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Every part of the evening spoke glamour as country’s biggest names socialized and honored the year’s top songs during Tuesday's (Nov. 8) BMI Country Awards. Kenny Chesney and “You and Tequila” duet partner Grace Potter made the rounds, while Carrie Underwood glowed in her one-shouldered print dress. Taylor Swift in all her bubbly charisma visited with fans before taking to the red carpet. Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley, Chris Young, Justin Moore, Eli Young Band, Martina McBride, Edens Edge and The Band Perry were among those who attended.
An elaborate cocktail hour was held in the reception hall of BMI’s Nashville offices; the party continued upstairs in the spacious and extravagantly decorated fourth-floor parking garage-turned-reception hall, which hosted hundreds of guests. BMI’s president and CEO, Del Bryant, the host for the evening, thanked Keith Urban and wife Nicole Kidman, who were in attendance, for “bringing a certain international glamour to the community here.” He also acknowledged Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, saying, “I want to say hello to my favorite newlyweds.” The party vibe grew more serious as everyone gathered to celebrate the year’s top songs and to honor songwriter Bobby Braddock, who was given the BMI Icon Award, and fellow songwriters Dallas Davidson and Rhett Akins, who were named BMI’s top songwriters.
Bobby, who has been a BMI songwriter for 47 years, has garnered more thanr 30 BMI songwriting awards throughout his career for penning such illustrious hits as George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” George Jones and Tammy Wynette’s “Golden Ring,” Toby Keith’s “I Wanna Talk About Me” and Tracy Lawrence’s “Time Marches On.” Being named a recipient of the BMI Icon Award places Bobby in the same class as Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn and producer Billy Sherrill, all past recipients of the award. Bobby, who was also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame earlier this year alongside Reba McEntire, was clearly still stunned by the all the attention he has received this year. “It’s almost overwhelming,” Bobby told CountryWeekly.com of winning two prestigious honors in the same year. “I don’t know if I deserve it, but I like it.”
A string of performers lent their talents to honor Bobby, including Pistol Annies’ Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe, who performed the Tammy Wynette classic “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.” For Angaleena, the classic song has found a fan in her young son Jed. “Personally, I have a 4-year-old little boy. He doesn’t understand what the song is about, but the first line [of the song] is Our little boy is 4 years old and quite the little man, so my son thinks the song is about him,” Angaleena told CountryWeekly.com. Blake Shelton performed his tune “Same Old Song,” while LeAnn Rimes and Vince Gill gave a stirring rendition of “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” “To hear these new interpretations of these old songs just thrilled me,” Bobby told the crowd during his acceptance speech, before giving a reminder to other songwriters. “A lot of people don’t like their jobs,” he observed. “We’re able to earn a living doing something we love.”
Dallas Davidson and Rhett Akins were both crowned Songwriter of the Year, and “All Over Me,” performed by Josh Turner and co-written by Dallas and Rhett, was named Song of the Year.