ASCAP Country Music Awards Honors Dierks Bentley, Brett James, Alan Jackson

Videos by American Songwriter

(Songwriter of the Year Brett James)

From the press release:

ASCAP (the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) hosted its 48 th annual Country Music Awards earlier this evening at the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville, Tenn. The writers of country music’s most performed songs of the period between April 2009 and March 2010 were honored before an audience of many of Nashville’s most distinguished songwriters, top country stars and music industry leaders. Special tribute was paid to Alan Jackson, who was honored with the ASCAP Founders Award.

The evening’s top honors were awarded to the following:

ASCAP Songwriter of the Year: Brett James

ASCAP Songwriter/Artist of the Year: Dierks Bentley

ASCAP Country Song of the Year: “Need You Now,” written by Josh Kear; published by Big Yellow Dog Music and Darth Buddha

ASCAP Publisher of the Year: Sea Gayle Music

A total of 44 song honors were handed out while interspersed with very special performances by the writers of the year’s Top 5 most performed songs. Those performances included “Need You Now,” by Josh Kear and Lady Antebellum; “Sideways,” by Dierks Bentley; “Alright,” performed by Darius Rucker and Frank Rogers; “Big Green Tractor” (Jason Aldean), performed by David Lee Murphy; and “Gettin’ You Home,” by Chris Young. In addition, a special musical tribute to Jackson included remarkable performances of several of his hits by Steve Earle, Dierks Bentley and Chris Young.

The ASCAP Global Impact Award—a special award for a song that has had significant impact on multiple formats during the year—was presented to Jessi Alexander for “The Climb” (Miley Cyrus, Joe McElderry) by ASCAP Senior Vice President, International, Roger Greenaway and ASCAP Vice President and Managing Executive, Nashville, Tim DuBois.

ASCAP Songwriter and Board Member Wayland Holyfield and Tim DuBois presented Brett James with his second Songwriter of the Year award. James, who first garnered this award in 2006, was responsible for penning five of the most performed songs of the past year: “Cowboy Casanova” (Carrie Underwood), “It’s a Business Doing Pleasure with You” (Tim McGraw), “Out Last Night” (Kenny Chesney), “Summer Nights” (Rascal Flatts) and “The Truth” (Jason Aldean).

Collecting his second Song of the Year honor (he previously won in 2007 for “Before He Cheats”), ASCAP Executive Vice President, Domestic Membership, Randy Grimmett and Tim DuBois presented Josh Kear with the award for “Need You Now” (Lady Antebellum). The publishers for “Need You Now” are Big Yellow Dog Music and Darth Buddha.

Randy Grimmett and Tim DuBois also presented Dierks Bentley with his first-ever ASCAP Songwriter/Artist of the Year award. No stranger to ASCAP Most Performed Song awards—he had already won 12 prior to this evening—Bentley adds two more this year with “I Wanna Make You Close Your Eyes” and “Sideways,” which was also among the Top 5 most-performed songs.

ASCAP Publisher of the Year honors went to Sea Gayle Music who had six award-winning songs: “Alright,” “American Saturday Night,” “History In the Making,” “Keep On Lovin’ You,” “Then” and “Welcome To the Future.” ASCAP CEO John A. LoFrumento and ASCAP Publisher Board Member Barry Coburn of Ten Ten Music presented the award to Sea Gayle Music’s Chris DuBois and Frank Rogers. This is Sea Gayle Music’s first Publisher of the Year honor.

ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams presented Alan Jackson with ASCAP’s Founders Award, which recognized Jackson as “a supreme talent, inspirational songwriter, recording artist and modern legend, whose artistry, style and enduring music resonate with and inspire generations.”

The ASCAP Founders Award is among the most prestigious honors that ASCAP gives to songwriters and composers who have made pioneering contributions to music by inspiring and influencing their fellow music creators. Each recipient is a musical innovator who possesses a unique style of creative genius that will enrich generations to come. Past recipients include Sir Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Heart’s Ann & Nancy Wilson, Billy Joel, Annie Lennox, Joni Mitchell, Smokey Robinson, Patti Smith, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Tom Waits, Stevie Wonder and Neil Young.

During the ceremony, it was announced that the ASCAP Nashville office Board Room is being renamed the Connie Bradley Board Room in recognition of her contributions to ASCAP and its members. Bradley led ASCAP’s Nashville branch for more than 30 years and stills serves as a Senior Advisor.

ASCAP also recognized a distinguished group of songwriters with the Silver Circle honor in recognition of 25 years or more of ASCAP membership—Barbara Cloyd, Radney Foster, Carl Jackson, Steven Dale Jones, Leslie Matkosky, Don Sampson and John Shanks.

Songwriters and artists in attendance included Alan Jackson, Dierks Bentley, Steve Earle, Kellie Pickler, Darius Rucker, Chris Young, Joey + Rory, Radney Foster, Don Sampson, David Nail, Keith Anderson, Emerson Hart (of Tonic), Darryl Worley, Love and Theft, Kyle Cook (of Matchbox Twenty), Bucky Covington, Gloriana, Jimmy Wayne, Trent Willmon, Sarah Buxton and Jedd Hughes. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean was also in attendance.

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