View all past nominees here. Award recipients only are listed on this page.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT (HALL OF FAME) Click here for full descriptions.
2023 - Albert E. Brumley, Irby Mandrell, Barbara Fairchild, Reggie Young
2022 - Lefty Frizzell, Floyd Cramer, Bob Robbins, Mark Wright
2021 - The Original Rhodes Show, Elton Britt, Bill Carter
2020 - Levon Helm, Charlie Rich, Wayland Holyfield
2019 - Conway Twitty, Jimmy Driftwood, Kye Fleming, Patsy Montana, The Wilburn Brothers
2018 - Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Ed Bruce, The Browns, Wayne Raney
ENTERTAINER of the Year
2023 - Tyler Kinch
2022 - David Adam Byrnes
2021 - Erin Enderlin
2020 - Bonnie Montgomery
2019 - Phil McGarrah & Runnin' on Empty
2018 - The Zac Dunlap Band
AMERICANA Artist of the Year
2023 - J.D. Clayton
2022 - Grace Stormont
2021 - Maybe April
2020 - Maybe April
2019 - Bonnie Montgomery
2018 - Bonnie Montgomery
BLUEGRASS Artist of the Year
2023 - East Nash Grass
2022 - Spillwater Drive
2021 - Arkansauce
2020 - Route 3
2019 - Runaway Planet
2018 - The Keisler Brothers Band
COUNTRY ARTIST of the Year
2023 - David Adam Byrnes
2022 - Lance Carpenter
2021 - David Adam Byrnes
2020 - Erin Enderlin
2019 - Lance Carpenter
2018 - Cory Jackson
INSPIRATIONAL ARTIST of the Year
2023 - Josie Hargis
2022 - The Villines Trio
2021 - The Villines Trio
2020 - The Kinsmen
2019 - Joanne Cash
2018 - Heaven's Echoes
FEMALE VOCALIST of the Year
2023 - Mae Estes
2022 - Mae Estes
2021 - Mae Estes
2020 - Kelsey Lamb
2019 - Erin Enderlin
2018 - Bonnie Montgomery
MALE VOCALIST of the Year
2023 - Blane Howard
2022 - David Adam Byrnes
2021 - Lance Carpenter
2020 - David Adam Byrnes
2019 - Blane Howard
2018 - Blane Howard
ACOUSTIC ACT of the Year
2023 - Grace Stormont
2022 - Ryan Harmon
2021 - Grace Stormont
2020 - The Whispering Willows
2019 - Heath Sanders
2018 - Caleb Ryan Martin
VOCAL DUO / GROUP of the Year
2023 - Midnight South
2022 - The Roads Below
2021 - The Salty Dogs
2020 - Anna Brinker / Adam Cunningham
2019 - The Reeves Brothers
2018 - The Zac Dunlap Band
ALBUM of the Year
2023 - “Highway 300: Drive (Songs of Paula Marie Martin)” by Anna Brinker, Brad Williams and Crystal Stribling. Produced by Darian Stribling, Derek Wood and Paula Marie Martin
2022 - "On Your Own" by Grace Stormont. Produced by Jon Raney and Grace Stormont
2021 - "Neon Town" by David Adam Byrnes. Produced by Trent Willmon
2020 - "Faulkner County" by Erin Enderlin. Produced by Jim "Moose" Brown and Jamey Johnson
2019 - “Unbroken" by Joanne Cash; produced by Chad Randall Crow
2018 - "Whiskeytown Crier" by Erin Enderlin; produced by Jim "Moose" Brown and Jamey Johnson
SONG of the Year
2023 - "Daddy's Son" Written and performed by Trey Pendley
2022 - "Yours" Written by Jeannie Seely. Performed by Diane Berry and Joe Wade Smith
2021 - "On Your Own" written and performed by Grace Stormont
2020 - "Tonight I Don't Give a Damn" written by Erin Enderlin, Jim "Moose" Brown and Jessie Jo Dillon, performed by Erin Enderlin
2019 - "World Without Willie" written by Erin Endlerin, Alex Kline, Leslie Satcher and Tara Thompson, performed by Erin Enderlin
2018 - "Arkansas' Mine" written by Zac Dunlap, performed by The Zac Dunlap Band
SONGWRITER of the Year
2023 - Erin Enderlin
2022 - Erin Enderlin
2021 - Erin Enderlin
2020 - Erin Enderlin
2019 - Erin Enderlin
2018 - Erin Enderlin
MUSIC PRODUCER of the Year
2023 - Tyler Bell
2022 - Travis Mobley
2021 - Jon Raney
2020 - Jon Raney
2019 - Jon Raney
2018 - Randy Loyd
