March 25, 2009 A bevy of country music standard bearers who made their first impact in previous decades including Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Randy Travis and Hank Williams Jr. are among the off-camera winners announced for the "44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards".
The genres pioneers, its musicians and the movie Beer For My Horses are among the winners of the California-based ACMs special trophies, which will be presented during a ceremony in Nashville during September.
Dolly is receiving the Jim Reeves International Award for spreading countrys impact beyond Americas borders, while Merle and the late Harlan Howard who authored such hits as Patty Loveless "Blame It On Your Heart," the Judds "Why Not Me" and Patsy Clines "I Fall To Pieces" claim the Poets Award.
Kenny Rogers and the late Jerry Reed join Randy and Hank Jr. as winners of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, named for a significant West Coast musician, publisher and talent scout. Toby Keiths Beer For My Horses follows such previous films as Walk The Line, Sweet Dreams and O Brother, Where Art Thou? in claiming the Tex Ritter Award, which bears the stamp of one of the silver screens singing cowboys.
The Academy also presents a bundle of industry honors and musician awards that recognize outstanding performance on a specific instrument. The musician winners (and some of their credits) include:
Top Guitarist of the Year: Tom Bukovac (Carrie Underwoods "Last Name," Rascal Flatts "Every Day")
Top Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year: Gordon Mote (Darius Ruckers "Dont Think I Dont Think About It," Trace Adkins "Youre Gonna Miss This")
Top Bass Player of the Year: Glenn Worf (George Straits "Troubadour," Heidi Newfields "Johnny And June")
Top Percussionist/Drummer of the Year: Greg Morrow (Chris Cagles "What Kinda Gone," Montgomery Gentrys "Back When I Knew It All")
Top Steel Guitar Player of the Year: Dan Dugmore (Josh Gracins "We Werent Crazy," Rascal Flatts "Take Me There")
Top Fiddle Player of the Year: Aubrey Haynie (Darius Ruckers "It Wont Be Like This For Long," Lee Ann Womacks "Last Call")
Top Specialty Instrument(s) Player: (tie) Eric Darken (Brad Paisleys "Letter To Me," Lady Antebellums "Love Dont Live Here") and Jelly Roll Johnson (Gary Allans "Life Aint Always Beautiful," Joe Nichols "Ill Wait For You")
Audio Engineer of the Year: Chuck Ainlay (Taylor Swift, Brittini Blacks Good Happens)
Producer of the Year: Tony Brown (Brooks & Dunns "Cowgirls Dont Cry," George Straits "River Of Love")