ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC® ANNOUNCES SPECIAL AWARD HONOREES INCLUDING CLINT BLACK, KANE BROWN, MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER, TIM MCGRAW, and CHRIS STAPLETON
ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC® ANNOUNCES SPECIAL AWARD HONOREES
INCLUDING CLINT BLACK, KANE BROWN, MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER, TIM MCGRAW, and CHRIS STAPLETON
FOUR-TIME ACM AWARD WINNER CARLY PEARCE TO RETURN AS HOST FOR THIRD YEAR IN A ROW
THE 16TH ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC HONORS™ WILL TAKE PLACE
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23 AT THE HISTORIC RYMAN AUDITORIUM IN NASHVILLE, TN
ACM HONORS WILL ALSO CELEBRATE PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED
STUDIO RECORDING AWARD WINNERS, INDUSTRY AWARD WINNERS,
ARTIST-SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR, HARDY, AND SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR, ASHLEY GORLEY
FROM THE 58TH ACM AWARDS CYCLE
[Digital assets available HERE]
TWEET: @ACMawards announces Special Award Honorees including @Clint_Black @kanebrown @M_CCarpenter @TheTimMcGraw @ChrisStapleton & more, set for 16th #ACMhonors celebration 8/23 at @theryman in Nashville with host @carlypearce. Tix on sale THIS FRI 6/30 on @axs https://www.axs.com/events/491638/acm-honors-tickets
NASHVILLE, TN (June 27, 2022) – The Academy of Country Music® announced today the recipients of the Special Awards for the 58TH ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS™. Honorees Clint Black, BRELAND, Kane Brown, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Charlie Cook, Charlie Daniels, Mike Dungan, Ashley Gorley, HARDY, Bill Mayne, Tim McGraw, K.T. Oslin, Chris Stapleton, and Troy Vollhoffer will be celebrated during the 16TH ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC HONORS™, frequently described as the “Country Music Industry’s favorite night,” during an unforgettable evening of live music and tributes. The event will take place Wednesday, August 23, 2023 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN and will be hosted by four-time ACM Award winner Carly Pearce for the third straight year.
Tickets for ACM Honors™ will be available to ACM A-List email newsletter subscribers and Academy members through an exclusive pre-sale beginning Thursday, June 29, with general on-sale beginning Friday, June 30, through AXS. Fans can subscribe now to the A-List here to gain access to Thursday's pre-sale. Performers will be announced in the coming weeks.
“The Academy of Country Music has played such a crucial role in the rise of my career in the last several years, giving me opportunities to expand my artistry with hosting,” Carly Pearce said. “To be able to come back as the host of the ACM Honors for the third year in a row, I feel so grateful and excited for what I know will be such a special night!”
“This year’s ACM Special Award honorees have made a tremendous impact on the music we know and love, from icons and veteran executives who have shaped and steered the industry for years, to newer artists making a splash and welcoming fresh audiences into the community, and I am so excited about celebrating them in August at what is always one of the best nights of the year,” said Kerri Edwards, Chair of the ACM Special Awards Committee. “I’d like to thank our committee members for their invaluable participation and contributions in selecting this year’s exceptionally worthy class of honorees and offer my congratulations to all of the recipients.”
Additionally, previously announced Artist-Songwriter of the Year winner HARDY, Songwriter of the year Ashley Gorley, as well as Studio Recording Award and Industry Award winners, will be feted at ACM HONORS™. Reigning ACM New Female Artist of the Year Hailey Whitters will present the ACM Studio Recording and Industry Awards portion of ACM Honors. Examples of categories from Studio Recording and Industry Awards include Audio Engineer of the Year, Bass Player of the Year, Casino of the Year, Drummer of the Year, Electric Guitar Player of the Year, Fair/Rodeo of the Year, Piano/Keyboards Player of the Year, Producer of the Year, Specialty Instrument(s) Player of the Year, and Theater of the Year. For more information on ACM Industry Awards, visit here, and for more information on ACM Studio Recording Awards, visit here.
SPECIAL AWARD HONOREES:
ACM TRIPLE CROWN AWARD – Chris Stapleton will receive the prestigious ACM Triple Crown Award following his first win for ACM Entertainer of the Year at the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards. Stapleton qualified for the Triple Crown Award after winning ACM New Male Vocalist of the Year, ACM Male Vocalist of the Year, and ACM Entertainer of the Year throughout his career, an honor only eight other artists have been awarded.
