2021 ACM Awards: performers announced

April 5, 2021

The following is a press release from the Academy of Country Music, CBS and Dick Clark Productions:

CBS, The Academy of Country Music and Dick Clark Productions announced today the full superstar performance lineup for the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards, airing live on Sunday, April 18 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network and streaming live and on demand on Paramount+.

The artists include Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Lee Brice, Brothers Osborne, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Mickey Guyton, Ryan Hurd, Jack Ingram, Alan Jackson, Elle King, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Ashley McBryde, Maren Morris, Carly Pearce, Jon Randall, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, The War and Treaty, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Cece Winans and Chris Young.

Over 30 performances from more than 25 artists will take place from three iconic Country Music venues: the Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe. Additional details on the exciting performances including unprecedented collaborations and surprising moments will be announced in the coming weeks.

Hosted by 15-time ACM Award winner Keith Urban and New Female Artist of the Year nominee Mickey Guyton, the 56th ACM Awards honor and showcase the biggest names and emerging talent in Country Music. Official 56th ACM Awards sponsors include 1000 Stories Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wine, Ford, Security Benefit and T-Mobile.

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(TM)

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 is produced for television by Dick Clark Productions. R.A. Clark, Barry Adelman and Linda Gierahn are executive producers. Damon Whiteside is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.

April 13, 2021 UPDATE:

CBS, The Academy of Country Music and Dick Clark Productions announced today the exciting collaborations and must-see moments that will take center stage at the 56th Academy of Country Music Awards. Hosted by Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton, the 56th ACM Awards will air live on Sunday, April 18 (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

The 56th ACM Awards will feature an unprecedented number of world television premiere performances, including Elle King and Miranda Lambert opening the show with “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)”; Dierks Bentley performing U2’s poignant classic “Pride (In The Name of Love)” with husband and wife duo The War and Treaty; Brothers Osborne (“I’m Not For Everyone”); Kenny Chesney (“Knowing You”); Eric Church (“Bunch Of Nothing”); Luke Combs (“Forever After All”); Dan + Shay (“Glad You Exist”); Mickey Guyton (“Hold On”); Alan Jackson with “You’ll Always Be My Baby” and a special mashup for “Drive (For Daddy Gene)”; Miranda Lambert with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall (“In His Arms”); Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd (“Chasing After You”); Thomas Rhett premiering “What’s Your Country Song” while also performing “Country Again”; Blake Shelton celebrating the 20th Anniversary of his first hit single “Austin” as well as “Minimum Wage”; Chris Stapleton (“Maggie’s Song”); and Chris Young and Kane Brown (“Famous Friends”).

Additional powerful collaborations include Carly Pearce and Lee Brice duetting on “I Hope You’re Happy Now”; Carrie Underwood performing a medley from her new album of gospel hymns, My Savior, which will also feature a duet with CeCe Winans; and Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney performing together for “half of my hometown.”

Also, it was announced today that Lady A will join the lineup with recently revealed New Male Artist of the Year Jimmie Allen and New Female Artist of the Year Gabby Barrett, who will all perform on this year’s show. Previously announced performers include Little Big Town, Ashley McBryde and Keith Urban. Additional details on these performances, this year’s presenters and more will be announced in the coming days.

The unforgettable evening showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in Country Music will take place from three iconic Country Music venues: the Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe and also feature performances at legendary locations across the city including the Station Inn, Bridge Building and on Broadway.

2018 ACM Honors: Alan Jackson, Dierks Bentley, Matraca Berg, Darius Rucker among prize winners

August 22, 2018

Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM)

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

The Academy of Country Music® presented the 12th Annual ACM Honors™, an evening dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards™.

The event, presented in partnership with City National Bank, featured a star-studded lineup of live performances and award presentations celebrating Special Awards recipients Dierks Bentley (ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award), Matraca Berg (ACM Poet’s Award), Sam Hunt (ACM Gene Weed Milestone Award), Alan Jackson (ACM Cliffie Stone Icon Award), Darius Rucker (ACM Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award), Mickey & Chris Christensen and Eddie Miller (ACM Mae Boren Axton Service Award, all awarded posthumously), Rob Potts (ACM Jim Reeves International Award, awarded posthumously) and Norro Wilson (ACM Poet’s Award, awarded posthumously)The evening also honored winners of the Industry and Studio Recording Awards, along with Songwriter of the Year Award winner, Rhett Akins.

