The Academy of Country Music has announced the recipients of their special awards and categories that will not be broadcast on the April 7 show.
Guy Clark and the late Hank Williams will receive the Poet's Award for their outstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions to country music.
Guy Clark has earned the respect of countless songwriters by crafting his compositions with wit, wisdom and warmth. This native Texan made a lasting impression with his 1975 debut album Old No. 1. His extensive songwriting catalog includes cuts by Johnny Cash (Texas 1947), Kenny Chesney (Hemingway’s Whiskey), Rodney Crowell (She’s Crazy for Leaving) and Ricky Skaggs (Heartbroke). Meanwhile, his own recordings of L.A. Freeway and Desperadoes Waiting for a Train make listeners feel as though they know him personally. The 2011 collection, This One’s For Him: A Tribute to Guy Clark, received a Grammy nomination for best folk album.The Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, which go to individuals who are pioneers in country music, will go to the Judds and the late Keith Whitley.
Hank Williams remains one of the most revered songwriters in history. A native of Alabama, Williams’ commercial style found a champion in music publisher Fred Rose in 1946. Despite a brief career, Williams catalog includes Cold, Cold Heart, Hey Good Lookin’ and Your Cheatin’ Heart. His compositions have been recorded by Tony Bennett, Jimmy Buffett, Norah Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis, Charley Pride, Linda Ronstadt and Hank Williams Jr., among many others. The legendary figure was found dead on Jan. 1, 1953. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 and received the 1973 ACM Pioneer Award. Hank Williams will be inducted posthumously.
Keith Whitley brought a blend of traditional bluegrass, classic country and contemporary songwriting influences to his timeless recordings. Although his catalog is regrettably small, this Kentucky native stands as one of the most respected vocalists of his era, thanks to a rich baritone that effortlessly conveyed the emotion of any song. Whitley first entered the Top 10 in 1986 with “Ten Feet Away,” setting the stage for enduring ballads like Don’t Close Your Eyes, When You Say Nothing at All and I’m No Stranger to the Rain, all of which reached No. 1 before Whitley died in 1989 at age 33.The Mae Boren Axton Award, given to an individual in recognition of their years of service to the Academy, will go to Tommy Wiggins.
The Judds gave country music an acoustic boost in the 1980s, ultimately racking up 20 Top 10 hits. They picked up seven consecutive ACM Awards in the Vocal Duet category, as well as a Song of the Year trophy for Why Not Me. Their winning streak began in 1984 with Mama He’s Crazy, the first of 14 No. 1 hits. Fans also identified with the ups and downs of Naomi and Wynonna’s mother-daughter relationship, adding another dimension to modern classics like the nostalgic Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days) and the empowering Love Can Build a Bridge.
Tommy Wiggins co-founded the organization that is now the Academy of Country Music. While pursuing opportunities performing on radio and on stage, Wiggins lived in Tucson and Nashville before relocating in 1960 to Los Angeles, where he appeared on local television shows. Along with releasing several singles on Stadium Records, Wiggins launched a radio industry publication titled D.J.’s Digest. In 1964, he teamed with songwriter Eddie Miller and club owners Mickey and Chris Christensen to stage a Los Angeles-based awards show and form the Country Western Music Academy--later renamed the Academy of Country Music--to draw attention to country artists based on the West Coast.In other special awards, the Crystal Milestone Award (artist or industry leader who reaches a career milestone) will go to Jason Aldean, the Gene Weed Special Achievement Awards (acknowledges unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music) will be awarded to Blake Shelton and the Jim Reeves International Award (outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world) will be presented to Lady Antebellum.
Also announced today were a number of awards that are not given during the ACM Awards broadcast.
- PRODUCER OF THE YEAR – Jay Joyce
- AUDIO ENGINEER OF THE YEAR – Chuck Ainlay
- BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Jimmie Lee Sloas
- PERCUSSIONIST/DRUMMER OF THE YEAR – Matt Chamberlain
- FIDDLE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Aubrey Haynie
- GUITARIST OF THE YEAR – J.T. Corenflos
- PIANO/KEYBOARDS PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Michael Rojas
- SPECIALTY INSTRUMENT(S) PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Ilya Toshinsky
- STEEL GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Mike Johnson
- SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR – Dallas Davidson
- CASINO OF THE YEAR – Red Rock Casino & Resort - Las Vegas, NV
- NIGHTCLUB OF THE YEAR – Joe's Bar - Chicago, IL
- VENUE OF THE YEAR – Ryman Auditorium - Nashville, TN
- DON ROMEO TALENT BUYER OF THE YEAR – Jerry Hufford - Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace
- PROMOTER OF THE YEAR – Ed Warm - Joe's Bar