BMI honored Billy F Gibbons, founding member of ZZ Top, with its coveted Troubadour Award during a private reception at BMI’s Nashville location on Monday, September 18. BMI’s President and CEO Mike O’Neill alongside Nashville’s VP of Creative Clay Bradley presented the prestigious accolade to Gibbons for his profound impact on the creative community.
“BMI has been fortunate enough to have Billy as part of our family for decades and his contributions to ZZ Top’s enduring success solidified their status as rock legends,” Bradley said. “His songwriting and artistic style transcend through many decades which was on full display last night.”
A BMI affiliate since 1970, Gibbons’ influence continues to set the pace for generations to follow and was showcased through surprise performances by Chris Isaak (“Sharped Dress Man”), Elle King (“Gimme All Your Lovin’”), Kingfish (“Waitin’ for the Bus”), Keith Urban (“Rough Boy”) and past BMI Troubadour recipient Robert Earl Keen (“La Grange”). Renowned radio host Eddie Trunk gave a commemorative speech that highlighted the career behind ZZ Top’s chief songwriter that spans more than fifty years.
The evening also included congratulatory videos from longtime friends and collaborators such as Eric Clapton, Jimmie Vaughan and Van Wilks, along with Bill Bentley, George Gruhn, Greg Voros and Tom Bukovac who spoke on Gibbons’ distinct style.
Leading into AMERICANAFEST, “Nashville’s most glorious low-key party” (Rolling Stone) reunited many BMI affiliates including Oliver Anthony, Matraca Berg, Kix Brooks, Jamey Johnson, Tim Montana and Molly Tuttle, as well as past BMI Icon award recipients Steve Cropper, John Oates and Bob DiPiero. Gibbons joins the ranks of past Troubadour Award recipients including John Hiatt and the late John Prine, along with Lucinda Williams and Keen who were both on hand. The evening was sponsored by DAOU, George Dickel Bourbon and WP Global.