Kentucky-born Chris Stapleton is one of the country’s most respected and beloved musicians. Over the course of his acclaimed career, he has released four albums, including 2020’s Starting Over and has collaborated with Adele, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, P!nk and Santana among many others. He has won eight GRAMMY Awards and 15 ACM Awards including Artist-Songwriter of the Decade for the 2010s, six Album of the Year awards for Traveller, From A Room: Volume 1, and Starting Over (as an artist and producer for each album), three Male Vocalist of the Year awards, two Song of the Year awards for “Nobody To Blame” (as an artist and songwriter), New Male Vocalist of the Year and the ACM Spirit Award which Stapleton received at the 15th Annual ACM Honors in 2022. Most recently, Stapleton won Entertainer of the Year for the first time at the 58th ACM Awards, qualifying him for the ACM Triple Crown Award, and solidifying his name in the history books as one of the most celebrated artists of his generation. In addition to his work as a musician, Stapleton and his wife, Morgane, are founders of the Outlaw State of Kind charitable fund, which supports a variety of causes that are close to their heart.
Previous recipients of the ACM Triple Crown Award include Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Mickey Gilley, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Barbara Mandrell, and Carrie Underwood.
ACM ICON AWARD – Mike Dungan and Tim McGraw have both been chosen to receive the ACM Icon Award, honoring the contributions of Cliffie Stone, who was known for his producing work along with his Country Music career. 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.
Mike Dungan has been a Country Music champion for decades, all the while developing top artists and delivering countless hits as a label executive. A Cincinnati native, Dungan got his start in the industry as a teenager working in a record store. In 1979, a label representative noticed Dungan’s potential and helped him land a job with RCA Records promoting pop records in the Midwest. In 1990, Dungan moved to Nashville as head of sales and marketing for Arista Nashville, which quickly evolved from a fledgling label into a multiplatinum powerhouse. Alongside label president Tim DuBois, Dungan nurtured new artists like Brooks & Dunn, Diamond Rio, Alan Jackson, Pam Tillis, and others. He also signed Brad Paisley to the label in 1998.
Upon being appointed president at Capitol Nashville in 2000, Dungan again tapped into a promising group of new artists and guided them into Country stardom. He elevated the careers of Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, and Keith Urban, and brought Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, and Lady Antebellum to the label. In 2012, Dungan joined UMG Nashville as Chairman and CEO, ushering in another lucrative decade with artists like Brothers Osborne, Kacey Musgraves, and Chris Stapleton. The label group continues to thrive with rising stars like Priscilla Block, Jordan Davis, and Parker McCollum. Dungan’s philanthropic efforts have supported entities such as Music Health Alliance, Wounded Warrior Project, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, and Second Harvest Food Bank.
Tim McGraw has been at the forefront of Country Music for nearly three decades. Through performing, producing and high-profile acting roles, McGraw has weathered the changes of Country Music to remain one of its most recognizable superstars. The Louisiana native moved to Nashville in 1989, just as a wave of new artists began taking over the Country charts. McGraw kicked off his career success with mid-‘90s hits like, “Don’t Take the Girl,” “Not a Moment Too Soon,” and “I Like It, I Love It,” which all spent multiple weeks at No. 1.
McGraw collected his first of 21 ACM Award trophies in 1994 for Top New Male Vocalist and Album of the Year (Not a Moment Too Soon). The ACM then bestowed Single, Song, Vocal Event and Video of the Year awards to his 1997 smash duet with his wife Faith Hill, “It’s Your Love.” McGraw concluded the decade with back-to-back Male Vocalist trophies. However, his biggest radio hit lay ahead: 2004’s “Live Like You Were Dying,” named ACM Single and Song of the Year. With “I Called Mama” in 2020, he entered his fourth decade of radio success.
One of Country Music’s most collaborative artists, McGraw co-produced Jo Dee Messina’s breakout albums and recorded ACM Award-winning hits with Kenny Chesney & Tracy Lawrence (“Find Out Who Your Friends Are”), Florida Georgia Line (“May We All”), and Taylor Swift & Keith Urban (“Highway Don’t Care”). He joined the ACM Award-winning Yellowstone franchise in the lead role of James Dillard Dutton on 1883. McGraw’s 17th studio album Standing Room Only will be released on August 25.