SOUND ENGINEER of the Year
2023 - Darren Crisp
2022 - Mark Malone
2021 - Jon Raney
2020 - Bryce Roberts
2019 - Bryce Roberts
2018 - Jon Raney
PROMOTER of the Year
2023 - Trent Goins
2022 - Jon Walker
2021 - Cliff and Susan Prowse
2020 - Marty Scarbrough
2019 - Keith Symanowitz
2018 - J.R. Rogers
VIDEO of the Year
2023 - "Mountain View" by Lane Long. Directed by Jacob Jasper
2022 - "Put Some Country in Your Country" by Cory Jackson. Directed by Kenny Jackson
2021 - "Everything But Us" by Jabe Burgess, directed by Noah Coffey III
2020 - "Dust on a Diamond" by Bailey Hefley, directed by Roman White
2019 - “Back Home in Arkansas" by Joanne Cash, directed by Chad Randall Crow
2018 - "Arkansas' Mine" by The Zac Dunlap Band, directed by Joe Lane
RADIO STATION of the Year
2023 - KSSN, KSSN 96, Little Rock
2022 - KDXY, 104.9 The Fox, Jonesboro
2021 - KSSN of Little Rock
2020 - KJMX "The Wolf" Little Rock
2019 - KDXY "The Fox" Jonesboro
2018 - KSSN of Little Rock
RADIO DJ of the Year
2023 - Jim & Lisa, KKYR, Texarkana
2022 - Christie Matthews, KDXY, Jonesboro
2021 - D.J. Taylor, KSSN, Little Rock
2020 - Stafford & Frigo, KDXY, Jonesboro
2019 - Del Hughes of KWCK, Searcy
2018 - Bob Robbins of KMJX, Little Rock
PUBLICATION / BLOG / PODCAST of the Year
2023 - Sounds of Unity
2022. - AY Magazine
2021 - If That Ain't Country
2020 - Ozark Highlands Radio
2019 - AY Magazine
2018 - Arkansas Living
VENUE of the Year
2023 - The Farm, Eureka Springs
2022 - The Collins Theater, Paragould
2021 - Jimmy Doyle Country, Little Rock
2020 - Round-up Music Show Theater, Brookland
2019 - Jimmy Doyle Country, Little Rock
2018 - Ozark Folk Center, Mountain View
YOUNG ARTIST of the Year
2023 - Dillon Massengale
2022 - Sylamore Special
2021 - TRIPPP
2020 - Marybeth Byrd
2019 - Bree Ogden
2018 - Cam Shelton
BASS PLAYER of the Year
2023 - Michael Rinne
2022 - Michael Rinne
2021 - Michael Rinne
2020 - Dawayne George
2019 - Doug DeForest
2018 - Jimmy Young
DRUMMER of the Year
2023 - Evan Hutchings
2022 - Evan Hutchings
2021 - Evan Hutchings
2020 - Evan Hutchings
2019 - David O’Neal
2018 - Doobie Bowie
FIDDLE PLAYER of the Year
2023 - Jenee Fleenor
2022 - Jenee Fleenor
2021 - Jenee Fleenor
2020 - Jenee Fleenor
2019 - Tim Crouch
2018 - Melody Hart
GUITAR PLAYER of the Year
2023 - Luke Williams
2022 - Charlie White
2021 - Buddy Case
2020 - Jon Conley
2019 - Steve Davison
2018 - Randall George
STEEL/DOBRO PLAYER of the Year
2023 - Randy Aden
2022 - Josh Matheny
2021 - Josh Matheny
2020 - Robby Springfield
2019 - Garland Harris
2018 - Steve Matlock
2023 - Bobby Bones
2019 - Derek Wells
2020 - Heath Sanders
ARKANSAS HONORS ARKANSAS
2023 - The Ozark Folk Center State Park
Irby Mandrell was born in Hot Springs (Garland County), and performed on local radio there. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy. After he and his wife, Mary, relocated to Texas, he was a police officer and this was where their three daughters were born. While living in California, he owned a music store. His oldest daughter, Barbara, learned to read and play music at an early age and was soon performing on local television and opening shows for country music stars. Much to Irby's credit, she would go on to be one of the most successful artists in country music history. He guided her career and was a highly respected manager in the entertainment field. His second daughter, Louise, was also a successful recording artist. From 1980-1982, Barbara Mandrell & the Mandrell Sisters was a highly popular show on NBC, starring Barbara, Louise and their younger sister, Irlene. After the network shows run, Irlene has an eight-year stint as a cast member of Hee Haw.
