SOURCE: ASCAP

October 16, 2007 11:48 ET

Kenny Rogers, John Rich, Craig Wiseman, Don Schlitz and Sony/ATV Music Publishing Among Top Honorees at the 2007 ASCAP Country Music Awards

"Before He Cheats" and "If You're Going Through Hell (Before The Devil Even Knows)" Share Country Song of the Year Honors

NASHVILLE, TN--(Marketwire - October 16, 2007) - The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) honored the world's finest songwriters of the most performed country songs of the past year during the 45th Annual ASCAP Country Music Awards, held October 15, 2007 at two of Nashville's most distinctive landmarks -- the historic Ryman Auditorium and the AT&T Building. Co-hosted by ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento and ASCAP Senior Vice President Connie Bradley, over 1,500 of Nashville's most distinguished songwriters and artists, as well as music industry professionals from around the world, gathered at the star-studded celebration, proving once again that ASCAP songs are at the heart of country music's enduring success.

Among those in attendance were Kenny Chesney, Big & Rich, Dierks Bentley, Gretchen Wilson, Brad Paisley, Charlie Daniels, Bill Anderson, Emerson Drive, Darryl Worley, Eric Church, Phil Vassar, Deana Carter, Jason Aldean, Keith Anderson, Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry, Sarah Johns, Blue County, Trent Willmon, Kellie Pickler, Chuck Wicks, Joanna Cotten, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Blaine Larsen, David Lee Murphy, Jimmy Wayne, and Shannon Lawson.

A highlight of the evening included a musical tribute to ASCAP Golden Note Award honoree Kenny Rogers. This award is presented to songwriters, composers and artists who have achieved extraordinary career milestones. Chris Stapleton performed "Sweet Music Man;" 2006 ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Rivers Rutherford rocked the crowd with "I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In);" and songwriter great Don Schlitz performed "The Gambler." ASCAP Executive Vice President, Membership Todd Brabec presented the prestigious award to Rogers. Previous recipients include Garth Brooks, Tom Petty, Stevie Wonder, Michael W. Smith, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis and Sean "Diddy" Combs.

Rogers graciously accepted his award and then took to the stage to perform his 1999 comeback hit "The Greatest," also written by Don Schlitz. Following his performance, Rogers surprised Schlitz with the presentation of the ASCAP Creative Achievement Award in recognition of exceptional and ongoing contributions as a songwriter to the fabric of American music.

The evening opened with a phenomenal, full band, duet performance of "Jackson" by Gretchen Wilson and The Charlie Daniels Band. Throughout the evening, ASCAP's hit songwriters performed live renditions of the past year's top 5 most performed songs. Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins and a string trio performed "Before He Cheats;" Dave Berg accompanied by Georgia Middleman gave a stirring acoustic performance of "If You're Going Through Hell (Before The Devil Even Knows);" Craig Wiseman entertained the audience with his single "Summertime;" Brad Paisley and co-writer Kelley Lovelace, accompanied by Lee Miller, surprised the crowd with their performance of "The World;" and songwriter and award-winning producer Buddy Cannon, in a rare musical performance, was joined by Bill Anderson, Melonie Cannon and Jamey Johnson on "Give It Away."

The evening's other top honors were awarded as follows:

ASCAP Songwriter of the Year: Craig Wiseman was honored for "Hillbilly Deluxe," "Something's Gotta Give," and "Summertime." This is Wiseman's third Songwriter of the Year honor.

ASCAP Songwriter/Artist of the Year: John Rich for "8th Of November," "Amarillo Sky," "Sunshine & Summertime," and "Why." Rich has won this award three consecutive years.

ASCAP Country Song of the Year: (Shared) "Before He Cheats" co-written by Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins. Published by Big Loud Shirt, Mighty Under Dog Music, and Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

ASCAP Country Song of the Year: (Shared) "If You're Going Through Hell (Before The Devil Even Knows)" written by Dave Berg. Published by BergBrain Music and Cal IV Entertainment.

ASCAP Publisher of the Year: Sony/ATV Music Publishing for "Beer In Mexico," "Before He Cheats," "I Loved Her First," "Life Ain't Always Beautiful," "My Wish," "Settle For A Slowdown," "Some People Change," and "You Save Me" with a total of eight award-winning songs. Sony/ATV Music Publishing has earned ASCAP Country Publisher of the Year nine times.

Connie Bradley was joined on stage by ASCAP Vice President John Briggs to present awards to the ASCAP writers and publishers of the most performed country songs of the past year, including songwriters Dierks Bentley, Dave Berg, Brett James, Kelley Lovelace, Tony Mullins, Tim Owens, Brad Paisley, John Rich, Jeremy Stover, Phil Vassar and Craig Wiseman all of whom received multiple awards.

Among the music publishers receiving multiple honors were BergBrain Music, Big Loud Shirt, Big White Tracks, Bud Dog Music, Bug Music/Windswept, Cal IV Entertainment, Chamaland Music, Didn't Have To Be Music, EMI Music Publishing, Major Bob Music, Mullintone Music, Phylvester Music, Platinum Plow, Sea Gayle Music, Stage Three Songs, Universal Music Publishing and Warner/Chappell Music Publishing.

Amy Kurland and the world famous Bluebird Café were honored for their 25 years of showcasing songwriters and their songs. ASCAP also recognized those members who are celebrating 25 years of membership with the organization. They include: Woody Bomar, Mike Dekle, Adrienne Follese, Ted Hewitt, Bud Lee and Rachel Newman.

Connie Bradley, Executive Producer of ASCAP AT THE RYMAN once again collaborated with the event's Producer & Creative Director, Danny Petraitis of High Five Entertainment. Associate Producer Keith Beck of BSA provided additional production support.

Immediately following the awards show, over 1,000 music industry VIPs and country music's brightest stars followed the red carpet over to the AT&T Building for the official Post Awards Party -- a festive celebration where guests wined and dined on spectacular displays of gourmet foods and desserts and danced the night away to the sounds of Nashville's premiere Blues Other Brothers. Fallsview Casino Resort of Niagra Falls, Canada co- sponsored the ASCAP Post Awards Party.

Joining Bradley in the planning and preparation of the evening were ASCAP staff members John Briggs, Chad Green, Dan Keen, Suzanne Lee, Shauna McCulley, Ralph Murphy, Gerilynn Pearce, Pat Rolfe, Earle Simmons, Mike Sistad, Mary Self, Jessica Tompkins, Charline Wilhite, Herky Williams and Jesse Willoughby.

For more information, including a complete list of winners, go to www.ascap.com.

MEDIA, PLEASE NOTE: High-resolution photos of the 2007 ASCAP Country Music Awards will be available for downloading from ASCAP's Press Room (www.ascap.com/press).

About ASCAP

Established in 1914, ASCAP is the first and leading U.S. Performing Rights Organization representing the world's largest repertory totaling over 8.5 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre from more than 300,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members. ASCAP has representation arrangements with over 90 music rights organizations such that the ASCAP repertory is represented in nearly every country around the world. ASCAP protects the rights of its members and foreign affiliates by licensing the public performances of their copyrighted works and distributing royalties based upon surveyed performances. ASCAP is the only American Performing Rights Organization owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. www.ascap.com