Today the Academy of Country Music is announcing the winners of awards that will not be televised during the live telecast of the 47th ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS, telecast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network, due to time constraints. Special Awards, Industry Awards, MBI (Musician, Bandleader, Instrumentalist) and Songwriter of the Year honorees will be feted at the 6th Annual ACM Honors event on September 24, 2012 in Nashville.
The Academy of Country Music Special Awards are voted on by the ACM Board of Directors and are awarded during years where the Board of Directors feels there are clear and deserving candidates. Industry Awards are voted on by professional members of the Academy. The MBI ballot is voted on by professional members of the Academy classified in the Artist-Entertainer/Musician-Bandleader-Instrumentalist category, and the Producer-Engineer-Studio Manager sub-category (contained within the Affiliated category). The Songwriter of the Year ballot is voted on by professional members of the Academy in the following categories; Artist-Entertainer/Musician-Bandleader-Instrumentalist, Composer, Music Publisher/PRO, Record Company, and the Producer/Engineer/Studio Manager subcategory (contained within the Affiliated category).
Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award
Emmylou Harris, Billy Sherrill, Ricky Skaggs and Dwight Yoakam have been chosen to receive the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award honoring individuals who are pioneers in the country music genre.
Emmylou Harris brought a graceful delivery, beautiful harmonies and a wealth of exceptional material to her career in country musiC. Harris was discovered at a nightclub in Washington D.C., then provided her signature vocals to Gram Parsons' seminal recordings. On her own, she arrived on the country charts in 1975. Over the next decade, she racked up 21 Top 10 singles, including five No. 1 hits. The Trio album with talented friends Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt earned the 1987 ACM Award for Album of the Year. Harris was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
Billy Sherrill produced many of country's most famous names and wrote numerous classics throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The Alabama native joined Epic Records in 1964, where his credits as both a producer and songwriter included David Houston's "Almost Persuaded," Charlie Rich's "The Most Beautiful Girl" and Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man." He also served as a producer on George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today" (which earned Sherrill an ACM Award for Producer of the Year), as well as Johnny Paycheck's "She's All I Got" and Tanya Tucker's "Delta Dawn." He joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2010.
Ricky Skaggs energized country music in the 1980s by taking his traditional sound in a lively new direction. Over that decade, the Kentucky native charted 19 Top 10 singles, including 11 No. 1 hits. Rather than writing his material, he gathered first-rate songs by the likes of Guy Clark, Bill Monroe, Webb Pierce, Mel Tillis and Cindy Walker. He was named the ACM's 1981 Top New Male Vocalist and received five ACM Awards for Touring Band of the Year. Since that time, Skaggs has focused on bluegrass music and now leads one of the most respected ensembles in the genre.
Dwight Yoakam captured the imagination of traditionalists and new listeners alike by giving hillbilly music a modern twist. Born in Kentucky but based in Los Angeles, Yoakam debuted with a twangy cover of Johnny Horton's "Honky Tonk Man," which led him to the ACM's 1986 Top New Male Vocalist trophy. In all, Yoakam landed 14 Top 10 hits – some he wrote ("I Sang Dixie") and others he revived (Elvis Presley's "Little Sister"). Along with acclaimed albums and music videos, Yoakam proudly partnered with Buck Owens on the endearing 1988 duet, "Streets of Bakersfield." He remains active in music and film.
Past recipients of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award include Alabama, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Jerry Reed, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, Mel Tillis, Randy Travis, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Hank Williams, Sr., Hank Williams Jr. and Bob Wills, among others.
Crystal Milestone Award
Kenny Chesney, four-time ACM Entertainer of the Year, has sold more than 10,500,000 tickets on his 11 national tours, selling out stadiums across the country. His successful shows have promoted the entire genre to delighted fans while helping other country acts and cross-over artists gain exposure nationwide. The Academy is honoring Kenny for this remarkable achievement.
Past recipients of the Crystal Milestone Award include Garth Brooks and Jennifer Nettles.
Career Achievement Award
Vince Gill has been chosen to receive the Career Achievement Award, which is presented to an individual artist, duo, group or multiple artist collaboration who have advanced the popularity and acceptance of country music through their endeavors in the entertainment industry in multiple areas during the preceding calendar year.
Vince Gill returned to the country scene in 2011 with an appealing new album, Guitar Slinger, and the enthusiastic response proved that he had been missed. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean proclaimed an official Vince Gill Week in conjunction with the album's release. Gill also served as Grand Marshal of Nashville's Christmas parade. In addition, Gill and wife Amy Grant graced the cover of Good Housekeeping, while Sting shared the stage with him on an acclaimed CMT Crossroads. Meanwhile, the Country Music Hall of Fame member appeared on multiple talk shows and earned a Grammy nod for "Threaten Me With Heaven." Past recipients of the Career Achievement Award include John Anderson, Faith Hill, Tim McGRaw, Johnny Paycheck, Carl Perkins, Reba and Kenny Rogers.