Highlights from the event include:

  • Hosts Lauren Alaina and Jon Pardi opened the evening with a performance of Alan Jackson’s “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow.”
  • Joe Diffie performed “The Grand Tour” in tribute to the late Norro Wilson. Wilson’s children Christy Wilson Myers and David Wilson accepted the award on their father’s behalf.
  • Kassi Ashton performed “Body Like a Backroad” in tribute to Sam Hunt before Bobby Bones presented Hunt with his award.
  • CAM performed Buck Owens’ “Cryin’ Time” in tribute to Mickey & Chris Christensen and Eddie Miller. Mickey and Chris’ son Chris Christensenalong with Eddie Miller’s daughters, Bobbie HedrickGarneta Johnston and Pam Miller, accepted the award on behalf of their parents.
  • Morgan Evans performed his song, “Things That We Drink To” in tribute to Rob Potts. Potts’ son Jeremy Dylan accepted the award, presented by Storme Warren, on his behalf.
  • Old Crow Medicine Show performed “Wagon Wheel” in tribute to Darius Rucker, before Kip Moore presented Rucker with his award.
  • Dallas Davidson, Ben Hayslip and Dustin Lynch performed a medley of “Huntin’ Fishin’ and Lovin’ Everyday,” “Small Town Boy,” and “I Lived It” in tribute to Rhett Akins before the presentation of his award.
  • Jon Pardi performed “I Hold On” in tribute to Dierks Bentley, who received his award from Ricky Skaggs.
  • Lauren Alaina, Deana Carter and Ashley McBryde performed a medley of “You & Tequila,” “Wrong Side of Memphis” and “Strawberry Wine” before presenting Matraca Berg with her award.
  • Chris Stapleton ended the night with a performance of “Here in the Real World” in tribute to Alan Jackson before co-hosts Pardi and Alainapresented Jackson’s oldest daughter, Mattie Jackson Selecman with his award. Selecman accepted the award on behalf of Jackson who is still recovering from a respiratory infection.  She shared how honored her father is to receive this award that was also bestowed upon so many of his musical heroes.
  • Jordan Davis presented the ACM Industry Awards.
  • Lindsay Ell presented the ACM Studio Recording Awards.

Below is a full list of special award recipients:

SPECIAL AWARDS

ACM Cliffie Stone ICON Award – Alan Jackson will receive the Cliffie Stone Icon Award. 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.

Alan Jackson has kept it country for his entire career. He earned his first Top 10 hit with the poignant single “Here in the Real World,” which helped him win the 1990 ACM Top Male Vocalist trophy. That initial victory led to Single of the Year awards for “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” (1991), “Chattahoochee” (1993), “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” (2001) and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” (2003). “Where Were You…” was also an ACM Song of the Year, earning Jackson trophies as both the composer and recording artist. Don’t Rock the JukeboxA Lot About Livin’ (And a Little ‘Bout Love) and Drive also earned ACM Album of the Year honors. A native of Newnan, Georgia, Jackson joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1991 and has gone on to sell nearly 60 million records. He accepted the ACM Male Vocalist award for 1994, 1995 and 2001. His 35 enduring No. 1 hits include such titles as “Where I Come From,” “Remember When” and “Gone Country.” Additional ACM honors include Vocal Event trophies for “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” with Jimmy Buffett and “As She’s Walking Away” with Zac Brown Band…and Video of the Year honors for “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” and as part of “Forever Country” in 2016. He was a recipient of the Academy’s 40th Anniversary Milestone Award in 2005 and of the Jim Reeves International Award in 2011. Over the years, his music and performing have earned him over 60 ACM Award nominations. One of country music’s finest songwriters, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017 and will become a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame this summer.

Past recipients of the ACM Cliffie Icon Award include AlabamaBob Beckham, Garth BrooksGlen Campbell, Johnny CashCharlie DanielsLarry Gatlin & The Gatlin BrothersCrystal Gayle, Merle Haggard, Emmylou HarrisGeorge Jones, The Judds,  Brenda LeeLoretta LynnWillie NelsonThe Oak Ridge BoysDolly PartonCharley PrideJerry ReedTex RitterMarty RobbinsKenny RogersBilly SherrillRicky SkaggsThe Statler Brothers, George Strait, Mel TillisRandy TravisTanya Tucker, Conway TwittyPorter WagonerKeith Whitley, Hank WilliamsHank Williams Jr.Bob Wills and Dwight Yoakam, among others.

 

ACM GARY HABER LIFTING LIVES AWARD –  Darius Rucker has been chosen to receive the Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award. This award 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.

From his days as a multi-platinum pop star to a decade as a hit-making, Grammy-winning country artist, Darius Rucker has given his time and talent to support many charitable causes, most especially those that benefit children and education. To date, he has raised more than $1 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital through the “Darius & Friends” all-star concerts and tournaments – blending his two loves of music and golf. In his hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, Rucker serves on the board of the Charleston Children’s Hospital and, for 15 years running, has staged the “Homegrown Concert” to raise money to buy school supplies and other necessities for local public-school children. Long a big supporter of ACM Lifting Lives, Rucker has given his time to ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp, the Lifting Lives Golf Classic and a recent Lifting Lives Omaze campaign — where he personally hosted the winners backstage at the 53rd ACM Awards. In addition, the affable star has used his talent to raise money and awareness for Pattinson’s Academy, PGA Tour Charities, Nashville’s Oasis Center, Musicians on Call, Military Warrior Support Foundation and the Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation, just to name a few.

Past recipients of the ACM Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award include Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood.

 

ACM GENE WEED MILESTONE AWARD – Sam Hunt has been chosen as the recipient of the 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.

