2021 ACM Awards: Maren Morris is the top winner

April 18, 2021

Maren Morris at the 56th Annual ACM Awards in Nashville (Photo by Brent Harrington/CBS)

The following is a press release from the Academy of Country Music:

Winners have been announced for the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards. Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton hosted the show featuring three iconic Country Music venues: the Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe, as well as performances at legendary locations across the city including the Station Inn, Bridge Building and on Broadway. The 56th ACM Awards was broadcast live on CBS and is available on demand on Paramount+.

The Academy’s highest honor, Entertainer of the Year, was awarded to Luke Bryan making this his tenth win overall and third for Entertainer of the Year. This year’s 56th ACM Awards featured an all-star lineup of collaborations and memorable performances featuring 25 performances, 31 artists, and 31 hit songs. 

Show performance highlights included: 
●      Kicking off the show, Miranda Lambert and Elle King rolled up to the Grand Ole Opry House in style, wearing fringe-laced black leather motorcycle jackets and taking over the stage with the world television premiere of their party anthem, “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home).”

●      Chris Young and Kane Brown rocked the Ryman stage with their hometown anthem “Famous Friends.” 

●      Thomas Rhett performed “Country Again” and followed up with the premiere of “What’s Your Country Song.”

●      Chris Stapleton performed “Maggie’s Song” and was joined on The Bluebird Cafe stage by Miranda Lambert.

●      Married artists, Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd sang, “Chasing After You,” for their first duet together and Hurd’s television award show performance debut.

●      Lady A rocked Nashville’s Bridge Building with their song “Like a Lady,” and Ashley McBryde performed “Martha Divine.

●      Jimmie Allen was surprised by Brad Paisley for a duet of “Freedom Was a Highway,” while New Female Artist of the Year Gabby Barrett performed her single “The Good Ones” from the intimate Bluebird Cafe.

●      Dierks Bentley and duo The War and Treaty performed U2’s poignant classic “Pride (In The Name of Love)” at The Station Inn.

●      Introduced by the legendary Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood performed a medley from her new album of gospel hymns, “My Savior,” starting with “Amazing Grace” and featuring a duet with CeCe Winans to sing “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and “The Old Rugged Cross.” To finish the set, they were joined by the Belmont University Choir for “How Great Thou Art.”

●      Eric Church gave an energetic performance of his song “Bunch Of Nothing” at the Ryman. 

●      Dan + Shay debuted their latest release “Glad You Exist” from the Bluebird Cafe with a smooth acoustic ballad performance.

●      Backed by a socially-distanced string orchestra, Luke Combs gave a passionate performance of “Forever After All” from the Grand Ole Opry House.

●      Most nominated and awarded ACM Artist, Miranda Lambert also performed and played along with her guitar to “In His Arms” with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall.

●      Kenny Chesney returned to the ACM Awards stage for the world television premiere of “Knowing You.”

●      The Academy also paid tribute to the lives lost in the Country community during the past year.

●      Alan Jackson performed two back-to-back hits, a special mashup of “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” and “You’ll Always Be My Baby.”

●      Blake Shelton celebrated the 20th anniversary of his first single “Austin,” and followed up with a performance of his latest single “Minimum Wage.”

●      Following their double win with Single of the Year Award and Music Event of the Year, Carly Pearce and Lee Brice performed their collaborated song “I Hope You’re Happy Now.”

●      56th ACM Awards host, Mickey Guyton gave a soulful performance of “Hold On” from the Grand Ole Opry House.

●      Following his fellow host, 56th ACM Awards host, Keith Urban lit up the Grand Ole Opry House stage with a high energy set “Tumbleweed.” 

●      Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney gave a touching performance of “half of my hometown” to honor their shared hometown of Knoxville, TN.

●      Little Big Town gave a dynamic, sleek drumline performance on Broadway of “Wine, Beer, Whiskey.”

●      After performing, “I’m Not For Everyone,” at the Ryman, Brothers Osborne closed out the show with a heart thumping performance of “Dead Man’s Curve.”

Winner Highlights of the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards:

●      Maren Morris won Female Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for “The Bones.” Morris now has six ACM Award career wins, making this her second Female Artist of the Year  win and a first category win for Song of the Year, awarding her both artist and songwriter credits. Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz each received songwriter credits.

●      Thomas Rhett won Male Artist of the Year, marking his third win, eighth win overall.

