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TEMPO ACM

SPRING 2021

w

Q&A with CBS This Morning’s GAYLE KING

Keith Urban & Mickey Guyton Unite to Co-Host the 56th ACM Awards

FLIP OVER for AWARDS PROGRAM BOOK!

TUNE IN! | THE 56 TH ACM AWARDS | SUNDAY APRIL 18 8/7c

| LIVE + STREAMING


Contents

6  | DOWN TO ONE Luke Bryan receives award for his generous work and ACM Lifting Lives® hosts meal service for those still affected by COVID-19 20  | CHAMPIONING COUNTRY Gayle King finds a love for Country Music, admires artists who stand up for change FLIP  |   ACM AWARDS PROGRAM BOOK Follow along with the 56th Annual ACM Awards from home with this year’s show program book

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Editor’s Note

6

ACM News

24

In Memory

28

ACM Moment

On the Cover 6

KEITH URBAN and MICKEY GUYTON team up to co-host this year’s ACM festivities PAGE 14

20 FLIP

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ACM

TEMPO

E D ITO R ’ S N OTE

E ditor

Lisa Lee A ssistant E ditor

Libby Gardner C ontributors

Hannah Kellis, Madeleine O’Connell

Nashville Round Two

D esign

Randi Karabin, Karabin Creative P rinting

Graphic Visions Commerical Printing P hotos

ACM, CBS, CRB/CRS, Getty Images, Universal Music ACADEMY STAFF

f you’ve enjoyed any of the ACM Award nominees’ playlists online, you already know the sounds that a wide variety of Country artists are making this year. There’s great art there for every taste. Now, more than ever, Nashville is filling up the soundtracks of people’s lives everywhere. It’s a great time to be a Country fan. We’ll be celebrating those artists and their music on Sunday, April 18 when the 56th ACM Awards comes to you live from Music City. Since the pandemic is forcing us to have only a limited audience at this year’s show, the issue you’re holding in your hands is not only the regular ACM Tempo® spring issue but also a special edition of the ACM AWARDS® program book that’s usually handed out to attendees on site. It will help guide you through the show with info about the nominees, history of the Academy and personal notes from the talented people who are responsible for the great show you’ll watch from the safety of your homes. We hope the performances that you see on April 18th will make you dance, sing along and bring you joy. Also in this issue, we flip the script on “CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King, who helped announce this year’s ACM Award nominees along with Kelsea Ballerini and Brothers Osborne from the show’s New York City studio. Usually accustomed to being the one asking the questions, she turned into interviewee during a recent chat with us, when she shared with us why she is a Country Music “admirer.” (She doesn’t like the word “fan.”) Also, despite the pandemic restrictions, we have still welcomed a new batch of talented interns, who are working with us virtually. Although not here with us in person, they have all found ways to contribute greatly to the show preparations. Read more about them on P. 12. ®

ENJOY THE SHOW!

CEO

Damon Whiteside E xecutive D irector/ACM L ifting L ives

Lyndsay Cruz

S enior Vice P resident/E ditorial & C ontent C uration

Lisa Lee

S enior Vice P resident/Events

Erick Long

S enior Vice P resident/M arketing

Brooke Primero

Vice P resident/Finance & O perations

Alexa Fasheh

Vice P resident/ A rtist & I ndustry R elations , B oard A dministration & G overnance

Tommy Moore

D irector/Strategic Partnerships

Jen Heaton

S enior Video M anager/C reative & C ontent

Brandon Campbell

S enior M anager/M arketing

Melissa Moldovan

M anager/M arketing

Jessica Curtis

M anager/Events

Lanni Gagnon

M anager/Awards & M embership

Haley Montgomery

M anager/Finance & O perations

Mary Pambukyan

M anager/A rtist & I ndustry R elations ; B oard A dministration & G overnance

Maddy Stessman

M anager/L ifting L ives

Taylor Wolf

C oordinator/Events

Danielle Bardier

C oordinator/M arketing

Bridget Cirone

C oordinator/Strategic Partnerships

Jenny Dunn

C oordinator/C reative & C ontent

Libby Gardner

Lisa Lee Tempo Editor

A ssistant/ Finance & O perations

Gloria Chavez

A ssistant/C reative & C ontent

Hannah Kellis

A ssistant/M arketing

Dayna Poskanzer I nterns

Alexis Bingham - Events & Operations Emily Leonard - Events & Operations Nicole Marchesi - Marketing Carrie McDonough - Marketing Madeleine O’Connell - Creative & Content Sara Okum - Marketing

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BY L I B BY G A R D N E R , H A N N A H K E L L I S AND MADELEINE O’CONNELL

Spotlighting New Faces

From left to right: CRB/CRS Executive Director RJ Curtis, UMG Nashville EVP of Promotion Royce Risser, Luke Bryan, CRB/CRS Board President and Townsquare Media’s Kurt Johnson, and UMG Nashville Chairman and CEO Mike Dungan

BRYAN NAMED CRB ARTIST HUMANITARIAN

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uke Bryan’s charitable efforts throughout his music career have been recognized by CRB (Country Radio Broadcasters). Because of his generous work with organizations including ACM Lifting Lives®, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, the Brett Boyer Foundation and more, Bryan has been named the 2021 Artist Humanitarian Award recipient. The two-time ACM® Entertainer of the Year winner received this honor on the Country Radio Seminar 2021: The Virtual Experience during the “CRS Artist Interview,” sponsored by BMI. Created in 1990 by the organization’s board, this award is granted to artists in the Country Music industry who have demonstrated remarkable humanitarian work. Bryan is now among the list of past recipients of this award including Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Brooks & Dunn, Brad Paisley and more.

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The Academy of Country Music® joined St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on February 19 to co-sponsor the New Faces of Country Music Show at CRS 2021. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the show came to attendees virtually this year, but it still offered the same high-energy concert designed to showcase the hottest emerging talent that Country Music has to offer. Artists featured this year included (pictured clockwise from top right) Matt Stell, ACM® New Male Artist of the Year Nominees Travis Denning and HARDY, ACM New Female Artist of the Year nominee Tenille Arts, and ACM Award winner and current two-time ACM nominee Ashley McBryde.


congratulations kelsea on your

acm female artist of the year nomination

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Radio Wavemakers ACM HONORS SAVE THE DATE

The Academy of Country Music® has

The Annual ACM Honors™ event is set for

stations and on-air personalities

Wednesday, August 25 at the hallowed Ryman

across the nation in the ACM Radio

Auditorium in Nashville. The night will honor winners of the ACM Industry Awards and the Studio Recording Awards. We’ll also celebrate honorees for the ACM Special Awards, which will be announced after the 56th ACM Awards. The night will include musical and video tributes. More details to be announced.

singled out the best Country radio

Awards nominations. Announced February 9 during the virtual Country Radio Seminar, the nominations included double nods for KATIFM in Jefferson City, Mo.; KKNUFM in Eugene, Ore.; KNIX-FM in Phoenix; KSOP-FM in Salt Lake City; KUZZ-AM/FM in Bakersfield, Calif.; KXKT-FM in Omaha, Neb.;  WQDR-FM in Raleigh, N.C.; and WXBQ-FM in Bristol, Va. Radio winners will be revealed in advance of the 56th ACM Awards in April. Please see the full list of radio nominees listed on P. 20 of the flip side of the magazine.

FLIP THE MAGAZINE OVER FOR THE OFFICIAL 56TH ACM AWARDS PROGRAM BOOK.

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APPROACHING 25 MILLION TOTAL ON-DEMAND STREAMS WITH OVER 1 MILLION WEEKLY ON-DEMAND STREAMS

“MY BOY” PEAKED AT #1 ON THE US TIKTOK SOUNDS CHART

1.2 BILLION VIEWS

ON TIKTOK VIDEOS USING #MYBOY

IN ITS FIRST 9 WEEKS THE “MY BOY” OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO HIT 1M+ VIEWS! “SHANE GOES FOR THE PERSONAL AND RISES ABOVE THE CLUSTER WITH THIS TENDERHEARTED TRIBUTE TO HIS STEPSON.” – BILLBOARD “A LUMP-IN-YOUR-THROAT STANDOUT.” – SOUNDS LIKE NASHVILLE “ELVIE FINDS THE BALANCE BETWEEN ATTITUDE AND HEART. EITHER WAY IT’S MUSIC THAT MAKES YOU FEEL.” - JUSTIN COLE, ENTERCOM “ELVIE SHANE MADE ME LAUGH AND CRY IN THE FIRST 10 MINUTES OF MEETING HIM. THERE IS SO MUCH PASSION IN HIS MUSIC!” - NEWMAN, WRBT / HARRISBURG acmcountry.com

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Galante Creates Leadership Music Endowment

C From left to right: Kathleen Flaherty (Founder K21 Communications); Billy Dec (CEO/Founder Sunda New Asian); Taylor Wolf (Manager ACM Lifting Lives)

DINNER IS SERVED

ountry Music industry titan Joe Galante, one of the 12 founding members of Leadership Music, has gifted the organization a $500,000 endowment, Leadership Music President Diane Pearson has announced. The generous donation will allow Leadership Music to better endure possible future unforeseen circumstances, like the recent COVID-19 pandemic and other unexpected challenges. The gift will be put toward the Joe Galante Leadership Music Preservation Fund. Because of his passion for the mission of Leadership Music, Galante will match contributions up to $250,000, bringing the total endowment to a possible $1 million. Leadership Music alums Mike Dungan and Amy Grant will fulfill the duties of chair members of this campaign. Pearson expressed great appreciation for the donation saying, “[Galante’s] gift will help ensure that Leadership Music continues to cultivate the kind of collaborative music community we all love and treasure, and we are deeply grateful to Joe.”

ACM Lifting Lives ® recently partnered with local Nashville restaurant Sunda New Asian to host a meal service for those in the Country Music industry who remain out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Nashville, there are approximately 800 local recipients of the ACM Lifting Lives COVID-19 Response Fund who are still struggling financially due to the pandemic. Sunda generously prepared gourmet takeaway dinners for industry workers on two separate dates. Recipients arrived at the restaurant and the prepared meals were brought out to their cars for curbside pick up. ACM Lifting Lives is seeking other restaurant

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partners to continue this support throughout the

TWICE THE CUTENESS

spring as the need is still great. Contact ACM Lifting

ACM Chairman Ed Warm has double the fun on his

Lives at liftinglives@acmcountry.com to learn more,

hands with twin sons, Jack and Will, born to Ed and

get involved or donate.

his wife, Lauren, in Chicago. Congratulations!

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Roll Call

Academy interns give their all to learn new skills virtually

A

BY MADELEINE O’CONNELL

s the Academy of Country Music®

prepares to head back to Nashville to celebrate the

56th ACM Awards®, six interns will be helping the team, some virtually due to the ongoing pandemic. Although disappointing, the experience still offers an exciting opportunity for this year’s interns. Although most of them will not see the inside of the office or the Nashville venues, they are still able to learn from professionals in the music industry. Learn more about the intern class of 2021 here.

1. | Alexis Bingham EVENTS & OPERATIONS

Originally from Watkins Glen, N.Y., Alexis Bingham is a recent Ithaca College alumna. In December, Bingham graduated with a degree in communication management and design with a live event minor. During her time on campus, she was a student manager and on the commencement committee as an intern. Bingham is excited to go through the process as an intern at the ACM® and see all the moving parts come together in the end for the award show. She loves being able to create an unforgettable experience for people while seeing her projects come to life. Bingham appreciates being included on so many aspects of this award show season preparation. After this internship, she would like to continue to work in the entertainment industry, especially with live music and management. FUN FACT

Would you rather be in the crowd or working backstage of a Country concert? I would like to be backstage because Country Music concerts are unlike any other, and I love to be a part of everything going on.

2. | Emily Leonard EVENTS & OPERATIONS

Through her time at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California native Emily Leonard has tried to learn everything she can about the entertainment industry. Through USC, she learned about the opportunity to

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intern with the ACM. At school, Emily participated in many international community service trips, where she had the chance to explore six different countries. When she is on campus and not traveling the world, she spends her time with the organization Trojans for Israel. Leonard has a strong love for Country Music and wants to be a part of the excitement of live events. Because of her drive to be involved in entertainment, she has decided to advance in her studies with a stronger focus in the industry. For her undergraduate degree, she is majoring in non-governmental organizations and social change. She is also completing an accelerated master’s degree in communication management with a focus in media and entertainment and marketing. She hopes to one day be able to be a part of the planning process for tours. FUN FACT

Would you rather be in the crowd or working backstage of a Country concert? As long as I am still able to see the performance happening onstage, I would like to be backstage to see everything that goes on behind the scenes.

3. | Carrie McDonough MARKETING

Carrie McDonough had such a great experience interning with the ACM last year that she decided to come back for another semester. Currently, she resides in York Springs, Penn., and is a senior at Millersville University. She is studying speech communication with a


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track in public relations. When she isn’t interning or listening to Country Music, she uses her skills on campus as the communication director for the school’s Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter. She admires the passion of those working in the music industry and hopes to continue her career in the marketing side of the music industry. McDonough had the unique experience of attending the 55th ACM Awards last year in Nashville and she is excited to return for the 56th ACM Awards in a few months. Because of her intern experience with the Academy, she has plenty of advice to offer future interns. McDonough says that it’s important to be proactive and to take initiative as much as you can. FUN FACT

If you could spend the day with one Country artist, who would it be and why? Eric Church because I really enjoy his unique style, and I would love to know what inspires him.