Sam Hunt’s single “Body Like a Back Road” was a streaming juggernaut in 2017, breaking and re-setting the genre’s one-week streaming record 14 times during the year. The song set the one-year country streaming mark only six weeks after release (March 16) and was the fastest country song to earn 100m streams in history (12 weeks). Its streaming success is in addition to being the year’s most downloaded country song (iTunes) and the most-heard song on country radio (Country Aircheck/Mediabase and Billboard), while spending a record 34 weeks atop the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.

Past recipients of the Gene Weed Milestone Award include Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, 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.

 

ACM Mae Boren Axton SERVICE Award – Mickey Christensen, Chris Christensen and Eddie Miller (all awarded posthumously) have been chosen as the recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Service Award. This award is presented to an outstanding country music artist, duo/group or industry leader in recognition of years of dedication and service to the Academy of Country Music.

Nightclub owners Mickey and Chris Christensen and performing songwriter Eddie Miller, along with Country & Western performer Tommy Wiggins, co-founded the organization that became known as the Academy of Country Music. In 1964 they created the Country and Western Music Academy to promote West Coast country artists. Chris Christensen and his wife Mickey moved from Iowa to Long Beach, California, in 1941. In time, Chris acquired a stake in a jukebox company while Mickey owned and operated venues like Pike’s Canteen, C&M Corral and the Red Barrel Niteclub. Two of the first musicians they hired were Buck and Bonnie Owens. West Coast entertainers started dropping by the Red Barrel, including Eddie Miller and Tommy Wiggins. A conversation led to an idea to emulate the Oscars and create an awards show. The earliest banquets took place at the Red Barrel before the first official ceremony was held at The Hollywood Palladium on February 28, 1966. An Oklahoma native and former railroad worker, Miller wrote country hits like “Release Me,” (Ray Price, Kitty Wells), “I Love You Honey” (Patsy Cline), “There She Goes” (Carl Smith) and “Thanks a Lot” (Ernest Tubb). He was a co-founder of the Nashville Songwriters Association, which developed into NSAI. [Surviving ACM founder Tommy Wiggins received this award at the 2013 ACM Honors.]

Past recipients of the ACM Mae Boren Axton Award include Barry Adelman, John DorrisTim DuBois, Rod EssigGayle HolcombBob Kingsley, Jack LameierReba McEntire, Marge MeoliPaul MooreRay PilzakGaynelle PittsKeith Urban, Gene WeedTommy Wiggins and David Young.

 

ACM JIM REEVES INTERNATIONAL AWARD – Rob Potts (awarded posthumously) has been chosen to receive the 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.

Rob Potts cultivated a country music connection between Australia and the United States, paving the way for American superstars to perform Down Under for thousands of new fans. Potts and his business partner Michael Chugg established the brand of CMC Rocks leading to festivals like CMC Rocks the Snowy, CMC Rocks the Hunter and CMC Rocks QLD. The latter became the first-ever sold-out country music festival in Australia, with 18,000 tickets sold for its 2018 lineup featuring Luke Bryan. Potts had worked as a booking agent for artists like Keith Urban, Tommy Emmanuel and Lee Kernaghan. He brought country talent like Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Dixie Chicks, Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift and Zac Brown Band to the Australian market. In addition, Potts managed Warner Music Nashville artist Morgan Evans. In 2016, Potts launched FanGate Music, a joint label with Sony Music Entertainment Australia, in order to seek out and develop international country artists while still paying attention to emerging local talent. A partnership with Nashville-based Dreamlined Entertainment was announced in October 2017, less than two weeks before Potts died following a motorcycle accident in Australia. He was 65.

Past recipients of the Jim Reeves International Award include Joe Allison, Bill Boyd, Garth Brooks, Steve Buchanan, Joe Cates, Eric Church, Dick Clark, Roy Clark, Al Gallico, Merv Griffin, Jim Halsey, Alan Jackson, Ken Kragen, Lady Antebellum, Sam Louvello, Thurston Moore, Charlie Nagatani, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts, Roy Rogers, Bob Saporiti, Louise Scruggs, Dinah Shore, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Jeff Walker, Jo Walker-Meador and Bill Ward.

 

ACM MERLE HAGGARD SPIRIT AWARD – Dierks Bentley has been chosen to receive the Merle Haggard Spirit Award. This award 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.

Across eight albums and more than 20 Top 10 singles, Dierks Bentley has proven to be a songwriter, vocalist, musician and recording artist intent on carving his own path. Balancing a hit-making sensibility with an unyielding sense of self, he’s offered wide-ranging artistry since his 2003 debut. From smoldering (“Come A Little Closer,” “Black”) and thoughtful (“Home,” “Different For Girls,” “Woman, Amen”) to wandering (“Free And Easy,” “Every Mile A Memory”) and pure fun (“Sideways,” “5-1-5-0”), Bentley has never been afraid to let the music lead. This trait was most evident on his 2010 bluegrass album Up On The Ridge, a risky career move that paid dividends in re-centering his creativity and, ultimately, leading to even greater success. The Academy’s 2003 Top New Artist earned Video of the Year in 2014 (“Drunk On A Plane”) and hosted the ACM Awards show in 2016 and 2017. An Arizona native, Bentley broke with Nashville convention, heading west to write and record his upcoming album The Mountain in Colorado.