Barbara Fairchild is a native of Knobel (Clay County). She was signed to a major recording contract at the age of 16, and enjoyed a successful run of hits on Columbia Records throughout the 1970s. Her down to earth and humble personality quickly made her a fan favorite. Farichild's hits include "A Girl Who'll Satisfy Her Man," "Kids Stuff," "Baby Doll," "Cheatin' Is," and "Let Me Love You Once Before You Go." However, it was her 1973 smash hit, "The Teddy Bear Song," that made her an international star. The song reached number one on the country charts and crossed over into the pop charts, reaching the top 40. The song's success led to a Grammy nomination. Fairchild continued to place songs in the country charts through the 1980s and later, she had a successful run in the Christian Country field.
Albert E. Brumley began writing songs after moving to Hartford (Sebastian County) in 1926 to attend the Hartford Music Institute. The influence that gospel music has had on the country genre and the impact that Brumley's songs have had on the music industry are immeasurable. He penned such standards as "Turn Your Radio On," "I'll Meet You in the Morning," and "Rank Stranger." His most known composition, "I'll Fly Away," is one of music's most iconic songs. It has been recorded by an array artists that include The Chuck Wagon Gang, Aretha Franklin, the Boston Pops Orchestra, Loretta Lynn and Alan Jackson. Brumley lived in Arkansas for a number of years, but he impacted the northwest part of the state much longer than that. Beginning in 1969, his 'Sunup to Sundown Gospel Sing' was a major event. Through 2001, it was held in Springdale before moving for four years to Fayetteville. Brumley was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
When it comes to the topic of session guitarists, Reggie Young has to be near the top. He grew up in Osceola (Mississippi County), and started touring with various country and rockabilly bands. Later, he settled into being one of the staff musicians at the American Sound Studio in Memphis. playing on more than 100 hit singles in country, pop, rock and soul between 1967 and 1971. During that time, Young played on recordings by such artists as Elvis Presley, B.J. Thomas, and Dusty Springfield to name just a very few. He relocated to Nashville and was a signature part of major recordings by Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Dobie Gray, the Oak Ridge Boys, George Strait and others. After playing on the highly successful album, "The Highwaymen," in 1985, Young joined Nelson, Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson on tour. He was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2019.
Lefty Frizzell cut his teeth musically while the family lived in El Dorado (Union County). He debuted as a singer on radio station KELD at the age of 12, and soon became a popular regional act in Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico before hitting the big time in country music. Stylistically, few can match Frizzell's impact. His unique phrasing and swagger on stage made him a star. Such classic recordings as "If You've Got the Money (I've Got the Time)," "I Love You a Thousand Ways," "Long Black Veil," "Always Late with Your Kisses," and "Saginaw, Michigan," are country music staples. Frizzell passed away in 1975 at the age of 47. He was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1982.