4. | Nicole Marchesi MARKETING

As a founder of Women of Country website and an ACM intern, Nicole Marchesi spends a lot of her time staying up to date with the latest in Country Music. She is originally from Portland, Ore., and now attends Loyola Marymount University, where she is a senior marketing major. On campus, she is involved in the marketing society, the LMU rowing team and the Music Industry Society. She became interested in working for the Academy because of her desire to add more inclusivity into the Country Music environment. She feels as though the ACM does a great job on that initiative and she is happy to be a part of it.

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Marchesi has experience in artist management, but with this internship she is eager to learn how marketing plays into an awards show. Marchesi hopes to help people achieve their dreams, and as long as she is able to work in some aspect of the Country Music industry, she feels that she will be able to achieve that goal. FUN FACT

If you could spend the day with one Country artist, who would it be and why? Mickey Guyton because she has great energy, and I would love to hear her unique perspective on the Country Music industry.

5. | Madeleine O’Connell CREATIVE & CONTENT PRODUCTION

For Chicago native Madeleine O’Connell, it all started with a Rascal Flatts concert in high school. Since then, she has loved Country Music and its wonderful community. The passion artists have for their music ignited her desire to work in the industry. O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a degree in broadcast communication and journalism. During her time at North Central, she was the social media director of the campus radio station as well as editorin-chief of the campus newspaper. After graduation, she decided to continue with her education and is currently pursuing her master’s degree at DePaul University in digital communications and media arts. The unique remote opportunity turned a dream into a reality for O’Connell. Because of this, she was able to take part in her current internship at the Academy, as well as her previous internship at SiriusXM. She is looking

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forward to learning the ins and out of what it takes to put together a night full of great live music. FUN FACT

What will be your first country concert post COVID-19? I would love to attend a Chris Lane concert as soon as I can because that would have been my last concert of 2020 if a snowstorm hadn’t ruined my chance to attend.

6. | Sara Okum MARKETING

Sara Okum is a University of Southern California senior psychology major and marketing minor. Her goal is to work in the entertainment industry with a company that has a strong mission she believes in. Living in Los Angeles, and attending USC, Okum loves that the Academy was founded to support Country Music artists of the West Coast. Besides spending her time finding new Country artists to listen to, Okum also stays busy on campus. She is president of the National Jewish Organization, Hillel, and vice president of the organization, “I Am That Girl.” Previously, Okum worked as a social media marketing intern for Live Nation. With her foot already in the door of the entertainment industry, she is excited to learn even more about the award show season through her role at the ACM. FUN FACT

If you could spend the day with one Country artist, who would it be and why? I would like to spend the day Thomas Rhett and his family to see what it’s like to be a part of his life for a day.

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New

Hits,Old Favorites 56th ACM Awards have both in store with a more diverse show than ever

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BY LISA LEE

A

fter a beautiful musical collaboration on last year’s 55th ACM Awards, Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton

will join forces to co-host this year’s 56th ACM Awards, set for April 18th in Nashville. The show will once again be broadcast on CBS from iconic venues The Bluebird Cafe, Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry House. Urban, a multi-ACM® award winner, was named Entertainer of the Year for 2018 and served as show host in 2020. Guyton, who is nominated for ACM New Female Artist of the Year on the strength of powerful songs “Black Like Me” and “What Are Gonna Tell Her?” is hosting for the first time. “I’m beyond thrilled to be co-hosting with my friend Mickey,” said Urban. “I love that finally everyone will get to see her infectious energy and uber creative spirit in full light.” “Last year I had the opportunity to perform at the Academy of Country Music Awards™ with someone I long admired, Keith Urban, and this year I am incredibly excited to share hosting duties with him,” said Guyton. “As I’ve said before ‘if you can see it, you can be it,’ and it’s such an honor to step onto the ACM stage as the first ever Black woman to host the show. Over the years, the Academy of Country Music® has always been a home for me through opportunities both onstage and throughout their work on diversity and inclusion. This is a moment of great significance for me, and I am so thrilled to share it with all the fans.”

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FAST FACT

This year’s leading nominees are CHRIS

STAPLETON

and Maren Morris, each with SIX ACM Award nominations.

FAST FACT

MAREN MORRIS receives

SIX nominations, including her first for Song of the Year with an additional nomination as songwriter, and her first for Video of the Year.

FAST FACT

MIRANDA LAMBERT, the

most nominated female artist in ACM history, receives FIVE nominations, including her 15th nomination for Female Artist of the Year.

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ACM Award winners Kelsea Ballerini and Brothers Osborne announced nominees in six categories February 26 live via Zoom on CBS This Morning. The remaining categories were announced by Entertainment Tonight correspondent Rachel Smith on ETonline.com. Chris Stapleton and reigning ACM Female Artist of the Year Maren Morris led the pack with six nominations each. Morris’ hit “The Bones” was nominated for both ACM Song of the Year and ACM Single of the Year. She received an additional nod as songwriter, her first time receiving a nomination as both artist and songwriter. Morris is also a nominee for ACM Female Artist of the Year, marking the fifth time she has been nominated in this category. She was nominated in the ACM Music Video of the Year category for the first time for the poignant “Better Than We Found It.” In addition, Morris is a nominee for ACM Group of the Year alongside her friends in The Highwomen. Among his nominations, Stapleton received his third nomination for ACM Entertainer of the Year. He is also nominated for ACM Male Artist of the Year, an award he has won twice. Stapleton also received a nod as both artist and producer in the ACM Album of the Year category for Starting Over, as well as ACM Song of the Year as both songwriter and artist for the title cut. Miranda Lambert received five nominations, continuing her streak as the most nominated Female artist in Academy history. She is also the top award winner in ACM history. The show’s executive producers are crafting a show jam-packed with musical performances, including new hits, old favorites and surprising mashups. “We are so excited to have Keith Urban back, joined by a Mickey Guyton as host,” Executive Producer Barry Adelman said. “It’s an even bigger show than last year... five locations! Over 20 performances featuring some great once-in-a-lifetime collaborations.” Working within pandemic protocols, the show will include a limited in person audience for the first time since 2019. “Our production is very excited to invite live audiences back to the Opry


FAST FACT

Reigning Entertainer of the Year THOMAS

RHETT

FAST FACT

ASHLEY MCBRYDE

receives FOUR nominations, including her first for Album of the Year.

receives FOUR nominations, including his second nomination for Entertainer of the Year.

FAST FACT

INGRID ANDRESS

receives THREE nominations, including her second nomination for New Female Artist of the Year and her first nomination for Single of the Year, receiving an additional nomination as producer.

FAST FACT

CARLY PEARCE

receives THREE nominations, including her first for Single of the Year and Music Event of the Year for her collaboration with Lee Brice on “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” and her first for Female Artist of the Year.

56th ACM Awards host KEITH URBAN is a double nominee in the Music Event of the Year Category for his collaboration with Thomas Rhett, Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, and Chris Tomlin in “Be A Light,” and for his duet with P!NK in “One Too Many.” Urban receives an additional nomination for Producer of “One Too Many.” P!NK’s nomination in this category mark’s the singer’s first ACM Award nomination.

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FAST FACT

LUKE BRYAN

receives TWO nominations, including his ninth nomination for Entertainer of the Year.

FAST FACT

HARDY

receives THREE nominations for Songwriter of the Year, New Male Artist of the Year and Music Event of the Year.

FAST FACT

KANE BROWN

receives TWO nominations, including his first for Video of the Year and Album of the Year.

House and the Ryman for the show,” explained Executive Producer RAC Clark. “Attendees will be masked, socially distanced and vaccinated members of the Vanderbilt medical community. All within CDC, local and guild guidelines. We are proud to have them and their families as our honored guests.” Like the rest of the nation, the Country industry is grappling with issues of diversity and inclusion for all people, a long-standing effort that was stoked again recently with women pointing out their recent difficulties in getting a seat at the table in a male dominated genre. That fight is now getting traction. This year all five songs up for Single of the Year are from female artists. Gena Johnson is the first woman ever nominated in the ACM Audio Engineer of the Year category, and 43 percent of the 2021 nominees are female, up from a five-year average of 34 percent. Now the fight against the lack of diversity in Country has grown even louder as artists are calling for more diversity for LGBTQ artists and artists of color. Four Black artists are nominated for trophies this year — a first in ACM history — including Mickey Guyton for New Female Artist, Jimmie Allen for New Male Artist, Kane Brown for Album of the Year and John Legend for Video of the Year. T.J. Osborne of Brothers Osborne — two-time nominees this year — came out in a moving Time magazine article in February, making him the first openly gay artist signed to a major Country label. “We are thrilled to see the efforts in the Country community and the nation to embrace diversity in all forms, and we are doing the same across all ACM initiatives, including the awards show,” said ACM CEO Damon Whiteside. “Both onstage and off, we want to do our part to help Country Music reflect the wide range of fans who love the genre.” ●

TUNE IN! | THE 56 TH ACM AWARDS | SUNDAY APRIL 18 8/ 7c 18

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On the heels of her history-making performance from the 55th ACM Awards in 2020, MICKEY

GUYTON

receives her second New Female Artist of the Year nomination.

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TEMPO Q&A WITH “CBS THIS MORNING’S”

Gayle King We flip the script on this Country Music admirer and ask her the questions.

G

Galye King was born in Maryland and spent several

TEMPO: I want to talk Country Music with you.

years of her childhood in Turkey while her father was

When did your love for Country Music begin? Who introduced you to Country? GAYLE: That’s such a good question. I guess it started with Taylor Swift, cause when Taylor started, she was Country. I sort of eased into it with Taylor. Maybe I’ve liked it longer than I realized because I’ve liked Faith [Hill]. I like Tim [McGraw] because I liked “Live Like You Were Dying.” The thing that draws me in are the lyrics. It’s the lyrics to Country Music songs that just get me. And then you’ve got the voice and the great storytelling.

in the military. She readily admits she didn’t grow up a Country Music fan, but she sure is one now. The “CBS This Morning” anchor is drawn to modern Country with a pop flavor, and she’s a connoisseur of Country Music videos. “I watch the Country Music countdown [on CMT]

every Saturday,” King says. “I love Cody and I love Katie. I love looking at the

videos, hearing the stories. I just think the show is really

TEMPO: I’ve seen you interact with the artists when they

good. And I love seeing the countdown to see how the

come to the “CBS This Morning” studio in New York to help announce the ACM Awards® nominees, and you’re so genuinely excited to see them. Why do you enjoy spending time with them? GAYLE: Because I think that it really is true that they have genuine appreciation for the people that like their music. I never feel that — you know, I hate the word “fans.” I wish we could come up with [another word] “admirers.” They really have great respect. All artists will say they care about the people that admire them and that are their fans, but I just think Country Music people seem to take it to a different level. Look at what they do with the videos, it’s stuff that people relate to. You see a Luke Bryan video and you just know it’s

numbers change. And then you’ve got the heat seeker videos. Like there’s a song that Brett Eldredge does, ‘Sunday Drive.’ I love that video.” King is accustomed to being the one asking the questions, but we flipped the script on her for our ACM Tempo ® Q&A.

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G

“I’m very drawn to the storytelling and the lyrics and the video of it.”

going to be a party. It’s just going to be fun. Sometimes [his] mom is in the video and I get a kick out of that. I like it when the videos are — when they include their family members in the video. They allow us in a little glimpse of that. I like the song “Undivided.” They also are starting to speak to the times. I really, really like that. I hope that’s something that’s here to stay. TEMPO: There are lots of strides recently to make

the genre more inclusive. How do you feel about artists like Mickey Guyton, Kane Brown and Jimmie Allen, and even T.J. Osborne with his recent interview? Why do you think they are getting more opportunities? GAYLE: I say it’s 2021. You know I did a story on Mickey Guyton maybe about three years ago. She wasn’t married. I really hope she blows up because she’s got a beautiful voice and she’s a very talented sweet person. She just had a baby, Grayson. I sent Grayson a baby gift because I was so excited about Mickey’s baby. TEMPO: She sang on our show last year. She was pregnant then. GAYLE: I know! And the New York Times just did a piece on her. Did you see that? Yeah, the New York Times did a piece on her on a Sunday about three weeks ago and I texted her and said, “Whose dress are you wearing? I want to get that dress.” And, I love that Maren Morris really speaks up. I know it’s very risky in this cancel culture that we live in because people will turn on you quick. So, I admire that she speaks up and I think that when someone of her stature speaks up, I think it makes other people think “If she can do it …” — because I think many people feel the way that Maren does. I just think people are afraid to step out there the way she has. I really admire that she did that. Chris Stapleton has said something, too, and when Luke Combs spoke up about the Confederate flag, that stuff makes a difference. TEMPO: I think there are a lot of people in

Nashville who would agree with that. GAYLE: So, it has certainly taken some time.

You know, Rissi Palmer has been around a long time. I would like to see her get her just rewards.

