On the strength of penning the Dixie Chicks' long-running hit "Wide Open Spaces," Susan Gibson has been named American Songwriter magazine's Professional Country Songwriter of the Year. Singer/songwriter Phil Vassar, last year's winner, presented Gibson her award Thursday (Jan. 27) during ceremonies at BMI's Nashville offices.
Noting that Vassar now
has his own music video ("Carlene") out, Gibson quipped, "When will my video be coming out, Phil? In about a year?" Last year,
"Wide Open Spaces" earned Gibson a BMI award. In addition, the Dixie Chicks' recording of the song, which stayed at No. 1
in Billboard for four weeks, won the 1999 Single of the Year trophy from the Country Music Association.
The song was
Gibson's first to be recorded by a major artist. Martina McBride subsequently recorded Gibson's "Cloud Nine" but did not include
it on her current album.
American Songwriter's other country winners were Tim McGraw, Artist of the Year; "Amazed,"
song; Dann Huff, producer; BNA, record label; and Hamstein Music Group, publisher.
McGraw, who did not attend the ceremonies,
was cited for having two hits -- "Please Remember Me" and "Where the Green Grass Grows" -- that stayed at No. 1 for a total
of nine weeks. "Amazed," which was written by Marv Green, Aimee Mayo and Chris Lindsey, earned its honor for holding the top
spot on the charts for eight straight weeks. Huff, also a no-show, was cited for producing "Amazing." BNA took the top label
nod for the chart successes of Lonestar's "Amazed" and Kenny Chesney's "How Forever Feels." Hamstein is the publisher of the
hits "Stand Beside Me" and "You're Easy on the Eyes."
This is the eleventh year American Songwriter has bestowed
its professional songwriting awards. In addition to recognizing the top achievements in country music, it also confers them
in pop, rhythm & blues and Christian music.