Today (May 30), the Academy of Country Music announced its special awardees for the 11th annual ACM Honors ceremony, which will take place August 23 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and be televised on CBS at a later date.
In addition to previously announced Songwriter of the Year Award winner Lori McKenna, the ACM Honors will pay tribute to a number of artists for their specific achievements, including George Strait, Dolly Parton, Kelsea Ballerini, Bob Kingsley, Reba McEntire, Eric Church, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Shel Silverstein and the TV show Nashville.
Check out the list of awardees, awards and past winners below.
Cliffie Stone Icon Award: This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry leader who throughout their career has 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.
Past Winners: Alabama, Bob Beckham, Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Crystal Gayle, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, The Judds, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Jerry Reed, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, Billy Sherrill, Ricky Skaggs, The Statler Brothers, Mel Tillis, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Keith Whitley, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Bob Wills and Dwight Yoakam.
Gary Harber Lifting Lives Award: This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry professional who is devoted to improving lives through the power of music, has a generosity of spirit, and is committed to serving others, voted on by the ACM Lifting Lives Board of Directors.
Past Winners: Brooks & Dunn, Vince Gill, Lonestar, Martina McBride, Neal McCoy, Reba McEntire, Montgomery Gentry, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood.
Gene Weed Milestone Award: This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry leader for a specific, unprecedented or outstanding achievement in the field of country music during the preceding calendar year.
Past Winners: Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, George Burns, Kenny Chesney, Jeff Foxworthy, Merle Haggard, Gayle Holcomb, Loretta Lynn, Little Big Town, Willie Nelson, Jennifer Nettles, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Taylor Swift, and Carrie Underwood.
Bob Kingsley and Reba McEntire
Mae Boren Axton Service Award: This award is presented to an outstanding country music artist, duo/group or industry leader in recognition of years of dedication and service to the Academy of Country Music.
Past Winners: Barry Adelman, John Dorris, Tim DuBois, Rod Essig, Gayle Holcomb, Jack Lameier, Marge Meoli, Paul Moore, Ray Pilzak, Gaynelle Pitts, Keith Urban, Gene Weed, Tommy Wiggins and David Young.
Merle Haggard Spirit Award: This award is presented to a singer-songwriter who is continuing the legacy of country legend and 20-time ACM Award Winner Merle Haggard by following his/her own path, crafting great songs and epitomizing Merle’s spirit through genuine performances and great storytelling.
Past Winners: Miranda Lambert.
Toby Keith, Willie Nelson and Shel Silverstein
Poet’s Award: This award is presented to a country music songwriter for outstanding and longstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their career, with special consideration given to a song or songs’ impact on the culture of country music.
Past Winners: Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, Guy Clark, Jack Clement, Hank Cochran, Dean Dillon, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Kris Kristofferson, Bob McDill, Roger Miller, Buck Owens, Eddie Rabbitt, Fred Rose, Don Schlitz, Cindy Walker, Jimmy Webb and Hank Williams.
Songwriter of the Year Award: This award is presented to an individual known predominately as a songwriter, selected by a Professional Panel of judges composed of songwriters, publishers, producers, and performing rights organization representatives.
Past Winners: Ross Copperman, Dallas Davidson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally and Roger Miller.
Tex Ritter Film Award: This award recognizes an outstanding television movie, series or feature film released during the preceding calendar year which prominently features country music.
Past Winners: Beer For My Horses, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Country Strong, Crazy Heart, Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, O Brother, Where Art Thou, Sweet Dreams and Walk the Line.
photos: Willie Nelson by David McClister/Sony Music Entertainment; Dolly Parton by Quantrell Colbert/NBC; George Strait courtesy EB Media; Eric Church by John Peets/UMG Nashville