Past recipients of the ACM Icon Award include Alabama, Connie Bradley, Brooks & Dunn, Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Joe Galante, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Alan Jackson, George Jones, The Judds, Loretta Lynn, Martina McBride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Rascal Flatts, George Strait, Conway Twitty, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., and Dwight Yoakam, among others.
ACM INTERNATIONAL AWARD – Kane Brown has been chosen to receive the International Award, inspired by Jim Reeves and presented to a Country Music artist, duo/group, or industry leader for outstanding contributions to the growth of Country Music throughout the world.
Kane Brown broadened his global appeal with the Drunk or Dreaming Tour, an international trek that launched in Melbourne, Australia, in September 2022. During his trip Down Under, Brown also performed in Sydney and CBC Rocks in Queensland, followed by a show in Auckland, New Zealand. Concluding the year, he headlined 10 arenas in Canada, including stops in Ottawa, Montreal, London, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton. In early 2023, Brown resumed the international tour in the United Kingdom and Europe, taking the stage for O2 Academy shows in Glasgow, Manchester, and Birmingham, as well as the Hammersmith Apollo in London. The European leg ended with shows in Amsterdam, Cologne, and Munich.
Since 2016, Brown has maintained an incredible winning streak. In addition to his nominations for ACM New Male Vocalist of the Year, Brown has landed on the ACM ballot with smashes such as “What Ifs” with Lauren Alaina (Vocal Event of the Year), “Heaven” (Single of the Year), Mixtape Vol. 1 (Album of the Year), and “Famous Friends” with Chris Young (Single, Music Event, and Video of the Year). Brown claimed his first ACM win for the breathtaking 2020 music video, “Worldwide Beautiful.” Brown resumed the Drunk or Dreaming Tour in March with scheduled dates across the U.S. through June. Fans can expect a wealth of chart-topping hits ranging from “Lose It,” “Good as You,” and “Homesick,” to “One Mississippi,” “Like I Love Country Music,” and “Thank God,” a romantic duet featuring his wife, Katelyn Brown.
Past recipients of the ACM International Award include Garth Brooks, Eric Church, Dick Clark, Roy Clark, Dan + Shay, Alan Jackson, Lady A, Kacey Musgraves, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts, Roy Rogers, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban.
ACM LIFT EVERY VOICE AWARD – BRELAND has been chosen to receive the first-ever ACM Lift Every Voice Award. This award is presented to a Country Music artist, duo/group, industry leader or affiliate/partner who plays a pivotal role in elevating underrepresented voices throughout the Country Music genre, transcending demographics and geography. The nominee for this category is proposed by the rising leaders in the Academy’s LEVel UP: Lift Every Voice professional development and enrichment program, a two-year curriculum designed to empower participants to play a pivotal role in expanding the horizons of Country Music into new audiences that transcend demographics and geography.
Daniel Breland, better known by his stage name BRELAND, might seem like an unexpected Country Music breakout, but those who know him and his music understand his broad “Cross Country” appeal. Growing up in New Jersey as the son of ministers, he was exposed to gospel music at a young age. He first experienced secular music when he moved to boarding school at 14 where rap, hip-hop, and pop were predominant. Before attending college at Georgetown University, BRELAND dove into songwriting, and his songs were obvious products of his multi-genre influence. After college, he continued to pursue music in Atlanta, teaching himself the skills and software knowledge to produce his own music. Through social media and his #BrelandVerseChallenge, BRELAND rose to prominence during the pandemic, and his song “My Truck” solidified his place as a force for uniqueness and creativity in the Country landscape. In the years since, BRELAND has released a full-length debut project, achieved Gold and Platinum record status, was named a 2022 Amazon Breakthrough Artist, performed on the 57th ACM Awards, and collaborated with heavy hitters like Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett, and Keith Urban.
Beyond his music, BRELAND is a team player in the Tennessee community. His annual BRELAND & Friends benefit concert supports Oasis Center, a Middle Tennessee-based comprehensive youth development agency. BRELAND continues to deliver messages of positivity and authenticity in all he does and is a driving force behind breaking the barriers of Country Music.
ACM LIFTING LIVES AWARD – Troy Vollhoffer has been chosen to receive the Lifting Lives Award, honoring the contributions of Gary Haber, known as a business manager and past president of ACM Lifting Lives. 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. It is voted on by the ACM Lifting Lives Board of Directors.
