Photos: Alan Mayor
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Breakthrough Artist: The Band Perry
Breakthrough Songwriter: Kimberly Perry
Song of the Year: “If I Die Young,” published by Pearlfeather, Rio Bravo
Producer of the Year: Paul Worley
Marketing Achievement: (tie) Capitol Records Nashville for Luke Bryan’s Doin’ My Thing, and Big Machine Records for Taylor Swift’s Speak Now
Top Ten Album All-Stars: Jimmie Lee Sloas – Bass; Shannon Forrest – Drums; Justin Niebank – Engineer; Jonathan Yudkin – Fiddle; Ilya Toshinsky – Guitar; Tony Harrell – Keyboard; Paul Franklin – Steel; Wes Hightower – Vocals
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The 23rd Annual MusicRow Awards were held last night (6/21) at ASCAP’s Nashville office. The Band Perry and Kimberly Perry were the evening’s big winners, earning reader-voted plaques for Breakthrough Artist as a trio, and Kimberly was honored as writer of Song of the Year (“If I Die Young”) and Breakthrough Songwriter. It was the first time in Awards history that the same act had taken all three accolades.
ASCAP VP/Managing Exec Tim DuBois called the capacity crowd to order and introduced MusicRow Publisher David Ross who thanked the performing rights organization for hosting this year’s ceremony and welcomed the crowd. “The roles of performing rights and trade magazines seem quite different,” noted Ross. “But we have a lot in common, we both support the songwriters, publishers and musicians who are such an integral part of Nashville’s success.”
MusicRow News Editor Sarah Skates and Chart Director Jon Freeman handled the presentation of the Top Ten Album All-Star Awards and presented plaques to the winners in eight different instrumental and vocal categories. “These guys bring their formidable talents to the stage and studio day in and day out,” acknowledged Freeman. The Top 10 Awards began in 1989 and were compiled by John Lomax and the late Otto Kittsinger. They remain the only musician awards based upon actual album appearances, and not just overall popularity.
After the Musician Awards presentation and remarks, a group of the players took the stage for an impromptu musician jam which included Jonathan Yudkin on fiddle, Jimmie Lee Sloas on bass, Ilya Toshinsky on banjo and Tony Harrell on accordion. The crowd loved it, and hopefully it can become an Awards tradition going forward.
MusicRow President/Owner Sherod Robertson took the podium next for a surprise 30-year plaque presentation to MusicRow founder David M. Ross who was touched by the accolade. “I’m more accustomed to giving awards, than receiving them,” said Ross. “But there are so many people to thank. My wife Susana who helped start it all with me, and really, every one of you in this room for supporting what we do. So many people have made great contributions over our thirty year run.”
Producer of the Year Paul Worley was the next award recipient. He quipped to the crowd, “I’ve been trying to win one of these for 30 years.” Worley’s career includes working with artists such as Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks, Lady Antebellum and The Band Perry.
This year’s Marketing honor was a tie between Big Machine’s Taylor Swift Speak Now project, and Capitol Nashville’s Luke Bryan Doin’ My Thing album. For a detailed description of these plans check out the just released June/July print issue of MusicRow.
Making a last-minute appearance were big winners, The Band Perry. Happily, the trio unleashed a memorable acoustic performance of the MusicRow 2011 Song of the Year, “If I Die Young.” “Every time we get a plaque like this,” said Kimberly earnestly, “it increases our feeling of responsibility to do our very best.” It proved a fitting crescendo to the event.
Enjoying the jovial atmosphere and ASCAP’s hospitality were industry notables Pat Higdon, Troy Tomlinson, Ben Vaughn, Dale Turner, Kevin Herring, Jay Frank, Marc Driskill, Suzanne Lee, Mike Sistad, Barry Coburn, Jody Williams, Bradley Collins, Kay Clary, Susana Ross, Dave Pomeroy, Jayne Rogovin, Jeff Walker, Tom Luteran, Renee Grant-Williams, Glenn Middleworth, Karen Oertley, Sarah Cates, Holly Bell, Christy Watkins, Mandy Gallagher, Karl Braun, Diane Pearson, Hal Oven, up and coming family group the Henningsens, and Patrick Thomas, former contestant on The Voice.