BMI Country Award Winners

BMI honors Songwriters of the Year Luke Laird and Dallas Davidson. (L-R): BMI's Jody Williams, Luke Laird, BMI's Del Bryant, Dallas Davidson and BMI's Clay Bradley.

Tuesday night’s (10/30) BMI Country Awards honored the Country Songwriter, Song and Publisher of the Year, as well as legendary songwriter Tom T. Hall and the writers and publishers of the past year’s 50 most-performed songs on radio and TV from BMI’s country repertoire. The exclusive event was held at the organization’s Music Row offices.

Songwriter of the Year: Dallas Davidson, “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)” and “I Don’t Want This Night to End” recorded by Luke Bryan; “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” by Justin Moore; and “Just a Kiss” and “We Owned the Night” recorded by Lady Antebellum.

Songwriter of the Year: Luke Laird, “A Little Bit Stronger” by Sara Evans; “Baggage Claim” by Miranda Lambert; “Drink in My Hand” by Eric Church; “You” by Chris Young; and “Take a Back Road,” recorded by Rodney Atkins.

Song of the Year: “Take a Back Road,” Luke Laird and Rhett Akins. Published by EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc. and Universal Music Careers, the song earned more than one million performances in 2011, making it one of the most-performed songs of the year in any genre of music.

Publisher of the Year: Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville, with 24 songs on the year’s most-performed list, including “Take a Back Road”; Taylor Swift’s “Mean”; Kenny Chesney’s “Live a Little”; Eli Young Band’s “Crazy Girl”; Keith Urban’s “You Gonna Fly”; The Band Perry’s “All Your Life”; and Blake Shelton’s “Honey Bee.”

Proof of Country’s Power: 10 of the top 20 most-performed works in the U.S. in 2011 from BMI’s repertoire were country songs

Tom T. Hall was named BMI Icon and saluted with a musical tribute by The Avett Brothers (“That’s How I Got To Memphis”); Dailey & Vincent (“Can You Hear Me Now”); Justin Townes Earle (“Homecoming”); and Toby Keith with Scotty Emerick (“Faster Horses (The Cowboy And The Poet)”).

As a recording artist in the early to mid 1970s, Hall had seven self-penned No. 1 singles: “A Week in a Country Jail,” “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died,” “(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine,” “I Love,” “Country Is,” “I Care,” and “Faster Horses (the Cowboy and the Poet).” The Grammy winner and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee also wrote mega hits for others, including Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley P.T.A.,” Dave Dudley’s “The Pool Shark,” Alan Jackson’s “Little Bitty,” and Bobby Bare’s “(Margie’s at) the Lincoln Park Inn” and “That’s How I Got to Memphis.”

More coverage of the BMI Country Awards will be posted later today in MusicRow’s exclusive column “Bobby Karl Works The Room.”

(L-R): Clay Bradley, Dallas Davidson, Del Bryant, Tom T. Hall, Luke Laird, Rhett Akins and Jody Williams

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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