ARTICLE: Academy Of Country Music Honors Awards

September 17, 2008 Academy of Country Music Honors Awards, Nashville TN

The Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville TN was home to The Academy of Country Music Honors Awards. An invite only black tie crowd enjoyed strolling through the historic halls during the social event prior to the awards show. The show opened with a warm country welcome and remarks by ACM Executive Director, Bob Romeo. The ever lovely, talented and highly respected artist on her own, Martina McBride, hosted the special event, with help introducing awards by multi-award winning country music artist Richie McDonald and television legend, Ralph Emery.

Performances during the evening included, a tribute to Fred Rose by hit song writer, Rivers Rutherford; Joe Nichols, Jon Randall and Connie Smith performed songs in tribute to Bill Anderson; Amy Grant, Raul Malo and Le Ann Rimes entertained those in attendance for a tribute to Brenda Lee; A high energy performance by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound of hits by the Oak Ridge Boys and in honor of Conway Twitty, songs were sung by Glen Templeton and Emily Portman who are the stars of “It’s Only Make Believe”, and Luke Bryan and Josh Turner.

The Academy of Country Music Board of Directors votes for the recipients of these special awards and presents them to the deserving recipients during special ceremonies.

A new category announced and presented this year was the Poets Award, which recognizes a songwriter or songwriter(s) for outstanding musical and/or lyrical contribution throughout their career in the field of country music. The 2008 recipients of the ACM Honors Poets Award were presented to:

Bill Anderson, who in the past 50 years of his music career has written songs for some of the biggest names in country music, including himself. “Whisperin’ Bill” continues to write hit songs after six decades of beginning his singing career and is a huge part of the on going entertainment at the Grand Ole Opry.

Fred Rose, who founded the very first country music publishing house in Nashville. Fred is inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and his Acuff-Rose Music is still one of the most successful publishing companies in Nashville.

The ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award is presented to those artist who represent outstanding pioneer qualities. Pioneer Awards in 2008 were presented to:

Brenda Lee, who started her career in the 1950’s before she was even a teenager. She is the only woman in history to be honored by both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Oak Ridge Boys, who have roots in Gospel music, but found enormous Country music success with 17 number one hits during three decades of performing and entertaining.

Conway Twitty, started his music career with a pop hit, “It’s Only Make Believe” but he was a huge country music sensation and a big hit with the female fans for his deep and sensual voice and lyrics. Twitty had a record breaking 40 number one hits over the course of his career, either as a solo artist or with his duet partner, Loretta Lynn.

Porter Wagoner, who will always be remembered for his flashy stage outfits and his welcoming warmth which made everyone feel welcome when he performed. Porter was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for 50 years. Porter was involved in many aspects of the country community including television shows, the Opryland Theme Park and his roll in Clint Eastwood’s film, Honky Tonk Man.

The Jim Reeves International Award is not necessarily given to an artist, but to any individual for outstanding contributions the acceptance of country music throughout the world. The ACM Honors presented the 2008 award to:

Dick Clark, who is best known for his show American Bandstand. He was dubbed “America’s Oldest Teenager”. Dick Clark brought the Academy of Country Music Awards to television in 1979, and over the years has been host, producer and backstage interviewer. His son R.A. Clark continues as executive producer bringing country music exposure worldwide.

A category for Musicians, Bandleaders and Instrumentalists stands out on it’s own. With the outstanding talent in these categories, picking only one recipient to recognize is not an easy task. Winners for the BMI Honors Awards are as follows:

Top Guitarist of the Year – Dan Huff

Top Piano / Keyboard Player of the Year – Matt Rollings

Top Bass Player of the Year – Michael Rhodes

Top Percussionist / Drummer of the Year – Shannon Forrest

Top Steel Guitar Player of the Year – Paul Franklin

Top Fiddle Player of the Year – Stuart Duncan

Top Specialty Instrument Player of the Year – Jerry Douglas

Audio Engineer of The Year – Justin Niebank

Producer of the Year – Mark Wright

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