Academy Of Country Music Announces Special Awards Category Recipients

The Academy of Country Music (ACM) announced winners of the ACM AWARDS in the Special Awards categories. These winners will be celebrated alongside winners of the ACM Industry Awards and Studio Recording Awards during the “12th Annual ACM Honors” at the Ryman Auditorium Wednesday, August 22nd.

The Cliffie Stone Icon Award will be presented to EMI Nashville artist Alan Jackson. Formerly known as the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, the honor is given to individuals, duos, groups, or industry leaders who, throughout their career, have advanced the popularity of the genre through their contributions in multiple facets of the industry such as songwriting, recording, production, touring, film, television, literary works, philanthropic contributions, and other goodwill efforts.

The Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award will be bestowed upon CAPITOL Nashville’s Darius Rucker. This award is presented to a recipient devoted to improving the lives of others through the power of music, generosity of spirit, and a commitment to serving others. The award is voted on by the ACM LIFTING LIVES Board Of Directors.

The Gene Weed Milestone Award will be presented to MCA Nashville artist Sam Hunt. Formerly given as two awards in the Crystal Milestone Award and Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, this newly combined award will honor a specific, unprecedented, or outstanding achievement in the field of Country music during the preceding calendar year.

The Mae Boren Axton Service Award will be presented posthumously to Mickey Christensen, Chris Christensen and Eddie Miller, all of whom co-founded the organization that became known as the Academy Of Country Music. They, along with performer Tommy Wiggins, launched the Country and Western Music Academy in 1964. Previously named the Mae Boren Axton Award, the newly-delegated award is presented in recognition of years of dedication and service to the Academy of Country Music (ACM).

The Merle Haggard Spirit Award will be bestowed upon CAPITOL Nashville artist Dierks Bentley. In its third year, this award honors those who continue the legacy of Country legend and 20-time ACM Award winner Merle Haggard by following his or her own path, crafting great songs, and epitomizing Merle’s spirit through genuine performances and great storytelling.

The Poet’s Award will be given to both Matraca Berg and Norro Wilson, with Norro receiving the honor posthumously. Presented to a Country music songwriter for outstanding and longstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their career, the award is also given with special consideration to a song or songs’ impact on the culture of Country music.

The Jim Reeves International Award will be given posthumously to Rob Potts. This Award recognizes an artist or industry leader for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of Country music throughout the world.

The Songwriter Of The Year Award will be presented to previously-announced winner Rhett Akins, marking his first-ever win in this category. The Award honors an individual known predominately as a songwriter and is selected by a professional panel of judges comprised of songwriters, publishers, producers, and performing rights organization representatives.

We congratulate all the winners who have rightfully deserved this recognition. For further information on all these recipients and past winners go to

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