Few musicians have ever left the imprint on the industry as Floyd Cramer. He grew up in Huttig (Union County) and is known for his 'slip-note' piano style. Before moving to Nashville in 1955, Cramer was a cast member of the famed Louisiana Hayride. Once in Music City, he played on countless sessions. Cramer's piano work can be heard on mega hits like "Heartbreak Hotel," by Elvis Presley;" "Please Help Me I'm Falling," by Hank Locklin; and "Crazy," by Patsy Cline. Additionally, he played on hits by such artists as Don Gibson, Eddy Arnold, Brenda Lee, the Browns, Jim Reeves, Ray Price, Roy Orbison, Connie Smith, Charley Pride, the Everly Brothers and many others. Between 1958 and 1962, Cramer charted 11 singles, which is an astonishing feat for an instrumentalist. The most notable being "Last Date." Cramer died in 1997. He was posthumously inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003.
Beginning in 1967, Bob Robbins, of Sheridan (Grant County), became a force on Arkansas Radio when he began working for Little Rock's KAAY. However, it wasn't until 1979 that his mainstream country music career came to be when he moved to Little Rock's KSSN. Soon, both Robbins and KSSN became household names in Arkansas. His time at KSSN witnessed the station being a force Nationally for their market size. Robbins was named Broadcast Personality of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1996. He moved to sister station 105.1 The Wolf in 2013. As for the media, Robbins is one of the state’s most recognizable voices and faces. He has worked tirelessly for more than three decades with the Toys for Tots program. In 2008, Robbins was inducted into the Country Radio Broadcasters' Hall of Fame.
Mark Wright, born in Fayetteville (Washington County), began at an early age singing in area choirs. He studied music in college, and after graduating from Belmont University, Wright's success came as a songwriter, penning hits like "Paradise Tonight," recorded by Mickey Gilley and Charley McClain; "Today My World Slipped Away," by Vern Gosdin; and "Nobody Falls Like a Fool," by Earl Thomas Conley. As a producer, he was at the helm for such award-winning albums as "Killin' Time" by Clint Black and "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack. Other artists produced by Wright include Brooks & Dunn, Mark Chesnutt, Gary Allan, and Shawn Camp. Wright's knowledge and expertise in the business were displayed as he served in leadership positions for MCA Records, Sony Music Nashville, and Universal South Records, and he is on the Board of Trustees at Belmont University.
The sibling foursome of The Original Rhodes Show began as a band in 1928 when Slim Rhodes (born in Poughkeepsie Sharp County) was joined by brothers Speck Rhodes, Dusty Rhodes, and sister Bea Rhodes. During the 1930s and 1940s, the group was a mainstay on local radio in Arkansas, multiple National radio shows, and countless tours from Arkansas to California. As time passed, Slim formed his own group, The Mountaineers; Speck became a highly popular comedian on The Porter Wagoner Show; Dusty, who was a great fiddler, carried on the Rhodes family show with his own family band; and Bea, who played multiple instruments, remained an Arkansas resident. The Original Rhodes Show's memory lives on as they laid the groundwork for family bands to follow.
With movie star looks and a unique, yodeling vocal style, Elton Britt was a popular star in his era. He recorded with RCA Victor Records from 1937 to 1956. The Marshall (Searcy County) native is best known for his 1942 smash hit "There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere." This recording was the first in country music history to earn a Gold record. As matter of fact, the song sold more than four million copies. His hits include 'Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)," "Detour," "Candy Kisses," and "Beyond the Sunset." In 1960, Britt received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1972, he died at the age of 58.
