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November 10, 2009

BMI’s 57th Country Awards

Kris Kristofferson, Taylor Swift, Bobby Pinson, Brooks & Dunn And Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville Earn Top Honors

Press Release

NASHVILLE, November 10, 2009 – The 57th Annual BMI Country Awards celebrated the genre’s top hit-makers tonight in Nashville. In addition to toasting the writers and publishers of the past year’s 50 most-performed country songs from the BMI repertoire, the ceremony honored Kris Kristofferson as a BMI Icon; named Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” Song of the Year, Bobby Pinson Songwriter of the Year, and Sony/ATV Music Publishing Publisher of the Year; and saluted Brooks & Dunn with the BMI President’s Award.

BMI President & CEO Del Bryant; BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville Jody Williams; and BMI Assistant Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville Clay Bradley hosted the black-tie event, which was staged at the music rights organization’s Music Row offices.

Taylor Swift’s sweeping “Love Story” was named Song of the Year. The song, composed by Swift alone, was the first single from her sophomore album Fearless. In addition to topping the Billboard country chart, “Love Story” topped the Billboard pop and AC charts and became the best-selling country song in the United States and the most-downloaded country single in U. S. history. Published by Sony/ATV Tree and Taylor Swift Music, “Love Story” is Swift’s second consecutive BMI Song of the Year; “Teardrops on My Guitar” earned the prestigious honor in 2008.

With four songs among the year’s most-performed, Bobby Pinson earned the Songwriter of the Year crown. In addition to co-writing Sugarland’s chart-toppers “All I Want to Do” and “Already Gone,” Pinson co-composed Toby Keith’s poignant “She Never Cried in Front of Me,” and Josh Gracin’s nostalgic “We Weren’t Crazy.” The win marks the first Songwriter of the Year crown for Pinson, who has unquestionably become one of Nashville’s most in-demand collaborators.

Publishing giant Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville earned its eighth consecutive BMI Country Publisher of the Year title. Through its subsidiary companies Sony/ATV Acuff Rose and Sony/ATV Tree, the powerhouse placed 14 songs among the year’s top 50, including Jimmy Wayne’s “Do You Believe Me Now,” Billy Currington’s “Don’t,” Keith Urban’s “You Look Good in My Shirt,” George Strait’s “Troubadour” and “River of Love,” Miranda Lambert’s “Gunpowder & Lead,” and Taylor Swift’s “Love Story,” “Picture to Burn,” and “Should’ve Said No.”

A highlight of the evening was the tribute to newly crowned BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson, featuring performances by Patty Griffin, Vince Gill, and Willie Nelson. With the penetration of a poet and the humbling grace of a troubadour, Kris Kristofferson built a legendary career most recognized for its versatility, authenticity, and sheer brilliance. He has received 48 BMI Country and Pop Awards for his compositions including “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” “Why Me,” “Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again),” “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” which garnered seven BMI Country and four BMI Pop Awards, and “For the Good Times,” which won a BMI Country Award each consecutive year between 1971 and 1979 as well as five BMI Pop Awards between 1970 and 1974. Eight of his compositions have generated substantially more than one million performances, and three Grammys line his shelves. While he wrote most of his masterpieces alone, his co-writers include giants Shel Silverstein, Marijohn Wilkin, and Fred Foster. He has starred in numerous films, including Lone Star, the Blade trilogy, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, A Star Is Born, for which he garnered the Golden Globe trophy for Best Motion Picture Actor, and Songwriter, for which he received an Oscar nomination for Original Song Score. Along with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash, Kristofferson also formed the Highwaymen. Still recording, now for New West Records, he released new album, entitled Closer to the Bone, in late September of this year. A Rhodes Scholar capable of choosing virtually any path, Kristofferson decided to write songs, and for that, purveyors and lovers of American music are eternally grateful.

BMI President & CEO Del Bryant saluted the prolific career of Brooks and Dunn with the BMI President’s Award. A prestigious honor presented only on unique occasions when an artist has distinctly and profoundly influenced the music industry, the award celebrates Brooks & Dunn’s two decades of genre-shaping excellence, which has made them the most-awarded artists in Academy of Country Music or Country Music Association history.

The 2009 BMI Country Awards also honored songwriters Jeffrey Steele and Lee Thomas Miller, who both added three songs to the top 50 most-performed list, as well as Toby Keith, Sugarland’s Kristian Bush, Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, Phil O’Donnell, Jim Beavers, Brett Beavers, James Otto, Clint Daniels, and Dallas Davidson, who each contributed two compositions to the year’s top 50.

Publishers EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc., Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp., Universal Music Publishing Group, Music of Stage Three, Bobby’s Song and Salvage, Bug Music/Songs of Windswept Pacific, Jeffrey Steele Music/My Life’s Work Music, Noah’s Little Boat Music, Songs of Sea Gayle/New Songs of Sea Gayle, and Taylor Swift Music each took home three or more awards.

Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI) is an American performing right organization that represents more than 400,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music and more than 6.5 million works. BMI reported $905 million for its 2009 fiscal year in performing right collections. BMI has represented the most popular and beloved music from around the world for 70 years. The U.S. corporation collects license fees from businesses that use music, which it then distributes as royalties to the musical creators and copyright owners it represents.

For a complete list of 2009 BMI Country Awards winners, please visit bmi.com/country. Media can access high-resolution photos and event information at bmi.com/press; please click on the site access request button and complete a brief questionnaire. 

