Kenny Chesney was a surprise guest at the SESAC Awards dinner where the writer of Chesney’s hit single “Young” was named SESAC 2002 country songwriter of the year.
Writer Naoise Sheridan, who penned “Young,” accepted the award at the performing rights organization’s annual awards dinner, held Thursday (Nov. 7) in a party tent outside SESAC headquarters on Music Row.
In paying homage to Sheridan, Chesney noted, “When I first heard ‘Young,’ I knew immediately that I would record it. Songs change lives and this one changed mine. I just wanted to come here tonight and tell you thanks for that.”
In addition to Sheridan’s win, the SESAC Legacy Award was presented to writers Karen Taylor-Good and Burton Collins for their song “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye.” The song was a hit for Patty Loveless in 1994 and continues to be covered in versions around the world.
Performance activity songs for significant recurrent airplay went to “I’m Tryin'” by Chris Wallin (recorded by Trace Adkins ), “Downtime” by Philip Coleman (recorded by Jo Dee Messina ), “I’m From the Country” by Stan Webb (recorded by Tracy Byrd ) and “This Everyday Love” by Gene Nelson (recorded by Rascal Flatts ).
Performance activity awards for significant airplay went to “Carry On” by Walt Wilkins (recorded by Pat Green ), “Look at Me Now” by Steve Mandile (recorded by Sixwire), and “Til Nothing Comes Between Us” by Tony Marty (recorded by John Michael Montgomery ).
Americana performance activity awards went to the albums Millionaire by Kevin Welch and the Danes, Rivertown by Walt Wilkins, Love & Theft and Sidetracks by Bob Dylan, Will the Circle Be Unbroken Vol. 2, Buddy and Julie Miller and Down From the Mountain (for the song “I’ll Fly Away”).
Sheridan, representing Ross Cahill Music, also accepted the Publisher of the Year honors, sharing that accolade with Rob Ott from BMG Canada and Karen Conrad from Multisongs.
Sheridan performed an acoustic version of “Young” (adding a missing verse about the depression of attending a class reunion). Wilkins sang “Carry On” and talked about the process of writing that song with Pat Green.