Born in Rector (Clay County), Bill Carter has done it all. Following a stint in the U.S. Air Force, Carter graduated from Arkansas State University, served as a secret service agent during the time of John F. Kennedy's assassination, and returned to school to finish his law degree. As a lawyer, he represented a wide mix of clients, including the Rolling Stones. In the mid-1970s, he was instrumental in negotiating Tanya Tucker's contract with MCA Records. In the 1980s, he managed Reba McEntire during one of the biggest periods of her career. In 2006, his autobiography, Get Carter, was published. He was key in coordinating the Johnny Cash Music Festival, which paved the way for the restoration of Cash's boyhood home in Dyess. Carter's accomplishments are steep, and he remains an important Arkansas figure.
The wide reaching influence of Helm can’t be measured. As a singer, songwriter and musician, he has left a mark on many genres, including country. He grew up in Turkey Scratch (Phillips County). Most known as one of the colorful members of The Band, Helm helped popularize songs like “The Weight” and “The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down.” He grew up loving the country music on the radio, and many of today’s country artists point to Helm as an influence. He portrayed Loretta Lynn's father in the 1980 movie Coal Miner's Daughter. He narrated the entire series of ABC’s country music program The Road in 1994. In 2008, “Dirt Farmer” won a Grammy award for Best Traditional Folk Album. His “Electric Dirt,” won a Grammy award in 2010 for Best Americana Album.
Holyfield was born in Mallettown (Conway County). He attended Hendrix College prior to graduating from the University of Arkansas, and in 1972 moved to Nashville, becaming a powerhouse composer. His songs have been hits by such artists as Charley Pride, George Strait, Ronnie Milsap, Crystal Gayle, Janie Fricke, Mickey Gilley, Billy Dean, Johnny Russell, and more. He co-wrote Anne Murray’s 1980 mega-hit “Could I Have This Dance,” and numerous Don Williams hits, including “You’re My Best Friend,” “Some Broken Hearts Never Mend,” and “Til the Rivers All Run Dry.” In 1986, he wrote and recorded "Arkansas, You Run Deep In Me" for the Sesquicentennial state celebration. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992.
Often referred to as “The Silver Fox,” Rich carved his own musical niche with such early recordings as “Lonely Weekends,” ”Big Boss Man,” and “Mohair Sam” through major country hits like “Behind Closed Doors,” “The Most Beautiful Girl,” “A Very Special Love Song,” and “Rollin’ with the Flow.” Rich was a true stylist as a singer and a musician. The Colt (St. Francis County) native scored 10 number one country singles, won a Grammy award and won five awards from the Country Music Association, including being named Entertainer of the Year in 1974.
Born Harold Jenkins, Twitty grew up in Helena. He is often referred to as 'the best friend a song ever had.' His multitude of hits would reflect that statement. From his early rock hit "It's Only Make Believe" to countless hit country singles, such as "Hello Darlin'," "You've Never Been This Far Before," "I'd Love to Lay You Down," "Don't Take It Away" and "That's My Job" to several duet hits with Loretta Lynn, he stands as one of the true legends Few performers have had the influence on country music as Twitty. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 1999.
Born in Timbo, Driftwood is one of the all-time great composers and interpreters of folk and country songs. In 1959, Johnny Horton recorded Driftwood’s composition “The Battle of New Orleans.” The following year, it was named Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards. Driftwood wrote more than 6,000 songs, of which more than 300 have been recorded by various artists. He was a key figure in the popularity and preservation of old-time music in Mountain View.
Fleming grew up in Fort Smith. After teaming with Dennis Morgan they wrote mega hits including Barbara Mandrell's "I Was Country (When Country Wasn't Cool)," "Crackers," "Years" and "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed." Ronnie Milsap scored big with "Smokey Mountain Rain" and "I Wouldn't Have Missed It for the World." Also, Sylvia took "Nobody" to the heights of both country and pop radio. In 1989, Willie Nelson scored with Fleming's "There You Are." She is a three-time recipient of Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI)'s Songwriter of the Year and was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2009.
Teddy and Doyle Wilburn were born in Hardy. For the Wilburn Brothers, their initial stage experience came by performing at any early age with their entire family. As time passed, they became popular as members of the Grand Ole Opry and on television with their own syndicated show. The Wilburn Brothers Show featured weekly guests, giving country music performers valuable exposure in the days of only three networks. Their list of hits include "Trouble's Back in Town," "It's Another World" and "Roll Muddy River."
