Bobby Karl Works The BMI Country Awards

BOBBY KARL WORKS THE ROOM

Chapter 474

BMI Winners
BMI Icon: Vince Gill
Songwriter of the Year: Rhett Akins
Publisher of the Year: Sony-ATV
Song of the Year: “Wagon Wheel”

Pictured (L-R): BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Jody Williams; Song of the Year award scribe Ketch Secor; Sony/ATV Music Publishing Co-President Danny Strick; Sony/ATV Music Publishing  Nashville President and CEO Troy Tomlinson; Sony/ATV Music Publishing Chairman & CEO Martin Bandier; BMI Icon recipient Vince Gill; Songwriter of the Year winner Rhett Akins; BMI President & CEO Mike O' Neill; and BMI Assistant Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Clay Bradley

Pictured (L-R): BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Jody Williams; Song of the Year award scribe Ketch Secor; Sony/ATV Music Publishing Co-President Danny Strick; Sony/ATV Music Publishing  Nashville President and CEO Troy Tomlinson; Sony/ATV Music Publishing Chairman & CEO Martin Bandier; BMI Icon recipient Vince Gill; Songwriter of the Year winner Rhett Akins; BMI President & CEO Mike O’ Neill; and BMI Assistant Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Clay Bradley

This year’s 62nd BMI country awards banquet was an evening-long lovefest for BMI Icon honoree Vince Gill.

The widely beloved songwriter, singer, instrumentalist, humanitarian and all-around great guy was saluted by video segments that repeatedly paused the procession of songwriters and publishers. In the middle of the gala, standing ovations greeted tribute performances by Ashley Monroe (“Whenever You Come Around”), Keith Urban (“I Still Believe in You”), Michael McDonald (“When I Call Your Name”) and a band rave-up (“Little Liza Jane”) with Keith, Ashley, John Hobbs, Paul Franklin and more.

Rhett Akins (second from right) accepts the award for Songwriter of the Year with BMI Assistant Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Clay Bradley, BMI President and CEO Mike O'Neill, and BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Jody Williams onstage at the BMI 2014 Country Awards at BMI on November 4, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo:  Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BMI

Rhett Akins (second from right) accepts the award for Songwriter of the Year with BMI Assistant Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Clay Bradley, BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill, and BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Jody Williams onstage at the BMI 2014 Country Awards at BMI on November 4, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BMI

Even Songwriter of the Year winner Rhett Akins gave a shout-out: “Vince, I’m asking you in front of this whole town, will you write songs with me?”

The Publisher of the Year was Sony/ATV. This was the company’s 13th consecutive win and its 38th win throughout BMI history. It published 28 of the night’s 50 most-performed BMI songs.

The Song of the Year winner was “Wagon Wheel,” written by Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor based on a song fragment by SESAC affiliate Bob Dylan. Singer and Secor’s fellow Opry star Darius Rucker joined the happy tunesmith on the BMI stage.

Vince Gill is honored as a BMI Icon. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Vince Gill is honored as a BMI Icon. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Unlike the other performance-rights banquets, BMI attracts dozens of fans. They gather across the street to cheer the red-carpet arrivals of the awesome number of celebrities who attend this annual fiesta. Let’s try this alphabetically – Gary Allan, Deborah Allen, Bill Anderson, Rodney Atkins, Frankie Ballard, The Band Perry, Lee Brice, Kix Brooks, Marty Brown, Luke Bryan, Billy Burnette, Kristian Bush, Sam Bush, Eric Church, Easton Corbin, Dean Dillon.

There was no one representing the letter “E” (this year), but the parade continued with Florida Georgia Line, Larry Gatlin, Brantley Gilbert, Gill, Gloriana’s Rachel Reinert, Amy Grant, Hunter Hayes, Faith Hill, J.T. Hodges, Randy Houser and new Valory signee Levi Hummon. No letter “I.” Brett James, Nicole Kidman, Miranda Lambert, Scotty McCreery, Del McCoury, McDonald, Tim McGraw, Shane Minor, Monroe, Justin Moore, Kip Moore, Kacey Musgraves.

