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2019 BMI Country Awards Honor Dwight Yoakam, Songwriters Nicolle Galyon and Ross Copperman

These songwriters wrote some of this year's biggest hits.

Written by Cillea Houghton
2019 BMI Country Awards Honor Dwight Yoakam, Songwriters Nicolle Galyon and Ross Copperman
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 12: Dwight Yoakam speaks during BMI presents Dwight Yoakam with President's Award at 67th Annual Country Awards Dinner at BMI on November 12, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring /Getty Images)

The songwriters were the true stars at the 2019 BMI Country Awards. The ceremony, hosted at the BMI office in Nashville on Tuesday (Nov. 12), recognized many of the songwriters that fall under the performing rights organization’s umbrella who have penned some of the biggest country hits over the past year.

Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban and more were on hand to accept awards, as “Cry Pretty,” “What Makes You Country” and “Coming Home” were included among the top 50 country songs of the year. Dwight Yoakam was bestowed with the BMI President’s Award for his profound influence on music that includes such iconic hits as “Fast as You,” “Guitars, Cadillacs,” “Ain’t That Lonely Yet” and more that helped shape the Bakersfield Sound in the 1980s. The legendary star was celebrated by a series of tributes, beginning with Jon Pardi, who captured Yoakam’s sound with a cover of  “Guitars, Cadillacs,” keeping up with the fast pace of the song as Yoakam smiled from his seat. Pardi was followed by Margo Price and Bob Weir, who teamed up for a duet of “Fast as You,” her angelic voice juxtaposed with his rugged tone while Price demonstrated that she’s an equally impressive guitar player as she is vocalist.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 12: (L-R) Amanda Shires, Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile and Natalie Hemby of The Highwomen perform onstage as BMI presents Dwight Yoakam with President's Award at 67th Annual Country Awards Dinner at BMI on November 12, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring /Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – NOVEMBER 12: (L-R) Amanda Shires, Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile and Natalie Hemby of The Highwomen perform onstage as BMI presents Dwight Yoakam with President’s Award at 67th Annual Country Awards Dinner at BMI on November 12, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring /Getty Images)

Rounding out the performances was The Highwomen, the powerhouse group of Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby and Amanda Shires, who lent their soaring harmonies to “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere” while Jason Isbell helmed guitar. Carlile’s electrifying voice opened the number before the quartet united in their distinct sound. They ended the display with their arms wrapped around one another as they held the final harmonious note.

In his acceptance speech, Yoakam expressed how he was humbled by the recognition, referring to himself as an outsider of the Nashville industry with his roots planted in California, recalling his kinship with Merle Haggard and Buck Owens, fellow pioneers of the Bakersfield Sound. But BMI served as the thread that connected Yoakam to Music City. “In some ways I always felt like a foster child. But like most foster children, we’re the ones that often need a home,” he described, calling the Presidents Award a “great honor.” “As much as I’ve been a prodigal son, I always felt this was my performance rights home. Every placard that I’ve received from BMI over the years is an award that I cherish, right alongside any platinum album that I’ve got. The awards are up in my office to remind me of how lucky I’ve been, how fortunate I’ve been to be able to make a living doing something I would’ve done for free.”

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 12:  BMI President/CEO Mike O'Neil, Shay Mooney and Dan Smyers of Dan + Shay, Nicolle Galyon, BMI's Mike Steinberg, Warner Chapel's Ben Vaughn, BMI's Mason Hunter and  BMI Vice President, Creative, Jody Williams attend as BMI presents Dwight Yoakam with President's Award at 67th Annual Country Awards Dinner at BMI on November 12, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring /Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – NOVEMBER 12: BMI President/CEO Mike O’Neil, Shay Mooney and Dan Smyers of Dan + Shay, Nicolle Galyon, BMI’s Mike Steinberg, Warner Chapel’s Ben Vaughn, BMI’s Mason Hunter and BMI Vice President, Creative, Jody Williams attend as BMI presents Dwight Yoakam with President’s Award at 67th Annual Country Awards Dinner at BMI on November 12, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring /Getty Images)

The coveted Song of the Year was presented to Dan + Shay’s groundbreaking hit “Tequila” while its co-writer Nicolle Galyon, along with Ross Copperman, tied for BMI Country Songwriters of the Year. The night held special meaning for Galyon, who recalled her early days in Nashville as assistant to talent agent Greg Oswald, serving as his designated driver for the evening. She slowly worked her way inside the building as the guest of her husband, songwriter Rodney Clawson, and the night he won Songwriter of the Year in 2013, fellow writer Craig Wiseman prophesized that Galyon would one day be on stage accepting the same accolade.