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King with Lady A in the CBS News studio, 2016

TEMPO: The ACM Awards are going to be on

CBS in April. What do you look forward to the most about the show? GAYLE: What are they wearing and the performances. You know, it’s just always a great music show. You always see something you like and I always hear something that I like that I hadn’t heard before. You know, sometimes I get a new album and I have to listen to it at least three times before I can make a decision. But the times with a Country song that I hear it like Miranda’s “Smoking and Drinking,” and I don’t smoke or drink, but I just like the music of it. I love all things Lady A. They never miss a step to me. I’m very drawn to the storytelling and the lyrics and the video of it. TEMPO: I think that draws in a lot of people. GAYLE: I think so. I think so. You know, like Russell Dickerson

has a song, “Love You Like I Used To,” and I listened to the lyrics and then you see the video. He did such a great job on the video. You see the video and it’s a totally different thing because you think he’s breaking up with her, and then you look at the video and you see that it’s quite the opposite. So, I think the video of it has a little wink to it. TEMPO: Right, and they do that often. GAYLE: That’s just what I was going to say. And Country

Music does that often because if you listen to “Love You Like I Used To” and then you look at the video, you go “This is really well done!” How about like the “One Beer” song [by ACM® New Male Artist nominee] HARDY? I love the “One Beer” video. (sings) Then they tell you the whole story. (sings) I love how they tell the story of that. And then you have in the middle of it when they’re doing the video, they’re on that grassy thing …and then Lauren Alaina lets out a big “ahhh” in the middle of it. It’s just so good! It’s so good. — LISA LEE


CURRENT SINGLE

FREEDOM WAS A HIGHWAY WITH BRAD PAISLEY


I N M E M O RY

Fluke Holland

Troy Jones

Bill McEuen

1935 – 2020

1956 – 2020

1941 – 2020

W.S. “Fluke” Holland passed

On September 11, Nashville

Record producer and manager

away in Jackson, Tenn., on

songwriter Troy Jones died at his

Bill McEuen, best known for his

September 23. He was 85. Holland

home from an electrical accident.

work with Steve Martin and the

was born April 22, 1935, in Saltillo,

He was 64.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, passed away

Tenn. He played with Carl Perkins

Jones was originally from Port St. Joe, Fla. Before he started writing

During his time as manager of the

before backing Johnny Cash in The

music for major artists such as Kenny

Nitty Gritty Band, McEuen produced

Tennessee Three. During this time,

Chesney and Billy Currington, he

several of their albums, including the

the nickname, “Fluke” came about

worked at a local paper mill.

from all the happy accidents that he

Country singer Randy Travis was

1972 Will the Circle Be Unbroken. This album currently resides in the Library

a big inspiration in Jones’ career.

of Congress and the Grammy Hall of

Because of Travis, Jones began writing

Fame. McEuen worked closely with his

legendary hits “Blue Suede Shoes”

in between shifts at the paper mill,

younger brother, John McEuen, first

and “Ring of Fire.”

until he eventually made it out to visit

serving as a musical mentor and later

stumbled upon in the band. He eventually played on

The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. This

alongside the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

part of The Tennessee Three, he also

trip led Jones to join the Nashville

after it was founded by John. During

took on the role of road manager for

Songwriters Association International.

this time, the band went on a tour of

While Holland was an essential

the Soviet Union, which led to several

37 years. Holland retired from the

Before he passed, Jones’ life came

touring life in 1997, but he kept up

full circle. Travis recorded on Jones’

with the music industry at an easier

song, “Everything and All,” along

pace until 2019.

with Brad Paisley. This song ended

four albums for Steve Martin and

up being the first track on Travis’s

established the recording studio Aspen

Joyce Lindsey Holland, for 60 years

Anniversary Celebration album,

Recording Society and production

and together, they had daughters,

alongside a second version that was

company Aspen Film Society. Through

Kim and Krista.

recorded solely by Travis.

the Aspen Film Society, McEuen held

Holland was married to wife

Currington’s version of Jones’ song,

In the 1970s, McEuen produced

a production role on films including “The Jerk” and “Pee-Wee’s Big

for a Grammy in 2010 for Best Male

Adventure.”

Song, in addition to receiving Song and Single of the Year nominations from the Academy of Country Music Awards® in the same year.

acmcountry.com

Grammy nominations.

“People Are Crazy,” was nominated Vocal Performance and Best Country

24

on September 24. He was 79.

in the Perkins Brothers Band


BY M A D E L E I N E O ’ C O N N E L L

Bob McKay 1945 – 2020 Country Radio Hall of Famer and veteran Bob McKay, best known as a programmer and consultant at 99.9 KISS Country in South Florida and 92.5 XTU in Philadelphia, passed away on November 12 from complications with Parkinson’s disease. He was 75. He began his broadcast career in 1965 at Armed Forces Radio as an evening host while serving in the Air Force. McKay held a long-term occupation with the Beasley Media Group. His job as programmer and consultant with Beasley started off at WKIS Miami (99.9). After 15 years, he was transferred to WXTY Philadelphia (92.5), where he remained for nine years. During his tenure in Philadelphia, the station was nominated and won several industry

I M P R OV I N G

LIVES THROUGH THE

POWE R

OF

MUSIC

awards, including five ACM® Major Market Station of the Year awards. WXTY Philadelphia was also a finalist for a Marconi Award. In addition, McKay spent time working at several other stations around the country. He was the morning host at KRKE Albuquerque in 1975 and served as the Program Director at WBCS Milwaukee in 1978. In 2009, he was inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame.

W W W. ACMLIF TING LIVES .ORG

acmcountry.com

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I N M E M O RY

Walter Miller

Ray Pennington

Jim Weatherly

1926 – 2020

1934 – 2020

1944 – 2021

Television Producer Walter Miller

Songwriter Ray Pennington died

Nashville singer-songwriter

passed away November 13. He was

on October 7 as a result of a house

Jim Weatherly passed away

94. Miller was best known for his time

fire in Sumner County. He was 86.

February 3. He was 77. Best known

as director and executive producer of

Best known for the classic song, “I’m

for songs, “Midnight Train to

several major music industry televised

a Ramblin’ Man,” sung by Waylon

Georgia,” “Neither One of Us” and

events, including the Grammys, Tonys

Jennings in 1974, Pennington also

“You’re the Best Thing (That Ever

and Country Music Association Awards

wore many other hats while working in

Happened to Me),” Weatherly’s

(CMA Awards).

the music industry.

songwriting journey began at age 13.

Before starting his television/live

Pennington was born on

event career in the 1940s, Miller was

December 22 in Clay County, Ky.

University of Mississippi to making

born in New York and served in World

His career as a singer began in Ohio

megahit singles. He recorded with

War II. In the early days of his career,

when he signed with King Records

artists such as Kenny Rogers, Gladys

Miller worked as lighting director for

in Cincinnati after a performance in

Knight & the Pips, Garth Brooks, Ray

NBC’s “Horn & Hardart Children’s

a western-swing band. He released

Price and many more. As an inductee of

Hour.” Once he moved up in the field,

his debut single, “Three Hearts in a

the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame

he began directing specials for Frank

Tangle” in 1958. This song eventually

in 2006, the National Songwriters Hall

Sinatra, Kathie Lee Gifford, Minnie

reached No. 2 on the Country charts

of Fame in 2014, the Ole Miss Alumni

Pearl, Rich Little and many more.

after Roy Drusky recorded it in 1961.

Hall of Fame in 2011 and recipient of

Miller worked as a producer for the

Another artist to record

ASCAP’s Country Songwriter of the

CMA Awards for about four decades,

Pennington’s songs was Kenny Price

Year in 1974, his talent and success did

served as director of the Grammy

with “Walking on New Grass” and

not go unrecognized.

Awards 15 times and as a director of

“Happy Tracks,” along with nine

the Tony Awards for 10 years. Between

other singles. Four of these songs

“Midnight Train to Georgia,” was

1972 and 1999, Miller was nominated

reached the top 40 on the charts. In

recorded by Gladys Knight & the Pips

for 19 Emmys and won five. In

1971, Pennington began working for

and won a Grammy for Best R&B

addition, he received three Directors

RCA Records where he produced for

Vocal Performance by Duo, Group or

Guild of America Awards and was

Willie Nelson, Billy Walker and many

Chorus. Not long after, it was placed

honored with the CMA President’s

more. After many successful singles,

among the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest

Award, the Irving Waugh Award and a

he became the co-founder of the Step

Songs of All Time. During the span of

Grammy Trustee Award.

One Records label that remained

his career, Weatherly released almost a

open from about 1984 until 1998.

dozen studio albums.

The first artist to sign with this label was Ray Price. Throughout his long career, Pennington was a songwriter, instrumentalist, record producer, singer and label executive.

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He went from playing football at the

acmcountry.com

One of his most memorable songs,


J O I N ACM LI F TI N G LIVES I N S U PP O RTI N G TH E CO U NTRY M USI C COM M U N IT Y D I REC TLY VIA TH E COVI D -19 RESP O NSE FU N D

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT THE FUND VISIT ACMLIFTINGLIVES.ORG

acmcountry.com

27


ACM M O M E NT

Dynamic Trio 53rd ACM Awards

®

MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas | April 15, 2018 Reigning Female Artist of the Year Maren Morris (center) poses with her friends, the talented T.J. Osborne (left) and John Osborne (right) of duo Brothers Osborne, on the red carpet for the 53rd ACM Awards. Read more on these multiple nominees in the 56th ACM Awards program book on the flip side of the magazine.

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acmcountry.com


I N M E M O RY

32

acmcountry.com


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TABLE OF CONTENTS 6 Message from the CEO |  8 Message from the Chairman |  10 | Message from the ACM Lifting Lives® Executive Director and Chair

12 | Message from the Producers of the ACM Awards®

14 | ACM® History 18 | ACM Awards Nominees List 20 | Radio Awards Nominees

44 | Nominees: Album of the Year

22 | Entertainer of the Year Nominees

45 | Nominees: Single of the Year

32 | Nominees

46 | Nominees: Song of the Year 47 | Nominees: Video of the Year 48 | Nominees: Music Event of the Year 50 | ACM Board of Directors 53 | ACM Staff 54 | ACM Lifting Lives Board of Directors 56 | Thank You 58 | Production Credits

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5 6 TH A C M A W A R D S

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A LETTER FROM THE

CEO OF THE ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC WE COULDN’T BE MORE EXCITED THAT THE 56TH ACM AWARDS ARE BACK IN MUSIC CITY FOR ANOTHER YEAR. Not only are we returning to the home of Country Music, but we’re again coming to you from the three most beloved and revered venues of our genre, the Grand Ole Opry House, Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe. When I started as CEO of the Academy in January of 2020, I would have never imagined that we would have moved from our home in Las Vegas to Nashville for two years in a row. However, I continue to be proud of the decisions being made by our ACM® Board of Directors and Staff to ensure the safety and comfort of our artists and industry. Last year was a difficult one for our country and for the world, however Nashville had an even more unsettling 2020 that began with a tornado, followed by the closure of live music due to the pandemic, followed by a tragic downtown bombing on Christmas Day. As 2021 brings with it a new day for our industry, we will proudly showcase the vitality and resilience of this great city and our passionate industry on a national stage. We are once again thrilled to welcome back 15-time ACM Award® winner Keith Urban to host, and also equally excited about our new host and ACM New Female Artist of the Year nominee, Mickey Guyton, who will make her TV hosting debut. When our producer team watched her jaw-dropping performance of “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” last September backed up by Keith on piano, it was instantly obvious that they would make the perfect co-hosts for the 2021 show. There are so many groundbreaking nominations this year including females dominating the ACM Single of the Year category and having four Black artist nominees in a single year, as well as a female nominee in the ACM Engineer of the Year category, all of these firsts in Academy history! We are also excited to have a new director, Marcelo Gama, who is making his Country Music directorial debut drawing from his success at the helm of many large-scale TV events including the Latin Grammy Awards. It will undoubtedly be another historic year for the Academy. A special thank you to the city of Nashville, the State of Tennessee, the ACM Board and staff, RAC Clark, and our partners at dick clark productions and ViacomCBS, and of course all of our artists and industry colleagues for making the 56th ACM Awards another landmark event! With appreciation,

Damon Whiteside

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“As 2021 brings with it a new day for our industry, we will proudly showcase the vitality and resilience of this great city and our passionate industry on a national stage.”


City National proudly supports the

ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS and congratulates all of the nominees and winners.

Discover The way up® at CNB.com.

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A LAE TL TE ET RT EFRR OF M R O TMH ET H E

ACM CHAIRMAN WELCOME TO THE 56TH ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS! THE ACM BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND I ARE HONORED to bring the show back to Nashville and the city’s iconic venues, The Grand Ole Opry House, Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe. Along with honoring the superstars, up-and-comers, musicians, producers, songwriters, radio stations and all who make our genre what it is, the Academy has put its heartfelt efforts behind our charitable arm ACM Lifting Lives. This past year in particular Lifting Lives was more important than ever with the COVID-19 Response Fund, which provided $3.5 million in financial assistance to Country Music industry workers who lost their jobs due to the ongoing pandemic. That is an accomplishment we are all very proud of. Thank you to Lifting Lives Executive Director Lyndsay Cruz and Manager Taylor Wolf for your tireless work. The Academy is thrilled to have superstar Keith Urban returning to the ACM Award’s stage and joining forces with the phenomenally talented Mickey Guyton as co-hosts for tonight’s show. Keith is a multi-talented worldwide ambassador for Country Music and Mickey Guyton is one of our brightest new stars. The pair wowed us all last year with an amazing musical collaboration on the 55th ACM Awards, and we look forward to seeing how they will wow us this year as co-hosts. As we all continue to face the many difficulties that a pandemic brings, we are fortunate to have ACM CEO Damon Whiteside and our partners at dick clark productions to keep us safe as possible onsite so that we can bring this show to you tonight. I’d also like to send a thank you out to Jack Sussman and our longtime partners at CBS. A sincere thank you to the dedicated ACM staff as well as my fellow officers Lori Badgett, Chuck Aly, Carmen Romano, Gayle Holcomb, Tommy Moore and Paul Moore. Also, a big thanks to ACM Lifting Lives officers Paul Barnabee, Troy Vollhoffer, Dwight Wiles, Lorie Lytle and Taylor Wolf. We have a big night planned, so enjoy the show! Sincerely, Ed Warm Chairman

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“This past year in particular Lifting Lives was more important than ever with the COVID-19 Response Fund, which provided $3.5 million in financial assistance to the Country Music industry workers who lost their lives due to the ongoing pandemic.”