ACM Lifting Lives Executive Director Lyndsay Cruz congratulates this year’s recipient and says, “This recognition for Troy is so well deserved and is a testament of his generosity and commitment to helping others. As a longtime board member and former Chair, his support has had a huge impact on the work of ACM Lifting Lives, and I’m so delighted we get to celebrate his contributions to making the industry a better place at ACM Honors in August. Troy's efforts have made a difference in people’s lives whether they know it or not, as he doesn’t seek the spotlight and has always been a selfless leader and a beacon of support to so many.”
Troy Vollhoffer has been successfully involved in the music industry for more than 30 years, and during that time, he has placed an emphasis on giving back to support the Country community. He joined the Board of ACM Lifting Lives, the philanthropic partner of the Academy of Country Music, in 2016 and rose quickly to Officer positions, including Vice President, President, and ultimately Chair in 2022. Additionally, he’s served on the advisory boards of the T.J. Martell Foundation and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, among other causes.
His company, Premier Global Production, has grown into one of the foremost staging and lighting companies in the world, having provided touring lights and outdoor staging to some of the biggest artists in the industry including Metallica, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Florence and the Machine, Tim McGraw, Chris Stapleton, Morgan Wallen, Riley Green, Lee Brice, and many more. The company has also serviced some of the largest events in North America including Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Electric Forest Festival, Bonnaroo Music Festival, Music Midtown, Tortuga Music Festival, and Hangout Music Festival, among others.
Vollhoffer, a former professional hockey player, is also well-known for music festivals, including six Country Thunder events across North America and a seventh event called Big Valley Jamboree. The Country Music festivals have been recognized for excellence in the music industry, receiving numerous award nominations and taking home the award for ACM Festival of the Year for Country Thunder Wisconsin at the 50th ACM Awards, Country Thunder Arizona at the 53rd ACM Awards, and Country Thunder Bristol, which was announced as the winner for ACM Festival of the Year for the 58th ACM Awards earlier this week.
Past recipients of the ACM Lifting Lives Award include Paul Barnabee, Ross Copperman, Gayle Holcomb, Lady A, Dolly Parton, Darius Rucker, Carrie Underwood, and Dwight Wiles.
ACM POET’S AWARD – Clint Black, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and K.T. Oslin have each been chosen as recipients of the ACM 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.
It’s one of the most storied careers in modern music. With a traditional Country voice and a charismatic smile, Clint Black surged to superstardom as part of the fabled Class of ‘89. Raised in Katy, Texas, Black came up in the bars and nightclubs around Galveston and Houston. With road-tested material and an RCA contract, Black achieved immediate success at radio and especially with fans. He reached No. 1 with five consecutive singles from his triple-platinum debut, Killin’ Time. He received 1989 ACM Awards for Top New Male Vocalist and Top Male Vocalist, while “Better Man” picked up Single of the Year and Killin’ Time collected Album of the Year. He followed that with the triple-platinum Put Yourself in My Shoes, and then a string of platinum and gold albums throughout the ‘90s. Perhaps most impressively, Black wrote or co-wrote every one of his more than three dozen chart hits, including “A Better Man,” “Killin’ Time,” “When My Ship Comes In,” “A Good Run of Bad Luck,” “Summer’s Comin’,” “Like the Rain,” and “Nothin’ But the Taillights,” part of a catalog that produced 22 No. 1 singles and 30 top 10’s that made him one of the most successful singer/songwriters of the modern era.
Along the way, Black accepted an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry in 1991, has sold over 20 million records, earned more than a dozen gold and platinum awards in the U.S. and Canada, including a GRAMMY, landed nearly two dozen major awards and nominations, and earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
One of the most eloquent singer-songwriters in country music history, Mary Chapin Carpenter is equally comfortable playing arenas with her band or solo with her acoustic guitar. Carpenter grew up in Princeton, New Jersey and earned a degree from Brown University, then developed her songwriting playing small clubs in Washington, D.C. She signed with Columbia Records on the strength of her early recordings and secured her first Top 10 Country single in 1989 with “Never Had It So Good,” co-written with her co-producer John Jennings. That initial success led to Carpenter’s first ACM Award as the 1990 Top New Female Vocalist.
