Dwight Yoakam Slated for Top Honor at BMI Country Awards

Dwight Yoakam, already set to be inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame this fall, has just been scheduled for another imminent Music City honor. BMI announced Thursday that the California country icon will receive the President’s Award as a centerpiece of the Nashville branch’s signature event, the BMI Country Awards, taking place in November on the eve of the CMA Awards.

Yoakam is at the forefront of many country fans’ minds not least of all because of the prominent role filmmaker Ken Burns afforded him as a historian as well as practitioner of the genre in his recent “Country Music” documentary series.

“To this day, no other artist has captured country music’s past and catapulted it into the future quite like Dwight Yoakam,” Jody Williams, BMI Nashville’s creative VP, said in a statement. “Standing on the shoulders of Bakersfield legends, Dwight’s self-penned songs have made indelible marks on America’s musical culture. His career includes roles in most every facet of the entertainment business and we are thrilled to celebrate him with BMI’s President’s Award.”

Past BMI President’s Award recipients include Kenny Chesney, Harlan Howard, Brooks & Dunn and Billy Sherrill from the country world and Pink, Adam Levine and Toni Braxton from outside it. The award often goes to singer-songwriters, and occasionally those who have achieved legend status just on the writing side; it’s officially earmarked for “songwriters who have distinctly and profoundly influenced the entertainment industry.”

Yoakam is expected to be the subject of an all-star salute at the 67th annual edition of the awards, to be held at BMI’s Nashville headquarters Nov. 12.

Also announced Thursday by the performing rights organization was a brand new honor, the Legacy Award, to be given to a song that’s endured in the public consciousness. The inaugural recipient will be the country-bluegrass standard “Rocky Top,” written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.

Yoakam’s BMI honor will follow by about a month his Oct. 14 induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame at its 49th annual ceremony, to be held at Nashville’s Music City Center.

Not to let his December be inactive after all that awards activity in October and November, Yoakam has previously announced a six-night residency in Las Vegas at the Wynn’s Encore Theater beginning Dec. 4. The show, being billed as “An Evening With Dwight Yoakam & the Bakersfield Beat,” will focus on that California city’s musical legacy, with songs by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard as well as his own work. A March 2020 return to the Wynn has been set as well. The show shares a name with the SiriusXM channel that Yoakam launched in 2018.


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