Tears, Laughter, and Praise at 8th Annual ACM Honors

Unfortunately due to time constraints, not all awards are recognized during larger televised ceremonies. That is why many in the music industry found themselves converging on the historic Ryman Theater in the heart of Nashville, TN on September 9th, 2014 for the ACM Honors, a night of live music celebrating special award recipients. Hosted by RCA recording artist Jake Owen, attendees pondered if Promoter of the Year recipient Brian O’Connell gave out his real phone number during his acceptance speech, sang “Happy Birthday” to Hunter Hayes (whom was celebrating his 23rd birthday), and were educated in the rich history and contributions of the recipients with video montages of career highlights and artist accounts of each individual before being serenaded with a performance by their songs (see list below for individual performances), and gushed at a very pregnant Carrie Underwood, whom became endearingly emotional during her acceptance speech for the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award (“I don’t know why I’m crying!” she said). Attendees were also surprised by a special presenter – Tim Tebow, a good friend of Rascal Flatts, came onstage to present them with the Jim Reeves International Award.


The highlights of the night, however, were the performances – in many regards it was the newer generation of country artists honoring the old (with the exception of Underwood, whose homage came from fellow Oklahoma natives The Swon Brothers); The Oak Ridge Boys had the entire auditorium swaying and singing to their hit ‘Elvira’, were mesmerized with the amazing voice of Lee Ann Womack, and were entranced by the whimsical vocals of Steve Palladio and Clare Bowen. The biggest performance of the night was a rare performance by three leading ladies in music – performing their own hits written by Songwriter of the Year recipient Shane McAnally, the stage was graced by a dancing Kelly Clarkson, stunning Hillary Scott, and elegant Kacey Musgraves, whom strapped on a banjo during her performance of “Merry Go Round“.

The night went seamlessly, and the more laid-back affair was enjoyed by all in attendance. Check out the list of winners, along with their respective presenters and performers below.

Industry Awards – Presented by Justin Moore
Night Club of the Year: Billy Bob’s Texas, Fort Worth, TX
Venue of the Year – Small Capacity: Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater, Austin, TX
Venue of the Year – Medium Capacity: Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville, TN
Venue of the Year – Large Capacity: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
Don Romero Talent Buyer of the Year: Nicole Moore, Neste Event Marketing
Casino of the Year – Small Capacity: Mohegan Sun Wolf Den, Uncasville, CT
Casino of the Year – Medium Capacity: Mohegan Sun Wolf Arena, Uncasville, CT
Promoter of the Year: Brian O’Connell, Live Nation

Studio Recording Awards – Presented by Thomas Rhett
Bass Player of the Year : Michael Rhodes
Guitar Player of the Year: Rob McNelley
Piano/Keyboards Player of the Year: Charlie Judge
Steel Guitar Player of the Year: Paul Franklin
Audio Engineer of the Year: Justin Niebank
Specialty Instruments(s) Player of the Year: Bryan Sutton
Drummer of the Year: Shannon Forrest
Producer of the Year: Dan Huff

Special Awards
Career Achievement Award: Ronnie Milsap, Performance by Hunter Hayes
Career Achievement Award: Toby Keith (Not in attendance, video acknowledgement)
Mae Boren Axton Award: Paul Moore, Presented by Joe Bonsall , Performance by The Oak Ridge Boys
Songwriter of the Year: Shane McAnally, Presented by Kenny Chesney, Performance by Kelly Clarkson, Kasey Musgraves and Hillary Scott
Gene Weed Special Achievement Award: Carrie Underwood, Performance by The Swon Brothers
Jim Reeves International Award: Rascal Flatts and Steve Buchanan, Presented by Tim Tebow and Pete Fisher, Performance by Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen
Pioneer Award: Bob Beckham, Presented by Brenda Lee, Performance by Tony Lee White
Poet’s Award: Cowboy Jack Clement, Performances by Shawn Camp and Billy Burnette
Poet’s Award: Buck Owens, Performances by Dierks Bentley and Dwight Yoakam
Poet’s Award: Dean Dillon, Presented by Lee Ann Womack, Performances by Rodney Clawson and Lee Ann Womack
Poet’s Award: Kris Kristofferson, Presented by Jack Ingram, Performances by Jack Ingram and Will Hoge

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