The Academy of Country Music revealed the Industry Award and Studio Recording Award winners from the 57th Academy of Country Music Awards during an event at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House on Friday (May 13).
Charlie Worsham was surprised with his first ACM Award, for ACM acoustic guitar player of the year. Dierks Bentley sent in a video message honoring Worsham, who then offered a sweet acceptance speech to those at the Opry House. Worsham has contributed to albums by Bentley, Eric Church, Kip Moore, Carrie Underwood and many others.
“It couldn’t go to a better guitar player or a better guy,” Bentley said. “Everyone in this town knows what a great musician you are.”
“This means the world to me and it started with my parents,” Worsham told the Opry crowd. “My mom would drive me to banjo lessons an hour each way … and my dad made sure I grew up on the best music and took me to the best concerts. He gave me the bug — I saw him play drums in a local band.” He also thanked his wife Kristen, as well as the artists, musicians and engineers he has worked with. “This is an honor and I’m just so grateful.”
The Ryman Auditorium, which celebrated its 130th anniversary this year, earned its seventh lifetime ACM Award. Pedal steel guitarist Paul Franklin earned his 17th career ACM Award, and his first win for specialty instrument(s) player of the year. Meanwhile, promoter Brian O’Connell and producer Dann Huff each earned their 10th career ACM Awards. In March 2020, music venue Basement East was damaged when tornadoes tore through Nashville. The venue has since been rebuilt, and it has now been honored with its first ACM Award honor, as ACM club of the year.
Several others also won their first ACM Awards, including Chicago’s Windy City Smokeout Festival (festival of the year), the San Antonio Rodeo (fair/rodeo of the year), audio engineer Jim Cooley, drummer Evan Hutchings and piano/keyboard player David Dorn.
The Industry Awards, Studio Recording Awards and yet-to-be-announced Special Awards honorees will be feted during the upcoming 15th annual Academy of Country Music Honors on Aug. 24 at the Ryman Auditorium.
See below for a full list of this year’s industry award and studio recording award winners:
Industry Awards winners:
- Casino of the year-theatre: Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant, OK
- Casino of the year-arena: Mohegan Sun Arena – Uncasville, CT
- Festival of the year: Windy City Smokeout Festival – Chicago, IL
- Fair/rodeo of the year: San Antonio Rodeo – San Antonio, TX
- Club of the year: Basement East – Nashville, TN
- Theater of the year: Ryman Auditorium – Nashville, TN
- Outdoor venue of the year: Red Rocks Amphitheatre – Morrison, CO
- Arena of the year: Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN
- Don Romeo talent buyer of the year: Todd Boltin – Variety Attractions
- Promoter of the year: Brian O’Connell – Live Nation
Studio Recording Awards Winners:
- Bass player of the year: Jimmie Lee Sloas
- Drummer of the year: Evan Hutchings
- Acoustic guitar player of the year: Charlie Worsham
- Electric guitar player of the year: Tom Bukovac
- Piano/keyboards player of the year: David Dorn
- Specialty instrument(s) player of the year: Paul Franklin
- Audio engineer of the year: Jim Cooley
- Producer of the year: Dann Huff