The 43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards Photos and Press!
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Sony BMG Nashville Post-ACM Celebration

Lucky Seven in Vegas:  Sony BMG Nashville was on a roll at last night’s 43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, where the label group’s artists took home seven major awards.  Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley were both double winners, with Chesney claiming his fourth consecutive Entertainer of the Year trophy along with Vocal Event (“Find Out Who Your Friends Are”), while Paisley walked away with Top Male Vocalist for the second year and also won for Video of the Year (“Online”).  Carrie Underwood was named Top Female Vocalist for the second year in a row, and Miranda Lambert was honored with Album of the Year for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.  Brooks & Dunn claimed Top Vocal Duo and extended their lead as the most-awarded act in ACM history.

Pictured (l-r) at Sony BMG Nashville’s post-show dinner celebration:  Sony BMG Nashville Executive VP Butch Waugh; Ronnie Dunn; Carrie Underwood; Kix Brooks; Miranda Lambert; ACM show host Reba McEntire; Brad Paisley; Kenny Chesney; Sony BMG Nashville Chairman Joe Galante and Executive VP A&R Renee Bell.

Photo credit: Tyler Powell/Christie’s Photographic Studios
Big Machine's Taylor Swift & Jack Ingram Score Honors At Academy of Country Music Awards

PHOTO CAPTION:  ACM Top New Female Vocalist Taylor Swift, President & CEO of Big Machine Records Scott Borchetta, and ACM Top New Male Vocalist Jack Ingram celebrate after the 43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards last night.

Taylor Swift:   Top New Female Vocalist
Jack Ingram:  Top New Male Vocalist

LAS VEGAS, NV It was a huge night for indie label Big Machine Records. Triple-platinum Country sensation Taylor Swift and critically-acclaimed Country rocker Jack Ingram both scored big at the 43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards last night, walking away with the Top New Female Vocalist and Top New Male Vocalist Awards. The honors mark the first ACM Awards for both artists as well as for Big Machine Records.

Swift’s rain-drenched, show-stopping debut television performance of her brand-new single, “Should’ve Said No” was one of the big highlights of the live broadcast.  Taylor brought the crowd to its feet for an extended standing ovation after a part-acoustic, part full-band performance that included an on-stage costume change and a torrential rain shower. Walking off-stage wrapped in towels, Taylor was immediately congratulated by George Strait and his wife Norma, as well as all of the members of Rascal Flatts.

“I am so honored and excited to have gotten my first ACM Award!” raved Taylor after the show. “And tonight, I had the most fun I’ve EVER had on stage!”

Ingram’s Top New Male Vocalist win comes after years of perseverance, hard work and personal sacrifice.  For more than a decade, Ingram recorded for various major labels and built a solid support system of fans, critics and musical peers for his dynamic performances and stage presence. The hard work paid off when Ingram signed with new independent label, Big Machine Records for the release of his break-through album, THIS IS IT, in April 2007. 

Five hit singles and six major tours later, Ingram accepted the ACM honor and, from the stage, encouraged other artists to continue, despite the odds.

“It’s been a long road to get here and stand before you as a new male vocalist,” Ingram said in his acceptance speech. “To anyone who has played my music on the radio, anyone who has come to a show with three other people in the audience, anyone who has been moved by the words of my songs, and anyone who has big dreams and high hopes…DREAM IT, LIVE IT, OWN IT. In the end the only thing that is important is not giving up.”

Big Machine Records/ The Valory Music Co. was well-represented at this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards.  Three-time GRAMMY winner, Trisha Yearwood performed a powerful duet with husband Garth Brooks on last night’s awards broadcast. Yearwood was also a featured presenter on the show, as was multi-platinum selling artist Jewel.  Signed to The Valory Music Co. (Big Machine’s sister label), Jewel’s debut country-infused album, PERFECTLY CLEAR, will be released June 3rd.   Big Machine Records also introduced its newest artist Fisher Stevenson to fans on last night’s orange carpet.


Swift’s Top New Female Vocalist win marked her 6th major award win in 7 months. Last month, Swift was named Superstar of Tomorrow at the 10th Annual Young Hollywood Awards, and she won CMT Music Awards for Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year. She is also the reigning CMA Horizon Award winner as well as the Nashville Songwriters International’s Songwriter/Artist of the Year.  Swift’s break-out year also included a GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist.

