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The recipients of the Academy of Country Music’s Special Awards have been revealed. These winners will be celebrated during the 16th annual Academy of Country Music Honors on Wednesday, Aug. 23 at the Ryman Auditorium. The night will once again be hosted by Carly Pearce, a four-time ACM Award winner.

ACM Special Award honorees for 2023 include Clint Black, Breland, Kane Brown, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Charlie Cook, Charlie Daniels, Mike Dungan, Ashley Gorley, Hardy, Bill Mayne, Tim McGraw, K.T. Oslin, Chris Stapleton and Troy Vollhoffer. Each winner will be given a specific award for their achievements, as outlined below.

Additionally, previously announced Artist-Songwriter of the Year winner Hardy, Songwriter of the Year Ashley Gorley as well as Studio Recording Award and Industry Award winners, will be feted at the ACM Honors ceremony. Reigning ACM New Female Artist of the Year Hailey Whitters will present the ACM Studio Recording and Industry Awards portion of ACM Honors.

Tickets for ACM Honors will be available to ACM A-List email newsletter subscribers and Academy members through an exclusive pre-sale beginning Thursday (June 29), with general on-sale beginning Friday (June 30) through AXS. Performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

“The Academy of Country Music has played such a crucial role in the rise of my career in the last several years, giving me opportunities to expand my artistry with hosting,” Pearce says. “To be able to come back as the host of the ACM Honors for the third year in a row, I feel so grateful and excited for what I know will be such a special night!”

“This year’s ACM Special Award honorees have made a tremendous impact on the music we know and love, from icons and veteran executives who have shaped and steered the industry for years, to newer artists making a splash and welcoming fresh audiences into the community, and I am so excited about celebrating them in August at what is always one of the best nights of the year,” says Kerri Edwards, Chair of the ACM Special Awards Committee. “I’d like to thank our committee members for their invaluable participation and contributions in selecting this year’s exceptionally worthy class of honorees and offer my congratulations to all of the recipients.”

Special Award Honorees:

ACM Triple Crown Award – Chris Stapleton will receive the prestigious ACM Triple Crown Award following his first win for ACM Entertainer of the Year at the 58th Academy of Country Music Awards. Stapleton qualified for the Triple Crown Award after winning ACM New Male Vocalist of the Year, ACM Male Vocalist of the Year and ACM Entertainer of the Year throughout his career, an honor only eight other artists have been awarded. Previous recipients of the ACM Triple Crown Award include Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Kenny Chesney, Mickey Gilley, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Barbara Mandrell and Carrie Underwood.

ACM Icon Award – Mike Dungan and Tim McGraw have both been chosen to receive the ACM Icon Award, honoring the contributions of Cliffie Stone, who was known for his producing work along with his country music career. 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 recipients of the ACM Icon Award include Alabama, Connie Bradley, Brooks & Dunn, Garth Brooks, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Joe Galante, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Alan Jackson, George Jones, The Judds, Loretta Lynn, Martina McBride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Rascal Flatts, George Strait, Conway Twitty, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr. and Dwight Yoakam, among others.

ACM International Award – Kane Brown has been chosen to receive the International Award, inspired by Jim Reeves and presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry leader for outstanding contributions to the growth of country music throughout the world. Past recipients of the ACM International Award include Garth Brooks, Eric Church, Dick Clark, Roy Clark, Dan + Shay, Alan Jackson, Lady A, Kacey Musgraves, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts, Roy Rogers, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban.

ACM Lift Every Voice Award – Breland has been chosen to receive the first-ever ACM Lift Every Voice Award. This award is presented to a country music artist, duo/group, industry leader or affiliate/partner who plays a pivotal role in elevating underrepresented voices throughout the country music genre, transcending demographics and geography. The nominee for this category is proposed by the rising leaders in the Academy’s LEVel UP: Lift Every Voice professional development and enrichment program, a two-year curriculum designed to empower participants to play a pivotal role in expanding the horizons of country music into new audiences that transcend demographics and geography.

ACM Lifting Lives Award – Troy Vollhoffer has been chosen to receive the Lifting Lives Award, honoring the contributions of Gary Haber, known as a business manager and past president of ACM Lifting Lives. 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. It is voted on by the ACM Lifting Lives Board of Directors. Past recipients of the ACM Lifting Lives Award include Paul Barnabee, Ross Copperman, Gayle Holcomb, Lady A, Dolly Parton, Darius Rucker, Carrie Underwood and Dwight Wiles.

ACM Poet’s Award – Clint Black, Mary Chapin Carpenter and K.T. Oslin have each been chosen as recipients of the ACM 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. Previous recipients of the ACM Poet’s Award include Bill Anderson, Rodney Crowell, Dean Dillon, Kye Fleming, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Toby Keith, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Buck Owens, Eddie Rabbitt, Fred Rose, Don Schlitz, Billy Joe Shaver, Shel Silverstein, Sonny Throckmorton, Shania Twain, Cindy Walker and Hank Williams, among others.

ACM Service Award – Charlie Cook and Bill Mayne have both been chosen as the recipients of the ACM Service Award, honoring the contributions of songwriter Mae Boren Axton and her service to the Academy. 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. Previous recipients of the ACM Service Award include Barry Adelman, Duane Clark, RAC Clark, Bob Kingsley, Reba McEntire, Gayle Holcomb, Keith Urban and Gene Weed, among others.

ACM Spirit Award – Charlie Daniels has been chosen for the ACM Spirit Award, honoring the contributions of Merle Haggard, who received 20 ACM Awards in his career, including the Triple Crown Award. This award is presented to a singer-songwriter who is continuing the legacy of country music legend Merle Haggard by following his/her own path, crafting great songs and epitomizing Haggard’s spirit through genuine performances and great storytelling. Previous recipients of the ACM Spirit Award include Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert and Chris Stapleton.

LB Cantrell is Director of Operations & Content at MusicRow magazine, where she oversees, manages and executes all company operations. LB oversees all MusicRow-related content, including MusicRow‘s six annual print issues and online news. She also heads up specific, large-scale projects for the company, facilitates the company’s annual events, and more. LB is a Georgia native and a graduate of the Recording Industry Management program at Middle Tennessee State University.
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