Stars Come Out for Songwriters at BMI Awards

Chris Young & Pistol Annies; Luke Bryan & Randy Owen; Toby Keith & Tom T. Hall
photos courtesy BMI

The performing-rights organization BMI held their annual country awards celebration last night (Oct. 30) in Nashville, honoring their most successful songwriters, artists, publishers and a living legend, to boot.

Prior to the ceremony, stars including Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert and Martina McBride mingled with their peers, while others walked the black carpet to share their thoughts on being part of such a prestigious event. Many were already decorated with medallions forecasting the outcome of their evening. "Everyone that won something isn't wearing them necessarily, but since this is my first year as a BMI writer being here, I'm geeking out just a little," Chris Young said. "It's a dream for anyone that's a singer/songwriter." Chris earned his awards for "You" and "Tomorrow" at the evening's festivities.

Justin Moore was also spotted wearing the BMI medallion, but was most in awe of the other writers on the carpet. He told Country Weekly, "This place is full of so much talent. When I first moved here, I was cautiously optimistic. It was something I always wanted, but I don't think I ever allowed myself to believe that this was ever really going to happen so I wasn't let down if it didn't."

Alabama's Randy Owen proudly wore a medallion for Brad Paisley's "Old Alabama." "These things come along very rarely," he said on the carpet. And although he's pulled back from performing as frequently, he's still writing songs. "I actually enjoy writing much more because I can spill my guts," he shared. "It's something I have to do. But I can't write on an airplane headed somewhere under stressful conditions [when I] have no guitar. If I could just find all those lyrics I've written on planes and be able to put them to music, I might have something else."

BMI recognized 50 songs during the evening's ceremony, including Rodney Atkins' "Take a Back Road," written by Rhett Akins and Luke Laird, as Song of the Year. Songwriter of the Year recognition went to Luke, along with Peach Picker Dallas Davidson, who also received the honor last year with buddy Rhett Akins.

One of the many highlights from the event included Tom T. Hall being saluted as a BMI Icon. During his speech, he turned to the attendees sitting behind the circular stage and laughed, saying, "I bet you're tired of looking at country-and-western butts!" Then he humbly added, "I thought the Icon award was for special people. And then I got a call about six weeks ago and found out I'm a special person. . . . I'm up there with Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Kristofferson and Willie. It's pretty good company." Tom T. was honored with a musical performance from artists including The Avett Brothers, Dailey & Vincent and Toby Keith, who sang "Faster Horses."

Another magical moment came when Wynonna's husband, Cactus Moser, was helped to the stage after his publishing company was recognized for The Band Perry's hits "All Your Life" and "You Lie." Moser lost his left leg in a motorcycle accident in August just two months after the couple married.

Following the awards ceremony, guests trickled into the BMI lobby, where they enjoyed cocktails and dessert from local gourmet food trucks.

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