Swift’s debut album, TAYLOR SWIFT, has reached triple-platinum (3 million sales) status and has spent 18 weeks so far in the #1 position atop Billboard's Country CD Sales Chart.  At the age of 17,  she became the youngest person to single-handedly write and sing a number-one country single entirely on her own ("Our Song" spent 6 consecutive weeks at #1 atop Billboard's Country Singles Chart), and she is the first female solo artist in country music history to wrote or co-write every song on a platinum-selling debut CD. Taylor is consistently ranked Country's #1 artist on MySpace, where she recently surpassed the 48 million mark for music streams.  Swift is featured on the cover of the June 2008 issue of Seventeen and was recently featured on the covers of Rolling Stone, Billboard, Blender, and USA Weekend. Swift was named one of People magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People of 2008, and is featured on Maxim’s current Hot 100 list. She is on tour this year with Rascal Flatts, and has also toured with George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill and Brad Paisley.


Ingram’s breakthrough album, This Is It, debuted on the charts as the #4 album behind only Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, and Alabama.  Ingram’s hits include the #1 smash “Wherever You Are,” the TOP 10 tongue-in-cheek rocker, “Love You;” Ingram’s rendition of “Lips of an Angel;” and the recent hit, “Measure of a Man.”  In April 2007, Ingram won CMT's fan-voted, boundary-pushing "Wide Open Video of the Year" Award.   Ingram recently became the first Country music artist in history to partner with NIKE for the NIKE+ Workout Series.  Ingram's dynamic brand of country rock has been featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, CNN, The CBS Early Show, Fox & Friends, CMT Cross Country, GAC Shortcuts, AOL Sessions, the NBA Final Four, and praised by USA Today, People,, the Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, and Country Weekly among others.   Esquire Magazine named Ingram 2007’s “Best Country Artist.”

Ingram has toured with Brooks & Dunn, Sheryl Crow, Gary Allan, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley.  This summer, Jack will rejoin Martina McBride on her “Wake Up Laughing” Summer Tour. 


Big Machine Records was founded on September 1st, 2005, by music industry veteran Scott Borchetta, who serves as its President & CEO. The company is headquartered in Nashville, and its artist roster includes Taylor Swift, Trisha Yearwood, Jack Ingram, Danielle Peck, Sunny Sweeney and Fisher Stevenson.  Big Machine is also the exclusive radio promoter for Garth Brooks. Big Machine celebrated its first #1 single in May 2006 with Jack Ingram's "Wherever You Are".  At the end of that year the label's three new artist releases--Jack Ingram, Danielle Peck and Taylor Swift--all made the Top 10 Most-Played New Artists of 2006 as monitored by Mediabase and reported by Country Aircheck Magazine.  Jack Ingram was named the Most-Played New Artist of the Year by Country Aircheck Magazine.  In March 2007, Big Machine Records shipped its one-millionth CD.  In its 39th Week, Taylor Swift’s currently Triple-Platinum self-titled debut album began an 8-week consecutive #1 streak on the Country Charts, spending 18 weeks total to-date. Big Machine and Garth Brooks recently made history with his new single, “More Than a Memory,” when Brooks became the first artist in history to debut at #1 on the Billboard Country Singles Chart, making him the highest Country debut leader of all time. Big Machine Records boasts 2 ACM Awards, 1 CMA Award, 3 CMT Music Awards and one GRAMMY Nomination to-date. The label is exclusively distributed by Universal Music Group Distribution.

The 43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards will re-air on the Great American Country (GAC) channel on Wednesday, June 4th at 9 pm ET/ 8 pm CT.

For more information and to hear music from Taylor Swift and Jack Ingram visit:

Lady Antebellum Wins ACM Top New Group

Lady Antebellum won the Academy of Country Music Award’s Top New Group award last night. Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley were more than excited about their first major award win.

“I'm so fired up right now” exclaimed Kelley. “We never imagined that we'd be embraced this early in our career. I love country music!”

“This is just too incredible” said Haywood. “This past year has been a complete whirlwind...from signing our deal, playing the Opry, releasing an album...and now this.  We are blessed to have such support from everyone!!”

“I had the most amazing dance party last night in Vegas to celebrate” said Scott. “This is so exciting!!!”

Kellie Pickler Sweetens ACM Awards with "Don't You Know You're Beautiful"

LAS VEGAS, NV To the backdrop of a national television audience and a packed house at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, BNA Records artist Kellie Pickler debuted “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful,” the first single from her forthcoming sophomore album.

Wildly received, the positive “girls’ anthem” impact was immediate.  Online chat rooms and fan sites began buzzing following her performance.