Past recipients of the ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award include Eric Church and Miranda Lambert.

 

ACM Poet’s Award – Matraca Berg and Norro Wilson (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.

Matraca Berg has written major country hits across four consecutive decades while maintaining the reputation as one of Nashville’s most eloquent songwriters. A Nashville native, Berg and co-writer Bobby Braddock scored a No. 1 hit in 1983 with “Faking Love” by T.G. Sheppard and Karen Brooks. Berg was just 18 at the time. Four years later, Reba McEntire recorded “The Last One to Know” as the title track to her 1987 album; again, Berg notched a No. 1 single. Throughout the 1990s, Berg secured plentiful cuts from country music’s top female artists. Trisha Yearwood solidified her stardom with “Wrong Side of Memphis,” “XXX’s and OOO’s (An American Girl),” and “Everybody Knows,” while Patty Loveless boosted her career with “I’m That Kind of Girl” and “You Can Feel Bad.” Berg secured an ACM Song of the Year nomination for Deana Carter’s exquisite “Strawberry Wine.” Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter released their rendition of “You and Tequila” in 2011, leading to another ACM Song of the Year nod. She has written singles for Suzy Bogguss, Dixie Chicks, Sara Evans, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Linda Ronstadt, Gretchen Wilson and more. Berg was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008.

Norro Wilson worked in nearly every facet of the Nashville music industry, earning perhaps his greatest acclaim by composing classics for George Jones, Charlie Rich and Tammy Wynette. Wilson grew up in Kentucky and moved to Nashville as a teenager after joining a gospel group. He spent much of the next decade pursuing a performing career until a song he co-wrote, “Baby, Baby (I Know You’re a Lady),” hit No. 1 for David Houston in 1970. Wilson’s songwriting catalog grew to include Jones signatures like “A Picture of Me (Without You),” “The Grand Tour” and “The Door.” Wilson co-wrote three of Rich’s No. 1 hits: “The Most Beautiful Girl,” “A Very Special Love Song,” and “I Love My Friend.” Wynette found success with Wilson compositions such as “I’ll See Him Through,” “He Loves Me All the Way,” “My Man” and “Another Lonely Song.” In addition, Charley Pride secured No. 1 hits in the early 1980s with “Never Been So Loved (In All My Life)” and “Night Games.” In other roles, Wilson signed Keith Whitley to RCA and co-produced several Kenny Chesney albums. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1996. Wilson passed away in 2017.

Previous recipients of the ACM Poet’s Award include Bill AndersonBobby BraddockFelice and Boudleaux Bryant, Guy ClarkJack ClementHank CochranDean DillonMerle HaggardTom T. HallHarlan HowardToby Keith, Kris KristoffersonBob McDill, Roger MillerWillie Nelson, Buck OwensEddie Rabbitt, Fred RoseShel Silverstein, Don SchlitzCindy Walker, Jimmy Webb and Hank Williams.

 

ACM SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD – Previously announced winner Rhett Akins 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.

Rhett Akins landed on the ACM Awards ballot 20 years ago in the New Male Vocalist category, thanks to hit singles like “That Ain’t My Truck” and “Don’t Get Me Started.” Now, two decades later, he is one of Nashville’s most prominent songwriters. A list of Akins’ recent hits reads like a “who’s who” of country music, including Dustin Lynch’s “Small Town Boy,” Jon Pardi’s “Dirt on My Boots,” Blake Shelton’s “I Lived It” and Akins’ son Thomas Rhett’s “Star of the Show” and “Life Changes.” Luke Bryan’s “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day,” Jason Aldean’s “When She Says Baby” and Shelton’s “Honeybee” and “Boys Round Here” have all been country radio staples. Akins has placed at least one song on Billboard’s Country Airplay Chart every week for the past 8 years, and he has been recognized as BMI Country Songwriter of the Year twice. Growing up in Valdosta, Georgia, Akins admired rugged country artists like Waylon Jennings, Charlie Daniels and Hank Williams, Jr. He moved to Nashville in 1992, earned a publishing deal and started singing demos. A record deal in 1994 led to two albums on Decca and one on MCA Nashville. Akins has released three independent solo albums, and, with fellow Georgia natives Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip, he is a member of The Peach Pickers – a tried-and-true songwriting collaboration that has yielded countless cuts. This is his third nomination for ACM Songwriter of the Year.

Past recipients of the ACM Songwriter of the Year Award include Ross Copperman, Dallas Davidson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally, Lori McKenna andRoger Miller.

