Hank Williams, Jr. will be honored as a BMI Icon at the 56th annual Country Awards, the oldest awards ceremony saluting the genre’s top music makers. The black-tie, invitation-only gala recognizing the past year’s most-performed BMI country songs is set for November 11 at the company’s Music Row offices in Nashville.
The artists and songwriters named BMI Icons have had “a unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.” Hank Williams, Jr., who will be saluted with an all-star musical tribute that evening, joins an elite list of past honorees that includes country music legends Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Whisperin’ Bill Anderson, Charlie Daniels and Loretta Lynn, along with multi-genre nobility the Bee Gees, Isaac Hayes, Ray Davies, James Brown, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Steve Winwood and more.
Hank Williams, Jr.’s career has profiled the aspirations, trials and carousals of the everyman in an unabashedly proud and instantly recognizable voice. Nicknamed “Bocephus” by his legendary father Hank Williams, the younger Williams’ waggish songs and roguish persona have unified through their celebration of rebellion. A sly songwriter and robust vocalist capable of conveying startling emotion and making deceptively ordinary characters shine, he boasts a catalog that includes honky tonk classics “All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down,” “Country Boy Can Survive,” “Born to Boogie,” “Dixie On My Mind,” “Family Tradition,” “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound” and “Texas Women.” Each composition represents a candid piece of Williams himself: He wrote every song on that list alone. In addition to 10 no. 1 singles, he found mainstream success on the pop charts and through penning and performing the multiple Emmy award-winning theme to Monday Night Football; six of Williams’ albums reached platinum status, while 20 were certified gold and 13 reached the no. 1 spot on the charts. Today, a diverse slew of artists spanning hard rap/rocker Kid Rock to contemporary honky tonker Gretchen Wilson embrace Williams’ prolific legacy, citing him as a definitive influence.
Hosted by BMI President & CEO Del Bryant and Nashville Writer/Publisher VP Jody Williams, the 56th Annual Country Awards will recognize the songwriters and publishers of the top BMI country songs played on American radio and television during the previous year. BMI will also bestow prestigious honors on the Country Songwriter of the Year, Country Publisher of the Year and Most Performed Country Song of the Year, also known as the Robert J. Burton Award.