ACM Honors Ceremony to Celebrate Lainey Wilson, Alan Jackson, Luke Bryan and Trisha Yearwood With Special Awards at Ryman (EXCLUSIVE)

Country stars Lainey Wilson, Alan Jackson, Luke Bryan and Trisha Yearwood will be among the recipients of the Special Awards being given out at the annual ACM Honors program in August. The Academy of Country Music will celebrate the honorees during a ceremony taking place at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium on Aug. 25.

Carly Pearce will host the ACM Honors show for the fourth consecutive year, joined as co-host this time by another country chart-topper, Jordan Davis, the reigning winner of the Academy’s song of the year trophy.

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Others being feted with awards at the event include legendary producer Tony Brown; songwriter-musician Shannon Sanders, who now serves as BMI’s executive director, creative; and songwriter Walt Aldridge.

Unlike the much bigger ACM Awards that take place in the spring and are webcast by Prime Video, the ACM Honors program at the Ryman is a much more intimate affair, and often has no broadcast component, making it a you-had-to-be-there affair. Fans can attend, although first dibs go to Academy members and ACM A-list email subscribers via a pre-sale that begins this Thursday, followed by a general on-sale Friday via the AXS ticketing service.

These seven join two other country luminaries whose songwriting honors were announced earlier and will also be given out at the Ryman: Chris Stapleton, who’ll be picking up the ACM artist-songwriter of the year award, and Jessie Jo Dillon, who is getting the songwriter of the year trophy. The award that Stapleton is getting, honoring the writing prowess of someone who carries similar renown as a recording artist, was only given for the first time in 2023, when Hardy received it.

Among the newly named recipients, Lainey Wilson will be receiving the Triple Crown Award — something she earned with a successful streak at the ACM Awards, having won new female artist of the year, female artist of the year and, finally, the big kahuna, entertainer of the year. The shooting star has now won 10 ACMs in all — and she stands to add to that tally after her new album comes out Aug. 23, two days before the ACM Honors show.

Additionally, in a real-time example of a double crown, WIlson will receive yet another award at the show. She’s being given the ACM Milestone Award, given to someone who has an “unprecedented or outstanding achievement” in country during the previous year.

Tony Brown and Trisha Yearwood will be dual recipients of the Icon Award. Yearwood’s association with the ACM, and with country stardom generally, goes back to 1991, when she won the org’s new female vocalist of the year award. Brown’s career stretches back much further than that: He went from playing piano in Elvis Presley’s TCB Band to being one of the top producers in Nashville, as well as a label chief for MCA Nashville. Yearwood is someone who got her start making records with Brown, who’s also famous for his productions with George Strait and Reba McEntire, among others.

Shannon Sanders is picking up the ACM Lift Every Voice Award, given to someone who elevates underrepresented voices in country. Apart from his BMI gig, Sanders currently serves on the ACM’s board of directors and chairs the ACM LIfting Lives Council. This is only the second time this award has been given out; in 2023 it went to the recording artist Breland.

The heavy lifting isn’t done yet. The ACM LIfting Lives Award, also for philanthropy, is going to Luke Bryan, representing those who are “devoted to improving lives through the power of music” and who have “a generosity of spirit” that makes them committed to serving others. It’s in honor of his Farm Tour, which since 2009 has presented a fundraising series of shows at farms across the country that has resulted in 80 scholarships and eight million meals being served.

Walt Aldridge and Alan Jackson will each receive the ACM Poet’s Award for their songwriting contributions over the years. It’s hardly Jackson’s first time getting such an honor; he is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame as well as Country Music Hall of Fame. Aldridge has written or co-written 56 songs that charted in the top 40 of the Billboard country songs chart. He’s also a veteran musician and producer who spent two decades helping track records at Muscle Shoals’ Fame Recording Studio.

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