In 1991, her breakout hit “Down at the Twist and Shout” peaked at No. 2. and she carried that momentum into her fourth album, 1992’s Come On Come On. The collection featured hits “I Feel Lucky,” “The Hard Way," and “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” and went on to sell more than four million copies. Carpenter was awarded ACM Top Female Vocalist Award that year as well. By 1995, Carpenter claimed her own No. 1 country single, “Shut Up and Kiss Me,” and had written a Top 10 hit recorded by Wynonna (“Girls With Guitars”). Carpenter has also had success writing with other artists, including "Sally's Pigeons” with Cyndi Lauper, "No Fear” with Terri Clark, and "Where Are You Now” written with Kim Richey and recorded by Trisha Yearwood. Over the course of her acclaimed career, Carpenter has sold more than 16 million albums, won five GRAMMY Awards with 18 nominations, including her most recent album One Night Lonely, nominated for Best Folk Album in 2022. In 2012, Carpenter was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, one of fifteen women to have received the honor at the time.
K.T. Oslin surprised almost everyone when she became a Country Music sensation in her 40s with the career-defining 1987 hit, “80’s Ladies.” But for mature Country listeners who recognized their own lives in her lyrics, it was clear that she arrived right on time. Born in Arkansas, Oslin grew up in Houston and eventually moved to New York City. Although she landed a dancing role on Broadway and toured colleges as a solo performer, Oslin felt drawn to songwriting. Gradually making inroads in Nashville, she placed songs with Dottie West and Gail Davies before landing a last-chance contract with RCA Records.
At 44 years old, Oslin released “80’s Ladies” to critical acclaim. Although it peaked at No. 7 at Country radio, her recording won a GRAMMY and prompted her to be named the 1987 ACM New Female Vocalist. Known for telling stories in her innovative, cinematic videos, Oslin also picked up an ACM Award for the “80’s Ladies” music video. Her other beloved originals include “Do Ya’,” “I’ll Always Come Back,” and “Old Pictures,” the latter recorded by the Judds.
A year later, Oslin collected 1988 ACM trophies for Top Female Vocalist and Album of the Year for This Woman. She also won two GRAMMYs for the bittersweet ballad, “Hold Me.” Before bowing out of the spotlight in the early 1990s, she placed “Come Next Monday” at the top of the Country chart for two weeks. A 2018 inductee into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Oslin passed away in 2020.
Previous recipients of the ACM Poet’s Award include Bill Anderson, Rodney Crowell, Dean Dillon, Kye Fleming, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Toby Keith, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Buck Owens, Eddie Rabbitt, Fred Rose, Don Schlitz, Billy Joe Shaver, Shel Silverstein, Sonny Throckmorton, Shania Twain, Cindy Walker, and Hank Williams, among others.
ACM SERVICE AWARD – Charlie Cook and Bill Mayne have both been chosen as the recipients of the ACM Service Award, honoring the contributions of songwriter Mae Boren Axton and her service to the Academy. 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.
Charlie Cook is an award-winning disc jockey, an accomplished Country radio executive, and a former Chairman, President, and Radio Committee Chair of the Academy of Country Music’s Board of Directors, where he still serves as the longest-serving ACM Board Member in Academy history. Cook started his career at WMBN in Petoskey, Michigan, and built his résumé with stops in KLAK/Denver, WWVA/Wheeling, West Virginia, and WHN/New York City. In 1977, he was named “DJ of the Year” by Billboard. After a short time in Miami, Cook relocated to Los Angeles in 1980 to flip KHJ-AM to Country, then accepted a job offer at another L.A. Country station, KLAC. After a management change, Cook found an opportunity to join McVay Media, a position he held for 13 years. However, exhausted from the traveling it required, Cook opted for a role at Westwood One, where he stayed from 1996 to 2006.
Cook brought those diverse experiences to Cumulus from 2006 to 2008 as Vice President of Programming. His career path then led him back to Los Angeles as Senior Manager of Programming at KKGO for two years, followed by three years at West Virginia Radio Corporation, where he served as Director of Programming. Regarded for his leadership and mentoring, Cook received the CRB’s President’s Award in 2010 and was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in 2011. Cook returned to Cumulus in 2014. He currently serves as Vice President of Country Music, Programming Operations Manager for Cumulus Nashville’s five-station cluster, and Program Director for WSM-FM and WKDF-FM.
