Kenny Chesney (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)
As in most major award entertainment shows, not every winning category is featured during the televised event. So it is with the Academy of Country Music, which today announced a slew of early, off-camera winners in categories such as the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, the Crystal Milestone Award, and the Career Achievement Award.
The Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award honors individuals who are pioneers in the country music genre. It’s named after Cliffie Stone, a California-based western swing artist best known for his roles at Capitol Records and as host of the influential Hometown Jamboree TV show. This year’s winners include singer and songwriter Emmylou Harris; Bakersfield honky-tonk master (and 1986 ACM Best New Artist winner) Dwight Yoakam; bluegrass artist, ACM winner and ’80s country hitmaker Ricky Skaggs; and producer Billy Sherrill, a guy who was responsible for a huge number of legendary hits for icons such as George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Johnny Paycheck and Charlie Rich.
The Career Achievement Award goes to an artist who’s “advanced the popularity and acceptance of country music through their endeavors in the entertainment industry in multiple areas during the preceding calendar year.” This year it goes to Country Music Hall of Fame member Vince Gill. (Past recipients include John Anderson, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Johnny Paycheck, Carl Perkins, Reba and Kenny Rogers.)
Kenny Chesney landed the Crystal Milestone Award for his tour success and helping promote country music and country artists; Alan Jackson received the Jim Reeves International Award (for contributing to the acceptance of country music around the world); and Gayle Holcomb gets this year’s Mae Boren Axton Award, which recognizes “dedication and service by an outstanding individual to the Academy of Country Music.”
The Poet’s Award honors songwriters for “outstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their careers in the field of country music.” This year the awards go to two artists: Bobby Braddock, who wrote some tremendously popular songs over the last few decades, including iconic ’70s hits for the likes of George Jones (“He Stopped Loving Her Today”) and Tammy Wynette (“D-I-V-O-R-C-E”); and country legend Roger Miller, who wrote and recorded an impressive number of hits in the 1960s including “Dang Me,” “Tall, Tall Trees,” and of course, “King of the Road.”
Additional early 2012 ACM Awards winners:
Songwriter of the Year: Dallas Davidson
Casino of the Year: Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas
Don Romeo Talent Buyer of the Year: Jimmy Jay, Jayson Promotions Inc.
Nightclub of the Year: Billy Bob’s Texas, Fort Worth, Texas
Promoter of the Year: Brian O’Connell, Live Nation
Venue of the Year: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville
Producer of the Year: Frank Liddell
Audio Engineer of the Year: Justin Niebank
Bass Player of the Year: Michael Rhodes
Percussionist/Drummer of the Year: Shannon Forrest
Guitarist of the Year: Kenny Greenberg
Fiddle Player of the Year: Stuart Duncan
Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year: John Hobbs
Specialty Instrument Player of the Year: Aubrey Haynie