ACM Spotlight Series: Vocal Event of the Year

Today’s ACM Awards Spotlight Series features the Vocal Event of the Year category. This award was first handed out back in 1997. Want to know who the first award went to? Who won last year? Read the spotlight to find out!


  • “Hillbilly Bone” – Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins
  • “Honky Tonk Stomp” – Brooks & Dunn featuring Billy Gibbons
  • “I’m Alive” – Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews
  • “I Told You So” – Carrie Underwood featuring Randy Travis
  • “Seeing Stars” – Jack Ingram and Patty Griffin

This year’s nominees include four songs that hit the top ten on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart and one that’s been critically acclaimed. Usually, the Academy likes to choose songs that have been chart successes so look to one of the four songs that fit the criteria to win.


  • “Another Try” – Josh Turner featuring Trisha Yearwood
  • “Cowgirls Don’t Cry” – Brooks & Dunn featuring Reba McEntire
  • “Down the Road” – Kenny Chesney featuring Mac McAnally
  • “Life In A Northern Town” – Sugarland featuring Little Big Town and Jake Owen
  • “Start A Band” – Brad Paisley and Keith Urban

Out of the five nominees, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban’s duet was the highest charting single, peaking at number two, which led to it being chosen the winner at 2008’s ceremony. This was Brad’s third win in four nominations in this category.


  • “Because of You” – Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson
  • “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” – Tracy Lawrence featuring Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw
  • “Shiftwork” – Kenny Chesney and George Strait
  • “Till We Ain’t Strangers Anymore” – Bon Jovi featuring Leann Rimes
  • “What You Give Away” – Vince Gill featuring Sheryl Crow

Earlier in the year, Vince Gill took home the Grammy for his album, These Days, which included his nominated song. However, in ACM fashion, they ignored it and chose the Tracy Lawrence tune instead.


  • “Building Bridges” – Brooks & Dunn featuring Vince Gill and Sheryl Crow
  • “I Don’t Want To” – Ashley Monroe featuring Ronnie Dunn
  • “Me and God” – Josh Turner featuring Ralph Stanley
  • “Politically Uncorrect” – Gretchen Wilson featuring Merle Haggard
  • “That’s How They Do It In Dixie” – Hank Williams Jr featuring Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, Van Zant

Only one of the nominated songs, which happens to be the winner, cracked the top ten on the singles chart. It was no surprise the Brooks & Dunn song walked away with the trophy; though, the Josh Turner/Ralph Stanley song was the best in the category.


  • “I Play Chicken With the Train” – Cowboy Troy with Big & Rich
  • “Like We Never Loved At All” – Faith Hill and Tim McGraw
  • “When I Get Where I’m Going” – Brad Paisley featuring Dolly Parton
  • “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” – Bon Jovi featuring Jennifer Nettles

This was the battle of the number ones as the Paisley/Parton and Bon Jovi/Nettles hits topped the country singles chart. However, it was Brad and Dolly’s brilliant performance on “When I Get Where I’m Going” that scored the win, making it two years in a row Brad Paisley took home the award. On a side note, this was Tim and Faith’s fourth nomination in this category together.


  • “Creepin’ In” – Dolly Parton with Norah Jones
  • “Hey Good Lookin'” – Jimmy Buffet featuring Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, George Strait
  • “Party for Two” – Shania Twain featuring Billy Currington
  • “When The Sun Goes Down” – Kenny Chesney featuring Uncle Kracker
  • “Whiskey Lullaby” – Brad Paisley featuring Alison Krauss

“Whiskey Lullaby” was both critically acclaimed and a chart success, reaching the top spot on the singles chart, there wasn’t any doubt it would take home the ACM. This was Brad’s first win in this category, though he’d take it home two more times following this win.


