Keifer Thompson Crowned SESAC Songwriter of Year

"Cruise" Named Organization's Top Song During Awards Gala in Nashville

Thompson Square's Keifer Thompson won SESAC's songwriter of the year trophy Sunday night (Nov. 3) during ceremonies held at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum's recently opened sixth floor event space.

"Cruise," the multi-week No. 1 single for Florida Georgia Line and co-written by SESAC's Jesse Rice, was named the performance rights organization's song of the year. Magic Mustang Music took top publishing honors.

The SESAC presentations were the first of three consecutive nights of glittering performance rights awards banquets, with ASCAP rolling out its honors Monday (Nov. 4) and BMI on Tuesday (Nov. 5).

The CMA Awards will be broadcast live on ABC-TV from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday evening (Nov. 6).

"We can't spill the drinks, we can't break the dishes because we want to get invited back here again," joked SESAC's president Pat Collins as he surveyed the gleaming new quarters.

Through tall windows behind Collins, the hundreds of dressed-up guests could glimpse the tops of such downtown Nashville landmarks as the L&C Tower and AT&T's "Batman Building."

Collins boasted that SESAC has increased its number of songwriting and publishing affiliates by 16 percent over the past year and reminded the crowd the organization had pioneered the practice of paying royalties to its affiliates on a monthly basis.

"This is a new digital world where opportunities abound," he assured the cheering crowd.

After Collins completed his opening remarks, SESAC's vice president of writer-publisher relations Tim Fink took over as host.

As his first order of business, he recognized songwriter Jerry Salley, who is celebrating his 35th year as a SESAC member.

Fink announced five songwriting and publishing awards, including song of the year, before pausing the ceremonies for dinner, the main course of which was filet au poivre, cognac beef au jus, macadamia nut crusted trout, tequila rosemary beurre blanc, roasted fingerling potatoes, spaghetti squash and grilled asparagus with carrot ties.

Immediately following dinner, the duo of John & Jacob -- John Davidson and Jacob Bryant -- serenaded the audience with "Done," the hit they co-wrote for The Band Perry.

The Band Perry sent John & Jacob videotaped congratulations for the success of their song, as did Miranda Lambert to Phillip Coleman and Don Henry for co-writing her still-rising hit, "All Kind of Kinds."

Fink relinquished the microphone to SESAC's executive vice president Dennis Lord to confer a series of awards in the Americana music division. These were for songs included in albums recorded by Mumford & Sons, Bob Dylan, The Avett Brothers, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, The SteelDrivers, Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale, Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris, Holly Williams, Corb Lund, Nora Jane Struthers & the Party Line and Kim Richey.

Fink concluded his hosting duties by announcing the remaining country award winners.

Examining his songwriter of the year trophy, the seemingly surprised Thompson exclaimed, "I'm sure there's been a mistake made somewhere. We'll work it out later."

Soon after, he returned to the stage with his wife Shawna, and, as Thompson Square, they wrapped up the evening with a rousing acoustic rendition of their current single, "Everything I Shouldn't Be Thinking About."

Here is the complete list of the recipients at the 2013 SESAC Nashville Music Awards:

Songwriter of the Year: Keifer Thompson

Song of the Year: "Cruise," Jesse Rice (songwriter)

Publisher of the Year: Magic Mustang Music

Country Performance Activity Awards

"All Kinds of Kinds"

Phillip Coleman, Don Henry


Jesse Rice


Jacob Bryant, John Davidson

"Goodbye Town"

Hillary Scott

"If I Didn't Have You"

Keifer Thompson

"Let There Be Cowgirls"

Kim Tribble

"Wagon Wheel"

Bob Dylan


Catt Gravitt

"Alone With You"

Catt Gravitt

"A Woman Like You"

Jon Stone

"Dancin' Away With My Heart"

Hillary Scott

"For You"

Monty Powell

"Why Ya Wanna"

Catt Gravitt

Americana Performance Activity Awards


Contributions by Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall, Marcus Mumford

Recorded by Mumford & Sons

Buddy and Jim

Contributions by Frank Dycus, Jim Lauderdale

Recorded by Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale

Cabin Fever

Contributions by Hayes Carll, Corb Lund

Recorded by Corb Lund


Contributions by Robby Hecht

Recorded by Nora Jane Struthers & the Party Line

The Carpenter

Contributions by Scott Avett, Seth Avett, Bob Crawford

Recorded by the Avett Brothers

Cheater's Game

Contributions by Hayes Carll, Liz Foster, Savannah Welch

Recorded by Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison

Hammer Down

Contributions by Tammy Rogers

Recorded by the SteelDrivers

The Highway

Contributions by Cary Barlowe, Chris Coleman

Recorded by Holly Williams

Old Yellow Moon

Contributions by Lynn Langham

Recorded by Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell


Contributions by Bob Dylan

Recorded by Bob Dylan

Thorn in My Heart

Contributions by Thomm Jutz

Recorded by Kim Richey

[flipbook id="1716759"]View photos from the SESAC Awards.[/flipbook]

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