GT L AW.COM

C O N G R A T U LA T I O N S

ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARD NOMINEES E S P E C I A L LY O U R C L I E N T S LEE BRICE BROOKS & DUNN KANE BROWN DAN + SHAY DEVIN DAWSON TRAVIS DENNING FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE JESSE FRASURE CODY JOHNSON

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Greenberg Traurig is a service mark and trade name of Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Greenberg Traurig, P.A. ©2021 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Attorneys at Law. All rights reserved. Contact: Jess L. Rosen / Bobby Rosenbloum in Atlanta at 678.553.2100. °These numbers are subject to fluctuation. ¬Greenberg Traurig’s Berlin office is operated by Greenberg Traurig Germany, an affiliate of Greenberg Traurig, P.A. and Greenberg Traurig, LLP. *Operates as a separate UK registered legal entity. 35064

Amsterdam +31 (0) 20 301 7300 Atlanta 678.553.2100 Germany¬ +49 (0) 30 700 171 100 Las Vegas 702.792.3773 London* +44 (0) 203 349 8700 Los Angeles 310.586.7700 Miami 305.579.0500 New York 212.801.9200 San Francisco 415.655.1300 Silicon Valley 650.328.8500 Washington, D.C. 202.331.3100 5 6 TH A C M A W A R D S

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A LAE TL TE ET RT EFRR OF M R O TMH ET H E

ACM LIFTING LIVES EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR & CHAIR ®

AT THE RISK OF THIS SOUNDING LIKE A LOVE LETTER TO THE INDUSTRY, we’ve never been more proud or humbled to be part of the Country Music family. This past year has been unprecedented at every turn and we never imagined a full year would pass without live music back out on the road. Yet, the power of music prevails as this community has rallied together to take care of one another physically, financially and emotionally. With the help of so many compassionate individuals, an impassioned Board of Directors, and generous organizations, ACM Lifting Lives® was able to disburse $3.5 million dollars to Country industry professionals who have been devasted by this pandemic over the past year. This network of bus drivers, lighting teams, musicians, tour managers, stagehands, artists, engineers and crew are our industry’s linchpins. Many are still unable to return to work so fundraising efforts for the ACM Lifting Lives COVID-19 Response Fund are ongoing to continue supporting them. This year also brought innovation in music therapy in ways we wouldn’t have anticipated. Our partners at Vanderbilt University Medical Center expanded their reach nationally for the ACM Lifting Lives Autism Lab using telehealth programs and hosted the 11th Annual ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp online for those affected with the developmental disorder Williams Syndrome. Many of our grant recipients delivered music therapy virtually for the first time when faced with the restrictions of visiting their populations in person. Music didn’t stop for the pediatric hospital patients that still had “visits” from country artists through the Ryan Seacrest Foundation’s Seacrest Studios and their virtual technology. And as many music industry colleagues faced uncertainty, stress, and questions as jobs were furloughed, postponed and lost, our friends at Music Health Alliance were there to step in and support. Thanks to many of you, music and its therapeutic power also still reached millions of people in homes across the nation and around the world. The many virtual concerts, livestream shows, online auctions, and Zoom parties kept spirits up, fans engaged, and Country Music close as we anxiously await the return of live events. With your support, we were able to leverage these happenings to raise critical money and awareness for ACM Lifting Lives. To all the artists and all of those who helped make it possible, we thank you. We would be remiss to not acknowledge the ACM Lifting Lives Officers, the ACM Lifting Lives and ACM Board of Directors, ACM CEO Damon Whiteside and the ACM staff. You all make it possible to continue improving lives through the power of music. To all that are Country Music, we love you. Lyndsay Cruz Executive Director Paul Barnabee Chair, Board of Directors

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A LETTER FROM THE

PRODUCERS OF THE ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS A LETTER FROM THE

WE’RE THRILLED TO BE BACK IN NASHVILLE, the home of Country Music, for the 56th ACM Awards! Last year marked the first time in its 55-year history that the show took place from Music City, and this year we return once again to broadcast from three of Nashville’s most iconic Country Music venues: the Grand Ole Opry House, the historic Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe. 15-time ACM® Award winner Keith Urban returns for the second consecutive year to co-host the show with New Female Artist of the Year nominee Mickey Guyton, marking her ACM Awards® hosting debut. Guyton and Urban stunned viewers last year with a powerful collaboration for Guyton’s critically acclaimed song “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” and will no doubt bring their energy and passion for Country Music to the stage as co-hosts. Country Music’s hottest acts will rock the ACM Awards stage – from Dan + Shay to Miranda Lambert, Maren Morris & Ryan Hurd, Chris Young & Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Eric Church and Kenny Chesney to Thomas Rhett, Little Big Town, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, of course our hosts Keith Urban and Mickey Guyton and many more! You won’t want to miss all the incredible collaborations and surprises we have in store. Not to mention presentations of the most prestigious awards of the year. Last year, we were the first live awards show to air since the start of the pandemic, setting the standard for how to safely execute a live production in the midst of a pandemic without sacrificing creativity, and this year we look forward to continuing that tradition, bringing you an evening filled with excitement and entertainment. As always, we dedicate this show to all the Country Music fans who have endured so much over the past year. We honor your loyalty and enthusiasm for authentic storytelling through song and look forward to celebrating you and the music you love. Enjoy the show! Sincerely, R.A. Clark, Executive Producer Amy Thurlow, Executive Producer Barry Adelman, Executive Producer Mark Bracco, Executive Producer Linda Gierahn, Executive Producer

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R.A. Clark

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Barry Adelman

Mark Bracco

Linda Gierahn


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Kathy Mattea, Charley Pride, Kenny Chesney and Mom Karen

A BRIEF

HISTORY

IN THE HALF CENTURY SINCE ITS INCEPTION, the Academy of Country Music® has grown from a regional Southern California trade organization to a national powerhouse with its sights set on a higher purpose — IMPROVING LIVES THROUGH THE POWER OF MUSIC™ by connecting fans, artists and the industry. Today, the ACM ® is dedicated more than ever to promoting new artists, artists on the rise and established superstars, while supporting the good work of charitable causes nationwide through ACM Lifting Lives®. The Academy was officially founded in 1964 in Los Angeles, when performer Tommy Wiggins, songwriter Eddie Miller, and club owners Mickey and Chris Christensen teamed up with

Roger Miller and Patti Page

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5 6 TH A C M A W A R D S

THE ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC ®

other performers, radio and record label executives to establish the Country and Western Music Academy. Their vision was to promote Country Music in the western 13 states and to support artists based on the West Coast such as Billy Mize, Johnny Bond, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard, Roger Miller, Buck Owens, Wynn Stewart, Jimmy Wakely and Tex Williams. In 1965, an official Board of Directors was formed, and in 1966, the Academy hosted its first official Country Music awards show honoring the industry’s accomplishments from the previous year. It was the first Country Music awards program held by a major organization, propelling Country Music into the public spotlight for the first time. The Academy’s signature “hat” trophy was created in 1968, the same year Fran Boyd was hired as the Academy’s first paid employee. During the early 1970s, the organization changed its name from the Academy of Country and Western Music to the Academy of Country Music (ACM). The awards show hit the TV airwaves in 1972, broadcast for the first time in national syndication. Gene Weed took over producing and directing the show in 1974, and in 1979 the Academy joined forces with dick clark productions. Dick Clark and Al Schwartz served as producers while Weed continued to direct. The Academy soon named Bill Boyd executive director, and he also served as the talent coordinator for the show. Under their guidance, the ACM Awards® moved first to NBC and finally to CBS, where it remains today. In 1995, Fran Boyd became executive director after her husband, Bill Boyd, passed away. After 34 years of service, Fran retired and the position went to concert promoter and longtime ACM Board Member Bob Romeo, who served in the post for 12 years. Former Grand Ole Opry General Manager Pete Fisher served as CEO from 2016–2018 and in January 2020, experienced marketing executive Damon Whiteside became the new CEO of the


Academy. A Southern California native, Whiteside’s goals for the ACM encompass several key areas of focus: television, digital, board of directors’ involvement, growth of staff and membership, and serving the industry, with a focus on diversity and inclusion as well as charitable work through ACM Lifting Lives®. After being staged in Los Angeles since the 1960s, the ACM Awards left Southern California for the first time in 2003 and settled into Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino Events Center, then moving to the MGM Grand Garden Arena in 2006. In 2015, the Academy moved the show to AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ACM Awards. The show (as well as the two-day ACM Party for a Cause® Festival at Globe Life Park) sold out in 18 minutes, landing in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most attended live awards show (with more than 70,000 fans in the house). After that triumphant event, the Academy returned its show to Las Vegas from 2016 until 2019. Then came 2020. After selling out the 55th ACM Awards and surrounding Party for a Cause events that were planned for April in Las Vegas, the coronavirus pandemic caused the closure of large live events and the Academy was forced to postpone the show for the first time ever. After an exhaustive nationwide search, the ACM moved the show to the home of Country Music and three of Nashville’s iconic venues: The Grand Ole Opry House, Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe. The 55th ACM Awards, dubbed A NIGHT OF HEART AND HITS — LIVE FROM NASHVILLE, safely allowed the Country Music industry to do what it does best, connect fans across the globe with beautiful, memorial and exciting live music. Artists may not have been performing in the same room as fans, but the music still allowed fans to feel connected within the safety of their own homes. It seemed it was just what the world and

this community needed at an unprecedented and an extremely difficult moment in history. As 2020 came to a close and the COVID-19 pandemic continued, it was obvious that the 56th ACM Awards would most likely have to mimic the previous year’s show. Back again in Nashville for a second consecutive year, the 56th ACM Awards will broadcast live April 18, 2021, from the same three venues: The Grand Ole Opry House, Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe. With safety always at the forefront, artists, crew and anyone to step foot in the venues will be tested frequently, health screened daily and provided proper PPE. This year’s show will be co-hosted by ACM Award winner Keith Urban and ACM Award nominee Mickey Guyton. Today, the show is still produced by dick clark productions under the direction of longtime Executive Producers Barry Adelman and Richard A. “RAC” Clark, as well as dick clark productions’ Mark Bracco and Amy Thurlow and ACM’S Damon Whiteside. While the Academy strives to produce high-quality entertainment through the annual awards show, ACM Honors™ in Nashville and other network specials, the annual ACM Party for a Cause events, which serve a dual purpose as fundraisers for the Academy’s charitable arm, are on hold this year due to the ongoing pandemic. ACM Lifting Lives improves lives through the power of music by funding music therapy programs, as well as supporting those in the music industry hit with unexpected and catastrophic expenses through the Diane Holcomb Emergency Relief Fund and ACM Lifting Lives COVID19 Response Fund. To date, the COVID-19 Fund has distributed $3.5 million to members of the Country Music industry who have lost jobs during the live events shutdown. ●

Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton

Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty

Charlie Daniels and Ernest Tubb

5 6 TH A C M A W A R D S

15


Left to right: Vice President, Mary Wick, & CEO/Founder, Dr. Kari Lopez


NOMINEES ALBUM OF THE YE AR Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/ Record Company–Label(s)

Born Here Live Here Die Here

Luke Bryan PRODUCERS: Jeff Stevens / Jody Stevens RECORD LABEL:

Nashville

Capitol Records

Mixtape Vol. 1

Kane Brown PRODUCERS: Andrew Goldstein / Charlie Handsome / Dann Huff / Lindsay Rimes RECORD LABEL:

RCA Nashville

Never Will

Nashville

Warner Music

Brothers Osborne PRODUCER: Jay Joyce

Nashville

EMI Records

Starting Over

Chris Stapleton PRODUCERS: Chris Stapleton / Dave Cobb RECORD LABEL:

Mercury Nashville

SINGLE OF THE YE AR Awarded to Artist(s)/Producer(s)/ Record Company–Label(s)

“Bluebird”

Miranda Lambert PRODUCER: Jay Joyce

RECORD LABEL: Vanner Records/RCA Records Nashville

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RECORD LABEL:

Nashville

Warner Music

Carly Pearce & Lee Brice PRODUCER: busbee

RECORD LABELS: Big Machine Records / Curb Records

“More Hearts Than Mine”

Ingrid Andress PRODUCERS: Ingrid Andress / Sam Ellis

Nashville

Warner Music

“The Bones”

Maren Morris PRODUCER: Greg Kurstin

Nashville

Columbia

SONG OF THE YE AR Awarded to Songwriter(s)/ Publisher(s)/Artist(s)

“Bluebird”

Miranda Lambert WRITERS: Luke Dick / Miranda Lambert / Natalie Hemby

Emileon Songs / Little Louder Songs / Pink Dog Publishing / Songs of Universal, INC / Sony ATV Tree Publishing / Wrucke for You Publishing PUBLISHERS:

“One Night Standards”

Ashley McBryde WRITERS: Ashley McBryde / Nicolette Hayford / Shane McAnally

Canned Biscuit Songs / Smackworks Music / Smack Blue, LLC / Smackstreet Music / Tempo Investments / Warner Geo Met Ric Music / WarnerTamerlane Publishing Corp PUBLISHERS:

“I Hope You’re Happy Now”

RECORD LABEL:

Skeletons

RECORD LABEL:

Gabby Barrett PRODUCERS: Ross Copperman / Zach Kale

RECORD LABEL:

Ashley McBryde PRODUCER: Jay Joyce RECORD LABEL:

“I Hope”

“Some People Do”

Old Dominion WRITERS: Jesse Frasure / Matt Ramsey / Thomas Rhett / Shane McAnally

PUBLISHERS: Carrot Seed Songs / EMI Blackwood Music INC / Smackville Music / Songs of ROC Nation / Telemitry Rhythm House Music / Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp / Smack Hits; Tempo Investments / Warner Gro Met Ric Music

“Starting Over”

Chris Stapleton WRITERS: Chris Stapleton / Mike Henderson

I Wrote These Songs / Straight Six Music / WC Music Corp PUBLISHERS:

“The Bones”

Maren Morris Jimmy Robbins / Maren Morris / Laura Veltz WRITERS:

PUBLISHERS: Big Machine Music, LLC / Extraordinary Alien Publishing / International Dog Music / Oh Denise Publishing / Round Hill Songs / WarnerTamerlane Publishing Corp.

