All seven winners in the instrumentalist categories for the 36th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, announced Monday (April
30) are first-call session players who have been in the winner’s circle before, some of them eight or nine times.
Eddie Bayers won in the drums category for the 10th consecutive year. Mark O’Connor
recaptured Fiddle Player of the Year after a five-year absence. O’Connor won the “Hat” trophy in 1986, then held the title from 1988-1994. Dobro master Jerry Douglas
picked up his fourth consecutive victory and his ninth overall in the Special Instrument category, where he edged out banjo, harmonica and
Brent Mason was voted Guitar Player of the Year for the eighth consecutive year. Paul Franklin took honors for best steel guitar
player. He has won the award six times and tied once. John Hobbs won Keyboardist of the Year, making it his sixth victory in the
category following three wins and two ties since 1986. Michael Rhodes ended Glenn Worf’s eight-year winning streak in the bass
field. Rhodes won Bass Player of the Year once before, in 1989.
The 36th Annual ACM Awards will air May 9 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. The winners in 13 categories will be announced during the three-hour broadcast, which also will include performances by Lee Ann Womack, Toby Keith, Brooks & Dunn, Billy Gilman, Brad Paisley, Kenny Rogers, Dwight Yoakam, Kenny Chesney, Lonestar, Jo Dee Messina, SHeDAISY, Sara Evans and The Warren Brothers. LeAnn Rimes will host the event, which will be held at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles.