Here at the Country Music Greats Radio Show, we ALWAYS appreciate when others respect and pay tribute to the past… especially when it pertains to Country Music.

We had the pleasure of attending the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Honors & Awards Show at the beautiful Ryman Auditorium earlier this week, where they did JUST that. We worked the red… err… blue carpet, and chatted with some legends, and several new(er) acts.  We’ll have those audio clips for you soon, but until then… you can enjoy some photos from our night, after the jump!

Click “READ MORE” for a full Rundown and List of Winners/Recipients
8th Annual ACM Honors
Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, TN
September 9, 2014

Host, Jake Owen, opened the show with his version of Ronnie Milsap‘s “Back On My Mind Again”.

Justin Moore presented the ACM Industry Awards
CASINO OF THE YEAR:  Small Capacity – Mohegan Sun Wolf Den – Uncasville, CT
CASINO OF THE YEAR:  Medium Capacity – Mohegan Sun Arena – Uncasville, CT
NIGHTCLUB 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 ROMEO TALENT BUYER OF THE YEAR:  Nicole More – Neste Event Marketing
PROMOTER OF THE YEAR:  Brian O’Connell – Live Nation

The ACM Studio Recording Awards were presented by Thomas Rhett
BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR:  Michael Rhodes
DRUMMER OF THE YEAR:  Shannon Forrest
GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Rob McNelley
PIANO/KEYBOARDS PLAYER OF THE YEAR:  Charlie Judge
SPECIALTY INSTRUMENT(S) PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Bryan Sutton
STEEL GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR:  Paul Franklin
AUDIO ENGINEER OF THE YEAR:  Justin Niebank
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR:  Dann Huff

The ACM Career Achievement Awards went to 2 very special honorees this year.
Birthday boy, Hunter Hayes, performed Ronnie Milsap‘s classic “Wouldn’t Have Missed It For the World” and threw in a chorus of “Smoky Mountain Rain” for good measure.
Ronnie accepted his award, and praised Hayes’ tribute to him.

Toby Keith also received this award, but was not in attendance. He sent a nice video message as an acceptance.

The Mae Boren Axton Award was presented to Paul Moore of William Morris Endeavor.
One of his favorite bands, The Oak Ridge Boys, performed “Elvira” for him, and Joe Bonsall presented Moore with the trophy.

Up next was the award for ACM Songwriter of the Year… which was handed to Shane McAnally, but not before a very special tribute to him, from 3 wonderful women.
Kelly Clarkson, Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum), and Kacey Musgraves banded together to perform a medley of their Shane McAnally penned hits… including “Tie It Up, Downtown, and Merry Go Round”. Not to be outdone, Kenny Chesney emerged from the side of the stage to present Shane with his trophy.

That was followed by a performance by reality TV show stars The Swon Brothers,  to honor Carrie Underwood. The brothers sang Carrie’s “See You Again” and “Wasted” before she took the stage to accept the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award (which acknowledges unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music). The pregnant Underwood was very emotional, and appreciative in her speech.

The Jim Reeves International Award was up next, and presented to 2 different recipients.
Rascal Flatts were up first, and a video montage of overseas shows played before special guest, Tim Tebow, walked out to present the trophy to the guys. Tebow is a huge Flatts fan and the guys asked him to neal with them on stage, and do his signature pose… after accepting the trophy.
Steve Buchanan of the Opry was the other recipient of the Jim Reeves International Award. Nashville TV Show stars Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen performed “If I Didn’t Know Better” before Buchanan accepted his award, from Pete Fisher.

Bob Beckham was honored (posthumously) with a performance of “Polk Salad Annie” by original songwriter and performer Tony Joe White. Little Miss Dynamite, Miss Brenda Lee, presented the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award to Beckham’s family, after sharing several kind words about him.

The last category of the night was the ACM Poet’s Award… which honors songwriters from outstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions through their careers. This year, there were four recipients.

Up first was Cowboy Jack Clement. Shawn Camp sang Clement’s  “I Guess Things Happen That Way” and was followed by Billy Burnette‘s take on “Ballad Of A Teenage Queen“. Jack’s daughter, Allison, accepted the award for her father, and read a poem she’d penned just for the occasion.

Next we honored Buck Owens… and had a great time doing it. Dierks Bentley tried his hand at Owens’ “Love’s Gonna Live Here Again”. He was followed by Dwight Yoakam, performing a medley of “My Heart Skips a Beat,” “Cryin Time,” “Together Again” and “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail” in tribute to the great Buck Owens. Buck’s son, Buddy, accepted the award on his father’s behalf.

Songwriter Dean Dillon was the next man to receive the ACM Poet’s award Tuesday night, but not before some special tributes of his own. Songwriter Rodney Clawson sang Dillon penned, George Strait hit, “The Chair“, and the always incredible Lee Ann Womack came out to sing Gary Stewart‘s “An Empty Glass“. Dean Dillon took the stage to accept his award, and thanked the audience, while reflecting back on earlier times… and remembering friends like Hank Cochran.  He ended his speech with this great note… “I want to thank my momma for having me, God for saving me, and Country Music for loving me.” AMEN Dean, A-Men.

Some would argue that they saved the best for last… and they might be right. The last ACM Poet Award, and last award of the night… went to Kris Kristofferson. Jack Ingram stepped out to sing the iconic “Sunday Morning Coming Down“, and Will Hoge almost burned the Ryman down with his rendition of “Me and Bobby McGee“. Seriously, if you ducked out before the end, you most certainly missed out. Jack Ingram came back out to present the trophy to Kristofferson, who accepted graciously and thanked all those before him.

It was a 3 hour ordeal, but one of my favorite events of the year!


The house band for the evening, was led by musical director Frank Liddell, Wyatt Beard (background vocals), Glen Duncan (fiddle), Paul Franklin (steel guitar), Jedd Hughes (guitar/utility), John Jarvis (piano/keys), Liana Manis (background vocals), Brent Mason (guitar), Jerry Roe (drums), included Glenn Worf (bandleader/bass).