Brett James was named songwriter of the year at ASCAP’s 48th annual Country Music Awards Tuesday in Nashville, which recognized writers of country’s most performed songs between April 2009 and March 2010.

James wrote or co-wrote five chartworthy tunes over the past year: “Cowboy Casanova” (Carrie Underwood), “It’s a Business Doing Pleasure With You” (Tim McGraw), “Out Last Night” (Kenny Chesney), “Summer Nights” (Rascal Flatts) and “The Truth” (Jason Aldean).

Country Song of the Year went to “Need You Now,” written by Josh Kear and performed by Lady Antebellum, while Country Songwriter/Artist of the year was awarded to Dierks Bentley, whose “Sideways” was also among the top five most-performed songs of the year.

A total of 44 song honors were handed out, with performances by Lady Antebellum and Steve Earl spicing up the proceedings.

Special tribute was paid to Alan Jackson, who was honored with the ASCAP Founders Award. The ASCAP Global Impact Award, a special nod for a song that has had significant impact on multiple formats, was given to Jessi Alexander for “The Climb,” recorded by Miley Cyrus and Joe McElderry, ASCAP Publisher of the Year honors went to Sea Gayle Music.