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Weeks before the Academy of Country Music Awards, several trophies have already been doled out to the genre’s top artists.
Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Hank Williams, The Judds, Lady Antebellum, Guy Clark, Keith Whitley and Tommy Wiggins are among the first off-camera winners announced by the academy on Friday, taking home songwriter, industry and special awards.
The Voice coach Shelton has been selected to receive the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, given to an artist that represents unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievements in country music. Past winners include Garth Brooks, George Burns and Willie Nelson.
Aldean is being honored with the Crystal Milestone Award, which is given to an artist or industry leader to commemorate a specific, remarkable achievement. For Aldean, the honor comes on the heels of his first sold-out stadium show last year during his Night Train tour, which also made him the first country artist to headline at Boston’s historic Fenway Park. That show sold out in a record-setting seven minutes, prompting another show the following night.
Clark and Williams are given the Poet’s Award for songwriting, while Dallas Davidson is named songwriter of the year. Lady Antebellum is honored with the Jim Reeves International Award, for promoting acceptance of country music across the globe, while The Judds and Whitley were selected to receive the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, for individuals who are pioneers of the genre.
Find a complete list of early winners on the next page.
The ACM Awards are set for April 7 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The show will be broadcast live on CBS to the East Coast at 8 p.m., with a tape-delayed West Coast broadcast.
E-mail: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci
Mae Boren Axton Award – Tommy Wiggins has been chosen as the recipient of the Mae Boren Axton Award, given in recognition of years of dedication and service by an outstanding individual to the Academy of Country Music.
CASINO OF THE YEAR – Red Rock Casino & Resort, Las Vegas
NIGHTCLUB OF THE YEAR – Joe’s Bar, Chicago
VENUE OF THE YEAR – Ryman Auditorium, Nashville
DON ROMEO TALENT BUYER OF THE YEAR – Jerry Hufford, Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace
PROMOTER OF THE YEAR – Ed Warm, Joe’s Bar
MBI (MUSICIAN, BANDLEADER, INSTRUMENTALIST) AWARDS:
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
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