 

INDUSTRY AWARD WINNERS:

  • NIGHTCLUB OF THE YEAR: Cotton Eyed ­Joe ­– Knoxville, TN
  • CASINO OF THE YEAR – SMALL CAPACITY: The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino – Las Vegas, NV
  • CASINO OF THE YEAR – MEDIUM CAPACITY: MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas, NV
  • VENUE OF THE YEAR – SMALL CAPACITY: The Georgia Theatre – Athens, GA
  • VENUE OF THE YEAR – MEDIUM CAPACITY: The Greek Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
  • VENUE OF THE YEAR – LARGE CAPACITY: Shoreline Amphitheater – Mountain View, CA
  • FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR: Country Thunder – Florence, AZ
  • DON ROMEO TALENT BUYER OF THE YEAR: R. J. Romeo – Romeo Entertainment Group
  • PROMOTER OF THE YEAR – Brian O’Connell – Live Nation

 

STUDIO RECORDING AWARD WINNERS:

  • BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Jimmie Lee Sloas
  • DRUMMER OF THE YEAR – Fred Eltringham
  • GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Rob McNelley
  • PIANO/KEYBOARDS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Jim ‘Moose’ Brown
  • SPECIALTY INSTRUMENT(S) PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Danny Rader
  • STEEL GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Paul Franklin
  • AUDIO ENGINEER OF THE YEAR – Justin Niebank
  • PRODUCER OF THE YEAR – Dave Cobb

2018 ACM Awards: performers and presenters announced

April 9, 2018

ACM Awards

Carrie Underwood at the 52nd Annual ACM Awards at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on April 2, 2017.
Carrie Underwood at the 52nd Annual ACM Awards at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on April 2, 2017. (Photo by Francis Specker/CBS)

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

The Academy of Country Music® revealed today that thirteen-time ACM Award® winner Carrie Underwood will perform the world television premiere of her soon-to-be-released single live on the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards™, joining a star-studded lineup of performers and presenters.

Underwood is nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year as well as Vocal Event of the Year for “The Fighter” with Keith Urban. The 53rd ACM Awards, hosted by Reba McEntire, will broadcast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 8:00 PM ET/PT on the CBS Television Network.

Previously announced ACM Awards performers include Lauren Alaina, Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Kelly Clarkson, Florida Georgia Line, Alan Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Midland, Maren Morris, Jon Pardi, Bebe Rexha, Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and Brett Young. Previously announced presenters include David Boreanaz, Drew Brees, AJ Buckley, Cam, Sam Elliot, Eve, Ashton Kutcher, Dustin Lynch, Nancy O’Dell, Rebecca Romijn, Max Thieriot and Lindsey Vonn.

Tickets to the ACM Awards are now on sale at www.axs.com. For more information on the ACM Awards and all ACM events including ACM Party for a Cause®, visit www.ACMcountry.com and www.PartyForaCause.com. You can like Academy of Country Music on Facebook or follow on Twitter at @ACMawards and Instagram @ACMAwards for more immediate updates.

About the Academy of Country Music Awards
The 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards™ is dedicated to honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in the country music industry. The show is produced for television by dick clark productions and will broadcast LIVE from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 15, 2018 at 8:00 PM live ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, R.A. Clark, Barry Adelman and Mark Bracco are executive producers. Pete Fisher is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.

2018 Songwriters Hall of Fame: John Mellencamp, Jermaine Dupri, Alan Jackson among the inductees

February 6, 2018

Songwriters Hall of Fame

The following is a press release from the Songwriters Hall of Fame:

Musical titans Bill Anderson, Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown & James “JT” Taylor P/K/A “Kool & The Gang,” Steve Dorff, Jermaine Dupri, Alan Jackson, John Mellencamp and Allee Willis will become the latest inductees of the Songwriters Hall of Fame at the organization’s 49th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner. These legendary songwriters wrote mega-hits such as, “Mama Sang a Song,” “Celebration,” “Through The Years,” “Always Be My Baby,” “Chattahoochee,” “Jack And Diane,” and “I’ll Be There For You.”  The star-studded induction event is slated for Thursday, June 142018, at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. Additional special award honorees will be announced soon.

“The 2018 roster of Songwriters Hall of Fame inductees is a prodigious representation of creators of cross-genre hits, certain to resonate with everyone,” said SHOF co-chairs Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff and president/CEO Linda Moran. “Each year, the slate of songwriters we induct is more diverse and illustrative of the history and contributions that we strive to acknowledge and honor. We could not be more excited to preside over this year’s event and to give these songwriters their due respect.”

Established in 1969, the Songwriters Hall of Fame (SHOF) serves as a vital bridge between music’s past and future.  In the Hall, musical pioneers are enshrined and celebrated, while the organization’s outreach to the music community grooms the next generation of troubadours. To qualify for induction, a songwriter must be a published writer for a minimum of 20 years with a notable catalog of hit songs.

Bill Anderson

Bill Anderson (Photo courtesy of Bill Anderson)

Bill Anderson is the rare songwriter whose first major label cut went to No. 1 on the charts, was named Song of The Year, and sparked a writing career that is currently in its seventh decade. The song, “City Lights,” was written when Anderson was a 19-year old Georgia disc jockey and became a career-defining hit for Ray Price in 1958.  The song opened doors for him in Nashville, leading him to signing with BMI and Tree Publishing.

Anderson was far from a one-hit wonder. He followed “City Lights” with country standards like “Tips Of My Fingers,” the GRAMMY-nominated “Once A Day,” “Saginaw, Michigan,” “That’s What It’s Like To Be Lonesome,” “I Missed Me,” “Cold Hard Facts Of Life,” which earned him another GRAMMY nomination, “Mama Sang A Song,” the crossover smash, “Still,” and countless others. He was voted country Songwriter Of The Year six times during his first decade in Music City.

