Keith Urban, Chris Young, Chris Janson, Midland & more walk the red carpet before the 2019 ACM Honors

Academy of Country MusicWednesday night in Nashville, the Academy of Country Music took care of some unfinished business, passing out the non-televised honors from April’s ACM Awards.

Entertainer of the Year Keith Urban was excited for the chance to shine the light on musicians, songwriters, venues and promoters.

“I just love the opportunity to celebrate a lot of people behind the scenes,” Keith said on the red carpet. “In anything I do, there’s so many people behind the scenes that make it happen that no one ever knows about.”

“The fact that this awards show highlights them — for them — but also for everybody else to know who these people are,” he added. “And the fact they do it at the Ryman is amazing.”

Chris Young started the show with a song by Poet’s Award recipient Rodney Crowell, made famous by the Oak Ridge Boys. 

“If you’ve never looked at the lyric sheet for ‘Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight,'” Chris explained, “I have no idea how [Rodney]’s remembered all of those words to that. It’s like the wordiest song.”

Chris Janson didn’t have to dig too deep to play the Waylon Jennings classic written by another Poet’s Award honoree, Billy Joe Shaver.

“I’ve been covering ‘Honky Tonk Heroes’ when I started in this town, one hundred steps from here at Tootsies,” Chris pointed out, gesturing toward the famed honky tonky near the Mother Church of Country Music.

Meanwhile, Midland was preparing to honor the current ACM Songwriter of the Year, Shane McAnally.

“He was one of the first people that took a chance on us in the beginning of this band,” Cameron Duddypointed out. “And not only that, also we’ve felt an immediate kinship with him.”

Midland’s latest collaboration with McAnally, their sophomore album Let It Roll, comes out Friday.

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