The Academy of Country Music has revealed the recipients of the Special Awards for the 56th ACM Awards. The honorees will be celebrated during the 14th Annual ACM Honors on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021 at the Ryman Auditorium.
Off-camera categories to be feted at ACM Honors include Studio Recording Award winners, the Songwriter of the Year Award, and more. Additionally, SRA (Studio Recording Awards) and Industry Award winners from 2020’s 55th ACM Awards will also be celebrated during this year’s ACM Honors. The eligibility period for this year’s ACM Honors was Jan. 1, 2020 – Dec. 31, 2020 and the eligibility period for 55th ACM Awards was Jan. 1, 2019 – Dec. 31, 2019.
Joe Galante and Rascal Flatts have been chosen to receive the ACM Cliffie Stone Icon Award this year. 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. Lady A and Ross Copperman have been chosen to receive the Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award, which 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.
Luke Combs will be honored with the ACM 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. Dan + Shay has been chosen to receive the ACM 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.
RAC Clark has been chosen as the recipient of the ACM Mae Boren Axton Service Award, which honors an outstanding country music artist, duo/group, or industry leader in recognition of years of dedication and service to the Academy of Country Music. Toby Keith has been chosen for the ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award, which is 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.
Loretta Lynn, Gretchen Peters, and the late Curly Putman (posthumously) have been chosen as recipients of the ACM Poet’s Award. This award goes 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.
Ken Burns’ Country Music documentary has been chosen to receive the ACM 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.
Hillary Lindsey has been chosen as the recipient of the ACM Songwriter of the Year for the second year. 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.
56th ACM Awards (2020 Studio Recording Award Winners):
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
The ACM will also be celebrating the 55th ACM Awards Industry and Studio Recording Award winners along with newly announced winners of the Studio Recording Awards for the 56th ACM Awards. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Industry Awards were not given out during this cycle.
Previously Announced Winners (Industry Awards Not Given In 2020 Due To Pandemic):
55th ACM Awards (2019 Industry Award Winners):
Casino Of The Year – Theater: The Joint: Tulsa – Tulsa, OK
Casino Of The Year – Arena: MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas, NV
Fair/Rodeo Of The Year: Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo – Houston, TX
Festival Of The Year: Tortuga Music Festival – Fort Lauderdale, FL
Club Of The Year: Joe’s Live – Rosemont, IL
Theater Of The Year: The Beacon Theatre – New York, NY
Outdoor Venue Of The Year: Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO
Arena Of The Year: Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Don Romeo Talent Buyer Of The Year: Gil Cunningham – Neste Live!
Promoter Of The Year: Brian O’Connell – Live Nation
55th ACM Awards (2019 Studio Recording Award Winners):
Bass Player Of The Year: Jimmie Lee Sloas
Drummer Of The Year: Miles McPherson
Guitar Player Of The Year: Rob McNelley
Piano/Keyboards Player Of The Year: Gordon Mote
Specialty Instrument(S) Player Of The Year: Jenee Fleenor
Steel Guitar Player Of The Year: Paul Franklin
Audio Engineer Of The Year: Justin Niebank
Producer Of The Year: Busbee (Awarded Posthumously)