MusicRow Readers Name “House” Song of the Year

Bobby Karl Works The Room, Chapter 341
Photos: Alan Mayor

Chris Young

Host Clay Bradley has the magic touch: He actually got the capacity crowd of schmoozers to shut up during the presentation of the MusicRow Awards in the notoriously loud BMI lobby on Thursday (6/24).

Anthony Smith, Frank Myers, Trisha Walker-Cunningham, Alan Kates, Chuck Thompson, Preston Sullivan, Phil Sweetland, Richard Fagan, Doak Turner, Melanie Howard and their pals were models of good behavior this year. This, by the way, was the incredible 22nd year of the event.

“2010 has been an exceptional year for music,” said Clay in greeting the assembled multitude. “We’re proud to represent the greatest creative community in the world. Thank you for coming.”

Clay also announced that BMI is going to match any Music Row flood-relief donations up to $50,000. Go to for more info.

Tom Douglas, MR's David Ross & Allen Shamblin

David Ross read a letter from the AFM’s Dave Pomeroy and Craig Krampf thanking the publication for spotlighting session musicians. MusicRow reviewer Larry Wayne Clark is recovering from cancer treatments in Canada. His letter, also read by Ross, was encouraging and concluded with, “We miss the Nashville buzz. But things could be a lot worse.”

Echoing Clay’s sentiment, David added, “I continue to be amazed by the stream of creativity that continues to come from this town.”

Jon Freeman and Sarah Skates presented the Top Ten Album All-Star Awards to the year’s hottest session players. The 2010 winners were Aubrey

Haynie (fiddle), Paul Franklin (steel), Wes Hightower (vocals), Justin Niebank (engineer), Shannon Forrest & Chris McHugh (drums), Brent Mason (guitar), Charles Judge (keyboards) and Glenn Worf (bass).

Artist of the Year Zac Brown Band producer Keith Stegall & Roar Mgmt.'s Matt Maher

Looking every inch the Southern gentleman in an off-white linen sport coat and South Carolina straw chapeau, Robert K. Oermann stated that, “The past five winners of the Breakthrough Artist Award have been Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum and Jamey Johnson. So this year’s winner is in excellent company.” Accepting for the Zac Brown Band were its producer, Keith Stegall and Roar management’s Matt Maher.

“Producer of the Year has been an annual MusicRow award since 1982,” said Oermann. “This year, we have two winners, the first time a production team has won.” Frank Liddell & Mike Wrucke accepted for their outstanding work with Miranda Lambert and David Nail.

Ross retook the stage to present the Breakthrough Songwriter Award to Chris Young. Chris told of how his
do-or-die hit “Getting You Home (The Black Dress Song)” struggled up the charts. With plaque in hand, he added, “This is going on my wall immediately after I leave here.”

To the delight of one and all, he sang his winning tune. Splendidly.

MR's Robert K. Oermann, Frank Liddell & Mike Wrucke

“We all pride ourselves on being able to hear a hit song,” said Ross presenting the Song of the Year honor. “But if it was that easy we’d all be a lot richer. Regardless, we are all a lot richer for having this incredible song in our lives.” This year’s Song of the Year honor went to Allen Shamblin and Tom Douglas for “The House That Built Me.”

“No one is more surprised than Allen and me,” said Tom. He recalled that it was pitched to Scott Hendricks, who sent it along to Blake Shelton, who gave it to his fiancée Miranda Lambert, who took it on a four-week trip to No. 1. “God’s fingerprints are on all of this,” said Allen. “I like it!” added publisher Troy Tomlinson.

Allen and Tom performed their special composition and mesmerized the crowd, swapping verses while playing guitar and piano, respectively.

Among the many working the room were such fabulons as Gary Overton, Billy Block, Ben Vaughn, Jon Lytle, Allen Brown, Cathy Gurley, Judy Harris, Sherod Robertson, Mike Milom, Michael Martin, Alan Kates, Tom Roland and Wes Vause.

MusicRow Reader-Voted Awards
Breakthrough Artist: Zac Brown Band
Breakthrough Songwriter: Chris Young
Song of the Year: “The House That Built Me” written by Allen Shamblin and Tom Douglas; published by Sony/ATV Tree Publishing Co., Built On Rock Music, and Tomdouglasmusic
Producer of the Year: Frank Liddell and Mike Wrucke

Top Ten Album All-Star Musicians
Bass: Glenn Worf
Drums: Chris McHugh and Shannon Forrest
Engineer: Justin Niebank
Fiddle: Aubrey Haynie
Guitar: Brent Mason
Keyboards: Charles Judge
Steel: Paul Franklin
Vocals: Wes Hightower

Musician winners Charles Judge, Aubrey Haynie, Chris McHugh and Wess Hightower; & MR's Sarah Skates and Jon Freeman. Photo:


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