Bill Mayne devoted his career to Country radio, along with dedicating more than 35 years of service to the Academy of Country Music’s Board of Directors. Mayne studied radio, TV, and film at the University of Houston, and his interest in radio carried him to Austin, Texas, where he worked as a disc jockey and a program director for KNOW. Subsequent stops included KASE in Austin, KSCS/WBAP in Dallas, and KZLA/KLAC in Los Angeles. In 1988, he accepted a position at Warner Bros. Nashville working in promotion, then rose to become Senior Vice President and General Manager of the label. During this time Mayne worked with artists such as Holly Dunn, Faith Hill, Randy Travis, Travis Tritt, and Dwight Yoakam. After that, he held an executive role at 903 Music, the label launched by Neal McCoy, prior to establishing his own firm, Mayne Street Consulting.
In early 2010, Mayne’s company provided consultation to Country Radio Broadcasters, Inc., during a sensitive time for the Country Radio Seminar. Through Mayne’s leadership, CRS experienced a growth in attendance, sponsorship, and engagement. He had been part of the CRB’s Board of Directors when he accepted the role of Executive Director, a position he held from 2011 until his retirement in 2019. That same year, he marked his 50th anniversary of working in the music industry. Mayne has served as Chairman of the Board for the Academy of Country Music as well as ACM Lifting Lives, the Academy’s charitable partner, in addition to every other officer role.
Previous recipients of the ACM Service Award include Barry Adelman, Duane Clark, RAC Clark, Bob Kingsley, Reba McEntire, Gayle Holcomb, Keith Urban, and Gene Weed, among others.
ACM SPIRIT AWARD – Charlie Daniels has been chosen for the ACM Spirit Award, honoring the contributions of Merle Haggard, who received 20 ACM Awards in his career, including the Triple Crown Award. This award is presented to a singer-songwriter who is continuing the legacy of Country Music legend Merle Haggard by following his/her own path, crafting great songs, and epitomizing Haggard’s spirit through genuine performances and great storytelling.
Charlie Daniels freely shared his thoughts and viewpoints throughout his career, but his legacy may be his deep love for children, his fans, and his country. He devoted countless hours of his time and recruited several of his favorite artists to join him on the annual Christmas 4 Kids Tour Bus Shows. His many Volunteer Jams appealed to Country listeners who embraced Daniels’ outsized personality, while veterans and military families could not have found a more enthusiastic or patriotic advocate.
Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, Daniels taught himself to play guitar at 15, started touring with a rock band after high school, and emerged in the 1960s as a promising songwriter and studio musician. Elvis Presley cut one of Daniels’ compositions, “It Hurts Me,” in 1964. Daniels co-wrote the song with producer Bob Johnston, who would later hire Daniels to play guitar and/or bass guitar on three albums by Bob Dylan: Nashville Skyline, Self Portrait and New Morning.
In 1973, “Uneasy Rider” carried the Charlie Daniels Band into the Top 10 at pop radio. A year later, Fire on the Mountain proved to be the band’s platinum breakout album, offering essential CDB tracks like “Long Haired Country Boy,” “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” and “Trudy.” Although Daniels charted 34 singles at Country radio across five consecutive decades, his signature song will always be 1979’s “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” A recipient of the 1997 ACM Pioneer Award, Daniels was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016 and passed away in 2020.
Previous recipients of the ACM Spirit Award include Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, and Chris Stapleton.
ACM ARTIST-SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD – As previously announced, HARDY was awarded the 58th ACM Artist-Songwriter of the Year Award. This award is presented to an individual known both as an artist and a songwriter, selected by a Professional Panel of judges whose members composed of songwriters, publishers, producers, and performing rights organization (PRO) representatives. The Panel submits five nominees, at which time ACM members in the Artist/Musician/Producer/Engineer, Songwriter, Music Publisher/PRO and Record Company categories vote for the winner. This is the first-ever ACM Artist-Songwriter of the Year Award and HARDY receives the honor after winning ACM Songwriter of the Year last year.
