Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town and More Celebrated at 2016 ACM Honors [PICTURES]
The 10th annual ACM Honors ceremony was held Tuesday night (Aug. 30) at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, where artists including Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town and Keith Urban, among others, were honored for their contributions to the country genre. Throughout the three-hour event, each act was celebrated with a performance of their biggest hits by one of their peers, including Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Dan + Shay, the Band Perry and Chris Young.
LBT received the Crystal Milestone Award after a moving performance of "Girl Crush" by Cam and Alicia Keys. Prefacing their performance, Keys raved about her love of the country music genre; "I really love the way country music honors and respects poetry," she said. Cam, meanwhile, gushed to The Boot on the red carpet earlier in the evening about sharing the stage with the Grammy Award-winning singer.
"She is such a strong woman and [has] the most amazing voice. The whole time, I was gushing over her and yelling swear words at how amazing she is," Cam confessed. "Both of us are so excited to honor Little Big Town. ["Girl Crush"] has been huge for such a long time, and to break all the records they've broken, they deserve it. They are a fine-tuned, amazing set of music makers. To be here and be the ones honoring them is a huge privilege."
Even Little Big Town were floored by Cam and Keys' powerful rendition of their song, one of the standout performances of the evening: "I don't think I want to sing that song again," the quartet's Jimi Westbrook said upon receiving their award.
Additional performance highlights from the 2016 ACM Honors ceremony included Ballerini paying tribute to Crystal Gayle, who was honored with the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, with a stirring cover of "Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue," Dan + Shay and Young's collaboration on the Statler Brothers' "Flowers on the Wall" and Morris' soulful cover of Tanya Tucker's "Delta Dawn." Both the Statler Brothers and Tucker were also honored with the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award.
Early in the evening, Aldean received the Triple Crown Award, commemorating his New Male Vocalist of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year wins. He then performed a medley of his hits, including "Dirt Road Anthem," "Tattoos on This Town" and "A Little More Summertime" after accepting the award.
"Looking back, it's been amazing what has happened over the past 10, 11 years," Aldean said. "I used to watch the awards show in our house in Georgia; it was a big night."
Nearly a decade ago, Aldean won his first ACM honor, for New Male Vocalist of the Year, and he said to be awarded once again 10 years later was "a huge honor."
Later on, Urban performed his soulful new single "Blue Ain't Your Color" after accepting the Mae Boren Axton Award.
"I love this award because it transcends music," he said. "When I think about country music, what defines country music, for me, the thing that has always defined it is the sense of community."
The country community also paid tribute to Glen Campbell, who was honored with the Career Achievement Award. Urban, Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley and Toby Keith teamed up for a medley of Campbell's hits, including "Southern Nights," "Gentle on My Mind," "Witchita Lineman" and "Rhinestone Cowboy." Lambert, meanwhile, received the inaugural ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award; during her acceptance speech, she said that "the Hag" is the reason she writes songs.
"I feel so blessed to be a part of country music," she said before performing "Misery and Gin" in Haggard's honor.
Lady Antebellum served as hosts of the ACM Honors, while Martina McBride, Emmylou Harris, Thomas Rhett and NHL hockey player Mike Fisher were presenters. Fisher spoke on behalf of his wife, Carrie Underwood, who was not in attendance but was awarded with the ACM Lifting Lives Gary Haber Award. Studio Recording Awards recipients included Jim “Moose” Brown, Dave Cobb, Shannon Forrest, Paul Franklin, Justin Niebank, Danny Rader, Michael Rhodes and Derek Wells, while Jeff Walker was posthumously awarded with the Jim Reeves International Award. Jimmy Webb received the Poet’s Award, as did Eddie Rabbitt, posthumously. Ross Copperman was named Songwriter of the Year, and frequent co-writer Bentley performed "Freedom" in his honor.
The 10th annual ACM Honors will be broadcast on Sept. 9 at 9PM ET on CBS.
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