Tuesday, October 16, 2007
– For the third straight year, John Rich of Big & Rich won ASCAP's Songwriter/Artist of the Year category for his songwriting contributions on Big & Rich's "8th of November," Jason Aldean's "Amarillo Sky" and "Why," and Faith Hill's "Sunshine & Summertime" No other artist in the history of the ASCAP Awards has been awarded this honor three years consecutively.
Two songs tied for ASCAP's country song of the year - "Before He Cheats" (co-written by Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins) and "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)" (co-written by ASCAP writer Dave Berg). Craig Wiseman took songwriter of the year for "Hillbilly Deluxe," "Something's Gotta Give" and "Summertime." Publisher of the year honors went to Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
Gretchen Wilson was on hand to announce the news to her longtime friend, Rich. "Gretchen put me on the map," said Rich. "I would not be standing here today if it wasn't for her. I remember her bartending at this club and going up on stage and belting out this song. It was the beginning of this amazing adventure I have been blessed to be on the last few years. Before that I was a two-time loser. I was kicked out of a band and dropped as a solo artist."
Originally part Lonestar, Rich scored his first number one hit as songwriter on their single, "Come Cryin' To Me." Rich's writing credits include the Academy of Country Music Award winning single of the year, "Redneck Woman," along with Wilson's other two hits "When I Think About Cheatin'" and "Here For The Party," Hill's smash single "Mississippi Girl," and Aldean's single, "Hicktown." In addition, he has written several other cuts for Hill, Martina McBride, Clay Walker, Aaron Tippin, Cowboy Troy, and Shannon Brown.
Rich added, "Nashville has an unprecedented amount of talented songwriters. To have artists like Gretchen Wilson, Faith Hill and Jason Aldean perform songs I wrote is an incredible honor. You know, I was lucky enough to have a father who understood songwriting and the joy music can bring to people's lives. My father, Jim Rich, is here tonight. Not only did he teach me how to write, he let me sing in church on Sundays where he was the preacher. I got the best education from him."
"The night would not be complete until I thank this guy, Kenny Alphin. Kenny, thank you man," said Rich. "Who would have ever guessed that the two of us would have this kind of success? Thank you for being a great friend and band mate."
Rich ended by telling a story about Connie Bradley and his jeans. "I went to Connie 1 day about 6 or 7 years ago and said, 'Connie, I need $10,000.' She replied, 'You have a song coming out on radio?' I said, 'Not yet, but I think I will soon.' She said, 'I do too,' and she gave me the money. I then used that money to retire my Granny and help her set up a tiny alterations shop...these jeans I am wearing tonight were created by Granny Rich who is sitting right over there."