The recipients of the Academy of Country Music’s annual “ACM Honors” for 2022 were announced Wednesday, with the honorees at the ACM’s industry-centric adjunct ceremony in August to include Morgan Wallen, Shania Twain, Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, ASCAP exec Connie Bradley and the television series “Yellowstone.”
The ceremony will take place August 24 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The show is not to be confused with the org’s competitive ACM Awards broadcast, which took place March 7 at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium and went out over Prime Video this year. The “ACM Honors” show was created 15 years ago for honorary awards voted by the board. No broadcast or webcast component has yet been announced, although in 2021 the “Honors” went out over Circle TV network.
Information on a host, performers and ticket on-sale information for the show will also come at a later date.
Sure to be an attention-getter is the special award for Wallen, who not that very long ago was persona non grata at awards shows in and out of country music. After spending most of 2021 in a state of career suspension after a scandal over a racial slur, Wallen seemed to have been officially welcomed back into the country industry’s good graces when he won the ACM Award for album of the year in March for “Dangerous: The Double Album.” That he is getting a board-voted honor from the ACM this summer is a sure sign he is really un-suspended, as far as Nashville is concerned.
Wallen will be getting the ACM Milestone Award, “presented to a country music artist, duo/group or industry leader for a specific, unprecedented or outstanding achievement in the field of country music during the preceding calendar year.” Regardless of Wallen’s “Dangerous” was the hottest album in any genre in 2021, and has become the country album to spend the most weeks in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 of any in history, with 60 weeks logged in that rarefied chart air.
Lambert will be picking up the ACM Triple Crown Award, given to artists who are named the ACMs’ entertainer of the year — which Lambert was for the first time in March — following having previously won male or female vocalist of the year and best new male or female vocalist, as she also had in years past. The Academy points out that only seven artists have previously gotten this honor: Carrie Underwood, Merle Haggard, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Mickey Gilley and Barbara Mandrell.
The hit series “Yellowstone” is getting the ACM Film Award, for representing country music in other media. Zach Bryan, Lainey Wilson, Hayes Carll, Turnpike Troubadours and Whiskey Myers are some of the artists whose music has been featured on the Paramount Network series, which has spawned two sequels.
The ACM Spirit Award will go to Chris Stapleton, offered to an artist “who is continuing the legacy of country music legend Merle Haggard” in “crafting great songs, and epitomizing Haggard’s spirit through genuine performances and great storytelling.” Previous recipients include Lambert, Eric Church, Dierks Bentley and Toby Keith.
Twain is one of two songwriters to be receiving the ACM Poet’s Award this year. The other is a more behind-the-scenes tunesmith, Sonny Throckmorton, 81, whose thousand-plus credited cuts from the late ’70s forward include such classics as the Judds’ “Why Not Me” and Haggard’s “The Way I Am.”
Bradley will pick up the ACM Icon Award, which has mostly gone to superstar artists in the past but can also go, as it is in this case, to an executive in the industry. Bradley worked for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for more than 30 years, initially as the PRO’s first female membership representative and eventually as the longtime head of the Nashville office, retiring in 2010 after starting in 1976. She died in 2021.
The ACM Lifting Lives Award for charitable work is to be given to both Paul Barnabee and Dwight Wiles. Barnabee served two consecutive years as chair of the ACM Lifting Lives board of directors and is described as having “jumpstarted” the org’s COVID-19 response fund in 2020. He has led Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy, Inc.’s Los Angeles office and also worked for Polygram and Sony Music. Wiles has been on the Lifting Lives board since before the charitable wing took on that branding in 2008 and is the org’s longest-serving treasurer. He was one of the principal forces behind the Party for a Cause, Grant Cycle, and Music Camp initiatives. Outside of his philanthropic endeavors, Wiles is co-owner of Do Write Music, a publishing company.
Business manager Duane Clark, a co-owner of Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy, Inc., will be getting the ACM Service Award, given to an artist or exec for his or her years of service to the ACM. Clark is currently treasurer on the ACM Lifting Lives board and has had a 13-year tenure so far on the board of directors.
A previously announced award that will also be given out at the August ceremony is Hardy’s win for ACM songwriter of the year, as selected by a panel of industry judges. Hardy was recently a featured artist as well as co-writer on Bentley’s No. 1 hit “Beers on Me,” and has been one of Wallen’s foremost writing collaborators, contributing to “More Than My Hometown” and “Sand in My Boots.” He topped the chart himself with “One Beer,” which featured Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson as his guests.