Country's top songwriters and music publishers were honored tonight (Oct. 13) as the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) celebrated those who wrote the most performed country songs of the past year.

The 46th annual ASCAP Country Music Awards were held at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium.

Reba McEntire picked up the ASCAP Golden Note Award, which is presented to songwriters, composers and artists who have achieved extraordinary career milestones.

A musical tribute to McEntire included performances from Brooks & Dunn, who took a turn on "For My Broken Heart." LeAnn Rimes sang "I'm A Survivor" and Kelly Clarkson handled "Tell Me Why Haven't I Heard From You?" Meanwhile, McEntire performed one of her earliest hits, "(You Lift Me) Up To Heaven," before accepting her award.

Other award winners included Dave Berg (songwriter of the year), Alan Jackson (songwriter/artist), "Good Directions" (country song) and EMI Music Publishing (publisher of the year).

Great American Country (GAC) received the ASCAP Partners In Music Award for their contribution toward the promotion and support of songwriters, musicians and artists while expanding the reach of country music.

The life and career of former ASCAP executive Merlin Littlefield, who died in September, was also remembered.

ASCAP also recognized a distinguished group of songwriters with the Silver Circle honor in recognition of 25 years or more of ASCAP membership. Those writers are Tony Arata, Jess Leary, Lyle Lovett, J.D. Martin, Reba McEntire, Tim Mensy, Buddy Miller, David Lee Murphy, Lisa Palas, Alice Randall and Brent Rowan.

Hosted by ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento and senior VP Connie Bradley, the evening included performances of the top five most performed songs of the year as rendered by their writers.

For a complete list of winners, go to ascap.com.

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