Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott Is SESAC’s Songwriter of the Year

Scooter Carusoe's "Better as a Memory" Declared Top Song

Hillary Scott, the lone lady in the trio Lady Antebellum, claimed SESAC’s songwriter of the year award Monday night (Nov. 10) at ceremonies held inside a mammoth, brightly decorated banquet tent at the performance rights organization’s Nashville headquarters.

Scott won her award on the strength of having co-written two of Lady Antebellum’s hit singles of the past year, “Love Don’t Live Here” and “Lookin’ for Good Time.” Her publishing company, Shaw Enuff Music, headed by Lady Antebellum’s co-producer, Victoria Shaw, won SESAC’s publisher of the year prize.

Scott is the daughter of country singers Lang Scott and Linda Davis.

Song of the year honors went to “Better as a Memory,” the Kenny Chesney hit co-written by SESAC writer Scooter Carusoe.

Accompanying himself on guitar, Jimmy Wayne opened the presentation ceremony with solo performances of the Hall & Oates hit “Sara Smile” and his recent (and first) No. 1 single, “Do You Believe Me Now,” written by SESAC’s Tim Johnson.

“Please remember me the next time I’m cutting an album,” the jubilant Wayne told the songwriters in the audience.

In honor of the late gospel songwriter Albert Brumley and the 40th anniversary of the Brumley Gospel Sing, an all-star quartet performed Brumley’s most famous composition, “I’ll Fly Away.” Making up the quartet were songwriter Jerry Salley and the Grascals‘ Jamie Johnson, both on guitar, the SteelDrivers‘ Tammy Rogers-King on fiddle and Grammy-winner Jim Lauderdale on banjo. Their high-spirited rendition of the classic earned them a standing ovation.

SESAC’s associate vice president of writer-publisher relations, Tim Fink, presented a plaque to Bob Brumley, the songwriter’s son.

Before the banquet got underway, SESAC also presented plaques of appreciation to representatives of Country Radio Broadcasters (in honor of the organization’s 40th anniversary) and the Country Music Association (observing its 50th year of operation).

View photos from the 2008 SESAC award ceremonies.

Here is a complete list of the awards:

Overall Honors

Songwriter of the year: Hillary Scott
Song of the year: “Better as a Memory,” Scooter Carusoe (songwriter)
Publisher of the year: Shaw Enuff Songs

Country Performance Activity Awards

“Love Don’t Live Here”
Writer: Hillary Scott

“Lookin’ for a Good Time”
Writer: Hillary Scott

“Picture to Burn”
Writer: Liz Rose

“Better as a Memory”
Writer: Scooter Carusoe

“Do You Believe Me Now”
Writer: Tim Johnson

“Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind”
Writer: Tim Johnson

“Anything Goes”
Writer: Brice Long

Recurrent Country Performance Activity Awards

“Teardrops on My Guitar”
Writer: Liz Rose

“Watching You”
Writer: Brian White

“Moments”
Writers: Annie Tate and Sam Tate

Americana Performance Activity Awards
Hayes Carll and Ray Wylie Hubbard, for their contributions to Carll’s album, Trouble in Mind

Colin Brooks
For his contribution to the Band of HeathensThe Band of Heathens

Sonny Landreth
For songs featured on his album, From the Reach

Allison Moorer
For her contribution to Steve Earle‘s Washington Square Serenade

Jerry Salley and Kevin Welch
For their contribution to the SteelDrivers’ The SteelDrivers

Bob Dylan
For his contribution to
Darrell Scott‘s Modern Hymns

Bob Dylan
For his contribution to Willie Nelson‘s Moment of Forever

Join the Band
Recorded by Little Feat with Béla Fleck

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.