These backstage earned a middle stage salute Wednesday night time on the ACM Honors, a ceremony largely celebrating behind-the-scenes architects of Music Row.
Nation stars from Alan Jackson to Lee Ann Womack, Ronnie Dunn, RaeLynn, Caylee Hammack, Ashley McBryde, Keith City and extra took to the Ryman Auditorium stage in musical nods to songwriters, producers, filmmakers and fellow artists.
“The whole lot begins right here,” mentioned Shay Mooney, one-half of hitmaking duo Dan + Shay, speaking to media backstage through Zoom about celebrating off-stage contributors to nation music. “All of it begins with a tune. It is the heart beat of the music business and it goes from Nashville out into the remainder of the world.”
Carly Pearce, the most recent Grand Ole Opry member, stepped into internet hosting Wednesday night time, which coated 2019 and 2020 off-camera Academy of Nation Music Awards recipients. The group postponed Honors final 12 months resulting from COVID-19 protocols; viewers members wanted to point out vaccine proof or a adverse COVID-19 check earlier than getting into the Ryman, per the ACM.
Music kicked off with Pearce singing “Expensive Miss Loretta,” a contemporary ode to nation legend Loretta Lynn, who earned one of many night time’s three Poet Award. Womack and Jackson adopted Pearce with a rendition of basic nation duet “Louisiana Lady, Mississippi Man.”
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Lynn wasn’t in the home, however she despatched a voice message to simply accept the respect.
“Thanks ACMs for giving me the Poet’s Award,” Lynn mentioned. “I feel (that is) the best award I might get.”
Extra honorees included Rascal Flatts and business government Joe Galante (every incomes the Cliff Stone Icon award); dwell music skilled and COVID-19 reduction advocate Michael Strickland (Gene Weed Milestone Award); tenured ACM Awards producer RAC Clark (ACM Mae Boren Axton Service Award); and Ken Burns for his 16-hour documentary “Nation Music” (ACM Tex Ritter Movie Award).
In a nod to nation historical past highlighted by Burns’ movie, Sam Williams – grandson of Hank Williams – sang nation commonplace “I am So Lonesome I Might Cry” from the Ryman stage.
“It is such a blessing to get to stand right here tonight the place my grandfather stood 70 years in the past,” Williams mentioned.
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Chris Janson paid tribute to late songwriter Curly Putman with “She Stopped Loving Her Right now” and, in making her Ryman debut, newcomer Brittany Spencer sang a riveting take of “Independence Day” for Gretchen Peters, who tearfully watched from the Ryman pews; Peters and Putnam joined Lynn in incomes a Poet’s Award.
“I used to be a idiot to suppose I would not cry,” Peters mentioned, including: “I actually consider that songwriting is a calling and what we do is way, rather more than leisure. At their greatest, tune are empathy machines. … They take us into different worlds, they allow us to stand in anyone else’s sneakers for a couple of minutes.
“Songs can actually change the world. And the world wants love and empathy greater than it ever has.”
A quartet of songwriters – Jessie Jo Dillon, Jorgan Reynolds, Laura Veltz and Nicolle Galyon – sang a medley of Dan + Shay megahits “Speechless,” “Tequila” and “10,000 Hours.” Dan + Shay earned the 12 months’s Jim Reeves Worldwide Award, recognizing world contributions to nation music.
When requested “if there was anyone necessary … that might come up on stage on the Ryman and honor you,” Dan Smyers mentioned his first name was to to the group’s collaborators.
“I am shaking,” Smyers mentioned. “That was so particular. With out the songwriters on this city, we might have none of this. We might have not one of the reveals, we might have not one of the report gross sales – any of this.”
And Hillary Lindsey took dwelling two years’ value of trophies, incomes Songwriter of the Yr for 2019 and 2020.
Recording artists Hardy, Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson teamed for a rendition of 2020 chart-topping Lindsey co-write “One Beer.”
“(She’s written for) Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Girl Gaga and me, which isn’t that spectacular once I say these different names,” Alaina jested when introducing the award. “Her songwriting abilities are merely unmatched.”
Tributes performed on with Hint Adkins performing “Love Me If You Can” – a tune he mentioned backstage that he nearly lower – for Merle Haggard Spirit Award recipient Toby Keith.
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Nation trio Girl A and songwriter-producer Ross Copperman earned respective ACM Gary Haber Lifting Lives Awards, a philanthropic honor. City paid tribute to Copperman with a crowd-pleasing acoustic rendition of his co-write “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” and Girl A sang new quantity “What A Music Can Do.”
Ashley McBryde closed the present – after earlier enjoying her tune “Woman Goin’ Nowhere” in tribute to late ACM government Lisa Lee, who died final week – with a tackle Luke Combs hit “She Received The Finest Of Me.” Combs earned a Gene Weed Milestone Award for his skyrocketing success in nation music.
“Due to nation music followers … (they’re) the rationale I get to do what I like to do,” Combs mentioned, including: “That isn’t misplaced on me, a boy from North Carolina who moved right here in 2014, standing within the Ryman freakin’ Auditorium, holdin’ a milestone award.
He continued, “There’s an entire hell of much more nation music on this boy proper right here. And I can not anticipate y’all to listen to it.”