“Over the years, coming to this night has been a metric for how I’ve measured my career. Every year I walk in that door with the same stars in my eyes,” Galyon shared with her peers from the stage, attributing the special award to her four-year-old son Ford who inspired the Lee Brice hit “Boy.” “That was the song that put me over the edge to win this award,” she said.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 12: (L-R) BMI's Mike Steinberg, Ross Copperman, BMI President/CEO Mike O'Neill, and BMI Vice President, Creative, Jody Williams attend as BMI presents Dwight Yoakam with President's Award at 67th Annual Country Awards Dinner at BMI on November 12, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring /Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – NOVEMBER 12: (L-R) BMI’s Mike Steinberg, Ross Copperman, BMI President/CEO Mike O’Neill, and BMI Vice President, Creative, Jody Williams attend as BMI presents Dwight Yoakam with President’s Award at 67th Annual Country Awards Dinner at BMI on November 12, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring /Getty Images)

The prestigious honor found her reminiscing about her days sitting in the car outside the venue, sharing words of advice she’d offer to her younger self. “I would tell her that I’m so proud of her for moving here and I would tell her that it is going to be so much harder than she thinks it’s going to be and it’s going to look so much different than she thinks it’s going to look,” she said emotionally. “But if she just sticks it out, in 2019, this night will be the most incredible experience of her life.”

SONG OF THE YEAR
TEQUILA
Nicolle Galyon
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

SONGWRITERS OF THE YEAR
ROSS COPPERMAN
Get Along
I Lived It
Kinda Don’t Care
Woman, Amen

NICOLLE GALYON
Boy
Coming Home
Heart Break
Tequila

PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR
WARNER-TAMERLANE PUBLISHING CORP.
Beautiful Crazy
Boy
Burn Out
Coming Home
Cry Pretty
Drowns the Whiskey
Good Girl
Heart Break
Hooked
I Lived It
Kinda Don’t Care
Kiss Somebody
Life Changes
Lose It
Mercy
One Number Away
Rich
She Got the Best of Me
Speechless
Take Back Home Girl
Tequila
The Ones That Like Me
There was This Girl
Up Down

EVERGREEN AWARD
ROCKY TOP

PRESIDENT’S AWARD
DWIGHT YOAKAM

2019 COUNTRY AWARDS TOP 50 SONGS
BABE
Taylor Swift
Sony/ATV Tree
Taylor Swift Music

BEAUTIFUL CRAZY
Luke Combs
Rob Williford
50 Egg Music
Big Music Machine
Rowdy Rob Music
Straight Dimes Publishing
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
Works of RHA

BEST SHOT
JP Williams
Blonde Leading Blind
Rio Bravo Music

BLUE TACOMA
Russell Dickerson
Parker Welling
BMG Platinum Songs US
Hillbilly Science and Research Publishing
Kailey’s Dream
Music That Is Russelled
Trailerparker Music

BOY
Nicolle Galyon
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

BREAK UP IN THE END
Jessie Jo Dillon
Chase McGill
Big Ass Pile of Dimes Music
Big Music Machine
Plum Nelly
Songs of Universal, Inc.

BURN OUT
Cameron Duddy
Kitt Cass Pub. Co.
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

BURNING MAN
Luke Dick
Bobby Pinson
Clearbox Benefit
Emileon Songs
Little Louder Songs
New Writers of Sea Gayle Music
Not A Track Guy Music
Songs of Kobalt Music Publishing, Inc.

COMING HOME
Nicolle Galyon
Merle Haggard
Julia Michaels
JR Rotem
Keith Urban
I’ve Got Issues Music
Jonathan Rotem Music
Maroma Music
Songs of Universal, Inc.
Sony/ATV Songs LLC
Sony/ATV Tree
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

CRY PRETTY
Lori McKenna
Liz Rose
Carrie Underwood
Carrie Okie Music
Creative Pulse Music
Maps and Records Music
Songs of Crazy Girl Music
These Are Pulse Songs
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

DESPERATE MAN
Eric Church
Longer And Louder Music
Sony/ATV Tree

DOWN TO THE HONKYTONK
Rodney Clawson
Ford Drives A Chevy
Round Hill Compositions
Shirt At Work

DROWNS THE WHISKEY
Brandon Kinney
Jeff Middleton
Josh Thompson
Better Boat Music
Big Music Machine
Songs of Red Bandana
Sony/ATV Tree
Tom Tom Leis Music
Two Laine Collections
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

DRUNK GIRL
Tom Douglas
Chris Janson
Anthem Red Vinyl Music
Sony/ATV Tree
TomDouglasMusic

DRUNK ME
Mitchell Tenpenny
Riser Dime Music
Sony/ATV Countryside

EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE ALRIGHT
Chris Stevens
Jimmy Yeary
Beattyville Music
Capitol CMG Paragon
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Great Day At This Music
Meaux Mercy Publishing
Moody Producer Music

GET ALONG
Ross Copperman
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Endurance Romeo Charlie

GOOD GIRL
Dustin Lynch
Magic Mustang Music, Inc.
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

HANGIN’ ON
Chris Young
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Songs of Universal, Inc.

