Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts + More Recognized at ACM Honors
The stars were out in force in Nashville Tuesday night (Sept. 9) for the ACM Honors, which took place at the historic Ryman Auditorium.
The ceremony takes place each year to recognize the recipients of the ACM's off-camera awards, which include special categories, industry awards and awards for musicians, producers and songwriters. Jake Owen hosted the show, kicking things off with a performance of 'Back on My Mind Again' in honor of Ronnie Milsap, who was on hand to receive the Career Achievement Award along with Toby Keith.
The evening's festivities included live performances, historical video retrospectives and current video tributes, as well as interviews with industry veterans honoring Special Awards recipients. Those recipients included Bob Beckham (posthumously), Steve Buchanan, Jack Clement (posthumously), Dean Dillon, Kris Kristofferson, Paul Moore, Buck Owens (posthumously), Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts.
Studio Recording Awards (formerly MBI Awards) recipients included Shannon Forrest, Paul Franklin, Dann Huff, Charlie Judge, Rob McNelley, Justin Niebank, Michael Rhodes and Bryan Sutton.
Industry Awards winners included Brian O’Connell of Live Nation; Nicole More of Neste Event Marketing; Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater in Austin, Texas; Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth, Texas; Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.; Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn.; Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. and Mohegan Sun Wolf Den in Uncasville, Conn.
Kenny Chesney presented Shane McAnally with his Songwriter of the Year award, and one of the highlights of the evening was a live performance from Kelly Clarkson, Kacey Musgraves and Hillary Scott. Scott performed Lady Antebellum's 'Downtown,' Clarkson sang 'Tie It Up,' and Musgraves performed 'Merry Go 'Round' in a fitting tribute to McAnally's diverse body of hits.
Underwood got emotional in accepting the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award for her charity work. The superstar became teary-eyed, and her voice broke as she thanked her husband, Nashville Predator Mike Fisher, as well as her professional team, whom she said she didn't get to thank often enough.
"I was getting misty-eyed sitting in the audience," Underwood said (quote via the Tennessean). "I had all kinds of stuff to say, you guys, and it's all gone. I am so honored and so thankful and so blessed."
Owen jumped in with a joke about the newly expectant mother, telling Fisher, "Women get emotional when they're pregnant."
Former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was on hand to present Rascal Flatts with the Jim Reeves International Award. The trio took a knee onstage in reference to Tebow's famous on-field salute. 'Nashville' Executive Producer Steve Buchanan also received the award, which is presented for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world.
Merle Haggard previously received the Crystal Milestone Award during the 49th Annual ACM Awards telecast in April. The award is given to an artist or industry leader to commemorate a specific, remarkable achievement.
See a full list of the 2014 ACM Honors and Awards winners here.