His success continued into the seventies with award-winning hits like “Slippin’ Away,” “The Lord Knows I’m Drinking,” “I May Never Get To Heaven,” and the disco-flavored, “I Can’t Wait Any Longer.” The eighties saw Anderson’s chart-topping career take a hiatus as he became a TV network game show host, spokesman for a national restaurant chain, and a nonstop touring Grand Ole Opry performer. In the nineties he came roaring back with a vengeance, however, as he seriously turned to co-writing for the first time.

 Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, his collaborations with the newer generation of Nashville tunesmiths resulted in hits like “Wish You Were Here,” the GRAMMY-nominated “Two Teardrops,” “A Lot Of Things Different,” for Kenny Chesney, “Which Bridge To Cross (Which Bridge To Burn),” for Vince Gill and two Song Of The Year awards for “Whiskey Lullaby,” with Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss and George Straight’s “Give It Away,” in 2005 and 2007 respectfully.  He continues to write today with songs like Brad Paisley’s “Dying To See Her.”

Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown & James “JT” Taylor P/K/A “Kool & The Gang”

In 1964, Robert “Kool” Bell and his brother, Ronald Bell joined George Brown and other Jersey City neighborhood friends to create a unique musical blend of jazz, soul and funk. After performing for five years under various monikers, Kool & The Gang officially launched in 1969 with the release of their self-titled debut album, which was an introduction to their signature sound.

The band’s stellar reputation grew with each album, but 1973’s gold disc “Wild & Peaceful” took Kool & The Gang to another level, spurred by the immortal party anthems “Funky Stuff,” “Hollywood Swinging” and the platinum smash “Jungle Boogie.” The 1970’s brought hits like “Higher Plane,” the classic “Summer Madness” (featured on the GRAMMY-winning movie soundtrack Rocky) and “Open Sesame,” which was featured on the top-selling movie soundtrack of all-time, Saturday Night Fever, earned the group a GRAMMY.

In 1978, James “JT” Taylor, joined Kool & The Gang. His distinctive voice was discovered at age seven, leading him to start a band and perform at the Apollo Theater by age thirteen. As a songwriter and lead vocalist, his appreciation for all music led him to numerous bands and, ultimately, the group as lead vocalist/songwriter. JT’s contributions made an instant impact. In 1979, the group unveiled a smooth new sound with Ladies Night, their first platinum album, produced by the legendary pop/jazz musician and mentor Eumir Deodato, which heralded an unprecedented decade of mainstream domination, creativity, and innovation.

In 1989, JT pursued a solo career. His first release, the Diane Warren-penned duet with Regina Belle, “All I Want Is Forever,” was featured in the film, Tap. JT’s uninhibited 1st album, Master of the Game, steered him towards industry giants like Teddy Riley, Jeff Lorber, Barry Eastman, Whitney Houston, and George Benson. His next endeavors included projects, such as “The Promised Land” for Ghostbusters II with Bobby Caldwell and Jeff Porcaro, the Simon Law-co-produced Feel the Need album featuring “Long Hot Summer Night,” as well as “Baby I’m Back,” and “A Brand New Me”. Today, JT continues to develop projects, always reaching for new horizons.

Kool & The Gangs iconic songs, including “Celebration,” which was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame and remains de rigueur at joyous occasions worldwide, have earned two GRAMMY Awards, 25 Top Ten R & B hits, nine Top Ten Pop hits, 31 gold and platinum awards, 5 American Music Awards, and numerous Grammy nominations. Marking their 50th anniversary this year, they were honored with a BET Soul Train Lifetime Achievement Award and a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame and continue to tour the world.

Steve Dorff

Steve Dorff’s career as a songwriter spans five decades and includes more than forty BMI awards, twenty Top 10 hits, twelve No. 1 hits, and an American Music Award. The GRAMMY- and Emmy-nominated songwriter and composer has had songs recorded by more than four hundred artists from all genres of music, as well as twenty-eight movie scores and numerous theme songs and placements on TV series.

Dorff’s songs have been recorded by iconic artists such as Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Kenny Rogers, Anne Murray, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Dusty Springfield and countless others. A few chart hits include Rogers’ “Through the Years,” Murray’s “I Just Fall in Love Again,” Strait’s “I Cross My Heart,” and Eddie Rabbitt’s “Every Which Way But Loose”—the title track from Clint Eastwood’s 1978 film.

Dorff has composed TV music for shows such as Murphy BrownGrowing Pains, Murder She Wrote, ColumboRebaSpenser: For HireJust the Ten of Us, and The Singing Bee. His film contributions include songs and scores for Pure CountryBronco BillyRocky IVTin Cup and Honky Tonk Man. Branching into stage productions, he wrote the music for the theatre production, Josephine. Dorff published the 2017 memoir, I Wrote That One Too…A Life in Songwriting from Willie to Whitney, and he enjoys performing his best-loved songs at venues across the country.