VIDEO OF THE YE AR Awarded to Producer(s)/ Director(s)/Artist(s)

“Better Than We Found It”

Maren Morris DIRECTOR: Gabrielle Woodland

PRODUCERS: Sarah Kunin / Jennifer Pepke

“Bluebird”

Miranda Lambert DIRECTOR: Trey Fanjoy PRODUCER: Heather

Levenstone

“Gone”

Dierks Bentley DIRECTORS: Wes Edwards / Ed Pryor / Travis Nicholson / Running Bear and Sam Siske, with animation by Skylar Wilson PRODUCERS: Lora

Criner / Wilson

“Hallelujah”

Carrie Underwood and John Legend DIRECTOR: Randee St. Nicholas PRODUCER: Grant

Jue

“Worldwide Beautiful” Kane Brown DIRECTOR: Alex Alvga PRODUCER: Christen

Pinkston

SONGWRITER OF THE YE AR Ashley Gorley HARDY Hillary Lindsey Shane McAnally Josh Osborne


ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR

Luke Bryan Eric Church Luke Combs Thomas Rhett Chris Stapleton

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

STUDIO RECORDING ARTIST

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

BAS S PL AYER OF THE YE AR

SPECIALT Y INS TRUMENT PL AYER OF THE YE AR

J.T. Cure

(Tie Within Category Increased Nominees)

Kelsea Ballerini Miranda Lambert Ashley McBryde Maren Morris Carly Pearce

MUSIC E VENT OF THE YE AR (Tie Within Category Increased Nominees)

Dierks Bentley Eric Church Luke Combs Thomas Rhett Chris Stapleton

Awarded to Artist(s)/ Producer(s)/Record Company–Label(s)

“Be A Light”

Thomas Rhett featuring Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott, Chris Tomlin and Keith Urban PRODUCER: Dann Huff RECORD LABEL: The

Valory Music Co.

“Does To Me”

Luke Combs featuring Eric Church PRODUCER: Scott Moffatt RECORD LABEL: River

House Artists / Columbia Nashville

“I Hope You’re Happy Now” Carly Pearce & Lee Brice PRODUCER: busbee RECORD LABELS: Big

Machine Records / Curb Records

“Nobody But You”

Blake Shelton featuring Gwen Stefani PRODUCER: Scott Hendricks RECORD LABEL: Warner

Nashville

Music

“One Beer”

HARDY featuring Lauren Alaina & Devin Dawson PRODUCERS: Derek Wells / Joey Moi RECORD LABEL: Big

Loud Records

“One Too Many”

Keith Urban, P!nk PRODUCERS: Cutfather / Dan McCarroll / Keith Urban / PhD RECORD LABEL: Capitol

Nashville

DUO OF THE YEAR

Brooks & Dunn Brothers Osborne Dan + Shay Florida Georgia Line Maddie & Tae

GROUP OF THE YEAR

Lady A Little Big Town Old Dominion The Cadillac Three The Highwomen

NEW FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR Ingrid Andress Tenille Arts Gabby Barrett Mickey Guyton Caylee Hammack

NEW MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Jimmie Allen Travis Denning HARDY Cody Johnson Parker McCollum

Mark Hill Tony Lucido Steve Mackey Glenn Worf

DRUMMER OF THE YE AR Fred Eltringham Evan Hutchings Derek Mixon Jerry Roe Aaron Sterling

GUITAR PL AYER OF THE YE AR J.T. Corenflos Kris Donegan Jedd Hughes Ilya Toshinskiy Derek Wells

PIANO/KE YS PL AYER OF THE YE AR Dave Cohen David Dorn Charlie Judge Mike Rojas Benmont Tench

Alicia Enstrom Jim Hoke Danny Rader Mickey Raphael Ilya Toshinskiy Kristin Wilkinson

S TEEL GUITAR PL AYER OF THE YE AR Spencer Cullum Dan Dugmore Mike Johnson Russ Pahl Justin Schipper

AUDIO ENGINEER OF THE YE AR Jeff Balding Jason Hall Gena Johnson Vance Powell F. Reid Shippen

PRODUCER OF THE YE AR Buddy Cannon Dave Cobb Dann Huff Jay Joyce Joey Moi

Records

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NOMINEES ACM RADIO AWARDS NATIONAL ON-AIR PERSONALIT Y OF THE YE AR

ON-AIR PERSONALIT Y OF THE YE AR

ON-AIR PERSONALIT Y OF THE YE AR

R ADIO S TATION OF THE YE AR

(Large Market)

(Small Market)

(Major Market)

Big D and Bubba Show Big D, Bubba, Patrick Thomas, Carsen

Lexi & Banks Lexi Papadopoulos and Jared Banks KUBL-FM (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Barrett, Fox & Berry Bill Barrett, Tim Fox and Tracy Berry KKNU-FM (Eugene, Ore.)

KKBQ-FM – Houston, Texas

Dave & Deb Dave Gunderson and Deb Turpin KSOP-FM (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Dr. Shane and Tess in the Morning ‘Dr.’ Shane Collins and Tess Connell WPAP-FM (Panama City, Fla.)

CMT After MidNite Cody Alan American Country Countdown with Kix Brooks Kix Brooks The Crook & Chase Countdown Lorianne Crook and Charlie Chase Morning Koffy Paul Koffy, Jasmine Sadry and Josh Jensen

ON-AIR PERSONALIT Y OF THE YE AR (Major Market)

Broadway WDRQ-FM (Detroit, Mich.) Chris Carr & Company Chris Carr, Kia Becht and McKaila Poppen KEEY-FM (Minneapolis, Minn.)

Obie & Ashley Obie Diaz and Ashley Morrison WWKA-FM (Orlando, Fla.) The Wake Up Call Kelli Green and David Bugenske KFRG-FM (Riverside/ San Bernardino, Calif.)

ON-AIR PERSONALIT Y OF THE YE AR

Erin and Matt In The Morning Erin Hart and Matt Sharp KATI-FM (Jefferson City, Mo.) Steve, Ben and Nikki Steve Stroud, Ben Walker and Nikki Thomas WXBQ-FM (Bristol, Va.) The Philip Gibbons Show Philip Gibbons WGSQ-FM (Cookeville, Tenn.)

KSON-FM – San Diego, Calif. WKLB-FM – Boston, Mass. WXTU-FM – Philadelphia, Pa.

R ADIO S TATION OF THE YE AR (Large Market)

KSOP-FM – Salt Lake City, Utah KNCI-FM – Sacramento, Calif. WDSY-FM – Pittsburgh, Pa. WSIX-FM – Nashville, Tenn. WQDR-FM – Raleigh, N.C.

R ADIO S TATION OF THE YE AR (Medium Market)

KSKS-FM – Fresno, Calif. KUZZ-AM/FM – Bakersfield, Calif.

(Medium Market)

KXKT-FM – Omaha, Neb.

Buzz Jackson KIIM-FM (Tucson, Ariz.)

WHKO-FM – Dayton, Ohio WIVK-FM – Knoxville, Tenn.

Double-L Lois Lewis KNIX-FM (Phoenix, Ariz.)

Geoff Emery KUZZ AM/FM (Bakersfield, Calif.)

R ADIO S TATION OF THE YE AR

Tanner in the Morning Rob Tanner, Catherine Lane, Chris Allen and Captain Jim WSOC-FM (Charlotte, N.C.)

Mo & StyckMan WUSY-FM (Chattanooga, Tenn.)

KATI-FM – Jefferson City, Mo.

The Morning Bull George, Mo and Cowboy Dave KILT-FM (Houston, Texas)

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Mad Dawg WQDR-FM (Raleigh, N.C.)

KNIX-FM – Phoenix, Ariz.

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Scott & Sarah in the Morning Scott Wynn and Sarah Kay WQMX-FM (Akron, Ohio) Steve Lundy & Gina Melton KXKT-FM (Omaha, Neb.)

(Small Market)

KCLR-FM – Columbia, Mo. KKNU-FM – Eugene, Ore. WCOW-FM – Sparta, Wis. WXBQ-FM – Bristol, Va.


Savannah Palmore & Matthew Charley

Studio Seven Productions/NM

s a m sv i ll e

66 - E. San Francisco St, Paso de Luz #12/13 • 505-999-1029 Santa Fe, NM • samsvillegallery.com • Follow us on Social Media 5 6 TH A C M A W A R D S

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ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE

LUKE BRYAN LUKE BRYAN IS FEELING THE LOVE FROM COUNTRY RADIO WITH HIS NEW ALBUM , Born Here, Live Here, Die Here. The project includes four No. 1 hits: “Knockin’ Boots,” “What She Wants Tonight,” “One Margarita” and “Down to One.” He’s now carried 24 singles to the top of Billboard’s Country airplay chart. In February, the album scored gold, and by year’s end, the video for “One Margarita” earned him a CMT Music Award. Meanwhile, 2020 brought numerous RIAA certifications, including six-times platinum for “Play It Again,” his third single to reach that landmark. In addition, “That’s My Kind of Night” and “I Don’t Want This Night to End” rose to five-times platinum, with “Kick the Dust Up” and “Drink a Beer” marking triple-platinum. Bryan has been named ACM® Entertainer of the Year twice (2012, 2014) and Crash My Party received the ACM Album of the Decade award in 2019. He accepted the ACM Gene Weed Special Achievement Award in 2015 for selling 1.7 million tickets and charting six No. 1 singles from Crash My Party. Additional ACM wins include two Vocal Event trophies, New Artist and New Solo Vocalist. Bryan grew up in Leesburg, Ga., as the son of a peanut farmer. He honors his rural roots through Farm Tour concerts in smaller communities, raising money to provide scholarships to area students. His new single is “Drink A Little Whiskey Down,” from a deluxe edition of Born Here, Live Here, Die Here. This is his ninth consecutive Entertainer of the Year nomination.

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ALSO NOMINATED FOR

ALBUM OF THE YEAR


ENTERTAINER

OF THE YEAR NOMINEE


ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE

ERIC CHURCH ERIC CHURCH’S CAREER IS A TESTIMONY TO THE POWER OF COUNTRY FANS. By building his audience through small clubs all the way up to arenas, he is one of the genre’s most visible stars. Earlier this year, he delivered the national anthem with Jazmine Sullivan at the Super Bowl. He placed his ninth No. 1 single in 2020 with a featured performance on Luke Combs’ “Does to Me.” That followed his own chart-topping hit, “Some of It,” from the gold-certified album Desperate Man. Church won his first ACM trophy as New Solo Vocalist for 2010. Other trophies include Album (Chief), Vocal Event (“The Only Way I Know”) and Video (“Mr. Misunderstood”). He received the 2014 Jim Reeves International Award to recognize his extensive European tour and the 2016 Merle Haggard Spirit Award to salute his uncompromising musical vision. His 2020 certifications include triple-platinum for “Drink in My Hand” and double-platinum for “Talladega.” Other career-defining hits include “Springsteen,” “Like a Wrecking Ball,” “Smoke a Little Smoke,” “Record Year” and “Give Me Back My Hometown.” His latest project is a triple album, Heart & Soul, introduced with the singles “Stick That in Your Country Song” (on Heart) and “Hell of a View” (on Soul). One of the albums (simply titled &) will be available only on vinyl, exclusively to his longtime fan club, The Church Choir. A 10-time Grammy Award nominee, Church was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2015. This is his third ACM Entertainer of the Year nomination.

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ALSO NOMINATED FOR

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR


Studio Seven Productions/NM • model: Sophie Palmore

samsville gallery 66 - E. San Francisco St, Paso de Luz #12/13 • 505-999-1029 Santa Fe, NM • samsvillegallery.com • Follow us on Social Media


ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE

LUKE COMBS LUKE COMBS IS ONE OF VERY FEW ARTISTS TO CLAIM A DOUBLE-PLATINUM ALBUM CERTIFICATION IN 2021. What You See Is What You Get achieved that distinction in January on the strength of five No. 1 hits: “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” “Even Though I’m Leaving,” “Does to Me” (featuring Eric Church), “Lovin’ on You” and “Better Together.” With these singles, Combs extends the record of his first 10 radio releases rising to No. 1. Combs made history in 2019 as his outstanding debut album, This One’s For You, tied the record for the most weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country album chart. What You See Is What You Get arrived at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in November 2019. In addition, “Beautiful Crazy” spent seven weeks at No. 1 at Country radio, the longest of any song in the 2010s. “When It Rains, It Pours,” “Beautiful Crazy” and “Hurricane” have been certified quadruple-platinum status, while “One Number Away” and “She Got the Best of Me” are double-platinum. The North Carolina native was born in Charlotte, grew up in Asheville and attended Appalachian State University in Boone. In college, Combs noted the way ASU graduate Eric Church built his music career. As a result, Combs focused on writing songs, taught himself to play guitar with online tabs and won over fans one show at a time. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 2019. His new single is “Forever After All.” This is his second Entertainer of the Year nomination.