Ashley Monroe performs ?? in tribute to Vince Gill. Photo: John Russell/BMI

Ashley Monroe performs “Whenever You Come Around” in tribute to Vince Gill. Photo: John Russell/BMI

Nashville TV stars Chip Esten, Sam Palladio and Chaly Rose mingled with John Oates, Old Crow’s Secor, Jake Owen, Randy Owen, Lee Roy Parnell, Angaleena Presley and Eric Paslay, plus Rascal Flatts members Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney, Thomas Rhett, Rucker, Thom Schuyler, Blake Shelton, Jeffrey Steele, Natalie Stovall, Cole Swindell, Thompson Square, Josh Turner, Urban, Laura Veltz, Clay Walker, The Warren Brothers, Lari White, Holly Williams, Charlie Worsham and Chris Young. Sorry, no “X” or “Z.”

The youngest performer attendee was 10-year-old singing sensation Emi Sunshine, who greeted well wishers in satin. Sandi Spika Borchetta led the red-carpet fashion statements in a skin-tight top and stretch pants with a wide belt, sky-high-heeled boots and a cropped faux-fur jacket with sparkly sleeves. Kimberly Perry was a knockout in a strapless floor-length black gown that flared below the hips into a huge white floral pattern. Nicole Kidman’s black gown was a mini in front and calf-length in back with a high collar, capped sleeves and floral appliques on the bodice. Her red droplet earrings perfectly matched her lipstick.

Pictured (L-R0: Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Keith Urban, and Nicole Kidman. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BMI

Pictured (L-R): Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Keith Urban, and Nicole Kidman. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BMI

Trey Fanjoy wore a sequined evening coat over a pewter-toned blouse. Leslie Tomasino DiPiero was sentimentally wearing a scarf that used to belong to BMI’s late, great Frances Preston over her black, Grecian-cut crepe dress. Diane Pearson rocked an ice blue, flared, knee-length peau de soie dress and matching boots. Nicolle Galyon was in draped white chiffon with shoulder cascades. Sylvia Roberts was groovy in black, thigh-high boots with cut-outs, a sequined mesh top over a shift and an overblouse with feathered cuffs. Kacey Musgraves glowed and flowed in a diaphanous peach-toned, layered, floor-length gown. Lori Badgett chose a silver-sequined sheath.

“Welcome to our house,” said BMI’s Jody Williams. “You all look beautiful. This room looks beautiful.”

The BMI parking garage was disguised with creative lighting, mirrored columns, chandeliers, glass globes holding blooms and chains of greenery. Votive-holding candelabra centerpieces entwined with flowers and vines embellished the tables.

BMI 2014 Country Awards

Ketch Secor, Darius Rucker and their creative team accept the award for Song of the Year for the song “Wagon Wheel” at the BMI 2014 Country Awards. Photo: John Russell/BMI

“Look at this room!” said BMI CEO Michael O’Neill. “Best parking lot in Nashville!”

“This is the Big Time, and you have arrived,” boasted BMI’s Clay Bradley. “Nashville is diverse, dominant and brilliant, and it’s all because of you.”

Dressed for success were Bobby Pinson in a vivid red jacket, Angelo sporting a wide-brimmed chapeau and Brett James in zipped-up black leather. Rusty Gaston accented his black-on-black look with a white bow tie and pocket handkerchief. Jeffrey Steele was classy in a short, black, western-cut jacket with silver-swoosh darts over a bright blue shirt.

BMI Icon honoree Vince Gill, songwriter Ketch Secor, and Songwriter of the Year winner Rhett Akins. Photo:  John Russell/BMI

BMI Icon honoree Vince Gill, songwriter Ketch Secor, and Songwriter of the Year winner Rhett Akins. Photo: John Russell/BMI

Top honoree Vince Gill was wearing a black cardigan sweater. O’Neill said that listening to Gill was what converted him into being a country fan. Chris Young’s first concert was Vince Gill at Starwood. Charlie Worsham proclaimed Vince his hero and biggest influence.

“You’re a singer’s singer,” said Keith Urban to the Icon. “You’re a guitar player’s guitar player. You’re a songwriter’s songwriter.”

“There are dozens of examples of his generosity that never make the news,” related Jody Williams. “If that’s not an Icon, I don’t know what is.”

“I can’t think of anyone who holds the respect of this town more,” commented Michael McDonald.

