Artists, music industry elite and country music fans turned out for the Academy of Country Music’s 5th Annual ACM Honors, an evening dedicated to recognizing special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on September 19. Hosted by Joe Nichols, the event was held at the historic Ryman Auditorium which was awarded with the ACM for Venue of the Year.
The evening was a mix of live music, historical video retrospectives and current video tributes and interviews. Garth Brooks, the late Hank Cochran, John Dorris, Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers, Tom T. Hall, Reba, Taylor Swift and the film Country Strong were the Special Award recipients of the night. The winners of the Musician, Bandleader, Instrumentalist (MBI) categories and Industry Awards were also honored.
Several performances honored artists during the event. Rodney Atkins and Jerrod Niemann honored Garth by each performing a song of his each. Brett Eldredge performed his current single “It Ain’t Gotta Be Love” which is featured in Country Strong while The Isaacs honored Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers with a medley of their hits. Dean Dillon, Jamey Johnson and Joe Nichols paid tribute to Hank Cochran while Montgomery Gentry and The Whites honored John Dorris. Buddy Miller and Lee Ann Womack honored Tom T. Hall. Randy Houser, Thompson Square, Jack Ingram and Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers, with Romain Virgo, also performed.
Presenters included Ronnie Dunn, Ralph Emery, John Michael Montgomery, The Oak Ridge Boys and the Academy’s Bob Romeo. Robin Meade presented Industry awards while Laura Bell Bundy handed out MBI awards.
Reba received the Career Achievement Award which is presented to an artist who has advanced the popularity and acceptance of country music through their work in multiple areas.
Taylor Swift was presented the Jim Reeves International Award, given to an artist with outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world.
John Dorris was honored with the Mae Boren Axton Award, given to recognize dedication and service by an outstanding individual to the Academy of Country Music.
Garth Brooks and The Gatlin Brothers were honored with the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award which honors artists who are viewed as pioneers in the country music industry.
Tom T. Hall and Hank Cochran received the Poet’s Award that honors songwriters for outstanding musical and lyrical contribution throughout their careers in country music.
MBI (MUSICIANS, BAND, INSTRUMENTAL) AWARDS:
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR – Paul Worley
AUDIO ENGINEER OF THE YEAR – Chuck Ainlay
BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Glenn Worf
PERCUSSIONIST/DRUMMER OF THE YEAR – Eddie Bayers
GUITARIST OF THE YEAR – Tom Bukovac
FIDDLE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Aubrey Haynie
PIANO/KEYBOARD PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Gordon Mote
SPECIALTY INSTRUMENT(S) PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Bryan Sutton
STEEL GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Dan Dugmore
CASINO OF THE YEAR – Mohegan Sun Casino – Uncasville, CT
DON ROMEO TALENT BUYER OF THE YEAR – Steve “Bogie” Bogdanovich – Romeo Entertainment Group
NIGHTCLUB OF THE YEAR – Joe’s Bar – Chicago, IL
PROMOTER OF THE YEAR – Sally Williams – Ryman Auditorium
VENUE OF THE YEAR – Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, TN