Entertainment, On A High Note

New American Country Music Awards show highlights country’s biggest stars

ACCAwards logoNashville took center stage last night at the American Country Countdown Awards, broadcast live from the Music City Center.  A production of dick clark productions, it was the first event to showcase the long-running American Country Countdown weekly radio program. “The American Country Countdown Awards is based on country music’s longest-running radio countdown show, ‘American Country Countdown with Kix Brooks,’” according to dick clark productions.

One of the first of its kind, the winners of this show were selected on data-driven statistics of airplay time and album sales.  “AMERICAN COUNTRY COUNTDOWN AWARDS finalists and winners, other than Breakthrough Artist of the Year, are determined based on statistics and radio airplay charts from Nov. 1, 2013-Oct. 31, 2014. The finalists for Album of the Year were based on album sales from SoundScan and the finalists for Artist of the Year were based on a combination of Mediabase airplay, digital data provided by Big Champagne and tour information from Pollstar. All other award categories were made up of those with the largest audience reach, according to Mediabase.”

Carrie Underwood performing on her Blown Away tour at Bridgestone arena. Photo by Rick Diamond, courtesy of Schmidt Relations

Carrie Underwood performing on her Blown Away tour at Bridgestone arena. Photo by Rick Diamond, courtesy of Schmidt Relations

The show opened with an impressive performance from Carrie Underwood, with a montage of her hits.  Her new album entitled “Greatest Hits: Decade #1” contains 25 of her hits and hit shelves on Dec. 9.  Her performance of select hits such as “Before He Cheats” and “All-American Girl” were, as always, performed flawlessly and were touchingly rounded out with a refrain from the classic hymn “Amazing Grace.”

Another impressive moment came from Kip Moore, whose gritty and soulful performance of his hit “Hey Pretty Girl” was one of the show stoppers of the night.

Moore, the winner of the Breakthrough Artist of the Year gave one of the most heartfelt acceptances of the night. “This has been such a long hard grind for me. I wish I could etch so many names on this thing. It may be my name but so many deserve this,” Moore said. “My band, who has stuck with me through thick and thin. Country radio, y’all gave me a voice. The fans, y’all gave me a life, and I’m forever in debt to you for that. My fan clubs, y’all rock man. I love y’all so much. And I’m so grateful. Thank y’all.”

Actor Vince Vaughn presented the Groundbreaker Award to Kenny Chesney, whose impact on country music and efforts to bring his music to every fan was acknowledged by this award. “No other artist has brought country music to as many people as Kenny Chesney,” narrated Vaughn, “but it’s the power of his songs that truly connect, that capture people’s lives as the fans really live, love and celebrate who they are, where they are. Kenny’s reward for his passion is the inspiration his fans give him each time he steps on stage.”

As the video montage continued, impressive numbers were displayed that were a testament to Chesney’s commitment to his fans.

“11 consecutive tours…Over one million fans for each…Over 132 million miles driven…103 stadium shows…More than 13 million fans rocked.”

Chesney was humble as he accepted his award. “Music allows us to find commonality and it validates all of our lives in ways that nothing else can and that’s what I love about music,” stated Chesney.

Country Music Hall of Famer Reba McEntire was the first recipient of the NASHIcon award at the ACC Awards.

Country Music Hall of Famer Reba McEntire was the first recipient of the NASHIcon award at the ACC Awards.

What must have arguably been the most impressive moment of the night came with the Nash ICON Award, presented to Reba McEntire by Kix Brooks. Miranda Lambert and recording superstar Kelly Clarkson performed a remarkable medley of Reba’s hits.  Reba herself joined them on “Fancy,” one of her many, many hit songs through the years.  It was apparent to all who watched that Reba’s legacy is indelible.  To watch bonafide stars in their own right sing along to Reba’s hits just like they were fans at her concert was a testament to Reba’s impact on the country genre.

Reba’s graciousness during her acceptance was touching.  “Standing here tonight in Nashville, I think back to what it was like to be one of the new kids in town, trying to make my name in country music. So as I look around this room at all of the talented young men and women doing such great work in country music today, I pray you have the chance to live a whole beautiful life making music for the people who give us the greatest job in the world—our fans.”

Here is a breakdown of the nominees and winners of the award categories:


Artist of the Year

Lady Antebellum

Blake Shelton

Florida Georgia Line

Luke Bryan

Jason Aldean


Male Vocalist of the Year

Dierks Bentley

Randy Houser

Jason Aldean

Blake Shelton

Luke Bryan


Female Vocalist of the Year

Taylor Swift

Danielle Bradbery

Cassadee Pope

Carrie Underwood

Miranda Lambert


Group/Duo of the Year

Zac Brown Band’

Eli Young Band

The Band Perry

Lady Antebellum

Florida Georgia Line


Song of the Year

“Lettin’ The Night Roll,” Justin Moore

Drink to That All Night,” Jerrod Niemann

“Chillin’ it,” Cole Swindell

“When She Says Baby,” Jason Aldean

“Beat of the Music,” Brett Eldredge

(Songwriters: Brett Eldredge, Ross Copperman, Heather Morgan;

Publishers: Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville)


Breakthrough Artist of the Year

Brett Eldredge

Tyler Farr

Cole Swindell

Thomas Rhett

Kip Moore


Collaboration of the Year
“Small Town Throwdown” – Brantley Gilbert featuring Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett

“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” – Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill

“My Eyes” – Blake Shelton featuring Gwen Sebastian

“We Were Us” – Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert

This is How We Roll” – Florida Georgia Line feat. Luke Bryan


Album of the Year

“Platinum” Miranda Lambert

“Here’s to the Good Times” Florida Georgia Line

“Just As I Am” Brantley Gilbert

“Crash my Party” Luke Bryan

“The Outsiders” Eric Church

(Producer: Jay Joyce; Record Label: EMI Nashville)


Digital Song of the Year

“Drink a Beer” Luke Bryan

“Dirt” Florida Georgia Line

“Burnin’ it Down” Jason Aldean

“Play it Again” Luke Bryan

“This is How We Roll” Florida Georgia Line feat. Luke Bryan


Groundbreaker Award

Kenny Chesney


Nash ICON Award

Reba McEntire