From the press release:
The 57th Annual BMI Country Awards celebrated the genre’s top hit-makers tonight in Nashville. In addition to toasting the writers and publishers of the past year’s 50 most-performed country songs from the BMI repertoire, the ceremony honored Kris Kristofferson as a BMI Icon; named Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” Song of the Year, Bobby Pinson Songwriter of the Year, and Sony/ATV Music Publishing Publisher of the Year; and saluted Brooks & Dunn with the BMI President’s Award.
BMI President & CEO Del Bryant; BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville Jody Williams; and BMI Assistant Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville Clay Bradley hosted the black-tie event, which was staged at the music rights organization’s Music Row offices.
Taylor Swift’s sweeping “Love Story” was named Song of the Year. The song, composed by Swift alone, was the first single from her sophomore album Fearless. In addition to topping the Billboard country chart, “Love Story” topped the Billboard pop and AC charts and became the best-selling country song in the United States and the most-downloaded country single in U. S. history. Published by Sony/ATV Tree and Taylor Swift Music, “Love Story” is Swift’s second consecutive BMI Song of the Year; “Teardrops on My Guitar” earned the prestigious honor in 2008.
With four songs among the year’s most-performed, Bobby Pinson earned the Songwriter of the Year crown. In addition to co-writing Sugarland’s chart-toppers “All I Want to Do” and “Already Gone,” Pinson co-composed Toby Keith’s poignant “She Never Cried in Front of Me,” and Josh Gracin’s nostalgic “We Weren’t Crazy.” The win marks the first Songwriter of the Year crown for Pinson, who has unquestionably become one of Nashville’s most in-demand collaborators.
Publishing giant Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville earned its eighth consecutive BMI Country Publisher of the Year title. Through its subsidiary companies Sony/ATV Acuff Rose and Sony/ATV Tree, the powerhouse placed 14 songs among the year’s top 50, including Jimmy Wayne’s “Do You Believe Me Now,” Billy Currington’s “Don’t,” Keith Urban’s “You Look Good in My Shirt,” George Strait’s “Troubadour” and “River of Love,” Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder & Lead,” and Taylor Swift’s “Love Story,” “Picture to Burn,” and “Should’ve Said No.”
A highlight of the evening was the tribute to newly crowned BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson, featuring performances by Patty Griffin, Vince Gill, and Willie Nelson. With the penetration of a poet and the humbling grace of a troubadour, Kris Kristofferson built a legendary career most recognized for its versatility, authenticity, and sheer brilliance. He has received 48 BMI Country and Pop Awards for his compositions including “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” “Why Me,” “Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again),” “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” which garnered seven BMI Country and four BMI Pop Awards, and “For the Good Times,” which won a BMI Country Award each consecutive year between 1971 and 1979 as well as five BMI Pop Awards between 1970 and 1974. Eight of his compositions have generated substantially more than one million performances, and three Grammys line his shelves. While he wrote most of his masterpieces alone, his co-writers include giants Shel Silverstein, Marijohn Wilkin, and Fred Foster. He has starred in numerous films, including Lone Star, the Blade trilogy, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, A Star Is Born, for which he garnered the Golden Globe trophy for Best Motion Picture Actor, and Songwriter, for which he received an Oscar nomination for Original Song Score. Along with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash, Kristofferson also formed the Highwaymen. Still recording, now for New West Records, he released new album, entitled Closer to the Bone, in late September of this year. A Rhodes Scholar capable of choosing virtually any path, Kristofferson decided to write songs, and for that, purveyors and lovers of American music are eternally grateful.
BMI President & CEO Del Bryant saluted the prolific career of Brooks and Dunn with the BMI President’s Award. A prestigious honor presented only on unique occasions when an artist has distinctly and profoundly influenced the music industry, the award celebrates Brooks & Dunn’s two decades of genre-shaping excellence, which has made them the most-awarded artists in Academy of Country Music or Country Music Association history.
The 2009 BMI Country Awards also honored songwriters Jeffrey Steele and Lee Thomas Miller, who both added three songs to the top 50 most-performed list, as well as Toby Keith, Sugarland’s Kristian Bush, Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, Phil O’Donnell, Jim Beavers, Brett Beavers, James Otto, Clint Daniels, and Dallas Davidson, who each contributed two compositions to the year’s top 50.
Publishers EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc., Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp., Universal Music Publishing Group, Music of Stage Three, Bobby’s Song and Salvage, Bug Music/Songs of Windswept Pacific, Jeffrey Steele Music/My Life’s Work Music, Noah’s Little Boat Music, Songs of Sea Gayle/New Songs of Sea Gayle, and Taylor Swift Music each took home three or more awards.