Willie Nelson to be honored at ACM Awards in Nashville

by:  Teddy McDonald

Willie Nelson, Eric Church and Toby Keith are among those being honored at this year’s ACM Honors event in Nashville. The ceremony recognizes special honorees and off-camera category winners from the ACM Awards.Eric Church will be receive the Merle Haggard Spirit Award, which goes each year to a songwriter for “following their own path, crafting great songs and epitomizing Merle’s spirit through genuine performances and great storytelling,” the organization explains. The award certainly seems to fit. Eric has spent 12 years establishing himself in country music with five studio albums and songs including “Smoke a Little Smoke,” “Springsteen,” “Give Me Back My Hometown” and “Record Year,” to name a few. He also bucked convention with the 2015 release of his album Mr. Misunderstood, which was released directly to fan club members without any promotion before going on sale to the general public. Past recipients of the honor include Miranda Lambert.

Willie Nelson and Toby Keith, meanwhile, are being honored with the Poet’s Award recognizing “outstanding and longstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their career[s].” Joining the pair with the same honor is late songwriter and children’s author Shel Silverstein. Nelson’s library of celebrated compositions include “Crazy”, “Hello Walls” “Funny How Time Slips Away” and a long list of others. Some of Keith’s notable titles include “American Soldier,” “Should’ve Been A Cowboy,” and “I Love This Bar,” while Silverstein’s country music contributions include “A Boy Named Sue,” Marie Laveau” and “Cover of Rolling Stone.”

Other award recipients are George Strait (Cliffie Stone Icon Award), Dolly Parton (Gary Haber Lifting Lives Award), Kelsea Ballerini (Gene Weed Milestone Award), the television series Nashville (Tex Ritter Film Award), songwriter Lori McKenna (Songwriter of the Year Award), and Bob Kingsley and Reba McEntire (both receiving the Mae Boren Axton Service Award). See a complete list of honorees here.

The 11th Annual ACM Honors will take place at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium August 23 and be taped to on CBS later in the year.



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