The 11th Annual ACM Honors took place last night (August 23rd) at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium. The broadcast, dedicated to celebrating the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards, is scheduled to air on Friday, September 15th (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) via the CBS Television Network.
The event featured a stellar lineup of live performances and award presentations celebrating Special Awards recipients Kelsea Ballerini (Gene Weed Milestone Award), Toby Keith (Poet’s Award), Bob Kingsley (Mae Boren Axton Service Award), Reba McEntire (Mae Boren Axton Service Award), Nashville (Tex Ritter Film Award), Dolly Parton (Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award), Shel Silverstein (Poet’s Award, awarded posthumously), and George Strait (Cliffie Stone Icon Award). Winners of the Industry and Studio Recording Awards, along with Songwriter of the Year Award winner, Lori McKenna, were also recognized. The Academy of Country Music will present trophies to previously announced Special Awards recipients Eric Church (Merle Haggard Spirit Award) and Willie Nelson (Poet’s Award) at a later date.
Presenters who took the stage during the ceremony included Jason Aldean, radio personality Bobby Bones, Ross Copperman, Chris Janson, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Brad Paisley, Cassadee Pope, Hillary Scott, Jimmy Webb, and Brett Young.
Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott kicked off the star-studded evening with a performance of “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia” and was then joined by Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild to perform the duet “Does He Love You”. Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman took to the stage for a rendition of “Little Rock.” After this stunning musical tribute to Reba McEntire, the three songbirds then presented the Oklahoman with the Mae Boren Axton Service Award.
“The Academy of Country Music has been so sweet to me,” said McEntire. “For you girls, my buddies, to sing my songs, that meant so much to me. Mae has always been my guardian angel. I miss her so much. And I’m so proud to be getting this award with her name on it.”
Later in the evening, Chris Stapleton performed “When Did You Stop Loving Me,” and Alan Jackson performed a medley of “Marina Del Rey” and “The Fireman” in tribute to George Strait before he accepted his award. Strait then took the stage and performed “Here For A Good Time” to wrap up the event.
“When I first started out on the road, I thought I had maybe five years to sing my songs,” Strait quipped. “Well, now it’s been 30 years, and I still love it. I’ve been with the same record company my whole career. I signed with them in 1980, and I’ve been here longer than any of ‘em.”
Enjoy some additional highlights from the 2017 ACM Honors below!
Brad Paisley performing “My Tennessee Mountain Home” for the Dolly Parton tribute.
Little Big Town honoring singer-songwriter Lori McKenna.
Toby Keith playing one of his classics.
Share this with other country music fans and don’t forget to catch the broadcast!