Three of this year’s leading contenders for the Academy of Country Music Awards — Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum and Blake Shelton — are already assured of at least one win. On Friday, the academy announced that they were among those to be feted at the 7th annual ACM Honors Event on Sept. 7 in Nashville.
Even before the Oscars, the ACMs shifted some of their awards off the kudocast, the 48th edition of which airs on CBS live from Las Vegas on April 7.
Aldean, who is up for three prizes that night, will receive the Crystal Milestone Award, which is given to an artist or industry leader to commemorate a specific, remarkable achievement. In Aldean’s case, it was his sell-out stadium tour last year. Past recipients include Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, and Taylor Swift.
Lady Antebellum, who are hoping for their fourth consecutive Vocal Group win, will be feted with the Jim Reeves International Award, which is presented to an artist for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world. The group toured 11 countries and played before more than a million fans last year. Past recipients include Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton and Keith Urban.
Shelton, who also contends in three races, is set to get the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, which acknowledges unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music. He is being feted for his work on “The Voice” and his string of recent chart-toppers. Past recipients include Brooks, Willie Nelson and George Strait.
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In addition, the ACM Board of Directors are honoring both Keith Whitley and The Judds with the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award for their groundbreaking achievements. Past recipients include Alabama, Hank Williams and Dwight Yoakam.
Academy exec Tommy Wiggins will receive the Mae Boren Axton Award in recognition of years of dedication and service to the ACM.
And Guy Clark and Hank Williams were names as recipients of the Poet’s Award, which honors songwriters for outstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their careers in the field of country music.