Kenny Rogers, Lady Antebellum Honored at SESAC Songwriter Awards

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Sunday night (Nov. 5) kicked off the start of CMA Week with the SESAC awards at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

SESAC, a music rights organization, celebrated publishers and songwriters behind the year’s most-performed country and Americana songs.

Kenny Rogers and Lady Antebellum were honored at the event. After announcing his retirement from the road after 6 decades, Kenny received the SESAC Legacy award for his contribution to country music. The legendary artist received the honor from Lady A’s Hillary Scott and her mother Linda Davis.

Photo by Jason Davis /Getty Images for SESAC

Lady A was honored with the SESAC Humanitarian Award for their generous contributions and philanthropic efforts through their charity foundation LadyAID. The award was accepted by Hillary, the groups lead singer.

“It’s just really emotional. Maybe it’s because I’m bringing two little girls into the world, and I want the world to be better for them,” Hillary said from the stage. “I think all I can really say in my heart right now, in this moment is this award lights a fire in our belly to do more.”

The evening also featured many performances by country’s best and brightest. Several artists honored Kenny Rogers by performing his hits throughout the decades, including “Twenty Years Ago,” performed by Lee Brice; “Lady,” performed by Craig Campbell; “The Gambler,” performed by Dustin Lynch; and “Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer,” performed by Kim Carnes and Andy Childs.

Dustin Lynch- Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Taking home Song of the Year honors was Cary Barlowe, who co-wrote Billy Currington’s “It Don’t Hurt Like it Used To.” Billy was on hand to perform the hit song for the industry event. And Justin Ebach was named SESAC’s Songwriter of the Year for his first-ever No. 1 country hit, “Sleep Without You,” recorded by Brett Young.

The SESAC awards are just the first event of a busy week that is followed by the ASCAP awards Monday night (Nov. 6), BMI awards Tuesday night (Nov. 7) and culminating with the CMA Awards on Wednesday night.(Nov.8)

The artists hit the red carpet prior to the event and One Country was there to capture all the action.

Hillary Scott and Linda Davis – Photo by Tammie Arroyo/

Jon Pardi – Photo by Tammie Arroyo/

Craig Campbell and wife Mindy – Photo by Tammie Arroyo/

Lee Brice and wife Sara – Photo by Tammie Arroyo/

Runaway June – Photo by Tammie Arroyo/

Jim Lauderdale – Photo by Tammie Arroyo/