Home / Music News / President Jimmy Carter, Justin Timberlake, Lady A & Reba Honor Trisha Yearwood with ASCAP's Voice of Music Award


President Jimmy Carter presented Trisha Yearwood with the Voice of Music Award Monday night at the 53rd Annual ASCAP Country Music Awards, in a star-studded segment that started with Justin Timberlake bringing Lady Antebellum on to perform her hit “Walkaway Joe.”

“She’s been a huge influence on us vocally, the songs she picks, I know especially for Hillary too, you know vocally. I don’t know, that was the music we all cut our teeth on really,” Dave Haywood reflects. “So to be able to really honor that is awesome. And when they asked us to do this we said, ‘Yes! Can we please, please do ‘Walkaway Joe?'”

Next, Garth and Trisha’s daughter Allie Brooks took the stage to sing her “bonus mom’s” debut chart-topper, “She’s in Love with the Boy.” Reba, clad in a simple purple cocktail dress, brought the crowd to its feet with an emotional rendition of “The Song Remembers When.” 

Looking healthy in spite of the revelation earlier this year he’s fighting liver and brain cancer, the former president strode across the platform at the Omni Nashville Hotel to present the honor to the fellow Georgia native. He spoke of how he and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter had become close to Garth and Trisha over the past decade, while working together on Habitat for Humanity builds. In fact, the 91-year-old had done just that with the famous country couple earlier in the day in Memphis. 

“I built a wall, I built several walls. I nailed a bunch of hurricane clips into the wall. I have a blister, a big one,” Trisha said earlier, joking about how she’d made the change from construction gear to red carpet glamour. “I quickly rinsed the sawdust off and got started again, started over. It was an adventure! We stayed on schedule today, which usually we don’t, but it was like, ‘I have to be cute for tonight. It has to happen!'”

Trisha mouthed “It’s the President!” and pointed playfully at Mr. Carter as “Xxx’s and Ooo’s (An American Girl)” played in the background. She recalled when Hillary Scott’s mom Linda Davis would bring her to recording sessions when she was just a little girl, commenting on how much each performance had meant to her, as she accepted the award. Trisha finished by telling the group of writers, publishers and artists her greatest compliment was when a writer would tell her they liked what she’d done with their song. 

“Tonight is a little different because I have such reverence and such respect for songwriters,” Trisha said earlier, considering what the accolade means to her. “I’d been doing demos for them long before I ever had my first record deal, and they were friends to me on that first album. You know new artists back in the nineties on their first album didn’t always get the top drawer songs, but they knew me, so they gave me good songs. I have to thank Jon Ims for ‘She’s in Love with the Boy’ and Greg Barnhill for ‘Walkaway Joe’ and Hugh Prestwood for ‘The Song Remembers When.’ That’s really why I’m standing on this carpet. So this is a huge honor for me.”

Ashley Gorley, who wrote “Play It Again” and “I See You” for Luke Bryan was named ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year, while Sam Hunt took the Songwriter/Artist honors, also nabbing Song of the Year for his hit “Leave the Night On.”

Music City’s marathon awards week continues Tuesday with the 2015 BMI Country Awards, all leading up to the 49th Annual CMA Awards, Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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