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ALSO NOMINATED FOR

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR


ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE

CHRIS STAPLETON CHRIS STAPLETON, THE ACM ARTIST-SONGWRITER OF THE DECADE, COMMANDS IMMEDIATE ATTENTION WHEN HE SINGS — and that rugged baritone has brought him international stardom and innumerable accolades. His latest collection, Starting Over, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country album chart in November, and its title track became his fourth Top 10 hit at Country radio earlier this year. His RIAA certifications stacked up in 2020 as well, with “Tennessee Whiskey” reaching seven-times platinum and “Fire Away” earning double-platinum. Recognizing his breakout in 2015, Stapleton won four ACM categories: Album (Traveller), Song (“Nobody to Blame”), Male Vocalist and New Male Vocalist. Two years later, he returned to accept trophies for the album From A Room: Volume 1 and his second Male Vocalist award. He continued that momentum in 2019 with the platinum “Millionaire” and collaborations with Sheryl Crow, P!nk, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars, and Justin Timberlake. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Stapleton lodged his first-ever No. 1 single at Country radio, “Broken Halos,” in 2018. On screen, he’s made a cameo on Game of Thrones, filmed a video for “Second One to Know” using only Legos and contributed a song to “Toy Story 4.” Stapleton grew up in eastern Kentucky. His father was a coal miner who introduced his son to a diverse array of music — and those sounds of outlaw Country and soul music seeped in. He and his wife, Morgane Stapleton, oversee the charitable fund Outlaw State of Kind. This is his third ACM Entertainer of the Year nomination.

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ALSO NOMINATED FOR

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR ALBUM OF THE YEAR (ARTIST AND PRODUCER)

SONG OF THE YEAR (ARTIST AND SONGWRITER)


Buffalo Collection

ENTERTAINER

OF THE YEAR NOMINEE

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ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE

THOMAS RHETT THOMAS RHETT, A REIGNING ACM ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR (he and Carrie Underwood shared the distinction in a historic tie last year), offered a beacon of hope in 2020 with “Be a Light,” an all-star collaboration that became his 18th Top 10 hit in September. Meanwhile he’s also credited as a songwriter on Old Dominion’s “Some People Do.” In addition, he gifted fans with a few Christmas songs and a rousing chart-topping duet with Jon Pardi, “Beer Can’t Fix.” That feel-good tune, which became his ninth consecutive No. 1 hit in May, comes from the gold-certified album Center Point Road. Named for the street he grew up on, Center Point Road debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, set a record for the biggest streaming debut week for a Country album and secured a Grammy nomination. The collection also includes “Look What God Gave Her” and “Remember You Young,” with the latter winning ACM Video of the Year and achieving gold status last year. Born in Valdosta, Ga., but raised just outside of Nashville, Thomas Rhett is also a two-time recipient of the ACM Male Artist of the Year. He landed a six-times platinum certification for “Die a Happy Man,” a romantic ballad that spent six weeks at No. 1 at Country radio, earned a Grammy nomination, and led to ACM Awards® for Single and Song of the Year. The first half of a double-sided album, Country Again: Side A, lands in April, with the nostalgic new single, “What’s Your Country Song.” This is his second Entertainer of the Year nomination.

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ALSO NOMINATED FOR

MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR SONG OF THE YEAR MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR


OF THE YEAR NOMINEE

ENTERTAINER Experience the ultimate in luxury, comfort & design with furnitur. Our furniture is hand-made in America using the finest materials & methods of old world craftsmanship. Let us enrich your lifestyle by creating timeless custom furnishings of the highest quality for your home.

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2021 NOMINEES

LAUREN ALAINA

NOMINATED FOR

MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

Lauren Alaina is on the A-list when it comes to Country’s top collaborators. In 2020 she returned to No. 1 with “One Beer,” recorded with HARDY and Devin Dawson. She’s also partnered with Jon Pardi on “Getting Over Him” and Trisha Yearwood on “Getting Good.” She collected her first ACM® trophy as the 2017 New Female Vocalist of the Year, following the No. 1 singles “What Ifs” with Kane Brown and “Road Less Traveled.”

INGRID NEW FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR ANDRESS• SINGLE OF THE YEAR X2 NOMINATED FOR

Ingrid Andress speaks her truth in her breakout debut single, “More Hearts Than Mine.” The poignant ballad comes from her personal experience of introducing a new boyfriend to her family, yet the emotions are universal. As her first Top 5 hit, “More Hearts Than Mine” serves as a cornerstone of her Grammy-nominated album, Lady Like. The Highlands Ranch, Colo., native released a stunning music video for “The Stranger” in 2020.

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JIMMIE ALLEN

NOMINATED FOR

NEW MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Jimmie Allen journeyed to No. 1 with his first two singles: “Best Shot” and “Make Me Want To.” Both are found on his debut album, Mercury Lane, a nod to his roots in Milton, Del. In 2020 he offered a collaborative EP titled Bettie James, named for his grandmother and father. Guests include Noah Cyrus on “This Is Us,” Nelly on “Good Times Roll” and Brad Paisley on “Freedom Was a Highway.”

TENILLE ARTS

NOMINATED FOR

NEW FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Tenille Arts is introducing herself to Country listeners with “Somebody Like That,” an uplifting and optimistic single from her new album, Love, Heartbreak, & Everything in Between. The Saskatchewan native first made her way to Nashville as a teenager, after attracting interest through posting cover songs online. After high school graduation, she returned to pursue her dream. She wrote or co-wrote every song on Love, Heartbreak, & Everything in Between.


2021 NOMINEES

KELSEA BALLERINI

NOMINATED FOR

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Kelsea Ballerini added to her accolades in 2020 with two complementary albums, numerous RIAA certifications and an anthem for wine drinkers everywhere. The Tennessee native issued kelsea early in the year, followed by the scaled-back ballerini in September. Meanwhile, “Miss Me More” ascended to double-platinum, trailed by platinum plaques for “homecoming queen?,” “Yeah Boy” and her debut album, The First Time. “Hole in the Bottle” reached gold in January.

DIERKS MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR BENTLEY• VIDEO OF THE YEAR NOMINATED FOR

Dierks Bentley is back with “Gone,” following a hot streak of radio mainstays like “Living,” “Burning Man” and “Woman, Amen.” Bentley grabbed his first ACM Award® as 2003’s New Artist due to his irresistible No. 1 debut single, “What Was I Thinkin’?” He’s since accumulated 17 chart-topping hits. In recognition of his singular talent, Bentley accepted the ACM Merle Haggard Spirit Award in 2018. In October, “Living” became his seventh platinum single.

GABBY NEW FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR BARRETT• SINGLE OF THE YEAR NOMINATED FOR

Gabby Barrett blasted onto the airwaves with “I Hope,” a Country smash with major crossover appeal. Barrett grew up near Pittsburgh, and started performing in public at 9 years old, encouraged by her father who overheard her singing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” At 17, she earned a spot on “American Idol,” ultimately placing third. As the lead single from her debut album, Goldmine, “I Hope” rose to quadrupleplatinum in January.

LEE BRICE

NOMINATED FOR

SINGLE OF THE YEAR MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

Lee Brice landed at No. 1 twice in 2020. First, he joined Carly Pearce on “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” then soon returned with “One of Them Girls.” The latter set up Brice’s longawaited fifth album, Hey World. The South Carolina native has collected ACM Awards for Single of the Year (“I Don’t Dance”) and Song of the Year (“I Drive Your Truck” and Eli Young Band’s “Crazy Girl”).

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2021 NOMINEES

BROOKS & DUNN

NOMINATED FOR

DUO OF THE YEAR

Brooks & Dunn, the only duo to win the ACM Triple Crown Award, dominated Country radio for two decades, starting with 1991’s “Brand New Man.” In addition to being named ACM Entertainer of the Year three times, they have won the Duo of the Year category 16 times. Brooks & Dunn are recipients of the 2018 ACM Cliffie Stone Icon Award and were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2019.

KANE BROWN

NOMINATED FOR

ALBUM OF THE YEAR • VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Kane Brown secured his fifth No. 1 single at Country radio in 2020 with “Homesick,” then ushered in a new era with Mixtape, Vol. 1. The ambitious project blended numerous genres while still appealing to Country fans with the breezy single “Cool Again.” In addition, the cinematic “Worldwide Beautiful” video managed to be futuristic and apocalyptic at the same time. Brown lends his talent to musical hero Chris Young’s new single, “Famous Friends.”

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BROTHERS OF THE YEAR OSBORNE • DUO • ALBUM OF THE YEAR NOMINATED FOR

Brothers Osborne revived their fan base in 2020 with Skeletons and tapped into their famous live energy for its lead single, “All Night.” Picking up momentum from their 2016 breakout hit, “Stay a Little Longer,” they accepted back-to-back Duo trophies. They have also earned Video of the Year for “It Ain’t My Fault” and a Music Event win for “Burning Man” with Dierks Bentley. This is their seventh consecutive nomination for Duo of the Year.

DAN + SHAY

NOMINATED FOR

DUO OF THE YEAR

Dan + Shay, the reigning ACM Duo of the Year, have reached the status of arena headliners with a winning blend of romantic songwriting, emotional delivery and a strong bond of friendship. They broadened their audience beyond Country listeners with impassioned tracks like “Tequila,” “Speechless,” “All to Myself” and especially “10,000 Hours,” a collaboration with Justin Bieber. A 2020 hit single, “I Should Probably Go to Bed,” earned gold status in January.


2021 NOMINEES

DEVIN DAWSON

NOMINATED FOR

MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

Devin Dawson won his first ACM Award, as a songwriter, when Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country” picked up the 2019 Single of the Year trophy. However, the California native first gained ACM attention through his own debut single, “All on Me,” which prompted a nomination for 2017 New Male Vocalist of the Year. Following the No. 1 success of his collaboration with HARDY, “One Beer,” Dawson released The Pink Slip EP in January.

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE

NOMINATED FOR

DUO OF THE YEAR

Florida Georgia Line are one of Country’s most successful duos ever. Together, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley have racked up 14 No. 1 hits. They released the album Life Rolls On in February, featuring “I Love My Country” and “Long Live.” Along with three Duo of the Year wins, their career ACM Awards include Breakout Artist of the Decade, Single of the Decade for “Cruise” and Music Event of the Decade for “Meant to Be.”

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TRAVIS DENNING

NOMINATED FOR

NEW MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Travis Denning set a Billboard record in June when “After a Few” finally reached No. 1 with a 65-week climb. A native of Warner Robins, Ga., Denning first gravitated toward heavy metal. He learned guitar when he was 11 and played in local bars as a 16-year-old. At 21, he moved to Nashville and networked at songwriter nights, soon landing a publishing deal and recording contract. His debut EP is Beer’s Better Cold.

ASHLEY GORLEY

NOMINATED FOR

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR

Ashley Gorley is clearly in tune with Country radio, with more than 50 of his compositions rising to No. 1. His recent catalog encompasses Lee Brice’s “One of Them Girls” and Thomas Rhett’s “Remember You Young,” as well as major hits by Dierks Bentley, Chris Janson, Chris Lane, LOCASH, Dustin Lynch and Brett Young. The Kentucky native was named ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year in 2020, marking his eighth time to win.


2021 NOMINEES

MICKEY GUYTON

NOMINATED FOR

NEW FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Mickey Guyton made a major media impression in 2020 with “Black Like Me.” The poignant single allowed her to share her experiences while showcasing her exquisite voice. It also secured her a Grammy nomination. A Texas native, Guyton grew up surrounded by Country Music and launched her career in 2015 with “Better Than You Left Me.” Her 2020 EP, Bridges, includes the singles “What Are You Gonna Tell Her?” and “Heaven Down Here.”

HARDY

NOMINATED FOR

NEW MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

Michael Hardy makes it look easy. His songwriting credits include Blake Shelton’s “God’s Country,” which was named 2019 ACM Single of the Year, as well as cuts with Florida Georgia Line, Chris Lane and Jameson Rodgers. As an artist, known professionally as HARDY, he topped the Billboard country airplay chart in 2020 with “One Beer,” featuring Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson. That track is on his all-star compilation, Hixtape Vol. 1.

CAYLEE HAMMACK

NOMINATED FOR

NEW FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Caylee Hammack unveiled her debut album, If It Wasn’t For You, in June, and notably co-wrote and co-produced every track. In early 2020, “Family Tree” became her first Top 40 country single. Growing up in Ellaville, Ga., Hammack began writing songs as a teenager and moved to Nashville at 19. She is among the featured guests on Miranda Lambert’s “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” the 2019 ACM Music Event of the Year.

CODY JOHNSON

NOMINATED FOR

NEW MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Cody Johnson sailed past 1 billion career streams in 2020, almost exactly one year after releasing his major label debut album, Ain’t Nothin’ to It. That project debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country album chart, a testament to his fan base as well as the powerful lead single, “On My Way to You.” Drawing on his professional background in rodeo, Johnson concluded the year with “Dear Rodeo,” a duet with Reba McEntire.

