Ed Rode, WireImage
Hillary picked up a total of four SESAC writer awards throughout the evening's festivities, including three by Lady Antebellum -- 'Just a Kiss,' 'Our Kind of Love,' and 'Need You Now.' The fourth was for Sara Evans' 'A Little Bit Stronger.'
Craig Campbell kicked off the event by singing his tune 'Fish,' for which he received a writer's award. He also took home an award for his breakthrough hit, 'Family Man.' "This is my favorite thing to do all week," he told The Boot. "This was the first time I've received an award ever."
Ronnie Dunn shared an acoustic version of his new song, 'Cost of Livin',' which was an award winner for its writer Philip Coleman.
When Hillary received her award for Songwriter of the Year, SESAC's Tim Fink also announced that the performing rights organization had made a donation to the Brent Gambrell Ministries in support of its missionary work in Haiti. Hillary has made several trips to Haiti in support of the charitable venture.
"The SESAC awards are my favorite night of the week (of the CMA awards)," songwriter Monty Powell told The Boot. Monty, who has written numerous hits including one honored last night, Keith Urban's 'Til Summer Comes Around,' said, "[SESAC's] awards night just has a different feel to it, and I am so proud to be represented by this organization."
Other writers recognized for their country songs were Lance Miller for Lee Brice's 'Beautiful Every Time,' Catt Gravitt for Eden's Edge's 'Amen,' and Blaine Larsen and Jim Lauderale for 'I Gotta Get to You,' recorded by George Strait.
This year's SESAC Americana songwriter awards went to Jonathan Bird, Hayes Carll, Colin Brooks, Seth Avett and Bob Dylan. "We have so many great Americana songwriters and artists that it is great that SESAC takes time to recognize them," Jim Lauderdale told The Boot. "The Americana genre has something for everyone because it encompasses American roots music.This includes country artists like Merle Haggard and singer songwriters like Guy Clark and Rodney Crowell. These are artists who need and deserve to be played on radio, and our list of Americana stations continues to grow and play all these artists."
The SESAC awards were held at the Pinnacle Building in downtown Nashville. SESAC is one of three performing rights organizations in the U.S. that collects royalties for songwriters from music that is played over the airwaves.