Toby Keith, Ronnie Milsap, Carrie Underwood Early ACM Award Winners
Keith and Milsap are receiving the Career Achievement Awards, honoring an artist who has "advanced the popularity and acceptance of country music" in "multiple areas" in the past year.
The Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award is this year going to the late music publisher Bob Beckham, who turned Combine Music into a Nashville powerhouse, while as previously announced, the Crystal Milestone Awards goes to Merle Haggard.
Carrie Underwood will receive the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award for her "unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music." The Jim Reeves International Award is shared by Opry Entertainment Group president Steve Buchanan and country trio Rascal Flatts. And the Mae Boren Axton Award goes to Paul Moore of the William Morris Agency, who's also a longtime board member for the Academy of Country Music.
The Poet's Award honors songwriters for outstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their careers, and this year's recipients are the late "Cowboy" Jack Clement, Dean Dillon (a songwriter best known for his work with George Strait), Kris Kristofferson and the late Buck Owens. more on this story