Pictured (L-R): Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton at the BMI Country Awards. Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BMI

Pictured (L-R): Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton at the BMI Country Awards. Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BMI

“In every sense of the word, Vince Gill embodies what it means to be a BMI Icon,” added O’Neill. He cited the superstar’s 27 BMI songwriting awards, 24 “Million-Air” songs, 20 Grammy Awards, 18 CMA statuettes, five consecutive CMA Male Vocalist wins, Opry membership, Country Music Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductions, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and 26 million in record sales.

“I’d give all this up if I had to lose so many great friendships,” responded Vince. “That’s been the greatest gift of all.”

Songwriter of the Year Rhett Akins also cited his many songwriting friends/collaborators, including son Thomas Rhett, as well as his brothers. They were his first co-writers, “sitting in my room in Valdosta, playing my guitar….This is like as far away [from that as] from Earth is to Jupiter,” Rhett said. “You could never dream of doing this.

Rodney Clawson (L) and Nicolle Galyon attend the BMI 2014 Country Awards. Photo: John Russell/BMI

Rodney Clawson and Nicolle Galyon attend the BMI 2014 Country Awards. Photo: John Russell/BMI

“Last year, I sat out there and won zero awards. This year, I won seven. There’s only 50 of these given out every year….To all you songwriters who didn’t win tonight, write your butts off. You never know what could happen.” His seven winners were “Point at You” (Justin Moore), “Parking Lot Party” (Lee Brice), “Boys ‘Round Here” (Blake Shelton), “I Can Take it From There” (Chris Young), “Hey Girl” (Billy Currington), “It Goes Like This” (Thomas Rhett) and “When She Says Baby” (Jason Aldean).

Taking it all in were Tony Brown, Tony Conway, John Lytle, John Ingrassia, Joe Galante, Joey Moi, Even Stevens, Steve & Ree Guyer-Buchanan, Steve Lowery, Kay West, Wes Vause, Will Rambeaux, Bill Denny, Billy Falcon, Rose Falcon, Chuck Cannon, Carson Chamberlain, Luke Laird, Dallas Davidson, Scott Stem, Fred Foster, Frank Rogers, Ken Levitan, Kevin Neal, Kerry O’Neill and Larry McCormack.

Pictured (L-R): BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Jody Williams, Reid Perry, Kimberly Perry, BMI President and CEO Mike O'Neill, Neil Perry, and BMI Assistant Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Clay Bradley. Photo: John Russell/BMI

Pictured (L-R): BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Jody Williams, Reid Perry, Kimberly Perry, BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill, Neil Perry, and BMI Assistant Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Clay Bradley. Photo: John Russell/BMI

We dined on stuffed shrimp, beef tenderloin with gravy, au gratin potatoes, asparagus and cherry tomatoes. All was tasty to such industry mavens as Recording Academy national execs Neil Portnow and Nancy Shapiro, the NMPA’s David Israelite, music-biz Washington insider Jim Free and Music Row’s Byron & Missy Gallimore, Jewel Coburn & Jason Morris, David & Karen Conrad, Marion Kraft, Rose Drake, Mark Wright, Blake Chancey, Larry Fitzgerald, B.J. Hill, Jordan Powell, Scott Borchetta and Tracy Gershon.

It was a good night for female tunesmiths. In addition to Kacey, Miranda, Nicolle Galyon, Kimberly Perry and Laura Veltz, the likes of Connie Harrington, Sarah Buxton and Lori McKenna picked up awards. So did Rodney Clawson, Lee Thomas Miller, Paul Jenkins and dozens more. Heritage songwriters in attendance included Dennis Morgan, Bob DiPiero, Gerry House, Hugh Prestwood, Rory Bourke and Roger Murrah.

Once again, the great Harold Bradley led his A-Team band to entertain one and all during dessert in the BMI lobby.

Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line, singer-songwriter Thomas Rhett, and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line attend the BMI 2014 Country Awards. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BMI

Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line, singer-songwriter Thomas Rhett, and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line attend the BMI 2014 Country Awards. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BMI

Brett Eldredge and Jana Kramer attend the BMI 2014 Country Awards. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BMI

Brett Eldredge and Jana Kramer attend the BMI 2014 Country Awards. Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BMI

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