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Contacts at BMI:
Kay Clary
615-401-2728; .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Jerry Bailey
615-401-2825

 

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The night’s big winners gather for a photo at the 2009 BMI Country Awards in Nashville. Pictured are (l-r): Troy Tomlinson, President & CEO of Sony ATV Music Publishing Nashville; Martin Bandier, Chairman & CEO, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC; BMI President & CEO Del Bryant; 2009 BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson; Song of the Year honoree Taylor Swift; Songwriter of the Year Bobby Pinson; Jody Williams, BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville; Clay Bradley, BMI Assistant Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville; and Phil Graham, BMI Senior Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations.

Photo by John Russell

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Taylor Swift claims her second consecutive Song of the Year title for “Love Story,” making her the youngest person ever to achieve back-to-back wins of the honor. “Teardrops on My Guitar” earned the award in 2008. Pictured are (l-r): BMI's Jody Williams, Sony/ATV Music Publishing's Troy Tomlinson, Taylor Swift, Sony/ATV Music Publishing's Chairman & CEO Martin Bandier, BMI's President & CEO Del Bryant and BMI's Clay Bradley.

Photo by John Russell

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BMI Song of the Year Honoree Taylor Swift at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by Erika Goldring

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BMI Songwriter of the Year Bobby Pinson & BMI Country Award Winner Luke Bryan show off their medallions on the red carpet at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by Erika Goldring

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BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson and longtime friend Jessi Colter at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by Erika Goldring

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Willie Nelson delivers a heart-wrenching rendition of “Lovin’ Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)” during the tribute to BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson at the 2009 BMI Country Awards in Nashville.

Photo by Peyton Hoge

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Vince Gill, Patty Griffin, and Willie Nelson perform “Me and Bobby McGee” together in a soulful tribute to newly crowned BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson at the 2009 BMI Country Awards in Nashville.

Photo by Peyton Hoge

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BMI's President & CEO Del Bryant, BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson, BMI Song of the Year Honoree Taylor Swift, BMI Songwriter of the Year Bobby Pinson, and BMI's Jody Williams.

Photo by John Russell

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Vince Gill performs a stunning version of “Why Me” during the tribute to BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson at the 2009 BMI Country Awards in Nashville.

Photo by Peyton Hoge

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Big Kenny is interviewed on the red carpet at the BMI Country Awards, staged November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by Kay Williams

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BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson interviewed on the red carpet at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by John Russell

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Taylor Swift arrives on the red carpet at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by John Russell

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Brooks & Dunn are surprised with the prestigious BMI President’s Award at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville. Pictured are (l-r): Ronnie Dunn, BMI's Jody Williams, BMI's President & CEO Del Bryant, and Kix Brooks.

Photo by Peyton Hoge

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Melita Snider, Don Was, Kix Brooks, Deborah Allen, and Todd Snider pause for a photo at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, staged November 10 at the organization’s Music Row offices.

Photo by kay Williams

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Zac Brown Band pause for a photo at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, staged November 10 at the organization’s Music Row offices.

Photo by Kay Williams

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Tamara Saviano, Billy Swan, Kris Kristofferson and Donnie Fritts pause for a photo at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, staged November 10 at the organization’s Music Row offices.

Photo by Kay Williams

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BMI's Jody Williams, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, and BMI's President & CEO Del Bryant on the red carpet at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by Kay Williams

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BMI President & CEO Del Bryant, Sugarland's Kristian Bush, and BMI's Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Jody Williams pause for a photo at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, staged November 10 at the organization’s Music Row offices.

Photo by Kay Williams

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Miranda Lambert arrives on the red carpet at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville. Pictured here with BMI's Clay Bradley, BMI President & CEO Del Bryant, and BMI's Jody Williams.

Photo by Kay Williams

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BMI's Jody Williams, BMI Country Songwriter of the Year Bobby Pinson and BMI's Clay Bradley at the BMI Country Awards, staged November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by John Russell

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2009 BMI Country Songwriter of the Year Bobby Pinson shows off award at the BMI Country Awards, staged November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by John Russell

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2009 BMI Country Songwriter of the Year Bobby Pinson shows off his new BMI signature Martin D-42 guitar at the BMI Country Awards, staged November 10 in Nashville. Pictured are (l-r): Bobby Pinson & BMI's Clay Bradley.

Photo by John Russell

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BMI's Clay Bradley, EMI's Gary Overton, BMI Country Award Winner Kid Rock, Universal Music's Pat Higdon, Warner Tamerlane's Scott Francis and BMI's Jody Williams at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, staged November 10 at the organization’s Music Row offices.

Photo by John Russell

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BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson receives a standing ovation at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville. Left to right: Don Was, Kris Kristofferson, and Lisa Kristofferson

Photo by John Russell

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BMI Country Award Winner Keith Urban and BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by John Russell

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Lisa Kristofferson, BMI's Jody Williams, BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson, Carolyn Bryant and BMI President & CEO Del Bryant pause for a photo at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, staged November 10 at the organization’s Music Row offices.

Photo by John Russell

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Little Big Town interviewed on the red carpet at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, staged November 10 at the organization’s Music Row offices.

Photo by John Russell

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Patty Griffin, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson, and BMI President & CEO Del Bryant at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by Erika Goldring

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Vince Gill, Patty Griffin, and Willie Nelson perform “Me and Bobby McGee” together in a soulful tribute to newly crowned BMI Icon Kris Kristofferson at the 2009 BMI Country Awards in Nashville.

Photo by Erika Goldring

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Sara Evans arrives at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by Erika Goldring

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Big Kenny & Christiev Alphin at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by Erika Goldring

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Ashley Monroe & Brendan Benson at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by Erika Goldring

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Miranda Lambert & Heidi Newfield arrive on the red carpet at the 2009 BMI Country Awards, held November 10 in Nashville.

Photo by Erika Goldring

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