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2021 NOMINEES

LADY A

NOMINATED FOR

GROUP OF THE YEAR

Lady A uncorked the bubbly in January as “Champagne Night” became the band’s 11th No. 1 Country single. The band reworked the song after its appearance on the network series “Songland,” then added it to a deluxe edition of their newest album, Ocean. The track reached gold status in January as well. It’s the second chart-topping single from Ocean, with “What If I Never Get Over You” reaching the pinnacle in 2020.

JOHN LEGEND

NOMINATED FOR

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

John Legend is indeed a legend when it comes to award shows. He is the first Black man to reach EGOT status, by earning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. He secured a gold single in January with “Conversations in the Dark,” while his signature smash, “All of Me,” soared to 13-times platinum. Along with guesting on Carrie Underwood’s “Hallelujah,” he collaborated with Kane Brown on “ACM Presents: Our Country.”

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MIRANDA LAMBERT

NOMINATED FOR

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR SINGLE OF THE YEAR SONG OF THE YEAR X2 VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Miranda Lambert has collected more ACM Awards than any other artist in history, with 35 wins. The Lindale, Texas, native is a nine-time ACM Female Vocalist winner and a five-time recipient of the ACM Album of the Year. In 2019, “The House That Built Me” was named ACM Song of the Decade. She perched at No. 1 at Country radio in July with the charming single, “Bluebird” from her latest album, Wildcard.

HILLARY LINDSEY

NOMINATED FOR

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR

Hillary Lindsey is one of Nashville’s most versatile songwriters, crafting material for artists ranging from Miranda Lambert to Lady Gaga. She won her third Grammy in 2020 for co-writing “I’ll Never Love Again” for “A Star Is Born.” Her recent credits include Kelsea Ballerini’s “Hole in the Bottle,” Luke Bryan’s “What She Wants Tonight” and “Knockin’ Boots,” and Mickey Guyton’s “Heaven Down Here.” She is the ACM reigning Songwriter of the Year.


2021 NOMINEES

LITTLE BIG TOWN

NOMINATED FOR

GROUP OF THE YEAR

Little Big Town illuminated the Country scene in 2020 with Nightfall, a compelling collection with singles such as “The Daughters,” “Over Drinking” and “Wine, Beer, Whiskey.” Produced by the band, Nightfall debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country albums chart. Perhaps their most mesmerizing hit, “Girl Crush” reached five-times platinum in August. This is their 15th nomination in the Group of the Year category, an award they have won four times.

SHANE McANALLY

NOMINATED FOR

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR SONG OF THE YEAR X2

MADDIE & TAE

NOMINATED FOR

DUO OF THE YEAR

Maddie & Tae share their beautiful harmony and heartfelt lyrics on their No. 1 platinum single, “Die From a Broken Heart.” The bittersweet song became a cornerstone of their second album, The Way It Feels, released in April 2020. By year’s end, they wrapped up a holiday EP, We Need Christmas. Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye first glided to No. 1 in 2014 with the modern classic, “Girl in a Country Song.”

ASHLEY FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR McBRYDE• ALBUM OF THE YEAR NOMINATED FOR

SONG OF THE YEAR X2 Shane McAnally, a two-time ACM Songwriter of the Year, taps into the emotions that Country Music is known for, while still creating huge hits at radio. Some of his 2020 compositions include Sam Hunt’s “Hard to Forget,” Lady A’s “Champagne Night,” Ashley McBryde’s “One Night Standards” and Old Dominion’s “Some People Do.” He founded the music publishing company SMACKSongs in 2012 and serves as producer and mentor of the network series “Songland.”

Ashley McBryde is seeing her creative vision pay off, as she notched two gold singles in 2020: “A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega” and “One Night Standards.” The latter is her biggest radio single yet, while its music video set in motion a surprising cinematic trilogy. Her 2020 album Never Will led to her fourth career Grammy nomination and a performance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” She will release a live EP in May.

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39


2021 NOMINEES

PARKER McCOLLUM

NOMINATED FOR

NEW MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Parker McCollum grew his fan base well beyond his native Texas with “Pretty Heart.” The heartbreak song, which he co-wrote, rose to No. 1 at radio in December and achieved platinum status this year. McCollum grew up in Conroe and now lives in Austin. He gravitated toward songwriting and playing guitar as a teenager and cites George Strait and John Mayer as his two biggest influences. His new EP is titled Hollywood Gold.

REBA McENTIRE

NOMINATED FOR

MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

Reba McEntire has now been nominated for ACM Awards in five consecutive decades, this year due to her guest appearance on Thomas Rhett’s “Be a Light.” The 1994 ACM Entertainer of the Year, a seven-time Female Vocalist winner and a frequent host, this ambitious Oklahoma native is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. With perennial interest in her catalog, she received a platinum certification in 2020 for her signature hit, “Fancy.”

NOMINATED FOR

MAREN MORRIS

FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR SINGLE OF THE YEAR SONG OF THE YEAR X2 VIDEO OF THE YEAR GROUP OF THE YEAR The Highwomen

Maren Morris, the reigning ACM Female Artist of the Year, notched her fourth No. 1 single in February with “The Bones,” an inescapable single that also crossed over to pop radio. The track rose to triple-platinum status in September and its corresponding album, GIRL, earned gold status. A popular collaborator, Morris has recorded with Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne, Miranda Lambert, Thomas Rhett and her husband Ryan Hurd. She is also a member of The Highwomen.

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OLD GROUP OF THE YEAR DOMINION• SONG OF THE YEAR NOMINATED FOR

Old Dominion, the ACM Group of the Year for the past three years, delivered three successful singles from their newest album, simply titled Old Dominion. “Make It Sweet” and “One Man Band” both reached No. 1 at Country radio, while “Some People Do” is up for ACM Song of the Year. Old Dominion collected the 2019 Song of the Year trophy for “One Man Band,” which went platinum in early 2020.


2021 NOMINEES

JOSH OSBORNE

NOMINATED FOR

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR

Josh Osborne continues to find outstanding success in Country Music, co-writing hits like Sam Hunt’s “Hard to Forget,” Old Dominion’s “One Man Band,” Darius Rucker’s “Beer and Sunshine,” and Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani’s “Nobody But You” and “Happy Anywhere.” He’s also placed cuts with Gabby Barrett, Kenny Chesney and Rascal Flatts. A portion of the Country Music Highway near his hometown of Virgie, Ky., is named in his honor.

P!NK

NOMINATED FOR

MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

Pink returns to the ACM ballot this year for “One Too Many,” her potent collaboration with Keith Urban. She has earned massive pop success with singles like “So What,” “Raise Your Glass” and “Just Give Me a Reason.” She earned a platinum certification in 2020 for her single, “Walk Me Home,” and has won three Grammy Awards. P!nk landed her first ACM nomination for “Setting the World on Fire” with Kenny Chesney.

CARLY PEARCE

NOMINATED FOR

• FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR • SINGLE OF THE YEAR • MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

Carly Pearce embraced the ‘90s Country sound she grew up on for her second No. 1, “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” a duet with Lee Brice. It’s a cornerstone of her self-titled second album, released on Valentine’s Day in 2020. Pearce grew up in Kentucky and moved to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., when she was 16 to perform at Dollywood. Her powerful debut single, “Every Little Thing,” climbed to No. 1 in 2017.

HILLARY SCOTT

NOMINATED FOR

GROUP OF THE YEAR Lady A MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

Hillary Scott joins Thomas Rhett on “Be a Light,” a reflective song that complements her own solo recordings. Scott won Grammy Awards in Contemporary Christian categories for her 2016 album, Love Remains, and its single, “Thy Will.” And like Rhett, she grew up with a parent who’s quite familiar to Country fans — in her case, Linda Davis. Scott is also a member of Lady A, nominated for Group of the Year.

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41


2021 NOMINEES

BLAKE SHELTON

NOMINATED FOR

MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

Blake Shelton scored two No. 1 singles in 2020, both of them recorded with his fiancée, Gwen Stefani. First, “Nobody But You” ascended the chart after appearing on his 2019 goldcertified compilation, Fully Loaded: God’s Country. By year’s end, the couple encored with “Happy Anywhere.” Meanwhile, in July, “God’s Country” became Shelton’ fourth triple-platinum single. The Oklahoma native has now charted 28 No. 1 singles on Billboard’s Country airplay chart. He continues his charming run as a coach on the singing competition show “The Voice.”

THE CADILLAC THREE

NOMINATED FOR

GROUP OF THE YEAR

The Cadillac Three cranked up the Country Fuzz in 2020, with that album arriving in February. By year’s end, the band also served up Tabasco & Sweet Tea, a funk-inspired project. While off the road, they spearheaded a fundraising drive for Second Harvest Food Bank in Nashville with a streaming series featuring multiple musical guests. Their gold-certified breakout single, “The South,” earned a 2014 ACM nomination for Vocal Event of the Year.

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GWEN STEFANI

NOMINATED FOR

MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

Gwen Stefani gave notice that she knows how to deliver a Country smash, no doubt. With her fiancé Blake Shelton, the “Hollaback Girl” star sent two singles to No. 1 at Country radio: “Nobody But You” and “Happy Anywhere.” In addition, the cute couple received a gold certification for their 2017 track, “You Make It Feel Like Christmas.” Listen for the pop sensation on Dua Lipa’s “Physical.” This is Stefani’s first ACM nomination.

THE HIGHWOMEN

NOMINATED FOR

GROUP OF THE YEAR

The Highwomen attained a No. 1 debut on Billboard’s Country album chart, achieved through excellent reviews, high-profile TV appearances and the dedicated fan bases of its four members. The self-titled project delivers original songwriting by each of the artists — Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby, Maren Morris and Amanda Shires — and compositions like “Crowded Table” serve as a statement of inclusion. The supergroup performed at Newport Folk Festival in 2019.


2021 NOMINEES

CHRIS TOMLIN

NOMINATED FOR

MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

Chris Tomlin, one of Christian music’s most popular stars, crossed over to Country Music in 2020 as a featured guest on Thomas Rhett’s “Be a Light.” His newest album, Chris Tomlin & Friends, offers collaborations with numerous Country artists. The Texas native has charted 10 No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Christian airplay chart, with platinum singles such as “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies),” “Good Good Father” and “Our God.”

KEITH URBAN

CARRIE UNDERWOOD

NOMINATED FOR

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Carrie Underwood, a reigning ACM Entertainer of the Year and a Triple Crown Award winner, is one of Country Music’s most prominent ambassadors. In 2020, she presented a Christmas album, My Gift, with a special appearance from John Legend. And in March, she released her first-ever gospel album, My Savior. Underwood’s album Cry Pretty debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Its fourth single, “Drinking Alone,” earned a gold certification in July.

NOMINATED FOR

MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR X3

Keith Urban, a Triple Crown Award winner, earned his 42nd Top 10 Country hit in 2020 as “God Whispered Your Name” and “Be a Light” shared the spotlight in September. The former is from his new album, The Speed of Now Part 1. That collection also features a catchy collaboration with P!nk, “One Too Many.” Urban’s past wins in the Music Event category include “The Fighter,” “We Were Us” and “Start a Band.”

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2021 NOMINEES

ALBUM OF THE YEAR AWARDED TO ARTIST(S)/PRODUCER(S)/ RECORD COMPANY–LABEL(S)

BORN HERE LIVE HERE DIE HERE L U K E B R YA N P R O D U C E R S  |  Jeff

Stevens, Jody Stevens

R E C O R D L A B E L  |  Capitol

Records Nashville

MIXTAPE VOL. 1 KANE BROWN P R O D U C E R S  |  Andrew

Goldstein, Charlie Handsome, Dann Huff, Lindsay Rimes

R E C O R D L A B E L  |  RCA

Nashville

NEVER WILL ASHLEY McBRYDE P R O D U C E R  |  Jay R E C O R D L A B E L  |  Warner

Joyce

Music Nashville

SKELETONS BROTHERS OSBORNE P R O D U C E R  |  Jay R E C O R D L A B E L  |  EMI

Joyce

Records Nashville

STARTING OVER C H R I S S TA P L E T O N P R O D U C E R S  |  Chris

Stapleton, Dave Cobb

R E C O R D L A B E L  |  Mercury

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Nashville


SINGLE OF THE YEAR

2021 NOMINEES

AWARDED TO ARTIST(S)/PRODUCER(S)/RECORD COMPANY–LABEL(S)

“BLUEBIRD” MIRANDA LAMBERT P R O D U C E R   |   Jay

Joyce

R E C O R D L A B E L   |   Vanner

Records/ RCA Records Nashville

“I HOPE” GABBY BARRETT P R O D U C E R S  |  Ross

Copperman, Zach Kale

R E C O R D L A B E L  |  Warner

Music Nashville

“I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY NOW” C A R LY P E A R C E & L E E B R I C E P R O D U C E R  |  busbee R E C O R D L A B E L  |  Big

Machine Records / Curb Records

“MORE HEARTS THAN MINE” INGRID ANDRESS P R O D U C E R S  |  Ingrid

Andress, Sam Ellis

R E C O R D L A B E L  |  Warner

Music Nashville

“THE BONES” MAREN MORRIS P R O D U C E R  |  Greg R E C O R D L A B E L  |  Columbia

Kurstin

Nashville

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2021 NOMINEES

SONG OF THE YEAR

AWARDED TO SONGWRITER(S)/PUBLISHER(S)/ARTIST(S)

“SOME PEOPLE DO” OLD DOMINION

“BLUEBIRD”

MIRANDA LAMBERT

S O N G W R I T E R S  |  Luke Dick, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby P U B L I S H E R S  |  Emileon Songs; Little Louder Songs; Pink Dog Publishing; Songs of Universal, INC; Sony ATV Tree Publishing; Wrucke for You Publishing

