Bobby Karl Works The Room: 2016 SESAC Nashville Awards

2016 SESAC Nashville Music Awards Song of the Year “Somewhere On A Beach” recipients Jaron Boyer and Michael Tyler, SESAC VP of Creative Services Shannan Hatch, SESAC Chairman and CEO John Josephson, and SESCAC Songwriter of the Year Josh Hoge (right).

2016 SESAC Nashville Music Awards Song of the Year “Somewhere On A Beach” recipients Jaron Boyer and Michael Tyler, SESAC VP of Creative Services Shannan Hatch, SESAC Chairman and CEO John Josephson, and SESCAC Songwriter of the Year Josh Hoge (right).

Chapter 547

SESAC kicked off the Country Music Week festivities in high style at the Country Music Hall of Fame on Sunday eve (10/30).

The performance rights organization bestowed its top 2016 Nashville honors on Josh Hoge (Country Songwriter), Margo Price (Americana), Sony-ATV/EMI Foray/Write 2 Be Free (Country Publisher) and “Somewhere on a Beach” (Song of the Year). One of the notable things about the celebration was the fact that so many recording artists were there to congratulate the SESAC writers.

For instance, Chris Young sang their co-written “I’m Comin’ Over” before giving Hoge his honor. Dierks Bentley was on hand to honor co-writers Jaron Boyer and Michael Tyler for his hit “Somewhere on a Beach.”

Billy Currington presented to Cary Barlowe for co-writing his hit “It Don’t Hurt Like it Used To.” Dustin Lynch presented to Boyer for “Hell of a Night.” Kelsea Ballerini presented to Jesse Lee for bringing her the idea and co-writing “Peter Pan.” Michael Ray presented to Justin Wilson for “Kiss You in the Morning” and to Lance Miller for “Real Men Love Jesus.” Cassadee Pope presented to Hoge for “Think of You.”

“You believed in me at a time when nobody probably should have,” said Country Songwriter of the Year winner Hoge to Troy Tomlinson and his Sony-ATV family. “Chris [Young] has changed my life. I love you. I could afford pants because of you tonight. It’s amazing.”

Hoge noted that he a Nashville native from a highly musical family. Brother Will Hoge and cousin Zach Crowell are both successful writers. Father Peyton Hoge, who was in the crowd, played in bands for years and is an accomplished Music Row photographer.

“We’re in the ‘hope’ business,” when you’re hoping to make it as a songwriter, Hoge added. “When you’re fortunate to have a few number ones, now it’s become a WANT business. And I WANTED this [award]. This means everything to me. I don’t take this award for granted. Thank you SESAC. I love everybody. F—k it.”

2016 SESAC Publisher of the Year are SONY/ATV/EMI FORAY Publishing and Write 2 Be Free Music. Pictured Left to Right: SESAC’s Shannan Hatch, Josh Van Valkenburg, Josh Hoge, SESAC’s Sam Kling, Hannah Williams and Troy Tomlinson.

2016 SESAC Publisher of the Year are SONY/ATV/EMI FORAY Publishing and Write 2 Be Free Music. Pictured Left to Right: SESAC’s Shannan Hatch, Josh Van Valkenburg, Josh Hoge, SESAC’s Sam Kling, Hannah Williams and Troy Tomlinson.

Others in the country winners’ circle were songwriter James Abrahart Jr., the absent Zac Brown Band and publishers such as Michael Knox, Kim Wiggins, Kent Earls, Dan Hill and Bob Doyle.

SESAC’s Americana honorees included Elizabeth Cook, Bruce Burch, Corb Lund, Jason Eady and an absent Kevin Welch. As with the country honorees, Americana star Jim Lauderdale was present to win and Margo Price sang her “Desperate and Depressed” prior to winning with her Midwest Farmer’s Daughter album.

“Being here, I feel like I am in the presence of royalty….and royalties,” quipped Lauderdale. SESAC’s Dennis Lord reminded the crowd that his organization has been supporting and honoring the Americana genre from the genre’s founding years.

“This year, the Country Music Association celebrates the 50th anniversary of their CMA Awards,” said SESAC’s Shannon Hatch prior to presenting the country honors. “Fifteen million viewers from around the world will be watching.” This is a theme that will doubtless be repeated by ASCAP and BMI executives in the days to come.

The SESAC banquet was embellished by several performances. In addition to Young and Price, Michael Tyler favored the crowd with his hooky “They Can’t See” and Runaway June trio harmonized flawlessly on “Lipstick.”

The party began in the lobby of the Hall of Fame’s event space. The wait staff circulated with lobster risotto bites, beef tenderloin crostini and goat cheese, grape and pistachio toast points. Meeting and greeting were Rob Baker, Rob Beckham, Debbie Linn, Debbie Carroll, John Huie, John Allen, Pat Higdon, Pat McMakin, Tom Luteran, Tom Roland, Judy Harris, Becky Harris, Diane Pearson, Diana Johnson & Dwight Wiles, Ed Morris, Jason Morris and Al Moss.

2016 SESAC Songwriter of the Year Award recipient Josh Hoge, the writer of two #1 songs this year, “I’m Comin’ Over” and “Think of You,” with RCA Nashville Recording artist Chris Young and SESAC’s Shannan Hatch.

2016 SESAC Songwriter of the Year Award recipient Josh Hoge, the writer of two No. 1 songs this year, “I’m Comin’ Over” and “Think of You,” with RCA Nashville Recording artist Chris Young and SESAC’s Shannan Hatch.

Some of my favorite singer-songwriters were rubbing elbows – Roxie Dean, T. Graham Brown, Erin Enderlin, Gary Burr & Georgia Middleman, Brad Warren, Victoria Shaw, Steve Bogard and Peter Cooper, among them. Newly inducted Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Beth Nielsen Chapman has a new Liv On trio CD with Amy Sky and Olivia Newton John, and the three will soon be touring together behind it.

Another celeb at the gig was 2016 Miss America Betty Cantrell. The former Miss Georgia is in Nashville working on her debut country album. Rep. Jim Cooper and Rep. Marsha Blackburn were party attendees, too.

We entered the banquet hall and were bombarded with a loud SESAC promo video. Tables were draped in gold and held centerpiece globes of cream-colored roses, pink carnations, lilies and faux fall foliage surrounded by votive candles.

Everyone agreed that the food was sensational. The salad of marinated hearts of palm with arugula, beets and shaved Romano cheese in lemon-oil vinaigrette was followed by beef short ribs, crab cakes, heirloom baby carrots, scalloped potatoes and green beans. The pumpkin cheesecake dessert with pecan-praline topping and whipped cream was positively decadent.

Working the room were such fabulons as Drew Alexander, Cliff Audretch, Lori Badgett, Michael Baum, Dale Bobo, Woody Bomar, E.T. Brown, Pat Collins, Caroline Davis, Mike Doyle, Rod Essig, Mark Ford, Fletcher Foster, Leslie Fram, Gino Genaro, Tracy Gershon, Gilles Godard, Lisa Harless, Bart Herbison, B.J. Hill.…and that’s as far as that segment of the alphabet carries us.

Sprinkle in Amy Smartt, Abbe Nameche, Randy Wachtler, Ken Paulson, Erika Wollam Nichols, Sherod Robertson, Ben Vaughn, Charlie Monk, David Ross and Neil Spielberg and you have the makings of a first-class schmooze fest.

“Nashville has earned the reputation as the It City, and the creative community is a big part of that,” said SESAC CEO John Josephson. “Nashville has the highest concentration of songwriters of any city in the nation.” How about the world?

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