Although the song was not set to ship to radio until the end of the month, BNA is responding to the demand, and “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful” will be available to radio Monday afternoon via the MPE delivery system.  Additionally, the label is burning “white label” copies of the song to overnight a physical copy to radio, as well.

A recent triple-winner at the fan-voted CMT Music Awards, Kellie is thrilled to have new music to offer radio and fans, and after putting the finishing touches on her new album and performing at the CMA Music Festival, Kellie will spend the summer taking her new music on the road.  Look for her sophomore album to be released in early fall.

Chesney Wins 4th Consecutive ACM Entertainer of the Year, Ties Garth Brooks' Record, Celebrates,
Returns to Poets & Pirates Tour

Las Vegas He had sung his brand new “Better As A Memory,” duetted with birthday boy George Strait on their Academy of Country Music Vocal Event nominated “Shiftwork” and won the Vocal Event Award for “Find Out Who Your Friends Are” with Tracy Lawrence and Tim McGraw, so it had already been a big night for Luttrell, Tennessee’s Kenny Chesney, the three-consecutive and reigning Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year. And that’s when Reba McEntire called out her good friend’s name as Entertainer of the Year.

“It was an amazing feeling,” said the soft-spoken songwriter and superstar. “You just never know … or want to take it for granted. You work as hard as you can, and you hope people notice. But you can never do this for - or expect - awards.”

With an Internet component in place to take Entertainer of the Year voting from the country music industry - radio professionals, managers, label executives, concert promoters and artists themselves - to the fans, the parameters of the Academy’s highest honor shifted radically. Having built his career playing to the fans, Chesney understands how powerful the artist/fan connection is … and also how sacred.

“Entertainer is about sacrifice, about the work, about what goes into creating the music, the tour,” Chesney explained later that evening. “For me, I don’t want the fans considering how hard we work - or what goes into making this happen. I want them to come out and party with us; I want them to forget their troubles for a couple hours, to have the best time they may have all year and to maybe hear some of my songs on the radio and think, ‘Hey, that’s my life,’ not ‘Boy, he sure does put a lot of effort into all of this.’ That makes their experience about me, not them, their friends, their lives and this music I’ve been making.”

Having played to over a million fans each of the past six summers - his 2007 Flip Flop Summer Tour not only brought country music to stadiums in Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, and Seattle last year, but it helped make Chesney the biggest ticket seller this century. His current Poets & Pirates Tour - sponsored by Corona Extra, who debuted a major TV spot starring the laidback musician last night - will hit 15 football stadiums this year, in addition to the usual arenas and amphitheatres.

“I try to be the artist I’d want to see,” Chesney explained. “I know what rocked my world, heck, what rocks my world … and I just wanna be that for the fans who’ve been part of this ride. Their votes mean the world to me … because it means they are living these songs, these summers with us the way I used to with Springsteen, Van Halen, Jackson Browne, Keith Whitley. That’s why I do what I do ... because I know how powerful that experience can be.”

Chesney returns to the road with two nights in Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 21-22, and then on to Cleveland, Ohio’s Browns Stadium on May 24 “and you know I’m gonna thank ‘em every night we’re out there, over and over again.”

Lady Antebellum Enjoys A Big Career Week

NASHVILLE, TN – May 21, 2008 – Capitol Records Nashville trio Lady Antebellum started the week off with their first major award win at the Academy of Country Music’s award show in Las Vegas, coming home with the Top New Group award.

They landed back in Nashville on Monday afternoon to find that the debut single “Love Don’t Live Here” - from their #1 self-titled debut album - had entered the Top 5 on the country singles chart. On Tuesday, they got word that iTunes had chosen them for their coveted “Class of 2008,” a select group of artists which iTunes declares “are the artists we feel have excelled – they are poised to take things to the next level.” Last year’s “Class of 2007” included such noteworthy performers as Amy Winehouse, Taylor Swift, Daughtry and Corinne Bailey Rae.

Outside of their ACM Award win, the highlight of their time in Las Vegas was their Pepsi Free Concert Series performance on DeepRockDrive. The first country artist to perform on the series, Lady Antebellum proved they could draw fans in from all over the world. Fans from 12 countries including China, Australia, Philippines, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Netherlands Venezuela and Germany logged in to see the trio’s 50 minute set.

Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott hit the road again for upcoming dates, opening for Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Kellie Pickler, Josh Turner and others. Lady Antebellum will be in Nashville, TN June 2-9 for the CMA Music Fest to perform and meet and greet with country music’s biggest fans.

Photo Credit: Denise Truscello / Getty Images