●      Chris Stapleton won Album of the Year, with an additional win for producer for “Starting Over.” Stapleton has had twelve ACM wins overall.

●      Old Dominion won Group of the Year, making this their fourth consecutive win.

●      Dan + Shay won Duo of the Year, making this their third consecutive win, fifth win overall. 

●      Previously announced, Jimmie Allen won New Male Artist of the Year marking his first ACM Award win and the first Black artist to win within the category. 

●      Gabby Barrett won New Female Artist of the Year. This marks Barrett’s first ACM Award win. 

●      Carly Pearce and Lee Brice won Single of the Year for “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” already winning Music Event of the Year for their collaboration this past week. This marks Pearce’s first time wins in two separate categories, and Brice’s third win for Single of the Year making this his seventh overall ACM Award win. 

●      Kane Brown won his first ACM Award in Video of the Year category for “Worldwide Beautiful.” Brown is the first Black solo artist to win Video of the Year. 

●      The late producer busbee was awarded posthumously with Single of the Year and Music Event of the Year.

Tonight’s presenters included Ingrid Andress, Blanco Brown, Amy Grant, Leslie Jordan, Martina McBride, Dolly Parton, Darius Rucker and Clay Walker.

During the live telecast, ACM Lifting Lives® the charitable arm of the Academy of Country Music® featured special bumpers which included the National Museum of African American Music during Black History Month to learn more about Country Music’s roots, check out the moment here. Jimmie Allen, Chrissy Metz, Kip Moore and Tenille Townes sat down with Ashley Eicher to discuss how the ACM Lifting Lives COVID-19 Response Fund has and continues to support music industry professionals who have been financially impacted by the pandemic, watch here. ACM, Ad Council and COVID Collaborative along with Eric Church, Ashley McBryde, Darius Rucker were featured in a COVID-19 vaccine PSA as part of the national campaign, “It’s Up to You,” to emphasize the important role education about COVID-19 vaccinations plays in returning to live music here. Additionally, Dolly Parton was also featured in a vaccine PSA hereOfficial 56th ACM Awards Playlist: Stream for a Cause initiative to benefit the ACM Lifting Lives COVID-19 Response Fund is available on Amazon Music, Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Tidal and YouTube Music.

Studio Recording Awards and Songwriter of the Year will be announced at this year’s ACM Honors, more information to be announced in coming weeks.  

For a complete list of past and present wins and nominations, please visit ACMcountry.com and search the ACM Awards Database located on the Homepage. To watch performances, visit ACMcountry.com. Official 56th ACM Awards sponsors include 1000 Stories® Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wine, Ford, Security Benefit and T-Mobile. Getty Images is the official photographer for the Academy of Country Music Awards and photos can be accessed at GettyImages.com.

The health and safety of the artists, fans, industry, staff and partners involved in the ACM Awards is the number one priority. All guidelines set forth by national, state and local health officials will be closely followed and implemented during the production along with additional safety measures to be instated by Dick Clark Productions and the Academy of Country Music.

For more information, visit ACMcountry.com. You can also like Academy of Country Music on Facebook, follow on Twitter at @ACMawards, follow on Instagram at @ACMawards and sign up for the free ACM A-List for more immediate updates.

About the Academy of Country Music Awards

The 56th Academy of Country Music Awards is dedicated to honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in the Country Music industry. The show was produced for television by Dick Clark Productions was broadcast live on Sunday, April 18, 2021 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network, and was available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. R.A. Clark, Barry Adelman and Linda Gierahn are executive producers. Damon Whiteside is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.

Following is the full list of winners in the 12 categories voted on by Academy members:



Luke Bryan*
Eric Church
Luke Combs
Thomas Rhett
Chris Stapleton

Kelsea Ballerini
Miranda Lambert
Ashley McBryde
Maren Morris*
Carly Pearce

Dierks Bentley
Eric Church
Luke Combs
Thomas Rhett*
Chris Stapleton

Brooks & Dunn
Brothers Osborne
Dan + Shay*
Florida Georgia Line
Maddie & Tae

Lady A
Little Big Town
Old Dominion*
The Cadillac Three
The Highwomen

Ingrid Andress
Tenille Arts
Gabby Barrett*
Mickey Guyton
Caylee Hammack

Jimmie Allen*
Travis Denning
Cody Johnson
Parker McCollum

ALBUM OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]