Montana was born Ruby Blevins in Beaudry, near Jessieville, just outside of Hot Springs Village. After taking the stage name to better fit her style and image, Montana went on to be an absolute queen in the early days of what was known as Country & Western Music. She was extremely popular on the program The National Barn Dance in Chicago. Her 1935 release of "I Want To Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart" became the first single by a female country recording artist to sell a million copies. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996.
The 'Man in Black,' Cash was born in Kingsland and grew up in Dyess. His career began with Sun Records in Memphis with a rockabilly beat that was destined to lead to massive success. He went on to be one of country music's biggest stars. His hits include "Folsom Prison Blues," "I Walk the Line," "Ring of Fire" and "Sunday Morning Coming Down."
Delight native Campbell defined excellence as both a recording artist and as a musician. He was a studio guitarist, playing on country hits in both country and pop music. As a country artist, he is known for "Gentle on My Mind," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman" and "Rhinestone Cowboy."
Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie Brown were from Pine Bluff. The sibling trio set the bar for vocal harmony. Their original recordings on RCA Records remain one of the most sought after by music collectors. Hits like "The Three Bells," "Scarlet Ribbons" and "The Old Lamplighter" are timeless.
Born in Keiser, Bruce scored on country radio in the 1980s with "My First Taste of Texas" and "You're the Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had." His songs were recorded by other artists including "See The Big Man Cry, recorded by Charlie Louvin; "Mama's Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys", recorded by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson; and "Texas (When I Die)", recorded by Tanya Tucker.
Raney was a popular country singer and harmonica player. He grew up on a farm in Cleburne County, and scored a number one hit in 1949 with "Why Don't You Haul Off and Love Me." Raney impacted the music field in a number of ways, recording artist, songwriter, musician, disc jockey, record producer and as an owner of a record label.
What a big night. Returning the UCA campus, the evening was magnificent, with two levels of a VIP pre-show, followed by over 20 nominees performing, while adding in Lee Ann Womack, Allen Frizzell, Jeannie Seely, Heath Sanders, a return of Shawn Camp, and more.
The big event took place in Conway, Arkansas, at the Reynolds Performance Hall on the UCA campus. Billy Dean was a notable guest. View the Lifetime Achievement recipients here.
The 2020 event was produced to be entirely televised, in-studio. Filming took place in Nashville, TN, and at Arkansas PBS, in Conway. Performers included Shawn Camp, Erin Enderlin, Bailey Hefley, Lance Carpenter, Heath Sanders, Anna Brinker, and more.
The 2019 event took place in Maumelle. Opening up the ceremony, Nathan Hunnicutt introduced Governor Asa Hutchison. Performers included The ShotgunBillys, Sylvia, Shawn Camp, Erin Enderlin, and many more. This will be updated soon. April 2021
The 2018 event at the Center for Performing Arts at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) was a great success. Performers included: Main Stage - Collin Raye, Tanya Tucker, Ed Bruce, Barbara Fairchild, Debby Campbell, Erin Enderlin, Phil McGarrah & Runnin’ on Empty, the Zac Dunlap Band, Cory Jackson, Bonnie Montgomery, Greg Ward, United Voice Music, Melody Hart, Diane Berry, Runaway Planet, Melody Pond. VIP Hour - David Adam Byrnes, Ten Penny Gypsy, Anna Marie, Bree Ogden with Cliff Prowse, Ben Coulter, Caleb Ryan Martin, Lance Curtis, Doug DeForest, Melodie Rooker with Ricky Rooker, and Blane Howard. Sponsors for 2018 included Southeast Insurance, Inc. and Kristi Stocker of Crossett, Arkansas Heart Hospital, Rockstar Passes, Peluso Microphones, LLC, and Jimmy Doyle's Country Club in North Little Rock.