The Academy of Country Music® announced today the winners of the Special Awards for the 52nd ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS™. Honorees will be celebrated during the 11th ANNUAL ACM HONORS™, an evening dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards. The event will take place Wednesday, August 23, 2017 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN and will be broadcast at a later date on the CBS Television Network.
Additional off-camera categories to be feted at ACM HONORS include to-be-announced Industry Awards and Studio Recording Awards, along with previously announced Songwriter of the Year Award winner, Lori McKenna. McKenna is the first female to win in the ACM Songwriter of the Year category.
The Academy of Country Music Special Awards are voted on by the ACM Board of Directors for specific achievements. Please note that titles of select Special Awards have been updated, as noted within each category listed below. Recipients of Special Awards for the 11th Annual ACM HONORS include:
CLIFFIE STONE ICON AWARD – George Strait
The Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award has been renamed the Cliffie Stone Icon Award.
Past recipients of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award include Alabama, Bob Beckham, Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Crystal Gayle, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, The Judds, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Jerry Reed, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, Billy Sherrill, Ricky Skaggs, The Statler Brothers, Mel Tillis, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Keith Whitley, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Bob Wills and Dwight Yoakam, among others.
GARY HABER LIFTING LIVES AWARD – Dolly Parton
The Humanitarian Award has been renamed/incorporated into the existing Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award.
Past recipients of the Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award and Humanitarian Award include Brooks & Dunn, Vince Gill, Lonestar, Martina McBride, Neal McCoy, Reba McEntire, Montgomery Gentry, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood.
GENE WEED MILESTONE AWARD – Kelsea Ballerini
The Crystal Milestone Award and Gene Weed Special Achievement Awards have been combined and renamed the Gene Weed Milestone Award.
Past recipients of the Crystal Milestone Award and the Gene Weed Milestone Award include Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, George Burns, Kenny Chesney, Jeff Foxworthy, Merle Haggard, Gayle Holcomb, Loretta Lynn, Little Big Town, Willie Nelson, Jennifer Nettles, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood.
MAE BOREN AXTON SERVICE AWARD – Bob Kingsley and Reba McEntire
The Mae Boren Axton Award has been renamed the Mae Boren Axton Service Award.
Past recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Award include Barry Adelman, John Dorris, Tim DuBois, Rod Essig, Gayle Holcomb, Jack Lameier, Marge Meoli, Paul Moore, Ray Pilzak, Gaynelle Pitts, Keith Urban, Gene Weed, Tommy Wiggins and David Young.
MERLE HAGGARD SPIRIT AWARD – Eric Church
Past recipients of the Merle Haggard Spirit Award include Miranda Lambert.
POET’S AWARD – Toby Keith, Willie Nelson and Shel Silverstein (awarded posthumously) have been chosen to receive the Poet’s Award. 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.
Previous recipients of the Poet’s Award include Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, Guy Clark, Jack Clement, Hank Cochran, Dean Dillon, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Kris Kristofferson, Bob McDill, Roger Miller, Buck Owens, Eddie Rabbitt (awarded posthumously), Fred Rose, Don Schlitz, Cindy Walker, Jimmy Webb and Hank Williams.
TEX RITTER FILM AWARD – “Nashville”
Past recipients of the Tex Ritter Film Award include Beer For My Horses, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Country Strong, Crazy Heart, Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, O Brother, Where Art Thou, Sweet Dreams and Walk the Line, among others.
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD – Previously announced winner Lori McKenna – the first female to win this category – has been chosen as the recipient of the Songwriter of the Year Award. 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.
Past recipients of the Songwriter of the Year Award include Ross Copperman, Dallas Davidson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Roger Miller.
See Red Carpet interviews from the 2016 ACM Honors Show: