Last Wednesday night on Aug 23, The Academy of Country Music (ACM) honored the best performers, musicians, songwriters, and music industry figures in ceremonies held at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.
Nashville was one of the winners and got the Tex Ritter Film Award for its behind-the-scenes portrayal of the behind-the-scenes side of country music.
The event also featured performances by George Strait, Alan Jackson, Chris Stapleton, Toby Keith, Little Big Town, Kelsea Ballerini, Brad Paisley, Maren Morris, Thomas Rhett, Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott, Chris Janson, and Nashville cast members, Clare Bowen and Charles Esten.
The first honor of the evening went to Reba McEntire who got the Mae Boren Axton Award. Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott opened the show with her rendition of “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” McEntire’s 1992 hit. She was also joined by Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild who did “Does He Love You,” that instantly pleased the crowd.
Toby Kieth received the Academy’s Poet’s Award. “He’s written or co-written about everything he’s recorded,” Webb asserted. “He’s a master songwriter. Then he performed “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” (1993) and rolled on through the raucous “Who’s Your Daddy” (2002). The audience roared its approval.
Kelsea Ballerini tapped the Gene Weed Milestone Award was presented by the three members of Lady Antebellum her successes both as a recording artist and songwriter for co-writing three consecutive No. 1 singles. Then later belted “Legends,” and then sang snippets of “Love Me Like You Mean It” (2014), “Dibs” (2015) and “Peter Pan” (2016).
The late songwriter Shel Silverstein was awarded the second Poet’s Award of the evening. Janson presented the Poet’s Award to Silverstein’s friend, record executive Susan Nadler, who said she first met him at her popcorn stand in Key West, Florida.
Dolly Parton received the Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award, and the crowd just went wild. Brad Paisley took the stage to honor her by singing “My Tennessee Mountain Home” (1973).
During a brief break in the awards presentations, Maren Morris paid tribute to the late Glen Campbell by singing “Galveston,” his Jimmy Webb-composed hit from 1969.
As the show approached the end of its fourth hour, Jason Aldean walked on to present George Strait the Cliffie Stone Icon Award.
Chris Stapleton took center stage to sing his version of Strait’s 1993 classic, “When Did You Stop Loving Me,” from his Pure Country movie soundtrack.
Stapleton then excited, and Alan Jackson came on, backed by a fiddler, to do “Marina del Rey” (1982), “The Fireman” (1985) and concluding with a single line from his 2000 duet with Strait, “Murder on Music Row.”
Here is the complete list of winners:
Reba McEntire: Mae Boren Axton Award
Toby Keith: Poet’s Award
Shel Silverstein: Poet’s Award
Kelsea Ballerini: Gene Weed Milestone Award
Nashville: Tex Ritter Film Award
Dolly Parton: Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award
Bob Kingsley: Mae Boren Axton Award
Lori McKenna: Songwriter of the Year
George Strait: Cliffie Stone Icon Award
Foxwoods Resort and Casino: Casino, Small Capacity
The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino: Casino, Medium Capacity
Tortuga Music Festival: Festival of the Year
Joe’s Live: Nightclub
Ryman Auditorium: Venue, Small Capacity
Red Rocks Amphitheatre: Venue, Medium Capacity
Bridgestone Arena: Venue, Large Capacity
Lenore Kinder: Don Romeo Talent Buyer
Ed Warm: Promoter
Studio Recording Awards
Glenn Worf: Bass
Miles McPherson: Drummer
Tom Bukovac and Danny Rader (tie): Guitar
Dave Cohen: Specialty Instruments
Dan Dugmore: Steel Guitar
Chuck Ainlay: Audio Engineer
Jay Joyce: Producer
Congratulations to all the winners of the Academy of Country Music! Job well-done everyone and long live Country Music and TV shows!