Big Loud Records' heavy-hitter HARDY has never been just one thing. Uncaging a new chapter, HARDY soared to new heights with the release of the mockingbird & THE CROW, his critically acclaimed half-country, half-rock sophomore album, adding to over 2.8 billion career streams. The dichotomous, 17-track effort debuted top-five all-genre on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and kinged seven additional Billboard charts in its first week, including Top Country Albums, Top Rock Albums, and Top Album Sales. The pride of Philadelphia, Miss. has earned his reputation as “a promising purveyor of keeping the spirit of classic heavy Southern rock alive” (American Songwriter), “capable of writing the big hits for radio, obstinate enough to do something completely unexpected, and savvy enough to find the throughline for it all” (Rolling Stone). A five-time ACM Award winner, HARDY is a three-time CMA Triple Play Award recipient, the 2022 BMI Country Songwriter of the Year, and a three-time AIMP Songwriter of the Year. HARDY has written 13 No. 1 singles including his own double platinum No. 1 single “ONE BEER” feat. Lauren Alaina + Devin Dawson, chart-topping, platinum Dierks Bentley + BRELAND collaboration, “Beers On Me,” and game-changing platinum duet “wait in the truck” feat. Lainey Wilson. HARDY has been nominated for ACM Awards with a songwriter credit on Morgan Wallen’s “Sand In My Boots,” Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country,” which HARDY took home an ACM Award for, and his own song “wait in the truck.” He's previously toured with Thomas Rhett, Morgan Wallen, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean, Cole Swindell, and more, and flies nationwide on his sold-out, 19-date headline arena tour, the mockingbird & THE CROW Tour, this fall.
ACM SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD – As previously announced, Ashley Gorley was awarded the 58th ACM 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 (PRO) representatives. The Panel submits five nominees, at which time ACM members in the Artist/Musician/Producer/Engineer, Songwriter, Music Publisher/PRO and Record Company categories vote for the winner. This is Ashley Gorley’s first ACM Songwriter of the Year Award.
Ashley Gorley has written 67 No. 1 singles and has had more than 400 songs recorded by artists such as Morgan Wallen, Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood, Cole Swindell, Blake Shelton, HARDY, Kelsea Ballerini, Florida Georgia Line, Sam Hunt, Parmalee, Lee Brice, Brad Paisley and Darius Rucker. He was named the ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year in 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022, Billboard Country Songwriter of the Year in 2013, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2021, and 2022, and the NSAI Songwriter of the Year in 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2022. He was also named the NMPA’s Top Male Songwriter of 2021 with 24 certified songs. Gorley has been nominated for multiple GRAMMY, CMA and ACM Awards and has received the CMA’s Triple Play Award 20 times in his career, which recognizes songwriters with three or more No.1 songs in one year. In 2016, he became the first songwriter to be honored with three CMA Triple Play Awards in a single year for earning nine chart-topping songs in a 12-month period. He repeated that feat in 2020 and 2022. This year, Gorley was announced as ACM Songwriter of the Year for the first time, taking home the Song of the Year award and celebrated three Song of the Year nods, placing him in rare company with Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard, the only other songwriters to achieve the feat in a single year. In addition to his decorated career as a songwriter, Gorley runs his own publishing company, Tape Room Music, whose writers have celebrated nearly 40 No. 1s and several Top Ten songs recorded by artists such as HARDY, Sam Hunt, Keith Urban, Dustin Lynch, Jake Owen, and Florida Georgia Line.
Past recipients of the ACM Songwriter of the Year Award include Ross Copperman, Dallas Davidson, HARDY, Luke Laird, Hillary Lindsey, Shane McAnally, Lori McKenna, and Roger Miller.
To search the Academy’s database and view the full list of previous recipients for each category, visit here.
For more information on the ACM Awards and all ACM events, visit www.ACMcountry.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
Founded in Southern California in 1964 as a regional trade organization, the ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC (ACM) has grown in the almost-60 years since into a leading association for the Country Music industry. Now headquartered in Nashville, TN and boasting record-high membership of nearly 5,000 nationwide, the Academy serves as a powerhouse advocate for Country fans, artists, and all facets of the business, as well as a supporter of philanthropic work through charitable partner ACM LIFTING LIVES, dedicated to improving lives through the power of music and providing aid in times of need, with a focus on health initiatives. 2023 is another monumental year for the Academy, with the ACM Awards having returned to Texas in May and streamed live for a global audience on Prime Video, still the only major awards show to livestream exclusively. The Academy also remains relentlessly committed to creating a more inclusive environment for underrepresented groups in Country Music, from the boardroom to the stage, and over the last year has launched both ACM LEVel Up, a two-year professional development and enrichment curriculum for rising leaders, and OnRamp, a guaranteed income program for Black members of the Nashville music community, in partnership with the Black Music Action Coalition. For more information, visit ACMcountry.com or ACMLiftingLives.org.
# # #