Toby Keith, Ronnie Milsap, Carrie Underwood Among Early ACM Award Receipients

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Toby Keith, Ronnie Milsap, Carrie Underwood ACM Awards

Toby Keith, Ronnie Milsap, Carrie Underwood (Rick Diamond/Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

By Kurt Wolff

The Academy of Country Music announced today that Toby Keith, Ronnie MilsapCarrie Underwood, Kris Kristofferson, Rascal Flatts, the late Jack Clement, producer Dann Huff and songwriter Shane McAnally are among those receiving off-camera honors as part of this year’s ACM Awards.

Related: See all 2014 ACM Award Nominations

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.

Related: Merle Haggard Honored with ACM Award and a Tribute Album

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.

Individual musicians’ awards were also announced. Among the recipients are Rob McNelley as Guitar Player of the Year; Paul Franklin as Steel Guitar Player of the Year; Dann Huff as Producer of the Year; and Shane MacAnally as Songwriter of the Year. Among the songs that fill McAnally’s resume are The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two,” Lady Antebellum’s “Downtown” and Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart.”

Related: The Story Behind The Band Perry’s ACM-nominated “Better Dig Two”

These awards will not be part of the televised ACM Awards ceremony “due to time constraints,” the Academy noted in a press release.

The televised portion of the 49th ACM Awards airs live from Las Vegas on Sunday, April 6 at 8pm ET/PT on CBS.

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