Ross Copperman received the BMI Country Awards’ songwriter of the year honor in accolades that were announced Monday. “Whiskey Glasses,” a hit for Morgan Wallen that was co-written by BMI writer Ben Burgess, was named song of the year.
Warner Chappell was awarded publisher of the year honors for the third straight year in the virtual proceedings, which were put up on BMI’s website Monday in lieu of the ceremony that usually takes place at the org’s Music Row headquarters on the eve of the CMA Awards. Nearly half of the songs being honored by BMI as the top country tunes of the year — 21 out of 50 — had Warner Chappell as publisher, including “Whiskey Glasses” as well as the Maren Morris hit “The Bones,” the Blake Shelton smash “God’s Country” and the Dan + Shay/Justin Bieber collaboration “10,000 Hours.”
Copperman won songwriter of the year by having his hand in six of the 50 top tracks — “Catch,” “Living,” “Love Ain’t,” “Love Someone,” “Tip of My Tongue” and “What She Wants Tonight.”
In winning song of the year for “Whiskey Glasses,” Burgess was getting his very first BMI Award. The track, which helped certify Wallen as a star, has been recognized as the top country radio song of 2019 and was certified triple-platinum.
The rollout of awards on BMI’s website included a number of musical performances, like Burgess doing his own version of “Whiskey Glasses,” in addition to speeches and presentations.
Missing this year is the Icon Award, which annually goes to one of the legends of country music, with BMI holding off on that honor until it can again be awarded in person with an all-star salute.
Nonetheless, BMI’s web page for this year’s awards pays special attention to Dolly Parton, with next-generation songwriters and stars like Brandi Carlile, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Kane Brown, Thomas Rhett, Ashley McBryde and Scotty McCreery offering testimonials about different Parton songs.
“This year has been a challenge for all of Music City, but this community has adapted beautifully and supported one another so unfailingly,” BMI’s VP of creative for Nashville, Clay Bradley, said in a statement. “Though this ceremony may look different, BMI is as proud as ever to once again honor the most performed songs of the year.”
The assembled videos and a complete list of winners can be found here.