The 15th annual Academy of Country Music Honors ceremony will return to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday, Aug. 24, and will honor Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Morgan Wallen, Shania Twain and more.
Lambert is being honored with the ACM triple crown award following her ACM entertainer of the year win earlier this year. Country artists qualify for an ACM triple crown with a win in the appropriate new artist category, alongside a win in either the male, female or duo or group category, and an entertainer of the year win. Only seven other artists have been honored as triple crown award winners — Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Mickey Gilley, Merle Haggard, Barbara Mandrell, and Carrie Underwood. (Two other artists — The Chicks and Keith Urban — have qualified for the award but have yet to receive it.)
Stapleton will be honored with the ACM spirit award, which recognizes 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.” In addition to being a 13-time ACM Award-winner, Stapleton has become a fan and critical favorite through his releases including “Tennessee Whiskey,” “Starting Over” and “Nobody to Blame,” as well as his songs recorded by other artists including Chesney and Josh Turner. He has also become a favored collaborator, notching duets with such artists as Taylor Swift, Pink and Adele.
Wallen will be honored with the ACM Milestone Award, which honors the contributions of Gene Weed, who directed and produced the ACM Awards for more than 30 years. The accolade is awarded to an artist, duo/group or industry leader “for a specific, unprecedented or outstanding achievement in the field of country music during the preceding calendar year.” Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album led the Billboard 200 albums chart for 10 weeks following its release in early 2021, and won the ACM’s album of the year honor during the March 2022 ACM Awards ceremony. Wallen was also named country male artist of the year at the 2022 Billboard Music Awards.
Twain and Sonny Throckmorton will both be honored with the ACM Poet’s Award, which is presented to a “country music songwriter for outstanding and longstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their career, which special consideration given to a song or songs’ impact on the culture of country music.”
Throckmorton’s career launched in the late 1970s. He has had more than 1,000 songs recorded by artists including Ray Charles, Haggard, Jackson, The Judds, George Strait and Tanya Tucker. Among his classic songs are Haggard’s “The Way I Am,” Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Middle Age Crazy” and The Judds’ “Why Not Me.” Throckmorton was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985.
Twain has earned three ACM Awards and five Grammys during her career, and became the first artist to have three consecutive diamond-certified albums. Her hit songs have included “From This Moment On,” “Forever and For Always,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and “Up!” Previous ACM Poet’s Award honorees include Bill Anderson, Dean Dillon, Tom T. Hall, Loretta Lynn, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams and Kris Kristofferson.
The ACM Film Award, which recognizes “an outstanding television movie, series, or feature film released during the preceding calendar year which prominently features country music,” goes to Taylor Sheridan’s series Yellowstone.
HARDY, who was previously announced as this year’s ACM songwriter of the year winner, will be celebrated alongside previously announced studio recording award and industry award winners.
“ACM Honors is truly a special and unique night as the entire country music community comes together to celebrate the achievements of artists, musicians, and industry executives that have made a positive impact on the industry during the prior year or over their careers,” said ACM CEO Damon Whiteside. “Being the 15th anniversary of this event also makes it a night to remember some of the Academy’s pioneers who originally inspired these honors.”
Other winners include the late Connie Bradley as the recipient of the ACM icon award, which honors the contributions of musician-producer-publisher Cliffie Stone. For more than three decades, Bradley championed songwriters through her work at ASCAP, which contributed to ASCAP signing such artists as Garth Brooks, Chesney, Alan Jackson, George Strait and Trisha Yearwood.
Paul Barnabee and Dwight Wiles will be honored with the ACM lifting lives award, which “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.” Barnabee has served two consecutive years as the chair of the ACM Lifting Lives Board of Directors and was instrumental in launching the ACM Lifting Lives COVID-19 Response Fund in 2020. Barnabee has worked at Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy; Polygram Records and Sony Music.
Wiles’ three decades in music also includes time building the business management firm Wiles+Taylor & Co., as well as time in personal artist management, business management and financial consulting. He is also the co-owner of music publishing administration company Do Write Music. Wiles’s tenure on the ACM Lifting Lives Board dates prior to the organization’s 2008 rebranding. Wiles has been instrumental in creating several of ACM Lifting Lives’ tentpole events including Party for a Cause and Music Camp.
The ACM Service Award will go to Duane Clark. The 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.” Clark has been the co-owner of Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy for more than a decade. He has served a 13-year tenure on the Academy of Country Music board of directors, beginning in 2009. Clark served as chairman of the organization from 2018-2019 and continues to serve as treasurer of the ACM Lifting Lives board of directors. Clark also acts as a financial advisor to Country Radio Broadcasters.