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Eric Church, Dean Dillon, Scotty Emerick, and Carrie Underwood Pay Tribute to the Songwriting Legend Luke Combs, Michael Hardy, and Sony ATV Among Honorees at the Annual Event in Nashville

(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) November 8, 2022 – BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) presented its 2022 BMI Country Awards this evening, honoring the prolific musical career of BMI Icon Award recipient Toby Keith, as well as the Country Songwriter, Song and Publisher of the Year. The annual event, the genre’s oldest awards ceremony, also celebrated the songwriters and publishers of the most-performed country songs of the previous year. BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill hosted the ceremony at the Company’s office in Nashville, along with Clay Bradley, BMI Vice President, Creative, Nashville. 

Keith, who was named this year’s BMI Icon, joins an elite list of songwriters including Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams, Jr., among others. During the evening, country superstars Carrie Underwood and Eric Church, along with frequent co-writers Dean Dillon and Scotty Emerick paid musical tribute to Keith. Underwood lent her powerhouse voice to Keith’s first number one hit “Should Have Been A Cowboy,” while Church brought his unmatched country swagger to “I Love This Bar.” Finally, frequent co-writers Dillon and Emerick serenaded the crowd with the perennial Toby Keith favorite “A Little Too Late.” The evening began with Warner Music Nashville recording artist Shy Carter performing his latest single “Beer With My Friends” along with David Lee Murphy.

The coveted Songwriter of the Year award was presented to first-time winner Michael Hardy, who wrote five of this year’s award-winning songs. His writing credits include Dierks Bentley’s “Beers On Me,” Blake Shelton’s “Come Back As A Country Boy,” Morgan Wallen’s “Sand In My Boots,” Cole Swindell’s “Single Saturday Night,” and his own “Give Heaven Some Hell.”

Luke Combs’ “Forever After All” was named 2022 BMI Country Song of the Year. Published by 50 Egg Music, Big Music Machine, Oak Tree Swing Publishing, Rowdy Rob Music, Straight Dimes Music, and Sony/ATV Tree and written by frequent collaborators Combs, Drew Parker, and Rob Williford, the popular track was BMI’s most performed country song of the year.

The Publisher of the Year accolade went to Sony Music Publishing, which published 25 of the 50 most-performed songs of the year, including megahits such as Kelsey Ballerini’s “Half of My Hometown,” Elle King and Miranda Lambert’s “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)”, Kane Brown’s “One Mississippi,” Miranda Lambert’s “If I Was A Cowboy,” and Morgan Wallen’s “Sand In My Boots.”

During the ceremony, BMI also saluted the songwriters and publishers of the 50 most-performed country songs of the previous year.

For a complete list of the 2022 BMI Country Awards winners, please visit

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