HEART BREAK
Jesse Frasure
Nicolle Galyon
Charles Kelley
Songs of Roc Nation Music
Telemitry Rhythm House Music
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

HEAVEN
Shy Carter
Lindsay Rimes (APRA)
BMG Platinum Songs US
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Koala T Tunes
You Want How Much Of What Publishing

HOOKED
Morgan Evans (APRA)
Lindsay Rimes (APRA)
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Koala T Tunes
Songsbyme
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

I LIVED IT
Rhett Akins
Ross Copperman
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Endurance Romeo Charlie
Ritten By Rhettro
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

I WAS JACK (YOU WERE DIANE)
Tommy Cecil
Jody Stevens
Sawyer Cash Music
Songs of XO Music Group
Sony/ATV Countryside
Sony/ATV Tree
We In Good Company

KINDA DON’T CARE
Rhett Akins
Ross Copperman
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Endurance Romeo Charlie
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

KISS SOMEBODY
Morgan Evans (APRA)
Songsbyme
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

LAST SHOT
Dan Couch
Songs From The Couch

LIFE CHANGES
Rhett Akins
Jesse Frasure
Thomas Rhett
Cricket On The Line
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Ritten By Rhettro
Songs of Roc Nation Music
Telemitry Rhythm House Music
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

LOSE IT
Kane Brown
Chase McGill
Will Weatherly
Kane Brown Music
Mandy’s Favorite Songs
Plum Nelly
Songs of Universal, Inc.
Track House Worldwide Entertainment
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

MERCY
Sean McConnell
Little Beluga Music
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

MOST PEOPLE ARE GOOD
David Frasier
Ed Hill
Copyright Solutions Music
Five Hills Music LLC
Mighty Nice Music
MV2 Music
SB21 Tunes
Songs of Amylase

NIGHT SHIFT
Tofer Brown
Phillip LaRue
Billy Montana
Concord Copyrights
Curb | Word Entertainment
Let The Road Pave Itself
Rain Town Music

ONE NUMBER AWAY
Luke Combs
Rob Williford
50 Egg Music
Big Music Machine
Rowdy Rob Music
Straight Dimes Publishing
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.
Works of RHA

ONE THAT GOT AWAY
Jesse Frasure
Downtown Music Publishing
Telemitry Productions

RICH
Jessie Jo Dillon
Maren Morris
Laura Veltz
Big Music Machine
International Dog Music
Jay Gatsby Music
Oh Denise Publishing
Revelry Music
Songs of Kobalt Music Publishing, Inc.
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

SHE GOT THE BEST OF ME
Luke Combs
Rob Snyder
Channing Wilson
50 Egg Music
Big Music Machine
Heart Scarred Songs
Straight Dimes Publishing
Super LCS Publishing
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

SIMPLE
Michael Hardy
Mark Holman
Tyler Hubbard
Brian Kelley
Art In The Fodder Music
Big Loud Mountain
BMG Bumblebee
BMG Platinum Songs US
Pranch Ringle Music
Relative Music Group
Round Hill Works
Rygo Music
Songs of Kobalt Music Publishing, Inc.
Songs of Universal, Inc.
T Hubb Publishing

SIXTEEN
Sean Douglas
Joe London
Thomas Rhett
BIG DEAL Beats
Brodsky Spensive Publishing
Cricket On The Line
Eastman Pond Publishing
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Nice Life
Sony/ATV Ballad
Words & Music

SPEECHLESS
Shay Mooney
Laura Veltz
Big Music Machine
Never Veltz So Good Publishing
Shay Mooney Music
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

SUNRISE, SUNBURN, SUNSET
Ryan Hurd
Chase McGill
Plum Nelly
Songs of Universal, Inc.

TAKE BACK HOME GIRL
Josh Miller
Jack 10 Publishing
Songs of the Corn
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

TAKE IT FROM ME
Jason Gantt
Songs of Red Bandana
Sony/ATV Tree

TEQUILA
Nicolle Galyon
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

THE ONES THAT LIKE ME
Blake Chaffin
Brantley Gilbert
Bobby Pinson
Anthem Music Publishing I
Bobby’s Lyrics, Land and Livestock
Indiana Angel Music
Music of Parallel
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

THERE WAS THIS GIRL
Erik Dylan
Riley Green
Back 40 Publishing International
peermusic III Ltd.
Townes Van Hawke Publishing
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

THIS IS IT
Scotty McCreery
Dagum Music

UP DOWN
Brad Clawson
Michael Hardy
Five Miles West Songs
Harding Road Music
Mandy’s Favorite Songs
Murphy The Wolf Music
Songs of Kobalt Music Publishing, Inc.
Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp.

WHAT MAKES YOU COUNTRY
Luke Bryan
Dallas Davidson
Natalia’s Music Money
Peanut Mill Songs
Round Hill Compositions
Sony/ATV Tree

WOMAN, AMEN
Ross Copperman
EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc.
Endurance Romeo Charlie

YOU MAKE IT EASY
Tyler Hubbard
Brian Kelley
Morgan Wallen
Big Loud Mountain
Pranch Ringle Music
Round Hill Works
T Hubb Publishing