music” series has been pegged to receive the Tex Ritter Film Award.
RAC Clark, who’s produced the ACMs’ annual telecast since 1999, is set for the ACM Mae Boren Axton Service Award for his years spent supporting the org and its goals.
Toby Keith will receive the ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award, presented to someone designated as following in the footsteps of Haggard as a performing storyteller.
In a repeating annual award, Hillary Lindsey has been named ACM Songwriter of the Year for a second consecutive year. Recent credits include Kelsea Ballerini’s “Hole in the Bottle” and Luke Bryan’s “Knockin’ Boots” as well as her Grammy-winning “I’ll Never Love Again” from the “A Star is Born” soundtrack.
The ACM also announced the winner of its 2020 studio recording awards, officially an off-camera part of the 56th annual ACM Awards but being presented during the “ACM Honors” ceremony:
BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tony Lucido
DRUMMER OF THE YEAR: Aaron Sterling
GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR: J.T. Corenflos (awarded posthumously)
PIANO/KEYBOARDS PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Dave Cohen
SPECIALTY INSTRUMENT(S) PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Ilya Toshinskiy
STEEL GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR *TIE IN CATEGORY*: Dan Dugmore & Mike Johnson
AUDIO ENGINEER OF THE YEAR: F. Reid Shippen
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR: Jay Joyce
Tickets for the show at the Ryman go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. CT this Friday via Ticketmaster and range from $85- $142, with $1000 VIP seats including a reception and other bonuses also on sale.
The ACM also announced that it’s moving the “Party With a Cause” benefit that traditionally dovetails with the main ACM Awards show in April — which, until the pandemic hit in 2020, was long held in Las Vegas — so that it coincides with “ACM Honors” in Nashville in August. Further details on the benefit event are yet to come.