ASCAP Photo Flipbook
Beneath a sea of red, white and blue bunting in the Opryland Hotel's expansive
Tennessee Ballroom, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) celebrated a year's worth of award-winning
songs Saturday night (Nov. 3).
Songs, songwriters, artists, a publishing company and a pioneering music executive were
given special honors by the performing rights organization at its annual country awards show.
The tone was set for
the "Stars & Stripes" -- themed evening when the Mt. Juliet High School Drum Corps and a U.S. Marine Corps color guard paraded
the colors before the stage's giant backdrop of an American flag emblazoned with the ASCAP logo.
Nashville singer Greg
Barnhill roused the crowd with a stirring version of "America the Beautiful," and ASCAP Nashville senior vice president Connie
Bradley -- dressed all in red -- was honored by ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento with an award for 25 years of service for the organization.
In kicking off the presentation of song awards, Bradley noted that "we awoke to a different world on Sept. 11. Now courage
has replaced fear. As we celebrate the success of our members, let's remember that your songs are powerful and they are a
In addition to recognizing the year's most-performed ASCAP country songs, awards were given for song
of the year, songwriter of the year, songwriter/artist of the year and publisher of the year.
Also, Nashville music
executive and producer Harold Shedd was honored with ASCAP's Lifetime Achievement Award. Shedd, whose musical progeny over
the years runs the gamut from Reba McEntire, Alabama
and K.T. Oslin to Shania Twain, Billy Ray Cyrus and Mark McGuinn, was first honored by McGuinn.
He sang "Mrs. Steven Rudy," the song that Shedd's independent VFR Records made a hit this past year. Alabama lead singer
Randy Owen then extolled Shedd as a man who put the love of music ahead of all other music business considerations. In accepting,
Shedd said, "We love Nashville, we love the music and that's why we do it."
Keith Follese was named ASCAP songwriter
of the year for his songs "The Way You Love Me" (recorded by Faith Hill) and "Smile"
(recorded by Lonestar). In accepting, Follese thanked "everybody in Nashville, mom
and dad and ASCAP and all the writers in Nashville who teach us all every day how to write."
Vassar was named songwriter/artist of the year, an award bestowed for the first time this year. Vassar was touring
and could not attend but sent a video in which he playfully exhorted his fellow songwriters to "get a record deal and then
cut your own songs." He concluded by thanking ASCAP "for sending checks."
In a tie for song of the year, "The Way You
Love Me" (co-written by Follese with Michael Dulaney) ended in a dead heat with "I Hope You Dance," co-written by ASCAP writer
Mark D. Sanders with BMI writer Tia Sillers. Lee Ann Womack, who had a No. 1 hit with
"I Hope You Dance," came on to perform an acoustic version of the song.
EMI Music Publishing, with such hits as "There
Is No Arizona" and Vassar's "Carlene," was named song publisher of the year.
In a featured musical interlude, newcomer
Carolyn Dawn Johnson performed acoustic versions of her songs "Downtime" and "Complicated."
Johnson said she was grateful to be performing, adding, "I long so hard to be part of this community -- ASCAP has been a believer
in me since I came to town."
A special "partners in music " award was given to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Presented by ASCAP senior vice president Vincent Candilora, the honor was accepted by Hall of Fame board chairman E.W. "Bud"
Wendell and Hall of Fame director Kyle Young.
Bradley noted that new artist Jamie
O'Neal was receiving her first songwriting award for her hit "There Is No Arizona" and said that, while O'Neal was
touring and unable to be there, she was on her cell phone and listening to the awards ceremony. So Bradley led the crowd in
shouting, "Congratulations, Jamie!"
Other artists attending and accepting awards included Rodney
Crowell, SHeDAISY's Kristyn Osborn, Chris Cagle,
Aaron Tippin, Andy Griggs, Womack and Jo Dee Messina.
The evening's patriotic theme began outside the hotel, where arriving
guests were greeted by Uncle Sam, and it extended to dessert. One of several dessert dishes was an individual, all-American
apple pie served in a small cast iron skillet at each table setting.
Follese Are ASCAP's Top Country Writers
Complete List of 2001
ASCAP Award Winners
35th Annual CMA Awards Special Event Site