Born Here Live Here Die Here – Luke Bryan
Producers: Jeff Stevens, Jody Stevens
Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville

Mixtape Vol. 1 – Kane Brown
Producers: Andrew Goldstein, Charlie Handsome, Dann Huff, Lindsay Rimes
Record Label: RCA Nashville

Never Will – Ashley McBryde
Producer: Jay Joyce
Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

Skeletons – Brothers Osborne
Producer: Jay Joyce
Record Label: EMI Records Nashville

Starting Over – Chris Stapleton*
Producers: Chris Stapleton, Dave Cobb
Record Label: Mercury Nashville

SINGLE OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]

Bluebird – Miranda Lambert
Producer: Jay Joyce
Record Label: Vanner Records/RCA Records Nashville

I Hope – Gabby Barrett
Producers: Ross Copperman, Zach Kale
Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

I Hope You’re Happy Now – Carly Pearce & Lee Brice*
Producers: busbee
Record Label: Big Machine Records / Curb Records

More Hearts Than Mine – Ingrid Andress
Producers: Ingrid Andress, Sam Ellis
Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

The Bones – Maren Morris
Producer: Greg Kurstin
Record Label: Columbia Nashville

SONG OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Songwriter(s)/Publisher(s)/Artist(s)]

Bluebird – Miranda Lambert
Songwriter(s): Luke Dick, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby
Publishers: Emileson Songs; Little Louder Songs; Pink Dog Publishing; Songs of Universal, INC; Sony ATV Tree Publishing; Wrucke for You Publishing

One Night Standards – Ashley McBryde
Songwriter(s): Ashley McBryde, Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally
Publishers: Canned Biscuit Songs; Smackworks Music; Smack Blue, LLC; Smackstreet Music; Tempo Investments; Warner Geo Met Ric Music; Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp

Some People Do – Old Dominion
Songwriter(s): Jesse Frasure, Matt Ramsey, Thomas Rhett, Shane McAnally
Publishers: Carrot Seed Songs; EMI Blackwood Music INC; Smackville Music; Songs of ROC Nation; Teremitry Rhythm House Music; Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp; Smack Hits; Tempo Investments; Warner Gro Met Ric Music

Starting Over – Chris Stapleton
Songwriter(s): Chris Stapleton, Mike Henderson
Publishers: I Wrote These Songs; Straight Six Music; WC Music Corp

The Bones – Maren Morris*
Songwriter(s): Jimmy Robbins, Maren Morris, Laura Veltz
Publishers: Big Machine Music, LLC; Extraordinary Alien Publishing; International Dog Music; Oh Denise Publishing; Round Hill Songs; Warner-Tamerlane
Publishing Corp.

VIDEO OF THE YEAR [Awarded to Producer(s)/Director(s)/Artist(s)]

Better Than We Found It – Maren Morris
Director: Gabrielle Woodland
Producers: Sarah Kunin, Jennifer Pepke

Bluebird – Miranda Lambert
Director: Trey Fanjoy
Producer: Heather Levenstone

Gone – Dierks Bentley
Directors: Wes Edwards, Ed Pryor, Travis Nicholson, Running Bear and Sam Siske, with animation by Skylar Wilson
Producer: David Garcia

Hallelujah – Carrie Underwood and John Legend
Director: Randee St. Nicholas
Producer: Greg Wells

Worldwide Beautiful – Kane Brown*
Director: Alex Alvga
Producer: Christen Pinkston

MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR (Tie Within Category Increased Nominees) [Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)]

Be A Light – Thomas Rhett featuring Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin, Keith Urban
Producer: Dann Huff
Record Label: The Valory Music Co.

Does To Me – Luke Combs featuring Eric Church
Producer: Scott Moffatt
Record Label: River House Artists/Columbia Nashville

I Hope You’re Happy Now – Carly Pearce & Lee Brice*
Producer: busbee
Record Label: Big Machine Records / Curb Records

Nobody But You – Blake Shelton featuring Gwen Stefani
Producer: Scott Hendricks
Record Label: Warner Music Nashville

One Beer – HARDY featuring Lauren Alaina & Devin Dawson
Producers: Derek Wells, Joey Moi
Record Label: Big Loud Records

One Too Many – Keith Urban, P!nk
Producers: Cutfather, Dan McCarroll, Keith Urban, PhD
Record Label: Capitol Records Nashville

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