S O N G W R I T E R S  |  Jesse Frasure, Matt Ramsey, Thomas Rhett, Shane McAnally P U B L I S H E R S  |  Carrot Seed Songs; EMI Blackwood Music INC; Smackville Music; Songs of ROC Nation; Telemitry Rhythm House Music; Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp; Smack Hits; Tempo Investments; Warner Gro Met Ric Music

“STARTING OVER” C H R I S S TA P L E T O N

“ONE NIGHT STANDARDS” ASHLEY MCBRYDE

S O N G W R I T E R S  |  Chris

Stapleton, Mike Henderson

Wrote These Songs; Straight Six Music; WC Music Corp

P U B L I S H E R S  | I

S O N G W R I T E R S  |  Ashley McBryde, Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally P U B L I S H E R S  |  Canned Biscuit Songs; Smackworks Music; Smack Blue, LLC; Smackstreet Music; Tempo Investments; Warner Geo Met Ric Music; WarnerTamerlane Publishing Corp

“THE BONES” MAREN MORRIS

S O N G W R I T E R S  |  Jimmy

Robbins, Maren Morris, Laura Veltz

P U B L I S H E R S  |  Big Machine Music, LLC; Extraordinary Alien Publishing; International Dog Music; Oh Denise Publishing; Round Hill Songs; Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

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VIDEO OF THE YEAR

2021 NOMINEES

AWARDED TO PRODUCER(S)/DIRECTOR(S)/ARTIST(S)

“BETTER THAN WE FOUND IT” MAREN MORRIS

D I R E C T O R  |  Gabrielle

Woodland P R O D U C E R S  |  Sarah Kunin, Jennifer Pepke

“HALLELUJAH”

CARRIE UNDERWOOD AND JOHN LEGEND D I R E C T O R  |  Randee

St. Nicholas P R O D U C E R  |  Grant Jue

“BLUEBIRD”

MIRANDA LAMBERT D I R E C T O R  |  Trey

Fanjoy Levenstone

P R O D U C E R  |  Heather

“WORLDWIDE BEAUTIFUL” KANE BROWN

D I R E C T O R  |  Alex

Alvga Pinkston

P R O D U C E R  |  Christen

“GONE”

DIERKS BENTLEY

D I R E C T O R S  |  Wes Edwards, Ed Pryor, Travis Nicholson, Running Bear and Sam Siske, with animation by Skylar Wilson P R O D U C E R S  |  Lora

Criner, Wilson 5 6 TH A C M A W A R D S

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MUSIC EVENT OF THE YEAR

2021 NOMINEES

AWARDED TO ARTIST(S)/PRODUCER(S)/RECORD COMPANY–LABEL(S)

“BE A LIGHT”

T H O M A S R H E T T F E AT U R I N G R E B A M C E N T I R E , H I L L A R Y S C O T T, CHRIS TOMLIN, KEITH URBAN P R O D U C E R  |  Dann RECORD

Huff L A B E L  |  The Valory Music Co.

“DOES TO ME”

L U K E C O M B S F E AT U R I N G E R I C C H U R C H P R O D U C E R  |  Scott

Moffatt

R E C O R D L A B E L  |  River

House Artists/Columbia Nashville

“I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY NOW” C A R LY P E A R C E & L E E B R I C E P R O D U C E R  |  busbee R E C O R D L A B E L  |  Big

Machine Records / Curb Records

“NOBODY BUT YOU”

B L A K E S H E LT O N F E AT U R I N G G W E N S T E F A N I P R O D U C E R  |  Scott

Hendricks

R E C O R D L A B E L  |  Warner

Music Nashville

“ONE BEER”

H A R D Y F E AT U R I N G L AUREN AL AINA & DEVIN DAWSON P R O D U C E R S  |  Derek

Wells, Joey Moi

R E C O R D L A B E L  |  Big

Loud Records

“ONE TOO MANY” KEITH URBAN, P!NK

P R O D U C E R S  |  Cutfather,

Dan McCarroll, Keith Urban, PhD R E C O R D L A B E L  | 

Capitol Records Nashville

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AFFILIATED Deana Ivey

ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC BOARD OF DIRECTORS ®

DIGITAL MARKETING/ DISTRIBUTION

Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp

Beville Dunkerley

Chris Lisle

MANAGER

CLLD, LLC/ The Touring Career Workshop

Scott Scovill

Pandora

Enzo DeVincenzo 377 Management

Crystal Dishmon

The Steel Mill/Moo TV

Shopkeeper Management

Sally Williams

Kerri Edwards

OFFICERS CHAIRMAN Ed Warm Joe’s Live

Live Nation

kpentertainment

MEDIA/PUBLIC RELATIONS PRE SIDENT Lori Badgett

City National Bank

VICE PRE SIDENT Chuck Aly

Country Aircheck

TRE ASURER Carmen Romano FBMM

PARLIAMENTARIAN Paul Moore

PGM Connections, LLC.

SERGE ANTAT-ARMS Gayle Holcomb

5 6 TH A C M A W A R D S

Spotify

ARTIST/ MUSICIAN/ PRODUCER/ ENGINEER Chuck Ainlay

Ebie McFarland Essential Broadcast Media

MUSIC PUBLISHER/PRO Cyndi Forman UMPG

Rusty Gaston Jimmie Allen

Sony ATV Music Publishing

RADIO F. Reid Shippen

Tim Roberts Entercom

RECORD COMPANY

WME

Derek Wells

SECRE TARY Tommy Moore

SONGWRITER

Academy of Country Music

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Brittany Schaffer

Lee Thomas Miller

Ryan Dokke PIA Music

Ben Kline

Warner Music Nashville


Cris Lacy

Warner Music Nashville

Cindy Mabe

Jackie Campbell 615 Leverage + Strategy

RAC Clark

Andrew Kautz BMLG

Lion’s Heart Entertainment

Jeff Krones

Becky Gardenhire

Charlie Cook

Beth Laird

Steve Lassiter

John Dennis

Frank Liddell

Universal Music Group Nashville

CAA

TALENT AGENT WME

Reliant Talent

Cumulus

Dennis Entertainment

TALENT BUYER/ PROMOTER Ali Harnell Live Nation

Seth England Big Loud

Creative Nation

Carnival Music

Jon Loba

Broken Bow Music Group

VENUE Roger Gearhart Graham Brothers Entertainment

Troy Vollhoffer Premier Global Production

VISUAL CONTENT Tom Forrest taillight

Leslie Fram

Shawn McSpadden

CMT

Red Light Management

Jeremy Holley

Daniel Miller

FlyteVu

Greg Hill

Hill Entertainment Group

Fusion Music

Curt Motley UTA

DIRECTORS AT LARGE Randy Bernard Bob Doyle & Associates

Bobby Bones iHeart Media

Will Hitchcock Morris Higham Management

Brian O’Connell

Mason Hunter

Lynn Oliver-Cline

BMI

Live Nation

River House Artists

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ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Clarence Spalding

Ken Tucker

Candice Watkins

Ben Vaughn

MAVERICK

Wheelhouse Records

(continued)

Big Loud Records

Tree Paine

Premium PR

Chris Parr MAVERICK

Brian Wright

Warner Chappell

EX OFFICIO PAST CHAIRS

Universal Music Group Nashville

Rod Essig

Trisha Yearwood

Mark Hartley

CAA

PAST CHAIRS Rod Phillips iHeart Media

Duane Clark

Sally Seitz

Darin Murphy

Jennie Smythe

Ken Robold

Apple Music

Girlilla Marketing 5 6 TH A C M A W A R D S

FBMM

Kelly Rich

Amazon Music

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Paul Barnabee

FBMM

CAA

Sony Music Nashville

Butch Waugh Studio2bee


ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC STAFF Brandon Campbell

Danielle Bardier

CEO

Senior Video Manager/ Creative & Content

Lyndsay Cruz

Melissa Moldovan

Bridget Cirone

Jessica Curtis

Jenny Dunn

Damon Whiteside

Executive Director/ ACM Lifting Lives®

Senior Manager/ Marketing

Coordinator/ Events

Coordinator/ Marketing

Lisa Lee

Senior Vice President/ Editorial & Content Curation

Erick Long

Senior Vice President/Events

Brooke Primero

Senior Vice President/Marketing

Manager/ Marketing

Lanni Gangon

Coordinator/Strategic Partnerships

Libby Gardner

Manager/Events

Coordinator/ Creative & Content

Haley Montgomery

Gloria Chavez

Manager/Awards & Membership

Assistant/Finance & Operations

Maddy Stessman Alexa Fasheh

Vice President/ Finance & Operations

Manager/Artist & Industry Relations, Board Administration & Governance

Hannah Kellis

Assistant/ Creative & Content

INTERNS Alexis Bingham

Events & Operations

Emily Leonard

Events & Operations

Tommy Moore

Vice President/Artist & Industry Relations, Board Administration & Governance

Mary Pambukyan Manager/Finance & Operations

Nicole Marchesi Dayna Poskanzer

Assistant/Marketing

Marketing

Carrie McDonough Marketing

Madeleine O’Connell Creative & Content

Sara Okum Marketing

Jen Heaton

Director/Strategic Partnerships

Taylor Wolf

Manager/ ACM Lifting Lives 5 6 TH A C M A W A R D S

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LIFTING LIVES BOARD OF DIRECTORS ®

OFFICERS C H A IR Paul Barnabee FBMM

V I C E C H A IR M A N Troy Vollhoffer Premier Global Production

V I C E P R E S ID E N T Lorie Lytle

Fridrich & Clark Realty

TREASURER Dwight Wiles Wiles + Taylor & Co., PC

S E C R E TA RY Taylor Wolf

ACM Lifting Lives

REPRESENTATIVE DIRECTORS

Darin Murphy

Ryan Dokke

F. Reid Shippen

Play It Again Music

Beville Dunkerley

CAA

Robot Lemon

Troy Vollhoffer

Pandora

Premier Global Production

Rod Essig

Butch Waugh

CAA

Greg Hill

Hill Entertainment Group

Ebie McFarland

Studio2bee

Sally Williams Live Nation

PUBLIC DIRECTORS

Essential Broadcast Media

Tiffany Brush

Jackie Campbell

Shawn McSpadden

Mark Bloom

Duane Clark

Daniel Miller

615 Leverage + Strategy

FBMM

5 6 TH A C M A W A R D S

Lion’s Heart Entertainment

FBMM

Paul Barnabee

54

RAC Clark

Red Light Management

Fusion Music

Topgolf

UBS Financial Services, Inc.

Ross Copperman


Lisa Paulsen

PAST CHAIRS

Chris Farren

Stand Up To Cancer

Lori Badgett

Kathleen Flaherty

Kimberly Schlapman

Bruce Bowman

Combustion Music

K21 Communications

Meredith Seacrest Fletcher Foster

F2 Entertainment

John Hickman

Dallas Cowboys

Ricky Kelley

Harley-Davidson of Columbia

Ryan Seacrest Foundation

City National Bank

Kaboom!

Debbie Carroll MusiCares

Elaina Smith

Nights with Elaina

Mark Hartley

Dwight Wiles Wiles + Taylor & Co., PC

Gayle Holcomb WME

Ellen Lehman

Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee

Lorie Lytle

Fridrich & Clark Realty

Beth Moore

Jay Williams WME

Bill Mayne

Judee Ann Williams

Tree Paine

CAA

Premium PR

Ed Warm Joe’s Live

5 6 TH A C M A W A R D S

55


WE’D LIKE TO EXPRESS A HEARTFELT THANK YOU to our Nashville host venues — the Grand Ole

Opry House, Ryman Auditorium and The Bluebird Cafe — for their hospitality in Music City.

THANK YOU On behalf of the Academy of Country Music Board of Directors and staff and dick clark productions, we’d like to thank CBS Television, CBS.com and CBS affiliates for their continued commitment to the Academy of Country Music® and enthusiastic support of Country Music.

A sincere THANK YOU to our longtime partners at dick clark productions for all their hard work and dedication to the Academy of Country Music and the ACM Awards.

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J O I N ACM LI F TI N G LIVES I N S U PP O RTI N G TH E CO U NTRY M USI C COM M U N IT Y D I REC TLY VIA TH E COVI D -19 RESP O NSE FU N D

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PRODUCTION CREDITS E X E CU T I V E PRODUCERS R.A. Clark Amy Thurlow Barry Adelman Linda Gierahn CO-E X E CU T I V E PRODUCER Raj Kapoor E X E CU T I V E PRODUCER F OR T HE AC A DEM Y OF COUN T RY MUSIC Damon Whiteside DIRE C T OR Marcelo Gama W RI T ER Barry Adelman SPE CI A L M AT ERI A L W RI T ERS Amberia Allen Dave Boone Lisa Lee Jon Macks SUPERV ISING PRODUCER Nicole Velasco CONSULT ING PRODUCER Datwon Thomas CO-PRODUCER Patrick Menton

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5 6 TH A C M A W A R D S

PRODUC T ION DE SIGNER Brian Stonestreet L IGH T ING DE SIGNER Travis Hagenbuch MUSIC DIRE C T OR Edgar Struble PRODUC T ION SUPERV IS OR Pat Brannon Wise PRODUC T ION M A N AGERS Ralph Payne Brandy Burnett A S SIS TA N T S T O PRODUCERS Stephanie Fry Samantha Gordon Kate Krassowski Stephanie Pumilia Maddy Stessman


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ACM Tempo Spring 2021 | The 56th ACM Awards Program Book  

ACM Tempo Spring 2021 | The 56th ACM Awards Program Book  

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