Jermaine Dupri

Jermaine Dupri (Photo by Mark Hill)

Jermaine Dupri  wrote his first song “Single” at the young age of 15, then his first platinum selling single a mere four years later with the mega hit “Jump” (Kriss Kross) and he hasn’t stopped writing hits since.

Dupri’s songwriting accomplishments have continued for over two decades with over 30 number one hits including “My Boo” (Usher featuring  Alicia Keyes) “Nice & Slow” (Usher),  “Don’t Forget About Us” (Mariah Carey), “Grillz” ( Nelly featuring Paul Wall), “Confessions Part II” (Usher), “Burn” (Usher), “You Got It Bad” (Usher), “The First Night” (Monica), “Jump” (Kriss Kross) and “We Belong Together” (Mariah Carey).  His songwriting transcends across all genres of music, with hits “Shake It Off” (Mariah Carey) and “Money Aint  A Thang” (Jermaine Dupri feat Jay Z), “Give it 2 U” (Da Brat),“Just Kicking It” (Xscape) and “Where The Party At” (Jagged Edge).

The most iconic singers/rappers of the past quarter-century have recorded his songs: Usher, Aretha Franklin, The Notorious B.I.G., Ludacris, Bow Wow, Aaliyah, 3LW, Destiny’s Child, 112, Anthony Hamilton, Nelly, Fabulous, Lil John, Alicia Keyes, Master P, Da Brat, Jagged Edge,  Xscape, Run DMC, Isley Brothers, Mase, TLC, New Edition, Tamia, Monica, Janet Jackson, and Mariah Carey amongst others.

Now in his third decade of writing and producing  songs,  GRAMMY award-winning Jermaine Dupri shows no signs of slowing down as he continue to pen his way to the top.

Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson (Photo by Russell Harrington)

Recently inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Alan Jackson’s membership among country music’s all-time greats is the latest in a long line of career-defining accolades that include three CMA Entertainer of the Year honors, more than 25 years of membership in the Grand Ole Opry, a 2016 Billboard ranking as one of the Top 10 Country Artists of All-Time, induction to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Heritage Award as the most-performed country songwriter-artist of ASCAP’s first 100 years.

Jackson is one of the most successful and respected singer-songwriters in music. He is in the elite company of Paul McCartney and John Lennon among songwriters who’ve written more than 20 songs that they’ve recorded and taken to the top of the charts. Beginning with his first hit, “Here in the Real World,” Jackson’s pen has given us some of country music’s most-memorable songs of the past 30 years –the immediately-recognized “Chattahoochee,” the haunting “Midnight in Montgomery,” the touching “Remember When,” the autobiographical “Livin’ On Love,” “Drive,” and “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” and the inspired “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).” Jackson is one of the best-selling artists since the inception of SoundScan, ranking alongside the likes of Eminem and Metallica. He’s also the man behind one of Nashville’s most-popular new tourist stops, AJ’s Good Time Bar, a four-story honky-tonk in the heart of downtown (along a stretch of Broadway known as the “Honky Tonk Highway”) featuring daily live music and a rooftop view of Music City.

The man from rural Newnan, GA has sold nearly 60-million albums worldwide and ranks as one of the 10 best-selling male vocalists of all-time in all genres. He has released more than 60 singles – registering 50 Top Ten hits and 35 #1s (including 26 Billboard chart-toppers). He has earned more than 150 music industry awards – including 18 Academy of Country Music Awards, 16 Country Music Association Awards, a pair of GRAMMY’s and ASCAP’s Founders and Golden Note Awards.

John Mellencamp

John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp (Photo by Marc Hauser)

John Mellencamp’s career in music, spanning more than 35 years, has seen him transition from pop star to one of the most highly respected singer/songwriters of a generation.   He is an authentic voice of American music and master storyteller with a commitment to creating traditional rock & roll, bittersweet songs of happiness and melancholia, inequality and fervent political dissent. With dozens of hits to his credit, the singer has taken on the plight of the family farmer, issues with authority figures and, of course, his own musings on relationships. Throughout his prolific career, John Mellencamp has written more than twenty Top 40 hits, Hits like “Jack and Diane,” “Small Town,” “Crumblin Down,” “The Authority Song,” “Rain On The Scarecrow,” “Lonely Ol Night,” “”R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.,” “Paper In Fire,” “Check It Out,” “Pink Houses,” “Pop Singer,” and “Jackie Brown.” These iconic American songs have played an important role in defining Midwestern music and developing the rock genre.

Mellencamp is incredibly acclaimed; he is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a GRAMMY® winner, a recipient of the John Steinbeck Award, ASCAP Foundation’s Champion Award, The Woody Guthrie Award and Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and more recently, the Founders Award, the top honor assigned by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.   He is also one of the most successful live concert performers in the world.  The social activism reflected in his songs helped catalyze Farm Aid, the concert series and organization that has addressed the struggle of American family farmers for more than 25 years.

His latest song, “Easy Target” offers a raspy diagnosis of America’s current political ailments. John wrote the title song for the 2017 film, The Yellow Birds, an American war film directed by Alexandre Moors and based on the novel The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers.  The film debuted at Tribeca Film Festival and aired on the Nat Geo Channel.

