ACM Names Instrumentalist Winners for 35th Annual Awards

The Academy of Country Music has selected a veteran group of musicians with diverse accomplishments as winners of this year’s instrumentalist categories for the 35th annual ACM Awards.

Steel guitarist Jay Dee Maness, who has played with everyone from Buck Owens’ Buckaroos to The Carpenters and Bonnie Raitt, will accept his 17th “Hat” trophy. He took home his first ACM award in 1970.

In the keyboard category, Hargus “Pig” Robbins tied with John Hobbs, giving Robbins his eighth trophy and Hobbs his fifth. Robbins has played piano for the likes of Patsy Cline, George Jones, Bob Dylan and Marty Robbins (no relation). He has released seven solo albums. Hobbs, who has played for everyone from B.B. King to David Cassidy, is also a producer and songwriter who has had cuts by Reba McEntire and Collin Raye.

For the ninth consecutive year, Eddie Bayers has won in the drums category. A first-call session player, Bayers has contributed to records by Dolly Parton, Clint Black, Bob Seger, Patty Loveless and the Judds.

Dobro master Jerry Douglas was named the Speciality Instruments winner for the eighth time. A triple-threat musician, songwriter and producer, Douglas has toured with Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, the Whites and also has released several solo albums.

Guitar whiz Brent Mason makes his seventh appearance as winner in the guitar category. Mason, who added to Shania Twain’s megaseller Come on Over, has played on records for virtually every big-name country act of the ’90s. His first solo album, Hot Wired, was released on Mercury Records in 1997.

Stuart Duncan, a member of the Grammy-winning Nashville Bluegrass Band, will take home his third award in the fiddle category. He has released a solo album and recently collaborated with Dolly Parton on her critically acclaimed bluegrass album The Grass is Blue. Duncan also has worked with Barbra Streisand, John Prine and Clint Black.

Glenn Worf will pick up his eighth trophy in the bass category. He has toured with Mark Knopfler and played with some of country’s biggest names, including Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Conway Twitty, George Jones and George Strait.

Instrumental winners were chosen by members of the Academy’s Musician/Bandleader/Instrumentalist, Club Operator/Employee and Artist/Entertainer categories.

The ACM Awards will air May 3 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. The winners in 12 categories will be announced during the three-hour broadcast, which also will include appearances by Brooks & Dunn, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Buck Owens, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Ty Herndon, George Jones, Clint Black, Lisa Hartman Black, Trisha Yearwood and Dwight Yoakam.