Kelsea Ballerini, Willie Nelson, Reba, Dolly Parton, George Strait To Be Awarded At ACM Honors

The Academy of Country Music has revealed an all-star lineup of honorees as recipients for its Special Awards categories as part of the 11th annual ACM Honors, which will take place Wednesday, Aug. 23 at the Ryman Auditorium and will be broadcast at a later date on CBS. The organization also announced the renaming and/or consolidation for several categories.

George Strait will be honored with the Cliffie Stone Icon Award (previously The Cliffe Stone Pioneer Award), 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.

The ACM’s Humanitarian Award has been renamed and incorporated into the existing Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award, which will be presented to Dolly Parton. The award honors 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.

Kelsea Ballerini will be honored with the Gene Weed Milestone Award (a combination of the previous Crystal Milestone and Gene Weed Special Achievement Awards). 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.

Bob Kingsley and Reba McEntire have been chosen as recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Service Award (previously The Mae Boren Axton Award), to honor an outstanding country music artist, duo/group or industry leader in recognition of years of dedication and service to the Academy of Country Music.

Eric Church will be honored with the Merle Haggard Spirit Award, 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. Miranda Lambert was the award’s inaugural honoree last year.

Three artists and songwriters will share the Poet’s Award, including Toby Keith, Willie Nelson and Shel Silverstein (awarded posthumously). 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.

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

Additional off-camera categories to be honored include the yet-to-be-announced Industry Awards and Studio Recording Awards winners, as well as previously announced Songwriter of the Year winner Lori McKenna. McKenna is the first female to win the ACM Songwriter of the Year honor. Past recipients of the Songwriter of the Year Award include Ross Copperman, Dallas Davidson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Roger Miller.

The Academy of Country Music Special Awards are voted on by the ACM Board of Directors for specific achievements.



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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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