John continues to focus on another facet of his artistic expression: painting. His style has progressed over the years as evidenced by several museum shows and published portfolios, and in recent years, he has increased his output by completing over 100 new works. He was also involved with an extraordinary collaboration for The Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, a musical with music and lyrics by John Mellencamp, a libretto by author Stephen King and production by T Bone Burnett.

Allee Willis

Allee Willis (Photo by Dina Duarte)

Allee Willis is a one-woman creative musical think-tank – a multi-disciplinary artist and visionary thinker whose range of imagination and productivity knows no bounds and whose songs integrate into all fields she works in. The GRAMMY ®, Emmy, and Tony award-winning and nominated songwriter’s hits include the seemingly ubiquitous “September,” “I’ll Be There For You (the Friends theme), “Boogie Wonderland,” “Neutron Dance,” “What Have I Done To Deserve This,” “Lead Me On,” “Stir It Up,“ “In The Stone,” and “You’re The Best”. Willis also co-authored the Oprah Winfrey-produced Tony and GRAMMY-winning musical The Color Purple.

Willis, who writes both music and lyrics, has written for artists across many genres, including Earth, Wind & Fire, The Pointer Sisters, Pet Shop Boys, Justin Timberlake, Patti LaBelle, Bonnie Raitt, Jimmy Cliff, Debbie Harry, DMC, Bette Midler, Aretha Franklin, Cyndi Lauper, Herbie Hancock, Toto, Bryan Adams, Diana Ross, Chaka Kahn, Jennifer Hudson, Ray Charles, Weather Report, Dusty Springfield, Fantasia, Kirk Franklin, Tina Turner, Taylor Dane, The Emotions, Boy George, Cher, Ashford & Simpson, Thomas Dolby, Dionne Warwick, Herb Alpert, Gladys Knight, and more.

Willis began writing songs in 1972 when she worked at Columbia/ Epic Records writing ads, radio commercials, and liner notes for the artists including, Laura Nyro, Barbra Streisand, Santana, Simon & Garfunkle, and Earth, Wind & Fire.

Willis’s first song was recorded in 1974 by Bonnie Raitt. But her big break came in 1978 when Patti LaBelle started regularly recording her songs. LaBelle placed Willis with Herbie Hancock, who she wrote three songs with. A few months later she began collaborating with Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire who introduced her to his brother Maurice, founder and lead singer of the band. Within five minutes of meeting they started writing “September”.

In 1997, representing 3 million BMI songwriters, Willis became the first pop artist to address Congress on artist rights in cyberspace.  Throughout the 90’s she consulted with tech and media companies including Microsoft, Intel, AOL, Fox, Disney and Warner Bros. on their music and entertainment web strategies.

Willis most recently completed writing, recording producing, directing, and animating “The D,” a song for her hometown of Detroit. It features 5000 vocalists, more people in history than have ever been on a record before. Willis also started performing a series of sold-out one-woman shows, combining her songs with her comedy, art, videos and technology.

About The Songwriters Hall of Fame:

The Songwriters Hall of Fame celebrates songwriters, educates the public with regard to their achievements, and produces a spectrum of professional programs devoted to the development of new songwriting talent through workshops, showcases and scholarships. West Coast educational activities are held at The GRAMMY Museum, which hosts the permanent Songwriters Hall of Fame Gallery, and at the University of Southern California. Out of the tens of thousands of songwriters of our era, there are approximately 400 inductees who make up the impressive roster enshrined in the Hall of Fame. To qualify for induction, a songwriter must be a published writer for a minimum of 20 years with a notable catalog of hit songs. The list of inductees include Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier & Brian Holland, Smokey Robinson, Paul Williams, Hal David & Burt Bacharach, Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly, Bob Dylan, Isaac Hayes & David Porter, Carole King, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora, Elton John & Bernie Taupin, Brian Wilson, James Taylor, Don Schlitz, Bruce Springsteen, Phil Collins, Alan & Marilyn Bergman, Loretta Lynn, Jimmy Webb, Van Morrison, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Diane Warren, Paul Anka, Stevie Wonder, Steven Tyler & Joe Perry, Mac Davis, Leonard Cohen, Ray Davies, Donovan, Cyndi Lauper,  Desmond Child, Mick Jones & Lou Gramm, Chip Taylor, Elvis Costello, Marvin Gaye, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards, Lionel Richie, Bill Withers, Neil Diamond, Jay Z, Tom Petty, Toby Keith, Max Martin, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Berry Gordy, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Robert Lamm & James Pankow among many others.

Full biographies and a complete list of inductees are available on the Songwriters Hall of Fame website at https://www.songhall.org. Joining online is quick and easy: https://www.songhall.org/join.

Ticket Information:

Tickets for the Songwriters Hall of Fame event begin at $1,500 each, and are available through Buckley Hall Events, 914-579-1000. Net proceeds from the event will go toward the Songwriters Hall of Fame programs.  Songwriters Hall of Fame is a 501(c)3 organization.  The non-deductible portion of each ticket is $170. Contributions, for which no goods or services are received in exchange, are fully tax-deductible as provided by law.