Broadcast Music, Inc.®, (BMI®), a global leader in music rights management, presented the 2014 BMI Country Awards, honoring the prolific songwriting career of BMI Icon Vince Gill
, as well as the Country Songwriter, Song and Publisher of the Year last night in Nashville. The 62nd annual event, which is the genre’s oldest awards ceremony, also celebrated the songwriters and publishers of the most-performed country songs of the past year.
BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill hosted the ceremony with Jody Williams, BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville; and Clay Bradley, BMI Assistant Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville.
Gill, who was named this year’s BMI Icon, joins an elite list of songwriters who have had "a unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers" and was honored with a tribute from three fellow musicians: Keith Urban, Ashley Monroe, and Michael McDonald. Ashley Monroe serenaded attendees with “Whenever You Come Around.” Urban performed “I Still Believe In You,” and Michael McDonald gave his heartbreaking rendition of “When I Call Your Name.” Urban and Monroe closed out the set with a raucous version of the perennial Vince Gill classic “Liza Jane.”
Rhett Akins was named Songwriter of the Year, with writing credits on seven of the most-performed songs of the past year, including "Boys Round Here," recorded by Blake Shelton featuring Pistol Annies, "Hey Girl" by Billy Currington, "I Can Take It From There" by Chris Young, "It Goes Like This" by Thomas Rhett, "Parking Lot Party” by Lee Brice, “Point at You” by Justin Moore, and “When She Says Baby” by Jason Aldean.
Darius Rucker’s hit "Wagon Wheel," penned by Ketch Secor, won the coveted Song of the Year award. Published by Blood Donor Music, "Wagon Wheel" was one of the most-performed country songs of the year.
Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville continued their winning streak of more than a decade, again taking home the Publisher of the Year accolade. Responsible for 28 of the 50 most-performed songs of the year, Sony/ATV published megahits such as Luke Bryan’s “Drink a Beer,” Lee Brice’s “I Drive Your Truck,” Cole Swindell’s “Chillin’ It,” and many more. During the ceremony, BMI also saluted the songwriters and publishers of the 50 most-performed country songs of the previous year.