  • “How’s the World Treating You” – James Taylor and Alison Krauss
  • “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” – Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet
  • “The Truth About Men” – Tracy Byrd, Andy Griggs, Blake Shelton, Montgomery Gentry
  • “Workin’ For A Living” – Phil Vassar and Huey Lewis
  • “Young Man’s Town” – Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill

It was a surprise to see the Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill song nominated, but it was the smash hit from Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet that took home the award.


  • “Beer For My Horses” – Toby Keith and Willie Nelson
  • “Designated Drinker” – Alan Jackson and George Strait
  • “Mendocino County Line” – Willie Nelson and Lee Ann Womack
  • “Picture” – Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow
  • “Whiskey River” – Willie Nelson and Trick Pony

In what has become an ACM rarity, the Academy chose “Mendocino County Line” over the smash hit, “Beer for My Horses.” Also, in an interesting turn of events, Willie Nelson was nominated three times in this category.


  • “Beer Run” – Garth Brooks and George Jones
  • “Bring on the Rain” – Jo Dee Messina featuring Tim McGraw
  • “I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow” – Soggy Bottom Boys
  • “Out of Control Raging Fire” – Patty Loveless featuring Travis Tritt
  • “Too Country” – Bill Anderson, George Jones, Buck Owens, Brad Paisley

There was no stopping the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack during 2002 as it swept most of the awards it was nominated for. So it was no surprise that the Soggy Bottom Boys track took home the ACM.


  • “Buy Me A Rose” – Kenny Rogers with Billy Dean and Alison Krauss
  • “I Hope You Dance” – Lee Ann Womack with Sons of the Desert
  • “Let’s Make Love” – Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
  • “Murder On Music Row” – George Strait and Alan Jackson
  • “That’s the Beat of a Heart” – Sara Evans and the Warren Brothers

The career defining song of Lee Ann Womack’s career took home the award during the 2001 ACM award show beating out the husband/wife team in McGraw and Hill as well as the traditionalists Jackson and Strait.


  • “A Country Boy Can Survive (Y2K Version)” – Hank Williams Jr, George Jones and Chad Brock
  • “After the Gold Rush” – Trio
  • “God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You” – Alabama and NSYNC
  • “My Kind of Woman/My Kind of Man” – Patty Loveless and Vince Gill
  • “When I Said I Do” – Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black

This year’s nominees included plenty of veterans in country music along with one of the most successful pop groups in history. However, it was Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black’s sappy love song that took home the award, making it three straight years a husband and wife duet took home the award.


  • “Burnin’ The Roadhouse Down” – Garth Brooks and Steve Wariner
  • “If You See Him/If You See Her” – Brooks & Dunn and Reba McEntire
  • “Just to Hear You Say that You Love Me” – Faith Hill and Tim McGraw
  • “No Place That Far” – Sara Evans and Vince Gill
  • “Same Old Train” – Various Artists

For the second year in a row, country music’s most powerful couple, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, took home the award for their song “Just to Hear You Say that You Love Me.” Although they’d be nominated two more times after this win, this would be their last win in this category to date.


  • “I’m So Happy” – Toby Keith and Sting
  • “In Another’s Eyes” – Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood
  • “It’s Your Love” – Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
  • “You Don’t Seem to Miss Me” – Patty Loveless and George Jones
  • “What If I Said” – Steve Wariner and Anita Cochran

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s smash hit was named the first ever ACM Vocal Event of the Year and was their first nomination together. They’d later receive three more nominations together in this category.

Most Wins

  • 3 – Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley
  • 2 – Faith Hill

Most Nominations

  • 6 – Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw
  • 5 – Ronnie Dunn
  • 4 – Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill, Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless, Alan Jackson, Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, George Strait
  • 3 – Garth Brooks, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Clint Black, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris

Most Nominations without a Win

  • 4 – George Strait, Patty Loveless
  • 3 – Garth Brooks, George Jones, Emmylou Harris
  • 2 – Toby Keith, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, Bon Jovi, Gretchen Wilson, Hank Williams Jr.

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