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Swift, McEntire, Brooks receive ACM honors

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 – Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks and Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers will receive special honors from the Academy of Country Music.

Swift will be given the Jim Reeves International Award for her contributions to the acceptance of country throughout the world. McEntire will receive the Career Achievement Award, an honor given to those who advance the popularity of country during the past calendar year.

Brooks and the Gatlins will receive the 2011 Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award. "Steve, Rudy and I are so very grateful to the Academy for this incredible honor. The Academy was a very important part of our career from the far beginning, so it seems that 'the circle is unbroken," said Larry Gatlin. "P.S., congrats to Garth. We think he has a great future 'in the business.'"

The Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award honors individuals who are pioneers in the country music genre. Past recipients include Alabama, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Kenny Rogers, Mel Tillis, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Charlie Daniels, Hank Williams, Sr. and Hank Williams Jr.

The Gatlin Brothers and Brooks will be presented with their awards on a to be announced date in Nashville later this year.

Tom T. Hall and the late Hank Cochran will receive the Poet's Award for their work as songwriters. Artist manager John Dorris will take home the Mae Boren Axton Award for his years of service to the ACM. "Country Strong," the film starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw, did not win awards with critics, but it will receive the Tex Ritter Award, given to films, which prominently feature country.

Other winners were:

Producer of the year: Paul Worley

Audio engineer of the year: Chuck Ainlay

Bass player of the year: Glenn Worf

Percussionist/drummer of the year: Eddie Bayers

Guitarist of the year: Tom Bukovac

Fiddle player of the year: Aubrey Haynie

Piano/keyboard player of the year: Gordon Mote

Specialty instrument player of the year: Bryan Sutton

Steel guitar player of the year: Dan Dugmore In addition, the Ryman Auditorium was named venue of the year and the Ryman's general manager Sally Williams was named promoter of the year.

The awards show is this coming Sunday in Las Vegas.

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Journey to Fearless DVD
Part Behind The Music style documentary and part concert film, Taylor Swift's new Blu-ray release offers an interesting hybrid approach to the typical live performance video - an approach that hits more than it misses. "Journey To Fearless" focuses on Swift's meteoric rise from aspiring grade-school singer/songwriter to award-winning country and pop megastar while sprinkling in live performances. Hardcore Swift fans will find a lot to love on this single-disc set (which is also »»»
Speak Now CD review - Speak Now
Taylor Swift has made the best CD of her young career with her fourth CD. The biggest difference is that Swift's singing, spotty on previous releases and live performances, is far far superior here. Swift wrote all 14 songs here, which like her other albums tend to deal with relationships that have gone south. Swift's songwriting always has been one of her strengths, and that continues to be the case here - both lyrically and musically. Put simply, Swift knows a lot about penning »»»
Fearless CD review - Fearless
Taylor Swift took the county world by storm with her huge selling debut and its five hit singles. With a huge marketing push and myspace, Swift was on her way. Kind of like an Avril Lavigne for the teen female country set. Sophomore slump? There's no indication of that. Swift once again writes her material - all 13 songs here with help sometimes from Liz Rose, Colbie Caillat and John Rich. Swift writes of what she knows about - relationships and teen love come and gone in songs speak to her fans. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Carlile brings thoughtfulness – Brandi Carlile returned to the GRAMMY Museum for the third time, and it's easy to see why she's always invited back. The evening began with GRAMMY Executive Scott Goldman interviewing Carlile on a pair of stuffed chairs, which was followed directly by a brief set of live songs. The interview portion was informative, while Carlile's... »»»
Concert Review: LSD tour provides a lot of highs – This was not your grandkids' country, that's for sure. Even the name of the tour - the LSD Tour - was a throwback (albeit far before the principals were making music). But make no mistake about it. With the ever cool country traditionalist Dwight Yoakam, the country with some rock and blues and rabble rousing of Steve Earle thrown in and the... »»»
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